Archives

The romance of film noir

Looking for a night out with a twist?  Look no further than the Evans & Peel detective agency in Earls Court, London.

My friend, who has fabulous vintage style and can always be relied upon for a good night out, announced that the theme of her birthday celebrations this year would be film noir. Apart from the obvious translation to ‘a black film’, I’m ashamed to say that I knew little else about this, but Google is always on hand to help.

Film noir is a genre, retrospectively assigned by film critics, to Hollywood crime dramas from the early 1940s to the late 1950s.  The Big Sleep, This Gun for Hire, The Maltese Falcon and Double Indemnity are a few of examples of classic film noir.  The films tended to be quite pessimistic as was the general mood in post war America.  They are usually saturated with cynicism as well as using stark light/dark contrasts and dramatic shadowing, as a visual style.

 

For the occasion, I wore a black pencil dress from Pretty Kitty Fashion with wartime seamed tights and a cream faux fur jacket from New Look.  I set the outfit off with red Sarah Jessica Parker shoes in a classic t-bar style and a black vintage frame, clip top bag which incidentally, was bought for me years back by the birthday girl.  I styled my hair using a Heidi roll tool also from Pretty Kitty Fashion and topped it off with a burgundy pill box hat from Kiss Kiss Heart.

 

On arrival at the venue, you would never guess in a million years that it was a bar.  You are greeted by a simple door with Evans and Peel detective agency written on it and a buzzer.  After pressing said buzzer, you follow the stairs down to a dark office, where you are asked to state your case.  One of our group stated that their wedding ring had been stolen and they believed the culprit to be someone in our group.  The agency agreed to take the case on, at which point, a bookcase opens to reveal the bar.  Menus in brown case file envelopes are given out which list aptly named prohibition radiator moonshine beer amongst a selection of cocktails and it’s there I’m afraid, that the theme sadly ends.

 

Not for us however, as our case had been thought up, based on prior knowledge of the evening’s events that were still to come.  Suddenly a member of our group pointed at my friend’s boyfriend and said “it was you who stole the ring!”  To this, the smartly dressed ‘doctor’ dropped to one knee and proposed to my friend who was dressed as the classic Coco Chanel.  Her expression was priceless, she was completely shocked and clearly not expecting it, but very quickly that turned to pure joy as she accepted.

 

IMG_7596

It was a beautiful moment between them that I feel very privileged to have been a part of.  I am so happy for my friend as she so deserves the happiness she has clearly now found.  I await their wedding in June with anticipation – I know it will be another beautifully styled vintage event.

Congratulations guys – who says film noir is dark and pessimistic – it certainly brought you guys great joy and happiness.

 

IMG_7620

 

Love is Louboutin

May was our third wedding anniversary and to celebrate we decided to go away for a week. Having spent the last few years visiting various far flung places, we thought it was time we explored the treasures the UK has to offer and as such headed to Scotland.

We could have driven or flown but we opted to travel by the Caledonian Sleeper train, which booked in advance was very reasonably priced and hired a car once there. Now the sleeper train is not luxury but an experience none the less and it certainly is nice to fall asleep in London and wake up in the Scottish Highlands.

IMG_4975

We were greeted at Fort William by horrendous rain – the main problem with staying in the UK. As we were unable to book into our accommodation before 4pm, we sought refuge at the Inverlochy Castle hotel and indulged in afternoon tea.

IMG_4989

IMG_4988

Highland scenery is stunning and by our bed and breakfast there was a beautiful wide expanse of lake which was ironic given that they ran out of water by the Thursday!

IMG_5046

A walk through Nevis Gorge to Steel Falls is well worth it, if not for the faint hearted – it’s a four and a half mile round trip. The ground is rocky and rough with sheer drops but you are rewarded with a beautiful photo opportunity. Just make sure you wear appropriate footwear – my Italian leather ballerina pumps didn’t cut it!

IMG_5033

Glencoe also provides beautiful views and has been used for films such as James Bond – Skyfall and Harry Potter – it’s where Hagrid’s hut was built.

