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Christmas Night Market at the Grainger Market

Last night I headed over to the Grainger Market in Newcastle for a very special Christmas Night Market.  If you’re not from the North East then let me fill you in…

 

The Grainger Market is something of a local treasure in Newcastle, housed in a square block between Clayton Street and Grainger Street, it’s been a part of the city since 1835.  With over a hundred shops and stalls under the steel and glass roof, it really has to be visited to give life to the description.  It’s the home of a collective of vibrant, small local businesses and some awesome creatives who thrive on their solidarity as a unit and if you visit the market, you’ll see that in spades.

It’s quirky, it’s cute and ultimately it’s well planned out.  From the original aisles which made up the ‘flesh market’ which now houses local food produce, through to the Grainger Arcade which is the younger, funkier end.  Everything in the Grainger Market has a place that has been carefully considered and every Geordie you meet, will have a favourite unit housed within it.

This year, for the first time ever, the Grainger Market played host to a Christmas Night Market with the promise of mulled wine, local food samples and a VIP tour of that famous hidden air raid shelter.  To be honest Voyeurs, I heard “Air raid shelter” and was there like a shot.

When I arrived, the place was buzzing with life, a choir was singing with an audience of smiling faces and Christmas jumpers as lights projected out across the glass ceiling, transforming the Grainger Market into a Winter Wonderland.  I registered for my VIP wristband and map, and headed straight to Pet Lamb patisserie to stock up on festive treats made with a local touch.

One of my all time favourite stores is in the Grainger Market; Ellen’s Cosmetics is a secret staple for many a Beauty Blogger, known for sourcing hard to find items and products, and stocking brands that you just can’t find anywhere else.  It’s my go to for hair toners.  Yup, that’s right Voyeurs, when you see me with my many shades of pastel hair, this is my supplier and I picked up some new ones last night taking advantage of their 20% off offer exclusively for the Night Market. 🙌🏼

I also managed to get a tour of one of the two hidden air raid shelters under the Grainger Market, something I’ve wanted to do since I heard about it in The Chronicle earlier this year and it didn’t disappoint.  I headed into the dark tunnel with fellow Bloggers Ami Littlefair and we were given the lowdown on how it would have been used by the most adorably City Tour Guide.

From the surface, it’s pretty easy to, it’s the entrance despite being wide open & surrounded by metal barriers, it’s hidden in plain sight.  The steps lead down to a chamber which eerily splits off into two narrow corridors, it almost feels like picking your fate….

Filled with vintage props, the shelter has been preserved and still has original drawings on the walls.  Not my usual post but I’m actually super interested in this kind of thing so next on my list is The Victoria Tunnel tour.  I also kind of have to take some responsibility for Rachel bumping her head on a steel joist on the way out, soz dude.

After a good stroll around the market and it’s various entertainment spots, cue buskers, Newcastle Roller Girls Head Coach Kalamity James (and my awesome mate) whizzing around on quads, I headed home feeling slightly less grinchy and munching on a bag of sweet treats.

If you’re the kind of person who seeks to support local business over larger chain stores and you’re in the North East then give the Grainger Market a look.  There are quirky independent stores hidden within those old walls and some great places for food that still remain a bit of a Geordie secret.  Also, it’s looking super Christmassy in there right now, which is always a winner in my book!

Pixie xo

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Coast Makes A Welcome Return to the North East

Fashion retailer Coast made a return to the North East this weekend with its first stand alone store in over two years.  Nestled in the Platinum Mall of Intu Metrocentre, the brand new concept store held a Bloggers Breakfast on Saturday and I went along to check out the latest from the occasion wear masters….

If you know fashion then you’ll be familiar with Coast.  For a long time Coast was the refuge of middle-aged women looking for wedding guest attire, but not any more.  Gone are the dowdy shapes of yesteryear and in their place, fresh new styles in every vivid jewel tone imaginable.

With a focus on quality and individuality the latest collection incorporates hand painted flowers which have been spun onto flat weave silks, heavy crepe dresses with underskirts and showstopping metallic stripes.

The introduction of fashionista Olivia Palermo as a Seasonal Sartorial Stylist has helped propel Coast back to the forefront of high street fashion and as part of a £2 million expansion plan, the roll out of several concept stores across the U.K. has followed.

