Friday, 31 March 2017

THE ONLY WAY TO EXPERIENCE THE PHILIPPINES & ISLAND LIFE

THE ONLY WAY TO EXPERIENCE THE PHILIPPINES & ISLAND LIFE
Friday, 31 March 2017
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Darocotan Island - El Nido | Shot by Angelito Delos Reyes

SO, I recently returned from 5 of the most magical days of my life island hopping in The Philippines.
This was a trip like no other, cruising on a motorised Filipino native boat you are taken from the pure white sand bays of El Nido, all the way up to the crystal blue waters of Coron. The Palawan region at it's finest.
Exploring pristine coves, swimming in the clearest oceans, sleeping in bamboo huts on the beach and eating some of the freshest most wonderful Filipino food you will ever consume!

All of this and so much more was all possible because of TAO Philippines
(You're going to want to click on that link because it will change your life 👆🏼)

Now if you haven't had the fortune to hear of this company yet, then you are in luck because I am going to be singing their praises all the way down to the very last full stop of this post.

EXPLORERS WANTED

As Tao explain it on their website the whole purpose of this expedition, is just that, an expedition. A chance to truly explore the remote regions of a tropical archipelago paradise. 
Away from the typical chartered routes of mass tourism.
This isn't going to be 5 star luxury hotels with rainfall shower heads and room service but it is going to be a real back to nature experience of how Filipino islanders live their lives. 
And isn't that really the true meaning of travel? To get outside of your comfort zone, see a culture different to the one you know and live a different way of life.

It's all about the basics of living and let's face it that's all you really need. 
Food, water, shelter. 
The glorious scenery and fantastic company is an added bonus!

My boyfriend Harry and I blew our budget a little on this experience but only because it was my birthday mid way through the trip and luckily my family had offered to put money towards it! 👌🏼 
Thanks fam. Best. Present. EVER!
So depending on your financial situation the expedition can seem a little expensive, especially if you are a budget traveller. But as you will quickly come to learn it is worth every single peso and more. All 26,000 PHP of them!
We had heard and read so many incredible things about Tao that it became a 'fuck it' scenario and we just put the deposit down for the trip.
Can you really put a price on the experience of a lifetime?

Base Camp night 1 - 21/03/17

Base Camp night 2 - 22/03/17

Base camp night 3 - 23/03/17

On the Open Tao Expedition, you spend 4 nights and 5 days cruising from El Nido to Coron (or the other way round if you fancy it!), with up to a max of 28 like minded explorers and 7 crew members.
In Tao's experience and now mine, everyone who chooses to do these trips are often well travelled, conscientious and open human beings who are just looking to enjoy life and make some incredible new friends in the process.
The amazing thing about this trip is that if you really don't want to be in close proximity to a bunch of strangers 24/7, you don't have to be. There is still plenty of room for some me time and once you dock in a bay or on an island your time is your time. Do with it what you wish. 
Chill on the beach, swim in the sea, talk to the locals, explore the islands.
This is a chance to get away from it all but it is also the opportunity to socialise and meet a fantastic group of new friends from all over the world!
So don't forget to let go and integrate with your fellow explorers! Realistically you're probably not choosing to go on this trip for 5 days of solitude.  

To say that everyone got along on this trip is an understatement, by the end of 5 wonderful days, heck even after 1 day we were all like family. Looking out for each other, creating new memories and having a ball along the way.

For example on our first night at base camp one (possibly my favourite), once we were all settled into our huts and gathered around the tiki torch lit bamboo dining table. Angelo, our jack of all trades barman, insisted we were going to play a drinking game in order to learn each other's names. This of course involved a special blend of Angelo's infamous jungle juice - if you know, you know.

I think at that point we all secretly exhaled a sigh of 'oh god a let's learn each other's name game' 😒 Here we go. 
But you know what? It worked, it was hilarious and after just 12 short hours of being with these people I will never forget their names!

THE LOST GOPROS 
(There is an intense story behind this team name, so stay tuned 😀)

Kevin, Caroline, Gelo, Cang, Michelle, Daan 1, Erica, Benoit, Sabine, Thomas, Daan 2, Linda, Marijke, Jess, Khadija, Simon, Monika, Igor, Svetlana, Joe


Special mention here has to go out to the crew that we had on our adventure, Romy our expedition leader became like our daddy. Always caring for our safety first but then making sure we were also having the time of our lives.

