Review 2017: Little Street – a unique play opportunity for little people

Thank you VERY much to the NHM Secret Reviewer who wrote today’s post and to Little Street for inviting us along to their re-launch event!

https://www.little-street.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/littlestreet.co.uk/

About

Little Street in Frimley is a role play centre for young children. It is a miniature version of a town, giving little ones the perfect opportunity to try out lots of different experience and careers!

Open 7 days a week, Little Street offer four 90 minute play sessions a day for little people to explore their little world. Pre-booking is recommended as numbers are limited to ensure the best experience for everyone attending. Little Street is suitable for children up to 7 and even has a play pen for young babies as well as bumbo seats available for use.

My daughter (19 months) and I were lucky enough to attend the re-launch event after a recent refurbishment which has made way for a brand new vets and an air ambulance. As well as the new areas children can take a visit to Chicco’s cafe or Belle & Beau Beauty Salon. They can do their weekly shop at the (very well stocked!) supermarket.

There is also a construction site, complete with rocks, bricks and diggers and the Starlets Theatre, which has an Ice Cream stall, stage, musical instruments and many fancy dress costumes. In addition to this there are a variety of ride on toys which can be driven around the road. The attention to detail in each room is amazing, with appropriate wall stickers and fantastic props including animals in the vets, make up and hair products in the salon and many familiar items in the supermarket!

My daughter was a big fan of the new air ambulance and was fascinated by the rotors on top. She also loved the supermarket and kept taking any trolleys that she’d found outside the shop back to it!

The staff at Little Street were very welcoming and did a fantastic job of keeping the place tidy (and as much as possible items in the right rooms!) without disrupting the children’s play. It is very clean and everything is in great condition, you can tell it is very well looked after.

Food

The venue has a small café where you can purchase hot or cold drinks, cakes and healthy snacks.

Parking

There is some parking on site at the station for a small charge, or there is a car park a short walk away where you can park for free for 2 hours – ideal as the sessions you can book are 90 minutes.

Tips

Remember you and your little one will need to wear socks. Don’t worry if you forget as they do have some you can purchase when you get there!

It also has a handy buggy park – if you ask at reception they can give you a lock to secure your buggy in the shelter outside.

Rating out of 5

After wanting to visit Little Street for ages, we were so pleased that it lived up to and exceeded our expectations and we will certainly be going back in the future! It gets a fantastic 5 out of 5 from us!!

Disclaimer: This post is a review of Little Street. The NHM Secret Reviewers experience was supplied free of charge for the purposes of the review. She was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are her own.

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Review 2017: Thrive Massage Therapy

 

A few months ago I noticed a sign on the side of a car about a local massage business and thought, ooh, I really must check that out. About two weeks later Nicola messaged me asking if I would like to review her massage business – Thrive Massage Therapy. Turns out it was her!!  I thought for less than a second before accepting her lovely offer!

Initially Nicola had a Guest post on NorthHanstMum because I wasn’t available for the first month after she contacted me. These days I’m really busy in the evening as well as the day times and Nicola was very accommodating of my schedule. Nicola takes bookings via her website, phone, text or email. We arranged a date and she sent me instructions of how to get to hers.

I found Nicola’s house really easily, she has a Thrive Massage picture in the window and her house number sign is lit up, so it’s obvious which is her house.

My first impressions were, WOW! How TIDY is her downstairs! lol. Nicola welcomed me and led me into her massage room. I was (and still am!) sooo impressed!!! Her massage room is AMAZING! It’s a purpose built room, built just for Nicola’s massage business. It’s the space that would be a garage so it’s quite large and she has lots of lovely storage and a large massage couch with lots of space around it. I’ve had massages at many other places over the years and the rooms are always TINY, many with not enough space for the masseuse to comfortably walk around. Nicola’s massage room has lots of space and such a lovely ambience. She even has the plug sockets built in so that they are under her massage table, so she doesn’t have to walk over cables!

