Newcastle's Hidden Gems with Travelodge

As all of us Geordies know, Newcastle is the best city in the UK. Fact. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of other amazing cities I love all around the country, but none of them are quite as special as The Toon. We have amazing restaurants, great shopping, ever-expanding nightlife....everything you'd want, basically. But that's nowt new, is it? You only need to wander down Grey Street on a Saturday evening to see how many people make Newcastle their weekend destination of choice. And there are plenty of articles and blog posts about detailing where's best to visit in and around the City Centre, but what about a bit further afield? Well, lemme tell you what I'd do if I were visiting Newcastle for a weekend.....

Intu Metrocentre's Fashion Live & House of Fraser Event

I think I may have mentioned before that I live very close to Gateshead's intu metrocentre and can regularly be found wandering the walkways laden with bags of shoes and Krispy Kremes (whoever had the idea to open a KK cart outside M&S is a GENIUS), so when an invite to their Autumn Winter Fashion Live Event popped into my inbox I was in.  

I was particularly interested since the event would also include a tour of the new look House of Fraser store, where I worked a mere 16 years ago. (Let's just gloss over the fact that my 'blog age' suggests this means I worked there when I was a ten year old child). HoF has already changed massively since I was a fixture in the beauty hall back in the day, and I was keen to see what else the store store.

Boden Sale Bargains

I've bought a few bits from Boden before, so when I noticed last week that they had an additional 20% off sale prices, I put in a cheeky order. Although I initially had thirteen items in my basket (!), in the end I was quite restrained and whittled it down to three, what with needing to keep my cash for our upcoming house move (and I'm meant to be getting rid of stuff, not acquiring more, but never mind). 

I went for:

A Life Update, My Depop Experience...& Some Shopping*

(*because let's be honest, that's why you're really here, isn't it? ;-) )

Okay...errmmm....righttttt...well. This is kind of embarrassing, actually. Because I have been - for want of a better word - absent from all things bloggy for a few weeks now. I do have a perfectly reasonable explanation for this: I have been immersed in the horror that is Moving House. What's so horrific about it? Well, apart from the mountains of paperwork to be filled in, endless cleaning of the house you're trying to sell, (and I've gone through seven Yankee Candles. SEVEN! The big ones!), the stress over whether you're doing the wrong thing and will never find a new house to move to, as well as, once you do find one, the sleepless nights worrying that the whole thing will fall right through...need I say more? And I've not even moved yet! (Breathes deeply for ten seconds). 

On The David Gandy Trail in That London

A couple of weeks ago I went to London for the weekend to see Matilda (more on that in a bit). We'd had it planned for a few weeks so when I learned, a couple of days before I went, that London Collections Men was taking place in the capital that very weekend, it seemed like fate.

See, LCM is basically like Fashion Week for fellas. Events take place across the capital and super famous, super hot British male models and celebrities flock to attend. Like David Gandy. *sighs*

My Life As A Take That Fan

If you've read some of my previous posts you probably know that for many years I've had a very special place in my heart for a certain boy/man-band. (I wrote about the time they visited my school, aka, When It All Began, here). So it might not surprise you to know that when I was (much) younger, there was a period of time where I was known not as Lisa, but simply as one of 'The Take That Fans'.

Cupcake Decorating Capers at The Copthorne Hotel, Newcastle

Last Sunday I was invited by the good people at Joe Blogs to an afternoon tea and cake decorating event at The Copthorne Hotel in Newcastle. The cake decorating was to be held by some lovely ladies from Julie's Cake House, a local company whose website makes me want to OD on fondant icing.

Worth the Hype? - St Tropez In Shower Tan

Since I am a sucker for anything new-fangled, as soon as I saw that St Tropez were bringing out an in-shower tan I had to try it. The idea is that you massage it onto your skin in the shower, wait three minutes and rinse it off. You're then beautifully bronzed. Err...kind of.

I tried this out this morning. During the three minute wait time, you have to shut off the shower and...well, just wait, really. It gets pretty cold, I can tell you. I also forgot to take my phone or a timer into the bathroom with me, so I resorted to counting one elephant, two elephants, three elephants...whilst waiting for the three minutes to pass. I was relieved when I was able to rinse it off - beware though, this stuff makes the shower floor slippery. VERY slippery. I've already ripped my shower curtain off it's rail on more than one occasion previously as a result of super-slippy shower-goo so I was extra careful with this. You have been warned, though!

