Peace of Mind

Peace of Mind

I recently had a desk-visit from Davina Peace, a very inspiring and refreshing woman who has created her own eponymous range of organic bodycare and homeware products. If you're looking for something luxurious to prep your skin with for your wedding but would prefer to buy something with a conscience, this will be right up your street. Although I have to admit, at the very beginning it wasn't up mine...

I get a lot of these types of visits and I have lost count of the number of organic and natural brands that have crossed my path. They are usually made by a woman (or a husband+wife combo) over a stove in a kitchen in a pretty cottage in the countryside, because they needed a cream for their very dry skin and couldn't find anything that wasn't natural. Then their friends wanted it. Then dad gave them a bit of money and they put a label on it. Then they designed a website. That's when they come to me, and as lovely and sweet as the story sounds I'm afraid I've heard it too many times. Unfortunately these brands simply don't deliver the results needed to justify their £50+ pricetag, and (as I've had to misfortune to witness), only last a few months on a shelf in a pharmacy then get dropped and go into administration because no one is re-purchasing. The product meanwhile is on one of my pages (because I trusted their claims and thought some readers would love to discover it) but by the time the magazine arrives in the letterbox, the brand has fallen off the face of the planet and my readers are left confused. So when I was asked if I could meet Davina, you can understand why the shields were up.

Well, I'm pleased to report that Harrods have taken her on, which makes me feel confident this is a brand with long-term potential. I've also tried some of the products and they really are fantastic. I know these things are subjective, but the body cream kept my skin extremely soft all day through to the following morning, and the body oil is clearly very high quality as it sunk into my skin rather than leaving a greasy slick. The hand cream (currently number 1 on my desk) is light but quenching and the scent throughout the range is fresh, lemony, herbal and clean. It's decadent too: think chic glass bottles and jars, heavy lids and the most gorgeous packaging I've ever seen (everything comes boxed and bagged in ethical www.Turtlebags.co.uk).

Speaking of ethical, this is one of the brand's key USPs. Every ingredient is either organic or fair-trade and all the components of the packaging are considered, from the vegetable starch glue to seal the boxes to the recyclable jars and lids.
I particularly like Davina's organic candles. They're named after simple ideas rather than specific ingredients (like Memory 3: Spiced Punch on a Winter's Afternoon) and would work beautifully within a wedding reception depending on your theme or season. Even the wick is organic and doesn't contain that little wire thread that I've seen in many organic candles (to keep the wick straight), which ultimately burns and produces hideous carcinogens.
Without sounding contradictory, Davina's own personal story adds passion and value to her mission. You can read about it on her website: www.davinapeace.com. It's a really elegant website actually, which I know sounds a bit shallow but I think it's so important for a brand's reputation.
And thankfully, there isn't a stewing pot in sight.

Buy online at www.davinapeace.com or from Harrods, London.

 

Weleda Body Wash Giveaway

Weleda Body Wash Giveaway

Does this sound like a typical wedding-planning day? Early morning phonecall from mum wanting all her friends to sit near the top table; your caterer telling you the bar staff are on strike and you need to call a temping agency; your hairdresser's double-booked and she's sending her junior instead. It's enough to make you want to call off the whole thing, or more likely, lock yourself away in the bathroom with a massive glass of wine in a lavender haze. Well, whilst we can't help you tame your Mumzilla, we can help with the at-home spa sanctuary by giving you a delicious relaxing treat.

The lovely people at Weleda (the eco-friendly, biodynamic and fair-trade beauty brand) have 100 LAVENDER CREAMY BODY WASHES to give away and we can't think of a better product to take the pre-wedding edge off.
The 200ml body wash, worth £7.50, is made from organic lavender and organic sesame seed oil providing protective anti-oxidants, plus skin-friendly natural cleansers. The gentle pH-balanced creamy wash nourishes skin leaving it refreshed and moisturised, while the relaxing scent lingers and keeps therapeutic benefits going for hours.