IMG_5179

T-Shirt Oasis, cropped jeans Oasis and ballet pumps from Milan

A great way to see some of the flatter scenery the highlands have to offer is by horseback. I have always enjoyed horse riding and really enjoyed my trek in Tain – not least as I managed to tick off my bucket list, riding on the beach.

IMG_5067

Sweatshirt Joy, Jeans Oasis and rain jacket New Look

On our actual anniversary we boarded the Jacobite steam train for a journey from Fort William to Mallaig, crossing the Glenfinnan Viaduct – made infamous by the Harry Potter films. We celebrated with champagne and exchanged gifts. The three year wedding anniversary is leather and as such, we couldn’t have let it pass without him adding to my shoe collection. I was ecstatic to open my very own pair of classic Pigalle Louboutins in black patent! You can read more about Louboutin in my previous blog First Steps.  I bought him a leather wallet with his initials embossed on it from Aspinal of London.  Leather is traditionally used to protect and shelter due to its durability, so as your relationship matures, a gift of this represents those qualities.

IMG_5226

IMG_5209

Glenfinnan viaduct

IMG_5194

Butter-brew cocktail

IMG_5228

Harry Potter Charm

IMG_5222

IMG_6642

IMG_5217

If castles are your thing, Scotland has some fabulous examples. We visited Urquhart castle, overlooking Loch Ness, for a great example of castle ruins which date from the 13th to the 16th century and Dunrobin which is a true fairytale style castle. Interestingly Dunrobin castle was used as a boarding school for seven years – imagine going to a school that looked like that!

IMG_5143

Urquhart castle

IMG_5118

Dunrobin castle

If you are looking for an adrenalin rush, I can highly recommend the Seaxplorer fast boat trip out on Loch Leven. We got to see seals and sea birds as well as our captain doing some elaborate fast turns like they do in lifeboats to add to the thrill.

IMG_5243

We couldn’t visit Scotland without going to Balmoral of course. Having always been a royalist it was fabulous to see the Queen’s holiday hideaway. Balmoral castle itself is beautiful although we saw very little of the inside. The Landrover safari trip revealed how vast the grounds are, with stunning views and we got to see some majestic deer.

IMG_5290

Balmoral

IMG_5323

IMG_5300

IMG_5320.JPG

T-Shirt Zara and leather jacket New Look

 

IMG_5335

Being us it was a mad rush to get from Balmoral back to Fort William to catch the sleeper train home but we made it and got a lovely view of Ben Nevis on the journey too.

IMG_5338

Ben Nevis

IMG_5341

KIP (Krissy is Phil’s) elephant snuggling on the Caledonian sleeper

The UK really has some great sights that shouldn’t be overlooked.  We had a great anniversary and look forward to many more years happily married.  I love my husband because he knows me inside out and loves me anyway.

A hundred and counting

Blogshoe001

This post marks a momentous occasion in my blogging history – it’s my ‘centiblog’ or hundredth post! Have I really managed to pull together circa 100,000 words on my little life over the last six plus years?!

Blogging has a longer history than many people might be aware of, with the first blog being attributed to a student, Justin Hall in 1994. It wasn’t referred to as a blog then though and it was another three years, before the term ‘weblog’ was coined and further two years, before it became shortened to ‘blog’. Since then it has evolved significantly, gaining peak popularity around 2004.   In February 2011 there were over 156 million public blogs in existence.  You could say then, that I was somewhat of a late comer, launching my blog in April 2011.

Having always had a passion for writing, as well as keeping a diary since childhood, it was a friend who suggested I write a blog, around the time I moved in with my now husband. Being I was also an avid follower of Sex and the City, I obviously had desires to live like its lead character, Carrie Bradshaw, played by Sarah Jessica Parker who wrote a newspaper column about her life in order to earn a living.

Carrie Bradshaw

I would define my blog as a ‘lifestyle’ blog with a focus on fashion and shoes. What’s a ‘lifestyle’ blog I hear you say? Some people see it as a catch-all subject that means the blog lacks a focus, whilst I see it more as a description of what life is like for a person of a certain age in a certain location; a little like a diary. I think blogs will be used in the future to inform history, in much the same way as diaries, such as that of Anne Frank, have informed our knowledge today, of years gone by. If nothing else it may be something my future children will enjoy reading.

