Wednesday, 30 April 2014

#NicaDIY: Get Crafty with Nica

We like to get a bit crafty from time to time here at Nica HQ, there’s just something so rewarding about creative projects and making things from scratch. Whether it’s a kitsch hipflask for festival drinks or a glittery hanger to proudly display your most prized possessions on, join Nica as we delve into the land of DIY.


Sequin Hangers


Give your wardrobe a new lease of life this summer with these beautiful glittery hangers. If you’re strapped for cash they also make a lovely handmade gift idea. Let’s get cracking.

Materials:
·         Craft glue
·         Scissors
·         Wooden hanger
·         1 inch thick sequin elastic trim

Method:
Starting from the corner of the hanger, apply the craft glue to the back of the elastic trim and begin to wrap the trim around the hanger. Only apply glue to 3 inches of the trim at a time to save making a mess during the wrap process.

Keep wrapping until the hanger is completely covered and to finish secure the trim with extra glue. You could also use a needle and thread to secure this but it’s entirely up to you. And that’s it!

Design your Own Hipflask

Hipflasks are a girl’s best friend at festivals; they come in handy for on-the-go drinks and look glorious with a floral or checked print design. As if we needed an excuse. This is how we created ours:

Materials:
  • Hipflask
  • Oilcloth fabric (Etsy)
  • Multi-purpose glue
  • Scissors
Method:
Cut a strip of oilcloth to fit around your flask, you’ll want the fabric to overlap slightly. Oilcloth is a great material to use for hipflasks as it is easy to clean so any splashes can be wiped away unlike cotton.
Once you’ve cut the oilcloth to fit around the hipflask, simply use a specific glue which adheres to metal to secure the oilcloth in place. It’s that simple!

Fabric Mouse Mat 


Liven up your office space with this super quick fabric mouse mat tutorial. Pictured above is a cloud style,
but you could just as easily stick to a rectangular shape and cover with your chosen fabric, the choice is yours.

Materials:
  • Fabric
  • Iron-on webbing
  • A mouse mat
  • A hot iron 
Method:
Cut a piece of webbing to slightly overlap your mouse mat. Next, cut your fabric a little larger than the webbing and iron the webbing to your fabric. Leave to cool for 30 seconds before peeling off the paper backing.

Iron your chosen fabric to the mouse mat and trim any excess material. Easy peasy.
And there we have it, 3 summer craft tutorials which can be completed in the time it takes to make a cup of tea.

Are you a craft enthusiast? Share your favourite tutorials with us by tweeting us @Nica_Handbags



Saturday, 26 April 2014

Nica's Design Inspirations: Explore My Favourite Vintage Influences


This week, I wanted to share with you one of my favourite vintage stores in London, The Shop in East London (3 Cheshire Street to be exact!). It’s one of my favourite ever places to snap up a great thrifty find, and believe it or not, it’s also acted as a source of inspiration for my own designs in the past too!  



It's filled with a selection of not only vintage clothing and accessories but also a great range of textiles too. One of my favourite finds there, was a beautiful silk scarf. It always has a great choice of scarves to choose from, and their prints have often inspired my own print designs too. 


I love to infuse my designs with a vintage feel and not just be driven by the mainstream trends, and although some of my designs may not look overtly vintage, some of them have been influenced by vintage elements without you even realising! On the other hand, clearly vintage inspired pieces such as my Darcia Doctor's bag remind me of my days spent rummaging around my favourite vintage hotspots.   


Where's your favourite spot for picking up a great vintage find? Why not drop me a comment below or get in touch @Nica_Handbags on Twitter? I may even visit it for myself! 

Love Nica,
- x - 


Friday, 25 April 2014

How To Style the Floral Alicia Satchel with The Style Rawr Blog


Did you spot the fabulous The Style Rawr blog sporting our beautiful Alicia satchel in blue floral? Blooming with botanical inspirations, it's the perfect piece to enjoy spring with! It may be one very feminine feeling print but The Style Rawr proves that it can easily be incorporated into more of a masculine outfit too. Why not head over to her blog to find out more?

