Category Archives: Lifestyle

Fashionista goes to London: Sketch and Spitalfields

15th September 2015

This is the final instalment in my series of London posts. We managed to pack so much into one weekend there that I couldn’t fit it all into one post! In this post, we have lunch at Sketch and visit Spitalfields market, although not in the same day since they’re not especially close together.

I’ll start with Sketch because this was a real highlight of the trip. Lots of friends had recommended it and now I can see why. The design of this place is just out of this world!

Sketch London

Sketch London

Club sandwich and •Blackcurrant and Hibiscus tea at Sketch

Club sandwich and • Blackcurrant and Hibiscus tea at Sketch

Sketch is the brainchild of restaurateur Mourad Mazouz and Michelin star chef Pierre Gagnaire. It’s located on Conduit Street (close to Oxford Street), which makes it an ideal stop off point if you’re shopping, but give yourself plenty of time as it’s a unique experience you’ll want to enjoy. The food is, of course, sensational, but it’s the interiors in this place that really take the biscuit…

Pod toilets at Sketch London

Pod toilets at Sketch London

….just look at these space age toilets! They’re space-age pods with a loo inside, next to Victorian style hand basins, topped with a stained glass roof. How bonkers is that? The ladies that clean the loos are dressed like traditional Victoria housemaids, circa Downtown Abbey. Bizarre, but cool!

Cafe at Sketch

There’s an informal parlour, which is where we sat for lunch. It’s a mixture of brightly coloured shelves, bric-a-brac coloured furniture and sumptuous graphic print textiles. It serves tea, cakes and light bites, which is ideal if you’re just popping in for a mid-shopping trip lunch.

Parlour at Sketch

Parlour at Sketch

Bar at Sketch

Bar at Sketch

Then, there’s a fabulous plush dining room (shown at the top of this post) with powder pink booths and humorous black and white illustrations on the wall. This room is staffed by waiters in tux-style jackets carrying bottles of champagne, which adds to the more luxurious, formal atmosphere.

Next door, the Glade bar feels like a 1970s daydream, set in a garden. The bar is stocked with all kinds of cocktail-worthy spirits and the waitresses are dressed in boho style kaftans.

Sketch London

We only had a light lunch so I can’t speak for the rest of the menu, but even their humble club sandwich was unlike any other sandwich I’ve tasted. It was so rich, with surprising flavours and presented like a work of art. I’m not usually one for poncy food, but this was truly special.

Afternoon tea at Sketch

Afternoon tea at Sketch

What we ate:

  • Sketch club sandwich (£10.50)
  • Blackcurrant and Hibiscus tea (£4.50)

(They also had a marvellous selection of cakes which looked delightful, but we didn’t have room for any that day!)

Now on to Spitalfields – which is north of the city and best visited on a Sunday, which I believe is the ideal time to see the famous market. There, you’ll find an array of fashion stalls, as well as antiques, homewares and, well, all sorts really!

YSL Tribute sandals at Spitalfields market

YSL Tribute sandals at Spitalfields market

The vintage stalls were among my favourites because they housed some real fashion finds – this pair of YSL Tribute sandals were among the treasures there, but alas it wasn’t to be as they weren’t my size. It’s quite pricey when I compare it to some of the other vintage markets I’ve been to, because they know that it’s popular, but there’s usually a deal to be done if you know how to haggle.

Spitalfields market

Spitalfields market

One of the mistakes we made was going there after breakfast – there are so many yummy food stalls there with cuisines from all over the world, so go with an empty stomach and make sure you fill up on delicious treats!

Vagabond wine shop at Spitalfields

Vagabond wine shop at Spitalfields

And that concludes my little tour of London. If you loved this, check out my previous posts from this trip:

We’ll be back in Bristol in forthcoming posts, so if you’ve come looking for Bristol Fashion, don’t worry as we will get to that!

