28
Jan 11

Cult Beauty Launches Pop-Up Shop at Selfridges

culta.jpgOk, it’s time I let you in on my
secret. I keep getting asked about my hair and skin care regime and I
sort of blush usually and say, “well, you know, I just take good care of
myself.”  But the truth is, I have friends in high places.  And last
night I helped those high friends celebrate a pretty momentous
occasion…
Last night I had the great honour in attending the launch of Cult Beauty‘s
Pop-up Shop in Selfridges. This is a company that is near and dear to
my heart as I truly believe in the concept behind the brand. Cult Beauty
is more than just your average beauty online retailer. I heard a few
people last night mention that they were similar to Sephora and on more
than one occasion I stepped in to explain why that isn’t the case at
all. Here’s what sets apart Cult Beauty from every other online
retailer: They actually care about YOU as a consumer and the product
that you invest in for yourself (rather than caring about their bottom
line).  They don’t put just anything on their site.  Each and every
product is personally selected and vetted by a panel of experts.  When
your experts include world renowned hair, makeup and beauty
professionals, it’s definitely a safe bet that whatever you buy on the
site will be absolutely top notch. 
I joked last night with the BF that we were surrounded by a group of
beauty experts that, between them, had touched the faces, hair and
bodies of all of the world’s most famous individuals. And the crazy
thing is that it isn’t an exaggeration at all. And they were all there
to support Cult Beauty on their big night, and to hand out expert advice
to all those in attendance.  
I could go on and on about the website,
which you should already have in  your “favourites”, but this weekend I
think you should go in and meet the girls and the experts first hand. 
They will all be at the Cult Beauty Pop-Up Shop in Selfridges from now
until Monday 31st January. They’re around to help you with any questions
you may have and to show you some exciting products you might not have
already heard of…and really should know about.  Here’s a few pics from
last night. Seriously, go and visit! You will regret  not taking
advantage of this…
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07
Jan 11

The Brazilian Blowout craze…I put myself under the dryer…

hair1.jpgWell dear reader, yesterday I spent three hours in a chair suffering for you. That’s right. I was suffering as my head was massaged, as I sipped cocktails and watched as a woman with magical talents (and formulas) transformed my long limp locks.  I suffered because for three hours I wished I could have taken you all along  with me for the ride. For yesterday I had my first experience with the Brazilian Blowout at the first salon in London to use this wondrous transformation kit, Taylor Taylor.
For those of you not familiar with the Brazilian Blowout, look to Jennifer Aniston, Nicole Richie, Halle Berry, Salma Hayek or Lindsey Lohan. Do these ladies not have hair that we all covet? Well, they also have one secret that they all share to keep their locks looking luscious – they swear by the Brazilian Blowout.  Now we aren’t talking about that horrible Brazilian that involved formaldehyde. No sir! This Brazilian Blowout, that the stars swear by and which is offered at Taylor Taylor, involves a super nutrient complex that actually improves the condition of your hair and makes it appear about a hundred times healthier than it was before the procedure. 
I think so many women believe, and with good reason, that going into a salon and having a long procedure done on their hair will involve harming their hair for the greater good of looking good. We all have the theory that there is a price to be paid to be beautiful, right? It’s actually what I thought.

I hadn’t done my research properly and I did think that I was booked in yesterday for a hair transformation that would leave me with beautiful hair but also with consequences that would surface later. Imagine my surprise when Ashley, the Brazilian Blowout specialist at Taylor Taylor, informed me that the path we were about to embark upon together would leave me with my healthiest hair ever. Praise be the hair Gods!
hair2.jpgAshley led me first into a tiled wash room with dim lighting. A small Buddha sat in the corner caressing a scented candle and I considered, for a nanosecond, stopping and praying to the powers that be that my hair come through this process without a hitch.  I knew I was in good hands but I’ve worked for two years to grow my head of hair to this point and I’m very protective of my strands! A clarifying shampoo was applied and reapplied to make sure my hair was “squeaky clean”.  Apparently some people can require up to six shampoos. You get the feeling, with Ashley, that she knows exactly what she is doing and will take as many steps necessary to make sure you get your desired result. I only required two shampoos and for some reason felt quite smug about that. I walked out of the wash room with a bit of a spring in my step. It is, after all, the little things that cheer us up these days.

Upon getting comfortable in on my golden throne, I happened to glance sideways and thought I resembled a Vermeer. Not in a conceited way – check out the pick and tell me if my hair up in a wrap and no makeup doesn’t make me look the Girl with a Pearl Earring? I may be warped, but I had to snap a pic and tried to look as sullen as possible while doing so. There is something about Taylor Taylor that brings out my creative side. It might have been the fact that I was sitting next to bunnies wearing crowns, nestled under mushrooms. No I’m not having a hallucination…check this out…
hair3.jpgSo onto the process.  Ashley combed out my hair. I’ll go ahead and say now, I have a lot of hair so this process for me took a long time.  However, having good girl chat with Ashley helped the time fly by.  And and it might also have something to do with the fact that Taylor Taylor have a bar with unlimited free creative cocktails that will set you taste buds dancing!  After the comb out Ashley applied the smoothing solution much like one would apply colour to the hair. Here’s a major plus with the Brazilian Blowout. You know when you go to the salon and the stuff they put on your hair smells absolutely disgusting? Well, not with this treatment. It was heavenly…because, again, this stuff isn’t hurting your hair it’s helping it!
hair4.jpgAfter the solution was put on the hair Ashley proceeded to blow dry each section as you would a professional blowdry after a cut. Now you would think this was the long part of the process but you would be wrong. The part that takes the longest is the straightening! You see, the solution is sealed into the hair by way of a lovely GHD iron.  Each section of hair is run over with a straightener between two and eight times – depending on the condition of your hair.  Again, time flies when you are having fun and we were finished in no time.

