sunderland

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Why I’ll Never Give Another Personal Interview

Why I’ll never give another personal interview again

Well, that might be overstating it but today, I’m resolute. I’ll never reveal such personal information about myself and my family again. Let me rewind a little Voyeurs and give you some perspective….

A few weeks back I gave a pretty personal interview to Alysha Stirling of student web publication, Fashion North.  We spent three hours chatting over coffee in my second home, the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Newcastle.  Alysha is a student reading Fashion Journalism at Sunderland University and was pleasant, friendly & told me how she had followed my career and held me in high regard.  So far so good.

Now I accept full responsibility for letting down my guard and sharing details about my family when you all know that’s something that I don’t do.  I’m fiercely protective of both Bo and Plankton.  I keep them where they want to be kept which is at home, watching Top Gear and there’s a very good reason for that, it’s to protect my disabled son.

I liked Alysha. I really did. She came armed with pages and pages of questions and we talked at length about a variety of subjects, my career, and how I gave up a senior management position within the NHS after discovering the extent of my son’s multiple disabilities and how this would go on to affect his education and ultimately our lives as a family unit.  I felt relaxed enough to talk with her about this subject and I take responsibility for making myself vulnerable.

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What I didn’t expect however, was the personal attack from a Senior Lecturer at Sunderland University.  Yes, it’s someone I’m familiar with, and yes, it’s someone who for reasons I’m not entirely sure of, seems to have a real problem with me, but this is business, not a playground.  Now I’ve been in this business for a little while now, this ain’t my first rodeo. I’m well aware of the bitchiness that goes with this role.  The blogging community can be tricky, people seem to believe that they’re fighting for work and that their peers are competition which must be eliminated.  That’s just not true; we’re all out there working as hard as each other.  We all have a different audience, reach and serve a different demographic and on paper we should all be able to adapt and get on, which a lot of us do.  Business is about compromise, not fighting to get your own way or force your opinions on to others.

Anyway, I digress.  The Fashion North piece was published and shared as with anything else, and it discussed my role within the fashion industry as a single, self made entity.  There were specific highlights picked out by Alysha from our three hour conversation and compacted into a short 1400 word article, obviously there was some generalising, I guess to fit it into the paramenters allowed.  Within 48 short hours, all traces of the article were removed and I had vanished from the website as quickly as I had arrived and was replaced with an article on another Blogger.

I contacted Alysha - whom I discovered had ‘unfriended’ me on FaceBook - Fashion North, and the University Fashion Programme Leader in that order, to try to find out what had happened, and hit a stonewall.  Completely ignored and unfollowed by of them until I eventually had a cold email from the Programme Leader to simply say that it couldn’t be discussed.  Ouch.

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After tweeting about my disappointment (I tried not to, I really did), I took a call from someone.  Let’s call them W. Blower.   W. Blower clued me up on what had actually happened behind the scenes, saying it was unfair for me to be treated like this without being given the opportunity to have a say on it.  Kudos dude, you’re absolutely right.

What’s shocked me about this most, was not just the absolute bullshit crap stories made up about me,  but the fact that people are stupid enough to be taken in by his horseshit without making a judgement for themselves based on things that they already know.

I felt it necessary to write this post because I was prevented from having a voice.  I’ve not been given the opportunity to exercise my right to an argument after being so spitefully shut down by an individual with an acute dislike for me.  I’ll be honest Voyeurs, I would have expected more professionalism from a large educational institution, the unfriending, the stonewalling, it all smacks of sixth grade.  In what other aspect of life are you shut down for requesting an answer?  None Voyeurs, the University didn’t believe that I deserved, or had the right to an answer.  That’s one of the awesome things about blogging; you have a voice, and a platform.

Sidebar: I’m fine with people not liking me, but when people have convinced themselves that you’re a monster based on their own destructive lies about you, that’s not ok.  Never put up with hate, or people who bully based on hate; it’s definitely not ok.

