Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Northern Goldsmiths Iconic Newcastle Store Relaunch


Standing proud on the corner of Blackett Street, where it joins with Pilgrim Street, you'll find one of the most photographed buildings in the city centre of Newcastle; Northern Goldsmiths.

This flagship jewellery store has become somewhat of a Newcastle landmark not only because it is a beautiful building but because of the golden lady, Venus and the stunning 24 carat gold leaf clock on the corner of the building.




You'll notice here that the clock has been newly painted, the gold is so bright that it literally glistens as the sun hits it.  However it isn't just the clock that has had a little revamp recently.  The whole store has been closed for the last couple of months while it has undergone an incredible £1 million transformation and I was lucky enough to be invited along to their VIP reopening as part of their #NorthernGoldsmithsBigDay celebrations.

Northern Goldsmiths first opened its doors in 1892 and walking through the doors some 123 years later felt just as grand as I'm sure it did back then.  The brass band playing outside made the experience that little more special.




This renovation hasn't just been a quick lick of paint to freshen the place up though, this is the most significant refurbishment the store has seen since it first opened all of those years ago.  They have taken the time to fully close the store to the public so that the creative vision of restoring the listed building to its grand decor of the 1890s could be brought to life.


Image credited to the Goldsmiths photographer
Stepping into the new look showroom with its fresh cream interior and gold accents was captivating and inviting in equal proportions.  Local celebrities, including North East Hero Robson Green, Camilla Priest from the TV show Model Behaviour and adopted Geordie Faye Tozer from Steps were there to celebrate along with a number of journalists, bloggers, customers and staff past and present.



The Lakes Distillery and Fentimans were there to keep us all watered, while the 21 Hospitality Group provided the most delicious canapés throughout the evening.




With a champagne flute between each of our hands, my blogger friends and I wandered around the store chatting to the staff who were happy to share anecdotes of the store's history while we admired the fixtures and sparkling jewels enclosed in the polished cabinets.


Image courtesy of Northern Goldsmiths
Many of the existing store fixtures are listed which means that they have been more complex to restore and required a higher level of craftsmanship to be able to sympathetically restore them in accordance with local authority planning and listed building consent.  This has ensured that the historic aspects of the store have been preserved and maintained for generations to come and enjoy.




Previous customers of Northern Goldsmiths will no doubt be pleased to hear that the beautiful Grandfather clock with the mercury pendulum as well as the original chandeliers and 'The Birdcage', an ornate product showcase cabinet, have all remained in the store and are looking even more spectacular than than they always have.



Northern Goldsmiths have also brought in some new additional fixtures to compliment the existing ones to further enhance the look and feel of the showroom.  While being very grand and steeped in tradition, the whole shop floor had a feeling of being at ease and comfortable.  It is definitely a store that you could feel relaxed to shop in, in a welcoming environment where you can take your time over deciding upon the purchase that you would like to make.  This is the best way to shop in my opinion as theres nothing worse than feeling rushed or as though you are in an uncomfortable, pretentious environment, especially if you're making a big purchase like your wedding rings or wedding jewellery.




As a certified member of the Responsible Jewellery Council, Goldsmiths have over 230 years of experience and tradition selling fine jewellery and diamonds from not only their own jewellery makers but also from some exclusive brands such as Vera Wang and Canadian Ice, so you know that you're in safe hands when shopping there.  They also operate the largest distribution network for Rolex, Omega and TAG Heuer.





Downstairs at the Newcastle store are the mini boutiques that Goldsmiths have worked alongside their luxury watch brands to create within their store so that their customers can continue to expect the first class choice and expert service that they expect and love from Northern Goldsmiths.  They have extended their existing Rolex Boutique and introduced a brand new Omega Boutique.

A Rolex has been on my wishlist for years now and a piece that I am working towards saving for and after seeing the boutique, I couldn't think of anywhere better than here to make my purchase when the time comes!


