Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The Big Move

After 5 long months of finalising everything for our first flat together, we finally get the keys to our very first property on Friday! So, apologies if my posting is somewhat sporadic over the next few weeks whilst we get ourselves sorted.

Our beautiful Tyneside flat is on a very pretty street on Tynemouth fringe, a short walk from the coast and beautiful park. I'll be documenting the move as we get everything sorted and will post some photos once we are in and, for the most part, sorted. Tomorrow, we're off to raid Ikea...I can't wait!

To see what kind of style we're going for in our new flat, see my Home Style board over on Pinterest.

* Above prints L-R: Alison HardcastleSparklePower


Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The Late Shows, Newcastle

On Friday and Saturday night, 2012's The Late Shows took place around cultural venues in the North East of England. The Late Shows, part of international Museums at Night festivities, is an inspiring, after dark programme of events and exhibitions centering on the cultural venues in NewcastleGateshead that are usually closed in the evening. There are so many brilliant venues to go and visit, and this year I decided to head to a couple of the newer venues on the list.


Monday, 21 May 2012

Stephen Jones at The Bowes Museum

On Friday night, I hot-footed it on down to the majestic The Bowes Museum, in Barnard Castle, County Durham, for the private view of a truly fantastic new fashion exhibition - Stephen Jones; From Georgiana to Boy George.

The Bowes Museum's Fashion & Textile Gallery recently played host to the prestigious Vivienne Westwood Shoes exhibition, and with this second high profile fashion exhibition, this exquisite, historical venue is really proving to be a draw for major fashion players.

The night started with a champagne reception and a speech from main man himself. The milliner explained that designer Giles Deacon had first brought Jones' attention to the Bowes Museum, citing the museum's Silver Swan automaton as an influence for his Spring/Summer 2012 collection (Deacon went to Barnard Castle Prep School as a child, which is situated next door to the Bowes Museum). Giles and Jones' red swan masterpiece from Giles' Spring/Summer 2012 collection is on show as part of the exhibition, including the red swan headpiece which Jones' created for this collection. 

The exhibition itself, although small, showcases a beautifully curated selection of Jones' iconic designs. For this display, Jones has collaborated with friend and fashion writer Iain R Webb, utilising pieces from the Bowes' permanent collection to show an inspired display of his millinery. Antique mannequin heads from Bath's Museum of Fashion & Costume were also loaned for the exhibition.

I managed to speak to Stephen at the launch, where he very kindly signed my copy of Stephen Jones and the Accent of Fashion book, including a small drawing of one of my favourite Stephen Jones designs - the infamous Pac Man helmets he created for Giles' Spring/Summer 2009 collection. 


Stephen Jones; From Georgiana To Boy George runs from 19th May - 2nd September 2012 in the Fashion & Textiles Gallery at the Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, County Durham, DL12 8NP

On Thursday 9th August 2012, Stephen Jones will be in conversation with friend and acclaimed fashion writer Iain R Webb, bringing the two together to discuss their life-long love of fashion, history and hats. 


Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Benefit's Mascarathon for Refuge

I love running. I love mascara. And I really love Benefit Cosmetics. So, when some information on Benefit's Mascarathon for the domestic violence charity, Refuge, landed in my inbox, I wanted to give the spotlight to this great charity event.

Benefit's Mascarathon will be celebrating the success of 'They're Real' - Benefit's No1 premium mascara in the UK, whilst raising funds for a fabulous charity. The run, fronted by TV beauty Caroline Flack will be raising funds and awareness for the national domestic violence charity for women and children, Refuge, reaching out to women who may be affected by domestic violence or know someone who is.

Starting in Edinburgh on June 15th and finishing in London on June 29th, the Mascarathon will call in at Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff and Oxford. Along the 500+ mile route, there will be a range of areas for fans of Benefit Comestics including make-up stations and some lovely Benefit samples for runners and friends (I'll be there raiding samples of mascara and cheering on the running masses!)

And the fun part? A Benefit mascara baton will be passed from runner to runner as they make their way along the route, each completing 2 miles each; these 2 miles mark the 2 women lost every week because of domestic abuse.

For all the lovely lasses in the Toon, the Mascarathon will be stationed in Newcastle from June 13th-15th when Donna Air will be taking part in the run.

In this Olympic year, it's great to see brands supporting charities through sport and I'll be there cheering on the Benefit beauties when they run through Newcastle (and of course sampling some Benefit make-up delights along the way!)

