Getting to know Charlie Feist

When Emma, from Charlie Feist, got in touch with me back in June via Instagram the brand was yet to launch, but I was immediately drawn to their aesthetic. I waited patiently, following their Instagram like an excited child waiting for Father Christmas. I wasn’t disappointed when their first collection dropped in September. I am now the proud owner of one of their backpacks, and very much doubt it will be the last! I’ve been so impressed by the Charlie Feist and by Emma’s professionalism, passion for the brand plus her understanding of what blogging is all about, I am proud to say I am now a brand ambassador having signed up to their affiliate programme.  Keep an eye out on my YouTube channel for an unboxing video, coming later this week. But for now, let’s get to know Charlie Feist in my interview with Emma…

Click here to shop with Charlie Feist!*

Tell me a bit about yourself and the brand Charlie Feist.

We are team of two full-time staff and with 3 part-time members not counting the fulfilment team at the warehouse. I manage social media marketing for the brand while the founder of the brand; Subal looks after the design and production end of things.

How and why did you come up with the name Charlie Feist?

During our preppy wardrobe days of structured navy blazers and crisp blue oxford button-downs, we were obsessed with Hunter boots. And we thought that rubbery material would be perfect to make a backpack since it’s waterproof and hardy. We began researching around the lifestyle of a hunter. Looking at several images of hunters, we began noticing that almost always a dog would accompany them. What followed was a weeklong research of names of hunting dog breeds. After going through several of the usual suspects and variations of spaniels, beagles, etc. we stumbled upon the “Charlie Feist” which is named after a hunting dog. Immediately we fell love in with the name because it kind of has the sound of a human. Both Subal and I are WAY too self-conscious to have our own names plastered on the product!

As a start-up company I remember you getting in touch with me earlier in the year. What has been your progress? Can you talk me through the stages?

It’s become almost cliché to disregard the “build it and they will come” adage. But this is disregarded for a reason especially in 2016. To think that our product is SO good that it could bubble up from all the noise out there is ludicrous. From the get, we were amply clear that we couldn’t launch to crickets. We knew that when we opened our digital doors, we needed to have a warm audience who was excited about the launch. With this in mind, we began talking about the brand on Instagram.

What is the history behind the brand?

The idea of a well-designed backpack has been with us since 2014, but it was only in 2015 when after many failed production samples, we finally created the product that we could stand behind.

One of the first things I noticed when you got in touch is the minimalist yet luxury feel of the brand. From what sources have you drawn inspiration?

It’s funny you say luxury when the starting point of the brand is £59! We always wanted to keep our price accessible since we wanted more people to enjoy our products. When designers get asked the question about where did they get their inspiration from, you probably hear a long-winded answer mostly involving an era that you wouldn’t have heard of and it goes above the heads of most people. I won’t do that. Our inspiration is the works of great brands like Givenchy, Saint Laurent, Marc Jacobs, and a bit of Zara and River Island! Having said that, these different elements have to be combined to form an aesthetic that appeals to you. I think a lot of designers work in this way, but are some a bit afraid to talk about it.

What has been the most difficult part of the Charlie Feist process?

For us, the part that we don’t control has been most difficult for us, i.e. manufacturing. Finding factories that can make a quality bag has been a big challenge. Since none of us comes from a design or fashion background, we literally had to rip open bags just to learn about different materials and fabrics. Certainly a test of persistence.

What has been the most rewarding moment?

Getting a quality bag made! (Playing off your previous question!). But that would be at micro level. At the macro level, I find myself doing the thing that I truly love. I have started to love Mondays. No more TGIF or ‘live for the weekend’ anymore. The level of confidence and zest for life that I find in myself is certainly the biggest reward.

What are your goals and plans with the brand? Where do you see the brand in 5 years time?

For the moment, we are focusing 100% on making beautiful utilitarian backpacks. Five years is such a long time to predict where we will be!

How important is the vegan element of Charlie Feist to you? How do you see the brand also appealing to non-vegans? (like me!)

 This is a great question and we get asked this all the time. As animal lovers (especially puppies), we could not allow ourselves to use animal products such as leather or fur in our product. However, we don’t resort to in-your-face marketing or shaming those who don’t share our belief. We don’t judge anyone’s dietary choices.

Name a person or a company who inspires you.