“Coast definitely brings something unique to the high street: they believe that dressing up is fun and I can certainly relate to this, teaming up with them for the Autumn Winter collection was a really enjoyable experience.” Olivia Palermo.

In the North East we’ve been starved of a Coast standalone store for some time now and as one of my favourite high street retailers, news of the concept store is music to my ears.

The brand new Coast concept store at Intu Metrocentre is a welcome addition to the Platinum Mall, with a simple set up and soft lighting, the non-fussy store allows the product to do the talking.  The launch is part of the brand’s strategy to launch stores in key cities across the UK with the aim of capturing a larger share of the occasionwear market and it’s been well planned; the results of research commissioned by Coast showed that 86% of occasionwear shoppers buy a new outfit to wear to an occasion, spending an average of £100 on a dress or separates.

“Despite facing ongoing financial pressures, our customers are determined to continue looking great for a special occasion. We’re proud to be responding to this demand with a unique store environment and service experience that turns shopping into an occasion in itself.”  Margaret McDonald, Managing Director of Coast.

The store has been planned with the shopper in mind, from the flow of the floor (clothing - accessories - shoes - Lifestyle - outerwear), to the awesome dressing rooms which take up almost as much floor space as the shopping area; it’s a shoppers paradise and the Sales Staff are the icing on the cake.  With hours ploughed into staff training to ensure that staff are familiar with the product, the Sales Team at Coast Intu Metrocentre are friendly, knowledgable and helpful - a big plus, and the downfall of so many other high street retailers.

We were treated to a phenomenal Carluccio’s breakfast of yoghurt topped with granola, French pastries and prosecco followed by a private viewing of the Fall / Winter collection which we cooed over and tried on in our droves.

I couldn’t leave without topping up my occasion wear collection with a beautiful full skirt from the Limited Edition collection, featuring gorgeous hand painted red and orange flowers with a double wrap front (nobody else on the high street does a full skirt like Coast, they’ve got that on lock). It’s beauts Voyeurs, but don’t take my word for it, feast your eyes on this….

Huge thanks to fellow North East Bloggers Tasha Steele et al for making a rainy Saturday morning so much fun.  And of course thank you to Coast for the invite, I’ve already got my eye on a pair of split side velvet trousers and matching jacket so that second visit is imminent…

Pixie xo

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The 2016 Tyne & Wear Lifestyle Awards

On Wednesday October 19th the Newcastle Discovery Museum will play host to the first ever Tyne and Wear Lifestyle Awards.  Organised by MADE TV and following on from the success of similar awards shows in Bristol and London, this time, it’s our turn.

Quayside, Millenium Bridge & The Sage

After an initial nomination period where the public and proud businesses from across the region put themselves up for the prestigious awards, a shortlist of the most popular was combined and members of the public were asked to vote for their favourites.  From Best Fashion Retailer to Best food & Drink Outlet, the Lifestyle Awards is really an essential list of everything that’s awesome about our region.

The awards ceremony itself promises to be like nothing the North East has been seen before, from the amazing venue with its beautiful room in the eaves, to the live TV broadcast, so you Voyeurs, will find out the results at the same time as the winners do, how cool is that?!

The best bit?  I’ll be there live from the Lifestyle Awards bringing you the red carpet arrivals, and I’m also presenting the award to the best Fashion Retailer (natch).

Flagship show The Lowdown will also be live from 7pm on Wednesday with Hazel, Mel and Peter so be sure to tune in to grab a front row seat.

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So, whether you’re from the North East or not, this is one TV event that should be marked in your calendar, consider it your guide to What’s Hot in the North East right now, after all, this has been voted for by you guys….

See you there!

Pixie xo

Tune In

The next time you can catch The Tyne and Wear Lifestyle Awards on Made In Tyne & Wear is:

  • 9:00 pm, Wednesday 19th October - Tyne and Wear Lifestyle Awards (Episode 1).
  • 10:00 pm, Friday 21st October - Tyne and Wear Lifestyle Awards (Episode 2).
  • 10:00 am, Saturday 22nd October - Tyne and Wear Lifestyle Awards (Episode 2).

Black Friday at Fenwick Newcastle

This Black Friday - November 27th for one day only, Fenwick Newcastle will launch some undeniably amazing but strictly limited discounted offers.  Some lines will be offered at 50% below retail but with very limited numbers and with highly coveted brands such as Mulberry and Ralph Lauren confirmed as taking part, I predict a scrum.

