Wednesday, 30 July 2014

I Want to Ride My Bicycle: Bucket List Cycle Paths and Holidays

Cycling is free, liberating, healthy and ridiculously good fun. There’s nothing quite like whizzing down a hill with the wind in your hair, out on the open road. Make hay while the sun shines this summer by exploring the best cycle paths in the UK. We’ve even thrown a European jaunt into the mix for those extra keen, cycling enthusiasts.
Best for Beginners: Bath to Bristol Cycle Path

Not an avid cyclist but keen to try something new? The Bath to Bristol cycle path takes you on a 13 mile adventure past rivers, canals and meadows and the best news of all? It’s completely off-road.
This city linking, old railway path allows you to go at your own pace on a flat route. And if you do want to stop for a breather there’s plenty of surrounding amenities to enjoy.

Sip a refreshing tipple in a beer garden en route or check into the Avon valley railway café for sweet sustenance. The Avon railway has been restored to its former glory allowing visitors to devour doorstop slices of cake in a static, retro themed train carriage. It’s a nostalgic experience not to be missed.
Altogether Bristol to Bath is a great option for newbie cyclists and even better fun with a group.

Best for Scenery: Forest of Dean

Woodland lovers should head to the Forest of Dean for their cycling exploits. Variety is the spice of life here; cyclists of all abilities can opt for thrilling downhill Forest tracks or friendlier off-road trails flanked by rich countryside.

The area is not limited to cycling trails either, far from it. Take your pick from an expansive list of activities ranging from canoeing to paintballing and when the sun goes down camp out under the stars. Put aside a whole weekend to soak up all that the Forest of Dean has to offer.

Best for Far Away Adventures: Cycling in the Dutch Countryside

It’s no secret that Holland is the cycling capital of the world; Amsterdam alone boasts over 600,000 bikes. Phew! For this reason it makes perfect sense to head to the Netherlands for your cycling fix. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or new on the scene, Holland’s well-integrated network of cycle paths make the landscape a breeze to get around.

In fact, you can avoid the main roads altogether by following a choice of 25 landelijke fietroutes (long distance) routes which connect up the country, off-road style. Cycle past windmills, flowers, farmhouses and castles by day then unwind with Dutch wine and stroopwafels by night. Dreamy.

We’d love to know which outdoor activities make you tick. Whether you’re crazy for canoeing or a dab hand at tennis, share your favourite pursuits with us by leaving a comment below.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

This week, we've teamed up with the lovely Tiger Lillly Quinn blog to offer you the chance to win your very own Lauren crossbody in blue haze and make your #NicaHandbags collection grow that little bit bigger! 

It’s a classic style that’s been finished in one of this season’s most sort after colour ways, and is extra easy to style. If you’re struggling however as to figure out what to wear it with, Tiger Lilly Quinn offers some great outfit inspiration, as she styles it with a fun graphic print skirt, and clashes it against a bright orange top whilst adding an extra colour pop with a statement necklace.

She also mentions that ‘it’s the perfect size for essentials like wallet, camera, phone, keys, and a little bit of makeup’, so, you can rest assured that you won’t have to leave any of those little essentials at home!

It’s part of our gorgeous new Lauren collection, which also features a great grab style that’s been influenced by the classic Doctor’s bag shape. It’s an easy way to update your wardrobes with a simple yet modern vintage vibe.  

For your chance to win one of your own, simple head over to Tiger Lilly Quinn’s blog and enter her competition. Or if you just can’t wait, you can snap up your very own Lauren crossbody here! Plus, it’s available in a choice of four different colourways including classic black and tan, or on trend blue haze and raspberry.

And don’t forget, we always love to see how you’re styling your own #NicaHandbags too, so, why not tag us in your stylish photos @Nica_Handbags on Twitter or @nicahandbags on Instagram? 

Friday, 25 July 2014

Nica's Favourite Places: London's Little Venice

We've been so lucky with the hot weather lately and one of my favourite places to spend a sunny evening is around London’s Little Venice area. It’s pretty close to where I live, and if you have enough time, there’s also a lovely little walk along the canal from Little Venice to Camden town.

