Events

Emmerdale Studio Experience

Posted on 9 min read

 

If you would’ve told me my two worlds – the deeply invested in a 7pm soap side of me and the supposed adult who likes to post my thoughts, feelings, and adventures online side of me – would have collided during my blogger journey, I’d have looked at you with nothing but bemusement perched upon my face. But it seems nothing is impossible as a fair few weeks back now my dream event was advertised alongside many other people informing me of my idealisation (which I had to laugh about). Of course I jumped on the opportunity as quickly as possible and was kindly invited along to step in to a tour of the behind the scenes action whilst secretly trying my best to not expose myself to a bunch of people who definitely don’t dedicate their evenings and entire life to this programme (says the person who shamelessly kept shouting out the answers to the questions asked, ahem.)

 

You’ll probably be well aware of my love for Emmerdale by now so you could say I was a little excited to get an insight into the storylines; the stunts, the characters and all the extras that make the show what it is – especially straight after the week of special episodes that absolutely blew my mind and connected me even further into the pool of fictional drama. It’s not just the fact it’s a local pride I’ve admired since I was a little un, it’s the personal impact it’s had on my life this year. It’s a mad concept to think I wouldn’t know my now best of friends without this soul-stirring soap and I wouldn’t have had so many happy times that are only just beginning, so to spend my time exploring the depths of the exclusive event with just a fraction of them made it even more memorable.

 

The tour allowed us to get up, close and personal with each of the various stages as they were on display to manifest their individual input into creating a final masterpiece. It really did make me realise just how much hard work, effort and graft must go into the entire production for just one single half an hour episode. It made me appreciate it, too – because whilst we’re sat relaxing on the sofa at home being entertained by the delivered structure of the scenes; the actors, the directors, the producers, the writers and the rest of the dedicated team are probably on their way home after another busy day of performing the ongoing portrayal and professionalism that keeps us gripped.

 

The First Stage – introduction, storyboards, costume department and dressing room:

To start the expedition (after me, Hannah, Char and Katie had a quick catch up and geared up our giddiness in the cafeteria beforehand) we were taken as a group to a darkened room and a cinematic screen ready to gain a summarised view of the best of Emmerdale over the years. Of course we were already well aware of the spectacle showcasing and the stories that have lead on to many praises, awards, and the eventual recognition they deserve – but it didn’t stop us low key squealing over our favourites. After the short video, we then headed next door to receive an intuition on how the storylines are planned out. It was interesting to have a clear view on how the ideas are proposed via storyboard briefing, doodling of the characters and their positions, and even miniature scales of the incidents ahead. It made things a lot more realistic to mind. Moving forward we then moved to the costume department where recognisable outfits such as wedding dresses and suits were paraded, along with an entire collection of wacky colours, designs, and accessories each linking to the distinctive personas. It isn’t all easy and good to go, though as each and every piece has to be prepared before worn – whether that be muddied, rained on, made baggier and scruffier or prim and proper. Not in the slightest bit surprisingly, it didn’t take me long to identify whose was whose!

Following on from costumes we were lead to the dressing room where not only were we informed of how much precious time and precise power goes in to the appearance of the soap-stars, we were also let in to a few secrets. I wasn’t even remotely shocked to hear the boys take longer to get glam than the girls. I could almost hear the loud mutters of the chattering cast as they admire themselves and over indulge in luxuries, especially when their interactive faces appeared in the mirror.

The Second Stage – the signs and the props:

Transporting down a corridor filled with shelves upon shelves of iconic items that bring back a recall of nostalgia and define the representation of a character and their many layers definitely added to the fun of the game. We were able to get a proper feel on how the objects are used and what they’re really made of (of course the hazardous objects, the lethal bricks and the presented food were made out of pure foam) but we also found Emmerdale tend to hold on to the irreplaceable history of materials, such as a photo of the late Shirley Stelfox and Valerie Pollard‘s charity box.

Another selection amongst the rest were a number of sign posts created specifically for Emmerdale village and their imaginary town centre – Hotten. Our tour guide told us she’s had people swear it’s a real place in Yorkshire in which I had to giggle because if you’re anything like me, a Leeds reside, you’ll recognise the locations as they film in supposed courts, hospitals, shops and outdoor settings. Walking down this part you’ll also be enlightened of a small fact that they still film at the old building in a studio almost next door for all the medical and police scenes (I mean I already knew this but it doesn’t harm to pretend you had no idea and certainly haven’t caught the coach driving up the road to drop the cast off.)

