Winter Beauty Essentials

As the skies darken and the rain falls incessantly, I look to beauty products to bring me some comfort and luxury, especially while we are all spending much more time at home. Here are my favourite skincare and haircare pick-me-ups to make you feel sparkly and healthy this season.

Beauty essentials

Honest Beauty – This 100% cruelty-free beauty brand was launched by Jessica Alba, a ‘green beauty’ concept that aims to deliver easy to use skincare that promises a natural glow. I’ve been trying the matte primer and everyday radiance moisturiser, quick and simple products that give my face a fresh appearance each morning. You only need a small pump of the moisturiser to give a luminous glow that lasts throughout the day.

Beauty essentials

typology – The minimalist branding of the Parisian typology won me over instantly. Their cleansing oil is a perfect fragrance-free formula for even the most sensitive skin. Follow it with the 9-ingredient moisturiser with a light, non-greasy texture that makes it a great option year round. I love the silver tube of the moisturiser too, and have found it to be the ideal handbag companion.

Beauty essentials

Beauty Pie – My hair despairs when the weather gets bad, drying out and getting tangled every morning. Beauty Pie’s super healthy hair repair treatment is best used after conditioner, left in for 3-5 minutes and then rinsed out. It smoothed my split ends and added shine to my dulled colour. After the success of this product I’m now desperate to try the rest of the Beauty Pie range!

Beauty essentials

Organic Apoteke – Organic Apoteke prides itself on producing high quality, organic products, that have a strong basis of scientific research behind them. Their buttermilk cleanser and rejuvenating face cream are a luxurious duo that will add a touch of indulgence to your winter morning routine. This face cream is great for any skin type; toning and firming your winter-worn skin.

Beauty essentials

Mádara – Mádara is the name of a flowering green plant found in Latvia, which symbolises the naturally curated ingredients that goes into each product this brand carefully produces. In winter I like to add a serum or oil to my daily skincare routine… the Mádara range is perfect for adding some extra hydration to a cold weather skincare ritual. Try the deep moisture vitamin oil, a lovely citrusy scented oil that will make your skin extra supple and soft. I also loved the rich hydra-barrier SOS cream, perfect for stressed and dehydrated skin, I find it is particularly nice on my cheeks, which get extra dry in winter.

Beauty essentials

Nimue – These everyday products from Nimue are multi-functional… after using the gentle cleanser, massage the day cream generously onto your face and neck, helping to restore and protect your skin for the whole day.

Beauty essentials

SachaJuan – The SachaJuan overnight hair repair is a magical product… leave the product in overnight and there’s no need to wash out in the morning. My hair was glossier and strengthened after just one use of this product, especially when accompanied by the Moisturising Shampoo and Conditioner.

Beauty essentials

Drunk Elephant – Drunk Elephant is my new favourite beauty brand… the eye-catching neon branding won me over before I even tried the products! The Beste No.9 Jelly Cleanser has become my go to cleanser, so easy to use and gentle on the skin, I now use it religiously day and night. I’m also getting to know the Micellar water, a cleansing water made with wild melon seed oil and marula oil, which gently removes makeup and leaves skin looking and feeling fresh.

Beauty essentials

ila apothecary – I think of ila apothecary as a spa brand, but you can also buy the products for home use and they will make your daily routine feel extra special and indulgent. The SOS body balm has been the ultimate treat for my skin after soothing winter baths. For an extra pick-me-up use the Feminine Happy Oil, a nourishing product made with a mood-balancing blend of fragrant essential oils to lift stress and fatigue.

Beauty essentials

MZ Skin – MZ Skin is a doctor-led brand made by women for women. Their Hydrate and Nourish range is perfect for winter skincare nourishment. The Age Defence Retinol Day Moisturiser is rich in vitamins (crucial in gloomy winter months) but also has 30 SPF to protect your skin whatever the weather. For an extra moisture boost, use the moisturiser with the vitamin C corrective serum.

Beauty essentials

Summer Fridays – I have added the Summer Fridays overtime mask to my Sunday evening routine. This vitamin rich mask will gently exfoliate the skin, while also brightening and hydrating the skin. After using the mask I immediately noticed my skin feeling softer, with a more even skin tone. The perfect product to add to a stocking this Christmas.

