AW18 #QBlogger Challenge at Queensgate Shopping Centre

A few years ago Queensgate shopping centre in Peterborough invited a handful of bloggers from the area to become #Qbloggers. I always look forward to our catch ups as they tend to involve lots of food, plenty of blog talk and tip sharing, as well as a few surprises.

AW18 #QBlogger Challenge at Queensgate Shopping Centre

This season we were invited to a gathering at Carluccio’s Restaurant to participate in a secretive shopping challenge. Before we found out what it was, we tucked into delicious canapes (vegan friendly – yay for me!) and got the low down on what’s coming up at Queensgate over the coming months.

New At Queensgate for AW18

Firstly, The White Company are hosting a pop up in Queensgate until Christmas. YES QUEENSGATE! It’s handy shopping online when you know what you want, but there is a special kind of joy to be had from sniffing every single one of their glorious scents in store.

AW18 #QBlogger Challenge at Queensgate Shopping Centre

Secondly, this coming Saturday the 17th November is the centre’s Festive Fiesta. The action starts at 10.30am and promises fun surprises and entertainment for shoppers throughout the day. I couldn’t tease any more details out of them but I’ve been told that they’ve gone big this year. Really big. Check out my Instagram stories on Saturday, I’m heading into the centre to find out for myself.

The AW18 #Qblogger Challenge

AW18 #QBlogger Challenge at Queensgate Shopping Centre

During the meal we were invited to open personalised envelopes containing our AW18 #Qblogger challenge. Mine revealed three stores handpicked to suit my individual style. The challenge was to visit them all and pick out my five favourite items for the Autumn/Winter season. To help me, I was given a £25 Queensgate gift card* to put towards my top pick which could be used at any retailer at the centre.

When I read out my three stores to visit everyone around the table said “Oh they are SO you Laura!” I’d been given Joules, John Lewis and Oasis. I couldn’t have chosen better myself. Here’s how I got on:

Joules

I tend to buy from Joules when I want something that’s high quality that I’ll get a lot of wear out of. They are especially good for cosy scarves, tailored coats and cute as a button wellies.

I fell in love with this plum coloured jacket which I thought would be a perfect addition to my capsule wardrobe.

AW18 #QBlogger Challenge at Queensgate Shopping Centre

I really can’t stand being cold and find jackets a good solution as they can be slipped on and off as needed. It would work well with a shift dress for the office and then paired with jeans and a teeshirt for a more casual vibe.

Then I spotted a perfect Christmas present idea: the Wensley Scarf in the ‘Dogs In Leaves’ print.

AW18 #QBlogger Challenge at Queensgate Shopping Centre

Since it’s got lots of different breeds on it I could think of several of my dog loving friends that would go gaga over it. That’s at least one present ticked off my Christmas list…

John Lewis

John Lewis is where I head when I need something for party season and they delivered for the AW18 #Qblogger challenge. This shimmering sequinned gold dress from French Collection caught my attention above all others.

Not only does it look fabulous, but owing to its flattering tunic cut it would also allow room for that inevitable festive food baby. SOLD.

Oasis

Finally, I arrived at Oasis which has fast become one of my favourite clothing brands. I find the cut of their clothes and the patterns and the fabrics used some of the most flattering on the high street.

This season I’m picking up a strong ‘Cher from Clueless’ vibe from their collection, in particular this preppy checked skirt.

AW18 #QBlogger Challenge at Queensgate Shopping Centre

I think it would work just as well teamed with a cosy cable knit jumper as it would paired with something more tailored.

I also spotted this navy striped tee.

AW18 #QBlogger Challenge at Queensgate Shopping Centre

The fabric keeps it casual and comfortable but the addition of rose gold stars gives it a festive twist. It’s my pick to wear on Christmas day.

So that’s my ‘fab five’ from the retailers at Queensgate shopping centre for AW18. What do you think? And what’s caught your eye recently?

