BECOMING A QBLOGGER

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When you get invited to a meeting in McDonalds, you don’t really know what to think. I mean, I love a Big Mac, don’t get me wrong, but it wouldn’t be the first place I’d think of for a meeting. You might remember my post about the event I was invited to Backstage Live and I was thrilled to be invited to hear all about the future plans of Queensgate Shopping Centre and how I could help. So when the day came around and I ventured into McDonalds with fellow bloggers Sophie, Laura and Kat, I think we were all surprised by what we found!

Sitting on seven chairs around a long table were seven huge goody bags. The thing that struck me most however, were the pieces of card sticking out from said goody bags, each one featuring a different bloggers face on. We all took our seats and after everyone had arrived, we learnt about the exciting plans happening at Queensgate in the not so distant future. There are some seriously big plans, including a brand new food hall featuring some of the best chains and even a huge cinema. We will finally be getting a NYX on June 26th and there are also rumours of a certain MAC store opening too. If true, this is a move by Queensgate that will be much applauded! It is worth noting that there is free parking after 5:30pm on Thursday and Friday and late night shopping until 8pm, which is so helpful if you work Monday to Friday and don’t get away until 6pm!

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It was really great to hear that Queensgate recognised the importance and power of bloggers and knew we could be of help. And so we would become QBloggers, working together with Queensgate to help promote the Centre, as well as being the first to know about new launches or the opening of new stores and events. This is a relationship I have been waiting a long time for and am very excited to be a part of, especially in my hometown!

Next, we were told to take a look at our ‘assignments’. On each of our cards, we had all been given a series of tasks to complete, with each being completely different from the next. I had been matched with the beautiful Alexa Chung and had been asked to recreate her look in the given photo using a variety of shops based at Queensgate. I love a good challenge and this was definitely one I could get my teeth into!

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Leaving the meeting, we split up and agreed to meet later for food. I marched straight into Lush where I was met straight away with the lovely staff. I explained my mission, that I needed to be able to create Alexa’s messy, just got out of bed hair and straight away, they knew what I needed. I was taken under the wing by the wonderful Jade who was so infectious that I wanted to be friends with her immediately. I was so impressed by the level of knowledge that she had of all the products and it was even better that a lot of them she had tried herself.

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We focused predominantly on sea salt products, knowing that these would help achieve the casual, wavy look that Alexa goes for. Jade decided that Alexa would choose Jersey Bounce, a shampoo that contains coarse sea salt and creates shiny, bouncy hair. It’s a really interesting, wobbly texture and you rub it together to get the bubbles to massage into your hair, as Jade kindly demonstrated to me! Alternatively, there was also Big, another shampoo which was made for wannabe mermaids (like myself, admittedly). Containing both sea salt which will help lift the hair and give it body and seaweed which is full of protein! It also contains both lemon and lime juice, so it’s a seriously rejuvenating scent. It’s a really odd texture, sort of fine and grainy much like a scrub but this definitely isn’t one to shy away from and I know it’s the sort of product Alexa would love!

Next up, we moved on to the Sea Spray hair mist, which was an obvious choice really! All you need to do is spray and scrunch, a quick way to help give you that lusted after beachy look. I can definitely imagine Alexa having a bottle of this in her bag for a quick fix. I took a sample of this product away as I’ve been searching for the perfect sea salt spray and this looks like it will do just the job!

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Jade then introduced me to Seanik, which is a lovely round shampoo bar. Now this does seem a bit strange to use when you are used to simply squirting out liquid shampoo and being on your way, but it lathers really quickly under water, ready for you to massage into your hair. As well as smelling absoloutely incredible though, Seanik offers a whole host of benefits including soft and shiny hair and you’ll enjoy natural looking waves from the sea salt.

I was then shown several hot oil hair treatments which remind me of those little hot chocolate stirrers. And really, it works the same way. You can chose from several, depending on what you want to achieve. If your curls need some taming, turn to Kinky. Or if your hair is a knotty mess, give Tangled a go! All you need to do is place your hot oil stick into a cup or container, add a small amount of hot water and begin to stir! Your product will then slowly melt and you will eventually be left with a thick, creamy treatment. Remove the stick and you can now apply the treatment to your dry hair and leave on for about 20 minutes before you then shampoo your hair to complete the transformation! I think this is such a brilliant concept and ideal for when you feel like your hair needs some life injecting back into it. Whether you’ve been out the night before and your hair has suffered a lot of products or you feel like your hair looks a bit dull, these hot oil treatments are definitely the way to go!

