The Painted Lady, Redchurch Street

When I need a special hair-do or makeover there is only one place in London I head to. The Painted Lady, on Redchurch Street in Shoreditch, is a vintage emporium run by the retro queen Belinda Hay. In this small but characterful salon they will transform your hair, face and nails so you walk out feeling and looking fabulous.

Painted Lady

A few weeks ago, on a grey and rainy Saturday I paid Belinda and her team of experts a visit for a new hair colour and style and a gel manicure. The Painted Lady is a welcoming salon, fun music murmurs in the background and everyone seems to be having a good time.

The Painted Lady

I was whisked off downstairs, offered a warming cup of tea and a lovely beautician got to work straight away on my winter worn nails. Working efficiently and neatly she transformed my nails, a clean white colour with a quirky little black dot for decoration.

Painted Lady

Next it was time for my hair transformation. I flicked through Belinda’s Style me Vintage book for inspiration on eras and styles. I soon settled on stylish 1950s pin curls. Belinda used ethical products to give depth and warmth to the brown colour of my hair, before adding in a few natural lighter highlights. She then washed my hair with enriching Davines products, treated me to an extra long head massage and loosely dried my hair.

Painted Lady

Using plenty of pins and clever techniques Belinda bended my hair into ripples across my head. It was amazing to watch her work her magic so skillfully. After a generous few sprays of hairspray I was off into the modern streets of Shoreditch, feeling like a million-dollar vintage star.

Modern beauty trends change so quickly but there is something enduring about the glamorous style of bygone eras. For special occasions The Painted Lady is a rare and wonderful place to go and get dolled up like you never have done before.

More information and book an appointment at The Painted Lady here.

Maradiva Villa Resort & Spa, Mauritius


The property is sensitive to its surroundings, with natural materials and elegant design. We were welcomed through the giant main pavilion, offered a welcome drink and quickly checked in. There are 65 villas in total, each nestled amongst the 27 acres of tropical foliage. Some are lucky enough to have an ocean view, others look out to the gardens.


The villas are spacious and each have their own private pool, patio area and sun bed. We were in villa 409, which sadly didn’t have a view of the sea. The bedrooms are decorated in a smart business-like style, with an emphasis on warm earthy hues. The bed was extremely comfortable and I was pleased to discover every amenity you could need in the room, from the coffee machine to international plug sockets.


The indulgent bathroom was well considered, with a big bathtub, indoor & outdoor shower and expensive toiletries by Hermes.


There are three restaurants at Maradiva, Coast2Coast is the all day dining option by the beach, Teppanyaki serves Japanese cuisine, and Cilantro restaurant specialises in Indian tapas and dishes. We only had one evening at Maradiva so could only try one restaurant, but I was very pleased with our decision to sample Cilantro. The Indian food here was a real highlight of our stay, Executive Chef Ravi Gookoolah creates sensational fresh breads, rich and aromatic curries and indulgent desserts.

Maradiva also own the next door sister property Sands Suites Resort & Spa so longer stay guests may choose to also try the eateries in this hotel.


The award-winning Maradiva Holistic spa is a serene sanctuary offering Ayurvedic treatments by experienced therapists and consultations by the knowledgeable Doctor Praveen Nair. I had a 60min Abhyanga massage after a short consultation with the doctor. Praveen quickly established I was stressed and tired and formulated a massage that would benefit me the most. The treatment was entirely unique and completely tailored to my needs. An invigorating head and neck massage followed by a full body massage, and finally a exfoliating shrub under the rain shower. I left feeling relaxed and refreshed.

The spa also have a comprehensive gym and guests can book private yoga and meditation lessons.


After a day of rain we were pleased to wake up to sunshine on our second day at Maradiva, and enjoyed a lavish breakfast in our villa surrounded by sweet songbirds. The quality was breakfast was impressive, the finest buttery croissants, freshest tropical fruits and wonderful farm eggs.

When there is sunshine on the west coast there is plenty to do. This side of the island is particularly advantageous for swimming with dolphins and whale watching. The Boat House at Maradiva is fully equipped for water sports and activities including: Waterskiing, wakeboarding, snorkelling, and glassboat trips, all of which are complimentary.

Maradiva provides a lovely luxury retreat for visitors to Mauritius wishing to enjoy the island at their own pace, whether you want to rest from the comfort of your own private villa or get involved with all the activities on the beach.

More information and book a room at Maradiva here.

Ushvani Spa, Sloane Square

I don’t visit London spas very often, usually they are tucked away at the back of hotels and feel like a bit of an afterthought. But a few weeks ago I visited a special spa that I am still dreaming about.

Ushvani Spa is a serene and luxurious day spa located minutes away from Sloane Square station, concealed within a beautiful Georgian building on Cadogan Gardens. Ushvani’s philosophy is based on ancient Asian culture and the team take a holistic approach to treat the mind, body and spirit.

Ushvani Spa

Owner and Founder Usha Arumugam has created a blissfully relaxing retreat, and from the moment you step through the door busy city life is a forgotten memory. The warm and luxe decor is Malaysian inspired throughout; an intimate spa with dark wood panelling, carved sculptures, and a fish tank displaying clown fish, a symbol of good luck.

The softly spoken therapist who greeted me at the door immediately made me feel at ease, replacing my worn-out trainers for slippers and placing a refreshing hibiscus-infused towel in my hands. She then took me on a brief tour of the spa, which features a plunge pool, steam room, relaxation room, Sentosa studio (for yoga and meditation classes) and male and female changing rooms.

Ushvani Spa

There is also the Asmara Suite… a specially designed room for couples treatments. The cosy and inviting suite is ideal for any of the two hour treatments and guests can enjoy the private facilities after the joint treatment. I noticed a lovely deep sunken stone bath where I was told that the water is infused with Ushvani’s signature Nutmeg Flower Bath oil. It sounded divine.

Ushvani Spa

After a quick trip to the changing rooms to change into my bathrobe, I was taken by my therapist to a treatment room for the Malay Massage. This signature treatment is one of the most popular at Ushvani, and is renowned for its contouring and toning benefits.

My legs were elevated and I was told to take in a few deep breaths, the fresh smell of eucalyptus filled the air. My therapist was brilliant at responding to my body’s aches and pains. She used long kneading strokes and plenty of nourishing oil to relieve and soothe the spots of tension and stretched out my tight muscles. Without my guidance she knew exactly where to apply pressure and where to be more gentle, and after a few minutes I felt my breathing slow and my body let go.

Ushvani Spa

I didn’t want the massage to end. Afterwards, while hydrating with a nutmeg and ginger tea I realised that this Ushvani treatment had been without a doubt one of the best spa experiences of my life. I felt a deep sense of calm and relaxation… the earlier stresses of the day were now a distant memory.

More information and book a treatment at Ushvani Spa here.