That Voyeurs, is why I’ll never give a personal interview again.  Except to you guys, right here, in my online home, because you’re all awesome.

Pixie xo

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Fashion Voyeur Meets Fashion North

Well Voyeurs, today I was interviewed by a very lovely lady from student powerhouse, Fashion North for an actual feature.    if you’ve never heard of it, then get familiar.

Fashion North is a one stop shop; a fast paced hub dedicated to all things fashion and beauty and these girls have their fingers on the pulse.  The entire staff is made up of Fashion Journalism students at Sunderland University, students who give their time to researching the most up to date fashion and beauty news from the North East and around the globe and posting it to the website.

If there was ever an awesome advert for a Fashion Journalism course, then Fashion North is it.

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I was asked if I’d be willing to be interviewed for a feature on Fashion North by Deputy Editor Alysha Stirling and being an advocate for both fashion and the North East, I agreed without hesitation, because I’m nice like that.

I met with Alysha over peppermint tea and we talked fashion, beauty, politics and women in sport and it was like chatting with an old friend; an old friend with better winged eyeliner then me.  Me with last night’s hair and her with a gorgeous fluffy coat….

Wearing the remnants of a silver star transfer on my cheek from the night before and my gym kit I asked her “Why me?” and when she replied with “I just think that you’re really cool”  I knew we were going to hit it off.  In fact, she might not know this yet but I’ve actually decided we’re friends now.

She asked about my infamous Miami wedding - it’s my wedding anniversary tomorrow - and I paused as I had a vague memory of jumping into a pool in my wedding dress.  Is that rock and roll I ask myself?  Nah, just totes stupid I summise so I don’t tell her that particular gem.

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So Voyeurs, be sure to check out Fashion North, if you’re an avid reader of fashion social websites then add it to your reading list, you might just be surprised by just how awesome this crop of fashion students are.  I’ll update you with when the piece goes live (like twenty times each day for that day and probably the following fortnight) but it’s likely to be the beginning of December and it’s a pretty personal piece about me so you’ll discover some of my hidden secrets too!

Finally, I’d like to end by requesting a round of applause from all of you to celebrate the fact that I’m almost certain I didn’t say anything toooooooo controversial, although that remains to be seen…..

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).
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How To Go Blonder with Signature Balayage at Frances Marshall

When I was invited into Sunderland‘s Most Stylish Salon - it’s a thing - you just have to take a look at their Instagram to know that they’re streets ahead of the competition, and they’re just getting started….

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Frances Marshall is the brainchild of Amelia and Marshall Hall, the brother and sister duo used their middle names to create a brand that would incorporate both of their personalities, but also be unique and fresh.  The result?  Frances Marshall was born.  They’re not new kids on the block either, the twosome have been primping and perfecting locks for as long as they can remember with Amelia having been selected to work backstage at London Fashion Week.

Located in West Sunniside, an area of Sunderland which has undergone extensive redevelopment, the salon can be found in an impressive listed building.  From the outside it’s grand and imposing, on the inside, slick, urban and modern - the perfect juxtaposition of trends which matches the ethos of Frances Marshall entirely.

“We wanted to put our own stamp on things. We wanted to introduce things that had a modern twist and were perhaps a little bit quirkier.” - Amelia Hall

The first thing you notice when you walk through the huge glass doors, is The Penny Wall. It’s exactly as it sounds, a wall, covered in individual pennies, all painstakingly placed by hand and to awesome effect - it’s become the unofficial Selfie Zone for happy clients.  The salon is fresh and vibrant and full of smiling faces and although it’s not something I’ve ever noticed anywhere else, it’s very apparent that staff and clients are happy to be here.  The colour scheme is neutral and complimented with metallic touches - its trendy, but timeless.  The salon has very clear zones - the waiting area, the retail area, the basins etc. everything looks easy, effortless and very well planned.

