Monday 18 May 2015

Spotlight on Hull Fashion Week Official Sponsors - Hugh Rice the Jewellers

Hull Fashion Week (HFW) hit the streets of Hull during early April, a series of events all around the city centre from the 4th to the Finale on the 11th.

One of my favourite events was the Blogger Event hosted by Hugh Rice, who were the official catwalk and stage sponsors.  If you think the name sounds familiar I wrote about them in my Behind the Scenes with Hugh Rice in 2014.

As I finished work for the week and headed straight out to meet the team at Hugh Rice and some of the other #HullBloggers I was a little concerned I might be late, but fate was kind, the roads were clear and I found a parking spot!

A quick tour around the store and then it was time for some research, being already familiar with Hugh Rice I headed for the part that I was very unfamiliar with but the one I intended to change on this trip - Pandora Rings!!

I keep meaning to go shopping for these and this seemed like an ideal opportunity... and taking advantage of the superb assistance from Kayleigh at Hugh Rice, away I went!

Pandora Rings at Hugh Rice
(Footprint ring is my own)

I spent a lovely time ring shopping and I've narrowed it down to that lovely Black Spinel Ring in the main picture as my first choice, which is unusual for me in that I don't normally suit rings that sit quite tall on my finger but that one was perfect.

I think I'm also going to stick the star ring and the hearts ring on my list too... and probably a few others that I haven't photographed... I'm very taken with these!!

Time for a few nibbles and to pop that empty glass somewhere and on to the next treat, the team at Hugh Rice had organised for us to see more of the jewellery they sell; ranging from "definitely out of my price range but please can I try it on anyway" to vintage and preloved pieces.  I think we were all a bit enamoured with some of these and we had our own favourites.

#HullBloggers learning about jewellery

I have to admit my inner geek came out during the next part as whilst people were getting their jewellery cleaned I got a bit gaga over the workbenches and tools... I think lampworking in a jewellery workshop is beginning to rub off on me a bit?

We had a great time wandering around Hugh Rice, I returned to enjoy some of the new Karma Beads whilst we also indulged in some more of those delicious pastries.

Karma Beads and Pastries

We had one last surprise waiting for us as the team at Hugh Rice had prepared us some goody bags... obviously being bloggers we have to photograph them first!

Photographing the photographer photographing the Goody Bags

So, what was in the surprise Goody Bag? Well you'll just have to come back next week month* to find out!

It was time for the #HullBloggers to say good-bye to the team at Hugh Rice and head out in search of some food to round off the day!

  Mission accomplished.

Any favourites from these photos? What would you choose?

*Sorry for delay! I'm having a little break as I'm out playing on the bus and with fire & glass,
although not at the same time as that would just be dangerous!!

Thursday 14 May 2015

Thomas Sabo Jewellery Boxes - Karma Beads & Charm Club

So I mentioned back in my Karma beads post at the end of 2014 that I'd received a free jewellery box but didn't actually show you the box.

Since then I've not only finished my Karma Bracelet (sort of, remember the small bead issue?) but I've also treated myself to the Thomas Sabo Karma Jewellery Box as well.

So without further ado...  I shall start backwards with the one that I ordered specifically and then show you the one I received as a Gift with Purchase.

Thomas Sabo Karma Beads Jewellery Box

This is a satin box with an embroidered top.  

It has one top compartment which holds a full bracelet and has indentation space for a further 10 charms and it also has 3 drawers in the bottom that can hold a further 20 charms across 2 draws with 1 deeper draw for pendants or other accessories.

The benefits to this jewellery box are that it's perfect for Karma, er, as you'd expect being the Karma Jewellery Box!  It fits a full bracelet and has enough room to expand on your charms, I can't really envisage me having 30 Karma charms in addition to my bracelet just yet, so there's plenty of life in the box whilst still being a small and beautiful thing to have on your bedside table, or wherever it is you store your jewellery boxes.

The downside for me is that the satin picks up every speck of dust and I'm not the most hoover happy of people, so I do wonder how long it will remain pristine... I've already had to clean one smudge off before I photographed it!

I'm hoping I'll get to test the indentations out soon as I want to replace my smaller bead with something more in keeping size wise for my current bracelet.

