Friday, 15 December 2017

Happy Christmas Jumper Day with Save The Children

Christmas Jumper Day with Save The Children Yours Clothing The Alnwick Garden WhatLauraLoves

Happy Christmas Jumper Day to you all!

I love Christmas Jumper Day because it brings so much cheer and perks up what can be a very cold and wet December day.  Mostly, I love it because of the sentiment behind the day; raising money for Save The Children.

Christmas Jumper Day with Save The Children Yours Clothing The Alnwick Garden WhatLauraLoves

This year, my Christmas jumper is from Yours Clothing who have a fantastic range of plus size Christmas jumpers with many still in stock (check out this cute penguin design) if you'd like to pick one up to wear for drinks with friends over the festive season or for on Christmas Day itself.

I love the girly reindeer on mine; I mean check out those lashes, its perfect for me!

Christmas Jumper Day with Save The Children Yours Clothing The Alnwick Garden WhatLauraLoves

Whatever the design of your Christmas jumper, make sure you're donating to Save The Children if you can.  Helping children in poverty to have a healthier , safer start in life and to have the chance of an education is so important.

You can find out more about how they save children's lives and build better futures here.

Christmas Jumper Day with Save The Children Yours Clothing The Alnwick Garden WhatLauraLoves

Have you gone into work today wearing your Christmas Jumper or perhaps your little ones are off to nursery in theirs?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.

*Photographs by Mark Dawson taken at The Alnwick Garden

Monday, 11 December 2017

Top Girly Girl Christmas Gifts from River Island Kids

Top Girly Girl Christmas Gifts from River Island Kids

With each year that passes, more of my friends are having children and that leaves me with more worry each year with what to get them for Christmas.  I don't have any children of my own and if truth be told, I don't know a thing about kids but what I do know is girly girl fashion and accessories.

Kids clothing is far more stylish that it was when I was rocking my sailor girl dress circa 1992 and with stores like River Island on the highstreet and online, there's so many high quality choices available without breaking the bank.

I've been checking out the selection and have put together my edit of my top picks for girly girls this Christmas from River Island Kids.

River Island Kids Girls Rose Gold Scuba Mesh Runner Trainers

When I saw the Girls Rose Gold Scuba Mesh Runner Trainers, I knew that I had to include them.  They're so similar to mine that I featured in this post and would look awesome on a little girl.  Imagine having Balenciaga runner dupes as a kid, how lush!

River Island Kids Girls Grey Chenille Knit Hat and Mittens Set

Equally as gorgeous is the Girls Grey Chenille Knit Hat and Mittens Set. This is a two piece set aimed to fit girls from 5 to 12 years of age.  The pom pom hat and mittens are in a gorgeous grey coloured chunky chenille knit with a contrasting white faux fur pom pom detail on the top.

The mittens are fingerless which I think makes it easier to hold and open things, plus I find that if gloves are fingerless then you're less likely to take them off and therefore less likely to lose them!

River Island Kids Girls Blue Unicorn Snap On Watch

Unicorns have taken the world by storm in 2017 and they certainly seem to be everywhere this Christmas.  The Girls Blue Unicorn Snap On Watch would be perfect for a girly girl as its pretty, functional and can help them when they're learning how to tell the time too.

River Island Kids Girls Rose Gold Sequin Round Cross Body Bag

For the little girl who has lots of parties in her festive calendar then the Girls Rose Gold Sequin Round Cross Body Bag would be absolutely perfect.  Its super pretty, very sparkly and will look perfect with so many of her party dresses!

River Island Kids Girls pink and rose gold nap queen PJs
Finally, I honestly believe that you cannot go wrong with a set of PJs no matter who you're buying for this Christmas.  These pink and rose gold nap queen PJs are so gorgeous, I'm sure any little girl would be delighted to receive them!

So those are my top picks from River Island Girls.  Shop them all by clicking on the images below and don't forget to check out the rest of the range.  There's some really high quality, fashion design led pieces that don't cost the earth and I really think that they're a great place to start your Christmas shopping for the little fashionista in your life!


