Valentine’s Day is coming up faster than you might think, so don’t delay and start thinking about gifting ideas for that special someone. If you’re into giving something special and rather unique or exclusive in a fragrance, why not consider the two new Hertiage Fragrance launches from Crabtree & Evelyn? Both Black Absinthe Eau de Cologne and Parisian Millefleurs Flower Water, were inspired by the most romantic city in the world-Paris!
Millefleurs Flower Water is perfect for Her, as smells like a thousand flowers in bloom at the same time. (It is of course easier to give a bottle of this.) Containing both fresh, and spicy notes of narcissus, rose, tuberose, and violet, all balanced with greens such as French juniper and cypress, this fragrance is sure to please and make any girl smile.
Black Absinthe for Him, creates the smoothest scent of Artemisia, and fennel flower, as well as the unusual combination of apothecary roots. While it has lively herbal notes, it also contains liquorice and peppery vetiver to make any lady say oh-la-la to her man!
Both £45, and exclusive to www.crabtree-evelyn.co.uk
Beauty Says: We might be feeling a bit low this January and might need a bit of oomph. Taking this literally, I’ve given my whole entire body a bit of a lift, with DermaQuest’s stem cell 3D body cream! The texture of this body crème is not only velvety soft & indulgent, but also brightens the overall tone of the skin. This is a fabulous way to get a bit of a jump start to a spring or summer holiday ahead. At first, I was a bit dubious too about a body cream that has stem cell research & ingredients. Is this really necessary? Thinking it through though, it does make sense- as a product like this is ideal for maintaining areas like the décolletage.
This product boasts that it can repair skin damage and has the most potent anti-wrinkle ingredients available today, such as Dermaxyl, sea fennel, edelweiss and gardenia (fab for elasticity). I like to use it just massaged into the body after bath or shower. It absorbs quickly with no stickiness-you’ll be surprised how soft and supple it does feel. Take note that it’s also makes a most welcomed gift, to pregnant women as it is recommended as a post-pregnancy homecare product. £65, and available at: www.dermaquestinc.co.uk
Ooo la-la….Fenwick is launching this January the ‘Here I Am’ (goodie) Beauty Bag-featuring 24 of the most sought after beauty products to jump start your GLOW this year. All the products in the bag are famous in their own right, and highly recommended from beauty editors across the board. From brands such as Eve Lom, Suqqu, Laura mercier, Clarins, and Chantecaille to name a few, this bag is worth £250, and will be offered complimentary while stocks last. All you have to do is spend £200 at Fenwick of Bond Street’s Beauty Hall. Fenwick Fabulous!
Beauty Says: You might think nothing much blooms up in January. Let’s face it, Christmas and New Year’s was just over and it seems that most, including the weather is gloomy. This is simply not true, as I’ve discovered a tiny mecca, rather like a secret garden if you like, called L’erbolario, in 106AUpper Street, Islington.
Although, not readily well-known here, as of yet, L’erbolario is actually an incredibly popular and well-known inItalywhere it was founded in 1978. The husband and wife team-Franco Bergamaschi and Daniela Villa put their passion for healing properties in plants and flowers to develop an extensive collection of fragrances, oils, soaps, creams, skincare, and products for the home. What I find mighty impressive is that from the beginning to date, the company only uses raw materials, sourced all over the world, and distils juices, and oils drop by drop with craftsman-like patience! They not only do this but also adhere to ethical research and cosmetic standards.
At their recent launch in December I was not only impressed by the artisan craftsmanship of the products, but also that the types of products they produced went extensively into areas such as sun products, and products for babies and children. The sun protection products are neither sticky nor heavy and leave the skin with super hydration. I’m excited to take them on my next beach holiday to give them the full test drive!
I was told by a member of staff there that evening that all the drawings on the boxes and packaging are done by an Italian botanist and that it represents a true art form in not just the drawings themselves, but also authentic representation of each product.
Smelling fragrance after fragrance that evening, I was most taken in by the Te Verde or Green Tea fragrance, which has such a crystal clear undertone, to say it is ‘clean or fresh’ is an understatement.
One of my top recommendations for this month’s drab to fab feeling is to give the Effetto Reale (translate to the real effect) shampoo and conditioner a try. This dynamic duo contains royal jelly from bees, amino acids and chesnuts. At first I thought the air was a bit weighed down but then realised how super nourished my hair became with continued use. It also seemingly restructures the hair. It doesn’t foam up when you use it-proving its natural qualities-you’ll definitely see and feel a vital restoration with these two products to give you a most needed lift!
