Last week I was lucky enough to hop on a flight to Italy with Fresh to learn more about where they source the very special Umbrian Clay they use in their skincare products. We were also the first people to see the limited edition new collaboration with Rometti Ceramics. As someone who already uses the Umbrian Clay Mask at least once a week I was especially curious to learn more about the development of the products as well as how Fresh discovered this very special clay. Lev and Alina are the founders of Fresh and were also the hosts of the trip, which was very special because we could learn directly from them and ask them any questions we had. Lev and Alina are some of the most generous and genuinely great people to be around, so it was great to spend time with them in such a beautiful setting.
On the first day we headed to Asissi, Italy where we went on a guided tour of the Basilica of Saint Francis of Asissi. After that we headed to the Nun Spa and Museum which was such a treat! We had a few hours to spend in the hot tub and sauna before having a glorious facial using Fresh products. I was very relaxed!
On day two we were taken to the quarry where the Umbrian clay is sourced and we also got to see inside the factory that turns the clay from dirt onto the ground to a useable ingredient for skincare. I especially love that the factory uses only water from the creek beside the factory when producing the final product.
Umbrian Clay has been the basis of therapeutic treatments for centuries and is one of the earliest known cosmetic ingredients. Umbria was home to the ancient Etruscans and first Romans, and the discovery of white clay tablets inside the 6th century BC tombs of the Etruscans suggests that the clay possessed mystical meaning for this ancient civilization.
If you’ve never tried the Fresh Umbrian Clay products before I honestly can’t recommend them enough. I have very dry skin, so using clay masks is usually a bit of a no-no for me…until I discovered Umbrian Clay. It has a high-mineral content that works to help balance, purify, and clarify the complexion. I didn’t realise this, but Lev told us that they did loads of research about different types of clay and this was the only one that doesn’t completely dry out the skin and leave it feeling desperate for moisture. It’s suitable for all skin types and is genuinely my favourite clay mask I’ve ever used. Other ingredients in the mask include Sandalwood oil which is known for its astringent properties and helps to calm the skin, Chamomile flower and lavender water are notable for their soothing properties and Olive leaf extract helps to promote suppleness and is known to protect against free radicals.
I was also introduced to the Umbrian Clay Treatment Bar which is 100% clay and is great to use on the face as well as the body. I’ve started using this in the shower and I think it’s great.
On the last and final day in Italy we were taken to Rometti Ceramics to finally see the collaboration with Fresh. They teamed up to create a little ‘house’ for the Umbrian Clay mask and we learned about the entire process of making this beautiful and bespoke jar. Rometti was founded in 1927 where local artists create handmade objects using clay pulled from a local quarry that dates back to Roman times. Rometti’s limited-edition design for Fresh features an Etruscan figure in homage to the clay’s origins. This woman, chosen to represent beauty, is updated with a modern silhouette and set against a bold geometric pattern. And while Rometti is usually known for stark colours, the packaging features a soft, earthy palette inspired by the Umbrian landscape.
Vic and I excited to go truffle hunting!
Huge thank you to Fresh for bringing me along on this dream trip! I had such a fantastic time (despite losing my voice) and made memories that will last a lifetime!
The Limited-Edition Umbrian Clay Purifying Mask (£52) will be available in May 2017 at Fresh boutiques, Harrods and fresh.com/uk.
WATCH MY VLOG FROM THIS TRIP!