Which is your favourite piece from my top picks?  What will you be buying the little girl in your family this Christmas?

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette Review

Urban Decay Naked Heat Eyeshadow Palette Review

Urban Decay have released their brand new eyeshadow palette, Naked Heat and of all the Naked palettes they have released, this has to be my favourite.

It takes the Naked line in a completely new direction with all of the shades having the most stunning warm, amber hues, from warm browns and burnt oranges to rich siennas.  Even before swatching it, I was captivated and knew I'd love it.

This palette gives me what I so wanted the Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette to; wearable reds and burnt oranges.  While I do still enjoy using the ABH palette and it does have plenty of differences between it and the UD palette, especially because of the pink shades, I do find the Naked Heat palette to be so much more wearable and I can create far more looks with it with my current application skill set.

Urban Decay Naked Heat Eyeshadow Palette Review

Urban Decay Naked Heat Eyeshadow Palette Review by UK Beauty Blogger WhatLauraLoves

Naked Heat is very much a collection of eyeshadows that I'm sure anyone can wear and use effortlessly; I've found all of the shadows to be buttery soft, easy to blend and they all look fantastic with one another.  They don't crease on me and last all day long with the vibrancy of when they were first applied.

In creating this palette, Urban Decay were inspired by the hype around the cult-favourite neutrals that makeup addicts are loving right now; warm, burnt reds, coppers, siennas and butterscotch, as well as drawing inspiration from some their own popular shades like Bitter, a reddish-brown matte from the Vice4 palette and Extra Bitter, a burn orange matte from the Naked Ultimate Basics palette that I've been lusting after since it first hit the shelves.

Urban Decay Naked Heat Eyeshadow Palette Review

Urban Decay Naked Heat Eyeshadow Palette Review by UK Beauty Blogger WhatLauraLoves

Inside there are 12 completely new neutral shades that are perfect for creating any number of looks from a sultry daytime eye through to an intensely smokey night out look.  I've used this palette on countless occasions already and I cannot see the day when I'll no longer need it in my collection.

This palette really turns up the heat on summertime makeup and with shades like the smooth red-brown matte, the shimmering copper and the deep shifty bronze, it would be perfectly suited to the autumn and winter makeup trends too.  I used this palette LOADS when I was creating my Halloween and autumn fashion lookbook.

Urban Decay Naked Heat Eyeshadow Palette Review

The shades from left to right are as follows; Ounce (ivory shimmer), Chaser (light nude matte), Sauced (soft terracotta matte), Low Blow (brown matte), Lumbre (copper shimmer with a gold pearl shift), He Devil (burnt red matte), Dirty Talk (metallic burnt red), Scorched (metallic deep red with gold micro-shimmer), Cayenne (deep terra-cotta matte), En Fuego (burgundy matte), Ashes (deep reddish-brown matte) and Ember (deep metallic copper-burgundy).

Urban Decay Naked Heat Eyeshadow Palette Review

Whether you're blending the perfect sunset eye or smoking things up, these shadows were created with a formula that makes it so easy to transition the shades seamlessly.

Each one features the Urban Decay trademarked Pigment Infusion System; the top secret blend of ingredients that enables each shade to have the velvety texture, rich colour payoff, easy blendability and incredible staying power that have become synonymous with Urban Decay cosmetics.

Urban Decay Naked Heat Eyeshadow Palette Review by UK Beauty Blogger WhatLauraLoves

As well as turning up the heat with the eyeshadows, things are hotting up with Urban Decay's packaging design too; they really thought of everything when creating this palette.

It sits within a beautiful box, designed like a matchbox that slides open to reveal the gorgeous palette inside.

The colour scheme for the outer packaging and the case is clearly inspired by the deliciously warm shadows inside and I love the graphic with 12 burnt matches underneath where the palette would sit. However its the artwork on the case that really caught my eye as its designed to look as though you're peering through vertical blinds into a hot, steamy sunset.