I was given about five minutes to enjoy the soft, straight, gorgeous hair before Ashley turned to me and said “Ok, let’s go wash it out.” That’s right. You’re hair looks picture perfect and then it all gets washed right out! At this point I’m sure people say, ” No, stop. I like it like this.” But rest assured dear reader, your hair looks just as good, if not better after the wash out.  The rinse was quick and followed by a hair mask that would provide additional conditioning for the hair. This is like a full spa day for my hair!  Five minutes into the mask I was given an extra special treat in the form of a ten minute head massage! I’m not usually one for rest and relaxation, but I could have laid there all day with my head in a basin if such services were provided continuously.
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I eventually returned to “the chair” and was given my final rough blow dry.  This is meant to be more or less exactly what you would do on your own every morning.  You just jump out of the shower and run a dryer over your head, right?  Well, that’s not what I have ever done. Most mornings, in order to achieve “good hair” status, I spend between 45-60 minutes trying to get my hair in “done”.  
However, after the Brazilian blowdry…I will look like this after simply blowdrying for a few minutes….
Finally the before and afters you’ve been waiting for…
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So there you have it. Are you impressed? I was!  Very impressed, in fact. Of course I had sheer terror on my face when I looked outside and saw that it was pouring rain! That shouldn’t surprise me as I live in London but I was hoping the city would cut me some slack.  Ashley took one look outside and said “this will be a good test.” Umm….excuse me, no it won’t. Ah, but wait! This is not the old Brazilian blowout that would be ruined with one drop of water within four days of the treatment. The Taylor Taylor Blowdry allows you to get your hair wet directly after the treatment with absolutely no consequences! Thank God…that means I can shower (too many horror stories of meeting editors that hadn’t showered for days after a straightening treatment for fear of ruining the effects. Let’s just say perfume didn’t cover everything up sadly).
Now I know you probably have a few questions.  I asked as many as I could think of that you might need answered.  Let’s start with the most important question that you’ve been wanting to ask since the start of this article… 
the cost!
What if I told you that you could have a professional blowdry for less than £3 a day? If a professional hair stylist offered you that deal you would snap it up in a heartbeat. Well, the Brazilian Blowout lasts for three months and on average would cost a woman less than £3 a day over that period of time. That’s just giving up a few glasses of a wine a week in order to pay for the treatment. For me, that’s good value for money.
Now, in keeping with being completely transparent, my hair was more expensive.  The Brazilian Blowdry for my massive head of hair was £350.  However, that’s still less than £4 a day and I am more than happy to part with that kind of money to have stellar hair.  The cost for the treatment is determined by the length and thickness of your hair. I recommend calling to schedule a consult so that they can give you an accurate quote.
  Is there any hair type that can’t have a Brazilian Blowout?
The answer is NO! Every single hair type – coloured, highlighted, short, long, damaged, healthy, straight or wavy – will benefit from this treatment.  It takes whatever hair you were given in life and, quite simply, makes it better. Even if your hair has already been chemically straightened, the Brazilian Blowout can help.
Will the Brazilian Blowout stop my hair from growing? 
(ok, this sounds a bit strange but someone did ask me this yesterday so I thought I’d address it)
No! In fact, Ashley was telling me that she has met with several clients who have had the Brazilian Blowout on short hair in an effort to grow out a happy and healthy head of hair.  It conditions your hair, it doesn’t halt any growth or hurt anything. I know we all want to think the worst of such a miracle solution. But honestly, this is the real deal. It’s healthy, it’s fabulous and it works.
What’s the maintenance like for this treatment?
It’s as easy as switching your shampoos. Ah, I can see you now rolling your eyes and saying “I knew there was a catch.” Well, there’s no catch. You just have to buy shampoos that are phosphate free. These are easy to find these days and Taylor Taylor has selection of moderately priced shampoos they will sell you right there on the spot. A personal favourite of mine is Rahua shampoo that can be purchased over at Cult Beauty.
I give the whole process two thumbs up. But this won’t be the last you hear from me about it. I’m truly putting it to the test and I’ll give you regular updates on how I progress so that you can determine if the Brazilian Blowdry is the right thing for you.
Contact info for Taylor Taylor….make sure to ask for Ashley and tell them the fashion goose sent you…
137 Commercial Street, London, E1 6BJ
Tel: 020 7377 2737

