Thursday, 26 May 2016

The Comforter Treatment At Lush Spa

When I received an invitation to the Lush Spa, I knew the experience would be a world away from typical therapies - and my visit did not disappoint. Prepared for some serious pampering, I headed down to the Chelsea King's Road branch (Oxford Circus is far closer to me but, be warned, the spa books up fast!) to try out Lush's full body treatment, The Comforter. Fans of the namesake bubble bar - the closest thing to a 'hug' in a bath - will love this one, but I was surprised to discover there wasn't a hint of blackcurrant or bergamot scented products used in the treatment. What was used however, was even dreamier...

On arrival, the cosy cottage-inspired interiors instantly put me at ease. It was like sitting in a tranquil country kitchen, and I sipped on a cup of herbal tea with home-made biscuits as my therapist talked me through The Comforter experience. As she led me to the treatment room, my jaw genuinely dropped - a mesmerising nebula shone across the ceiling, while an amethyst glow illuminated the bed. I was ready for some serious relaxation!

Without giving away too much (there are a few charming surprises), first you're tucked up in a warm, fluffy duvet on a heated mattress, then coated with a hot chocolate body scrub and finally massaged with an iridescent rose-scented serum. Heaven. The soundtrack - full of sweet childhood nostalgia - makes the whole 60 minutes feel like a blissful daydream in a way that doesn't even come close to a standard massage.

After the treatment, and floating gently back to the real world, I was greeted by the pinkest, sugariest drink (above) to finish everything off with another dose of Lush magic. It was slightly too saccharine for my taste, but I was impressed to learn it was vegan-friendly. Before I left, I quickly spruced myself up in the bathroom with more Lush products and noticed my skin was positively glowing! I also I felt seriously spaced out... in a good way, drifting off home in a dreamlike state.

I cannot wait to go back and embark on another sensory spa journey with Lush. Has anyone tried any of their treatments? The Good Hour sounds ideal, as I love a deep tissue massage, but I've also heard great things about Synaesthesia. Please send recommendations my way!

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Coffee At Palm Vaults In Hackney

Another day, another independent coffee shop opening. I could yawn if it wasn't for all the artisan coffee I've been drinking. But before you write this off as a bore-worthy topic - I have to say, this place is truly something special. It's a great feeling when someone creates something that just feels meant for you - a book, an album... a coffee shop? I never thought I'd experience the exquisite pleasure of walking into a café and feeling like it was staring into my soul, but I have. Thank you Palm Vaults.

Although the place only opened a few weeks ago, it's already bustling - surely helped by its proximity to Hackney Central - but also because there's nothing quite like it on Mare Street. The shimmering pearl shell Palm Vaults sign (created by Alex May Hughes) and Instagram-worthy interiors (check them out on the 'gram here) are getting people in the area talking... and visiting, and snapping away.

Putting the burgeoning hashtag to one side, Palm Vaults actually delivers when it comes to the drinks. Not only is the coffee excellent, there's a choice of non-dairy milks - soy, almond and cashew - frappes, matcha lattes, and their famous healthy 'red velvet' latte made from beetroot juice. There's also a seasonal menu of breakfast, toasties, handmade cakes and pastries.

The shop also offers wares for sale - think carefully curated designer vintage clothing, a florist section and art by local makers. Those stopping by in the evening also have the option of access to the secret underground cocktail bar, so head downstairs... if you dare.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

My Photoshoot With Rankin For Essie

So, yesterday was kind of a big deal... Essie teamed up with legendary Photographer to open their pop-up Colour Portrait Studio, and I was lucky enough to be invited down! A chance to have my photo taken by Rankin for one of my favorite nail brands? Who could say no to that!

First up was the manicure station, where we got to try Essie's new Gel Couture range (launching at Boots in June). The bottles have been given a bit of a makeover - with a twirling shape and special brush - and boast a gel-like wear and sheeny finish, which claims to last up to 14-days. There are 25 shades to choose from in the UK, plus a high-shine top coat, and I opted for Sew Me - a cream caramel rose. So pretty!

Next up was hair and makeup, where the lovely Phoebe H and Emma Farrell made me look all fancy, then onto the shoot! I was actually super nervous before getting in front of the camera, this was Rankin after all. He's shot the Queen, Kate Moss, and now... me! It was a pretty daunting prospect and I didn't want to mess up the shots. Luckily, he has an awesome manner and instantly put me at ease - even better was the fact he new exactly what he wanted in the frame and quickly directed me into place before I even had a chance to stand there like a star-struck lemon.

I'm so happy with how the photos turned out! We got to sit down with Rankin right after and pick out our favorites before they were whisked over to be printed out. I couldn't believe how quick the whole process was, his whole team were such a well oiled machine (I mean, you wouldn't expect any less from the best in the business).

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation

'Is it magic, or is it foundation?' - no doubt if you follow Charlotte Tilbury on social media you would have heard this fabulous, yet fairly ridiculous, slogan for her newest base. It's not really magic per say, but it is a strong rival for Estée Lauder Double Wear (reviewed here). Now I absolutely love Charlotte and her range, but sadly this is one product I haven't found myself using. Mainly, because I've gone right off full coverage foundations - just a bit of concealer and a dusting of powder for me, thank you! If you're a full coverage fanatic, you will most probably get on with this grandly. It really does cover everything and has a eerily flawless, poreless finish.

What I really want to talk about are the shades - it's available in 15 - and I know lots of you order online without getting to try it out in person. From left to right above are swatches of Magic Foundation in the 'fair' shades 1, 2, 3 and 3.5. The best match for my skin tone was 2, a 'pink-beige for very fair skin tones with cool undertones'. My skin leans more towards neutral than cool, so don't let the 'pink' description put you off.

It may not look it in the photo, but 1 (the palest of the range) 'a neutral beige for very fair skin tones with cool undertones', is seriously pale - a godsend for those who always find even the lightest foundations come up too dark. 3 is described as a 'neutral beige for skin with cool undertones' - but I find it quite a bit warmer than 2, and ideal for days I'm wearing a light fake tan.

Finally, 3.5 is a 'warm golden-beige for Light Skin Tones with warm golden/yellow undertones' - it's actually lighter than 3, but with a distinct yellow finish so is definitely suited to those with yellow undertones or excess redness. It did not suit me, at all - but my friend who has mild rosacea loved it!
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