One of the things I was most impressed with is all of the marketing that Nicola has, it’s so professional. It’s obvious that a LOT of thought has gone into Nicola’s business and how she markets her services. Even the towels she uses match her theme colour!!!! These little details are so important and really helped me to feel like I was dealing with someone who really cares about her business.

I also really liked that all of her qualification certificates are up on one wall, behind the door, which gave me a nice warm feeling that she knows what she’s doing!!!

The massage room is very welcoming and exactly what you would want in a massage room.

The Massage

We had a chat before the massage started, so Nicola could check whether I had any health issues that she needed to be aware of. The room was soo relaxing, I nearly fell asleep then! Dimmed lights, candles, lovely smells and music that’s actually soothing during a massage.
The room was the perfect heat too.

I had a massage a few years ago, at a local spa, where the massuese was pregnant so she had a dehumidifier in the room which kept the heat down to 17 degrees ( I knew this because I could see the red screen telling me it was 17 degrees all through my massage). As she was heavily pregnant I didn’t feel I could ask her to turn the heat up but I was FREEZING which ruined the whole experience. Nicola’s room temperature is just perfect.

Nicola’s massage couch can be heated, which was wonderful. The towels were lovely and soft and I could have happily gone to sleep there with or without a massage! lol.

Ok, so I know I’m always positive on reviews but the massage with Nicola was AMAZING!!! Definitely one of the best massages I’ve ever had. I was convinced that she used hot stones, but it’s just her hands and arms that she uses. It never felt like she was going through the motions either. I’ve had massages before where the masseuse clearly doesn’t want to be there and it feels like they are doing the “dot to dot” massage on your back. Nicola’s style wasn’t like this at all. It was very fluid and didn’t feel stilted.

Before the hour long massage started Nicola had asked me if there were any specific areas that I wanted her to focus on. I’ve had persistent shoulder pain for the past 6 months and despite having physio and acupuncture it’s still not properly fixed. I was a little apprehensive that she would “go to town” on my shoulder, like I’ve had other masseuse’s do and has meant that I’ve been in agony for weeks after. Nicola used EXACTLY the right pressure. Sometimes when you come out of a massage you feel a bit bruised and battered but I felt exactly as I wanted to feel when the massage was finished. She even found bits of me that I didn’t know were tense!! I came out of my massage feeling really relaxed and “flexible”.

One of my favourite bits was at the end of the massage. Nicola has an tea caddy filled with lots and lots of herbal teas and she lets you take one home with you. Such a lovely and thoughtful idea. Nicola also reminded me to drink lots of water and take it easy for the rest of the evening. She also gave me an aftercare leaflet with advice about what to do after a massage to make the most of it and a stamped addressed envelope which had a feedback form in, which if I completed and sent back to Nicola, meant that I would be entered in to her draw to win a free massage!!!

Rating out of 5

Definitely 5 out of 5!!

I felt really pampered and it’s definitely one of the best massages I’ve ever had. My skin felt amazing afterwards and my shoulder has felt much better since my massage with Nicola.

I used to get my massages done at my local spa/gym but having had two massages with Nicola (I went back as a paying customer and my massage was just as good!), I won’t be going back to the spa at the gym. The quality of service that you get from Nicola is far above what you get from an impersonal service like a massage at a gym.

I HIGHLY recommend Nicola’s personally tailored massages.  Thrive Massage: www.thrivemassage.co.uk

Disclaimer: This post is a review of Thrive Message therapy. My massage was supplied free of charge for the purposes of the review. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.
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Review 2017: Kitty’s Tilted Teacup Tea Room

 Thank you very much to the NHM secret Reviewer who wrote this post!

