Wednesday, 29 February 2012

PayDay Treat!

It's payday! It's also the end of the first month of Satchels and Soap! 

For those that have been following the blog you will know that the general aim for S&S is to document our journey to saving for a deposit for a flat; you will also know that so far I am failing miserably at actually curbing my spending but, alas, it's payday...everyone needs a treat on payday.

I'm heading to the Cotswolds soon for a romantic weekend away for Mr. S&S's birthday so what better to treat myself to that a beautiful weekend holdall? This is by far the best one I've found (that isn't extortionately priced, I am saving a little bit after all!) and it's possibly too cute for words so you'll just have to enjoy the picture instead...

Anorak Seagulls Weekend Holdall - £150, Anorak Online

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Leghila Neoprene Bags

The point of this blog was to help save money and document my spending habits and saving tips while working towards a deposit for a flat - how am I meant to do this with so many must-have products crossing my path every which way I turn - that question is directed at you Leghila!

Italian brand Leghila is the creator behind the first Neoprene washable bags. All exclusively made in Italy the bags are beauties and, with designs and styles for all occasions, from hitting the shops to heading up a board room, there really is no excuse for not looking chic and dapper with the right arm candy at all times.

B Bag 782 by Leghila - €450

B Bag by Leghila - from €195

PC Case by Leghila - from €110

BIZ Bag by Leghila - €150

With dozens of colour combinations to choose from for each design you can have one for each outfit!

Monday, 27 February 2012

S&S MEETS: A Minds Eye - *giveaway alert*

You all know that I love homeware, with my obsession for cushions verging on the ridiculous, which is why I was thrilled to be able to chat to Emily Naismith, founder and designer of ultra-cool Interiors brand A Minds Eye.

Emily's designs are bold and impactful with a focus on design - here's what she had to say...

How did A Minds Eye come about?
After many years working in the fashion industry for big brands like Calvin Klein in NYC and Hilfiger in Amsterdam, I returned to London and had a couple of kids. I needed to stay creative and so set up a small independent screen print studio in north london. Printing and fabrics merged and 'A Minds Eye'  - which refers to the human ability for visualization -  began. (That makes it sound easy but it hasn't been!)

How has your career to date prepared you for launching your own brand?
Working as a freelance designer for over a decade has made me very good at working independently and I'm really looking forward to expanding my range.

What was your inspiration/influences for the collection?
Works by artists like Ellsworth Kelly and Lucas Samaras (sketches) are pinned to my wall but I love trawling, The Cloth House in Berwick street for great fabrics is really inspirational. I also look to fashion to some extent to get a feel for trends.

Which is your favourite item from the range and why?
It has to be the hand painted neon pink coated linen cushion which feels really fresh and contemporary against the natural linens with dark strokes.

What is your key interiors tip?
Keep the four walls clean and simple and fill with brilliant finds from your life to tell your story. 

What has been your best bargain?
I bought a signed Banksy about ten years ago for £100  and sold it to convert my kitchen into a big spacious living space. If only I had bought more.....

And finally, what's next for A Minds Eye?
Yellow. And I'll be exploring digital printing.

I'll be first in the queue for a yellow edition!

A Minds Eye product can be bought at and range from £45 to £55. Cushions also available from Rockett St George.

S&S has teamed up with A Minds Eye to offer readers a chance to win one of the gorgeous Hand Painted Neon Pink cushions worth £45 (seen above, top left)! All you need to do to enter is post an answer to the question below and follow Satchels & Soap and A Minds Eye on facebook - easy! Competition closes Monday 5th March at 12pm.

Facebook links:

QUESTION: What is your favourite Interiors Style?

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Project Bathroom #2

Last week saw the first installment of 'Project Bathroom', our challenge to turn our Swedish-sauna-wannabe of a bathroom into a sleek and modern sanctuary; for those who missed it you can see it HERE. Today we embarked on completing stage 2 - The Tiles.

I honestly had no idea just how expensive decent bathroom wall and floor tiles were. So here we are, it's a beautiful day, we're fired up and in the mood to hunt out the perfect tile combo - we want a sophisticated, bright and airy look without crossing over into public toilet territory, in other words we need to steer clear of white shiny tiles...should be easy enough.

Like any good search we started off online. A little ambitiously I headed straight for Fired Earth; I knew it would be a pricier option but I seriously was not prepared for the prices staring back at me. With the cheapest option available being almost £40 a square meter - we need around 16 square meters - this makes it £640 just for the walls, and this wasn't even the tile that I would have wanted, oh no, they would have totaled at £2224 (I really do seem to have a knack for sniffing out the most expensive option possible!) we decided to shop around and lower our sights a little - enter Homebase.