I’m greeted by an uber smiley Amelia and introduced to my Stylist, Ian, who takes me through the consultation process and what we’ll be doing to my hair.  You all know my hair by now, messy, shaggy, long grown out roots, pretty grungy but now that I’m starting to get the odd silver hair, I thought it was about time to cover up the root regrowth.  I tell Ian I like my hair to be pale blonde and very ashy, and he prescribes Frances Marshall’s now Insta-famous Signature Balayage with Olaplex, with skinny highlights across the parting area.  As far as consultations go, this one was a dream, Ian stretched, flexed and even played a little bit with my hair to get a feel for what he was working with and told me that by using Olaplaex, the integrity of the hair is actually preserved.  The lifting process is slowed down so you’re in the chair for longer, but the lift is controlled and where hair is already damaged (like mine), Olaplex is a no-brainer.

INTERESTING FACT ALERT: Olaplex is Kim Kardashian’s go-to when she wants to switch up her hair colour.  When she famously unveiled THAT Draco Malfoy-esque blonde bob at Balmain during the FW15 season in Paris, yep, you guessed it, Olaplex took her from that super dark brown to blonde in one easy step.

Ok, back to the story….

Ian fetches me a cafettiere of freshly ground coffee and biscuits on a tray and mixes up the colour, getting to work straight away.  Interestingly, he tells me what he’s doing as he’s doing it, something which I find really puts me at ease.  he talks passionately about the salon and his time here and tells me that colouring is his absolute favourite thing to do.  He says that he loves creating bespoke colours for clients as it can help to enhance features just as well as makeup can.

In no time at all, I’m cooking, waiting for my bespoke shades to appear, Ian explains that the next step is to wash off the colour at the basin and apply the Olaplex 2, which helps to rebuild the bonds from within the hair shaft.  I’m taken to the basin (very comfy) and we go through the process of removing the colour, applying the Olaplaex 2, and then Ian selects a toner which is also applied at the basin.  He’s a conscientious Stylist, he brings me my phone and a drink of water without being asked and says “In case you need it” with a cheeky wink.  I like this guy.  A lot.

I’m then treated to the most awesome head massage I’ve ever had, (seriously, if I didn’t make any sex noises then I deserve a medal), before being taken back over to the section.  Ian tells me that he’s going to blow-dry my hair straight because he’ll be straightening up the ends with clippers.  He tells me that by using Olaplaex and going for the least destructive method of lifting the colour, we haven’t quite reached the pale blonde stage and we’re on “pause” at Sandy Blonde, he’s confident with around two more sessions, we should be where we’re aiming for.

Bleaching hair is hard work and it can be disastrous, trust me, I know!  It’s far better to preserve the hair as much as possible and work in stages, than it is to go for full lift and risk coming home with your hair in a bag (I’ve been there too).

Once it’s dry, Ian shows me the back in the mirror and shows me exactly where he’ll be cutting and why - it’s probably worth saying here that I had a minor freak out on the morning of this appointment and decided not to have my hair cut at all.  After spending time in the salon and with Ian, I’m pretty confident that he’s not going to scalp me and so I let him trim my hair, he does it the whole time with someone holding a mirror so I can see.  Brownie points right there just for that.

 

Once we’re done, Ian talks me through the colours in my hair, he tells me that the warmth that’s in it now is a necessary stage of lifting and that we’ll absolutely be able to achieve pale perfection, but keeping the condition of the hair is essential in order for it to reflect light and appear shiny - essentially, it’s the best of both worlds but requires a little commitment from both you and your hairdresser.  There’s definitely a lot less breakage than when I’ve had my hair coloured in the past, and it doesn’t feel thin and ‘wiry’ like it sometimes can after bleaching.  It’s certainly not just hype.

So, down to business, would I recommend Frances Marshall?  Yes.  Highly.  Its a fresh, young salon in the creative district of Sunderland and they’ve carved a niche for themselves with their quirky styles and modern takes on classic looks.  They’ve managed to achieve in a very short space of time what other salons strive for in a lifetime - a signature look that can be recognised from a single photograph (#SignatureBalayage).  Seriously Voyeurs, check out their Instagram, it’s a thing of beauty.

