Sunday 30 June 2013

The North East Bloggers Top Shop Event

Blog events are like buses none for ages and then two come along at once :) Last Sunday I attended The Vintage North East Bloggers Social at Serendipity in Sunderland, and last Wednesday the same ladies arranged an event with one of the biggest names on the high street Top Shop.

I've always had a bit of a love /hate relationship with Top Shop probably due to my fluctuating weight and budget but there is no denying their popularity.

The event was held in their recently renovated store in The Bridges shopping centre in Sunderland. As it was after closing time we had the store to ourselves. We were met at the door by Amy, who was assisted on this occasion by another Amy :) and we were given a raffle ticket, and directed to a table with cupcakes and lemonade all provided by Amy No 1.

We then had a short talk from a member of staff who told us a bit about the brand, the store and it's turnover, we then had a walk around the store whilst another member of staff told us about some of the key looks of the season and a bit more about visual merchandising.

Then it was raffle time, where one lucky winner had the chance to win a Top Shop gift card, unfortunately it wasn't me which was probably just as well as I lost my raffle ticket on the night and didn't find it till yesterday  lol. We then had the run of the store to shop, take photographs, ask questions, and to look for the prize winning tokens that had been hidden throughout the store.

I wasn't lucky enough to find one but I did pick up a few bits - slaps wrists - first up something your not going to see, undies - I'm a huge fan of Top Shop knickers so I took advantaged of the sale rails and the 3 for £10 offer lol. I also got a nail polish in Solar - I love duo chromes and this is a fabulous one x

Next up the sale rack, and I picked up these earrings which were half price and will match the neon spiked Primark necklace that I got for my birthday :)

Finally I got some shoes,

I've wanted a pair of Top Shop Vectra's for ages, and on the night I thought hell why not and picked up the velour / faux suede ones, they were the last pair in my size so it would have been wrong not to :)

Yet again this event was a great opportunity to meet and socialise with some fellow North East based ladies, and again I got meet some new faces including the lovely Michelle and her sister x Thanks so much to Amy for organising yet another fun event, although my bank manager probably doesn't agree xx

The Vintage North East Bloggers Social - Tea, Cakes, Hair, And Chihuahuas

It's hard to believe that it's been a week, but last Sunday I attended The North East Bloggers Vintage Social. Myself and 24 other bloggers, and our hosts braved the thunderstorms and torrential rain to meet up for an afternoon of tea, cakes and fun, at Serendipity Tea And Trinkets in Sunderland.

It was my first visit to Serendipity and it certainly won't be my last. This cute vintage style tea room, is decorated in the shabby chic style, complete with bunting, vintage china

and the cutest knitted tea cosies, and cakes.

When we arrived we were given a raffle ticket and shown to our seats, where we were greeted by the cutest place cards, with our names and our twitter photographs on. I was sitting with Amy, Kloe, and Katie :) Then tea was served, I'd requested a gluten free, vegetarian afternoon tea (yes I know, I'm awkward) and Serendipity delivered, I had my own vintage cake stand filled with tea sandwiches, scones and cakes it was all so nice that I was only a tiny bit jealous of the cute cupcakes that other girls had  ;)

We were given a brief introduction from the ladies behind The North East bloggers, but this event was basically about communicating, getting to know each and having fun with our fellow bloggers, so there was loads of time to chat, and play with some of the props that had been provided - thanks to Katie for the picture of moi!

As well as chatting, drinking tea and eating cake, we also had the opportunity to shop, - Serendipity sell all sorts of little bits, and a lady called Gemma from Senor Picklesworth was also in attendance. Senor Picklesworth is Gemma's brainchild and it's a range of illustrations,  gifts and accessories themed around a Chihuahu, that travels the world and meets new friends. She had all sorts of super cute things on sale from badges, to cards and keyrings, but I fell in love with this mini cushion featuring Coco the Pug :)

I think I'm going to put a ribbon on the back so I can hang it up - so cute! I really love quirky things like this and I can definitely see myself keeping an eye on Gemma's work especially since the word CAT has been mentioned ;) 

This event was all about supporting the North East so also in attendance was Jonathan Pickup from JPHair in Sunderland, we'd been warned before the event not to do anything to our hair and this was the reason. If we wanted we could get our hair put up in a vintage style - why not I thought? it was already soaked from the rain so I went for it, 20 minutes or so, lots of hair grips, and half a can of hairspray later this was the result -  a mass of rolls, and pin curls.

(Picture Of The Back Courtesy Of The NE Bloggers Facebook Page)

Okay it's not something I would personally wear everyday but it just gives you an insight into how much time women used to spend on their hair, and we think we're high maintenance now! Alas not everybody managed to get it done because of the time it took which was a shame.

We then played a round of the Who Am I Game (Katy, Shannon and Amy demonstrating) which was ridiculously funny, and then the raffle was drawn - I  was lucky enough to win some super cute paper hankies which were almost too cute to use, and on the way out we received some super cute goodie bags, with a Benefit sample, a nail polish and a bag of retro sweets courtesy of local sweet shop Sweet Home Alabama -ahh Fruit Salads!!