I love this area very much as it makes you feel like you've got out of the busy city for a while. Last Sunday, I visited a little place in the area called The SummerHouse with a couple of friends. It’s one of my favourite restaurants in the area, which is perfect for a few summer nights’ drinks, fresh healthy snacks, or even Sunday lunch, - like I did! 

I opted for fresh fish and a crispy salad but if you fancy being a little naughty, I've heard that their fish and chips are amazing!  Plus, there's even the option of an all day brunch on a Saturday or you can keep it traditional with beef roast dinner on a Sunday afternoon.
The restaurant is right beside the canal too, so, it’s easy to feel like you’re on some kind of holiday as you enjoy delicious fresh food, and watch the boats sail byIf you’re in the area, you have to go and try it out!  

Where are your favourite places to spend a sunny afternoon? Why not get in touch and drop me a comment below. I always love to try out some new places. 

Don’t forget to follow us @Nica_Handbags on Twitter or @nicahandbags on Instagram for all of the latest #NicaHandbags news, which includes the odd sneaky peek behind the scenes too! 

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

5 Foreign Films you Must See

Whether it’s the subtitles which keep our eyes fixated on the screen or those unfamiliar, far away filming locations, there’s something impossibly endearing about foreign films.

From Spanish melodramas to stylish French features, leave the chick flick for a rainy day, cosy up with your girl friends and get lost in the best foreign language films. Here are five of our favourites:

#5 Volver

Any long-time fans of the Spanish actress should consider Volver essential viewing. Cruz plays Raimunda, a stylish young mother who willingly takes the rap for her husband’s suspicious death. Released in 2006, the kitchen sink drama is full of intense emotion, vivid characterisation and infectious charm which will have you laughing and wincing in equal measure.

#4 Dans La Maison
Claude Garcia isn't your average 16 year old. Sneaking into his best friend’s house at random intervals, Claude writes a series of shocking essays based on what he sees. When Claude’s bored literature teacher Germain realises his pupils stories are based on real life and not fiction, he gets more than he bargained for. Dans La Maison is a fast moving, voyeuristic thriller that will keep you guessing up to the very last moment. And who doesn't love a French accent?! 

#3 The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

It’s the sort of scenario people have nightmares about, but for former Elle magazine Editor Jean-Dominique Bauby the stroke which alters his life was startlingly real. The film is based on a poignant memoir written by Bauby himself over a period of 10 months. Physically paralysed and unable to use a pen, Bauby wrote the entire memoir just by blinking. Sounds unbelievable right? You’ll need tissues to get through this one.

 #2 Headhunters

On the surface protagonist Hennie is a regular guy - corporate head hunter by day, flash socialite by night. Scratch beneath the surface though and there’s more to this city slicker than meets the eye. Not content with his high-paying day job, Hennie also works as an art thief, a position he abuses to fund his lavish lifestyle. As you’ve probably guessed, it’s all about to go horribly wrong for the Norwegian fox.

Headhunters is the highest grossing Norwegian film of all time, watch out for Nikolaj Coster - Waldau (otherwise known as Jaime Lannister in GOT) who features heavily.

#1 Amélie

It would be impossible to compile a list of must-see foreign films without including one of the best French features of all time. If you haven’t seen Amélie already, then, drop all of your Netflix recommendations at once and put aside the best part of 2 hours to watch it.

From the zany soundtrack composed by Yann Tierson to Audrey Tautou’s radiant onscreen presence, it’s hard not to fall in love with this story of a shy waitress who sets out on a mission to make others happy and find a boyfriend in the process. 

Do you have a favourite foreign film to add to our list? Share them with us in the comments section below or tweet us @Nica_Handbags.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

#NicaDesignAPrint: Lili Price Takes Over Nica's Notebook

Remember our #NicaDesignAPrint winner who won the chance to have her bag design turned into reality and sold as the Lili Price satchel at For the last few weeks she's been over at Nica HQ doing some work experience, and so, she's written this blog post to tell you all about what she's learnt! Take it away Lili:

I loved the whole experience, especially travelling up to London each day and getting to visit different areas after work with great food and atmospheres. The whole experience was very interesting and everybody was really lovely. It inspired me with my own business too, and I want to make mailers, lookbooks, and generally just run my business more professionally. 

