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    BBC Earth magazine launch party

    The Sea Life London Aquarium played host to the launch of BBC Earth Magazine last night, with drinks flowing to the back drop of sea turtles and shoals of fish.

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    Copies of the new monthly magazine, priced at £3.99, could even been seen inside the aquarium’s tanks: in the hands of underwater divers positioned to answer guests’ questions.

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    With an underwater slate and a pencil in hand, the divers communicated with guests – which included actress and model Camilla Rutherford; fashion journalist Henry Conway; and model and businesswoman Caprice – answering questions which were written down and held up against the aquarium’s glass.

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    Sharon Kirby, group publisher for The River Group, gave me a whistle-stop tour of the content of the new monthly mag, which is out today and features incredible photography; the kind we’re used to seeing from the BBC Earth brand (under which the corporation sells documentaries such as Planet Earth and Frozen Planet).

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    Editor Celia Woolfrey said the publication, which covers science and nature, has been created to be enjoyed by the whole family and even includes articles from a 10-year-old columnist, sharing his view on the natural world.

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    Leaving the event with my new mag and a gorgeous cuddly polar bear in hand, it dawned on me how unusual it was, to leave a party with the sight of sharks swimming below my feet!

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    Currently, there’s an offer where you can get the first 3 issues for a total of £3. Visit the BBC Earth Magazine’s website to find out more.

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    Brian May opens flagship Lush store

    If, like me, you’re a creature of comfort and a lover of Lush cosmetics and deliciously scented bath products – I’ve got some good news for you… Lush’s brand new, flagship store opened on Oxford Street on Friday 24 April.lush store oxford st I had the chance to take a sneak peak around the new shop (which houses three storeys of that unmistakable Lush aroma) and find out more about their new ranges and initiatives – including their ‘kind to animals’ approach, which the company has already become synonymous for. lush store launch This is captured in their new badger themed bath bomb, from which the proceeds go to three animal charities – Animal Aid, The League Against Cruel Sports and Save Me, and even has the backing of legendary Queen guitarist and animal rights campaigner Brian May.

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    Brian joined staff and invited guests at the special launch event to promote the brand’s staunch approach to zero animal testing and kick off their ‘Votes for Animals’ protest march, to keep animal rights at the forefront of people’s minds during the time of the General Election. Fresh from his debate with Russell Brand, we all know strongly Brian May feels about voting and rights!

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    Interstellar Live: Review

    It’s a Monday night, and I find myself looking at the real life faces of Christopher Nolan (see director of Inception, The Dark Knight trilogy, etc.), film legend Michael Caine, Hans Zimmer; composer and music producer for just about every film worth watching in my lifetime (including the afore mentioned films, as well as gems like Gladiator, Pirates of the Caribbean, Pearl Harbour, Iron Man, even my Disney fave the Lion King!); rock star physicist Professor Brian Cox, and two of science’s most incredible thinkers: Kip Thorne and Stephen Hawking … I didn’t know whether to cry, scream or faint!

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    Being in the same room as a celebrity, or well-respected VIP – if you’d rather, never gets old. That’s not to brag that I’ve been in that situation often – I certainly haven’t by all standards – but it’s happened a few times, and each time I’ve found myself pretty overwhelmed, nauseously in awe and mostly wanting to throw myself at their feet and tell them how awesome they seem to a mere mortal such as I.

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    So, I may been looking at these geniuses of their fields along with 5,000 other pairs of eyes, but hey, this was Interstellar Live; the film event of the year, to honour the film of the decade (at least!) – in the humble opinion of a giant nerd such as myself – and as well as listening to such a fine collection of VIPs having a casual chat, I was also about to watch the film; in the Royal Albert Hall; with a live score performed by Hans Zimmer and a full orchestra!

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    Christopher Nolan explains his director’s decision-making techniques

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    Hans Zimmer explains how to put mood music to moments in cinema

    I don’t want to give away any spoilers for those who haven’t seen the film (so I won’t!), but I can say that hearing the music live; in such an intense way, as it bounced off the walls of the Royal Albert Hall was utterly spine-tingling.

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    There was even one section of the film where it is no exaggeration to say people were moved to tears. Or at least I was. And the people sitting either side of me, and we definitely count as people. Given that the entire audience burst into spontaneous applause (despite there being no pause in the movie suitable to accommodate this), I’d say we weren’t the only ones. If you’re curious, there’s a YouTube clip of the moment in question here:

    Whilst I didn’t see her arrive personally, I’d heard that Jessica Chastain was in the audience, having stunned crowds with her LBD as she made her way down the red carpet. I thought about the fact that she was there, watching this with us as her character delivered an emotional performance on-screen, and it felt pretty surreal.

