Archive for November, 2015

29 Nov 2015

Home from home at Gazelli House

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There are spas and there are spas. Some are designed for a quick fix, hurried ‘fashion’ pick me up, and others have an alternative approach to beauty, and are designed to help you relax and chill out.

The newly opened Gazelli House on bustling Walton Street in Chelsea, is definitely one of the latter. Known for their groundbreaking non-abrasive skincare treatments, using their signature ‘white oil’, the therapists take their time to tap into your emotional state as well as physical wellbeing in order to ascertain your lifestyle before prescribing a personal bespoke treatment; The new home plans to build on this philosophy, and the soft leather furnishings, art deco artworks and parquet flooring only add to the personal journey you partake, when you step over the threshold.

Imagine a place where you could pop along for some precious ‘me time’. A place where you are made to feel at home and have no guilt for treating yourself. It’s a place to re-charge your energy and nuture your skin, yet without realising, you leave with a fuller soul.

It’s more than a shop and a spa, although the Gazelli skincare products are available to try or buy; The concept is for you to pop along and enjoy a herbal tea, browse the bookshelves, enjoy the art and soak up the nik-naks (which are for sale too). The brand is selling a lifestyle and this has been exquisitely curated over a three floor home. It is as unlike any spa I have ever been in. With the beautiful back terrace, complete with handmade Spanish tiles, whitewashed walls and impromptu film screenings, clients are encouraged to spend quality time in the parlour or library and lingering is encouraged!

With workshops and informal visiting practioner talks, planned for the communal areas, I have no doubt that there will be someone interesting to meet, and something to learn any time you pop by. Poetry readings, supper clubs and games nights are set to turn this into a community for like minded people, all happy to share knowledge and socialise.

With three tranquil treatment rooms located at the basement level, the atmosphere is calm and inviting. There is no attention spared here either, with a chaise lounge subtly positioned in the communal area, so you can meditate/contemplate pre or post therapy with no-one rushing you on, to get the next client in.

The two rooms in the attic of the house, are the piece de resistance, and are set to offer all kinds of exciting services. Perfectly intimate for life coaching, kinesiology, meditation and acupuncture, clients are actively encouraged to discuss their needs and goals, to find the right approach for their wellbeing and personal development.

Overall, the Gazelli House promises to be a place where you can gain confidence and address what has been holding you back. It’s magical. I want to go back.

29 Nov 2015

For a taste of Hawaii, try KAU ‘AINA

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Aloha, it’s that time to think about a bit of Christmas shopping (I am allowed to mention the C word as it is now only three shopping weekends to go!!!)

After battling the masses, you will need to stop somewhere for a re-fuel of energy; And if this involves central London, I would highly recommend a pit stop at the delicious and hearty Hawaiian (small but perfectly formed chain) Kua Aina, which has been serving burgers and ‘wiches since 75.

Nestled close to the shopping district of Carnaby Street and on the less hectic Goodge Street, the menu and cocktails will certainly lift your spirits to sunnier climes. With a new December menu, you can go light and get some nibbles or one of the extra special super salads… or add some calories- you deserve them after all, shopping is terribly tiring!

Greeted by friendly staff dressed in floral shirts and colourful leis, the beach themed bar and diner was buzzing. The open grill and wooden tables made for a relaxed, informal meal.  The food is perfect for picking and sharing, but get extra napkins as it will get messy!

With an ample menu, I would go hungry, and then you won’t feel too guilty at sharing a selection of starters, which range from onion rings to coconut king prawns to nachos. The burgers are predictably hearty and come with an array of toppings. With President Obama as a fan, he plumps for the avocado burger. You can order sandwiches too- my fave would be the Mahi Mahi fishfinger sandwich, and I would definitely add a side of sweet potato fries.

Vegetarians/pescitarians are well catered for with halloumi and tuna seared to perfection. Don’t forget to add a sprinkle of the secret salt, which adds something exotic!

Christmas is well and truly in the air, and I am planning a return visit, just to sample the Mele Kalikimaka, Christmas Lua set menu. At £19.95 per head, you can choose from a turkey, bacon and brie sandwich, Christmas burger with stuffing and cranberry sauce or a sage and onion Portobello mushroom bap. Served with skin on fries and coleslaw, it’s definitely an alternative to soggy roast potatoes and sprouts!