BOOK ONLINE NOW


23
Sep 10

Van Cleef and Arpels take me on an adventure in Paris

 

 
vca1.jpgIf you are an avid reader of Fashion Foie Gras you will know that I follow Van Cleef and Arpels necklaces on red carpets, models off duty and celebrities around town like an obsessive stalker.  The Alhambra necklaces have been on “saving for” list since I first saw it draped around the neck of a wealthy New Yorker while waiting to check in for a flight to London some years ago. It is rare that any high profile event takes place without a Van Cleef and Arpels piece in attendance.  We’ve seen them on the necks, wrists and earlobes of Anne Hathaway,  Eva Mendes, Charlize Theron, Diane Kruger and many more.  I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I can’t think of anyone that has any affiliation with popular culture that won’t know about Van Cleef and Arpels. 
So when I was contacted by Van Cleef and Arpels last month and asked to come and visit them for a day in Paris I literally spit my Starbucks coffee all over my computer. Yes, it was one of those “cinema moments” happening in real life!  Of course I immediately wrote back and told them I would be pleased to attend. I tried to act uber-cool about the invite in the email, being as nonchalant as  possible like I do this sort of thing all of the time.

We were sent our itinerary the week before we were to set off from London for Paris. There were four of us in total that had been asked to attend.  We were going over to Paris to take a tour of the famous Van Cleef and Arpels workshop and to visit the heralded house in action at the Biennale des Antiquaires  where they were displaying their Les voyages extraordinaires for the first time.

On the morning of the big day I had butterflies in my stomach. All the panic subsided when I met my fellow travellers which included Fashion for Lunch, The Luxe Chronicles and Pop Magazine.  These were girls I felt I knew before even meeting as I read their blogs already on a regular basis. We boarded the train and made ourselves comfortable in our first class Eurostar travel accommodations.  Over breakfast and coffee we discussed blogging, our excitement at being invited to Van Cleef and Arpels and speculated as to what we might see upon arrival. 

Now this is where I know I will have trouble finding the right words to accurately describe my experience in Paris on this day that will forever now be close to my heart. Let me first start by saying that we had an opportunity to have lunch with the UK and Global Press Team for Van Cleef and Arpels and they are an amazing group of women. In fact I would say there are very few that I have met that can compare. In my experience, the more important the brand the more likely you are to encounter a horrible stuck up woman in the press office. Van Cleef and Arpels is a mega brand. So you can imagine I expected to be confronted with the ultimate in an “entitled” PR. Nothing could have been further from the truth. These women were like cold iced tea on a hot southern summer’s day! They did not sneer at us because we were bloggers. They wanted to know everything. They wanted to hear our stories.  These are women that will get calls from me the next time I am in Paris not because they work for Van Cleef and Arpels but because they are women I would love to know as individuals.
However, we’re not here to talk about the absolutely incredible PR behind Van Cleef and Arpels. The workshop at Van Cleef and Arpels was out of this world.  We were taken through every step of creating a piece from the drawing stage right through to polishing the finished beauty.  The amount of work that goes into crafting such elaborate pieces of art is incredible. The discipline needed for such creativity is amazing and the man hours put into each piece made me understand even more why the price tags on such items are sometimes seven digits. These are not pieces that you would buy at your local jewelry shop.  In fact, you’d be lucky to see these pieces anywhere other than Van Cleef and Arpels.  When Van Cleef and Arpels pieces come up for sale at Christie’s and Sotheby’s you find women queuing around the block to catch a glimpse of the items before they are once again stashed away in a private collection. They are constantly setting records for prices achieved at auction which says a great deal about the brand and its longevity in the marketplace. The pieces from Van Cleef and Arpels don’t last for just one generation. They last forever, literally forever. They are passed down and cherished from one woman to the next. 


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There were several occasions when pieces were brought out for us to see that I couldn’t even bring myself to touch. I was too afraid I wouldn’t be able to let go. That would probably result in a spot of trouble so it was best to let everyone else do the up close and personal moments with the jewellery. I merely admired from a safe distance.


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Upon arriving at the Grand Palais I lost the power of speech. Even after ten years of living in Europe my heart still skips a beat everytime I come face to face with such imposing and impossibly beautiful pieces of architecture. However, that reaction was nothing compared to what happened as I approached the space that Van Cleef and Arpels had transformed. This is the best way I can find to describe it. Remember that scene in Wizard of Oz where Dorothy finally makes it to the castle to meet the wizard and beside her she has the Scarecrow, the Tinman and the Cowardly Lion? I felt that was us at that very moment and the Wizard was the President and CEO of Van Cleef and Arpels, Stanislas de Quercize. A velvet rope was lifted by a hefty security guard and we were given the opportunity to shake the hand of the wizard himself. Humbled isn’t even the word to use on this occasion.


We were left to explore the space on our own with our cameras at the ready and were encouraged to discover the beauty around us. One thing was definitely clear: If you can imagine it, Van Cleef and Arpels can create it. This is where words truly do fail me and I will have to let the pictures act as my voice. I hope they move you as they did me.