 

Fashionista goes to London: Carnaby Street and Chinatown

8th September 2015

Mr Jones and I celebrated our two-year wedding anniversary recently by taking a little weekend trip to London. Despite his protestations, I insisted on some shopping, but we mixed that with Chinese food, which works for us both…

The market at Covent Garden

The market at Covent Garden

Monki boutique on Carnaby Street

Monki boutique on Carnaby Street

Carnaby Street was popular in the swinging sixties and today it’s a mix of super brands and the cool, young boutiques it became famous for. Benefit has a beautiful little shop there, and close by there’s Monki, a playful clothing brand that features uber blogger Susie Bubble as its covergirl. Their style is fashionable and functional, with long-line coats and boyfriend jeans among their staples. I liked the designs but couldn’t find much to suit my petite frame and girly predilection, but their store design was just so cute, I had to go inside.

Rainbow stairs at Monki boutique

Rainbow stairs at Monki boutique

Rainbow stairs at Monki boutique

Rainbow stairs at Monki boutique

Their rainbow staircase in particular looks like a dream I once had. I’d love to do this in my house!

Just down the road from Monki, if you’re looking for a London souvenir but want something cooler than a tacky ‘I heart London’ T-shirt, make sure you stop off at We Built This City, a cute little enclave of creative goodies in Carnaby Street.

We Built This City on Carnaby Street

We Built This City on Carnaby Street

Graphic print wrapping paper at We Built This City

Graphic print wrapping paper at We Built This City

80s stairs at We Built This City on Carnaby Street

80s stairs at We Built This City on Carnaby Street

East London graphic artist Camille Walala has given this place an 80s inspired graphic twist, with patterned staircases and tutti fruity displays. Some of the décor actually reminded me of Betties + Baldwin’s in Bristol – it’s got a touch of rockabilly chic about it. Plus, they sell loads of cat related paraphernalia, which of course is my idea of a good time.

Colourful London merch at We Built This City on Carnaby Street

Colourful London merch at We Built This City on Carnaby Street

Colourful London merch at We Built This City on Carnaby Street

Colourful London merch at We Built This City on Carnaby Street

Mr Jones’ idea of a good time is eating, which is why we also went to Chinatown as part of our London trip. Not many people know this, but I am actually a quarter Chinese (my grandpa on my mum’s side was from China), so this might explain why the sight of dim sum makes my heart happy.

Dim sum at Wan Chai Corner

Dim sum at Wan Chai Corner

We went to Wan Chai Corner on Gerrard Street for lunch. This isn’t the most glamorous place in Chinatown, but its simple, greasy spoon café-like décor belies a menu of pure Chinese foodie gold!

Dim sum at Wan Chai Corner

Dim sum at Wan Chai Corner

We had a tough time choosing from the huge dim sum menu, but we decided to go for some fishy options because it’s different to what we would usually have at home and they sounded delicious. My personal favourites are always the steamed buns and prawns, but the octopus curry was pretty special too. The prices are also amazing – we spent about £22 in total for the two of us, which is fantastic value in London.

Dim sum at Wan Chai Corner

Dim sum at Wan Chai Corner

What we ate
(Dish names might vary on the menu, prices between £2 – £4 per dish):

  • Deep fried crispy squid with chilli sauce
  • Grilled turnip cakes
  • Prawns in pastry with sesame seeds
  • Spicy pork dumplings with peanut filling
  • Octopus curry (not pictured)
  • Steamed chilli buns
  • Jasmine tea

If you loved this, check out my previous post from this trip: Fashionista goes to London: Shoes at the V&A museum

Fashionista goes to London: Shoes at the V&A museum

30th August 2015

Bristol Fashionista this may be, but I’m originally from London and, this month Mr Jones and I headed back there for our wedding anniversary weekend to check out the latest exhibit at the Victoria & Albert museum, Shoes: Pleasure & Pain.

Shoes exhibition at the V&A

Photo: V&A Museum

As a self-confessed shoe fanatic, the V&A didn’t have to sell its latest exhibition to me; they had me at shoes! The exhibition brings together shoes from around the world, from the tiny shoes for bound feet from China, to chopines from Spain and even Carrie Bradshaw’s “urban shoe myth”, the Manolo Blahnik Mary Jane from New York. (Her feet were bigger than I thought!)