COS is an inspirational brand as their art direction is always on point and they have a very clear understanding of who their customer is.

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This content is not sponsored. Links marked with * are affiliate links.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The only way to drink water!

dsc00605eI’m keen on exercise and in the past found myself going through bottles of mineral water like nobody’s business. Not only was that expensive, but terrible for the environment. I then moved on to reusable plastic bottles. I found these prone to staining and they usually left an unusual taste in my mouth. Worse, more often than not they fell apart in the dishwasher – not great for this un domestic goddess!! Then two months ago, glass water bottles with silicone sleeves (catchy, I know) walked into my life. I’ve been using this for the gym, exercise classes, at home and at work and I’m converted! This one is by the brand Apana, which appears to be mainly available in the US, but I picked this up in TK Maxx for just a tenner. There are plenty of alternatives available on Amazon too. Read on to find out why I fell in love.

The water really does taste better – honestly it does! Fresher and it also stays cool for longer. I don’t think this is a placebo effect either. If you search BPA and phthalates (commonly found in plastic containers) there is certainly opinion out there that these can change the taste and quality of the water contained in them.

It’s (almost) indestructible – I’ve put this through the dishwasher almost every day and it looks as good as new.

Great for the clumsy ones among us – The silicone sleeve gives it amazing grip meaning even the more accident prone (that’s me!) will find it difficult to drop.

Looks as good as it performs – I don’t think I’ve ever had compliments on a water bottle before! So many people have asked me where I found it before rushing off to TK Maxx to get themselves one!

If I had to offer a down side, the bottles are naturally more heavy than their plastic counter parts so may not be ideal for some types of exercising including road running.

Disney Princess Collab – Rapunzel at Halloween

Over on my YouTube channel I’m lucky enough to be involved in a collaboration series where a group of us create a make up look in a certain theme, and upload on the first Friday of each month. Currently we are working our way through the Disney Princesses and for October some of us decided to throw a Halloween twist into the mix. I’m no make up artist and special FX make up is something I admire, but have never attempted. I am also sensitive to a lot of the products used in such make up looks so decided to use items from my existing make up collection to see if I could create a spooky look without buying any new products. It is therefore (hopefully) easy for anyone to recreate. This month we had the choice between Rapunzel or Merida (from the film Brave).I decided to base my look on the ‘Once Upon A Zombie’ Rapunzel to give it that Halloween edge…

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Why am I chatting about this on the blog if it is a YouTube project? Well, after spending almost two hours creating and filming my look, the video footage was faulty! So here I am sharing my pictures of my final look, along with a list of all products used. If YouTube is also your thing, make sure to check out the other ladies’ looks – linked below.

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Products used…

Primer – Dr Feelgood, Benefit

Colour corrector – Above & Beyond full coverage concealer in green, NYX

Base – Radiance BB Cream in very light, Rimmel

Concealer – Pro conceal & correct pallete, Freedom

Powder – Translucent loose powder, Shisheido

Brows – Tame & Frame tinted brow pomade in Espresso, NYX

Eye shadow – Scandaleyes eye shadow stick in Witness White, Rimmel. Soft Touch shadow pencil in Trash, Nars. Urban decay shadow in Alien. Trio eyeshadow in 318, Barry M

Lashes – Scandal false lashes, Primark

Mascara – False lash effect, Max Factor

Liner (used as bottom lashes) – Awesome double flick liner, Make Up Revolution

Contour – Mono eyeshadow in Killer, Make Up Revolution

Lip Liner – PS lip liner pencil in 19, Primark

Lipstick – Atomic lipstick in Make it right, Make Up Revolution

Stitches – Lip liner in 11, Barry M

Clare’s look is linked here

Leah’s look is linked here

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Capsule Wardrobe – 1 year on

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Exactly a year ago I wrote about my venture into the capsule wardrobe concept, and I’ve been posting updates along the way (all previous posts are linked below). Now, after having given myself a pat on the back for sticking to it for all this time, I’m sharing the lessons I have learnt after 12 months and how I plan to apply the principals to my wardrobe moving forward…

Be flexible

This has to be my biggest and most important lesson and it is relevant in more ways than one. My original plan was to create a 37 piece wardrobe to be switched up each season. The weird and wonderful British weather threw a spanner in the works here, meaning I had to do the change-over at times I hadn’t expected to or planned to. I also originally planned to incorporate my “going out out” clothes into my capsule wardrobe. On reflection, I do this so infrequently that very dressy items took up valuable space in the limited collection and they were only worn once or twice over the course of a few months (if that). Moving forward, I have a few pieces separate from my main wardrobe for special occasions and plan to operate a ‘one in, one out’ policy to my main collection. I will still rotate items out of storage as the weather changes but when I am tempted by a new purchase at other times, providing I have thought it through, I will allow myself to buy it on the condition that an existing piece is rotated out and either put back into storage, sold or donated.

