A Fashion Break: Yankee Candles

Ok, let’s all have a breather and talk about something unrelated to fashion for a second.

Ermm… ok, erm, how about Yankee Candles? YEY!

So, I love a good candle, right, tee lights, candelabras, pillars, scented, novelty. You name it, I’ll burn it. However, upon stepping into the world of fashion and retail, I was introduced to a whole new world of high-end candles and my nostrils have never been so spoilt in all their mediocre lives.

My Boss, par example, favours Jo Malone. She has a house filled with gorgeous glass encased scented candles from the mistress of smelly waxy gorgeousness. A wander around her home is like a sensory journey through time itself. She even burns them at work, which is lovely because my desk is right by hers. However, their less than accessible price tag means that their scent never wafts around my flat through any fault of my own.

I regularly pop by the Jo Malone counters at Harvey Nichols or Selfridges to have a sniff. I even get the odd free hand massage because I’m apparently on their mailing list (some administrative mishap that went very much in my favour). When I pop by the Harvey Nichols AW12 show this Wednesday, the show will inevitably be scented by Jo Malone, Blackberry and Bay may be spritzed onto cards on each chair and perhaps Pomegranate Noir will waft from strategically placed candles throughout the evening. Oh, heaven.

However, as I said, I just can’t fathom £38.00 on something you actually and purposefully destroy by fire. So, I have to get my kicks some other way. 

Yankee Candles are like a pompous poor person’s extremely extravagant indulgence. If you like scented candles but can’t stand the toilet cleaner smells from the IKEA range or the sickly sweet scents from some gift-set candle, Yankee is the way to go.

Don’t get me wrong, they’re not cheap, this one’s all about value and comparison. Case and point: they’re comparatively practically Primark prices next to Jo Malone and you get a lot more wax for your dollar. So, a sound investment all round!

Switch on QVC or Bid Up.TV now and they’re probably flogging the Christmas Yankee Candle range, they’re huge in the US and you can find them in House of Fraser, Hoopers and even Clinton’s Cards. Mind you, I drive an hour down the M65 to Colne to get mine at bargain basement prices from Boundary Mill Outlet Store (love a good outlet store) and stock up.

Yes, I drive an hour down the M65 to bulk buy scented candles. I am, truly, that person.

I’m currently burning Fluffy Towels in my living room, the smell reminds me of my mum’s fresh laundry on a Sunday afternoon. We have French Vanilla in our guest bathroom, which evidently doubles up as an air freshener when the cat has deposited a little turd in his litter tray! That’s price per use value right there! I also have the musky harmonies of Midsummer Night in the ensuite (Adam’s choice) for those manly grooming sessions and have a Beach Walk scented Yankee in-car air freshener hanging from my rear-view mirror!

I entreat you to pop by your local stockist and have a sniff. Oh and the trick to picking your favourite scent is to avoid sniffing the candle itself, but sniff the lid because you’ll get a better idea of the candle’s scent when burned. (Adam told me that. :D)


Building a Brand: Lego Manchester Arndale Store Review

I’ve recently begun regressing. It’s a worry. I’ve graduated University, got a proppa job, started paying council tax and have even considered life insurance. However, I have also booked a holiday to Disney World, started wearing graphic T-shirts straight out of Big Bang Theory (when no one is looking) and recently spent a few hours in the new Lego store at Manchester Arndale, playing with lego bricks.

I have always been the level-headed, Mr. Organiser, the one who mums and dads used to say “he is old headed”. Yet, upon stepping into formal adult-dom I’ve become a big fat child. Nothing is as good an example of this than my recent trip to the Lego store at Manchester Arndale.

I had had the review booked for a while but post-Manchester Evening News Diary Party hangovers and Vet’s visits somewhat prevented my trip to the new store. However, I finally made it, met the lovely Manager Heather and began my tour.

“We prefer to consider the store an experience rather than a shop,” says Heather, a scouser who has recently relocated to leafy Chorlton to run Lego’s ninth UK stand-alone store, “it’s such a unique toy, it caters for all ages.”

 Me, sat at my desk, wearing oh-so on trend English heritage.

Ah, so I’m not alone in my regressive stance as adult-turned-child? Apparently not, just before my meeting with Heather, she had been ordering a shed-load of bricks for a gentleman who was building a city! There is also an elderly couple who shop at the Manchester Arndale store who have a who room dedicated to Lego, with a Lego train running through it! I was getting heart palpitations at the thought, I once had a whole bedroom dedicated to Knex (do you remember Knex?) I had Knex Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, cranes. It is, truly, my most macho memory.

So the store is about play, there are digital play stations, building play stations, interactive areas, a pick-a-brick wall and play sets piled floor to ceiling, the full length of the store.

What was nice to see was that mums, dads, kids, grannies, grandads and couples without kids were all having a giggle, making their Lego alter-egos and sampling the toys and creations on display. I think of this philosophy when explaining mine and Adam’s recent Disney World holiday booking to less than convinced friends and acquaintances. They wonder why two ‘adults’ want to go to a holiday destination built for children. I just reply, you’re never to old for Disney. I think the same is true for Lego.

The not-so child-like Saratoga Springs Spa resort Adam and I are staying in next October.
After our tour and talk Heather gave me an empty carton and said, “this is our pick-a-brick wall, it’s like pick-and-mix, only for Lego. Go, treat yourself.”

I all but galloped to the wall, kicking a pram and elbowing a 5 year old in the face to get there. I may have been the “old headed” child but the parents also remarked on my profound inability to share.


