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Tuesday, 24 December 2013

The Winter Paradise Luxury Manicure - Paul Edmonds

I am an fervent lover of Christmas. I adore how this time of year is full of excuses to pamper one's self to merry oblivion, as well as being a perfectly acceptable time to gorge on fine foods and sip bubbly beverages.

Since pampering and noming are two of my favourite activities, I jumped at the chance to review the Winter Paradise Luxury Manicure at one of my most beloved hair and beauty salons - Paul Edmonds.

When I arrived at the stylish Knightsbridge salon it was buzzing as usual, brimming with fashionable London socialites preparing for glamorous nights out and middle eastern yummy mummies cradling their Birkins as their highlighted locks were blow dried to voluminous glory.

I was led downstairs to a cozy special manicure area, complete with mini TVs and comfy padded chairs. After my previous gel nails were removed, the indulgent treatment began with an enticing taste of luxury as I was offered a glass of champagne and seasonal chocolate truffles to accompany my hand preening procedure.

Ah! What to nom and what to pamper with?! Tis confusing.

Being the natural product lover that I am, I rejoiced that an indulgent array of products from the chemical-free Eminence range were to be used on my dehydrated mitts - pitifully traumatized from winter's wrath.

First a divinely scented coconut scrub was massaged into my hands to slough away dull, dead skin before a decadant chocolate mask was lavishly applied.

Resisting the temptation to lick my coco-smothered fingers, I then placed my hands into special heated gloves to aid the nourishing effects of the mask.

As I lay back and failed at resisting the urge to devour all the chocolate truffles, I was treated to a relaxing hand massage with the silky Eminence Mimosa Champagne oil - an antioxidant loaded, free radical busting concoction of jojoba, pomegranate and grape seed oil.


With the (very charming) main man Paul Edmonds himself who kindly treated me to a mini blow dry!

The most luxurious manicure of my life, perfect for Christmas and New Years Eve parties, finished with a file and polish in a jubilantly festive ruby red shade...and a cheeky extra glass of champagne.

Well, it tis the season to be jolly and all that malarkey...

The Winter Paradise Luxury Manicure at Paul Edmonds costs £100 and takes 75 minutes 

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Review - Elchim 3900 Healthy Ionic Hair Dryer

Being a proud eco princess with a limited patience for prolonged hair drying I eagerly accepted the invitation to try the new Elchim 3900 Healthy Ionic Hairdryer - which supposedly cuts drying time by 30% and nourishes hair for a catwalk-esque, shimmering result.

A firm favourite of Lana Del Ray's stylist, Anna Cofone, this stylish dryer was developed by the expertly coiffed hair experts of Milan to offer a plethora of pleasing barnet beautifying benefits to busy folk with no time for tedious follicle-related faffing.

Christmas has cometh!

I was promised mesmerizingly silky hair due to the ergonomically designed dryer's ionic and ceramic systems which help to seal the cuticles of the hair, effectively moisturizing them for a glossy, salon-style finish.

Unlike many naughty hair drying devices, this nifty dressing table essential has significantly lower electromagnetic emissions - low level radiation which can cause tissue damage by releasing electrons in the skin. Although risks are low, excessive expose to such menacing rays can lead to health issues such as digestive problems, constipation, abdominal pain and even mutated DNA - so why not opt for the less risky option?

The Elchim. One serious hair blasting badboy

When I took the Elchim 3900 out of its box I marveled at its chic design (and I don't marvel lightly). Black and white with a detachable nozzle and an easy to grip design, it dried my hair quickly, leaving me with shiny, smooth locks worthy of a cheesy shampoo advert involving plentiful hair swishing.

Another notable observation was that the Elchim was a lot quieter than my usual hairdryer of choice due to its clever built-in silencer - meaning my noisy hairdryer loathing kitteh was significantly less disturbed. Which is always a plus. 

Peace-loving kitteh used to wait outside to avoid noisy hairdryers. Not any more.

Shiny-haired at dinner with my two blonde buddies after a slinky blowdry with the Elchim

The Elchim 3900 Healthy Ionic Dryer comes in seven shades and costs £99, except the swanky titanium edition which is £119.

Buy one from ere!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Review - Organic Hair Colour Transformation with Karine Jackson

Golden-hued, shimmering highlights can brighten the complexion and compliment a tan - perfect for the summer months. But come winter, it's always a good idea to opt for a darker, sultrier mane.

This was why I decided to book an appointment at my favourite organic colour salon owned by the renowned Karine Jackson - reoccurring winner of colourist of the year and beloved by many an organic hair dye devotee London-wide.