My Week In Shoes - Sunday

If there's ever a day for trainers, it's gotta be Sunday. Especially after almost a full week in heels. Hence, my final footwear choice for My Week In Shoes.

My Week In Shoes - Saturday

'Could you be....the most beautiful shoes in the world...
Could you be, ooohh...
Plain to see....'

I'm not even going to apologise for that, because, frankly, these Kate Spade babies ARE the most beautiful shoes. In the world. Ever. The End.

My Week In Shoes - Friday

Did I ever mention that I LOVE Kate Spade? (Oh I did? Right here? Ok then). Today's footwear of choice is these black croc slingbacks that I scored on Ebay. When they first arrived, I thought they looked far to narrow for my (wide, ridiculous, almost trotter-like) feet and they did pinch a little so I panicked that they might be relegated to the back of my wardrobe, only to be brought out every few months when I'd admire them whilst bemoaning my lack of neat, narrow, dainty footsies.


My Week In Shoes - Thursday

If you've seen my instagram you might know that a couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to win a competition by one of my absolute favourite fashion companies, Boden (see the full extent of my Boden love here). I won a pair of their stunning Alice heels as well as a copy of The Story of Alice book which I got stuck into at the weekend.

My Week In Shoes - Wednesday

I was feeling a little monochrome this morning (Wednesday = bleurgh) so I decided on these Marc Jacobs peep-toes that I got a couple of months ago. Again these were thrifted - I think I paid £25ish. I love the white heel and stud detail and particularly the fact that they are the softest leather. This is actually the first time I've worn these outside and I was amazed by how comfy they are.

My Week In Shoes - Tuesday

Today I'm going with pink. It feels a bit like a pink day. Plus I wanted to wear this pretty Liberty print cami I snagged last week (thrifted, £2), and these Red Herring from Debenhams heels seemed like the perfect match.

My Week In Shoes - Monday

Shoes. Who doesn't love 'em? I often base my entire outfit around my shoes. Hence why I thought I'd post my week. In shoes. (Took me ages to think of that post title).

Coffee With Currys at Revolution, Newcastle

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to join a horde of other fabulous North East bloggers at Revolution Bar in Newcastle for a cocktail event organised by the lovely folk at Joe Blogs. Now, I've never, EVER refused a cocktail, so accepting the invite was a bit of a no brainer. So was leaving the car at home. Woop!

The event was sponsored by Currys as part of their #CoffeeWithCurrys campaign and we were to sample - and make our own - coffee cocktails. I'm not a huge coffee drinker really (I'm more of a Rington's tea girl) but, as I said, I never refuse a cocktail, so I was more than happy to sample away!

Thrift Shop Come-Ups

"I'm gonna pop some tags, only got twenty dollars in my pocket....."

Er...I'll stop now, because I am not Macklemore. I do have something in common with him, though - we both love a come-up (that means a bargain, apparently).

Thrift shops are funny old places. Long gone are the days when you could waltz in to your local with a fiver in hand, rummage around a bit and emerge with a Mulberry handbag and enough change to treat yourself to a battered sausage from the chippy on the corner. (I know someone who did pretty much exactly this a few years ago). I often check out the second-hand shops around the Kings Road and Pimlico when I'm in London because I'd read that the capital's thrift shops were awash with high end bargains, and indeed they are. They just have price tags to match. I didn't find any bargains in particular, in fact some of the stuff was pretty much what you'd pay for it new. (One example I saw was a second-hand French Connection cardigan for £30. THIRTY POUNDS! For a smelly old cardigan! I mean, ok, it wasn't old, or smelly...but thirty quid is steep for a high street brand.)

Anyway, I'm going off on one a bit. There are still bargains out there if you know where to look, and there is also a growing number of online second-hand stores, meaning no need to wade through rails of stuff - it's all just a keystroke away. Woop! There are loads out there -  OxfamEbay, of course - or one of the US sites: Twice and The Real Real are two I've been loving recently. I hate to state the obvious but everything is a one off, so if you see something you like, you have to buy it. HAVE TO. Obviously you take a chance on the condition of the item if you buy online, but in general I've had really good experiences.

The £18 Lemon Print Dress

Lemons. I love 'em. Not to eat, obviously, 'cause although I might look  like I've been sucking on one a lot of the time (it's just my face - I've been cursed with a naturally down-turned mouth), I couldn't eat one. I love the smell of lemons, though, and the shape of them. And the fact that they're yellow. So....yeah. Lemons.