BEST LONDON BEAUTY TREATMENTS
I think that most of you will agree with me when I say that January can leave us all feeling a bit ‘bleugh’. The holidays are over, the weather is miserable (at least it is in London) and I’ve eaten way too much junk food for my insides to handle. I don’t know about you, but when this time of year rolls around I feel like my body just craves some attention. Giving my bod some TLC usually means treating myself to something that makes me feel a little bit more human again. Whether it’s a slick of paint on my nails or an extra bit of oomph in my hair, sometimes all it takes is a little bit of ‘me time’ to get me feeling ready to take on the coming year. With this in mind I decided to film a video and write this blog post all about my favourite beauty treatments in London. I wanted to share the places that I hit up whenever I need to put a little pep in my step, the places that help to make me feel at my best. I highly recommend each and every one of the places that I’m about to mention so definitely check them out if you’re in need of a treat. If London isn’t on your doorstep, don’t fret! Many of the spas and clinics that I’ve featured have branches all over the world, but if they don’t then perhaps this post will inspire you to check out somewhere closer to home. Stay tuned to the end of the post to watch the video that I filmed with my friend George Muncey! Here goes…
Cowshed is most definitely one of my favourite places to hit up whenever I’m feeling like I need some ‘me time’. Cowshed have loads of branches all across London (as well as several locations within the Soho Houses of the world) but the Primrose Hill spa is arguably the most beautiful in my eyes, I just love that place! Cowshed offer tonnes of different treatments including facials, massages, waxing and brow tints to name but a few, but I think that my favourite thing to get at Cowshed is a manicure and pedicure. Plus, the fact that they have TVs playing endless episodes of Friends while you get your nails done may have something to do with my unashamed favouritism! All of the products that they use in the spa are hand made by cowshed which is super cool, I particularly adore the spearmint hand scrub that they use, that stuff smells good enough to eat! There’s also a cute little cafe inside every Cowshed location and I’ve heard that their coffee is absolutely delicious so make sure you ask for one while you’re getting your nails done.
Blow Drys are one of my favourite things to treat myself to. There’s something about stepping out of the salon with fresh, bouncy hair that makes me feel like I could take on the world! Anyone else feel the same? DryBy is my go to whenever my hair needs that extra oomph. Every time I visit I always leave feeling super relaxed and refreshed, the interior is super cool and calm and there’s just an atmosphere about this place that I adore. One of my favourite things about DryBy is that choosing a style to go for is super easy. Every time you visit you get given a book full of loads of different blow dry styles so you can just pick exactly what you want and they’ll work their magic on your hair. I usually choose the ‘London’ style which has more of an edgy vibe with lots of messy curls and heaps of texture. Love it!
Whenever I need some zen in my life I make it my mission to hit up the House of Elemis. To put it simply, this place is magical and whenever I visit the spa I feel like I’m a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of London. Each and every one of the treatments at the House of Elemis are absolutely wonderful, but by far my favourite thing to get when I’m there is a full body massage. The massage itself is nothing short of incredible, but what makes it super duper special is the fact that during the massage you lay on a bed of quartz and amber! It’s hard to describe exactly what laying on that bed feels like, but believe me when I say that it feels AMAZING. The amber and quarts is heated so it envelopes your body in a wonderful warmth and makes you feel like the definition of zen. This treatment is super unique so I urge you to give it a go and try it for yourself. Whenever I leave the House of Elemis I feel like a whole new woman and that’s what makes this spa a winner in my book.
I don’t feel human unless my eyebrows are on fleek and Blink Brow Bar is my go to place whenever they need a spot of TLC. My favourite branch is in Notting Hill, but you can also find these guys in Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and John Lewis to name a few. Although my favourite thing to get at Blink Brow Bar is a brow shape they also offer loads of other treatments including eyebrow and eyelash tints and eyelash extensions. You name it, they do it! This place is my brow saviour.
The Sarah Chapman Clinic has everything that my face needs, this place is literally the best! In my opinion, Sarah Chapman does the best facial in London and I truly believe that because you can actually SEE the results as soon as you leave the clinic. Whenever I visit this place I always step out of the door with the most gorgeous looking glow. Not only that but my skin feels INCREDIBLE. Everything that they do to your face during the treatment is so hi-tech and unique that it makes the whole experience really fun and interesting, I always come out of the clinic feeling like I’ve actually learned something about my skin that I didn’t know before. Make sure you check out this place because I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed! Just make sure you book well in advance so that you don’t miss out, this place is almost always fully booked! Guess I’m not the only one that thinks the clinic is amazing!
Let's Go To The Beach!
