Friday, 29 November 2013

How To Style your Alicia Satchel with the Rosalilium Blog

If you’re looking for some inspiration on how to style your new Alicia satchel, then, look no further than the lovely Rosalilium blog, who demonstrates exactly how to break that age old fashion rule of wearing black with brown.

Teaming her tan Alicia satchel with black tights, ankle boots, a pretty blue tea dress and heritage feeling grey jacket, it’s a look that we very much want to test out!

Read her full review over on her blog, and why not show us how you’re styling your own Alicia satchels by tagging your photos @Nica_Handbags on Twitter or @nicahandbags on Instagram.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Culture Vulture: Alternative Ideas for New Year’s Eve

From cosy seaside cottages to the enchanting northern lights, NICA have an array of New Year’s Eve ideas which are ideal for culture vultures or anyone with the desire to venture off the beaten track and experience unique, fun adventures this NYE. Whether you want to end the year gazing at the stars in Norway or sipping gin at a ruin bar in Budapest, read on!

Ruin Bars and Outdoor Spas in Budapest
Partying in Europe’s largest outdoor spa in sub-zero temperatures might not sound like a likely NYE scenario, but Budapest is utterly unique. You can drink and dance to future disco in a thermal (77°C) outdoor pool during the bitter cold month of December! 
Constructed over 100 years ago, the Széchenyi bath is steeped in history and statues of dolphins and water Gods surround the outdoor pools making this a stunning setting to see the New Year in.

If you’re on a budget, you’ll be pleased to hear that Budapest won't pull too hard upon the purse strings. With beer and spirit prices coming in at around £1 per serving and quirky hostels aplenty, those seeking a budget will be in their creative element. 

Head to Szimpla Kert, the city’s most hotly tipped ruin pub and the world’s third best bar as voted by Lonely Planet. Ruin pubs are unique to Budapest and feature the most remarkable, off-the-wall interiors coupled with an infectious ambience; Szimpla Kert for example has an open air cinema, and an innumerable amount of houseplants and mismatched lampshades while another ruin pub nearby boasts furniture hanging from the ceiling.

For a new year brimming with culture and energy, head to the Hungarian capital of Budapest.
Top tip: Stay at Lavender Circus Hostel for quirky, gorgeously furnished accommodation in the old town. Doubles with ensuite start at just £9 per night with free coffee and wine included!

See the Northern Lights in Tromsø

If it’s been a long-time dream of yours to see the northern lights, New Year 2013 could be the best time to try. According to NASA, the best light show in a decade is forecast for this December. In NASA’s recent report, Tromsø – the ‘Paris of the north’ is expected to be the best spot for Norwegian northern light sightings. 

Indulge in a voyage aboard a traditional steamer ship to try and catch a glimpse of the amazing lights along a fjord or chase the lights on an unconventional bus tour in the nearby village of Erfsfijorden.

Whilst in Tromsø check out The Polar Museum – a museum centered on North Pole explorers which is full of fascinating artefacts and exhibits. For those unfazed by heights, the Fjellheisen Cable Car is a must too as visitors are treated to panoramic views over the city at 420 metres above sea level, wow!

Coastal cottages and beautiful beaches in West Wales
If you've set your sights closer to home this New Year’s Eve and are in the mood for a spot of peace and quiet, the coast of West Wales is a really lovely place to getaway to for a few days. Explore an ample selection of sandy beaches, visit the vibrant seaside resort of Tenby and embark on a boat trip to Caldey Island – a tiny island inhabited by monks with a chocolate, shortbread and perfume shop all of which are homemade on site.

As for New Year’s Eve itself, The Druidstone Hotel in Pembrokeshire is situated overlooking a cliff with views over the beautiful Druidstone Haven beach. This off-the-wall hotel is bursting with character, always full to the brim. and holds regular feast nights with live music! The ideal seaside spot for those seeking a fun, casual-cool NYE vibe with like-minded people.

*This ‘Teletubby’ house can be viewed from Druidstone Haven and is a real talking point around the area as people are usually amazed by the design.

Are you off anywhere exciting this NYE? Let us know by tweeting us @Nica_Handbags. 

