Thoroughly Modern Mrs: A Transformative Experience in Chiswick

Feeling clapped-out, broke and blue post Christmas, a bizarre haircut and increasingly baggy features fuelled my growing sense of inadequacy and of being generally unfit for human society. Not wanting to look at myself, I didn’t want others to either and had taken to going out with the dog on her unavoidable twice daily walks under cover of darkness, – happily not so hard in winter. Then two things happened that changed everything.

One was bumping into the magician Tanya Christianssen of Nordic Beauty Services and the other was a meeting with an extraordinary hairdresser Robert Boca, who uses scissors like Michaelangelo used a paintbrush.

Tanya has featured in these pages before, but she has a new machine. It works like a time machine, not in a ‘zoom forward fifty years’ kind of way, but in a wonderful ‘look as you did when you had TONS OF COLLAGEN and were VITAL’ kind of way. She was realistic. “Elizabeth you really need a course of treatments, but for today I can make you look refreshed and rejuvenated and at least help you feel better.” And she did, using an infra-red laser thing on my face which felt warm and comforting and made a lovely soft ‘glooping’ noise. And the impact on my “it’s all over for me,” mood was instant.

Nordic Beauty Chiswick

But it was on a pre-Tanya walk with Nellie-the-Wonder-Dog, in strong winds and driving rain that I spotted Nic Ladha the hairdressers, lit up and inviting across the green. So Nellie and I soaking and bedraggled made our way to the salon. It was after six, and gratifyingly empty save for one man, so we went in, creating two puddles on the floor where we stood. The salon was snug, comfortable and welcoming, as inviting inside as it had looked from outside in the storm.

The man told me his name was Robert and asked how he might help. I said: “I’d like a long layered bob.” He looked at me with some surprise. The last time I’d been to a hairdresser on the High St. I explained, “I asked for the same thing and came out with what looked like a short back and sides by way of a pudding bowl.”

I neglected to say that since then, given the amount of times this scenario has similarly repeated itself in various salons –with for me, varying degrees of psychological distress – I’d taken matters into my own hands and simply cut it myself.

“Take a seat,” he said. “And I’ll show you how we might help it grow into the cut I think you want.” I did. And he did, saying things like. “The weight here needs to be taken out. It’s very uneven.” He was confident, assured and I trusted him immediately.

“Please can you cut it now?” I said. “I have a customer now, he replied. I am really booked up. Can you come back on Friday? I have a cancellation.”

And so returning on Friday, looking more human thanks to Tanya’s time machine, I discovered why Robert is so in demand. He really is a genius with a pair of scissors.

He said: “It’s good you have curly hair. It’s very forgiving. If you had straight hair, you’d have looked very odd with this last cut you had.” This was not the time to own up. And whilst Robert must have wondered who on earth on the High St. was being paid for doing this to people, he didn’t ask.

Robert, I was learning, is a genuinely warm, generous and thoughtful human being. I felt as uplifted from our conversation as I did from the brilliant haircut he so expertly delivered. And in that place, whilst the eponymous owner Nic also chatted quietly with a long time contented client as he coloured her hair, I felt re-connected to the human race. I was restored by the simple pleasure of being there and feeling positively transformed as my hair began to fall beautifully around my face.

I left, still clapped out, but no longer looking it, still broke, but feeling like a million dollars. And not blue. I felt ready to face the world.

Nic Ladha Hairdressers is situated across the Rd. from Turnham Green Station.

Tanya Christenssen :Nordic Beauty Services is just across from Chiswick Park station.

Written by Thoroughly Modern Mrs, Elizabeth Kinder.

Radio Salon, King’s Cross

I visited the original Radio in Shoreditch many years ago, and loved the balance of professionalism and creativity they had in the salon. So I was delighted to return to the newest Radio branch in King’s Cross last week. The salon is found on York Way, nearby to the thriving new Coal Drops Yard and office developments… an area the spacious and buzzy Radio salon fits in with perfectly.

Radio Salon

The space has a zen vibe, even when full of chatting customers. This is thanks to the chic but minimalist design, with potted plants and striking monochrome photography.

