I am not a brand name person. It has never interested me to pay more for, let's say, an item of clothing just because it is populating the populace, might make me popular or, perversely, more easily non-identifiable. I'd rather stand out, or save my money; simple as that.
Perhaps this comes from being a second child. Perhaps it comes from my non-lavish and threadbare childhood where cents counted. Our family was no different to those around me, so, perhaps, it was just the way it was.
My husband, three children and I took one bag for our planned year-long French adventure plus a small back-pack each for our travel items. For the children, these smaller bags were to double as school bags and for me, as a hand bag. As much as possible, I packed with a practical mind. We were going to France, but I was under no illusions as to my capacity to slide gracefully in amongst the fabulously styled French women whom I was expecting to encounter. And, I chose to interpret the gift of a soft, long white scarf and matching gloves from my Melbourne French friends who farewelled me, as concern for my wellbeing in the cold climate of the French Alps rather than a start on a necessary new French wardrobe.
Fortunately, too, the children at 6, 9 and 12 years old were not at all demanding, and were more interested in having a supply of coloured pencils and their parents with them than the latest brand anything.
Used to wearing a school uniform in Australia, they enjoyed the novelty of being able to choose jeans and a jumper for school and were only momentarily bewildered by the need to wear slippers in the French classroom. But, the eminently practical and suitable back packs set aside for their school paraphernalia did set them apart.
What we discovered was that the younger children were either pulling back-friendly 'wheelie' bags - not out of place at Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport - or wearing brand items, such as the pleasing four-euro Naf-Naf one (see left) found at our first vide-grenier.
For the collégiennes, gone was the practicality and in was the style. I had forgotten about these little Vanessa Bruno school bag substitutes until last week, and when I saw them in Mosman at Montmartre Concept Store (see right), they brought back a whole host of memories.
My most favourite of which is that they all seemed to be carried identically, and in a very particular way; let's just call it 'the teapot tip'.
I hope you enjoy this musical interlude by legendary Australian group, The Wiggles, by way of explanation and if you haven't come across Jacqui's French Village Diaries, now is a good time to visit as in this entry, Jacqui herself is performing as a little teapot to groups of very appreciative schoolchildren in her role as librarian.
***Copies of 'But you are in France, Madame', which take you with us on our French adventure are easily downloadable at Amazon, here or send me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd prefer a print copy.***
|"I'm a Little Teapot" is an American song describing the heating and pouring of a teapot. The song was originally written by George Harold Sanders and Clarence Z. Kelley and published in 1939|