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Bagabook Tote Bag Review & Giveaway (INTL)

October 30, 2014 in Accessories, Current Giveaways, Discount Code, Promotion

Back in March (yes, it really was that long ago!) we shared the magnificent Bagabook with you. Bagabook have added some brand new products to their range and we have been lucky enough to receive one of them to review. What’s more Bagabook are giving YOU the chance to win one for yourself so keep reading for all the details.

New BB and name Logo 3

If you aren’t yet familiar with Bagabook then let me quickly tell you a bit about them. They started out creating bags that hold your book. Perfect for a commute, you can flick open your bag and read the book while it sits inside. I have one and it is awesome! Fair enough I don’t commute, or really leave the house, but for me I find it perfect for transporting my book about the house with me. Carrying a book while in pain and trying to walk with my stick is a challenge, but the Bagabook is perfect for me as I can just pop it over my shoulder! Honestly, it’s brilliant.

Bagabook Classic C0015 Side

one of the classic Bagabooks

Today’s post though is about their new products so I’ll try to restrain myself from gushing over my love of their classics. Bagabook have recently released three new design ranges: Candy Stripe, Liquorice and Bouquet. Each range is available as a book cover, tote bag, iPad pouch and scarf, so there’s something for everyone, or you could collect the lot!

new products

new range from Bagabook

Bagabook kindly sent a sample of their Candy Stripe Tote Bag and I have to say that I really like it!

Bagabook Tote

Candy Stripe Tote Bag – £39.95

The bag is really bright and cheerful. To me, it’s more of a spring/summery bag but that hasn’t stopped me from using it over the past month. It’s roomy and good quality. The handles and the base of the bag are made of a leather-type material which is really nice and durable. The handles are comfortable on the shoulder, and the buckles mean that you can adjust the handle if you so wish (there are two holes to choose from).

The bag is fastened with a magnetic clasp and the interior lining is that same gorgeous pink colour. Inside there are two pockets for easy access to your phone or keys or whatever it is you like to have on hand. There’s also a zipped interior pocket which is a good size and offers added security.

All-in-all it’s a really nice tote bag – perfect for popping to the shops or perhaps to take on holiday with you. To celebrate the launch of the new range the lovely folk at Bagabook are giving you the chance to win an item of your choice from the new range and it’s OPEN INTERNATIONALLY! You’ll get to choose whether you’d like the book cover, tote bag, iPad pouch or scarf in one of the new designs (Candy Stripe, Liquorice or Bouquet). To enter the giveaway simply use the Rafflecopter entry form below.

There is is one mandatory entry, all the rest are optional. Obviously the more you do, the more entries you have into the giveaway. Please do be honest with your entries though, we do verify all entries!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

If you can’t wait to get your hands on one of these gorgeous bags, or indeed anything from the new range, Bagabook have offered Strupag readers an exclusive discount code to receive 20% off your order (minimum order of 18.95). To take advantage of this offer just use the code STRUPAG20 at the checkout!

For more information about Bagabook, check out their website.

Thank you to Bagabook for providing us with a sample tote bag and for providing the prize for this giveaway. All opinions expressed are, as always, completely honest and entirely our own.

Project Brabham – Be A Part Of It

October 29, 2014 in Gifts, Promotion, Sport, Technology

Many readers will know that prior to becoming ill I was an engineer. I studied Electrical & Mechanical engineering at University and worked as an engineer until my health made it far too hard for me to continue. I’m sure I will get back into the field some day though, whenever I beat this thing! Anyway, coupled with my interest in engineering I was, and am, a huge fan of motorsport. I did my first rally (as a navigator) when I was 16, and continued until it no longer became possible. I loved it! These days my participation goes as far as watching it on the TV or a live stage via webcam, but my interest is still very much there…if you follow me on Twitter you’ll know just how much I love my sport.

So when I heard about Project Brabham, my interest was immediately piqued. Could this be a way for me to still feel part of motorsport and engineering, but from the comfort of my bed? Well, let me tell you a bit about the Project.


Even if you aren’t a petrolhead I’m sure you will be familiar with the name Sir Jack Brabham. He was an Australian racing driver, a triple F1 World Champion and one of the founders of the Brabham racing & constructor teams. The Brabham team was extremely successful, not only in F1 but across motor racing. In its latter days the team boasted F1 drivers such as Martin Brundle, Damon Hill and Mark Blundell, some truly talented Brits!

Sir Jack’s son David Brabham is one of the most successful and experienced specialists in sports car racing. He is one of only 4 Australians to have won the 24 Heures Du Mans!

credit - Peugeot Sport

credit – Peugeot Sport


He, together with others, has launched Project Brabham, an innovative new crowdfunding project which will see the implementation of a “model of open source racing to build and fund a sustainable team”. 

