Oskia Facial, One Aldwych Hotel

I have often visited the One Aldwych bar for delectable cocktails, but have never ventured elsewhere in this luxurious London hotel. Last week I was invited to try the new Oskia signature glow facial in the health club at the hotel. Scheduled in for Saturday lunchtime, it was the perfect weekend timeout after a busy week at work.

The spa was quiet and calm. After a glass of citrus infused water, I changed into the fluffy bathrobe and went to explore. It is rare to find a central hotel with a pool (chlorine free) and I full took advantage of this facility, exercising with a few revitalising lengths before my treatment. There is also a sauna and steam room for guests who wish to relax and warm the skin, ideal before a massage or facial.

I was delighted to learn that Oskia is a British brand. The range of beauty products is made with natural ingredients and works effectively to promote healthy and glowing skin. Oskia is fast becoming known as one of the UK’s leading beauty brands, and it is great to see a London spa supporting a company from this country, when most opt for Parisian or American skincare.


The lovely Carleen took me through to the treatment room for my Oskia facial, 75 minutes of pure bliss. She quickly identified my skin as a mix of normal and combination and talked through my daily routine and use of products. Usually I am scolded for my lazy use of exfoliator or eye serums, but Carleen seemed to think I was doing a good job keeping my skin healthy. This facial is intended to illuminate the skin and boost radiance, but will be tailored to each guest, so the best results can be achieved. Carleen gently cleansed my face, used the brightening Micro Exfoliating Balm, and massaged my neck and face, which made me feel instantly at ease.

The facial involved a variety of Oskia products, each with its own purpose. After some deep cleansing and extraction, Carleen restored my skin with a soothing scented oil and added moisture around my eyes with the Eye Wonder gel. My favourite product was the Renaissance Mask, used towards the end of the treatment. This indulgent mask aims to awaken and add nutrients thereby brightening the skin and ensuring an even skin tone. While the mask soaked into my skin Carleen massaged my arms and feet, which was an extra treat. The facial finished with the Nutri-Active Day Cream, a great moisturiser for everyday use, lightweight and good for all skin types – it is ideal for use in the hot summer months.

After the treatment, feeling peaceful but famished, I was pleased to receive a delicious healthy snack from the chef at the hotel restaurant, Indigo. The filling but fat-free salad was made from

Quinoa with peas, broad beans and smoked almonds. It was very tasty with a spritz of lemon juice on top. If you feel like something a little more decadent you could choose a refreshing cocktail inspired by the nutritional ingredients in the Oskia products.

Near to the shops, theatres and restaurants of Covent Garden, One Aldwych is perfectly positioned. The heavenly Oskia facial would be a lovely addition to a girly day out in London.

More information on the Oskia treatments at One Aldwych here.

Hot on the Highstreet Week 264 : Sodashi

sodashi set

Before even opening the packaging I knew it was my Sodashi treats inside… the natural fragrance of these products was already flavouring the air.

The word Sodashi translates to mean wholeness, purity and radiance, qualities that this brand represents whole-heartedly. Hailing from Australia, Sodashi is an intelligent company with firm morals. All of the products are chemical-free, using therapeutic-grade, ethically-sourced essential oils and plant actives to effectively heal and nurture the skin.

I was lucky enough to experience the luxurious Sodashi facial at Akasha Spa a few weeks ago and fell instantly in love with the healthy and effective products. My face felt and looked radiant for days after the treatment. Ever since this revelatory spa session I have been enamoured with the Sodashi brand, so I was delighted to receive a range of their finest products to trial and try.

As a blogger I travel frequently and often find myself using cheap products whilst staying away from home. The Sodashi ‘Calm Skin Care Kit’ solves all travel beauty dilemmas. A chic grey wash bag contains six miniatures, ready to use wherever you are. Each bottle is 50ml or less so is within hand luggage liquid restrictions. It is a complete skincare pack to calm and revitalise sensitive skin. Individually the products begin to regenerate and revitalise the skin, but it is when they are used together in a dedicated routine that they work wonders and ensure visible changes to the skin. The kit includes a cleanser with sandalwood to clean make-up and dirt from the skin, a Calming Concentrate made from plant essences to exfoliate the skin. The Calming Rose Face Mist then tones and balances the skin before the Calming Skin Boost firms and tones. Finally you add moisture with the Calming Face and Neck Moisteruriser and the Eye and Lip Smoother, both which smell delicious and feel luxurious on the skin.

