Last weekend I had a wonderful day out at the Southbank Centre’s Festival of Love in London, discovering some fascinating exhibitions and art installations, as well as the great food market that is held there every weekend. Accompanying me were not one, but two, loves-of-my-love, namely Neill my half Italian, half English fiancé and a gorgeous leather handbag from Maxwell Scott Bags, that likewise is half English and half Italian. A winning combination indeed.

I think it’s fairly save to say that I’m in love with both of them.

My love affair with leather

I have had a love of leather for as long as I can remember and have oft lusted after other people’s stylish and timeless leather holdalls, briefcases and handbags in a way that is bordering on the obsessive. There is something so quietly sophisticated and discreetly understated, about quality leather products such as those of Maxwell Scott.

Why Maxwell Scott Bags?

Along the banks of the River Arno from Florence to Pisa, in the very heart of Tuscany, you’ll find the finest master craftsmen of the Italian leather industry just as you would have done for the last 200 years or more.

The concept behind Maxwell Scott Bags stems back to family holidays touring this beautiful region. Drawing on the rich Italian heritage of leather goods, founder William Scott Forshaw began to conceive an antidote to the throwaway fashion culture he had seen elsewhere. With a dedication to only using the finest materials and a design philosophy influenced by innovative yet understated British design Maxwell Scott Bags was born.

Maxwell Scott Bags - review

Using the finest leather the tannery in Tuscany employs methods that have been passed down through the generations, using tannins from the bark of chestnut trees. No chemicals are used in this process and the tannery recovers, recycles and reuses as much as possible, producing very little waste, ensuring that the end product is as environmentally friendly as it can be.

Every piece from Maxwell Scott Bags is handmade in Tuscany by their 15-strong production team, working to the strictest technical and ethical guidelines.

The dedicated work of the Italian craftsmen married with the elegant British designs is the perfect combination (just like my Neill).

Maxwell Scott are so confident about the longevity and quality of their leathers that they come with a 25-year warranty on every product (rather a shame Neill doesn’t too).

The Athenea

When Maxwell Scott asked me to review one of their products I was impressed with the philosophy behind the company and selected the Athenea, a simple large leather shopper. I’ve had it for over a month now and whether I’m wearing casual clothes or something smarter, it’s a perfect fit and there is plenty of room inside to organise my everyday essentials. As well as two large compartments, there is a central zipped compartment, plus a smaller internal zipped pocket. Finished with two thick shoulder straps, I found it very comfortable slung over my shoulder or carried as a tote.

I was so pleased with my handbag that I couldn’t resist treating myself to a matching purse, The Marcialla.

Unfortunately my lust for leather is still not satiated and my eyes are wondering to a sexy leather iPad case and a rather fine leather holdall, perhaps even a smart leather passport holder. Someone please hide my credit cards!

Check out their full range of lovely leather bags and accessories at

More from the Festival of Love

You can find out more about the Festival of Love, which runs until the end of August, on the Southbank Centre’s website and more about the markets here.

The highlight of the event for me was the enchanting collection of drawings in the exhibition Wot! No Fish?

From 1926 shoemaker Ab Solomons drew on a wage packet and gave it to his new wife Celie. He did this every single week until she died in the 80s. The collection of sketches is a fascinating insight into a Jewish family’s life in London and beautifully illustrates the ups and downs of the couples’ marriage, with remarkable honesty, against the backdrop of a changing city.


Thank you to Maxwell Scott Bags for sending me the Athenea handbag for review purposes. The opinions and photographs are my own.

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