Other than writing, I have long been a dedicated follower of fashion with a particular devotion to shoes and therefore love to entwine my outfits of the day with experiences abroad or in London, from afternoon tea to exhibitions. Of course my blog may have a change of direction if and when my husband and I cease to be D.I.N.Ks (double income, no kids) which is the beauty of a lifestyle blog – it evolves as your life does.

Interview Picture  1

So what makes a successful blog? I don’t have a secret formula – being I am still waiting for mine to take off but what I can do is share some of the tips I have learnt along the way.

My number one rule has to be draft, re-draft and draft again! If you can get someone else to read it before you publish even better, as often you become blind to your own errors.

I write more as a hobby – fitting in time as and when, but if you truly want your blog to become a commercial enterprise you need to post at regular intervals so it is probably worth setting aside time each day to write. What day and time you choose to post your blog can have an effect on subscribers so I would advise trial and error using analytic tools to see what works. I found I get greatest readership if I post on a Sunday evening, so I try to stick to this time now.

Inspiration often comes unannounced so it is handy to carry a notebook with you that you can jot ideas down in as they come to you. You may find it helpful to create a space in which to write that you feel enhances the creative juices and somewhere you can remain uninterrupted. I have a beautiful desk area under the stairs which I am continually kitting out with my latest stationery purchases. I particularly love Kikki K products. I do also enjoy writing in my summer-house when weather permits.

IMG_6371

IMG_2691

Social media is a fantastic tool for any blogger. I had always used Facebook and so share a link to each new post there, but I have found that Twitter is even better for getting you noticed. Twitter has the added bonus of you being able to link posts to companies, whom you have featured.

Brand is important for your blog but often difficult to achieve, especially if you are blogging through a platform such as WordPress or Blogspot. It seems unless you can master CCS coding, something that continues to be beyond my capabilities, you are stuck using the templates available in terms of background for your blog. I did however create a logo for myself which is at least a start at branding.

CFB Logo

This brings me neatly on to hosting platforms, which is how I do my blog and therefore what I have the greatest knowledge of.   WordPress also allow you to add tags which work in a similar way to hashtags on twitter and make it easier for people to find you on the site. The best way to increase followers is to interact with other bloggers on the platform. Read as many blogs as possible and not only follow them but comment on them too. If someone comments on your blog, don’t let the conversation dry up – interact with that person.

I hope you have found some useful tips and you are inspired to follow my blog. I look forward to entertaining you with my next 100 blogs!

Diana: Two Decades on

All little girls love princesses and Diana certainly was the fairytale princess.  The Royal family has always been admired the world over and is quintessentially British but Diana challenged their old-fashioned ways and appealed to a whole new generation.

I was 14 when my Mum woke me one Sunday morning to tell me Diana had died, aged just 36.  The whole world went into shock and there was a huge outpour of public grief.

I went to see the sea of flowers at Kensington Palace, signed a local condolence book, queued at Woolworths for Elton John’s Candle in the Wind tribute single and was glued to the TV for the funeral.  Along with most of the nation, I mourned the people’s princess. She was someone who was so compassionate and gave so much to so many.

DI FLOWERS

Flowers at the gates of Kensington Palace September 1997

It’s hard to believe that it’s 20 years ago today that Diana was tragically killed in a car crash in Paris.  The world has moved on so, that Diana would scarcely recognise it – social media for one thing, but still today people remember the wonderful Diana.  She is one of the few people who can still sell a paper 20 years after her death.

Diana loved fashion and an exhibition which opened in February at Kensington Palace, shows her transition from shy teenager to style icon.  In April, my Mum and I went to visit Diana: Her Fashion Story.

Many of Diana’s dresses were auctioned in June 1997 to raise money for her charities, so this exhibition has relied on the kindness of collectors to lend the dresses for it.  One of those dresses is the Catherine Walker dress she wore to the Christie’s dress auction.

