Russell & Bromley / Stuart Weitzman Corkswoon Wedges vs Sainsbury’s Tu Suede Wedges

Kate Middleton’s most iconic pair of smart casual shoes are probably her blue suede wedges. Most frequently seen during the 2013 Summer Olympics in London, these wedges are by American designer Stuart Weitzman and available at Russell & Bromley in the UK. However, there are also plenty of high street replicas – such as the pairs from Next and Hobbs last year. This year, grocery chain Sainsbury’s is in on the trend, producing a pair of blue suede cork wedges for £18 for their clothing line Tu. I happened to drop into Sainsbury’s yesterday wearing the originals, so I present a quick side by side comparison in the interests of retail science!

(Just an FYI, Sainsbury’s is the lighter blue of the two!)

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I thought it was funny to note that 1) these were the only pair left after the Duchess’s appearance with the similar pair the other day, and 2) that they were positioned right next to some Sledge lookalikes!

My verdict: the Tu wedges are a decent replicate at £18, although the colour is not really a match for the dark navy of the originals and therefore doesn’t blend that well with dark jeans – which is the way Kate usually wears hers. For the price you probably won’t be surprised to hear that the suede doesn’t feel as nice, and the shoe itself isn’t as comfortable – although the heel and platform are both lower!

Sainbury’s don’t do mail order but you can find the details, including the item number, here. The original versions are here from Russell & Bromley, although they always sell out after an appearance!

See my previous post about the difference between the Hobbs Myra wedges and the R&B Corkswoons here.

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Favourite Things: Kate Spade Earrings

Since I first encountered the brand at Bicester I’ve fallen in love with Kate Spade’s preppy, girly style. So I had to pop into the Kate Spade store near Covent Garden the last time I was in London!

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The store is brimming with gorgeous treats, including some beautiful shoes on the bottom level.

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There’s also a small range of really pretty clothes, including jumpers, dresses and skirts. I’m definitely in the market for one of the brand’s beautifully structured dresses!

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For now though, I came away with something a bit kinder to my budget, these gorgeous skinny mini bow earrings:

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I’ve loved this design since I saw a gorgeous bracelet featuring it on Pinterest. That’s on my wish list next! Do you like Kate Spade’s style? Got anything on your wish list?

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Water Off A Duck’s Back

At the SkyRide I was excited to come across a British company selling some seriously stylish (and by all accounts, very waterproof) cycling jackets. Now, I already have a couple of waterproof jackets – one is for walking, and one is a cycling jacket – but both of them are fairly short and neither of them are particularly fashionable. Once you see the beautiful macs from Water Off a Duck’s Back, I’m sure you’ll agree that ‘fashionable’ is definitely the right word to describe them…

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In fact, looking at them, you probably wouldn’t even realise that they’re cycling coats at all…

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But, there are loads of really nifty touches to these that make them perfect for cycling – such as reflective bands on the wrists, back of the waist tie, and the collar.

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The sleeves are extra long so that they can cope with the extension of your arms when you’re reaching for the handlebars. There’s even a special clip at the base of the coat that keeps it from flapping open as you cycle. And, there’s a detachable hood as well.

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You can probably make out the gorgeous purple lining in the hood too – beautiful! You can even tuck your coat neatly into the hood to make it more portable. Best of all, the coats are waterproof – not just, as the site points out, showerproof.

The coat comes in black or stone (love it, but I’m totally scared of getting it dirty!) for £130 – not cheap, admittedly. In fact, probably more than I’d pay for any coat, but let’s just say the sun was shining, my credit card was calling me, and Antonia was offering a special discount at the event which shaved off a few pounds…

Check back later for a real review of the coat in action – I’m pleased to say I’ve not had to use it yet, but my favourite season is approaching and I’m sure there will be plenty of showers!

Etsy treasury: vintage leather and red

I mentioned before that I’d been searching Etsy for some great bike accessories and hadn’t found much. Well, I’ve been keeping up with my searches and found a lot more than I originally thought! I decided to put them all together in an Etsy treasury list here, so you can check out these extremely beautiful objects and the talented folk who produced them!

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Find my Etsy treasury list here!

What are your favourites? I have to say, I’m totally loving the barrel bag and the mudflaps – seriously cool.

Lady in red: Maloja cycle jerseys have style

Although I’ve yet to buy any special cycling clothing, except for headwear, that doesn’t stop me from looking… Whilst a lot of cycling jerseys for women are… uninspiring, to say the least, there’s an excellent selection at Minx-Girl. The site is right up my alley – cycle gear for women who aren’t going to put up with flourescent pink monstrosities…
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You might remember me saying that red is my thing at the moment, so I was instantly drawn to this amazing red jersey from Maloja. Check out that gorgeous embroidery style detailing around the neck – love it! You can find it here: currently available in large for £44.25. (It’s also available in blue here.)

Keeping with the theme, this sleeveless number is cute beyond belief:

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Check out the pretty alpine scene – and the gingham, and the stag…

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And, check out this amazingly roomy back pocket! The Maloja Sunrose sleeveless jersey is available here for £44.25 in large and extra small.

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This is a short sleeved version of the tunic above, with a snazzy dark blue colour added into the mix. I love this one, it’s sporty and cute at the same time, and I’m totally a sucker for the stag. This jersey is £48.00 and is available in extra small here.

I’m totally loving Minx’s range, and Maloja’s designs are amazing. I’ll have to keep a look out for designs like these in my size! Check out Minx’s huge range of great cycle tops here.