Review 2017: Kitty’s Tilted Teacup Tea Room

I’m currently very excited about our upcoming family camping trip, but have been wondering how to keep small J warm as he wriggles free from sleeping bags and blankets quicker than I can replace them. I enlisted Grandma to knit some knee length woolly socks ready for our trip and found myself taking her to Pack Lane wool shop in Kempshott. Imagine our delight to not only discover a treasure trove of all things sparkly and crafty but a lovely little tea room out the back.

Kitty’s Tilted Teacup Tea room is a hidden delight, that I almost want to keep to myself. We treated ourselves to afternoon tea, hot chocolate and cake – which is all made by the team that run the tea room. Small J was delighted with his gingerbread man and hot chocolate and happily for the grownups they were served in child friendly plastic mugs and plates so we didn’t need to worry about accidental breakage of the beautiful crockery.

My cream egg cheesecake was moreishly smooth, even Grandma decided to taste and then had to be fended off so she didn’t finish it!  Dangerously they also provide a take away cake service, so Mr J was lucky enough to sample the Crunchie cheesecake cake after his dinner that night, which went down very very well with him. They also serve gluten free cake options. The service was quick and friendly and the tearoom had a lovely family vibe about it.

We’ve already planned a return trip when I shall be to trying out the lunch menu (and more cake of course!)

The tearoom also serves breakfast and makes cakes and cupcakes for birthdays and other occasions to order. Children can celebrate their birthday with an afternoon tea party, during which they also get to decorate a cupcake to take home.

On site there are toilet and baby changing facilities, a small car park, and beware – a tempting Pick and Mix selection that takes up most of a wall! (I’m thinking of putting blinkers on Mr J when I take him)

Booking is essential for busy times. Check out their Facebook page for more @ Kittystiltedteacuprearoom or call them on 01256 321166.

Unit 2, 171 Pack Lane, Kempshott, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG22 5HN

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Review 2017: MummaBfit Post Natal Fitness Classes

Thank you very much to the NHM Writer for today’s Secret Review!!! Fantastic job!

MummaBfit Post Natal Fitness Classes Review

About

The Facebook page can be found here… MummaBfit

“Postnatal Exercise Classes; for mum and baby to escape the house, have a gentle workout and meet new people and enjoy a cuppa tea and chocolate buttons afterwards”.

Having used Vicky Tidy as my personal trainer, I jumped at the chance when she asked me if I would like to join her MummaBFit sessions to see if they worked with a toddler, not just a baby.

I think I possibly speak for lots of mums, whether that be first time mums or if you are doing it second or third etc time over; It’s hard to get out and about with a little one, especially meeting new people and some groups I have gone to have been a bit cliquey. I personally have really struggled, and being a “bigger” lady I was all too aware that I would probably be the biggest there! I needn’t have worried! We were in a small group, 4 mums, 3 babies and my little man!

Everybody was lovely and friendly.

The workouts always begin with step ups on an aerobic step to get your heart pumping.

The workouts are well geared up for new mum’s who have not long given birth and Vicky encourages everybody to stop if it’s not comfortable for you.

During my first 6 week course we have done a variety of exercises from press ups to lunges, using weights to planks. We have also used different equipment and have been shown how to use it properly.

When babies need feeding or even just a cuddle with mummy (or Vicky!) then you just do what you need to do, no problems with stopping workout.

I was worried that having a toddler with little babies would be a nightmare, however Vicky kindly set up a playpen with toys and an iPad with Peppa Pig on for my little boy. If he’s not happy I do get him out and he has a wander around the room but obviously always watching near the babies. There has never been any problems at all.

Vicky is now including toddlers into courses, so please do have a look and see which session would suit you.

In short, I have found this to be a great way to work out with my son being around and also a great way to meet other mums. I have gained much more confidence and stepped totally out of my comfort zone and have had very positive results. So positive in fact. that I have now signed up for a 2nd round of the course!

Tips

  • Wear appropriate workout clothes.
  • If you are breastfeeding ensure you can still do so whilst in your workout clothes.
  • Bring water with you, you’ll need it.