Thomas Sabo Charm Club - Charm Suitcase

Now let me start by saying up front that this is not to my taste in jewellery boxes, so I personally wouldn't have paid the RRP of £15.00 - however as a Gift With Purchase for spending too much just enough money to qualify, then I welcome it as extra storage for some of my other jewellery!

It doesn't seem to hold much for it's size, but as it was designed to hold TS charms from their regular charm line that hardly seems a fair criticism of it!

Inside there is removable top tray split into 3 open and 1 closed compartment and an integral bottom layer split into thirds with the middle one being a closed compartment.

Because it's round with a flat back, the outer compartments are an unusual shape when trying to fit larger pieces in, but as I've mentioned previously it's not really designed for what I'm currently using it for.

Side by side there is quite a difference between the 2 boxes...

Both have a magnetic closer to their lids and are held in place when they are open by a ribbon and both boxes are holding up to normal wear and tear so far.

In summary both have proven useful, I'm really pleased with my Karma box, it's not expensive so it's not as robust as other jewellery boxes I have, but then I'm not planning to throw it around anytime soon.  It's absolutely perfect for Karma which was the point of the purchase!

What do you keep your jewellery in?
Would you be tempted by either of these?

Monday 11 May 2015

Spotlight on Hull Fashion Week - Catwalk Finale Saturday 11th April 2015

Hull Fashion Week (HFW) hit the streets of Hull during early April, a series of events all around the city centre from the 4th to the Finale on the 11th.

I may have had a bit of a sleep since, or perhaps been busy taking part in an international month long April A to Z Blogging Challenge, considering it's now the 11th May, a whole month later.  So whilst the HFW twitter byline was Fashion Never Sleeps - I guess my byline should be Mars Always Sleeps... or spends a lot of time writing alphabetically during April...

On the plus side who doesn't want to still be reading about HFW in May?

The Finale
An early morning downpour made for a rather soggy breakfast, but by the time I skidded into view of Hull City Hall (blaming the roadworks for my tardy appearance) I was under the balcony rather than on it.  Oops!

The Finale kicks off with the traditional balcony welcome

By this time, the sun was shining and the blue skies made for a much better first photograph of the day - it could only get better.

All the things a blogger needs for a busy day of Fashion!

My definition of better involved a well dressed wrist, portions of Thieving Harry's coffee served with orange chocolate flapjack, a programme for the day and making sure I had plenty of room for my notes!

The Catwalk Finale was presented by Nineties Boy (Luke Chambers) and Keeley Donovan from Look North, with added glam and sparkle provided by our very own Hugh Rice and Celebrity Guest Stylist and Make Up Artist Lewis-Duncan Weedon.

Luke and Keeley make a start with introductions all round and you can just spot Lewis-Duncan waiting to make his entrance!

Then we stalled... I'm still not quite sure why we got off to a late start but we soon got back on track, in the meantime it gave me chance to catch up with the lovely #HullBloggers - a great group of folk who have also been working their way through HFW for your reading pleasure.

Yes, yes, it *always* gets this messy, er I mean, busy at the Bloggers Hub!

First up was the Sportswear Catwalk and I couldn't resist a cheeky tweet about odd shaped balls, childish and an old  joke I know!  I adored the riding boots that came strutting down the catwalk - as someone who personally goes from boots to sandals/converse, without an inbetween phase, a good boot always catches my eye...

No shoe fetish?!  Wait, what am I doing at a Fashion Event? Oh I wear clothes, phew!

Even the Mascots joined in the Catwalk fun with a "Walk Off" between the two!

We had boxing tips with Tommy Coyle demonstrated by the audience on stage, throwing their first (and hopefully only) punch of the day... I certainly didn't hear about any casualties; although I may have accidentally elbowed someone in the coffee queue later on!

Boxing Tips with Tommy Coyle

Festival Wear was a popular catwalk, unsurprising as Hull hosts a broad range of festivals throughout the year, outfits here catering to our ideal of sunny summer festivals, with less for the muddy field variety but I guess there are only so many ways you can style a variety of wet weather gear and wellies!

Bonus Flashback Post - Silver & Mud - How to wear great jewellery in a field from 2013

I think this one was popular with my fellow #HullBloggers as there were a lot of photos being snapped during this catwalk!