Angelo (The Barman, bedmaker, all round trickster, Mike 1 (The Chef), Mike 2 (The Engineer), Aaron + Jorlan (The Muscle), Panoy (The Captain)

These boys went above and beyond to curate the perfect expedition for us all, always laughing and joking with each other it never seemed like work for them but a chance to share their lives and culture with us. From Mikey 1, expertly crafting the most delicious and fresh food you will ever taste in The Philippines, ensuring the Filipino Power (rice) was always a staple in our diets! To Panoy our crazy captain and a secret expert jewellery maker! The girls came away with beautifully hand crafted shell necklaces and bracelets, specially selected from the beaches we stopped at.

Camp Ngey Ngey - Shot by Angelito Delos Reyes




I think the most freeing part about this experience was knowing there was little to no electricity throughout the trip. So no wifi and no need for your phone. I could switch off physically and mentally, from the sometimes exhausting cat and mouse game that is social media. 
What was the point in spending hours trying to make people envious with all my photos of paradise when I was here, living it. Breathing it. Soaking up every second of it. 
You wake up when the sun rises, eat when you are hungry and go to bed when you are tired. There is no concept of time, no strict schedules, you live by your body's needs and wherever the sun is in the sky at that point in the day. 
LIFE - Real life, before technology and deadlines.

I still tried to take as many pictures as possible and not because I needed proof of my travels in the form of a Facebook album but because I enjoy photography. 
Its a hobby of mine and I love nothing more than capturing a scene in a certain way through the magic of a lens.
But sometimes the camera, no matter how expensive, just cannot convey the world before you quite like your own two eyes can.
That is something you will never be able to share with anyone else because it is unique to your point of view and a mental picture you can cherish forever. 
(Until Google invent some 20/20 vision eye lenses that is 😂 I'm sure it's in the works!)





MY BIRTHDAY - THE BEST BIRTHDAY EVER?

Think of the most perfect day in paradise. That's was it. Waking up, March 23rd, on a glorious tropical beach to 27 different people telling you happy birthday and not just because they felt they had to but because they wanted to, in a genuinely sincere way. 
After a sterling breakfast of pancakes and fresh fruit, we set sail and landed at our first incredible private island stop for the day.

Stunning corals, crystal water, white sand and blue sky for days. At this point I don't think any of us could believe we were really here. It was like a dream. 
After a fantastic day swimming, snorkelling and beach combing, we finally landed on our base camp for the evening and watched the sun go down as Angelo machete chopped his way through some wood for our camp fire.
Another fantastic dinner of fresh fish, vegetables and Filipino power, once stuffed we all set down to some hilarious drinking games and I had Happy Birthday sung to me so many times in varying languages.
Camp fire dancing and limbo ensued until there was only a handful of us left, still not content with the thought of bed yet. 
Romy led us to a quieter side of the beach so as not to wake up our fellow camp mates and promptly disappeared into the night...Ok so at this point we thought he had just chucked us there to get us out of the way, until he returned with the cool box containing all of the alcohol! 
Grinning from ear to ear he exclaimed 'The bar is open!'

A perfect end to the best day of my life, the last ones standing just sat on the starlit beach, jungle juice in hand, talking well into the night.
If that wasn't enough the next day, on our last night, Mikey had made me a cake and the crew and all my fellow explorers sang to me once again. 
After consuming the creamy deliciousness, we were all taken to another hut where endless hours of drunken Karaoke ensued and I will never be able to get 'WE ARE SAILING' out of my head.
Tao, thank you for making my birthday the best one yet.



Bulldog - the cutest island puppy you will ever meet 😍


THE LOST GOPRO

Day 4, Somewhere near Linapacan Island.
A particularly windy day and the sea was a little choppy in comparison to the amazing weather we had had the previous days.
We stopped off for an 'aquarium experience' as Romy called it, as the coral reef in this region was exceptional and like swimming in open aquarium. 
Now being the 21st century and all, the digital age, practically everybody has a GoPro and our dear American friend Kevin was no exception. 
Rash guard on, camera in hand, attached to what we now know is a flimsy excuse for a GoPro wrist strap 😂, Kevin jumped into the water ready to film his incredible snorkelling experience...

