This year I am giving my cynical dislike of st Valentine the boot and bloody well embracing the love, in my own way. There is no reason that being single should mean relinquishing the most manufactured (ooops the cynic is slipping out) holiday in the western calendar. Why should the couples be the only ones to have fun?! It’s not just a time of those in love with one another, but also for those who need to find a little love for themselves too.
In the hustle and bustle of everyday life it is easy to neglect the heart, put on our protective shells and forget to nurture ourselves. That is why this year I am encouraging we give Valentines day a new meaning and focus on it as an opportunity to reassess the amount of love we give ourselves and invest in a little of that. As the Italians say, enjoy ‘la dolce far niente’ – the sweetness of doing nothing. I don’t doubt we have all earned a bit of that!
Here I have shared a few of my favourite ways to get pampered this valentines, my favourite new London cocktail spot, as well as a cracking home treatment too, if you are saving the pennies. Also, for anyone fancying a little bit of home cooking this v-day I also have a corker of a recipe coming up tomorrow, so do be sure check back 😉
One of the best treats for me is getting my hair done. You can walk into a salon in a tangle of mess, weather worn and stressed and slide out only a few hours later like a swan on the water. Throughly tranquil and feeling regal. Who knows what happens behind those scissors but the ENA salon, magic certainly happens.
For the last few years I have had many different hairdressers, but the skilled team at ENA salon might just claim top spot for cut and colour. I also have a soft spot for them as they are headquarters for Italian haircare brand Davines, who I used to model for, back in my university days. They are also abundant with comfy chairs, coffees, tea and treats on tap, magazines by the millions, the warmth of dryers, head massages… this is where the pampering had to begin.
My colourist Maddie and stylist Sam are certainly the best I have ever had. If I can offer any advice, it is always trust a colourist with wild coloured hair. They are always the best!
You can find ENA’s details here
Since I have been back from Bali, my skin has been anything but happy. Certainly the cold winds don’t play a helpful part, with blocked pores and dry skin, which is why the part two moment of self pampering, called for a good scrub and steam at QMS Medicosmetics Spa, just off the Kings Road. This spa is a bit of a diamond among its competitors and boasts one of the best facials in town! The founder Erich Schulte, is a true revolutionary in the skincare field, pioneering some of the most scientifically advanced skincare products on the market. They also offer wonderful tailor made skincare treatments, which are adapted to the products and care your face needs. You might come out looking a little bit pink (I can’t help but laugh at the photo of me below), but 24 hours later you’ll have skin as soft as a baby, that a promise.
You can find QMS Medicosmetics Spa’s details here
Drinks at Bob Bob Ricard
To top off the treats, it would be wrong not to end with a round of cocktails, or two. Since this isn’t the usual Valentines date, I thought we’d skip the dinner and go for something a little more… well… liquid, in the bar downstairs. We can come back for food another time!
I have been meaning to go to Bob Bob for ages but their highly in demand lobster mac and cheese, beef wellington and decadent comfort food have often meant that getting a table can be an issue. As someone who can’t plan much more than a day in advance, the idea of making a friday booking a week ahead is just that little bit too much of a stretch for me. However for the big v-day, if you are planning something special I’d recommend you get on the phone and lock that table down pronto. That ring for champagne button isn’t going to buzz itself.
Not only does the restaurant have an impressive array of Russian influenced dishes (as well as the classic comforts). It also have a rather impressive cocktail menu with a few rather unexpected additions. You might have seen it on my Instagram, the one that particularly took my fancy was the oyster martini. A simple dry vodka martini with the addition of the oyster liquid you get inside the shell, in place of brine. A rather unique and novel way to enjoy oysters on a romantic evening, thats for sure. Bob Bob also happen to make one of the best cucumber martinis I have ever tasted, with fresh pressed cucumber juice, gin and citrus. So thirst quenching, it could almost be drunk for breakfast!
You can find Bob Bob Ricard’s details here
Homemade Avocado Mask (aka Facial Guacamole)
If time is of the essence and you want to do a bit of pampering pre v-day, there are always things you can make at home to give your skin a radiant glow. This is one of my favourite homemade masks. I call it the ‘Facial Guacamole Polisher’. It contains lots of ingredients that at rich in skin loving vitamin E, vitamin C and antioxidants that can help restore the skin to its most soft, smooth and supple. It might seem odd, adding honey but it is one of the key ingredients, as it contains natural antibacterials that brighten the face. To be honest, if I make too much I have been known to eat the rest, it tastes pretty darn good.
You can also add one tablespoon of sesame seeds to make the mask into a scrub of you want.
- 1/2 avocado, mashed
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons oatmeal
Mash the avocado in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, mix well and leave to sit for 10 minutes, so the oats absorb some of the liquid. Add the mask to your face using upward brushing motion to gently exfoliate the skin. Do this for a couple of minutes, then leave the mask to sit on your face for 15 minutes before rinsign with a flannel and warm water.
Follow this treatment with a good cleanser and moisturiser. I use Pai Organic Skincare, which is great for sensitive skin. The rosehip oil is a staple for these dry months.