Sunday, 13 April 2014

Blended ombre hair colour by Muse of London

ombre hair colouring by muse of london

Although I've had my hair in pretty much every style and colour, these days I'm pretty settled with my brunette locks. But I'm always up for trying something new, so when Jason from Muse of London asked me to pop in and try out his latest colouring techniques I was there in a flash.

Muse of London (which used to be a Lisa Shepherd salon) specialises in colour treatments and is based a few minutes walk from Oxford Circus. Last time I was there I had undertoning done – essentially a twist on the popular dip-dye where the hair is layered and only the underneath layers are dyed. This time, I was going for a subtle ombre look to just lighten my hair up on the ends for summer. You can see the results above.

Jason started off by back-combing parts of each section of hair that he was lightening which helps give it that natural look. We went for a warm, honeyed brown colour to blend naturally with my own brown hair. As my hair at the moment is pretty mousy at the roots, Jason also put a darker tint on the roots to give a bit more depth which was a really good call. He also added a little of the lighter colour to small sections of my fringe – it's a clever trick that makes it look nice and shiny, as if the light is reflecting off it.

I was interested to hear what customers had been asking for this season, and Jason explained that gone are the days where there is one look like 'The Rachel' that everyone is after, month after month. People get their inspiration from all over. 'One girl snapped a picture of a mannequin in Topshop because she wanted the same colour.' says Jason. 'People are more individual in their inspiration' he continued, 'people might want to change their look simply because someone at the office has gone and got the same colour'.

Jason is onto a winner, making it really easy to switch up your style and maintain a new 'do' with a menu of express services from £15 root touch-ups to special-event hair styling. The great thing about the ombre style I went for though is that you don't need such regular touch-ups and can just let it grow out naturally if that suits you better. Win-win.

TIGI sea salt spray
Jason also introduced me to a great product: CATWALK by TIGI Session Series Salt Spray. This is a summer must-have that really adds texture and enhances a soft wave perfectly. I'll definitely be picking some up when my current salt spray runs out. Look out for the luxe black packaging.

You can find Muse of London at 24 Mortimer Street, London, W1T 3JP. Open until 9pm on weekdays. Telephone: 020 7467 9560

Afternoon tea at the Millennium Hotel, London

Afternoon tea at the millennium hotel in Mayfair, London

I rarely turn down the opportunity for tea and cake, and recently I had the chance to take my mum along to sample an afternoon tea with me. The fabulous folk at the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair invited us down on Mother's Day to explore the hotel and give their current menu a try.

I love hotels. There is something so indulgent about staying in a nice hotel, from watching TV in a spacious, cosy bed to the delights of a long bubble bath (in a bath that you will never have to clean). I also love nothing more than having a nose around in hotels, which is exactly how we started our Mother's Day jaunt. We were given a little tour, from seeing the entertaining spaces (I was lusting after the chandeliers) to checking out a couple of hotel suites with living rooms, huge beds and walk-in-wardrobes. 

The Millennium hotel in Mayfair, London - bedroom

The Millennium hotel in Mayfair, London - ballroom

After some exploring and chit-chat with other bloggers and their mums it was time for tea. As afternoon tea menus in London go, it's actually very reasonably priced. £24.95 per person for a full tea, or £34.95 for extra sandwiches and a glass of fizz too. It's served in the Avista restaurant at the hotel, a light and airy setting where you can relax and take time over your tea in comfy chairs. The hotel itself is handily located just a stone's throw from Oxford Street and Bond Street, so you can tie in your trip with a spot of shopping – any excuse, right? The table setting was perfect for Mother's Day too. Everything is served up on Wedgwood china in the iconic Wild Strawberry pattern

Afternoon tea at the Millennium Hotel MayfairAfternoon tea at the Millennium Hotel Mayfair

As we tucked in, the chef explained the seasonality of the menu to us. The team make small changes throughout the year depending on what's in season. Cucumber and salmon are a permanent fixture though – it just wouldn't be a quintessential British tea without them. My other favourite sarnie option was the chicken and tarragon which was really creamy with just the right amount of tarragon to help it stand out. As for the cakes, we really were spoilt. From a miniature Crème brûlée and fruit tart to the mango mousse cake and chocolate eclair, the desserts were spot on. Oh, and I almost forgot the lovely warm sultana scones with clotted cream, berries and sweet lemon curd! I took home a little scone recipe book so I will have to give them a go myself.

Afternoon tea at the Millennium Hotel Mayfair

It was great to see some of my fellow bloggers too – mum and I shared a table with Kristabel of I Want You to Know and Lucy of Shiny Thoughts. I don't manage to get to so many events these days as the day job takes up so much of my time, so having a little afternoon out was heavenly. We left the boys in the pub and managed to wangle a door-to-door lift from dad to finish the day. What a treat. 