Urban Decay Naked Heat Eyeshadow Palette Review

Urban Decay Naked Heat Eyeshadow Palette Review by UK Beauty Blogger WhatLauraLoves

The protective plastic case that the shadows are housed in is my favourite from UD to date because it is so easy to open yet secure enough that it'll not come open in your make up bag and its sturdy and robust for travel too which is always a top priority for me.

Also handy for travel are the full sized mirror in the lid, which is great for getting really up close to my eyes during application, and the double ended eyeshadow brush (a blending brush and a detailed crease brush).  Although I still feel the need for a MAC 217 fluffy blending brush when applying these shadows, I can use it alone with the brush thats included and I can't say that for any other palette I own.

Urban Decay Naked Heat Eyeshadow Palette Review

I'd highly recommend the Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette; its my favourite from them to date so whether you're buying for a friend or beauty addict family member this Christmas, or even treating yourself, add it to your basket.

The Naked Heat Palette is available direct from Urban Decay, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Feel Unique, John Lewis, Debenhams and Macy's.


Which Urban Decay Naked Palette is your fave?  What do you think of Naked Heat?

Saturday, 9 December 2017

The Lambton Worm Pantomime at The Customs House in South Shields Review

The Lambton Worm pantomime at The Customs House, South Shields, review

Whisht! Lads, haad yor gobs... an aa'll tell ye boot the new panto at The Customs House!

The Little Panto with the Big Heart is back and this year, writers Ray Spencer and Graham Thompson have brought The Lambton Worm to the South Shields stage.

Since the closing night of Jack and The Beanstalk in January, I've been intrigued all year as to how The Lambton Worm would play out as it isn't a traditional panto.  When I first heard that The Customs House would be celebrating 150 years of the old folk song with this new pantomime, I was unsure as to how it would translate into a theatrical performance and I was excited to see the result.

David John Hopper in The Lambton Worm Pantomime at The Customs House South Shields

If you're from the North East, then I'm sure you'll have heard the story of The Lambton Worm.  I remember learning about the traditional folktale back in junior school and even recited the tale as the head of the worm in a school assembly; I'm yet to discover if my casting was due to my ability to speak confidently in public or my resemblance to the worm itself, hopefully the former.

Thankfully, The Customs House cast do a far better job at telling the tale than I ever could and they blend the traditional folktale with elements of a classic pantomime exceptionally well.

Lewis Jobson in The Customs House Pantomime South Shields

This retelling starts with a reflection back to the childhood days of friends John Lambton and Arbuthnot, their dog Puddles and the Penshaw twins, Penelope and Susie the Soothsayer who all love playing together around Lambton Castle and fishing in the River Wear.  One day, John catches an awful looking fish and while showing it to the twins, it falls down the well and puts an end to their friendship.  However as the years pass and the children grow into adults, who still hold their grudges, the worm grows too, becoming the ginormous Lambton Worm.

Penelope, played by the beautiful Georgia Nicholson, becomes the cunning Poison Pen and is hell bent on revenge using the worm.  While the kids lives  may have taken them off in different directions, the impending danger will see them all brought all back together.

Steven Lee Hamilton in The Lambton Worm at The Customs House South Shields

Goodie, Susie the Soothsayer gives the power of speech to Puddles the dog, energetically played by Lewis Jobson, so that he can warn the Dame and Arbuthnot of what is to come.  The brave and bold John Lambton is summoned to a help fight the monstrous beast.  He returns accompanied by Princess Aneesa who he has been entertaining in foreign lands, much to the irritation of the Sultan, expertly played by encore favourite, Gareth Hunter who brings a towering air of superiority to the role.

But what happens next?  How does the story pan out?  Well, you'll have to go along to see it of course.  I'll not spoil all the fun for you but what I will say is that you're guaranteed to laugh with the unbeatably funny messy scene and the most tremendous super hero costumes this side of galaxy; I've seen things I cannot un-see after this pantomime and you really must go along to witness it for yourself!

