TLC STAYCATION: Ham Yard Hotel with Sisley Paris

I recently was utterly spoilt, spending two glorious nights at Soho' s Ham Yard Hotel as a tourist in my own town, courtesy of Sisley Paris. The entire experience had my eyes on stalks (and my fingers on my Instagram!) as it was certainly the most colourful, chic and fun few days I’ve spent in a long time...

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When I told my sister and friends I was to be working with Sisley Paris they were all incredibly jealous, as the brand is a much loved staple on their bathroom shelves and in their make up bags. Founded in 1976 by Hubert d’Ornano, Sisley Paris is known far and wide for its innovative cosmetic and skincare products, using a combination of phytotherapy and aromatherapy. The plant extracts and essential oils are perfect for sensitive skin, such as my own, and I was really excited to try the amazing samples left for me in my hotel room (alongside their accompanying Biscuiteer replicas!) upon my arrival at Ham Yard Hotel.

Above:  Checking into the Ham Yard Hotel, with my two of my most favourite and trusted travel companions; My Bric Bellagio Suitcase and my personalised Tephi Garment Bag.

I fell crazy in love with Ham Yard Hotel.  I’m sure you could see on my Instagram account, Kit Kemp’s magnificently vibrant, British interiors are a social media dream.  You feel like you in a Wes Anderson film and everywhere you look there is something unpredictable and eclectic which catches your eye.  From the butterfly and drift wood crocodile decorated dance floor, the bowling alleys, the neon signs, quirky art and the television IN MY BATHTUB (below right), it was a total joy to refer to this hotel as ‘home’ for two nights… As a consequence, my once fabulous flat down the road from this hotel, now seems just a wee bit ‘Meh!’ 

Above:  Wes Anderson, much?! Just call me Margot...

Above:  Wes Anderson, much?! Just call me Margot...

Above:  Driftwood crocodiles and 3D butterflies on the dance floor, next to the bowling alleys (below). Just amazingly fun. 

Over the course of the two days we got to dine at THREE of my favourite restaurants in London; the suntrap that is Petersham Nurseries, the celebrity trap that is Chiltern Firehouse and the delicious taco haven that is La Bodega Negra. I know… My job does NOT suck (#SorryNotSorry) and despite being just a few days late to spot pre-Oscar Leo at Chiltern, it was great to chat with the other bloggers and the Sisley Paris girls in such fun locations over one (or three) cocktails. London at it’s very best! 

The beautiful  Petersham Nurseries  (Petersham Rd, Richmond TW10)

Above/Below:  Too soon for rosé  ? Not when at the Petersham Nurseries (Petersham Rd, Richmond TW10).

Below:  The obligatory shot taken in the ladies at Chiltern Firehouse (1 Chiltern St, London W1U).

The obligatory shot taken at  Chiltern Firehouse  (1 Chiltern St, London W1U)

Above/Below:  With the formidable Juliet Longuet and the rest of the lovely GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS at La Bodega Negra (9 Old Compton St, London W1D).

We spent our second day all together at Christine d’Ornano’s S.T.U.N.N.I.N.G West London home.  It turns out I’m actually neighbours with the glamorous Global Vice President of Sisley International, and let me tell you, there isn’t a house nearby I’d prefer to turn up at to borrow some sugar!  After a presentation introducing us to the brand, revealing it’s family-run history, and demonstrations showing us the latest Sisley Paris skincare and cosmetic additions to the brand, Christine hosted a delicious lunch for us.  

After lunch, behind velvet doors (when I grow up I'm having these in my house!) we were all given a make over, using Sisley Paris products, by the fabulously talented British make up artist, Tania Grier

 I was very impressed by all the naturally active products I tried, and by their chic aesthetic (obviously being from Africa the zebra print had an obvious appeal!) but there were obviously always gong to be some favourites which I thought I would share with you...

