Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The Bloggers Love Hub Blogger Event In London. Part 2

Bloggers Hang Out Blogging Event In London

Every Monday in November, Danielle from Bloggers Love organised events for bloggers to meet brands and vice versa. I went to the first Bloggers Love Hub Blogger event in London at the beginning of the month and I enjoyed it so much, that I decided to return for the final meet up on the 24th of November.

Bloggers Hang Out Blogging Event In London

This time, the event was held at Mahiki's sister club Kanola in the Holborn area and it took me a while to find the venue. The Blogger's Love events are very popular so when I arrived at 4 pm, the club was already super busy! Kanola is as dark as Mahiki (sorry for the poor quality of pictures) but it is slightly bigger and more spacious, which I really enjoyed as there was so much to see and more brands to meet. However, I wished the club would have had a cloakroom, as it was so hot in there and I felt desperate to take off my winter coat and leave my heavy Christmas shopping bags somewhere.

As one of the first people I spoke to this evening, I met my lovely fellow blogger friend Rebecca who was the official video blogger for the event. Her videos are always fun to watch and capture the atmosphere of the events, so if you couldn't make it to the blogger event this time, Rebecca's video blog is perfect to catch up!

Meeting The Brands At Bloggers Love Hub Blogging Event

Bloggers Hang Out Blogging Event In London beauty PR Luxit
Bloggers Hang Out Blogging Event In London Nadia Minkoff

One of the first brands I spoke to was Nadia Minkoff. The London-based designer showcased her fashion jewellery and handbags. Nadia's collection is available in Selfridges and Liberty and bloggers were gifted a matching London-inspired bracelet and necklace in the goody bags. 

This event was dominated by beauty brands, which is not really my area of expertise but I met nice and chatty people during the evening and it was great to connect with so many new brands. Kelita from Yours Truly Organics introduced me to her skincare brand which is currently in the stage to get into John Lewis and Liberty. The collection features face balms, gel cleansers, balancing toners and serums and uses natural ingredients such as Aloe Vera and Shea butter to be as gentle as possible to the skin.

Bloggers Hang Out Blogging Event In London Yours Truly Organics

I also spoke to Swedish skincare brand Luxsit and had a little sneak peek at Apricot's new stylish summer collection.

Next on the list was Vita Liberata, known for their extensive fake tan range. When I approached the stand, I was surprised to see a collection of skin illuminators and got really excited about it. Course I wanted to know more! I tried for a while to speak to the PR lady but it was quite busy and I didn't really get the chance to speak to her directly so I listened whilst she explained some of the products to other fellow bloggers and moved on to Slendertone.

Bloggers Hang Out Blogging Event In London Vita Liberata

At the Slendertone stand, I met a smiling Charlotte who introduced me to the brand's fitness products. Slendertone is a worldwide leader in providing products that improve muscle tone and body shape. Charlotte explained the special technology used in Ab-belts, arm belts or bottom to improve your shape in these areas to get a more defined body. I was kindly gifted a system-abs belt, which I'm going to start using in the New Year and it will hopefully help me to get rid of all the Christmas guilty pleasures.

I did have a good time, though I wished it was less hot and crowded in Kanola. Danielle has yet again organised a fantastic blogger event and I'd like to say a big Thank You for having me. Blogger's Love Hub events are such a great opportunity for all kinds of bloggers and it is always a pleasure to meet fellow bloggers and amazing brands.

Thanks so much for reading,

Till next time,

Sunday, 7 December 2014

A Day Out In Birmingham

The Clothes Show in Birmingham

I started my weekend with a fabulous day out in Birmingham on Friday including a visit to the famous Clothes Show with my blogger friend Karen.

My First Visit To The Clothes Show In Birmingham

Since August (at least!) the blogosphere went mad over the Clothes Show. I've never been but heard it was supposed to be the second-biggest fashion event after famous fashion fair Pure in London. A fashion event in the Midlands? 

