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The Cross Body Bag {Hands Free}

Author: Charlotte O'Shea

As you read this it will be my birthday, and I will spending it in hospital as my elective c-section was on Saturday and I am not permitted to return home until tomorrow. You can have a butchers at my instagram if you would like to see our beautiful daughter Iris….

This post is probably the antithesis to Lauren’s minimalism post, however I feel this rather unique situation gives me the go ahead to enable you to all buy yourself a BEAUTIFUL bag. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than discovering something useful and lovely to look at at that others will also enjoy owning.

It started with becoming a Mum, a cross body bag was a life saver when it came to housing all of my personal bits and pieces in an easy-access accessory whilst manovering a small human around shops and various day-out type adventures.

My ultimate cross body bag of choice is my only truly “expensive” designer purchase – the Marcie by Chloe. I LOVE it. And it is perfect for weddings, nights out and any other special occasion where I don’t have the responsibility of a small child who may decide to wipe food or snot down the front of my fancy leather. Also it lacks compartments. COMPARTMENTS ARE IMPORTANT FOR EVERYDAY LIFE. Especially when you are in a rush/need to find your car keys when it’s pissing it down and you are stuck outside without an umbrella or hood desperately trying to pacify your tantrum throwing toddler (happens).

The ultimate ultimate gorgeous cross body bag with compartments? The Celine Trio. Which is even more spendy than the Marcie, and you wouldn’t want to risk small grubby paws on that either.

But I have discovered an alternative! And it’s only £38. It’s the Kennedy Three Pocket Cross Body Bag by Oliver Bonas. I have treated myself to the blush but the yellow version is perfect for Spring. So luxe looking and practical is this bag that I have already bought it as a gift for a friend who is expecting her first baby at the end of the month.

Whilst I was in the new Oliver Bonas store in Leamington Spa (make a trip – it’s so well curated and full of ALL THE THINGS) I was also admiring the Juno Cross body bag which comes in both grey and brown (two rather than three compartments but still chic) which is £39.50. Similar to the Chloe Marcie in design is the Carter ring cross body bag (the most stunning shade of dusky blue) which is also under forty quid.

And if you want to match your new Oliver Bonas bag to a pretty piece of knitwear then the pointelle detail top by Topshop is £22 and comes in pale blue, blush AND mustard – the latter works really well with brown leather/tan. If you have any kind of bust/are longer in the body then I would highly recommend sizing up.

If you are a fan of the Mulberry Antony Satchel (the Oxblood shade – I do love it so) but don’t want to sell your soul in order to afford to buy one (I should just point out they last a lifetime and so are great value – I have two girlfriends who have had theirs years and still use them regularly)…then Boden have come up with an elegant classic for under £100. The Tabitha “saddle bag” comes in a timeless tan, navy, yellow and my personal favourite – the pink/mauve “Rosebay” hue.

I am at the stage now where if I’m honest, I want convenience, practically and aesthetics from any bag I invest in, a large tote just doesn’t do it for me at all. There is simply too much opportunity to carry around things you don’t need and lose small items in a bottomless pit of crumpled up tissues and receipts.

A rucksack is admittedly great for holidays and longer day trips but you still have to get the thing of your back to rummage around in it for what you need.

I’m small, compact, compartmentalised cross-body ALL THE WAY.

Do let me know your favourite bag of choice and please feel free to enable with links in the comments section below.

  • Oliver Bonas Kennedy Bag (Yellow)
    Oliver Bonas Kennedy Bag (Yellow)
  • Chloe Marcie Bag
    Chloe Marcie Small
  • Carter Ring Cross Body Bag
    Carter Ring Cross Body Bag
  • Boden Tabitha Saddle Bag Rosebay
    Boden Tabitha Saddle Bag Rosebay
  • Mulberry Antony Satchel
    Mulberry Antony Satchel
  • Juno Cross Body Bag Grey
    Juno Cross Body Bag
  • Kennedy Cross Body Bag Blush
    Oliver Bonas Kennedy Bag (Blush)

P.S. Do come back this afternoon for our new Monday (and Wednesday!) family posts.

Purveyor of short shorts. Make-up junkie. Hopes to grow old disgracefully.
Follow Charlotte on instagram @charlotte.oshea

25 thoughts on “The Cross Body Bag {Hands Free}

  1. Firstly, congratulations on baby Iris. Gorgeous name and she’s so beautiful! Secondly, happy birthday!! I hope someone is sneaking you a small glass of champagne in to hospital..

    This is excellently timed for me because our second baby is due on our wedding anniversary and I have been eying up a potential cross body bag as a gift option.. when our daughter was born my husband bought me a Marc Jacobs tote that I love but the fact that it balances on my shoulder means that it’s not that practical with a small child.. so I too have started a love affair with the cross body bag!

    And the yellow Boden one is going to the top of the list!!

    I suspect you won’t be reading this but have a wonderful day!

    1. Hi Jennifer! I am here – might as well internet shop if I am confined to a hospital room on my birthday 🙂

      The Boden bag is lush – I’m wondering if I can justify the pink one for myself x

  2. Congratulations and happy birthday! Baby Iris is beautiful 🙂 I love the cross body bag too, I have a grey Fiorelli for MY bits rather than toddler bits and I love it. I remember deciding I needed one after your first post about your Marcie which I was very envious of. So thanks! X

  3. She’s beautiful, congrats. Hope the prolonged stay isn’t due to any complications and that you recover quickly.

    Never thought of Oliver Bonas for bags but oh they have some beauties x

    1. Rachel I don’t think of them for bags either – but I want them all! My stay is just to make sure I’m ok/baby is ok etc but thanks for asking x

  4. Happy birthday and huge congratulations on the birth of another beautiful baby girl!!! I’m a mum of two girls too and it is just the Best!