Shoes from times past were complimented by modern designs from brands like Charlotte Olympia, Christian Louboutin, Prada and, of course, Blahnik, among others.

Shoes exhibition at the V&A

Photo: V&A Museum

Upstairs there’s a little cinema (surrounded by shoe boxes, of course) which plays a film featuring some of today’s leading shoemakers exploring the process of deigning and making these little works of art for your feet. There’s also an interactive touch-screen display where you can explore shoes from different eras.

One of the most interesting parts of the exhibition was the case displaying the structure one of Blahnik’s designs – it showed the shoe as it looks on the shelf, as well as all the parts that went into making it laid out beside it, so you can see exactly how they are constructed. For a shoe-geek like me, it was a fascinating insight and will affect the way I shop for shoes in future.

Irregular Choice booties

Boots by Irregular Choice

I celebrated a morning well spent with the purchase of a pair of my own – these rather elaborate booties from Irregular Choice. The slightly lurid yet delicate pink fabric reminded me of Marie-Antoinette (the movie by Sofia Coppola that is) and while they probably won’t match anything in my wardrobe right now, I had to have them. They were on sale, so it seemed rude not to. Let them eat cake!

Irregular Choice store, Carnaby Street

Irregular Choice store, Carnaby Street

What better to follow shoes than cocktails? We spent the evening at The Jam Tree on Kings Road, Chelsea. I’m not sure if this place has ever featured on Made in Chelsea, but it looks like it should, with all its stylish chrome lamps and shabby chic décor.

Photo: The Jam Tree, Chelsea

Photo: The Jam Tree, Chelsea

It was totally empty when we arrived (it was a Monday night) but we found it utterly charming and the cocktails were some of the best I’ve had in a long while, so it was smiles all round!

Cocktails at The Jam Tree

Cocktails at The Jam Tree

Cocktails at The Jam Tree

What we drank:
• Confiture (£8.50) – vanilla vodka with raspberry jam, Chambord and pineapple juice
• Royale Tree (£9.50) – raspberry vodka, strawberry jam, orange passion fruit juice topped with champagne

While Bristol is most certainly my home now, London still has a special place in my heart so it was great to spend a couple of days there just being a tourist. This is the first of three blogs about our London adventures, so please do check back for more London recommendations from me.

Photographs are not permitted inside the exhibit, so some of these images are borrowed from the Victoria & Albert Facebook page. I’ve also borrowed the interior shot of The Jam Tree from the bar’s Facebook page, since I was enjoying myself far too much to take many shots on the night!

Ladyboy style

21st April 2015

Now there’s a headline I never thought I’d write! There was plenty of fashion inspiration when the Ladyboys of Bangkok came to Bristol this week though…

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With my fellow Bristol bloggettes after the show

With my fellow Bristol bloggettes after the show

As a blogger, I get invited to all sorts of bizarre and brilliant things but nothing so far has been quite like the experience I had this week when I entered the sparkling Sabai Pavilion that appeared as if by magic in Bristol’s Castle Park. This elaborate cabaret show has been all over the country – they’re on the road pretty much constantly from now until November, so evidently there is an appetite for this stuff! The stars of the show are, of course, Thailand’s famous Ladyboys troupe – 16 gorgeous showgirls who just happened to begin their lives as men…not that you can tell now, so complete was their transformation in many cases.

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The format is basically an old-fashioned vaudeville show, dressed up with a few of the latest chart tunes and elaborate stage costumes. For every show-stopping Rihanna, Katy Perry or Jessie J tune the girls belted out, there was a comedy act sandwiched in between and old favourites like a Liza/Cabaret tribute, Motown medley and Tina Turner classics. This offered something for everyone and made sure the ladies could dazzle us with a wide array of eye-popping outfits.

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I must confess that for the first half of the show I wasn’t sure what to make of it all – it was an assault on the senses, and I was nervous as they kept grabbing people from the audience to join them on stage. By the second half though, they had completely won me over and I was waving my hands and singing along with everyone else. (It also helped that it was only men being pulled on stage, so that put me at ease that I wouldn’t be next!)