Sounded great and I was pretty upset, when I was rejected a press pass to the Clothes Show (though I met their requirements that's a different story). Anyway, luck had it, that I won two tickets for the show with Olympus over on Twitter, so I was definitely going which excited me a lot to not miss out on what seemed to be a great event for bloggers and fashion lovers. I asked Karen to join me, so we met at 8:30 am to start the day early and got the most out of it.

The Clothes Show in Birmingham with Karen

I've been to a few fairs at the NEC before (the BBC food show and Gadget Show) so I was kind of assuming, the Clothes Show would be a fashion/trade fair, with brands introducing their new products. I couldn't have been more wrong. 

There were brands such as Binky, Rimmel, ASOS and Models Own but apart from that, most "fashion brands" were no-name brands each selling the same items. There was this poncho which I've been watching for a while now, and it comes £20 on Ebay (at the most!). 

At the Clothes Show, I've seen it at least at four different stalls retailing at £35 and over (some even didn't have a price tag, so free I assume). It had the feel of a shitty Sunday afternoon market in Wolverhampton town centre. 

The Clothes Show in Birmingham visitors and exhibits
The Clothes Show in Birmingham clothes stands

I decided to go on a Friday in the hope to not be amongst kids, but it was bursting with school children all over the place, even at 9 am! Karen and I wondered if they dropped out of school or if there were any holidays on. It was insane!

Anyway, we had tickets for the fashion show at 12:30 so we sat down at the Alcatel Theatre and watched a really good runway show, which was centred around a year in New York with cool dancers and very pretty models. It was such a joy to watch the show and the atmosphere was superb.

The Clothes Show in Birmingham Fashion Theatre
The Clothes Show in Birmingham Fashion show
The Clothes Show in Birmingham Alcatel Fashion Theatre

Karen and I had a look around at the Clothes Show but nothing really caught our eyes and we enjoyed walking around, spotting the one and other "celebrity" (Peter Andre, Amy Childs and we went past Neon Jungle a few times) and chatting to each other. Overall I don't think I'll return next year to the Clothes Show. 

The tix would have cost £30 each if I had to buy them and it felt like you paid entrance to a big shop. You had to pay for "goodie bags" and it just seemed to be not worth it. I was expecting it to be a bit more like a fair where you meet brands and find out about their products (oh I'm spoilt by the Bloggers Love hub events) which didn't happen. It was really just selling products and I don't see a sense in buying an overpriced ticket to go shopping.

A Day Out In Birmingham: Markets And A Meal At Bodega

In the afternoon, Karen and I went into town and had a cheeky Bodega meal. Bodega is kind of mandatory when you're in Birmingham. It is soo good. They do South-American food and their nachos are divine!

Bodega in Birmingham
Bodega cantina in Birmingham
Nachos served at Bodega in Birmingham

We also had a chocolate filled crêpe at the Christmas markets, checked out the Canal Side in The Mail Box area, took pictures of each other with the Bull, who wears a fancy new Christmas jumper and tried Costa's new festive drinks.

The Bull in his Christmas jumper

I had a fantastic day and it was such a pleasure to meet Karen. Thank you so much for a wonderful day and a great time! Let's do it all again anytime soon :)

Thanks so much for reading,

Till next time,

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Christmas At The Traditional German Markets

German Christmas Market Leipzig

I always go home for a few days before Christmas to see my family and I've just got back from a trip. We celebrated the first Advent, meaning there are only three more to go until it's Christmas Eve time. Germans love a traditional Christmas and for some, including me, the pre-period leading up to the 24th December is the most exciting time of the year.

The first advent marks the opening of the famous Christmas Markets and for the next couple of weeks, people will come together to get into the festive mood and celebrate one of Germany's oldest religious traditions.

Weihnachtsmarkt and Christmas markets in Leipzig
Christmas Markets In Germany
Dresden Striezelmarkt Germany
Dresden Nutcracker Christmas Market

Though I'm very happy to see that parts of my culture are taken over by other countries such as Belgium and the UK, I find that hardly nowhere are the markets as beautiful, magical and authentic as they are at home. 

