Leeds never fails to impress, from the new restaurants and bars that pop up every week to the never-ending wealth of shopping joints that most certainly make it the shopping capital of the North. Although Trinity offers every kind of high street store, its Victoria Quarter that gets my vote, the beautiful architecture, the stunning array of stores ready to fill shoppers with delight.
I was lucky enough to be invited along to Victoria Quarter to see a little more of some of my favourite stores, and if you read my Skincare Routine post you will have seen some of the spoils from this lovely day.
We had a jam-packed schedule, including visits to Kiehl’s, Neals Yard, Illamasqua, Charlotte Tilbury & Harvey Nichols Espresso Bar for afternoon tea, because after all that beauty fun we we’re all in need of refuelling. I got to spend the evening with Sarah from What Sass Says, Jessica of A Girl In Her Walled City and Kay from Cheery Little Thing along with the fab team from Turn Key who made sure we were all spoilt rotten!
First up we visited Kiehl’s, I have quite the addiction to the brand, so much so that I could happily spend a whole afternoon chatting about their lotions and potions. Despite knowing lots about the brand I was really surprised to learn they don’t advertise their brand, it is merely through wonderful word of mouth that they have become so successful! Meaning that for once a great big brand can focus their time and profits in developing the ingredients, training and ensure that every single customer leaves beaming and with glowing skin!
The staff are so knowledgable, not just that, they are beyond passionate which I find refreshing. Anyone can wander in and be treated to a complimentary skin consultation where you will receive a week’s worth of samples that will be perfect for your skin type. Unlike makeup, I do think that you absolutely must try products before you commit to purchasing them, which is why I rate Kiehl’s so highly to basically everyone I know, in fact I know for a fact many of my friends and families dressing tables and bedroom cabinets include a Kiehl’s product or two.
Next we were whisked off to Illamasqua to find out all about their nude lipstick range and brand new contour sticks, both of which feed into my love for 90’s style throwback make up, still a girl band wannabe trapped inside me, clearly. I always feel inspired in Illamasqua, the drama of the stop, the theatrics of the staff all add to the experience that you’ve stepped inside somewhere other wordily.
Tease from the Glamore range is my current go to nude lipstick and has been since they launched some 6 months ago, the finish is matte enough to stay put but moisture rich to ensure it’s comfortable and looks great, especially with a slightly darker nude lipliner, to really amp up the 90’s vibe.
I’ve been a fan of their sculpting due power for yonks and love the definition it gives, however now summer is rapidly approaching I do think I could do with something a little lighter and build-able, and Gel Sculpt is just the ticket. Although of first sight the colours appear extreme, I knew I was in safe hands and really enjoyed learning how best to use these fab products. They glide onto the skin and even after having my makeup on all day, they didn’t disturb my matte foundation, or appear too ‘done’ which is never a look I go for.
I used Silhouette for the shadow element of my contour, which is an almost burgundy looking shade in the bullet, but goes on with a sheer, cool finish and blends beautifully. Again the blush options are bright as buttons, especially the coral shade I used, Charm, it look natural on first application and are easily build-able, making them super versatile, regardless of skin tone.
Onwards to Charlotte Tilbury, and I must admit, the part of the afternoon I was most looking forward to. Although I’m an avid Tilbury fan, I had yet to get any hands on time with the products, other than fleetingly as I pass through Harvey Nics newly renovated beauty hall. The visit did not disappoint!
The rose gold packaging must make the range the most glamorous on the market and a lovely change from the usual matte black that higher end brands tend to lean towards. But it isn’t just the outside that is breaking the mould, despite its relative youth, Charlotte Tilbury is making a name for itself for creating cult products, including but by no means limited to the Colour Chameleon eye shadow pencil and Filmstar Bronze and Glow palette, both of which are on my ‘lust list’ once the spending ban in over.
Add these Beach Sticks to the list too, the somewhat vast list…Could we also take a moment to appreciate just how cute this lipstick tester is, you literally press it to your lips and it transfers, way more kissable that carrying a tube around, although it’s so pretty I haven’t dared use it just yet.
After all that beauty, it was time for coffee and cake, of course. Where better whilst in Victoria Quarter than the famous Harvey Nichols, the espresso bar is tucked safely under the sensation stained glass roof that never fails to make me gasp a little every time I see it.
Our tasty treat came in the form of afternoon tea, and heck what a treat it was. Sandwiches with no crusts, fancy don’t you know, followed by the most delectable array of cakes as well as a jelly that reminded me of an ice lolly. It was the perfect place to chill for a while, gossip a touch and keep warm under the lovely heaters, not to mention rest our feet after all the beauty hunting.
Massive thank you to Sarah for the wonderful cake snaps, I was far too busy scoffing to the snapping!
After our super sweet refreshment it was off to the last appointment of the afternoon, and after all of the beauty and indulgence it seemed apt that the day end in the healing hands of Neal’s Yard. I must admit, it’s not a shop I had ever stepped foot in before, considering I’m not a fan of lavender, I had a preconceived idea that it would be all lavender like and not my taste at all, but how wrong I was!
Neals Yard are known for their use of entirely natural ingredients, they also strongly believe that being beautiful on the inside leads to external beauty. I was amazed to hear that they are the first health and beauty brand to be awarded 100/100 for ethics, which is no mean feat. Although this was the one stop on our afternoon out that I was initially least interested in, it turned out to be a real eye opener of a visit and I found the women working there incredibly inspiring and I left with a much more considered idea of what ‘beauty’ really means.
After trying their super food matcha cocktail (very very green!) I was then lucky enough to have a facial cleanse and massage using the Wild Rose Balm, which was beyond relaxing, and also I’m sure made me look like I had just had the most relaxing week off work!
Neals Yard currently have 20% off, online and in store so get yourself in for some of that Wild Rose Balm, seriously great for body and mind.
Thank you to the wonderful stores in Victoria Quarter, Harvey Nichols and the fab team from Turn who made the whole afternoon really fab! If you need me, I’l be riffling through my goodie bags!