Beauty essentials

AHC – When I visited South Korea last year I loved discovering some of their best beauty brands. AHC is just one of the many brilliant South Korean skincare brands worth getting to know. Their products are unfussy but effective, particularly lovely on the skin in winter. Try the Aqualuronic cleanser which works wonders on dehydrated skin. The AHC natural essential masks are also a treat for neglected winter skin.

Note: This beauty round-up includes some gifted products.

A Weekend in Herefordshire

Travel right now is not easy, I am craving it desperately, but for the foreseeable future will be concentrating on exploring the best of Britain. Herefordshire is a county that I knew very little about, sandwiched between Shropshire to the north, Worcestershire to the east, Gloucestershire to the south-east, and Wales to the west. So when I was invited to explore its burgeoning independent food and drink scene I was intrigued and excited.

Herefordshire

Despite the relentless rain we trundled down the motorway, just 4 hours even in rush hour Friday traffic. Visit Herefordshire arranged a great itinerary for me, ticking off key restaurants, pubs and artisan makers across the county.

Herefordshire

First stop was Hereford, a cathedral town in the heart of the region. We were staying at the Green Dragon Hotel, charming accommodation that was a quiet and comfortable place to spend the night. Breakfast next morning was served downstairs in the light and airy dining room, a range of fresh seasonal dishes, including delicious mushrooms on toast, and granola with homemade berry compote.

Herefordshire

There are quite a few eateries in Hereford worth trying, The Bookshop was one which everyone raved about, thanks to their great steaks and lively atmosphere. We had a great dinner here, the service was super friendly and the meat was noticeably of a high quality (you must try Hereford beef while visiting Herefordshire). We stopped by The Bookshop the next morning too for a coffee (they use the superior beans from local roastery, Method) and the brunch looked very tempting too.

Herefordshire

After a brief walk around town, seeing the iconic cathedral and stopping by a couple of foodie shops (I recommend Fodder for bread & pastries, Mousetrap for local cheeses, and Sensory & Rye for coffee or brunch), we were on our way to our next destination…

Pensons is the only restaurant in Herefordshire to hold a Michelin star, which it was proudly awarded last year, less than a year after opening. Head chef Chris Simpson previously worked for Nathan Outlaw, and brings skill and a lightness of touch to the dishes at Pensons. The restaurant benefits from being located on the Netherwood Estate, which is surrounded by green pastures. There is also a bountiful kitchen garden which grows many of the vegetables and fruit you’ll find on your plate at Pensons! We devoured the three course lunch menu, memorable dishes included perfectly cooked Plaice with cauliflower, watercress and crab sauce, and Duck with beetroot and blackcurrant.

Herefordshire

At Pensons we tried a delicious apple mocktail, and learnt a little about the incredible apples of the area. So it seemed fitting to visit Little Pomona next, craft cider makers who are producing some wonderfully refined drinks with the famous Herefordshire apples. Autumn is apple picking season and to celebrate Visit Herefordshire have created two great cider trails (The Cider Circuits) as part of their #madforapples initiative. The self-guided routes, both around 50 miles long, can be followed by bike or car and are named after two of the county’s apple varieties: The Newton Wonder heads north from Hereford, while The Redstreak heads south. Glorious Little Pomona features on the southern route.

Herefordshire

Herefordshire is known for its striking black and white architecture which we were lucky to spy in many of the towns we drove through… Bromyard was a great place to admire the monochrome houses, and whilst in the area Bringsty Vintage shop is worth a visit for retro homeware and trinkets.

Herefordshire

As the rain worsened we headed to Crumplebury, a lovely luxurious event space, with restaurant and rooms, surrounded by woodland, fields and animals.

Crumplebury has just reopened for the season and we were delighted to be one of the first to be back at this idyllic place. At the heart of the property is Green Cow Kitchens, the on site fine dining restaurant. We enjoyed a lavish dinner here before a very restful night’s sleep in The Oakley Suite, the most spacious and decadent suite Crumplebury offer. The room was decorated to a very high specification with modern amenities, a giant bed and a copper bathtub to ensure the most relaxing of stays.

Herefordshire

We also had a chance to see some of the beautiful event spaces and wholesome wildlife, which is used seasonally in the restaurant. Crumplebury is a brilliant option for weddings and work functions, an isolated countryside escape with a five star feel.