Homebase had what looked like some nice tiles, and all at half price at the moment; unfortunately the website was insanely slow and my boredom of waiting got the better of me, moving on...

After searching through the millions of options from the usual suspects - B&Q, Topps Tiles, Wickes, even Tesco - I was getting completely overwhelmed with the sheer choice and price ranges on offer, (who knew it would be so difficult to choose between various shades of beige?!) I decided to seek help. On recommendations from my older, and therefore wise and trusted, brothers I toodled along to Tile Base and Tile Depot, both handily in the same retail park about 15 minutes drive away (both are available elsewhere and online though, fear not). Both stores offered a huge range of tiles, many of which were very reasonably priced and exactly what we were after. 

Since I'm doing a full evaluation I'll go into the service provided - Tile Depot wins hands down. While the Tile Base service was good, the sales man was exactly that - while being slightly creepy in manner he also managed to tot-up a quote for almost £700, claiming this to be the best price on offer. Completely out of budget we decide to head over to Tile Depot. We take one step outside Tile Base - on 'Manager's Promotion were the perfect tiles, almost identical to those quoted inside, the only difference being about 3/4 of the price! With this in mind we head over to Tile Depot where we were greeted by Mike, the very nice, chilled out, charming salesman. He let us wander, said he could do us a deal and to find him if we needed anything; a far cry from the goblin following us around Tile Base.

With everything in mind I'm ashamed to say that price won over service this time...let's just hope that the tiles are nicer than the service getting them. 

To save you some time here are links to some of the best tiles on a budget that we found...

 And for those with no budget boundaries I'd still say Fired Earth, if I could live in one of their showrooms I would!

Friday, 24 February 2012

Cufflinking Cool

This morning I posted one for the girls, this afternoon Pinterest has inspired me to do one for the boys. 

Mr. S&S, I think it's fair to say, is slightly obsessed with cufflinks; he wears them to work everyday so who can blame him for wanting to look good - surely it's just the male work-alternative to shoes and handbags? I spotted on Pinterest a whole page of very cool cufflinks but, annoyingly, it didn't say where any of them can be bought so I've trawled (read 'done a quick search') for some lovely alternatives that are available online right now, hope you like...

Bicycle Cufflinks - £19.50 Chapel Cards at Not On The High Street

Moustache Cufflinks - £30 Tatty Devine

White Stag cufflinks - £29.95 Tyler & Tyler at KJ Beckett

Sugary sweet gear for the feet

Ice cream shades are everywhere at the moment and what a perfect way to cheer up a dull February day or bask in the sunshine (on the rare occasion that the sun actually makes an appearance in the UK, excluding yesterday) than wrapping yourself in the pretty pastels á la Mulberry and Louis Vuitton, even homewares are getting in on the act, courtesy of Good Homes' April issue:

If the all-over sugary-sweet look isn't for you then perhaps an accessory or hint of colour here and there is the way forward - this has led me to hunt down some of the prettiest on the high street at the moment - here are my picks...

GELDOF - £220 Kurt Geiger

Court Show with metal toe-cap - £69.99 Zara

MAGICIAN Suede lace-up brogue - £32 Topshop

Basic leather ballerina shoe - £28

Nike Air Royalty High - £70 Nike

So whether you want to make a statement and go high, be smart with a court, or fancy rocking some flats or super-casual trainers there's a perfect pastel for every occasion...I'm starting with the brogues!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Meg Mathews for dwell launch party

Last night saw the collection launch for the Meg Mathews for dwell range (you may have seen the Q&A with Meg last week) - taking place at the dwell flagship on Tottenham Court Road the party was in full swing with the likes of Meg, Rosemary Ferguson, James Brown and Sadie Frost in attendance to name a few. The collection looked great and the cushions are even lovelier in the flesh, so to speak, than they are in the photos.

James Brown, Meg Mathews, Rosemary Ferguson & Sarah Barrand

Meg Mathews for dwell collection launch

Taking on a whole variety of sizes and designs the cushions work brilliantly together as much as they do on their own. As much as I would love the lot, sadly, as you may know from reading previous posts, I'm on a budget, I will however be investing the silver/grey crown cushion you can see tucked at the back, what a beauty!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

April showers the Burberry way

Today it's forecast to rain so what better way to start the day than with a look at how Burberry does the drizzle look? The Burberry Prorsum Womenswear AW12 show took place on Monday with a spectacular line-up of trenches at the ready before guests were greeted with what seemed to be a tropical storm taking place outside and golden flecks sprinkling down inside the huge greenhouse-type venue at Kensington Gardens - you can take a look at the whole show below.