Catherine Walker shift dress with roses © Historic Royal Palaces, Richard Lea Hair.jpg

Image courtesy of Historic Royal Palaces Press Office

25 dresses are on display and show how the girl who owned very few of her own clothes evolved into the most photographed woman in the world, championing British designers and making clothes work for her.  She once asked Jasper Conran: ‘What message will I be giving out if I wear this?’  This is something we can all relate to.   Fashion is fun but we also use fashion to portray a certain image of ourselves.

The exhibition looks at her early fashion choices which drew on the romantic style of the 1980’s through to her power dressing in the 90’s.

Her first official portrait in 1981 saw her wearing a pretty pussy bow frilly blouse designed by the Emanuel’s, who went on to design her wedding dress.

HRP Hampton Court Princess Diana artifacts

Image courtesy of Historic Royal Palaces Press Office

Her honeymoon tweed suit that she wore in Balmoral was on display.

Bill Pashley 'honeymoon' brown tweed day suit © Historic Royal Palaces, Richard Lea Hair

Image courtesy of Historic Royal Palaces Press Office

Some of her glamorous evening gowns were on display such as the ‘Travolta’ dress. She wore this midnight blue velvet dress by Victor Edelstein at the White House in 1985 when she danced with John Travolta.  Diana worked a lot with the designer Catherine Walker and in the late 1980’s wore her dress, that became known as the ‘Elvis’ dress, to the British Fashion Awards.

Victor Edelstein, 'Travolta' dress, © Historic Royal Palaces, Newsteam

Image courtesy of Historic Royal Palaces Press Office

 

2006BK5362

Image courtesy of Historic Royal Palaces Press Office

Her charity work increased during the 90’s and she wanted her causes to be taken seriously, rather than for her to be just seen as a clothes horse.  As such she amended her style and opted for simple suits.

Catherine Walker, pink suit, © Historic Royal Palaces, Richard Lea Hair

Image courtesy of Historic Royal Palaces Press Office

The exhibition also included some of the many magazines she graced the front cover of and sketches of some of her wonderful outfits.

IMG_4900

The one dress I was disappointed not to see in the exhibition is what many referred to as the ‘revenge’ dress which she wore to a dinner at the Serpentine Gallery in 1994, the same night Charles admitted to an affair with Camilla.  This is when I think she looked her most stunning.

Diana

Image courtesy of Google

Alongside this exhibition the garden team at Kensington Palace have created the ‘White Garden’ as a tribute to Diana.  Diana often chatted with the gardeners and admired the floral displays in the 15 years she lived at Kensington Palace.

IMG_4920.JPG

For this day I wore a pink dress with bunnies on the collar by Victoria Beckham x Target and pink rose pumps from Oasis.

IMG_4923

After the exhibition Mum and I went and joined the Afternoon Tea Bus Tour to continue with the stereotypically British traditions.  Run by Brigit’s Bakery which has a shop in Covent Garden, this tea is served on a restored 1960’s routemaster bus.  Brigit’s Bakery or B Bakery as it is otherwise known as, was founded in 2011 by Brigit Bloch and is fun, girly, quirky and has a French twist.

IMG_4926

As tea is served, the bus takes you around all the big sights of London including Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Harrods, Royal Albert Hall, Notting Hill and the London Eye.  The tour comes with a commentary so you learn some great facts about London’s sights too. Did you know for example, 100,000 people come to shop at Harrods everyday or that the Houses of Parliament have been home to the British government for over 900 years?  All these facts can be discovered whilst you enjoy a fantastic tea prepared by French pastry chefs.  There was also a fantastic sight on the bus, in the shape of one of the waiters, lol!

IMG_4937.JPG

At the end of the tour they allowed us to keep our branded plastic coffee cups.

IMG_4947

So to return to the main theme of this blog – 20 years on what is Diana’s legacy?  Her two wonderful boys, William and Harry continue with the charity work she started and have grown into men she would have been proud of.