Upstairs on the first floor, there is a dedicated Goldsmiths Services area that deals with client repairs, including a specialist watch repairing section, as well as additional seating for customers and more consultation space.  This ensures that each customer gets the care and attention that they deserve.  It is also here that you'll find the stunning artwork that was inspired by the kissing clock.  I spent far too long admiring it in between taking selfies with my blogging friends- thanks for the photo North East Family Fun!



The enormous chandelier at the head of the stairs is undoubtedly my favourite fixture in the building, even beating the original tiles that were up a secret staircase.  Although I do feel sorry for whoever has to clean the chandelier; such an intricate piece would require so much special care and attention!


During the welcoming speeches at the event, we were told stories of times gone by, including how some couples would engaged underneath the clock outside and then race into the store to pick out their engagement ring.



Known locally as the kissing clock, it is as important to Geordies as the building is itself.  Before the days of WhatsApp and iPhones, courting couples would meet under the clock for date nights and so many people locally have romantic stories to tell connected to the store.



While I didn't get engaged in this way, it did make me think of Mr WLL who picked out my own engagement ring from Northern Goldsmiths.

That's the great thing about Northern Goldsmiths, aside from being diamond specialists, the staff are incredibly knowledgable.  They're able to help you to pick out the ring, or indeed another piece of jewellery, that is perfect for the person that you're going to be giving it to.  I couldn't love my engagement ring any more than I do.  I always wanted something that was super sparkly, timeless and understated so that I would love wearing it just as much in years and years to come as I do now.  That's exactly what I got and I wouldn't change it for the world.




Back downstairs, the party was in full swing with the brass band having moved inside and magician Chris Cross working his magic on the attendees.  This guy is definitely a one off and if you've ever met him at an event before then you'll completely understand where I'm coming from.



He's an incredible magician but he's also hilariously funny, he'll have you in stitches while amazing you with his magic tricks.  I've seen him at a couple of events before and to this day, I still haven't been able to work out how he does his tricks.  Its just a shame he couldn't magic a diamond ring from one of the cabinets!


While the staff were on hand for ring fittings and jewellery and watch consultations, there was a silent auction to win this stunning diamond necklace that was donated so that the proceeds could be given to charity.  It was no doubt worth a small fortune and whoever won it is incredibly lucky!



To celebrate the relaunch of the store, Northern Goldsmiths are calling for the people of the North East to come forward with their nostalgic items for them to borrow.  They will become part of an archive collection that will serve as a visual representation of Northern Goldsmiths that can be admired and enjoyed in the store for years to come.

Specifically, they are also looking for someone who has an 'original Northern Goldsmiths' timepiece that was manufactured in the workshop above the Newcastle showroom.  At the moment, Northern Goldsmiths only have a visual of one of the watches but they would really love to source an actual piece.

If you or anyone you know would like to put their nostalgic items forward then pop NorthernGoldsmiths@opr.co.uk an email with a photo and brief description of the item.  I'm sure they'd love to hear from you!



Here are some of the pieces from Goldsmiths that have got me feeling all heart eye emoji (each picture is clickable and will take you through to the Goldsmiths website for easy shopping... or wishlist shopping such as my case!).


I had such a great time at the #NorthernGoldsmithsBigDay event and can't wait to share more about the fabulous jewels available at Goldsmiths with you all!

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Monday, 27 July 2015

Lush Top Coat You Need | Nails Inc Cherry Garden Street

Nails Inc Cherry Garden Street Blossom Collection Limited Edition Review

If ever there were a confetti style top coat that you needed in your collection then it would have to be Cherry Garden Street from the Blossom range at Nails Inc.

As we say in the North East, this nail polish is pretty lush.  The limited edition, grab it while you can, Blossom collection encompasses springtime perfectly with its unique mix of fine white particles mixed together with other light coloured confetti style pieces set in a clear polish.  Nails Inc were inspired by the beauty of blossom trees around the world when they were creating these polishes.