One of my favourite parts of the work experience was working with the Graphics Department and seeing how they work. They had really cool work stations! I learnt a lot of different skills and all of the designers gave me a huge amount of advice regarding graphic design. It was also interesting for me to see exactly what it'd be like to work within a Graphics Department, seeing how they interact with other departments, how they meet deadlines, and learning about the print process. 

I also loved going to the photography department. They had amazing equipment! I had no previous photography experience, so, it taught me a lot from discovering new software to photo retouching, and learning about lighting.

I felt like I was given a lot of creative freedom during my work experience, and I even got the chance to create my own collection of bags as practise. I loved researching and looking at all the different sources which identified fashion trends. I then hand drew all my elements and edited them on Photoshop and Illustrator. 

The perfect ending to my fantastic work experience was when the whole team surprised me on my birthday with a cake, and the Senior Designer Nica Kim gave me a lovely book with such beautiful typography. 

Love Lili! 
- x - 

Friday, 18 July 2014

The TrèsQueentastic Blog Shows Us What's Inside Her #NicaHandbags

This week, we were treated to a What’s in My Handbag post by the wonderful TrèsQueentastic blog, who opted to show us exactly which essentials she stores inside her Natalie grab

It’s the perfect size for storing your essentials and then some, and she explains that ‘it makes things so much easier and convenient when I'm out and about'. 

For a detailed review of what she carries inside her bag, why not head over to the TrèsQueentastic blog?! Where there's also an exclusive #NicaHandbags discount code for readers, and plenty of #OOTD inspiration featuring her Natalie grab throughout. 

What do you keep inside your #NicaHandbags? Why not show us and share your photos with us @Nica_Handbags on Twitter or @nicahandbags on Instagram?

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

3 Must-See Artists to Catch at This Summers Festivals

As festival season heats up, most of us are laying our hats in music fields across the UK. But when it comes to scouting out the latest artists and bands, sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day.  Festival line-ups are a minefield and when you don’t recognise any artists on the bill it’s often a case of “that band's name sounds pretty, let’s check them out.”

That’s why we’ve compiled a who’s who list of must-see bands and artists, so you can rock up to the venue and catch the highlights. From racy solo artists to infectiously good breakthrough bands, stay up to date on all things music with the help of Nica.

Kurt Vile

Sounds similar to: Neil Young, Bob Dylan

Best song: Walkin’ on a pretty day

Those looking for intense guitar riffs peppered with powerful lyrics won’t find it in Kurt Vile’s music; he’s as laid-back as they come. Allow yourself to get carried away by his charming tunefulness and nostalgic words which are effortlessly complemented by down tempo psychedelic folk. It’s a sound that will make you feel awash with happy nostalgia- ideal to listen to on balmy summer days alone or with friends.

Blood Orange

Playing at: Way Out West

Sounds like: The best party you’ve ever been to

Best song: You’re not good enough

Blood Orange is the side project of British cool cat turned New Yorker Dev Hynes- a slicker than your average musician who has worked with the likes of Florence and the Machine, Solange, and Mutya from Sugababes (remember her?).

Now with his latest release, Hynes has spanned the genres to craft 11 outstanding tracks with each one as contagious as the last. From the rap centric High Street to breathy love song Clipped On right down to the supremely stylish You’re Not Good Enough, the Cupid Deluxe album is a tour de force of dance hall beats and ultra-smooth hits.

With the lion share of Blood Orange festival dates already over for this year, you might have to settle for singing into your hairbrush while watching live clips on YouTube. But if you’ve yet to organise a festival for this summer, latecomers can head to the uber stylish Way Out West Festival in Sweden to catch Blood Orange alongside music superstars Robyn and Little Dragon. 