Her fairytale sadly didn’t have a happy ending but girls still dream of being a princess like her.  As Elizabeth Emanuel so eloquently put it: ‘there are loads of movie stars and celebrities but there will be only one Diana.’  Rest in peace the ‘Queen of our Hearts’.

A Boot Sale with a Twist

In April I went to the Classic Car Boot Sale held in London’s Kings Cross.

What springs to mind when I say boot sale? 5am start, a muddy field and people’s junk on sale – this event is as much like that, as glamping is to camping!

IMG_4865

 

IMG_4870

Run by House of Hemingway, people bring their classic cars and sell all manor of fine vintage clothes, shoes, accessories, homeware and vinyl.

IMG_4835

IMG_4858

IMG_4862.JPG

IMG_4831.JPG

Now as you can imagine this was right up my street, I love classic cars having owned a 1970’s VW Beetle and you all know how I love all things vintage. It was also a bargain event given it was in London, with tickets costing just £5 on the door or £4 if booked in advance.

IMG_4853.JPG

To add to the atmosphere there was a DJ on the top deck of a vintage bus playing all the golden oldies and many people came in vintage dress.

IMG_4837

IMG_4838

There were bars on vintage buses, some great food stalls also in vintage vehicles and even a mobile cinema.

IMG_4850

IMG_4847.JPG

IMG_4851

IMG_4885

Unfortunately for me, vintage clothes tend to be quite small, as women have in general got bigger over the years, so there was little there that would fit me. I did however find a stall selling new items in vintage styles, called Weekend Doll and bought this red t-shirt.

IMG_4890

For the day I wore a black pleated skirt from Asos, plain black vest top from New Look, my trusted biker jacket also from New Look and a scarf from Victoria Beckham for Target. I wore black flat, multi strap shoes from Zara and finished the look an Forever 21 suede look saddle bag, which toned with the orange on the scarf and a Lulu Guinness umbrella – after all this is England, so the event enjoyed sunshine and showers.

IMG_4829

IMG_4809

Talking of 5am starts, there was one thing I was willing to do that for and that was earlier this month, one Sunday when Victoria Beckham x Target went on sale! Magazines had been building up to the release for weeks so I stayed up on the Saturday thinking it would go live at midnight Sunday, only to find it didn’t, so then set the alarm for 5am, which would be midnight in the USA and still nothing. After constantly hitting refresh on the webpage, it finally went live at well-gone 9am. I was lucky enough to bag the scarf above and a dress before it sold out though so was quite pleased with myself.

If you like the sound of what you have read, there is another classic car boot sale being held on 9th and 10th September in London Kings Cross. For tickets visit www.classiccarbootsale.co.uk

 

‘Do not think of shoes but of masterpieces’ Diana Vreeland, Editor in Chief US Vogue

If ever there was a city that was made for me it’s Milan, What’s not to like? A fashion capital, in a country where they are connoisseurs of coffee, creators of prosecco and masters of food.

Our trip in March was somewhat a last minute affair and to be completely honest only came about when I heard that Manolo Blahnik was holding an exhibition there. I managed to convince my husband that this was just something I had to go to being that he is my favourite shoe designer of all time.

IMG_4284

Dress by Sugarhill Boutique, Converse shoes and bag from New Look

The exhibition, held in Palazzo Morando, certainly didn’t disappoint. Manolo is an absolute genius. His design drawings are works of art in their own right and the shoes are just stunning. His imagination is infinite and he takes inspiration from people, nature, travel, artists and architecture. Born in 1942 in the Canary Islands to a Spanish mother and Czech father, his journey into shoe design happened by accident. He went to art school in Paris, before moving to London in the late 1960’s. The feet of Greek sculptures had always fascinated him and then in 1971 he met the editor in chief of American Vogue and as she perused his portfolio, she was taken by his shoe drawings and she told him to ‘Stick to extremities and make shoes’. He then learnt his trade through observations of factories in England and Italy and actually received no formal training in shoe making. He did some collaborative work before opening his first store in London in 1973. Since then his career has gone from strength to strength and he has won numerous awards and received a CBE from the Queen.

