LIZ EARLE AND THE IVY: VICTORIA QUARTER LEEDS


I had recently been invited along to The Ivy for afternoon tea in collaboration with the skincare brand; Liz Earle. The two brands had teamed up within Victoria Quarter in Leeds to bring together a package that allowed you to get pampered with a treatment by the team at Liz Earle, followed by afternoon tea at The Ivy!

Despite having never tried anything from Liz Earle before, or ever having visited one of their boutiques, I still knew quite a bit with regards to the brand and I knew that Liz Earle was one of the first skincare brands to really champion and hone in on ‘active ingredients’. I also knew that Liz Earle had become a wellbeing, lifestyle guru so when the chance came up for me to be able to experience a luxury treatment, naturally I was intrigued and keen to find out more…

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I arrived at the Liz Earle boutique and was taken upstairs to the very top where they had several treatment rooms. I filled out a consultation form which covered the basic questions such as any skincare problems you may have, what treatment you feel best suits you and ultimately, what you’re wanting to see results from! I was then greeted by a lovely beauty therapist and we went to a private treatment room. The treatment room itself was incredibly peaceful, the lights were low which instantly created a tranquil environment and I had been told to undress and get into the treatment bed. I am fully aware how that sounds, but it was all innocent!

I explained to the beauty therapist a few of my skincare issues and the main one for me was how dry my skin was. I had been going through a bit of stress at the time and for me, the biggest problem is forgetting to hydrate both my body and skin! The treatment that was gifted to me was the ‘Speedy Lift Facial’.

SPEEDY LIFT FACIAL - 30 minutes / £45

Designed for those who are short on time but want an instant complexion boost, this facial workout features deep-tissue sculpting techniques to visibly lift, refresh and tone.

The treatment began with a gentle cleanse, followed by toning of the skin then finishing off with a moisturiser. As the treatment progressed, the movements of the facial became more vigorous which I enjoyed, but prior to the treatment you do get asked if you would like the movements to be gentle, medium or hard so don’t panic. The treatment is catered to your skincare needs after all!

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After the treatment, I could immediately see that my skin had a glow, it looked radiant and healthy. My skin felt soft to touch, well moisturised and nourished! I liked that my skin didn’t feel to gloopy or sticky despite the amount of products that had gone into it. The treatment was over as quickly as it started and despite the movements being fast paced, I felt incredibly relaxed and almost nodded off at one point…

Once the treatment had finished, I had then been given some skincare tips and hints on how to look after my skin and not let the stress get to it too much! I had been advised to cleanse, tone and moisturise twice daily, exfoliate twice weekly and use a night oil instead of a moisturiser 3 times a week, and perhaps the most important advice? Drink more water!

After my treatment, I then popped across from the Liz Earle boutique to The Ivy where I opted for

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  • Smoked salmon on dark rye style bread with cream cheese and chives

  • Raspberry cheesecake

  • Latté

all of which were utterly delicious! When going along for Afternoon Tea at The Ivy, please note that the timing for this menu is between 3pm-5pm.

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I had a wonderful afternoon, the perfect way to unwind and relax! I had also very kindly been gifted some products from Liz Earle and have been implementing my new tips and advice into a skincare routine which I will be reviewing very shortly so do check back for that soon!

Have you used any products by Liz Earle before? If so, what have you used? Have you had any treatments by Liz Earle before? Which one? Will you be treating yourself to a luxury pampering session? Have you visited The Ivy for Afternoon Tea yet? Let me know below as I would love to hear from you and don’t forget to click the ‘like’ button!


BYREDO LEATHER COLLECTION


About a month or so ago I had an e-vite come through from Byredo. Now, I will confess that I had an absolute ‘fan-girl’ moment as Byredo is one of my favourite brands when it comes to fragrances. Ever.

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The event took place at the Byredo boutique in Soho, London and was to showcase the new leather goods. I was greeted with champagne (always a good sign) and I was taken upstairs where the leather goods had been displayed. As I walked around the room, I was immediately drawn to the ‘Blueprint’ collection. A series of beautifully crafted leather bags which can be hand-held, shoulder held or worn across the body in a range of designs such as:

  • Embroidered Black Leather

  • Overstitched Black Leather

  • Printed Black Leather

  • Black Leather and Painted Python

  • Black Anaconda

  • Black Python

  • most of which are available in other sizes and colours

My personal favourite? The Black Leather and Painted Python - so chic.