With cocktails a specialty, it would be rude not to try one (or two), and try a hard shake if your calorie count is well and truly out of the window! If you can’t make it to Hawaii, you can certainly get into the groove in London. Opening soon in Belfast too.

http://kua-aina.co.uk/

27 Nov 2015

KATE MOSS NAKED!!!

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Kate Moss always manages to turn heads, and it’s interesting to see what the infamous ‘never complain, never explain’ supermodel has chosen to showcase at the current photography retrospective at the Osborne Samuel and Beetles + Huxley, Mayfair galleries.

Having appeared in campaigns and editorials across nearly three decades, choosing eleven images must have been tough! My personal fave is her shoot for Calvin Klein Obsession in 1993 by her then-boyfriend Mario Sorrenti. Personal and iconic, whether you are a fan of Moss or not, seeing all the photography greats in one place is a treat!

Check out ‘The Photographers 2015′, which showcases over 150 photographs by legendary artists, exploring the history of photography from 1910 to the present day, and Miss Moss is in there too!

At the Osborne Samuel and Beetles + Huxle galleries, Mayfair, until December 23rd.

24 Nov 2015

Everyone loves The Pig! And Hawaii….

Comments Off on Everyone loves The Pig! And Hawaii…. food, my words, review, spa, style nest


This week has involved munching a lot of food! More than usual….

It was a great pleasure to be invited to The Pig Hotel and Restaurant in Brockenhurst. Firstly because of it’s fabulous reputation and stunning setting in the New Forest. Secondly to see if all the food could possibly come from a 25 mile radius, and the beautiful and tranquil on site country garden. Thirdly I got an idea of a bday pressie of a romantic get away at The Pig Lodge in the grounds; Or even one of the rooms in the main building, which offer four poster beds and are particularly cosy.

Needless to say the food was delish. The Scotch eggs and crackling were undeniably divine, as was the Lymington crab and tray of deserts! I say tray- that wasn’t all for me- it was a sharing platter. They even make their own wine, which went down a treat!

If you don’t have a spare day to pop to the country just for lunch, you could go to the little piggy sister in Southampton, which offers the same boutique hotel options on a slightly smaller scale. The Pig in the Wall is also perfectly located for afternoon tea, and has the similar cosy rooms if you and the girls want to get out of London for a weekend shopping.

Another treat I had was visiting the new Gazelli House in Chelsea. A big fan of Gazelli, I have experienced several treatments at the old location in Notting Hill, but the new residence was a complete revelation!!! Designed as a home from home, this home was unlike any spa I have experienced. Set inside a chilled out residence, guests are invited to spend time hanging out and attenting talks and workshops as well as discussing in depth what the best treatments are for them. It aims to provide a new way of looking at therapies, and is not a quick pit stop where you get instant gratification. It’s about taking time out for you, which I could do quite easily in one of the beautifully designed lounge/study rooms. It opens this week to the public, so I would highly recommend you pop along.

As if I needed another food splurge, I did pop along to Kua Aina restaurant on Goodge Street. As soon as I entered I knew this would be a fun one- all the staff, and most of the customers were wearing a lei, and the Hawaiian theme didn’t stop there! The menu was extensive and not just burgers. The Mahi Mahi fillet was delish! As were the pancakes… I can definitely see it on my radar for breakfast meets, and with two private dining rooms, this is a perfect place for parties- I just wish I had known in time for mine! But I can confirm the house special avocado cocktail slips down a treat!

So it’s that time of year where I get one (small extra crinkle) but still manage to pretend I haven’t!! This year, being a weeny bit older and somewhat wiser, I am delighted to share that I am also the new freelance Editor of a new luxury lifestyle journal 49Winters. It’s launching in January. Watch this space…

And look even closer and you can see me hanging out with gorgeous male model and Pixie Lott’s other half, Oliver Cheshire. I even managed to try on some jewels (I’ve got the eye brooch and the snakeskin mary janes on my wish list!) at the M&S SS16 press day. I also fell slightly in lust with the new crochet Converse All Stars. Roll on next season!