Wolf Alice

Sounds like: Sweet bon bons seasoned with fizzy cola bottles

Best song: Heavenly Creatures

On stage front woman Elle Rowsell has the demeanour of cutesy girl next door but there’s a fiery underbelly to this English rose which might come as a surprise to those unfamiliar with their sound. The 4 piece make intoxicatingly sweet melodies doused in grungy riffs and bitterness. Still relatively new on the scene, Wolf Alice are yet to release a feature length album which is refreshing for new listeners because it won’t take long to get acquainted with their 2 (brilliant) ep’s.

We’ll let you into a little secret too, Wolf Alice have been known to perform a particularly lovely rendition of Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game live. Catch them on tour at Benicassim, Reading, Leeds or Bestival.

We’re always on the lookout for fresh new music to add to our Nica office playlist. Leave us a comment listing your favourite bands or tweet us your recommendations @Nica_Handbags.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Discover Nica's Favourite Places: Holidaying in Kos

As my S/S 15 collection is being finalised, I managed to grab some time to go away on holiday and relax, opting for a short break on the beautiful island of Kos in Greece.  

Now, although, this wasn't a working trip for me, I never really stop searching for design inspiration for future collections, and so, I took plenty of photos, which I know that I’ll look back to for inspiration in the future.

One of the reasons why I decided to holiday in Kos was because of its spectacular scenery which is defined by its endless sandy beaches. You can choose between enjoying the main sea fronts or hide away in one of its hidden bays and coves. I tried out both! 

When I visit new places, I like to experience as much as possible, and so, whilst in Kos I decided to split my time between two different hotels, the Aqua Blue boutique hotel and the Palazzo del Mar as to properly experience different parts of the island. One of my favourite luxuries was a glass side swimming pool. 

I spent my days reading some great books in the sun, exploring the island, and enjoying delicious local food.

So, now that you've seen what I've been up to over the last couple of weeks, why not show me where you’re taking your own #NicaHandbags this summer by tagging your photos @Nica_Handbags on Twitter or @nicahandbags on Instagram.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Get Ready for Summer with Nica!

Calling all bloggers! Bag yourself a £100 Nica voucher with our S/S 14 competition. Post your favourite summer snap to be in with a chance of winning. 
All you need to do is follow these 3 steps:
Step 1:  Publish a blog post describing your favourite summer memory with an accompanying photo. From the festival arena to the Adriatic Sea, it could be a snap of you and your BFF on holiday, or even a picnic with a loved one in the park. See examples below:

Step 2: Let us know your go-to summer handbag by selecting your favourite style from the options below and posting a link to the page within your blog post.
Step 3: Finally, once you've published the blog post tweet us the link @Nica_Handbags with the hashtag #NicaSummerComp.

We’ll also feature the lucky winner right here on Nicas Notebook
Good Luck!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Art's Not Dead: Best Photography Exhibitions and Galleries

Are you looking for a culture fix this summer? London might just have a few treats in store for you. Head to the city for a day trip or if you really want to push the boat out, stay in the city for the whole weekend.

Our Christine Weekender in a gorgeous pink tulip print is the perfect accessory to accomplice you on your weekend away. Not only is it pretty, it’s practical too. Travel to London in style and feel fashion-forward this summer. Before you get packing, however, you'll need to plan where to go. Read on to learn more about the city’s best current and upcoming photography shows. These exhibitions are perfect for that much-needed culture hit.   

Dennis Hopper: The Lost Album 
Royal Academy of Arts: Burlington House, Picadilly, W1J 0BD 

The free spirited Dennis Hopper lived to make some classic films including the 1969 hit ‘Easy Rider’. As well as being a remarkable actor, he was also an extremely talented photographer.

In the ’60s, Hopper took around 18,000 photos within just a few years. Although he moved on to painting and sculpture, Hopper left behind a considerable photographic legacy. At the Royal Academy of Arts this year, from the 26th June -19th October, you can view the collection of photographs which were unveiled once in 1970 and then recovered in 2010 after Hopper’s death. ‘Dennis Hopper: The Lost Album’ is one for the diary this summer.

