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!).
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