Waaaaaaay back in March, when I published my very first blog post, I lamented the loss of shopping in fabulous independent boutiques after moving from London to my Small Town.

When I lived in South West London (Clapham then Battersea followed by Tooting), I was never far from such boutiques in Clapham Old Town, Northcote Road and Wimbledon Village.

These boutiques generally carried stock that was certainly pricer than your average high street store, but equally they offered up what I felt was a vital and refreshing change to the usual high street offerings.

Back then, I would usually treat myself to one or two pieces a season from these boutiques, and mix things up with my high street threads.

I never winced at the prices I paid for these pieces either: quite simply because they were made from the best fabrics with excellent cuts and carried a certain timeless quality & style that would work hard in my wardrobe and last season after season.

Anyway, roll forward to March 2016, when I started this blog and joined Instagram and discovered: Hero Stockbridge:


Image credit: Hero Website

Stockbridge is a fellow small town, about a 25 minute drive from my home and is just over the Wiltshire border into Hampshire.

Hero – is just such an Independent Boutique which I’ve missed during the past 6 years of my Small Town living, and discovering it  – that it’s virtually on my doorstep –  is beyond exciting.

Founded by Laura Turner, 2 years ago, Hero is pitched as more than just a boutique, as described on their own website:

“Hero is a bricks and mortar store based in the beautiful Hampshire town of Stockbridge.

We are also an online destination, sharing our curated Hero shop collection, with our customers around the world”

The shop is light & airy and beautifully curated with helpful friendly staff who know their stock, all of which is hand-picked by founder, Laura, who couldn’t be described better than on their own website as ‘a Hero Maven, for whom no detail is too small’ and this shows:

Laura in her shop wearing the Ida on Stage Noir Stars sweater (image credit: Hero Website) – click on image to take you through to the Hero Online store


A sense of humour is apparent from this framed print as well as lovely styling (or is it vignette?!)

On entering the shop you’re greeted by a beautiful display of Papette Stationery as well as beautifully curated rails of clothing:


Papette stationery perfectly displayed

As well as stocking brands such as Seven Boot Lane, Rosemunde, Needle and Donna Ida Denim, Hero holds regular Events designed to connect creative individuals from Hampshire & the surrounding area in the form of Blogging to Brush Lettering workshops as well as of course holding a Donna Ida Denim Clinic.

And so it was, that last Wednesday, a beautifully mild, sunny and crisp autumnal morning, I drove along the straight-run of ‘roman roads’ to Hero for my ‘Denim Clinic” appointment with the Jeans-Queen herself, Donna Ida.

E.x.c.i.t.e.d. doesn’t cover it.


Donna Ida wearing Ramona Culotte Pinafore from her own collection (image credit: google)

Donna opened her first boutique selling not only jeans, but offering a fitting service of the jeans – this was after Donna herself experienced a terrible jeans-buying experience first hand.

Her brand has gone from strength to strength and she now has 3 more boutiques as well as an online store and of course her denim is stocked in various boutiques around the country such as Hero Stockbridge.

Fans of Donna Ida jeans range from Millie Mackintosh to Kate Middleton and I was about to find out why.

On arriving at Hero, Emily (who looks after the Events at Hero as well as managing all social media for the shop) greeted me and sorted me out with a giant cup of tea before taking me through to meet Donna Ida.

It was a strange moment, as to me, a ‘mere mortal’ –  Donna is a famous ‘fashion world’ person and here I was –   little Small Town Bean – about to meet her: for the briefest of moments I felt almost nervous – however, I needn’t have worried.


Star stuck? Moi?! Here I am with the lovely Donna Ida who is rocking her own Ida Eliza Dungarees in this season’s gorgeous Plum Jam colour and a coated finish. Click on pic if you fancy buying a pair.

Donna greeted me with a warm smile and kiss on the cheek and immediately sized me up as a “24. Yeah, you’re definitely a 24…”

She asked me what I was looking for, whether or not I had a cut in mind and then got to work sifting through the various styles of jeans for me.

Initially, although a skinny fit wasn’t what I was after, Donna got  me to try on the Rizzo Skinnies, just to confirm that I was indeed a 24.

I was.  She was right.  Of course she was right!

Donna’s jeans tend to have a higher rise than I am used to  – in fact, I generally veer away from a higher-waist trouser because, being as teensy as I am, the high-waisted jeans/trouser tend to be nothing short of ‘nipple warmers’ on me: not a great look.

But, I have to say, that the Rizzo’s did not come up *so* high at all.  Far from it, they just sat on on my natural waist, and gave my rather boyish figure some much needed shape – leg lengthening too!

I really, liked them.


Trying on the Donna Ida Rizzo Jeans in the Hero changing room – yes, there *is* palm printed wallpaper!

And I didn’t think I would.

I was surprised, but the higher waist instantly felt more comfortable. Why have I stuck to low-rise jeans for soon long?  Probably because most high-waisted jeans have been way too high for petites!  Donna Ida’s higher waisted jeans really do sit perfectly on the natural waist.

