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With the festive season fast approaching, it seems like the magpie in me has woken up. All of a sudden all I want to do is buy sparkly dresses, drink too much prosecco and dance all night. And with the party season fast approaching, I feel like all my pennies are going on new stuff.

It's my birthday on Thursday, so I've had my sights set on the sequinned beauty from Zara. But with the Christmas crush already starting, I've been avoiding the Metrocentre for fear of suffocation. After putting it off for the last week, I finally persuaded myself into it on Saturday and headed through in search of my dreamboat of a dress, (sneaky peek in the photo), and keeping everything crossed that they still had my size in stock. Venturing to the Metrocentre on a Saturday, when almost four weeks away from Christmas, is not for the faint hearted. But since it's the only place in the North East with a Zara, needs must sometimes. While I was pushing my way through buggies, teenagers and generally harassed looking shoppers, I did find myself lured into House of Fraser to browse their offers. House of Fraser is another one of those gems only to be found in the Metrocentre.. but sometimes their offers make it completely worth your while. Having sniffed around Mac, debating if I really did need another pale pink matte lipstick, I spotted some info on Cyber Monday. A bit like all the Black Friday offers, House of Fraser are doing their bit to indulge your seasonal spending and make it worthwhile. So on Monday 1st December, they're offering a range of different discounts you can take advantage of! To make sure I don't miss any, I've listed them below. So if you're feeling brave, it could be worth a venture to the Metro on Monday. Or I mean you could just do it the easy way, avoid the crowds and shop from the comfort of your own home...

8am – 1pm
Additional 20% off Hotel Collection Bed & Bath
Additional 20% off MW Accessories
Up to 15% off Makeup
Additional 20% off WW Outerwear & Knitwear

1pm – 6pm
Additional 20% off WW Winter Warmers
Additional 20% off KW Knitwear and Outerwear
Up to 50% off Kylie Minogue Bed Linen
Additional 20% off Lingerie

6pm – 11pm
Additional 20% off MW Outerwear & Knitwear
15% off Beauty Gift Sets
20% off Nespresso
Additional 20% off Handbags & Purses
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This year seems to have flown over. I can barely believe that it's December next week, let alone that it's been a full year since Cal's Own's last birthday party! Never the less, I made sure I brought my appetite along with me and headed to Heaton with my favourite ladies to help celebrate. After last year's celebrations and the mountains of pizza, I knew Cal could put on a good spread. This year, he pulled out all the stops. Proving that while he's still nailing Brooklyn style pizza pie, he knows a thing or two about a whole host of other dishes. From italian meatballs, lemon roasted chicken legs, Sicilian pizza, and more, it was a feast to put last year's festivities to shame. And with the wine flowing all night, we took full advantage of stuffing out faces.
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Two years might have flown by, but you're still the best pizza place in the Toon. Happy bloody birthday, Cal's Own!
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I've been dancing on and off since I was about 6 years old. Ballet has been my long term love affair but if I'm completely honest, I'm a bit of a flake. Over the years, I've stopped and started my ballet training. The problem with stopping and starting over the years, means that I've never been strong enough to dane en pointe. But I never wanted (or really tried that hard) to dance competitively. Sure, I did grades and some small competitions when I was younger, but for me dancing was about escapism. It was about taking time for myself. It was a way of clearing my head after a busy day at work. And taking some time to focus my mind on something completely different.

Then almost a year ago, a man drove into my car when I was on my way to work. I was shaken but not badly hurt, so while it wasn't a pleasant experience, I thought myself lucky, took the day off work and went home to settle my nerves. For the next few days, I started to get a strange numbness in my left hand and would go for days with pins and needles in my arm and not being able to feel my little finger. My sleeping also fell out of sync. So, after exhausting myself, I finally went to see my GP. After telling him about the accident he referred me to spinal physio and I was advised the feeling in my arm was through nerve damage. I hadn't thought too much about going to see a solicitor at that point like Leo Claims about whiplash or arm injury claims. But after getting referred for more medical help, I decided to look for a solicitor. Having explained the situation, I was taken on by TLW, who said they'd try to help and referred me to a spinal physio. It was here that I first was diagnosed with hypermobility and that I started to understand the numbness and the niggling pains that I'd been having.