Layering is your friend

Talking of unpredictable weather, I have definitely realised that it is important to buy pieces that can be layered. Not only does this mean the wardrobe can outlast changeable temperatures, it also provides a bigger variety of looks meaning you are less likely to get bored of your collection.

You do develop a style

The interesting thing about having a capsule wardrobe is that when you do shop, you get very picky. Whereas a previous changing room thought process may have involved little actual thought and resulted in a lot of emotional purchases, nowadays each item is scrutinised heavily! Does it fit perfectly? Is it flattering? Will I wear it regularly? Does the shade fit my current colour palette? Is it well made and does it feel good quality? This level of scrutiny has definitely resulted both consciously and sub-consciously developing a style,  or the ‘every day uniform’ I had read so much about but never really fully understood until now!

It is still a work in progress

If I was feeling in a corny mood I would say something like “it’s a journey not a destination” and it would be true! My Summer capsule wardrobe was my least enjoyed so far (for various reasons including poor planning) but this only enabled me to make a better job of it next time around, meaning my love for the capsule wardrobe has been rekindled and that my current Autumn wardrobe is my favourite yet! I’m bound to make further errors of judgement and need to make more changes to the way I approach it (like I said – it is important to be flexible!) but to me that is part of the beauty of the whole concept – you can choose to apply the parts that work for you and adapt it to suit your lifestyle.

Previous capsule wardrobe posts…

Trying out the capsule wardrobe – the ‘Un-fancy’ way

My Capsule Wardrobe – lessons and Winter updates

3 Spring Trends – for a capsule wardrobe

My Capsule Wardrobe – the Winter to Spring transition

My Capsule Wardrobe – most worn this Summer

 

Is it really a dupe? Maybelline Colordrama Lip Pencil vs Primark Velvet Matte Lipstick Crayon

One of the most satisfying discoveries for a make up fan is a dupe; a product from a budget friendly line that is almost an exact replica of your favourite high end/luxury make up item. With that in mind, last year I decided to start a series here on the blog called “Is it really a dupe?” I can’t pretend to have discovered many dupes myself – most of my knowledge on this subject comes from taking advice from other blogs, YouTube channels, magazines and friends! In this series I usually test and compare two products widely hailed as a luxury product and it’s more purse-friendly dupe. This time I am proud to say I found this dupe myself while having a rummage through my make up collection. It might have been previously coined as a dupe, but I am yet to read/hear about it:  ‘Maybelline Color Drama Intense Velvet Lip Pencil in Nude Perfection’ vs ‘PS (Primark) Velvet Matte Lipstick Crayon in 09’.

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The Packaging

Both simple and sleek, both easy to store and both with the handy feature of displaying the shade on the outside, there really is not much between the two products when it comes to packaging. Both need sharpening, and I personally prefer lip pencils with the ‘twist up option’ but that is no deal breaker for me. It is worth noting that the Primark lip pencil contains 3.5 g of product compared with 2.5 g in the Maybelline but you would still get plenty of applications out of each nevertheless (I for one have never finished a lip pencil!)

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The Product

Looking at the hand swatches you might think me crazy for suggesting the Primark lip pencil as a dupe. Both nude perfection from Maybelline (shown on the top in the three photos above) and the less imaginatively named 09 shade from Primark can definitely be described as matte nude shades but as you can see, the Primark product takes on more of a ‘pinky’ tone compared to the brown undertone of the Maybelline counterpart. BUT once applied onto the lips I think you will agree you can’t tell the difference! Of course this may vary depending on the natural colour of your own lips but on me the two shades look almost identical. As for the formula; each has it’s own pros and cons. I found the Primark product applies more smoothly and is creamier, whereas the Maybelline drags a bit on the lips and can cling to dry patches. However, the Maybelline is more pigmented so needs less layering and has a slightly better lasting power.