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After I had completely exhausted every angle of every piece with my camera we were given the opportunity to meet with the President and CEO again in a round table discussion. Stanislas de Quercize sat down and the first words out of his mouth were “I want to hear about you.” So we did the introductions and explained our blogs and were then given a chance to ask him questions. I wanted to know the history of Van Cleef and Arpels as it’s the story behind a brand that always interests me the most. As Mr de Quercize spoke I couldn’t look away. I was captivated not only by his charming French accent but also by his incredible tale of Van Cleef and Arpels. Did you know, for example that Van Cleef and Arpels was formed by two people madly in love? Did you know that in their designs their roses have no thorns and their animals have no claws? In the Van Cleef and Arpels world everything is harmonious and perfect. There is no evil or harm, only love, peace and beauty.

But it was one line that stayed with me long after we had departed Paris and still stays with me today. When Stanislas de Quercize was asked why he invited bloggers to the exhibition he replied, “you are the future.” He spoke about this at great length. He, in a nutshell, said that bloggers were the only honest voices available now and we are relied upon by men and women all over the planet who require truthful advice on everything from diamonds to shoelaces. I did have to pinch myself at this point. Having Stanislas de Quercize say that was a stunning moment. It was like accepting an award only I was doing it not only for myself but for all of you, my fellow bloggers who work into the wee hours of the morning!  If Van Cleef and Arpels is recognizing us, we are doing something right!  

My best moment of the day, however, came when Mr. de Quercize said his goodbyes. As he shook our hands he said, “This house is your house.”
Thank you to the Van Cleef and Arpels team for a day I will carry with me for all time and thank you for believing in a media that so many other companies fear and avoid like the plague. You are champions in love, kindness and most importantly the art of fine jewelry. 


For more pictures from the day check out www.fashionfoiegras.com



26
Aug 10

THE boot of the season! I’ve found it and it will fit any calf size, big or small!

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This week I’m spending time on boots…all sorts of boots. Tall, short, heeled, flat, suede, velvet…you name it, thus far I have seen it!  However, today I came face to face with what I have been searching for for years. My pulse quickened, a bead of sweat trickled down my forehead followed by a single tear down my cheek.  I was in love and this love was completely unexpected. That’s how it happens and what makes it hit the hardest.  Pictured above, you are looking at a image of my “sole mate!”  The Elm Boot from DUO!  Take a guess, just a guess, at how much you think this boot costs.  Let’s consider it looks like a member of the Burberry aviator jacket family.  The aviator will set you back at least £1000. Boots seem to be running in that same price bracket these days.  I prepared myself for the worst as I flipped over the boot to check the price tag. If it was less than £995 I would get a pair in both the tan and the black.  Ladies…what I am about to tell you may cause some of you to lose the ability to stand so please take a seat.  The price tag on the bottom of The Elm Boot from DUO was £205!!!!!! No, I did not forget a zero. Can you believe that price? Ah sweet fashion gods, thank you for shining down on me.
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I have to take a few steps back here and tell you a little bit more about Duo Boots. I’m not going to beat around the bush here. This whole concept is so long overdue.  Duo Boots is the only company I know of that brings you on trend boots in sizes 2-10UK (4-12 USA) and also in 21 different calf widths! Can you even think of one other brand that has done that?! It’s supreme customer service!
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I called several of my girlfriends this evening before sitting down to write this post and asked them what they looked for in their dream boot.  Their answers surprised the boot socks off of me. Of course every single one of them stated style first, however the very next answer was fit!  It turns out many woman have a great fight ahead of them in finding fashionable boots that will perfectly fit their calves!

I am very limited in my own choice for boots because I have very muscular calves. So muscular in fact that they are 40cm around.  Let’s remember I’m 6’2 and athletic. I was never going to be blessed with dainty calf muscles.  As a result, throughout my life I have passed on boot after boot because I could not zip the side or pull the top over what I had just come to accept were my massive calves! 

Most boots, designer or high street, have a calf width of 36cm! Considering the fact that every single woman is built differently and that every other item for fashion that we purchase comes in sizes to fit our bodies, it makes complete sense for boots to come in calf sizes as well. 

This blog has always been about women dressing fashionably, no matter what their size. And the only way to dress in the correct manner for any fashion is dressing yourself in the correct fit! Now you can do this with your boots. You no longer need to have mid-calf muffin top because a boot doesn’t fit correctly. Take some time, as you should with all fashion, and find the right fit! DUO is the only company I know of that will give you an exact fit for your calf in any size that you require. 

I STRONGLY encourage you to check out this site.  And, if you live in London, Bath, Manchester or Edinburgh check out locations where you can visit either a fitting room or store in person. It’s easy to measure yourself for the boots and find the perfect size online.  Then the boot
s are rushed to you no matter where you are in the world! That’s right my American readers, it’s not just the UK girls that get to have all the fun…DUO will ship anywhere and everywhere! I had a fitting this evening and I have to say I love the specialist on hand who gave pointers on everything from fit to caring for the boots in the rainy London weather.

