I’m just home from the launch party at House of Vans for their collaboration with Nintendo and had to tell you all about it.

IMG_0543The Collection

One of my favourite casual footwear brands, Vans, today unveiled an awesome collection of clothing, footwear and accessories using 8-bit inspired graphics and characters from some of Nintendo’s classic games, including Super Mario Bros, Duck Hunt and Donkey Kong.

I really love what Vans have done with this collection. They’ve combined classic characters with modern styling. Amongst others, there are the tie dye Mario pieces…

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Image provided by Vans

The Hawaiian Donkey Kong collection…

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Image provided by Vans

And cool Game Over graphics…

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Image provided by Vans

Top of my wishlist are the Princess Peach pieces – especially the backpack.

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Image provided by Vans

And these low tops…

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The collection is officially released tomorrow (Friday June 3rd) but subscribers to the newsletter got a head start today with a pre-sale link.

The Exhibition

To celebrate the collaboration, House of Vans in Waterloo is holding an interactive Nintendo exhibition from 3rd to 19th June 2016.

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Celebrating the early days of video games, the Gallery Tunnel has been transformed to pay homage to all generations of Nintendo consoles, from the current Wii U to the old school NES, SNES and Nintendo 64.

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The exhibition features Nintendo themed artwork and memorabilia from Nintendo’s various franchises, including Super Mario, Duck Hunt, Donkey Kong and The Legend of Zelda.

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Visitors can play classic games such as Duck Hunt (NES), Super Mario World (SNES), Donkey Kong 64 (N64), The Legend of Zelda – The Wind Waker (GameCube), Mario Kart Wii (Wii) and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (Wii U).

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In the cinema space you’ll find a large-scale tournament going on as well as ongoing public competitions – with a range of prizes from Nintendo and Vans to the lucky winners.

If you aren’t into video games there’s a ring toss with prizes. I got a cool goodie bag…

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How great do I look in my Mario hat…?

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The Launch Night

The launch night this evening was great fun!

Mario himself was there, playing on the ring toss.

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There was Mario Kart on the big screen…

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Nintendo themed canapes…

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Photo provided by Vans

and Princess Peach bellinis!

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House of Vans always put on really cool events, I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

L xx

All photos my own unless stated otherwise.

If you’re going to be single at Valentines Day, what better place to be than London?

I’ll be honest, I’m not overly fussed about Valentines, but there are so many fun events coming up over the next couple of weeks that I may as well get into the spirit of things! And I’m not talking overpriced romantic dinners surrounded by starry eyed couples, haha!

So here are my top five picks of the anti (or just not quite so traditional) Valentines events going on this year. You’ll most likely find me at a couple of them…

Valentine’s Extreme Garnishing

You know I like my weird and wonderful food events by now, right? Well The Robin Collective put on the most interesting pop-ups, from re-creating the Eiffel Tower out of toast to making miniature gardens from coconut grass and brownie soil.

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I’m super excited to be joining them for their Valentine’s workshop – Extreme Garnishing at The Hoxton in Shoreditch. Not entirely sure what to expect, but I hear there will be molecular techniques, love potions and even cooking with explosives! I can’t wait!

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Extreme Garnishing is happening on Tuesday 16th February and tickets are selling like hot cakes, so pick one up for £20 from Design My Night.

If you’re intrigued by the toast, there’s another toast build coming up – look at their upcoming events here. Oh, and I’m also keen to try some of their Medicinal Marshmallows

Blindfold Date

If you’re British, and unless you’re way too young for me anyway, there’s no way you won’t know what Blind Date is (and I hear it’s making a comeback!). On Wednesday 10th February (so great timing for you to actually make plans for V Day at the weekend if they manage to match you up with Mr/Miss Right), It’s Unknown will be hosting a gameshow type night at Concrete in Shoreditch.

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As well as one lucky contestant being blindfolded on stage to ask questions of three potential soulmates, there will be plenty of other chances to find love – including tombolas of love (?), love shacks and slow dance sessions (that’s my nightmare, right there!)…

I’ll be at Blindfold Date with a a few hot girl friends, so get involved! Tickets are £6 advance from Design My Night.

Psst… It’s Unknown have plenty more cool events up their sleeves – sticking with the love theme there’s Musical Bingo’s Heart Make Hotel later this month.

The Bloody Valentine Cabin

If you’ve seen my bucket list, you’ll know I’m dying to try out one of the cabins at York & Albany in Camden – and obviously a horror themed version is ideal! From 11th to 14th February, the cabins are decked out in blood splatter, with screenings of horror movies and themed cocktails and snack platters. Prices start at £30 per person (for snack platters and a cocktail), but there is a minimum spend of £120 per cabin for groups of 4 or less (£180 on Friday and Saturday).

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You can book a cabin by emailing experiences@gordonramsay.com or for larger groups, you can book on Design My Night.

Eat Your Heart Out

I love a good supper club, and you know when it’s being held at House of Vans in Waterloo it’s going to be a fun one! With mischieviously named dishes like ‘Cupid’s a Cock-tail’ and ‘Sour Grapes’, their anti-Valentines supper club is in conjunction with Grub Club, so you can take it as a given that the food is going to be good.

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Dinner is on Saturday 12th February, and tickets are £30 each, but currently YPlan have a great deal with tickets at £25.50 (also, you can save another £5 using my code LEVANS88 ).

Or, if brunch is more your thing, House of Vans and Grub Club are holding an anti-Valentines part 2 on the day itself, with their Boozy Bill Murray Brunch – a Bill Murray double bill, bellinis, Bloody Mary’s (or, erm, ‘Bloody Murrays’), unlimited waffles and pancakes and a whole load of American style sharing dishes. Pretty good for £20.

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House of Vans also have a couple of anti-Valentines double bills (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind/Lars & The Real Girl or Before Sunrise/Her) and a cute card making workshop.

Don’t Go Breaking My Heart

Nothing says anti-Valentines like preserving a heart and putting it in a jar, right? Not one for the faint at heart, a couple of places are holding macabre classes in pickling lamb hearts and placing them in jars. Has anyone else noticed that taxidermy is so in right now? I don’t really get it, but anyway…

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The Queen of Hoxton in Shoreditch (which makes an appearance on my bucket list for its Brothers Grimm themed rooftop) is holding their workshop on their rooftop terrace on Saturday 6th February for £55 (or £100 for a couple). Tickets available here.

Or The British Academy of Taxidermy have two sessions on actual Valentines Day priced at £50 each (or £70 for a couple) at the Islington Arts Factory. Tickets available here.

Dirty Lovin’

Yes this is number 6, and I know, it isn’t exactly a Valentines alternative but I wanted to give it a mention. The Kensington branch of one of my favourites, Dirty Bones (you can see a review post here) has a Valentines Tasting Menu night on February 14th, featuring some brand new dishes – for £25 you get two courses, sides and a cocktail.

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Also, from 12th to 14th February, the to die for Banana Toblerone-tella Waffles are available all day, not just for brunch at both Dirty Bones Kensington and Carnaby.

So there you have them, my top picks. I’d love to hear what other single people get up to!

L xx

All photos from the relevant establishments/PRs.