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Sofia and I delved into the Ladyboys’ dressing up box and had a play!

Not the best photo but you had to see these shoes close up!

Not the best photo but you had to see these shoes close up!

As a lifelong Kylie fan, I have to confess I am partial to sequins and feathers and, if it were socially acceptable I would step out in this sort of attire every day. In honour of the Ladyboys, I came to the show in a brightly coloured dress featuring tropical birds and a pair of pink and gold sequinned stilettos. I fitted right in!

Having experienced the wonder of the Ladyboys phenomenon once now, the girls all agreed that we would be up for seeing it again next time they’re in town, but it would be best enjoyed on a Friday or Saturday night with a few bottles of wine!

The Ladyboys of Bangkok – Beauties and the Beats Tour will be at Castle Park until this Saturday.

Disclosure: We were given free tickets to the Ladyboys of Bangkok Show.

Bristol 2015: It’s time to #Do15

7th April 2015

Go green and get involved with Easter activities with Bristol 2015

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last year, you’ll have heard that Bristol has been named European Green Capital for 2015. As part of this, the city is launching a new campaign, Do 15 in 15, (or #Do15 if you’re on Twitter), encouraging people to pledge their support and commit to doing something different in 2015. The idea behind the pledges is that everyone will work towards making Bristol a happier, healthier place to live.

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To get as many people involved as possible, they’ve set up the Bristol 2015 Lab on the harbourside, just a few doors down from the Watershed. The space is free and open to everyone, with lots of activities, performances and crafts for families to enjoy. Also inside the Lab, you’ll find the big green pledge button, which you can press once you’ve decided what you’ll change this year. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, it could be something as small as cycling to work more often. (Mine was to shop more locally – anything that involves more shopping should be easy for me to do!)

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I popped down there for today’s launch, where Bristol Mayor George Ferguson was the first to push the big button, alongside students from Young Bristol, who all made their pledges.

Throughout the Easter holidays there’ll be loads of free workshops and activities, so if you’ve got little ones it’s a great place to take them.

What’s on at the Bristol 2015 Lab

  • Wednesday 8 April: Nature screen printing workshop with Simon Tozer
  • Thursday 9 April: Printing workshop with Sophie Rae
  • Friday 10 April: Easter chicks from Elm Tree Farm, one of Brandon Trust’s Beacon Farms, and a paper cutting workshop with Sarah Dennis
  • Saturday 11 April: Bee Bristol will be there talking about how to make Bristol a pollinator friendly city
  • Sunday 12 April: Avon Wildlife Trust will be there sharing lots of wild surprises

All the activities are free and there’s no need to book – just turn up and enjoy!

For more information about the #Do15 campaign and to make your pledge, visit do15.bristol2015.co.uk

Disclosure: I was commissioned by the PR team at Bristol 2015 to help with the launch, but you know what? It’s a fabulous project and I fully support this personally anyway! Anything that aims to make my favourite city a better, happier place to live is ok by me! 🙂

Fashionista goes to Hogwarts

16th February 2015

It was my 31st birthday last month so I decided to celebrate by going back to school, but not just any old school…

harry potter castle

The Warner Brothers Studio Tour has been on my list of things to do for ages as I’m a big Harry Potter fan, but it was always booked up until now. The benefit of working for yourself is that you can take days off in the week if you need to, so we managed to avoid a lot of kiddies and find a spot on a Friday to visit HP and pals in Hertfordshire.

Now, I’m not sure about you, but I took the test on the Pottermore website and it told me I should be in Hufflepuff House. I was quite disappointed in this and paid no heed at all when it came to choosing robes in the gift shop. I’m Gryffindor all the way, as you can see…

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Since this trip was a birthday pressie, I didn’t pay for it myself, but I’m reliably informed that it cost him indoors about £70 for tickets for the two of us – which is a lot of money but when you get there you can see where it all went. It’s a really impressive attraction, with a little film starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint to welcome you at the start, and then all sorts of amazing audio visual treats along the way.