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    Still, perhaps not quite as surreal as Kip Thorne giving Professor Brian Cox a physics lesson; complete with slides (yes, slides – like GCSE Science, only way cooler… and more complicated) before arguing with Christopher Nolan over his decision to alter the appearance of the Gargantua black hole, so that it isn’t entirely factually correct (unlike most of the rest of the film).

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    I’m not really sure how you’d summarise a evening such as that, but it’s made me a very happy lady… and surely given me just a few bragging rights?

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    Interstellar is now out on DVD and BluRay.

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    The Hidden Gems Of VIP Australia

    Often when you think of VIP Australia holidays, the first place that springs to mind is the glorious white sails of Sydney Opera House. But for those looking for lesser known travel gems there are a few places I’d recommend for capturing a little piece of VIP lifestyle. Here’s my top five locations…

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    1. The beaches of Perth:

    Perth is known as the most isolated city in the world. Surrounded by the mining towns and remote deserts of Western Australia, it’s often a city that gets missed out by backpacking tourists (usually travelling the East Coast).

    But the capital city of Western Australia, which was the birth place of Heath Ledger and the city where he spent his first 20 years growing up – and learnt to act, has some of the best beaches I visited in the country.

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    Scarborough beach and Cottesloe beach would be my beaches of choice close to the city, but travelling a little further afield Rockingham’s Penguin Island is well worth a visit (and yes, there are penguins there!), as well as the popular coastal city of Fremantle, well known for its brewery (Little Creatures is great for a meal with a few drinks, either for a night out or a ‘Sunday sess’) and as the city of glamorous weddings and vintage cars! Admittedly, the prices of …everything! are little more expensive in Perth, but it’s well worth a visit just to enjoy the laid back lifestyle.

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    Other celebrity VIPs which hail from Perth include Pirates of the Caribbean and The Great Gatsby star Gemma Ward and RomCom favourite and spouse of Sacha Baron Cohen, Isla Fisher.

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    Essential Info:

    Nearest Airport: Perth Airport (18 hours 50 minutes approx. from Heathrow via Singapore)

    Currency: AUS Dollar. £1.00 = $1.82

    Time difference: +8 hours

    2. Melbourne excursions:

    Stylish Melbourne is best known for its cocktail bars and tea rooms. Madame Brussels is my favourite cocktail bar, situated on a rooftop terrace overlooking the city, it’s a unique little bar in that it’s made to look and feel like a garden party. To me it has a look and feel of Alice in Wonderland.

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    One of the more popular nights out however, is the Neighbour’s Night – an excursion which runs from all the hostels and hotels I came across. I went along to the Neighbour’s night’s final ‘party’ of the year, where the audience gets to listen and dance to Karl Kennedy’s band, and Karl Kennedy (Alan Fletcher) himself hosts the night, which includes songs and party games/drinking games with several of the shows casts – past and present. Neighbours fans can also use their time in Melbourne to visit the Ramsay Street set, where the soap is filmed.

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    Aside from all things Neighbours, Melbourne gives you the chance to get up close to some icons of the film world – namely some of the most well-known movie costumes! The Australian Centre for the Moving Image is in the centre of the city and boosts a collection that includes Heath Ledger’s Ned Kelly armour and fellow Aussie Nicole Kidman’s Moulin Rouge outfits.

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    Essential Info:

    Nearest Airport: Tullamarine, Melbourne International Airport (21 hours approx. from Heathrow)

    Currency: AUS Dollar. £1.00 = $1.82

    Time difference: +10 hours

     3. Using Brisbane as a base:

    Brisbane, in Queensland is a city known for its Southbank beach – a genuine beach in the middle of the city! It also has a good live music scene in the evenings, and some great exhibitions in it’s art gallery, and library! (I actually spent an entire day at the library, which is like a mix of library, community centre, art gallery and museum in one). But one of the things that made this an appealing stop on my tour is that it’s a great base for traveling to the likes of Fraser Island (a little pocket of paradise and a rare place where you can see wild dingoes), the Gold Coast (with its many theme parks) and one of my ‘must see’ attractions; Australia Zoo.

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    Although, sadly, the days of bumping into zoo owner Steve Irwin are of course gone, there is a chance to see his wife Terri and children Robert and Bindi (who’s a big star of American TV) doing their thing at the Crocoseum. Well worth a watch to see the family carrying on his legacy!

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    Essential Info:

    Nearest Airport: Brisbane Airport (24 hours 50 minutes approx. from Heathrow)

    Currency: AUS Dollar. £1.00 = $1.82

    Time difference: +10 hours

    4. Alice Springs tour:

    If you don’t mind bus tours (which can actually be pretty fun when you’re traveling the outback – nothing like the English countryside bus tours that you expect to be filled with pensioners), Alice Springs to Uluru is a great bus tour. Uluru was formerly known as Ayers Rock, and is one of the icons of Australia as a country. Although when you get there, it is… well, just a rock, for me it was the journey and all it had to offer that was interesting!We stopped of at King’s Canyon – which you may recognise from the film version of Priscilla Queen of the Desert starring Guy Ritchie, and while the film played in our tour bus, our guide pointed out all the pieces of scenery you can see along the way.

