So… it’s school holidays at long last: how are yours going?

I’ve had a very hectic start – that law of sod is currently having a right old laugh at the cards he’s chucked my way!  But before I bore you with that, I thought I’d do a short little post about the press days I attended last week, as well asa little overview of the evening Wellbeing talk I attended.

Right… so… I think of myself as a normal, every day “Jo Bloggs” (no pun intended) who finally decided to start a blog one day about 18 months ago after a great many years of procrastination.

I have no fashion training in writing or styling but I just have a love of clothing & certain styles speak to me more than others and as such, I’d like to think of myself as ‘style led’ rather than ‘trend led’.

Anyway, I was invited to come along to a Wellbeing talk by Sunita, from Lucky Things blog; the event was being held at the Neptune (Home store) in Wimbledon, a brand Sunita was collaborating with.

Sunita, whom I’d previously met at in event in London a few months ago, and then again at the Bristol Lucky Things meet-up more recently, happened to have watched some of my Instagram Stories and saw that I’m having some home renovations done, so she messaged and invited me to the talk she’d be giving at Neptune.

Although I blog mainly about fashion, my mindset is currently firmly focussed on my renovations & therefore interiors, so after a quick check-in with Mr T about logistics (given the event was a working/school day) the stars aligned perfectly for me to go along.

Meanwhile, Donna (@sulkydollstyling) and I were trying to meet up for a coffee and it came to light that we were both going to be in London on 19th June so she invited me along to a couple of Christmas in July press days she was attending.

So I figured why not?

I’d get to find out what the fuss was about with press days but more importantly, a chance to catch up with my friend.

Unfortunately, with it being the end of term madness with school events, I had a school thing to attend straight after school drop-off and Donna needed to get back for the end of the school day so we ended up not crossing paths at all.

However, she urged me to attend the press days anyway, as it would be fun.

So, although I felt unnecessarily anxious about attending the press days on my own, I decided to bite the bullet and go along anyway.

First up, the House Of Fraser Christmas Press Day…

(and in case you are wondering why Christmas wares are being promoted in the middle of summer, it’s for the benefit of print press – magazines are always 2 – 3 months ahead of us in terms of what they’re planning & writing about.)

Anyway, what can I tell you? It was a very hot, muggy July day, and in a narrow, tall 4 storey building in Soho, adorned with glittery snowflakes outside a small entrance, I signed myself in and walked into House of Fraser’s “Christmas”.

It was a really odd feeling: checking out Christmas decorations and glitzy-glam Christmas fashions in July.

But more than that, it was odd that I was there.

I felt like a bit of a phoney to be honest.

After all, who am I?

A fledgling blogger, a bit of a no-one really, right?

I just see myself as an everyday stay at home mum who blogs, who is *slowly* building up a readership to her blog and Instagram… I didn’t know anyone who was there, people came in and out of rooms as I did, some taking the merchandise in more slowly than others, some papping pics on their phones, others on their mega-cameras…

And that’s exactly what I did.

I took each of the rooms in slowly, loaded videos and photos of what I was seeing onto my Instagram Stories, and took some photos on my proper camera:

Biba Lamp – available at HOF from Autumn


Taken on my phone for IG Stories, another Biba Lamp from HOF

Beautiful drinks trolley & gold cocktail mixing set

So as well as blingy gold home accents being order of the day, it seems the Flamingo is still going strong:


Flamingos galore!

So after I’d Instagrammed & Storied the life out of it, I went down for a fresh juice refreshment & a taste of some nibbles as it was pretty hot in the building… I didn’t stop for free ice-cream, but there were a couple of tables set up with ladies having their nails done.

Tempting as it was to wait in line, I was pushed for time… but I did get chatting to the lady behind the nail product being demo’d: a mini home gel nail kit which was inexpensive with a small “macaroon” shaped light for doing one nail at a time…


Available at HOF from Autumn

I’ve always been a sucker for small, compact products, and this idea is genius!

Inside the kit, which will retail at £34.99 at House of Fraser from Autumn, you get:
– Macaron shaped LED lamp with USB cord and power charger
– One bottle of gel polish in a matching color (10 ml/0.33 oz)
– Cuticle stick
– Mini nail file
– 10 remover pads
– Detailed instructions

I loved that you can do one nail at a time rather than your having to do all nails in one hit – means you can get up and do something in-between; you can also rotate the top of the lamp for pedi’s…it’s colourful, it’s fun, it’s portable.

I’m sold!

Not a hard sell, I know… but yeah, Le Mini Macron is gonna be on my Christmas list for sure.

Next, I hot-footed it over to the Debenhams Press day… and yup – you guessed it, it was more of the same.

A beautiful Christmas Dinner table laid to perfection, the most amazing Christmas kitchen set up with lovely liqueurs and nibbles to try, and then of course further floors of decorations and fashions:


Delicious raspberry gin…


Exactly what my kitchen looks like at Christmas!