Brabham aims to return to the track in the FIA World Endurance Championship next season with a three-year LMP2 programme. In year four, the marque will finally return as a constructor by way of LMP1, with firm intentions of winning the only world title for sportscars and the greatest endurance race on earth, the Le Mans 24 Hours. Series such as the FIA Formula E Championship could also be a consideration while Brabham hopes to one-day return to Formula 1.

What’s this got to do with you? Well you can be part of this fantastic project! You can help to bring the Brabham team back to the race track by backing the Project’s crowdfunding. From as little as £1 you can be a part of this journey! The Crowdfunding ends on 1st November 2014 and they are edging ever closer to their £250k target.

There’s more though. In these early days Brabham will be creating an online portal Brabham-Digital. It will be a place where the team will share knowledge and behind-the-scenes information. It will also be a platform where you can help to influence team decisions in these early days.



There are four packages available; Brabham-Fan (£25), Brabham-Driver (£75), Braham-Engineer (£100) and Full Access (£125). Each package will give a different insight into the team and you have until 1st November to sign up here!

I really love this concept! For me, it means I can feel part of this special project from the comfort of my bed. I can be a part of this pioneering project and help, in some way, to influence motorsport history. Pretty amazing huh?

There are various other ways you can support the team, from having your name on the car (£40) to being part of the team for a whole weekend with a Le Mans Hospitality Pit Pass (£5500).

With Christmas coming up there are also gift boxes available. For £50 (UK delivery) you could give the racing fan in your life an exclusive gift box including a one-off certificate and a limited edition, iconic Brabham Print (there’s more in there too, have a look over on the website for more information). It would make an amazing gift for the motorsport fan in your life.

Can you tell I’m rather excited by this project? I could go on and on, but I’ll stop! You can find all of the details, along with a list of all the perks available here. From £1 you could be part of motorsport history, I find that a very exciting prospect, don’t you?

For more information and to join in Project Brabham visit the website, but make sure you do it by the 1st November 2014!!

You can also keep up with Project Brabham on Twitter (@BrabhamOfficial) and Facebook.

Although I would have posted about this fantastic opportunity anyway, Brabham are very kindly sending an exclusive cap & potentially full access to Brabham-Digital. This has in no way influenced this post. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and completely honest.

Us by David Nicholls

October 11, 2014 in Books, Fiction

‘I was looking forward to us growing old together. Me and you, growing old and dying together.’

‘Douglas, who in their right mind would look forward to that?’

Douglas Petersen understands his wife’s need to ‘rediscover herself’ now that their son is leaving home.

He just thought they’d be doing their rediscovering together.

So when Connie announces that she will be leaving, too, he resolves to make their last family holiday into the trip of a lifetime: one that will draw the three of them closer, and win the respect of his son. One that will make Connie fall in love with him all over again.

The hotels are booked, the tickets bought, the itinerary planned and printed.

What could possibly go wrong?

Us Collage

It’s quite a while since I read any of David Nicholls’ work, the last being One Day. When I read the blurb for his new novel, Us, I knew I wanted to read it. I was extremely lucky to be sent a SIGNED copy by Bookbridgr; seriously guys I’m so grateful, thank you!

Douglas Peterson is a scientist who didn’t think he’d ever get married, until he met Connie. They’ve been married for 25 years and have one son, Albie. Albie’s leaving home to go to college and to mark the occasion Douglas has organised an epic family trip around Europe. It all sounds pretty good doesn’t it? Except Albie and Douglas aren’t overly close, and Connie has just announced that she thinks she might want to leave Douglas. So Douglas vows to make the holiday the best trip ever, and to win back his wife in the process. As you can probably imagine, things don’t go as smoothly as he had hoped.

We follow the story through the character of Douglas. He’s a really likable character, easy to relate to, intelligent and witty too. I actually pictured him like Walter White in Breaking Bad…well the way Walter was at the beginning of the show!

The story is told through fairly short chapters. I really like that about this book as through these short chapters we gradually see the whole picture.  As well as reflecting upon the trip, Douglas shares the story of how he and Connie met and the various milestones in their lives that lead them up to this point.

On the whole I really enjoyed this book. As you’d imagine Nicholls’ writing style once again shone through, making for a great read. He tackled the subject of a marriage in decline very well and despite the fact that the story is told through Douglas’ eyes, we did get a sense of how both Connie and Albie were feeling too. He also, in my opinion, captured the sense of anguish and frustration of the strained relationship between a father and son with particular skill. Truthfully though I wasn’t too keen on the character of Connie…maybe we are meant to feel this way, or maybe I’m just Team Douglas through and through? Anyway, what matters is that I found this book very enjoyable, easy to read and it kept me engaged.

Are you a David Nicholls fan? What did you make of Us?

With sincere thanks to Bookbridgr for providing me with a signed hardback of Us. All opinions expressed are, as always, completely honest and entirely my own.

The AW14 Blogger Style Challenge

October 6, 2014 in Bloggers, Clothes & Fashion, Competition Entry

Debenhams are inviting bloggers to join in their Autumn/Winter 14 Style Challenge. I don’t know about you, but this is my favourite time of year for fashion. I love layering up, digging out my boots and generally being cosy!