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    I know this doesn’t always happen, but making this journey was particularly special for me because we came across three film crews (although that said, the area has been used as the setting for several films due to the fact it is so isolated and devoid of people – bar the odd tour bus). They were filming a reality to TV show to find the next stars of the Priscilla musical; I assume this is the Australian equivalent of the Andrew Lloyd Webber series; Over The Rainbow. Needless to say, it was pretty exciting to see a Priscilla bus being filmed as it came driving towards us – especially as we were mid-way through watching the movie!

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    Essential Info:

    Nearest Airport: Alice Springs Airport (22 hours 35 minutes approx. from Heathrow)

    Currency: AUS Dollar. £1.00 = $1.82

    Time difference: +9:30 hours

    5. Jewellery trading in Coober Pedy – Opal capital of the world

    The final destination on my hidden gems list is very fitting of such a description, as it is actual an opal mining town. This is probably the strangest place I’ve ever been in my life, but also the most fascinating. The town, called Coober Pedy, looks almost apocalyptic on first sight – not helped by the fact it has an abandoned space craft from the Chronicles of Riddick left right in its centre (apparently it has been touched be Vin Diesel). There are Hollywood film props and relics left abandoned in several places, as the town is favoured as a film location for the same reasons and Alice Springs. But this places does actually have a population, they’re just underground!

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    Genuinely, the houses are built underground, but are a lot more impressive than you would expect. The temperature is always right (nice cool relief from the desert sun – but warm and cosy at night so no need for air con or central heating), they’re very private and secluded and building permission is apparently easy to obtain. Not to mention some of them have opals lining their walls (though not always the valuable kind). Even the church in this town is an underground cave of sorts.

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    Coober Pedy does bring in its fair share of VIP visitors too. It’s streets are lined with entrances to underground jewellers selling the spoils of the risk takers who have traded in conventional lifestyles to take their chances of making their fortunes in mining and panning. People travel from far and wide to trade in genuine local precious stones and Coober Pedy opals – the local pizza shop paying homage to the town’s VIP visitors in a hall of fame. Funnily enough it was in line at that very pizzeria that I literally bumped into Jason Donovan, probably fresh from filming for the Priscilla Queen of the Desert TV show.

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    Nearest Airport: International Airport = Alice Springs: 22 hours 35 minutes approx. from Heathrow, Coober Pedy Airport: 55 minutes approx.

    Currency: AUS Dollar. £1.00 = $1.82

    Time difference: +10:30 hours

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  • VIP Meet&Greet: Screen Nation Celebrity PARTY!

    Are you in the mood for even more partying this festive season? Would you rather swap the office party for a night of exciting VIP glamour at an awards ceremony in the heart of London’s West End? Here’s how you can meet celeb VIPs and enjoy top quality live comedy and music entertainment at the Screen Nation Celebrity Xmas Soiree.

    Screen Nation is the only industry-related film and television awards event that specifically celebrates the leading professionals of African heritage from the UK and overseas. Since being founded in 2003, the organisation has commended stars such as Thandie Newton (Pursuit of Happyness, Mission: Impossible II),  Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon, Saw) , Paul Barber (Full Monty, Only Fools and Horses) and singer/songwriter Lemar.

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    Next Tuesday (17 December), Screen Nation is holding its Digital-iS Media Awards ceremony, which will specialize in awarding some of the best work being published online by black British and international digital media creatives, including categories that cover short films, web series, blogs, magazines and social networks.

    The Screen Nation Digital-iS Media Awards reception, ceremony and networking event will be held at Google London HQ, London from 3pm – 7.30pm, hosted by Afrobuzz presenter James Sherwood who will be joined by a number of VIP guests including well known personalities from the worlds of film, TV and media. The evening will also be live-streamed on Google+ Hangout, with highlights of the event broadcast on Vox Africa (Sky218) a few weeks later.

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    The after party will be held on the same evening  (Tuesday 17th) from 7pm – 12am at a secret City of London venue. This event also doubles as the Screen Nation celebrity Xmas Soiree in conjunction with J2 Konsults. Tickets include complimentary party food, wines, lagers soft drinks and goody bag and music by award winning DJ Abrantee of Capital XTRA and DJ Wiley.

     

    Ticket Info: To buy tickets, or get more information, click here.

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  • VIP Video Pick: One Direction sing-off with Anchorman cast

    This weekend Paul Rudd hosted American chat show Saturday Night Live (SNL) joined by his fellow Anchorman and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues co-stars Will Ferrell (who left his Ron Burgundy moustache at home), Steve Carell and David Koechner.

