We're such an interesting bunch here in Chiswick and environs. From stay at home mothers to writers, designers to filmmakers and everything in between – the variety of lovely people never ceases to amaze me!
So I love running these Q&As with local folk. Today it's time to meet Chiswickian and style writer Lisa Barrett. Read on and find out why writing, beauty advice and family help to make up Lisa's Chiswick life.
Name: Lisa Barrett
Business: Glowology is the name of my blog but I'm a freelance writer, copywriter and blogger.
How long have you been in Chiswick?
I've lived in Chiswick for 9 happy years although I've always been close. I was born in Acton and moved to Brentford when my kids were born and so have always known and loved W4. When my oldest was 4 she started at Strand on the Green infants and had dance classes in the area too and I fell for the area hook line and sinker and knew I wanted live here one day.
Favourite place to unwind here?
Chiswick House – walking my loony black labrador Troy every day during the week. I love watching the change of seasons on my daily dog walk – it's beautiful, peaceful and serene…unless the dog decides to bomb dive in the lake and then shake all over me…which he does regularly. I also love the cafe in Chiswick House and their Eggs Benedict is the best hangover cure!
Top local tip?
Bedford Park is gorgeous but it Chiswick doesn't start and end there – make the most of Grove Park and Strand on the Green! I love all of Chiswick but am so happy living in Grove Park right by the river. There's always something going on – especially in the summer – street parties and festivals where the locals mix and catch up with the goings on in W4. The river boat from Kew to Richmond/Hampton/Westminster is a fabulous way to travel as well.
And what's your hidden gem?
There are a few! But Anny's Personal Best Pilates/Fitness studios is up there with my favourite gems. I was a competitive swimmer as a child and trained at 5.30 every morning before school and again, 2 hours after but once I entered adulthood I've lacked the motivation to keep to a fitness routine. But since finding out about Anny and her studio opposite Chiswick Station (around 7 years ago now, I think), I've kept fit and had fun!
The classes Anny takes are great – they suit all fitness levels, there's always something new going on – like DD Mix – which was developed by Darcy Bussel and features songs and dances from around the world – it's addictive!! Anny has a real knack of making you work your hardest while actually enjoying it! Strange, but true. I also love The Strand Cafe run by the charismatic and charming Hussain..the best Thai in the area and prices are so reasonable. He always stocks up on my favourite bottle of rose wine in the restaurant for springtime – love it there!
Favourite signs of spring in Chiswick?
The blossom trees lining Staveley Road, the swans and nature coming to life on the river, and watching the ducks in the park tenderly building their nests and preparing for their chicks to hatch. This year, my 21 year old daughter and I were keeping an eye on one nest in the lake in the park at Chiswick House and on her actual birthday, one of the little chicks hatched from the egg! We saw it all and my daughter has it recorded on her phone. What a lovely surprise for her 21st!
Lisa and family
The joggers come out in their droves around Strand on the Green in spring and the paddle boarders look like they're having fun too – we are all full steam ahead in achieving our best beach bodies right about now!
Tell us about your day job, in a nutshell.
No two days are the same that's for sure! I'm a women's magazine writer, copywriter and blogger. So, I could be researching for a feature on improving cellulite for Healthy Magazine or having a high tech facial with a specialist for the column I ghost write for a broadsheet's online lifestyle magazine – or taking some product shots on my iPhone (I'm not great at photography – yet) for my beauty and wellbeing blog Glowology which I aim at the fabulous over 40s! As well as writing, I pitch ideas to commissioning editors and will also work on ideas for clients' website or marketing copy.
Apart from this, what other hats do you wear?
I'm a mum of 3 – 21, 19 and 15 and although I know they're grown up and very capable, I am a bit of a mother hen and like to keep my chicks fed and watered and comfy as poss :-), And, I've been sort of keeping this a secret, but it's time to talk…I'm writing a fiction novel with a friend of mine – we have almost finished and will be sending off a synopsis and a few chapters to potential agents very soon, so please keep your fingers crossed for us!
Is your glass half full or half empty?
Mostly half full
Night in or night out?
Both! I love nights in with a glass of wine and box set in the winter but in the spring and summer the river pubs are too tempting so it's night out! :
I suppose it's swimming butterfly. Unless you knew I swam competitively as a child, you wouldn't expect me to get in the pool and charge up and down doing butterfly and tumble turns…after all, I'm just a 47 year old mum and writer. But it's quite nice to see people stare when I get out of a pool…which isn't often enough I'm afraid.
Philosophy on life?
Oh, I could go on all day with this one :-) I love a good philosophical quotes! Here are a few of my faves…
Be nice to people on your way up because you never know who you'll meet on your way down. I was told this in my first job at Cosmopolitan by a colleague who was high up in journalism but always had time for everybody – even me, the lowly beauty junior. It's quite true I think as I've seen karma at work and it can be unforgiving.
Alway be kind – to yourself and others. A kind word or compliment to somebody can really make their day and don't be too hard on yourself. If we love ourselves and feel happy and confident, it affects everyone around you and makes for a happier more content life.
Manners cost nothing. This was my mum's favourite and one which I've instilled in my children. I hate bad manners more than anything. I'm not saying you have to be perfect, nobody is, but simple courtesies of please and thank you and being aware of people around you and not just thinking about your own needs all the time is the way to behave.
Always try and see the good in people and to do this I really try my hardest not to 'judge a book by it's cover'. I've often been surprised at how I've met somebody and thought, oh we aren't at all alike and I don't know whether we'd get on – only to find a few months down the line we are the best of friends. I know we all make generalisations but so often they're wrong! So, keep an open mind.