L’erbolario’s products are not only efficient and a delight to discover but you’ll also be surprised by the reasonable prices comparable to chemist or drug stores. Check out what is in FULL BLOOM your self this January at: http://www.erbolario.co.uk/
Beauty Says: Sometime buying a Valentine gift seems so impersonal because there is a ton of chocolate, soaps, and other knick knacks on the high street. Understandably it can seem all rather impersonal and not as ‘thoughtful’ as intended. Then there’s the situation of singles out there who don’t know what they should do.
Well, Kat & Bee’s workshops could solve both these woes of Valentine’s Day! Starting this month, the jewellery brand will be running a series of intimate workshops from her own studio inEast London. Each of these nifty workshops will cover how to make her four signature styled rings.
Learn how to make her signature skull wrapped rings, or wrapped beaded flower rings to give the extra love and effort into your gift.
It’s fab for an all girls night out, and then drinks, or guys, get together and style your very own Kat & Bee rings for your special ladies….This is one activity not to be missed on the calendar. Workshop fees £90-£100. Get all the details here to sign up now…don’t be late….cupid is waiting: http://www.katandbee.co.uk/pages/workshops
Beauty Says: We do a lot of clearing away during the New Year, so why not make good use of some of the things you’re not needing and donate them to raise some funds skin disease and skin cancer research. I was rather surprised to find out that over 8 million people are living with skin disease in theUK alone, and not all are manageable, but in some cases, it is severe enough to kill. Another sad fact about skin disease is that it doesn’t just affect the skin, but can impact a person’s day to day life by crushing self-confidence, restrict movement, and lead to depression-which creates much pressure and strain on personal relationships too.
The British Skin Foundation has teamed up with Clothes for Charity to help those suffer from skin diseases through further research- trying to find cures for common skin problems like eczema or acne to potential killers like malignant melanoma.
To get involved all you have to is log on to: www.clothesforcharity.org.uk
And search for: ‘British Skin Foundation’. From there you can request a bag to come to your home and fill it with clothing items. Once you’ve done that, simply request for pick up. You even get a letter to confirm the donation!
If you’ve received a new mobile phone for Christmas, and your old one is just sitting there on the shelf, why not recycle it and give it a new life to help improve the life of another? All you have to do is log onto: http://shpforcharity.co.uk/charities/british-skin-foundation/ Click ‘Recycle’ & follow the instructions.
Do something truly spectacular and have a clear out to help clear someone’s skin, and bring new smiles this New Year & 2015! I'm getting started this weekend...what about you??
An Exclusive Event for Bare Biology's Lion Heart Omega 3 Oil is being held at Liberty of London tomorrow, Jan 29 from 6-8pm. This is- Not To Be Missed! An expert panel will be there including Kate Shapland (Beauty Editor The Telegraph & Founder of Legology), Get the Gloss' Susanna Taylor, Aurelia Probiotic Skincare founder Claire Vero, Plenish Cleanser founder Kara Rosen & yoga expert Chris James who will offer valuable health advice.
The first 250 attendees will get exclusive Liberty London goodie bags, as well, as the first 50 will get their own bottle of Lion Heart 50 capsule bottle. Lion Heart omega 3 fish oil is the purest and strongest in theUKand the only one certified by International Fish Standards. If you take this, I think you will not only glow, but you definitely won't have to call the doctor in the morning. I say, brace 2015 with a bit of Lion Heart....and head down tomorrow evening and give your health a 'roaring' head start! No invite needed...just don't be late.....
This is not another typical review or article about just another facial at some salon inLondon’sWest End. No. I have a new found love and excitement for facials again, that goes beyond the warmth of aromatherapy candles and relaxing music that gives illusions of being in exotic places. It was late in December that the spaceship of all facials gave me and beckoned me to climb abroad- to experience an out of world experience that would leave my face so fresh and visibly different- people would think I was abducted by aliens! This is the story of The Environ Facial at Beauty & Melody and a new frontier to face never before on this blog…
For those of you who are not familiar with Environ, it is a beauty brand based in Johannesburg. Its history is based on the work and research of Dr. Fernandes; and is one of the first brands that developed formulations to protect from skin cancers. Since its origin in 1983, Environs’ ethos has been to deliver products that are proven in efficiency, and at cost-effective price points. Their facials are indeed part of this ethos and use sound waves and electrical pulses to deliver ingredients and nutrients deep into the derma of the skin. Please note, at this point, that the Environ facial (The Advanced Active Vitamin Treatment) has been voted one of six of the most powerful facials by Harpers Baazar!