Herefordshire

Next morning we woke refreshed and revitalised, and after a quick but very tasty Crumplebury breakfast we headed off for a final morning of exploring.

We drove South towards Ross on Wye, for a hearty Sunday lunch at The Greenman, the celebrated pub in Fownhope. A generous roast awaited, with all the trimmings, the perfect sustenance before a local walk and the drive back home to London.

Herefordshire is the ideal weekend escape from London… an array of foodie spots are dotted amongst the verdant and gloriously green countryside, so you can both eat handsomely and get a breath of fresh air before returning to busy city life.

In collaboration with Visit Herefordshire.

Best Al Fresco Dining for Summer 2020

Despite the recent reopening of restaurants all over the city, I have noticed a lingering feeling of worry from friends and foodies about venturing out to eat. I have been eating in restaurants inside and out, but can’t deny that the al fresco options feel safer. While the weather is still warm it seems the only sensible solution is outdoor dining, so I have collated a list of some of my favourite options for you to enjoy this unique summer season.

Joy at Portobello

Joy at Portobello

Joy at Portobello is a new pop-up that occupies the space that was once home to Stevie Parle’s Dock Kitchen. This popular chef (behind hits such as Craft, Palatino and Pastaio) has returned to his original Portobello Dock site to bring us a joyful venue of food, flowers and fabulous produce (to buy from Canterbury’s Good Shed). The al fresco terrace overlooks the canal and diners sit amongst colourful wild dahlias, that were intended for this year’s cancelled Hampton Court Flower Show. We feasted on fresh and simple seasonal delights, favourites included grilled lobster with nduja, watermelon and feta salad, and a floral eton mess for dessert.

Flor

ASAP pizza at Flor

This Borough Market favourite has pivoted from a cosy dinner venue to an outdoor pizza and soft serve success. Borough Market has taken on a new persona; without the constant crowds, keen foodies gather at the sheltered outdoor tables (ideal even in the rain) and scoff the ASAP sourdough pizza. Choose from perfectly executed small plates (I loved the extra rich burrata, datterini & panzanella) and then opt for a red or white (based) pizza from the list. Our favourite was the ‘Getting Friggi With It’ – tomato sauce, mangalitsa sausage, friggitelli peppers, onion, but I also recommend the flavoursome ‘Thanks Shallot’ featuring grilled spring onions, mozzarella, ricotta, green garlic, wild marjoram. The soft serve is unmissable… flavours change weekly, we were lucky to catch the utterly delicious Fig Leaf with coconut. ASAP Pizza is also available to order on Deliveroo.

Elliott’s 

Another Borough Market institution, Elliott’s is a much loved restaurant, bar and natural wine shop. They have transformed their dining room and now occupy a large covered space in the market area. The summer menu utilises great seasonal produce from the market with appetising small plates, creative pizzas and grilled meat options. Pair your meal with a summery aperol spritz or glass of natural wine.

Brat at Climpsons Arch

Brat at Climpsons Arch

Tomos Parry won every accolade when he opened his Basque-influenced restaurant Brat a few years ago in Shoreditch. So it’s hardly surprising to see his pop-up version of the eatery at Climpsons Arch also booked up to the brim every night. This sociable space lends itself perfectly to this style of cooking and the fragrant smells of grilled fish fill the air as you sit down in the outdoor dining area. You’ll find all the Brat favourites here, from anchovy toast to whole grilled turbot, smoked butter potatoes to burnt Basque cheesecake. If you can nab a table I highly recommend visiting before the summer is out.

Llewelyns

Llewelyn’s

My South London favourite, Llewelyn’s, is another brilliant option for al fresco dining this summer. Their terrace has been extended in the Herne Hill square so there are now plenty of tables for hungry diners. This eatery feels particularly lovely at lunchtime when the buzzy atmosphere of the neighbourhood adds ambience and charm to the Llewelyn’s experience. The menu of smart comfort food changes regularly, so there is always something to satisfy everyone.

The Garden at The Berkeley

If you find yourself needing a venue in central London for celebrating a special occasion I implore you to book the Berkeley. A magical terrace at one of London’s most prestigious hotels, this sparkly pop-up restaurant is wowing guests with their immaculate service and comforting dishes. Refreshing cocktails and vibrant dishes will transport you to a Mediterranean island, so even if you can’t fly away on holiday you’ll feel a million miles from home in their lantern-lit garden.