Four lucky Chestnut Tree House nurses get a beauty session and thank you from hospice supporter, Linda Lusardi.

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left to right = Estée Holleran, Hayley Phillips, Linda Lusardi, Helen Escayg, Vicky Tovell

During the summer, actress and Dancing on Ice star, Linda Lusardi, visited Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice to see the wonderful care the charity provides for children with life-limiting and life-threatening illnesses across Sussex. Linda was so impressed with the hospice’s work and the dedication of the care team that she invited a group of the hard working nurses to take a break and enjoy a day of pampering at her house in Hertfordshire.

Hayley Phillips and Vicky Tovell, both 33 and from Worthing, Estée Holleran, 32 from Bognor Regis and Helen Escayg, 34 from Goring-by-sea were the four lucky nurses to be picked to enjoy a makeover session and photo shoot by Linda, who is also a very talented photographer.

Chestnut Tree House nurses work long shifts, particularly through the night, and often have to deal with situations which can be quite challenging and upsetting, particularly as a lot of the nurses have children of their own.

Said Vicky, Staff Nurse at Chestnut Tree House, “As a Mum of three children myself I often find it quite upsetting when the children are very poorly and staying at the House for end of life care. However hard I find it though, I am able to comfort the family in difficult times, because I know the bond a mother has with her child is like no other.”

The nurses don’t always have time to do their hair or put on any makeup and those of you with children at home or a busy work/life schedule will know that you don’t always get the opportunity to do it in your time off either. Therefore the opportunity to be pampered for a day was very welcome and each of these four nurses had their own reasons why they appreciated this special ‘me’ time.

The first one to have her beauty session was Hayley Phillips. She is a busy Mum of two girls and has turned her life around in the last year having lost approximately 10 dress sizes! For several years, Hayley had been unhappy and had finally reached a point where something had to change. She met Dave, now her partner of just over a year, and has never looked back.

Said Hayley, “I didn’t even try to lose the weight if I’m honest, it just fell off as my life changed for the better. Dave introduced me to 4×4 off road driving and I turned my weekends around from sitting at home and being completely inactive to climbing out of car windows, driving up waterfalls and just generally getting muddy!

“I was excited when I was asked if I would like a makeover by Linda Lusardi. I never wear makeup as I definitely don’t have time and I was intrigued to know how different I could look, especially as I have now lost the weight. Now that I have seen the results of Linda’s handiwork I am impressed! I didn’t think it was possible for me to look so ladylike and, needless to say, Dave was also fairly impressed!”

The next two ladies to enjoy Linda’s beauty expertise were Vicky and Helen. Vicky has two boys and a girl and enjoys getting dressed up and going out with girlfriends when she gets a spare second from looking after her busy family.

Said Vicky, “I was really excited about the makeover opportunity, I couldn’t believe I would get to go to Linda Lusardi’s house and I couldn’t wait because I love all things girly. When I do get the chance to go out, I am always the one doing my friends’ makeup but I’m never the one that gets mine done! The day at Linda’s house was perfect. We were greeted on arrival with a glass of Champagne and she made me feel like a celebrity, doing my makeup and curling my hair. The photos look fantastic, I almost didn’t recognise myself!”

Helen, is a Mum of one little boy and is expecting her second baby in December.

Said Helen, “I am not a girly girl and don’t ever wear makeup but thought that this makeover opportunity would be a nice day out for me and my bump and give me a little “me time” before the baby arrives. When Linda had finished my makeup I was shocked! I really liked the look and, although a little nervous at first, really enjoyed posing for my photograph. Linda was so lovely as well, asking about the baby and giving me a few encouraging words about giving birth the second time around as she has two children herself!”

Finally it was Estée’s turn to be transformed by Linda. Although Estée doesn’t have children of her own just yet, she leads an incredibly busy life at work and at home and she has quite a few pets which she loves looking after. She too has lost weight over the last year – about three stone in total – and has recently enjoyed being able to dress up in clothes that previously she wouldn’t have had the confidence to wear.

Said Estée, “At first I was a bit shy about going along for a makeover with Linda and to be honest didn’t really want to go but Vicky was having none of it and said that I would enjoy it! I am now really glad I came along as I had a really good day, enjoying getting pampered and meeting Linda Lusardi but also spending some time with the girls all together. It’s a rare opportunity for me to have a day just to myself and I think the photography session really helped me to relax a little and now, seeing the finished product, I am pleased with the way I looked.”

As you can see from the photos, the nurses had a fantastic day and looked absolutely stunning.

Said Linda Perry, Director of Children’s Services at Chestnut Tree House, “Our nurses work extremely hard and provide expert and specialist care to families going through very difficult times in their lives. It was very kind and thoughtful of Linda Lusardi to give them this lovely treat. They thoroughly deserved it and we would like to say a heartfelt thank you to Linda for looking after them so well.”

Linda Lusardi will be helping Chestnut Tree House again in December when she appears as the Ice Queen host at the charity’s Snowman Spectacular Fundraising Ball. For more information please visit www.thesnowmanspectacular.org.uk.

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