How would you style yours? Why not show us! Share your photos of how you're styling your own #NicaHandbags on Twitter or Instagram, and we'll share it too!  

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Blogger Review: Sweet Monday Opts for our Missy Dropdown Purse

We’re used to seeing our favourite bloggers reviewing our beautiful bags but it’s not that often that we come across a blogger who wants to review one of our purses instead. So, we were super excited when the lovely Sweet Monday blog asked to review our charming Missy dropdown purse!


Firstly, we absolutely loved how our tan purse sat alongside her lovely outfit, - it was a match made in heaven with her leopard print dress! She explained that she always opts for a large purse, and that Missy fits the bill perfectly as there’s ‘plenty of room for coins and cards inside’.

You can read her full review over on the Sweet Mondayblog. What do you look for in your ideal purse? Get in touch and let us know @Nica_Handbags on Twitter, we’d love to know! 

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

NICA's Pick of London's Best Rooftop Bars

Did you see the sun poke its head through the clouds this weekend? We don’t know about you but we got a little over excited and started thinking about how we are going to spend those long summer nights in the city. At Nica, we love enjoying a cocktail in one of London’s rooftop bars. So, sit back and relax while taking in the stunning view of the sparkling skyline in one of our favourite spots:


Dalston Roof Park


A short walk from Dalston Kingsland station, dozens of feet in the air above the Print House lies the Dalston Roof Park which opens its doors every summer. Kitsch and full of colour, this charming roof top garden really makes the use of the space. There is an edible garden which is harvested to be used in their yummy cocktails, and some of the best street food vendors are in this area for when you get a little peckish.

And don’t worry, you won’t get bored here – throughout the long summer months there are outdoor film screenings and unplugged sessions to listen too. So, grab your friends and plonk yourself down on the deckchairs amongst the Astroturf and giant flamingo to enjoy the summer setting sun.

Dalston Roof Park
Print House
18 Ashwin St
London E8 3DL
Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the entire Southbank area gets a little bonkers in the summer but if you are looking for an escape from the busy streets head up to the Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden. To find the garden simply follow the yellow brick road (well technically it is a bright yellow staircase, but you get the point).
In a different world above the urban jungle this real garden with allotments is an oasis away from the concrete of below.  Sit amongst the fruit trees and wild flowers while taking in the view of the river from the cafĂ© bar that is located up here. Or if you’re on a budget bring your own picnic – it’s a public space, so, you’re allowed!

Queen of Hoxton


If you are looking for a party this summer in the fashionable East End, then there is nowhere better than the Queen of Hoxton. Enjoy a burger on the BBQ, a dance to the beats of the DJ and if it gets a little chilly later on in the night keep warm in the huge (and heated) wigwam.



Take advantage of the Queen’s spectrum of cinema, music and art events. There’s the regular Film Club as well as the annual Sports Day which you can join in with. It does get busy here so arrive early for the best seats.

Queen of Hoxton Rooftop 
1-5 Curtain Road
London EC2A 3JX

Aqua Spirit


Last but not least is the classy yet cool Aqua Spirit set just off Regent Street. After a long day of shopping this is the perfect place to sit back and relax with a cocktail or two. There are stunning views to be had here over Soho, Mayfair and the Marble Arch, plus the roof top gardens are surprisingly quiet here despite their close proximity to Oxford Street.

Aqua Spirit
5th Floor, 30 Argyll Street
London W1F 7EB

We love discovering the hidden gems of the capital. Do you know of any other great rooftop bars in London? Tweet us @Nica_Handbags.


Saturday, 19 April 2014

#NicaBakes: How To Make Healthy Peanut Butter Brownies

Imagining all of the unhealthy chocolate that we could scoff this Easter got us thinking that maybe it was about time that we pulled out our oven mitts once more, and whipped up a healthy yet sweet alternative!

