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VIP for the day

One of the A-list events in the calendar for me now is Stylist Live.  It is an annual three day event that brings to life everything sassy, affluent female commuters, in London and other major UK cities love about the free, weekly magazine – Stylist.

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Stylist being distributed at Southwark tube station

On my way to Olympia for the event in November, I was admiring a ladies skirt on the tube and then realised I might look a bit odd starring at her so struck up a conversation.  Turns out she was off to Stylist Live too and the fabulous skirt she was wearing had been designed and made by her.  Check out more of her great designs by following her on Instagram @luxefromclare

I always like to make an effort for these sort of events to at least try and look like a stylish, sophisticated woman so I wore black leggings from Oasis with a Kookai blouse and New Look biker jacket, paired with my suede stilettos with tassels on from New Look and Oasis cross-body bag.

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This year my best fashionista friend and I opted for the VIP tickets and I am so glad we did.  While last year was good, this year was on another level.

On arrival we were filtered into a special queue and within the VIP lounge, there was plenty of space to relax and a separate cloakroom from the other ticket holders which saved the long queue at the end of the day.  Your ticket included a free go on the vending machine of dreams which despatched a pack of Candy Kittens gourmet sweets and if you were lucky some great prizes ranging from Warehouse vouchers to a holiday.

Included in the VIP ticket are unlimited snacks, lunch and soft drinks.  We had the macaroni cheese which was to die for and a Bol salad so we felt a bit more healthy!  A glass of prosecco and a gin are extra freebies alongside the complimentary Gordons premium pink gin all ticket holders receive, and most importantly a we received a goody bag worth £150.

The goody bag more than paid for the VIP entrance cost and included some full size products as well as a number of sample sizes.  My favourites include a travel tangle Teezer, NARS lipstick, Jack Wills socks and some clear telephone cord hairbands.

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As if all of this wasn’t enough, a treatment in the beauty rooms was also included with our ticket.  There was a choice with a choice of either Shiseido, bareMinerals, NARS, Laura Mercier or Buxom.  My friend chose the Shiseido which was a cleanse and moisturise session that she enjoyed and I treated myself to a NARS Fashion Week Supermodel Eye.  I have to say, it was quite a transformation but despite them writing down all the products they used and where to put them, I doubt I would be able to flawlessly recreate it.  Afterwards you had access to a dressing up box and a short catwalk so they could create a GIF and email it to you.

More than 250 boutique pop-ups were at the event, providing a range of free beauty treatments, hair styling and shopping opportunities.  I was a little disappointed at the length of the queues for some of the hair styling but the range goods for sale was fantastic, encompassing well known brands such as Spectrum, BaByliss, Fresh and Pixi with emerging newer brands such as Yull shoes and Mean Mail.  My favourite pop-up was Kikki K, the Swedish design stationery brand which a friend at work got me into a few years back.  Its founder, Kristina Karlsson was at Stylist, signing copies of her new book, ‘Your Dream Life Starts Here’.  I was star struck getting to meet her and I hope by reading her book, I am inspired to get on the road to living my dream life.

Talking of inspiration, there were plenty of inspirational talks throughout the weekend and one I found particularly useful was from the Physiologist DR Nerina Ramlakhan who gave practical advice on how we can all get a better nights sleep.

The catwalk show is always one of the best parts of the day for me and being VIPs, we got reserved front row seating to watch the best of the autumn/winter 2018 trends.  Leopard print has made a big come back along with trends of bold, earth tones and cowgirl.  I particularly like the fact that all the clothes are high street and you are given a sheet detailing each look, so it is easier to go and shop for the looks you like the best.

By the end of the day, my friend and I were both shattered but it had been such an enjoyable day.  We will definitely be returning next year and I urge all you fashionistas to read Stylist magazine and look out for tickets going on sale for 2019 Stylist Live event.  To watch a short highlights video of this year’s event (very excited as it’s the first video I have made and edited) check out my Instagram @blahnikgirl

A High brow Saturday

In June my friend and I visited the Good Ship Benefit, the new facelift given to HS Hispaniola until 31st August 2016; a permanently docked boat on the River Thames close to Embankment tube station, with a lovely view of the London Eye whilst relaxing on the Hoola decks.

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As we stepped on the boat we were directed to the brow lounge. The room is an explosion of pink and the ultimate girly boudoir; the back of the sofas even have a makeup clad eye on them. The pillars and carpet were black glitter and there were also novelty bunny chairs. The bar was in the style of a beauty box.

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We made ourselves comfortable and our illusionary afternoon tea was served along with a glass of fizz. Now I guess I should have guessed from the name of the tea that this would be no conventional afternoon tea, but I didn’t and I must say that this was one afternoon tea which didn’t meet my expectations. Things started well for my sweet tooth when what looked like sandwiches were actually cakes. The problem was that this also worked the other way round with items that looked like cakes being savoury.  This to me was just plain weird – your eyes are telling you sweet whilst your tongue is shouting savoury!

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Following the tea I was looking forward to having my brows shaped; this being the year of the brow and Benefit having long lead the way with brows, opening their first Brow Bar in 2003 at Macy’s in San Francisco. I was only then told that we should have booked an appointment and that there were none left today due to a hen party.  This was in no way clear on the website so I made my feelings known and a kind assistant called Alison agreed to do them in the end as long as I wasn’t expecting a full make over.  What a difference well defined brows make to your face! She used BROWVO! conditioning eyebrow primer which enhances the thickness and fullness of the brow, which I need given previous over plucking, as well as extending the wear of other brow products.  She then used precisely, my brow eyebrow pencil in shade 02 to define the brows.

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Look at the difference – one brow before and one after!

I always associate the Benefit brand with 1950’s glamour and so for the occasion I wore a turquoise polka dot circle skirt with a petticoat underneath both from Rocket in Rochester and a plain white vest top from Oasis.  I matched this with some old silver sandals from Faith which resemble ballroom dancing shoes.  I accessorised with a long heart necklace from Queen Bee in Canterbury and a stunning mint clutch shaped like a book from Aldo.

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We were given a tour of the boat which also has a restaurant called Lashitude, decorated in black and orange in homage to Benefit mascara; The Pinkton Parlour – a beautiful pink cocktail bar and the Porefessional vault – an accolade to their wonderful pore disguising product.  Disappointingly though we were not able to see the vault as it was booked for a private party.  There is of course also a shop where you can indulge in purchasing all of their great products.

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It was a shame we couldn’t see the ship in its entirity and it also rained which meant cocktails on the decks was not possible.  I did feel a little disappointed with the day especially being that I have been a fan of Benefit make up for some years.

Benefit cosmetics were founded in 1976 by twin sisters in San Francisco.  They began with a beauty boutique specialising in products to solve beauty dilemmas and then went on to expand into department stores.  Benefit went international in 1997 and now sells at 2000 counters in 30 countries.

Live by the Benefesto; ‘We believe in WHISTLING WHILE YOU WORK IT…and faking it ‘til you make it.We believe in FAST & FABULOUS BEAUTY solutions…and that glamour is GRABBING LIFE BY THE GIGGLES and not letting go. We believe if at first you don’t succeed, APPLY MORE LIPSTICK…that SEXY gets you everywhere…and if you can’t be good, BE GORGEOUS.’

Until next time…..