    We’ve chosen this as our video pick this week as we love how the Anchorman news team and One Direction have utilised the megaband trend (eat your heart out McBusted) to create 9 Direction. The collaboration gave us lots of laughs!

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  • VIP Video Pick: The Ultimate VIP ‘Bromance’

    The lucky celeb spotters that found themselves lining the red carpet at the Odeon West End in London’s Leicester Square on Sunday, got the chance to see some of the best of British, when not only David Beckham walked down the carpet but 1D’s Harry Styles too.

    Here at LLAVIP we’re super jealous of those that got to go to the Class of ’92 premiere – a documentary film that it follows six Manchester United players from their teenage years to going on to win every honour in club football together. We love this video that show Harry Styles is a big fan of Becks, and the two have a budding “bromance”. Aww.

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  • VIP Video Pick: Celebrities Help Best Man’s Speech

    Here at LLAVIP we love a good love story – and we love it even more if it involves a whole host of celebs. So we were pretty excited this week to watch this best man speech crafted with the help of the bride and groom’s favourite VIPs, including Chris O’Dowd, Clare Balding, John Bishop, Paula Radcliffe, Eamonn Holmes and Comedians from Mrs Brown’s Boys, and many more.

    The best man; who is the brother of the groom, decided to recruit the help of a number of celebs including the couples favourite sports man and comedians, by contacting celebrities via Twitter. Although he had to convince the stars to follow him back on Twitter — so that he could message them with his request for help — the video apparently came as a total surprise to the newly weds. We’re just super impressed that so many celebrities took the time to make and send a video!

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    Inside GUILD Salon Chelsea’s Launch Party

    This week a trendy new Parisian-style salon and beauty parlour opened its doors on London’s exclusive King’s Road, in the heart of Chelsea. GUILD’s flagship UK salon held its launch party in style with celebs such as Katy B, Martin Kemp’s model/DJ/photographer daughter Harleymoon Kemp and Made in Chelsea stars attending the party, and the Live Like a VIP team were there too.

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    First up, I had a chat to the GUILD salon team, and some top hairdressers in the beauty world, to see what they were excited about and what they were looking forward to with the salon – the buzz seems to be about bringing Parisian chic to London. Respected hairdressers Phillipe Hostalery and Phillpe Gentner  own a GUILD in France and this is their first in the UK.

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    Although the launch party started early (6pm) it was soon in full swing, thanks to Harleymoon Kemp; who unsurprisingly has a good understanding of music, with parents like Spandau Ballet ’s Martin Kemp and Shirlie Holliman from Wham! and Pepsi and Shirlie. It was pretty cool to see the salon’s reception turned into a DJ booth.

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    The most glamorous VIP guest of the night was Katy B, who has ditched her red locks in favour of a brunette look, dip-dyed to dark blonde; a look which went down well.

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    Also joining the party was Chelsea’s own Hugo Taylor. I have a feeling that this salon is going to be a big hit with the Made In Chelsea stars. It’s on their doorstep and the ethos is to make every girl look coiffed and fabulous – a perfect prep for a social event that evening!

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    During the earlier part of the evening, the team were giving demos and guests were taking up the opportunity to be the salon’s first cilents. I noticed the theme of the evening was big, bouncy and beautiful hair naturally. I really want to come back and do it properly myself – look at how stylish the hair area is:

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    What I like about GUILD is the fact that it’s a one-stop shop for a night out – upstairs is the hair styling and cutting facilities, whilst downstairs there is a hair colouring centre and a gorgeous white beauty room, which reminds me of a spa. The colouring centre has a glamorous feel, a bit like a photography studio.

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    Among the many guests – enough to see the upstairs and the downstairs of the salon completely full – were representatives from in-house brands such as Shu Umera and Redken. I was given a goodie bag of items to test when I left, and I can recommend Davine’s Natural Tech range, which the salon stocks a big range of.

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    If you want to visit GUILD yourself, and see what makes the salon a VIP experience (I can tell you now that the team have been flown in from France, giving it an authentic Parisian feel, and they even offer you champagne while tending to your locks) check them out online here.

    Address: GUILD LONDON CHELSEA – KING’S ROAD SALON, 261 Kings Road

    Telephone: 020 7352 9002

    Tweet us if you spot a celebrity inside (@zoegriffin)

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  • VIP Video Pick: Kanye and Kim’s Video Collaboration

    In case you’ve missed it this week, Kanye West’s new music video: Bound 2, was revealed on American chat show Ellen earlier this week and it has gotten a lot of people talking.

    The video features his fiancee Kim Kardashian in some very provocative poses, and at one point she appears to be naked on a motorcycle. It’s hard to tell whether this is meant to be a sign of their unity, or the couple’s idea of a joke. What do you think? Let us know @zoegriffin

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