Fashion Panic

Styling Jennifer Metcalfe in The Manchester Arndale's Top Party Picks

Earlier this year, I was given a very exciting opportunity to go behind the scenes of the Manchester Arndale’s SS16 video and photo shoot. Being a Manchester girl, and having grown up shopping at the centre, I couldn’t have been more excited, and it turned out to be a fantastic day! Fast forward to this week, and I’ve had another incredible opportunity working with Manchester Arndale Centre, this time it was all about the up coming party season! 


The centre is the focus point of shopping in the city. Whether you fancy a bargain at TK Max or splashing out on a designer bag at Radley, you’ll always find what you need. I can go shopping with my mum, husband and even my little brother and we would all get kitted out in the latest fashion, and technology and then finish off with food at the fab choice of restaurants. 


Coming up to the festive period can be stressful. Presents to buy, people to see and more importantly clothes to buy for the ultimate party look. There’s something about going in and trying on, that will always appeal to me over online shopping. Apart from being a self confessed shopaholic, and loving the purchase in my hand, it’s also a chance to see what clothes look like in ‘real life’. No matter how good the photography, you can’t compare to feeling the fabric close up and seeing the colour in day light. So for me, the only option for a party outfit is to brace the crowds and get in there!


To highlight some of the best party looks available in the centre this season, I was asked if I would pick out some outfits for the beautiful Jennifer Metcalfe. Obviously, I jumped at the chance (and being a complete Hollyoaks addict made it even more amazing!). I, along with another blogger, the gorgeous Irena, got to pick from 4 of the Manchester Arndale’s stores. We each got a high end and high street shop, I had New Look and House of CB.


It wasn’t difficult to choose when you have such a beautiful model to dress. I wanted to add a bit of my style to Jen’s look, so for my first choice, I picked a stunning dark green, velvet jumpsuit from New Look. Velvet is literally everywhere this season, so I knew I wanted to incorporate it somewhere. The sumptuous emerald one piece, jumped out straight away. As soon as Jen tried it on, I knew I had picked the right thing. She looked outstanding! The jumpsuit hugged her curves in all the right places, and the tie belt synched in her tiny waist. I chose to finish the look with simple black heels and a sequin gold bag for a bit of glam! Jen loved the jumpsuit too, so much that New Look kindly gifted it to her, so I’m on the look out for when she wears it!


The next look was the high end choice from House of CB. A favourite of the Kardashian’s, I’m not going to lie, it’s not really my cup of tea. However, I can appreciate the stunning dresses and know that if I could somehow pull it off, I’d be styling that barley there sequin mini! Again, with Jen as the model, it was much easier to choose. I wanted something classy yet on trend and not too skin baring (granny alert!). I chose a beautiful green (must have a thing for it this season) bandage dress which I knew would accentuate Jen’s beautiful figure. Yet again, she looked like a Hollywood superstar! The dress fit like a glove, and was just the right length. We took some shots in outside in the centre, which even thought Jen didn’t enjoy too much, she was such a star and embraced the challenge!

Although I didn’t get to see Irena, as she had styled Jen earlier in the day, I did get to see her looks. Loved them, especially the Next outfit. 


I had such a fantastic day meeting Jennifer and the rest of the Manchester Arndale Team. I felt honoured that I had been chosen to help style up the best looks this season. Whilst I was there I actually bought my party look from Topshop, I just cannot go there without shopping!


Thanks to all involved, can’t wait to work with the team again! 

Christmas In Style at The Manchester Arndale

I never thought I would be able to add "celeb stylist" to my list of blogger related accolades, but luckily for me, on Tuesday I got to style up the stunning Jennifer Metcalfe from Hollyoaks, in my top party picks from the Manchester Arndale Centre! Not only am I a massive fan of the show, I was absolutely over the moon to be able to style someone who I see as a role model. Jen herself is tiny, a size 6/8 but she has curves and is proud of them! Her journey with her body has been well documented, and she's always been so confident and open about not only her struggles, but also her accomplishments. Getting to meet the lady herself was amazing, but being able to dress those curves was a dream!



Our mission was to find Jen the perfect party looks from stores in the wonderful Manchester Arndale Centre. I was given New Look and House of CB, and Irena had Next and Guess. Before hand, I decided that I definitely wanted to add a bit of my style to the looks, but I also wanted Jen to feel confined and most of all comfortable. Having seen Jen online and at events, I felt I had an idea of her style. She wears stunning dresses and always looks glamorous yet classic. 

I decided on this beautiful green jumpsuit from New Look. It's stunning and something I would definitely wear. I also felt Jen would love it, as it would definitely flatter her curves!