The Third Stage – the sets, lighting and editing:

I wouldn’t be lying if I said this was the highlight of the experience for me. Not only were we stood in front of and visualising a preview of the interior sets that grace our screen every week day (which look way more widespread in person) but we were also given the chance to have all hands on deck and put our skills to test; adjusting the positioning of lighting, camera angles, and even getting to record our own message on the sofa of Smithy Cottage, all using modern technology. It was eye opening to the audience who only see the perfected composition on television, especially being let in on all the hidden antics such as gathering at the top of the stairs because there isn’t actually an upstairs and Samantha Giles (Bernice) taking a peak at her script as she goes to pick up a brush in the salon, just as the shot changes. You truly do feel as though you’re part of the package in those five minutes of scouting.

If there’s one room I was glad exists, it was the legendary Dingle house; the dysfunctional family with members all over the country that you can’t help but adore despite their many illegal crimes, mishaps, punch ups, integrated relationships, and bad luck, because really they all have a soft side and nobody messes with a Dingle. It was just as pictured on screen; sporadically messy and mismatched, well lived in, an authentic farm house with ornaments that have told a story over the years and even knitted blankets handmade by the public – of which they were eventually bombarded with and had to stop asking for! I wanted to jump in there and pour myself a drink with the stove on listening to the pigs grunting in the back yard, but I was soon brought back to reality. It’s not real, Bridie.

 

The Fourth Stage – the village and the stunts:

If you weren’t to know, the actual village is based in the country, on the classic Harewood Estate that screams out aesthetic nature but of course we were inside so only a downsized replica of the constructed houses and workplaces were spread across the miniature street. Although the imitation didn’t compete with the actual surroundings, the backdrop of blue skies and fields along with the stonework and exact details had a similar effect – and it didn’t stop everyone from posing outside the signature Emmerdale welcoming sign.

As we strolled through we were then greeted by another room filled with features that enforce those special effects that amplify the intensity of a scenario. We were able to sit in front of a huge wind machine and experience the craziness of the unpredictable and purposely dramatised weather, along with watching another short video explaining why the weather makes all the difference to how a clip is played out and how it’s crucial to match the weather with the predicament. This was then followed on by the high class stunts that Emmerdale are famous for, the ones that are still honoured and discussed with adrenaline years down the line for e.g. the underwater Woolpack siege, the helicopter crash, and more recently the multi pile up car crash. These are the ones that take the most developing but which get the pulse racing and that was proved right after the end of another back stage video unravelled by the man himself, Duncan Foster, the scaled helicopter beside us blew up and scared us half to death (here’s your pre-warning).

 

The Fifth Stage – The Woolpack and the shop:

Saving the best last, the tour was ended where all Emmerdale residents end up after a busy day of over the top tragedy – the pub. It was honestly quite surreal being inside the famous Woolpack and sat in places some of my most idolised characters have intertwined and made their mark but enjoyable at that. The dingy, cosy feel is very much present and as we sat beside the bar nibbling on the totally Yorkshire themed refreshments given out (beef and turkey Yorkshire pudding, bangers and mash, and fish and chips, anybody?) I felt right at home. We even had a photo opportunity to take on the role of landlady and pull a pint of our own, and just as we couldn’t embarrass ourselves any further we decided to reenact moody Aaron Dingle slumped at the bar to which Danny Miller actually went ahead and acknowledged over on Twitter. Yes, this really is my life. Oh dear.

I didn’t want to leave the premises but eventually all good things must come to an end and it couldn’t have finished at a better place than David’s shop linked in with the gift shop with a massive range of merchandise made for any Emmerdale fanatic. I told myself I wouldn’t spend unnecessary money but this is me you’re talking about. I ended up buying the snuggest fleece you have ever known along with some shortbread and a postcard and then I was given some more treats in the goody bag so generously gifted to us.

Thank you so much to Nikki for organising the event, I had such a blast and wish I could do it all over again (in fact, I’ll definitely be booking another trip sometime soon). It’s well worth the visit and with Christmas coming up – it would make the ideal present for your avid Emmerdale fan like moi. For tickets and more information on the attraction visit: http://www.emmerdalestudioexperience.co.uk/.