If you’re in the North East and looking for a salon to take your look to the next level, or just somewhere that you can feel confident that you’ll be listened to, Frances Marshall should be on your emergency contacts list.

As I get up to leave, Amelia asks where I’m off to next and I tell her I’m off to the gym to train. “Hang on a minute” she says, “I’ll put you some braids in”.  How cool is that?!

Cool, quirky and modern.  These kids are going places, don’t get left behind.

Pixie x

Frances Marshall is at 40 West Sunniside, Sunderland, SR1 1BU

To book an appointment call 0191 5654080

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Sunderland Fashion Weekend

If you live in the North East, you’re probably already familiar with Newcastle Fashion Week, but 2016 brings us a new stylish younger sister in the form of Sunderland Fashion Weekend.  Making its debut at The bridges Shopping Centre, this weekend saw the north East Fash Pack flock to the shopping centre for fashion advice, runway shows and offers galore.

As a preview to what was in store for shoppers, I was invited to sit on the Frow at the VIP runway show hosted by Heart Radio’s Kellyanne Scott and featuring clothes which were all available to purchase at stores in the Bridges Shopping Centre, Sunderland.  I wore my trusty Warehouse shorts, Chanel boots and an Ivy Park tank and was greeted on arrival with a glass of Prosecco before being shown to my seat.

The show opened with local singer / songwriter and super gorgeous model Afnan Prince showcasing relaxed casual menswear and started as it meant to go on; dynamic, energetic and fun - an absolute must for a shopping centre runway show.  Models from local agency Tyne Tees Models danced, role-played and strutted to fun, upbeat songs and the fashion was current and relevant with SS16 clothing and accessory offerings from Topshop, Select Fashion, Debenhams and many more.

One of the real unique things about Sunderland Fashion Weekend is that throughout the whole event, each runway show showcased different looks, from different stores.  So if you hit the mall at 10.30 and were still there at 14.30, you’d have the opportunity to see three different shows, all short, sharp and to the point and all definitely on trend for SS16.  Sunderland Fashion Weekend was about so much more than just runway shows though, it was about supporting local business and opening up to new audiences.  By showcasing the current trends on the runway, shoppers were shown how to put key looks together for SS16 by making them completely accessible and wearable for Sunderland shoppers, nothing outlandish, nothing crazy, just real fashion, for real people.

Fusionz Hair and Beauty were on hand (literally) to provide bespoke henna tattoo designs for customers, admittedly a business I’d have never known about if it wasn’t for Sunderland Fashion Weekend and definitely one I’d use again.  My partner in crime, Joni and I stayed behind afterwards chatting to the Artist and business owner and looking at some one her amazing creations.

There’s no doubt that Sunderland Fashion Weekend has been a real success for the city and as a debut, was put together spectacularly well with a focus on sustaining local business rather than fast fashion.

I can’t wait to see what 2017 brings for Sunderland, maybe a full fashion week?  After the success of Sunderland Fashion Weekend 2016 I certainly hope so….

Pixie x

Preview for The Bridges fashion show in Sunderland Picture: DAVID WOOD

Sunderland Fashion Weekend

With more regional Fashion events cropping up all over the country, it’s Tyne & Wear’s turn to get in on the action with the launch of Sunderland Fashion Weekend.  From April 21st to 24th, The Bridges Shopping Centre in Sunderland will host the city’s debut Fashion Weekend with four jam-packed days of shows featuring clothes and accessories from the centre’s leading retailers.

 

With a whole host of major players set to showcase their wares, including Debenhams, Miss Selfridge, New Look, TopShop and Primark, Sunderland Fashion Weekend looks set to turn the spotlight to affordable and accessible fashion in Tyne & Wear.

“We have a wide variety of retailers at the Bridges with clothes for both men and women and for all ages, The Fashion Weekend gives us a fantastic opportunity to showcase what we have to offer in what promises to be a number of fun and exciting shows.  We are delighted to see so many of our leading retailers getting behind the event and we look forward to welcoming lots of fashion conscious visitors.” Andy Bradley, Centre Director.

