Thursday, 26 September 2013

Discover Nica’s Design Inspiration: Impressionist Garden

by Nica Kim

Through my last few blog entries, you may have come to realise that Nica Handbags' designs are often inspired by nature, which helps them to exude timeless elegance and femininity. And it's the plants and blossoms throughout London's glorious parks that can influence my designs more than anything else.

Looking around a sunshine filled Golders Hill Park last week, and seeing lovely scenery with people having a picnic and tea on the lawn or a child picking flowers, I felt as if I was in the centre of an Impressionist painting! 

Claude Monet, The Artist's Garden in Argenteuil (A Corner of the Garden with Dahlias), 1873

Claude Monet, Poppies 1873

There are several painters who have been famously known as Impressionists like Vincent Van Gogh, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, and Paul Cezanne. I probably love Claude Monet’s garden series more than the others, which Monet depicted in Giverny, where he moved to in 1893 and lived out the rest of his days. 

Water lily at Golders Hill Garden

Claude Monet, Water Lilies, 1904

Claude Monet, Nymphéas bleus (Blue Water Lilies) 1919

I once heard that Monet grew water lilies in his own pond in his back garden, and these in hand with all the other plants surrounding his home became the artist's sole source of inspiration!

“Apart from painting and gardening, I am good for nothing. My greatest masterpiece is my garden."  -Claude Monet

Another Impressionist that inspires me is Frederick Frieseke, who was an american painter that mainly cultivated his artistic works in Paris. I am really intrigued by how he focused upon both the female figure in beautiful landscapes and also their fashion and lifestyle during the early 20th century. 

Frederick Carl Frieseke, The Yellow Room, ca. 1910

Frederick Frieseke, The Garden Parasol, c.1910

For me, whenever I see one of his paintings, its focal point is always upstaged by the vibrancy of the gardens with their swirling colours!

The artistic elegance of impressionism has always been one of the most important inspirations for the whimsical patterns used upon Nica handbags. I do hope that you are also inspired by these garden images and similarly love our Impressionist inspired Nica print handbags. Why not share your favourite ones with us on Twitter by tagging @Nica_Handbags or @nicahandbags on Instagram. 

Nica Kim

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Discover Some of the Most Tempting Vintage Markets across the Globe

Whilst we’re partial to the occasional high street splurge, sometimes we love nothing more than a good old rummage. There’s nothing like the feeling of emerging from a market or car boot with a bag full of unique treasure! So, we've scoured the globe to find the world’s very best vintage markets. Enjoy! 

Best for Size: Brooklyn Flea Market

Since its inception in 2008, Brooklyn flea market has become a vintage shopping Mecca and has even been described by the New York Times as “One of the great urban experiences in New York”. With over a hundred vendors to get around, you’ll want to put aside the best part of a morning for optimum rummaging time. 

What’s for Sale? Vinyl records, Asian hot dogs, classic spectacles, vintage handbags, bicycles and typewriters. 
Where? Check the website for the most up to date information.
How much? Prices vary from low to mid-range.

Best for Atmosphere: The Marrakech Souks

You may think that you’ve seen it all, but a trip to the Marrakech souks will definitely present you with a few surprises. Motorcyclists speed through narrow crowded walkways where human teeth and pet tortoises dwell together on the same stall.  

The Marrakech Souks are a culmination of the bizarre and brilliant, as pyramids of spices are displayed for sale in addition to hand-crafted leather shoes and jewellery. Weaving in and out of the Souks past workshops and stalls, you can’t help but feel as though this must be one of the most vibrant places on earth - the sights, the smells, the sounds... Marrakech really does evoke every sense.

What’s for Sale? Every spice you could ever imagine, plus you’ll find the usually expensive Saffron spice available at a snip of UK prices. Argan oil, gemstone jewellery and intricate ceramics are also popular finds.
Where? Jama el Finar, Marrakech, Morocco.
How much? Prices may appear high but don’t forget to haggle – Marrakech traders thrive on bartering and are usually willing to drop their original price by up to 70%.

