On Saturday 7th July 2012 more than 130 attendees gathered at Aspire Leeds for the greatest event in 2012 – Plus North! It was the brainchild of gorgeous girlies Becky and Toni, with assistance from the ever wonderful Mhairi.
Photo courtesy of Simply Be
It had been hotly anticipated by bloggers far and wide, plus their families and friends in some cases!
I had already been up in Leeds for a few days with Kathryn, making the most of the fab shopping facilities in the local area. We’d also had the pleasure of meeting up with Toni and some non-blogging friends for shoe-claiming, shopping, clothes-swapping, gossiping and food.
On the Saturday, we arrived at Aspire in the morning as we were both due to take part in the fashion show. I was amazed by the grandeur of the venue – a superb choice!
Photo courtesy of Mhairi
Becky, Toni, Mr BeBe and Ben (aka Laurel & Hardy or Tweedle Dum & Tweedle Dee) had dressed the venue to perfection. The tables looked elegant and professional and the exhibitors were strategically placed around the two floors.
We eagerly made our way upstairs to meet up with the lovely Charlotte from Simply Be and her fab team, and grabbed our packages of clothes to try on for the fashion show.
Photo courtesy of Janie
This is where things went rather wrong for me. While the other ladies whooped and cooed at each other’s gorgeous outfits, mine ended up being a complete disaster. I had volunteered to model clothing and lingerie; however due to a mix-up I was unable to participate in either.
I had been allocated two dresses to try on but both were of the same style – shirred bust strapless maxi dresses: this one and another of the same shape but different pattern which I could not find on the site. They were gorgeous designs but not something I would choose for myself as they were strapless – a big no-no for me and my breasticles. This would not have been a sticking point though, as I was embracing the fashion show as an opportunity to try something different, and a tie shrug had been provided to cover my bra straps.
Unfortunately the first dress I tried was too short, so much so that it looked silly. I am not a tall girl – only 5’4 – but I guess my generous boobs and bum take up more room than the average person, meaning that maxi dresses need to be that bit longer than usual to work on me.
I tried the other dress, only to find that it was a size 24 mistakenly packaged in a size 14 bag. The length was ok but I needed to add a belt to make the dress work…sadly this meant that it was again too short. And the tie shrug would not have worked with a belt.
Not to be deterred, I was keen to try on the bra which had been chosen for me but I discovered that it had not turned up.
Charlotte from Simply Be was lovely and got me to try on other dresses to see if something else would work but sadly they were the wrong size/shape for me. Something told me that I was simply not destined to take part in the fashion show so I left the other girls to it. I was incredibly disappointed as I had been looking forward to it (and dreading it in equal measures!) so when the choice of participating was taken away from me I felt very upset indeed.
I tried very hard to put on a brave face and thankfully the lovely ladies that are Mhairi and Hanna were on hand to keep me sane for the rest of the day, and a short spell chatting with the ever stylish Laura and the wonderful Clare cheered me up no end. I just wish I could have talked with them more but the day flew by!
The ladies who were fortunate enough to take part in the fashion show looked magnificent. They had confidence (or at least were very good at pretending to have it!), sassiness and attitude. Charlotte did a brilliant job at compering and the accompanying music helped the models strut their stuff on the catwalk.
Photo courtesy of Mhairi
Mhairi, Hanna and I spent the rest of the afternoon browsing the exhibitors’ stands and talking to the representatives from the various companies.
Image courtesy of Mhairi
I was really impressed with the wide range of retailers that Becky and Toni had managed to book for the event and it was great to spend time talking to them all.
I had recently got some business cards made at Staples, Crown Point, Leeds, and very much enjoyed handing them out to everyone and anyone; companies and attendees alike!
I was particularly pleased to meet up with the ladies from Evans at White Rose Leeds, as we had met some of them when shopping earlier in the week. Katie is a brilliant manager and I even saw her again on Sunday as Mhairi and I could not resist a final shopping spree before we headed back down the M1 towards home. She does not miss an opportunity to get customer feedback and was genuinely interested in what we had to say about the store, the clothing ranges, her staff and many other things. I wish I lived in Leeds so I could visit the store more often!
During the afternoon we also managed to talk to Excite Clothing, Chesca Fashion, Trapped In A Skinny World, Ann Harvey, Slink Magazine, Life’s Big Canvas and many more. Everyone was so enthusiastic about the event and wanted to talk to the attendees and get their feedback about their ranges and future projects.
Photo courtesy of Rebecca
Towards the end of the afternoon there was a prize draw with many amazing gifts on offer. I guess karma came good in the end as I was lucky enough to win a £100 Clothing at Tesco voucher – I can’t wait to spend it 🙂
All too soon, the event came to an end. I said goodbye to as many of the ladies as possible but please forgive me if I missed you. I tried to talk to everyone that I encountered during the day and hope I have made some fab new friends, including Kaye, Janie, Nelly and Hayley.
Thank you so much to Becky, Toni and Mhairi for all their hard work. Plus North 2012 was an incredible success and I can’t wait to attend next year’s event x