IMG_4285

IMG_4333

IMG_4302

I first fell in love with his designs following my obsession with Sex and the City, where the main character, Carrie has an addiction to his footwear. I was married in the same blue satin Manolo’s as Carrie married Big in and they remain one of my most treasured possessions.

Hangisi by Manolo Blahnik

The collection on display takes you on a journey through Manolo’s imagination with over 80 original drawings and 52 shoes. Each shoe is crafted with such attention to detail and he sees them like characters in a story, giving each a proper name. Some of the embellishments are absolutely stunning as are the range of different materials utilised by Manolo.

DSC_0023

IMG_4314

IMG_4367

IMG_4344

Following the visit to the exhibition it was time for a cappuccino and a flick through the trusted Lonely Planet guidebook.

IMG_4375

We then took the opportunity to get some exercise and explore a pretty local park, giardini pubblici, before admiring the fantastically alluring designer shop window displays in the Quadrilatero d’Oro or golden quarter. There was time for a quick espresso stop at a very glam espresso bar, Sant’Ambroeus that has an impressive chandelier and given the time of year some beautifully wrapped Easter Eggs.

IMG_4417

IMG_4392

IMG_4395

We grabbed a quick bite to eat before joining our tour party at the Castello Sforzesco. This 15th century fortress was the home of the Sforza dynasty that ruled Milan during the Renaissance. Following a long walk around with what felt like an intense history lesson, we finally got to see what we had booked the tour for – Leonardo Da Vinci the Last Supper painting. It is an amazing sight and it is hard to believe it was painted in the 15th century. We refuelled with a delicious Italian icecream before jumping on one of their vintage trams.

IMG_4436

IMG_4506

IMG_4483

The second day we walked around the awe inspiring Domino, a gothic cathedral of elaborate marble construction with no less than 135 spires.   The nearby shopping arcade, Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II is worth a look whilst you are in the vicinity. More than just a shopping arcade, the neoclassical building is constructed of iron and glass and shaped like a cross. Even if you hate shopping it is well worth popping inside to admire the incredible architecture. It was then time for a refreshing cosmopolitan on the roof terrace of Aperol, overlooking the magnificent cathedral. The bar is an ode to the 1970’s drink with a huge sculpted orange bar. I then had to nip back to the hotel to put on jeans in order to go and look inside the cathedral, which is just a magnificent inside as out.

 

DSC_0119

IMG_4620

 

IMG_4570

Blouse Mango, Skirt with braces Dorothy Perkins, Converse shoes, Socks Oasis, Bag New Look

IMG_4558

IMG_4577

IMG_4592

My cultural brain suitably enriched, my shopping urges were once again calling so we took the opportunity to browse a couple of vintage shops before regrouping with a latte.

That evening we visited the Nottingham Forest cocktail bar. You have to get there prior to opening and queue as it is so small, but it was so worth the wait. The cocktails are just so varied and imaginative.  Some even use liquid nitrogen and come smoking. I of course had to order the Sex and the City. The glass of cosmopolitan was brought to me in a plastic stiletto and there was a surprise flavoured free gift from Samantha – I’ll let you guess what that might have been!

IMG_4703

The final day we booked a classic Fiat 500 tour of the city. A car so iconic to Italy was the only choice for me. The sun shone brightly and our enthusiastic guide and driver showed us all the key sights of the city in just over an hour and a half. It is strange as I ended up owning a Fiat 500 by chance but I now love them almost as much as I love VW Beetles – I only said almost!

DSC_0180

Jeans Oasis, Converse shoes, T-shirt Kiss Kiss Heart and bag Biba

We then ventured down to Navigli, the canal district where I had a delicious pizza and even got my husband to sample one as they offer a cheese free pizza. Of course there was an ulterior motive for me visiting this area. Mentioned in the guidebook was a shoe shop called Mauro Leone – for fashionistas on a budget. I bought a gorgeous pair of red patent leather ballet pumps and I can honestly say they are the most comfortable shoes I have ever bought.

IMG_4779

IMG_4798

At the airport on the way home, I bought another souvenir of my trip – a Pandora charm shaped as a stiletto.