Also, the Rizzo are perfect for the vertically challenged amongst us because not only do they elongate the leg, they are an ankle length jean and so will either be the right length on you or if you’re extremely tiny like me, look great with a small, simple turn-up.

However, I already have a couple of pairs of skinnies which I’ve hardly worn in recent months, probably since buying some GAP Girlfriend Jeans back in April, so this time, I knew I was after more of a straighter cut.

That would be the Ida Jeannie Cigarette Jeans in True Blue and although I stupidly didn’t take a photo of me trying them on, I did buy these.

And again, the higher waist was both comfortable and flattering.

Every time I tried on a pair of jeans, I’d pop out of the changing room for a quick assessment with Donna.

She really knows her stuff and is known as the Jeans-Queen for good reason:  She’s straight talking so I imagine, if the cut or fit isn’t right, I’m sure she’d tell you; however, Donna knows her craft all too well, and frankly I can’t see that she would ever get it wrong.

Because Donna found “my perfect jeans” so quickly, there was time time to have a chat with her afterwards, as well as with local Winchester based stylist, Sulky Doll (also called Donna, but I’m gonna stick to Sulky Doll here to avoid confusing you!).

It was really nice to drink my cuppa & just have a good old chin-wag with Donna who was only to happy to talk about the how and why she came to set up her own denim line, and of course Sulky Doll was on hand to talk about styling tips.


Donna Ida rocking the coated dungarees with Donna from Sulk Doll Styling.

So as mentioned, I bought the Jeannie Cigarette jeans which, for us shorties, do need to taking up. Yup, #shortgirlproblems

However, when the cut and fit is as good as the Ida Jeannie’s: its no bother at all.

As far as pricing goes, these are not the cheapest jeans, but neither are they the most expensive.  To me, as far as denim is concerned: I do believe you get what you pay for.

And, like most of us, I tend to buy a couple of ‘higher-end’ jeans as well as having some cheaper, regular high street jeans in my wardrobe, but without doubt, it is *always* my more expensive branded jeans which get the most wear and in a £ per wear calculation, they would definitely be the best value for money in the long run.

I’d love to say that I was strong and stuck to just one pair of jeans, but… I’d been saving for a while and wanted a high quality ‘statement’ jumper and much as I would love to own a Bella Freud 1970 Logo sweater, I’ve read that they are pretty long and probably not the best for a shortie like me.

I spotted this Donna Ida sweater and had to try it:


This sweater has a lovely, subtle puff-gather on the shoulder and a wider cuffed 3/4 length sleeve: it’s going to look great with my pleated midi skirts as well as with jeans of course!

Yes, I’m so predictable: metallic sparkle & stars!

I thought it was fitting given we are entering the season of sparkles, so I will be getting mucho wear from this heavenly soft, cashmere, starry baby in the run up to Christmas, over Christmas as well as into the new year.

I do love a star.  And I especially love a sparkly silver star.

Again, cashmere doesn’t come cheap, but my goodness, the amount I will wear this sweater: my instagram feed of daily outfits will probably get a little boring from here on in!

If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I am always mindful of budget: rather fortunately, I’d received a discount voucher in my ‘Hero goodie bag’ after attending a blogging workshop back in April which I was able to use and felt I got a great little deal.

I can’t tell you how pleased I am with my Donna Ida ‘haul’ and just the whole experience: if you get a chance & if Donna is holding a Denim Clinic near you, I can’t recommend it enough.

I’m also so thrilled to have discovered Hero Stockbridge, virtually on my doorstep: I’ve already earmarked a couple of the Scandi brand Rosemund sweaters, as well as this art print, which is most definitely being added to my Christmas wish list:


It wasn’t so long ago that I was wistful about having access to my London (well, any big city really) shopping experiences, but with Hero Stockbridge on my doorstep: it’s brought that excitement and uniqueness all closer to home.

I must at this point thank Laura and her team for looking after me – as well as for bringing that little bit of London out here to the shires. #winning!

If you’re planning on visiting any of the Christmas Markets in Winchester this December, Stockbridge is a stones throw away and *so* worth the small detour.

Hero is celebrating it’s 2nd birthday this month, sign-up to Hero for daily special offers.

I had a fabulous morning and met the lovely Donna @ Sulky Doll Styling and got some great tips (and will hopefully get to meet up with her again soon.)

And finally, thank you Donna Ida for creating your jeans and running Denim Clinics:  women often get so stressed and fed up when shopping for jeans, but Donna has eliminated all that emotional and stressful baggage with her fitting service and is justly awarded the title of ‘Jeans-Queen’.

Donna Ida Denim is celebrating a decade today: 10 years!!

So a very big Happy Birthday from me!!


Wearing ‘Double-Donna’ today – shop the look from Hero Online (click on pic)

I’m definitely a new fan of Donna Ida Denim, with the Foggy London Rizzo skinnies and Ida Ramona Dungarees next on my jeans wish list.

Have you ever been to a Donna Ida Denim Clinic?  If so, how did you fair?  As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts: leave a comment & I’ll get back to you.

I’ll aim to do a follow-up post soon with some more detailed photos of my Ida Cigarette Jeannie Jean’s.

Thanks for reading.

B Xx