Thursday, 29 September 2016

Big Changes for Chelmsford as Bond Street John Lewis Opens

John Lewis opens in Chelmsford


For more than 18 months we have been awaiting the opening of the Bond Street development. I remember excitedly checking the plans for the development and being over the moon for the arrival of a local Las Iguanas restaurant. There's actually a plethora of new eateries opening, along with some big names in retail all anchored by the swanky new John Lewis store which will be their very first in Essex. 

It's an exciting time for the town and speaks volumes that a prestigious brand such as John Lewis picked Chelmsford to open its first store in the county. Chelmsford is an affluent town and is full of families as well as London commuters so people around here want a certain standard of living which I think has been lacking slightly until recently. The high street was completely lack lustre with very limited shopping options which was driving locals to travel to Lakeside or even Westfield for their wide range of shops. With this change people should actually be drawn into the area rather than travelling over to Bluewater or into London to a John Lewis.

John Lewis, chelmsford, essex


I was lucky enough to have a tour of the fabulous John Lewis on the 26th before it officially opened on September 29th. It was exciting to be one of the first people to step foot inside the long awaited store.
Having creative control over the design of the building means they have paid particular attention to the architectural details, including a circular atrium which enables people on the 1st floor to look straight down into the stores entrance from which they have a particularly interesting piece if visual merchandising hanging, which will no doubt be updated with the seasons. Overlooking river chelmer is an imposing suspended staircase which is quite impressive and gives you a great view not only of the river but of the rest of the development, there is so much glass which means the store is flooded with natural light but I would imagine will look equality as stunning at night being able to see out over a moonlit town.

John Lewis chelmford, visual merchandising, essex
Chelmsford Bond Street


Beauty lovers will be pleased to hear that there are 14 make-up counters including MAC, Charlotte Tilbury, Tom Ford, OPI and Bobbi Brown. The overall look of the beauty area is really top notch, it's certainly good for seducing those pennies out of your purse!

John Lewis chelmsford, make-up counter, essex
Charlotte Tilbury, john lewis, chelmsford, essex


Along with beauty you will also find giftware, mens fashion and large electrical items on the ground floor; but the first floor is where the really exciting things await you, women's fashion and bags of which they have a dedicated section for both Mulberry and Michael Kors! This is also the home of the Benugo coffee bar for when all of the shopping gets a bit much and you need some refreshments in the form of good coffee or a glass of cool crisp prosecco which is served via tap.

Michael Kors, john lewis, chelmsford


To help you out with all that shopping they have a personal shopper lounge with 3 levels of package, Style Express and Style Experience are complimentary in which the stylist will spend up to two hours with you to hep you find that perfect outfit, then there is Style Profile which costs £125 and the stylist will go more in depth and give you advise on your body shape and the best brands for you. You will be able to try on clothes in the comfort and privacy of the lounge but even if you are in one of the other changing areas they are all fitted with call buttons if you need assistance, which means no more to-ing and fro-ing to get different sizes or colours of that must have piece.

Kuoni, John Lewis, chelmsford, essex, bond street development


Kuoni have their own self styled area that you can go to if you are in the market for a holiday, they specialise in luxury travel and this shines through in their concession. It looks comfy and glamorous and I even spied a nespresso machine in there which means you can sip on your latte whilst deciding between the Maldives and Bora Bora!

Up on level 3 you'll find soft furnishings and furniture with home design advisers on hand to help you with your interior makeover. The top floor is laid out with different living room settings so you can really get a feel for the theme you'd like, and I have to say their furniture was really lovely and I may have spotted a few bits of homeware that made my heart flutter.



All in all the store is everything I wanted for the town and think that you will agree, shopping for your Christmas party outfits this year is going to be a breeze, not to mention all your gift shopping!

The store opens its doors at 9.30am this morning, so what are you waiting for? Hot step it down to Bond Street to see it all for yourself.


Sunday, 25 September 2016

Juice Kitchen Chelmsford | They are Juice Geeks!

Juice Kitchen Chelmsford, Essex

I went along to meet Richard, the mastermind behind Chelmsford's swanky new Juice Kitchen, I really wanted the chance to get to know the guy who wanted to fill the gap in the market in the town by giving us not only something much needed but also different. Chelmsford is full of chains, we have all the usual suspects, Starbucks, Costa, Nero, Pret..... the list goes on. What we really lack in the town is independent and unique vendors providing something a little different. Luckily Richard spotted that Chelmsford would welcome an idea such as his eagerly.