I was greeted in the usual manner on the day by my facialist, Silvia, who ran the usual protocol with me of forms, and other steps throughout the facial such as cleansing, exfoliation, masks, and creams. The unique point of the facial is the electrical wires that are hooked up to the mask which, solidifies in the middle of the facial. I was told that at first I would hear sounds: like strange little spaceships coming to earth in an episode of the War of The Worlds. At first, I thought Silvia was joking, but when I started to hear these sounds I have to admit I was a bit apprehensive, and was doubtful that this kind of gimmick or process would deliver results. Having said that, I was explained to, at this stage that it is due to this step and process the skin opens up and the goodness would be delivered deep into the skin. At one stage when the electrical currents ran quite strong I could see what you would see as a snowy screen when the television isn’t working. Silvia told me at this point that it was normal, and that this stage is stimulating collagen, increasing hydration and would boost radiance. I have to admit that the experience was a bit surreal, and not as relaxing as the traditional hand facials I was used to. I was holding on to a tiny bar that was connected to the electrical machine, as by doing so this prevented me from electrocution. (The reason for this is that the circuit need to run full circle.)
Although the experience was unusual, I can tell you that the results were definitely top of the line! In all my years of going for facials there never has been results like this-when I looked into the mirror it was literally like having a new lease on my face and skin. The tone of the skin was so even and flawless-it needed no make-up afterwards for many days. My take on this particular facial is that if one did them on a regular basis one could indeed keep the aging process at bay. (Take note, that this is a way to maintain without taking drastic measures at a later date.)
There are not too many places in London that offer the Environ facial, and is rather an exclusive at Beauty & Melody at Marble Arch. Other options also available from purifying to hydraboost starting at £50, 30min. Allow Environ to abduct your skin and age now www.beautyandmelody.co.uk
Beauty Says: It might still be cold outside at the moment, but really my darlings, you should be preparing for the next season ahead. After all, London Fashion Week is just 3 weeks away, and Spring (yes, Spring) is not far off either. To make these transgressions is not easy when it comes to updating a wardrobe. I’ve eyed one key trend that has come back season after season when it warms up: Perforation. Also known, in fashion terms often as ‘laser cut’ perforated items are key when the weather warms up. Why? Well, perhaps it lets you breathe when it becomes muggy, but also it has a feminine touch and quality to it- rather like floral patterns. It can come in an accessory like a bag, or it can come in skirts, tops, and the combination also endless with things already in the wardrobe. I love the key trend of it happening on shoes and on-the-rise brands like Self Portrait.
Here are some items that I think could, not only make your heart flutter, but give your wardrobe a breath of fresh air….and that, is indeed in fashion!
I love the trend of the perforated boot as there is something rather sexy about it. It teases the eyes and is able to host other fashion play when you wear coloured socks with them. Recently, I’ve spotted New Season on ASOS which have a pair of peep toe back zip perforated boots in cream. I would team them with a sea colour or blue hued dress to bring them out as the ultimate accessory. £48, www.asos.com
If it is still too cold to wear a perforated dress then team it with a jacket, or a cardigan. One thing is for sure, the dress could turn up the temperatures! Since its debut and launch in 2013 Self Portrait has been grabbing the attention of those who looking for a wardrobe injection. I like the styles of this brand, as it reminds me a little of past ‘Luella’ collections which hosts much fun and sass while still being very wearable.
My favourite from SS’15 season is this red dress £240, and this violet blue number £300. If it’s a bit out of your price range, don’t fret as ASOS carries it too and there are some items on sale now, like this lovely lilac off-shoulder one £153, reduced from £219.
Now while there are a lot of shirts that are laser cut or perforated in the front or the sleeves, no other colour can compare to it coming in white. Why? Well, somehow the white perforated shirt changes the perception of any outfit-be it that you pair it with trousers, or a skirt, or jeggings with ankle boots. Make sure that you don’t accent the shirt too much with necklaces but rather other items like bangles, or earrings, or a matching shoe. (As it can get too busy).
My suggestion this season is to go on ASOS and find that perforated white shirt…where the price of this update comes at a snip!
Beauty Says: January can be a time where you might feel a bit weighed down, and this may go the same for when you’re dressing and accessorizing. Most of the time, we feel this way, because of all of the heavy bags we’re carrying on a daily basis. Down-size this January and get a mini bag. I’ve found new found freedom with a mini bag. All you need is bank card+ keys + lipstick + phone. Need we put more into our bags?
You’ll find that if you invest into a mini bag this season, it will go right into next season when you’ll be going on holidays or your next travels too. I’ve eyed some fab colours and styles this season in the shops (and some are on sale too!)
