Giving just got better…

It’s official, February is on the horizon now and I for one couldn’t be happier.

Yes it’s still winter and yes, it’s still cold and dark, but February is that much closer to March (and April and May and June…you get the idea).

Anyway, this February is set to be warmer than January for more reasons than just the weather as it’s National Heart Month.

In celebration of such an important occasion (and coinciding nicely with the arrival of Valentine’s Day, hint hint), the British Heart Foundation is teaming up with luxury handbag and luggage makers Radley to offer all you bag-loving ladies the chance to shop ’til you drop for a whole month.

From the 1st of February, you can donate any unwanted handbags or shoes to your local BHF Shop or Radley Store and you’ll receive a £30 voucher off a new handbag or shoes priced over £149, or a £20 voucher off shoes priced over £100.

The deal lasts for the entire month, so you can keep giving and getting to your heart’s content, safe in the knowledge that you’re not just shopping, but helping an incredibly worthy cause too (like the way I’m making you feel less guilty already?)

Geri's Aspinal clutch bag in all its glorious beauty

And as if that wasn’t enough, celebrities are also getting in on the action by donating some of their accessories, which will be auctioned off on the BHF ebay site from Thursday the 17th of Feb for 10 days. So far, Geri Halliwell has donated a union jack Aspinal handbag and Gabby Logan has donated some classic Jimmy Choo knee high boots.

That’s a lot of shoes and bags, ladies. And you know what they say about out with the old and in with the new…


2011 in a fashion nutshell

Bored of winter already? I know I am. All my energy is going into seeing out these final few weeks before the clocks go forward and I can think about flip flops, sunglasses and not having to take a coat EVERYwhere with me for at least six months again (I lie, I’m already thinking about those things. Daily.)

But, as far away as the summer seems right now, it’s never too early to get a handle on the upcoming trends hitting the high street this year.

So in the spirit of all things spring/summer, here’s a taste of what’s coming our way…

Ultra feminine
Mid-length and maxi hemlines are big news. Everything is looking girly and feminine, with clean cut lines in neutral tones:

Pleat skirt midi dress £17, due in store end of Feb; floppy straw hat £4, due in store end of Feb; patent platform £12, in store now. All from Primark

Cami £6; skirt £55; belt £7.50; necklace £16. All from Marks & Spencer, in store Jan/Feb

2 in 1 chiffon midi £15, due in store end of Jan; cork platform £12, due in store end March. All from Primark

Flower Power
Florals are hanging around for another year, so recycling last year’s flowery wears is on (a good thing, being that it’s a trend I went a little overboard on). I may or may not be purchasing these to add to said collection though. Mostly may…

50’s printed skirt £16, due in store end of Jan; crochet crew jumper £16, due in store beginning of Feb; sling back bow kitten heel £10, due in store mid Jan. All from Primark

Dress per una Designer Speziale, £175; corsage £15, due in store March, Bangles £10, due in store Feb. All from Marks & Spencer











Swingin’ Seventies
I was born in completely the wrong decade. But never fear, because 41 years later and the ’70s are back. Big influences this year can be found in jumpsuits (love them or hate them) and swim wear:

Jumpsuit, £79; belt £15, in store May-June; bangle, £16. All from Marks & Spencer

Swimsuit, £29.50; sunglasses £15, in store between Jan-July; bangle(top),£16; bangle(bottom), £8. All from Marks & Spencer










Accessory necessity
I’ll let these beauties speak for themselves…

Tan strap platform, £14, Primark. In store end of Jan

Black and white striped floppy hat, New Look. For stockist and price info: or 0500 454 094

Tapestry barrel bag, £8, Primark. In store mid Jan

Waste not, want not

It’s happened to all of us some point. Whether it’s from a family member or a friend, we’ve all received a present we’ve a) either already bought for ourselves, b) received minutes before from someone else and had to pretend we’ve not already got or c) just don’t like, to be perfectly honest.

I escaped this little conundrum this year round, but I’m sure there are lots of you out there who didn’t. Well lucky for you people, the British Heart Foundation has come up with a canny solution and one which is sure to extend the Christmas cheer well into the New Year.

The Unwanted Christmas Gifts stock appeal is the BHF’s way of making sure those gifts you simply don’t want or need can find themselves a new home – and it’s a good job, seeing as two in three people (66%) have admitted to getting at least one unwanted gift every Christmas.

According to the BHF, the ‘festive jumper’ was crowned the most unpopular gift this Christmas with nearly a third of people claiming this was the present they would least like to receive (30%). Other unpopular choices included the ‘latest celebrity biography’ with over a quarter of the vote (28%); ‘novelty pants and socks’ (16%); homeware and even a jar of pickle!

Mike Lucas, BHF Retail Director said: “People often receive perfectly good presents that are simply not to their taste, are the wrong size or they may have been given two of the same item. Whether it’s a jumper that’s too small or a book you’ve already read, your donations could mean a great deal to a patient suffering from heart disease.”

All you have to do is donate your unwanted items to your nearest BHF store, and let the rest take care of itself.

For more information, visit or call 0844 412 5000 to find your nearest shop.