Sunday, 26 June 2016

An Afternoon at Pergola on the Roof

This month, I was invited to check out London's latest pop-up hotspot, Pergola on the Roof with my favourite blogging babes Sophie and Tara. Before work gets underway to convert the space into a hotel, independent cafes and restaurants, alongside modern apartments, the former HQ of the BBC Television Centre is temporarily home to a rooftop food court. Set to be a favourite hangout over the summer, the pergola is open until the 29th August - catch it while you can!
Finding the venue was easy enough as it's mere minutes from Westfield shopping centre in London's White City. On arrival, you can take the lift up to the roof but we chose to take the stairs, and despite being out of breath after climbing some 12 levels, I had no regrets as the walls the whole way up are adorned with hand-painted, intricate patterns featuring tropical birds and flowers - gorgeous!
"Pergola" is a Latin term meaning "projecting roof" and in this instance refers to the large wooden structure which is beautifully covered in lush greenery. Underneath the centre of the canopy is the main bar, which is surrounded by long picnic style benches with the capacity to seat 400. Be sure to check out their drinks menu which features an array of refreshing cocktails.
If, like me, you're more interested in food, you have 4 well-loved eateries to choose from. With Rabbit specialising in sustainable British food, Le Coq's rotisserie, Patty and Bun for the burger lovers and Salt Yard for your tapas/charcuterie fix, there is something for most palates. However, it is worth noting there's a limited choice for vegetarians and vegans may struggle.
While Tara and I opted for Patty & Bun, Sophie was more adventurous and went for a couple of small plates from Rabbit. The food court is self service but our orders were taken quickly and the waiting time for food was minimal, making it a simple stress-free process.
On the perimeter of the food and seating areas are big beds which can be booked out (as can benches in the food area) for no cost and table service is available. These seat 12 people and located out in the open so not available should any rain make an appearance.

Even though the weather was dull on the day of our visit, the courtyard looked vibrant - I can only imagine how stunning it looks on a sunny day and the atmosphere once it is lit up at night. Whether you're looking to impress a first date, celebrate for a birthday or hen/stag do, a break from the busy shopping centre, or even just after a quick bite to eat, Pergola on the Roof is well worth a visit.

Head over to their website and sign up to their visitor book to get a voucher for a free drink now!

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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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