So when I spotted this little number from George at Asda, I knew I had to have it immediately, for a few reasons: 1 - it's a super-cute fifties shape 2 - it's a bargainous £18, and 3 - well, obviously: the lemons!

George Asda Lemon Print Dress

#FenwickBeautyWeek at Fenwick, Newcastle

Over the last couple of weeks I've spent several hours and quite a few pennies in one of my favourite stores, Fenwick in Newcastle (see here. Oh, and here), so when an email from the store popped into my inbox last week, I thought it was either to tell me they're sick of the sight of me and never to darken their door again, or, to invite me to some fabulous in-store event. Luckily, it was the latter.

The £4 Paris Print Cami

A few weeks ago I posted about these breton beauties that I picked up in my local Lidl. Aside from being amazed that I could find such a thing amongst the fruit and veg (and macarons - for Lidl sell those too!), I was also impressed by the quality. Apparently I wasn't the only one, because when I went back the next day to buy more, there was just a big empty space where the clothes had been. (Obviously I couldn't leave empty handed, so I bought butter fudge. Two packs).

The best blusher EVERRRR. (For Real)

Blusher is, alongside mascara, my favourite beauty product. It's the one thing that can make the difference between me looking like a corpse and something resembling decent. If I don't wear blusher, people ask me if I'm ill. So, yeah. Blusher is kind of a requirement for me. I always find it difficult to find blushers that suit me, though. I'm pale, but not super pale. I have pink undertones, but also some yellow ones. I don't like too much shimmer, but I'm not a fan of flat matte shades. Sigh.

The Joiners Arms, Northumberland

It was the Husband's birthday a few weeks ago and, faced with the choice of going anywhere at all (within reason - I had to drive) to celebrate, he decided on a trip up to Northumberland and a night at The Joiners Arms in Newton-By-The-Sea, near Craster. We'd been wanting to try the Joiners for a while, having heard great things, and knowing that it gets booked up quickly, we were lucky enough to nab the last room available.

Fenwick Newcastle Mini Haul

Last week I had a wander around one of my favourite stores in the entire world, Fenwick in Newcastle. Founded in 1882, the store has an old fashioned luxury feel to it and whenever I shop there I always feel like I've had a real treat (usually of the cake variety -  but I'll get to that!). I also usually spend way more than I was intending to, since Fenwick stock all of my favourite brands including Mulberry, Joules, Ted Baker, Reiss....oh, and the beauty hall is AMAZE.

Metrocentre #IntuColours Fashion Event

I've been away for a few weeks whilst my blog's been undergoing a little nip & tuck. Whaddya reckon? I wanted my blog to look a bit more grown up than it did before, but couldn't bear to lose my dinky Meme graphic from the title. And I wanted polka dots. Pink ones. Soooooo...not very grown up at all, really. Still. I like it!

A few weeks ago I was very kindly invited to a blogger fashion show event at Metrocentre Gateshead. I love Metrocentre for a few reasons - it's indoors, so great for rainy days, it's open until 9pm, so on several occasions I've been able to panic shop after work when I've needed something for the following day, and, it's only a couple of miles from where I live, so couldn't be more convenient.

Boden Town Hall Sale - Newcastle Racecourse

A couple of weeks ago, I was queuing for a latte (oh, ok - and a muffin) in Starbucks when I overheard two women in front of me discussing whether they'd be going to the upcoming Boden sale in Newcastle. My ears pricked up. Boden sale? I'd never heard of such a thing! I tried to listen to the rest of the details but the women walked off while I was still ordering so I missed it. When?! WHERE EXACTLY?! How would I ever find out?! I could have run after them and asked, of course, but that would have meant abandoning my muffin, and I wasn't about to do that. Instead, I emailed Boden HQ whilst I ate my muffin, and had a lovely response back before I'd even finished my latte. It was TRUE! The sale would be at Newcastle Racecourse on 11th & 12th March.

Boden don't advertise their regional sales - known as Town Hall Sales, although they do apparently send out details to certain customers. (Not sure what the criteria for this is, since I've been a Boden customer for a couple of years and I didn't get one. Sob.) So, even though I felt a bit like I was turning up to a party uninvited, I tootled up to the racecourse this morning and got there around 20 minutes before opening.

