Sunday, 8 May 2016

Lunch With Amy Childs & The Oracle, Reading

Last month, myself and 3 other lucky bloggers were invited to lunch with TV personality and successful business woman Amy Childs, where we were given the opportunity to ask her our burning questions over delicious cupcakes and sandwiches, whilst she was in Reading with her pop up shop.

As Amy is a self confessed make up lover, qualified beautician and of course, beauty salon owner, it seemed only right to ask about her favourite products and beauty tips. Skincare wise, she swears by blogger favourite Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Cleanser and recently, she's been really impressed by the Kylie Jenner Lip Kit in shade "Literally". Amy says she always wears good primer - her current favourite is Smashbox Photo Finish, and a foundation/moisturiser with a SPF to protect her skin. She believes in switching up her skincare routine every 6 months and uses a face mask two to three times a week.
Amy's salon in Brentwood, recently relaunched and is as popular as ever - if you want an appointment, plan ahead: the salon tends to get booked up a whopping six weeks in advance. Amy Childs Official Salon offers a variety of treatments from facials to permanent hair removal and Semilac nails which last for up to 6 weeks.

As we moved onto the subject of Amy's autobiography, she said that although it took a long time to get right, she loved the experience and believes she's created a reall feel-good read. She opted for a ghost writer (us bloggers love a celeb who is honest about having one!) who knew her well and helped write Amy's story in her voice. The main aim of her book is to inspire her female fans - "If I can do it, so can you" she said, and hopes for her fans to make their dreams come true through hard work.
Amy admits that growing up, she struggled at school but started working in a salon at the age of 12. She knew that she wanted her own salon one day and grafted hard to get where she is today. Despite her fame and busy lifestyle, she still visits and works in her salon and boutique - if you visit, it wouldn't be unusual to be served by Amy on the till or have a treatment done by her.

She also has a very hands-on approach to her fashion line, and told stories of her buying visits to China in search of the perfect lace for her dresses. It was also interesting to know that the majority of her clothing is produced here in the UK.
Next we headed over to the pop up shop to check out the al important dresses. What really struck me about Amy's clothing line is that it caters to such a broad scope. There's knee length and high neck dresses for a more modest or formal customer, the Wild Child range which typically features shorter length garments and bold print blouses, and is designed with younger fashion lovers in mind as well as gorgeous glitzy and low cut dresses for a night out.

Amy's best sellers are the Katie and Belle dresses. Amy Childs clothing is available in size 8 up to 18 and her customers range from 12 up to 60 in age. Her clothing is available online on her website, in her boutique in Brentwood and via Dorothy Perkins.
I had a wonderful afternoon with Amy and really warmed to her. Although many people know her for appearing on TOWIE, I think that is one of her less important achievements. Amy is so hard-working and a thoughtful role model who is passionate about her businesses - I'm really excited to read "Amy Childs - 100% Me" and see what she gets up to in the future.

A massive thank you to BB's for the amazing lunch, The Oracle for having us and of course Amy for her time and our "gorge" goody bags!
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Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Lush Angels With Bare Skin Cleanser Review

I've never really experimented with skincare but since using my Magnitone cleansing brush, I've taken things up a notch. Previously, it shames me to say, I relied solely on a makeup remover and face moisturiser but have now I've invested in a cleanser and toner to add to my regimen. Lush have been my go-to for skincare for the past couple of years and I was really keen to try one of their fresh cleansers.

I was originally drawn to "Let the Good Times Roll" due to the fact it smells like buttery popcorn and/or cake but, on speaking to a member of the Oxford Street team, I was recommended AOBS due to my skin type (combination, dry on my nose and prone to spots and blemishes). Whilst it doesn't smell like cake, it still smells divine. Enriched with lavender oil, rose absolute, almonds, kaoli and chamomile oil, this cleanser has a very different, but equally gorgeous fragrance; a unique lavender-rich and herby floral with a malty undertone which surprisingly also smells good enough to eat.

As Angels on Bare Skin boasts so many fresh and natural ingredients, it's shelf life is relatively short at around 3 months, depending on how long it has been in store before you snap it up, of course. Packaged in Lush's signature black pot, you get 100g which seems really substantial and I was concerned I wouldn't use it up before it's best before date came around. AONB's texture in the pot is similar to play dough. You take a small dollop in your palm and add water to work into a paste before applying to the skin. I bought this cleanser with the intention of using in the shower with my Magnitone. However getting the product the correct consistency - wet, but not too wet that it becomes liquid, proved to be quite fiddly. I also found that cleanser gets wasted so that 100g only lasted around 3 weeks.

Application and wastage woes aside, I love how calming this feels on the skin and the gentle but effective exfoliation from the chunks of almond and lavender is great. Once rinsed, my skin definitely looks brighter, feels silky smooth, moisturised and nourished, it's just a shame about the inevitability of getting bits stuck in my hairline which ends up looking like dandruff. Although I'm in love with what Angels on Bare Skin does to my face, I won't be re-purchasing it without testing for the perfect cleanser. The mess and wastage make the £7 price tag a bit questionable for me...although I will miss that dreamy smell.

Have you tried any of Lush's fresh cleansers? What did you think?
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Saturday, 16 April 2016

God's Own Junkyard

You probably already know of, and are avid readers the wonderful blogs of Sophie and Tara, two ladies I'm lucky enough to have befriended via blogging. For our latest meeting, we took to Yo Sushi (I cannot get enough of their pumpkin katsu, I am obsessed) before catching the tube across to Walthamstow. What were we doing there?
Allow me to introduce God's Own Junkyard, a mismatched chaos of neon art and signage, religious bric-a-brac, fairground cast-offs, and vintage paraphernalia created by neon God Chris Bracey. He designed, created and restored lights for nearly 40 years including pieces for fellow artist David Lachappelle and numerous movies such as Tim Burtons's Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. Situated in an out-of-the-way industrial estate, this rainbow-coloured treasure trove is a pleasant 15 minute stroll from Walthamstow Central Tube Station. Directions, complete with photos are available on the website which, alongside the idyllic surroundings of pretty parks and cute cottages, made the journey there fun.
On arrival, I was overwhelmed by how much there was to see. I'm a magpie: I love shiny things, anything glittery and all things tacky and kitsch so it's safe to say, I was in heaven. Us girls spent almost an hour there taking it all in - finding lights with our initials in and taking photos, because, duh, we're bloggers and I hadn't played around with my Instax in ages.
I was really surprised to find entry to GOJ is free; however I chose to give back by donating to the Just Giving page set up in memory of Chris who died in 2014 after a year long battle with prostate cancer. There's a cafe area where drinks and baked goods were sold and tables are surrounded by yet more bright and beautiful lighting. Some of the neon lights are for sale and you can also hire the space for photo shoots. If you're ever in the area or, fancy taking your friend or lover somewhere a little bit different, definitely pay God's Own Junkyard a visit!
Have you ever been to God's Own Junkyard? Have you visited somewhere else in London you'd recommend?
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