Apologies for the majorly long post straight after an unintentional blogging break. I’ve been struggling with balancing my pain with my workload lately and although I was eager to blog and get writing, I’ve been stopped in my tracks more than once. Hopefully this will be me getting back on track, now. Hope you all have a lovely weekend and happy Friday!

Bridie x


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Pastille Beauty’s 3rd Birthday Celebrations

Posted on 4 min read

Up until last week I hadn’t attended a blog event in a good couple of months so to become reacquainted with an invite to 3rd birthday celebrations at a popular Leeds’ salon surrounded by lashings of prettiness, I’ve never felt so honoured. I’ve always heard so much great feedback from Pastille Beauty Bar, a place of pleasure and pampering located in the award winning Granary Wharf development (or as I call it, the posher part of Leeds) yet – to my shock horror – I’d never stepped foot in there for any treatments.

 

Greeted with friendly smiles, a glass of sparkly fizz and white walls that are instantly a hit with any blogger determined to accomplish that perfect shot with the natural lighting at a flattering angle, I knew I was in for a thrill. I mean the mention of the word tea party alone sounds persuasive enough but when it involves the indulgence of cake and you’re guaranteed to come out of there feeling alive and glammed up, it triples in significance. There were various activities going on from local businesses who had joined in the fun in the couple of hours I was there and never was there a dull moment to be seen.

Nails starting with their forte, we were all lucky enough to be given the opportunity to choose our nail shade made up of some of my favourite collectors; OPI, Essie, Morgan Taylor etc, for our complimentary dash manicures. If I’m truly honest it couldn’t have come at a better time because I was in real need of some nail tlc. A file, a buff and a nonchalant natter with the lovely girls on hand, later, I had glossy orangey red nails that matched my clothing choice, ushered on compliments and which made me feel as fresh as a daisy. Once I’d left my chair ready for the next person I also had a browse at the nail art on display and there were so many amazing, stand out designs that made me want to make my trip a regular occurrence (I’ll definitely be heading back there for some speciality styles!).

 

Cakes – in eye view from my entrance was the best looking dessert arrangement I ever did see, all made especially by Sugar Crush Bakes for the event. The feast was made up of white chocolate rocky road, lemon curd mini scones, mint brownies, lollies, a fanciful cake and much more – including some squeezed lemon juice and winsome paper cups and straws. Not only did they appear too delightful to eat, consisting of a whirl of bright colours, vintage themed platters and burnished perspective but once eaten they were extremely appetising and fed my sweet tooth with just one bite (along with the urge to devour a dozen more). Sugar Crush cater for all sorts; weddings. baby showers, tea parties, you name it, their culinary talent is endless. I’d highly recommend, not only for the presentation but for the modern taste that’s making me hungry just thinking about it. Mmmm.

 

 

Jewellery – jewellery that is out of the ordinary and unique to an individual is my guilty pleasure, especially when it’s created with such care and thought. Christina from Sweet Designs had a stand to showcase her fabulous pieces made from nail polish painted and sealed within the moonstones to mould an array of effects, along with the pendants that had compressed newspaper or magazine cut outs embedded. She was also offering an immediate service to produce a ring that would match your mani for the day. Silly me didn’t have any cash to hand but I did take a card and I’m certain I’ll be purchasing one of her eloquently innovative works of art soon enough.

 

 

Dresses – finally there was a genius movement in the corner that proposed a dress hire service suited to your preferences. Borrowed Couture allows you to rent a designer dress for up to three days at the fraction of the retail price. It’s brilliant for those of you (like me) who don’t go out often so don’t own that many desirable dresses but fancy a step up from the same old, and ideal for those impulsive buyers (once again, like me) who purchase one and then end up dumping it in your wardrobe never to be seen again. This way you don’t get a waste, you just get some seriously eye catching, dreamy garments that you can hand back at the end of an event you wowed at.

I had such a splendid time at Pastille; being in the company of lovely ladies, pleasing pastel interior, and silver foil balloons that are enough to make an instagram lovers’ eyes pop was the perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon. Abra and Erene – the kick ass founders of Pastille – put on such a fantastic event filled with entertainment and support and I even went home with a goody bag filled with kind treats that I can’t wait to use. Thank you so much for inviting me along, girls. I’m planning my next trip as I speak.

 

Have you ever visited Pastille? Where’s your favourite place to appease in some me time?