Food

There are biscuits and a cup of tea supplied after the workout where we sit and have a chat.

Parking

Monday 12.30pm course – This is currently the downside: Parking is on the narrow country road outside Oakley’s St Leonards centre.

There are plenty of other sessions on various days at various times throughout Basingstoke so have a look and pick one that suits you.

Prices

Prices on application. 

Rating

I give this 5*

Disclaimer: This post is a review of MummaBfit. My experience was supplied free of charge for the purposes of the research for Vicky to see if it was entirely doable for mothers with toddlers to attend. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

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Review 2017: Messy Play

About

The Spotlight centre in Popley are running a new messy play session on Thursday (term time only) from 10:30 – 12:30. For the bargain price of £1 your little one gets the opportunity to get as messy as possible, and you don’t have to clean up!!  So far we’ve played with cereal, sand and water, paint, playdough, noodles, jelly and rice. There are small vehicles to drive through the mess and make tracks with aswell.  At the first session there was a suggestion sheet for other messes that could be made so expect a lot of different opportunities over the oncoming weeks. There has been soft play for littler ones available too, but it is not out every week.

Tips

It goes without saying but just incase i’ll say it anyway; dress children and yourself in old clothing and bring a complete change of clothes, wipes and a towel, you will need them. Don’t forget a plastic bag for the messy clothes. If you’re like me and you take your shoes off at every opportunity bring yourself a spare pair of socks. A tub of water for washing off messy feet/hands is available in the messy room. Consider a carrier for little siblings so you’ve got your hands free to help the messy ones.

Facilities

The facilities are very good, in the baby change there is a changing table, toddler toilet seats, steps, potties and disabled access. More toilets are available elsewhere in the building. You can bring buggies into the messy play room as there is plenty of space available. Benches and chairs are available for a sit down and the centre is breastfeeding friendly.  There is plenty of free parking available on site.

Food

Tea, coffee and bottled water are available to buy for £1 and water/squash and biscuits are provided for the children. You can bring snacks and eat in the room, which is advisable as the session certainly runs into our lunchtime.

Small J thoroughly enjoyed getting messy, and I thoroughly enjoyed not cleaning it all up afterwards! The Johnsons would give messy play a 5/5.

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Review 2016: The Science Museum

Thank you very much to one of the NHM Secret Reviewers for this review of the Science Museum!

About

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I loved the science museum as a child and was very excited to take Small J and his Cousin (both 2) there for the day along with Nanny J.

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The museum is free to attend although they welcome donations and some attractions occur an additional cost but you can have a full day without the extras. You can visit 7 day a week between 10:00-18:00.

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http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk

We had a fantastic day, my hightlight was seeing the piece of the moon! The boys loved the garden, a sensory area in the basement for little ones including puppets, interactive lights and sounds, a construction site complete with pully system and their favourite a cascade of water with all kinds of obstacles they could put in its way.

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They floated boats down it, created dams and worked locks, squirted the boats (and us) and enjoyed every moment. (The museum even provide waterproof aprons for them). Other favourites inclused the top foor which was full of helicopters and airplanes and the agricultural area with lots of tractors and machinery.

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Food

We had a picnic with us and in the basement there is a large area with low steps for you to sit and eat, there was a few school groups but plenty of room for everyone. The museum also has plenty of cafes and a restaurant and 2 more picnic areas.

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Facilities and baby changing

The museum has plenty of baby changing facilities (including wheelchair friendly ones) and we found the free buggy park in the basement useful. I fed Small J in the picnic area and there’s plenty of seating around the museum for a rest and a feed. There’s also a cloakroom where Items can be left (including buggys) for a charge.

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Tips

I would recommend a carrier for a baby (or a tired toddler) as due to maintenance and new exhibitions being created not all the lifts stop at all the floors meaning we found ourselves having to walk the length of the museum with the buggy to find a lift stopping at the right floor. Next time I’d leave it in the buggy park and use the stairs.

