BECOMING A QBLOGGER

22nd May 2016

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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>

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