Usually hold in medieval market squares surrounded by old churches, town halls and restored Renaissance houses, the markets give you that special feeling of Christmas. It is already frosty cold, most likely minus degrees, the snow has covered the roofs and you can see your breath when you exhale. These are the perfect conditions to go to the markets.

Traditional German Christmas Markets: Food, Food, Food

Christmas is the time to celebrate the harvest of the year and to eat and celebrate. Germany makes no exception and in my culture, mulled wine, gingerbread and oranges are the food symbols of December. I know it sounds a bit weird but Christmas Markets are in the first place a treasure trove of food. 

You usually go there when it gets dark, which is around 3:30-4pm and then you eat most of the time. You drink hot mulled wine to keep you warm, chew a hard gingerbread heart, indulge in candied apples and in between changing food stalls, you look at all the amazing wooden crafts.

People drink their hot beverages out of personalised market mugs (there's a 5 € fee) which you can keep afterwards as a little souvenir. The Dresdner Hand bread, a fresh from the oven hot-filled bread, as well as Langos are traditional savoury dishes served at the markets. Candied apples, chocolate-coated tea cakes, quark dough balls and fruits, as well as candy floss and gingerbread hearts are for sweet tooth lovers.

Ginger bread and sweets at a traditional German Christmas Market
Langos Christmas Markets
Germany Christmas Markets in Dresden

Christmas Markets: A Place For Fun And Entertainment

So food and getting drunk are two good reasons for visiting the markets. Another one is that the markets are a fantastic place for fun and entertainment - most likely there's a funfair with a scooter (dodgems), a wheel and other rollercoasters at the end of the food stalls. If you're not a fan of funfairs, then there are stalls selling Christmas gifts, small concerts by the Christmas pyramid and nativity plays. In the middle of every market is a big pyramid with candles and scenes from the nativity play to remind people of the religious purpose and idea of Christmas.

Christmas Tree on the Altmarkt in Dresden
Pyramid at Dresden Christmas Markets
Christmas Time in Dresden
Nutcracker Leipzig Christmas Markets
Stalls at the Leipzig Christmas Market

Thanks so much for reading, 

Till next time,

PS: Pictures are taken from the Christmas Markets in Leipzig and the Strizelmarkt in Dresden (one of Germany's oldest markets 580 years this year!).

Monday, 24 November 2014

Smiggle Stationery Flagship Opening In Birmingham

Smiggle Shop Opening Birmingham

I've been very busy recently planning my move but I've managed to get some time off last Thursday to travel to the Bullring in Birmingham for Smiggle’s new flagship opening. I was kindly invited by the stationery brand to celebrate the opening along with other bloggers and to find out about their Christmas range.

Smiggle store Birmingham opening stationery

About Smiggle - A Fun Australian Stationery Brand

Australian brand Smiggle has made people ‘smile’ and ‘giggle’ since 2003. It is owned by Just Group, a fashion and apparel retailer, and sells colourful, fashionable and fun stationery. Alisa, a regional manager who looks after the UK roll-out, told me that there are 170 stores across Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. The brand decided to approach the European market before America, as there is more potential to be established.

2014 has been Smiggle's year to conquer Europe with the opening of 16 stores in the UK. Bristol and Solihull were opened in the last six weeks and there are two more to come to Derby and London before Christmas, plus the expansion plan expects 200 stores within the next two years.

Smiggle scented pencils
Smiggle stationery

The Smiggle Christmas Range: Calendars & Festive Stationery

Smiggle Advent calendar

The Christmas range consists of novelty stuff in addition to the usual range, which includes e.g. pencils, cases, diaries and bags. Plain pencil cases, for example, have been jazzed up to hard bubble top cases (£10) or usual pencils smell like cookies and chocolate (£4) to become the best sellers for Christmas.

The signature piece is, however, the impressive advent calendar, priced £20. Shaped as a triangular, which looks like an abstract silhouette of a Christmas tree, 25 Smiggle goodies are waiting behind each door. It’s a brilliant idea as children won’t be given chocolate and sweets, but they can actually take their calendar goodies into school and grown-ups can brighten up their desks at college or work with the happy stationery.

