North East Voyeur

Anything that happens specifically in the North East – product launches, events and store openings, it’s all here!

Welcoming in 2017

Happy New Year Voyeurs! ¬†Whether you’ve welcomed in 2017 with promises to lose weight, get fit or just generally ‘do better’, I’m here to tell you that it really doesn’t matter.

That’s right Voyeurs, I’m not one for the New Year, New Me movement, I was pretty damn awesome throughout 2016 and each previous year and I intend to remain just as awesome throughout 2017, no matter how much the Debbie Downright Crazies (You know who you are, and thanks for reading ūüėė) desperately want me to fail.

So, if you made a resolution this New Year and you’re struggling to keep it up, then take a deep breath, recalibrate, and shake it off. ¬†There’s no point beating yourself up about it as you’ll only slide further down the slope – and you’re way too fabulous for that.

Remember, the hardest promises to keep, are the ones we make to ourselves. ¬†There will always be an excuse to put yourself on the back burner, whether it’s the school run, work committments or just a plain old lack of motivation, it’s easy to make excuses for ourselves, to ourselves.

Me? ¬†I never make New Year’s resolutions because I’m a personal acevement saboteur and I kinda feel like if I want to do something, I’ll do it no matter what. ¬†But if you do, I’m here to say, don’t be so hard on yourself. ¬†Treat it like that weird 5:2 diet and if you can manage 5 days commitment out of every 7, I’d say you’re doing pretty well. ¬†After all, what does it really matter anyway?

So, Happy New Year Voyeurs, make 2017 your bitch and go be awesome. ¬†My words of wisdom for this new year are similar to those of Cinderella’s mom; Have courage, be kind, and don’t be a dick.

Speak soon….

Pixie xo

The Wax Bar Newcastle

With only a few more days until Christmas, party season is well and truly upon us. ¬†If you’ve let your party prep fall by the wayside then fear not as I’m about to tip you off with a brand new beauty offering you’ll want to add to your little black book.

What we’ve lacked in Newcastle for some time now, and you’ll know this because of my endless rants about it, is a dedicated wax bar. ¬†Somewhere that specialises in the art of hot waxing, from eyebrows to intimate waxing and everything in between, it’s something we’ve been in need of for a long time.

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Brand new salon The Wax Bar aims to address that. ¬†On upmarket St George’s Terrace in Jesmond and with free parking right outside the door, the salon is perfectly situated for fly-by appointments. ¬†With salons in Edinburgh, Fife and now Newcastle, The Wax Bar is an established brand that’s rapidly expanding largely because of their expertise and quick appointment turnover. ¬†Founder & Head Therapist Nicole Peterson is a¬†graduate from the Mary Reid International School of Beauty; an institution with a reputation for being the best of the best in the beauty industry, and those high standards are reflected in The Wax Bar.

From its signature charcoal and white colour schemes complemented by fuschia pink branding, The Wax Bar prides itself on being sleek and minimalist, much like its signature Hollywood wax. ūüôĆūüŹľ

I arrived for my appointment and was greeted by two smiling faces and a salon that smelled like fresh grapefruit. ¬†The place is gorgeous, pretty damn near perfect in fact. ¬†Smart, slick and very clean, there’s a nail bar in the main reception area too. ¬†I was introduced to my Therapist Gemma and taken through what to expect from my Hollywood wax (¬£38) in a well equipped room in keeping with the theme of the salon.

The Wax Bar favours hot waxing and uses Lycon wax throughout, if you’re not already familiar, here comes the science: ¬†Lycon is the market leader in hot waxing. ¬†Used with an oil prep, ¬†Lycon wax shrink wraps around the hair to remove only the hair and not the skin, reducing the pain caused by waxing to almost nothing. ¬†Because of this, the area can be re-waxed to remove stubborn hairs, something you can’t achieve with strip wax.

Aside from the gorgeous, simplistic colours scheme and genius branding, one of the best things about The Wax Bar is the speed at which they can turnover an appointment. ¬†With over ten years experience in the beauty industry and a flair for waxing, these girls have got mad skills and it shows. ¬†With¬†no rushing, but also no waiting around, it’s the perfect appointment – ¬†done and dusted in a cool 20 minutes including changing time – perfect for days when you need to be in and out with minimal fuss and with online booking the process is streamlined from start to finish.

