Thursday, 05 July 2012

Home Help: 6 July

Hugh St Clair helps you bag the chicest, most colourful holdalls, baskets and totes to guarantee you’ll make a splash on the beach this summer

Written by Hugh St Clair

So you've already bought sun cream, a swimming costume and clothes in anticipation of your holiday. But whether you flee Britain for warmer climes or go on a bucket-and-spade vacation nearer home, you will need something smart and practical to lug all the gear to the beach. You can, of course, buy the perfect holdall at a French market, but if that's not an option, don't worry, Rebecca Cooke of Le Papillon Vert has been there for you and found baskets with brown leather handles, ones dyed in bright colours that will make a bit of a splash on the sand and others with pretty fabric trimmings. The company also sells wholesale, so one of its bags may be on sale near you. Check with them.

The Travelling Souk calls itself The A-Z of Chic Boutiques. 'It's like a virtual bazaar, and we invite people to take a stall,' explains founder Georgiana Pike. The Carrier Company, one of the stallholders, has lovely coloured canvas totes and a pretty drawstring bag made of raffi a with a stripy bottom, an inside pocket and a drawstring to close. Another stallholder, BasketBasket, sells coloured woven baskets made in the Bolgatanga region of Ghana, some strong enough to carry bottles and picnics. As with the internet, don't just type 'baskets' into this site – be more specific. For example, type in 'beach bags' to find examples from the Carrier Company and Bolgatanga for the sturdy African carrier.

River Island's very pretty zigzag-patterned canvas bag is excellent for taking clothes to the beach and doubles as a smart summer handbag, .

A personalised tote makes a great gift for a child or grandchild – Lands' End will even customise its Madras Handle Tote and offers a red and green check handle for boys and a pink and purple check one for girls.

Hugh-St-Clair-July6-01-590Listed from left to right:

  • Lola basket, £30, Le Papillon Vert: 07810-857236,
  • Bolgatanga African market baskets, from £26 each, BasketBasket at The Travelling Souk: 020-8133 0728,
  • Leather trim classic, £27, BasketBasket, The Travelling Souk: as before


  • Hugh-St-Clair-July6-02-590

Above left to right:

  • Drawstring beach basket, £32, BasketBasket: as before
  • Zigzag beach bag, £28, River Island: 0844-576 6444,
  • Madras handle tote, £32, Lands' End: 0845-0123 000,


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