My Visit To Kate Spade's Flagship Madison Avenue Store

Ah Kate Spade. You have this uncanny knack of making me buy things, because everything you make is just so purdy. Although, it's also pretty expensive, so when I visit the US I usually make a beeline for the nearest KS outlet, which often have amazing deals, particularly during big sales (I have two words: Black Friday).

The outlets are great for bargains, but often the decor is much plainer and they just don't have the atmosphere and quirkiness of regular Kate stores. One place I have wanted to visit for a few years now is Kate Spade's flagship store on Madison Avenue, New York, so when I knew I'd be spending a couple of days in the Big Apple during my recent trip to New England, I was like, yaaasssss!! 

Set over four floors, the store stocks the entire KS clothing, shoe, jewellery and homeware ranges. I KNOW.

There's not much I can say about the store other than it's the most gorgeous shop I've ever visited and if I could just live there, I would.

One of the quirky features of the store is the restroom on the fourth floor - it's basically a KS lover's dream loo, with monochrome bow-print wallpaper and sumptuous seating.

Aside from the beautiful store, the KS staff were also lovely, offering the Husband and I apple cider and cookies while we browsed.

So I visited this beautiful store, full of handbags, shoes and dresses to die for, and what did I buy? I bought coasters. Yep, COASTERS. I think i was a little overwhelmed and since we were pushed for time, and I couldn't leave totally empty handed, I went for the sensible option and bought something I actually needed (a final touch in our kitchen refresh - blog post on this coming soon).

Have you visited Kate Spade's Madison Avenue store?


Intu Metrocentre's Autumn/Winter #IntuFashion Event

On Monday night I took myself off to Intu Metrocentre for a night of Autumn fashion inspo in the centre's Style Garden at the main Town Square outside House of Fraser. As soon as I stepped into the garden I knew I was going to want EVERYTHING - the area was decked out with vintage style leather sofas draped in sumptuous fur throws and scattered with tweed cushions in rich, autumnal shades (courtesy of home decor store Baytree Interiors) - super cosy and inviting - and all around were gorgeous accessories from some of the centre's retailers. This Kate Spade lovely caught my eye immediately (predictable for me, I know - but isn't it a beaut?!)

New addition to the centre, Italian restaurant Carluccio's were on hand to keep us fed and watered (I had my eye on the giant meringues as soon as I spotted them), so, Aperol Spritz in hand, I settled down to enjoy the show. Intu Metrocentre stylist Michaela talked us through some of the key trends for the Autumn/Winter season.

The Heritage trend is quintessentially British - think walking the dog in a tweed jacket, leather gloves and cosy knit. This is the sort of look I love as it's really comfortable, plus there's something ultra chic about a tweed jacket on an autumn day.

Joules Faux Fur Tweed Blazer from House of Fraser
M&S Oversized Cable Knit Sweater
Then we have Animal Print. Has it ever not been bang on trend?! You can throw all the Bet Lynch gags you like at me, I don't care - I bloody love a leopard print. My Boden leopard boots were practically glued to my feet last Winter, and this year I invested in a leopard print jumper from J Crew whilst I was in the US, which I'll probably wear to death, too. It's such an easy way to add a glamorous touch to an otherwise plain outfit - a leopard clutch or scarf can have such an impact. 
Biba Tabitha Bag from House of Fraser
River Island Brown Leopard Overcoat
I REALLY love the leopard trend
Purple Reign is all about...well....purple. obvs. I'm not sure how I feel about purple. It's never really been my colour (least of all when I 'experimented' with purple eye shadow, and a friend asked if I'd been in an accident). Some of the deep, jewel toned purple pieces are really pretty though - think leather-like skinny trousers and soft cashmere. I think I could be convinced.

These Dorothy P boots are so luxe looking

Velvet Dreams. As Michaela was talking about the return of velvet, I was thinking about the last time I wore it: Christmas 1998. I'm not joking. I remember because I worked in Miss Selfridge at the time and bought a red velvet dress for the festive season with my wages. As reluctant as I am to revisit my fashion choices from the late nineties, I did take a liking to a black velvet Biba dress Michaela showed us, due to the simple, classic shape and cute cuff button detail. Also, it's super soft (I stroked it afterwards) and would be really easy to wear. Possible Christmas party frock? I think so. 
Lastly, Midnight Sparkle. Just go ahead and give me aaaaallll the sequins because I will never say no to a bit of sparkle and shimmer. If there's anything guaranteed to make you feel super glam for the party season, it's this.

