16 May 2013

What's in a bag? My first review!

I recently posted about what I lug about in my changing bag. I also said that whilst I love my current bag and all its practicalities it is rather boring to look at.  So I have been having a shop about for other options and thought I could turn this little mission into my very first review! BEWARE: there are lots of photos!

So the three bags are:

This was my original bad which we bought whilst I was pregnant. I apologise for the picture. It's rammed to the brim.  As you can tell!

I bought this as a present to myself as I liked the colour and the styling. 

I have been drooling over Mia Tui's website for ages (their demo videos just reel you in!) and felt like, out of all the bags I'd seen online, these seemed to have the perfect combination of practicality and style. So, I was thrilled to bits when the lovely Charlotte, who owns the company, offered to send me one to review. Errr YES PLEASE!!! 

So what do I think of each? 

Firstly the Mothercare bag.......

It has SO many compartments.  For anyone like me who like to organise their handbags to within an inch of their lives, will love this aspect. 

A huuuge mesh zip pocket.  I kept lunches, bibs, muslins
etc. in here. 
Another big zip pocket and two smaller pockets.
Bottle / water bottle pocket on the side

MORE pockets!
Insulated bottle pocket. Very useful and
worked well.
Zip on the back.  I kept the matching changing mat and
P's Red Book in here.
I particularly love the zip on the top of the flap to let you get quick access into the bag (essential when you've put the bag on the pram handle back-to-front and thus can't open the flap quickly). 

And also the zip on the front of the flap where I can keep all my bits and bobs with easy access. 

Yes, Rufus was helping!
I also liked the rubberised bottom (rahaha!).  It was great when you needed to put it down in a real rush and not worry about what you were putting it on / in!

However there are also a couple of things I am not a fan of. The main thing that consistently bugged me was that the closure mechanism is a small magnet concealed within the flap. This works absolutely fine if the bag is empty, or with very little in it, but as soon as the bag gets bulked out at all the magnet just isn't man enough to keep the flap closed. As they have been so clever with the top zip meaning you can actually access a lot in the bag without opening the flap, I think they could have used a sturdier clasp without having to worry about ease of opening too much. But to be fair to Mothercare this was really the only main problem I had with the bag. 

Case in point. 
The only other thing that did irritate me at times though was adjustment buckle on the shoulder strap. The strap would bunch up so that the buckle twisted 90 degrees.  This had absolutely no impact whatsoever on the day to day use of the bag, it just annoyed me that it didn't sit just so....I guess that's my OCD rearing its head?!

How the strap should be.....

How the strap misbehaved after 5 minutes.......I'm sure this
wouldn't bother any normal sane person. But it just grated
on me!

Secondly the Cath Kidston bag.....

This bag is gorgeous.  It's brilliant to look at, feels well made, came with lots of extras such as bottle warmers, changing mat, flannel and zip-up clutch bag thing. 

The front flap on the bag is actually the topo of the changing
mat.....sneaky....and clever!  I liked that, despite it not being
functionally of any use whatsoever! 

Zip pocket at the back. Nice and long zip but, again, too
tight to really be able to "delve" easily.  I like that word.

Maybe I carry too much stuff around but I just found it a bit too small. Also the zip that runs along the top of the bag only allowed for quite a narrow opening.  It could do with being sewn into a winder strip of fabric to make a bigger opening, as I like to be able to open the bag and really see what's in there without having to dig about. I don't have any other criticisms really, I just realised very quickly that I had bought the bag more for its looks and it just wasn't delivering on the practical side.

The opening.   I would have prefered it if it had really bagged
out more so you could  see inside without having to use one
hand to hold it open. Maybe this would have got softer with

Finally, the Mia Tui bag.....

I'll just make it clear that, even though Mia Tui have sent me this bag to review (which I am very grateful for!), I intend to be completely honest and unbiased. But, I shall say that Charlotte, if you read this, I am more than happy to review any of your other bags in the future!

I love this bag. I have had it for about 3 weeks or so now, I wanted to really get to use it properly in lots of different situations before I reviewed it.....to give it every fighting chance to surprise me with a hidden failing or fault. Nope.  It's brilliant! It's been used for quick trips into town, whole days out with various lunches, walks, suppers etc to cater for throughout the day, swimming trips and dog walks. It's survived and even excelled in all scenarios! 

I really love the look, it's imitation leather (for a real leather one you'd have to add a 1 or 2 onto the front of the price tag in the range of bags I'd been looking at), but it's good imitation...it feels very well made and not at all plastic-y. But the best bit is when you open it up! (incidentally the main zip on this bag is exactly what I was saying the Cath Kidston one could do with....nice and wiiide!) 


Well, the inside is VERY pink! And look at all those compartments! Even with each compartment filled there's still plenty and plenty of space in the main bag to shove changes of clothes, a blanket, a hat, or a scarf for me etc etc. 


The pockets have poppers so you can expand them to fit
more stuff in, or keep them closed to keep it all neat.
Pen holders, insulated and water proof
bottle pockets. And an elastic bungee
for your keys.  Genius.
I love the separate mini bags, especially the little clutch bag. It's exactly the same size as a pack of baby wipes, so is perfectly sized to fit in 2-3 nappies, a pack of wipes and a pack of nappy bags, so when you need to change the baby's nappy you can just take that with you, rather than hoiking the whole bag along.

Long shoulder strap for the bag (I use
this to put over the pram handle); clear
plastic bag which we use for toiletries
and medicines etc and; the mini clutch bag.
I would 100% recommend the Minnie Amelie (or any Mia Tui bag...they all look great!) and honestly I am really struggling to find any criticisms.....I think if I had to choose something I'd say I'm not mad keen on the white stitching, a matching brown would give it just a bit more of a luxurious look.  But that's just personal taste....and you could always whack on a bit of shoe polish and voila! The only other thing I'd suggest is to have a slightly larger zip pocket on the front for mummy's stuff.  I'd like to see the pen holders and phone slip on the inside of that pocket instead, then all your stuff would be well and truly separate.

The zip on the front.
So, in summary,  I would definitely say that the Mia Tui wins for me.  I still find myself hankering after a couple of the practical features of the Mothercare bag that would add even more to the Minnie Amelie, but it is just so lovely and more than makes up for it in every way.  Also, it doesn't necessarily look like a changing bag, whereas the Mothercare one could be nothing but. Post baby/ies I can totally see myself using the Amelie day-to-day.  So it wins on longevity too!

My only real quandary now is how I can persuade Husband to let me expand my range and buy up the rest of the Mia Tui collection.  Go on, have a look....they're soooo multi-functional and come in all shapes, sizes and colours! http://miatui.com/collections/our-complete-range.

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