I would encourage you to get your orders in ASAP on the new Autumn Winter range as these styles as so on trend they won’t be around for long! Buy now, keep forever! And keep a look at for me in September at Fashion Week. I’ll be sporting these guys!
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28
Jul 10

The Jacques Townhouse: Opening Night

1.JPGLast night I was invited to attend the opening of The Jacques Townhouse in London.  I honestly don’t know where to even start with this venue! It was a fairytale. If someone could have opened my brain as a twelve year old girl and taken out all of the things I daydreamed about and put them in a townhouse in London….you would have The Jacques Townhouse.

 

2.JPGThe Jacques Townhouse is a pop-up boutique hotel concept set in the heart of central London.  It’s pop-up life span, sadly, is only ten nights and then the dream fades away once again back into our lost childhoods. 

444.jpgEach night in the Townhouse you will be treated to the following:

• Lash Couture – Benefit Cosmetics will host our Powder Room, where girls can try and buy this season’s key colours and looks. Benefit Cosmetics beauticians will be on hand to offer free lash couture make-upper
• DJs – The traditional jazz pianist is out and a performance DJ duo in. DJ’s will create a fun and playful atmosphere with a technicolor extravaganza that takes the DJs out from behind the decks and into the limelight.
• Future Gazing – Fortune-tellers will be entertaining groups of girls as they roam the rooms double-up as palm, tarot readers
• Vintage Patisseries – The Vintage Patisserie – Angel Adoree offers a slice of pure escapism with a stirring of glamour and a spoonful of wit with her beautiful, handmade and bespoke cup cakes
• Dressing-up – A fancy dress box filled with beautiful vintage clothing and accessories will be available to all guests. Girls can dress up and pose for our professional photographer who will post their pictures on Facebook to share with their friends
• Sleepovers – The lucky few competition winners will be able to stay over with a couple of friends in one of the luxurious Jacques themed hotel rooms for the ultimate girl’s night in
 
The whole project is given its magic by the genius of David Carter, creator of East London micro boutique hotel 40WINKS.  David used the “hotel theme” and completely ran with it. We had bell hops greeting us in the front hall,  which was covered top to toe in white painted suitcases, and a lovely concierge checking our “luggage” at the reception desk.  The theme carried on throughout the Townhouse with a whimsical  feel and one of great beauty and fantasy. I honestly forgot I was in London last night for two hours!
 
 
7.JPGGirls should visit to www.facebook.com/jacques to book a (complimentary) place for them and their friends at one of these ‘must do’ Summer evenings. There will be two sittings per night, the first from 6pm – 7.30pm and the second 8pm- 9.30pm from 29th July 2010 Please note the address of the venue is top secret until places are registered.
 
For more pictures of the evening visit www.fashionfoiegras.com

22
Jul 10

TK Maxx opening in London on Charing Cross Road

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The best way to tell this story is through pictures. So get ready to be
overwhelmed with images (although I must apologize as my settings were
whacked out on the Nikon tonight so all photos are a bit dark).  Here’s a
little background before we get started. Tonight I attended the opening
of the first TK Maxx store in
London’s West End. It’s located on Charing Cross Road, just down the
street from Tottenham Court Road and Leicester Square tube stations. My
advice upon entering the store…head straight to the Gold Label section
which features some amazing designer brands such as Stella McCartney,
Emilio Pucci, Jil Sander and many more! So without further ado…here
are the memories from the night, starting with the Union Jack red
carpet…

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13
Jul 10

On the hunt for the best blow dry in London…. starting with Cobella at Selfridges