My favourite is Carven’s mini leather pocket(on sale now 154 euros), while I’m rather partial to Bimba & Lola’s Small Cross Body Bag from the Stripped Collection (on sale now £94). There are high street versions too at Zara for £22.99, and one of the best designs is a mini bucket from Asos (real leather, £210). And if you love something more classic, Kate Spade's mini Cedar style is perfect (£165, comes in a wide selection of colours.) So don’t get weighed down…weigh it up and go light this new year!
Snob Says: Dim Sum is a lunch favourite, especially on Sundays inSouth East Asia, as it represents a family gathering or social gathering of those near and dear. At the heart of this meal is the tradition of sharing-decadent delicious morsels of food that makes everyone happy. That is perhaps why, when I received an invite from the Joe Blogs network I just couldn’t resist- an afternoon with fellow bloggers who love to share ‘all the good things in life’ as much as I do.
Friends who have gathered with me love my ‘stories’ about Dim Sum. The words literally translate to ‘touch your heart’ in the Chinese language, and the tradition originated inCanton,China. Centuries ago, in Canton, tea houses served small dishes, rather like afternoon snacks, as it was not meant to be eaten as a meal, but only to have these morsels with afternoon tea. Today, this tradition has slightly varied over time, and has become the lunch time meal on Sunday for Chinese families, or anytime during the afternoon.
On a recent Sunday, The Millenium Hotel hosted this Chinese Tea, or Dim Sum for 27 bloggers. We eagerly anticipated the delights that were to come as we sipped champagne at the bar to be seated. As we were sitting down, we all chatted away, and prepared our mobiles & cameras at the ready, for some serious social media activity for the dishes that would arrive.
First up, was Minced Chicken Wrapped in Lettuce- a light start to the meal enough to whet the appetite, followed by a Chinese Dim Sum staple: BBQ pork buns. Take note, that the pork buns were not massive but just the right size as they don’t fill you up not to enjoy the rest of the meal. All bloggers were at the ready to take the photos first, and do the tweets in between each serving of the dishes so I would have to say it was uhm a ‘working lunch’ indeed.
I have to highlight the Sauteed Prawns coated with Wasabi. The sauce on this was truly dreamy as it had a kick from the wasabi while being smooth and a bit tart like mayo all the while, being supported by the sweetness of the piece of pineapple underneath.
Other delectable dishes included Prawns with Passion Fruit Colis (these literally flew off the plates), Red Bean and Pandan Mochi Cakes, and Crispy Chicken Stick served in shot glasses (a rather aesthetically appealing way to present this dish). Moreover we were surprised to learn that they usually serve and present this tea not in the traditional wicker baskets or porcelain dishes, but on a tray as a traditional English Tea-all tiered and layered. I have to admit that it was a gentile touch, and rather British! There was also a full demonstration of how to carve a peking duck, and how to serve it too. We were told that the Dim Sum chef was only a tender age of 25, but handpicked by the Chairman of the hotel group- who is rather particular when it comes to his Dim Sum.
At the end of the meal I sat back and gave the afternoon a thought: Did Le Chinois truly ‘touch my heart’? I have to admit that it did, and so it fulfils and can be deemed more than worthy to be serving up this Chinese favourite. Catch your heart’s delight at Le Chinois by reserving your table now!
For Reservations Contact:
T: +44 (0) 20 7201 6330
Snob Says: The recent over load during past holiday season does not want to make you think about food, does it? At this point, most of us are a bit past all the rich goodies, and thinking of the big ‘D’ that could stand for detox or diet. Speaking of this though, in terms of flavour, is often also a ‘D’- which may stand for ‘downer’. Well clearing yourself and detoxing a bit at the start of the year does not have to be this way thanks to the arrival of: M, a unique dining and drinking concept- that houses two restaurants, a wine tasking bar, a destination cocktail bar, private rooms, and event spaces. I hear, there’s even a secret den!
The concept was thought of by Head Chef, Jarad McCarrol, formerly known for the Chilton Firehouse, offering a three meal daily diet adding up to a tiny 800 calories. Yes, that is correct! The menu offers wholesome wheat and dairy free coconut quinoaporridge, and raw juice for breakfast; a lunch which features a beautiful array of sashimi; and for dinner you can enjoy gluten free ramen with shitake.
If that isn’t appetising enough M RAW will also feature a tartare and tiradito bar which includes tartars, sashimi, pulsing salads, cured and smoked dishes, and yakitori. Be sure to try the signature dishes: scallops +bacon, wagyu brisket, and wasabi ramen.
M can stand for many things at the start of the season…may it stand for mini, with big taste! £35 per person for three meals-breakfast/lunch/dinner
2-3 Threadneedle Walk
60 Threadneedle Street
TEL: 020 3327 7770
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