Ribcap: a review

You might remember me mentioning before that I was interested in looking for alternative cycling helmets. I have an aerodynamic helmet from a cycling shop at the moment in a light electric blue – and it’s fine, there’s nothing wrong with it at all, but there are plenty of really cool helmets out there that I’d much prefer to wear.

After discussing the Ribcap, I thought I’d do a bit of investigation and actually purchase one. They’re quite difficult to find in the UK, as although they’re a European company, their official UK site seems to be a reseller rather than the company itself.

Given the rather limited range, I went with a Marley beanie, because red is sorta my thing at the moment:


The original RRP of this hat was £60 ($95), but this was on sale for the more reasonable sum of £27.95 ($44.59). I think I would have been incredibly disappointed if I’d paid full price for this.

So, first of all, the safety claims. Ribcaps have a material sewn into them in rib shapes which is slightly soft under normal contact, but which hardens when knocked. So, it’s malleable to mould to the shape of your head when wearing, but in theory, if you knock your head against something, the material will harden to protect you. Because there are gaps due to the way the material is sewn in, the Ribcap can’t protect you from a pointed surface, as there’s a possibility the impact could fall between these ribs and into the fabric. However, on a smooth surface, the ribs will absorb some of the impact. The greatest protection Ribcap claims to offer is against ‘mild concussion’.

The reactions of my friends to this have been mildly negative. All of them wear helmets and I don’t think any of them would consider wearing this instead of a helmet. My husband certainly wasn’t keen on it being used as safety equipment, and another friend was quite incredulous at the idea of me wearing it cycling.

But forget that, let’s just be a bit shallow about this for a minute… what does it look like on?

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I have to say, I don’t usually wear beanies, and I think they look sorta dorky on me, but I’ll make an exception to avoid ‘mild concussion’.

The unfortunate thing about this cap is its tendency to make you look a little bit like a pixie… Because of the stiff ribs, the top doesn’t really mould itself to your head, so you end up with a bit of a peak at the top. Also, there’s a large gap of protection at the top where the ribs don’t meet, which is a bit worrying. But I suppose if you’re going to be landing upside down on your head, a Ribcap isn’t going to help you…

In summary: the Ribcap is an excellent idea and I can definitely see it would be useful in sports or activities where it’s not traditional to wear headgear, but where head protection might be a good idea (ice skating, even walking on icy pavements). However, the claims floating around about the kind of protection it offers are not backed up by the company itself, and I think that third-party claims about the protection it does offer has been somewhat over exaggerated. It will only protect you from bumps and bruises and maybe offer some mild protection if you knock your head, but it’s certainly not going to offer you the same protection as a helmet. If you have a choice between this and a helmet, the best advice would be to wear the helmet every time. But if your choice is more likely to be between this or nothing, this is obviously the better choice than a naked head… And, it’s warm too!

I don’t need to be taken seriously…

…when I have such an awesome bike basket…

That’s right, folks – I pimped my basket with a garland of fake roses that I picked up on eBay. It’s not exactly the best way to prove yourself as a serious cyclist, but frankly, I don’t care. Maybe I’ll make someone happy with my silly flowers – who knows?

Lust List: Etsy Bike Reflectors

I was actually surprised when I started checking out Etsy for bike accessories – there’s just not a lot out there. There are scores of bike prints on cushions and T-shirts, bicycle jewellry, and even hair accessories made out of inner tubes, but not a whole lot of cycling clothing or bike equipment. However, what is there is pretty amazing, and I found these cute bike reflectors which are simple, yet really stylish (and useful)!

The reflectors come in a variety of different designs, sizes and shapes, and range in price from £9.50 for a small (in the sale) to £17.73 for an extra-large size.

Check out Ya Betta’ Supa Don’t’s bike reflectors section for more!

Pimp My Ride: Custom Headbadges

If you have a gorgeous vintage or Dutch style bike, I can imagine these custom headbadges looking right at home!

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Made by Laura Crawford of Tangerine Treehouse, these one of a kind badges are hand-crafted to your exact specifications, all for the very reasonable sum of $80 and up, for copper (silver is from $95).

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These are so beautiful and charming, I wish I had one – but they would also make an excellent and thoughtful gift, too! (I can totally picture one based on the bird from the Zelda logo, which would be perfect for my hubby!).

If your tastes run to the more electic, you might get a kick out of this bike mustache:

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The mustache comes in copper ($45) or sterling silver $55), and is also available on Etsy.

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It’s so cool to see artisan products like this are available for your bike – proof that cyclists are just inherently cool and slick people, maybe?

Lady of the Night: Miss Cyclist 2011!

I love Bobbin Bicycles’ site – if I was an affluent girl about London-town, I’d pop in a pick up a Pashley Princess in black (or maybe a Pashley Sonnet Bliss Claret), a cycling mac and some leather gloves, and then cycle around Piccadilly Circus, dodging buses. Alas, I need something a bit cheaper and a bit more practical, when it comes to my bike, but I still love to browse. One of my favourite products is the Miss Bobbin Sash:

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Priced at a rather reasonable £20, this is a reflective sash that you can wear over your coat or clothes, and personally, I think it looks awesome! I wish I’d had something like this last year when I was jogging at night – it’s a useful item that really doesn’t need to be limited to cycling use.

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It shows up quite well in the dark, and because it’s so prominent, you don’t need to be wearing light coloured or reflective clothing underneath to be seen. Also, I would imagine you could store it in your bike bag so you never get caught out on a dark night (or morning!).

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I love the colour schemes of these as well – and check out those cute little buttons!

Find the Miss Bobbin Sash at www.bobbinbicycles.co.uk.