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I then noticed another display in which several bottles of Byredo fragrances and candles had been encased in leather! These leather cases were designed for the traveller in mind, for those who want to be able to take their favourite fragrance and candle away with them with the comfort of knowing that their glass bottles will be protected. I had also been informed that with every leather fragrance and candle purchase, you get a free bottle of your choice. Ideal!

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Another collection that caught my eye was the ‘De La Sac’. My particular favourite one was the Red Leather bag. The shade of red was so striking and the detailing was so precise which really stood out amongst the rest!

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Other pieces from the Leather Collection are:

  • Eazy Bag

  • Umbrella Wallet

  • Credit Card Holder

  • Wallet Clutch

  • Circuit Bag

  • Travel Perfume Case

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To read more on the Leather goods from Byredo, click here! Shortly after this event, I was then invited along to the launch of the new fragrance ‘Sundazed’. Check back soon for the review on the fragrance!

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In the meantime, be sure to check out my other reviews on Byredo such as -

Gypsy Water Fragrance / Baudelaire Fragrance / Bibliotheque Fragrance and Home Scent / Seven Veils Fragrance / Ambre Japonais Home Scent / Chai Home Scent

Have you visited the Byredo store in Soho before? What do you think to it? Have you tried anything from Byredo before? If so, what have you tried? Have you managed to see the Leather Collection? Which is your favourite piece? Let me know your thoughts below as I would love to hear from you and don’t forget to click the ‘like’ button below!


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JOHN LEWIS - LEEDS VICTORIA GATE


I recently had the pleasure of being invited along to visit John Lewis in Victoria Gate: Leeds! I have visited the John Lewis store there many times before, but this was more of an in-depth tour around the store and to get a better understanding of John Lewis the brand, and the many services that they had to offer such as, The Beauty Studio.

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The Beauty Studio is found on the ground-floor of John Lewis and is your ultimate go-to when it comes to all things beauty/male grooming! If you need some help, advice or guidance on where to start when it comes to skincare/beauty, then The Beauty Studio is there to walk you through various brands, listen to your needs and suggest products and treatment that they feel will suit you best.

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The first stop I made on the tour was a facial from Clarins. Found on the ground floor, I had a brief consultation beforehand and told the beauty therapist, what my skin-type was, if I had any issues and ultimately, how I wanted my skin to appear and feel after the treatment. The treatment I opted for was the ‘Mens Energiser Facial’ to give my skin a much needed boost. The facial itself was incredibly relaxing and at one point, I think I genuinely started to nod off! After using various products on my skin such as the Active Face Wash, Exfoliating Cleanser, Toning Lotion and Super Moisture Balm, my skin immediately felt cleaner, soft to the touch and had a fresh, healthy glow! My facial at Clarins lasted for around 10-15 minutes and afterwards, I then met up with a personal men’s shopper and stylist at John Lewis.

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I was taken into the mens private personal shopping room found at the back of Menswear on the ground floor and I admitted that not only did I not notice this area before, but I wasn’t even aware they did personal shopping! He explained to me that the room was in fact quite new to the store and that John Lewis want to offer the customer a whole experience, as opposed to just going into store and rushing back out again, (something of which I am guilty of!) With the mens personal shopping service, this allows the customer to be able to tell the stylist/shopper what their style is, what it is that they’re looking for, if it’s for an event, or if it’s just to refresh their wardrobe. John Lewis offer two services when it comes to Personal Styling - the 1 hour Style Refresh, or the 2 hour Wardrobe Review and the best part? It’s completely free! We then took a quick tour around Menswear and I came across a few brands that I liked such as Maison Labiche, Reiss, HUGO BOSS and Tommy Hilfiger.

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After learning more about Menswear and the Personal Styling services that they offer, I then had a consultation with Tom Ford and being a fan of Tom Ford, this was something I was rather excited for! I’m quite stubborn in the sense that when it comes to fragrances, I know what I like. End of. So it was rather nice being introduced to different fragrances from the Tom Ford brand that I may not necessarily have gone out of my way to sample beforehand! I met with Sophia who took me through each fragrance group and after about 7 sample cards, I then ended up selecting Soleil Blanc which Sophia mixed with Oud Mineralé and wow, what a stunning blend! I was then shown the full range of the Mens Grooming products, the women’s beauty range and Tom Ford’s candle line. I wanted it all! I was then gifted a lovely Tom Ford goody bag which had samples of Soleil Blanc, Oud Minerale and the new Fougere d’Argent alongside a sample of Perfect Illuminator.