sodashi clay mask

When your face is really in need of an extra boost, the Gentle Repair White Clay Mask is the perfect product. The White Clay and Neroli stimulate cell renewal while Chamomile and Rose calm the skin. I found it was a lovely Sunday evening treatment, smoothed evenly over my face and left for 15 minutes it relieved tightness and left my face feeling fresh and looking bright. Another occasional product worth investing in is the Enzyme Face Polish which exfoliates and cleanses the skin and gently polishes with finely ground rice. It is best to use twice a week as part of a Sodashi skincare routine.

sodashi polish

I am not one to boast and brag about organic products, but I found the Sodashi range to be truly remarkable, and most importantly effective. The results for my skin have been noticeable on both look and feel, and I can’t wait to try the rest of the range.

More information on the Sodashi brand here.

You can purchase the Sodashi products from Akasha Spa, Piccadilly.

Restaurant Ask, Helsinki

It is all about organic food, organic wine and organic living at Ask. This intimate little restaurant was my first experience of Michelin star dining in Helsinki and it was both surprising and sensational.

The restaurant, tucked away on a quiet street in the Kronohagen/Kruununhaka area, is inconspicuous and unassuming. We were among the first to be seated for the lunch sitting so had time to admire our surroundings and relish the tranquility. It soon became apparent that not many more diners were expected for the lunch sitting – I couldn’t understand why.

Food trends in Finland are changing, the locals are favouring informal eateries and street food. Destination dining seems to be suffering, especially at lunchtime. In London the Michelin restaurants excel at the lunch service as the more affordable menus are hugely popular with thrifty foodies and perfectly suit speedy business meetings. Finns are satisfied with a simple meal at noon, saving their substantial meal for the end of the day. The advantage? We had chef Filip’s undivided attention as he brought out delicate plates of flavoursome goodness.

Filip Langhoff is a young and determined chef who is helping to put Nordic food on the map. He was previously a chef at much loved two-star eatery Chez Dominique and also worked at famed restaurant Spisestedet Feinschmecker in Oslo. Filip and his wife Linda Stenman-Langhoff, a talented sommelier, opened Ask (which translates to ash tree) a few years ago, and it quickly gained a following.

Ask offers a daily menu dependant on the produce that small farmers and suppliers have available. There is no unnecessary fuss here and conventional fine dining (Filip winced when I used this phrase) is a distant memory. The focus is entirely on the ingredients and their heritage. Filip finds inspiration in nature and in the relationship between the environment and the people and translates this into immaculate plates of food.

Our menu was printed humbly on a slip of recycled organic brown paper:

Lunch @ Ask

Celeriac & Yoghurt

Egg & Brioche

Pike Perch & Leek

Malt & Spruce

49 euros

Every dish came in a different, completely unique container or vessel, a beautifully crafted pot or plate, that made the food look even more dramatic. Celeriac with yoghurt was a wild yet delicate dish, a pile of unruly stems sitting in a pool of thin sauce with a dollop of fresh creamy yoghurt adding an extra dimension. The egg and brioche was served warm and was a comforting treat, I just wanted more. The crunchy sweet brioche began to soak up the fragrant mushroom consommé while pretty fresh mushrooms add another texture and taste. A small poached egg added a richness to the recipe.

Instead of Pike Perch I was kindly given a meat substitute: a luxurious slice of beef topped with herbs and accompanied by charred leeks. The pike perch looked exquisite too, served with a creamy sauce and a striking coal dressing. Everything was cooked to perfection, emphasising the important heritage of the ingredients. For dessert we had our first taste of malt, a yeasty substance that reminded me of breakfast cereal. The malt was in the form of a doughnut sitting amongst a gritty biscuit crumb with soft ice-cream and woodland spruce particles. The meal was light and balanced offering a vibrant, innovative taste of Finland.

There are charming stories and memories behind all of Filip’s cooking, and I feel Ask restaurant only touches the surface of what this great chef is capable.

More information and book a table here.