Conceptually, dining in department stores once felt as naff as naff gets. I’ve spent twenty-plus years as a shopper watching tired families shove “Cafe” fish fingers into tired toddler mouths while people-watching OAPs hoard enough teacups to start department stores of their very own .
I subscribed to a state of non-partisan (or participative) acceptance.
Then, as per hedonistic usual, Harrods changed me.
Their Food Hall’s Pan-Asian counter restaurant – Pan Chai – was everything I needed to be convinced otherwise.
After a hardcore dance class, my dance ‘n’ dinner date and I settled in to the booths for a well-needed refuel and had our proverbial socks knocked off.
Pan Chai serves a menu as creative, decadent, and pure as ‘fusion’ comes. Every dish was a genuine delight; a mouth-watering snow crab salad (with avocado, caviar and seaweed), spicy squid tempura, tofu steaks (two deep-fried ‘steaks’ served with teriyaki sauce and asparagus), an avocado roll (enough for two), and the most exquisite grilled Wagyu Beef Bulgogi you could ever imagine (in Korean barbecue sauce with Japanese mushrooms, asparagus and steamed rice).
All washed down with some Daiginjo (Shirakabegura sake) – the smoothest premium sake I’ve ever tasted – for good measure. It was the best thing I’ve tasted since discovering Masottina.com.
A lunch or dinner may come with a Harrods price tag but will also come with a Harrods supremacy.
Pretending that I’m the kind of woman who doesn’t ever have to look at her bank balance, I spent the very early hours of this morning building a wishlist of Valentino shoes on Harrods.com. Initially enticed to find their extreme tip boots on sale for 50%, I ended up basketing the lot. With the ‘So Noir’ studded pumps being Fashion Week’s most ubiquitous shoe of the year, the studs, lace, and cut-outs on each shoe in the collection marks a full twelve months of trendsetting from the Italian fashion house. Brava.
Which pair are your favourite?
While I believe most women love a good “before and after” shot, the experience is heightened when you’re at the helm of the final result. Trouble is, we’re not all blessed with the genius of Pat McGrath.
With this in mind, Harrods have integrated a fabulous Make-Up Studio into their iPad app which allows you to play with cosmetics from some of their best luxury lines; Chanel, Tom Ford, et al. As a recent iPad convert (meaning I have been downloading everything I can get my paws on), this app gets a glamorous five stars from me. Unlike the “makeover studio” games that have been around for years, this app uses real cosmetics in real colours and allows you to control how much or little of each product you use as you ‘paint’ by hand.
Because the Make-Up Studio is something of an ‘easter egg’ in their free Magazine app, there is also a large range of fashion and beauty spreads to inspire you; all entangled in interactive content and behind-the-scenes footage.
Even more exciting? A fashionable birdy tells me “The Style Studio” is coming shortly. I’ll keep you posted!
Would you believe me if I told you that Yumi Lashes weren’t extensions? No? I promise, they’re not! While the photos above are both makeup-free, the big (and curly) difference in the ‘after’ photo is the effect of the Yumi lash treatment.
I never curl my eyelashes, so I was taken aback to be greeted by lengthened, curled, and fluttery lashes at the end of the treatment. Remember, this is no mascara…no false lashes…nada.
How do they get these results without committing to fakery? Five steps: a Lift, Fix, Nourish, Adhesive, and Tint process (all gentle and nutrient-rich) which secures the shape of your eyelashes over a small lash-pad which rests on your eye. During the treatment, your lower lashes are also protected with a gel pad which delivers an anti-ageing eye treatment. After 45 relaxing minutes, you open your eyes to the ‘after’ photo.
The treatment lasts eight weeks (the average lash cycle) and Yumi provides a keratin-based nourishing mascara and small ‘lash styler’ comb to keep your lashes in long and strong form.
You can try out Yumi Lashes at Harrods’ Urban Retreat.
If you already love the brand’s teas (like I do!), you are bound to fall in love with Pukka Ayurveda Skincare. Created by Pukka Herb’s Ayurvedic practitioner and herbalist, Sebastian Pole, Pukka Ayurveda Skincare welcomes highly concentrated and sustainable oils, herbs and fruits (which have used a CO2 extraction process) into your skincare regime.
Ayurveda is the celebrated Indian philosophy of health – and beauty, to coincide – and the product I have used that really brought this philosophy to life was Pukka’s Nourishing Brightener. Though it looks like grounded woodchips, the Nourishing Brightener is actually a luxurious dry exfoliant, packed with almonds and bilberry, that you mix with your cleanser to brighten your complexion and slough away any dead skin. Best exfoliant I have used in years. Incredibly – for such a highly concentrated product – it is only £13 for 15g!
Additional products in the new line a cleanser, toner, day and night creams, serum, face oils, and an eye cream; all as nourishing as the last, and none of which will break the bank. Check them out for yourself at Harrods and Wholefoods!