This Coast Demi dress is stunning
After watching the Intu Metrocentre models strut their stuff in some outfits inspired by these trends, we switched our focus to accessories. Ah, accessories: bags, shoes, jewellery, watches...can you ever have have too many? (No. The answer is a resounding no).

The nice folk from Aspinal of London, stocked in House of Fraser, gave us an introduction to their stunning collection of leather bags and accessories. This is a brand I didn't know much about (although I do recall practically pressing my nose up against the window of their London Brook Street store, drooling at their handbags, on my last visit to the capital), but everything about Aspinal screams British luxury - from the rich, jewel toned croc-effect Italian calf leather to the classic structured shapes. These bags put me in mind of polo matches, high tea and stately homes - which is actually rather fitting, since the brand has just introduced The Dockery Collection, designed in collaboration with Downton Abbey actress Michelle Dockery, with the inspiration being an Aspinal handbag her grandmother owned when Michelle was a little girl. As well as a range of lustworthy bags, the collection also includes some beautiful (and slightly more purse friendly) scarves including the absolutely breathtaking Robin silk scarf which is so stunning, with it's intricate British woodland design, that I'm not sure whether I'd wear it or frame it. (*heavy Christmas gift hints being dropped here, Husband - take note*).

And forget Tom Hiddleston - Tay Swift's latest love is her Aspinal bag - she's been spotted out and about wearing the brand's super cute Trunk Clutch. Us bloggers were so lucky to each be given a small Essential Flat Pouch, beautifully wrapped and presented in an Aspinal of London gift box and bag. Mine a a gorgeous rich navy blue pebbled leather, which just happens to be my all time favourite colour. It's the perfect size for coins and I am already a little bit in love with it. At £50, these are a brilliant gift idea for those hard-to-buy-for luxury lovers (I know a few of these) as it comes in a range of colours and finishes, and there's also a larger size, priced from £80.

After getting a taste of Aspinal's collection on the night, I came home and spent a very enjoyable hour picking out handbags, scarves and purses I'll buy when I win the lottery (note to self - start playing lottery). 

Next we had some lovely ladies from Thomas Sabo who showed us some of their newest and most popular pieces. I received a Thomas Sabo charm bracelet from my old work colleagues when I left my last job a few years ago and it's something I've kept and worn on special occasions ever since. The brand, originally from Germany, has grown over the last 30 years to become a destination for unique, fashionable jewellery. The Love Bridge Collection is all about celebrating and remembering important events, dates or people - each piece can be uniquely engraved free of charge with your choice of symbols or letters.

We were very lucky again in that we were each given a sterling sliver Love Bridge heart pendant bracelet, which we can take into store to be engraved. I'll be taking mine in later this week - just need to decide which symbols or letters I'd like now! The pendants are another great gift idea - starting at £25.95, they'd make a unique present. 

Watch Station at House of Fraser were also on hand to talk us through some of the newest innovations in timepieces. I'm not one for anything more complicated than basic technology, really, but even I was impressed with a watch that you can take photos on, send emails from, use as a torch, and can make your bed for you in the morning (okay, so that last one's a lie, but I wouldn't have been surprised if it actually did). Watch designers like Michael Kors and Fossil are getting in on this timepiece technology now and have some really impressive designs.

So I've got my Autumn wardrobe, my beautiful handbag, my quirky jewellery and my totally-on-trend wristwear. What;s missing, you ask? What about a beautiful fragrance that puts you in mind of winter sun, yachts and cocktails by the beach? That'll be Tom Ford Neroli Portofino Eau de Parfum. I'm not exaggerating when I say this literally smells like a luxury holiday in a bottle. Another one for the Christmas wish list.

We also got a chance to sneak a peek at the brand new Intu Metrocentre magazine which has just launched and is packed with shopping inspo (not that I need it!) and some fab offers for various stores in the centre. 

I had a fabulous evening and would like to thank the lovely ladies and fellas at Intu Metrocentre for inviting me to the event! Remember to check out the Autumn/Winter fashion shows if you're in the centre this week, and take a peek at blogger Megan Ellaby's Intu style picks on the website.

Something New (and SUPER Glam) from Show Beauty

A while ago I wrote about my visit to Show Beauty at House of Fraser, IntuMetrocentre, where I was treated to the Show Signature bouncy blow dry just before I swished myself off to….errrr….a dark and dingy country pub in Northumberland (feeling super glam, though). I loved it, so when I got the chance to go back for another Signature blow dry to celebrate the launch of the brand’s new products a couple of weeks ago, I was like, HELL. YES.