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They’ve lovingly rebuilt some of the best loved sets from the films, including the impressive Ministry of Magic, Hagrid’s Hut, and Dumbledore’s office, all displayed alongside the stories about how they were built. One of my favourite parts was Dolores Umbridge’s office. She was a nasty piece of work in the films and books, but by golly that woman loved pink!

Part way through, we stopped for a Butterbeer – something I had always wanted to try after reading the books. To be honest, it tasted just like cream soda but with a foamier head on top. It was a hit with me, but the husband wasn’t so keen!

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One of the most impressive parts was the costumes display. The costumes department made two or three of each garment worn – one for the actor, one for the stunt double and one just in case. If that garment had to burnt or distressed in any way, they made many more and prepared them so that they were exactly the right shade of burnt or just ruffled enough to look like they’d been in a fight. It’s amazing when you see them all lined up together.

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The props and special effects parts were equally impressive in their attention to detail. From the remarkable ice sculpture from the Yule Ball, to the cereal packets on the breakfast table in the Great Hall, everything looked real – even up close.

What I would recommend if you’re planning a visit is to get the audio guide – it costs an extra £4.95, but it’s worth it for all the additional information and digital tidbits that come with it, like videos and image galleries. You can enjoy the attraction without it, but I felt it really added to the experience.

If you’ve got kids and you’re looking for something fun to do with them this half term or if, like me, you’re just a big kid who wants to go to Hogwarts, then I can thoroughly recommend this.

A fashionista’s guide to Paris

3rd January 2015

If you fancy a chic little weekend getaway to Europe’s fashion capital this year, here are a few top tips to help you have the most fabulous time.

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One of my favourite times of the year is right before Christmas, when we usually go for a short break to blow off the cobwebs before the festive madness begins. This year, we went to Paris, a city I’ve been visiting for years and never seem to get bored of. While I don’t claim to be an expert, here are a few top tips based on my own recent experiences…

Stay

Hotel Magenta, 38 Boulevard de Magenta, 75010

Located close to the trendy Canal Saint Martin and a leisurely walk to the delights of the Marais, this little boutique hotel is a great pied à terre in Paris. The rooms are average sized and simply furnished in a modern style, but the location is fantastic for exploring the city and we had a view of the Eiffel Tower from our window. What more could you want? Add to that the fact that we got a special deal with Lastminute.com – so we paid much less than the usual price of around €100 a night – and we were very happy bunnies indeed.

Hotel Annexe, 4 Rue Taylor, 75010

If you’re on a tighter budget and don’t mind squeezing yourself into a small room, Hotel Annexe, located not far from Gare de l’Est, is a stylish alternative. Rooms cost from €54 a night and they’re really tiny (my friend couldn’t stand up in the shower!) but the furnishing is tasteful and it’s conveniently situated for transport links.

Shop

Galeries Lafayette, bd Haussmann, 75009

No trip to Paris would be complete without a visit to the city’s no.1 department store. From fine fragrances, to designer handbags, shoes and a womenswear department to rival London’s Harvey Nichs for style and size, Lafayette has it all. Aside from the obvious (Chanel, Celine, Dior, etc.) you can also pick up quirky designers like Alice + Olivia, Bimba y Lola, and the new Karl Lagerfeld diffusion line which I’m totally in love with right now. Don’t leave without going up to the roof terrace, which has outdoor seating and a beautiful view of the city, where you can get the obligatory Eiffel Tower photo from afar!

Colette, 213 rue Saint-Honoré 75001

This is the hipster’s department store – all white fittings, minimalist fashions and hefty price tags – but it’s worth a visit as there’s more to this space than first meets the eye. In the basement you’ll find an achingly trendy café/restaurant and the top floor plays host to an art gallery. It’s not the biggest store, but the merchandising is creative and the trends are way ahead of many others. The Rue Saint- Honoré is packed with high-end boutiques, so it’s definitely worth a trip if you love fashion, as the window displays are immense.