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The cafe in the basement provide a jug of water so bring bottles for everyone.

Parking

Due to its central London location there is only disabled parking (which is still very limited), so if you drive to the museum be prepared to park quite far away. The area is served very well by public transport, the nearest underground station is South Kensington only a 5 minute walk away and there are plenty of bus stops near by.

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Rating

Overall we had a great day out and would give the Science museum a 5/5

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List of “Reviews” on NorthHantsMum

Reviews: Days Out

Review 2016: Danebury Hillfort – FREE and good for walks

Review 2016: The Science Museum

Review 2016: Chineham Splash Park – FREE

Review 2016: Whitchurch Silk Mill

Review 2016: Museum of Army Flying

Review 2015: Bucklebury Farm Park

Review 2015: Frensham Common – FREE and good for walks

Review 2015: Centreparc’s – Sherwood Forest

Review 2015: Sir Harald Hillier Gardens

Review 2014: The Natural History Museum

Review 2014: Moors Valley Country Park – Parking cost but good for walks, including pushchairs

Review 2014: Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre

Review 2014: Manydown Family Fun

Review 2014: Queen Elizabeth Country Park – FREE and good for walks

Review 2014: Dinton Pastures Country Park, Berkshire – FREE and good for walks

Review 2014: Marwell Wildlife

Review 2014: Micheldever Wood – FREE and good for walks

Review 2014: California Country Park, Finchampstead – FREE and good for walks

Review 2014: Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway

Review 2014: Legoland

Review 2014: The Vyne

Review 2014: Swanage

Review 2014: Miller’s Ark, Nr Hook

Review 2013: Lakeside Country Park – Parking cost but good for walks, including pushchairs

Review 2013: Paulton’s Park/Peppa Pig World

Review 2013: Farleigh Mount – FREE and good for walks

Review 2013: Birdworld

Review 2013: The Hawk Conservancy

Review 2013: Basing Lime Pits – FREE and good for walks

Review 2013: Basing Wood – FREE and good for walks

Review 2013: Finkley Down Farm

Review 2013: Wellington Country Park

Review 2013: Basingstoke Aquadrome

Review 2013: Alice Holt, Farnham – Parking cost but good for walks, including pushchairs

Review 2013: Kids ‘n’ Action, Soft Play Centre, Winersh Triangle nr Reading

Review 2013: The Living Rainforest, nr Newbury, Berkshire

Review 2016: Beggarwood – FREE and good for walks

Reviews: Places to Eat

Review 2016: Nelson’s Diner: A Taste of the USA

Review 2015: Sundaes Gelato Basingstoke

Review: The Parlour Tearoom

Review 2015: The Cafe Project, Brighton Hill

Review 2014: Wagamama’s Basingstoke

Review 2014: Giraffe Restaurant in Basingstoke

Review 2013: NorthDown Orchard Deliveries

Reviews: Things to Do

Review 2016: How do reindeer fly?

Review 2016: YouDeserveThis!

Review 2016: Brrrrr!!! at Proteus Creation Space

Review 2016: The Rattler at The Anvil

Review 2016: Story time with Paw Patrol at Festival Place

Review 2016: Cornish Yurts

Review 2016: The English Charm Company – 3d Casting

Review 2016: Dinky Disco

Review 2016: Jo Plackett Hairdressing

Review 2016: Track Party

Review 2016: FitMama book

Jump Factory – First Look!!!!

Review: Pots2Paint Basingstoke

Review 2014: Airkix in Basingstoke

Review 2014: Dinosaur Crazy Golf at the Oracle

Review 2016: How do reindeer fly?

Thank you very much to Helen who went to see “How do reindeer fly” yesterday and sent her review to me last night!!! christmas%20list%20high-resolution%20export-422

Proteus Christmas Show lives up to expectations!

