Nothing gets you down like a rainy day, and living in England I get a lot of those.
One way to cheer yourself up is to have an arsenal of really pretty umbrellas that turn the rain from annoyance to opportunity to strut your stuff.
My love affair with umbrellas started when I was planning my wedding, and thought that â€“ this being England and all â€“ it might just rain.
I went to the famous traditional shop James Smith & Sons, based in Londonâ€™s West End.
They have been making umbrellas and walking sticks since 1830, and their craftsmanship can only be admired.
It is very difficult to go back to plastic handles after yielding one of their handmade creations.
I invested in a lovely ivory parasol which was also waterproof, and it was so pretty that I was actually glad when it turned out that it rained on my wedding day, as I had the excuse to use it!
I loved it so much that I bought an identical one in green for everyday use.
The only difficulty is to stop yourself from getting one in every colour available, like this pink pagoda one.
They are simply delicious.
At around Â£65 ($135) they are not exactly cheap, but they are so sturdy that they should last you a lifetime, and are also very handy for beating away burglars should the occasion arise.
What was once just a necessary practical tool, forgotten in the bottom of your bag, is now taking centre stage, and I notice that pretty umbrellas are becoming a must-have accessory, and an excuse to add a bit of fun to an outfit.
So here are some particularly pretty examples I found to inspire and add colour you when the skies turn grey.
This Square umbrella from Umbrella Heaven comes in a variety of colour, and is also folds up square.
It is elegant, but lets you make a statement with a bold colour, such as pinkâ€¦
If you really want to stand out and have a bit of fun without jumping into puddles, Squidarella might just be then answer.
It uses colour-changing technology so that what starts out as a black and white umbrella changes quickly when it comes into contact with rain.
Each drop causes a colourful design to show through until the entire umbrella is turned into an impressionist masterpiece that is different every time you take it out on a rainy day.
For a touch of vintage charm, this Edwardian Umbrella does the job and makes a bold statement
Dashing through a crowded city street can be tricky with an umbrella, and you often either bump into people or poke them in the eye.
On a windy day the rain can easily blow underneath your umbrella and ruin your makeup, which just will not do.
Lovely transparent Bubble designs such as these are a good solution which let you see where you are going and provide much more protection against the rain
Alice Bonasio is a Brazilian/American/Italian writer specializing in Digital Cultures. She has been published in Gamestm, Edge, The Escapist and 360. She is currently finishing an MA in Creative and Media Enterprises at the University of Warwick. She lives in England and is a PR Executive for one of the UKâ€™s hottest tech start-ups, The Filter. Contact her on LinkedIN and follow her on Twitter.
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