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I then had a brief introduction to Elemis where I got to learn a little more about the mens range before being taken up to the very top floor of John Lewis to learn more about the Beauty Salon… Similar to the mens personal shopping room, I had no idea this Beauty Salon was even up there, nor did I know it even existed! Hidden away in the corner of Childrenswear, this is truly a secret little haven. Upon first glance, you could easily just assume that this was just a hair salon, but behind a certain mirror, is a whole different world, quite literally! Behind this mirror, it takes you into a private beauty salon with different treatment rooms behind each door. As we were walking through, we had to be incredibly quiet as there were currently treatments taking place. The whole private beauty salon is set up almost exactly the same as a spa, the only difference being is that there is no steam room… (I still think it’s a spa regardless!) The sort of treatments you can expect to find here for men are the Manicure 20 which includes - Hand soak, nail shaping, cuticle maintenance and nail buff for 20 minutes. Manicure 40, the same treatment as the Manicure 20, just for 40 minutes!

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My tour around John Lewis had come to an end and it was a lovely experience! I feel that I got to learn a lot more about John Lewis as a whole and how as a company they are now wanting to give their customer an experience, from start to finish, perhaps the way forward now with the way things are changing on the high street? Thank you to everybody who I met on the day and for making me feel so welcome!

Have you been in John Lewis: Leeds before? Which department do you tend to visit the most? Are you someone who wants to be in and out of a shop? Or do you like to take your time with shopping? Did you know about the services that John Lewis have to offer? Do let me know below as I’d love to hear from you, and don’t forget to click the ‘like’ button below!


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A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE WITH OPEN COUNTRY


*Advertisement feature with the Aviva Community Fund.

I recently had the pleasure of spending the day with a local charity, Open Country, as part of my work with the Aviva Community Fund.

Based in Harrogate, Open Country is a local group that helps those who are disabled or vulnerable access the countryside around Yorkshire. I was able to join their Friday group tending to Askham Bog, a Yorkshire Wildlife Trust site situated just outside of York.

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Prior to attending, I was told to bring along some waterproof boots/wellies and, by my own admission, I am not that accustomed to the great outdoors! The day arrived and as I waited for the members of Open Country to arrive, I was introduced to some volunteers who attend each week alongside a member of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. They told me a little about what they do, and how not only do the members of Open Country love attending these sessions, but how the volunteers do too. A brightly coloured blue minibus pulled up, which I was told had been named ‘The Blue Calypso’, allowing Open Country to transport both members and volunteers around the countryside easily.

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In total, there were 13 of us including myself, 4 volunteers, 6 members of Open Country, Kate (Countryside Activities Coordinator) and Joe from the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. The day was to be split into two parts; the first part of the morning involved resurfacing and covering up potholes within the Askham Bog car park, and the second part in the afternoon involved heading into Askham Bog to see the growth of previously planted wildlife and plants!

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As we were resurfacing the potholes, I could see the members around me getting stuck in and looking as though they were enjoying themselves and getting a real sense of achievement by admiring their own handiwork! I myself was enjoying it too, although it did make me think I needed to rejoin the gym as it highlighted how unfit I was! Anyway… I got to talking to Kate, the Activities Coordinator, who was overlooking the day and asked her how winning the Aviva Community Fund Award earlier this year had benefitted the charity. She began by telling me that it allowed them to gain more resources for their projects with Churchyards such as tools, building materials and extra members to join the charity.

Alongside looking after Wildlife Trust areas, Open Country are currently involved in a project that looks after churchyards around Yorkshire which helps to either improve the wildflower meadows or maintain their current state. Having this ongoing project allows the members of Open Country to reap the rewards of being outside in the fresh air and getting stuck into the work. By being a part of Open Country, this allows them to access the countryside which they may not have managed to do, had it not been for Open Country’s help. Through securing funding from the Aviva Community Fund, both the members of Open Country and the local church communities’ benefit, helping to build stronger and more future-proof communities in York. Open Country’s win provided them with the much-needed resources to assist their work in keeping churchyards wildlife-rich and wildlife-friendly!

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Once all the potholes had been filled and resurfaced, we then took a short break further into Askham Bog - as we walked through, I hadn’t realised we were surrounding a golf course! There were many different paths within Askham Bog and we eventually came to a mini pond and had our lunch. During the lunch, it was interesting to hear how long the volunteers had been attending and the police check and background checks they must undergo in order to qualify as a volunteer. Of course, this seems like common sense to be able to work with the disabled and vulnerable, but I hadn’t appreciated the process prior to becoming a volunteer for Open Country. This only reiterates the fact that the charity members are in the best hands!

