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The gift of giving

By Grand Central 21 Dec 2015

Grand Central really enjoyed having Louise visit. Louise is the mum of Birmingham born Joshua Jackson, 11, who has been fighting Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) since he was just two years old. Josh, having been in remission once, faced the disease again when it returned two years later. Despite facing such a hardship throughout his childhood, Josh is still keen to help others and continues to fundraise for this deserving cause.   

Louise has been there every step of the way whilst being a mum to her three other children. Having taken countless trips to hospital over the past 8 years, she has watched her son, since he was a toddler, fight this cruel disease. If that wasn’t enough, she has also raised over £30,000 to date for Birmingham’s Children Hospital.

This money has helped fund such items as wardrobes in the wards so that parents no longer have to live out of a suitcase. These little things make both the children and their families feel more comfortable during their treatment, something which Louise has experienced first-hand for months at a time with Josh.

In recognition of Josh’s commitment, David Cameron has awarded him the title of ‘point of light’ along with inviting him and Louise to Downing Street this Christmas for the light switch on. 

We at Grand Central saw the press story about Josh’s invitation and after seeing Louise’s comments that Josh had his smartest suit and tie ready but that she still needed to “sort something for herself”, we felt it was only right to give something back to Louise for all of the selfless contributions both her and Josh have made. As such, we surprised Louise with an invitation to a pamper day here at Grand Central.

Louise’s Day:

10:00am – Coffee and cake at Café Concerto

In our world, there’s no better way to start the day than with a cappuccino and a selection of cake. It was fascinating to hear about Josh’s story and all of their achievements to date. Jonathan Cheetham, General Manager for Grand Central, joined Louise and surprised her with a Grand Central gift card for £200 to spend during her day. First stop, Monsoon, in search of the perfect outfit for 10 Downing Street.

10:30am – Personal shopper experience at Monsoon/Accessorize

Louise was greeted by Reena, Monsoon/Accessorize personal stylist, who lead her to the personal shopper area which was all set with a glass of fizz and sweet treats. Reena and Louise talked about her likes and dislikes and that she wanted to move away from her ‘safe’ LBD number. It was love at first sight when Louise tried on the cobalt marigold dress, a colour Louise has never been brave enough to wear before. Reena then took her time to provide various options of shoes, bags and accessories to compliment the dress resulting in an outfit fit for a Queen, and most certainly for a Prime Minister.

The Outfit:

11:30am – Nails by John Lewis’ &Beauty Salon

After a successful personal shop, it was time to prep her pinkies. John Lewis’ salon, &Beauty was the next port of call.  Here, Louise visited the nail bar and chose a gel colour treatment, perfect for nails of any length, opting for a blue to match the dress. Louise was delighted with her gel nails and the added benefit the gel gave her in helping her nails to grow. She left with a smile and her John Lewis beauty gift bag filled with a variety of products for her hair and nails.

12:30pm – Hand and arm massage at Jo Malone

Jo Malone wanted to spoil Louise too and kindly treated her to a complimentary hand and arm massage (available in the Grand Central store from January 2016) with devine Jo Malone fragrance oils and lotions. Louise was given a variety of scents to ensure it was a personalised experience and a fragrance which is best suited to her. Louise’s ‘signature’ scent is pomegranate noir (which is also a favourite of ours) and Jo Malone finished the experience with some mini samples so Louise could bathe in these scents ahead of her trip to London the following day.

1:00pm – Facial at Kiehls

Now that Louise had her outfit, her nails prepped and her scent sorted, it was time for some skin rejuvenation. As advised by most beauty bloggers, it’s all about the base. What better way to prime than with a facial from Kiehls. Asma, the store manager, certainly gave Louise a memorable Kiehl’s experience by initially carrying out a skin analysis to establish which Kiehl’s products would be best suited to Louise. Her skin was glowing after her facial and to help Louise to maintain this routine at home, Kiehl’s gave Louise an indulgent gift set of facial products to enjoy.

1:30pm – Make up by MAC

If Louise is anything like us, we couldn’t let Louise leave without her make up in place. MAC were at the ready with their expert make up skills and transformed Louise with a stunning natural look. MAC taught Louise how to make her eyes pop through shimmer shades and brow shading. Louise was looking forward to trying it for herself before her big meet with David Cameron. There was one final surprise in store for Louise to mark the end of her day.

2:00pm – Grand finale from Pandora

Louise has always wanted a Pandora bracelet. Emily, store manager of Pandora at Grand Central, was touched by Josh’s story. So much so that she presented Louise with a complimentary Pandora bracelet to represent her day at Grand Central and as a token of how thankful people are for the work that she does. In the words of Louise, “it was a perfect end to a perfect day.”

Josh has now had the all clear but will need to wait 5 years to be certain that the disease won’t come back.  Irrespective of this, both Josh and Louise are ever more determined to continue their fundraising success for the Birmingham’s Children’s Hospital and are hoping to achieve a further £30,000 in the next two years.

Louise not only gives her time and efforts to fundraising but she also lights up the faces of Children who have been dealt a similar fate to Josh through regular visits to the Birmingham’s Children Hospital.

Louise and Josh are due to visit the hospital this Christmas to give gifts to all of the children so that they can enjoy Christmas in the same way that some of us take for granted, even if it is for a brief moment. As Louise said, “it doesn’t take much to give a child a colouring book and some crayons but by doing so, you make them smile despite everything they are fighting against, and that is priceless.”

We really hope Louise enjoyed her very well deserved day of spoiling and both her and Josh enjoyed every minute of their trip to 10 Downing Street.

We, for one, will be counting our blessings this Christmas.

Dining, Grand Central, Style