Le Mas Candille Hotel, Mougins

Every summer thousands of brits flock to the seaside resorts of the Cote D’Azur, but in my opinion the truly magical parts of Provence are the inland hills and forests where you can hear the crickets purr and the air has a woody honey-tinted fragrance.

Mougins is the perfect example of a quaint Provencal town, small and artistic with little to do but wander and admire. If this sounds like your ideal holiday spot then you would enjoy Le Mas Candille, a five star Relais & Chateaux hotel, restaurant and spa on the outskirts of Mougins. Utterly removed from the bustle of town yet just 20 minutes drive from Nice airport, it is blissfully isolated but thankfully convenient.

Le Mas CandilleLe Mas CandilleLe Mas CandilleLe Mas Candille

The hotel blends traditional and modern architecture and the rooms follow suit dependant on the building they are found in. There are 46 bedrooms in total; authentic French-style rooms in the 18th century converted farmhouse Le Mas and more modern spacious rooms in La Bastide, the newer part of the hotel. In 2009 La Villa Candille opened offering six new contemporary suites, an even more luxurious and exclusive option.

We were very at home in our La Bastide bedroom which was decorated in muted shades of beige and blue. The decor, though slightly dated, felt smart but not fussy, with antique furniture adding character. The huge bed was very comfortable and the big bathroom was equipped with a bath, shower and marble sinks, with toiletries all by ESPA.

Le Mas CandilleLe Mas CandilleLe Mas Candille

When it comes to dining Le Mas Candille are the proud recipients of a Michelin star restaurant, where the chef produces beautiful plates of food, inspired by the flavours of the area. Highlights of our meal included rich and velvety Pressed foie gras with forest fruits and peanuts, and a summery Clafoutis dessert with pistachios and cherries. The meal was accompanied with a glass of refreshingly cold Provencal rose wine.

For something a little more informal, guests can also dine at La Pergola which offers a range of lovingly prepared Mediterranean dishes including fresh fish and light salads.

Le Mas Candille

We couldn’t resist ordering breakfast to the room, eager to eat whilst enjoying the panoramic view from our balcony. It was a feast of flavours and fresh produce. The sweetest orange juice and most vibrant fruit salad provided a healthy kick, whilst buttery croissants and eggs on toast were a bit more decadent. It was lovely to have a leisurely breakfast overlooking the hillside below.

Le Mas CandilleLe Mas Candille

Many visit Le Mas Candille just to experience the heavenly spa. Complete with hydrotherapy pool, outdoor relaxation area and ESPA treatments, it really is the type of spa you could rest and recuperate in all day.

I felt very lucky to be sampling a 60 minute bespoke spa treatment, half facial, half back massage. My therapist carefully tended to the areas of my back and neck which had deep tension, and patiently massaged with nourishing ESPA oils to relieve the knots. On my face she used replenishing moisturisers and a herbal spritzer to balance my skin and add moisture to my pores. It was the most perfect hour to ensure I left Le Mas Candille feeling much more calm and relaxed than when I had arrived 24 hours before!

More information and book a stay at Le Mas Candille here.

Edward James Salon, Putney

Putney is not an area of London I venture to often, but a day at the Edward James salon and spa was an invitation I could not turn down. Since my 6 months of travelling I have really let my hair slip, with fewer cuts and even less colour maintenance. So it was definitely time for a re-haul and drastic new look.

Edward James salon

I felt instantly at home when I walked through the door of the EJ salon. After battling through the gale force winds, the lovely team sat me downstairs with a glass of water and introduced me to Shermia, my therapist for the morning.

Edward James loves the Aveda ranges, for skin and hair, and the collection is used in the salon and spa parts of his business. Natural and nourishing, the Aveda products aim to restore balance to the five elements holistically (sight, smell, sound, taste, touch) with their pure aromas and plant-based ingredients.

Edward James salon

Shermia was wonderful. Starting with a facial, she thoroughly examined my skin, identifying the areas of concern (major dehydration) and how she could combat this in the treatment. Using the Aveda range she deeply cleansed and polished my skin, removing all dirt and impurities, before replenishing the skin with moisture and hydration.

Next came the back massage. The confidence and strength in Shermia’s hands relaxed my muscles in seconds and I felt enormous relief as she soothed the knots in my shoulders and lower back. She seemed to know my body and worked wonders on every inch of my back. It was, quite possibly, the best massage of my life, and I didn’t want it to end!

