Wednesday, 26 January 2011

VQ Valentines Competition 2011

Here’s your chance to win the ultimate Valentines prize worth over £2,500 courtesy of stores in VQ!
The competition is running in the Yorkshire Evening Post from Monday 31st January until Wednesday 9th February 2011, so make sure you pick up a paper during the week.
Entry to the competition is easy, so don’t delay and you could be going home with the following fantastic prizes!

A unique Moorcroft Jewels of the Earth vase worth £480 from James Macintyre & Co in County Arcade.
Designed by Paul Hilditch, this ruby colour vase is one of a limited edition of only 100 pieces, and is a true collector’s item.
Paul designed Jewels of the Earth after years of reflection on rainforest imagery, but it was a photograph of a scene below the forest canopy with a tiny orchid-like flower, bathed in bright colours, that specifically caught his attention. The design is a natural continuation of William Moorcroft’s Florianware theme of over a century ago, which can be seen in the Moorcroft museum.

Free choice of a shirt & tie for men and a shirt and cufflinks for women worth over £300 from TM Lewin on Queen Victoria Street.
T.M.Lewin was established in 1898 in Jermyn Street, London by Thomas Mayes Lewin and over 100 years ago, he became one of the first to make the 'coat-shirt',the groundbreaking idea of a shirt with buttons down the front. Today, T.M.Lewin offers a range of menswear that includes men’s shirts, suits, ties, cufflinks, casualwear, outerwear and accessories, as well as a distinctive range of womenswear, including shirts, suits, knitwear and accessories.

Girth shoulder bag and exquisite leather wallet worth £275 from Church’s Shoes in County Arcade.
Church’s are one of the country’s oldest footwear manufacturers, founded in 1873 by Thomas Church and his three sons Alfred, William and Thomas Jr., who could count on family experience in the production of handmade men’s shoes dating back to 1675. Today the company continues in that tradition and have extended their ranges to include women’s shoes, accessories and fine leather goods.

Beauty goody bag along with a Champagne afternoon tea for two from Harvey Nichols worth £200.
No Valentine’s Day would be complete without a selection of the finest beauty products and fragrances and this collection from Harvey Nichols certainly fits the bill.
After you receive your prizes you can enjoy a Champagne afternoon tea for two – the perfect end to the day.

The Ultimate Valentines makeover from Nicky Clarke salon on King Edward Street worth £200.
Nicky Clarke is one of the world’s most celebrated hair cutters, styling many a celebrity’s locks. You can experience the full Nicky Clarke treatment at the salon with this fabulous prize, which includes hair cut & colour, eyebrow threading and nail treatments.

Heart & Soul pendant and necklace worth £175 from jewellers Azendi on King Edward Street.
Azendi are one of the region’s leading contemporary jewelers and their heart and soul collection is designed for the modern-day romantic. 
These lovingly fashioned heart pendants in deep red rose and dramatic black are completed with cubic zirconia detail, which makes them twinkle like the night sky. The long sterling silver chain adds a modern touch, and is the perfect memento for Valentine’s Day.

Stratford bag worth £149 from Radley London in County Arcade.
Founded in 1998 by Lowell Harder, Radley is a quirky, creative British brand that makes beautiful handbags and accessories known for their high quality, creative design and outstanding value. 
A medium Hobo shoulder bag created from the softest textured leather, the Stratford is a spacious tote and perfect everyday accessory. Attached to the bag is a dangling charm with a silver heart shaped pendant and an enamel Radley dog trinket. There is a large zipped pocket on the front and a slip pocket on the reverse for easy access to belongings.

2011 Valentine’s Love Note pendant worth £125 from Links of London in Queen Victoria Street.
Founded in 1990, Links of London have gone on to become one of the most popular and sought after jewellery brands in the UK. Offering an eclectic mix of men’s and women’s jewellery in sterling silver and 18 carat gold, with an enviable collection of charms and charm bracelets, their jewellery is regularly worn by celebrities.
The Love Note Pendant is made of sterling silver and comprises two sumptuous heart-shaped rings which slide apart to reveal a secret!

A pair of tickets to see Giselle courtesy of Northern Ballet worth £100.
Northern Dance Theatre, the name by which Northern Ballet was originally known, was founded in 1969 by Canadian born Laverne Meyer and were the first ever British dance company to be based outside London. NBT's current Artistic Director David Nixon, joined the company in August 2001.
A traditional version of one of the greatest romantic ballets, Giselle follows the story of the young peasant girl who falls in love with the handsome Prince Albrecht. On finding her love is unrequited, and weakened by ill health, Giselle dies. She is summoned from her grave by the Wilis, the spirits of women betrayed before their wedding days who return to take vengeance on men by dancing them to death. Giselle saves the remorseful Albrecht from his certain fate proving that love can conquer all – even death.
See Giselle as you’ve never seen it before as Northern Ballet bring together the traditional classical steps by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot with the passion and emotion for which the Company are renowned.
The tickets are for performances at the Leeds Grand Theatre between 25th - 28th May 2011.

Lips pendant and chain from Thomas Sabo in Queen Victoria Street worth £88.
Founded in 1984, by jewellery enthusiast and self-made man Thomas Sabo in the historic town of Lauf an der Pegnitz in Bavaria, the company now has stores throughout Europe, Asia and the US.
For Valentine’s Day and in typical Thomas Sabo style, Hip-Hop couture meets modern romance as stylised glossy lips flitter on cocktail rings, as pendants and on bracelets.
Lovers’ day has never been this groovy! 