Nails Inc Cherry Garden Street Blossom Collection Limited Edition Review
Nails Inc Cherry Garden Street*
There are four different colour ways in the collection, of which I have Cherry Garden Street which combines white with pink and yellow/muted gold for a very pretty, feminine look.  I can see why Nails Inc were inspired by blossom trees, especially when creating this nail polish as it actually reminds me of the cherry blossom in our back garden, which is so pretty but very annoying when the petals fall and cover the grass!


Nails Inc Cherry Garden Street Blossom Collection Limited Edition Review

The nail polish can either be used on its own and built up to your desired effect or layered over another nail polish, perhaps a pastel or pale shade for a cutesy spring look.  Here I have layered it over a pastel pink nail polish and a barbie pink which I think looks so effective.  I think it helps to tone down the brightness of the barbie pink polish and the randomness of the confetti makes this nail look different every time I use it.


Nails Inc Cherry Garden Street Blossom Collection Limited Edition Review

I have only used one coat over the top of my existing polish as I find that it really doesn't need any more than that, even though Nails Inc recommend 2-3 coats.  The particles in the polish are distributed really well on the nail and relatively evenly thanks to the wide and curved brush that the Nails Inc Nail polish has.


Nails Inc Cherry Garden Street Blossom Collection Limited Edition Review

The Blossom collection has an exclusive Regenerating Complex in it which boosts the production of keratin for stronger, harder and healthier nails.  I haven't been wearing the nail polish continuously enough to fully test this out but what I will say is that the nail polish itself is very hard wearing and hasn't caused any damaged to my nails underneath.

Despite being a polish with lots of texture in it, the finish of Cherry Garden Street is surprisingly shiny and after applying my favourite quick drying top coat, I find that it lasts an incredibly long time on my nails.  I usually get to about day 5 and get bored of my nail colour, take it off and apply something else.


Nails Inc Cherry Garden Street Blossom Collection Limited Edition Review

After trying out Cherry Garden Street, I'll definitely be looking for more top coat style polishes from Nails Inc.

You can shop Cherry Garden Street here and check out the rest of the limited edition Blossom collection here.



What are your favourite top coats?  Which Nails Inc polishes would you recommend to me? I'm dying to try Baker Street next I think!

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Sunday, 26 July 2015

RED SHOE EVENTS | An Audience With Faye Tozer

An Audience with Faye Tozer at Bonbar, Newcastle. Alongside Jason Isaacs and the Ambassadors of Swing big band. Organise by Red Shoe Events.

Hands up if you were a Steps fan!

I certainly was.  Back in the day, I remember going to the area in Newcastle to see their Gold Tour and being in awe of the costumes, dance moves and songs that I'd played on their CD.  I think I was about 13 at the time and I went with my best friend from school, filled with excitement and anticipation; I bet we looked so cute!


An Audience with Faye Tozer at Bonbar, Newcastle. Alongside Jason Isaacs and the Ambassadors of Swing big band. Organise by Red Shoe Events.

Little did I know that some 14 years later, I'd be returning to Newcastle for a different kind of Steps experience, An Audience With Faye Tozer.

Musically, Faye is most well known for being a singer in Steps as well as having a career in musical theatre spanning over ten years.

Steps were a five piece group from the UK who topped the single and album charts worldwide, selling over 20 million records.  Steps travelled the world together, picking up many awards, including a BRIT Award for the Best British Live Act in 2000, before parting ways after 5 years together as a group.

An Audience with Faye Tozer at Bonbar, Newcastle. Alongside Jason Isaacs and the Ambassadors of Swing big band. Organise by Red Shoe Events.

In 2011, Steps reformed and a 4 part Sky Documentary entitled Steps Reunion, tracked their journey from getting back into the studio to the stage.  The show had the highest viewing figures of any Sky show that year and their Ultimate Collection went straight to Number One in the UK album charts.

It was clear that there was still so much love for Steps whether that was from the now twenty and thirty somethings reliving the music of their school days or from the new Steps fans, young and old.  They went on a national tour that sold over 80,000 tickets before they were even released for general sale.