Smiggle macarron eraser
Smiggle pencils and milk pencil case

The Smiggle Experience: Loud, Colourful and Fun

I’ve seen the Smiggle store in Bristol, so I kind of knew what to expect, but when I arrived at the store at 6 pm I was totally overwhelmed by the colours and happy, smiling faces all around. So was food and lifestyle blogger Emma from Birmingham. 

She really liked the vibrant colours when she came into the store and didn't know where to look first. Fellow beauty blogger Vanessa adds ‘this is fantastic. It’s a bit of a throwback at childhood. In school, I was always the kid with a new pencil case and I also really like the scented gel pens which bring back memories.’

My favourite items from the collection are these 'delicious' macaron erasers (and I hope my macaroons will turn out as nicely as these one's next time) and the milkshake/carton pencil cases in the second picture below.

Smiggle colourful macaron eraser
Smiggle blue pencil case

Fun Is In The Detail

I briefly spoke to Georgie, the lovely PR lady who invited me and Haley, the store manager. Both were overwhelmed by the phenomenal response and positive feedback of customers. Haley told me she appreciates the interaction and creativity that the stationery triggers. Kids can have a play with the colourful items in-store and I even caught the staff having a good time joking around.

Smiggle staff in Birmingham

The event was on for 2h which went far too quickly. Afterwards, my blogger friend Becky and I went for a Costa's and spent another 2h chatting about films, blogging and our next event which will be tonight's Bloggers Love hub in London.

I had a fantastic time at the event and would like to thank Smiggle for having me and the generous goodies I received. You'll find the Smiggle flagship store at the Bullring on the ground floor next to Thomas Sabo and Costas (Selfridges side). Let me know if you've been to the store (leave me your blog post links!) and what's your favourite piece from their collection!

Thanks so much for reading,

Till next time,

Thursday, 6 November 2014

The Bloggers Love Hub Event In London.

Bloggers Love Hub Blogging Event in London

My week started brilliantly as I was invited to attend the Bloggers Love Hub in London. My first ever blogger event! 

Every Monday in November, Bloggers Love will hold a blogging event where you can network with other bloggers and meet interesting fashion and beauty brands. The event took place at the Mahiki bar and nightclub in Dover Street (yes, the Victoria Beckham store is just down the road!).

Bloggers Love Hub At Mahiki Night Club

Bloggers Love regularly organise blogging events and this one was my first ever event to attend. At each event, there will be a different mix of fashion and beauty brands. Some events will include a fashion show or a gifting lounge and several brands will be there which will give you the chance to speak directly to the founders or brand representatives and learn about their unusual products.

The event on Monday started at 4 pm and there was a great atmosphere when I arrived. The Mahiki nightclub was decorated nicely in a tropical theme, bloggers were welcomed with goody bags, delicious cupcakes were waiting for you and people just had a good time chatting, laughing and meeting the brands.

Bloggers Love Blogging Event cupcakes
Bloggers Love Blogging Event Mahiki London
Bloggers Love Blogging Event London at Mahiki Club

Jewellery, Jewellery, Jewellery At The Bloggers Love Hub Event

One of the main reasons why I particularly wanted to attend the first meeting in November was the great selection of jewellery brands that came to the gifting lounge and showcased their products. I always like to discover unusual jewellery that you can't get on the High Street but is sold at affordable prices. During my two hour stay at the event, two jewellery brands really stood out to me and I think they have a lot of potential to be established on the fashion market namely Glowbeads and D_Jewelsus.

I was lucky to speak to both brands and learnt about their interesting products. Katherine the founder of Glowbeads, showcased her incredible bracelets, which reveal a dramatic glowing effect when light hits the beads. The material used is reflective and the same as in road cats eyes. So wherever you are, the colourful accessories will turn heads and catch eyes. Kathrine's collection includes bracelets and necklaces for different occasions and there's a kids collection, too.