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A huge thank you to Jade who was a total dream!

Feeling I had lots of products perfect for Alexa’s locks, I then made my way to Oasis to start on her boho dress sense! Admittedly, Oasis isn’t a shop I’ve actually been in very much (I can’t even remember the last time), but when I stepped into the shop, I began asking myself why! Forgetting about the task for a moment, I began to admire the beautiful and bright clothing, making a mental note that I needed to come back to investigate properly! A shop assistant approaching me reminded me why I was actually in there and together, we began to search round the shop for Alexa’s signature dungaree dress. I couldn’t believe my luck when I found the perfect outfit, all put together ready and waiting for me!

The Denise dungaree dress (£45.00) was made to be paired with this Stripe shirt (£38.00) and I knew I had seen Alexa wear something similar. Whether tucked into a high waisted skirt for the office or paired with black skinny jeans and heels, the shirt is an item that can work for both daytime and night. However I adore it just how Alexa would wear it, together with the dungaree dress and a flash of red lipstick, you’ve got the perfect casual outfit without compromising any style.

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My very first item from River Island was a handbag and it was such great quality and long lasting that I knew I would find a perfect match for Alexa there. Unsurprisingly, I had lots of choice, especially because a black bag is a must have and goes with nearly everything! I didn’t want a large one though, so turned to the smaller options. I couldn’t decide between two, the embossed mini boxy tote (£32.00) or the embossed mini satchel (£22.00). Both are definite favourites with their gold detailing and long straps to sling over your shoulder as Alexa does. I think the satchel just about wins though as it’s a style I know Alexa would love.

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Alexa’s shoes were probably the most difficult to try and replicate as Charlotte Olympia’s Kitty Flats are worn by her frequently and come with quite a hefty price tag! Undeterred though, Office was my next destination. I came across these Retro Tassel Loafers (£60.00) in black which scream Alexa and are a really easy style to slip on and carry out. Alternatively, there are these slightly smarter Vectra Brogue Loafers (£65.00) which would work just as nicely. I can also confirm that both are very comfy!

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Having completed my assignment with some time to spare, I decided to nip into Paperchase for a browse, I’d seen Kat venture in for one of her assignments. I kind of wish I hadn’t, as there was so much beautiful stationary on offer and I desperately wanted to hand my card over there and then! It didn’t help that the shop assistant Jack was so helpful (and very persuasive!) I love how the shop is split into sections, so everything of similar patterns are kept together which makes life a whole lot easier. I found myself drawn to the wedding bits especially as one of my sister’s is getting married next year! The coolest thing, which Kat pointed out to me, was the Blogger’s Journal which is made from soft, hessian fabric and features a monthly views tracker, daily maintenance and an ideas page! I really thought it was incredible that we bloggers have our very own notebook in a high street store!

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The very helpful Jack!

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With my stomach grumbling, I found the rest of the girls and after some last minute dashing around in Topshop, we headed to Handmade Burger Co where we had been offered vouchers* for dinner. We were chattering away so much it took us so long to actually look down at the menu and decide what we wanted to eat! I’ve never been out to dinner with fellow bloggers before, so it was a really interesting experience for me to be able to publicly talk about blogging and be around people who are totally on the same wave length as me. Not to mention, they were all so incredibly lovely! I went for the Cheese & Bacon burger which was both huge and delicious although I couldn’t help but eye up Laura’s Dirty Burger! It was an evening full of tasty food and lots of chatter, leading us right up till late when we were the last ones to leave! I’m looking forward to the next catch up already!

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We were very kindly gifted a huge goody bag which had been put together with several of the stores from Queensgate and I was so pleased with the contents! I’ve only selected a few bits to show you as there really was so much, but the likes of Tiger, Carluccio’s, Paperchase, Boots, Lush and The Bodyshop had all gotten involved and there is such a great range of things to enjoy from beauty to stationary, kitchenware to nail art. Some of my favourites include the feathered headband from Tiger (I need to find an occasion to wear this!) and the Instant Wipeout Mask from Benefit! I’m sure I’ll be showing you lots more of these products over the coming weeks!