Everyone has their happy place and ours is the beach. Last summer we rented a house on the beach for two weeks and invited loads of people to enjoy the sunshine with us. It was pure bliss, so Aslan and I decided to go back in November for some r&r after my book tour was finished. It was something both of us were looking forward to, so when the time finally came to pack our bags we were ecstatic. Speaking of packing bags, we didn’t bring much. Just some loungewear and I didn’t bring a single makeup product. Bliss!
The best part of our beach vacations is that we can bring our beautiful Greyhound Reggie! Unfortunately our holidays are usually spent without him because he can’t go on airplanes or drive too far, but since Camber Sands is about a 2 hour drive Reggie can happily rest in the back seat of the car. Dog lovers will understand that being without your dog is tough, so to be able to organise a holiday around dog walks and afternoon naps together is ideal. ZzzZz.
Reggie is keeping his eyes peeled for rabbits.
There’s nothing quite like waking up and going for a morning walk on the sand. It makes for a nice change compared to the sirens, smog and noise London greets us with. You don’t always need to get on a plane and travel around the world to have a lovely holiday. Sometimes the best memories can be made near home.
The kind of happiness we get from seeing Reggie run around like crazy is unexplainable. It’s the kind of happiness that radiates through your entire body and keeps you buzzing all day long.
I’m learning the importance of switching off. We are all so obsessed with technology and the digital world that it’s actually quite difficult to break the habit. For the first 2 days at the beach house Aslan and I always struggle to get back in touch with “reality”. It has become strange for us to leave our iPhones in a different room all day long and I see that as something I want to change. These digital detox holidays are crucial for us and I’ll be making sure to do more of it in 2017.
Where is your happy place?
To celebrate the launch of my brand new book Bloom: Navigating Life and Style I gathered all of my friends to come hang out at Libreria Bookshop in East London. It was the perfect venue because there were loads of beautiful books around us, it has a great atmosphere and a pretty cool mirrored ceiling. I’d definitely recommend checking it out if you’re ever in the area!
Anyway, I’ve been a bit of a recluse for the past year while I wrote Bloom, so it was great to see some of my friends I haven’t had a chance to catch up with for awhile. It has been such an unexplainable feeling to be so supported by my friends and family throughout this process. I can’t begin to describe how grateful I am for everyone’s support and positive feedback. Much love to anyone who has taken time out of their day to say something wonderful about Bloom.
SO WHAT IS BLOOM ABOUT?
Bloom is about growing into yourself and working out who you are – which can be really hard at times. I've looked back at all of the events, people and things in my life that have influenced and inspired me and have made me who I am today.I'm not a flawless human (nobody is) and I wanted to write something that showed highs as well as lows in my life, and how you can use that rollercoaster to help you form the life you want. I hope that my book will inspire other people to think about their Bloom stories and who they are, to not be so hard on themselves, to celebrate the good and to not be defined or limited by the bad – and to look into the future, take control of their path and make things happen.
Tea & Crumpets
When did I become British?
A few weeks ago, Aslan and I headed out one Sunday morning for a delicious snack. He was mortified when I told him that I’d never tried a crumpet before, so he was rather excited to see what I thought. Good and Proper Tea Co. has such a huge selection of different types of tea that it’s honestly difficult to choose just one. They also have these super cool tea making machines (the technical term) that were mesmerising to watch.
The space is decorated so beautifully and we spent most of our time wondering how they made it look so good! They have loads of wooden panelling, gorgeous brick and this really cool peg board style wall with various plants hanging from it. Don’t even get me started on how much I love the lights in this place!
In the end I stayed boring and went for earl grey, but it was the best damn cup of earl grey I’ve ever had! If you’re around Clerkenwell, I highly recommend checking this place out! We’ll definitely be back to get our fill of tea and crumpets.
Crumpet verdict: frickin’ delicious.