 

Bridie x

 

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Cielo Blanco Leeds: The New Menu Launch

Posted on 5 min read

 

“Why the hell have I never thought to come here before?” – no word of my lie, that was my first thought a couple of weeks back as I entered the restaurant I so quickly disregard during my regular Trinity shopping trips. Even before the food arrived I knew this was gonna be one of those unforgettable dining experiences as I strolled past the beautiful outdoor terrace and into the vibrant, lively atmosphere where I was shown to the large table at the back set out immaculately ready for the lucky samplers of the evening (VIP style at its best). There’s plenty of places in Leeds with the familiar indoor setting but Cielo Blanco is definitely on the higher end of the scale. Their interior is flamboyant retro meets traditional and cultural, with striking designs, printed tiling, exposed brick walls and funky, industrial features – plenty of prettiness to meet the eye, and perfect for someone who loves a backup of Insta photos to grace your feed with a pop of colour  (like me, obvs). Not to mention, having first class access to the view of the outdoor balcony where I was seated; the pride and heart of Leeds in sheer view. Already I felt comfortable, zoned and in the mood for some bladdy good grub!

 

 

My brother was my occupant for the night (gotta repay his contribution to my blog photo taking with the gift of a plus one, right?) but I soon started chatting away with the rest of the geared up guests. I can’t be sure but I think I was only one of three bloggers invited so if I didn’t already feel privileged, that certainly trebled my status. Before the first stage of our prepared food was brought to us, we were given a choice of fruity cocktails to tingle our tastebuds – and that they did. There was an alcoholic option of Pink Grapefruit and Pineapple Margarita and a non alcoholic refreshing fruit drink but it didn’t stop there with an innovative list from tequila based to the extravagant and unique type such as an Avocadorita. Yep, it really is as simple as it sounds – a cocktail with avocado as the main ingredient.

 

We were also given the low down by the friendly staff and the creators in charge of what to expect from the launch of the new menu, inspired by invigorating travels to Mexico. Their concept is to shape a diverse menu that fits around the exciting markets and street food scene of the country known for its fun fiestas. Think modern and simple food with a twist, the feast sharing experience we were about to savour made up of fresh, zestful, new dishes and menu of old time favourites!

 

 

As the banquet was underway, we began with a warm up snack of tortilla chips teamed with a melted cheese chorizo dip, home-made guacamole and house salsa which was nothing but unbelievably delicious to the point of indiscreetly scooping the rest of the contents out with a spoon. Soon after we were then presented with small, appetizing dishes of Mexican style tapas – from the substantial specials such as tostadas, classic soft-shell tacos and crispy, fried corn tortillas generously filled with a mixture of foods significantly different to my usual everyday choices, like black bean, goat flautas, chicken tinga and chipotle steak, to the lighter options of warm butternut and pepitas salad and a natural tomato and watermelon dish. Both were thoroughly enjoyed with compliments against the balance of distinctive flavours and tasty textures – some spicy, some subtle.

 

 

By this point, once the entire dispensed plate was cleared, I was both overwhelmed with the mouth-watering choices and surprised by my own daring delves. As amazing as new menu launches are, the element I get the most thrill from is stepping out of my comfort zone, trying foods I’d usually turn my nose up at and discovering actually, I enjoy these exclusive nourishments more than my dull diet back home. My usually bland stomach was already starting to podge but the sharing platters were next up which meant I had to make the room somewhere! Before the main highlight of the Mexican showdown, however, we were blessed with some stuffed jalapenos which turned out to be a lot hotter than I first imagined but after a gallon of emergency gulped water, they went down a treat.

 

The sharing boards were a breath of fresh air, both appealing to look at, neatly presented with clear attention to detail and obvious effort gone into the creation. As their signature boards are now updated it produces further variety. There was a great selection to adhere to the preferences of everyone ranging from meat, fish and vegetarian. As the cuisine was served randomly in our groups of four, it was hard to quickly grab a relish of each one but I just about managed it. The meat boards contained an assortment of barbacoa chicken, reared belly pork with cumlin crackling, marinated baby back ribs topped with side orders and dressings which were all succulent, melt in the mouth and cooked to perfection masterpieces. On the fish laid salmon and other fresh fillets and in front of our section graced the vegetable based options; Mexico city corn on the cob, enchilidas verde, potato and herb flautas, frijoles negra & crumbly cheese, confit tomato sopes and some quinoa superfood tacos. Once again, the sensual flavours shone through and I was introduced to yet more yumminess I was blissfully unaware of.

