4 Sep 2012
Matalan – suitcases, sunglasses and style: reviewed
I am a sucker for a bargain. I also love tracking down the cut-price gems which turn out to be fantastic – I’ve already blogged about my love for my Primark zebra suitcase, New Look is turning into my go-to store for jeans (both maternity and as a temporary fix post-bump) and I’m developing something of an eBay habit.
So when Matalan asked if I’d be interested in reviewing some of their range, including their travel accessories, I all but bit their hand off saying yes. Sadly, the nearest store to me isn’t so easy to get to, but whenever I visit my parents, my mum and I have always made a point of stopping off at the one near their home, and I’ve picked up some great items over the years.
This time, I had a very fun few hours trawling the website and choosing some of my favourites to review, all of which saw me through the end of my pregnancy, or will be perfect for the autumn and for future travel.
Sub 0 G Apple suitcase – this range bills itself as ‘the world’s lightest ultrastrong fibre glass structured case’ and despite the extravagant claim, it’s astonishingly lightweight. Even with my pathetic upper body strength, I could lift the large size over my head (empty) as it’s a mere 2.06kg, despite having an 80 litre capacity. There’s a zip pocket on the outside, and half a dozen mesh pockets inside and I loved the funky apple print version, which will hopefully make it easy to spot on the carousel, unless everyone else had the same idea. The only slightly odd touch was the pull handle, which is the same width as the suitcase, making it less manoeuvrable around corners.
The apple print is only available in small and extra small now, but you can still get the 53 litre medium (£45) and large (£50) in other colours so it’s definitely worth keeping an eye out for any new prints.
Stripe weekender, £8 – the travel range also has some fun weekend bags, including a vintage floral and Aztec version, but I picked the stripe version as I thought it was unisex enough to persuade my husband to carry it. It also doubled as his hospital bag for during labour (even if it didn’t get the chance to fulfil its function there). There’s two zip pockets, inside and out, plus a phone one, plenty of room, and my only small bugbear is that the handles are only just long enough to carry on your shoulder.
Gold aviators, £5 – I seem to go through sunglasses at an alarming rate. Just as I find a pair I like, I drop and smash them, scratch them, lose them, accidentally sit on them, or manage to destroy them some other way. On the plus side, I’m always picking up new pairs as the mood takes me. Aviators are something I’m never sure if I can carry off, but for a fiver, I reckon it’s worth the risk. And whether the world sniggers or not, I like them.
Sleeveless Scoop cowl top, £8 – I got one from the summer collection in coral. Despite the demands I’m making on anything in my wardrobe, this is perfect for a quick way to glam up a bit without too much effort. The drape of the cowl cunningly hides a post-pregnancy stomach, there’s two layers so I can pull down one to feed without flashing the rest of the world and the material is lovely and soft. And despite the bargain price, it’s the kind of top I’d expect to pay significantly more for as well.
Peacock feather scarf, £5 – I’m a sucker for peacock feathers, and thought this scarf would be a great option to wear around and use for discreet breastfeeding. The material’s lovely and soft, I just wish it was slightly bigger.
Maternity vest tops, £10 for two – great for rejuvenating my wardrobe at the end of pregnancy, they’re a good staple, although oddly the stripy one seems stretchier than the darker one of my pair, so it’s the only one I’m able to use for breastfeeding as well.
Falmer jersey blazer, £25 – part of the Falmer heritage range, it’s a classic cut and colour with brown suede details. Blazers have been a staple throughout my pregnancy, as I could throw them on over jeans and a vest to instantly smarten up. Now, the vest has changed to a breasfeeding version but otherwise the theory’s still working as summer starts getting even cooler. I love the suede effect on the collar and pockets, although I’m not such a fan of the elbow patches which still scream geography teacher to me. And while tartan’s very on trend for Autumn, the lining pattern, however subtle, wouldn’t be my first choice either – the perils of buying online as neither are visible from the image. Although they’re likely also to be less visible on me as well.
Images courtesy of Matalan