Thursday, 23 December 2010

Scent: A Fruity Fragrance

On the eighth day of Christmas I draw light to another Nina Ricci fragrance, the new one - Nina L’Elixir. A reinterpretation of the Nina eau de toilette with a little more intensity.


Fruity and fun the scent reminds me of sweet apples. Developed by perfumer Olivier Crisp, the heart notes mix red toffee apple captured and surrounded by jasmine and red berries. Calabria lemon and Caipirinha lime compliment the heart of the scent and each other allowing the depth of cedarwood, cotton musk and warm amber to wrap the scent up. Combined, all notes create a scent that is young, energetic and sweet. The bottle is cute too! An apple like shape with gold transparency on a deep red base color and a cute butterfly to decorate.


The Nina L’Elixir eau de parfum is available in 80ml at £54, 50ml at £40 and 30ml at £30. Call 0207 494 6220 for stockists.
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Scent: Are You a VIP?

On the seventh day of fragrances I address all – Have you seen the advert for Carolina Herrera’s 212 VIP fragrance? I must admit I hate to succumb to TV advertising unless I am genuinely impressed by the advert but Caroline Herrera’s advert for 212 VIP is one I heart.

Like the TV advertisement and the inspiration behind, the fragrance itself it is cool, vibrant and exclusive, created for the elite. Accords of heady rum and exotic passion fruit, notes of gardenia and musk with a base of vanilla and tonka beans – Sounds dreamy and good enough to drink. An abundance of florals perfect for emphasise on your femininity. The magnetic bottle is gold and again, cool. I am now on the list.

The Carolina Herrera 212 VIP fragrance comes in 30ml for £31, 50 ml for £43.50 and 80ml for £59. Moisturise with the 212 VIP body lotion for the full douse priced at £25.50. Available from department stores nationwide, for specific stockists call 0207 494 6220.
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Belle’s Treatment of the Week: The Blow Dry

This week I tried and tested a blow dry at the Hershesons Blow Dry bar in Topshop, Oxford Circus, London and it was the best blow dry I have ever had. The blow dry bar in Topshop is a mini hair salon that offers 10 blow dry options to create hair styles including the popular 'Sienna' look of wavy curls known as The Wavy Gravy and the bohemian plaits known as The Carlam to name a few. I opt for something a little different, something I have been unsuccessful in trying to create over and over again – The coveted Bardot. For some reason no matter how hard I try cannot get the hang of backcombing.

The Hershesons blow dry bar prides itself on creating fantastic hair styles within just 30 minutes so I am eager to see this happen due to my home styling time quota of approx one hour.
I arrive at the hair salon and request advice on which blow dry I should choose even though I had kind of already made my mind up. In fairness I was torn between The Bardot and The Carlam, but my stylist said The Carlam is for a casual boho look and I was off out to Camden that evening. I stick with the Bardot which my stylist advised was best created on dirty hair. Instead of washing my hair she got straight to work sectioning it into three sections at the top of my head. Very quickly my stylist backcombed each section with a fine tooth comb commenting on how easy it was backcomb (I wish I knew this before). Sectioning my hair through the back my stylist backcombed each of those sections too, so quickly that two minutes later my hair looked like a rather large afro. At this point I was nervous but also felt like I was backstage at a catwalk.

Next my stylist took one side of my hair twisting it in to fasten it at the back, followed by the other while keeping the bouffant at the top big. She fastened the hair with clips and I was ready to go. It literally took 15 minutes. The fastest and best blow dry I have ever had. From the side I looked like a 50’s fashion icon and from the front Audrey Hepburn (obviously hair style alone).


Pre-drinks began at mine and my hair got so many compliments that I could not pass it off as my own work. A Hershesons blow dry is something I would definitely recommend for a quick hair make-over, especially on a Saturday, or maybe New Years Eve? £24 and done in 30 minutes. Amazing. There are Hershesons blow dry bars in Topshop, Oxford Circus, Westfield The Village in White City and One New Change, St Pauls, London. Visit the website for further information and to make an appointment.
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Scent: A Sun-Drenched Scent

My sincerest apologies go out for the three day delay in my 12 days of fragrances. Blame goes strongly on transport in the UK and my European break that did not happen. My phone died, I queued for a long time and the web access was limited. I just love snow.