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Discover Nica's Favourite Places

by Nica Kim

As you know, I do spend a lot of my free time searching for new design inspiration but believe it or not, I do like to grab a few non work related minutes and relax. And that often includes eating out at delicious restaurants, so, I thought that I’d share a few of my favourite places with you.

Last Saturday, after visiting the British Museum, I stopped by the Japanese noodle café Koya. It’s one of my favourite places to eat, as it’s so nice and cosy, and in all honesty, it reminds me a little bit of home.

It only serves traditional udon noodles. Just look at the delicious dish that I enjoyed. One of my favourites!

If you’re a coffee lover, then, you’ll adore one of my favourite coffee houses, All Press Espresso. It’s the perfect place to rewind and relax after a stroll around Colombia Road market on a Sunday morning. 

Do you have a favourite place to dine or enjoy a coffee in London? Share it with me @Nica_Handbags on twitter, and I might just try it out! 

Thursday, 21 November 2013

#NicaDesignAPrint Contest: Our Ten Finalists

This year, we've been working extra closely with the Clothes Show and running our #NicaDesignAPrint contest. We've been asking you to submit your very own nature influenced prints from which we will choose a winner who’ll get their pattern transformed into one of our beautiful satchels!

We were overwhelmed with amazing entries, so, it was quite the task to whittle down our finalists… But we finally did, and we want to say a massive congratulations to all of our top ten finalists! Take a look at their entries below (in no particular order), and let us know what you think.

Rose Tucker 

Shannon Robinson

Alice Lorraine 

Charlotte Potter 

Sarah Ridgewell

Shonagh Gibson 

Amy Foster 

Christy Purcell 

Lili Price 

Lottie Irving 

So, what do you think of our finalists? Share your favourites with us on Facebook@Nica_Handbags on Twitter or @nicahandbags on Instagram. 

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Thrifty London: Vintage Shopping in the UK’s Capital

Bargain hunters and vintage lovers unite, it’s time to get thrifty! Join NICA on a whirlwind tour of London’s best vintage shops as we venture from East to West in pursuit of an irresistible deal. 

Beyond Retro

With 3 London stores located in Dalston, Brick Lane and Soho, Beyond Retro is something of a staple in the UK capital. For the largest quantity of second hand clothing and accessories in London, head to Beyond Retro’s gigantic vintage warehouse in Brick Lane. Here you’ll find rails upon rails of colour co-ordinated plaid shirts, velvet bodysuits and distressed denim jackets.

Beyond Retro’s accessories department doesn’t disappoint either, shoppers can select from an expansive collection of hair scrunchies, patterned neck scarves and waist cinching belts with prices ranging from very reasonable to moderate.

Seek & Revive Kilo Sale

If you've never ventured to a vintage kilo sale before, the concept is simple: shoppers are given a carrier bag on arrival which they can fill to their hearts' content, then, at the end of the shop their items are weighed and they pay by the kilo. For reference a kilo is around four to five items of clothing – at £15 per kilo this is an amazing deal!

Kilo sale events are common and occur all across London, eager to see what the fuss was all about we ventured to the Seek & Revive sale in Shoreditch during the month of July. Paying £1 on entry, we proceeded to navigate around the huge warehouse space where clothing and accessories were arranged by category. 

This shopping event is certainly one for the patient, keen eyed bargain hunter -it took us over 2 hours to sift through the vast array of items on offer! Be it a psychedelic printed bathing costume or a 1980’s bomber jacket, expect to find a vast array of one-off pieces.

East End Thrift Store

One of London’s best kept secrets, the East End Thrift Store is a go-to destination for great value vintage. The décor is minimalist and, as with all vintage treasure, shoppers should come prepared to rummage in exchange for designer labels at steal-worthy prices. From genuine shearling jackets to tartan trousers and vintage fedora hats, you’re unlikely to come away empty handed.

Vintage shops in London are ten a penny, but there are plenty of gems to explore. Do you have a must-visit second-hand shop on your radar? Send us your suggestions via twitter @Nica_Handbags.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

#NicaChristmas: Discover Some of our Favourite Festive Baking Ideas

We’re starting to feel very Christmassy here at Nica HQ, and one of our favourite things about the festive season is dabbling in a spot of Christmas time baking!

So, we've been looking through Pinterest for some recipe ideas. Why not take a look at our #NicaChristmas board to see what we've found?

