On Saturday, Charles and I headed down to London to watch the annual Pride parade. We managed to get a front row spot on Oxford Street so we had a great view of the day’s events, and to top it off the weather was beautiful and sunny. This year Pride came one day after same-sex marriage was made legal in all 50 US states, which made the day feel extra special. The atmosphere was so positive and happy, and everyone looked like they were having a fantastic time celebrating. By the end of the afternoon I was covered in confetti and stickers, and had a huge smile on my face.
One of the highlights of the day for me was seeing LGSM (Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners) leading one of the parade sections. The film Pride, which tells the story of how and why LGSM was formed, is one of my favourite films, so it was fantastic to see the group out in force, over thirty years later, especially considering the similarity between our current political climate, and that of the 1980’s.
Unfortunately I didn’t get many photos, and they’re not the best quality as I was using my phone, but here are a few of my favourites from the day.
We also went to see the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition at the V&A, which was an amazing and overwhelming experience. I’m hoping to go again during July, and I also plan on reviewing the exhibition, so check back soon for that.
Did you go to Pride this year?
A few weeks ago the Highcross in Leicester ran a two-day Spring Beauty Fix event, so I headed down on the Saturday to see what was going on.
I decided to get there early so I could appreciate the event before the centre got really busy, and already there was a buzz around what the Beauty Fix had to offer. There were several displays featuring this season’s fashion trends, with a colour consultant on hand to advise on the best colours to suit your style throughout Spring. I had a quick browse of the rails and spotted a cute dress covered in polka dots, which happens to be my favourite print for clothing, so I’m hoping to see more dotty items in the shops soon!
Another stand which caught my eye was the Beauty Amnesty, which invited shoppers to discard five unwanted items of make-up, in exchange for a £10 gift card to be spent on beauty items that day. A great deal considering several brands were offering discounts, and brands such as Nails Inc, Urban Decay and Hotel Chocolat were all giving beauty advice during the event!
There were also many offers to be had on the day in stores, and several freebies up for grabs. Rituals and Decleor were offering complimentary skincare consultations, and Rituals, YSL and Clinique also had free samples and items to give away.
Whilst at the event I also managed to do a bit of shopping, and whilst browsing Debenhams’ beauty offerings I spotted Ghost’s Eclipse fragrance, which I decided to treat myself to. Ghost perfumes are my all-time favourites, and Eclipse’s light floral and fruity notes will be perfect for the coming warm months. I also headed over to H&M as I wanted a new dress, and managed to get a lovely grey number, as well as some cute mouse slippers.
Overall it was a fun day, and I’m looking forward to the next event that Highcross puts on, as they’re always enjoyable.
On Thursday, myself and Charles attended a VIP event at the Leicester Cinema de Lux, for the launch of the new XPlus screen, with a release day screening of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1.
The event started with a drinks reception in the swanky Director’s Lounge, complete with red carpet. For an hour we were showered with glasses of Prosecco, canapés and lovely little desserts. I particularly enjoyed the mini millionaire’s shortbread which was dusted with gold glitter! We also spotted a few Leicester Tigers rugby players in the crowd.
We then headed up to the XPlus screen, which I was really excited about, and I wasn’t disappointed. As soon as we entered the auditorium I was amazed to see the size of the screen. I knew it was going to be big, but it was even bigger than I expected. It’s literally floor to ceiling, wall to wall, and also slightly curved.
Everyone at the event was treated to yet more refreshments in their seats – a drink, and a bag of popcorn, along with a couple of other goodies. When everyone was settled, the manager of Cinema de Lux, and one of the main men at Dolby both gave a speech. They explained that Leicester’s XPlus screen is one of only five in the country, and is designed to give a premium, immersive cinema experience. The screen is in fact 60 feet wide by 20 feet high, and provides sharp imagery, on point brightness, and vibrant colour.
Another special aspect of the XPlus experience is the sound. The auditorium features a Dolby Atmos sound system, and is fitted with over fifty speakers, which provide 360° sound. Having speakers all over the walls and ceiling, which are controlled by sound specialists, allows for dialogue to follow the characters, and for sound effects to come in at all angles, providing sound which completely envelops the audience. Before the film the sound system was demonstrated with thunder-storm sound effects, and I was blown away. The sound of rain and thunder flooded the room from all angles, and I actually got goosebumps because it felt so real.