Jumpsuit - Newlook

My next choice was from House of CB, which I struggled with at first, as everything was so...small! It didn't leave much to the imagination, but I knew if anyone could pull it off, it would be Jen! I ended up with another green babe, this bandage dress. I think it's a but more glamorous than a jumpsuit, but could be worn to a club or night out. I coincidentally chose 2 green pieces, but I think with her dark hair and freckles (like me!) she'll really suit the emerald and other jewel tones. 



In collaboration with the party looks, Manchester Arndale have released a party dress video which you can view here - if this doesn't get you in the mood to get sequinned up, I don't know what will!

video

You can find out how I got on with the beautiful Jen later tonight, so stay tuned!

Win Your Best Night Out With Little Black Dress

The leaves have fallen, the nights are drawing in and the Christmas songs are starting to be heard up and down the high street (arghhhh!) - yes, the festive season is well and truly upon us! What better reason to call your friends, dust of those sequins and get prepared to have your best night out yet! Parties and Christmas go together like...Dolce and Gabbana, and I have teamed up with Little Black Dress to give you the chance to win the party of a life time with three of your best friends, including lots of goodies and a night in one of the best cities in the world (bar Manchester) LONDON!!! 




Yes, Little Black Dress are offering one of you lucky people a chance to win a night out worth £3000! This will include a super swanky hotel in the capital, lots of goodies from their range of beautiful dresses, £100 vouchers for some gorgeous accessories, and VIP pampering for not just you, but three of your besties! Get your hair done, cocktails drank and your fave LBD on and make sure you turn heads for a night to remember! On the night you'll get your hair styled at the fantastic Neville Hair and Beauty, you then swan off to a 3 course meal at Drake and Morgan (including wine, yay!). After you've wined and dined, you will be treated to cocktails at an exclusive, members only club! What a night out, I need to enter this myself!
  




To celebrate the exclusive competition, I was lucky enough to be able to choose my very own party dress from the Little Black Dress website. What better time of year to style up a new LBD?! I'm not going to lie, it took me forever to pick one, they just have so much choice, especially with the new collab with Alisha Dixon (ahhh-may-zing!). I eventually went with my beautiful "Clara" flapper inspired shift dress. With some gorgeous embroidery and subtle, yet stylish sequin detail (it's on sale right now, so go go go!) it was my perfect match. The dress itself screamed quality as soon as it arrived! It's heavy due to the embellishment which not only makes it hang like a dream, but it also looks so much more expensive than the price! The sheer sleeves are brought to life with the dazzling sequins, which is such a lovely touch. 




The fit is divine; it skims over everything and is roomy enough for the copious amounts of food that I will consume whilst wearing it over Christmas! The sequin fringing on the hem gives it that "wow" factor, and as you can see from the pics, I very much enjoyed swizzing around in it and I cannot wait to wear it to a few nights out this festive season!

For your chance to win this dress (or many many other choices) plus a luxury night out for you and three friends all you have to do is take a selfie saying why an LBD is so important to you and hashtag #MyLBDStory (you can also tag Little Black Dress @teamlbd) Good luck!!! 

(find out all the details here)

Lunch at the Garden

Last Saturday, I spent a wonderful afternoon in the beautiful village of Hale, sampling the scrumptious new menu at The Garden. The Garden specialises in fresh, organic, and seasonal produce and has a fabulous selection with something for everyone. Being gluten free, I really struggle to find anywhere up North, (especially outside the city centre) to get some good wheat free options that don't taste like cardboard. Luckily for me, The Garden has a wonderful menu with a wide range of gluten free goodies, including some incredible pancakes which I will tell you more about later. It also has great variations of healthy vegan options, which again, can be a real struggle to find up here.



I took my lovely hubby along with me, as I'm on a very boring medical exclusion diet right now, and I knew that Mus would devour anything and everything. He's Turkish, so grew up with a Mediterranean diet and would happily choose a salad over a pizza (I know!?) so I knew he would really appreciate the all of the different flavour combinations that I wouldn't be able to enjoy. Hale itself is beautiful, and only a 30 minute drive from where we live. The Garden looks truly inviting with fairy lights and neutral colour schemes, but as soon as you walk through the door, your senses go wild! So many flavours and colours and hustle and bustle. It was full when we arrived (always a good sign) and I loved having a little nosey at what people had ordered. 


We started off with drinks, I had a delicious soya hot chocolate and Mus had tea. You can get everything you could think of as the drinks menu is a dream. We found out a little bit more behind the origins of The Garden. It's run by two friends, and has proved so popular, that their juices and a selection of their food is now available exclusively at Selfridges in the Trafford Centre. They have a great holistic aspect behind their menu, and their ethos is definitely to nourish your body but enjoy food too. With this is mind, Mus chose the Gentle Lentil salad bowl and he enjoyed it so much he actually says it's THE nicest salad he's ever had! Which if you knew him, would know that that really is a massive compliment. He has salad every day, sometimes twice a day, and would never say anything is better than his mum's cooking, so believe me, it's good! 



