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A little luxury goes a long way

I celebrated turning 28 during the week and am definitely feeling my age after my birthday night out! I just can't handle going dancing on a 'school night' anymore.

I was pleased that many of my friends were free to join me in celebrating last Wednesday and was delighted to be spoilt with a very generous Brown Thomas gift voucher. This will help with saving towards my next investment piece.

This time last year I was a full-blown 'recessionista' spending my days job searching and gloomily window shopping. I promised myself that, once back working, I was finally going to treat myself by investing in a proper, designer handbag.

I got my wish at Christmas in the form of a Mulberry Bayswater -- two words that can evoke an 'ah' from many a girl. I went halves on the bag with my boyfriend. It was to double as a Christmas present from him and a 'back to work' gift to myself, after six long months of job hunting.

I had long imagined the delight at owning such a beautifully crafted bag -- the quality in everything from the stitching to the soft interior, durability and, of course, the stylish statement of such an iconic accessory. I love the high street for clothes and spend most of my weekends browsing the various shops, but not caring much for designer labels.

However, with bags it's different. This is one area I now won't compromise on and my impressive collection of 'regular' bags is now gathering dust in my hallway.

I absolutely adore my Mulberry -- I had gone into Brown Thomas with my equally obsessed friend to paw at it for months and feel no shame in how much happiness it brings me. Some people my age invest in cars, others invest in fashion.

I will cherish and use it for ever -- the 'cost per wear' factor means it's already become a bargain as it has saved me from buying a single 'disposable trend' bag this year as the Mulberry hasn't left my side in more than six months.

The experience last year of losing two jobs due to the recession has taught me a lot about money and I'm proud of how savvy I've become with spending and saving, wasting little and saving a lot. Spending the money on my beloved Bayswater, however, is definitely well worth the price, and I'm aiming to buy another one at some stage with my vouchers.

Plus, if my post-birthday hangover is anything to go by, I'll be saving more money from now on as mid-week drinking becomes very occasional.