An Evening With LUSH York

To celebrate the re-opening of LUSH York after their recent renovations, myself and other local bloggers were very kindly invited to see the new store for ourselves. We all had a wonderful time, so I thought I’d tell you a little about what we got up to…

First of all, the shop itself = Instagram goals. Obviously Lush products are quite aesthetically pleasing to start with, but the shop itself was on a whole other level. It takes some serious talent to arrange a display of deodorants and foot cream in such a way that bloggers feel compelled to snap a photo of it, but they pulled it off.

The new layout of the shop is a lot more inviting, with more floor space and less potential for catastrophe during Christmas shopping season. This is a big pro in terms of accessibility: it seemed like it would be a lot easier to manoeuvre a wheelchair around. There’s still a step to get in the entrance but the staff assured me that they have a ramp readily available to put down for anybody who needs it. So that’s good news for future Pippa and also for future Pippa wheelchair pushers, who all too often have had to bring products to and from various shop doorways whilst I sit outside staring longingly in the window. It’s not the most efficient way to shop, believe me.

During the event, we learned about some new products and watched demos of how they worked. We found out more about the new Metamorphosis and Yellow Submarine bath bombs, the Scrubee body butter (which is absolutely adorable), and two new soaps: Olive Tree and Ro’s Argan.

As you know, I’m no beauty blogger and Lush is not my area of expertise, so if you’d like to learn more about any of those products, I’d recommend my new friend Amber’s Instagram account, and check out her blog when she’s posted her review. I met her at the event and the gal is a Lush wizard, I’m telling you. You can also read my new friend Tori’s blog post about the event here.

The whole evening was a great experience: structured but informal, and everybody I met was fab. I have nothing but good things to say about the staff: they were friendly and knowledgeable, and they handled my access requirements absolutely perfectly. They were all briefed about my allergies, and they had a chair all ready and waiting for me for when my legs were tired of being legs. They even brought products over to me so I didn’t have to get up; they really did go above and beyond and did so without drawing attention to it, something that I very much appreciated. This was the first time I’d ever been to this kind of event and I had no idea what to expect, but I had a great time and came away feeling validated as an actual blogger… which is rather bloody lovely.

 

Thank you so much to everybody at Lush York for having me, I’ll definitely be back soon!

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Yorkshire Women Of Achievement Awards 2017

It was an absolute honour to attend Sue Ryder’s Yorkshire Women of Achievement Awards this year, in recognition of my social enterprise Spoonie Survival Kits. After being nominated initially by my lovely friend Naomi, I was over the moon to be shortlisted for the Jane Tomlinson Woman of Courage Award and invited to attend the ceremony at the Royal Armouries in Leeds.

The ceremony itself was awesome. If you know me personally, you’ll know that I don’t thrive in posh environments (I’m more of a McDonalds kinda gal) and so I was actually a little nervous at attending a high profile event: I’d never been to anything like this before. I was fretting over everything from what to wear to which fork you’re supposed to use to when you’re supposed to hand-shake/ kiss-on-cheek/ thug-life-fist-bump the people around you, but I needn’t have worried. Everybody there was lovely, and the event was prestigious without being uppity and proper and posh; I think that’s a pretty good summary of Yorkshire in general, actually…

Proceedings kicked off with a welcome from representatives of the charity, and we dove straight into things with the announcement that the Yorkshire Rose Award would be given posthumously to Jo Cox, MP for Batley and Spen. Hearing from Jo’s parents and sister, who accepted the award on her behalf, was so moving, and celebrating her life was a poignant beginning to the rest of the event.

A fabulous three course meal came next, alongside various fundraising games and activities. The meal was amazing, apparently… the poor caterers really struggled with my food allergies: twice I was served a meal that they repeatedly assured me was okay when I asked them, only to have them come speeding back to take it away from me legitimately right before I was about to have my first bite. That was a tiny buzzkill, as would anaphylaxis have been if I’d eaten it, but what I could eat was so yummy: a really enjoyable meal in excellent company.

I knew from the get-go that I wasn’t going to be a winner this time: what I do with Spoonie Survival Kits is pretty cool, but these women were in a whole other league. Every single winner, and the overall winner Bana Gora, were so deserving; I left feeling honoured that I was even deemed worthy of sitting in a room full of these incredible Yorkshire lasses. To be nominated, let alone shortlisted, for an award with Jane Tomlinson’s name on it? Still quite unbelievable, and an excellent source of motivation to carry on fundraising.

I didn’t leave empty-handed though: thanks to good old KwikFit Wheel Of Fortune, I have a photoshoot and make-over to look forward to later in the year!

The whole day really opened my eyes to how much Sue Ryder relies on public fundraising to continue the incredible work they do, providing neurological and end-of-life care. After chatting to some of the lovely hospice nurses throughout the day, I added raising awareness of this incredible cause to my mental to-do list and I’d absolutely love it if you did the same. You can find out more about their cause, and how you can help, here.

Thank you so much to everybody at Sue Ryder for having me, and for putting on such a lovely event that will forever mark a milestone for Spoonie Survival Kits, and for myself too!

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Book(ish) Box Review: Musical Theatre Edition!

For a while now, I’ve been searching for the ultimate subscription box. I’m not so much into beauty or fashion, and I knew exactly what I wanted: books. ALL the books. There are various bookish subscription boxes available at the moment, and all of them are gorgeous, but what’s actually in them never seems to quite justify the price of the subscription for me.

