HOW I USE MINE | BLEAK HOUSE TOTE | SUI SEARLE
WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY BY SUI SEARLE | @Hector+Grace @GirlAboutGarden
I know that Annabel originally designed the Bleak House tote as a dog bag for weekends away, but quite frankly, it’s far too lovely for that and I’ve been using it for everything but! As well as for taking packages to the post office, day trips to gardens, weekends away and shopping trips into town, I’ve also been packing all my etching stuff into it to take to the studio. And I thought it might be a good way to demonstrate how much stuff it holds and why I love it.
It swallows all my etching stuff up easily and still leaves plenty of room for a sweater or jacket as well as other essentials. The ever-so-slightly-obsessively neat side of me particularly loves the interior pockets (4 slip, 2 zipped) for organising smaller items. And I like the way the bag holds its shape well and I can leave things inside and easily grab them as needed when I’m in the studio. And all this before I mention how much I enjoy the woven handles and smart black, quilted waxed cotton.
Items shown in order of laying out: notebooks and sketch pads; Hector + Grace postcards (just in case, in lieu of business cards); pens, Sharpies and etching tools; specs (because my long sighted eyes are getting the better of me); my French canvas apron; scrim for wiping ink; tissues; cheque book (because I live in the sticks and you never know when it might come in handy); wallet; two boxes of lithographic chalk; two tubes of black etching ink (I have several inks but black is my most used for my dog etchings).
As well as etching, I've been getting a lot of use with my tote on weekends away. I did start by trying it out for its original intended design - as a weekend bag for the dog - but, wouldn’t you know it, it ended up being used by me instead. My Bleak House dog blanket (just seen) did sneak in there if that counts. But otherwise, everything else that got thrown in there was mine. It was perfect for all those bits and pieces that I like having easily to hand but take up bulky space in my main luggage - like my jacket, scarf, chargers, books, OS map, bum bag (I know, not very chic but it can come in handy walking two dogs), packable rucksack, cosmetics... I’m not sure this bag is ever going to get used for the dogs’ things!
I’ve got so much use out of this bag already. And it makes me feel happy using it too. It most definitely passes the Marie Kondo test for me. Thank you for designing such a lovely bag, Annabel.
Our best selling versatile, water-resistent, waxed cotton tote, available in three great colours.
OUR PEOPLE | SUI SEARLE
Curiosity lead Sui Searle to poke her head around the door of a ramshackle shed on the side of the road in Kent to find a secret etching studio housed inside.
The advantage of glamping is that everything should be provided for your stay. But you'd be surprised how often there is something critical to life that is missing or not up to scratch. Here are the things we always pack, just in case.