LovedByLaura

As a side note, sadly the Peterborough Carluccio’s closed down just after our visit. It’s a real shame as they had some delicious vegan friendly dishes. With the benefit of hindsight I wish I had visited more often; sometimes you don’t appreciate these things until they’re gone.

*This post is a collaboration with Queensgate. I received a £25 gift card as thanks for taking part in the AW18 #Qblogger challenge.

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Rose Gold Styling Inspiration at John Lewis title

A few weeks ago the John Lewis store in Queensgate Shopping Centre, Peterborough hosted a relaxed evening of food, drinks and fashion. Two of their personal stylists Alison and Ian had carefully curated clothes rails full of their favourite items from across the brands available at John Lewis to showcase the key trends for Spring.

It was a really inspiring evening in which I learned some clever tricks on how to best combine pieces and colours, got a chance to try on some killer outfits and learned more about what’s involved in a personal styling session.

I thought I’d do a couple of mood boards based on my own favourite finds at the event. Roll on payday as I need to freshen up my wardrobe for Spring after a very dull Winter!

Metallics

Metallics are going to be huge this spring and so of course I made a beeline for the rose gold items, of which there are many to choose from this season – hooray!

For a chic take on the trend layer tonal colours together, or to create a funkier look don’t be afraid to clash and contrast different hues. Rose gold and silver look particularly striking.

I fell head over heels for a mesh rose gold top from Mint Velvet (one of my favourite brands for their chic mix of neutrals and luxurious fabrics) which looks amazing paired with a fitted pink blazer, dark wash jeans and silver/gray accessories.

Spring Outfit Inspo From An Evening With John Lewis Personal Stylists

(Links to all items can be found at the bottom of this post)

Patterns – big and bold or subtle – anything goes!

Patterns and detailing return in full bloom this Spring after a rather monotone Winter… it’s up to you how big or small you choose to wear them!

 

Spring Outfit Inspo From An Evening With John Lewis Personal Stylists

(Links to all items can be found at the bottom of this post)

The beautiful floaty shirt from Ted Baker is an exclusive print designed especially for John Lewis which everyone at the event adored. I think it looks even better worn so I’ve shown it both on and off the hanger.

I tried on the utility camo jacket from French Connection and didn’t want to take it off again! As you can see it looks totally different on me as compared to the model on account of my short stature, but if you’re petite you can get away with it due to the three quarter length arms and an elasticated waistband which helps to give it a good silhouette.

If you prefer a more understated look try freshening up your wardrobe by using pattern or embellishments on your accessories instead. A subtle snakeskin (faux of course) on your handbag, some stud detailing on your shoes, a light scarf or even some statement sunglasses all work well.

Shop The Looks

French Connection Camo Utility Jacket, Black/Multi
Ted Baker Tily Chatsworth Bloom Blouse, Navy
Oasis Hello Speedy Sweatshirt, Pale Grey/Multi
Modern Rarity Cat’s Eye Sunglasses, Brown Ombre/Brown Gradient
Dune Eccles Clutch Bag, Blush
Carvela Soula Stud Embellished Sandals, Cream
Fiorelli Sophia Large Shoulder Bag, Nude Mix
Oasis Scarlet Bootcut Jeans, Dark Wash
Carvela Lace Up Trainers
John Lewis Long Geometric Bead Chain Necklace, Rose Gold/Grey
Mint Velvet Slouchy Knitted Top, Rose Gold
White Stuff Elsa Jersey Blazer, Pink

Personal Styling at John Lewis

I’ve always felt a bit too shy and introverted to use a personal styling service. I’m pear shaped and I dread the thought of being given clothes to try on and having to suffer the shame of telling the stylist that I couldn’t get anything past my hips. Plus I feel like I’d be a really difficult customer thanks to my height limitations.

Speaking to Alison about the role of the John Lewis personal stylists helped to put these fears to bed. As she explained, it’s their job to know what will and won’t work on each individual and they are extensively trained in the most up to date techniques to find the right cuts of clothes to enhance, elongate, reduce or flatter certain aspects of a person’s figure.