It wasn't until I saw him clinging to the side of boat with an empty GoPro wrist strap, shouting "Oh no, oh shit, OH NOO, NO NO NO" that I realised, the GoPro was now sleeping with the fishes.
At that point whoever was still left on the boat and in the water began frantically searching for the point where it fell.
Masks on, hopefully diving down to see how deep it really was, Romy estimated it was about 14 meters and as the only 2 people with Fins were already too far away to help, we almost gave up hope. Dear Romy used to be a diver back in the day but his poor old head could not equalise and he said it was just too far for him to try.
Once Benoit and Khadija had returned with their fins, anyone who could try gave it a go. But still the GoPro remained, a tiny spec lingering at the bottom of the ocean 

It wasn't until someone shouted 'He's gone for it!' that we all realised Angelo had sacked off the fins and leapt into the water.

We all waited with baited breath as Angelo dove down to the depths in a desperate bid to retrieve the GoPro. No fins, no tank, just 14 meters and Filipino power to aid him.
The second he began to propel himself to the surface and some of our fellow explorers raised a thumbs up, we knew. 
You have never heard so many people in your life so happy to see a piece of digital hardware emerge from the ocean. It was like a merman, triumphantly bursting through the waters, trident in hand!
We screamed, we clapped, we hugged each other. Unbelievable.
From that point onwards Angelo was hailed as a superhero amongst men. He could sing, he could dance, he could limbo for his life and now he was the GoPro Saviour and Kevin's new BFF.
This is how our team name came about and a key feature of a song we all performed for the crew at our final stop in Coron.
Probably the most hilariously cheesy performance Tao will ever hear in their expedition history! 

You snooze you lose! Volley ball champs  

As I'm writing all of this and I think back to all the incredible moments I have shared with these people, I'm not going to lie, I'm tearing up a little.
Every second was perfect and of course it had to end so I'm not sad that it's over, I'm just blissfully and incredibly fulfilled that it happened.

So if you are ever in The Philippines or are considering that once in a lifetime trip, then the one thing you must do is an experience with Tao Philippines. Just ask for Romy and his crew! 😉



Tao offers so much more than just a trip around the Palawan islands and my second post will go into more detail about how you can help the filipino communities just by experiencing a Tao expedition.
💋
Sunday, 26 February 2017

THE TRUTH ABOUT SOLO TRAVEL | TAKING THE LEAP

THE TRUTH ABOUT SOLO TRAVEL | TAKING THE LEAP
Sunday, 26 February 2017
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I started writing this post well over a month ago and had so many good intentions to get it up after my first couple of weeks of travelling.
I've been away now for almost 7 weeks now and here I am, still sat here, hovering over the keyboard desperately trying to finish what I have to say.

I guess if you're reading this right now though, then I managed to hit Publish.
Here goes...

I have always been a fiercely independent person. 
In the words of Destiny's Child, 'All the women who are independent, throw your hands up at me' 🙋
Being by myself and with myself has never really bothered me; I enjoy my own company.

So when I decided that I needed to get out of my small town bubble and go on an extended trip travelling the world, in particular South East Asia, the thought of going it alone really didn't faze me.
Everyone kept asking me how I felt about travelling alone and wouldn't I be scared about braving the big wide world all by myself?!
But to be honest, I didn't really think about it. The thought of being 'alone' in a foreign country hadn't properly crossed my mind.
I almost kept forgetting about that ONE tiny, slightly crucial detail! 😂
All I could think about was the incredible adventure that lay before me and the endless possibilities for meeting new people and seeing awe inspiring new places.
Not to mention, the freedom.
The 9-5 corporate grind and mundane routine was slowly starting to kill my spirit. I needed to get out.


PROJECT 'GET A LIFE' 

I began squirrelling my money away back in March last year and eventually made the dream a reality several months later when I booked my one way flight to Bangkok.
Shit was about to get REAL.

After reading endless travel blogs and watching countless youtube videos on solo travel, I decided it would be better to dive straight in and book a hostel for my first few nights in Bangkok.
I can talk to anyone and find it easy to make friends so being thrown into a hostel with a bunch of strangers didn't seem so scary to me.