Where is your favourite afternoon tea in London?  

Monday, 31 March 2014

Shoesday top pick: arty heels by Steve Madden

There's a new wave of arty prints on the shoe scene and I love these towering heels from Steve Madden that fit the trend perfectly. With wedding season on the horizon, they'd be a great way to jazz up a formal outfit and give it the fashion edge. It would be easy to pick out one of the colours in the shoes and coordinate your look around it for a fresh take on spring brights. They're definitely on my wish list. 

If these float your boat then you might like to take a look at more bold footwear in Sarenza's artistic shoe edit. Too bold for you? They also come in brown, black and pewter, hurrah!

*I am a Sarenza blog ambassador

Saturday, 29 March 2014

What to wear this weekend: Mother's Day Outing

What to wear this weekend: Mother's Day

Many of us are sure to be treating our mums for Mothering Sunday this weekend and I am no different. I'm heading to the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair with my mum for a special afternoon tea, so getting a little dressed up is definitely in order. For me, a floral dress is always a great option for spring, and this one from Oasis has a great print and colour palette. The photographic florals are traditional but with a modern spin which I love. A little black blazer, berry lips and colour-blocked accessories will finish the look fabulously.

What are you doing, and wearing, for Mother's Day?

Shop the look...

Oasis waist belt

Vero Moda black blazer

Dorothy Perkins high heel shoes
£27 -

Ted Baker pink patent leather handbag

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Interview with Kim Lai of JAUNT Accessories

Meet Kim Lai, creative director of JAUNT Accessories. Originally from New York, Kim is now based in London and has been designing luxury travel accessories for 10 years. Kim's versatile bags are handcrafted in Italy and feature beautiful leathers and contrasting fabrics. I caught up with Kim for a quick Q&A...

Tell us a bit about yourself?
I am an extremely hard worker, passionate about my craft, and a perfectionist who is extremely detail orientated. Travelling has always been a big part of my life.

Why did you start your label?
I struggled to find a range of travel accessories that were both chic and practical and had a real sense of vacation style. I designed JAUNT to fill this gap in the market.

What inspires you?
Travelling inspires me. Different cultures have different ways of seeing things and I love to observe this.

If you had to just wear one fashion designer's clothes for life who would it be?
I love the effortless chic of Alexander Wang.

What are your top 3 high street stores and why?
Top Shop: I love that there is something for everyone there. Reiss: for the nice styles and good fit. Muji: I love the clear acrylic boxes and the understated stationery.

What has been your greatest ever bargain?
A pair of leather boots for £170 from the Prada outlet in Bicester Village.

And what has been your biggest ever splurge?
My biggest splurge was definitely my Vince soft leather trousers. They were totally worth it. I already have my eye on another pair!

What is your beauty routine?
Clarasonic brush, Caudelie Elixir to let the moisturizer absorb into the skin. Moisturizer from Shishedo.

What do you collect?
Bags, jackets and shoes!

Which celebrity would you love to dress and why?
I would love to dress Gwyneth Paltrow. She looks amazing in her neutral tones and I love her effortlessly chic style. I would love to add a little bit of colour to her accessories.

Which celebrity do you think has the best style?
Kerry Washington. She always gets it right!

What is your favourite trend of the moment?
Iridescent leather for bags and shoes.

How do you turn around a bad hair day?
Go to the Blow Dry Bar at Hershesons. It takes 30 minutes.

What would you wear on a first date?
My leather trousers and a silk v neck top with Valentino studded heels and a cool jacket.

Check out Kim's accessories range here

What to wear this weekend: spring zing

What to wear this weekend

I don't know about you, but I am so ready for spring. We've had some lovely weather already, but the temperature is still far from tropical. Regardless, I've ditched the heavy winter coat and I don't intend on going back; it's all about a soft leather jacket instead. The one I've picked out for this look has a relaxed, slouchy feel and grey makes a refreshing change from black; it's lighter and somehow less wintry.

As for cheering up my wardrobe, I'm all for striking pops of colour, especially these zingy citrus shades of lime and tangerine. I'm loving this season's take on boyfriend jeans and they're the perfect weekend essential. Retailers have recognised that the edgy styling can be adapted for the girls with a more feminine fit, and that relaxed doesn't have to mean completely oversized. A simple but bold-hued court shoe definitely works with the turned-up hems on these jeans.

Shop the look...

Dorothy Perkins top
£27 -

MOTHER destroyed jeans
£255 -

Humble Chic art deco necklace
£29 -