An Audience with Faye Tozer at Bonbar, Newcastle. Alongside Jason Isaacs and the Ambassadors of Swing big band. Organise by Red Shoe Events.

Steps are now working on their own projects individually and for Faye Tozer, that means going back to her swing roots.

Much of Faye's early career focused around jazz and swing music so putting together her autobiographical show, An Audience With Faye Tozer, really gives the sense that she has come full circle.


An Audience with Faye Tozer at Bonbar, Newcastle. Alongside Jason Isaacs and the Ambassadors of Swing big band. Organise by Red Shoe Events.

With the backing of the dynamic big band, the Ambassadors of Swing and guest vocals courtesy of the fabulous Jason Isaacs, the show officially launched at BonBar this month and I was there with some of my friends to soak up the action.


An Audience with Faye Tozer at Bonbar, Newcastle. Alongside Jason Isaacs and the Ambassadors of Swing big band. Organise by Red Shoe Events.

The evening started with a couple of glasses of prosecco at the 467 Club, adjacent to Bonbar, before heading into the main venue for supper.

If you've visited Newcastle then you might recognise this place as being the Assembly Rooms which have held functions in the city centre for many years.  My graduation ball was hosted here back in 2010 and although the venue was gorgeous then, it is even more stunning now with the relatively recent renovation that created Bonbar.

An Audience with Faye Tozer at Bonbar, Newcastle. Alongside Jason Isaacs and the Ambassadors of Swing big band. Organise by Red Shoe Events.

I'm no stranger to Bonbar, having enjoyed many a cocktail there before heading to concerts and events in the city.  It has a real buzz about it with its high class decor, ample booths and superbly well stocked island bar.

It came as no surprise to me that Red Shoe Events, who put together the show with Faye, decided to hold the first event there.  Bonbar really encompasses everything that Red Shoe Events are about; a fabulous experience in a high class venue with superb entertainment, delicious food and the best drinks, every time.


An Audience with Faye Tozer at Bonbar, Newcastle. Alongside Jason Isaacs and the Ambassadors of Swing big band. Organise by Red Shoe Events.

We were there as part of the VIP Dinner Ticket package which meant that as well as receiving admission to the show, we were also able to enjoy a two course meal at a prime position table and had a meet and greet with Faye after the live performance.

This was the first time that I had eaten at Bonbar and having chosen my selection from the menu beforehand, I was looking forward to our meal.


An Audience with Faye Tozer at Bonbar, Newcastle. Alongside Jason Isaacs and the Ambassadors of Swing big band. Organise by Red Shoe Events.

I chose the bourbon glazed baby back pork ribs with crunchy slaw for my starter  which were sticky and meaty in equal proportions with the creamiest crunchy coleslaw I've had.

That was followed by the most delicious grilled salmon fillet with chargrilled broccoli and new potatoes with brown shrimp and chive butter that complimented yet more prosecco very well.  It felt like a huge portion but it was very welcome as it was so tasty.  I was pleased that I had chosen to skip ordering one of the optional desserts as although they were presented so well when they arrived to others on the table, I was far to full to even think about a sweet treat!

Now that I've had a opportunity to try the food at Bonbar, I would most definitely go back for a meal and drinks there.  I think that it is somewhere Mr WLL would appreciate for a date night and since they regularly have live music there, a night at Bonbar sounds like it would be right up our street!


An Audience with Faye Tozer at Bonbar, Newcastle. Alongside Jason Isaacs and the Ambassadors of Swing big band. Organise by Red Shoe Events.

Following supper, the event really began to gather pace as everyone anticipated the arrival of Faye Tozer, the band and Jason Isaacs.  More people began to arrive as not only do Red Shoe Events offer VIP and Dinner Show tickets but they also have seated and standing tickets for those who would rather not dine for the evening.

An Audience with Faye Tozer at Bonbar, Newcastle. Alongside Jason Isaacs and the Ambassadors of Swing big band. Organise by Red Shoe Events.