The Price

I am well aware that this is not your standard dupe post seeing as the most expensive of the products is still very affordable at £4.99 (Maybelline). However, the Primark option comes in at only £2 so is less than half the price and contains a whole extra gram of product. If you buy a lot of make up savings like that can add up over time! And with the Primark lip pencil equalling, if not surpassing, the Maybelline in quality it is a saving not to be sniffed at.

The Verdict

Is it a dupe? Yup.

 

 

Previous ‘Is it really a dupe?’ posts

Mac Painterly Paint Pot vs Maybelline Crème De Rose Color Tattoo

Mac Candy Yum Yum vs Maybelline Fuchsia Flash

 

 

Little Miss Piggies – Brighton

For years I have loved visiting Brighton for it’s seaside charm, independent shops or restaurants, and the eclectic street style. This Summer was my first visit to the Kemptown area and I fell head over heels instantly. A network of little back streets packed full of places to eat and drink, it seems to be a popular choice for locals – always a good sign. We (my husband and me) stumbled across Little Miss Piggies on a Friday morning when we were feeling hungry and were tempted in by the eye catching frontage plus the promise (and smell!) of freshly cooked food…

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According to the website, Little Miss Piggies is a family run café specialising in traditional English food, promising good value and freshly cooked dishes. I immediately sensed the friendly vibe on walking in and loved the way the décor was fun yet homely, making it feel like you were sitting in a friend’s kitchen while they cooked you breakfast. Free Wifi and newspapers while you wait are a great touch too.

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Also impressive was the selection on offer on the menu. Of course you can find a variety of cooked breakfasts but also brunch items, vegan/veggie options and some more healthy choices including a lighter cooked breakfast (i.e. low carb). A build your own breakfast option is also available – great for those that don’t like any of the pre-set breakfasts on offer.

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I went for the Eggs Royale with wholemeal bread and was impressed. I also thought it was incredibly good value for £4.95 considering the quality of the smoked salmon was very good and the hollandaise sauce was one of the best I’ve tasted. In his typical style my husband went for the Hangover Breakfast, the biggest choice on the menu! Being more of a quantity over quality kind of person when it comes to breakfast he felt it was a little over priced at £8.90. I take his point as you can get bigger breakfasts for less in central London, but having tried his (for research purposes of course!) I could tell great quality ingredients are used so personally thought it was good value.

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Plenty of hot and cold drinks are on offer too, and I especially appreciated that the coffee drinks come up large! It was a hot day and the iced coffee was welcome and delicious. I also loved the attention to detail with the crockery and other tablewear. And the service? Excellent! We will definitely be returning in the future.

You can find Little Miss Piggies at 85 James Street, Kemptown, Brighton, BN2 1TP

 

 

OOTD – Vintage Fun

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Playing dress up for my friend’s recent vintage themed hen weekend was the most fun I’ve had with my clothes on! I managed to create the look on a reasonable budget too. For full details read on…

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The dress was my starting point and as soon as I realised I would be visiting Brighton before the hen weekend, I knew it would be the perfect place to find what I was looking for. On a recommendation I headed straight for Collectif on Bond Street. Specialising in 1940’s and 1950’s vintage style clothing and accessories, I was in heaven! The staff not only looked the part but were incredibly helpful (and complimentary which always adds to the shopping experience!) With their expertise I decided to go with the Lori Gingham Swing Dress  for a very reasonabe £42.50 but even better value right now as it is in the sale for £21.25.

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I had these shoes in storage after buying them over a year ago in a ‘I don’t know when I’ll wear these but I love them and they are a bargain so I’ll get them anyway’ moment in TK Maxx. I knew I would get use out of them one day! I paid around £15 for them. They are from the brand Truffle which you can also buy at ASOS and on Amazon.

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I often think the finishing touches can make or break an outfit and I love how this look came together with the accessories and make up. I borrowed the head scarf from a friend who bought it from a local market. The square shape and 100% cotton fabric made it easy to style and it stayed in place all day. The earrings and false lashes are both from good old Primark at only £1 and £1.50 and for a red lip with staying power I used the Sephora cream lip stain in shade 01 – Always Red.

Finally, a big thank you to the bride to be for taking these photos and being my creative director! You can find her on Instagram https http://www.instagram.com/peapodcarddesign