 

 

I could have stayed all night in the laid back, chilled out, yet classic location but unfortunately had to dash not long after the final orders (and quite frankly, if I ate anymore I think I would have burst). Apparently I missed the round off of the night with a customary paleta (otherwise known as a grown up ice lolly) and a shot of tequila but I’m sure my glutted belly and my woozy-not-the-slightest-bit-prone-to-alcohol head was thankful for a rest.

 

It was hard to pick a favourite from the adequate selection, I really didn’t think I’d be so open to trying such a miscellany but I enjoyed every sufficed amount of food so kindly given to us and my judgemental perception was confirmedly challenged and switched. Cielo Blanco certainly delivered their informal social eating ethos in just a couple of hours, allowing that dining al fresco brought indoors to an envisioned hot climate they aim to please with. Both my brother and I were super impressed, and we walked out of there with a serious regret of missing out before we ventured here, a long lasting impression and an intention of heading back as soon as can be. Thanks to everyone on the independent team who ensured we had the full Mexican Street Food Experience, it was an absolute delight!

 

Have you ever eaten at Cielo Blanco? Isn’t it just incredible? The new menu is now widely available so if you’re ever in Leeds, I couldn’t recommend a visit to an unwinding Mexican heaven after a long day, enough.

 

Bridie x

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Leeds Lush Spa Event: Tales Of Bath and an introduction to Spring

Posted on 6 min read

 

It’s no secret Lush blogger events are my ultimate favourite pastime on a hump day night; with the VIP feel, the welcoming warmth of the staff and uncountable opportunities to worship the array of colourful and irresistibly influencing bath, hair, body and skin collections. SO, when another opportunity arose to attend my second Lush Spa therapy insight for their new treatment ‘Tales Of Bath’, as well as awing in the #LushSpring range, how could I possibly turn it down? (truthfully, that ain’t ever gonna happen).

 

The last time I had the privilege of visiting the Lush Spa – the concealed paradise down the stairs of the Leeds Commercial Street store – I was surprised at how heavenly the entire vibe was and it’s something I’ve craved to experience fully ever since. Unfortunately little old me who tries but fails to save up cash hasn’t ever been able to afford to attend officially so I’m always switching to excited child in a sweet shop mode when I’m ushered down to catch a glimpse of the magic remedies the skilled ladies perform.

 

 

Like my previous visit to the Lush spa, we were given a brief introduction and an open vision into what treatments there are to offer – only this time I got to take a peak into two different treatments AND have a trial for myself (but more on that later). Of course, with the event based around the focus of Tales Of Bath, in groups of 5, we were shown the process and informed of all the benefits and practicalities. As you can probably guess by the title, the treatment is very water orientated – allowing you to feel the freedom of the pearly ripples but in preparation, it goes a little like this: have a storybook of effective sounds and poems read out, pre-bathe in solitude with the most homely dimmed candlelight, spacious tub, a more than average sized yoga bomb scented bath bomb and a goblet drink of choice, lay down in a fetal position on a specialised table with a restful cushion beside you (this particular treatment is ideal for pregnant women or those who find it easier to lay on their side), have an in depth shoulder to body massage and most probably fall asleep (seriously I’ve never seen anyone look so reposed, unwound and vacant and it’s pretty inevitable with the darkened, surrounded environment, really). Royal pampering at its best! 

 

 

As well as Tales Of Bath, we were once again shown around The Sound Bath (I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of testing out the equipment; the tuning forks and ear candles – it’s such a bizarre but amazing sensation) and an unfamiliar but now another favoured treatment – The Good Hour. With the laid back theme of sea-shanty, a whole ah-oy! pirate aura with music from the envisioned ship, a deep tissue massage, and anchoring hands awaiting, it’s the perfect relief from ached, dull muscles. THEN (wait for it) with a small but mighty squeal and indecisive incision from me, we were told we were able to have a demonstration of a mini treatment of our choice. There was a choice between palm reading (which is part of The Planets treatment), a hand massage with moisturising serum or a head massage with snippets from the sound bath/tuning forks. I eventually decided on palm reading as the room of twinkling lights, my inner sceptical side and tantalizing friendly faces (of what I could see) drew me in. The Lush spa palm reading is meant to be light hearted, not a ‘this is what will happen in the future’ full forced reading, but more of a reflection on your persona, your traits and characteristics. I was eager to know what would be discovered from my palms alone. Apparently my left was much more stubborn than the right, which indicated I vary between being carefree and care too much. I was also told I like to analyse, am an adventurer, a teacher, hold deep love for my family and thrive on writing of which I was nodding along in agreement. I went into it hesitant but came out pleasantly surprised by the accuracy!