Obviously you all know by now that I’m a bit of a waxing connoisseur and after living in London, I’ve come to know where to find the best Wax Therapists in the UK. ¬†The Wax Bar definitely makes the cut. ¬†With a mission statement similar to Strip in London, although the salon also offers additional sought after beauty treatments such as LVL Lashes, HD Brows and nail services, the focus is firmly on the waxing with a full, diverse treatment menu dedicated to the sticky stuff.

img_3034Uncomfortable about intimate waxing? ¬†Don’t be. ¬†There’s just no need, yes there are places out there that may make you feel uncomfortable, The Wax Bar isn’t¬†one of them. ¬†These girls eat, sleep and breathe wax, it’s their lifeblood and their job is to make you feel at ease, which they excel at. ¬†It’s a virtually pain free process, (yes, you read that right) and there’s a wickedy ¬†loyalty scheme to boot.

If you’re an intimate waxing virgin and are mildly intrigued, then man up and book an appointment, it’ll change your life. ¬†If you’re not brave enough to opt for the Hollywood wax then The Wax Bar offers a full suite of waxing treatments including eyebrows (¬£10), underarms (¬£15) and legs (¬£30). ¬†If you’re quick you still have time to grab one of their Festive Offers including a Half Leg Wax & Hollywood Wax for ¬£40 instead of ¬£56 and I’d stake my kid on the fact that you’ll be back for more….

Pixie xo

Dress Me Luxe Launch Night

If you’re a fan of fast fashion then online boutique Dress Me Zara is a must for your Instagram feed. ¬†Currently undergoing a relaunch as Dress Me Zee, with its fast paced style turnover and an inhouse designer ready to replicate the latest high end pieces at high street prices, this is one¬†secret you need to know about.

The brainchild of Jessica Broomfield, a girl from the North East who started designing dresses in her bedroom long before the brand became the business it is today. ¬†Dress Me Zee is the fresh, funky signaturen line, whilst new addition¬†Dress Me Luxe adds¬†high octane glamour and serious sparkle for high end, red carpet dressing. ¬†Heavily influenced by Balmain and the Kardashian/Jenner sisters, it’s full of sparkle, tassels and body con, perfect for occasion dressing.

I went along to the pre-launch runway show at Aveika last night to see the brand new Dress Me Luxe collection, along with the best festive pieces from signature line, Dress Me Zee, proving there’s something for every budget across both collections. ¬†The night was hosted by the gorgeous Sophie Gradon who also walked the runway, and the best bit? ¬†A pop up shop offering showgoers¬†the chance to snap up a piece of the action before anyone else. ¬†(Apologies for the quality of the pictures, Aveika is notoriously difficult to photograph).

Amongst the many standout pieces were Yonce worthy double split fronted gowns in black and rose gold, and cool mini dresses with high necks and long sleeves.  Oh yes, and a super cute little harlequin playsuit with just the right amount of sparkle.

When Jessica put the event together, she told me she was keen to support charity Cancer Research UK and made the admirable decision¬†to donate ¬£5 from every clothing purchase made on the night, to the charity. ¬†She made sure she came armed with enough stock in different sizes to cater for everyone and where stock wasn’t available, Jessica beams her gorgeous smile at me and says “No sweat, we’ll post it out the next day”.

I think I made six visits to the restrooms to try on dresses before settling on the first thing I tried on – typical. ¬†A floor length black gown, aptly named ‘Midnight in Paris’. ¬†With a double fronted thigh split and the kind of embellishment you could stare at for days. ¬†It’s safe to say that I’ll be leaving a trail of glitter as black as my heart in my wake when I wear this beauty. ¬†It was a tricky decision, this same dress is also available in gold and is also pretty amazing, at ¬£59.99 I’d say it’s an absolute steal and it comes with¬†the colour matched panties too!

The Dress Me Luxe range will be added to the Dress Me Zee website¬†this week to complement the current collection and with next day delivery, there’s still time to pick up something unique and dramatic in time for your Christmas party to ensure all eyes are on you. ¬†The only problem? ¬†Narrowing it down to just one….

