An Afternoon at Leeds' Victoria Quarter

February 02, 2016

As a child, the Victoria Quarter in Leeds was a place I loved to visit as I could pretend I was a celebrity. I could walk down the parades in the centre, shielded from the wind outside from the double doors guarded by suit wearing men who would open the door for you. (!) I could point at dresses in the window that were waaay too long for my little child frame and say 'I'm going to be able to wear that when I'm older!' And for a child, that meant I'd made it - I was now as cool as Cheryl Cole, my number one inspiration in my formative years. So when I was approached to sample some of the delights in the shopping arcade, I jumped at the chance and hopped on a train to Leeds (squeezing in a Nandos beforehand of course).
Our first stop was the make up store Illamasqua, where we were treated to mini makeovers and given time to peruse their latest collections. I've always loved Illamasqua, and own a couple of their eyeliners as I find they're very long lasting and easy to apply, but I've always wanted an excuse to try some of their other products. My makeover focused on my eyebrows and lips - two things that I always try and make an effort with myself but usually fail - so it was lovely to have somebody make me up properly and they looked fab! I've tried to recreate the look since I've been home but unsurprisingly have failed - but how good does it look here!? 
 We then visited clothes store Sandro, a store that admittedly I'd never really looked in before, but I fell in love with their products - they all appeared to be very well made, with a favourite of mine being a deep green coloured bag which being typical me, I forgot to take a picture of (yay). With our visit to the store being in what I would call the big run up to Christmas, I didn't expect any items to be discounted yet there were quite a few sale items on offer, bringing the overall cost of the clothes down quite a bit, making it quite reasonable when you compare the quality to something you could pick up in Topshop.  
We then popped over to Links of London, where we were treated to champagne, chocolates and mince pies - I think I'm the only person in the world who doesn't hate mince pies though as they all seemed to be left behind at the end! After being shown the design ideas for their latest collection, which were all based on Big Ben and important landmarks in London, we set down to explore the store and their latest collections. If you know me, you'll know I adore things with a story behind them, which is why I was very interested to hear more about the origins of the collections, and being able to see a design process alongside the finished product added so much more value to the dainty bracelets and necklaces as you could see all of the love that went into creating one single product.
Before setting off to catch the train home with Rachel, we were all treated to a lush afternoon tea at the Harvey Nichols Expresso Bar, which I was not expecting after eating a Nandos for lunch and more than a couple of chocolates across the afternoon! Set within the middle of the arcade, just outside of the Harvey Nichols store, we were kept warm with large heaters set around us as we tucked into mince pie cakes and my favourite salmon sandwiches. One of the main attractions of the meal was the scone, and after a conversation of whether the jam or the cream goes first (definitely the jam), we dug in, and by half way through I was stuffed to capacity, unable to eat another thing. For £49 for two people, a champagne afternoon tea is a treat for sure, but one I hope to partake in again.

Thank you to the lovely girls at the Victoria Quarter for inviting me and if you're ever in Leeds, give the Victoria Quarter a go, I sure will be the next time I'm there!

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