We've stumbled upon quite a few that we fancy testing out. Here are some of our favourites. Which ones have inspired you to start baking?

Gingerbread Tree
Forget the traditional flat gingerbread trees and create mini life like ones instead. Plus, it’s really easy too! All’s you need to do is bake some simple star shaped ginger bread cookies, stack them on top of each other, and simply glue into place with a splash of yummy icing. 

Snowflake Carrot Cupcakes
A simple cupcake made from carrot cake mixture and prettily decorated with vanilla butter cream and chocolate snowflake decoration. Finished with a splash of sparkly edible glitter to up that festive feeling.

Santa Brownies
Nothing screams Christmas more than a Santa’s hat, and look what such a simple addition does to an ordinary brownie. Simply created with a splash of buttercream and a delicious strawberry. 

All of the recipes for the cakes featured can be found under image source. And remember, we love to discover a new recipe, so, please share your festive baking with us by using #NicaChristmas upon our social channels, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest

Friday, 15 November 2013

Discover Nica's Design Inspirations: Oriental Prints

by Nica Kim

All of my prints are unique, and whilst I was designing this season’s watercolour collection, I turned to beautiful oriental prints for inspiration, as I love the feel of the rich with vibrant colours and patterns that stay so close to nature. Just like these inspiring ones that I found on Pinterest below.

Whilst developing my own oriental influenced prints, I decided to add in elements of animals to make it feel a little more quirky and more like a typical Nica print.

Take a look at my beautiful prints for this season, do you have a favourite? We're always looking for inspiring new prints, so, why not share your favourite prints with us @Nica_Handbags on Twitter, or on Pinterest

Nica Kim 
x x x

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Discover What’s In My Handbag: Rakhi Popat, Senior Product Manager

This week in our ‘What’s in My Handbag’ series, the lovely Rakhi Popat, Senior Product Manager at NICA, has agreed to share the current contents of her handbag.

As a Senior Product Manager, Rakhi is always on the go, from attending product kick-off meetings to meeting key distributors across the world, so, she likes to ensure that her bag is well prepped for travelling. Rakhi says that her ultimate handbag items are her purse and beloved MAC lipstick in Captive – it’s the best shade she’s ever found!

Currently, Rakhi’s handbag contains:
-River Island leather gloves
-Mulberry purse
-Maybelline rocket volume mascara, black
-Chanel Les 4 Ombres eyeshadows
-No7 shine free primer 
-Mac lipgloss in Wet, Wild and Wonderful 
-Mac lipstick in Captive 
-Clinique black diamond eyeliner
-Vintage NICA make up bag
-Samsung 4S mobile 
-Moleskin Diary
-Marks and Spencer bobble hat 
-Primark scarf 
-Stylist magazine 

                    *This season Rakhi is carrying the Zena from the Nica shoulder bag collection. 

In addition to sharing the contents of her handbag, Rakhi took some time out to tell us about her favourite London sights, shops and fashion inspirations.

What does a typical day off look like?
In my free time, I love to check out new bars and cafés with friends. One of my favourite areas to go out is around the London Bridge area, the view is so good when you’re dining. You’re completely spoilt for choice for things to do in London, and I regularly visit museums. The V&A museum is amongst my favourites, I particularly loved their recent Lichtenstein exhibition. 

Do you have a favourite shop?
I love to shop, and I can often be found around Westfields or Oxford Circus, and luckily for me the London Designer Outlet has just opened up close to where I live, so, that could well become one of my favourite spots.  

Is there an item of clothing which you can’t live without?
I have several pairs of jeans in my wardrobe, and I probably couldn’t live without them.

Who are your style icons?
My style icons are Emily Blunt and Alexa Chung. I really like Alexa’s laid back smart style. 
Thanks, Rakhi!

Are you a handbag hoarder? Perhaps there are some handbag items you simply cannot live without. Tweet us at @Nica_Handbags.

Monday, 11 November 2013

How To Style our Alicia Satchel with Retro Chick

We love seeing how our favourite Fashion Bloggers style our handbags, and last week our beautiful Alicia satchel was taken along for a weekend away to Salisbury and Stonehenge by the leading vintage fashion blog Retro Chick.