    And I’m only just recently enlightened by this crossbody bag thing! And the compartments thing too!!! I got the Stella & Dot Bowery Versatile Belt Bag which has two zip compartments and can also be changed into a bum bag !! This is great for dog walkers (apparenty!) and I’m taking mine to our first child free festival in the summer. Cannot wait!
    Plus being able to take keys, phone purse and a spare pair of kiddies leggings (in case of littlest one’s accidents) saved my eldest from the embarrassment of doing gymnastics club with her backside hanging out after a change from her ill fitting “gap sports for kids” leggings I had initially put her in. I was half laughing/ half dying in shame watching her class!!! Someone did say how on earth did you have a change in that tiny bag!?

    Wishing you a speedy recovery xxx

    1. Sophie this looks fab – James and I always keep spare clothes and wipes etc in each of our car boots, they have saved us on so many occasions!!! Thanks for your kind wishes x

  5. Oh my my I neeeeeed that yellow bag in my life. I am squarely blaming you for this soon to be purchase!

    I have always been about the cross body bag, even as a teenager on a night out (maybe especially then!!). They are the best and as great now I’m a mummy as they were for a hands free handbag night on the dancefloor!

    Congratulations on the safe arrival of your daughter Charlotte 🙂 Wonderful news!! xxx

    1. Sarah The Oliver Bonas one? I have the blush and think that for £38 I should also have the yellow too, well….it is my birthday after all. Ha haha. Absolutely cross body for a night out – more hands to hold gin 🙂 x

  6. Happy Birthday to Charlotte, and blooming well done on Iris! She is just as beautiful as her name suggests.

    I have so many friends who swear by their cross body bags but whenever I have tired one out I get the dreaded cut between my boobs and it just all looks so odd! How does one avoid this?!


    1. Ha ha Pamela you do have to get the right “fit” – which is to do with length and width of strap – ideally the bag bit should sit against your hip and the strap needs to be on the thinner side. Also don’t overload your cross bod bag otherwise the weight might give a weird cut between boobs situation x

  7. I have been searching for some time for a new practical every day bag, I don’t have toddler or baby storage issues but I do like an organised bag! And a cross body cos I can’t cope with carrying one on my forearm (not that fancay) or it slipping off my shoulder all day! I think I’m going to treat myself to the Oliver Bonas one but undecided between 2 or 3 compartments (tough life choices obvi). I hope hospital life is treating you well, and that you and cute little Iris are doing well! Bet Mabel can’t wait to have you both home!! And happy happy birthday!!!! Xx

    1. Alex it depends on how you organise your life, I like 3 compartments as I like one for make-up, one for keys/cards and one for my phone/tissues etc

      The hospital I am in is great – UCLH, my consultant is based here so I essentially went wherever he was. Midwives have all been AMAZING x

      1. That’s great to hear about the care you’ve received!! And three compartments seems to make total sense now! I’m gonna do it. I mean, I don’t know why I didn’t have a compartment for make up before? What was I thinking?!! I can see it being a game changer! Xx

  8. Happy birthday Charlotte and congratulations on Iris – the absolute best kind of birthday present! 😍

    I’ve been coveting that Celine bag for a while but will probably just have to keep using my trusty Mulberry Alexa. I might buy one or two of those Topshop jumpers to console myself though! x

    1. Tracy you need a jumper! so pretty – and they look much more expensive than they actually are. Thanks so much for the well wishes x

  9. Huge congrats on Iris, beautiful name for a beautiful girl! And if you have to be in hospital on your birthday then it is the best reason 😊Hope the surgery went well and you’re home soon. I treated myself to the oxblood Mulberry double zipped Bayswater last year over the traditional bayswater because I love all the compartments! It was eye wateringly expensive but I feel amazing whenever I use it. Unfortunately it has been stored for the next 6 months while I’m on mat leave as it doesn’t work with a toddler and a newborn but I can’t wait to get it out again when I return to work. Do you use your cross body bag as well as a changing bag? Lx

    1. A double zipped Bayswater you say…. that sounds amazing!

      I do use a changing bag as well as a small cross body, interestingly we bought a Michael Kors manbag in the Selfridges Sale for shorter day trips which was essentially a cross body as well, it fit three nappies in, wipes, change of clothes, dummy and a few other bits, then we put a bottle on the side using one of those thermal carry cases attached to the strap. We ended up using it much more than the big changing bag we had as it was so much easier to manage.


  10. Aww Congratulations Charlotte – hope you are all doing well!

    Love J Crew for bags. Have this one in pink that they dont seem
    to do anymore but love it in tan!

    Also very much coveting this one!

    A little spendy but lovely quality!!
    Rachie xo

  11. I love, love, love the look and the idea of a cross body bag – especially for using for mama essentials which inevitably fall to the bottom of a massive baby change bag. I’ve got a few – lovely red with metallic chain from M&S, a great 3 compartment leopard print from Whistles (love their bags), a nice pink one that came free with my Tiba and Marl rucksack and I’m currently lusting after something spendy from Mulberry. A massive big BUT though – I have big boobs and they never seem to sit quite right 😭. Anyone else in the same boat?!

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