Pixie xo

 

10 Years of Hublot All Black Concept with Alan Shearer

Last night Alan Shearer took to the stage for an exclusive Q&A session to celebrate ten years of the Hublot All Black Concept at ROX Newcastle.

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As a society event calls for less quirk and more class, I opted for an Alesha Dixon for LBD party dress that I picked up from my favourite Yarm boutique, DC Couture with super uncomfortable Kurt Geiger shoes, because apparently fashion is painful.

Hosted by Sky Sports Presenter, and the voice of FIFA, Geoff Shreeves, Shearer spoke passionately about his football career, his recent CBE, and his beloved Newcastle.

A hand selected audience were treated to personal stories from throughout Shearer’s career, from THAT Gareth Southgate penalty at Euro ’96 to his heart-wrenching decision to retire from his Captaincy of the England team to continue to play league football. ¬†With anecdotes thrown in about in team fights, Sir Bobby Robson and playing two touch in a shoe shop in fancy dress, Shearer had the audience riveted from start to finish.

But whilst anecdotes are great, and these ones really were, the reason this exclusive event took place was to celebrate 10 years of the Hublot All Black Concept. ¬†As a Brand Ambassador for Hublot, Shearer was given free reign in the design of a signature timepiece, named the King Power Timepiece; two of which were produced to his exact specifications. ¬†One of these sits in pride of place firmly on Shearer’s wrist, the other is up for auction for a very special cause close to the ex-footballer’s heart.

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The Alan Shearer Foundation is a charity set up by Shearer to benefit children and young adults with disabilities. ¬†This isn’t just something Shearer has lent his name too though, he’s actively involved in the running of the The Alan Shearer Centre, the maintenance and the commissioning of new services and facilities within the unit. ¬†It’s something he speaks briefly but passionately about. ¬†The Foundation hosts an annual fundraiser and at the next big event in February 2017, the watch will be sold during the final hours of the live auction (you can bid on the King Power timepiece here) with bidding expected to reach upwards of ¬£50k All of which will be ploughed back into The Alan Shearer Foundation. ¬†Kudos Shearer.

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After the Q&A concluded, I caught up with Shearer to discuss his plans for the foundation and the type of people it aims to help. ¬†His answer? ¬†Anyone who needs it. ¬†Plain and simple, the centre was set up to provide support and respite for families just like mine, who care for disabled children or young adults. ¬†With an onsite respite unit where children can stay overnight with round the clock care, parents are given the opportunity to take a break once in a while. ¬†The best bit? ¬†It’s all provided free of charge. ¬†ūüôĆūüŹľ

With a personal invite to visit The Alan Shearer Centre in West Denton and Shearer promising to look after me, I got a real sense that Shearer is the real deal. ¬†That he doesn’t do this because it’s good PR, it’s because he’s fortunate enough to be in a position to make a difference, and he wants to do just that.

I had a great night partying with my girls, looking at beautiful jewellery and listening to inspiring stories from the most capped footballer in British history in his hometown. ¬†Doesn’t get much better than that Voyeurs.

Some boy that Alan Shearer….

Pixie xo

When Hate Becomes Harmful

Writing Why I’ll Never Give Another Personal Interview got me thinking, why is there so much hate in the industry? ¬†Not only that, why is it women are tearing down other women?

When a toxic person can no longer control you, they’ll try to control what other people think of you with misinformation. ¬†Society tells us as the victim, to take the moral high ground and that others will eventually see the person for what they are – toxic. ¬†But isn’t taking the moral high ground just settling? ¬†Rolling over and saying that we won’t fight back because there’s a stigma that it makes us as bad as them? ¬†Now that I’m old enough to process this, and as a victim of hate abuse I say fuck the moral high ground.

You’ve read my recent post, you know the back story, in a nutshell, a toxic person, let’s call her Ms Jackson, used her hate for me in an attempt to sabotage my career. ¬†Something I can’t tolerate and why should I have to? ¬†After all, this is a professional person in a senior teaching role in the Fashion DepartmentFashion Voyeur Meets Fashion North of Sunderland University, we’re not talking about your average internet troll. ¬†Ms Jackson is a real person, I’ve interacted with her in real life on several occasions (and yes, she’s always been unpleasant and unprofessional in the time that I’ve worked with her).