After the introductions we got to watch The Hunger Games. Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy the film that much, and I’m not sure it was the right film to show off the Dolby Atmos sound system, but the XPlus definitely improved the viewing experience.
I’m incredibly impressed by the XPlus screen, and after experiencing it once I’m sure a ‘normal’ cinema screen will now just look and sound inadequate. I can imagine the immersive sound working really well for action movies, and I bet it would make horror movies even more scary if you could hear things coming up behind you!
Autumn is my favourite time of year for so many reasons… the weather, the colours of the trees, Halloween, Bonfire Night, the cosy nights in, the homely cooking, and of course the fashion! So, when I found out that Leicester’s biggest shopping centre, Highcross, was putting on an Autumn Fashion Fix catwalk show, I booked my tickets straight away!
My mum and I headed into town this morning for the 11:30am show, and we were lucky enough to get front row seats. Everyone who’d booked seats also got a little goody bag which was nice.
The show itself was really enjoyable. There were six models in total, four female and two male, and the show was split into six scenes – The Cosmo Edit, Faux Fur, Tapestry Folk, Shades of Red, New Pastels, and Metallics. Every single scene featured some really gorgeous pieces, but the Metallics section was my favourite, as it mixed colours and textures that I love. Think leather biker jackets and chunky heels, mixed with gunmetal sequins.
Reiss Semi Sheer Embroidered Top £110 / Reiss Wide Leg Culotte Trousers £129 / Red Herring Ivory Faux Fur Coat £79 / Reiss Rose Gold Strappy Stiletto £139
River Island Fluffy Knit Jumper £30 / River Island Reptile Faux Leather Miniskirt £28 / River Island Plastic Origami Necklace £12 / Miss Selfridge Faux Fur Gilet £55 / Jasper Conran Ivory Maribou Cossack £40 / River Island Taupe Suede Ankle Boot £50
Karen Millen Floral Tapestry Dress £199 / Karen Millen White Pleated Front Cotton Shirt £110 / Karen Millen Black and Floral Print Scarf £99 / Karen Millen Lace Black Shoeboot £155
Monsoon Embellished Chiffon Top £69 / Monsoon Blush Satin 50s Skirt £69 / Betty Jackson Oversized Double Breasted Coat £159 / River Island Gold Open Toe Stiletto £50 / Aldo Pill Box Bag £35
Warehouse Leather A-Line Mini Dress £48 / Warehouse Leather Slim Trouser £38 / Ted Baker Silver Sequin Jacket £299 / Aldo Teardrop Chain Necklace £20 / Simply Be Metallic Reptile Clutch £25 / Office Holographic Open Toe Heels £50
I also filmed an Instagram video of the Shades of Red scene…
It was nice to see affordable, high street pieces on a catwalk, and a lot of this year’s trends and colours are right up my street. The soundtrack to the show was great too!
What do you think of this season’s fashion trends?
Earlier today I was lucky enough to attend the invitation-only press preview of the new Urban Outfitters store in Leicester, ahead of their official launch tonight. The store is located at the heart of the city in the Highcross shopping centre (right on the edge so it’s easy to find!), and spans two large floors, with womenswear downstairs, and menswear, home and gifts and fitting rooms upstairs.
As soon as I entered the store I could tell that it had a great vibe. The Urban Outfitters team have worked hard to transform what was once a fairly dark and claustrophobic space, into a far more open and vibrant one, which has the subtle industrial look that you expect from Urban Outfitters, with its bare floors and reclaimed metal and wooden interior. Vintage and alternative curios are also spread throughout the store giving it a fun and quirky edge, and hand painted contemporary art and wording adorn the walls. I even got to see some of it being done!
The store boasts a really eclectic mix of brands and styles, including own label collections such as Pins & Needles and Worland, but also well-known brands such as Converse and Levi’s, and up and coming labels like Cheap Monday and Native Rose. I spotted a great mix of edgy basics and classic designs, as well as bolder, more creative pieces (including a very spacey looking silver mini skirt!), that at the same time keep an urban, on-trend theme.
The accessories, gifts and homeware don’t come as an afterthought either. Everything is displayed so beautifully, and items of jewellery, hair accessories and nail varnishes are dotted around the shop so you can really get a feel of how to style different items throughout the store. Everything just seems to fuse together so perfectly, making for an easy and pleasant shopping experience.