1.  Black Rose Cream Mask (RRP. £95.50):  My sister had already warned me this would become a ‘must have’ after I’d used it once, and she was right.  Known as a cult product in France for it’s nourishing, rich anti-aging benefits, you apply a generous layer for up to fifteen minutes before blotting away any residue (of which I had none of because my greedy face ate it all – yum!)

2.  Phyto-Lip Twists (RRP £29.00) I am well known for loving a bright lip, day and night, so these were always going to be a real winner for me.  Appearing like a tinted balm, but with the strong pigment of a lipstick, and the shine factor of a lip gloss these fun, chubby Lip Twists are as hydrating as they are long lasting. Ideal and in my handbag at all times. 

3.  Phyto-Eye Twists (RRP. £29.00):  I love how easy these are to apply, and they are perfect to use either as a thick eye-liner or a smudgy smokey eye. Enriched with plant-based active ingredients, so your delicate eyelids are protected, the Eye Twists are waterproof and available in multiple colours which all compliment each other so well (you’ll end up purchasing quite a few…) but Lagoon and Topaze were my faves. 


4.  All Day All Year Moisturiser (RRP. £236.00): Jam packed full of antioxidants like Apple Skin Extract and White Willow Extract, this heavenly product shields your face pollution, sun, and every day environmental toxins. Swoooon… My hero! 

TLC ON TOUR... SOHO SUITCASE:


(Click on the items below for their direct links)

Thank you Sisley Paris! Bisous xx

Mother's Day Gift Guide 2016

I never thought I would ever find myself on a Monday evening flower arranging with some fellow bloggers, let alone actually enjoy it as much as I did.  I was invited by Bloom & Wild (the through the letter box florist I’ve come to depend on for gifts) to Hobbs in Covent Garden, for a specialist flower arranging workshop ahead of Mother’s Day this weekend.  Now, not usually one to blow my own trumpet, but c’moonnnnnn… HOW beautiful is my bouquet?! (*I shall now available for weddings and bar mitzvahs, naturally…)  

As my Mother lives in Africa, she will have to make do with this photograph of the flowers that shoulda-woulda-coulda have been hers (but are instead are sitting looking heavenly in my flat!) but you and your mum can attend the workshop on Sunday yourselves by booking tickets HERE.

For some extra spoiling for your Mummy dearest/beautiful Baby Mama, hover over the items below...

All She Wants For Christmas 2016

It's THAT time again folks; The mad dash to buy your loved ones gifts and the mad hope that they in return take a look at this page (handily left open on their desktop, iPhone and iPad...) before using their own initiative and buying you anything...!  Hover over the items for their direct links. 

Above:  Missoma's beautiful Gold Half Infinity Rings look stunning stacked. (RRP. £65.00)

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Above:  Bespoke womenswear label Tephi’s tailor made, personalized Tephi Garment Bag has made transporting your Sunday Best a whooole lot chicer.  With zipped compartments for your dresses and shoes, this is both stylish AND practical... #WinWin (RRP. £175.00)

Above:  Elizabeth Scarlett's distinctive embroidered Velvet Cushions, inspired by her many colourful travels, make beyond gorgeous additions to any home. (RRP. £55.00)

Above:  The Penmayne of London midnight blue Willow Fedora with a leather and guinea fowl feather – utterly chic. Have the silk lining initialed for that added touch. (RRP. £319.00)

Above:  The gift of some Bliss UK pampering and peace... I mean, the dreeeeeam.

Above:  The most beautiful addition to your home is a Feu de Beaumont candle. Each heavenly smelling candle (my favourite is Feu de Bois) comes with a gold-plated lid which can be engraved.  (RRP. £59.00)

The Net-a-Porter Clearance Sale

Despite having the most fantastic time on a recent trip to the U.S, I was aware I was missing the sales back in the U.K... Well thank tha'Lord for the internet!  One night I found myself, as I'm sure many of you also do, glazing over the collections on Net-a-Porter.  Usually I create the most sensational of shopping baskets, see the immense final total, laugh heartily, close my Ipad and fall asleep... However, on this occasion I nearly choked when I saw the teal coloured Bella Freud 'Je T'aime Jane' jumper, the one I had several times forcibly removed from my oh-so-very-near-possession, staring back at me with a JOLLY reasonable price attached to it in the sale!  Treating myself, I arrived back from the Americas to a wonderfully wrapped, 'Dear Kelly, Love Kelly,' post-holiday-blues pressie, one which I imagined I would have to wait several months to wear.  I seemingly forgot how unpredictable the Great British Summer could be!!  With the grisley weather we've been experiencing in the capital this week, I found the prime opportunity to debut my new purchase (below, worn with Forever 21 dungarees and Topshop Brogues).  'Every cloud' so they say! 