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Now THAT, people, was a blow dry.  I guess I should start from the very beginning…where the magic really starts – with the madame in charge of PR. Cobella has a gem. If you are a regular follower of the blog you know I rate PRs pretty harshly. I can’t say one bad word about this lovely lady!  Keep a hold, Cobella, as she’ll get snatched up by another company as good PRs are few and far between these days.  Ok, I’m getting off topic. Back to the blow dry. 
My appointment was for Saturday morning at 11am.  The day kicked off to a bad start as I had only woken up at 10:30 (after a rather harsh night on the tiles). I called into Cobella and explained I was running about 15 minutes late and they were fabulously sympathetic and told me they’d be there so to take my time.  You have to love a receptionist that is understanding about a killer hangover.  
I rushed into Selfridges at 11:05 and approached the escalator on the ground floor. As I approach my heart took over from my head and instead of getting on the escalator I heard the Chanel boutique whispering my name from behind me. I had to stop in and say hello to my Cocoon bag. After a moment of prayer in front of the sacred puffy bag I pulled myself together and sprinted towards the first floor.  You see, this is the problem with having a salon in Selfridges. You can never just go straight to your appointment.  There are too many temptations.  If anyone manages to go straight to the third floor for your treatments I would be terribly amazed and in awe of your willpower.  
The staff at Cobella were all smiles when I walked through the front door.  I know from several inside sources that Cobella at Selfridges caters to the hair and body needs of some of the wealthiest individuals in London.  I wasn’t sure what to expect on a level of service as sometimes the snootier your clientele the snobier the staff!  Certainly not the case at Cobella.  I was offered tea, coffee or water (with an option of still or sparking) and taken to my plush leather chair where I would await the arrival of my top stylist for the morning. 
The man responsible for looking after my luscious locks was Lewis.  Lewis, oh Lewis.  Where do I start? I was in love from the moment he approached my chair. If you could see someone’s aura I swear Lewis would have nothing but happy, shiny rainbows come out around him (and not just because he is an absolutely gorgeous gay man).  Louis is happiness personified.  Now, happiness does not necessarily a good blow dry make. So, dear reader you are not to worry as I was not so charmed as to forget I was there on a mission.
Lewis called over his assistant and I was lead back to a room of tranquility where my hair was shampooed, conditioner, treated with a special oil and given a complimentary shiatsu head massage that was so nice I feel asleep in the chair.  I’d say they were off to a rip-roaring start!  When I came back to sit in front of Lewis I was asked what sort of blow dry I wanted.  I said, quite confidently, “I want to look like a rich bitch.”  Lewis laughed and then became serious for all of two seconds while he seemed to ponder on what the best approach would be.  Then he was off like a rocket.  
I will say I always feel sorry for anyone that has to blow dry my hair as I have so much of it! I always dread getting a stylist that is so miserable you would rather eat your big toe than talk to them for an entire hour. You know the type I mean…the one that asks ridiculous questions to pass the time and then doesn’t even listen to your answers.  Annoying!  Lewis was the polar opposite.  The hour flew by as we were chatting as if we were long lost clubbing buddies. He also filled me in on some very useful info about the ins and outs of Selfridges and Cobella.  For example…did you know that Cobella gives weekly complimentary blow drys to the personal stylists for Selfridges?  How awesome is that? Brilliant idea! I think I might look into a job swap! We also talked boyfriends, dogs, furniture, clubbing and so many other things that I amazed at how fabulous a multi-tasker he is! The true moment of amazement came, however, when my look was revealed.  Lewis had taken a hung-over messy young lady from North London and turned me into a millionairess who’s biggest worry was where to lunch that afternoon.  I could not have been more pleased with the outcome.  Thank you to Louis and all the wonderful staff at Cobella for making me feel right at home!
Rating: 10 out of 10. I can’t honestly think of one thing I would have done better. They’d thought of everything!
Contact: Call and make an appointment now for a special occasion or just a standard blow-dry. I highly recommend Lewis. Tell him FFG sent you and you might just get a hug from the cutie pie!
0207 491 1562


04
Jun 10

Getting ready for summer with Orlebar Brown… being seen in anything else is just uncivilized!

OB model.JPGI have a secret tool when it comes to
male fashion. It’s called the “Boyfriend Barometer” and it works like a
charm. You see my boyfriend is stylish… he just didn’t know it until I
came along. That might be a little egotistical but oh well. He had all
the beginnings of a male model hidden behind rock t-shirts and jeans.
Let’s face it, there might not be a sexier look in the world than a
strapping lad sporting an AC/DC shirt and worn jeans (Yes, babe I do
actually love that look despite what I say all the time). However, I
think sometimes straight men need guidance when it comes to that extra
step in style…the step that says “hey, look at me, I’m hot, I know it
and I’m proud.”   I say straight men because all of my gay male friends
have taste that is about three thousand times better than mine and I
won’t begin to try and give them fashion advice…I’m usually on the
receiving end of that one.
So back to the “Boyfriend
Barometer”…As my boyfriend is coming out of his “style shell” it is
very interesting to see what clothing he likes and dislikes. For
example, I never thought in a million years he would wear a pink shirt. I
love pink shirts on men! He wore one yesterday, felt hot in it…and I
think he is now embracing the “pink side”. I’ll point out things in
shops and he’ll shoot it down or pick it up and I am constantly
surprised by his choices. The man has mad style! Honestly. I think
sometimes you just have to tell people it’s ok to be into clothes…and
then they run with it and go nuts! To make a long story short, the 
“Boyfriend Barometer” tells me what is going to be a hit. I’m not lying
here. Everything the boy has liked seems to take off and hasn’t stopped
running! He has this knack for spotting trends now that I can’t even
claim to have after 20 years of reading every glossy magazine cover to
cover.
Which leads me to the point of
this post (I know it took me a while but I needed to explain some
things, you know?)…
I was given a great look book
yesterday from a line that I hate to admit I had never heard of before. I
felt very out of the loop as I know for a fact I’ve seen a few men
wearing these before and can clearly remember the gorgeous outline of
their…(ok, I’ll stop there or I won’t have a boyfriend by the end of
this post).  Who was this look book for, you ask? None other than the
great Orlebar Brown. Ladies,
open the link with caution as you may swoon right there in  your office
chair. The men on this retail website are the best looking I have seen
since…well since ever!  Example:
Orlebar Brown.JPGThe BF loved what Orlebar Brown
was presenting! So much so that I now have to go out and purchase half
the book on his behalf!

