Hey everyone. On Friday I had one of the best days of my life as I had the privilege of attending the opening day of the girls day out show at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre. This event which runs for three days is a feast of all things female and with 200 exhibitors illustrating a vast range of products there really is something to suit all tastes and styles
As a blogger I had made approaches to the organisers of the show to see if they would be interested in the possibility of me blogging about this wonderful celebration of womanhood. Needless to say, I was delighted to receive complementary tickets and I to be honest when it came to Thursday night this middle aged trans woman felt like she was a teenager again and couldn’t sleep for the excitement of thinking that I was attending one of the most glamorous events in the female calendar.
Though the doors were opening at 10 AM I decided to give the stall holders time to set up before beginning my journey across the city from Glasgow’s most eastern edges. That said however I still left reasonably early as my journey involved getting a bus to the city centre before boarding a train to the venue.
On buying my tickets ( yes I was smart and bought a return) , I was directed to platform 17 and was told that my train would be due in five minutes. As I finally made it after climbing down two flights of stairs I knew I was in the right place as hundreds of women and girls waited for its arrival. As it pulled in to the station it was a happy band of passengers who boarded the Girls Day Out Express. In less than 15 minutes we had arrived at our destination and as we walked through the tunnel it was a friendly army who marched in to enjoy a day which had everything a girl could dream of.
As I took my first look round the stalls I think it was fate that the first stall I went to was VIP a company owned by a long time friend of mine the gorgeous loveable and highly chatty Natalie Hughes. This was a very emotional moment for me especially as it was my first ever Girls Day Out. You see I’ve known Natalie since she was a teenager and I also know other members of her family so to say I was gushing like a proud auntie would be an ever so slight understatement.
VIP as the name suggests focuses on giving girls the ultimate pampering day out. With everything from make up to waxing and other beauty treatments including specially tailored packages for all those important events at prices which won’t hurt your purse VIP really is the only place to be if you want to be treated like a princess and the good thing is you get this experience at any time of year and the friendly professional staff will be only to happy to help you in any way they can.
After chatting to Natalie it was time to get on with my day and believe me it was a busy one. As I strolled past the stalls I was given a brochure for teeth whitening by those lovely folks at Fergus and Glover before moving on to an area of shall I say more specific interest. This is an area which no woman can avoid no matter how much she may want to. It is also living proof of the old saying that beauty is pain because sometimes this is actually true. Yes girls I’m talking hair removal. This is a difficult subject for any woman but as a trans woman I have particular issues with it However I have to say that the Metro Laser Company had a fabulous ambassador in Jade, (seen in this picture) who really put me at my ease during our chat she assured me that it wouldn’t be as painful as I seemed to believe.
As I happily took the company’s leaflet I made my way to see the naked butlers however on my way to see what was in my opinion one of the highlights of the day I was distracted by this gorgeous car and I had to take a picture of it.
After all, this encapsulates what the show is all about as it is feminine, stylish, and powerful which is the very essence of what the girls day out is all about. This is saying we can be female and have the life we want, contrary to some male chauvinists or as I prefer to call them dinosaurs may think.
After viewing the naked butlers and committing the unforgivable sin of not getting a picture of them, I decided that after seeing something tasty I needed something tasty and as luck would have it I found the perfect place to tempt my taste buds at Three Sisters Bake. This wasn’t the first time I had tasted their wares as I had come across this dynamic family run business earlier in the year at the Merchant City Festival. After taking a what seemed like an eternity to make up mind I decided to munch on a Christmas Crunch. Well as I was reminded when changing my mind for the 10th time it is a seasonal delicacy you can only get at this time of year. It was delicious and for anyone living in West/Central Scotland I recommend you visit their shops in either Bridge Of Weir, or Killern and enjoy home baked produce of the very highest quality.
Having satisfied my hunger it was time to check out some of the fashion which makes a girls day out so girly and enjoyable. As I expected there was no shortage of high end top quality brand names on with Debenhams promoting their designer range of glamour wear for the party season. I particularly liked this black dress with silver sparkles which just screams Christmas.
This should I get some early Christmas money, is definitely on my wish list. I mean what women wouldn’t turn heads in such a stunning outfit? I’m sure I could find room it in my wardrobe.
Anyway I have more to say on well known brands later but the next dress which caught my eye was this ultra feminine number from a young local designer Tessa from Venus In Furs. I was really impressed by both Tessa and her talents as she had designed everything herself. It is fair to say that though her target audience may be a wee bit younger than yours truly but I could definitely see myself in this rather gorgeous creation
I love the detail of the dress and white lace trim which separates the bodice and skirt is the epitome of class and sophistication I also love the neckline as this illustrates the kind of movie style 40’s and 50’s glamour and you could team it up with silver jewelry to give it a contemporary twist. The long sleeved look that this dress offers is something else I find appealing. Well it covers up any embarrassing bingo wings, and for a woman of a certain age this is no bad thing believe me.