Runway shows will take place throughout the day at various times, ensuring that everyone can get a look at what The bridges, and Sunderland, has to offer the North East fashionistas.

In addition to regular runway shows in the shopping centre, a fashion show will also feature as part of the Retail and Style Awards being held at the Bridges on Saturday April 23, in an evening which includes a black tie dinner and performances by top musical acts Lawson, Izzy Bizu and the Lake Poets.  A VIP runway show will take place on the evening of Thursday April 21st  and Ill be on the FROW (natch) to bring you all the latest from Sunderland Fashion Weekend as it unfolds.

Like the sound of this, then head to The Bridges Shopping Centre in Sunderland city centre April 21st to 24th to grab a piece of the action and if you spot me, don’t be shy, come say “Hi!”

Keep it #FashionVoyeur for more updates on Sunderland Fashion Weekend as I get them…

Pixie x

 

 

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Style Awards 2016

Nominations for the 2016 Style Awards are now open and my dear Voyeurs, I’d love it if you’d spare two minutes of your fabulous lives to vote for me in the Most Stylish Blogger category (natch).

The Style Awards 2016 are hosted by Sun FM and The Bridges and there are a grand total of 16 categories spanning retail and style in the North East.

To nominate moi, all you have to do is visit the site at Sun FM and fill in a super short form, the criteria for the category is that the Blogger must be stylish (obvs.), on trend and engaging.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my “Most Badass Blogger” title and my recent initiation into the NE Twitterati, but “Most Stylish Blogger” would compliment them beautifully.  So get nominating Voyeurs, I’m counting on you!

Pixie x

All nominations must be made by Sunday 28th February 2016 by midnight. All entries received after this time won’t be included. The three or four nominees that receive the most nominations will be selected as the finalists. Finalists will be contacted via email on Friday 4th April 2016 .​ Multiple nominations or votes from the same email or IP address will be counted as one.

http://www.sun-fm.com/rsawards2016/moststylishblogger.php

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A-List Hair

Well #Voyeurs, I only went and blinking done it…… I made an appointment to get my hair cut, and I kept it!

As you know, I’ve had some hair troubles recently, you only have to read my recent hair related post to feel my pain.  Basically, too much bleach, heat and over processing left my tresses in a bad way and in desperate need of quite a drastic overhaul.  I enlisted the help of celebrity hairdresser Neville Ramsay and Milk_Shake Hair UK to do the deed and after being told by Neville to “man up” I knew I was in the right hands - I like a man who can manage by ridiculous compulsion to be over dramatic.

Neville assessed my hair and recommended we cut it into a very blunt, straight bob to take as much of the dead weight out of it as possible without going too short for my face shape.  Neville knows I love to experiment with colour and so we decided to take it to a slate blue / grey colour using Milk_Shake UK strengthening toners (don’t worry, there’s no bleach involved, they don’t mess with the structural integrity of your hair, they simply wash in and out).  Neville is a Milk_Shake UK Ambassador and their Whipped Cream Leave In conditioner comes highly recommended by Neville, hailed as the brands “Hero Product” Neville says he uses it on clients at every opportunity.  Part of the z-one concept group, milk_Shake is a young, dynamic Italian haircare company offering professional hair and beauty products worldwide to both salons, and people like you and I who just want to see our hair back in tip-top condition.  If you know me personally you’ll know that I work out a lot and that on it’s own takes it’s toll on my hair.

Ok, back to the story of my recent bravery……. We started by prepping the hair with shampoo, no conditioner, then mixed up equal parts toner and Whipped Cream conditioner before applying it to my hair at the basin, after five minutes, the excess was removed with a towel.  We agreed (me - reluctantly) that a bob would work for my face shape and lifestyle and would certainly be more modern and on trend than my previous grown out style.