The Glowbeads bracelets come around £12 and I was kindly gifted one at the event. I decided on a multi-coloured bracelet, which looks so much fun and I will show it to you very soon.

Bloggers Love Blogging Event Glow Beads jewellery
Bloggers Love Blogging Event glowbeads

The second brand I'd like to tell you about is D_Jewelsus. The London-based brand is quite new on the market and they have specialised in jewellery made out of fabrics. The collection features individual and unique pieces inspired by geometric forms which give the items an 80's touch. Most necklaces were made from leather. 

So you have a statement necklace but without the heavyweight. All fabrics used are natural and made from real leather. I was very intrigued by one of their statement pieces, a collar, which was made from a soft cowhide. The combination which met cold metal squares and then went over in a furry sort of pony hair material felt incredible.

Sorry, I've only got one picture of the collection as the lighting at the venue wasn't the best for shooting pictures. Keep your eyes open for one of my upcoming ootd posts and you might spot an item from the range.

Bloggers Love Blogging Event D_Jewesus jewellery

I also chatted to the lovely Emily, who gave photography advice to bloggers and revealed some tricks on how to boost your blog pictures. I spoke to Byron, managing director of The Blogger Programme, a network which is currently booming. 

I had a great time at the event and would like to thank Bloggers Love again for organising and hosting such a fantastic opportunity for us beauty and fashion bloggers. The venue was nice with lovely staff, but the lighting wasn't ideal for photography and I wished there would have been more seats available to sit down with blogging friends and have a relaxed chat or at least a cloakroom to drop of coats and bags. But these are minor issues and I'll be visiting the last event on 24th November for which I am very excited for.

Bloggers Love Blogging Event jewellery brands

There's still time to sign up with Bloggers Love to attend one of the last remaining three events. All you need to do is to register (it's free) and attend the free event in London. You can also bring a plus one, you know, the more the merrier :)

I also went to their final event on the 24th November, which I have covered in my Bloggers Love Hub Blogger Event Part 2 post.

Thanks so much for reading,

Till next time,

Saturday, 1 November 2014

It's Getting Colder. An Autumn OOTD Style Post

cosy knitwear autumn fashion post in the forest of dean

How are you doing after this crazy Halloween night? Today's post is just a very quick OOTD. It's getting slowly but surely colder each day so I snuggled up in my cosy Stradivarius jumper and teamed it up with a colourful bangle from Lyla Loves. 

A Cosy Autumnal Outfit & Quick Life Update

During my visit to London, I went to the Stradivarius store in Westfield/Stratford. Zara's sister brand has this incredible collection of boho-themed clothes and I feel in love with this super cosy white jumper. The knitwear is casual and comfortable to wear, perfect for when you want to snuggle up and just want a relaxed outfit to feel comfortable in. I've teamed it up with a pair of Aztec printed leggings from New Look. They are made of a cotton blend and keep me warm even in this weather. If you're struggling, just wear a black pair of tights underneath.

Tan boots are my absolute must-have for Autumn. These were a great investment from Clarks in 2009. At first, I struggled walking in them as I wasn't used to wearing heeled shoes, but now, they are completely broken in and I can't imagine my life without them. In combination with the basic colours of white and black, the tan stands out with its warm shade and applies that special Autumn touch.

Lyla Loves kindly send me a colourful bangle the other day and I thought to add a bit of fun and colour to the outfit, plus the bangles' beads pick up the Aztec print from the leggings nicely, I'll include it into today's outfit of the day. Now I'm ready to go on a walk with Jarvis into the Forest of Dean and look forward to returning later to the fireplace.

close up of cosy knitwear fashion post

Here's What I’m Wearing:

Cosy Knittwear: Stradivarius (current season 2014, £23)
Bangle: Lyla Loves (current season 2014*)
Black Aztec Leggings: New Look (summer season 2012, £15)
Boots: Clarks (winter season 2008, £100)

Thanks so much for reading,

Till next time, 

*PR Sample
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