shiny curly hair
Emma Hardie Midas Touch Revitalising Eye Serum
If you can read the product name without bursting into ‘Goldmember’ by Beyonce, you’re a far superior human than I. REGARDLESS! This eye serum is a tried and true holy grail product that will not be leaving my beauty bag for years to come. While its consistency is quite thick on application, the formula sinks in to smooth fine lines, fade dark circles, reduce puffiness and boost cellular renewal.

It is absolutely jam-packed with the best ingredients for its cause, too; glycofilm (a barrier which protects against environmental damage), hyaluronic acid (for intense hydration), aloe vera (soothing tired eyes), and a slew of elasticity boosters (Omegas 3, 6 & 9, Inca Inchi and Raspberry Seed Oil).

There is so much skin-saving goodness I’ve even been using it on spots that catch too much sun for instant recovery.

Hair Botox at Margaux Salon
Don’t worry, babe – we’re talking needle-free beauty with surgical results. With natural products.

It seems all a bit unlikely, I know, but if any salon was to make it a reality it would be Margaux. The Finsbury Park salon launched with a definitively pure approach to beauty – no nasties, no complexities, and no smoke and mirrors.

They have built a slew of happy cut and colour customers since opening but I knew the real test of their abilities would have to be through more than skills and products. It would have to be through their ‘Hair Botox’ treatment.

Priced by hair length, the ‘botox’ uses natural acids, healing agents and powerful antioxidants to restructure damaged hair.

And it bloody works. After two hours luxuriating under masks in the Parisian-style hideaway, my stressed-out Summer curls have a shine (and remarkably repaired split ends) like never before! When I left the salon my hair was so reflective I thought it might blind an unsuspecting passerby.

Two weeks later, the initial glass hair effect is long gone but the general quality of my hair has sustained. I am enjoying a shine and bounce in unstyled hair (in the photo above) typically achieved only by professionals.

Beauty & Go Skin Shot Supplements
Anyone who’s ever flipped open a women’s magazine knows that collagen in king. When the protein is working in our favour, skin is stronger, firmer and smoother. Until now, however, most proper collagen products (read: not just the word on some packaging) have been invasive and expensive.

Skin Shot brought something entirely new to the table; a drinkable bioactive supplement that delivers. Its unique blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals nourish skin from the inside out and have proven results in clinical trials. The so-called ‘ginger’ taste is strange and much sweeter than expected but easy to knock back before brushing your teeth in the morning, keeping the benefits in mind.

In a thirty day trial, even women between 45 and 65 years old found a 50% increase in firmness, 23% increase in viscoelasticity, 7% increase in brightness, and a whopping 8.5% decrease in wrinkle count. With a decade or two on many of our sides, imagine the long-term results.


Lash Perfect Lash Lift
When I threw that shot without makeup up on Instagram, I didn’t realise how truly phenomenal the Lash Perfect Lash Lift was going to be.

As someone with naturally long but ‘heavy’ eyelashes, my friends and acquaintances will comment that I look tired without makeup or a good lash curling. Unfortunately, when an expensive lash curler snapped mid-curl (and next to my eye) a few months ago I developed a small phobia of the devices.

It seemed, without investing in the hassle of eyelash extensions, I would have to subject my face to simply looking a little bit sleepier from then on.

The Lash Bar‘s Lash Lift honestly changed everything. Without makeup, the Lift gives the impression of full and fluttery lashes. Volume and all.

Though a patch test is required (as it should always be with most cosmetic treatments), the process is pain-free, pregnancy-safe, and a great excuse to add a nap to your day. There is also no down time (bar 24 hours of no lash-to-water contact), no real care requirements, and the results have lasted months with no visible difference as new lashes grow in.

Tangle Angel Pro
From an OCD perspective, I hate having things ‘out’ on my dresser. All but a few aesthetically-planned fragrances or oils tend to stay on show. Until this Tangle Angel Pro came along and delighted my hair as much as my eyes.

The heat and water-resistant brush is a detangler on crack. The scientifically developed blade-shaped bristles flex in opposite directions to loose tangles gently while its unique anti static earthing strip minimises flyaways and helps you master a truly banging blow dry.

For my naturally renegade ringlets, it has been a godsend.

Beauty Boulevard Glitter Lips
It doesn’t get any better than glitter lips for my fellow unicorn types. This product – which has remarkable staying power – has the power to transform a bare face into babe face in literal seconds. The colour, comfort, and durability meet every expectation you could possibly want and the glitter – compared to other sparkle-toting competitors – cannot be beat.

Forbidden – their intense red shade – is my dream come true.

hot stone massage
Hydraboost Facial at Sorbet Salon
I took time to visit Sorbet’s newest salon in East Finchley as a Valentine’s Day treat to myself and truthfully had a better time with my eyes closed than many of my friends did with their partners on the day.