 

19 Nov 2015

Oh hello…I’m now official!!!

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Freelance Update – Sara Darling
Freelance Lifestyle, Fashion and Features Writer Sara Darling has been appointed freelance Editor of new online luxury lifestyle journal, 49 Winters, which will be launching in January. Previously published on Schön!, StyleNest, Flush and Fault, she is also available for commissions, and examples of her work can be seen at www.diaryofafashiondarling.com

She can be reached at sara@saradarling.com

and found tweeting at

@fashion_darling

17 Nov 2015

It’s all about Greek Feet with Ganor Dominic

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When you look at a pair of shoes, a variety of emotions can pass through your mind.

The Cinderella moment is one that doesn’t come along very often! But when you set your eyes upon the works of art by newbie designer Ganor Dominic, which consists of two sisters- one the designer, and one the business brains, you might just get that skipped heartbeat!

With the motto for the first collection ‘If not now, then when?’, it epitomises the feeling of decadence and freedom that gorgeous shoes release.

Winning the coveted Jimmy Choo Award at the University of the Arts, London, designer Anna has worked her magic into an Ancient Greek god inspired collection, which celebrates the rich history in a unique heel with 3-d effect replica of the most famous Greek gods. Along with flats and Roman style sandals, the collection is a carefree nod to summer and the digital print and details will make sure there is lots for you and your friends to admire!

I caught up with designer Anna for a chat…

SD- You obviously are inspired by classical architecture in your designs- is there any particular reason for this?
GD- I think every creative has something special that  fascinates him/her. For me it’s all things classical (art, sculpture, architecture, music …) . I can’t say there’s a particular reason for it , maybe it’s because I’ve been travelling a lot since very young age and together with my parents we visited lots of historical places. I feel really attached to the objects that have a story to tell.

SD- Do you design with a certain customer in mind?
GD- I usually start with one or two key designs , which come solely from my imagination without any particular customer in mind . But then when developing the range , I try to fit the taste of several types of women of different age and lifestyle.

SD- Your designs, particularly with the heel architecture are very unusual, are they taken from particular landmarks- if so what?
GD- When designing SS16 ‘Marble’ collection I was getting inspiration from Ancient Greece. I’ve been there quite a while ago , so don’t remember much , but I did lots of research about Greek architecture and sculpture during my final year at LCF . I also have Greek roots , our grand grand mother was from Athens , so probably this influenced my inspiration as well .

SD- Do you see a niche in the market for customising shoes- would this work for you?
GD- Yes there is definitely demand for customised shoes . People always want to have something unique and special . At the moment we are not focusing on this , but for the future we would definitely consider custom made service as well.

SD- How do you prepare and research each shoe. Is it organic- are you sketching all the time, or do you make yourself sit down and draw?
GD- Everything starts from an idea , then I think a lot (a lot!) . After comes the research of new components and materials (I’m not so much focused on trends , but still do look at the key shapes each season) . And then at the ‘last minute’ before going to the production , I sit down and draw all those numerous ideas that I’ve been growing in my head to develop the range.

SD- You have a face on the sole of each shoe, is this a trademark that you would like to become known for?
GD- The face .. Well actually I experimented with all different parts of the body (marble sculptures) when I was working on my final university project , but the face turned out to have the strongest look. It is actually the 3D scanned face of Apollo sculpture – Greek God of music, art, light and knowledge , it has very positive symbolism , so I don’t mind if it does become our trademark .

SD- As a luxury footwear designer, and being recognised in the prestigious National Student Footwear Awards from Jimmy Choo, do you feel pressure to design sexy shoes, or do you feel there is a place in the market for luxury, sexy every day footwear too?
GD- Of course there is ! I actually wear flats most of the time myself and you can probably tell by looking at the collection. I tried to balance it between high heels and comfortable brogues and loafers .

SD- You founded the brand with your sister, who is your brand manager. How does this relationship work with siblings?

GD- It works in the most amazing way ! Not only because I can fully trust her (which is so important in any business) , but it’s also much more fun to do what you love with someone you love ! Katherine is the brain of our brand and without her my creativity would not work.

