The Holy Grail of Handbags & Mountaineering

You didn’t misread this one…I climbed a (mini) mountain (scroll for proof) and I’ve finally found my holy grail of handbags. It’s the handbag that goes with everything, always looks fabulous, has the right amount of storage, the optimum number of pockets and zips, sits nicely on your shoulder and doesn’t weigh a ton! You may have already seen me wear it in lots of recent posts (here and here among others) – It’s the Fossil Explorer Flap Bag in black.

Honestly, apart from one day where I switched to my tan bag, I have worn it every day since early December – and using the tan bag for that one day made me realise how much I missed this one!
I think it’s partly to do with the brown strap – this makes the bag very wearable with browns and greens. But it’s also the gorgeous soft as butter leather..I have never had a bag made of such lovely leather. This makes it very comfortable to carry and as it doesn’t have any pointy corners or edges – it sits close to the body and is easy to tuck under your arm.

There are two large sections to the bag, one is the full length of the bag when you lift the flap up and this has a few different pockets inside it. I use this for my wallet, camera and any letters or books. 

There’s a second section that starts just from the point where the flap goes over and in here, there are more smaller pocket, one of which is zipped. I keep my business cards and tablets/tissues/wipes in this section.

Then there is the most useful section, the front zipped pocket. This is really secure as it would be impossible for someone to open without you knowing. I keep my makeup, mobile phone and a pen (or 10) in here.

The craftsmanship on the bag is first class, smooth zips, perfect stitching and as I said above, butter soft leather. It never catches on my clothes – a particular bugbear with some of my other bags.

Why does this work when so many (oh SO many) before it have not? I think it’s the shade of black. It’s not a really black-black, if you know what I mean? It’s got a grey tinge sometimes and a navy one other times. Sounds a bit mad but what I do know is that I’m a stickler for things matching and I used to (before December) change my bags regularly. Not any more. Watch this space…I am sure I’ll use my lighter coloured ones in the summer but for now, it’s the Fossil all the way. So much so, I have three bags I’m going to put up on eBay over the weekend. 
Thank you to Keith and the team at Menarys for gifting me this bag and I should point out that although I was given the bag, I was not obliged to blog about it at all. 
For all you local girls, the sale is still ongoing in Menary’s 17 stores across Ireland, North & South. For the rest of you, the Menary’s website is currently offline while some issues are being resolved. Like their Facebook page and you’ll be among the first to hear when it’s up and running again. 

I’ll finish with an outfit photo but not a particularly stylish one. Yesterday, I climbed Cavehill with my friend Claire so this one’s taken on top of my world with Belfast and the surrounding suburbs spread behind me. It was a tough climb but worth it for the views on such a gorgeous day. With all the news headlines it’s getting this week, it’s sometimes hard to believe Belfast is such a beautiful city. It’s got mountains and beaches within minutes of the city centre…you could’t beat it with a big stick :)


  1. Iva Grbesic Reply

    Haha You make me smile and laugh. I do love the colour. Glad it is so perfect for you.

  2. PoppysStyle Reply

    Ooooh I LOVE this – I love Fossil – have some of their jewelry and a watch of theirs. I have a thing about folding bags right now – I love Boden’s new folded clutch and I have my eye on one of these at some point – Lucky you – what a great gift! x

  3. Anonymous Reply

    I love the bag, am on a constant search for the perfect bag and this one ticks all the boxes!

  4. I love Fossil. You have solved my birthday gift dilemma for my best friend.

  5. Carol Li Reply

    The bag looks gorgeous! I need to google it and find my local stockist!

  6. Style At Every Age Reply

    Its great when you find a bag that really works for you on the inside. There have been two that I have loved but both went to ebay when they were ruined and that was a Chloe Heloise and a Celine Boogie bag, funnily enough both were similar in style inside, not too deep was the key I think. My friend bought a bag from Fossil when she was in the states and is really pleased with it, great craftmanship x

  7. The Flaky Fashionista Reply

    Agree with Sharron, it’s really good to find a bag that works. I feel the same about Orla Kiely bags .. problem being that I have to keep changing them as the colours don’t work with everything. And no wonder you’re so slim, if you go galloping up mountains while the kids are at school, lol!!

    • That’s exactly my issue with OK bags … brilliant for finding things and lovely to carry but you have to keep changing them. I’m actually selling one on ebay atm for that reason. Love it but have only used about 3 times! Avril x

  8. Life, Loves...... Reply

    I LOVE the bag, I have some fossil watches but never got a bag, just felt they were a bit expensive, this is lovely,though, well wear.
    Fossil is always a must when in States

    • Yes, they are dear for a brand that certainly I didn’t know for its bags. But I would have no hesitation in buying one now. In fact…I saw this one in another colour-way..and am seriously tempted! Avril x

  9. Hi Avril! Love the bag …good colour and size! I think I need to get out and excercise more after looking at your gorgeous photo:)Have a great weekend!
    ~Anne xx

  10. Raindrops and Daisies Reply

    Great bag Avril

    Have a lovely weekend and hopefully the weather will be good
    and we won’t get the snow that’s promised!

    Fiona x

  11. Emerald Sue Reply

    Great bag-you would love the Fossil shop at my local Designer Outlet !!!Santa brought me a gorgeous burgundy bag .

    I love your blog and seeing the background photos as I now live in England but originate from Dundonald!

  12. Great Bag! It looks very simailar to beloved Mandarin Duck bag! It has the same bonus points of subtle colour, soft leather etc. After 2 years it still loks like new, bt the zip broke:( as I am waiting for have the zip repaired on it and have gone through about 7 other regualer ev everyday bags. You have givin me the boost I need to get in in the repair shop:)

    • Oh I love Mandarina Duck – always look out for them in TK Maxx. I have a fabric one that I take on holidays with me as it’s so neutral and spacious and is cross body – essential for travel! You need to get it fixed ASAP! Enjoy the rest of your weekend, Avril x

  13. Louise Vance Reply

    Trying to find the perfect bag had always been my quest!! Alas though I think I am addicted to handbags as Even though I probably found the perfect bag yrs ago it hasn’t stopped me from adding to my collection! Lol
    Fantastic blog as always Avril!! :)))) xx

    • I think you have that addiction too – and sure, aren’t there worse things you could be addicted to? Hope you’re having a lovely weekend Louise, Avril x

    • Louise Vance Reply

      I couldn’t agree more, far worse things to be addicted to & at least I do have a nice handbag collection because of it!mlol
      Unfortunately not the best weekend’s for me as I’ve been loaded with the cold! But doing a little better today!
      Hope you had a wonderful weekend & I hope to see you soon! Lou xx

  14. Thank you! Loved your camouflage jacket and envious of your weather – SO cold here, Avril x

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