I’d briefly given up on my quest when, in November, I accidentally discovered The Book(ish) Box through Facebook.  I’m not gonna lie, as soon as I saw ‘Book to Musical theme’, I was sold. Somebody had combined the two loves of my life and I was more than ready to give up an essential organ or two to get my hands on one, let alone just $18.99 (roughly £15). Since I was a first-timer, I opted for a one-off gift of the most basic box: just the bookish goodies. For an upgrade in price, you can also get boxes including novels, and boxes including a shirt in a variety of styles. I don’t think I’d wear a shirt enough to justify getting that one, but I’m tempted by the novel one for next time…

ANYWAY, all through January I’ve been waiting in anticipation for my box to arrive, and it couldn’t have come on a better day. I’m currently running on zero hours sleep, which instead of making me tired leaves me completely buzzed and hyperactive due to over-exhaustion, and I was happily mouthing along and doing all kinds of sassy finger snapping to the Legally Blonde soundtrack when the doorbell rang.

Let me tell you right now, this box is gorgeous. My terrible photography skills don’t do it justice; I could write an essay about the cute packaging alone, but I’ll spare you. I was expecting the content of the box to be themed around just one musical (and praying it wouldn’t be Wicked, because I am ultimate Wicked trash already), so it was a nice surprise to see items influenced by a few different shows, not just one.

My box contained:

  • Bookish Notes 2017 collection: my favourite item. A colourful little book to keep record of your favourite books and excerpts per month, combined with beautifully printed quotes from some of my favourite novels.
  • Les Mis Bookmark: perfect colours, perfect quote, I’ve popped it in my current read already.
  • Hamilton Earrings: I won’t wear these due to lack of pierced ears, but my best friend will love them.
  • ‘Currently Reading’ stickers: shamefully, my first thought was ‘these will look great on Instagram’. But they seriously will, they’re adorable.
  • Wicked Bath Bomb: which I’m praying I’m not allergic to, because I can already envision a perfect Wicked bath, Wicked soundtrack, Wicked book, all-time Wicked trash bath time situation going on.

Overall, I’m impressed. The box was pretty good value for money and was fabulous quality. Most importantly, it gave me something to look forward to and be excited about: when you’re limited due to health problems, having something special come in the post can make SUCH a difference. I won’t be subscribing monthly because I’m a chronically-ill student and money doesn’t grow on trees (she says, compulsively buying theatre tickets like there’s no tomorrow), but I’m hoping to treat myself to more one-off boxes like this in the future, whenever the monthly theme next takes my fancy. Which, lets not lie, will probably be next month.

If you sign up via this link, I may or may not get a free box… alternatively, find out more about The Book(ish) Box via their website.

See you when I’ve hopefully retrained myself in the art of sleeping,

Pippa x

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Oh, hey…?

Oh hey! I’m Pippa, I’m 22 years old and I live in York. My life currently revolves around attempting to study for my Masters degree in Health Psychology, running my non-profit Spoonie Survival Kits, and working with disability charities, all with very limited energy due to my chronic illness. So naturally, I decided 2017 was the right time to start a blog. Time for a little story about how my writing journey began…

Halfway through my undergraduate degree, I acquired a debilitating chronic illness. This completely changed my sporty, active way of life, and it took me a quite a large chunk of time to really find my feet and begin to feel like ‘myself’ again.

When things started to feel a little less like the end of the world, I began to engage with advocacy opportunities, speaking up about life as a student with a long-term condition. In 2015, I founded my very own social enterprise, Spoonie Survival Kits, and it was from here that the writing opportunities really began to arise. My work has been published on various digital platforms including Standard Issue UK, Positivity In Pain, and on plenty of chronic illness charity websites and individual blogs. My own book, written collaboratively with other chronically ill friends, is currently in the process of being published, and possibly my biggest achievement to date is being a finalist for the Jane Tomlinson Woman of Courage Award at the Yorkshire Women Of Achievement Awards, for my fundraising and advocacy; any excuse to wear a posh frock and pretend I’m classy…

In the midst of all this, I realised that I rather enjoyed writing and wanted to branch out from only focussing on health and disability.  Living with a long-term chronic illness has taught me to find humour in even the most unfortunate circumstances, giving rise to plenty of what are now well-known among friends as ‘Life Of Pippa’ moments. Therefore, I decided to launch my own blog called Life Of Pippa, focussing on some of my favourite things: theatre and books, as well as lifestyle and fundraising. From publishing my first post in January 2017, I have had more opportunities than I ever thought could possibly come from a personal blog.

I now professionally review theatre productions for Broadway World UK, whilst keeping up my own colloquial, chatty reviews on here. My bookish posts have sparked interest from publishers including Walker, Pan Macmillan, HarperCollins and more, all of whom have arranged to send me books to review. Just recently, I have begun to be invited to local events as press, reviewing shops and restaurants in the York area. I’m reaching a combined audience of around 9,000 people all over the world, and I couldn’t love it more.

Something I feel very strongly about is the unjust lack of accessible employment opportunities for those with long-term conditions: throughout the country there are people like me, graduates with a wealth of knowledge and experience, who are unable to work in typical occupations because of chronic illness. I’m very, very lucky in that occasional opportunities to help me earn a living come my way. If you’re interested in hiring me as a freelance writer, proofreader, social media assistant or essentially anything else under the sun, do drop me a message and I’ll send across my media kit.

To those of you who’ve read this far, it’s time to give yourself a hearty pat on the back. If you do think I sound like an alright human being, and you’d enjoy some occasional light reading on why musicals and theatre are the entire meaning of life and hold the key to the secrets of the universe and all that is contained within it, you can find me on Twitter and Instagram. Or if wittering on about books is more of your thing, I’d love some more pals on Goodreads.

See you around! *curtsies*

Much love,

Pippa x

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