About

We went to the Proteus children’s Christmas show last year and the year before and absolutely loved it both times, so we were very excited about going along to ‘How do Reindeer Fly?’ this Christmas. Expectations were very high for what is fast becoming a Christmas tradition in our house.

In ‘How do reindeer fly?’ The audience are invited to Christmas HQ to see the elves at work. After a creative demonstration of gift-wrapping the elves take a hard earned tea break and then, once all the ‘visiting elves’ are sporting reindeer antlers, they introduce us to Donner and Blitzen. Things go a little bit awry and Mary Christmas has to call on the visiting elves (children in the audience) to save Christmas.

As with previous years’ shows, the audience seamlessly become part of the show with the children helping the elves with the magic that makes the reindeer fly. There is less moving between rooms than in previous years, with the show mostly based in one room. This seems to work well and there is a greater sense of space than in previous years. Towards the end there is a short walk into another (beautiful!) snowy space. Here there are some lovely sensory activities and then Father Christmas arrives to tell the children a story.

The show did not disappoint. My 4 year old belly-laughed more times than I could count and was completely engaged with the story and the activities. My 1 year old was so fascinated by what was going on that he actually sat still for a while! He enjoyed meeting Donna and Blitzen so much that he kept going back to look for them when they had gone. The team at Proteus seem to have a knack for producing children’s shows that are entertaining, funny and interactive whilst being lovely and relaxed. ‘Heartwarming’ is the best word I can think of to capture the atmosphere they create.

Overall we had a brilliant time, we left with many happy memories and some Christmas souvenirs. The team at Proteus should be commended for creating, once again, an imaginative, wonderful Christmas story. We’ll be back next year for more!

How do reindeer fly is showing at Proteus creation space until Saturday 24th December and is sold out (sorry!). Even if you’re too late for this years’ show make sure you check out what they’re doing next year!

For more information see http://www.proteustheatre.com/creation-space

Tips

I’m told that children who attended the show will receive an email from Father Christmas sometime this weekend!

The children meet Father Christmas at the end but he tells the group a story. There is no expectation of a one-to-one so it would be fine for children who are less keen on meeting him.

Most of the children there were around 3-6 years I would guess, with a few younger siblings. The show is advertised as a preschool show and it is perfect for preschool-aged children. Older children probably wouldn’t get a lot from it.

Although this is an interactive show there is no pressure and parents can stay with children and help them at all times.

Facilities

Proteus has baby changing, toilets, a café (with amazing cake!) and free parking.

Price

£7.70 per ticket

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A Guest post vs. a Review on NorthHantsMum

I seem to have confused a few people recently with Guest Posts and Reviews, so I thought I would do a quick post to clarify how they both work on NorthHantsMum.

A Guest Post vs. a Review on NorthHantsMum

Guest posts on NorthHantsMum (NHM) feature small local businesses in Hampshire and Berkshire that are relevant to parents who live in North Hampshire.

Guest posts are written by each business owner and I publish them every Wednesday on NHM. If you’d like to see what previous people have written for their Guests posts, please see the following link: http://www.northhantsmum.co.uk/guest-posts-2/

There are over 2300 people who are readers of NHM, so you would have the opportunity to publicise your business to a wide network of parents.

However, I do need to make you aware that Facebook has changed it’s “rules” so now only 10% of the people who are subscribed to the NHM FB page see my posts. Please ensure that as many of your network “Share, Like and Comment” on your published post so that the post has more reach on Facebook.

Please email your guest post to me at NorthHantsMum@gmail.com. If you could get your post to me before the Friday, that would be very helpful as I do most of my blog work over the weekend. Please also send any photo’s in .JPEG format, otherwise I won’t be able to use them.

Please note that I also write Review posts featuring local places, local products and local experiences. http://www.northhantsmum.co.uk/category/things-to-do/reviews-2/ If I’m not able to write the Review I have a team of NHM Writers who will review your product or place for you and write the Review.

If you would like me to write a review on your product or place, please email me at NorthHantsMum@gmail.com.