TK Maxx for AW12

It’s getting chilly, it’s getting dark early and I’ve stocked up on a fortune’s worth of Berocca. Yes, it’s Autumn/Winter my lovelies! It is, truly, my favourite time of year. Living in the North West of England in not-so-sunny Manchester means that Summer is, pretty much, a write off. However, we can always count on Manchester to provide a blissfully cold and crisp Autumn.

But who can we count on to provide the clobber?

Look no further than your local TK Maxx. Now, I’m a relatively recent convert to the ways of TK. There is a rather fabulous lady in my mother’s social circle, called Jacquie, who swears by TK Maxx and I’ve never really understood why. Whilst I agreed the CK briefs were reasonable, I didn’t think there was much more there.

That all changed when TK Maxx took me for dinner earlier this year. I’m such a fickle blogger. But no, I wasn’t bought – I was enlightened! TK Maxx buy direct from designers (or their distribution agencies) and actually buy into the world’s biggest and most fabulous labels. The reason they can’t broadcast this on their adverts is because the brands they buy make them keep quiet about it. But honestly, they’re jam-packed with THIS SEASON’S designer labels! YES, HONESTLY!

Now, I popped down south last week to see what was in-store (literally) for TK Maxx this coming season and sampled some lovely food and drink with the likes of Pearl (totes not her real name) of Fashion Pearls Of Wisdom, Mark of A La Male, Leroy of Diary of a Clothes Horse, Amy of Wolf Whistle, Jen of Jen Little Bird and loads more fabulous peps.

To make it easier for you to shop the rails, here are some of this season’s trends and the hot picks from TK Maxx!

English Heritage: Men’s

Military: Women’s
Modernist: Men’s

Folk Law: Women’s


Roll on AW12: Adverts from TK Maxx, M&S and BHS

Loving that AW12 is well and truly on its way. I don’t know about you but, despite the random blast of hot sun sweeping the nation this weekend, I’m looking forward to the cold weather. Wrapping up warm, hot chocolate, Christmas markets and GLOVES! (I love gloves).

Anywho, no one is looking forward to AW12 more than retailers, after a horrific summer, punctuated by disappointing bank holidays, Jubilees, Olympic mania and Royal weddings – if they don’t make some dosh now, when will they!?

Here are my top favourites of what’s on our teleboxes RIGHT now.

TK Maxx Autumn/Winter 2012 TV Ad (UK)

I adore that bloggers get a mention – one of TK Maxx’s biggest B2C channels. Shame that TK Maxx can’t flaunt the unbelievable brands they have in store (because of buying agreements) because the clothes used in this advert rival the ones you’d see in an advert for any high-end department store. FACT.

Favourite moment: The voice-over man’s laugh 😀

Marks & Spencer (M&S) – For Every Woman You Are TV Ad (UK)

It’s true, we haven’t seen a woman like you before. Someone old, someone big, someone black, someone typical. WHO KNEW DIVERSITY WAS SO FABULOUS? Well, we all did but kudos to M&S for doing it without being sickly.

Favourite moment: they fact that the first look is a stunner on every single model.

Debenhams – Life Made Fabulous TV Ad (UK)

I rather like that Debenhams are making their Designers At Debenhams initiative an absolute focal point of their marketing strategy. It is, after all, the best bit about Debenhams! It was Jo Hooper who introduced Designers at Debenhams in the early 1990s and she recently told the Telegraph’s Stella Magazine that “people believed it would never catch on. I watched it go from making a couple of million pounds to making a hundred million.” READ THE INTERVIEW HERE.

Favourite moment: they almost make you believe that Henry, Julian and Jasper all work in the same room and actually have the time to hand-make their Debenhams line alongside their own designer collections. Lolz.

I can’t wait for the next string of fabulousness from our TVs INCLUDING a rather exciting ad from TV newcomer, BHS who is undergoing a re-brand ahead of AW12. Watch this space!


Manchester Evening News Diary Party 2012

I’m nursing a steady, but certainly not unflattering hangover, as a result of last night’s Manchester Evening News Dairy Party. The Diary is the society column and the party was filled with all those who have been mentioned in the inches over the years (and me).

The party was big, the carpet was red, the guests were dressed in everything from bespoke sequin, as worn by Diary editor Dianne Bourne, and jeans and t-shirt, as worn by some unknown casual peeps. The drinks were flowing, as was the chocolate fountain, everyone knew everyone (or pretended they did) and it was nice to let one’s hair down after a manic few weeks at work.

You can see all the Schleb pictures from the night on the Manchester Evening News website HERE.

But, here are some snaps you WON’T see anywhere else…

 Lynda with some guy from Britain’s Got Talent?

Chris and some news lady?


The after party (kinda)

The END.

What’s in my Desk Drawer?: A post INSIDE fashion (sort of)

Have you ever suddenly woken up at night wondering to yourself, ‘what’s in Jordan McDowell’s desk drawer?” Well, fret no more, wave goodbye to night sweats and panic attacks. I’m about to tell you…

 My desk…

My drawers.

From top left: My black (well, grey) book of contacts. Kleenex, Hayfever Tablets, A gorgeous leather bound note pad from my friend Karla, assorted memory sticks, A book on fascias, Hand cream, assorted tester fragrances, Clinique Men’s eye cream (for after those late nights), A book I never have time to read, a book on Fashion since 1900 (apparenty).
Now, what’s in your desk drawer?