This week I have been...
There's never a dull day in this line of work, so I thought I'd share some of what I've been up to in the past week. There's a good deal of sitting at the desk, too, where I seem to spend more time managing emails than actually writing, but this is the fun stuff. I'll try and do this every week but I know what usually happens to most of my brilliant new ideas - they fall by the wayside or get pushed aside because of writing deadlines. We'll see how this goes. Tell me if it's interesting, and what you'd like to hear more about.
1) ...learned why dolphin skin is so smooth
Bet you didn't know that a dophin's skin exfoliates itself completely every two hours, which is what keeps it so smooth (they shed it more or less continuously, to help them glide through the water). That startling little by-the-way came from cosmetic doctor Dr Ravi Jain, who was giving a talk about skincare at the super-luxe Connaught Hotel for the launch of a new super-luxe, organic 'youth-sustaining' skincare range called Vetia Mare, from Pure Swiss Aesthetics (which is based on jellyfish collagen and other marine ingredients and is bracingly expensive - from £65 for a cleanser to £340 for the products in the four-week 'Rejuvanessence' programme, and Dr Jain stocks the products at his clinic, which is why he was doing the talk. Hope you're still with me).
2) ...tried Facial Pilates, the no-effort facial workout
Discovering 'facial Pilates' was a big treat: I thought this might be some sort of face workout like Eva Fraser's, but in fact it's a luxurious facial that Decleor is starting to bring into its salons which incorporates some new moves conjured up by the company's massage development specialist Chico Shigeta that give the face a warm-up, workout and stretch. I didn't know quite what to expect but was completely blown away by how wonderful it was - not least because I was in the expert hands of Laura Ford (below) who is Decleor's training and education consultant. I hadn't realised (shame on me) that all Decleor facials start with a back massage, and after that it's massage all the way on the face, neck, shoulders and arms, with a succession of products that are full of essential oils - so they smell amazing and it was a real, sensorial-overload sort of indulgence. I think also, I've become so used to 'medical' facials that are buffing and peeling and extracting and whatnot -- very effective but not relaxing -- that I'd rather forgotten just how wonderful this sort of pampering can be. But it's also hugely effective at knocking tension out of the face, sharpening up the jawline and lifting droopy cheeks into a livelier shape. The treatment is being rolled out through Decleor salons from now - there's a location-finder for salons on the website, here.
3)... took at peek at W1 Wellness - a new cosmetic clinic with a free 'rescue' centre
Because I write a lot about facial aesthetics and cosmetic work and try a lot of the treatments, I'm always trying to get out and meet practitioners and look around new clinics - which is how I came to meet Dr Amanda Wong-Powell. She's a cosmetic doctor and has just opened a new clinic called W1 Wellness (link here) on Queen Anne Street, just off Harley Street in London.
She's working with the lovely Dr Terry Loong and has close links with surgeons to whom she can refer patients if what they need is something more than she can offer with needles and thread-lifts. She says she does a lot of thread-lifts, and that when it comes to fillers and Botox, what most of her clients want is 'tweakment' - the sort of mini-adjustments that soften their lines or gently fill out their face without creating any alarming sudden changes. That way the client is happy, their friends just think they look good rather than different and it's easy to do more if it's needed.
I also love that she has a 'rescue clinic' once a month where, free of charge, she will trouble-shoot and treat people who have had bad work done elsewhere. As she points out, where possible, people should go back to the practitioner who did the original treatment but if that is someone who is unqualified, or who the patient no longer trusts, then she is there to help.
4) caught up with Calmia
If you're as old as me you might remember Calmia, the holistic wellness centre that used to be up the top end of Marylebone High Street in the days when people used to wonder exactly where Marylebone was because it was cool but they hadn't actually been there. Calmia was set up by the lovely Lucy Wakefield, a former journalist and exercise trainer and keen yogi, and had treatment rooms as well as all the clothing and products you could want for a more serene way of life even if you didn't actually do yoga or pilates.
At the time it seemed bang on trend though looking back, I'd say it was way ahead of its time, given how we still haven't quite reached peak 'athleisure'. But I digress. The shop is no more but the company is going strong (website here) with great clothing and lots of lovely products like this thing, below...
This is a super-light travel mat, with one soft absorbent side (and the Calmia waterlily design) and grippy eco-rubber on the base. It's really thin so it doesn't offer much in the way of padding but for when you don't have space to pack a whole mat but want something to practise on that has better grip than a towel, it looks just the ticket. Or you could take it to classes and layer it over a studio mat to give you your own, fresh surface. It goes in the washing machine, too, but not the tumble dryer, obvs.