All Guest Posts on NorthHantsMum are free. It is absolutely fine to have both a Guest post AND a Review on NHM.

In return for your posts, I would ask that you share NHM’s details with your network.

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Review 2016: YouDeserveThis!

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http://www.youdeservethis.com/

I was soooooo excited to be given a voucher for myself and one of my favourite people to attend a makeover and photoshoot with YouDeserveThis! I’ve followed Michelle and Charlie for a long time and been itching to have a photoshoot myself, so when the opportunity came up, I jumped at the chance!!

Most of you probably know that I’m really not a girlie girl at all, I have my uniform that I wear almost all of the time and I’m very happy with this. So being treated to a proper makeover AND a photoshoot was a huge indulgence. Being able to bring someone with me was even better as sharing the experience really made the day!

youdeservethis-makeover-and-photoshoot-experience-uk-jammie

One evening in October my bestie, Ali, and I went to have a look at the YouDeserveThis studio and talk through what we needed to prepare for our photoshoot. It was lovely to be able to meet Michelle and Charlie and to talk through how it would all work on the day. They really know how to provide the personal service and how to create an awesome customer experience.

We talked about what we needed to bring with us on the day, what we needed to wear when we arrived and what clothes to bring with us, including underwear. We were advised to bring 3 or 4 changes of clothes for the photoshoot and to ensure that we varied the neckline of our dresses, to give some variety.

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This was pretty easy for me as I only have 5 dresses,  they are all from Bravissimo and all are on the same theme! (perks of being large boobed and being allergic to polyester!). We were also advised to bring different colours of dresses and clothes, again to add variety so that our pictures weren’t all of the same colour and style. You can even bring dresses that don’t fit as it doesn’t matter as Michelle will peg or pin them for you at the back and ensure that you won’t be able to tell the difference from the front!

I was HUGELY relieved that we didn’t have to bring shoes only dresses, appropriate undies and accessories. Michelle and Charlie have a very comprehensive style guide that we reviewed on the evening and then we were emailed a copy for our reference so we could refer back to the guide whilst we were getting everything ready for our photoshoot.

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Our initial session only took 45 minutes but it was definitely worth attending because being able to see everything in advance really took the pressure off.

Over the next few weeks we had a few emails from Michelle and Charlie reminding us of what we needed to prepare and we also sent them pictures of the dresses we had chosen and the accessories we were planning to bring. It’s so sad that I was very pleased with myself when Michelle emailed me back to say that I had passed my homework with flying colours! Lol.

Michelle and Charlie really believe in the personal service so if you are struggling with choosing clothes you can even arrange to visit the studio again with your clothes and have them help you, rather than doing this remotely.

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A few weeks later, on a Friday morning, Ali and I arrived at Michelle and Charlie’s laden down with all of our dresses, accessories and undies. We handed everything over to Michelle who hung everything up and laid everything out in the studio. Then it was Ali’s turn to have her make up and hair done.

Make over

A lovely lady, Zoe,  was our YouDeserveThis Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist and she did a fantastic job! I watched whilst Ali was having her make up and hair done and there was a lot of attention to detail.

It’s a very relaxed affair, and the makeover area is very light and airy with music in the background. The whole effect makes you feel very relaxed. Michelle and Charlie are very particular about who they employ to be YouDeserveThis Makeup Artist’s and Stylist’s and Zoe is proof of this.

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She clearly knows what she’s doing! I’ve never had a makeover before, I didn’t even let anyone else do my makeup for me on my wedding day. Having a professional makeover was very decadent and it was really strange seeing myself in the mirror when Zoe had finished as I looked far more  glamorous than I’d ever expected! Lol.

It really was a transformation and quite an emotional experience, which I really hadn’t expected.

Photoshoot

As Ali had her makeup and hair done first, she went into the studio to have some individual shots taken first whilst I had my makeover. Once I was ready we had some shots taken together and then some individual shots. It worked really well as it meant each person had time to get changed in the dressing room, whilst the other was having her pictures taken.