After the accident, I'd gone straight back to ballet like normal. But after a couple of hours dancing, my arm and back were aching so I decided to take a few weeks off. Having started the treatment, my physio did advise me to take some time to heal the nerve damage in my shoulder. This was causing the aches and the numbness I'd felt. After a couple of months, my physio told me to return to ballet. Now we knew I had hypermobility syndrome, she said it was important for me to maintain my core strength. Over the years my dancing appeared to have masked the normal 'growing pains' I would've experienced. But after taking months off, I was worried about going back. I didn't feel ready. Then the summer holidays gave me the perfect excuse to avoid my fears, and it wasn't until the new school term that I started dancing again. It's a slow struggle and I'm still a lot weaker than I was, but I'm starting to build my muscles back up. Albeit very clumsily at the moment.
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Whether things aren't going as planned, or you feel like you need a new direction, job hunting can be a pretty daunting task. And with Christmas looming, it's not the greatest time to be looking for new job. So when the folks from City Calling (a jobsite that helps people 'find their calling')got in touch, I agreed to share my top tips on how to nail your next interview. I don't think it matters how many times you've been for an interview. They're always pretty nerve-wracking. But there are 5 fail safes I always rely on to make sure I'm on top of my interview game.

Do Your Research
Yeah if might sound like a bit of an obvious one, but it works whether you're simply applying for a job, or you've made it to interview stage. Research is key. Make sure you know who the company are and what you've got to contribute. At work I get a lot of prospective emails from people looking for work. And one thing that sets you apart is knowing your stuff. If you already understand who the company is and why you'd be great to work for them, then it can make all the difference.

Wear Something Sensible
Ok, so another obvious one. So you've gotten the interview, and you've spent a week prepping the perfect outfit. Sure, you want to look your best. And you want to look smart. But if you feel a bit wobbly in those new heels, or they're giving you blisters just walking out your front door, maybe rethink them. While you want to look great, wearing something that's smart but comfortable can automatically help you feel more relaxed.

Get Organised
So you're applying for a pretty high stress job, you want to show you can multi task, cope under pressure and manage your time like a boss. Great. Did you check where your interview was happening? Did you make sure you have everything you need to bring with you? Did you definitely iron that shirt last night? There's nothing like proving the skills you have on paper. And if you show up for the interview a dithering mess without a clue, it's not going to do much to prove how well you can handle yourself. Not to mention the stress that running backwards and forwards because you haven't got properly organised beforehand will cause you. And that's before they're even grilling you with tough questions.

Be On Time
My friends sometimes joke about the fact I'm always running at least 15 minutes late. It's not really a joke. Most of the time I am. But when it comes to job interviews, client meetings or anything professional.. Punctuality is a massive bugbear for pretty much everyone I've ever worked with. Yeah accidents and freak instances of apocalyptic style weather happen. And most reasonable people will let you off. But people are busy, and they don't want to sit around and wait all day for you. So if you're not sure where you're going or how long it will take you to get to the interview, set off early. Being late makes you look disinterested and uncommitted. Because if you can't show up on time to sell yourself as the perfect candidate, you'll have a hard time convincing your interviewer that you'll be an exemplar employee.

Act Confident
Sure your hands might be shaking, and you might have to cough over your quivering voice. You might be mega prepared for this but you're bound to be nervous. It's ok, just don't let nerves get the better of you. There's nothing worse than feeling like you've worked your arse off preparing for an interview, only to go to pieces on the day. Chances are, the more prepared you are, the less nervous you'll be. But there's simple things that I always think help me stand a little taller. I always find something that helps me is making a conscious effort to put something on that I know looks good. Whether that's your outfit, a signature scent or a bright lipstick that will give you a boost.