Yet ANOTHER happy surprise was to receive an email this morning notifying me of the Net-a-Porter clearance sale.  I looked, I squealed, I purchased.  Below are some of my favourite items that are, as of right now, still available (everything is selling out QUICK though!) Hover over the item and click on through!

TLC Vacation: The Peninsula Paris

When I was young, growing up in Africa, I dreamed of Paris.  Nothing much has changed, as my ever-increasing collection of Breton striped tee’s, daily use of red lipstick and a flat peppered with French objet d’art will attest to (I have an actual Eiffel Tower shaped lamp made from an old olive oil bottle I’m particularly proud of!)  In short, I regularly imagine that I actually am un petit French fille and subsequently have supremely high expectations of Paris and visit there with extreme caution to avoid any disappointment.  You can therefore only imagine how quickly I said OUI when I was asked to travel first class on the Eurostar and stay at the Peninsula Paris for two nights. 

Above:  Distracting myself from my overwhelmingly naked passport with a handful of magazines (does EVERY blogger apart from me have a monogrammed Louis Vuitton passport cover?!)

After a 4 year, £341 MILLION makeover, the five-star Peninsula Paris, the first Peninsula in Europe, swung its gloriously immaculate doors open at the end of last year.  The original building, which dates back to 1908, is steeped in artistic and political history, with George Gershwin penning ‘An American in Paris’ within its walls in 1928 to housing the Nazi military command whilst Paris was occupied during WW2.  Located across an entire block near to the Arc de Triomph and Champs Elysees, the hotel now boasts 200 suites (starting at £800 a night), 34 suites, a penthouse suite with its own lavish rooftop garden (a mere £20,000 a night), an underground spa and 20m swimming pool, 600 incredible staff and a fleet of BMWs, Mini Coopers and two Rolls-Royces.  Yes. I was also wondering how I managed to bluff my way past their uniformed bell boys and polished, marbled lobby (Shhhhhhsh... I won’t tell if you don't!) 

After a delicious lunch (above) at the aviation-themed L’Oiseau Bleu, one of the hotel’s six bars and restaurants, named after an early French biplane and with 360˚ views of Paris, I made my way to my room.  And by room, I mean basic apartment.  Just as immaculate and glossy as the rest of the hotel, my suite had everything I could possibly need, dream of and even more.  From a Nespresso machine, to a hidden printer, a nail-varnish dryer in my dressing room (I’m not even kidding), a television in the bath tub (I had four square-eyed baths during my short stay), Oscar de la Renta amenities, and a state-of-the-art, touchscreen tablet which controlled the lighting, heating, curtains, TV and room service (dangerous!) There were complimentary international calls, a complimentary mini-bar (helllooooo!) and after an immensely busy few weeks collapsing into my giant, sumptuous bed for an afternoon disco-nap was totally dreamy.  

That evening, after cocktails in Bar ‘s randomly brilliant outdoor cabin, I dined at their increasingly famous Cantonese restaurant, LiLi.  The rich interior was inspired by the drama of Chinese and French opera and the food, although not the place I would advise a strict vegetarian to go, is prepared by the fantastic, award-winning Hong Kong chefs in their own impressive Chinese kitchen within the hotel. 

Above:  By the striking ‘Dancing Leaves’ installation consisting of 800 hand-blown twinkling crystals leaves in the hotel’s main lobby.  It really is a truly beautiful sight, especially at night. 