Best for a Bargain: Battersea Car Boot Sale

Forget waking up at the crack of dawn to rifle through old tat, Battersea cat boot sale starts at midday and is known for selling high end goods at lemonade prices. This thriving car boot is well established and never fails to draw a large crowd. 

What’s for sale? Vintage designer clothes, second hand sewing machines, premium mountain bikes and miscellaneous bric-a-brac.
Where? Battersea Park School, Battersea Park Road, London, SW11 5AP.
Don’t Miss: London is also known for hosting its fair share of vintage kilo sales usually held in East End warehouses, buyers pay by the kilo (4-5 items of clothing) and prices typically range from £15 to £35 - an absolute steal! 

Have you visited a good vintage market that you’d like to share with us? Tag your vintage market photos @Nica_handbags on Twitter and @nicahandbags on Instagram with #NicaVintage 

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Blogged: Discover how Tigerlilly Quinn is Styling the Alicia Satchel

We at Nica HQ just love seeing how you incorporate our handbags into your own individual styles. And each time we’re reminded of just how versatile our pieces are!

We were really inspired by Blogger Fritha Strickland of tigerlillyquinn, who flaunts an enviable quirky sense of self style and has fabulously styled our tan Alicia satchel into her outfit. You can check out her full review over on her blog here.

We've often seen the satchel styled up into a vintage infused look, so, it's extra exciting for us to see such a different take upon it. Opting for a bold yellow dress and orange belt, paired with grey tights and a striped top totally transforms the feel of the bag. 

What do you think of how she's styled the satchel? And remember, we love to see how you're individually styling our handbags, so, tag your stylish photos @Nica_Handbags on Twitter or @nicahandbags on Instagram with #MyNicaStyle. 

The Nica Team x x 

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Inside Nica's Trip to Scotland

From the moment that I decided to pack my bag for a little weekend getaway to Scotland with all of its history and beautiful landscapes, I was as excited as a little kid! In particular, I was really looking forward to experiencing the highlands first hand. 

On the first day of my trip, I arrived in Oban, a fairytale-esque little town complete with a beautiful bay, which is part of the Sound of Kerrera. Actually, I am not much of a planner, as I like to enjoy some unexpected surprises and sights. And Oban was just the kind of place that I was looking for! Upon my first glimpse of this little town nestled beside the water with hilly mountains stretching off into the horizon, I said to the taxi driver “Wow! What a lovely view! I've picked out the perfect place to stay!” 

Unfortunately, as is often the case (or so I'm told), the weather deterred me from enjoying all of the wild nature of the highlands in its full glory. Autumn seemed to have already arrived there, and it was just so windy, cold, wet and fickle that it made me run for warmth and put on extra clothing. The Scottish nature in this gloomy weather did however look really serene and even otherworldly. It was almost as if its green-green surroundings healed my soul and revitalised me!

Scotland surprised and delighted me with its variety of amazing scenery and cultural attractions, including historical castles, enchanting lochs (complete with their own stories and legends!), fantastic wildlife, and also such friendly people! 

I was so taken with the highlands that I didn't have much time left for a city break in Edinburgh, which was a bit of a shame. This city was also spectacular! A truly unique place overflowing with history and culture, and guess what? I've already decided to go back! I hope that you enjoyed hearing about my little trip, and that I've encourage you to take a couple of days to explore some of the special places around this beautiful island too! :-)

Why not follow @Nica_Handbags on twitter or Instagram @nicahandbags and share your travel pictures with us? 


Sale Picks: How To Style your Nica Handbag to your Personality

There’s no better way to express your personality than with your outfit, and that of course extends down to your choice of handbag. So, we’re going to show you how to incorporate our beautifully designed Nica handbags into your own personal styles. And luckily for you, all of our featured bags are currently on sale! 