Now in the months leading up to my departure from London Gatwick I was fresh faced, preparing for every eventuality and planning every little detail ready to take on the world!
Except for you know, the essentials... like visas and travel insuarance. 😒
(Another story for another time)
But after knowing what I know now, after only 3 weeks of backpacking, (well now it's 7 considering it's taken me an age to finish this post!)
 I honestly don't think you can mentally prepare yourself for what it's going to feel like travelling solo...

My first couple of days in Bangkok were fine, I had managed to successfully get myself half way across the world and into my first hostel.
Not that I'm not a capable adult or anything! 😂 But this was my first long term travelling trip, alone.
Everything about this was alien to me.

After getting some much needed sleep and consuming as much free breakfast as I could stuff down my face, I checked out the map to see what was around me and set out a plan to explore the city.
I ended up spending my first proper day wandering around the massive MBK shopping mall as it was the closest thing to me and well, air con.
Sweet sweet, glorious air con. If you know Bangkok, then you know!
But after my second night in the very nice but very quiet, Bed One Block Hostel, I could feel this small niggling voice at the back of mind beginning to emerge.

'You are alone and you have no one'

I hadn't had a proper conversation with someone, who wasn't a thai employee, for over 48 hours and I was trying really hard not to let it bother me.
I mean, I was in Thailand for god's sake at the beginning of my epic world adventure! There would be plenty of other opportunities to meet people, I just had to look for them.
So I got on to Hostelworld and started heavily searching for sociable hostels in Bangkok.
That's when I found Back Home Backpackers.
Quite possibly one of the best places to have come in to my life on this trip so far.


On my second proper day I packed up and set about trekking across Bangkok to my next hostel and actually ended up meeting some lovely Argentinian girls whilst waiting for my taxi.
It instantly put me at ease and felt so great to finally have some conversation with some fellow travellers.

When I eventually made it 'Back Home', I immediately fell in love with hostel's laid back atmosphere and hippy/boho interior.
Everyone was hanging around in the main entrance common area, chilling out and escaping the Bangkok midday heat.

Later that evening, after foolishly wandering around the city with no suncream on and a severe lack of hydration, I traipsed back up to my dorm feeling miserable.
But it wasn't long before I got chatting to a girl who said I should come downstairs and join in the party with everyone.
So after downing a giant bottle of water, I squeezed onto one of the benches outside with all the other backpackers and subsequently had a night I will never forget.
Chatting, laughing, playing drinking games and ending up on the infamous Khaosan Road to finish off the night.
 
However the second I got back into that bed and lay down, an emotional wreckage hit me like a tonne of bricks.
This time the voice was screaming at me,

'YOU ARE ALONE AND YOU HAVE NO ONE!'

 I started to message my boyfriend saying how I didn't think I could do this and that it was all too much, I wanted to go home.
But something stopped me from hitting send and instead I cried myself to sleep.

When you're thrown into a potentially alienating and high stress situation, that's when your fight or flight kicks in. (Or sometimes freeze!)
You force yourself to make difficult decisions because you have to, to survive.
The pressure of doing something that you really don't want to do can't be ignored because a) you're out of your comfort zone b) sometimes you just can't procrastinate about the real life shit and c) there is nobody else around who can ultimately make these decisions for you.
YOU need to take control of your own life.


RETROSPECT

When I think back to that night now and even in that next morning, I knew that it was just a build up of all the anxieties and emotions that I hadn't really allowed myself to feel before coming on this trip.
(Plus a lack of food, water and sleep can turn anyone into an emotional wreck!)

Before I left I pushed all of those worries deep deep down because a part of me felt that it wasn't ok to get upset over leaving home to go on a world adventure.
You're going off to travel round the WORLD! Why the hell do you need to get upset over leaving behind your home, family, friends, everything safe and comfortable that you've ever known?!

Right there, that's why.

Travelling solo is taking a leap, throwing yourself out there into anything other than what you know and understand is scary.
You also don't have another friend or companion to rely on for conversation and safety when things get a little tough.
It's just Me, Myself and I.
But taking yourself on a solo trip can also be the most liberating and truly fulfilling experience of your existence. If you let it.
I know now that its ok to cry about these things whilst travelling, to let all those emotions in and every doubt you've ever had about making this life change.
Because sometimes you need to put yourself through some hell to discover just how strong you really are.
To realise that you can take on anything that life throws at you and learn some things about yourself that will ultimately mould you into a better person and allow you to experience something truly phenomenal.