One quote that I try to carry with me through life is from Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, which I studied for A level a million years ago…she said:
'Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs.'
This resonated with me and still does today. In the words of Frozen…'Let it Go!' it's so important not to harbour grudges and regrets – love, live and laugh – as much as you possibly can!
And now a few questions about style and glamour:
What do you prefer – high end splurge or budget beauty?
There's nothing like the click when opening or closing a quality gold compact or lipstick from a high end brand like Dior and I do love more expensive brands like Bobbi Brown, Nars and Chanel. But if I'm honest – it is often for the packaging and the cache of the brand. I feel that beauty today is all about the budget brands, some of which really are second to none.
The B range from Superdrug have fantastic skincare products that rival the more expensive brands and make up wise – Makeup Revolution and W7 are really giving the 'big boys' something to be worried about. There's no need to spend a fortune on makeup or skincare anymore. But if it makes you feel good and you can afford to – or just like the idea of treating yourself, then do!
I adore lip gloss – Boots Time Delay Instant Lip Plumper gives lips a little boost and a natural sheen which is great to wear alone or on top of a lipstick – it has really subtle golden flecks which make lips look pretty. And I love anything that gives me a little hint of colour. I'm a bit of a bronzer freak and hope I don't often look too much like a toffee apple with a brown face and white neck! Body Shop's Honey Bronzing Gel for Face works really well
Best local treatment?
Ooh, that's difficult because I often get sent to review treatments away from W4 but I have recently been introduced to a lovely, extremely experienced skin specialist called Josie Valerio who runs La Pelle Skin Clinic opposite Sainsbury's. She suffered with rosacea and bad skin for years after having had clear skin all through her teens and early 20s and so she set about clearing it up and through trial and error she has found a way that has given her back amazingly clear skin and has helped countless others with problems. She runs tests on her clients to find out if they have allergies, she advises on nutrition and uses a qualified nutritionist to back this up and uses IPL (intense pulse light) therapy.
I have a few broken capillaries and hyper pigmentation due to age and sun damage (remember carrot oil with no sun protection factor back in the 80s! It wasn't good for our skin!) and Josi is working with me to improve it. After one treatment I've seen a slight difference, so I'm looking forward to great results. She's really knowledgeable and that helps me make a choice on whether to go ahead with a treatment or not.
I have checked out the fairly new Nuberose beauty salon on the high road and am booking in for a CACI lip treatment which is designed to make the lips look less lined and more plump without injections! I'm not adverse to one day having a bit of botox or fillers but am holding off and trying a less invasive route for now.
I'd also like to shout out about The Chiswick Salon in Fauconberg Road and its owner Vicki who have always been amazing and never once told my daughters' off for their DIY hair mistakes! They've always rectified bad colour beautifully and I love the relaxed and friendly atmosphere in the salon. My highlights are something I can't do without and I often go from quite blonde in the summer to a little darker in the colder months and the team at Vicki's get it just right each time.
What can people get away with doing at home?
That's a difficult one because it depends on how adept you are at beauty treatments and the like. I, for example am royally bad at hair removal and go for a razor as I haven't time to book in for waxing all the time – especially in the summer. But my two daughter, 15 and 21, are very good – they have more patience.
So, if you are a patient type, I think you could safely wax, pluck eyebrows (I get mine done wherever I am at the time I feel like my unibrow has a life of its own and needs taming), manis and pedis can be done at home too.
And never underestimate the power of a long, hot soak in the bath with some fab smelling bath products and candles dotted around the bathroom. Giving yourself a pampering bath, exfoliation, face mask and then slathering on some body oil/cream or a self tan can make you feel wonderful after a hard day with the kids or at work and doesn't have to cost a fortune either. My favourite kind of night in!
And what should people always visit a pro for?
I haven't tried at home laser hair removal but I would definitely go to a salon for anything like that. If you are having trouble with your skin such as acne, rosacea or sensitivity, I would also go to see a good skincare specialist and get advice. Don't suffer in silence. Oh, and one very close to me is NEVER pierce your nose or dye your hair blonde or pink yourself – hello teenage daughter!! She has done both those things and they didn't end particularly brilliantly! So, always go to a pro for a drastic hair colour change…or a piercing!
Your favourite beauty product as a teenager?
Anything metallic! I loved a metallic purple or blue eyeliner – sometimes both worn together! And who remembers UltraGlow? My first foray into bronzing. I would dip a large brush into the brown powder and cover myself from head to toe. My darkly tanned skin against the pale lips I favoured wasn't very flattering, but I thought I looked great!
True beauty – is it within or outside?
Definitely within! A great personality and caring nature is so attractive in both males and females. But I do advocate the saying 'if you look good you feel good' but I think it works the other way around too…'if you feel good, you look good' So, I'm all for the holistic approach of caring for how you feel and how you look. You don't need to be a raving beauty to feel good about yourself or your looks – just stay as healthy and happy as you can and you'll glow!
Go on – give us one of your secret top tips…
Find a medium soft flesh coloured lip pencil – I have lost mine so can't tell you what make it was but I'm looking for another one – and outline just outside your lip line and fill in the the lips with the whole of the lip area with it before adding your lipstick and a touch of gloss on the middle of the bottom lip. It'll give you a great pout! Also, after applying lippy, put your little finger in your mouth, close lips over it and pull out. Excess lipstick will transfer to your finger and you can wipe it away – and you won't get it on your teeth!
Twitter tag: @ukglowology