I always hear peoples ranging views on Lakeside. Some love it, some don’t. But I tell you one thing I do always find. People ARE talking about it. Essex hasn’t got much to be proud of, but this looming shopping centre located right near some of the busiest docks in the world is not only an achievement in the sense of giving us all somewhere nice to shop, but it has also bought thousands of jobs to the local economy.
I’ll always remember speaking to someone on a trip to Walsall, and she said ‘Yeah I visited Essex just because I wanted to go to Lakeside and we stayed in a hotel nearby’. Yep, that’s how famous it is.
Myself, I have always taken Lakeside for granted. From somewhere to going when I was bored, to somewhere to do serious shopping or somewhere just to have a nice meal at one of the many places to eat you will only find in town or here.
When I got asked to go to the blogger event, I didn’t really know what to expect having not been to one run by them (but plenty of food reviews and Lush events). When I visit Lakeside on weeknights more often than not I spend far too much and burn my finger on Green tea from Cafe Nero (this has happened at least 8 times. Cafe Nero if you are reading this I love your drinks but don’t appreciate the third degree burns so turn it in a bit yeah?).
I arrived at the 360 Champagne bar and met up with the lovely Katrina (Carousel Diary), Polly (Pollys Pocket Book) and Sam (Beautifie). Not only do I love meeting up with these girls to talk a bout blogging but they all have a proper decent sense of humour. By that I mean we have now met each other enough to quite comfortably abuse each other without anyone getting offended. Either that, or they were highly offended and I won’t be invited to any more Essex Blogger meets.
The champagne bar at Lakeside is actually incredibly nice. I would suggest it for occasions such as birthdays, Diwali or being so stressed shopping that you contemplate hitting the slow moving person stopping you getting to Primark before it closes to stock up on cheap plimsoles you throw away after one wear with your paper Lush bag.
The first order of the day was a little chat from Lakesides stylist Carlene. This is quite a nifty little service, especially if, like me, you see something in the shop you think will look divine and you end up looking like Pat Butcher in a in bin bag when you actually get home and put it on. I’m not sure there’s many shopping centres offering this free service, which you can find out more about here.
Carlene did a really detailed talk on all of the trends available this Autumn/Winter season,a and it looks like the 70s are coming back which is epic news for those of us whose bottoms look awful in skinnys.
We then moved on to a bit of cocktail making. 360’s cocktail menu is really varied, and they even made Sam and espresso Martini (I’d be off my head if I drank that as late as that). I had a long island iced tea and they explained what they put in and how. I’ve always wondered how you get that two layer effect, and now I know to pour slowly. All round mine for long island iced teas kids.
They let us all get really involved, and were so insistent that I shake my own cocktail. I failed to mention when they handed me the very expensive looking cocktail shaker and glass to shake my own that I have had two fires (just this year), had my toe sewn back on and broken at least 37 mugs at work since I started there 18 months ago. I didn’t want them to lose faith in my shaking abilities.
The last part of the night was a make up demonstration by Urban Decay. I haven’t really tried a lot of Urban Decay make up, but a couple of months ago I got the brow beater and I absolutely loved it, so it worked out well to be shown more stuff from them. The make up artist looked absolutely perfect, and needless to say with a little bit of craft from Their Naked palettes and various other bits and bobs so did the model.
Not only were we shown loads of products, but she actually gave us loads of tips that were really handy (like actually mixing in the finishing spray with a bit of foundation for lasting wear). I’m not the best at all the make up, most of my beauty routine revolves around skincare, but it was an eye opener to see how quickly the model was transformed with a dewy, natural look that was still flawless. The staff at Urban Decay were really helpful and I am sure if anyone is thinking of trying their products you could literally just pop in.
Now onto my favourite part of the night. Now everyone that knows me knows my sense of humour is somewhat random. So when a couple of people decided to enter the selfie competition by wearing clothes off of the mannequins, I jumped at the chance to take a picture of Deborah the mannequins arm which actually fell off in the kerfuffle.
Yes, I may look like an idiot, but this little number actually won me £100 in Lakeside vouchers and £50 in Gourmet Burger Kitchen vouchers. So, whose the silly one now kids?