Spring Outfit Inspo From An Evening With John Lewis Personal Stylists

It’s not just about body shape though, a good personal stylist considers a wide variety of factors including age, skin tone, hair and eye colour and bone structure as well as the individuals personality in order to perfectly tailor the service to that person’s needs.

Ian, one of the John Lewis personal stylists for men, explained that often it’s the little details that he helps his clients to get right, from choosing the right width of tie to perfectly complement the neckline on a collar or recommending the perfect cut of jeans. One of the outfits he had styled teamed a pink shirt with a navy blazer and it looked fantastic – he showed that pink can look great on men as well as women if used in the right way!

It was great to meet the personal stylists and have a relaxed chat with them so I have to thank John Lewis, Peterborough for the lovely idea to host a blogger event. It’s given me the confidence to finally say yes to a personal styling session so watch this space for an update on how I get on!

John Lewis Personal Styling Sessions

John Lewis offer a 1 hour Style Express personal styling session (perfect for when you’re looking for that one special outfit) or a more comprehensive 2 hour Style Experience session where you have more time to explore ways to give your wardrobe a complete refresh. Both services are completely free and carried out by trained personal stylists, you just need to go online to book a session which you can do here.

LovedByLaura

Disclaimer: The evening with John Lewis was a free event kindly put on for a group of local bloggers. There was no payment involved, I just fell in love with so many of the lovely pieces that they showed us that I wanted to share some of my brilliant finds with you!

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The Body Shop #Qbloggers Visit Latest and Greatest

A few weeks ago I was invited down to my local The Body Shop in Queensgate Shopping Centre, Peterborough for a sneak peek at their latest releases and a closer look at some of their cult classics too.

Body Shop Latest and Greatests – My Top Picks

We pretty much got a walk through of the whole store’s collection (so many good things) but I’ve selected my top picks for you.

Tea Tree Range

The Body Shop have just launched a couple of new additions to their Tea Tree range specifically to target blemishes and problem skin, along with the hashtag #zithappens where people can share stories and tips on how to cope with dreaded breakouts.

The Body Shop #Qbloggers Visit Latest and Greatest

First up, there’s a multipurpose 3-in-1 wash.scrub.mask. Used as a wash, the clay foams up to remove excess oil and combat blemishes, whilst if you don’t add water you can use it as a scrub instead and it’s exfoliating particles will gently unclog pores and smooth your skin. You can also leave it on as a purifying mask for a deeper clean.

A second new arrival is the pre-serum Anti-imperfection Daily Solution which helps mattify oily skin, improve it’s tone and reduce redness with continued use.

I already swear by their trusty Tea Tree Oil in the Summer. My feet get horribly uncomfortable and blistered after walking in the heat, but a couple of drops of this in a warm footbath help to soothe the pain, whilst it’s antibacterial properties promote healing. In Winter the scent would be too much for me but in Summer I find it incredibly refreshing.

Anti-Ageing Gems

If I could give one tip for maintaining youthful skin it’s to make like a vampire and avoid the sunlight… fake tan or tinted moisturiser will help keep you looking fresh, sun damage won’t.

If I do venture out I make sure I’m well protected against the rays, although I absolutely hate wearing suncream on my face! I learned at the event that the Drops of Light range was SPF50. For some reason this isn’t mentioned anywhere on the website, so if I hadn’t been into the store I’d have never have known, so consider this my gift to you.

The Body Shop #Qbloggers Visit Latest and Greatest

I took home some samples of the Drops of Light Brightening Serum* to try and have to say I’m suitably impressed. It’s got a really light milky consistency which absorbs easily and although I feel a bit shiny for the first 1o minutes this soon dissipates. I went to the beach today wearing it and it saved my bacon. (I know this because I stupidly didn’t put anything on my neck and shoulders, which are now a delightful shade of pink!) I’ll definitely be returning to purchase a full size bottle of this one to keep me well protected when I’m out catching Pokemon er running.