Juice Kitchen, chelmsford, essex
Juice Kitchen, Chelmsford


In 2015 Richard dreamt of opening a juice bar and set about looking for the perfect location, after some time he came across the disused bank at the top of the high street and envisioned what he could do with the vast space. In the summer of 2016 his vision started to come together as his team gutted out the old bank and turned it into the open, clean and modern space it is today. He has paid particular attention to the staff at Juice kitchen, he has selected all the individuals based on their personable attitude and talents in their field to make the eatery something really special.

Juice Kitchen, Chelmsford

I sat with Richard for almost 2 hours talking about his decision to step away from his previous career and take a leap into something new. Wanting to provide the local community with good healthy food and drink choices was something close to Richard's heart after suffering from ill health himself and turning his eating habits around to get himself back on the right path.

Juice Kitchen, Chelmsford
Chocolate brownie at Juice kitchen, chelmsford, essex, gluten free


As more and more people are making conscious decisions to look after their health by eating better, we seem to be moving away from the junk food trends and instead opting for good honest healthy food, Juice Kitchen is definitely at the forefront of that for the town. Currently you can pop in for a freshly pressed juice or smoothie made from local ingredients, or get your caffeine fix from their wide menu of Lavazza coffee, you can even have it made with almond milk! They offer lots of options for lunch as well from wraps to salads all prepared with fresh ingredients on site in their kitchen. Soon you'll also be able to grab your breakfast from Juice Kitchen as they are working on their fantastic menu which will include breakfast pots which will be a god send for those of you running to catch their early morning train because they are early birds and are open from 7am.

Fruit compot and yogurt, juice kitchen, chelmsford
Juice Kitchen, chelmsford, essex

Richard is passionate about creating food for everyone so they have put thought into providing options for people with dietary needs as well as offering vegan friendly food as well. Their is such a wide selection to choose from whether you are looking for a meal or just a snack they have it covered.

healthy snacks at juice kitchen, chelmsford
juice kitchen chelmsford

Juice cleanse chelmsford

Behind the scenes a lot more is also going on; with big plans to make their healthy food so much more accessible, they have been setting up lunch time delivery with some of the local businesses, because we know so many of you eat your lunch al desko! But don't worry if you don't work locally because they also have meal prep options available as well for those of you who are too busy to be able to make yourself healthy meals. You don't have to live off the dreaded microwave food when you can have delicious and healthy food prepped for you by Juice Kitchen. All you do is pick your protein from a list including honey and coriander salmon, vegan mixed bean falafel, or lemon & basil chicken, add in your carb such as wild rice, herby cous cous or sweet potato wedges and a side like broccoli, or grilled mixed veg and you've got yourself a healthy meal all ready to go. Meal prep prices start from £3.50 per serving for bulk orders, so now you have no excuse not to eat well!

Juice kitchen ethos


They are also offering Juice Cleanse packages if you want to benefit from a detox and kick your body back into action. You don't have to go the whole hog if you don't want to, the options are flexible and you can do a one day juice cleanse right up to a 5 day cleanse.

cold pressed carrot juice, juice kitchen, chelmsford



Juice cleanse, juice kitchen chelmsford


Richard wants to take a charitable approach with the Chelmsford business by giving back to the local community and supporting something that is also close to my heart by working with Essex based homeless charity Chess. Juice Kitchen will be providing the coffee and bacon butties for the annual sleep out in the Cathedral grounds to raise money for the charity taking place on November 25th.

Richard has a very giving nature and will also working with the charity this year to provide a hot meal and warm place to sit and eat for up to 50 homeless people on Christmas Day. This is an incredibly admirable thing to do, especially for such a young business. Whilst most people will be tucked up in their warm homes opening their gifts, Richard's team will be working to feed some of Chelmsford's many homeless. I think you'll agree that Juice Kitchen is setting a great example and is just the sort of business we need more of in our town!


If you're interested in their juice cleanse or meal prep service ping them an email for more details on hello@juicekitchen.co.uk

Juice Kitchen
Chelmsford High Street
www.facebook.com/JuiceKitchenChelmsford

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Crafting Collaboration with Gem's Country Life

This post encompasses two things for me, there have been studies that show that crafting can help with depression. The concentration needed for crafting can help produce a natural high and create feelings of happiness and calm, this is definitely something I need in my life. Social connections are also another factor for happiness, people who have good friendships and live in tight communities often live longer happier lives.

Blogging brought Gem and I together, without it we would never have met. I am grateful to have found such a wonderful friend through our hobby. Being in similar circumstances in our personal lives has brought us closer and means we have an understanding of where the other is on an emotional level and can provide support.