So, after a quick peruse around some of our favourite blogs, we were hooked on Blogger Deliciously Ella’s healthy take upon our regular naughty brownies, which switch the flour for sweet potatoes instead. So, we used her recipe as a guide and infused it with a peanut butter twist! Here's what you need:



Ingredients

2 small sweet potatoes
1/3 cup of raw cocoa powder
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
1/2 cup coconut cream
2 tablespoons raw honey
½ tsp salt
4 Tablespoons peanut butter
½ cup pitted dates 
½ tsp baking powder
Walnut oil to grease tray 



Instructions

1) Soak the dates in tepid water for ten minutes

2) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

3) Grease your baking tray with a little walnut oil

4) Peel and boil the sweet potatoes until they’re soft enough to mash

5) Place the soaked dates into a food processor and mix until they clump together in a small ball.

6) Add in all of the other ingredients, except the peanut butter and sea salt, and blend together until a smooth mixture forms.

7) Pour into the greased tray and cook for 20 minutes until the tip of a fork pulls clean.

8) Allow to cool before spreading on the peanut butter.

9) Finish with an optional sprinkle of sea salt and cut up into squares to serve. 



Et VoilĂ ! Our delicious peanut brownies are a healthier take upon the traditional brownie, helping to make those naughty indulgences guilt free! 

Here at Nica, we love to try out new healthy recipes, so, please feel free to share your favourites with us and we may just try them out. Get in touch @Nica_Handbags on Twitter or @nicahandbags on Instagram. 


Friday, 18 April 2014

Nica's Design Inspiration: The Scarlet Collection

As you know, I love to travel around the UK or further afield abroad, and a lot of my handbag designs are influenced by this. Anything can inspire a new design, and whilst creating our S/S 14 collection, I found myself admiring the beautiful architecture of Bath. 


Its cathedral and Roman baths are defined by its intricate design detailing are yet another source that set me upon a quest to capture something similar upon my own handbag designs this season. 


Bath is such an inspiring place to visit with a clearly rich heritage that you just can't help but soak up. After wandering around its sites, I seized the opportunity to sample one of its traditional Bath buns too. It was yummy!


Another great source of modern design inspiration is Pinterest. I can spend hours pinning my favourite things and then suddenly be inspired to create a new design myself. With intricate detailing in mind, I also spent a couple of hours researching the laser cut effect on Pinterest, which included looking how other designers had interpreted this technique within their designs.  


My Scarlet collection is defined by its laser cut detailing, and its cute bee hardware is of course one of my key traits this season too. What do you think of the collection? Do you have a favourite piece yet? 

If you enjoy gaining a little insider knowledge about NICA, then, be sure to follow my blog, or Instagram to see our latest sneak peeks! 

Love Nica, 
- x - 

Thursday, 17 April 2014

How To Style the Cara Back Pack with the It's Cohen Blog

It was hard not to notice all of the back packs upon the S/S 14 runways, and we've decided to introduce our own little take upon the trend here at NICA. Let us introduce our lovely new Cara back pack, finished in a uniquely designed print by Nica Kim.


It’s a great little hands-free bag to take along on your travels, and we wanted to show you just how easy it is to style too, so, we've asked the lovely It’s Cohen blog to do just that. 

We loved her smart-casual outfit of choice, and her beautiful floral blouse matches our Cara back-pack's design perfectly! What do you think? For more inspiration, check out her full review over at It's Cohen

How are you styling your own Nica Handbags? Please share your stylish photos with us via Twitter or Instagram. We'd love to see! 


Wednesday, 16 April 2014

How to Style the Scarlet Crossbody with the Temporary Secretary Blog


This week, we asked the fabulous blogger Temporary Secretary to show us how she’d style our small Scarlet crossbody, and we loved her choice of a smart yet casual outfit. 

Opting for chic cropped trousers, a cute jumper, heels and a statement necklace, our small Scarlet crossbody sat effortlessly alongside it. You can find out more about her outfit over on the Temporary Secretary blog. How would you style yours? 

And don't forget to show us how you're styling your own #NicaHandbags  by sharing your photos with us on Twitter or Instagram!






Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Coachella Festival Fashion Highlights 2014


If you caught our festival wish list post a couple of months back then you’ll already know that we’re a little bit obsessed with Coachella. With weekend 1 of the fortnight extravaganza already done and dusted what better time to document some of the best style highlights direct from the Californian desert? Read on for Nica’s Coachella fashion highlights.