The Vintage Lover
If vintage bags are your thing, a retro tea dress and pair of court shoes fit seamlessly with a satchel style handbag. Our Alicia satchel in bone is perfect for those of you who love quirky accessories but also need a versatile piece that’s equally as functional to take along to a festival but then also onto a party! If you catch our drift! 

Image Sources: Shoes, Dress

Trends with a Twist
If you love to keep up with the new trends each season yet still invest in a piece that sets you apart from the rest, opt for a classic with a twist. For instance, our Koper Shoulder bag in the seasonal on trend colour is quietly injected with a quirky edge with vintage lace laser cut and bow finishing, - design features that will set you apart from the rest of the Fash Pack! 

Image Sources: Trousers, Blazer, Necklace, Heels

Your Go-To Bag
If neither whole heartedly following mainstream trends nor vintage styles is for you, but you do love to mix up your look and covet just one handbag that you can team together with an array of outfits, then, opt for a classic style like our Lucia Doctors bag. Season upon season, the Doctors bag is a bag that appears in an array of forms, and linked with so many different kinds of looks. Plus, it’s the perfect size as to throw in all of your endless bits and bobs when you’re on the go. 

Image Sources: Dress, Boots

Remember, we always love to see how you're styling our handbags into your individual looks, so, share your photos with us by tagging your pics on twitter with @Nica_Handbags or on Instagram @NicaHandbags

The Nica Team x x 

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

British Cake Shops: Discover Where to Sample London’s Best Cakes

There’s something uncannily British about the tea and cake pastime, and at Nica HQ we love nothing more than a generous slab of red velvet cake or a nibble of Victoria sponge, - It seems like there are very few problems that cannot be solved by a generous pot of tea and a sugary treat!

And in our hunt for cakey goodness we've come across some amazing London based bakeries that we find ourselves returning to time and time again. So, if you love cake as much as we do, read on for where to sample London’s best cakes!

The Hummingbird Bakery

This amazing London based bakery is basically solely responsible for the British cupcake movement that has taken the UK by storm over the last five years! The company have taken American cake recipes and made them accessible to the British market through the publication of their hugely successful self-titled recipe book and five central London branches. The result is gorgeously crafted cakes that really do look way too pretty to eat.

Best for: The red velvet cake is oh-so-decadent and the gigantic rainbow cakes never fail to bring cheer to miserable Mondays. 

Ben’s Cookies

We know you’re thinking, “isn’t this supposed to be a cake post?” but we have good reason for including this one. When you bite into the gorgeously soft cakey consistency that makes up a Ben’s cookie, you’ll forget all the previous cookies you've ever chomped and proceed to buy half a dozen when you originally planned just the one (read: guilty). The smell alone is just heavenly, we challenge you to walk past their Oxford Street branch without making a pit stop.

Best for: The chocolate orange cookie combines large slabs of Belgian chocolate, pieces of orange and soft cookie dough - it’s better than Terry’s!

The Primrose Bakery

British cakes don’t come much tastier than The Primrose Bakery’s divine collection. Walking inside the sun-yellow Covent Garden branch, you’ll be presented with a huge glass counter behind which are the most irresistible looking cakes we've ever laid eyes on. Cocktail cupcakes, courgette and ginger loaf cakes, carrot layer cakes… They’re a force to be reckoned with!

Best for: We can’t resist the classic Victoria sponge!

Do you have a go-to UK cake shop? Tweet us your recommendations @Nica_Handbags

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Behind the Nica Bag: Traveller

We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.”
- Anaïs Nin, American Author -

My last few blog entries have been about venturing into the great outdoors, such as visiting enchanting gardens, vintage fairs, or even about my trips abroad to Hong Kong and Seoul. I evoke upon these kinds of trips not only to inspire the designs of my new Nica Handbags, but because I just love learning about different cultures and ways of life.

