On a stressful Monday in January, I received an e-mail inviting me to the launch of The Chapel Salon founder Amanda Dicker's new lifestyle launch. I happily accepted and thought nothing else of it apart from another fun evening with canapes and learning about some new products. Yet instead, I came away feeling so close to this small group of women, feeling inspired and motivated by their outlooks on life. What struck me whilst walking in was the atmosphere they had created. Heading through, we were greeted with comfy, eclectically-coloured sofas, a glass of sherry in some of Amanda's grandmothers glasses and some nourishing homemade food. Forget the usual stiff greeting; it was like heading into your friends bohemian lounge for a catch up and natter. Something which got silly very quickly as our cheeks went pink from the sherry top ups.
None of us knew each other, but that didn't stop us from talking about what age you should stop wearing jumpsuits (never), the annoyance of when you dip your boobs in your food and remembering the Rainbow theme tune.
As Amanda then went on to explain her products, it was clear just how much they meant to her and how much it meant for us to all be there. Having worked in a corporate environment leading a large team, she realised that not only was she unhappy with the angry person she had become, but she no longer knew anything about her husband and son due to her lifestyle. So she took the brave option of leaving it all and creating The Chapel. (at this point she got slightly tearing with emotion, as did others in the room).
Her brand is all about putting yourself first, and coming up with #JustMeFirst. We all blame 'not having the time' to make yourself do the little things in life, so her range is wanting to change that. Modelled on the phrase Time to Be Wise (a clock, a bee, and an owl respectively), her candles, perfumes and hand lotions are for that time you need for yourself to nurture and like yourself a bit more with a few spare minutes in the day.
Everyone spoke about how hard it is to find your own time without feeling guilty, so gave our little tips on how to, even if just a few minutes:
- When you're applying hand cream, count off your fingers five things that you're grateful for, from a lovely breakfast that morning to a kind text from a friend.
- Light some tealights when you get home; as most last only 3-4 hours, when they run out, turn off your computer and social media and start to wind down.
- Write a list of everything you have ever done that was amazing, from winning a bottle of bubbly to a festival when you were 16, and keep it in your handbag for when you have an anxious moment.
We all came away feeling like we could not only integrate this movement of solidarity with other women into our lives, but that it's never too late to start doing what you love and to change the way you see life. Being busy isn't always something to brag about, and those fleeting moments are needed to sometimes keep you sane. And as you can tell, an evening of giggles and sharing our own worries is always good for the soul.
To top it off, not only did Amanda give us some of the products to try our self (and as I write this I'm burning her beautiful candle next to me), but she went out and bought us personal gifts based on what we said we wish we had time to do. My hair mask, face mask and CD of relaxing music was the kindest touch that really shows just what kind of woman Amanda is and the love and time she has put into her creation.
photography by Jimmy Goodwin