Autumn garland

Bringing friendship and crafting together creates an all round therapeutic environment, then if you throw in wine, pizza and plenty of tea and biscuits you have the makings for a perfect afternoon! Gem and I each picked a project and kept it a surprise, I chose an autumn garland made from old book pages, string and mini wooden pegs, Gem chose a watercolour painting.

Rustic autumn garland


Whilst the Cricut was cutting out the leaves from the book pages we stuffed our face with pizza and doughballs and then set to work on making our garlands. I love Autumn and really like the idea of decorating my home with more natural rustic colours which is why I chose to use string, wooden pegs and brown card to make the garland. I'm really happy with how it turned out and can't wait to put it up.

watercolour canvas
watercolour paints

A couple of weeks ago Gem and I spotted these cute watercolour canvas kits in Hobbycraft so I was really happy that she picked these for us to do.


I'm really happy with how my canvas turned out and it is now sitting proudly on my sideboard in my living room.

Getting together with a friend to have a chilled day of making things is really fun, so grab some great food and get crafting. After all, it's good for your mood!

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Jane Means Pop Up Store Launch

I was lucky enough to attend the launch party for Jane's new pop up store in the beautiful clifton nurseries, this was my first visit to the picturesque nursery nestled behind a little walkway in the tranquil streets of west London. This was also my first time meeting Jane and she was one of the friendliest people I've ever met, she has that rare quality of being able to make you feel like you are so special within seconds of her greeting you. She is a born hostess with the mostess, and it was mesmerising to watch her mingle amongst so many people and put a smile on their face. She is definitely a woman I aspire to be more like.

Jane Means pop up store, clifton nurseries
Jane Means pop up store


The store itself is like a playground for anyone who loves ribbon, cards and gift wrapping items and is beautifully decorated with so much attention to detail. The pop up store will be open until Christmas so it's the perfect opportunity to get down there and stock up on goodies to make your gifts look extra special this year!

Jane Means pop up store
Jane Means pop up store


I would love to attend one of her gift wrapping workshops and could even think of a certain man that could very much benefit from being taught how to wrap something without using an entire roll of sellotape to do so. Too many of us are too eager to stuff a present into a gift bag, when taking the time to wrap something with care and make it look truly beautiful is almost as important as the gift itself.

Jane Means pop up store
Jane Means pop up store
Jane Means pop up store

Clifton Nurseries
5A Clifton Villas
London
W9 2PH

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Cinema under the stars

It's been a bit of a tradition of mine to watch a film outdoors every year in the summer, since the trend first emerged about 5 years ago it's grown at an epic rate and now you can watch a movie pretty much anywhere. From parks, rooftops to floating in a dinghy you can find a movie being screened in lots of unusual places.

I was lucky enough to be contacted to say I'd won free tickets to the screening of Purple Rain at Rooftop Film Club at Roof East in Stratford. I was so excited by this because since going to Roof East to play crazy golf I had dreamed of going back to watch a film under the stars, and unusually enough I did see a couple of stars in the sky which is rare for London.

Rooftop film club, roof east, London


We arrived at the top of Stratford shopping centre in plenty of time of the film so we could enjoy a couple of drinks from Spirited Mixers and get food from Rockadollar. For two days I had been fantasising about their amazing fries, their crispy, golden, crunchy little morsels of heaven in every bite. When I went up to order, they were sold out!! I could have had a breakdown on the spot, I had been looking forward to them so much! Sadly I had to settle for nachos instead but the guy from Rockadollar is a top human being and made me laugh so much I felt better about missing out on my much awaited fries.

When it approached 8pm we made our way over to the screening area that is gated off with a cute little picket fence, we were given our blankets and strolled in to nestle down in a rather large deck chair. I loved watching a movie whilst being surrounded by high rise buildings, there is something special about it. It reminded me of my first ever outdoor movie in 2011 on the roof of the Queen of Hoxton which is another perfect, almost romantic spot.

Roof East Stratford


My tips for watching outdoor movies are to wear lots of layers, even though its summer you won't necessarily get a really hot evening and nothing puts a dampener on your time like being really cold! If you go to a park venue where seating isn't provided make sure you take your own in the form of camping chairs or similar. Trust me it's not fun spending the night sitting on the floor on a picnic blanket because you just can't get comfy. Other than that, cosy up and enjoy the outdoor film experience!

Rooftop Film club have viewing still for the next couple of weeks, so if you haven't already enjoyed a movie alfresco you still have time. I really recommend it, especially The Queen of Hoxton because it's a smaller building and is surrounded by taller office buildings which at night provides a really lovely view.

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