As soon as I begin packing my case, I start imagining what'll happen to me during my travels, and that influences which items I'll take along... I'll need comfy shoes, a camera, some vintage jewellery, a scarf, glasses, and little vintage clutches, of course! I find this process really exciting. 

I always encounter so many interesting people with such different personalities upon my travels, whether it be during a lovely country escape or a city break. There are always some kinds of hurdles to overcome but luckily I've always had positive experiences, and each time, the people who I meet help me to see the true beauty of nature, love, friendship, and fun! 

I wanted my A/W 13 collection to project a glimpse into the beautiful scenes and people, as well as how I felt, upon my travels. 

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not.”        
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emerson's Essays -

We are now turning a variety of pages in the book of our lives, and in the words of St. Augustine, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page!” I hope that you can have a real voyage soon as to re-discover some of the real beauty of life :-)


Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Get Carried Away: Discover Team Nica's September Favourites

After the bittersweet departure of August, September has arrived and with it a cool autumnal breeze which has us reaching for our winter knits and storing our sunglasses away ready to gather dust until next year, sob sob. However, it’s not all doom and gloom because a new season in girl world translates to a shiny new seasonal wardrobe. New coat, new shoes and best of all, a new handbag... Or five!

We already let you have a sneaky peek at our A/W collection in this post, but now we’re going to show you how to style our September favourites with this season’s top trends. 

You’d be forgiven for thinking dusty pink is a spring shade along with its pastel cousins, but this year, the muted tone will crossover into A/W wear in the form of long boyfriend coats, structured shift dresses and matching silk suits. The Alicia Satchel in Bone blends perfectly with this colour tone and adds to the Parisian chic trend which is also oh-so-covetable this season.

Whilst we’re pretty sure oversized garments featured heavily in last A/W's trends (and 2011’s and even 2010’s come to think of it..) it’s not difficult to see why chunky knits and jumper dresses are such a hit during the colder months of the year. At last, a trend which requires minimal effort! Add an autumnal accessory such as the Marnie owl print cross body for good measure and the look is complete.

The androgynous look has been circulating the fashion world for some time now and shows no signs of disappearing this A/W. Masculine silhouettes, boyish trouser suits and patent leather brogues are all good ways of championing the trend. Our Lucia Doctors bag is a modern twist on the traditional doctor’s frame, and ideal if you want to work the masculine look on more subtle terms.

What do you think of our September favourites? 

The Nica Team x x 

Nica's Pastimes: Discover Belka Production's Sunstroke Play

This week, I went along to Central St Martins College to watch a play by Belka Productions called Sunstroke, which is inspired by Anton Chekhov's 'The Lady With The Dog' and Ivan Bunin's Sunstroke. Two of the great masters of Russian literature! 

It's a real thought provoking play exploring the bitter-sweet nature of love outside of marriage, and is definitely worth a visit. Especially if you also love to watch dance performances, as spectators are treated to traditional Japanese dancing in between scenes, which is also used as to further express the emotions of the characters. It's running from 28 August until 21 Sep, so, you still have time to book your tickets here.

I loved its inspiring set too! It's layout was innovative with the seating purposely positioned around it, adding to the effect that you really were sat amidst the Russian Riviera, which was the love story's setting. The sand filled stage and bright lighting further added to this holiday feeling. Here's a sneak peek of it before the play started as to help you to see exactly what I mean! 

Can you recommend any plays that you've seen lately? 


Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Find out What Team Nica Did at Bestival 2013

The Isle of Wight based Bestival is one of team Nica’s favourite festivals of the summer, so, of course, we had to drop by over the past few days! And as they celebrated their 10th anniversary, they really did push the boat out with a nautical inspired theme. Just look at their grand HMS Bestival below!

And so, although we were surrounded by a plethora of pirates and mermaids, opting for classic festival chic style was still acceptable. We chose the compulsory wellies with sunglasses, and teamed it with our classic Alicia satchel, - which also just so happened to be the perfect size for storing all of our little festival essentials!