And remember, if you've gotten as far as interview stage then you've done most of the hard work. You've managed to set yourself apart from a whole other pile of papers on your interviewer's desk. So now, try to stay calm and let them see exactly why you're the perfect person for the job. Good luck!
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parka-leather-satchel-co-albion-black-backpack
I'm happy to admit that when it comes to bags and shoes, I'm a snob. No matter how much I love the style, if I don't feel like the craftsmanship's there then I won't invest. So that means bags and shoes MUST be leather. But it's not just to do with quality of materials. Since I'm pretty sentimental and I get attached to my stuff, it makes more sense to buy pieces that will last. Right now I'm not exactly in the market for a new bag, but thanks to Klein and Kate, his gorgeous (practically model) gf, Parka and the Leather Satchel Co's collaboration started appearing on my instagram feed. And of course I couldn't help lusting after their full collection.
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The collaboration between the two British brands' came about from a 'mutual respect for their aesthetic and quality'. And the result? A beautifully timeless range of hand-crafted unisex leather bags. They're somewhere between a classic tote, and a vintage children's satchel. I love the thickness of the leather and its sturdiness. They're the sort of bags that just get better with age. And you know that as the leather starts to wrinkle and crease, you'll love it even more than the first time you slung it over your shoulder.
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Photos by Klein Borrill
champagne-tune-hotels
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There's something pretty indulgent about staying in a hotel in the same city that you live in. So when Tune hotels got in touch and asked if I'd like to stay over at their new place on Side, I couldn't resist bringing the girls along. Since we all live in the same city, it's rare that we all get to get ready together. And it seemed like the perfect excuse to grab a few bottles of champagne, dress up, get drunk and pretend that we were on The Hills.
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Perched on the bank just up from the Quayside, Tune hotel is literally in the perfect place to start your night. So we knew that after spending a couple hours getting ready, we'd be able to just stroll straight up to Alvinos to start the night. We could check into the room from 3pm, but since none of us planned on staying the night, we headed across at about 7pm to explore. The hotel itself is pretty modern but they've retained the original emerald green tiles that anyone who visited Kublai Khan will remember. It's the kind of simple, clean minimalism that comes with a small price tag, but sets Tune apart from the likes of the Travel Lodge and Premier Inn by giving it a bit more personality.
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Knowing that I was bringing the girls along, we'd been booked into a twin room to give us a little space to get ready. Inside, the decor was kept pretty simple with a nice wooden floor, a huge full length mirror that was perfect for pre-night out selfies, and plenty of room for dancing about like lunatics. The only qualm we had was there seemed to be a distinct lack of surfaces.. other than a small bedside table and a little desk in the corner. The idea behind Tune hotels is to keep things simple, offering you just the basics you need. They're not luxury, but they're nicely designed and a clean place to lay your head. Their no frills approach, means you have to pay to add on extras that you might expect to usually find (like towels and a hair dryer). But they're perfect if you're looking for a budget city break. Or if you just resent paying over the odd for a place to sleep. And with rooms for as cheap as £15 (if you book in advance), you'll be left with more money to spend on a nice outfit... or in our case, champagne to start the night!
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halloween-header-aw14
Ever since I was a kid, I've always had a fascination with the macabre. And Halloween is certainly no exception. There's nothing I love more than a creepy tale about the unexplained. 

But while I've got a love for all things Halloween related - the parties, the stories, the candies, the films - there's one bit I'm not so keen on now I've got a bit older: the costumes. I don't know why I've got this about fancy dress. I hate the effort I have to go to thinking of what to wear. I hate then having to buy my costume. Despite growing up with the biggest dressing up box of all my pals, somehow as an adult, I've got no interest.

Since this year I have plans to head to Screenage Kicksfor their Halloween double bill AND Lane 7's Halloween party, I thought I should put a little more effort into things. Rather than just opting for my fluffy black jumper a pair of hotpants and drawing whiskers on my face. So I've been looking on Pinterest for some inspiration for the spooky season. And whether you're spending Halloween at parties, or binging on Netflix all weekend hopefully these will give you some ideas too...
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Creepy Vintage Halloween Costumes (16)
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images from various sources via pinterest

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