White, White and More White

White fashion is big news in the style world at the moment and boy did the colour conquer at last weekend’s Coachella. Channelled in crochet dresses, lace shift tops, white blouses, sunglasses and sandals; white enjoyed supreme reign this year. Some opted for head to toe magnolia while others worked the trend with a subtle accessory.

Image Sources: Left, Right

ALL of the Accessories 

A quick peek at Coachella street style snaps confirmed that accessories were a key focus area over the weekend. Mirrored sunglasses, diamond hair crowns, stack rings, catarzi hats... When it comes to festivals, the less is more rule need not apply- more is more.


As for handbags, cross body styles won the majority vote. And with hands-free features allowing for optimum accessibility, it comes as no surprise that the faithful cross body is the must-have festival accessory of the moment.


Kimono Love

Kimonos are a staple piece at music festivals. No other fashion garment can quite match up in terms of bohemian chic which is probably why every fashionista in sight was wearing theirs at Coachella. Whether teamed with light denim shorts, flowing in eye-catching patterns or simply a subtle finishing touch to an understated outfit, kimonos were out in full force.


And there we have it, it looks like white fashion, accessories galore and statement kimonos are the way to go for festival fashion kudos. We can’t wait to try some of these looks out this summer, and we’d love to know what your festival must-haves are. Drop us a comment below or tweet us @Nica_Handbags.





Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Flower Power: Lighten up for Spring

Whether printed on a satchel or embroidered onto a kimono, spring florals never go out of fashion. And with flower season in full effect, there’s no time like the present to embrace the trend. Lighten up this spring with our floral style guide.



Image Sources: Satchel, Sandals, Dress

Abandon monochrome this spring and go girly with a soft blue and white ensemble such as the example pictured above. In this look feminine florals are juxtaposed with white chunky sandals giving the outfit a smidge of grunge attitude. This blue smock dress with cut-out shoulders is casual yet chic, ideal for achieving effortless cool in the office or out and about.

Chunky white sandals add height while the Nica Alicia Satchel in Floral Print brings the look together. 

Image Sources: Bag, Shoes, Top

Pastels and florals are a match made in heaven; refresh your wardrobe with parma violet tops, fondant fancied sandals and peppermint accessories. The key to nailing the pastel floral trend is colour co-ordination: choose 2 pastel shades such as lilac and mint and pair them with a neutral coloured accessory to balance things out.

In the featured look, sugary shades of lilac and white blend together whilst the Nica Messenger Bag in Light Vintage adds an accent of springtime playfulness.

Image Sources:  Kimono, Satchel, Sandals

Just as vampires prefer to stay out of the sunlight, some fashionistas simply don’t like colour. If you prefer the all-black-everything approach to style then worry not, you too can channel springtime cool. Swapping a pair of heavy boots for leather heeled sandals will keep things simple while acknowledging the change of seasons.

Why not indulge the floral trend with an embroidered kimono? Kimonos are easy to style and go with everything; throw yours on over an LBD or team with a crop top and shorts for a night-time look. And if you’re feeling brave you could even add a pop of colour in the form of a bright accessory.

The Nica Amy satchel in Lemon is a head-turning handbag which will liven up even the darkest attire and comes equipped with a handy travel-card pocket for fuss-free commuting.

And there we have it, flower power in 3 stylish look books. We’d love to know how you’ll be styling your Nica this spring. Why not share your looks with us on Instagram? And don’t forget to follow our blog to keep up with the very latest Nica news and style updates.


Monday, 7 April 2014

#NicaPressDay: Get a Sneak Peek at our A/W 14 collection

Did you follow our press day coverage last week? We made London’s Westbury hotel our home for a couple of days whilst we showcased our beautiful new A/W 14 collection to the press. 

We also invited some of our favourite bloggers along, and asked them to get snapped with their favourite new pieces. Amongst the bloggers' favourites, Lily Kitten chose the Lauren grab, Faiiint was bowled over by the cute little fox detail of the Felicia crossbody, whilst LeanneLimWalker opted for a colour burst with Lizzy. 