Chemical-based hair dye has been proven to cause carcinogenic effects. This isn't airy fairy speculation or exaggerated scare-mongering. A report from the National Cancer Institute in 1994 clearly states that long term users of dark synthetic hair dyes have an increased risk of cancers, such as multiple melanoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. In 2001, a study in the International Journal of Cancer discovered that those who regularly use chemical-based permanent hair dye to colour their hair are twice as likely to develop bladder cancer as those who don't use such toxic colouring products.

Many of us are now thankfully shunning the dreadful risk of potentially developing cancer in the quest for the perfect colour or to cover those pesky gray stragglers. We are actively seeking non-toxic alternatives.

For me, the organic hair dye used at Karine Jackson is the safer way forward...

I had highlighted my hair for the first time this summer with Karine and was impressed with the flattering, non-brassy effect. Weeks after my initial appointment, my hair continued to get lighter and attracted an array of compliments (and a few blond jokes).

After enjoying my summer dalliance with the lighter side, I decided it was the time to go for a richer, darker shade, so I submitted my locks to the talented tress-transforming hands of Claudia - a senior stylist at Karine's Covent Garden salon.

A dark, gloopy organic dye smelling rather festivity of pine was expertly smothered all over my hair as I sat back and flicked through some gossip-ridden glossies.

After 30 minutes or so it was washed off in a deliriously relaxing manner before my striking new dark brown locks were blow dried  to a gloriously glossy finish.

Before - a week after stunning highlights by Karine

2 months after highlights
After - glossy dark colour by Claudia at Karine Jackson

As you can see from the photos (yeah, I have a 'side') the colour transformation is striking yet still quite warm in tone to suit my olive skin - as expertly recommended by Karine.

Merry Christmas!

Organic all-over hair colour at Karine Jackson starts from £60.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Review - Ruby Red's Reviving Body Cleanser and Renewal Shea Skin Cream

Oh Winter, how I welcome your icy arrival. Crisp, frosty mornings, the re-emergence of woolen gloves and fluffy ear muffs, crackling log fires and fine pies. My skin on the other hand, sadly does not share this merry sentiment and tends to suffer pitifully during this time of year, appearing less radiant than usual and mournfully parched.

Cold, windy weather and central heating dehydrate our skin during this chilly season meaning that a richer body moisturizer and a non-drying, chemical-free shower gel is required.

My latest natural bodycare buddies come in the form of Ruby Red's Reviving Body Cleanser (£16.00) and Renewal Shea Skin Cream (£18.00) - 100% natural, evocatively-scented products that leave your skin comfortable and glowing, perfect for flaunting in fancy festive frocks...

These botanical babies are brimming with skin-nourishing antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and are free from SLS, parabens, petrochemicals and artificial fragrances.

Being the type to get all giddy over a new natural skincare brand, I jumped into the shower with glee at the prospect of trying them out.

The body cleanser foamed ever so nicely (due to its clever natural foaming agent derived from coconut) and permeated my bathroom with the zesty scent of lime, red mandarin and cederwood - extracts which are also known to stimulate circulation and tone the skin.

Let meh make your shower a happy place

After what seemed like a five hour shower, I finally tore myself away from my steamy place of joy and patted myself dry with a fluffy towel (I like em fluffy I do).

I noticed my skin felt softer and less 'tight' - which is usually the case after I (occasionally) use a shower gel of the evil, SLS-ridden variety (at friend's houses of course...). I discovered later that Ruby Red's Reviving Shower Gel also contains aloe vera, which is rather excellent for softening the skin and helping to keep moisture levels intact.

The Renewal Shea Skin Cream is thick, creamy and decadently rich. An almost good enough to eat (please don't), skin-soothing concoction of shea butter, lemon oil and honey, it deeply moisturises and locks in moisture, leaving skin lusciously hydrated, gleaming and smelling like a sumptuous citrus-flavoured pudding.

Due to its gloriously indulgent texture, I must admit that it was rather time consuming applying this product all over my body - especially before a pressing social engagement, whilst two of my girlfriends were also trying to pry themselves into the bathroom to get ready.

To nom or not to nom? That is the question.

mmm creamy lemony goodness...

Regardless, I must say that I adore this natural skin-smoothing savior and have since been using it as an extremely nourishing hand cream, keeping it in my handbag at all times. I also use it wherever my skin feels very dry and slather it on my decolletage and shins before a night out for a sultry sheen.

Thank you Ruby Red!