Two Nights at Limewood Hotel
A Reviving Break
The other week, Aslan and I decided to carve out some relaxation time. Both of us needed to escape from the city, but we didn’t really want to get on a plane and travel too far away. I was having daydreams of sitting in a hot tub all day, which is where Lime Wood Hotel came in. I’ve had so many recommendations from friends about this place, so we decided to pack our bags for a weekend getaway.
This is the first spa hotel I’ve ever stayed in and I now understand the attraction. All you do is eat, sleep, go in the sauna and repeat. I also got a full body massage which was glorious!
The hotel is set in the heart of the New Forest National Park which is filled with wild ponies! We took a leisurely stroll one afternoon and saw a lot of wildlife. Luckily the hotel provided wellies because it was really muddy out there.
Our room was so spacious and it really felt like our own personal getaway. There was a huge bathtub, a balcony overlooking the forest and we even had a fireplace in our room which Aslan proudly stoked.
If you’re a Londoner in need of luxurious relaxation, this is most definitely the place!
A Parisian Affair
Two Days in Paris
Last week I was lucky enough to travel to Paris with Lancôme to see the reveal of some new products. Paris is one of my favourite cities in the entire world and no matter how many times I go, I think it will always feel magical. Besides playing with makeup, I also did some cheeky shopping and ate loads of food!
The hotel we stayed in was genuinely one of the best hotels I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. It was called Les Bains (translating to The Baths) and it was decorated perfectly. From the patterned carpet in the hallway to the marble headboard I was simply in awe. I would definitely recommend it!
The entire trip was so glamorous and I didn’t want it to end! Make sure you watch both videos below to see way more stuff from the trip!
Thank you Lancôme!
New York Shopping Highlights
Clothes + Food
In God We TrustGod We Trust was probably my favourite store I visited in New York. It was a tiny little boutique, but I loved everything! They had jewellery, wonderful sweaters and casual accessories like scarves and hats. They also put my purchases in that cool tote, which excited me.
Concrete + Water was a mixture of men’s and women’s fashion which gave Aslan something to do as well. Not only did they astound me with their gorgeous sunglasses offerings, but they had cool home stuff too. The staff were super friendly and they even had a shop dog. Woof!
Mmmm chocolate. Do yourself a favour and allow your nostrils to inhale the glorious chocolate aroma in Mast Brothers.
If you’re going to be shopping all day, you’re going to need a sugar boost! Make sure you try a gigantic Dough Donuts! Nothing more needs to be said.
New York, New York!
The big apple!
New York is such a wonderful city and I feel like this was the first time I really got to experience it properly. We spent a week leisurely perusing the shops, having glorious brunches and taking in the sights. I feel like I really got a sense of how awesome New Yorkers really are!
Both of us couldn’t stop dreaming of living in New York one day because it really is the city that never sleeps! Speaking of sleeping, we stayed at Sixty Soho which had the perfect location and was walking distance to everything we could have wanted. Big thumbs up from us!
Atlantis, The Palm Hotel | Dubai
A slice of paradise.
View from the balcony.
I had been feeling like I needed to recharge my batteries for months, so when I got the chance to visit the Atlantis Hotel in Dubai I jumped at the chance! The Atlantis was the first hotel to be built on the island in 2008 and remains one of the most frequented hotels in Dubai. There are almost 1600 rooms in this place-it is HUGE!
Cool sculpture in the hotel lobby.
That sweet, sweet feeling of sand in between your toes. I felt like a little kid again running towards the water! After loads of swimming, I made myself comfortable on one of the beach chairs-bliss! Fresh watermelon juice, fruit and loads of ice-cream…what more do you want!?
I spent loads of time on the beach reading my book, listening to the waves and feeling the warm breeze on my face. Of course I still needed to be responsible and wear sunscreen! I also brought along my Coconut Salt body lotion for some extra beachy vibes.
I kept my makeup quite minimal and used the Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow as a base product alongside my Chantecaille Just Skin Tinted Moisturiser. For a pop of colour, I went with the Revlon Ultra HD Lipstick in the shade Tulip.
More Dubai posts coming soon!
Atlantis, The Palm.