Festival fashion and funny fancy dress costumes aside, Bestival's decorations also didn't fail to disappoint. Obviously the DJ set filled HMS Bestival was the focal point, but there were also plenty of quirky treats just like below!

There was a great mix of artists this year too, which included a great performance by Chic, and Elton John, who closed the festival. But Bestival isn't just about the music and fancy costumes, there are also other attractions and activities taking place throughout. We loved the the Amphitheatre performance stage in the Ambient Forest, and watched an array of different performances from theatre through to sketch comedy.

Did you go along to Bestival? We'd love to see your festival fashion choices. Share your photos with us by tagging your pics on twitter with @Nica_Handbags or on Instagram @NicaHandbags

Love the Nica Team 
x x x 

Monday, 9 September 2013

Discover What's Inside My Travel Bag: Blogger Lily Kitten

If you always find yourself struggling to track down a travel bag that’s as equally pretty as it is practical, then, look no further than our pink tulip print weekender handbag! Leading Blogger Lily Kitten recently took the piece on holiday with her to Rome, and proved exactly how fashionable yet practical it is.

All Images Sources: Lily Kitten 

It’s finished in a beautiful botanical print that’ll easily sit pretty with the rest of your wardrobe, and it’s also just the right size to fit in all of your travel essentials. Lily thinks that its material not only makes it pretty, but pretty handy for taking on a plane!' It’s the perfect travel companion! And if you're inspired by our print, why not enter our contest and design your own? The winning print will be turned into a satchel, you can head over to our site to find out more information

So, what are Lily Kitten's travel bag essentials? She explained that her beauty musts are sun cream, lip balm, face wipes and, of course, a whole host of mini hygiene essentials (just in case her main suitcase doesn't show up on the conveyor belt!), which includes moisturiser, and Moroccan oil shampoo and conditioner. And like a true fashionista she completes her packing with a pair of sandals and sunglasses. 

Have you seen the cute matching pouch that comes complete with our weekender bag? Lily explained, 'It's just the right size for popping in your passport, boarding pass, and business cards of taxi companies and such alike - that way, at least if things get lost they will all turn up in the same place together!' Check out her full review here

If you've still got a last minute getaway booked, we'd love to see what's inside your travel bag. Take a snap and show us by tagging your pics on twitter with @Nica_Handbags or on Instagram @NicaHandbags

Love the Nica Team 
x x x 

Friday, 6 September 2013

Discover the Inspiration behind Nica's Handbag Charms

I always try to create designs that are fun and playful, and that's right down to its intricate detailing. Which part of our designs do you like the most? Today, I was reminiscing about the first time that I ever created a Nica charm...

It's crazy to think that I've been designing special charms for my Nica handbags for almost six years now. Time really does fly by! Whether it be a handbag or charm, everything that I design is always heavily influenced by nature, and I often derive my inspiration from London's enchanting parks and gardens, which are filled with beautiful plants and flowers. 

I am also incredibly influenced by the botanically infused motifs upon vintage prints, and I just love their feminine, elegant, and timeless qualities. Intricate floral and butterfly detailing are amongst my favourites, and you can clearly see that these influence the creation of my charms. 

Charms are usually linked with bracelets, and long been associated with good luck, prosperity, hopes and dreams, passions, love, friendship, and health. I also recently heard that it was Queen Victoria's love for charm bracelets that made them so popular during the 19th Century!

Image Source: (left) Queen Victoria(right) Bracelet charm 

These days however, charms usually feature upon bags as to express your own individuality. Nica's charms also inject a more exuberant and flamboyant feel, and are the perfect way to express yourself. 

What has been your favourite Nica charm so far? I hope that you love the designs from my next collection just as much! Here's a sneak peak!

And remember, if you love the creative elements of my handbags, why not have a go at creating your own Nica print by entering into our contest. The winning print will be transformed into one of our satchels!! Head to for more information. 

Good Luck!!
x x x