Top Of The Pop-Ups

Top Of The Pop-Ups

I love this teaser facade on Clarins' new pop-up beauty shop, opening this week.
Pop-up shops don't usually get me excited: there's never much to do and it's all just a bit of hot marketing air. However, this one does because there's plenty on offer and it's geared towards skincare newbies who don't want to commit to buying before they've had some professional guidance (ideal if you're shelling out for a wedding and can't afford to make a mistake). It opens on Thursday Feb 17 for nine days. Here's what you'll get when you visit:

- A sneak peek at the new Daily Energizer skincare range. I've actually had a preview myself: there's a selection of three moisturisers (gel-cream, lotion or cream) plus a great cleanser and toner all designed to perk up city-dulled skin and prevent ageing. It's affordable and feels gorgeous on the skin, and it visibly brightens one's complexion. Tick tick tick!

- Free skincare advice and samples. Having a professional beauty therapist give you personalised advice is absolutely essential before making any kind of purchase. Take advantage girls.

- Free facials! Seriously! Every day, there will be six free appointments available for a fabulous 40-minute Energy Recharger facial (on a first come basis) plus 12 more slots with a £10 redeemable booking fee.

- Guest appearances by two of my favourite beauty gurus. On Wednesday Feb 23, from 1-6pm, meet celebrity tanning expert James Read for his amazing tricks and tips. On Thursday Feb 24, from 1-6pm, meet celebrity nail technician David Barton for nail advice and mini manicures.

- More freebies! Apart from the excellent facials, advice and guests, there's a complimentary Juice & Cappuccino Bar plus a brilliant Clarins' canvas shopping bag that's yours for free when you purchase any of the new products.

My advice? Aim for a morning slot to avoid the lunchtime rush and make sure you test out the Daily Energizer Gel-Cream - it's a perfect summer wedding day moisturiser because it sinks straight in and primes skin for make-up.

Clarins Pop-Up shop: 10a Blandford Street, London W1U 4AZ (020 73076798). From Thursday February 17 until Saturday February 26 2011. See the full Clarins range at www.clarins.com  

Midnight Secrets

Midnight Secrets

There is a fun little network of beauty editors, writers and assistants on Twitter where we share our latest product obsessions and office reflections, but this week reveals a bit of a worrying conversation thread. It seems that everyone is going through a rough patch of trans-seasonal sleep deprivation. We are all very healthy and happy souls who practice what we preach (keep fit.. soak in aromatherapy baths.. exfoliate once a week.. rub in cuticle oil in front of Glee) but for some reason we're all sleeping badly. Either we're suddenly up in the middle of the night for no reason, or waking up feeling unrested even after seven hours straight.
If you're in the same boat (and feeling the added pressure from wedding planning), here are some helpful tips that have been retweeted this week:

"Don't drink water for at least an hour before bedtime or you'll need to 'go' in the middle of the night!"

"Try a black-out eye mask - the earlier daylight in the morning can be confusing"

"Earplugs and Dr Stuart's Valerian Tea (www.victoriahealth.com). Works a treat."

"A friend gave me Champney's Sleep Spray (www.champneys.com), which I was sceptical about but it worked with me. I've also used Farmacia Sleep Spray in the past (www.urbanpath.com)"

"Try Dr Bach's Night Rescue Remedy (www.boots.com). It really works!"

"If I don't drink alcohol I really do wake up feeling so much better."

"Avoid bread and stodgy food like pasta and mashed potato at dinner time. It'll induce sleep, but you'll wake up feeling like a ton of bricks"

"Do your workout in the morning rather than after work - otherwise you're body is on an endorphin high for a good four hours afterwards so it'll stop you from drifting to sleep"

Follow me at www.twitter.com/alicedp and Brides at www.twitter.com/bridesmagazine and share your beauty dilemmas!

A Spa Cry From Reality

A Spa Cry From Reality

Lucknam Park Hotel is situated on the edge of the classically pretty village of Colerne six miles outside Bath. The long drive stretches up to the 17th century main house that fronts the breathtaking 500 acre estate. This secluded venue offers an ideal setting for weddings, spa breaks or simply an indulgent weekend away with a loved one.

Lucknam Park's spa boasts a twenty-metre swimming pool lined by daybeds, and thermal cabins sit just behind - the pick of which has to be the Japanese Salt Room complete with horizontal marble chairs to sink into. Particular appreciation must be paid to the indoor-cum-outdoor Jacuzzi separated by an electronic sliding window. Enjoy the sharp fresh air whilst bobbing idly amongst Jacuzzi bubbles and taking in the magnificent rural view - a moment of relaxation you'll urge yourself to bank for when you are back at your office desk.

The tranquillity of the pool area continues through to the treatment rooms, where an abundance of spa staff are on-hand to politely welcome guests. Waiting time is non-existent before being whisked off to one of the numerous therapy rooms. Music is tailored to your preference during your treatment, whether it be Beethoven's Adagio or more traditional spa music. The Anne Semonin facial is a must (which ironically begins with a hot towel being wrapped around the feet), and the relaxation room is available after treatments to unwind further still. Take this opportunity to sip herbal teas whilst overlooking the immaculate gardens of Lucknam Park. Pampering perfection. Find out more and book at www.lucknampark.co.uk

The ONLY Royal Wedding Link Worth Mentioning!

The ONLY Royal Wedding Link Worth Mentioning!

Completely un-beauty related, but I couldn't resist.

My childhood was defined by Sylvanian Families. Every fortnight my mum and I would walk to Gordon's, the local toyshop in Barnes, so I could pick one new item for my collection. Whatever was new, I had to have; from the elegant grandfather clock to mini croissants for my bakery, a palomino pony for my stable or a baby racoon with his own milk bottle and blue babygrow. My best friend Katie and I used to build entire villages in our bedrooms and spend hours delicately arranging tiny doughnuts on plates, decorating the gypsy caravan and filling the tree-house with my big sister's C&A jewellery. My Sylvanian Families were deeply precious to me and a magical creative outlet (before I discovered boys and cheap rosé).
Every item is still in my parents' loft room, but I'm afraid they might now have to squeeze a new set into the box. For there's a new Family in town and they're here to party.
The Sylvanian Wedding Set is by far the funniest and most ridiculous tenuous off-shoot of the Royal Wedding marketing machine but I've fallen hook, line and sinker. Even the accompanying press release is bonkers:

"With weddings very much the flavour of the year, Sylvanian Families is launching the fabulous Sylvanian Wedding Set complete with William Balmoral (groom) and his beautiful bride Catherine. This shining couple will exchange their vows in front of the Reverent Kelvin Waters, surrounded by the gorgeous bridesmaids Amelia and Louise and cheeky little page boy James."

Love. Love. Love. If I was 12 I would have begged my mum for the whole set. And if was planning my wedding this year, of all years, I'd have had these on top of my wedding cake or dotted around the top table as a tongue-in-cheek nod to Kate & Wills.

The set arrive in stores nationwide in April (we'll keep you posted via our www.twitter.com/bridesmagazine page) and costs £24.99.

Something tells me the Brides' beauty desk might get a royal visit soon.