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Vera Bradley

Vera who? is the response I expect most Brits to come out with-unless of course you are an afficionado like I am in which case I am preaching to the converted.

However for those of you non-americans who have yet to sample the delights of a 'Vera' -let me tell you more.

Vera Bradley was the mother of Barbara Bradley Baekgaard and her business partner Patricia Miller. They were waiting for a flight from Fort Wayne Indiana to Atlanta in 1982 and they noticed a distinct lack of feminine looking luggage and so they were inspired to start their own company which featured beautiful quilted fabrics made into stylish designs.

I first came across the gorgeous fabric bags in Downeast in Celebration and was instinctively drawn to them. Anyone who loves beautiful things cannot help but enthuse over the lovely patterns and the quality of the workmanship.

At first I thought they were quite expensive-but being a discerning shopper I soon learnt to look out for the sales and now with the good dollar rate-well it makes them almost half price.

In January this year-I took the plunge and bought my first Vera duffel bag. I'd had come over on an economy flight with a low weight allowance-just 20kg and part of that I needed for my computer. I just happened to check out these bags-I mean -they weigh nothing. The large duffel measures about 22 x 11. 5 x11. 5 ins -it's a nice straight oblong shape and it will hold loads. I love the way the long straps are sewn all the way round and under the bag-as like most people I am sick of straps coming away from the fabric on other bags. The zips are strong and sturdy and if the bag gets dirty-just throw it in the washing machine.

Since then I have bought stylish place mats, quilted clothes hangers, diaper bags for my daughter and baby and my best find-a wonderful pet carrier in 'Vera' Mesa Red fabric with a waterproof inside and a little mattress in the sale for just $24 dollars-normally $97.

As well as all different sizes and styles of bags they have also branched into casual clothing, stationary, accessories and so much more. It's real good fun just to go into one of the stockists and have a good rummage around.

Better still go to Fort Wayne next May for the annual Vera Bradley outlet sale and with 75%off you can really treat yourself.

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