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I feel really honoured to have been invited to take part as a #QBlogger and it especially means so much because of the connection to my hometown, Peterborough. I’m looking forward to sharing lots of very exciting goings on with you! Have a great week!

Emily x

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  • I think this is one of my favourite blogposts I've ever read!! You sound like you had such an incredible evening, I wish my local shopping centre would host an event like this, I love the idea of meeting and connecting with like-minded local bloggers. The staff in Lush are always the friendliest, I love how they test out and use the products in front of you so you know you are purchasing something you definitely like. I adore that dungaree and shirt combination, super chic and stylish. There's a definite resemblance between you and Alexa, after seeing a picture of you and her on the same page I am convinced you could be sisters separated at birth!

    This was a really great post Emily, your writing always has me captivated and I re-read it over and over again.

    Ruby xoxo
    rubyredr0ses.co.uk

  • It sounds so lovely! The event must have been incredibly fun and I love that it had a little challenge to complete. I'd love to participate in this kind of event in the future. And Lush staff sounds helpful! I appreciate people who genuine care about their clients and even demonstrate things if needed 🙂

    -Leta | The Nerdy Me

  • This sounds like one of the best days out as a blogger ever !! It's amazing that you were recognised and also had an absolutely amazing day!! I loved reading about how helpful everyone had been! Definitely looks like you had a fab time! I'd love it if a shopping centre near me did this!
    Saira
    http://www.throughtheglitterglass.wordpress.com
    Xxxx

  • Oh wow! That sounds like so much fun, lovely! I'm sure you were a bit confused at first about this meeting at McD but what a lovely set-up 🙂 Love the little touches they did, whoever organised this is a little genius 🙂 Assignments sounded like great fun!! Wish I could take part in something similar – loved this 🙂
    xox Nadia
    http://www.mielandmint.com

  • Oh wow! That sounds like so much fun, lovely! I'm sure you were a bit confused at first about this meeting at McD but what a lovely set-up 🙂 Love the little touches they did, whoever organised this is a little genius 🙂 Assignments sounded like great fun!! Wish I could take part in something similar – loved this 🙂
    xox Nadia
    http://www.mielandmint.com

  • It sounds like you had such a good time and well, Mcdonalds seem to of gone out of their way to actually go above and beyond it's truly a beautiful read. Love it!!

    http://spendingtimewithlucy.blogspot.co.uk/

  • This sounds soo awesome!! I wish we had any sort of blogging events where I'm from but its just not big enough around here. The assignments sound like so much fun.

    Renee | Lose The Road

  • Sounds like such a great day out and event!! Love the photos you captured! The burger obsessive in me is seriously drooling… Haha xx

    http://www.thatnewdress.com

  • I'm moving back to Peterborough 2 weeks tomorrow after being away at uni for three uears and I'm so glad that the city is getting on board with the blogger scene. I've been hoping and praying for a MAC for years, and and I can't wait for NYX to arrive. Although goodbye money since I have to pass through town every day for work! I hope when I return I hear more about the blogger goings-on in the city and get the chance to get involved. I'm still yet to try out Handmade Burger Co so I need to pay them a visit upon my return!

    Sophie x | Essential Twenty

  • This event seems so fun! I haven't been to any events till now but I would love to go to one like this! Congrats on this opportunity and challenge 🙂 Can't wait to see your look

    Yousra | Mystic Tales

  • Wow this sounds so amazing! I wish I'd get invited to something like that… I guess that's the benefit of having a blog located in a blogger-friendly city. Here in Prague, there's not much going on and when there is, the same 5 girls just get invited. 😛
    http://www.MARINASAYS.com

  • Oh my goodness, I am so glad you are getting such great opportunities! What a cool challenge and you absolutely killed it! Lush looked like so much fun and as soon as I saw the outfit & shoes I immediately pictured Alexa! I also so want both those handbags!

    Looks like such a lovely day! Keen to see product reviews soon, have a lovely week, Emily!

    P.S. That blogger's journal is too cute!

    Raashi
    reflectionswithraa.blogspot.com.au

  • Lush is my love, people x
    Yuliya at Yukova Blog UK

  • What a great honor indeed! Looks like you had an amazing day and how cool that you got some great swag to take home as well.