The next place that caught my eye showed the diversity of the day and the wide range of products on offer. Now as every girl will tell you, we all need our beauty sleep and when Comfort Hotel can offer you the luxury of a genuine bamboo pillow which can shape itself to suit to your support needs then you have to investigate further. The idea that even after 10 years the pillow doesn’t sag in the way traditional pillows do makes this another item for my wish list I think. Well as I said every girl needs her beauty sleep with the exception of the sleeping beauty who needs an alarm clock as a matter of urgency.
From there I went on a tour on the make up stalls to check out what was happening. It is not surprising to note that they were amongst the busiest booths on a day which had attracted a large crowd to the conference centre so I decided I think wisely to come back for another look later in the day.
This was a wise decision as it allowed me to go wandering again and I believe me I was lost in the moment on one of the happiest and best days I’ve ever spent anywhere. This is the kind of day I would have loved the chance to attend in my teens and twenties but the world wasn’t ready for such a bold adventure in the conservative climate of the late seventies and eighties. Thankfully times have changed since those dark days when women were treated a second class citizens and nobody knew what a trans woman was. This, to me at least is why events like the girls day out show aren’t just important but essential. They are powerful symbols just how far we have come and great opportunities for women of all ages to share the common bonds which bind us together.
As I moved on through the exhibitors I stopped at the Miss Scotland stall and told the girls that I had thought about entering the Miss Transgender competition earlier this year. On hearing this the girls asked me what had stopped me and when I said I thought it was a matter of not being ready to make such a bold move they encouraged me to take the step next year. I also said that with regards to Miss Scotland I had a number of girlfriends who I thought could actually win it if they ever gave a thought to entering. The girls encouraged me to talk to the friends concerned and maybe drop some subtle hints on the idea which I said I would do. Well as the lottery reminds us you’ve got to be in it to win it.
On leaving the stall I was given an Atkins nutrition bar to encourage healthy edition. This not only filled a gap it was also very tasty. Whether it leads to a revolution in my eating habits however, is not something I can be so sure of. Well when you live on a limited income you have to live within your means. I mean I love Actimel but I can’t always to buy it. That said though one thing this taste test did prove was that eating healthily does not mean that what your eating has to taste like cardboard as some people would have you believe.
At this stage in the day I thought it was time to check out a couple of my favourite high street fashion brands so I went to what Oasis and Warehouse had brought to the party or perhaps I should say the party season. Though I didn’t get any photographs from the Oasis collection I have to say I was impressed
with a collection which reflected the variety for which the brand is so well respected. It is I think fair to say that I got a far better view of this collection when I went to see the company’s fashion show. It was great to see the models display the collection on the catwalk and I loved their winter coats and scarves which this being Scotland we will surely be needing sooner rather than later if the current temperature levels stay as they are. I also loved their use of metallics which are such a favourite festive look for so many of us.
As for Warehouse I don’t think it’s a secret to say that it’s one of my favourite brands and the next three photographs show exactly why
This patterned mini skirt is a great look when teamed up with a black or cream top for those who have both the legs and the confidence to pull it off and would look sensational when worn on a night out
This pleated mid length skirt is however may be a more me. This is something I want to wear as I think its feminine style is perhaps a bit more suitable to a woman of my age. Make no mistake this right up there at the top of my wish list.
The same can be said for my final item in my Warehouse
collection This dress pictured below is perfect for special occasions and its colour means you can wear it with a wide range of accessories and it will still look amazing. This dress says sophistication, it says confidence, but most of all it says woman. This dress makes a statement and that statement is I know who I am and I’m happy with it .
Still on fashion I couldn’t resist having a sneaky peak at the Amy Childs collection and I really am glad I did. When I went over to view her range my preconception was that she would only have up to size 10 or possibly 12. I am however delighted to say that I couldn’t be more wrong and Amy’s collection more than the caters for what some magazines would refer to as larger ladies. My personal highlights from will be shown in the next two photographs.
This patterned mid length dress is something I could easily see myself wearing if I wanted something contemporary and cutting edge. Personally I think it would look fabulous when combined with black tights and knee length boots, but no matter what accessories you wear it with this dress would add a touch of glamour to any woman’s wardrobe.
As we know metallics are always a winter essential and this dress from Amy’s range captures that feel with a combination of elegance and edge.
Though probably designed with a younger demographic in mind this is a dress which I would certainty wear given the chance and overall I have to say the girl done good.
As I journeyed onwards I was on a mission to find the Ladies Room not only for a much needed comfort break but also and perhaps more importantly to check my make up and reapply my lipstick if required. Well there are some jobs in life which have to be done and this is one of them. To paraphrase a well known saying a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do and I am no exception to that rule.
Lipstick successfully applied my next port of call was Beauty Blossoms. This company as the name suggests want empower woman to look our best and had several products designed to maximise our chances of doing so. These included basic a basic brow or lip wax for a bargain price of £5.00 and party lashes for £15.00 This represents fantastic value for money during these tough economic times. As I chatted to the girls they said it had been a very busy day and looked forward to that continuing throughout the weekend. I said I was sure this would be the case and wished them every success with their venture.