Me being me, I obviously chose the macha pancakes. I chose the cacao spread and banana, but you can also have fresh fruit and cashew cream. They were incredible! As mentioned earlier, I really struggle eating out, and finding an enjoyable gluten free option. The pancakes are full of goodness and have just natural ingredients, so it was practically one of my five a day...I couldn't finish them all as you get a huge plate, but I will definitely prepare myself for next time!

The cafe itself has a warm and friendly atmosphere. It's clearly very popular with the locals, but I know a few people who have travelled from the other side of Manchester just to try it, as the recommendations are nothing but 5 *! It was a lovely afternoon and the food was scrumptious. I'm actually taking my vegan friend nearer Christmas, so keep an eye out for more #foodporn pictures over on my instagram!

Thank you to the lovely Grace and everyone at The garden, Hale. I can't wait to visit again!

You can view the full menu here

London With Hermès

I often write about incredible experiences that starting my blog has exposed me to. Working with brilliant people, great brands and doing things I never thought I would. Last week, was a real highlight of the 2 years that I have run Fashion Panic. I was invited down to London by Hermes and Selfridges, to their Crazy Carre scarf launch. Not only the party in the evening, but also a visit to their flag ship store. As you can imagine, I tried to stay cool, but this was MAJOR for me. After the initial melt down over what to wear to one of the most luxurious brand events I have ever attended, I started to get just little excited about my trip to London. Hermes treated me to first class tickets down, so I travelled in style and was already feeling totally spoilt. 



I made my way to New Bond Street which is where the stunning Hermes store stands. Passing countless designer brands on the way, I noticed the difference when I reached Hermes. Modern, with a vintage twist, the store stood out from the rest of the street. There was a certain elegance and class, that a lot of the other brands seem to have lost. There were no glitter balls, bright colours of over the top mannequins; it was plain, simple and effective. Inside was even more breathtaking. I may sound a little OTT, but it's a little dream come true as a fashion lover, being able to experience the most beautiful brands, and I've admired Hermes for years. Whilst at the store, I met the lovely PR girls and my fellow Northern blogger Samio (she's done a fab vlog about it, you can view it here)! It was such a lovely surprise to have a friend there, and we were even more surprised when we realised it would just be the two of us! We were treated to scarf workshop where we were taught all of the different ways we could tie their famous scarves. The 2 store assistants were experts and showed us things we'd never seen from a scarf before; including how to make a clutch bag and even cat ears!




After a fantastic afternoon in the store, we then had the afternoon to explore London before the party later that night. I actually brought my mum along with me to do a little Christmas shopping. We had a fabulous time in Covent Garden and even had time to do the tourist spots. Later that night, I met up with my best friend who now lives in London, as I had a plus one for the event. We had no idea what to expect, but the moment we walked through the door at The Old Selfridges Hotel, we were transported to the magical, elaborate world of Hermes! Those of you who follow me on IG may have seen my (many) snaps from the night. I literally do not know where to start. 




As we checked in our coats, we noticed the buzz and excitement instantly. We were like children in a sweet shop and couldn't wait to get inside! We entered the party through dry ice and a tunnel of lights (Instagram dream!), to be then met with gorgeous waiters (we presumes male models!) with copious amounts of cocktails. As you walked into the converted warehouse, your senses were on overload. The DJ, the cancan girls, the wall of doughnuts, it was like stepping into the Film Mouiln Rouge. We were greeted by yet more beautiful waiters handing out mac and cheese and burgers, girls giving us temporary tattoos, make up artists adding glitter to our faces, the list goes on. As we made our way around the transformed space, we discovered bars, light rooms, paint splat art work and rooms filled with exciting experiences. There were beautiful models sitting on swings, tropical plants hanging from the ceiling and cages filled with paper birds. We were in awe! Every so often the cancan girls would perform, and then dance around the crowds. My mum joined us after an hour, as Hannah was so lovely when her friend left early, and let her come in and join the fun! 



Later we were treated to Mabel and later on her mum, Neneh Cherry (legend) DJ'd. We danced, we ate we laughed so much. It was such an amazing evening and we loved every second. I must also mention Mark Francis, who attended the event, but we were too giddy to go and speak to him. My friend practically self combusted with excitement! The scarves are so beautiful and is definitely on my "wish list" and I will be saving up for one in the future!

You can now peruse the new collection at the new Hermes Boutique in the Exchange Square store (it's all AMAZING!)

I just want to thank the lovely Alice from Carousel PR and Hannah from Hermes for making such an incredible experience possible. I will honestly remember it forever!
© Fashion Panic

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