GODDAMMIT you put yourself on a plane to go half way across the world for several months, to a country that is not your homeland, All. By. Yourself.
YOU GOT THIS!! 💪



IN ALL SERIOUSNESS

There will be days when you don't know where you're going, whether you have enough money, where you're going to sleep that night or how you're going to get from A to B.
But damn is it a learning curve and whether you are a confident person or not you will force yourself to talk to other travellers and make friends because as a human being you crave company and social interaction.
Just remember that every one of those travellers are in the same boat as you, a foreigner, in unfamiliar territory and you will all naturally want to stick together and open up to each other.
Being alone in a foreign land will force you to do things you never thought you could do before and you will surprise yourself and you will thrive.

So what is the 'truth' about solo travel?
It is scary, it is nerve wracking and it's full of unanswered questions that only you can find the answers to once you are in that situation.
But it is also one of the most rewarding and freeing experiences that you could ever give to yourself.
Get out of your comfort zone. Get a life lesson. Get a tan. Get a new family of friends for life from all corners of the globe. Get to know another culture. Get an experience you will never forget or regret.
And most importantly of all, Get on that plane.

You could stand safely, a few meters away from that mile high precipice for the rest of your life, never truly knowing if there was something so much greater or worse in the distance.
Or you could run, take the leap and more than likely fly higher than you ever thought imaginable.

Worst case scenario, you hit the ground.
 But every single time you push yourself back up, you are stronger, better for the fall and rising high above anyone that ever doubted your journey.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. 
So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain

💋
Thursday, 8 December 2016

THE CLOTHES SHOW 2016 PART III | GOODY BAG HAUL

THE CLOTHES SHOW 2016 PART III | GOODY BAG HAUL
Thursday, 8 December 2016
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Let's face it this is probably the post you've been waiting for! Part III of my Clothes Show diary is a peek into my goody bags!

If you haven't already then catch up on ⟶Part I⟵ & ⟶Part II


This year I got lucky and grabbed a Platinum ticket for the same price as a standard ticket.
The perks being a special Clothes Show goody bag and a great seat in the Alcatel theatre for the fashion show.

The Clothes Show bag this year was a little hit and miss though, based on my expectations.
I think I was hoping for something like perfume, a watch, new ghds, a car... you know like the goody bags the celebs get at awards shows?! 😂

The 2016 bag was stocked with a fair few laundry detergent samples, toothpaste and muscle ache heat pads from Clothes Show sponsors, which I subsequently snubbed.
However most of these genuinely useful items will probably come in handy soon and I'll thank my lucky stars I got them!



One of my favourite surprises was the limited edition Barry M nail polish and Popband in association with The Clothes Show.
Barry M are one of my go to brands for nail polish so this gorgeous camel/nude shade was a welcome treat!
Especially as nude goes well with virtually everything, you just can't go wrong.
Guys, you did good.

POPBAND

Now I actually first discovered Popband 3 years ago at the last Clothes Show event I went to!
One of their limited edition hair ties was in my goody bag and I wore it to death, so much so that all of the writing on it has practically faded away.
I've since built up quite a collection of patterned and colourfully wonderful Popbands!
They really are the bees knees!!

Does exactly what it says on the tin - "kind on your hair and cute on your wrist!"
Kink free up dos all round! 😄


BETTY.ME

Also included in the show goody bag was a betty.me sample subscription box.
betty.me is a monthly sub box full of all the essentials any gal will want/need during her period!
It's like the ultimate little treat box for when it's that time of the month!

I think it's such a cute idea, especially for those times when you can't be bothered to leave the house for that much needed chocolate hit or an emergency stock up on pads!