Ray Spencer and David John Hopper in The Lambton Worm Pantomime at The Customs House

Quick witted and very cleverly written, this is the panto that has me literally crying with laughter year after year and 2017 has been no exception.  That's largely down to the roles of Dame Bella Ballcock and Arbuthnot played by Ray Spencer and David John Hopper respectively.

Ray Spencer has been entertaining audiences for years; he's absolutely hilarious, especially when Arbuthnot is the butt of his jokes, and so quick with his one liners and ad libs that the panto wouldn't be the same without him.  However this year, David John Hopper proved that The Customs House pantomime wouldn't be the same without him either.  I never thought there'd be another person to make me laugh like Spencer does, until I saw Arbuthnot in another pantomime back in summer.  Hopper has really developed the character and his comedy timing is impeccable; he is without a doubt, the next Ray Spencer.

Natasha Haws and Cal Halbert in The Customs House pantomime

I say it every year but there is more jokes in it for the adults than the kids but even funnier still is what is said outside of the script.  Its the ad libs and I can't believe that just happened moments that really make this pantomime even more special.  The ability to deviate off course from the structure of the script while not losing the story is a real skill and these guys have it down to a fine art.

The chemistry between the whole cast is really great to see, they're a close knit bunch so when things happen on stage that even they didn't anticipate, it makes the scene even funnier.

Natasha Haws and Georgia Nicholson in The Lambton Worm Pantomime at The Customs House South Shields

It was lovely to see Natasha Haws cast in a different kind of role this year, as Susie the Soothsayer, rather than as the princess as she has been in previous years.  The role of Susie really suits her both vocally and theatrically and I think that came across in how comfortable and natural she was on stage.  What I loved about her in this role was how her humour and sarcasm was able to subtly come across which gave her character more depth and provided a great contrast between her and the other comics in the show.

Being a 'goodie,' she contrasted so well with the 'baddie', Poison Pen.  Georgia Nicholson took to her role like a duck to water and really commanded the stage, with both the children and adults in the audience boo-ing with passion.

Cal Halbert as Lord Larry Lambton in The Customs House pantomime

Adding another layer of comedy value to the panto this year was the casting of Cal Halbert as Lord Larry Lambton.  You might remember him alongside Alfie Joey as impressionists, The Mimic Men, on Britains Got Talent.  I've seen him doing his fantastic live impressions before but in the panto he really impressed me with how he was able to blend them into his role of Lord Lambton so effortlessly, showing his strength as an actor.

Halbert appeared to be so comfortable on stage and very well rehearsed which came across in how well paced he was.  I've seen other impressionists in different pantomimes and sadly they've fallen short of the high standard that Halbert sets in The Lambton Worm.

Eleanor Chaganis in The Lambton Worm at The Customs House South Shields

The Customs House pantomime felt as though it had a change of dynamic this year with less of a focus on the prince and princess style roles like a lot of pantomimes do.  However the difference with The Lambton Worm is that all roles are strong and expertly cast, especially in the case of Eleanor Chaganis who impressively held her accent throughout the performance as Princess Aneesa, and Steven Lee Hamilton as the handsome Brave and Bold John Lambton.

Both with incredibly warm and rich voices, they gave a lively and animated performance with a captivating stage presence, proving that they are natural leads.

Steven Lee Hamilton in The Lambton Worm Pantomime at The Customs House South Shields

The Lambton Worm is a brave step away from traditional fairytales that are replayed year after year at theatres all over the country.  The Customs House has always been a panto written by the North East, for the North East but retelling the treasured story of The Lambton Worm cements that.

The story was brought to life further by couture theatrical costume, set and digital fabric designers, Fox and Shriek who have been working with The Customs House for years now.  The dynamic set design is colourfully vibrant, surreal and unlike any other panto set I've seen before.  A further unique touch came from the addition of The Lambton Worm song manuscript woven throughout the design.  Fox and Shriek truly bring the characters to life with their work with stunningly detailed costumes you wouldn't find in other theatres.

Gareth Hunter, Ray Spencer and David John Hopper in The Customs House Pantomime South Shields

The Lambton Worn is certainly a pantomime for all the family. With the entire performance firmly rooted in the North East, I felt really proud to be from here as I left the stalls smiling at the end of the night.