The treatment – Environ’s HydraBoost Facial – combines a number of practices to hydrate, plump, and perfect skin in only sixty minutes.

It starts with a deep cleanse and inspection of the skin’s natural state before customizing a round of treatments (many of which combine the powerhouse duo of Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin A) to leave you with flawless, smooth skin.

The entire process entails decongesting pores, lifting dead skin cells with a mask, toning the skin, and applying the most extravagantly thick mask over the entire face (with room for nothing but breathing holes) before probing the mask – using sound waves and electrical pulses – deep into the skin’s epidermis.

Combined with light massage of the head and hands, it is undoubtedly the most luxurious way to seriously indulge your skin. Mine has never looked better.

Balancing Ecosoy Travel Candle by 58 Lifestyle
When it comes to bringing that spa experience home (and away!), very little could beat 58’s Ecosoy travel candle. It is a luggage-friendly size of their ‘Balancing Ecosoy Candle’ which is hand poured using eco-friendly soy wax for a long lasting and clean burn that is free from pesticides and herbicides.

Not only are Ecosoy candles kinder to the environment (as they are produced using renewable resources and do not omit harmful fumes), but also burn a fragrance (woody, comforting) that makes me feel calm and – bizarrely – beautiful within seconds.

(If you really want to indulge – or gift someone special – their Lifestyle set is gorgeous.)

Hot Stone Massage at Marshall Street Spa
As it turns out, I have walked past Marshall Street Spa hundreds of times and had no idea the rather gargantuan business was there until this month. On the edge of Soho, the Spa – managed by Everyone Active – is as convenient as a break from the city gets. It is literally underneath it.

For my first visit, I sweated my stresses out between their steam room and sauna, worked in my robe for an hour under the twinkling lights of the relaxation lounge, and wrapped things up with a hot stone massage.

As London has been keeping me both freezing and tightly wound, the stones worked quickly to heat all of my knots, dissolve every ounce of physical tension, and – at least with my eyes closed – transport me to somewhere with double-digit temperatures. For something that could be done on a City worker’s lunch break, it doesn’t get much better.

Dr Bronner Organic Rose Castile Liquid Soap
This crazy wonderful cult product is one I am sure you’ve seen if you’ve read a magazine in the last twenty years but, if you’re like me, you may not have tried it.

Do so. Immediately. Dr Bronner’s liquid soaps (the Rose, of which, I favour) are paraben-free blends of certified Organic natural essential oils, packaged in 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles, and they last forever. Whether you’re cleaning your body, hair, baby, makeup brushes, or kitchen (seriously), you simply dilute a couple of drops into water and use the result to your natural beauty-loving heart’s content. With a penchant for a ‘deep clean’ without stripping the skin or “nasties”, I have yet to find anything better.

beauty favourites
beauty favourites
Fragrance Direct for Beauty
Fragrance Direct has always been trustworthy for, well, exactly what it says on the tin. It was only in the last month, however, that I realised what a haven it could be for beauty loot of the unfragranced variety. Their inventory of discounted beauty products reads like a beauty junkie’s Christmas list MAC, Bobbi Brown, Rodial et al. The highlight of my initial haul was the Rodial Instaglam Eye Tint in Aspen, which was a massive £9 off its retail price. Th brightening concealer contains hyaluronic acid (a hydrating wrinkle-killer) and works a treat underneath the Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer Kit in Sand (£3 off through Fragrance Direct) which features a long-lasting powder to set concealer and stop it from sinking into any lines or wrinkles.

Other favourites from my cost-efficient haul include MAC Frost Lipstick in Tanerama (£2 off – an incredibly ‘club girl’ nude on pale skin but stunning when paired with a dark lipliner as it creates a much more dynamic and shiny hue), MAC Powerpoint Eye Pencil in Bordeauxline (£1 off – the most flattering eyeliner for green eyes), and Bobbi Brown Brillant A Levres Lip Gloss in Hollywood Red (£3 off – a botanical and brightening soft red gloss with aloe extract & avocado, jojoba and chamomile oils).

MILK Beauty Massage
I have been travelling, working, and working out so much over April and May that my body has been in slight revolt. Muscles off fleek.

Thankfully, I had booked in for a coconut oil massage with mobile beauty service MILK Beauty just before I left for three weeks and it completely transformed my entire body. With each massage, your therapist arrives with towels, essential oils, a super soft blanket, music and a massage couch to set up a perfectly serene space bespoke to your schedule. I decided to ‘host’ my masseuse in my kitchen as it is one of my largest rooms and has a floor to ceiling window (sunshine is very peaceful, to me). Sixty minutes later, my coconut oil-kneaded body felt brand new; knot free, awake, and ultra moisturised. This is a perfect post-flight treat.

