Getting My Craft On With Intu Metrocentre & The Crafthood

Although I would consider myself quite a creative person, I am pretty much a disaster at anything crafty. I can provide all of the ideas, but none of the skills. It’s actually embarrassing. So I was really hoping I wouldn’t show myself up at a crafting event hosted by The Crafthood and Intu Metrocentre last week.

We were to decorate our own pouch bags, and the example model on display was a perfectly simple monogrammed affair with a gorgeous gold tassel that I loved. We would be stamping our bags, and the lovely Crafthood ladies provided us with paint and stampers to crack on with.

With the idea of simplicity in mind, I went for a pink shade and decided to stamp just my first and last initial to give my bag a classic look. Stamping fabric evenly is not as easy as it looks, however, but I was pretty pleased with my effort.

Next stage was adding the tassel. THE TASSEL. Why does everything look better with tassels? (Mind out of the gutter, please). Obviously I chose gold, because, well, gold. Surprisingly I managed to make a reasonably neat tassel without injury to myself or anyone else. PROUD!

As I sat admiring my simple, neat bag design, my head was turned by another stamper sitting on the table: A STAR. I considered it, then before I knew what was happening I was stamping a large gold star onto my bag. It was a little off-centre, so I stamped again. A littlemore off-centre. Uh oh. I decided to keep stamping. This would be a Christmas star, with lots of points. Although….you can’t have justone star, can you? I added a few more, with the paint sponge, in a freestyleee fashion.

Next thing I knew I was filling in the gaps between my gold stars with pink stars. Because – well, I’d come this far. You don’t walk halfway to the dessert table then turn back, do you? COMMIT. And commit I had.

Aaaaand this is the finished article. I… it, actually. Yes, it’s ‘rustic’, but it’s also individual. And did I mention it’s gold and pink with a tassel? I did? Oh.

So, what have I learnt? Well, I’m still crap at crafting. Some of the other ladies’ efforts were way better looking than mine. I also learned that I have zero self control when it comes to stampers. I’ll add that to the list of other things I have zero self control over (cakes, shoes, handbags, Warburton’s crumpets etc etc). But I had lots of fun – it was nice to be able to be creative with messy paints and not have to clear up too much afterwards, for one thing! Next time, I’ll definitely keep my design more simple. DEFINITELY. (Probably).

The Crafhood run crafting events all across the North East, check them out in Insta for more deets.

Thanks to the lovely gals at The Crafthood and Intu Metrocentre for allowing me to get ma craft on J

John Lewis Newcastle Beauty Retreat

I DEFINITELY don't pamper myself enough, I've decided, so I was really excited to be invited to check out the services offered by the Beauty Retreat in John Lewis Newcastle last week.

The Beauty Retreat is situated in the Beauty Hall and a Retreat it really is - from the outside you'd never guess there were several luxurious treatment rooms tucked inside, offering treatments from some of the most well known beauty brands - Decleor offer a range of treatments for the face and body, including the intriguing Facial Lift Yoga  - I really want to try this - and the Lemon and Mango Firm and Tone Body Treatment which sounds delicious!!

In the Elemis Spa Pod, you can choose from a range of tailored facials to suit your skin type, with prices starting at just £30. Clarins offer a huge selection of treatments with something for everyone including a special pampering mum to be treatment. The Jessica counter has nails covered, and if your brows need attention there's a Blink eyebrow bar, too.

Of course as well as the Beauty Retreat, JL Newcastle has a well stocked beauty hall which houses some of my favourite brands - the lovely ladies at Chanel can help you choose the perfect Autumn lip shade, and at Espa you can enjoy a relaxing hand and arm massage on counter, with a body oil chosen to suit your desired mood. Other brands stocked include Liz Earle, Nars and Origins, to name a few.

The Beauty Retreat is the perfect place to take a break from the bustle of Newcastle city centre, especially in the run up to Christmas when any shopping trip seems to turn me into a stressed, sweaty, aching mess, so I'll definitely be popping back.

Have you tried the services at John Lewis Newcastle Beauty Retreat?

Supermodelmarket Chic - Heidi Klum for Lidl

If there’s one thing I love, it’s multi-tasking – getting more stuff done now  means more time collapsed on the sofa later – so this morning I headed off to my local Lidl to pick up a few groceries and also check out the Heidi Klum for Esmara Collection, which launched in stores today. If I can shop for shoes whilst I’m picking up freshly baked pain au chocolats, why wouldn’t I?!

I was curious of how the store would display the clothing – previously when I’ve seen clothes in there it’s just been loose in baskets in the middle of the store which hasn’t really tempted me to buy. This time, there were samples from each item in the collection hanging up whilst the others were displayed neatly in boxes below (I say ‘neatly’; they were at 8 o’clock this morning – not sure how neat they’ll be now - the store was quiet first thing but a lot of us ladies were arriving and heading straight for the clothing). I thought this was good as it meant you didn’t have to open boxes to feel fabrics and get an idea of the fit.

Price wise – the cheapest item was a cami at £4.99, the most expensive, a suede biker jacket at £49.99 (which actually looked lovely, but I REALLY don’t need another biker jacket). Colour wise – the collection is a palette of black, cream, camel, electric blue and leopard print.

I am a fan of leopard print, and I own a LOT of it – shoes, boots, bags, knits. Yup, I love it. However, I do feel it can be a tricky thing to wear, unless you’re going for a certain ‘look’ (let me just say that I saw a guy in LA airport once dressed in a leopard print suit, loafers and fedora hat. My immediate thought was ‘1970’s pimp’. Although I have to admit he did look like he’d be fun at parties). There is SO MUCH leopard print in this collection: blouses, trenches, blazers, trousers and boots; yet nothing was screaming ‘BUY ME!’. I think that’s probably due in part to the fact that I own quite a few leopardy pieces already (I did think the shoes and boots, which are suede, are a good price at £19.99/£24.99, but I need new leopard shoes like a hole in the head).

So what did I buy? Well, I picked up the leopard print longline hoodie then swapped it for the black one instead as I am afraid my animal print hoodie wearing days are probably long gone now. (I’m a little sad about it though, I should have got the leopard one, even if just to dance around my bedroom to Salt ‘n’ Pepa in). The hoodie is…well, it’s a hoodie – nothing too exciting although the zip detail at the bottom and the longer length make it a bit more special than the average, plus it's super soft & snuggly. 

I liked the look of the camel coatigan in the online adverts, but in reality the colour was more chestnut brown than camel which I wasn’t sure would suit me. I went for the striped multi one instead. It will be nice with jeans and boots for Autumn (at least that’s the look I have in my head).

Overall thoughts? Whilst a lot of the collection is wearable for us non-supermodel types, I couldn’t help thinking that some of it would just look plain ridiculous – on me, at least (case in point – the electric blue blazer and trouser combo Heidi wears in a lot of the promo shots) – she looks amazing. would look like a cross between a smurf and a cast off from a  defunct‘90s pop group (and not in a good way). Still, the range is great value for money & you have to love a supermodel/supermarket collab, don't you? I'd be interested to know if there's much left in stores now (hmmm maybe I need to go back for another look?!) 

Let me know if you picked up anything from the Heidi Klum for Esmara Collection!