There's plenty of fabulous songs, sing-a-long and join in moments and all of the he's behind you's that you'd expect from a classic pantomime but with a twist that only The Customs House can give.

You wouldn't be alone in thinking that Christmas Day is my favourite day of the festive season but you'd be wrong; the day I go to see the The Customs House pantomime is the one I look forward to the most throughout the whole year.  No matter how tough my year has been, I go to see a show, laugh my socks off and leave feeling happier than ever.  If laughter is the best medicine, then its the best therapy you could ask for.

The Lambton Worm Pantomime 2017 at The Customs House in South Shields

I'm a big believer in not wasting your money, especially when it takes so long to earn it and panto is very much a family affair which can quickly add up.  So with that in mind, the only panto I can wholeheartedly recommend and guarantee you'll love this Christmas is The Lambton Worm at The Customs House.

Its the one pantomime that you can consistently rely on to deliver, show after show, year after year.  Their focus isn't on paying large sums of money to big names that don't quite deliver.  Instead, they focus on a strong cast with incredible vocal, comic and acting abilities, performing on a visually captivating set in costumes to rival those with the largest budgets.

The Customs House Pantomime Wishing On A Star Campaign

Rather than inflating ticket prices, they keep them reasonable, starting at just £9.99 and the great thing about The Customs House is that no matter where you're sitting, you'll always get a great view of the stage.  Bar drinks, snacks and merchandise are very reasonable too, compared to many other venues.

They've even launched their wishing on a star fundraising campaign to help more children and families visit The Customs House pantomime in the future.

Star-shaped baubles are available to purchase at the box office for only £1 for people to add their own wishes to and hang in The Green Room cafe, bar and bistro.  The proceeds will then go towards subsidising tickets for next years show, Beauty and The Beast, for people who would otherwise not be able to attend a panto performance.

David John Hopper as Arbuthnot in The Customs House Pantomime South Shields

The Customs House are celebrating 150 years of The Lambton Worm folk song right up until 6th January so there's plenty of chances for you to go to see it.

Tickets are available online here and in person or via phone at the box office on 0191 454 1234.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Plus Size Christmas Jumpers from Yours Clothing

Save The Children Christmas Jumper Day Plus Size Yours Clothing WhatLauraLoves

National Christmas Jumper Day is NEXT Friday and you don't want to miss out on all of the fun.  Its your chance to dress up in something festive, warm and fun while raising money for a very worthy cause.

Save The Children Christmas Jumper Day Plus Size Yours Clothing WhatLauraLoves

If you haven't heard about it before, Christmas Jumper Day is set for a Friday in December every year and aims to raise money for charitySave The Children who work to give children in poverty a healthy start in life and a chance to learn.

Adults and children alike are encouraged to make the world better with a sweater by donning their Christmas jumpers and donating a minimum of £1 for this worthy cause.

Save The Children Christmas Jumper Day Plus Size Yours Clothing WhatLauraLoves

Yours Clothing have a gorgeous range of plus size Christmas jumpers for you to choose from.

I picked out the cream reindeer jumper in the eyelash style fabric this year.  The cute bow, sparkly nose and sequin antlers are the perfect design features for me.  Its warm, cosy and I've got so much wear out of it over the festive season already.

I tend to pick up a different Christmas jumper every year so I like to get my wear out of it, otherwise its a bit of waste!  They're great for wearing on a stroll around the festive Alnwick Garden, for Christmas catch ups over lunch or drinks, while doing Christmas shopping or visiting a festive market, on Christmas Day itself and especially on National Christmas Jumper Day.

Save The Children Christmas Jumper Day Plus Size Yours Clothing WhatLauraLoves

Whether you love a garish design, something cute with a character on it, a tongue in cheek jokey one or a subtle fair isle print, grab yourself a Christmas Jumper and get raising money to help those who need it!

Will you be participating in Christmas Jumper Day this year?  What style of jumper will you be choosing?
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