WHAT I GOT IN THE BOX:
  • bandzee Hair Ties (a new type of Popband?!)
  • Teapigs Chocolate Flake Tea
  • amie Morning Clear Purifying Facial Wash
  • Vichy Idélia Skin Sleep - a recovery night gel-balm so excited to try this!
  • Newtons Labs T-Zone Skincare Spot Zapping Gel
  • Cocoba Salted Butter Caramel Truffle - Soooo much yum
  • Montâgne Jeunesse Cucumber Peel-Off Face Mask - My fave type of mask 😈
  • betty.me period pads 



MODELS OWN

The deal with the Models Own goody bag was to Pick any 4 items for £10 and receive some extra 'free' delights in with your chosen stash.
This unfortunately proved rather difficult for me as I have about 30 Models Own nail polishes so trying to choose colours I didn't already have was hard!

In the end I went for:
 A limited edition glitter top coat made specifically for The Clothes Show, a nice little memento! - SHOW STOPPER 2
A new chrome colour from their mermaidalicious holochrome collection - CHAMELEON
A pastel, subtle neon coral from their polish for tans selection, as I LOVE how tanned these shades actually make you look 😂 . - BEACH BAG
Last but not least, a Gold Glitter polish from their HyperGel collection - SHEER SPARKLE


IN THE GOODY BAG: 

Artstix gold nail beads - I have a few of these by Ciaté London and they always look awesome for an accent nail
Mini Nail polish in Pastel Pink
Mini Nail HyperGel polish in Red Lustre
Artstix nail art pen in black - Perfect timing as my other Models Own pen had dried out!
Myshadow Loose Eyeshadow Powder in 20. Dark Knight - Excited to try this
4 sided nail buffer - These always come in super handy when I'm doing my acrylics!
Festival Face & Body Paint in Silver - an excuse to glitter me up!



SPECTRUM COLLECTIONS

Already have so much love for this brand and their incredibly vibrant make up brushes so I was giddy with gleeeee when I saw that they had a concession at The Clothes Show this year!

So I've had my eye on their 'sushi roll' brush case for a WHILE! Every time I see it on Instagram with it's beautifully iridescent shine, I die a little inside.
Lo and behold it was on sale for £15 at their stand, instead of the usual £24.99. Of course I snatched it up immediately!
Just look how pretty 😍

There were also some incredible deals on their brush sets but I was being VERY sensible as I'm going travelling soon so I thought there was no point getting new brushes 😂
It was very hard to walk away. TRUST!


BARRY M

This goody bag was crazy for the money! £10 and 12 products that were worth over £60.
😱
You didn't get to choose what was in the bag so it was a random mixture, kind of like a lucky dip!
I do already have a lot of Barry M nail polishes so unfortunately I did end up with 2 duplicates but hey now I have some extra Christmas presents for someone 🙈

IN THE BAG:


Loud Mouth Extreme Lip Colour in Diva - Super pigmented lip paint with a fruity smell!
Matte Me Up Lip Crayon in Shade 1 coral/peach - Soft creamy lip crayon, very subtle matte
Cor Balmy Lip Balm in Trouble & Strife - Tinted red lip balm with buttery moisturising core
Nail Art Pen in White - A push down felt tip pen-esque nib perfect to get artsy with!
Matte Lip Paint in 153. Pink Ribbon - Similar consistency to the lip crayon a soft subtle matte
Get Up & Glow - Bronzer, Blusher & Highlighter Palette
6 NAIL POLISHES
Limited Edition Lolly Gloss in Pink Candy
Aquarium Collection in Atlantis (duplicate no. 1!)
Silk Collection in Forest 
Aquarium Collection in Mediterranean (duplicate no. 2!)
Gelly Hi-Shine in Coconut
Glitter Paint in Catwalk Queen









Soooo many goodies!
Ok so I didn't actually buy any clothes at The Clothes Show 😂  but the beauty delights are just so good that I couldn't resist them!

I hope you've enjoyed my run down of experience at The Clothes Show 2016!
💋
Tuesday, 6 December 2016

THE CLOTHES SHOW 2016 PART II | BRANDS & THE LIVE FASHION SHOW

THE CLOTHES SHOW 2016 PART II | BRANDS & THE LIVE FASHION SHOW
Tuesday, 6 December 2016
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The Clothes Show experience continues with my second instalment! 
Taking you through the Brands that made their appearance this year and a visual diary of the Live Fashion Show in the Alcatel Theatre!

