I blame my obsession with handbags on my mother. I remember sharing the delight of looking at handbags. We explored the insides counting for pockets and compartments, we hunted for the right strap length and colour and even today I can't help sniffing them to check that lovely real leather smell. The delight of finding the perfect bag is something we share today. The trouble is, for me, there are far too many " perfect" bags out there.
I recently discovered the delights of the Cath Kidston range. Well, going back a bit, ten years ago I had a South African friend who rocked the shabby chic look. Her home, her clothes- I loved it all. Recently I have been brave ( and desperate ) enough to give it a go in my house, painting most of my woodwork in muted shades of grey, off-white and heritage green.. Shabby chic=painting things in Farrow and Ball colours, badly it seemed to me and it turns it I'm very good at painting things badly.
So this shabby chic, vintage, country cottage look led me to the Cath Kidston range of fabrics. I am so enamoured of anything "Cath" that recently a good friend had to firmly order me to " put down the bag and get out of the shop Afra"
I can't really afford to be shopping there you see but luckily for me my eldest is a generous soul and bought me a bag in the sale. Then to my delight someone gave me a book bag from the range and then this week while visiting an " antique" centre I spotted a lovely zip-up carry-all in the birds pattern.
And I walked away.
Ok, I sat in the cafe agonising over the lovely bag. Bag or groceries. Bag or diesel. Hmmm. And then son number 2 pointed or he hadn't bought me a Christmas present and although he couldn't imagine why I would want yet another bag, he would contribute a good chunk of the cost. I was off like a shot to pay before he could change his mind!
The new bag is oilcloth and wipe clean. The bag from my eldest is not. And it has a leather strap. It was looking distinctly grubby and tatty. To wash or not to wash? The label said "no!", the Internet said " ignore the label".
So I emptied it- pens, dummies, purse, 50 receipts, plastic frog, hair bands x20, assorted sweetener packets, a battery, painkillers, beaded cross, one earring and a packet of lucozade energy sweets.
Then with some trepidation I turned it inside out and put it on a hand wash in the machine. It was the longest 25 minutes of my life. The cycle finished. It had survived! And was quite a bit cleaner. So I turned it right side round and did it again.
And I'm glad to report it is now clean and lovely again and drying slowly ready to be overfilled once again. But while it dries I might just have another look at the online sale at Cath's.....