Fogo Island Inn

Fogo Island Inn is a startling and exceptional feat of architecture, perched of the sea’s edge on Fogo Island, off the coast of Newfoundland. But after spending just a few days at this magical hotel, I now understand it is the story behind – and around – the building which makes this place so special.

Fogo Island Inn

Fogo Island Inn is the realisation of native Newfoundlander Zita Cobb’s dream to regenerate and revitalise the business and traditions of Fogo Island. When the cod fishing industry crashed, the population of the island began to dwindle and Zita stepped in to save the island’s future, building this Inn and helping save one of Canada’s oldest rural communities. The Inn is part of a larger social enterprise, Shorefast, which aims to support the people of Fogo Island, and any profits from Fogo Island Inn are reinvested into the island.

Local architect Todd Saunders designed the structure with the history of Fogo Island in mind. The stilts mirror the construction of Newfoundland’s waterfront fishing sheds, while the stark white colour blends in with the snow in winter and reflects the abundant light in summer.

Fogo Island InnFogo Island Inn

We checked in and were welcomed immediately into the warm and friendly Fogo Island Inn family. Greeted with giant smile, we were handed a brass key – a metal cast of a rope – one of many Fogo Island motif’s. All the keys are different items found on the the island and cast in metal. Decorative and functional, they hang in order downstairs, almost an artwork in their own right.

Fogo Island InnFogo Island Inn

The bedrooms (all suites) have a light and nostalgic feel. All of the 29 rooms face the ocean and boast floor to ceiling views of the endless waves… in warmer weather guests may spot whales or seals as they migrate through the Newfoundland waters.

Every detail in the room evokes memories from the island. Handicrafts from the local community are found throughout, from the beautifully made multi-coloured quilts and specially illustrated wallpaper, to the quirky furniture that is made and sold in a nearby studio on the island. Though there is a Scandinavian slant to the design, the overall character of the rooms is quite unique and unlike anything I have seen before.

Fogo Island Inn

The impressive glass-walled restaurant resembles the front of a ship and points out towards the Atlantic Sea. Meals at the Inn are wholesome and showcase the best local ingredients. The Inn’s Executive Chef Jonathan Gushue brings international experience to the Inn offering creative dishes inspired by the seasonal flavours. When we visited in March, seafood and partridgeberries featured on the menu as well as a variety of root vegetables and game.

In the mornings guests are treated to a pre-breakfast snack, the “daybreak box” includes a thermos of tea or coffee and freshly baked treats from the onsite bakery. It was such a pleasure to enjoy these snacks each morning from bed while watching the sunrise.

Fogo Island InnFogo Island Inn

The common spaces at the Inn are calming and encourage guests to unwind and reflect. In the tea room you can settle with a hot drink and a book by the fire, while upstairs there are open air hot tubs and a sauna for spa relaxation.

Fogo Island InnFogo Island InnFogo Island Inn

On the second day of our stay we visited the Chef’s hut (next door to the Inn) for a special crab feast. An array of stunning cured and fermented ingredients were used to create colourful and tasty salads, which accompanied local Atlantic snow crab and homemade bread and butters. For dessert we were given delightful partridgeberry tarts, a baked treat I’m told is a Fogo Island favourite.

Fogo Island InnFogo Island Inn

Fogo Island has just over 2000 inhabitants, which is less than in previous years, though it seems to be beginning to rise again as Shorefast continues to create opportunities encouraging the younger generations to return home. Each of the towns on Fogo Island has its own history and heritage, different regions of this small island have varying accents dependant on where their ancestors hail from.

Fogo Island InnFogo Island Inn

A few hours of Island orientation are included in each stay and given by a knowledgable community host. It was wonderful to explore the island a bit on our tour – we visited a couple of the Shorefast Artist’s studios, beautiful contemporary studio spaces which are given to artists each summer. Built amongst the rugged landscape, I can’t imagine a more inspiring space for a creative to work.

Fogo Island Inn

Fogo Island may be remote and challenging to get to, but I assure you that within minutes of arriving on the shores of this unique place you will forget all about the journey and live entirely in the moment, relishing every minute in this incredible place.

More information and book a room to stay at Fogo Island Inn here.

I was a guest of Fogo Island Inn.

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.