Visiting Clerkenwell with Village England

Once in a while you stumble upon a treasure, right on your own doorstep. For me, this chance came unexpectedly one slightly rainy morning in May. I met Rebecca, a dear friend who never fails to stir my creative dreams, for a wander around Clerkenwell Design Week. Being new to the festival I was pretty amazed to find out that Clerkenwell is home to more creative businesses and architects per square mile that anywhere else in the world - who knew?! To make things even more fun, I'd been loaned a bag to review by the gorgeous company Village England. I'd long lusted after several of their bags I'd spotted in Anthropologie, so I was more than happy to bring it along the new (and as yet unnamed) style for our little London adventure. Keep reading until the end to find out how you can name and win the bag...

Village England competition with This is Your Kingdom | Gathered Cheer blog

The bag was a dream and totally perfect for our outing. Made in the softest natural grain leather with beautiful brass stirrup detailing, it was as practical as it was pretty. While I wouldn't usually pick a red bag (I tend to play it safe with more neutral hues), I relished playing dress up a little, pairing it with blue jeans, a Breton top and my trusty duffle coat. And, having never really been a bag aficionado, I was surprised by how much more 'together' I felt - like the bag just completed things nicely. Dotting the i's and crossing the t's. 

Village England and This is Your Kingdom bag competition | Gathered Cheer blog
Village England and This is Your Kingdom bag competition | Gathered Cheer blog
Village England and This is Your Kingdom bag competition | Gathered Cheer blog

Rebecca and I picked our way through the streets of Clerkenwell, following an outdoors trail hunting for words which had been dotted around - some made of wood, others vinyl and others spray painted onto walls. It was a brilliant exhibition that showed off the best of what the area has to offer. My trusty saddle bag faired so well throughout, offering enough space to stow away my chunky dslr, a brolly and my phone - quite an achievement. I don't even consider buying non cross-body bags anymore, and so this bag was right up my street. Not too heavy, but weighty enough to feel like it would last well, ageing beautifully over time, and oh-so practical. An investment piece, without the crazy designer price tag. 

Village England and This is Your Kingdom bag competition | Gathered Cheer blog

After wandering around some of the larger exhibitions (The Design Factory at the Farmiloe building was ace), following the outdoor trail and darting in and out of the rain, a sit-down was needed. Thankfully Workshop was on hand and its industrial space, complete with living wall, was the perfect place to shelter. The coffee was delicious and the staff were lovely. The entryway to Workshop also made for a good spot for this non-camera friendly person to pose for a few photos with my bag, guided by the ever patient Rebecca. A posing natural I am not. Never fear, this is not about to become a fashion blog. But we got there, and thankfully the bag did most of the work, looking pretty and taking centre-stage.

Village England and This is Your Kingdom bag competition | Gathered Cheer blog

Now, here's the exciting bit - you can win (and name) this new style Village England bag over on the lovely This is Your Kingdom. Having only just joined team TIYK, I can honestly say I'm honoured to write for such a site. Beautifully designed, and now even easier to get around, it really is the place to go if you're looking for inspiration for places to visit in the UK. 

Inspired by this fair isle, and in celebration of all things British, each bag is named after an English village. So, to enter the competition click here and simply write what you'd name the bag and why, and then keep your fingers crossed. For my competition entry I'd opt to call the bag 'Clerkenwell', which admittedly isn't a village per se, but it does feel like one to me. It's also the place where we had our fun mini adventure, in which the bag had a starring role, so it feels jolly appropriate. How about you? What village would you name if after? Pop on over to TIYK and share your idea - good luck! 

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Photo credit // All images taken by me, with the exception of the photo of me which was taken by Rebecca Portsmouth.

I was loaned a bag to review for this blog post but all thoughts and opinions (and supreme modelling skills) are my own. Full terms and conditions can be found over on the This is Your Kingdom competition page.