Going Blonde at Gro London (+ Vlog!)

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I’ve gone blonde. Some would say from brunette to blonde, but realistically I’ve gone from ginger to blonde. With a bit of ginger left in. A blonde balayage, to be specific.

Though I hadn’t been blonde for a good number of years, scrolling the socially-shared images of Gro London instinctively dared me to make a colour change (you have to look at their rainbow hair work). On top of that their six salons are all situated in the suburbs of London – the Hamsptead location being a convenient walk around the corner from my best friend’s house in Finchley Road.

From the second I made my appointment with Serafina, I experienced a level of customer service that echoed through my entire visit. Before going in, we exchanged a few inspirational images (thank you, Pinterest) and discussed the current state of my hair so we both knew exactly what to expect when appointment day arrived.

And because looking at hair is so much more interesting than talking about it, I filmed the entire experience to share with you in the vlog below. As you’ll see from the video, the experience went perfectly from start to finish; from proper discussions and colour examples to complimentary lattes and the most welcoming environment you could expect, I wouldn’t change a thing. It also doesn’t hurt that the blonde balayage is bangin’.

From this point, I’ll probably go a little bit blonder once my hair recovers from the lightening process (though, to be fair, a mix of Oribe and coconut oil has left me with no breakage or problems since the first home wash).

Stay tuned for more Gro London adventures at The 02 Centre

The Dead Sea Salt Glow at Gina Conway

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Now that I’m a good two months into my crazy eye-bleeds-laser-surgery fiasco, I have become obsessed with everything sensual and tactile. Especially in regards to beauty treatments.

Having taken something of a visual vacation, I have become rather critical of my other senses and have found myself pursuing a range of physical experiences. The best of which has been the Dead Sea Salt Glow treatment at Gina Conway.

For a demure-looking Chelsea salon, their underground spa is an absolute haven. As soon as I descended the staircase and entered the dark, plush treatment room, every stress (and trace of city-smoked chaos) melted away.

Obviously, the Dead Sea Salt Glow didn’t hurt the cause, either.

After undressing, laying down, and inhaling a variety of flower and plant essences, I chose my preferred fragrance (to be mixed with Pure Dead Sea Salts) and allowed myself to be lulled into REM while the customised concoction was smoothed over my body.

While this is particularly good for exfoliation, hydration and circulation (see ya, cellulite!), the following shower and customised cream massage was the icing on the cake of my mini staycation from the real world.

5 stars.

In Review: Afternoon Tea at Hotel Cafe Royal

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I have frequented Hotel Cafe Royal a number of times over the past two years and each visit – inclusive of afternoon teas, dinners, champagne and caviar excursions, et all – has been a pleasure.

Nothing, however, prepared me for this afternoon tea. Swapping the Ten Room for the gold-dipped Oscar Wilde Bar, Chef Andrew Turner’s newly-launched London High Society afternoon tea menu ticked every opulent box you could imagine.

I would endeavour to put the Oscar Wilde into words, but you simply have to experience it for yourself. ‘Royal’ is an understatement.

Settled in among a hidden congregation of fellow afternoon gluttons, The Manfriend and I cheersed our glasses of Veuve Clicquot and perused the tea menu before the amuse bouche was served. The ‘Low Sidecar Muffin’ was a fluffy and savoury delight accented by truffled cream cheese and a miniature pipette of jus.

Shortly thereafter, my pot of Queensbury (a refreshing, herbal infusion of lemongrass, fennel seed
and liquorice root) arrived alongside three tiers of savouries. For each person, there was a wild boar, crackling, pickled apple and mustard bun, a goat’s cheese puff with wine jelly, a Mary Rose prawn cocktail canape, a London Cure smoked salmon and quail’s egg pastry, and an artfully presented “Cucumber and cream cheese” sandwich…

…all preceeding a palate cleanser of chocolate marshmallows and a shot of fruit tea, of course.

Pausing to take a mid-tea teabreak (oh yes, there’s more) while the pianist tinkled the ivories to a few familiar melodies, we finished our pots and welcomed the sweets and scones with open plates.

Though neither of us has a particular sweet tooth, we are veritable SconeHeads so chatted, jammed, and clotted-creamed our way through the small basket of fresh scones between bites of the other fruit-filled treats.

High points: Absinthe green fairy macarons, edible flower pots, and individual tubes of lemon curd.

High society may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Cafe Royal’s edible version is instinctively praise-worthy.

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In Review: St Moritz Hotel, Cornwall

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I am an overthinker of the highest degree. While it is probably one of the so-called ‘qualities’ that makes me a successful entrepreneur, overthinking has a real knack for taking away from the magic of travel.

Case in point: one is invited to the St Moritz Hotel in Cornwall, one overthinks as follows…
Cornwall is at least four hours from London isn’t it?
It is a beach spot…won’t it be dead in Autumn/Winter?
Oh God, the website is incredibly cheery…there are going to be children here.

Thankfully, Crazy Woman Brain was interrupted by the discovery of the food menu (JUST YOU WAIT) and the unexpected flood of hazy, saccharine memories – mostly searching for Merlin around the Cornish coast – as a child.

Cornwall was officially on the cards…

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New Beauty: Clinique Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush

Though it seems like less than a week before the seasons last changed, I think it is safe to say that we are truly on the cusp of Winter. I am not sure if the same happens for everyone, but every time the weather shifts my skin tends to do the same. From Winter to Summer, there are obvious changes (like adding SPF to your skincare regime) but from Autumn to Winter, it is not quite as straightforward. For me? This is the time when exfoliation becomes a real necessity; not only to stimulate my skin, but to make sure any additional moisturisation is able to penetrate through thicker skin barriers.

When the Clinique Sonic System Cleansing Brush hit the shelves I was intrigued but dubious. Any beauty lover will be well aware of the leading cleansing brush in the market – we shall call it the Shmarasonic – and the similarities between the two had me thinking that a newcomer might simply be a half-assed jump on the bandwagon.

However, an extensive look at the Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush’s reviews had me neuralize those thoughts (five points for anyone who gets the movie reference). Like all Clinique’s products, it is dermatologically tested (imperative for such a tool), it utilizes sonic technology (which means it is gentle on the skin while cleansing deeply), waterproof, and has two bristle types for targeted cleansing in hard-to-reach, contoured areas of the face where dirt hides.

I have yet to make the investment, but I have certainly tickled my own fancy. Have you?

Advertorial.