Do you like Pina Coladas? Or getting caught in the rain?

(I’m so sorry).

I’ve seen a lot of hype this Summer about the Special Edition Pinita Colada range from The Body Shop which I largely ignored because I have so many lotions and potions at home that I really didn’t think I needed another one. Then I smelt it. And it’s delicious. Everyone else agreed.

The Body Shop #Qbloggers Visit Latest and Greatest

You really have to go and try it for yourself before you decide that you don’t need it, because basically you do! (Even if you really don’t….)

The Body Shop #Qbloggers Visit Latest and Greatest The Body Shop #Qbloggers Visit19

…in fact although lots of the other body butters at The Body Shop smelled amazing, nothing compared after a whiff of this. Yep, I’ve officially joined the hype bandwagon for this one.

(Range available here)

The World Of Spa Range

The Body Shop #Qbloggers Visit Latest and Greatests

My favourite part of the event was exploring the spa range. This is their luxury, at-home version of the products that you’d find at a spa with heady aromatics that allow you to recreate the pampering experience for a fraction of the price. The range is split into three rituals: Blissful, Revitalising and Relaxing.

The Body Shop #Qbloggers Visit Latest and Greatests The Body Shop #Qbloggers Visit10

I ended up buying two products from the relaxing range: Egyptian Honey and Milk Bath Powder (which comes in a lovely drawstring bag with a wooden scoop and makes your bath smell like milk bottles in addition to providing hydration) and French Lavendar Massage Oil.

I know that some people think that lavender is for old ladies, but I happen to love it for it’s calming, de-stressing properties. My nightly routine now finishes with a few drops of this rubbed into my arms and pulse points before I switch off the light to help me drift off into a peaceful sleep. If you want something more exotic but equally sumptious, try the Tahitian Orchid Massage Oil instead.

The Body Shop #Qbloggers Visit Latest and Greatests

Another item of note is the Moroccan Rhassoul Body Clay which you apply to your body with a brush and leave to dry for 10 minutes (pretty much like a face mask) then rinse off to reveal firmed, cleansed skin. I almost bought this but ended up putting it back because I was overspending… I can see it in my future though!

The Body Shop #Qbloggers Visit Latest and Greatests

(Range available here)

Makeup

Finally, we come on to makeup. The product that stood out for me here was the Lightening Shade Adjustment Drops. Basically you can add this to your foundation to adjust the shade if it’s not quite right for you. As someone paler than Casper the Friendly Ghost, this seems like a perfect solution to me. (There are also Darkening drops which I think could also be good if you develop a tan and don’t want to have to buy a whole new foundation).

The Body Shop #Qbloggers Visit Latest and Greatests

I also kindly received a BB Cream to take home which I haven’t tried yet but will report back when I do!

The Body Shop #Qbloggers Visit Latest and Greatests

Giving something back by building Bio-Bridges

In addition to learning all about what the products can do for us, we learned about what we can all do in return to help The Body Shop protect and enrich the world we live in. They have committed to restore 1 square metre of rainforest in Vietnam for every product bought this Summer by building Bio-Bridges. (These are restored wildlife corridors within damaged landscapes that help endangered species reconnect, enabling them and local communities to thrive.)

The Body Shop #Qbloggers Visit Latest and Greatests

You can show your support by uploading your pictures of the products you’ve purchased (or a selfie in-store) with the hashtag #findreggielove. (Reggie is an endangered Red Douc Monkey native to the Vietnam rainforest in case you were wondering!)

I really could have talked about loads more products here but I’ve mentioned my absolute favourites from the event, most of which I’ve carried on using at home. I’d encourage a visit in store if you’re looking for something in particular, I found the team in Peterborough to be extremely helpful and they can give you a personalised consultation for free too – just ask them!

Do you have any favourites from the Body Shop? What would you like to try from the picks I’ve shared?

LovedByLaura

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