 

 

The atmosphere within the spa creates such instant peace and tranquillity; it isn’t just the array of pretty flowers, Alice In Wonderland inspired vintage wooden interior, individually labelled bottles of restorative, fruitful cures, relaxing and inviting sit down areas and cosy striped pyjamas waiting for you at a spa party, it’s the calming, chilled out essence, the comforting music, the way your imaginative streak runs wild behold each treatment room. You can really feel the bouncing energy, the revitalized sensitivity within each carefully handled touch. I’m so lucky to have been able to watch first hand the beautiful, luxuriated journey of a stimulated mind, body and soul and I truly think (well no, I know) it’d be the be all end all cure to a miserable day and a pessimistic mind. The passionate staff are there to ensure you have a one of a kind experience!

 

 

Back up to the shop floor, it was the return of the live singer guitarist, all dinky cupcakes, prosecco, uplifting scents and experiments galore. There was a make your own comforter station on hand (which was harder than it looked, let me tell you), we were shown the adorable Easter range, the left over Mother’s Day range and I was left to roam alone to admire the displays and the rest of the wondrous cosmetics (pretty dangerous move I must admit).It doesn’t matter how many times I enter a Lush store, I’ll always find something new – especially when it’s in the form of a Humpty Dumpty and Bunch Of Carrots, and a blooming Flowering Tea Bag creation (oh, aren’t they just the best?!).

 

 

There were also more subtle experiments on the other side of the room to initiate the Tales Of Bath, dry ice meets hot water in action to gently scent the air, a few chosen products selective to their participation in spa treatments, a medieval feel of wooden boxes, books and cacti, and a hyped up, camera filled and gorgeous blogger atmosphere to go with it. Not only did I have a good catch up and meet some new faces but I also once again, rampaged with my snap happy hands because let’s face it – Lush is possibly the most photogenic store on earth.

 

 

I couldn’t leave without picking up a couple of bath bombs as I am getting low on stock now, and I was so very kindly gifted an enormous amount of randomly picked products for myself to indulge in and enjoy, too. I was taken aback by the generosity of the fabulous Lush Leeds Spa team (and of course, the lovely Urika) and I will forever thank them for producing an event I know will never fail to get me happily pumped on fun.

 

Oh, and just to end a heightened post on erm, a high… I fell over, yep in front of everyone down at the spa as I stepped back attempting to capture a photo at the right angle, forgot about the table behind me and tumbled over, just about managing to balance myself on my knees. Just as I thought I could remember this night without any cringe worthy, despairing moments, I went and ruined it all.

 

Have you ever visited a Lush spa and/or had any treatments? Hopefully without a small embarrassing incident to go with it! 

 

Bridie x

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The Body Shop British Rose Collection: Celebrating 40 Years

Posted on 5 min read

There’s two event emails that raise my excitement levels to an extremity, and that’s Lush and The Body Shop. This time it’s the latter (although next week is the first option, eeek). Last Thursday, The Body Shop on Leeds Briggate were holding an evening of cosmetic cheer and showcasing to parade their brand new British Rose Collection and to celebrate 40 years of their face, body and soul foundation – and I was luckily invited down, along with plenty of lovely ladies and gents! Greeted with some chocolate nibbles, prosecco, lots of cameras and eager bloggers in their natural habitat, we were left to wonder round until the others arrived and were then given a short but sweet consultation and demonstration of the freshly exclusive products.

 

 

It was almost guaranteed I’d love the range if the pretty pink packaging and blooming blossom filled displays were anything to go by, and it certainly didn’t let me down. I can’t say I’m a huge rose-scented lover (I often describe it as the old granny smell – shh) but this one was far from your typical fragrance; certainly not in your face overpowering opposed to a strong floral but soft, subtle and refreshing. Grown in an 100% organic justifiable British setting, the line includes everything from your shower gels and your bath foams, to body butter, hand cream, body scrub, and exfoliating soap. Then there were the more sumptuous of the selection (and my three favourites); the absolutely gorgeous Instant Glow Body Essence that left a natural, glowy shimmer on the skin, the Eau De Toilette perfume which was a lovely, uplifting scent and the Eye and Cheek Palette packed with captivation. Once again, The Body Shop split their products into separate rituals; cleanse, bathe, exfoliate, moisturise and glow, fragrance, and finish – meaning there are plenty of treatment choices and ample gift sets. The collection was actually originally released for Mother’s Day but as that’s been and passed, it now makes perfect sense to validate a splurge in time for Easter!

