Who went to Stylist Live last week? ME! I treated myself to a VIP ticket and headed to their new venue in Olympia London very, very excited. I went in 2015 and 2016 and loved it both times. My VIP ticket also included a Thrive session – one of the sessions you can book and I decided to get a Quickfire Introduction into Coding.
Olympia London is much, much larger and I was so curious to see what Stylist Live would be doing to fill such a large space. I also wanted to know how the VIP lounge would change after the previous two years (when I had the best time).
Usually I go alone however this time I went with someone which was also a new experience. As I told them I love going to things like this alone – browsing and buying at my own pace – and don’t actually feel alone until lunch time when everyone is chatting and eating with other people and I am people watching.
The VIP Experience
The VIP Lounge is always my first port of call – dropping my bags and coat before anything else. This time the lounge also had various beauty treatments and I decided to get my hair braided. Doing it first thing meant there was no queue and I was able to pay a visit to the very cool Pick n Mix stand as well as the Vending Machine of Dreams before heading down to the main floor in order to shop!
The lounge had snacks and places to sit. What I did notice was that there were less food options and that for the first time there was a limit to how much free food we could get. With only two full meal options my friend and I decided on breakfast with the amazing Pip & Nut and then coming back later for lunch with The Vurger Co.
The sun was streaming in as we ate our nut butter on toast and I couldn’t think of a better way to start the day.
When we came back to the lounge at lunch the experience soured. The VIP exclusive cloakroom didn’t take any shopping bags to store. Umm…WHAT. Surely that’s the whole point of having access to a cloakroom at an event geared towards making you shop? The thought of carrying everything I had bought, which included bottles, put me in such a bad mood until my friend had a genius idea. She had one of those massive bags which came with a smaller back inside. Transferring all her personal stuff to the smaller bag, we shoved as much shopping as we could into the larger bag and handed that in.
The second issue was with the food. Earlier in the day we had seen that besides from Pip & Nut there was only one place where we could grab food – The Vurger Co’s stand. Obviously everyone else had the same idea. We reached there at 12.45 and actually had food in our hands at about 2.20. What a waste of our time!
VIP tickets are expensive and a major draw is the fact that food is included. I didn’t want to have to spend more money on food. But by the time the food was ready the hanger (hungry anger) was REAL. Oh, so real. After the this the headache was also real – I had brought a bottle of water with me but couldn’t actually find anywhere to refill it at all. I also couldn’t actually find any water bottles on sale – coconut water and infused water yes, but normal water? That was a no.
So as wonderful as the VIP lounge was (and it was good), I missed having more food options and less queues. I also resented (and I really did) having to use subterfuge to get the cloakroom to take my shopping. Here’s hoping they improve this for next year.
The Thrive Session
Each Gold VIP ticket included a Thrive session and the one I signed up for was Quickfire Coding. You know a session has been good when you rethink your whole education and career and decide to sign up to a course to learn something new. I WANT TO CODE!
The session was led by Anisah Osman-Britton and she is the founder of 23 Code Street, a company which teaches women how to code and for every student in the UK funds a woman in Mumbai to learn too. I don’t know what else to say other than I WANT TO CODE.
Thank you Stylist for introducing me to a whole new world; I don’t just want to dip my toe in, I want to dive right in.
Shopping. Shopping. Shopping. Every year I discover new brands at Stylist Live and this year was no different. As the venue was so much larger there were so many more brands. Here’s just a taster of what I tried, saw, and bought:
- The most delicious apple cider vinegar I have ever had
- Ayurvedic brownies
- Some truly stunning lingerie
- A frilly jumpsuit
- Bol food soups and salad bowls
- Protein powder
- Embossed stationary
- Irish coin necklaces
And this is just what I can remember right now. I LOVE browsing and discovering new brands and Stylist Live had everything I wanted and then some. The only thing I would have loved to see more of is fitness apparel and that’s just because I am obsessed with it.
Funny story: as my friend and I passed one stall with a stunning flower display, I asked the woman manning the stall if I could take a picture of the flowers. I started talking to her about how lovely flowers are. At this point my friend noticed I wasn’t with her anymore and came back.
‘Oh hey, Tiffany!’ she said looking at the woman.
‘Do you two no each other?’ I asked politely.
‘No,’ said Tifany.
‘She’s from made in Chelsea,’ my friend said. We laughed and I took a picture of the two of them.
Genuinely had no idea who she was. Still don’t.
I also passed the Waterstones stall and just happened to arrive at the same time as the Reni Eddo-Lodge book signing! I love this woman and Why I No Longer Talk To White People About Race has been on my ‘to buy and read’ list for a long, long time.
I always love the five key catwalk trends Stylist Live highlight and this time was no different. From crashing colours to sparkling magpies to 1970s New York City. Diverse models – in terms of race and size – walked down the catwalk wearing some of the loveliest things I had ever seen.
One of the best things about the catwalk is that at the beginning Stylist Live hand out a list of every look, the prices of each look and where you can buy them.
What I hope they improve for next time
- I definitely plan on going next year and getting a VIP ticket. And as much as I loved my time there last week there are some things I would like changed or improved and things I would do differently:
- The queue for lunch in the VIP Lounge needs to be sorted out.
- The cloakroom situation needs to be clarified. I will also be bringing bags that don’t look like totes
- I would love for there to be a timetable which says in chronological order what was happening in the day. The timetables we were given had it all broken down by stages and types of talks.
- While the Thrive stage had its own cordoned off area, the two other stages were in the main hall and it was so hard to hear what was being said.
- I had no idea there were going to be book signings and I know I probably missed out on some amazing authors which kills me a little inside.
As always I had such a good time and I will be going back next year! Hopefully as someone who can code….