Danny Lyon: The Bikeriders
ATLAS Gallery, 49 Dorset Street, London, W1U 7NF

Here at Nica, we’re a lover of bikes, hence our little bicycle slogan which has made an appearance on some of our bags, including the Christine Weekender. And who hasn't got a biker inspired leather jacket inside their wardrobes?! 

From 19th June – 16th August 2014, you’ll be able to gain an insight into the biker culture of the ‘60s at London’s ATLAS Gallery.  ‘The Bikeriders’ is modern photojournalism that was been captured by Danny Lyon between 1963 and 1967 when the self-taught American photographer engrossed himself into the lives and culture of the Chicago Outlaws Motorcycle Club.  For the first time in the UK, you’ll be able to take a look at 40 of the modern prints from ‘The Bikeriders’ extraordinary series. Celebrate Lyon’s photography by heading to the ATLAS Gallery this summer.

Which exhibitions will you be heading to this summer? Drop us a comment below or tweet us @Nica_Handbags to let us know what you enjoyed most! 

Monday, 7 July 2014

How To Style the Lauren Grab with the So On Trend Blog

Wondering how to incorporate a classic into a colourful summer time look? Look towards the lovely So On Trend Blog who has been showing us how to style our beautiful black Lauren grab alongside a colour pop! 

You can carry as a stylish grab with its single handles or pop on its detachable crossbody strap to increase your different outfit options. How will you be carrying yours? 


Why not share how your styling your own #NicaHandbags with us @Nica_Handbags on Twitter or @nicahandbags on Instagram. 

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Summer Trend Report: What’s Hot for Summer 2014?

Whilst we loved spring’s pretty pastels, boxy jackets and wide-leg trousers, (not forgetting the delicious Easter eggs in between) it’s time to wish this season farewell and say hello to summer instead. Embrace hot summer fashion trends and of course, those tempting cocktails, and you’ll no doubt ooze with style.  So, what’s sizzling for summer 2014? Read on to find out.


 Monochrome Mismatch

Image Sources: Clockwise – Bag,  Dress, Watch, Earrings, Phone Cover

Black and white is back, but with a fresh and modern twist. This season it’s all about dressing top-to-toe in this trend and accessorising with a pop of colour. Let the monochrome work its magic and simply add a statement pair of shoes or eye-catching bag to brighten up the look – it is summer after all. We’re huge fans of our Paige Shoulder available in black, raspberry, tan and taupe. If you fancy continuing the two-tone trend, opt for black but if you’re pining for a bold hit of colour, reach for raspberry.
This want-right-now bag is perfect for slinging over your shoulder for work. Why? It’s perfect for fitting all your office essentials: iPhone, small cosmetic bag, reusable water bottle, and weekly planner. That’s right, this beauty holds up to size A4, making it extremely practical without being bulky. With plenty of pockets, nothing will go missing in our trusty Paige Shoulder.

Floral Fusion

Image Sources: Clockwise – Earrings, Jumpsuit, Bag, Hat

It’s no surprise that floral prints are trending yet again for summer. Flower power has been in full bloom for quite some time, but this season it’s all about dressing in an explosion of floral prints. Like with monochrome, this pretty print looks its best when worn all over – even accessories. Why? Feminine floral prints don’t need brightening up, so incorporate this pattern into your entire wardrobe this season.
Are you planning to go away for the weekend this summer? What better way to feature this seasonal trend into your wardrobe than with our Grace Print Weekender in Ornate Decorate Print. This attractive holdall even comes with a detachable purse so that you won’t lose those small but much-needed knick knacks whilst you’re travelling. Pack away your things in this chic bag and escape on a mini break in style. With numerous pockets, this bag makes for a perfect getaway accessory.
Which trend are you going to flaunt this summer? Perhaps you’ll treat yourself and embrace both. Tweet us @Nica_Handbags with a snap of your favourite floral arm candy for summer or a selfie of your monochrome and colour-popping ensemble. Take a look at the rest of our latest collection at for more up-to-the-minute bags.