Now, I've been to a Joules Big Sale before, so I figured this would be similar - at the Joules sale I actually bought nothing though, as everything there was exactly the same stuff as Joules sell online in their outlet and there was very limited sizing. Bit of a disappointment, really. Because of this, I wasn't holding out too much hope of getting mega bargains from Boden. Still, no harm in looking though, right?!

As I arrived I saw there was already around 50 people queuing in front of me. By the time the doors opened at 10am, there were at least 100 people behind. Eeek!

The £3 Wardrobe Staple you HAVE to buy!

STOP EVERYTHING. (No, really - this is URGENT).

I know I've mentioned before how much I love a breton top. Since I'm never out of jeans on a weekend, bretons are THE easiest way to avoid looking like a total slob by instantly chic-ing up an outfit. Pair with ballet flats and huge sunnies and I almost feel a little bit Audrey H....almost. Well, not quite, but still, breton tops are amazingly versatile and look great with everything from jeans, a blazer and heels to full skirts and waist belts.

There are loads of breton options online or on the high street of course - you could go for one of the classic Petit Bateau versions at around £40 or pick up one of Boden's beauties at £25. Or, you could go to Lidl and get a pack of two for 6 quid. Yes, I said SIX POUNDS. FOR TWO.


Black Friday, Vegas Style

I haven't written on my blog for a while - mainly due to Very Important Pressing Reasons outlined here, The major one being: I couldn't be bothered. Coming in at a very close second was my obsession with watching the entire seven seasons of Sons of Anarchy, which pretty much kept me under the duvet with my Kindle Fire for most of January. When I'd finished the final episode (HOW AWESOME, PLEASE?!) I emerged from my pillowy cocoon, rubbing my eyes and wondering what I'd do with my life now (also - could I learn to ride a Harley? And if so, could I cope with the hideously flat hat-hair the helmet would inevitably cause? I had to concede that I probably couldn't). I've been contemplating that for the last couple of weeks, and then I remembered: THE BLOG! Ah, yes, the blog. Might as well get back into that then, huh? Although, I have just started watching House Of Cards, so....

Anyway, this is a SHOPPING blog (I know - I have to remind myself sometimes, too), so in the interests of SHOPPING and writing stuff about SHOPPING, I shall now refer back to a trip I took many moons ago (well, at the end of November) to my spiritual home, Las Vegas. I may have mentioned this before, errr...quite a few times: I freakin' LOVE Vegas. I'm not much of a gambler, but I am a dessert-eater, and, as we know, a dedicated shopper. Vegas caters for both of these things quite perfectly. I feel I'm well positioned to say that since my number of visits to LV has now reached double figures. Yup, I love it that much. I love it even more when there are sales on. So, what if I timed my visit so I'd be in Vegas during the mother of all sales - Black Friday? Woop!

I did a bit lot of research before we flew out to Vegas to find out where the best bargains would be on Black Friday, then, with military precision, drew up a plan to make sure I was in the right place at the right time to bring down my target (aka, a Kate Spade bag). I read that a lot of the stores open at midnight but the ones I was interested in would be opening from 4am. I've not seen 4am since....well, ever.
But needs must.

Oh Hey, 2015!

Well it's been exactly one month since I last blogged. Reason? I could say I've been busy. I have been - some of the time. I went to Vegas, I've been working, we've had the usual run-up-to-Crimbo madness. I've also been binge-watching Sons Of Anarchy and that's taken up a LOT of my time (considering the sixth season was released on Netflix just today, I'm surprised I've even torn myself away long enough to type this). But that's not really the reason I haven't blogged. Mainly I haven't blogged because, basically, I just didn't want to. Couldn't be bothered.

I'm currently in a period of what's-the-point-and-where-the-hell-is-this-blog-going-ness. I get this regularly. And, even though I'm not one for new year resolutions, this year I'm going to give myself a blogging break. Not literally - I'm still going to blog, as and when I want/can be bothered/finish up with SoA on Netflix. I'm just not going to force myself. And I'm going to blog about stuff I want to write about, whenever inspo strikes (hopefully, this'll be fairly regularly. Like every time I buy new shoes. And I DEFINITELY need to write about Black Friday in Vegas, because that was just insane. IN. SANE. But who knows?!)

So for now, this is a short and sweet post. Wishing all my blog-writing and blog-reading buds a success, happiness and glitter-filled 2015. Now I'm off back to my Pringles and unashamed Jax Teller perving. Toots!