The show began with an introduction from Alex Morris who, together with Sharon Tenniswood, aka Mrs Jason Isaacs, own and run Red Shoe Events.

They are a relatively new company, born from the wealth of experience that Alex and Sharon have in event planning.  They wanted to create an events company with a solid reputation built around a set standard- great food and drinks alongside great entertainment, so that people know what to expect when booking to come along to one of their events.

The whole concept of Red Shoe Events came from the notion that when you put on a pair of red shoes, you're ready to party.  They have so many different events coming up that will allow you to do just that, from live music events, comedy nights, singles nights and even a mini festival.


An Audience with Faye Tozer at Bonbar, Newcastle. Alongside Jason Isaacs and the Ambassadors of Swing big band. Organise by Red Shoe Events.

An Audience With Faye Tozer was Red Shoe Events second event and boy were we in for a treat.

Faye took to the stage to a round of applause and effortlessly sang so many swing and jazz hits that have transcended the decades, across two sets with anecdotes from her career and childhood in between each song.  She even sang a few modern songs in a swing style from one of Steps hits 'Better The Devil You Know' to Michael Jackson's The Way You Make Me Feel and Pharell Williams' Happy.  They sounded just as fantastic as the classic songs she performed.

Faye has a fabulous voice and this genre of music really gives her the opportunity to show off her abilities especially in a live setting with a live band.  Its obvious how much she loves to sing this style of music and I think she enjoyed herself on stage as much as we all enjoyed watching her.  So many people got up and danced and from the look on everyones faces, they all thoroughly enjoyed themselves.  Some could even give those on Strictly Come Dancing a run for their money!

I loved that there was a real mix of people there from those who were Steps fans back in the day like the lovely Laura who had travelled down from Glasgow to meet her idol, to people who just shared a love of swing and, like me, a passion for live music.


An Audience with Faye Tozer at Bonbar, Newcastle. Alongside Jason Isaacs and the Ambassadors of Swing big band. Organise by Red Shoe Events.

Crooner Jason Isaacs sang a couple of songs on his own as well as accompanying Faye to sing on some tracks and to play the saxophone on others.  Jason is super talented but I already knew that, having watched him perform at my friends wedding a few years ago.  Faye has performed as a guest at some of his shows in the past and now that he was accompanying her, you could see the natural chemistry and stage presence that they have together.  Friends sharing their talent and a love of the same music, supported by many of their friends and family who were also in the audience to cheer them on.

Jason Isaacs is seriously amazing and if you're looking for Britain's answer to Michael Bublé for your next big event, then you've found him!



I recorded some of the songs from the evening and have uploaded them onto my Youtube channel.  I'd love for you to have a listen to them.  I also uploaded a video onto my Facebook page and a short clip onto my Instagram if you'd like to check those out too.

To accompany her captivating performance, Faye wore some gorgeous dresses.  She looked absolutely stunning in both of her outfits; a short, prom style for the first set and a full length, strapless gown for the second, elegantly set off by her sparkly jewellery.  It was very apparent that Faye felt so comfortable in not only performing this style of music but in her fashion styling as well.

When I met her and Jason after the show, she told me that she had done her hair herself.  I have to say, I was impressed.  It looked amazing and definitely something that must have taken time and effort to achieve!

An Audience with Faye Tozer at Bonbar, Newcastle. Alongside Jason Isaacs and the Ambassadors of Swing big band. Organise by Red Shoe Events.

The success of An Audience With Faye Tozer is most definitely a sign of things to come as Red Shoe Events are looking to bring the show to more venues and areas.  I'd definitely go to see Faye singing again and wish her the best of success with her solo work.  You could 
follow her on Twitter here as I'm sure she'll be posting details of other performance dates on there.

The best way to stay informed with all of Red Shoe Events upcoming shows and events is to follow them on Twitter and bookmark their website here.

Thanks so much for a great night Red Shoe Events, Faye Tozer, Jason Isaacs and the Ambassadors of Swing.  I hope to see you again for dinner and a dance very soon!

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