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We then made our way deep into a vast wetland which honestly seemed as though it was in a whole different world, despite being near a motorway. The members love the serene, peacefulness of the surroundings and they showed me some of the plants that had begun to grow; some of the areas within the wetland had been scaled back in order to maintain grow and allow new trees and plants to flourish. Upon finishing our walk through the wetland, I made a move home feeling a real sense of calmness.

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The whole day was lovely, and I felt very privileged to have been able to spend the day with Open Country, getting a better understanding of their charity and how their Aviva Community Fund funding and support has benefited them. For more information on Open Country, click here.

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The Aviva Community Fund enables local groups to enter for the chance to secure funding which ranges from up to £1,000 to £25,000 in one of three categories; Health & Wellbeing, Environment or Skills for Life. You can then have your say by voting for the groups you feel really deserve this great boost towards their projects!

The fund also offers ‘more than money’ support consisting of a range of toolkits, encouraging groups to shout about what they are doing on social media and in the press! Through offering extensive grass roots support, Aviva help to build stronger communities together – championing the local groups we all know and love!

Why not check out the 2018 Winners!? The winners of the 2018 Aviva Community Fund have been announced –why not pop over to the Aviva website to see which great groups near you secured funding this year! Visit https://at.aviva.uk/celebrate

#StrongerCommunities


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JO MALONE - BLOSSOMS COLLECTION


I had the pleasure of being able to attend the recent launch of Jo Malone’s newest collection; Blossom. The e-vite came through and it promised to be an ‘immersive way to experience the new Blossoms Collection through sound, vision and scent.’ Having attended Jo Malone events before, I knew I was going to attend something rather special, and so I naturally jumped at the chance of going!

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JO MALONE - BLOSSOMS COLLECTION

The event took place at Victoria House in London, and as I made my way through the entrance, a whole sea of Jo Malone goody bags were there to greet us with different lights twinkling to set the mood. I then navigated through several dark rooms, and I stumbled across a long corridor with tranquil music playing throughout, again with different coloured lights changing with every beat. Once through the corridor, I walked into a large room with a long table in the middle of it displaying the most beautiful of flowers which proudly took centre stage with a DJ playing the latest tracks in the background.

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What initially caught my eye when I first walked in, were these 4 rooms, hidden behind a fuzzy screen, all of which were lit up in different colours to represent the four Limited Edition Blossom scents;

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  1. Green - Star Magnolia

  2. Pink - Silk Blossom

  3. Yellow - Frangipani Flower

  4. Orange - Orange Blossom

My personal favourites were the Star Magnolia and the classic Orange Blossom and much to my delight, the Orange Blossom was actually found inside my goody bag which made for the perfect treat in time for Spring! I will be doing a separate blog review on the Orange Blossom fragrance shortly, so do check back for that.

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The full Blossoms Collection includes:

Frangipani Flower Cologne 30ml £49 // 100ml £98

Silk Blossom Cologne - 30ml £49 // 100ml £98

Star Magnolia Cologne - 30ml £49 // 100ml £98

Orange Blossom Cologne - 30ml £49 // 100ml £98

Silk Blossom Home Candle - 200g // £49

Star Magnolia Hair Mist - 50ml // £44

Orange Blossom Hair Mist - 50ml // £44

Orange Blossom Diffuser - 165ml // £65

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I had a wonderful time at the Blossoms Collection Launch and I found it to be a unique, innovative way to experience fragrance! The Blossoms Collection is out now and is out for a limited time only, so do be quick to try out these treats! For more details, click here.

For more of my Jo Malone reviews and events, see below!

FRAGRANCE: Bronze Wood & Leather, English Fields,  English Oak & RedcurrantTobacco & MandarinDark Amber & Ginger LilyMyrrh & Tonka

EVENTS: Christmas 2016, Christmas 2017, Christmas 2018, Poptastic, The Bloomsbury Set

SKINCARE: Geranium & Walnut Hand Cream, Myrrh & Tonka Shower Oil

Have you smelt any of the Blossoms scents and fragrances yet? Do you have any favourites? If so, which ones? Will you be trying any of these out? Have any of these caught your eye? Let me know below as I would love to hear from you and don’t forget to click the ‘like’ button!