IMG_4794

 

It was a truly amazing trip and I remain ever grateful to my long-suffering husband for agreeing to go just for a shoe exhibition. I absolutely loved Milan and suggest it is a right of passage for any fashionista.

 

Glamour Beauty Festival

My friend and I attended the second annual Glamour Beauty Festival at the beginning of March, which was held at Saatchi Gallery London.

IMG_4217

I have been a dedicated subscriber to Glamour magazine for many years and when I saw this advertised I just knew this was a perfect girls day out. In case I needed further persuasion, this years festival was being sponsored by Fiat 500 and there would be an opportunity for a mock up Glamour cover shoot with the new Fiat 500 Riva. That’s it I was sold!

I got my very own Fiat 500 last October, from my old boss who had owned it from new and I have now become quite a fan of the cute iconic car which celebrates its diamond anniversary of production this year.

IMG_4204

IMG_4207

For the festival I wore a grey t-shirt dress with cute black tie up ribbon at the back from New Look, a denim floral jacket also from New Look and some black suede slouch boots from House of Fraser. I accessorised my hair with a Orelia cute star clip from Asos and the piece de la resistance of the outfit was a monogrammed clutch from Oasis.

IMG_4247

First stop on arrival was of course the Fiat 500 pool party. They had a classic Fiat 500 on display and of course the new Fiat Riva. The make up artists covered us in sparkle in keeping with the fact it was the diamond jubilee year and we then got to pose in the Riva whilst a photographer snapped away. The photo was then inserted onto a Glamour mock cover and emailed to us.

IMG_4254

Fiat_Glamour_0068

Next stop had to be to collect our goodie bags. I have to say this goody bag was something else with an estimated value of over £100, making the £45 ticket to the festival more than worth it!  I have since used many of the products and particularly recommend the Garnier Micellar water, Garnier moisture bomb UV mist, Estee Edit pink peony overnight water pack and the Nars blush in Orgasm.

 

IMG_4265

There were so many stands and so little time to try everything, given many of the stands had queues but we managed to fit in quite a bit.

The Garnier Ultimate Blends stand was excellent and I had some honey restore hand cream tested on me.  I have incredibly dry hands and couldn’t believe the difference this cream instantly made.  My friend persuaded the lady to give me a free tube too which was fantastic.

IMG_4218

Next we visited the Eylure stand to have false eyelashes applied.  I had opulent ones applied.

IMG_4232

IMG_4231

My favourite one was the last stand we went to which was Fresh.  The brand was founded in 1991 by Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg who opened a store in Boston curating upscale natural beauty products from around the world.  In 1993 they launched the iconic oval soap and the brand has grown since then with them celebrating their 25th anniversary last year.  I must confess that I hadn’t heard of them before but anything that uses natural ingredients always  gets my endorsement.  There are 2 stores in London and Harrods also stocks their products.

IMG_4238

The mask bar allowed you to test out some of their face masks  although I had them tested on the back of my hand rather than ruin the makeup I had already had done.  I also tested the sugar lip polish which was amazing – my lips had never felt so smooth afterwards.  Fresh first used sugar in a body exfoliant in 1998 and it ignited an industry wide trend of using sugar in beauty products.  The festival goodie bag included a Fresh soy facial cleanser and we also got some free samples of the masks from the stand along with a tinted lip treatment.

IMG_4243

IMG_4245

I was totally sold on these products and went on to order online after the festival the rose deep hydration face cream and the sugar lip polish.  When they were delivered the products were presented in a lovely box tied with a ribbon and the box was lined with pretty vintage print tissue.  You also received some free sample sachets and a small jar of vitamin nectar vibrancy boosting facemask.

DSC_0282

Tickets to the festival are sold as morning or afternoon sessions.  We purchased just the morning but some people had purchased both and that would be my only criticism of the day that those who had paid for both sessions had to leave the gallery for an hour at lunch time.

We finished our visit with prosecco from the bar there.  It was a wonderful girly day of pampering that I highly recommend to any beauty product fan.

IMG_4255

IMG_4251