My sixth fragrance of Christmas comes in a unique and quirky bottle – The L’Air du Temps fragrance by Nina Ricci.


Although this fragrance is not a brand new scent the bottle re-invents the strong and spicey fragrance in time for Christmas. Imagine it on your dressing table or in your bag when you need a quick squirt. The bottle is designed by contemporary French designer Philippe Starck with experience in everything from furniture to hotel and restaurant design. Taking inspiration from the imagination Starck creates a bottle that concentrates of doves lovingly entwined that seem to fly off together for all eternity.


The fragrance is formulated from a mix of notes including sun-drenched flowers, spicey musk, sandalwood and iris root with top notes of gorgeous rose and jasmine. The fragrance immediately reminds you of sun flowers when it is on - sun flowers and summer.


The Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps fragrance comes in a 45ml eau de toilette and is priced at £41.50. For stockists call 0207 494 6220.
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Sunday, 19 December 2010

Scent: A Beautiful Scent

On the fifth day of fragrances I express my love for Calvin Klein’s new fragrance, Beauty and its undeniable scent.


Traditionally CK fragrances have an undeniable scent, something unique like CK One. Beauty can be described by its name alone. It is powerful, feminine and beautiful, like the woman who wears it. With a lily like smell, top notes of ambrette seeds work with the heart of jasmine and the base of cedarwood to create a strong floral scent.


Calvin Klein’s Beauty eau de parfum is £62 for 100ml, £48 for 50ml and £34 for 30ml. The 30ml is also available in a gift set that includes the shower gel for the same price, £34. The fragrance is available from department stores nationwide.
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Saturday, 18 December 2010

Scent: The Scent of Ghost

On the fourth day of fragrances, I re-introduce the timeless scent of Ghost that has been on perfume counters for years and for one simple reason - It is popular and has a smell that is simply beautiful.


An ultra floral feminine scent that mixes top notes of rose petal and ambrette seed with heart notes of white flowers, jasmine, sandalwood and incense. For the base vanilla, musk, amber and apricot compliment the top and heart notes to create one sweet scent. It reminds me a little bit of Turkish delight. Love it.


Ghost The Fragrance eau de toilette is £42 for 100ml and is available from department stores nationwide.
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Friday, 17 December 2010

Scent: Fresh as a Daisy

On the third day of fragrances, I pledge love for Marc Jacobs and his fragrance Daisy. Fresh, young and vibrant.


This limited edition pop art version of the Daisy fragrance is an update of the original and is presented in a high shine red lacquer bottle - inspired by Marc’s love of art. A collector’s bottle if you please, with the black daisy flowers on the bottle top. Daisy captures the freshness of wild strawberry and has the modern vintage edge with notes of violet petals, gardenia and jasmine. Four beautiful scents combined with a warm base of birch and cedarwood accords. Such luxury in a small bottle.


The pop art edition of Daisy by Marc Jacobs is only available in 100ml and is priced at £60, available from department stores nationwide.
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Beauty: Maybelline’s Girls Night In