One important point to make here Voyeurs is that it’s ok to hate me or anyone else. ¬†I’ll never quash your opinion, or anyone else’s. ¬†I’m adult enough to know that we all hate things, in my case it’s coconut, baked beans and Ellie Goulding. ¬†What’s not ok however, is to take that hate and use it as a weapon against the very person who fuels your hate. ¬†Not cool. ¬†Also, it’s playground behaviour and will make you look like a dick when the misinformation comes crashing down around you.

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The position I find myself in now is one of uncertainty. ¬†People who don’t know now me too well are being heavily influenced by a toxic person’s own warped personal opinion of me. ¬†That personal opinion is creeping into their professional teachings as a deliberate attempt to prevent me from progressing my career. ¬†You all know W. Blower has kept me in the loop throughout and on Monday I even got to see first hand the extent of the misinformation in a video taken during one of Ms Jackson’s group discussions.

Now whilst I’m flattered that for some reason I seem to be on the syllabus of the Fashion Programme at Sunderland University, I think we need to set a few things straight. ¬†The information Ms Jackson is sharing is incorrect, inaccurate, bullshit if you will.

The thing that really got me though is that this woman works in the same industry as me and instead of celebrating the very small amount of success I’ve had, she’s out there, focussing actual energy on tearing me down with misinformation. ¬†What’s more, it’s done in stealth mode, in secret, Like a covert mission. There’s got to be a reason for that right? ¬†Yeah, you know it as well as I do Voyeurs.

You know me pretty well ¬†you know that whilst I’m upfront and outgoing, I’m also guarded and fiercely protective of my family. ¬†Being a mum is hard enough, but Plankton has a super duper rare, and pretty damn severe disability which adds in a whole bunch of extra challenges. ¬†It’s not something I ever share, but because of my most recent vile third party experience with Ms Jackson it suddenly became a topic of discussion after her actions increased the risk to my family unit.

So, we’ve established that she hates me and a well placed source within the University tells me that I’m often talked about during her lectures and that she’s even gone on to advise the current cohort of students to avoid me because yes, you guessed it, she hates me. ¬†Why does she hate me? ¬†I’ve no idea, it could be anything, she’s pretty flakey. ¬†The most recent reason I heard was that she feels there’s no place for Bloggers, that without a journalism degree I’m nothing.

Personally, I think there’s a place for everyone. ¬†If you can make the best of a bad situation and turn that into a lucrative career then you deserve props. ¬†I’m all for celebrating the successes of other people, whether they’re in my industry or not, you’ve got to question the integrity of the person supporting a toxic crusader and why they make the subconscious decision to believe the things they’re told without using their own knowledge as a gauge.

Yes, I’ve lost friends to this. ¬†Will they come back? ¬†Maybe, who knows. ¬†I’m a omitting the question mark because I don’t really need an answer to that. ¬†One thing’s for sure though, I refuse the moral high ground because in business it doesn’t exist. ¬†There’s simply ‘polite hate’ and ‘harmful hate’ and I’ll never tolerate harmful hate.

So what about me? ¬†Well Voyeurs, I’ll just keep on being awesome ūüĎäūüŹľ, and what of this misinformation, nay, bullshit?¬†Well in the words of the formidable Andre 3000, I’m sorry Ms Jackson, I am for real.

Pixie xo

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Voting Open for the 2017 UK Blog Awards!

Well Voyeurs, you did your awesome thang and I’m super proud to say that for the first year ever, I’M NOMINATED IN THE UK BLOG AWARDS!

The next stage is voting. ¬†A shortlist has been compiled – I’m on it – and voting opened at 8am this morning. ¬†The voting process is exactly as it should be; quick, easy and with minimal fuss. ¬†It takes less than a minute and I promise to love you forever if you take that one minute to vote for me in the Fashion and Beauty category. ¬†You can do so by clicking HERE¬†or by using the long link at the bottom of the page, you know if you wanna share it and garner me a few extra votes *wink wink*.