SD- What made you decide to follow a career in shoe design- have you always had a passion for footwear?
GD- I’ve always had passion for art . During my Fondation year I tried myself in three different areas – fine arts , crafts and fashion . Then I applied for BA women’s wear course. I had some shoe drawings in my portfolio , which were noticed during my interview to UAL. They really liked my shoe ideas and I was adviced to try Footwear Design Course (which I had never thought of doing before!) . I thought that probably it was sign from destiny and  decided to take a chance. I never regretted ! Now I can’t imagine myself doing anything else.

SD- On your off days, which designers do you like to wear, or do you always wear your own brand?
GD- Haha I try to ! I even promised myself not to buy anymore shoes , but I can’t stop.. I’m a shoe addict . I have quite difficult feet and it’s hard to find the comfortable pair for me (such irony !) , so I really appreciate those which fit me well and then come back to the same model each season . One of such are Miu Miu sneakers , they are perfect for my feet . I also love my floral Dr Martins , but unfortunately this love hurts .. I worn them ones and now we have distance relationship – I just look at them and admire.

To find out more about The Next Big Thing in shoes, keep your eye on the website

http://www.ganordominic.com/

 

13 Nov 2015

Jeanne Pompadour knows the score

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I always love a semi-surprise parcel delivery.. especially when it contains sassy lingerie!

Not that I spend too much time shopping for smalls under the influence, let me make that clear! (But it has been known!!)

I am a serious lingerie lover, so the delivery from Jeanne Pompadour arrived, I knew I would be in for a treat; It’s always a risk ordering from a website and I wasn’t exactly sure if I would automatically give me the purr of the girls who were working the looks online, but hey, I have the same great taste, so I was happy to give it a go!

Thankfully the stunning lime two piece from the Love and Lemon collection did exactly what it promised. High waisted pants and sexy strappy bralette allowed the top half to do the talking whilst the bottom half was sleekily, cheekily demure. Slinky to the touch and a perfect combo of fresh colours, I couldn’t help accidently wearing tops that showed off the bra all weekend! And the big pants went down a treat!! As soft as silk but a little bit stretchy- my boyf seemed to like them too- in fact he couldn’t stop stroking me! Thanks Bridget Jones, you put apple catchers on the radar, and with sexy (and flattering) shapes like this, they will be here to stay!

Jump on the bandwagon soon as Paris Hilton has already been spied in one of the crop tops (and it wasn’t in a sex tape)! There are lots of options for bondage inspired sets along with pretty, unusual and just downright saucy looks! Soft cups, wiring, strappy or all in ones- if you want to join these cool kids, it just takes a click..

I only wish I had ordered more matching knicks, but my next indulgence will be the emoji pants. Winky face indeed!

If you are looking for Christmas pressie inspiration for yourself or a pal, check out http://www.jeannepompadour.com and prepare to be let your imagination go into overdrive!!

 

09 Nov 2015

A very fashionable week

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The clocks have changed, and in fashion land that means it’s time to look forward to Spring Summer 16..

When the world and his dog are getting excited about OTK boots and shearling coats, us Fashion Editors get to go to press days, and purr over the spring collections, sup summery cocktails and plan exotic shoots which are a must to showcase those tropical print bikinis!

This week, I popped along to Hudson shoes, which has a fine range of sophisticated every day flats. I fell in lust with a gold pair of slip ons, and apparently I had good taste, as last season it had been shot for Vogue! There was even more shoe lust at Russell & Bromley, where stylists get invited down the spiral staircase to feast their peepers on some of the hottest shapes of the season. Here I was dribbling over fur mules (yup- I predit a cavewoman vibe next July!!), Lord of the Dance lace ups (my words not those of R & B) and according to Mr Bromley himself, the perfect summer knee high boot. He told me it was perfect for the customer who liked to wear a cut off denim short.  My styling head approved!