La Vaissellerie, 92 Rue Saint-Antoine, 75004

The Marais district is worth a visit for many more reasons besides this – fabulous fashion boutiques, fragrant beauty shops and some truly tempting chocolatiers – but the place I always rush to first is La Vaissellerie. It’s not particularly stylish in itself, but this little shop specialising in china and porcelain goods is a treasure trove of quirky homewares. The old ladies serving are grumpy and there are plates everywhere you look, but you are guaranteed to come out with something cute to give your home a Parisienne flavour.

Eat/Drink

Le Coq, 12 rue du Chateau d’Eau, 75010

This intimate bar doesn’t look like much from the outside, but they take their cocktails seriously and I can honestly say they were the best I’ve ever tasted….and I’ve had a LOT of cocktails in my time! It’s a hipster paradise, with distressed furniture, faded walls, velvet curtains and cocktail connoisseurs clad in tuxedos, but none of the snobbery you’d expect. The team are welcoming and knowledgeable about their booze. Cocktails start at around €12, but it’s bloody worth it, I promise. They even host a cocktail masterclass where you can learn the secrets of the trade – but it’s so popular you have to book two months in advance.

Le Coco de mer, 34 Boulevard Saint-Marcel, 75005

Serving traditional dishes from the Seychelles, this place was top of my list, since that’s where my family are from. It’s a little bit of the tropics in the heart of Paris, with sand on the floor and driftwood benches. We started our meal with a delightful fruity rum punch, which made me feel like I was back at home on the beach. Their octopus curry was utterly delightful (although not spicy enough for my taste) and the prices were absolutely fantastic – we spent about €35 per head, including three courses and drinks, which is a real feat in such an expensive city. Its location is not very central and there isn’t much going on nearby – it’s the kind of place you would (and should!) go out of your way to visit.

Café des Deux Moulins, 15 Rue Lepic, 75018

If you loved the film Amélie, you’ll recognise this as the place where she worked. It’s a real café and looks exactly as you’d imagine and serves up a range of French favourites, including the classic crème brûlée, at affordable prices. It’s right around the corner from the world famous Moulin Rouge and worth a visit if you’re in the area.

Chez Prune, 36 Rue Beaurepaire, 75010

Overlooking the Canal Saint Martin, this little place was right around the corner from our hotel and we visited frequently while we were there. Situated in the heart of this trendy, studenty area, it’s got a vibrant atmosphere and is a great little stop off if you need to refuel or stop for a drink.

Have you been to Paris? What are your favourite style spots in the city? Leave me a comment and let me know for my next visit!

#BlogClub Christmas party

6th December 2014

We’ve been holding monthly #BlogClub meet ups for a while now, so it seemed like a great idea to get together for a Christmas shindig last week.

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The lovely team at Betties + Baldwins on Small Street were kind enough to host us for our festive soirée, while British Corner Shop supplied a selection of yummy snacks to get us all into the Christmas spirit.

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With the Christmas tunes pumping and the fairy lights on, it seemed like a good time to get a Christmassy mini mani – bright red topped with gold sparkles.

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The lovely team at Lush Cribbs Causeway kindly donated some gorgeous goodie bags – including their gorgeous Golden Wonder bath bomb (pictured below, top right) which I’ve tested since the party and I can confirm that it really does make your skin super soft, as well as leaving a golden sheen!

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Everyone got dolled up for the occasion and although we hadn’t planned this in advance, there was a definite retro theme to people’s outfits, which fitted nicely with the decor of the salon – as you can see from the pic below!

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If you recognise the outfit above, that’s because my skirt came from the South West Bloggers’ clothes swap and the shoes came from a recent Rainbow Shoes event. So essentially, my entire Christmas look was free. My favourite price!

Finally, I just want to say a big thank you to my co-organisers Hayley and Sophie, who helped put the event together and gather a lovely group of bloggers. It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas now…

Magic & Sparkle with M&S

30th November 2014

South West Bloggers got into the Christmas spirit this week at a festive event at Marks & Spencer’s Cribbs Causeway store.