I have to say that this was a really fun event, we had loads of time to socialise, chat and actually get to know our fellow bloggers a bit better, plus I finally got to meet the lovely Kaye from Polished Curves which made the event worth it on its own. I want to say a huge thank you to The North East Bloggers team, Amy and Shannon who were fabulously assisted by Katy in organising, and hosting the event, I hope there are many more to come, I also want to say a huge thanks you to June and co from Serendipity not only for letting bloggers overrun the establishment but also for providing something I can eat - I'll be back - I have every intention of working my way through their hot chocolate menu x A great event, and a great Sunday afternoon x

Saturday 29 June 2013

Foodie Friday On A Saturday - What I Ate In June

Apologies for the mini disappearing act but the tummy bug from hell decided to pay me another visit :( To be honest over the last couple of days food has been the last thing on my mind but since I'm starting to feel a little bit better I thought I'd do my food review of the month post for you.

In between my bouts of illness I've actually eaten pretty healthily this month, with lots of salads and vegetable based dishes. First up a lovely salad which included green olives, boiled eggs, mixed salad leaves, cherry tomatoes,chives,  pickled cucumbers, coleslaw, and  grated mozzarella, topped with just a touch of blue cheese salad dressing.

Next up a Greek Salad, I love Greek salad or village salad as it's often referred to in Cyprus. It's a super fresh tasting combination of lettuce, cucumber, peppers, red onion, cherry tomatoes, olives and feta. I served mine with an olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and balsamic dressing, and topped it with some marinated char grilled aubergines.

I'm a huge omelet / frittata fan, but I could never make them properly until my mum got an amazing set of non stick pans.

This one contained onions, mushrooms, courgette, peppers, and tomatoes, with just a sprinkling of cheese on the top before it went under the grill. I served it with mixed salad leaves, coleslaw and pickled cucumbers.

I also showed you a few recipes this month including my yummy and simple mushroom risotto

and my gluten free cheese scones.

I managed to stick to my healthy eating plan for most of the month but I did have a couple of wobbles, one of which was these.

Yes another addition to the M&S Veggie Percy family, these yummy vegetarian jelly sweets have the rather catchy name of Veggie Colin The Caterpillar Becomes A Beautiful Butterfly, me and Mummy Lou really enjoyed them x

Next up these, yes I know they look a bit rude, but they are amazing, Iceland Popping Candy Ice Lollies, It's a ice cream which is covered in a sort of strawberry flavoured chocolate packed with popping candy - they are sooo good.

and this wobble, which maybe wasn't so bad some Easi Yo Sweet Greek yogurt which some lovely and sweet fresh strawberries x

Finally I had a gorgeous gluten free, vegetarian afternoon tea at Serendipity, as part of the North East Bloggers Vintage Social, I had scones with cream and jam, fresh blueberries, chocolate chip muffins, and various luxury cheese sandwiches, washed down with copious amounts of tea served in gorgeous vintage tea cups. Here are a few teaser pics but a full post on the event will be live tomorrow xx

Hope you enjoyed my foodie review of the month, did you eat anything interesting or particularly moreish in June? let me know in the comments x

Tuesday 25 June 2013

Thinking Slimmer - Slim Pod - Week 5

Well to be honest the result of this weeks weigh in didn't come as any great surprise, in fact I was more surprised that I didn't gain this week. I probably lost a lot of water last week as I was really dehydrated and getting my fluids back up is probably the reason that I've stayed the same this week despite trying really hard with only one minor blip (afternoon tea at Serendipity - post to come x). I'm feeling a bit yuck about my weight today, probably down to hormones - thanks Mother Nature, and trying in vain to assemble an outfit for tomorrows North East Bloggers Top Shop Events, but I'm trying to stay positive. Maintaining is better than gaining so I'm pretty pleased to be 16lbs down after  5 weeks of  using the Thinking Slimmer system. I've started listening to the Slim and Chill Pods every night again and I really think that, that's the best thing to do for me personally. As I've said before I'm finding it really helpful is relaxing me down for sleep, in fact I was so relaxed last night I can't remember listening to all of it before I fell asleep! Thanks as per usual for all the support on here, on twitter, in person and on instagram, you guys really are amazing. If your interested in finding out more about Thinking Slimmer and the Slim and Chill Pods, check out their website here xx

(The Thinking Slimmer Slim Pod "Create That Summer Beach Body" Was Provided For Review Promotional Purposes)

Monday 24 June 2013

My First Foray Into Lush Make Up

I have to be honest and say that this post is long overdue. Last month as you know I, had the pleasure of attending the North East Lush Blogger Event, at the event we were given a generous goodies bag and we were also given a discount against any purchases made on the night, I bought one of my skin care staples and a couple of items from their make up range.


I've been a huge fan of Lush ever since their Cosmetics To Go days (find out more about Cosmetics To Go here), so it was fascinating to watch the recent documentary with Peter Jones from Dragons Den, which features Lush founders and creators Mark and Mo Constantine (you can watch it on iplayer if you didn't see it). Cosmetics To Go ultimately folded but I have a lot of fond memories of the brand and their funky catalogues and packaging, including eyeshadows in wedges so you could build your own palette, and the most fabulous fuzzy peach tasting bronze lipgloss. 