Now try and focus, ladies, as I have a task for you. Summer is here.
Cannes (for yachting at the forthcoming festival), Ibiza, Martha’s
Vineyard, Montauk, Malibu and Palm Beach are all calling. The days of
letting your man roll up in any old swim short are long over! It’s time
to take command and tell them to step up to the fashion plate. No more
horrible old tatty shorts. Get yourself to Selfridges or Harrods (for the UK based) or shop
online for Orlebar Brown.
You have no excuses this year! Our favourites are the Dane and the Pup…and
the “Boyfriend Barometer” tells us these are going to be huge. See pics
below. Oh and in case you are thinking the Pups look a little short
it’s time for you to pick up your latest copy of Hello! Magazine. This
season men, both straight and gay, are rocking the short shorts! Why
not? You guys spend hours in the gym. Why hide those amazing thigh
muscles that we love?!
Orlebar Brown2.JPGNow that we covered your man’s attire for the sun spots this year why
not also give yourself a little treat? Orlebar Brown just recently
launched a women’s line as well. Hello, gorgeous!
Here are a few of the ones we will be sporting on the beach front (and
on the roof of Shoreditch
House
once it gets warm enough in London):
Orlebar Brown3.JPGWe can’t say enough good things about this brand… and you should know
by now that we only promote the ones we love honestly and
wholeheartedly.


23
May 10

‘Sex And The City Par-Tea’ at London’s Hyatt Regency


SATC tea.jpg

London ladies, please take out your Smythson leather diaries and open to 28 May, 2010. There you should already have written down one very important appointment – the release of Sex And The City 2! That’s right, it’s finally here and we are getting reports that it is even better than the first one – definitely a cause for celebration! We even get to see Carrie running through a souk in a Dior t-shirt and ball gown skirt. Does it get any better?

Well, yes, it does get better. Or at least that’s what I learned yesterday when I visited London’s Hyatt Regency on Portman Square. I was invited to be one of the first to sample the new Sex And The City Par-Tea, which the hotel has created in honour of the four ladies we love the most: Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha! This is a tea they would go ga-ga over. In fact as I sat there, with my guest Miss Tara B, I couldn’t help but imagine the four ladies sitting in our place. The setting is total glam-squad: lovely huge crystal chandeliers and white linen tablecloths adorned by white blooming roses. I should also mention I have never been so tempted to clip an entire set of china. You’ll see in the pics what I mean – gorgeous!

This isn’t your typical afternoon tea – although the Hyatt Regency does serve those as well (and they looked absolutely delicious). Surrounding guests were looking on our table with great green eyes. I believe several women were wondering what they had to do to get a Cosmo as a starter and a lovely pink chocolate stiletto on the top of their tea tower! Sorry ladies, this was just a preview. However,  from 28 May everyone can indulge in this afternoon delight.

So, let’s start from the beginning. Upon arrival we were presented with two menus specially designed for the occasion and asked to select a cocktail of our choice from the four offered. You can choose from a Cosmopolitan, Manhattan, Martini or a Flirtini. I think that was the most difficult moment of the entire afternoon. They all looked so delicious. We opted for Flirtinis and our lovely aid for the afternoon, Stefano, was kind enough to bring us Cosmos as well. He could tell we were struggling to decide on just one. You are then asked to choose a tea. The hotel has specifically chosen four teas, one for each character in the movie that accurately reflects their personality. I went with the Organic Silver Needle White Tea as it was light and refreshing and not too strong.

chefs.jpg

As we sipped our cocktails we looked towards the open-plan kitchen and saw a gathering of waiters at the front counter. Our tea treats were being put together and it appeared as if the head chef was instructing the assistants on the creation of the delectable goodies. Suddenly it dawned on us that we really are some of the first people to enjoy this event! What a humbling moment.

If you are a regular reader of the blog, you will know that I am an American living in London. So you can only imagine that when the tea service arrived with plates covered in mini burgers, hot dogs, pastrami sandwiches and more I went absolutely mad with happiness! It was New York’s finest sitting on my table, right there in front of me! I am pretty sure I shed a tear and didn’t know whether to be horribly homesick or unashamedly nostalgic and happy. The moment passed, I regained composure, and reminded myself that I was a professional journalist. Get it together, girl!

Here’s the rundown on what was served, working from the bottom to the top of the tower (or savoury to sweet)…
menu.jpg
Bottom: Pastrami on rye, mini smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel, and cucumber sandwiches.
Analysis: Wouldn’t change a thing. I’d just also like to note one very important thing. They toast the bagel with the salmon and cream cheese! That is paying attention to detail as it’s a big NYC tradition! It’s the only way to do bagels.
bottom.jpg
Middle: Mini burgers and mini hot dogs.
Analysis: Both were fantastic and I think will be enjoyed by all. I would have added cheese, ketchup and a pickle on the mini burgers, but that’s just me. The hot dog was also not an American-style hot dog but rather a mini sausage of sorts. This, however, is a plus point! You don’t want a real American hot dog sitting in a ritzy hotel – the sausage is the way to go!
middle.jpg
Top: Strawberry chocolate pink stiletto, mini doughnuts, mini cupcakes and an appletini jelly.
Analysis: Heaven on a plate. I am sitting here still drooling over the thought of how good these little gems were. They may have been mini but they packed a powerful punch!
top.jpg
I will be recommending this tea to all of my friends – that includes all of you, dear readers. And here’s a great idea (which, I can’t actually take credit for as it comes from Tara B): gents – why not surprise your lady by booking this tea for the two of you? You’ve never seen so much food at an afternoon tea in your life! A man would love this tea! We could barely finish what was in front of us – yet we managed to somehow and couldn’t even eat dinner that night we were still so full!
Here are the nitty-gritty details:
Hyatt Regency London
30 Portman Square
London W1H 7BH
020 7486 5800