I really enjoyed browsing the new store before it opened, and it was nice to meet some of the Urban Outfitters team too. I even got to choose a gift to take away with me, so I went for a beautiful black burnout floral cardigan that will be great for layering during the coming autumn and winter months. I’m sure you’ll be seeing it in an outfit post or two very soon!
Yesterday was a very special day for me, as I went to see Kate Bush perform live – something I never thought I’d have the chance to do. I’ve been listening to Kate Bush’s music for as long as I can remember. At the age of three I would put on my mum’s Kate Bush records and dance around to them, and her music has always provided comfort to me during tough times, but also so much happiness. But considering that her first and last tour occurred eleven years before I was even born, and knowing her reservations about touring, I never even dreamed I’d get to hear her music live. So when it was announced earlier this year that she’d be doing a 22-date run at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, I couldn’t quite believe it, but I was incredibly excited. Luckily for me, I’ve been a member of Kate’s mailing list for years, which meant I received an access code to the fan ticket presale, and as soon as they went on sale I snapped up four tickets as quickly as I could. When the tickets eventually went on general sale they completely sold out in less than fifteen minutes, leaving many people disappointed, so I feel so lucky to have got them.
During the run up to the show the media was buzzing with news about Kate’s first live performance in 35 years, but I managed to avoid hearing much about the show, so it would remain a big surprise, and after weeks of building excitement, the day I got to see Kate Bush finally came around! I won’t say much about the show as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but it was so much more than just a concert. Obviously there was music, but there was also a theme, spectacular theatre, film and props. It was magical, and the mood in the room was really positive and infectiously happy. Kate’s voice is still just as melodic and soul-touching as it always was, and she’s incredibly beautiful in every way. She’s a born performer and her stage presence is quite something, and the best part was that she clearly enjoyed every second of the show just as much as the audience did. I feel so privileged to have been in the same room as Kate Bush and to have heard some of my favourite songs performed live. It was honestly one of the best moments of my life and I’ll never forget it.
Last night my family and I went to see Cirque Berserk at the Curve theatre in Leicester. I have absolutely adored circuses ever since my childhood, and have been to many, but this was my first time going to a circus that wasn’t in a big top tent. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but the show and set really suited the stage. There was a slight Steampunk theme which was cool, and though the show wasn’t flawless, it still had that magical and exciting charm that I like. I even enjoyed the clown’s antics, which is unusual for me as they usually freak me out a little bit!
My outfit of choice for the evening was quite the opposite to the colourful spectacle of the circus, as it consisted of, you guessed it, black, black, and more black! I wore quite a few of my January sale pieces (mostly from Primark), including my leather cap sleeve black dress, and my new leather-look biker jacket, which is one of my favourite recent buys. The jacket is lined with thick fluffy fleece so is incredibly warm, so much so that I was toasty even with it open!
I also added a snood and tights for a bit of extra warmth, my Zatchels Gothic Lace saddle bag, and my trusty Kurt Geiger Sally Ankle Boots. The bag was a huge bargain as well, as it only cost £38.99 for the large size in the Zatchels sale, which I think was about half price!
Apologies for the low quality photos by the way – they were taken outside at night, with the flash on.
Primark Leather Cap Sleeve Dress / Primark Leather-Look Biker Jacket / Primark Snood and Tights / Zatchels Gothic Lace Saddle Bag / Kurt Geiger Sally Ankle Boots
Oh, and here’s my face of the night too! The lipstick is by Sleek in the gorgeous purple shade of ‘Smother’. I love this lipstick as it lasts for ages, and when it finally does wear off it does so evenly, so it still looks fab.
What do you think of circuses? You can check out the Cirque Berserk Facebook page here.
Day two of the Waterstones Blogger Murder Mystery and suspicions are still running high. As part of the murder case of my ex-husband Mat, I gave the following statement to Detective Michael Scott:
“I’m not surprised someone finally decided to put Mat out of everybody’s misery, but if you think it was me, you’re sorely mistaken. True, Sophie and that bimbo Katrina saw me leave the table just before Mat was killed, but I was in the upstairs bathroom at the time, trying to keep those awful cupcakes down.”
And it’s all true. Have you worked out who did it yet? Head over to Twitter via the #BloggerMystery tag to get involved questioning us suspects, and be in with a chance of winning £100 worth of Waterstones vouchers!