Our satchel sat effortlessly alongside her vintage inspired outfit, which featured a pair of statement flared trousers, a perfectly flowing winter time coat, and a charming beret!

You can find out more about her day out with our Alicia satchel over at retrochick. And remember, we always love to see how you’re styling our bags, so, remember to tag your photos with @Nica_Handbags on Twitter and @nicahandbags on Instagram.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

How To Get Ready for the Christmas Party with NICA

Early November has crept upon us and we're already thinking about Christmas! From adorning the NICA office walls with mistletoe and festive fancies, we’ve started thinking ahead to our Christmas party. As a handbag brand, the question on everybody’s lips is naturally fashion focused, “What am I going to wear?!” 

Are you heading to a Christmas party this season? Read on to gain some inspiration on what to wear to yours with our festive outfit look book. 

Purse: NICA, Nail Polish: OPI, Shoes: ASOS, Dress: Mod Cloth

Flatforms are a great option when it comes to keeping your balance at parties- there’s nothing worse than taking a tumble in skyscraper heels after one too many sips of Prosecco! This aptly named ‘Cue the Compliments’ dress is Christmassy without going OTT and will look divine teamed with glitzy nail lacquer and cute clutch purse (as pictured). 

Dress: Topshop, Lipstick: MAC, Bag: NICA, Faux Fur Jacket: Oasis

Pay homage to The Great Gatsby era and make like the glitterati with a striking faux fur coat layered over a beaded 1920’s style dress. Add a slick of deep red lipstick and a nude bag like the Nica Lulu Crossbody to perfect the look.

Necklace: Fiorelli, Dress: Staring at Stars, Satchel: NICA

This psychedelic sixties print shift dress is the ideal statement piece for that special festive meal with friends or family. Indulge your vintage side with the timeless NICA Alicia Satchel in black- the perfect accompaniment to store any small last minute gifts away from prying eyes. An ultra-cool outfit for the brasserie or fancy steakhouse.

What will you be wearing to your Christmas party? We’d love to know how you’re going to style your outfit. Tweet us your Christmas party outfit plans @Nica_Handbags.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Nica Inspiration: A Trip to the Beautiful Wisley Gardens

by Nica Kim

By now, it’s no secret that my designs are heavily influenced by nature, and I love nothing more than heading out and about to beautiful locations and deriving some botanical design inspiration.

Last weekend, I popped along to Wisley gardens, the flagship garden of the Royal Horticultural Society. It’s described as a world-class garden, and it really didn't disappoint. It’s filled with an array of beautiful plants, and everything is labelled so that you know exactly what you’re looking at. 

It features a state of the art glass house with three climatic zones replicating tropical, moist, and dry temperatures, and so, as you can imagine, it’s home to an amazing collection of plants from all around the world. 

Look at the beautiful print upon these leaves. It could easily influence a print or even a pretty charm. 

And can you see the cheeky face like detail upon the petals of these flowers? I just had to share them with you!  

One of my favourite things about this time of the year, are all of the beautiful autumnal tones that nature has to offer. The warm, rich reds and browns that are synonymous with autumn time can inspire the prettiest of handbags. 

Do you have a favourite public gardens to visit? Why not share your recommendations or even photos with us by tagging @Nica_Handbags on Twitter or @nicahandbags on Instagram. 

Nica Kim x 

Monday, 4 November 2013

Cosmo Award Winning Blog What Olivia Did Styles Our Marnie Crossbody

We've received rather a lot of compliments regarding our cute Marnie mini crossbody! Well, what’s not to love about a sweet little owl giving a cheeky wink? And we've seen quite a few different inspiring ways on how to style it too, from vintage outfits with our tan  colour way to spooky Halloween costumes with the black version.

This week we were very excited to see how it was styled by Olivia from the Cosmo award winning blog What Olivia Did. Olivia who scooped Cosmopolitan's award for Best Established Fashion Blog this year, opted for a fetching pair of on trend tartan trousers, a vintage feeling polo neck, and a very cute pair of cat themed shoes.

Do you love how Olivia styled our bag? If so, you can read the full version over on her blog.

And remember to share how you’re styling our Marnie mini by tagging your photos @Nica_Handbags on Twitter and @nicahandbags on Instagram.