After yet another bath and another (far longer) sleep, the next morning entailed breakfast in the stunning, Belle Epoque’esq Lobby Kléber, where we also later sampled a traditional and spoiling Japanese tea to coincide with Japanese Spring.  After one (ok, two) sugary ‘mini’ kouglofs by the hotel’s award winning pastry chef, I went to a chocolate workshop in the impressive kitchens.  My diet when left unsupervised… WOW.  There was a real moment I actually anticipated rolling back to London…     

So frequently on work trips you are so busy running around the city, you are almost unable to enjoy the amazing room you are staying in.  After a couple of super brief spells into town (I say 'super brief' as the weather was super chilly and super wet!) I luckily, after the most relaxing and revitalising hour long, hot–stone ESPA massage in the hotel’s enormous, 1800 sq m spa, and a short spell in the relaxation room, I was able to retire to my suite for an evening of room service, movies and sleeeeeeeep.  After an incredible lie-in, followed by EVEN MORE room-service the next morning (this couldn’t have been more heavenly!) I enjoyed one last delicious lunch with the team.  I felt truly refreshed by the time I headed back to London.  

Thank you to The Peninsula Paris Hotel and Eurostar.

TLC ON TOUR... PARIS SUITCASE:

(Click on the items below for their direct links)

Hello There: Olivia Von Halle

Above:  I was utterly spoiled at Christmas when DG bought me a pair of gorgeous Olivia von Halle silk Coco Pyjamas (RRP. £330.00).  Unfortunately however, all my other pyjamas now pail into insignificance and I only want to wear these silk ones (...high maintenance much?!  Yup.)

Olivia von Halle launched her own luxury nightwear brand in 2011, inspired by the silk pyjamas Coco Chaneland her contemporaries wore in the 1920’s. The beautifully cut pyjamas in an array of stunning prints are now a firm fashionista favourite and are available in over thirty stockists including Harrods and Net-a-Porter.  You can even get them monogrammed These should be high on every girl's wish list - Trust me!
"Why have cotton... When you can have (OvH) silk...!"

Below:  Olivia von Halle's AW'14 collection inspired by Tsarist Russia in the early 20th Century.  Oliva has said, "on a trip to Moscow I was captivated by the extraordinary opulence of the buildings and the way a new generation of women such as Mira Duma and Lena Perminova were putting a chic modern spin on traditional Russian style." 

Oh, and another thing:  Olivia got married in 2008 wearing a pink skin-tight catsuit (awesome) and has a dog called Bathtub (who I am mildly obsessed with on Instagram!) 

 

 Olivia Von HalleOlivia von Halle Silk PyjamasSilk PyjamasHarrodsNet-a-PorterThe London ChatterTsarist RussiaOpulent,Sleep WearSilk Sleepwear

 

 

Valentines Day Gift Guide 2013

Above (Clockwise) L-R:  Topshop Iris Print Dress - RRP. £42.00, Rosie for Autograph Rose Bra and Brazilian Knickers - RRP. £22.50 & £12.50,  REN Moroccan Rose Bath Oil at ASOS - RRP. £30.00,  Fabulous Frocks at Waterstones - RRP. £14.99 £13.49, Miu Miu Sunglasses - RRP. £225.00,  Harvey Nichols Valentines Hamper - RRP. £70.00

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All I Want For Christmas Is....

All I want for Christmas is you... And this... And maybe a few of these... Oh, and this too...

Above Clockwise (L-R):  Sophia Rogge Silk Scarfs - £190.00 or £270 for personalised, Plates from Anthropologie - £16.00 - £26.00, Anya Hindmarch Studded Leather Cosmetic Case - £225.00. 

Above Clockwise (L-R):  Movies and Music from Amazon... 'Moonrise Kingdom' (DVD) - £11.99, 'Homeland' Season 1 (DVD) - £24.97, 'The Hunger Games' (DVD) - £10.00, Rihanna's 'Unapologetic' (CD) - £8.99, Jake Bugg (CD) - £7.99.

Oh... And World Peace.