The Marcie saddle bag by Chloe

lifebylotte-marcie-bag The problem with being stuck at home all day with a baby is that there's little to do in those precious minutes when your offspring sleeps. Apart from housework. I've been trying to read more, but being exhausted means my concentration levels are pretty shocking. The lure of internet shopping, therefore, is STRONG.

It's fine when it's things for the baby (I signed up for Amazon Family after Daphne was born, and it's pretty much bankrupted me already), but the excitement of ordering bottles and nappies online and knowing they'll be delivered the next day lasts about thirty seconds.

So inevitably I've been spending a lot of time looking at clothes for me... No longer pregnant = hurrah! A stone heavier than before = not so hurrah! I've decided not to buy clothes to fit my new bigger size, as I AM DETERMINED to lose this extra stone. So if you can't buy clothes, what's left to do but buy a new bag?!

My friend Julia (also a new mum) told me that when her baby was born she got herself a crossbody bag, so that she could get to her phone and keys etc easily and keep her hands free. I conveniently translated this little nugget of information into meaning that a new handbag was an essential purchase for all mothers. And so last week, at one particularly low moment where I hadn't left the house for two days and the baby had been doing her usual screaming-at-me-with-impressive-force thing for more than an hour, I went on Matches and ordered myself the above beauty. The mini Marcie saddle bag by Chloé (side note: isn't Chloe a nice name?)

I even paid the ridiculous £12 delivery charge to have it delivered that very day. And it came on a motorbike and in a posh box. And it made me so happy.

The fact that I can barely fit anything in it is besides the point (that's the one advantage of the ginormous nappy bag I now lug around - all my extraneous extra crap can be stowed in there). It is a mint green thing of beauty, it has a perfect little slip pocket at the front and a perfect little slip pocket inside, and it has cheered me right up.

New mothers: you now have my permission to buy yourselves something ridiculously expensive and unnecessary. In fact, sod permission, it's an order.

If there was ever a time in your life when you deserve it, it would be now.

Disclaimer: handbags are my thing. I totally get that most people would consider this purchase nuts.

In defence of expensive handbags

prada2 My passion for expensive handbags started young. My best friend in sixth form, Lilly, first introduced me to Mulberry. Her mum had one, and when she was bored of it, passed it down to Lilly. And I was hooked.

Now, this was 1998, so we were pretty ahead of the game as Mulberry were really NOT popular back then. I got my first Mulberry for my 19th birthday, and I remember my mum saying that it had been in the sale (this is the benefit of having a January birthday) and I think it was just under £200.

Oh how I loved that Mulberry. It was TINY, in hindsight, but fresh-faced 19-year-olds don't need to lug around the same ridiculous amount of make up as 32-year-olds. Anyway, I loved it.

My next Mulberry I purchased myself, somewhat incongruously, while I was at university. I was pretty miserable there, and I had all this student loan money left (one benefit of having no social life at uni). So I marched into Leeds' Harvey Nichols at the end of my second year and bought the prettiest, most summery Mulberry on display. It was £225. I probably was the only student at Leeds with a Mulberry handbag in 2001. These days, I'm sure they all have them.


And over the years my love for beautifully made, beautifully designed handbags has continued - usually Mulberries, but I've experimented with Anya Hindmarch, Tory Burch and Marc Jacobs too.

I recently bought my first Prada handbag. It's beautiful, practical and a joy to use, and it cost just under £1500. I told a few friends the price, when they asked me, and their responses ranged from wide-eyed gasps to nods of approval to astonished swearing. People often tell me, with more than a whiff of moral superiority about it, they 'couldn't possibly imagine spending that much on a HANDBAG'.


And sometimes, just sometimes, I want to say that actually, I couldn't possibly imagine spending that much on a year's worth of alcohol, or a holiday in a hut on sticks in the middle of nowhere, or a fuck-off-massive super-duper TV with surround sound wotsit, or on a year's swanky gym membership, or on ALL THE OTHER THINGS THAT PEOPLE SPEND THEIR MONEY ON.


So yes, this is a bit of a rant. Here's why it's not obscene or disgusting to spend £1500 of your hard earned money on a handbag, IMHO:

1) You get what you pay for. Designer handbags last YEARS. I can't think of anything more depressing than spending a mediocre amount of money on a bag - say £80 - and having it fall apart on me after sixth months.

2) They keep their value. If you're savvy enough, you can actually make money out of the damn things. I sold my Mulberry Alexa two years ago to a friend for £500. I'd paid £700 for it. But new, that same bag now costs £1100. So I was the mug, and my friend did well there.

3) You use handbags every day. Now, I think people should be entitled to spend their money on whatever they like, personally. But of all the 'fashiony' things to spend lots of money on, handbags, along with jewellery, make the most sense to me. Because, unlike a pair of shoes, if you want to you can use them every day. For years. I did actually use my Mulberry Roxanne tote for about three years in the end, so wonderfully practical it was. It cost just under £500 in the Selfridges sale, so its cost per wear is less than 50p a day. Less than a coffee!

4) Call me naive, but I like to pay for something that's been designed with love and passion, and made with care by a craftsman. You can see the work that goes into these bags - every stitch is perfect. Cheap handbags are like cheap furniture, and I'd rather not support disposable consumerism if I can help it.

5) I don't collect anything - it's not in my nature, but I have this wistful idea that one day I'll be able to hand down my handbags to my (yet-to-exist!) daughter.

6) It's your money, it's your business. Spent it how you like. Whatever's your bag.*

*sorry, couldn't resist