Dermalogica Prescription Facial and Gluttony Manicure at PEINT
Post-massage, I began to realise a few additional body parts were becoming ravaged by travel. Like many people, faux-oxygenated airplanes make my skin feel dull and dry. Something needed to be done before heading to Belfast’s chilly air (a personal skin irritant of its very own). I found reaolve in PEINT‘s Dermaologica Prescription facial. Knowing Dermalogica have worked miracles on my sensitive skin on previous occasions, I booked in with the small salon’s lovely ladies for the one-hour treatment and managed to fall asleep before she was even half-way through.

The facial combines a tailored consultation and assessment of the skin to target your treatment where you really need then. In my case, bringing everything back to life; a relaxing orchestration of cleansing, exfoliating, steaming, messaging and topical treating to result in skin so fresh it looked like foundation.

Seriously. They put a #nomakeup photo on their Instagram and I look no different when I’m caked in cosmetics.

When awake, I wrapped my time at PEINT with a Gluttony manicure. The real indulgence, of which, is the parrafin wax mittens and the face-to-face therapist time (the ladies at PEINT are honestly some of the sweetest around).

mandara spa london

Mandara Spa, London


CACI Lift & Sculpt at Park Plaza Westminster Bridge’s Mandara Spa
As Summer creeps up on us, so do the shorts, skirts, and – most intimidatingly – swimwear. Knowing it takes a certain level of confidence to bare thighs with pride, Mandara Spa recently extended their range of CACI treatments to include the Lift & Sculpt. As an alternative to surgery, the electro-massaging Lift & Sculpt helps tighten, lift and smooth the leg and bum area with zero pain. There is a slight discomfort during the treatment (comparable to a quick but soft pinch), but immediate results after only one session. In fact, if you ask the therapist to do one side of your body before the other and take a photo, you almost look like two bodies joined in the middle.

For the best results, a session of six or more is advised but if you’re looking for a confidence boost before baring your bikini body, a day at the Mandara Spa (one of London’s most sumptuous underground retreats) will not go to waste.

Tip: you aren’t advised to work out directly after your treatment so I would suggest utilising Mandara’s neighbouring gym and pool beforehand so you have nothing but the Balinese relaxation area to think about post-treatment.

Mythic Oil treatment at The House of RUSH
Mythic Oil is one of very few hair oils that make a difference in my unruly, flaxen mane so I was thrilled to find out that The House of RUSH (the brand’s Piccadilly flagship) had introduced a Mythic Oil treatment. Though my recent re-introduction to hot yoga has done wonders to my body and mind, my neglectful non-use of hear protectant or hair oil has left my mop…well…moppy.

Under the care of my Canadian goddess of a hairdresser, Mythic Oil brought my curls and colour back to life. After a wash and treatment with their products, the oil was applied, I sipped on a cup of branded tea (featuring many of the oil’s natural ingredients) and watched as she blasted out the best and healthiest feeling blow-dry of my life. All in under one hour.

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mythic oil treatment

beauty favourites
Hot Chocolate Wax at Pamper Rooms
After a waxing ordeal that deserves a Carrie Bradshaw-style column of its very own, I sat down with a number of lady friends to reassess my choice in waxing professionals. All signs pointed to Lycon Hot Chocolate Wax so I booked into Pamper Rooms to trial it for the first time. Long, TMI story short? I am a total convert. The chocolate wax is perfect for sensitive skin, intimate areas, and generally making a painful experience feel like a spa treatment. Pamper Rooms have the most incredibly lovely staff, super-boujis treatment rooms, and are discreetly but conveniently located in the lower levels of Shoreditch’s Celestine Eleven boutique. Talk about getting pleasure out of pain.

Perricone MD Nutritive Cleanser & Eye Lift
At the beginning of the year I switched back to a former cleanser favourite – the aforementioned – and should have done so sooner. The facial wash and makeup remover is as gentle as it gets, yet delivers substantial anti-ageing benefits thanks to the addition of DMAE and Alpha Lipoic (both aid in brighter, smoother, and more balanced skin).

A throwback love affair browse also turned me on to the brand’s High Potency Eye Lift – an intensive eye treatment – which has already knocked a good five years off my eyes. Though I have no deep wrinkles, I do notice fine lines creeping in every now and then (especially if I am dehydrated) so have found this liquid gel an absolute lifesaver. Dr. Perricone’s had used Pycnogenol (boosts elasticity/tightness) and his patented anti-ageing ingredients (DMAE and Phospholipids) to invent a practically perfect cocktail for the eye area. Wrinkles, bags, and circles – be warned!

Redken One United Multi-Benefit Treatment
I was very dubious to try One United as its packaging rambles on – a bit maniacally – about having “25 benefits!”. Recipe for a gimmick, if experience has taught me anything. Thankfully, and marketing aside, it is a fantastic product. The multi-benefit spray does everything you could desire post-hair wash (detangles, softens, heat protects) and keeps my recently-coloured hair silky and manageable. A judgemental thumbs up.