Boys Won't Cry

Boys Won't Cry

Jason Shankey, the UK's leading male grooming expert, is launching a range of new men's shaving and skincare products that every groom should have in his boudoir. To showcase the collection, I was invited to bring a male guinea pig friend to Jason's Fulham barbershop and watch him perform a traditional wet shave.

So, now I'm torn: half of me is seriously impressed and very excited, but the other half feels jealous and bratty. Here's why.

A) Jason is a sweetheart. He was fun and friendly, and performed an elegant Luxury Hot Towel Shave (£32) on my be-stubbled friend. It was clean, precise and quick - and fascinating to watch may I add ('Shave with the grain,' was the tip of the day)

B) The new products are great. There are six items (£13 - £16) including a face scrub, mattifying moisturiser and hair styling paste, designed to be used consecutively in just 10 minutes. They're scented with a fresh-woody-warm-gingery fragrance that's grown-up and very sexy - without that synthetic zesty-toilet-cleaner spike that so many brands insist men want.

C) There are bespoke packages for grooms and their attendants, so they could all pile in for shaves and champagne on the wedding morning and emerge looking (and smelling) delicious.

So my problem is this: it's the most fun spa I've ever been to. But it's for boys. They've got a putting green outside for goodness sake. There's free beer in the fridge and Kasabian on the sound system. In the summer, while you enjoy an alfresco manicure, they'll project movies and sports on the garden wall. Where are all these perks for us girls? All we get are bells and Buddahs and perhaps, perhaps, a cup of lemon water. What I'd like is a glass of Chablis in a pretty garden and watch High Society whilst my pedicure dries.

Jason's got it right: mix pleasure with pleasure. If you secretly wish your groom was more groomed, or if he's toying with the idea of pre-wedding pampering but runs at the sound of panpipe muzak, I honestly can't think of anywhere more appealing to send him. I just wish we could stay too.

Head to www.jasonshankey.com for more information.

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Tea Time Timeout

Tea Time Timeout

Coming to the west end for a spot of wedding shopping? Good luck.
I don't mean that in a nasty way, it just never turns out as simple or stress-free as one would hope. But, there is a place to rest your soles and souls post-pavement pounding so if your day turns from giddy to god-awful head to one of my favourite hideouts on earth, the Miller Harris fragrance boutique just off Bond Street in London.
Being a perfume shop, you can search for your signature scent from nose Lyn Harris' exquisite collection (Oh my precious L'Air de Rien, I'll never forget our first encounter) and embellish it with delicious body products and candles.
Last year, the boutique introduced a little pop-up tearoom, which became such a hit it is now here for good. It's a place to release your dainty little finger as you bite into teeny tiny rose-laced cupcakes, sip delicate aromatic teas (blended by Lyn) such as Thé Petales and Thé Violette, and gasp at why you ever, EVER, dared buy perfume from anywhere else.
Lately there's a new offering on the tearoom menu, called Ruinart Rose Champagne and I had the pleasure of meeting her the other day. Soft and romantic, she tastes like the rosebud lip balm of a Degas ballerina. And how pretty does it all look through the unforgiving lens of my iPhone?
If there was ever a place to recharge your bridal batteries after a day spent squeezing your ribs into corsets, arguing with mother and missing crucial phonecalls from suppliers, set your relaxation radar to 21 Bruton Street, Mayfair, W1J 6QD.
See www.millerharris.com for more details.

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Spring/Summer 2010 Hair Trends

Spring/Summer 2010 Hair Trends

Sticking to the classics is usually a good rule of thumb when it comes to bridal beauty and wedding hairstyles; however there is nothing wrong with keeping an eye on the latest trends too. A regular behind the scenes at the Designer Wedding Show, we spoke to top stylist Niki Moores from premier hair salon Michael Van Clarke to find out what she predicts will be the must-wear hair trends for spring/summer 2010 - the season of the 'perfectly imperfect' look...

"Hair is coming into an era of 'perfectly imperfect'." says Niki, "Texture is key and even glamorous looks are being executed with a raw edge."

Ballet Classics - Undone ballerina buns were seen all over the catwalks at the spring/summer 2010 shows. A playful representation of youth; put it where you want it, high or low or on the side - just make sure it's not too sleek. Play around with different textures for a variation on the look.
Celebrity hair inspiration: Jennifer Lopez at the Oscars 2010

Volume and texture - Be inspired by the strong Eighties trend around at the moment. Spring is all about liberation after months of being under wraps, so show off your hair to its potential. Try any texture - crimped, wavy or even tight curls - but make sure it's big by using volumising products and a touch of back combing to create height and width.
Celebrity hair inspiration: Julia Roberts at the Golden Globes 2010

Colour - Spring/summer 2010 will definitely be blonde, blonde, blonde! Think peaches and cream, caramel, toffee and other softer, warm colours to break up the harshness that a strong blonde can sometimes have. Also try faded and washed out coppers and reds. Like the texture of the hair this season, colour should not be too perfect.
Celebrity hair inspiration: Cameron Diaz at the Oscars 2010

Find out more about the Michael Van Clarke salon and wedding hair services at www.vanclarke.com

Pedi Perfection

Pedi Perfection

Now that spring is (finally!) upon us, I'm starting to go sans-socks and wearing all my trans-seasonal ballet shoes and high heels. But while I always keep my feet moisturised and pedicured, they were in need of a little more TLC for their new public outings so this week I went to have one of my favourite treatments of all time: the Margaret Dabbs pedicure.
This is no quickie file'n'polish. This is a proper chiropody pedicure where all manners of surgical tools and gadgets are use from scalpels to sanders to buff everything off your skin and nails, leaving one's feet truly perky and pretty. In under an hour, my feet looked healthier, younger and even slimmer, without any unsightly cuticles or dry skin. The treatment is suitable for those with more serious pedi dilemmas too (my amazing therapist Tamara says she loves a 'challenging' foot!).
They've just introduced a nail polish service too, making this the best ever pre-wedding pedicure I've come across as they will remain gorgeous beyond your honeymoon.
Margaret (the company founder) also has a range of excellent footcare products like soaks, serums and scrubs made from organic emu oil (harvested humanely from underneath the bird's feathers), which has incredible moisturising and protective benefits.
You can have her treatment at Harrods' Urban Retreat, her luxurious clinic in New Cavendish Street and two other London locations, so if you're coming to town for a day of dress-fittings it's an absolute essential pedi-pit-stop!

Margaret Dabbs pedicure, from £75 for 45 minutes
Visit www.margaretdabbs.co.uk for clinic details and product purchases.