Best Beauty BloggerYou may recall my blog in September about attending Olympia Beauty in London.  Whilst there, I spent some time at the Gel II stand trying out the products and chatting with their CEO Michael Le and Director of Sales Sandra Lombardi.  I was very kindly invited to join them a few weeks later in Kansas to experience their La Palm Artistry & Leadership Academy (LALA) Education Reboot 2.0.   I thought it would be a great opportunity to find out more about this “New To The UK” company and share with all my lovely followers how I found the products, the company and their ethos & attitude.  Never in a million years though would I have thought I would find reason to blog about the journey to Kansas, but then anyone who knows me knows that things always take a funky turn when I’m around 😉

Gel II Despite being an incredibly nervous flyer, I was really looking forward to my first trip to the USA and felt a little appeased to be travelling with Steve Grady of and Layla & Jemeila Tourh of Creative Beauty Group, the UK distributors for Gel II & Pure Organics, who would all keep me calm…….I hoped!

Red Glitter Dorothy Shoes

Naturally as I was off to Kansas, I felt it my duty as a british beauty & lifestyle blogger to find the most fantastic set of red sparkly shoes to wear in homage to The Wizard Of Oz.  I’d considered making my own after seeing this fantastic blog by Bridal Musings, but time ran away with me so I went on a High Street search and found these amazing shoes in New Look for £22.99!  If only I’d know the journey they would take me on when I bought them!

Best Nail BloggerMe & my red shoes started our journey completely normally i.e. me debating taking a Valium for the flight but deciding on some dutch courage instead.  After a nice upgrade on our outward flight from London Heathrow to Chicago, things were looking good! Our first flight of 3, sat in the lap of luxury with a real glass of wine, blankee’s, footrests and some rather good entertainment in the form of 22 Jump Street.  Things were set to get a little crazy though, in a trip that sat somewhere between the movies of Trains, Planes & Automobiles and The Hangover.

It would be the case that our flight from Heathrow, would land in Chicago right in the middle of an air traffic control meltdown.  Consequently, we missed our ongoing connections, and with no flights that day and Delta refusing to take responsibility, it appeared that we were stranded in Chicago!  Now at times like this, you either accept your lot and sleep on the airport floor, or you see the opportunity for an all american Road Trip!  I think Steve and I were punching a bit above our weight on this one, as once we’d decided that hiring a Mustang/Courvette and driving across America is bound to be quicker than waiting for a flight the next day, it actually transpired – courtesy of Apple maps – that in fact we were about 11 hours and 700 miles from Kansas.  With our spirits only slightly dampened, we made our way to Virgin Atlantic to see if we could improve upon our experience with Delta.  *NB, would like to add, that Heather from Delta, Chicago O’Hare, did everything she possibly could to help, but was restricted by Delta’s rules. *

Natasha Lee BloggerThankfully after a quick visit to Virgin Atlantic, we were on our way in an airport shuttle cab to a Comfort Inn with a promise of Breakfast At Tiffany’s which cheered our weary spirits no end.  However, the afore mentioned promise didn’t quite transpire to be what we expected, along with the fact we had been taken to the wrong Comfort Inn! A $40 taxi journey with a cab driver who took the wrong turn a few times and then bumped up the cost just for fun, we were finally at the Comfort Inn Suites in Chicago, clammy, tired and hungry.  So far my first experiences of America weren’t what I’d hoped and STILL no one had said to me “Welcome To America!”;)

Gel IIAs a glass-half-full kinda girl, I dumped my cases and headed with the others to the hotel bar, where we decided to be typical tourists, and order a couple of cold beers and what turned out to be the most amazing beef nachos that I have ever tried!  After collapsing into bed and feeling the room shake with a party going on downstairs,  I prayed to wake up feeing a bit more human and happy to be in America, but instead I woke up looking like I had pink-eye (Pineapple Express).

Lucky Charms CerealI meandered down to breakfast absolutely famished and wanting some all american food, and was confronted by a waffle contraption that even with instructions, alluded me!  I gazed at some Lucky Charms (which are something ridiculous like £7 a box in the UK) but felt the need for something less sugary and more fulfilling, and that’s where Nathan, my little knight in shining armour, stepped in!

Now I had observed Nathan explaining to someone else how to use the waffle contraption, and I can tell you that he is a natural born facilitator! Nathan offered to help me with my breakfast and after a quick chat with his Mum, I decided to film him making me breakfast.  Now this kid is amazing and an absolute credit to his family!  He was my little saviour so thank you so much Nathan from Chicago for giving me my first all american welcome to the country.  You are a  star!!!  The video of Nathan making me breakfast is below,  just see for yourself what a natural he is in front of the camera! 🙂


After a hearty breakfast courtesy of Nathan, we were off to Chicago O’Hares to make our next attempt to get to Kansas, however things were looking up……

Natasha Lee BloggerNow I am a fan of the Wizard Of Oz, who isn’t?! However, I doubted the magic that can be held in a pair of red sparkly shoes!  Whilst stood at our boarding gate, one of the Stewards from our flight took particular fancy to my shoes, as well as the fact that with a red head, blonde and a brunette travelling together (and Steve!), we were reminiscent of Charlie’s Angels! I’m happy to go with that comparison. Gel II Before we realised what was happening, we were privately escorted onto the plane, and took a seat in the cockpit with Randy the Co-Pilot next to us!  Now this was the America attitude I was hoping for – fun, friendly but professional!  After a quick chat with Randy and Jim (Pilot), we were gifted our own pilot wings ready for Kansas.  Things were looking up!

Thankfully, our other flights all went perfectly according to plan, and although we landed in Kansas 24 hours later then planned, Michael Le (La Palm CEO) was waiting for us at the airport to escort us to our home for the next 4 days, and what a 4 days it turned out to be…………  to be continued 😉 xNx