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It was also really fun to watch. The joy of having a photoshoot with someone you’ve known for over 25 years means that you can be quite honest and quite rude at the same time. We really had a giggle during our shoot and took the mickey out of each other quite a bit.

I have to admit that I was a little nervous for the first 30 minutes but after I’d relaxed a bit I just got caught up in the whole thing and completely went with it.

Charlie clearly knows what he’s doing and was very good at describing the different positions that we needed to be in. He had warned us at our initial session that we might ache a bit the following day as he would be putting us in different positions that may seem a bit unnatural but would look awesome for the camera. He advised us that he would be posing us specifically for women as he has been trained to highlight our best attributes. He also confirmed that all editing is “responsible editing”. I didn’t ache too much the following day but I could definitely tell that I’d been standing in a way that I wasn’t used too!

I was really impressed that Michelle even laid on healthy finger food and she kept reminding us to eat and drink water as it’s important to keep hydrated and keep your energy up during the photoshoot.

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Our photo shoot took about four hours which sounds quite gruelling but the time just flew by! As the team only book one shoot a day, you know that you won’t be rushed and they block out 6 hours for each shoot.

I love how Michelle changed the colours of the walls to change the look of each picture. Michelle and Charlie have set the studio up so that it’s really easy to change the colour of the walls from neutral to black, white, specialised grey or colours. I really love the pictures that they take with the natural backgrounds. I think they really set the pictures off and add a bit of glamour to each shot.

There is a dressing room in the studio a TV system (if needed for toddler entertainment!), a baby changing area and you can even bring your own play list if you would like as they also have a stereo system set up in the studio! They really have thought of everything that you would need and ensured that it’s a calm environment.

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What I learnt

I learnt that I would NOT be a very good fashion model! It was absolutely lovely and very decadent to be spoilt for the day but I have no idea how people do this every day for up to 14 hours a day! It’s not easy and I understand now why they are paid what they are paid!

I also learnt how important it is to stand correctly and what to do to give my neck a slimline. I’m quite happy to admit that I’m a bit of a porker at the moment and so I have a double chin or two, but seeing the pictures on the camera of how slim my jaw looked, just by moving my neck and face in a certain way, was awesome! I’m soooo going to be doing the same thing for any Christmas pictures that are coming up!

The photoshoots are designed for 2 people but they can accommodate several people in the studio so it would be perfect for a group of people, either as a baby shower, girls night out, antenatal group or a hen do experience.

Michelle and Charlie can also do head shots for Business, for example LinkedIn pictures and they are also renowned for their baby photoshoots. Michelle is even known as “the baby whisperer” in several circles!!

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Final thoughts

Michelle and Charlie really do make you feel like a princess/queen on the day. I’m REALLY looking forward to seeing the final pictures. I’ve heard a lot about the “reveal wall” and I’m excited about seeing what the pictures actually came out like!

I would HIGHLY recommend this experience to all women, especially Mum’s who need a little bit of spoiling. I had forgotten what it’s like to dress up and be glamourous for the day, and even though Mr NHM said I looked “weird” when I got home with my make up on (doing the school run was interesting, and yes, we have had a discussion about what he should and should NOT say after I’ve been spoilt for a day!) I was on a high for the rest of the weekend.

It was particularly awesome because I got to share the day with my bestie (it was part of her birthday present from me) and it was a really special experience that we got to share together.

Even though I haven’t seen the final pictures, what I saw on the camera that Charlie showed us,  I’m looking forward to being able to  look back on the final pictures and remind myself that I was glamourous and gorgeous at least one day in my life!

I can’t WAIT to see the final pictures and I hope that they are as good as I think they will be!!!

Disclaimer: This post is a review of YouDeserveThis. My experience was supplied free of charge for the purposes of the review. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.