I have some news… I am among several bloggers who are all suspected of committing a horrible crime against Mat of buckets and spades blog, and it is your job to work out who did it. Here are the details…
In celebration of the Agatha Christie Festival this week, Waterstones is holding the first ever Blogger Murder Mystery event.
Waterstones needs your help, dear reader. There’s been a crime most horrid committed against fellow blogger Matthew Pike at http://www.bucketsandspadesblog.com/. We need your help to find the culprit and be in with a chance of receiving a £100 reward of Waterstones vouchers. Detective Michael Scott is on the case, so be sure to follow him on twitter @DCIMikeScott where he will be revealing clues throughout the week until Friday 20th September. You can question any of the bloggers using their twitter handle and the hashtag #BloggerMystery to find holes in their alibis.
The list of suspects are:
Naomi @Bewitchery_ http://bewitcheryblog.co.uk/ (You know I wouldn’t do it though, right?)
Jane @ITYDarling http://isthatyoudarling.wordpress.com/
Lucinda @ljbarton http://www.bakesbooksandmyboys.com/
Katrina @carouseldiary http://carouseldiary.com/
Sophie @sophiepatricia6 http://ileftmyheartinmiami.blogspot.co.uk/
Kel @kellovesclothes http://www.kelloves.com/
Eleanor @ebsnare http://threewordoutfit.com/
And here’s what the detective on the case has to say…
From DCI Michael Scott
“Waterstones invited six prestigious fashion and beauty bloggers – Elly, Kel, Sophie, Naomi, Katrina Louise and Mat – to its very first Fabulous Fashionista of the Year Award, held amid a lavish cupcake dinner at Cryptic Hall. However, events have taken a dark turn and Mat, the winner of the award, has been found dead in the bathroom. Foul play is most certainly suspected.
Details of the night are still sketchy, but we know all six fashionistas were known to each other at the time of the killing and enjoyed a friendly rivalry in the world of fashion blogging. Also in Cryptic Hall at the time were Jan, the owner of the manor, and a chef, Lucinda, who was hired to put on a delicious spread of cupcakes for the guests.
According to my interviews, the guests arrived at Cryptic Hall at around 6pm or just before. They sat down to enjoy Lucinda’s cupcakes and discuss their blogging with one another. There was a short break for coffee at around 6.40pm, during which time many of the guests seem to have left the table for various reasons. At 6.55 or thereabouts, we received a phone call from the suspect who found the body, claiming there had been a murder at Cryptic Hall.
Unfortunately, many of the suspects seem unwilling to cooperate, for reasons that are still being established. If you think you can tease more information out of them, ask them about their activities on that night via Twitter – and when you think you ascertained the culprit, the motive and the method, please relay your suspicions to me, DCI Michael Scott. Together, we can get to the root of this tale of intrigue, jealousy, high fashion and sweet, sweet cupcakes.”
Now, I wasn’t particularly keen on going to the award ceremony because Mat, my ex-husband, was bound to win and I didn’t really fancy spending any time with him. He was going with his new girlfriend Katrina, too. But I went anyway just on the off-chance that I was chosen as winner, and I thought it’d be a good opportunity to score points against Katrina. I don’t know who did what to Mat at the ceremony, but of course you know it wasn’t me!
So, get thinking… Who do you think did it? Once you think you know who the culprit is send a tweet to the detective giving the name of the killer, the motive and the method by Friday 20th September at Midnight. The winner will be selected on Monday 23rd September.
Good luck, sleuths.
Note: this competition is only open to UK residents
Don’t forget to tweet me and the other bloggers your questions to help work out whodunnit!
At the weekend my fiancé and I decided to go into town to watch the Leicester Pride parade, before heading to the local park where the parade ended, to join in with the Pride celebrations. Neither my fiancé or I are LGBT, but we both strongly advocate the equality and diversity that Pride encourages, and we wanted to show our support for the LGBT community. The whole event had a really peaceful, friendly atmosphere, and it was nice to spend some time in a relaxed, happy space which is inclusive of everybody. There was music, dancing, entertainment, food and lots of fun, and I’ll definitely be going again next year. Here are a few photographs I took of the parade as it passed through town, and one of my aptly decorated rainbow nails!
Will you be attending your local Pride event this year?