Personal Styling for the Pernickety Shopper

When I told Husband that I was going to see a personal shopper, his reply was ‘She has her work cut out for her’. I had no snappy comeback because, for once, he was right. I am such a pernickety shopper. With a six-year old and a two-year old, I don’t have time to go to shops and try things on. But I love a bit of retail therapy. So normally I buy things from the internet (on which I spend hours), and for every 20 items I buy, maybe one item gets to call my wardrobe home. This means that I waste a lot of time at the post office or doing Collect+.
As I need a new outfit for Britmums Live (which is in two weeks–woohoo), I thought I would try a new approach to clothes shopping. John Lewis offer a complimentary, one hour ‘express’ session of their Personal Styling Service to help find a particular/special outfit. They also offer a complimentary two-hour service if your wardrobe needs updating. I went to the John Lewis in Kingston on Sunday and was greeted by a amiable personal shopped named Alison. I told Alison what I was looking for, my dress and shoes sizes, and we discussed flattering colours. While I relaxed in the comfy styling suite enjoying some water and a magazine, Alison went to get me some possible outfits.
I am looking for a dress that looks nice with or without leggings. Something not too short that suits either trainers/sneakers or sandals. I need something that can be dressed up or down as I spend most of my time on Mummy Duty and don’t normally go out more than once or twice a month. One of my issues is that I gained three stone (42 pounds) when I was pregnant with Dubz. He is now two years old and those three stone stubbornly remain. My shape is different than what it used to be and I am still adjusting to dressing a big tummy.
I tried on about eight or nine tunic dresses and dresses, two pairs of shoes and a necklace. Alison introduced me to a couple of brands I had never heard of, including Mint Velvet. Unfortunately for me, Mint Velvet seems to be flying off the shelves and they didn’t have a lot of the type of dresses I like in my size, in the shop or online (I am wearing Mint Velvet in the last pic). In the end, I was torn by two tunic dresses. But I have decided to keep looking. There was no pressure to buy anything that day, which is the kind of service I have come to expect from John Lewis. I have since spent a couple more hours looking for the right outfit. After all, I still have two weeks.
Please note that I was not paid for this review. All opinions expressed are completely my own. I just really like shopping at John Lewis.
Family Fever

Getting Beautiful at John Lewis

Normally, when I go to John Lewis, I go to the kids department or homewares. When my friend Ella and I went to the John Lewis in Kingston last night, we were unsure what to expect. We didn’t know what the big beauty event would entail, besides having our make-up done. Being SAHMs, neither Ella nor I spend much time getting pampered. It is so easy to forget about making yourself feel good when you are concentrating on taking care of your family.
After grabbing a glass of cava, we were introduced to Murad. I had heard of this brand before, as they are American like me. Murad was developed by a dermatologist and specialises in combatting ageing and blemished skin. They even have a men’s line. First off, Daisy took a special photo of my skin which showed my problem areas (don’t be too alarmed at what I look like with no make-up). The photos show that my main issues are the redness in my cheeks and t-zone blemishes. As I approach 40, *clears throat*, I feel like my skin is changing. I’ve always had combination skin but I feel like the dry skin is drier and the oily skin is oilier. Plus I’m breaking out like a teenager. Daisy recommended some products which would help and then gave me a mini-facial. Normally, after a facial, my face looks and feel smooth but I also look a bit unkept. After the Murad facial, my skin looked so glowy. Both Ella and I commented that we looked just as nice as if we had on make-up, if not better. Thank you Murad!
99 problems and my skin is number 1
John Lewis Kingston had a major refurb in October 2013, adding an extra £7,000 square feet which substantially increased their beauty department. They have all the big international brands, and a great selection of British brands too. Ella and I both got manicures at Leighton Denny. She got her make-up done at Benefit, while I had mine done at Bobbi Brown. Neither Ella nor I wear very much make-up during the day. Being American, I don’t leave the house without any lipstick. But it was lovely getting the whole shebang done. 
Sophie at Bobbi Brown introduced me to the miracle of a purple eye liner, which makes brown eyes look green. And their BB cream made my skin look flawless! Ella loved the natural look she got from Mary at Benefit. When Mary saw me, she had to add the Gimme Brow which sleeks eyebrows wonderfully. I especially liked this as my eyebrows are a bit on the skimpy side. I grew up expecting to have Brooke Shields’ eyebrows, but alas it was never meant to be.
Ella and I had such a giggle last night. We loved the pampering and the girly time, and I arrived home feeling lovely. I don’t think that you need make-up, necessarily, to feel pretty. But as mums, I think it is important to do things for yourself. And of course, it helps to have a girlfriend along for laughs.
John Lewis Kingston invited me and a friend to their Beauty Event for the purpose of a review. I was not paid for this endorsement. All opinions expressed are my own.