Obviously I want to say a huge, big, massive thank-you to you guys, my Voyeurs. ¬†Without you there wouldn’t be a nomination, or a place on the shortlist and I appreciate every single one of you. ¬†You stick by me when things are rough, you connect with me and share my posts via social media and you make me smile with your comments and emails, especially the ones about my outfits!

Guys, you’re awesome, now stop reading and go vote in your droves….

http://blogawardsuk.co.uk/ukba2017/entries/fashion-voyeur

Pixie xo

 

Love Niche FW16 Collection

Twice yearly, in line with the off-schedule fashion calendar, Newcastle based Fashion Designer Nisha Vedhara curates and prepares a multi tiered collection to present to the fashionistas of the North.

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Nisha and I have been friends for a few years now and although I’m probably biased, I speak the truth when I tell you she puts on a formidable show. ¬†Each season Nisha partners with a local charity, suicide prevention and support charity If U Care Share was selected as the partner for The Art of Style FW 16,¬†with a proportion of funds raised going to benefit local families affected by suicide. ¬†Having been affected by suicide in my family, I can’t give enough props for this. ūüôĆūüŹľ

Nisha’s approach to her collection is three dimensional; her signature Love Niche line is actually designed and made by her, from sketch, to completion. ¬†She scours the globe for fabrics, prints and anything else she can use in her collections with inspiration coming mainly from India and the vivid, rich colours and textures available there.

Love Niche Paris is Nisha’s most popular collection. ¬† Curated and bought in according to trends on the runway by Nisha with a focus on the outfit as a whole, rather than single pieces.

Her third, more affordable collection is Love Niche London.  A diffusion line selected by Nisha to make the brand accessible, but still desirable.

This year, the Love Niche Fall / Winter showcase took place at The Assembly Rooms in Newcastle and for the first time ever, featured bespoke occasion wear designed and made by Nisha for real clients.  Not only was I invited along, but I was actually asked to model in the second part of the show!  Taking on a new format, the show was split into ready to wear, worn by models and then after a short interlude, bespoke occasion wear, worn by the women the garments were created for. (i.e. Me)

The show, ¬†called The Moonlight Season, opened with Nisha’s own Cruise collection of bespoke kaftans and resort wear. ¬†Models walked the candlelit runway wearing striking flower crowns made by Kathryn Russell. ¬†Miss Junior Teen Great Britain, Harriotte Lane opened the show and told me afterwards that there were just days to go before she handed the title over to her successor. ¬†I took my seat with my photographer pal Hannah Todd, to take in the North East’s premier runway show….

First up, resort wear. ¬†A pretty awesome collection of cool kaftans, cover ups and swimwear. ¬†From racy fishnet throw on dresses, to soft, floaty full length waistcoats, the collection didn’t disappoint and was a lot more fresh and urban than Nisha’s usual classic offering. ¬†With the darker theme this season and topped with flower crowns, models looked like they’d strode straight off a Lana Del Rey video shoot.

Love Niche Paris gave us structured dresses, fur stoles and palazzo pants, armour for the modern day girl boss and like nothing else you’ll find on the high street.

Love Niche London is probably the most anticipated collection purely because of its affordability and wearability.  Think runway trends re-spun for the highstreet with a classic vibe.  The collection was full of stripes and separates finished off with hats, city gloves and chain belts.

Nisha’s high end signature line, Love Niche was a collection of high octane¬†occasion wear for urban warrior women. ¬†Guaranteed to create drama and turn heads, the collection garnered applause and a collective ‘ooooooooh’ from the sell out crowd. ¬†The stand out piece? ¬†A floor length dress coat with a nipped in waist and flared skirt worn by Miss Durham¬†GB, Taylor Hamilton which¬†opened and flared as she strutted the runway. ¬†TDF ūüėć

Next up, my turn. ¬†After being asked so many times about her bespoke collection, Nisha decided to enlist the help of the women she’s created one off pieces for. ¬†For the first time ever, Nisha’s actual clients took to the runway in one off, show stopping creations designed in collaboration with each client and made by Nisha.

