Have you heard about the new experiences at John Lewis & Partners, one of which being the Complete Style and Beauty package? Keen to find out more, I headed over to the Cheltenham store to try out some of the experiences for myself and was pleased to be welcomed into the Personal Styling suite with a lovely glass of Bucks Fizz.



My first appointment was with Carrie for Personal Styling. This is something I always wanted to do but just never had the opportunity- or the time. Booking the appointment is easy. It can be done either on line or by booking the experience desk directly. Be prepared to answer a few questions about preferred styles, sizes, colours and usual retailers as this helps the team build a picture of what you are looking for.



There are various styling services; Wardrobe Refresh, Workwear, Special Occasion, Perfect Pair of Jeans and Holiday. You get a phone call from your stylist before the appointment to chat through requirements so that some preparation can be done beforehand. I wasn’t really specific enough so arrived to discovery that a wild and wonderful range of outfits had been selected for me. However one thing I did learn from my Personal Styling appointment was that it’s a two way conversation and that stylists can get ‘As much from your no’s as they do from your yes’s.’



One great thing about the Personal Styling is that you come away with much more of an idea about what works for you style wise and how to build a wardrobe which is versatile and as Carrie says ‘fluid.’ Carrie gave me some top fashion tips for little people which included using shirt cuff bands to shorten sleeves of jackets and shirts, wearing little prints and tucking shirts in so that they stay around the belt line rather than hanging down- apparently this can make me look taller.



Simple, neat and not fussy; I soon discovered I could ‘Do it all with the cuts and fabrics.’ Carrie has a real eye for what works for her customers and couldn’t have been more patient as we slowly whittled down possible outfits to a final preference rail. Personal Styling gives you the change to try something that you wouldn’t necessarily have chosen for yourself so it’s a real eye opener in terms of new ideas and concepts. Although she’d never met me before, Carrie got the Lady Janey style down to a tee and absolutely nailed it with our final shortlist.



Unable to make a decision to save my life, I asked if shortlisted outfits could be put on one side until the next day so that I had a bit of time to consider possible purchase choices. Carrie also said I would get emails detailing my shortlist. Unfortunately in my case, despite a text to advise emails sent, none were received but I headed back to the store to take another look anyway and as a proud owner of two new tailored Fenn Wright Manson Petite blazers, I’m really glad I did.

Unfortunately after raising the issue of non receipt of emails with the store, I received a text a few weeks later from Carrie apologising that I thought she had not sent me the emails and that she has a record of sending them. Just for the record, I did not say that she did not send them, I just said that I hadn’t received them and that I didn’t hear from her again thereafter either by text or email. On a subsequent personal styling visit, emails were received without issue so I can only assume it was a technical issue of some kind on the first occasion but which should have been followed up regardless.



If you take advantage of the Complete Style and Beauty Experience, then I’d advise you is make sure you plan your day well, allowing plenty of time between appointments as this can always be used for browsing if necessary- and there’s certainly a lot to browse! You also have the option to split aspects of the experience into a time frame which suits you. After all, surely there’s only so much beauty and retail therapy one person can manage in one day?



Another top tip is that you check out the John Lewis & Partners website before you go and make a note of any brands you like. This information will be useful to stylists in determining your style preferences and means that you also have more of a chance of finding something within your budget range.



Personal Styling at John Lewis is a completely free service with no pressure sales pitches, there’s no obligation to purchase as it’s the experience which counts, not commission. I was pleased to note that some sales items were included in the range of outfits chosen for me by Carrie. However, with one of the the best, widest and most fabulous ranges of clothing I’ve ever come across, I challenge you to walk away empty from the store empty handed, discounted or not!



After the personal styling session, I had to dash out to move my car but then it was thankfully time for a set of lunch and where better than the fabulous Huffkins Bakery and Tearooms which is located within the store. With its beautiful soft decor, all day menu and of course, top class service, it’s the ideal setting for a mid-shop pit stop and refuel.



On arrival, I was greeted by manager Beth and shown to my table. Elisa then looked after me, providing menus and taking my order. There is so much choice on the all day menu and you can have what you like when you like, which makes for really lovely dining experience at any time of the day. After much deliberation, as usual, I plumped for a delicious oak smoked salmon, prawn Marie rose and has avocado open sandwich served on 3 seed batch fried bread, fresh from the bakery. It was a very good sized portion and fairly priced accordingly at £10.75.



I was on a bit of a push time wise for my next beauty experience but was assured by Beth that I simply must try the house specialty cake; a sticky caramelised lardy cake. Not wanting to miss out, Beth offered one to take away but not before giving me extra special warming instructions ‘An extra 20 seconds so that it goes nice and gooey.’ Excellent advice and hands down, one of the best cakes I’ve ever had the pleasure to try. There’s a whole host more on offer at the award winning Huffkins Bakery and Tearooms so I’ll definitely be back soon to explore the cakes and pastries counter.



Last but not least, it was off to the Hourglass makeup counter for a makeover with the lovely Holly. I really love makeup but wear little of it and am extremely fussy but after a consultation to discuss preferences, skin type and normal skincare routine, I was eager to try out the products selected for me by Holly. She began with a Veil primer before moving on to apply a Vanish Stick Linen foundation with a Vanish brush.



This was followed by the use of a translucent setting powder, which was talc free, and a lovely ambient lightening powder which added an air brush glow! With the application of some soft shades of Ravine eyeshadow and a touch of Caution Mascara, there was just time to add a touch of Nude Bronzer and Explorer Girl Lipstyle before I was Oscars ready! I was so pleased with the simplicity of Hourglass range as the ultimate sophistication. No photos of me obviously but here’s a photo of some of the fabulous products available.



Thank you to John Lewis & Partners Cheltenham, Huffkins and Hourglass for inviting me to spend it with them and gifting lunch and the makeover.





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