Last Thursday my local shopping centre Queensgate, located in Peterborough, invited me along to join in in an Autumn Winter Challenge alongside 4 other lovely local bloggers. The event was kept top secret and all we knew was we had to meet Hotel Chocolat at 6pm, introduce ourselves to an assistant in store who would hand us an envelope each.
Hotel Chocolat kindly treated each of us to one of their Halloween Hot Chocolates, and a tour of their Halloween and Christmas treats – the hot chocolate was very filling and the perfect energy boost to start our shopping dash! Adorned with delicious chocolate cream and a cute little chocolate vampire we eagerly waited everyone to arrive before we finally took a peek at what our envelopes had in store for us. Each of us had been set a different challenge, mine read;
“Rachael, After a long week it’s time to have some chilled me time, Spend your gift card on must have pamper, beauty and makeup products which you have been lusting after for weeks. Think luxurious face masks, dreamy bath bombs and everything in between. The perfect pampering girls night’.
Immediately I had ideas, I decided to cover both the beauty and makeup side of things I’d cover a pampering “get ready” experience with products to make you look and feel your best for a night out, I tried to cover. We were given a £100 gift card to spend and off we popped with an hour and fifteen minutes left on the clock. For once in my life I felt like I’d drawn the long straw as everyone else had fashion challenges, being tall on the highstreet can be quite problematic and I’d be in and out of changing rooms, but with a makeup and beauty wishlist as long as both my arms I knew I had some ideas of where to start!
First up I headed to Superdrug – this was the first product I had in mind – Bilou is a brand which has recently launched into Superdrug and I’ve tried several stores so far and been unable to find it. I’m not a person who is big on baths and whilst the temptation to fit the theme was to go to lush and get a bath bomb, I decided to get myself a luxurious shower foam which I’ll enjoy using much more. They have a range of delicious sounding scents but I opted for the Fizzy Berry scent (£3.99), it does have that sherbet, berry scent!
Next up, can you have a Girls Night theme without Lush? It was hard to resist not splashing the rest of my budget in Lush, Jack was a very helpful assistant an when I told him my theme he immediately had many products come to mind. The one I’d headed in for was ‘Golden Handshake’ a gorgeous hand mask which comes dry on a stick which you mix into water – I had this applied on my hands in the Oxford Street store a few years ago and the after effect was incredible – definitely a pamper product (£3.95).
Jack also suggested a hair mask and they did a similar stick mixed that I should be able to get two uses out of using on my midlengths, I opted for the Hot Oil Treatment which should be good to give dry hair a nourishing treatment whilst still retaining bounce and shine. (£6.50)
I then headed to M&S to look at their Beauty section, M&S has had a major revamp within Queensgate in the past year or so and the store looks so much more modern and fun to shop in, the beauty section is quite small in my particular Queensgate but I found a the Pixi stand. I was looking for Double Cleanse which unfortunately they didn’t have in that store, but they did have the Nourishing Cleansing Balm (£18.00), which sounded good as a nourishing skin prep for a girls night.
Last up for skincare – a face mask had to be in order and I decided to head to Origins in John Lewis, I’ve only tried one of their masks in the past and had trouble deciding which one to go for, I’d decided on a set of minis they had for Christmas but they didn’t have any left in stock other than the one on display, so I decided on their Raspberry Flower Fusion Sheet Mask (£5), Sheet masks are also a nice treat for getting ready I thought, as they moisturise, brighten and plump the skin – you can just massage the excess into the skin and are good for if you’re short of time as you don’t need to rinse away.
Onto makeup, I stayed in John Lewis and headed to the YSL counter for a look at what was new, their All Hours Foundation (£29.00) caught my eye and I’ve had it in mind to be my next foundation to try so I decided it was a great time to pick it up and fitted my theme well. It seemed to blend easily on the hand and had a nice glowy look to the skin which seemed perfect for a girls night.
I arrived at the time that the Christmas sets were being laid out and organised and their Faux Cils mascara an eyeliner set caught my eye (£23.50), Faux Cils is a mascara I adored when I was a teenager, I remember it being hailed as the best mascara ever on Gok Wan’s How to Look Good Naked, and my sister, Mum and I went through tubes and tubes of this for years – none of us use it any more and I’ve had it in mind to go back to at some point. The set also contained a pencil eyeliner, which I thought would be good for finishing off the eye with a simple lined eye or a full on smokey smudged out look.
The challenge said to spend as much of the £100 as I could and with the last few pounds I managed to find a liquid lipstick in Primark (£2) in a lovely cool chocolate brown called Flirtation – after this I had just £1 and a penny left in my budget and I was running out of time to see if I could find anything else for £1 so ran off to Turtle Bay to meet the Queensgate team and catch up with the other bloggers on how their challenges had gone.
We were treated to drinks and an abundance of delicious starters and mains to share on the table, We tried to go to Turtle Bay over summer when it first opened it’s doors in Peterborough and unfortunately it was fully booked, the food was delicious and I definitely need to revisit with Ben, I know he would enjoy it!
The other bloggers challenges if you want to check them out!
Loved By Laura was set the task of finding an outfit for going on an out-out night, Jaymee from The Mum Diaries was set an outfit challenge for a family autumn walk, Tasha from Mummy & Moose had to hunt for an outfit for a night out with friends whilst Sabina of Deep in Mummy Matters needed to find an outfit for a weekend city break for the daytime with her husband.
Massive thank you to Queensgate for inviting me along to the challenge, the centre has gone through some big remodelling in the past year and new retailers jumping on board mean we rarely tend to head to other cities any more when we need to go shopping. It was nice to see the almost completed changes which are due to be finished before Christmas and overall the centre is feeling a lot fresher!
How do you think I did on my challenge?