 

Our outfits were styled in the way we’d wear them ourselves so that the audience could see the versatility and personality in each piece. ¬†I wore my long sleeved sequinned top with a full skirt from Coast and a black velvet cape – very gothic princess. ¬†The bespoke¬†luxe runway show also featured PR gurus Claire Barber and Sarah Hall and Rita Gray, a lady who’s become a friend of mine after¬†Nisha introduced us a few years back (she calls me Carrie Bradshaw ‚̧ԳŹ) and it added a new dimension to the show which showgoers agreed afterwards, allowed the audience to see how Nisha’s creations might be worn in ‘real life’.

The Moonlight Season was certainly darker and a lot more edgy and relevant than previous seasons. ¬†The collection felt like more of a ‘journey’ than it has done before. ¬†Maybe it was the venue, or the fresher cast of models but the show seemed slicker and told the story of the collections effortlessly. ¬†Resort wear was a highlight, it was clear from the first outfit that Nisha had upped her game and come out stronger than ever before. ¬†With a whopping 83 outfits on show at The Midnight Sessions, I can’t wait to see how she tops this in Spring / Summer 2017.

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Image Credit: Keith Fusco, KIS Studios

If you fancy checking out the ready to wear collections, then head to¬†Love Niche Studio, a show space that feels a world away from the busy city and the hustle of the Grainger Market beneath it. ¬†Nisha also offers her bespoke dressmaking service from here or a personal styling service if you’re not sure where to start and she’s her own best advert, she rarely wears anything other than Love Niche and damn, can she put an outfit together.

Pixie xo

 

Trendlistr Curated Vintage Popup Shop

You all know that I have my own unique style when it comes to occasion dressing but I also have a bit of a penchant for vintage, as long as it’s good vintage; and that’s the trouble with buying preloved clothing, you never know if it’s any good.

When it comes to styling and dressing, I know exactly what I want. ¬†That in itself can be a problem because sometimes the thing that I want doesn’t actually exist, that’s why I hack sleeves off tees, add in fabric and draw on clothing – I like to look unique. Buying vintage is great because it allows you to keep your individuality – you’re very unlikely to bump into someone wearing the same thing – and there are styles available that aren’t repeated on today’s high street.

One of the tricky things about buying vintage, is that you never know if what you’re buying is ‘good’ vintage, genuine or what it’s history is and that’s the risk you take. ¬†Sure vintage fairs are great, (my absolute favourite, Britain Does Vintage, tours the U.K. seasonally and makes three stops across the North East) but if you’re that person who really doesn’t know what they’re looking for then Trendlistr might be the solution you didn’t know you needed.

Ok, so first you have to establish that you’re interested in vintage clothing, if you’re not, then maybe I can convince you. ¬†Cuts, quality and sizing is different (vanity sizing didn’t exist back then) in vintage clothing, with a focus on quality over quantity, things weren’t sold in high volume so if you find a piece you love, buy it, keep it and cherish it. ¬†Good designer vintage in decent condition retains its shape and its value pretty well on this day and age, with some rare pieces (Hermes Kelly anyone?) increasing in value.

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Louisa Rogers and I have been following each other for some time now and last night we finally met in person at her Curated Vintage Popup Shop in House of Smith.  Louisa spotted a gaping hole in the market for a Curated vintage service that links up clients like you and I, with vintage pieces which have been sourced, checked and verified.  This was the inspiration that led her to start setting up her business Trendlistr.

Louisa is super passionate about vintage clothing, but it has to be as close to perfect as it can be to pass her vigourous testing. ¬†Sourcing from all over the world, she’s built up quite a collection of eclectic pieces and had a small selection of clothing and jewellery on show at her popup.

Trendlistr will operate in a similar way to eBay which offers a marketplace for third party sellers to showcase their vintage items, minus the auction. ¬†Louisa tells me she has aspirations for it to become the ‘ASOS of vintage’ and she has faith in her brand. ¬†She talks about the importance of getting it right first time and is currently in the process of photographing and cataloging the collection ready for the website going live.

I scoured the collection last night and scavenged a preppy zip through Roberto Verino dress and a Moschino tank – picked for me by Louisa herself as she says she’s clocked my style and thinks it’s very me, she’s not wrong. ¬†Amongst the collection I found a pair of very on trend midnight blue velvet Yves Saint Laurent cigarette pants and a flower camo Salvatore Ferragamo pencil skirt, sadly neither were my size. Boo!