 

Not only were we introduced to the British Rose Collection, but the specialised skincare and makeup experts were also on hand to provide us with some interesting, insightful presentations into their overall skincare, bodycare, and makeup. Split into three groups, we were ushered over to the skincare section first and were shown the top rated products intended to create a six step routine. Our guinea pig blogger (Jamie from www.jamiesowden.com) proved the extra time is worth it, as you could seriously notice a difference in terms of radiance and a clearer complexion (and neck; we were given confirmative advice not to neglect the neck) within that short time frame – and it’s made me eager to introduce some of those recommended into my own regime!

There were some general discussion about The Body Shop products we’d previously used and loved (fyi mine were the trusty Tea Tree, Seaweed, Vitamin C and Vitamin E) but we were blessed to hear about some newbies and take a sneak peak into the future launches hitting the stores very soon. The flourished demos were the Drops Of Youth and Drops Of Light, along with the fancy Oils of Life (and word is – the genius addition to their makeup range – the Shade Adjusting Drops that transform your foundation will also be on their way to a local store near you). We sampled them all and I was thoroughly impressed; nice texture, no heavy residue and a healthy shine concluded.

 

Next up was the makeup guide, where there were rapid but glam makeovers as the MUA’s took over with their skills, putting the products into action. Not before we were acquainted with the the British Rose Palette I’d fallen head over heels for at first sight, however. The palette has six gentle, eyeshadow shades and two cheek blushes, a mixture of rose tones and smoky hues to match the timeless harmonies in the general British Rose collection. Along with the Shimmer Cube Palette, the looks devised were an opposite contrast – one for a dramatic, smoky, darkened, night-time look and the other for a more daytime, neutral, nude look proving along with the Shimmer Cube Palette, that this is bound to be a staple, multiple purpose palette ideal for any occasion. It retails at £20 which in my eyes is an absolute bargain for something that does the job without the need to multi-task.

On top of the eyes, we were ventured into the world of face and lips. I made it quite obvious I was a huge fan of the Instablur but I never get bored of trialling the cooling and smoothing paste and hearing how much of a dependable primer it is! The paired BB Cream struck a cord with me as an ideal light base, especially as it adapts to your natural skin tone which would be exemplary for a holiday (ooh did someone say summer?!). The Lip and Cheek Stains were also a hit with our group which made me want to take the time out to have a nosy over at the other lipsticks (as well as Dei from www.sunnydei.com receiving her fetching nude lip makeover). With all three available in a variation of colours from bright to dusky and promised a pigmented finish, I’m dying to give them a try and add yet more lippy to my ever growing stash.

 

Finally, we wrapped it up with bodycare where we were lead over to the beautiful Spa of The World range. Of course, I don’t need to delve too much into it as I attended the introductory event last year but it certainly confirmed how luxurious and heavenly it still deemed to be as the products were shown and passed around to test (the Japanese Camellia Cream is to DIE for, I swear!) and how I need to purchase the Dead Sea Salt Scrub and Egyptian Milk and Honey Bath quicker than you can say soon.

 

As much as I’d have loved to have splurged with the discount on the night, surprisingly (and sensibly for my poor bank account) I left empty handed, with all but a lovely white labelled box packed with goodies that I was kindly gifted with. I can’t thank The Body Shop Leeds Briggate enough! I think I’ve been to around three or four The Body Shop events now but I can honestly say this one was the most fun, interactive and busiest. The detail and thought put into how the team can occupy our thriving minds was super in depth, not to mention the staff were absolutely brilliant in all areas (including warmth and friendliness!). My hands were drowned in enough products to lose count of but they had a great beautification and I can’t wait to head back for more, hopefully sooner rather than later.

Have you been to a TBS event lately? Have you tried the British Rose Collection yet?