I’ll be honest with you, the rest of my time in A List Salon was a bit of a blur, given that I’m a complete and utter drama queen when it comes to having my haircut, I remember blind panic, hyper ventilating and lots of whinging ( all from me of course), and then being shown the finished product…..

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I have to say that given the amateur dramatics and hullabaloo I created, I actually really like this style on me.  I’d convinced myself that short hair wasn’t for me and probably wouldn’t have tried it had I not damaged my hair so badly in the first place, It’s still long enough to tie back and I can still get my signature gym pigtails in, but the biggest difference is in the condition.  Neville sent me away with a Milk_Shake UK gift pack containing shampoo, conditioner and Whipped Cream Leave In Conditioner and told me to keep up the in salon treatments but absolutely no bleaching whatsoever, and no cutting until February next year!

So, who knows what’s inshore for me next February but with all this courage and bravery, I think I deserve some sort of medal, or at the very least a sticker……

Pixie x

Huge thanks to Neville Ramsay and Joni Voladares for looking after me at A-List Salons in Sunderland, thanks also to Milk_Shake Hair UK for providing me with products to maintain my new style and colour.

To make an appointment with Neville call the salon on 0191 510 9988

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Le SAPE Nocturne

You’ll know by now #Voyeurs that I’m partial to a speakeasy and happen to have visited some of the best ones around, however, I’ll let you in on a secret; a friend of mine runs THE best one in the entire world.  I’m talking full scale production with all the minor details taken care of, all you have to do is show up and enjoy…..

“Le SAPE - Where class is more important than swagger.”

Jason has always worked in show business and when you see him, you’ll realise that he was born for this and nothing else.  He cuts a dashing figure in smart, edgy attire - think shirt and waistcoat with a pocket watch for casual dress and you’ll be on the money.  He’s a charming American with a British sense of humour.

Having worked on the Vegas music scene pretty much forever, Jason has performed with some of the greats, The Four Seasons, Frankie Valli, The O’Jays and Matt Goss to name a few and now he’s bringing his signature style and American charm to the glorious North East and more specifically, a brand new venue, The Roker Hotel in Sunderland.

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Never one to bask in the limelight alone, Jason heads up ‘The Society of Ambiance-makers and Persons of Elegance’ (Le SAPE if you’re one of the cool kids), a cool collective made up of eight musicians from all over the North East who take infamous musical numbers from all genres and re-spin them with a little Le SAPE magic to create music you’ve never heard before, except you have…..

So what exactly is Le SAPE Nocturne?  in Jason’s words it’s “Equal parts speakeasy, nightclub, live music show, and soiree, stirred briskly and served with extravagant style!” and he’s not wrong.  The show is Vegas in a nutshell, it’s big, it’s bold and it’s brazen.  Think classic civilised speakeasy with a little cheekiness thrown in for good measure and you’re on the right page.

“When attending Le SAPE Nocturne one is expected to dress in his or her finest and most extravagant attire.”

The Roker Hotel venue marks a new chapter for Le SAPE Nocturne; the production has been resident at the Vermont Hotel for the past year and has been a very well guarded secret that only the coolest kids in the North East know but now that cool collective is expanding, the show is broadening it’s horizon and that means a new venue and a new audience.  The hotel itself has undergone a huge restoration programme over the past two years and the famous ballroom will house the show and its followers.  Interested……?

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The first performance at The Roker Hotel will take place on Friday October 16th in The Six Soldiers Suite and you’re going to want to be a apart of this, there’s no secret knock or handshake for this event, all you have to do is contact The Roker Hotel directly to buy tickets and at £30 per person for a night of dinner, dancing and entertainment, it’s sure to be a sell out.  Just one thing before you pick up the phone though, when you’re planning your outfit for this one, go big or go home, think jazz babies and flapper girls, this is one as much for the fashion as it is for the music and trust me - you won’t be disappointed with either….

Pixie x

PS if you manage to get tickets for this awesome event, post up your pictures on social media #LeSAPE and then gloat as you’ll be the envy of all your friends.