Archive for the ‘Pampering’ Category
I like Rituals. I especially like the last two collections, the Laughing Buddha and Indian Summer, but I think this time Rituals has outdone itself with a makeover of their Hammam collection*. I’m not familiar with the original but the new collection is nothing short of divine and it’s right up my street as I bloody love hammams.
To me a hammam is the ultimate cleansing and beautifying treatment. It’s a tradition that has stood the test of time, centuries old yet undisputed and thankfully still part of local culture in countries like Turkey and Morocco (which I am envious of).
Fortunately Rituals’ new look Hammam collection brings a taste of a hammam to your private bathroom. The Hot Scrub is now available in a bigger, transparent jar to keep skin smoother and softer for longer, while the Hammam Body Mud has been reformulated with mineral-rich Rhassoul Clay, to nourish and revitalise.
There are nine products in the range of which I’ve been indulging in four. Hammam Olive Secret (£8.50/150ml) is a shower paste that is the same colour and consistency of Vicks Vapour Rub but that it cleanses and prepares the skin for exfoliation. It contains eucalyptus so be weary if you’re not keen on the smell. I love it and it’s just what is needed as the days are getting colder.
The Hammam Hot Scrub (£19.50/250ml) is a favourite of mine as I love a good scrub and this certainly lives up to my expectations. It contains natural purifying sea salt, warming ginger and eucalyptus. The scrub is quite potent, allowing the scent to boost your mood and unblock your sinuses if you have a cold but it’s also of a gritty texture which makes for an effective treatment.
There is also a foaming shower gel courtesy of Hammam Delight (£8.50/200ml), which is enriched with eucalyptus (yep, that again) and rosemary, and Spark of Hammam, a nourishing body lotion (£12.50/250ml).
I am keen to try some other bits from the vast range such as the scented candle, fragrance sticks, bath oil and the body mud, so I will be hot-footing it down to my nearest Rituals shop and filling my basket.
The renewed Hammam collection is out now at Rituals stores and online as well as selected House of Fraser and John Lewis stores.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder. This was certainly true when I was on holiday and Do Not Refreeze‘s Leanne howled it had been more than a week since we’d seen each other. Well at the weekend after two whole weeks we made a date at Westfield Stratford City to catch up. And it didn’t involve our usual jaunts to a beauty launch.
Westfield Stratford City is conveniently close for Leanne and an easy drive along the A406 for me. It was also a nice change to venture east as I’m always at Westfield London.
Turning up at 11 o’clock in the morning, we were amazed to see how blissfully chilled out and empty Westfield Stratford City was for a Saturday. The calm before the storm… My suggestion is get here in the morning to take advantage because come 2 o’clock, it’s a different story altogether.
We planned to see what Westfield Stratford City had to offer to a couple of beauty junkies so we headed straight to Tantrum for a manicure first. It would be rude not to since we are beauty bloggers…
Having had naked nails for the past fortnight, I was in need of a splash of colour and a re-shape after breaking two of them. Leanne likes to be awkward so she presented her talons covered in glitter. Her manicurist didn’t bat an eyelid and happily removed it.
Tantrum is a new face on the high street and their first and flagship store is in Westfield Stratford City. It opened last summer as a pop-up store but recently underwent a makeover, making its permanent mark in the mall. You’ll find it on lower ground floor in between the food court and Great Eastern Market.
From outside it doesn’t give the game away but when you step inside, it’s a haven for jewellery, hair, nails and make-up for the fashion conscious yet affordable. We were thrilled to see cherry-picked Nubar and Mavala polishes as well as Bourjois and Jessica, plus skin care from Elemis and Amie on sale.
Tantrum’s nail bar is at the back where you can perch yourself on a stool, order a cold drink and get your nails done. Leanne and I both had a mini manicure, which costs £10. As our manicurists beautified our nails, I was entertained by Leanne’s tales and anecdotes (the details of which I cannot disclose…).
Our next destination was a short stroll away at Neal’s Yard for an express facial. We had a skin consultation and discussed our main concerns before our therapist selected the best products to use.
I much prefer cleansing balms to take off my make-up so their award-winning Wild Rose Beauty Balm was used, which was perfect for tackling dehydrated skin – something I complain about quite a bit. This was followed by the Rejuvenating Frankincense Toner and Rejuvenating Frankincense Facial Serum, both which are elasticity-boosting and give the skin a radiant glow.
With our complexions glowing, the finishing touch came from some light make-up from Neal’s Yard mineral range of foundations, bronzers and blushers, which we’d never tried before. Shocking, isn’t it? It was like wearing next to nothing on the skin, very light but with a subtle shimmer and totally skin-friendly.
I forgot how much I adore Neal’s Yard for their organic skin care so this visit has prompted me to rekindle my relationship with an old favourite. I definitely want to invest in the Wild Rose Beauty Balm as my next cleanser. Meanwhile we were given a few samples to take home and try, so I may add a few more items to my shopping list.
We then trotted off to L’Occitane for a fragrance workshop and to gush over some of our L’Occitane favourites. Interestingly, L’Occitane at Westfield Stratford City hosts monthly events in the evenings that you can bring all your girlfriends to. It’s a chance to try out their products outside of the madness you sometimes get during the shopping hours.
After over 3 hours of being pampered, our bellies rightfully made a point that they were being neglected. We wandered to the Great Eastern Market area tucked away by Waitrose and overlooked by many in favour of the more commercial joints. Our pit stop for refuelling was Umai by Japan Centre – an incredible place that is packed with so much in such a small amount of space.
It has a counter serving piping hot noodles and crisp tempura, fresh handmade organic sushi on the other side and it’s also a mini supermarket selling authentic Japanese ingredients to set you off on your Japanese cooking adventures.
We ordered deep fried sweet potato and asparagus as sides while Leanne opted for beef and rice and I chose crispy fried king prawns and vegetables with sticky rice for our mains.
The staff at Umai are so warm, friendly and adorable, and the food served is delicious, filling and such good value. I think our main meals were under £10 each. Next time I’m taking away a sushi box – far more appetising than the standard supermarket offerings.
Our final stop? The shops of course. Like we were going to leave without buying at least one or two little things…
The best quote of the day came from Leanne (naturally): “We look like a frigging zebra crossing – you’re so dark and I’m so pale”.
I *love* this girl.
Leanne and I finally left Westfield after 4 o’clock that afternoon – more than 4 hours later. We did well not to be over zealous in the shops and in fact, had a better time enjoying each other’s company and discovering other things Westfield has to offer.
You can make a date at any of Westfield’s shopping centres across the country – Westfield London, Westfield Stratford City, Westfield Derby and Westfield Merry Hill. If you pop along to either of the London ones, your visit can be made that little bit sweeter with some special offers on eating out and at the cinema until 5th June.
For more information, visit http://uk.westfield.com/stratfordcity/news-and-events/make-a-date/.
*We were invited by Westfield to experience ‘Make a Date’ and received complimentary treatments and food courtesy of our kind hosts.