The store is set to open its doors at 8am and last year saw lines forming outside and in the streets well in advance of that, you’ve probably heard the now legendary tale of two girls fighting over a Mulberry handbag until the handles were torn off…

Examples of the offers include (but excitingly are not limited to):
6 x Mulberry Effie tote bags
reduced from £750 to £375

5 x Panasonic 55” 4K TVs
reduced from £1799 to £1099

5 x Michael Kors Runway Chronograph watch
reduced from £229 to £114.50

30 x Hugo Boss London men’s wallet
reduced from £99 to £42.50

5 x Belstaff women’s Sammy Miller Jacket
reduced from £495 to £247.50

6 x Paul Smith men’s military jacket
reduced from £295 to £147.50

20 x Ralph Lauren boy’s puffa jacket
reduced from £145 to £72.50

20 x Kenzo L’Eau Originalle 30ml
reduced from £39 to £18.50

So if you want a piece of the action, then sharpen your elbows, set your alarm clock and get your sweatbands ready, you’re gonna need them.

Pixie x

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#HMBALMAINATION: It’s here

The day every fashionista has been waiting for is finally here: #HMBALMAINATION.

November 5th marks the hugely anticipated arrival of the H&M x Balmain collection pioneered by Olivier Rousteing and his supermodel Balmain Army.  While you were sleeping, desperate fash fans were lining up overnight outside H&M on London’s Oxford Street as well as in Birmingham and Manchester to get their hands on a piece, any piece, from this highly covetable collection.

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The collection went on sale at 9am this morning and by 9.04, shoppers had already listed their purchases on eBay for dramatic markups of £1200 and more - very naughty.

H&M online did it’s usual trick of putting up its “TRY AGAIN” holding page infuriating online shoppers the world over, which, you know, only serves to make the elusive 45 piece collection more covetable. Bravo H&M.

So Voyeurs, did you manage to get your hands on anything from the fastest selling high street x designer collaboration in fashion history?  How do you feel about savvy shoppers marking up and selling on for profit on eBay?  Personally, it drives me insane, why stand in line for something you’re not interested in, that someone else could be buying and getting real pleasure from at the price that Rousteing intended?  But that’s just me…

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With Rousteing at the top of his game and leading the ultimate supermodel squad, the collaboration served to bring a taste of Balmain to the high street fashionista’s wardrobe, with signature military styling and embellishment, the collection embodies the spirit of Balmain without the price tag or the undeniable quality and craftsmanship of Rousteing’s mainline collection.

If you’re reading this and thinking about shopping the collection, you’re way too late dude, all that’s left is a feint whisper of gold spun thread and the distant click clack of stilettos as they saunter out of H&M with everything you ever wanted swinging from their wrist.  Better luck next time.

While everyone’s eyes are on the high street x designer hook up of the century, I’m going to go all out and place my bets on a H&M x Victoria Beckham collaboration for next year.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you….

Pixie x

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intu Eldon Square Retailer Awards 2015

The annual intu Eldon Square Retailer Awards aim to recognise the very best stores and staff across the Newcastle city centre shopping mall.  This year, YOU get to have a say in who the winners are.

There are eleven categories you can vote in; from Best Menswear / Womenswear Store, through to Best Food and Drink Retailer and the coveted Best Customer Service Award, it’s all online so it’s never been easier.  The best bit?  Just by taking the time to vote, you could win an intu Eldon Square gift card loaded with £250.

Sponsoring the Retailer Awards are Phoenix Taxis, a family run driver service based in Blyth who primarily cover Newcastle and surrounding areas.  Focusing on safety and transparency, Phoenix uses an advanced live app called DRIVR which allows users to book, track and pay for taxis and also see a photo of their driver, the cars registration plate and get a live ETA in advance of their car arriving.

Download the app DRIVR from the Apple / Google App Store and use the code CBDFMC5 to get a fantastic £15 credit for your first journey.

Another proud North East business supporting the event is Future Energy; a brand new energy supplier based right here in the North East.  Going live in August this year, Future Energy are pre-registering new customers now and pride themselves on transparent, easy to understand pricing and supporting local North East charities with a share of their profits.

Voting is open now and the Retailer Award winners will be announced in October 2015 and the results will be shared in the shopping mall itself and on social media, if you want to get involved then head over to Twitter or Instagram and share your experiences using #RetailerAwards.

Pixie x