WAGAMAMA - A FRESH TASTE FOR 2019


I was introduced to Wagamama a few years ago and prior to visiting the restaurant, I was under the illusion that they only served noodles and soup, which yes, they do, however I remember being pleasantly surprised to have seen that their menu had a lot more range than I initially thought!

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Founded in 1992, Wagamama is an oriental restaurant which serves dishes which are mostly Chinese that have been inspired by Japanese food. I had been invited along for a complimentary meal with my friend at the Harrogate restaurant to see if I could bring myself to try something new other than Chicken Katsu Curry…

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  • Starter: Tama Squid

    I am a big fan of Squid, particularly the Chilli Squid which is what I usually go for but seeing Tama Squid on the menu jumped out at me and sounded rather tasty! Crispy fried squid balls drizzled with Okonomiyaki sauce and Mayonnaise topped with Aonori and Bonito Flakes. When the dish arrived we were told that parts of the Bonito Flakes moved whilst they were warm which was a pleasant surprise! They were delicious. One of my favourite dishes and I would even go as far as to say I preferred these to Chilli Squid! They were slightly hard to bite into and rather crispy but soon melted in the mouth and burst with flavour!

  • Main Course: Yasai Katsu Curry

    Okay, I failed. (Kinda). I love Katsu Curry, what can I say!? However, this was from the Vegan/Vegetarian menu and it had been a while since my last visit so this menu was completely new to me. Differing from the main menu, the Yasai Katsu Curry comes in the form of Sweet Potato, Aubergine and Butternut Squash coated in crispy Panko breadcrumbs which has the infamous curry sauce drizzled on top. This also comes with sticky white rice and a side serving of salad. For me, this was the perfect alternative to the Chicken Katsu Curry! There was near enough no difference in taste other than the Sweet Potato circles which were soft and tasty. My only personal thought on this dish was that I found 4 of the Sweet Potato circles a bit too much… They were incredibly filling so I only managed around 2 and a half but with that being said, this was just a personal preference!

  • Dessert: Chocolate and Shichimi Ice Cream

    Despite feeling fit to burst at this point, me and my friend always, have room for desserts… I opted for the Chocolate and Shichimi Ice Cream and as I took the first scoop, the chocolate was so creamy and rich and as I began to swallow, a whole explosion of the Shichimi burst inside of my mouth! At first it took me by shock as it was spicy and not something I had envisaged being inside of a chocolate ice cream! I persevered through as the chocolate was so delicious but the spiciness was a little overwhelming at times.

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I had a wonderful time at Wagamama and it was a great way of trying out new dishes and being able to taste things I may have not noticed or ordered before! A big thank you to Caitlin and the team for inviting me along and I am already looking forward to my next trip for the Tama Squid again!

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Have you visited Wagamama before? If so, what do you typically order? Have you tried anything from the Vegan/Vegetarian menu? What did you try? Have you tried any of the things I’ve mentioned within this blog? Do let me know your thoughts below as I would love to hear from you, and don’t forget to click the ‘like’ button!


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SHOWstudio: 100 WOMEN


Towards the end of last year, I had the pleasure of being invited along to the preview night of the exhibition; 100 Women at SHOWStudio in London! I had previously viewed a few other exhibits at the studio before such as Moving Kate and Fashion Flora, so to be invited along to an exhibition where women in fashion were being celebrated as part of the Centenary year, was a must for me.

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The exhibition was created by selecting 50 fashion illustrators to interpret 100 models, past and present, who have all been known to challenge the typical conventions of femininity such as; Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Halima Aden, Iman, Slick Woods, Stella Tennant and many more.

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I made my way into the exhibit and was immediately drawn to the illustration of Naomi Campbell by Tobie Giddio. The artwork was strong, powerful and was the perfect representation of Naomi I felt!

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Each model was asked to select an image or look of them that made them feel empowered at the time alongside a quote of how and why this was so impactful to them. It was interesting to see the models favourite looks and their accompanying quote to grasp a better understanding of how they felt empowered at the time.

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100 Women is available to the public to view at SHOWstudio and is a must for any fashion lover out there! 10% of the proceeds from the sale of any artworks will be donated to Women For Women UK and you can view the full list of the illustrations alongside the models captions here.

SHOWstudio
22D Ebury Street
Belgravia, London,
SW1W 0LU

Have you visited the 100 Women exhibit yet? Can you spot any of your favourite models in my photographs? Have you been to any exhibitions at SHOWstudio before? If so, which ones? Do let me know your thoughts below, and don't forget to click that 'like' button!


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