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As part of its Magic & Sparkle Christmas campaign, M&S invited us all to come down for a night of festive food, beauty and fashion at our local store. The spread, as you can see above, was marvellous – exactly what you’d expect from M&S – and I may/may not have polished off more than my fair share of their beautiful pork pies with cranberry topping. (I’ll be back for more of those before Santa arrives, that’s for sure!)

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What we were really there to see though, was their festive fashion and, as you can see above, I got stuck into that, too! They had a marvellous collection of Narnian-style faux fur coats. The white one, above, was priced at £95, but it was probably the cosiest thing I have ever put on. I genuinely think this kind of garment is a good investment purchase, since it’s a classic style that you’d wear for years to come – although I’m not sure white is the wisest choice for me as I am a notorious spiller!

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Their limited edition jewellery collection was totally on point for this season and with prices in the £20 – £25 range for a necklace, they’re ideal for pressies if you want to treat them to something special. I actually have my eye on the piece above for myself – I have a lot of high necked tops that could do with jazzing up for the party season.

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As well as the fab jewellery, I had my eye on some of their sparkly party dresses, which were sequinned enough to stand out on the dancefloor, but also cut demurely so you could wear them in front of your family and not feel that you’re letting it all hang out! Worn with black opaque tights, the bronze coloured dress below would be a stunning but practical addition to my festive wardrobe…if I can sneak it into the house without my husband seeing it, that is!

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We were also lucky enough to have our nails done by the M&S beauty team, who had a range of own brand products and Leighton Denny sparkly ‘Wonderball’ nail polishes to make us all look like stars. (If Santa were to bring me one of these Wonderballs, I would be a very happy girl indeed – you hear me, Santa?!) Now, I’d like to say the hands below are mine, but they actually belong to Lily Doble. Hers were prettier than mine so I thought you’d rather see them!

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I’m also loving the British Beauty Blogger collection, which is a limited edition range brought in this year and features a huge range of colours at really affordable prices. (The nail set pictured above had six polishes in for just £14, which I think is really good value). M&S has really stepped up its beauty game this year and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and selection.

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It was also fab catching up with lots of the South West Bloggers crew. Working for myself means I don’t get to see as many people as I used to working in an office, so getting out and about and chatting to bloggers is always a joy.

I’m now feeling very Christmassy indeed and ready for our South West Bloggers Christmas mixer. If you haven’t yet got your free tickets, register here to come along and get merry!

Cocktails and Catherine wheels with Rainbow Club

8th November 2014

Bloggers put their best foot forward in a shoe challenge to end all shoe challenges!

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Rainbow Club invited a selection of bloggers to the Square Club in Bristol last week for a bonfire night event to celebrate the launch of their new collection. In a twist we discovered on the night, we were each asked to create our own shoe using a variety of dyes and materials provided by the team.

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In the past, Rainbow Club specialised in bridal shoes but they’re now branching out into party wear. Their new colour studio allows shoe addicts to have their ideal shoe created in any shade, so you can send them any item (for example a dress or a piece of jewellery) and they’ll dye your shoes to match it exactly.

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As a shoe obsessive, I’m constantly on a quest to find the perfect pair, so this sounded right up my street. Unfortunately my shoe designing skills left something to be desired, as you can see from my effort below…

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We lined up all the shoes on the table and then a panel of expert judges deliberated to decide whose was best. It was a shame my craft skills weren’t quite up to par, because there was a £100 Harvey Nichols voucher up for grabs for the best designed shoe. Sadly, mine didn’t have the X Factor on this occasion! I did thoroughly enjoy getting messy though.

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Following the shoe contest, we enjoyed an outdoor BBQ and got into the seasonal spirit with some pretty sparklers.

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Luckily for me, I didn’t have to take home my own shoes – a beautifully dyed pair of emerald green party shoes were waiting for me at the door as I left. I’m looking forward to slipping them on this party season and feeling like a green Cinderella!

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Disclosure: Rainbow Club did give me a free pair of shoes as part of this, but I wasn’t paid for this post and these views are all my own. Yep, even the ones about my rubbish shoe-making skills….