When Lush emerged I thought it would only be a matter of time before their started producing a make up range but it took a bit longer then I and every other Lush fanatic out there thought. A amazingly packaged sister line B Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful included beautifully packaged make up, but after a while they disappeared too. The simplest option I guess would have been for Lush to integrate their make up line into their stores but ever the innovator, they developed something completely new.

Emotional Brilliance is a range of lip colours  and eye colours, and liners that were developed by long time Lush employee Rowena Bird, and Harley Street behavioural therapist Lady Helen Kennedy.  With a therapist's involvement as you can probably tell this is no ordinary make up range, you pick the shades that appeal and find out what they reveal about your state of mind and state of being. Whether your a believe in it or not, it definitely adds a bit of interest to buying make up.At the recent Lush event I had the opportunity to have a proper look at the Emotional Range, and I had the opportunity to pick my three colours. The colour reading was scarily accurate and whilst I wanted all of the colours that I picked I was good and only got one - a lip colour in the shade Glamourous.

Like all of rest of the products in the Emotional Range it is suitable for vegans. The liquid lips colours contains lots of skin softening ingredients including organic jojoba oil, candelilla wax and rose wax. They come packaged in a clear glass dropper bottle, with a black dropper style lid. When you unscrew the lid though instead of a dropper you have a wand and a slanted sponge applicator typical of what your would find in a gloss or a liquid lipstick.

I guess we should talk about the colour now, it's hard to really ignore isn't it , Glamorous is a very bright almost neon, bubblegum pink. At first glance you would think that this would be the last colour in the world that I would go for but I found it strangely enticing .

It's bright I'm not going to deny that but for me it just works, it's a great summer colour and it will be even nicer with a tan. The product has a really smooth consistency and it's super pigmented, I'm not a fan of the smell or taste, but I can live with that It is easy to apply too much but take it slowly, and instead of applying it really thickly you could just apply a small amount for a sheer colour, or use it with a balm or maybe something I'm going to show you later to create a more wearable, less dramatic look. I've given you the full on finish here - It's probably a little bit brighter than it's appearing in the close up lip shot.

The product has a really good wear time on me, and although the initial shine fades it does leave a sort of stain on the lips.

Another reasons that I bought this product was because I love the multi purpose nature of it. Yes it's designed for the lips, but like the majority of other lip products out there is also makes a fab cream cheek colour.

Obviously you wouldn't wear full on bubblegum pink on the cheeks but quickly blend it out and you get a lovely pink flush.

I read some differing views about the Emotional Brilliance range if I'm honest but I've been pretty impressed with this - these retail at £14.50 for 5g of product which is quite steep but a little really does go a long way. To find out more about my shade Glamorous click here, and click here for the opportunity to pick out your 3 shades and to give the range a try xx

Whilst she was demoing the Emotional Brilliance shades the lovely Lush assistant also tried another couple of products out on me from their Colour Essentials range. This basically comprises of various skin tints which you can wear on their own as a foundation or mix with moisturiser to make your own customer blended tinted moisturiser, as well as special effect products, loose powders and a mascara.

The two products that she tried on me were Charisma a bronzing skin tint, and Feeling Younger. The minute I saw Feeling Younger I knew it was for me.

Packaged in a small glass jar Feeling Younger is another one of those multi use products.With a cream / mousse like texture , this contains Almond  Oil and Cocoa Butter, it also contains a touch of orange pigment and titanium dioxide which gives it an iridescent white look in the pot.

It designed to work as a reflector on the skin giving it a more youthful glow and you can certainly see the amazing effect that it gives here when it blended out.

There are loads of different ways to use this product, including mixing it with your foundation, and using a tiny touch as an eye brightener, but since I'm such a highlighter junkie I intend to use this mainly on my cheek bones -  you can just see the effect here x

and also on my brow bone or even all over the eye lid for a really natural eye look with just a touch of shimmer in certain lights - I'm sorry this pic isn't great this is really hard to capture but I can assure you that it looks amazing in real life, and it really brightens the eye area.

The reason why I bought this though was to mix it with the Glamorous lip colour. It transforms it from a bright bubblegum pink, to an iridescent frosted gold / pink.

Gorgeous don't you think? the only problem is that I can't make the combination work on the lips - the two products mix together really easily but when I apply it to my lips it just looks horrible and clings to all my dry bits. I haven't given up on this method yet, I'm going to try it layered over another lipstick maybe or over a vat of lip balm - the colour is so pretty I will make it work!

I'm really loving Feeling Younger at the moment, It's a really useful highlighter and brightener to have in your kit, it isn't cheap at £12 for a 20g pot but you need so little that it should last for ages. You can find out more about it here x

I've really enjoyed my little foray into Lush's make up line, the products aren't cheap but their quirky and the quality seems really good, and most of them are vegan - what more could you want x I have a few more bits of Lush colour to review so keep checking back to find out more x Have you tried any of the Lush make up products? let me know in the comments x