Is Curated vintage worth it? Yes, if you’re interested in vintage then it takes all the hard work out of finding really great quality preowned clothing. ¬†If you want to try vintage but don’t know where to start, then Curated vintage is your gateway drug, but be careful, it’s addictive.

I’ll always visit vintage fairs there’s no doubt about that, but Trendlistr offers a third dimension, a way to source items in a particular size, colour or style. ¬†A way to request dealers to look for a particular item when they’re out topping up their hauls, rather than just shopping off the rack.

When Trendlistr goes live in early 2017 I’m predicting a vintage revival of sorts….

Pixie xo

 

Christmas Night Market at the Grainger Market

Last night I headed over to the Grainger Market in Newcastle for a very special Christmas Night Market. ¬†If you’re not from the North East then let me fill you in…

 

The Grainger Market is something of a local treasure in Newcastle, housed in a square block between Clayton Street and Grainger Street, it’s been a part of the city since 1835. ¬†With over a hundred shops and stalls under the steel and glass roof, it really has to be visited to give life to the description. ¬†It’s the home of a collective of vibrant, small local businesses and some awesome creatives who thrive on their solidarity as a unit and if you visit the market, you’ll see that in spades.

It’s quirky, it’s cute and ultimately it’s well planned out. ¬†From the original aisles which made up the ‘flesh market’ which now houses local food produce, through to the Grainger Arcade which is the younger, funkier end. ¬†Everything in the Grainger Market has a place that has been carefully considered and every Geordie you meet, will have a favourite unit housed within it.

This year, for the first time ever, the Grainger Market played host to a Christmas Night Market with the promise of mulled wine, local food samples and a VIP tour of that famous hidden air raid shelter. ¬†To be honest Voyeurs, I heard “Air raid shelter” and was there like a shot.

When I arrived, the place was buzzing with life, a choir was singing with an audience of smiling faces and Christmas jumpers as lights projected out across the glass ceiling, transforming the Grainger Market into a Winter Wonderland.  I registered for my VIP wristband and map, and headed straight to Pet Lamb patisserie to stock up on festive treats made with a local touch.

One of my all time favourite stores is in the Grainger Market; Ellen’s Cosmetics is a secret staple for many a Beauty Blogger, known for sourcing hard to find items and products, and stocking brands that you just can’t find anywhere else. ¬†It’s my go to for hair toners. ¬†Yup, that’s right Voyeurs, when you see me with my many shades of pastel hair, this is my supplier and I picked up some new ones last night taking advantage of their 20% off offer exclusively for the Night Market. ūüôĆūüŹľ

I also managed to get a tour of one of the two hidden air raid shelters under the Grainger Market, something I’ve wanted to do since I heard about it in The Chronicle earlier this year and it didn’t disappoint. ¬†I headed into the dark tunnel with fellow Bloggers Rachel Kershaw & Ami Littlefair and we were given the lowdown on how it would have been used by the most adorably City Tour Guide.

From the surface, it’s pretty easy to, it’s the entrance despite being wide open & surrounded by metal barriers, it’s hidden in plain sight. ¬†The steps lead down to a chamber which eerily splits off into two narrow corridors, it almost feels like picking your fate….

Filled with vintage props, the shelter has been preserved and still has original drawings on the walls. ¬†Not my usual post but I’m actually super interested in this kind of thing so next on my list is The Victoria Tunnel tour. ¬†I also kind of have to take some responsibility for Rachel bumping her head on a steel joist on the way out, soz dude.

After a good stroll around the market and it’s various entertainment spots, cue buskers, Newcastle Roller Girls Head Coach Kalamity James (and my awesome mate) whizzing around on quads, I headed home feeling slightly less grinchy and munching on a bag of sweet treats.

If you’re the kind of person who seeks to support local business over larger chain stores and you’re in the North East then give the Grainger Market a look. ¬†There are quirky independent stores hidden within those old walls and some great places for food that still remain a bit of a Geordie secret. ¬†Also, it’s looking super Christmassy in there right now, which is always a winner in my book!