Follow #mascarathonuk and Benefit UK on Twitter


Monday, 14 May 2012

Beauty: Dermalogica and new beauty heroes

This month's new beauty hero products come in the form of Dermalogica's Gentle Cream Exfoliant, every beauty blogger's hero cleanser Bioderma's Crealine H20 Solution Micellaire, and Shu Uemura's utterly genius eyelash curler.

Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant 
I have been trying to find an non-abrasive but effective exfoliator for a long time now, and whilst watching Lisa Eldridge's Favourite Skincare Products videos, she mentioned Dermalogica's Gentle Cream Exfoliant. Containing lactic and salicylic acids (not as scary as they sound), this cream exfoliant gets right under blemishes and stops them in their tracks before they get a proper chance to set up camp on your face. When I hear the word 'exfoliator', I usually think of gritty scrubs which make your skin ache and squeak after use, but this is so gentle, you feel like you're applying a cream cleanser. This product does not contain any rough grains to buff the skin with, but the acids act as the exfoliants, gently penetrating the skin and seeking out undesirable spots and bumps - perfect for oily and combination skin. I've been using this once or twice a week for around 3 weeks now and have noticed a huge improvement in my complexion. Any blemishes I did have were completely reduced in size after the first use and some disappeared completely. Definately a new mainstay in my bathroom cabinet for the ol' cleansing routine. I bought my Gentle Cream Exfoliant from Beauty Flash - such fantastic prices for Dermalogica products.

Bioderma Crealine H20 Solution Micellaire
Every man and his wife has been blogging about this super cleanser, and for good reason. Heralded by make-up artists as the ultimate cleansing solution to get every last speck of make-up off of your skin, without stripping off any of the skin's essential oils, this is a product I've been trying to get hold of for some time. Usually only available for sale in French pharmacies, I was ecstatic to read that Caroline had come across a reputable seller on eBay, which she'd bought the miracle product from, so I swiftly followed suit and bought some. Such a reasonable price for the amount of product that you get, and a little goes a long way. I've mainly been using this product to remove my eye make-up and then following up with Liz Earle's Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser to get a good, all-round cleanse. This solution literally melts away make-up and leaves my skin feeling fantastic. Another product I can see myself using in the long term.

Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler
I am obsessed with Buyapowa. In the past couple of months since hearing about the co-buying site, I've bought Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser, Bobbi Brown eyeliner, Benefit's hero pore minimiser The Porefessional and now, Shu Uemura's famous eyelash curlers. Buyapowa are doing such a fantastic job getting these big brands into the co-buying scheme, and the demand for co-buying these essential beauty products is very popular - the first time the Shu Uemura eyelash curlers went live on the site for a co-buy, they sold out within around 15 minutes. So, I'm thrilled that Buyapowa managed to secure another lot of these babies to sell to the masses. All I can say about this beauty tool is why didn't I invest sooner? Sure, they're a bit pricier than your average eyelash curlers, but by god do they do the job ridiculously well. I have long eyelashes as it is, and always have comments asking if my eyelashes are real or false (cheeky), but these eyelash curlers make my lashes look even more lush, full and fluttery than they ever have done. Genius!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

ASOS and Aurasma: Scan to Shop App

There are so many ways in which we can now shop. ASOS revolutionised online fashion retailing, and now they are revolutionising mobile shopping with their Scan to Shop smartphone app, developed with augmented reality tech company, Aurasma.

ASOS' monthly print magazine can now be shopped straight from the page - simply download the Scan to Shop App, hover over any page in the magazine and arrows will appear highlighting items which can be instantly 'shopped'. The magazine also includes a digital treasure hunt, where exclusive offers can be unlocked.

The images below, screengrabs from my iPhone, show how the app works. The arrows dictate which items can be bought online at ASOS - simply click on one of these arrows and it takes you to the item on the main site. Shopping Lists from the pages of the magazine become enlarged via this app, making them easy to select and again, taking you right to the main ASOS store, where you can purchase the products through your smartphone.

By clicking on a garment in the above image, it took me straight to the ASOS online store, making this item instantly available to purchase. As with most ASOS print magazines, some of the items aren't ready available but arrows still guide you to their page on the main site, where you can asked to be notified once the item becomes available.


Consumers demands for super easy, convenient and fun ways to shop are quickly increasing, and this Scan to Shop app fulfills this need for new ways for customers to shop a brand's products, engaging them with new technologies which will only become more commonplace, and eventually, the norm for purchasing.

Danish fashion retailer Only are another company producing experiential ways to shop. Their interactive and shoppable fashion film allows the viewer to not only shop the products through the video but also pause the video at any time and 'pin' images to their Pinterest sites or share on social media networks. See Disney Roller Girl's blog for more details on this genius new marketing tool.

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