New York make-up brand Maybelline hosted a festive soiree on Tuesday evening at trendy Soho House in London to celebrate the launch of the new calendar. An evening that served up Maybelline treats, manicures, some of the best canapés I have ever tasted with champagne cocktails and music spun by the coolest of cool.
The event spread across two rooms and enclosed a pretty Christmas tree with exciting goody bags that sat underneath, Maybelline quirky puzzle pieces and testing stands of new products, including the Maybelline One by One Volume Express mascara. Express manicures were taking place in one corner of the bar room on the sofas by top freelance nail professionals with catwalk and photo shoot experience, while in the other corner, next to the bar sat the best idea I have seen. A pick ‘n’ mix of candy and Maybelline make-up. Genius. While the bottom containers housed candy necklaces and cola bottles, the top containers were filled with mascaras, nail varnishes, lip glosses, lipsticks and eye shadows. Highlights included the colorful eye shadows in deep and bright blue, and the mascara’s that would empty as soon as someone behind the pick ‘n’ mix replenished them.
Henry Holland span the decks and towards the end of the evening Christmas songs over powered the party and everyone was jolly! Santa was supposed to arrive to give away goodies but instead they were delivered by the gorgeous George Lamb. Champagne and raspberry cocktails dressed the bar, followed by Tom Collins and Cosmo’s that dotted in and out of the canapé stands that included mini chipolatas, mini tuna nicoise salads and mini cheese burgers. The perfect festive girly evening.
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A Starry Evening to Help the Teenage Cancer Trust

Last week the Philips de Pury gallery in Central London hosted the Polo Jeans Co's Art Stars exhibition and auction to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust. A night of complete success with many a celeb in attendance including, the fabulous fashion designer Matthew Williamson, HRH Princess Beatrice and Razorlight's front man Johnny Borrell with girlfriend and ‘model of the moment’ (with gorgeous tresses) Edie Campbell.

The event began with guests roaming the gallery enjoying champagne, cocktails and canapés, while they made decisions on what they should bid on from the silent auction. Then followed the live auction for the three dimensional spectacularly designed stars that were inspired by America's iconic stars and stripes. The creative masterpieces were designed and created by over 40 contemporary international artists using materials that included American denim. Proceeds from the evening benefited a very good cause -  the Teenage Cancer Trust which will help improve the treatment and care of teenagers as well as building specialist units in NHS hospitals.
At around 9pm, Johnny Borrell (in his signature and now standard skin tight jeans) accompanied by his new band took to the stage to reel off a succession of Razorlight hits including my favourite, 'Golden Touch' along with some new material. He was joined on stage by his best friend and guitarist for Florence and the Machine for the finale performance. Having seen Johnny perform at the front of Razorlight a number of times before, this intimate performance was his best. His voice is amazing and his stage presence represents his reputation of being a quirky, rock ‘n’ roll artist. The crowd loved the performance and the evening was left a buzzing success.
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Thursday, 16 December 2010

Scent: The Woman of Mystery

I continue my second day of my '12 days of fragrances with a scent that arrived on the perfume market last month, from Danni Minogue and Tabitha Somerset Webb. The highly anticipated fragrance joined the Project D ready-to-wear collection that launched in Harvey Nichols in November.

The new fragrance is signature to the collection and has been inspired by two styles, glamour and rock ‘n’ roll. Ideal for the girls out there who like to switch their style depending on their mood, or where they are going. I am one of those people. I choose glamour for dinner and drinks, rock 'n' roll chic for gigs and clubs. Top notes of the scent work a fusion of neroil, bergamot and ylang ylang, the heart scents mix tuberose, Japanese osmanthus, mimosa and purple orchid, while the base notes provide a creamy wrap of sandalwood and saffron. Together they all sound dreamy and create a fragrance that is mysterious, magical and magnetic.

Project D, the fragrance by Danni Minogue is priced at £33.50 and is available from The Perfume Shop online and in department stores nationwide.
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Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Belle's Treatment of the Week: The Tillie's Pedicure

Last weekend I headed a little way out of Central London to the lovely residential area of Maida Vale. Famous for Little Venice, the area has quaint little shops, coffee houses, watering holes and is also host to Tillie's Nail Lounge which is located just a short walk away from Warwick Avenue tube station.

I wandered into Tillie's Nail Lounge expecting a typical luxury nail salon, a little clinical but complimented by its fine décor. Instead I felt like I had been pleasantly welcomed into someone's adorable home. It's like a country house with a French touch, decorated with antique and vintage furniture. Maybe a little Anthropologie-esque. So beautiful. Tillie Fredrick's, the owner launched the nail lounge in March 2010 in a bid to pursue her passion for nails. She started in quite a different background as a contractor, and wanted to create a nail salon that was like a home-from-home, something that would have clients feel completely relaxed. Tillie certainly succeeded with this lounge.