So if you haven't caught up already on Part I of my Clothes Show diary, then you still can HERE


I LIKE THE WAY YOU MOVE

Not only is The Clothes Show the ULTIMATE shopping experience day 
but also included in your ticket is a seat in the fashion theatre for a runway show of fashion, music and dance.
And boy do they DANCE!

There's always a celeb or two to be seen gracing the stage and this year we had the delightful Mark Wright hosting the show.
He also introduced the delicious and very shirtless model, Christian! Who came out to give one lucky guest a goody bag.
No matter how much I jumped up and down though the 'fan cam' did not choose me 😒
Maybe next time.
(Hint* there's a picture of the bodacious Christian further down this post)

I did hear it on the grapevine that The Clothes Show will be moving to Liverpool from next year and this was confirmed during the Live show portion of the day. 
Moving to an area that will be almost 3 times the size of the Birmingham NEC.
The skies the limit, however this is now even further away from where I live 🙈
Guess that's an excuse to spend a weekend up in Liverpool then!

There was a pretty damn good selection of brands this year, all decked out in their finest to drum up some sales!
Here is just a little taste of the consumer delights heaven...

BARRY M
FAKE BAKE
BETTY.ME
GOGUY
FIRE FITNESS
ZERO SKIN
BOMB COSMETICS
FORMULA 10.0.6
CANDY KITTENS
W7 COSMETICS
GYMSHARK
LAMBRINI
COCO WHITE
PRETTY LAVISH
STYLEGRAB
HELEN É COSMETICS
TU CLOTHING
VERA BLACK
CUTE NUTRITION
MOON GLOW
OLYMPUS PEN
SOUTH BEACH
SPECTRUM COLLECTIONS
MANIÈRE DE VOIR
WAH NAILS
MODELS OWN
JOUVÉ
MOON GLOW
IN THE STYLE
PAUL'S BOUTIQUE
OH MY LUXE
POPBAND LONDON
WAIST SHAPER UK
MYPROTEIN
OASIS
MARK HILL
NEON ROSE
FROCK THE HIGH STREET
DRESSED BY LAUREN
LA NUIT LONDON
ELEMIS
LEE STAFFORD

My absolute favourite stands by far this year were - 

SPECTRUM COLLECTIONS
MODELS OWN 
ELEMIS
BARRY M
MANIÈRE DE VOIR
MOON GLOW
GYMSHARK

Admittedly most of them are all beauty based but hey I live for makeup and cleansing products okaaay!

But why these brands!? I hear you ask.
Well, because I love it when a brand goes all out for The Clothes Show and really tries to make an impression with their concession.
For example the Models Own stand is always a sight to behold, with flashing lights, bright neon colours, HUGE signs as far as the eye can see!
It really is head and shoulders above the rest in terms of showmanship and aesthetics.


Similarly Spectrum Collections made a fabulous appearance this year with their all white marble, cotton candy infused pop up shop of dreams!
Every little detail was to die for, right down to the old fashioned cash register which was of course, pink!
Their stand was by far one of the busiest throughout the day and it was a struggle to even get a look in!
Luckily my sister and I waited until nearer the end of the day to have a serious indulge and shop around.

Some amazing bargains from the Spectrum babes at this event. 😉
So get ready for tomorrow's Part III of this instalment all about my haul!


ONLY disappointment was that Rimmel were nowhere to be seen this year!

Their goody bags are always unbelievable so I was pretty bummed that I couldn't snag one.





FASHION!

The live fashion shows are just incredible and you're always sure to catch an up and coming music act!
My sister attended The Clothes Show the year that The Saturdays played which subsequently gave them a boost for their career!
This year however they mixed things up a little and had a couple of music acts performing whilst some of the models were walking
In a similar vein to the Victoria's Secret shows!

The main headline acts this year were and Charlotte OC and Daecolm and I definitely think I've found myself a new artist to listen.
Charlotte was captivating, so eerily mysterious and her vocals were gorgeous.

Now one of my favourite things about the live shows is that the models don't just walk.
 They jump, they strut, they shimmy shake and dance their way down the runway and this year was no exception!

So without further ado, enjoy my visual montage of the show.








WELL HELLO CHRISTIAN!








And that's a wrap!
Make sure you stay tuned for Part III and a haul of all the goodies I got at The Clothes Show!

💋
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