Simply email your NAME and POSTAL ADDRESS to alice.duparcq@condenast.co.uk (with 'WELEDA' in the subject box) and the first 100 names will be sent one of these gorgeous body washes.
Good luck!

Ushvani Spa

Ushvani Spa

Tucked away on a quiet street in Chelsea, Ushvani is a serene sanctuary in truly luxurious surroundings. Soft lighting and a calming scent fill the tranquil space - a listed building with beautiful original features and Malaysian furnishings - where staff greet guests with herbal teas and warm hospitality. The south-east Asian-inspired treatment menu includes Malay, Balinese and Thai massage, speciality wraps, scrubs and facials, given using a range of products developed exclusively for the spa. For the ultimate luxury, choose the full body experience: the treatment starts with a full body scrub to remove dead skin cells and leave skin supple and soft, followed by a customised massage, and concludes with a cosseting full body wrap to deeply nourish skin. Designed to relax the mind and restore vitality, therapies are tailored specifically to your needs and are given in stunning treatment rooms. The Asmara suite is an exotic oasis for couples; it has its own sunken stone bath and treatments are given side by side - the perfect way for bride and groom to relax before the big day. There is a minimum booking time of 90 minutes for all body treatments, prices from £130; Asmara suite £620. To book call 0207 730 2888 or visit www.ushvani.com.

Going Traditional

Going Traditional

This week, Gareth Lindsay our resident fashion assistant heads to The Refinery in Harrods for a traditional wet shave for his upcoming usher duties at a friend's wedding.

I'm sitting in a leather barber's chair in The Refinery in Harrods about to experience my first ever wet shave. Having spent the last couple of weeks investigating the world of the wet shave, my expectation for a razor sharp new 1950's-inspired look have suddenly been replaced with images of Sweeney Todd. At best I will leave nervous; at worst I leave looking like I've done a round with Ricky Hatton.

Male grooming had until this moment been somewhat an enigma, a fearful metrosexual maze of over-plucked eyebrows or the ultimate back, sack and crack by a junior beautician.
But whilst attending an usher's meeting for my friend's wedding, we were shocked by how many of us had never been taught how to shave. A sportsman hero endorsing a 5-blade pimped out razor and a can of foam was as close as anyone had got to a cracking the shaving code.

This was not the order of the day at The Refinery: Rafik my Algerian barber was about to change all of this. Taught from the age of twelve I was in experienced hands.
The first lesson is that prepping is key to a good shave - with my face wrapped in a hot towel to soften my beard hair and lift the London grime from my pores, I was ready for step two. A few drops of The Refinery Shave Oil were massaged vigorously in upwards strokes to cover every hair and create warmth for a smooth application.

Next came a well-lathered badger shaving brush which gently lifts the hairs and exfoliates the skin in preparation for the shave. The main pleasure so far was the speed and charm at which my face was being prepared. While looking up at the original 1930's art deco ceiling in the basement of Harrods this time it was not the desire for an escape route occupying my mind but one of relaxation and ease. My head was gently tilted with accuracy from one side to the other. At first I was unsure if the shave had started - it all felt so smooth and continuous without a drag or pull insight.

This smooth technique was helped by Rafik using his fingers to map out the direction of my beard growth, which from home-shaving looks as close to spaghetti hair junction as you can get. Identifying the direction of growth eliminates in-growing hairs and razor rash. The razor ducked in and out of the dimple in my chin with complete precision and skill.

Next my face was prepped for the second application of shave cream. Shaving against the hair growth will ensure a close shave so any lip-locking on the day will leave your bride blushing not bashed. Holding my skin taught with short strokes, Rafik cleaned the blade of the razor after every stroke for a totally smooth '5 o' clock shadow'-free face that had long been a thing of the past.
My shave was finished with a facial massage to tighten and tone the face, then an ice cold towel to close the pores and invigorate my skin.
My reflection impressed even this jaded grooming junkie. Pleasure and perfection a hard combination to beat!

Find out more at www.the-refinery.com or www.urbandretreat.com.