Heart 4 Heart pendant & necklace worth £78 from Folli Follie in Queen Victoria Street.
Folli Follie’s bestselling Heart4Heart collection plays with your heart! Featuring not one, but four hearts – one heart for love, one heart for beauty, one heart for hope and one heart for promise – they can be connected by an invisible magnetic mechanism.
When joined, the four hearts appear to “beat” together, creating a playful four-leaf clover to bring you luck in love all year round, and two great ways to wear one necklace! Available in silver, rose-gold or with sparkling crystal stones, this necklace’s hearts reflect the light…just like true love does! 

Luxury gift set from Molton Brown in County Arcade worth £70.
Since its beginning in 1973, Molton Brown has maintained a reputation for the highest quality body, skin, travel, hair and home products made with natural, sustainably sourced ingredients.
The luxury gift set includes a Re-charge black pepper bodywash, Re-charge black pepper body hydrator, Paradisiac pink pepperpod bath & shower gel and Paradisiac pink pepperpod body lotion.

Candle Collection worth £50 from The White Company in County Arcade.
Founded in 1983, today, the company that began its life as a 12 page mail order brochure has become one of the UK's fastest-growing, award-winning multi-channel retailers. Renowned for its ranges of linens, the company also has an extensive selection of fragrances and bathtime treats, room scents and candles.
The Candle Collection contains three beautifully fragranced candles of Sliver Birch, Cassis and Fresh Ginger whose subtle scents are perfect for any room. 

Valentine’s Gift Box worth £50 from Charbonnel et Walker in County Arcade.
Chocolates and Valentine’s Day are almost made for each other, and this gift box from the country’s premier chocolatiers, Charbonnel et Walker, is sure to melt any heart.
Presented in a red heart-shaped box which can be filled with your own choice of mouth-watering chocolates from the counter in the Charbonnel store.

£200 in Victoria Quarter shopping vouchers.
To round off this stunning collection of prizes, we’re also giving the winner £200 of VQ shopping vouchers which can be spent in any store in the centre up to six months after the date of issue.

The competition closes at 5.00pm on Wednesday 9th February, after which the winner will be drawn. The winner will be notified thereafter by post, with the prize awarded in the Victoria Quarter on Monday 14th February 2011.

Good Luck!

Saturday, 15 January 2011

The History of Victoria Quarter

The buildings that now house Victoria Quarter are more than 100 years old. During the early part of the 19th Century, the area sold a completely different range of products. Vicar Lane was a mass of slaughterhouses, butchers, fruit and vegetable stalls, while the western end of County Arcade housed The Bazaar. This occupied two floors – the lower level selling meat and the upper level trading in fancy goods and haberdashery.

Men and women worked on separate floors (men downstairs, women upstairs), under strict rules – no gossiping would be tolerated, no drinking or eating behind the counter, no women wearing bonnets!The area continued to trade in this guise until it was cleared by the Leeds Estate around 1900. It was then that the famous theatre architect Frank Matcham, responsible for building more than 200 theatres and music halls, including the London Palladium and Coliseum, was brought into design an elaborate Victorian Arcade. He used rich marbles, gilded mosaics, handsome cast and wrought iron, as well as carved and polished mahogany, to create two streets, an arcade and the Empire Theatre (now the site of Harvey Nichols).By the late 1980s, this once prestigious and elaborate area had fallen into commercial decay and ruin. Fortunately for Leeds, the Prudential recognised its full potential and began a painstaking restoration program. Their vision encompassed taking what Matcham had started back in the 19th century, moving it forward to the 20th century and beyond. The company preserved the best from the past and introduced the style and creativity of the present.

This clever blend between old and new is a key feature of what Victoria Quarter is today. Two of the most dramatic elements of the Quarter are Brian Clarke’s breathtaking stained glass roof, which runs the full length of Queen Victoria Street – featured in the Guinness Book of Records for being the largest stained glass window in Britain – a staggering 746.9 square metres! And three stunning mosaic floor panels by Joanna Veevers in County Arcade.

Thanks to the fact that one of the original shop fronts remained in pristine condition, designers were able to use it as a blueprint to recreate the ornate mahogany frames and gilded art nouveau lettering which now graces every shop.
Despite the restoration program being completed in the midst of an economic downturn, the Prudential held firm, keen to establish a development that was truly individual and one that stood out from the crowd.

And, that’s exactly what has come about. After one forward thinking retailer opened a branch at Victoria Quarter, others were quick to follow bringing together a collection of names that today are second to none. The Prudential passed on the baton when it sold Victoria Quarter to Highstone Estates in the Summer of 2001. Highstone carried on the development with an ambitious £5m program before handing centre on to the Bank of Ireland in August 2006.

Even if you've not visited VQ yet, you may nevertheless feel you've seen it before. The centre is a firm favourite with television companies and film producers. It's featured in Alan Bennett's Childhood Memories, The Innocent starring Caroline Quentin, Diamond Geezer with David Jason, The BBC's Travel Show and Street Doctor, Trinny and Susannah's “Undressed” as well as on local television in programmes such as Calendar and Look North news magazines.

More recently it was used in Spooks spin-off Spooks: Code 9, seen on BBC1 in Spring 2009, and is regularly seen on BBC's The One Show. In 2011, the centre will grace screens once again in Gok's Fashion Fix on Channel 4.