The Sex And The City Par-Tea will be served every day between 3pm and 6pm from Friday 28 May to Tuesday 31 August, 2010. This special afternoon tea is available at £39 per person and parties of up to six people are available. Sex And The City Par-Tea including a ticket to see SATC 2 at the Everyman Baker Street cinema and a chauffeur-driven car to the cinema is priced at £55 per person, subject to availability. 

All reservations for the Sex And The City Par-Tea must be made in advance; credit card details will be taken for confirmation. For reservations please call +44 20 7299 2037 or email: montagu.hrlondon@hyatt.com. Each reservation will be confirmed only when each guest has given their credit card details and received written confirmation from The Montagu.

Remember for more fashion news visit www.fashionfoiegras.com.


28
Apr 10

A personal ‘Perfume Portrait’ by Ormonde Jayne – I’m in heaven!

Ormonde Jayne.jpg

I am a born-again perfume wearer. Before Monday morning I was one of those girls who would change their scent every season. I’d visit the big brands to choose a fragrance for summer and a fragrance for winter. I never put much thought into it. I just sprayed and dashed out of the house. But the more time I spend in London (and I think eight years now is enough to make this statement), the more I notice that scent is extremely important and should be as well planned as the outfit you walk out of the house in every morning. 

After spending several years closer to people on the tube than to most of my best friends, I can most definitely tell you what fragrances I like and dislike. I made mental notes as I went about my day on what I thought was a beautiful fragrance and what was hideous. I didn’t really ever consider they might be useful one day. Not until this week, at least.  
A few weeks ago I received an email from Ormonde Jayne, announcing its new “Perfume Portrait” service launching at Harrods (and also available in its shop in the Royal Arcade). Of course I had heard of Ormonde Jayne before. The name is legendary – which is saying quite a lot since the company isn’t even that old! The founder doesn’t even look like she is out of her thirties and she already counts Yasmin Le Bon, Elton John, Will Smith, Bryan Ferry, Goldie Hawn and Ashley Jensen as loyal clients. 
Ormonde Jayne Outside.jpg
As I approached the shop, in the Royal Arcade just off Old Bond Street, I couldn’t help but feel as if I was entering a parallel universe. I was taken out of my own world and thrust into one that centred on one’s sense of smell. Nothing could be wrong with the world when you are in the Ormonde Jayne shop. How could there be anything wrong in a place that smells this amazing? 
Linda Pilkington.jpg
I was greeted by the queen of the kingdom, Linda Pilkington. This gorgeous, petite woman would change so much for me in a matter of moments. Linda sat me down and asked me all sorts of questions about myself. She wrote notes and checked boxes. The great scent master was working her magic and breaking into my very soul to find the perfume that would match me perfectly. Then came the drawer. Linda had me smell around 30 raw ingredients kept in little gold and ceramic jars to get an idea of what would make up my signature scent. 
“The perception of smell consists not only of the sensation of the aromas themselves, but of the experiences and emotions associated with them,” Linda explained. As I took in each smell I could feel myself smiling or frowning and Linda was certainly paying attention. There was no hiding my likes and dislikes from the expert.  
After we had been through all the jars of ingredients, Linda stepped away and returned with two beautiful bottles of perfume. I know you can’t judge a scent by its container, but I had a good feeling here. I wasn’t disappointed. Linda sprayed one scent on my right arm and the other on my left. We chatted as the scents settled. I was then asked to smell each arm to see what I thought. I loved them both! This is a woman that knows exactly what she is doing. At the risk of sounding totally cheesy, she made my scent dreams come true! 
Ormonde Jayne Inside.jpg
I walked away with a scent I could call my own and I found myself walking a little taller and more confidently as I stepped out of the shop. I was even pleased at being made to squeeze into the tube as I could tell several individuals around me were taking deep breaths in from their nostrils. 
Oh, and I didn’t mention one of the best parts about the whole process. The store also starts a file on you, so if you have a birthday or anniversary coming up, your loved ones can just step into the store and Linda can help them pick something perfect out for you. She’ll know if you’re a bath or shower girl. She’ll know if you enjoy your nights with scented candles (as I do and absolutely adore its candles). She’ll even be able to tell your gift giver whether or not you prefer travel-sized or full-sized items. Is that customer service or what?
I’m a convert. I have a signature scent and I’m not turning back. It’s gorgeous, fresh and all mine! And the greatest part was coming home and having my boyfriend declare, “You smell absolutely amazing.”
(Note: Thanks to Nina Saville for the gorgeous pic of Linda!)

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