I also squeezed in the much anticipated opening of Theo Paphitis’s lingerie empire, as he cut the ribbon to the Boux Avenue flagship store on Oxford Street. With a performance Miss Polly Rae and L’Sheila Sisters, there was also a catwalk show, burlesque performance and plenty of champagne to keep us entertained. With brand ambassador Ashley Williams working the room, looking hot in a lace dress- it perfect for showcasing the luscious lingerie underneath. Check it out for yourself and grab some great Christmas gifts. And I can guarantee you will see something for your wishlist too!

The rest of the week was taken up with press days- I am particularly fond of the new developments at Jaeger! And even though Topshop might not be my first choice for a summer frock, I was very taken with the Unique collection for SS16.

To end the week, I popped along to my good friend Nico Didonna’s new store opening. Having been priced out from D’arblay Street, he has re-located to an even bigger premises (That’s London for you!!) in Great Windmill Street, and if his launch was anything to go by, business for this unisex tailor will be booming!sara_darling_boux_avenue_launch

 

06 Nov 2015

Go ga-ga for the new restaurant DARBAAR

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If you thought that Indian restaurants were the backbone of the drunken tail of boys night’s out; or the Madras Mile along Brick Lane has put you off, you might have to re-think your attitude!

Visionary resturant DARBAAR, which this week opened near Liverpool Street, brings a unique blend of Indian classics, with more than a hint of modern cuisine and is determined to make a mark, making meals fit for a King! Providing a banqueting experience inspired by the Indian Royal Court, the experimental menus are certainly a tad more up market than Korma and Vindaloo..

Delivering a fresh approach to dining in the city, chef and entrepreur Abdul Yaseen, worked for over a decade at Cinnamon Club and Cinnamon Kitchen, and has stepped up his game to produce a delicate range of flavours that set to tickle the tastebuds and not need a 10 pint chaser! With the decor and ambience of the enterprise carefully selected with rich sumptuous drapes, huge ornate mirrors and velvet upholstery, the mood is set to complement your luxurious and seductive food experience.

The menu includes Specials of kid goat biryani, Keralan shrimp cocktail, guinea fowl and lamb, alongside a selection of healthy grills, street tapas, spit roasts, royal Indian gravies and artisan bread. With a set lunch and evening meal, it is guaranteed to be a great place for suprises, and caters very well for non meat eaters too!

An open kitchen and large dining space means this is a memorable place for parties, but there are two rooms  (a 20 seat ‘red’ room and a chef’s table for up to 10 people) which are available for private dining too.

You can even pop in for spicy cocktails and nibbles in the separate bar, or have a more casual encounter at the counter seating by the grill.

I’m definitely heading back for a side order of paneer, meatballs and the spicy sea bass..oh and did I mention how good the cocktails were too?!

Open now at

1 Snowden Street, Broadgate West, London, EC2A 2DQ

 

 

06 Nov 2015

Astral Original truly is a stellar skin cream

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Astral Original might not be a name that you associate with advanced scientific discoveries after all it is probably something your mum and grandma used, and has been around since 1951 (check these classic ads!)

But that’s for a good reason, the formula hasn’t been changed and the ultra moisturising moisturiser is still going strong!

A complete beauty classic, the legendary blue packaging and moreish scent are still seen in bathroom cabinets and dressing tables across the country. Possibly because the multi purpose cream can be used for a myriad of functions, and girls will always want to stay feeling smooth.

It’s ideal to slather on dry skin after a shower or sunbathing- your body will quench up the nourishment, and seel in the moisture (or tan) and keep you looking slinky.  It’s perfect for your face, providing a comforting barrier against air con offices, pollution or general getting older lines! Use it as a day or night cream- the formula is the same, and it’s gentle enough to use as a make up base- or even as make up remover.

With 59% of women stating they prefer a multi purpose product, this is the one that surely ticks all the boxes. Perfect for thirsty lips, chapped heels, frizzy hair or nappy rash! I am addicted to the handy size Astral Soft, which is the perfect size for my bag, and containing Aloe Vera and vitamin E, is a must for the winter and pesky dehydrated hands.

The iconic blue pot ain’t going anywhere anytime soon, and you can be sure you will see it in the bathrooms of generations to come.

Apparenly Joanna Lumley is a fan, and if it’s good enough for Patsy, count me in!

Buy from Superdrug and all leading pharmacies.