To go with such a show you really need a brilliant ad campaign too - luckily that's just what they have; featuring Cara Delevigne and Sebastian Brice, Burberry's 'April Showers' campaign...

One of the Burberry 'April Showers' images

Check out the shooting of the campaign in this video - I'm now hoping for rain purely so I can attempt this look although, lets face it, nobody can pull it off quite like Miss Delevigne!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The Mulberry Mutts

Flicking through the brand-spanking new look Rolla Coaster magazine I came across this article and, as a pooch-lover myself, I had to share it with you - presenting the Mulberry HQ employees pooches.

Too cute for words - the pets at Mulberry

The mag itself has undergone a complete overhaul curtesy of the brilliant boys at Useful - from the layout to the fonts to the cover Rolla Coaster has gone from a nice magazine to a fantastic one, here are the shiny new covers and some of the best bits from inside...

My rather cultured walk to work

I felt like a tourist, and Mr. S&S wouldn't stand anywhere near me, but I just had to photograph the Fabergé Eggs tht are dotted around London - each HUGE Easter Egg has been designed by someone inspirational and, although I doubt I'll be taking part in the actual egg hunt, I couldn't resist snapping those that I walked past this morning...

The best so far has got to be the adorable frog with the post box coming a close second. There were also Tuesday morning messages...

Wise words indeed, right.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Project Bathroom

I've been a little absent over the weekend; I wish I could say it was for something as glamorous and exciting as London Fashion Week, which began over the weekend but no, Mr. S&S and I have been on the hunt for a new bathroom. We're not just feeling extravagant, this is definitely something that has been a long time coming, our bathroom at the moment somewhat resembles a Swedish sauna with varnished Pine being the decorating material of choice. The suite itself is fine in theory, it does the job but it could definitely do with a spruce up. The main reason however is that we don't have a shower. I know what you're thinking, what bathroom these days doesn't have a shower?! The answer - a miniscule one! So this is how we spent the weekend, hunting online and trawling the high street for a bathroom we not only loved but also something affordable (what with the whole money-saving theme and all).

While on our search it became clear that any deals to be had were going to be ending soon so I thought I better share some of the good'uns with you while I can...

We ending up going for a bathroom from Victoria Plumb. There are bathroom suites which include the lot, bath/shower, sink and loo but I found it was actually cheaper on this site to buy the sink and loo as a pair and get the bath separately - here's what we went for (prepare to be excited! oh and ignore the teal)

Energy Bathroom Suite Pack - Victoria Plumb

At only £98 for loo and sink (reduced from £288) This was the best price I came across for a design that was actually ok - you really can't go wrong with a plain, white, modern suite.

Other sites that had good deals available were:

Cambridge free-standing bath - Bath Store

At £299 reduced from £569 it's the ideal answer to a little luxury for less - who can resist a freestanding tub!?

Kensington basin & washstand - Fired Earth

And when money is no object I'm heading straight to Fired Earth. The Kensington basin and washstand - £850 reduced from £1000 - I'm in love!

Blue skies all round in London

a Monday morning pick-me-up...

Saturday, 18 February 2012

FOOD: Gaucho

Wednesday saw Mr S&S turn another year older and, to celebrate, we went for a meal out at Gaucho Piccadilly.

Walking in to be greeted by a host of staff and a beautiful, elegant staircase we left our coats at the reception before heading into the moody bar; with lights down low and sumptuous seating we could well have been in a gentleman's bar (without the girls of course!). I started with a Mojito to die for while the boyfriend chose from the extensive wine list.

After relaxing with a drink we were led upstairs to the restaurant area by one of the glamorous hostesses and seated at a table overlooking the restaurant and grill area where we were then introduced to our waiter for the evening. Gaucho is known for their Argentinian steak and it is only proved further by the knowledge of the staff; the waiter brought over a board of cuts of steak, explained all of them thoroughly and recommended what he thought we would like; this resulted in a starter of what looked like mini cornish pasties - they were DELICIOUS!!

With just enough time left between each course our main arrived. We both opted for the Rib Eye with a side of fries and broccoli. I can't even describe how amazing the steak was, and I not even a big meat-lover. The medium-cooked meat literally melted in the mouth and was cooked to perfection, so much so that it wasn't even necessary to have side dishes, I could well have just eaten the huge cut of meat riding solo on the plate.

The restaurant itself had a real Argentine, masculine look with a brilliant, sociable atmosphere. Cowhide graced the walls and chairs, complimented by dark wood tables and a bustling vibe. It really was the ideal choice for the man's birthday and they even gave us a bottle of wine on the house for the occasion. Gaucho will most definitely be a new regular haunt and with venues across London and the UK we'll just have to work our way through them all!

25 Swallow Street, London, W1B 4QR
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