So I styled an outfit for myself based upon the Debenhams Autumn Luxe trend. As you can see, I’m going for a natural, comfortable-yet-stylish look.

Rhoda's Autumn Luxe Board

I. RJR. John Rocha, Designer Light Grey Blossom Jumper, £36

2. Yves Saint Laurent, Fusion Foundation, £30.50

3. Faith, Brown Leather Calf Length Mid Heeled Boots, £95

4. The Collection, Light Brown Double Breasted Short Mac Coat, £22.80

5. Urban Decay, Naked 3 Palette, £37

6. Illamasqua, Glamore Nude Lipstick, £18.50

7. RJR. John Rocha, Designer Blue Slim Leg Jeans, £35

As part of the challenge, we’ve been asked to create an outfit for a fellow blogger. I’ve picked Jo at Given To Distracting Others. She is a truly lovely lady, with a fantastic blog and a huge heart. I decided to go a bit more wintery for Jo’s outfit and combined items from the Debenhams Pinks & Berries trend.

Jo's Pinks & Berries Board

1. Jasper Conran, Designer Dark Blue Shape Enhancing High Waisted Skinny Jeans, £40

2. Essie, Shearling Darling Nail Polish, £8

3. Principles, Designer Wine PU Piped Mac Jacket, £75

4. Jasper Conran, Designer Off White Turtle Neck Knitted Jumper, £36

5. Guerlain, KissKiss Lipstick, £26

6. Principles, Designer Burgundy Enamel Link Collar Necklace, £20

7. Call It Spring, Wine “Shatz” Ankle Boots, £50

So there we go, my entry into the Debenhams Autumn/Winter 14 Blogger Style Challenge. I nominate Jo to take the challenge. If you want to enter the you can find all the details here. Good luck!

This post is an entry into the Debenhams Autumn/Winter 14 Blogger Style Challenge.

My Favourite Bookshop

October 3, 2014 in Books, Events

I LOVE bookshops. Whenever we visit somewhere new I have to check out the local bookshop! Thankfully my husband feels the same way, we could both spend hours and £££s in a good bookshop.

As a student I worked in a local bookshop through the holidays, it was BRILLIANT! Unboxing all of those lovely, fresh, new books was absolutely my favourite job. I freely admit that some of them didn’t make them as far as the shelf, I bought them before they had the chance to find a new home.

Anyway, I digress. Bookshops…. oh yes…

I was delighted to see that, after the success of their campaign last year, Books Are My Bag is back! They are once again shining the spotlight on bookshops nationwide.  It officially launches on 9th October (a great date…my birthday) with Big Bookshop Parties nationwide on Saturday 11th October 2014.

Facebookprofilesquare (1)


To celebrate the second year of this fantastic campaign, Bookbridgr bloggers are sharing their favourite bookshops. I have a rather long list of favourite, independent bookshops but I’ve picked one to share with you. It’s one that I can’t go by, it calls to me, some magical bookshop force seems to pull me in and I can’t leave again without having a good browse (a purchase or two is usually made too). What bookshop is it? It’s The New Bookshop in Cockermouth.

the new bookshop logo

Ok, so it’s not local to me. However my in-laws moved to Cockermouth about 20 months ago and, naturally, we visit as much as we can. Aside from seeing them, the bookshop is the highlight of every trip. I just love it! There is such a friendly atmosphere. It’s neat, organised and full of fantastic books! There’s more though, they even have beautiful stationery and a coffee shop (which features gluten free products). That seals the deal for me… cards, journals, coffee, gf treats and, of course, books… is there a better place to spend your money?

Truthfully this is one of my favourite bookshops. If I lived closer I’d spend a LOT of time in that place. They actually have a book group that my Mother-in-Law goes to and she loves it. Plus she’s always sharing great reads with me as a result!

I think it’s fantastic that Books Are My Bag are celebrating bookshops nationwide. With online shopping so accessible, a lot of people forget about their favourite bookshops. Think about this though… what would the world be like WITHOUT bookshops? Without that bookshop smell, the beautifully polished shelves, the chance to find a hidden gem and to chat with fellow booklovers? The thought of that makes me incredibly sad. So please, support your local bookshops, or indeed any bookshop. We need to make sure that our grandchildren get to experience the beauty of a bookshop, and ensure they don’t think books just come through the door in envelopes, or magically from the ether onto the screen of an e-reader!

It’s always been my dream to have my own bookshop. Maybe some day I will, but in the meantime I will continue to support bookshops and to show them support, and help increase awareness, through my Bag A Book Tote!



Before I go… make sure you keep your eyes peeled for the 2014 Collector’s Edition bag as designed by award-winning artist Tracey Emin (more details here).

Oh and if you find yourself in Cumbria, make sure you visit The New Bookshop, It is most definitely worth a visit!

 All opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own. This post has been submitted to the Bookbridr #ThisBookshop campaign.