 

Bridie x

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Life: La Redoute Northern Bloggers Christmas Party

Posted on 4 min read

 

If you’ve been keeping up with my blog (which I’m very thankful for if you have), then you’ll know I attended one of two blogger events a couple of weeks back. The first was Leeds Xmas Meet, then a hurried bus ride home, quick spruce up, and a race with manic crowds through Leeds on a Saturday evening, next up was the La Redoute Christmas party exclusively for Northern bloggers. An event dubbed towards the non-central London bloggers? Yipee indeed!

 

 

Along with the rest of the La Redoute PR team, the lovely Laura from A Forte For Fashion was there to warmly greet us on arrival, and I just knew from the moment I stepped into the exquisite Lambert’s Yard venue space – the place of dreams, where lies the Humans of Leeds exhibition and those captivating lights and wooden floors – that they’d all done an absolutely fantastic job in organising and creating an evening of luxury. Accompanied by some familiar faces seen only just a few hours ago, a gratuitous bar filled with Peach Bellinis and Long Island Ice Teas, a DJ playing the absolute best selection of old school tunes, a trimmed up, decorated room of festive details and special unique touches that made the whole experience even more personal; tealight holders forming spelled out letters and themed shapes, a Christmas tree standing with chic-esque gift bags by its side, and a pick n mix style section for us wanting to feed our sweet tooth before the main; the bloggers party was on.

 

 

The night was all in aid of showcasing La Redoute’s new winter collection – topped with lots of fun, food and friendliness – and we were privileged to have all kinds of garments in an array of sizes, textures and colours displayed on mannequins and assembled rails with twinkly fairy lights wrapped around. We were able to browse and pick out our favourites and were then later given the instruction of the actions ahead by Laura and her introductory welcome speech that we could try on our chosen item and take it home with us, allowing us to have unlimited outfit-lust. It was such an amazingly kind gesture that was very much appreciated and I was super excited to go roaming as there were lots I’d already had my eye on. From lace, to velvet, to mesh and the ultimate glitz and glamour with sequins and glitter, I loved the variety of popular trends this season. There were some seriously elegant key pieces in the selection which would make the perfect upcoming party stopper, along with some killer handbags of that mini size ideal for a night out! Of course I opted for trusty black and settled for an all black collared bodysuit with an open work checked effect – something versatile that can be worn casually or dressed up more formally. It was a tough choice between that and a stunning backless culotte jumpsuit, but I left for that someone who would be able to do it justice (*cough* I’m looking at you Danielle, who complimented it incredibly *cough*).

 

With the announcement soon came a long, formed queue and impromptu trips to both the men’s and ladies toilets. I didn’t have any particular expectations for the night, I was certainly looking forward to it, but I had no idea I’d end up stripping off to my underwear with strangers turned companions whom I have now reached comfort level 10 with. Not that I was negatively displeased, in fact I was the complete opposite – it was an utter giggle and I probably enjoyed the randomness more than I should have.

 

 

After all the frantic running around of trying on clothes and hogging up mirrors, the night was in full swing BUT the surprises just kept popping up at every corner. The professional photographer was now on hand setting up his station in preparation for our mini modelling session. As well as wearing and permanently possessing our chosen item – we were able to put our poses into practice. Unsurprisingly, whilst everyone else looked gorgeous, the photos of me turned out god awful did someone say fat face and bad roots?, so much in fact that I decided against including them in my blog post. I did, however, pinch a few of the general natural snaps (including some phone photo taking by yours truly – just look at that concentrating face) and I’m sure if you have a stalk of the #LaRedouteBloggerXmasParty tag, the rest of the ladies’ photos will be uploaded gradually.

 

 

Finally, to end a fantastic night, the enjoyment was washed down with some delicious cooked up food ranging from vegetable lasagna, to curry and potatoes. All credits have to be handed to the La Redoute girls for producing such a vitalizing and inviting, merrymaking atmosphere. I’m not lying when I say it was genuinely one of the best events I’ve been to purely because of the different take on a bloggers’ involvement – I came out of there really happy with such a buzz and a grateful attitude towards this wonderful blogging community that just keeps on building. I’m sure I speak on behalf of everyone when I  say what a fab time we had. Is there a better way to celebrate Christmas being on its way and the end of the year event wise than strutting our stuff in a quite clearly high quality, thoughtful and lavish environment? I think not. A job bloody well done!

 

Thank you so much to Laura for inviting me, and for the amazing goody bag I took home with me!

 

What’s been your favourite event this year?

 

Bridie x

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