I already have lots of love for the existing range, in particular the Premiere Dry Shampoo and Finishing Spray, both of which are unlike any styling product I’ve tried and totally justify the £30 (each) price tag.

Included in the new product launch are three shampoo, conditioner and mask ranges – Sublime Repair, Pure Moisture, and Lux Volume (this last one is not yet released), as well as a  Leave In Conditioner and a Body Oil, which I’ll talk about later on.

My stylist Marie had already given me a heads up that Show would be launching shampoos and conditioners on my previous visit, so I was super duper excited to try them out this time. As my hair is fine, and coloured, and basically everything awkward, I usually go for volumising products, but Marie suggested using the new Pure Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner, to give my over-processed locks a treat. As I’d hoped, the new products have the same delicious scent as the rest of the range – like warm crème brulee – and the ingredients lists are pretty impressive – both the Pure Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner contain White Truffle to balance moisture, Caviar, which is rich in proteins, Soy Protein to strengthen and Pro Vitamin B5 to nourish and smooth the hair, as well as Shea Butter to treat the scalp. Sounds good enough to eat!

I was treated to the full works with my blow dry – Marie used Thermal Protect and Lux Volume Mist on my hair while drying it with a round brush for plenty of bounce. By the time my blow dry was done I was swishy and glam once more.

Along with the Shampoo and Conditioner, there’s a Pure Moisture Treatment Mask which includes the ingredients above as well as Hydrolyzed Pea Protein – I don’t even know what this means but I’m going with it, because after using this my hair felt softer than it has in ages – particularly the ends which are often dry and prone to snapping off. 

All of the new hair products are paraben and sulphate free. I have to be honest and say that I’ve tried a few sulphate free shampoos before and been put off by the lack of lather – after years of massaging a head full of bubbles it felt a bit weird – but actually the Pure Moisture Shampoo does foam up enough to get a good lather going – and most importantly, the lack of nasties means that these products don’t dry out the hair and actually visibly brighten and prolong colour. I can vouch for this – my hair’s in that awful ‘can’t decide what I wanna do with it so I’ll just leave it a dull, brondey -mousey – pretty-much-nothing colour’ stage, but I was amazed at how the products brought out the warm tones in my hair and gave it an overall healthier look.

Another product in the new collection, as I mentioned earlier, is the Allure Shimmer Body Oil. I did think it seemed strange that a body product would be included in the collection since all of the other products are for hair, and I usually don’t go for this sort of thing anyway, body oils I’ve tried previously have been too greasy for my liking, but when I tried the product on my hand I was hooked – the oil is infused with delicate gold shimmering particles that would look stunning with a tan but even managed to make my pasty skin look glowing, and the smell…..THE SMELL! Yep, it’s the same signature scent as the hair products, and strong enough that it could be worn instead of perfume, but not overpowering. It also made my skin baby soft – I kept stroking my hand in an admittedly creepy fashion after trying it – that’ll be down to the Argan and jojoba oils, Aloe Vera and Vitamin E. Again, no parabens in here, either. This is about as luxe a body product as you can get – trust me, you NEED this!

Since my visit to Show a couple of weeks ago I’ve been alternating using the Pure Moisture and Sublime Repair ranges for my thrice-weekly hair wash and my hair is softer, smoother and shinier than it’s been in months – I’ve even put off dying my hair again for the time being as it looks so healthy – and I keep catching whiffs of the beautiful scent every time I move my head. I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve invited to smell my hair – and those who didn’t politely decline agreed that it smells delicious – even on day 2. I’ve even seen a difference in how easy blow drying my hair is after using these – previously I’d blast my hair then run straighteners over to smooth it – I can actually ditch the straighteners with these, as even after just my usual blow dry my hair is smooth and sleek, so there’s an extra five minutes in bed for me!

So, any negatives to the range? Well, obviously it’s a leeeeetle pricey – but in terms of how much I spend on, for example, body products, it’s not actually that far off. Admittedly it’s way more than I would have ever considered spending on hair products if I hadn’t tried them first – but that’s the great thing – you can book yourself in for a Signature Blowdry (£25 in House of Fraser) before your Saturday night out with the girls, get yourself a glam new coif and try out the products before buying. Win win!

Since I am of the ‘bigger is ALWAYs better’ opinion, I’m really looking forward to trying out the Lux Volume range once that’s available, but if. Like me, you have dull, coloured hair that’s just a bit ‘meh’, I totally suggest trying the Pure Moisture range to see a visible difference. I promise you’ll be swishing all over the shop!

Have you tried Show Beauty’s new products?