Mini Muddy visits her first ‘Backstage Live’
Having been a journo since, what feels like, the beginning of time, I’ve been lucky enough to visit lots of backstages – Glasto, Cannes Film Festival, WWE (oh yeah baby, me and Hulk Hogan were like that *crosses fingers to denote well tight buddies). I remember how excited I was at my first film premier, and how amazed I was at the goodie bags after various events (people paid you to go these things, AND you got free stuff). I’ve never become complacent about people’s hospitality, whether they’re a huge, multi-national corporation or a small indie cinema who shouts you a free ticket for a film. The fact is they’re bothering to make an effort, and the least anybody can do, is receive it with a smile (and a whoop or the occasional ‘get in!)’ And it seems I have passed this on to the Mudlet, because when she arrived at Backstage Live at Queensgate in Peterborough, she could have been walking the Croisette in Cannes for all she cared, because she was in make-up/fashion/hair heaven.
Backstage Live events are often run by shopping centres to promote certain retailers and products, and quite frankly, it’s great to see so much effort and creativity going on to inspire consumers. The idea is that it’s like the behind the scenes of a fashion show, and Mudlet stepped into the role with aplomb. Now I know this maybe like swearing to some, but I’m not a massive shopper. Actually, that’s not strictly speaking true, but I do try and avoid the crowds and I don’t often visit shopping centres (although I grew up near the Metro Centre in Tyne and Wear, which was like a day out to a theme park as a teenager). These days, living only a few miles out of Northampton, I tend to go there or Milton Keynes, but never Peterborough; so I’m extremely grateful for this invite because I found loads of shops I like, and some fabulous places to eat (and get cocktails, who knew?!).
Throughout the course of the day there were hair, beauty, makeup and fashion demonstrations and there was also the opportunity for people to have one to one sessions with some of the experts from stores around Queensgate (Michael John Hair, Pkai Hair, John Lewis, The Body Shop, Lush). There was also the chance of a wee makeover with the lovely Fiona Florczak, a freelance makeup artist who gave me some awesome tips (light concealers just accentuate bags under the eyes, you need something more orangey; even a matte red lipstick dabbed underneath is better).
As I went for the make-up banter, Mudlet went for the ‘do’ and Amber from Michel John listened as she was told all about that night’s sleep over of numerous 11-year-olds and how all Mini Muddy’s friends would just love the waves in her hair (it was like free childcare for half an hour while I chatted Mac make-up with my new friend) .
There were rails of clothes dotted around and demonstrations throughout the day, from John Lewis, Primark, Next and Warehouse and as you can see below, somebody took every advantage of what was on offer!
And last but not least, let’s not forget the goodie bag(s), of which the Queensgate Shopping Centre kindly gave us one each (it would have gotten messy if they hadn’t, the 11-year-old is getting territorial on the toiletries)! There were loads of goodies from Boots, Tiger (my totally new favourite shop), Paperchase, Thorntons, Lush, The Body Shop AND vouchers for Handmade Burger Co., which slightly appeased Mr Muddy who had been wandering around aimlessly for the best part of four hours (that’s what he told me, but I know he was in various trainer shops planning his Summer purchases).
Queensgate Shopping Centre and Peterborough were a bit of a revelation to me, I have to say. There was easily enough to do for a day out, and the square outside of the centre was lovely in the sunshine (loads of barmy kids running through the fountains while parent’s sat and watched the world go by). But hey, why take my word for it when the true retail queen of the house can give her verdict. Thanks Peterborough, I’ll be back!
The Mini Muddy Review
Backstage Live was the best day ever!!!! I have never been pampered so much in my life (note from editor: I’m sure she has, but I’ll let her have this). It was fabulous and fantastic, flashing lights and booming music, I felt like a celebrity strolling down the red carpet. Although I’m a big fan of it myself, we’ve never really been a shopping family, so…when I saw this huge shopping centre, I was blown away. Huge crowds of excited people swarmed in and out of doors with bags in hand, and in our hands were bags that were slightly more exclusive, overflowing with goodies given to us by Queensgate: LUSH shower scrub, bath bombs, body creams; mini perfumes by Givenchy, Prada, Dior; makeup and nail polish; coupons and freebies (an especially good one was the free burger = YUM). Sadly there were no kitchen utensils (my Dad likes kitchen shops), so we took him to Tiger which has loads of utensils, then Mum took him for a glass of red wine at Handmade Burger Co. I think everyone left happy; I chatted to the man Mum said does the public relations, and he said I can blog at the next one, YES!