#HullBloggers - Hard at Work for Hull Fashion Week

Then it was time for a masterclass in Upcycyling old outfits!

Upcycled from old outfits
First we had a mini catwalk of the outfits and then our guest presenters took us through each look and how it had been created... you can certainly get a lot of mileage out of one pair of jeans.

When I borrowed my mum's net curtains in the 80's I'm not sure I was quite so good on the sewing side of upcycling... probably because I had to hang them back up in the window after the night out! (True Story)  

I love this element of fashion as I used to make a lot of my own clothes (badly sewn) although my Grandma's curtains never did make it back on the rail (Another True Story) as they were a more permanent donation to my wardrobe!

Guest presenters talking us through the concept and each outfit.

Next catwalk was Celebration and can I just say from the start that's it's impossible to take a photo of a sparkly dress, especially a wedding dress with a mobile phone... this is where my trusty Xperia Z let me down; I took 6 photos of ethereal ghost like figures before giving up, take my word for it though, both the dresses and the women modelling them were lovely!

Celebration Catwalk sans wedding and sparkly dresses

One of the elements of the day I really enjoyed was the Hair Piece, no, not an actual wig, but the segment of the day where HFW looked at hairstyles with H.Air Blow Dry Bar... Charley over at Rambling of a Beauty Blogger and another model had quick styles created on stage and Charley chatted about blogging from the stage with Lewis-Duncan.

All about Hair, Blogging and Fashion!

I slightly miscalculated how much time I had free at this point, as realising I was hungry I decided to nip out for a bite to eat... only I got sidetracked by the lovely market stalls outside, and guess who forgot to get a sandwich?

Market Stalls at Hull Fashion Week Finale

Actually I blame meeting Karma Feeling for the first time, well who would have predicted that one... the jewellery blogger getting sidetracked by jewellery?!

Karma Feeling at Hull Fashion Week

When I stopped drooling over the lovely bracelets and candles and made my way back into the main hall I'd missed a Catwalk, but was able to catch one of my favourite outfits of the day, a simple style but I've always been a sucker for that dress and boots look... am I finally fashionable?

My favourite look of the day

Just to give you an idea of how popular the shows were, this is a pic I snapped from the stage end, HFW Finale had a great turn out this year and it certainly felt busier all day.

Packed City Hall for the Catwalk Shows

#HullBloggers kept on working, I think a few of us forgot to eat properly during the day - next  year I think we need a food delivery to keep us going!

The audience didn't get off lightly either as there was a quick lesson in how to work the Catwalk, I wonder if we'll see some of these coming through in future Hull Fashion Week events?

Future HFW models get a class in how to work the Catwalk!

I've saved the very popular catwalk and segment that was by Paul Spence and the Hull Workmen's Calendar 2015 models for last, as a special treat for those of you who've scrolled down this far... I can't think why this generated so much buzz, but it was all for a good cause!

Hull Workman - flushed with success from charity fundraiser for HRI in the name of Paul Spence
back in the limelight to help launch the charity Paul.

Hull Fashion Week certainly kept the #HullBloggers busy - given that I've gone collage crazy I had to do a little montage of them too!  Mostly some of the more fun shots taken at the end of the day as we were quite busy during the shows.. Lewis-Duncan gets everywhere... by the way did you know he's an adopted #HullBlogger - fits in just nicely!

#HullBloggers relaxing after a hard day's work at HFW 2015

So for me and the #HullBloggers it was time to pack up and indulge in a little shopping, then for me it was time to crack on with the rest of that alphabet!!

Roll on Hull Fashion Week 2016!

Are you a fashion setter, a follower, one who ignores fashion
or a whatever falls out of your wardrobe person?

Thursday 7 May 2015

Making Glass Beads ~ Taster Session

I can't believe it's taken me so long to write about this!  

To those of you who follow me on Twitter, or regularly read the comments, or indeed read G is for Glass during the A to Z Challenge this will be slightly old news, albeit with more photos!

Back in January I signed up for a glass bead making taster session, I felt confident my shoulder had recovered enough to be up to the job and spurred on by my trip to Trollbeads Cambridge I made the booking for "sometime" in February.

Dates decided and with a friend in tow who had always wanted to try lampworking, we met Victoria at Oresome Gallery's workshop ready for our glass bead making taster session.