Christmassy stairs of dreams

From the various “goody” bags others were carrying, it was clearly Christmas all over town: Liberty, Harrods, Selfridges… I suddenly understood why others were spending less time than me looking at the merchandise!

The reality is, there’s a lot of walking between places, and if you have more than a couple of press days and want to get to them all, you can’t (& don’t need to spend very long) at each one.

I thanked Donna when I’d gone back who’d asked if I’d enjoyed the press days and the answers is: yes, of course I did!

As a fledgling blogger who frequently sees / reads about bigger influencers attending press days, I can’t deny that I was more than a little curious to go along.

But there’s no question: it would have been more fun to go along with someone – a bit like when you’re window shopping with a friend: they spot things you’ve not noticed and vice versa and you have more of a giggle than if you’re window shopping alone.

So it was a real shame that Donna & I didn’t get to meet up, but perhaps another time.

If you’re interested in getting to a press day – find out the contact details of the PR department from the brand’s website and drop them a line to be added onto the mailing/invite list for their next press day… most brands love to have their brand talked about & promoted so it’s usually a straight forward thing.

Though saying that, I haven’t done this myself… simply because getting up to London isn’t cheap & I wanted to establish my blog first and figure out where I’m going with it… with that in mind, I imagine the press days f  specific fashion brands which do great petites would be of greater interest to me, but there’s no question that I did love seeing all of the christmas bling!

Plus of course, my mummy-duties always come first: so before I went up to London last Wednesday, I’d done the school run, attended the school service, walked the dog for an hour, prepared dinner and left my husband a detailed list of timings for pick-ups after school stuff… once a project manager, always a project manager, eh?!

Anyway, once both press days were done, I realised I’d missed lunch and was starving!

So after I managed to take a “cool London building & railings” shot for my Instagram daily outfit post, I then hopped on the tube to Wimbledon where I was the only person in the restaurant as it was only 5.30pm!!

After stuffing my face with Tex-Mex deliciousness in the cheesy old favourite Chimychanga (I used to live down the road from it and though not necessarily the best, definitely an old favourite…) by which time I was a hot sweaty mess.

I used the restaurant loos for a quick outfit change – all the glamour, I know… and then attempted a second street-outfit-shot.  Unfortunately, as mentioned in my last blog post, technology let me down but a lovely passerby managed to pap me:

Once my ‘daylight’ second pic was done, it was time to get myself to the Neptune Home Store for the main event which I’d come up to London for.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was a really lovely evening in the incredibly calming environment of the Neptune Home Store – which is one of those tardis stores that has a modest front but goes back a looooong way: and it’s just lovely in there:

The cosy lighting & neutral colours were calming…

a grown up bedroom!

Bathroom details

sunset in the Neptune garden

The store smells fabulous, the colour palette was calming and it was a smaller, more intimate event than a Lucky Things meet-up with about 20 – 25 of us there.  After an house or so of mingling and refreshments we sat down to listen to Sunita talk about the importance of your surroundings to your wellbeing as well as taking confidence in your own style.  She’s written a detailed blog post about it – have a read!

Sunita talking about design, confidence and wellbeing…

You can read all about Sunita’s talk over on her blog, but the main thing I took away from the talk was the importance of having a “happy corner” somewhere at home:

Do you have a happy corner?

As well as the importance of the first thing you see when you wake up:

What do you see when you wake up & sit-up in bed in the morning?

These two points are at the fore of my mind as my husband and I map out the plan for our new bedroom which the builders are a currently working on.

I got to meet lots of lovely new Instagrammers as well as (briefly) meeting another of my blogging “icons” who inspired me to set my own blog up, Fran from the Fashion Lift:


The Fashion Lift looking gorgeous…

Once the talk was finished, there was another chance to take photos and mingle some more, but with my 2-change train journey ahead of me, I didn’t want to miss my train and so it was time to head off…

And so that was it.

I had a really fun day, but then it was back to reality with a crash, bang, boom!

All the stars aligned for worst-case scenario for the start of the summer holidays:  builders finally starting work & noisily knocking walls down on the very first day of the school holidays; the new car which which we have been on the hunt for since January is finally coming into fruition this week; my elderly father who likes to announce things he’s known about for months at the last minute, went into hospital for surgery yesterday (thank fully, all went well) and there’s a hen-do in Liverpool this weekend!

However, regardless of the mayhem, dust and rubble… the boys have been really good this week considering.  They are loving their new bedroom so much – it’s hard to get them out of it!  Once the finishing touches are up in their room, I’ll do a quick blog post to show you what we’ve done.

And next week… I have the dreaded holiday packing to look forward to, so it’s unlikely that I’ll do a mid-week blog post… but keep your eye out, as you never know!

Thanks for reading – would love to hear if you’ve been to Press Days and what you thought of them?