  • It sounds like you really had the best time! I love Lush with all of those amazing Bath Bombs and the food looked delicious!

    xo
    http://www.carinavardie.com

  • I've never tried hair products in lush before and now I'm super intrigued! I'm also IN LOVE with the outfit you chose! Lovely to see what tasks you got and looking forward to our next feast at handmade burger co! Kat xxx http://www.laydeykatabella.co.uk

  • Now this is some type of event I would love to be a part of, it is interesting yet a great one! It must have been so much fun to complete the mission and as a reward that delicious meal! That blogger journal looks so cool!

    Ela BellaWorld

  • Jade in Lush is an absolute superstar – she helped me to find some products for my hair at Backstage Live and was just so knowledgeable and enthusiastic that it was infectious! Loving this post so much – roll on the June meet!

    Laura xx | Loved By Laura

  • Many pretty things.AdoringDresses.com.au

  • This sounds like a really fun event to be a part of, I love Lush products and those goody bags sound nice. Thanks for sharing!

    Eden | Mint Notion

  • What an awesome experience you must be having! That sounds like a really great meeting.

    Via Sora

  • This sounds like such a fun experience!

    Georgia | The Weekend Attic –

  • This surely sounds like a great day and experience. I love events like this where you get to connect with other bloggers. Great photos!! All the yummy foods is making my tummy growl. Lol!! Thanks for sharing this with us, Emily.

    http://missymayification.blogspot.co.uk

  • This event sounds amazing, it's so great that you have opportunities like this. McDonalds? Seriously? haha I laughed so hard when I read the first line and I thought wth, what is this? Glad your day was so nice and I love your photos!

    Yiota
    PinkDaisyLoves

  • This both looks and sounds like such an amazing event! Great idea to go straight to Lush and funnily enough, I've actually got that Oasis dungaree dress saved to my favourites right now – seeing it again here is now totally persuading me to buy it! I love the look of the Bloggers Journal by the way, too cute!

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice | Twitter | Instagram x

  • What an awesome event! Looks like such a fun day out. Also HOW cute are those novelty ice cream stickers!? Bloomin love paperchase. Immy x

    http://www.immymay.com

  • This sounds like such an amazing event! So much fun, and I do love a good challenge!

    Erin xx
    islandbell.co.uk

  • Lovely post! I love your photos, you've got a great eye with your camera!

    Jess – http://www.acornlifefitness.wordpress.com

  • Bloggers have a lot of influence. How smart of that mall! I love the personalization paper they added to the goodie bag. Also loving the shops there! Very nice! Seems like they will be adding some more 🙂 Very exciting! Glad you had fun!
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

  • Dare I say it I have never even set foot in lush, I assumed it was all bath bombs and soap but now I know they do hair products I might just have pay them a visit. I love the items you picked out for Alexa, great choices.

  • Sounds like a really fun day out! You picked out some really lovely items too 🙂

    Away From The Blue Blog

  • That sounds like the best assignment ever! Shopping and makeovers and burgers. To die for! What a fun day 🙂

    xx Yasmin
    http://banglesandbungalows.com

  • love your post~ good job

  • Sounds like a such a fun day! I love that you were given assignments to complete x

    VanessaVonJames | Fashion Blog

  • It looks like you had such a great time with those other bloggers 🙂 I love everything you got in the goodie bag. I agree it's kind of weird having a meeting in McDonald's but it seems like it worked out pretty well 🙂 I wish we had more events like that in Croatia 🙂 xx

    BeautyPepTalk
    Make sure you enter my huge celebration giveaway 🙂

  • This looks really fun!

    Xx,

    || FLOORTJELOVES ||

    http://www.floortjeloves.com
    http://www.facebook.com/floortjeloves

  • AWW This is absolutely amazing, sounds very cool! Looks like a super funny day! Thanks for sharing!
    xx
    cvetybaby.com

  • This sounds like such a fun event, also I've very jealous of your Handmade Burger Co, I haven't been in so long!

    Lauren Ashleigh xx

  • Your pictures are so gorgeous, great post! I think your blog is lovely by the way, let me know if you want to follow each other! x

    adelelydia.blogspot.com

  • Raj

    Cngratulations!
    So excited for such a wonderful opportunity, what a fabulous way for you to engage with your hometown
    Looks like such a fun day out too!
    All the best with this project in the future

    What Raj Wants

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