Edward James salon

Almost asleep and in a state of blissful calm I was led upstairs for my hair makeover. Edward came over and we chatted through the different possibilities for my hair cut and colour. Despite his reputation and prestige, Edward is down to earth and very likeable, we chatted about everything from celebrity hairstyles to family holidays.

We decided to cut a decent amount off the length and darken the colour to a more natural shade. Aveda is brilliant for glossy brown shades and I felt in safe hands with this colour range. Edward efficiently coloured the roots, carefully concealing any stray greys and dulled down my brassy bright blonde tips. For the cut he snipped away at the length and added in some feathered layers to add shape and body, and trimmed the front pieces to frame my face.

It is a joy to witness Edward’s instinct with hair. Both cutting and colouring come so naturally to him that you always feel in very safe hands while he is transforming your hair.

Edward James salon

Hot drinks and moreish biscuits were delivered regularly, while I sat lazily and let the staff pamper me. In between cut and colour, a lovely girl came over to give me an extra hand massage, and I was amazed to discover that every customer gets a mini head & shoulder massage before their hair cut. The idea is to give everyone a fully relaxing experience, and it seems to work, the salon has a jovial and zen feel with both staff and customers having an enjoyable time.

Edward James salon

I’m not the selfie type, but proud of my new hair I excitedly sent round selfies to my phonebook, showcasing my new look… Thank you Edward James for my fabulous new hair and a totally wonderful day in your salon.

More information and book an appointment here.

Davines Top 10 Haircare

I recently learnt from the wonderful hair team at Root Salon how important good quality hair products are for the health of your hair. And so I was excited to discover the Davines range, an Italian beauty brand who ensure that none of their products have any nasty sulfates (chemicals which are harsh and damaging to your hair and scalp). Davines have a huge range to cater for all hair types, and present their collections in minimalist modern packaging… what’s not to love?! I’ve picked my ten favourite products for you to try, they make brilliant stocking fillers…

Davines

SOLU SHAMPOO – This ‘clarifying solution’ shampoo is suitable for all hair types. I found this light shampoo left my hair feeling moisturised and shiny, without any unwanted heaviness.

Davines

MINU SHAMPOO – Let’s be honest, most of us have some colour in our hair… to preserve and look after coloured hair, try the Minu Shampoo which I found illuminated my dip dye blonde tips. This shampoo has blossom extract in the ingredients and smells floral and lovely.

Davines

NOUNOU SHAMPOO – For curly and brittle hair I would recommend the rich and nourishing NouNou shampoo. This citrusy shampoo will replenish the nutrients in very dry or damaged hair.

Davines

NOUNOU HAIR MASK – This rich repairing mask is the perfect follow on from the NouNou Shampoo. I left the mask in my hair for 5 minutes after application and after washing out my hair was wonderfully soft and silky.

Davines

MELU CONDITIONER – I’m always on the look-out for a multi-purpose conditioner. The Davines Melu Conditioner was lovely to use, leaving my hair soft and light but also adding volume and shine.

Davines

ALCHEMIC CONDITIONER – Bright coloured conditioners can be a little terrifying to use, so when I saw the vibrant purple hue of this product I thought twice about putting it on my head! But the Alchemic conditioner has wondrous effects. It can be used as a mask and left in the hair for 10-15 minutes… in this time it will brighten the tone of highlighted or grey hair. For me, it removed the unpleasant coppery tone of my blonde tips and left my hair looking much more natural.

Davines

VOLU HAIR MIST – This leave-on formula is brilliant for adding volume without weighing down hair. The mist has a lovely fragrance that will leave your hair smelling fresh all day.

Davines

BLOWDRY PRIMER – I always aim to blow-dry my hair as they do in professional hair salons, but it is impossible. This blowdry primer helps to tame your locks before drying and it adds a little texture whilst also protecting against heat and humidity.

Davines

OI ALL IN ONE MILK – This is one of my all time favourite hair products… as the name suggests, the Davines all in one milk conquers every hair conundrum. Apply to towel-dried hair and it will hydrate and nourish your hair whilst also taming frizz and enhancing volume. The little bottle is perfect for taking away on travelling trips.

Davines

DRY TEXTURIZER – I choose hairspray dependent on smell. This Davines dry texturizing hairspray has a delicious vanilla fragrance and also provides a natural hold to the hair without being sticky to touch.

More information and buy all the Davines products here.