The girls that work at the salon are so sweet and tentative. On my arrival they checked me in and immediately offered me a hot drink. I chose a hot chocolate and it was fabulous. My therapist for my pedicure was Shreen Gayle, the manager of the salon and a nail enthusiast. Shreen was lovely and you could really get the sense that she loves what she does. Perfect because she was happy to talk me through everything she did, and why as she performed the treatment. I chose the OPI nail colour called 'Show Must Go On', a gorgeous deep red with glitter (I am feeling rather festive) from OPI’s new range that was launched in line with the release of the new film, Burlesque. OPI created several varnishes with glitter pigments for a divine sparkle and I love them.


I was ushered to a comfy cream sofa and offered the most recent glossies, including InStyle. Something I appreciated as there is nothing more disappointing than going to have your hair done and being passed an issue of a magazine dated two months ago. The likelihood is I have already read it. Shreen began by removing my polish I already had on, and then she pushed my cuticles back and cut away any dead skin around the nail bed. I am not a big fan of feet so my last pedicure was just before the summer. Shreen advised that a monthly pedicure is a must to keep your toes in tip top condition. As she worked on one foot the other would soak in a heated bowl. she then began to file and buffer my nails. At this point I fell back into the sofa and relaxed. Once my nails were done, Shreen moved on to my feet removing any hard skin, applying a gorgeous grapefruit scrub and then gave my feet a mini massage. Sheer bliss.


Shreen used four coats of OPI varnish on my toes, including a chip resistance coat, two coats of ‘Show Must Go On’ and then a top coat to help them dry. By the end of the treatment I felt cosy and reluctant to leave, clutching on to my second cup of hot chocolate goodness. My feet feel brand new and I love them once again. 
The Tillie's Pedicure costs just £39 for 60 minutes worth of pampering - a very reasonable price for something so good. Other nail services are available and you can even host a nail pampering party in the kitchen! Hen party idea dilemma solved. Tillie's Nail Lounge, 5 Formosa Street, Maida Vale, London, W9 1EE. Call 020 7266 2620 or visit the website http://www.tilliesnaillounge.com/.
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Scent: The Spicy Scent of Christmas

In light of the festive season I am going to do a little piece on my blog called ‘the 12 days of fragrances’, kind of like 'the 12 days of Christmas', except mine will be about twelve fragrances, one for each day. I aim to serve up ideas on the best fragrances to buy this Christmas, be it a gift for you or a gift for a loved one. Think ‘a new year – a new scent - a new you’.  I will write a piece each day about a fragrance that in my opinion is a ‘must have’.

My first fragrance of Christmas is an autumn/winter scent and is of the oriental fragrance family called Elixir from traditionally English brand Penhaligon’s. Imagine a sensual fragrance that opens with head notes of eucalyptus and orange blossom that harmonise with the hot spices of cardamom, cinnamon and mace. Combine those with the dark magic heart notes of Turkish rose and jasmine and you have the sexy and confident scent of Elixir. It is a powerful scent that reflects the persona of a confident woman who wears it at night.

The Penhaligon’s Elixir eau de toilette is £50 for 50ml or £70 for 100ml. Why not douse your whole body in the Elixir scent with the bath and shower gel, £20 for 200ml, the exfoliating body scrub £30 for 200ml or the massage, bath and body oil £40 for 200ml. The Elixir collection is available at Penhaligon’s store or online.
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Thursday, 9 December 2010

Iconic London Christmas Decorations

I am feeling very festive today, a feeling which I hold Chris Rea's 'Driving Home for Christmas' directly responsible for, from the song being on rotate on every London radio station.


Anyway, last week at the Aspinal of London, Brook Street launch, I noticed something so cute for the Christmas tree - the Little London Christmas Decorations. The decorations are hand crafted and represent some of London’s iconic symbols which include a black cab, a traditional red phone box, a Buckingham Palace solider, Big Ben and a red double-decker bus.