Radio SalonRadio Salon

The King’s Cross branch boasts a stylish beauty area, offering manicures and pedicures, waxing and treatments with Margate brand Haeckels. I was well taken care of by the lovely Vanessa, who is the main therapist at Radio King’s Cross.

If you care about beauty brands Haeckels should be on your radar, this natural skincare and wild fragrance company was founded by the sea in Margate in 2012. They use products washed up from sea to make honest and sustainable products that truly work. Though I’d already fallen in love with the brand (on a trip years ago to Margate) I had never had a treatment using the range. In fact, Radio King’s Cross is the main beauty outlet in London using the brand.

My facial took place in one of the cosy treatment rooms at the salon, one hour of totally relaxation. Vanessa used various Haeckels products to cleanse, exfoliate and soothe my skin, removing dead skin, and cleaning my city-clogged pores. I looked and felt so much fresher after an hour of this Haeckels treatment, and vowed to be more mindful with the skincare products I buy in future.

Radio Salon

Whether you want a glass of fizzy or a strong caffeinated drink, the Radio team have got it under control. I was impressed to see a high-tech coffee bar using Allpress Coffee, and I relished the opportunity to have a strong flat white while having my nails done.

All I had to do was choose between varnish or shellac and then Vanessa took care of everything else. My nails were trimmed, filed and moisturised before being immaculately painted in a shade of optimistically summery coral.

Radio Salon

Finally, it was time for my hair appointment. Colouring with the coincidentally named Blue and styling by the super down to earth Birte. Blue chatted to me frankly about my options, and together we decided on a dark brown colour melt, using a toner to soften the red tones of my existing hair colour. Radio use award-winning Redken to colour hair. Blue used a ammonia free semi-permanent colour to change my hair shade whilst also adding healthy vibrancy and shine.

Then it was time for Birte to dry and style my hair. She used tongs to add a waves and bounce to my hair. Once brushed out it looked glamorous but carefree. I wish I had her styling my hair every morning, having my hair curled properly gave me a real confidence boost.

Radio Kings Cross is a one stop wonder for all your hair, beauty and nail needs. I only wish every weekend started with a trip to see the lovely Radio team!

More information and book an appointment at Radio Salon here.

Jade Stone Ritual at Ushvani Spa

We are seven weeks into the year and already I’m feeling like I need a holiday, or an entire week dedicated to catching up on sleep. If you too are feeling hungover from the sheer length and chill of January, I’ve got just the remedy… the Jade Stone Ritual at Ushvani Spa.

Ushvani Spa

This was my second visit to Ushvani Spa, and I only love the retreat more after trying out their newest, ultra relaxing treatment.

The Chelsea spa is tucked away among the grand Edwardian backstreets of the King’s Road, a few minutes walk from Sloane Square tube station. Once you have found the discreet front door you will be whisked inside and taken complete care of. I left my shoes and coat at the door and let the staff pamper and sooth me; work and emails became a distant memory.

Ushvani Spa

This day-spa has a Malaysian theme with ornate Asian design, charming Malay artefacts and accents of burnt orange throughout the interiors. The treatment rooms are found downstairs, where there is also a small hydrotherapy pool and steam room for guests to use.

Ushvani Spa

The Jade Stone Ritual is a deeply relaxing and therapeutic treatment that Ushvani have introduced to celebrate Chinese New Year. In traditional Chinese medicine, Jade is used to aid health issues and to increase positive energy, so it seems a fitting material to use in this Chinese inspired massage.

For 120 minutes the highly trained therapist used hot and cold Jade stones to relieve tension and stress in my muscles. The contrasting hot and cold temperatures take a little while to get used to, but are an effective tool to stimulate circulation and help the lymphatic system. Along with the stones, the therapist uses Balinese massage techniques to ease aches and pains, and my therapist was very happy to concentrate on the areas I felt needed most attention.

The final part of the massage was perhaps the most relaxing, as my scalp and face were massaged and moisturised with nourishing oils.

Ushvani Spa

My second visit to Ushvani ended just as my first had… sipping hibiscus tea in the luxurious tea room and wishing I didn’t have to leave this heavenly place.

More information and book a Jade Stone Ritual at Ushvani here. Available until Saturday 30th March 2019.