As I left the girls to get on with their business I made my way to Oasis fashion show which I have to say I really enjoyed. I then took a view of our home grown hunks who were strutting their stuff on behalf of Yorkhill Children’s Charity and believe me these guys were seriously hot. Well I may be a wee bit biased here but to me there is nothing to beat a semi naked Scotsman in a kilt. Later in the day I was delighted that one of the hunks agreed to let me take this picture.
Naturally as a thank you and because I know how much Yorkhill means to those of us in west of Scotland I gladly chucked some money in his bucket and thought of my friend Colette as I did so.
After the fashion show I had a break for what we in Scotland call a wee refreshment after which I went on another jaunt round the stalls and ended up at another local fashion retailer. http://www.LOVEFRMS.Com. Though primarily an online boutique the company also has a shop in Bishopbriggs just to the north of Glasgow and for at me at least this is good news as the shop is located in an area I know well so when the time comes to pay a visit as it must and surely will I should have no problem in finding it and purchasing some of their lovely outfits.
After seeing so much gorgeous fashion I was positively dazzled, My next stop was Nature’s Tonic where the company ethos was on teaching good habits for life and improving our overall health and fitness. This has always been a difficult area for me due to my over fondness for the traditional West Of Scotland diet which as we know isn’t the healthiest in the world. Hopefully I will pay attention to what the girls were telling me as I quite like the idea of being alive and would like to stay on earth for a few decades yet. Now I don’t know whether I was giving out some kind of signal that my body may be in need of an overhaul at this point of the day I honestly don’t know but I was targeted by two top class hotels The Erskine Bridge and The Gleddoch whose friendly staff were eager to explain the benefits of their Spa packages. I was also given information by a company with a weight loss plan , two more teeth whitening companies, and a tanning salon. However what has to be my proudest moment of the day also came during this period when I was given an entry form for the women’s 10 K race and believe me when I say I am giving some serious consideration to entering what I think would on a personal level be a very empowering event to be part of.
Having collected lots of information on fitness it was now time to see some seriously fit men and believe me the Girls Day Out hunks have all the right moves and perfectly toned bodies which they showed off to maximum effect as they strutted their stuff on the stage. Unlike my earlier mistake when I didn’t get a picture of the naked butlers the camera was put to good use on this occasion and made sure I got this picture taken early.
Trust me, I wasn’t the only one taking a cheeky snap, indeed the girl standing next was filming a video on her phone and as she said to me later on it had to be a video moment as you can’t play a picture back over and over again. I have to say I fully understand her logic on this matter.
Having had my share of eye candy it was time for another wander round the stalls and I really loved the home made handcrafted jewellery from Julie Harvey designs. This was absolutely gorgeous and would certainly take pride of place in my jewellery collection given the chance. This is the kind of jewellery I would like a future partner to purchase for my special occasions like Christmas and birthdays Well a girl can dream.
After seeing the jewellery it was time to take a view of some of the make up on show and when I arrived at Beautiful Brows I wasted no time in getting my eyes defined and coloured. It’s moments like this when you really enjoy being a girl and somehow when your getting pampered all the sexism and discrimination we face in everyday lives just vanishes in to the mist. At least it does for a little while. I then moved on to Mo You Nails where I was treated to the ultimate girly pampering experience and got my nails French polished, designed with Chinese artwork, and decorated in a Christmas pattern. This was my idea of heaven and made me realise that I need to put my pennies away to get this kind of treat more often.
Encouraged by this wonderful experience I went for yet more pampering at Ruby Cosmetics and the girls were only too willing to assist me with suggestions on the eye shadow which would best enhance my eyes. This first picture shows some of the products on display, whilst the second image is a more close up shot which reflects the shade chosen for me by the girls
As the day drew to a close I went back to Three Sisters Bake for another bite to eat before heading for my train back to the city centre and after 10 minutes procrastinating I finally a bought a Rocky Road which whilst it may have been fantastic for my taste buds will I have to say be completely catastrophic for my waistline.
As I left with a bag full of brochures,flyers, and fair few samples including perfume,
a nail file, hand cream, and moisturiser, it was a happy contented girl who made my way to the train for the start of my journey home. Once on board women and girls swapped stories of what we bought and what we had seen on what was the perfect way to start the party season.
That said however, I do have a few friendly words of advice for any girls thinking of attending next year’s show as there are a couple of things I think you should know. The first thing to say is that you will you leave this event feeling that you are a cross between Cinderella and Superwoman. Yes girls it really is that empowering. The other is you will not be able to cover it all in a day.
I know there were stands I wanted to see that I never quite got round to. I really must put them on my list for next year because l know I will be definitely be back. Well let’s be honest, there are times when a woman has to do what a woman has to do and when that happens she knows it’s time to get dolled up and get ready for a girls day out.
Love And Best Wishes
NB This is a sponsored post for Girls Day Out who supplied me with free tickets for the event and to whom I give permission to use any content they may wish to for the promotion of future events.
All opinions are my own and have in no way been influenced by any member of the Girls Day Out team.