Pixie xo

Why I’ll Never Give Another Personal Interview

Why I’ll never give another personal interview again

Well, that might be overstating it but today, I’m resolute. I’ll never reveal such personal information about myself and my family again. Let me rewind a little Voyeurs and give you some perspective….

A few weeks back I gave a pretty personal interview to Alysha Stirling of student web publication, Fashion North.  We spent three hours chatting over coffee in my second home, the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Newcastle.  Alysha is a student reading Fashion Journalism at Sunderland University and was pleasant, friendly & told me how she had followed my career and held me in high regard.  So far so good.

Now I accept full responsibility for letting down my guard and sharing details about my family when you all know that’s something that I don’t do. ¬†I’m fiercely protective of both Bo and Plankton. ¬†I keep them where they want to be kept which is at home, watching Top Gear and there’s a very good reason for that, it’s to protect my disabled son.

I liked Alysha. I really did. She came armed with pages and pages of questions and we talked at length about a variety of subjects, my career, and how I gave up a senior management position within the NHS after discovering the extent of my son’s multiple disabilities and how this would go on to affect his education and ultimately our lives as a family unit. ¬†I felt relaxed enough to talk with her about this subject and I take responsibility for making myself vulnerable.

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What I didn’t expect however, was the personal attack from a Senior Lecturer at Sunderland University. ¬†Yes, it’s someone I’m familiar with, and yes, it’s someone who for reasons I’m not entirely sure of, seems to have a real problem with me, but this is business, not a playground. ¬†Now I’ve been in this business for a little while now, this ain’t my first rodeo. I’m well aware of the bitchiness that goes with this role. ¬†The blogging community can be tricky, people seem to believe that they’re fighting for work and that their peers are competition which must be eliminated. ¬†That’s just not true; we’re all out there working as hard as each other. ¬†We all have a different audience, reach and serve a different demographic and on paper we should all be able to adapt and get on, which a lot of us do. ¬†Business is about compromise, not fighting to get your own way or force your opinions on to others.

Anyway, I digress.  The Fashion North piece was published and shared as with anything else, and it discussed my role within the fashion industry as a single, self made entity.  There were specific highlights picked out by Alysha from our three hour conversation and compacted into a short 1400 word article, obviously there was some generalising, I guess to fit it into the paramenters allowed.  Within 48 short hours, all traces of the article were removed and I had vanished from the website as quickly as I had arrived and was replaced with an article on another Blogger.

I contacted Alysha – whom I discovered had ‘unfriended’ me on FaceBook – Fashion North, and the University Fashion Programme Leader in that order, to try to find out what had happened, and hit a stonewall. ¬†Completely ignored and unfollowed by of them¬†until I eventually had a cold email from the Programme Leader to simply say that it couldn’t be discussed. ¬†Ouch.

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After tweeting about my disappointment (I tried not to, I really did), I took a call from someone. ¬†Let’s call them W. Blower. ¬† W. Blower clued me up on what had actually happened behind the scenes, saying it was unfair for me to be treated like this without being given the opportunity to have a say on it. ¬†Kudos dude, you’re absolutely right.

What’s shocked me about this most, was not just the absolute bullshit crap stories made up about me, ¬†but the fact that people are stupid enough to be taken in by his horseshit without making a judgement for themselves based on things that they already know.

I felt it necessary to write this post because I was prevented from having a voice. ¬†I’ve not been given the opportunity to exercise my right to an argument after being so spitefully shut down by an individual with an acute dislike for me. ¬†I’ll be honest Voyeurs, I would have expected more professionalism from a large educational institution, the unfriending, the stonewalling, it all smacks of sixth grade. ¬†In what other aspect of life are you shut down for requesting an answer? ¬†None Voyeurs, the University didn’t believe that I deserved, or had the right to an answer. ¬†That’s one of the awesome things about blogging; you have a voice, and a platform.

Sidebar: I’m fine with people not liking me, but when people have convinced themselves that you’re a monster based on their own destructive lies about you, that’s not ok. ¬†Never put up with hate, or people who bully based on hate; it’s definitely not ok.

That Voyeurs, is why I’ll never give a personal interview again. ¬†Except to you guys, right here, in my online home, because you’re all awesome.

Pixie xo

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