So very adorable and patriotic – The decorations come in a set of five and are available at Aspinal of London, priced at £49.
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Mulberry Expands & Shines

Uber-stylish fashion label Mulberry has enjoyed nothing but success in the last six months with revenue up by 38%. What recession you say?

In the last year Mulberry has designed the 'Alexa' range based on Alexa Chung herself, from which the 'Alexa' bag became the sell-out bag of year. The brand won the 'Best Designer Brand' prize at the British Fashion Awards on Tuesday and it has closed the old flagship Mulberry store on New Bond Street, to open an even bigger flagship store a few doors down. And that is just a few highlights of the brands achievements this year.


The new store collectively expands over 5400 square feet and resembles a contemporary warehouse space that transforms with the decoration of beautiful clothing, shoes and accessories, including brand staple accessories collections, Bayswater, Daria and now, Alexa.

What's more, New York's chic neighborhood of Soho can also look forward to a new US flagship store that will spread across 5,000 square feet in the near future, marking Mulberry's business development in the US.

See the new flagship Mulberry store at 50 New Bond Street, London that opened on 1st December. This week Mulberry's new Spinningfields store opens in Manchester too.
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The Luxe Girl’s Christmas Gift Guide

On the first day of Christmas the chic girl about town dreams up a wish list of gorgeous Christmas gifts, pampering products and chic accessories …


A classic Chanel 2.55 in black and beige tweed. Because every girl would love a Chanel 2.55, £2,200 from Chanel boutiques.
A Christmas inspired collection of three Diptyque long candles to scent her lounge with notes
of Pine, Spicey Orange and Oilban, £45 each from Diptyque stores and concessions.
A pair of sparkly sequin KG shoes called Jasmine in gold. They would light her feet up on the dance floor, £100 from Kurt Geiger.
A pair of Mulberry’s luxury leather black gloves called Alexa to warm her hands in the autumn and winter, £150 from Mulberry.
Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle pampering range, that includes the sweet smelling moisturizer £35, the foaming shower gel £30, and the glowing body oil £37 to leave her skin radiant. The range is available from Chanel boutiques and UK department stores including Selfridges and House of Fraser.


A Hermès scarf, Kelly en Perles would sit perfectly around her neck. You could then take her to the Hermès pop-store J’aime Mon Carré in Notting Hill where she can learn new ways to tie her scarf, £250 from Hermes boutiques and Hermes.
A LUXE bespoke box in Red Velvet which includes four of the LUXE guides to her favourite cities, including New York, £35. Because every girl should know about The Rose Bar in New York. Stockists: 01256 817987
An Aveda Grounding Ritual candle with 35 hours burn time to go in her bathroom as she bathes with bubbles, reading her favourite magazine that will brighten her day and leave her feeling relaxed and pampered, £20 from Aveda.
A good read, perhaps The Great Gatsby to inspire and encapsulate her as she sits by a warm fire, £12.99 from Anthropologie stores in London. 
A Vivienne Westwood diary, £35 and notepad, £25 to take her 2011 dates and her telephone messages or her online shopping.
A bottle of the finest champagne, Dom Pérignon. An Andy Warhol tribute bottle would be wonderful. From £100 and available to buy from Harvey Nichols, Harrods and Selfridges.
A beige Anthropologie hat that will keep her head toasty and leave her looking cute in the cold, £88 from Anthropologie.
A Nicole Farhi Bugle necklace to dazzle her onlookers draped around her neck with her LBD, £135 from Nicole Farhi.
The Sex & The City 2 DVD would be ideal as a stocking filler, something for her to watch and gain wardrobe inspiration from, £15.47, Amazon.
Clinique’s Skin Care Greats, including the sparkle skin Body Exfoliater and the Deep Comfort Body Moisture in full size and travel size, £30 from Clinique to keep her skin moisturized. 

An Aspinal of London Brit Clutch Zip Wallet in navy Italian pentent calf. There's nothing like a little bit of patriotism and it's limited edition, £110 from Aspinal of London.
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