Friday, 26 March 2010

A few highs

This week (well the past couple of weeks really) has been quite difficult, at present I still have to work everything through in my head before I can start to think about how to blog about it.

But there have also been some great highs, much more fun to share :)

The great bag search of the last 12 months is finally over.  Since I brought a little netbook for working on the train (and subsequently switched for a ultra portable laptop so I could also code as well as read / write documents) I've had to carry a laptop bag with me.  Initially I just used a rucksack with the netbook in it's neoprene sleve, but that didn't work too well trying to find it in all the junk that also got threw in the bag whilst on a train.

About a year ago I gave up looking for something stylish, gender neutral, and that I was happy to carry around with me and went for this:
It did the job, but I never really liked it.  I did find one that I loved last year (a Kipling) but didn't have the spare cash at the time, and have never found the same bag since...

This week Mrs Stace finally got her laptop from work so that she can work from home when she has to do strange hours (half of her team is in Houston so meetings can be arrange at stange hours for us Europeans).  She didn't want to use the bag that came with it as it screams laptop - something she didn't want as a single woman travelling 30 miles by train to work.  So we decided that we would both restart the great bag hunt and see what we could find.

After trying several shops I had almost given up again - if you want pink or a something that I would not get away with in bloke mode then you can get a laptop bag that doesn't look like a laptop bag easily.  If not you're are going to struggle.

Then I read Nicky's entry on handbags and it got me in the mood to try again... It also suddenly dawned on me.  I'm a web developer / project manager working for the largest internet insurance broker in the Netherlands.  Why was I trapsing around in the hope of seeing something I liked, rather than searching online for something and going for specific searches in the shops.  'Doh' moment :)

Got the Kipling site and found the bag I wanted immediately:

It's a Kipling Becky, and almost imposible to find outside of the Kipling shop :(

But a few calls to the shops in Hilversum and I managed to get one.  They had two in the shop - grey (as above) and black.  Looking at it with the shop assistant I decided the black would be the better idea, as I commented to her I thought people may comment on the grey if I turned up to the office with it.  As she was starting to sort it I decided to call Mrs Stace - she checked the images online and thought I could get away with the grey...  So I changed my mind and got the one I went for in the first place - the shop assistant thought I was crazy but...  Happy happy, joy joy :)

The bag istelf is about the size of a 15" laptop, plenty of space for everything I take to work with me everyday.  I'm really pleased with it.  Looks like an oversized handbag, but is oversized enough that I have not yet had any comments on it...

The other high this week came from whilst at Schiphol airport searching for laptop bags.  There was a cosmestics stand in the middle of the floor who were stopping to acost people as they passed.  I let myself be stopped (something I don't normally do) and they demonstrated nail care products.  It was quite nice to have it done, the dounside being I was left with one shiny nail...  I was impressed though with how shiny it well it worked without having any varnish though.  Didn't buyt it (I thought that buying two laptop bags this week was expenditure enough) - a good idea in the end as the shiny one is now as dull as the others again...  One thing that surprised me was that they were stopping more men than women...

Oh and one last one... I discovered that I had a hole in my short pockets last Sunday.  I discovered this when I trie to open the front door to find I had no keys...

After spending the day buying new barrels for the locks, and fitting them, we were all secure again - but it meant I needed a new keyring.  I found this one at Schiphol:
And got this one for Mrs Stace:

It may not be the collection of Jess, but we like them :) 


  1. I never get accosted by cosmetics demonstrators, wonder why? :)

  2. Try coming to Schiphol - I'm sure you can manage it there :)


  3. I like the bag, and I agree with your Mrs. Stace that it will work for either gender. The key rings are cute too!

    Smoothing out ridges and buffing the nails can give them a lovely shine, but the buffing has to done almost daily for the shine to stay brilliant, especially if you have your hands in water a lot. The main advantage that I have found to buffing nails, is that it provides a much smoother surface for applying nail polish (nail varnish for you Brits). When the nails are buffed, the polish goes on much easier, looks better, and lasts longer.

    Melissa XX

  4. Thanks Melissa. I found a buffer yesterday for less thana Euro (better then the 25 euros at Schiphol). My nails (and Mrs Staces) do shine very nicely now, but yes they go dull a little quickly.

    I'll find out how the nail varnish looks with smoother nails next week :)


  5. The bag's v nice. I had a red Kipling bag for ages, and really liked it. Someone pointed out to me that you can also stick the monkey's thumb in its mouth or get it to join hands and stuff. I'd never noticed....
    These days I have a Timbuk2 messenger which is hugely huge, so that things can get lost in there and it has to be spring cleaned every now and then. But I find it hard to be minimal with bags, and anyway you never know when you might need the sketchbook, the sherbet lemon with fluff on it or the multitool...

  6. Thanks Dru.

    It's my second Kipling (first was a rucksack that lasted for years) so I knew that you could put it's thumb in it's mouth. I didn't know about making it hold it's hands though. I'll have to try :)

    the sherbet lemon with fluff on it
    Eww.... :)

    I'm not sure you can be minimal. I think Parkinsons law applies to bags as well as work. Items expand to more than fill the space in a bag, even if the law has been taken into account :)


  7. The bag looks big enough for your nail varnish and a backup pair of pantyhose, too.

    I got accosted the same way here in Kentucky, but I was overcome by the shiny nail and paid way too much for a nail care kit. I still shop like a guy, I suppose.

  8. Should the need arise, then yup, I'm sure they'll fit in :)

    I was about to check what space I have left, when I realised I'm by motorbike today and so it's at home on the bedroom floor...