As always, our forthcoming collection has all been inspired by our Senior Designer Nica Kim’s travels and favourite places. As we revealed sneak peeks on Twitter and Instagram throughout the day, we also spent Thursday afternoon in a live Twitter Q&A with Nica herself and the fantastic The Style Rawr blog! If you missed it, you can catch up by searching #NicaPressDay on Twitter! 

Nica Kim with bloggers The Style Rawr and  Faiiint

We also showed a sneak peek of our new satchel for next season, Katie! What do you think? Will you be trading in your Alicia or Sara satchel for one next season?


What are you looking forward to seeing the most next season? Don't forget to keep following us on Twitter and Instagram to be amongst the first to see all of our new handbags and purses!    

Friday, 4 April 2014

Our Favourite Unconventional Style Icons: Jemima Kirke

Best known for her role as the free-spirited Jessa in hit TV series Girls, Jemima Kirke can often be spotted wearing a turban hair accessory or a demure floppy hat paired with a kaftan. This unconventional style icon is bohemian, sassy and super cool; let’s take a look at Jemima Kirke’s experimental style.

Jemima Kirke in Girls


Whether she’s got her hair in braids sporting demure earrings and an off-beat rock t-shirt or an earth coloured catarzi hat and a pashmina scarf draped around her neck; Jessa’s style is an extension of her bohemian personality, she’s a woman who can’t be tamed.


While the other Girls characters are predictable in their nature, Jessa keeps us guessing. You never know what she’s going to do next which makes for exciting viewing and even better fashion eye candy.
What makes Jessa unique is her daring confidence and bold style, full of self-assured bravado; she rarely follows the crowd but always turns heads. From embroidered kimonos to free-flowing Grecian style dresses, we’d love to be as cool as Jessa.


Jemima Kirke at Award Shows


Jemima’s off-screen style is much the same as her on-screen style. Pictured above at an award show she wears a beautiful velvet maxi-dress with a gold leaf necklace and a beaded clutch - not dissimilar to an outfit Jessa would wear. Perhaps the correlation between actress and artist stems from the fact that Jessa never set out to be an actress and was actually commissioned for the role by her best friend Lena Durham -writer and star of Girls.

In reality Jemima is extremely similar to her Girls character, a trait which enhances her style credentials and strong fashion identity.


Regularly papped in beatnik inspired dresses, Jemima also loves accessories. Gemstone rings, dangly earrings and jewelled necklaces are her staples and you’ll rarely spot a photo of her without her signature red lipstick. 

Jemima Kirke Off-Screen


And when she’s not on the set of Girls or swanning off to award shows, you can find our style crush in pretty much exactly the same ensembles. Channel Jemima Kirke / Jessa Johansson style with a floral kimono, floppy hat and lots of jewellery. Finish the look off with a printed satchel such as the Nica Lili Price in fruit print. Ta-da! Jemima Kirke eat your heart out!


Who is your style crush? Let us know which stars inspire your dress sense by tweeting us @Nica_Handbags or leaving us a blog comment below.



Tuesday, 1 April 2014

#NicaUniDay: We Invite Westminster Uni Students in for an Afternoon of Career Tips


Last week, we had the pleasure of inviting Westminster Uni's first year fashion students along to Nica HQ for an afternoon filled with insightful talks from the Nica team, which included our Graphic Designers, Product Managers, and International Sales Team. 


After we'd shared a little bit of our knowledge with the students, we put them to the test with a couple of group exercises. We wanted them to demonstrate their buying and marketing skills by selecting items from our show room and putting together ranges destined for our different concession partners, both based in the UK and abroad. 


We also wanted to see which key styles that they'd choose to build a marketing campaign around, and we were definitely not disappointed! All of the students demonstrated a great eye for the fashion industry, and we wish them the very best with their fashion studies!

If you too would like the opportunity to pick the Nica team's brains, then, why not join us for our live Twitter Q&A direct from our press day with our Senior Designer Nica Kim at 2pm Thursday 3rd April?! She'll also be joined by The Style Rawr blog too, who'll be choosing her favourite A/W 14 Nica Handbag pieces. You can even start asking your questions now with #NicaPressDay. We look forward to hearing from you!