For 2 very blissful hours that positively flew by, we made lots of beads, shrieked as bits of glass pinged off rods and said oops a few times as we experimented... not always to a positive result but surprisingly more positive results than you'd expect considering this was Billy's first attempt and only my second... I think we did brilliantly!

Am I going to try it again? Glass bought and sessions already booked used!

What have you waited for a long time...
only to be super excited once you actually got started?

Any beadmakers out there who can give us some tips?!

Monday 4 May 2015

2015 A to Z Reflections Post

...and Relax.

Despite life throwing in a few curve balls for good measure during April, I really enjoyed writing my Addicted to Beads Series and chatting with everyone here, and on their own blogs.

After last year I swore I'd prewrite my A to Z in advance so I could concentrate on Blog Hopping, I didn't (see aforementioned comment about curve balls) but I did manage to write a handful of posts at the end of March before we actually started, well slightly less than one handful, so, er, there were a lot of gaps I had left to fill in!

The Challenge, I've discovered, really is much easier with a theme.  Even if you have left a lot of gaps to be filled in as you go along!  Ideas felt more cohesive and I think I achieved what I set out to, in that no prior jewellery knowledge was needed for any post, but I hopefully kept some surprises back for all my regular readers too.

Also special mention has to go to MopDog's theme - 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary - the title alone would be enough, but it's entertaining reading, as are the comments...

Blog Hopping
I didn't get as much blog hopping done as I'd have liked to, a lot less than last year, but those curve balls had to hit something out of whack somewhere along the way... I think it averaged out at about 2-3 new blogs per day but I got in a lot more repeat visits on some blogs and it came more in waves when time presented itself as an opportunity to be grabbed... some days I managed 0.

The beauty of the A to Z is that you can always go back and surf the list or nip back to that amazing blog you found at the beginning that got briefly washed away in the outgoing tide of the Challenge... it will come back if you go and look for it!

If you only read one more A to Z Challenge Blog from start to finish...
I enjoyed many blogs over the course of last month and I do intend to visit more, but the one blog that I read religiously every day was by Reflex Reactions.

Ida wrote her A to Z on Care for the Carers, which was her personal journey on caring for her Mum at the end of her life.  Beautifully written and it hit the spot for every letter, most days it made me cry, as good writing sometimes should, but it somehow always managed to leave me feeling hopeful too.

New Blogs and Books to read
One of the aspects I loved about last year's challenge (my first) was the new authors I discovered, many books read during the challenge as a result, and several blogs I've kept in touch with throughout the year.

This year didn't disappoint either on that score, several books read and queued to read later, and a whole host of blogs I'd like to keep in touch with as a result, plus I'm sure I'm going to dip into the main list again when I catch my breath.

During the course of talking about the challenge this year, a friend has been encouraged to start a blog, she's only a few posts in (it's good but she wants to build up some momentum before I tell you about her) and, great news, she already plans to join in with the 2016 A to Z Challenge!

In Summary
Thoroughly enjoyed the Challenge this year, more so than last, and I think that in turn was a lot to do with all the lovely conversations I had on Curling Stones in the comments and ditto on other blogs.

I don't have any suggestions for improvements as the only suggestion I had last year had already been resolved - so from me to the A to Z team - it's keep doing what you're doing!

In a similar vein, to my own readers, visitors and passersby...

What did you enjoy about my series?
Is there anything you like to see improved/changed/repeated for next year?

Here's a quick reference link to all my A to Z posts below - ignore, enjoy, revisit or just marvel that it all got finished!

Addicted to Beads by Mars

A is for Addiction

B is for my Beadmaker Bead

C is for Cores

D is for Dealers

E is for Elfbeads Earth Bead Set

F is for Fantasy Necklace

G is for Glass

H is for Harm Reduction

I is for Inner Glow

J is for Joy

K is for Karma

L is for Love Hurts

M is for Money

N is for Navy Galaxy

O is for Orange

P is for Paraphernalia

Q is for Quitting

R is for Red

S is for Swamp

T is for Turtle

U is for Unblogged Beads

V is for Velociraptor

W is for Wrist Shots

X is for X Ray

Y is for Yellow Gold

Z is for Zodiac Birthstone Stars