Style Note: The Isabella Oliver Cape

Posted by London Darling

Yesterday was one of those cold and breezy days in London when you really need something warm and snug to wrap up in. And what better way to wrap up than in a cape. It's the perfect alternative to a winter coat. I received this beautiful one as a Christmas Gift from one of my favourite labels Isabella Oliver.

Isabella Oliver Cape

London Fashion Week Diary: BODYAMR

Posted by London Darling

The BODYAMR show was one that I was particularly looking forward to, and it was well worth the wait. The signature draping that I love still played a huge role in the collection as an abundance of luxe fabrics and beaded embellishment.

BODYAMR show

Giveaway: Win Tickets to the 2010 Vitality Show!

Posted by London Darling

The lovely team at Vitality are treating three lucky readers to a pair of free tickets! Running from 18th-21st March in London’s Earls Court 2, Vitality is the UK’s largest health, beauty, fitness and wellbeing event for women.

WIN Vitality tickets

Beauty Buzz: Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare

Posted by London Darling

I recently changed my beauty regime to include the Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, the Instant Boost Skin Tonic and Skin Repair Moisturiser. It's been just six days, and already I've seen a noticeable difference in the clarity of my complexion and the texture of my skin.

Liz Earle Skincare

Big congratulations to Pretty Stylish London reader Tor of Fab Frocks who won the £100 Wahanda Voucher competition in December.

Tor's fabulous blog covers all things fashion and even has Wendy Brandes' Seal of Approval. When asked how she intends to spend the pampering gift, Tor has opted to take her sister on a beauty treat. Aww. Have fun lovely and be sure to check out the latest deals on Wahanda.com.

To keep abreast of the latest giveaways and posts on Pretty Stylish London, follow the blog or subscribe today.

Introducing a wonderful natural beauty range that has perked up my pamper time considerably; Pinks Boutique is a UK based brand lovingly created by Luke Sherriff and Kirstie Allen. Their passion for unique aromas and exotic Asian ingredients has manifested in a range of spa quality products, free from parabens and unnecessary chemicals.


The buzz around Pinks Boutique is increasing at a rapid pace; the brand kick-started the new year with co-founder Kirstie's inclusion into the Natural Beauty Yearbook 2010 Top 20 Personalities, placed 17th as voted for by Spas and Salons.

Recently, I've been enjoying the citrus blend of the Lemongrass and Mandarin Facial set (£23.00). These little pots of goodness are a pleasure to apply, and my skin feels like I've had a professional facial afterwards. It's the Bamboo & Oatmeal Polish (£19.50) that I love the most - it has a rich texture that glides on the skin, and the beads of oatmeal are gentle enough to use everyday.

I'm so impressed that I'm keen to try the other ranges, and will schedule a visit to one of the increasing number of spas within London that now treat with the Pinks Boutique range. I'll keep you posted on how the other products fair.

What organic products are you smitten with right now?

Pinks Boutique
Visit the website to find your nearest organic Spa:
www.pinksboutique.com
Date:
Friday 12th February

Time:
19:30 - 23:00

Location:

3 Appold Street
London, EC2A 2AF

Admission:
£5 donation

Last year in my attempt to raise a wad of cash for Cancer Research UK, I hosted the Big Pink Pamper Party and the night was a success thanks to the lovely tweeters and bloggers who came along and donated.

Leanne (left) with Yve at the Big Pink Pamper Party (Look at all that chocolate she won, lucky girl!)

One of those tweeters; Leanne, otherwise known as @teenytinyleanne in Twitterville is hosting her own fabulous soirée to raise more money for the cause and the theme is befitting for the start of Valentine's weekend.

So calling all single ladies (and gentleman) to head over to a night of Speed Dating shenanigans. There'll be free nibbles, discounted cocktails and hopefully some rather dishy people to conversate with.

To reserve your place, simply donate £5 to Cancer Research UK.
Visit: www.justgiving.teenytinypartycompany for more details.

When I posted a few days ago about exciting things in store for Pretty Stylish London, I had no idea it would be happening so soon!

As I logged in for my usual Friday morning twitter fix, I had news from fellow blogger Harlem Loves that the blog had been nominated for Best-Designed in the 2010 Weblog Awards!

How cool is that? This news has added a little sunshine to my day which would have otherwise been grey and gloomy (Londoners have you seen the weather today? Ugh.) Just being nominated is amazing in itself, but of course, I'd love to win!

So a big thank you to everyone who nominated the blog for this category, it's appreciated very much.

Please continue support the blog and vote for Pretty Stylish London in the best-designed category - hey you never know what good things may come out of winning eh?

Award-winning blogs have more weight in securing fabulous giveaways and offers so I'll be sure to use the award (should I win) to push for more freebies and cool stuff for you lovely readers.

You guys rock! xx

What girl doesn't love a pair of 'bang bang' shoes? You know; the kind that make you feel like you're Queen of the world.


Londoner Aruna Seth has been designing 'It' shoes for celebrities and women with exceptional taste for several years. Her luxury embellished footwear has earned her the title of the 'pretty' shoe designer. I've been a huge fan since discovering her work at the start of 2009, so it was quite an honour to chat with Ms. Seth and discuss her love affair with shoes, her plans for 2010 and why she's inspired by the city.

When did your love affair with shoes begin?

My love for shoes began at a very early age. I was surrounded by shoes day in, day out. I remember doing work experience with my dad and it was fascinating to go into the factory and sample rooms where I'd see the drawings right through to the actual production.

When you're going through the design process who is your muse?

I have to say that I base my shoe designs on what I personally love, I have to passionately adore the shoe I'm designing.

Your ballerina shoe Rochelle was picked up by stylist to the cast of Gossip Girls -
Eric Daman. How exciting was that for you?

It was very, very exciting - a big highlight for me. Actress Goldie Hawn recently wore my Cinderella shoe to the Nine premier in New York and that was an amazing feeling.


H
ow does the city of London help inspire you?

London is a very diverse place with different cultures, I love that fact that you can experience totally different things on any given day. I think that's why a lot of designers reside in London actually. A good example of the way cultures intertwine is my background; my mother is Jamaican and my father Indian, so it's definitely the merger of all experiences, all together that influence and inspire my work.


If you had to pick one design from your collection, which would you choose as your favourite?


It would have to be the one that I wear the most - the Cerise; it's a wedge covered in Swarovski crystal. I love it because it's a real head turner; if I wear it any where in the world, no matter where I am, I'll be paid a compliment. But even though they have wow factor, they are still wearable; that's what I aim for; I want my shoes to have elegance, wow factor and remain comfortable.

2009 was a major success for you, what's next for Aruna Seth?

The first Aruna Seth boutique will be opening in Chelsea just in time for the Summer and we'll be busy with award ceremonies such as the Golden Globes and the Oscars. The shoes will be stocked by Browns and also in a US department store very soon.

Web: www.arunaseth.com
Become a fan of Aruna Seth on facebook


Web: www.arunaseth.com
Become a fan of Aruna Seth on facebook

Wow how time flies?? It was exactly a year to this day that I set about creating a blog dedicated to notes on fashion, beauty, and the buzz of my hometown London.


I remember the day vividly; I spent hours that Sunday evening making the blog look pretty and feeling excited about publishing my first post. Now more than 100 posts later, I sit here again reflecting on the journey so far, and feel compelled to say a huge thank you to all my readers and blog supporters.

It might sound cliché, but the fact of the matter is that without you stopping by, leaving me a comment or two and being the lovely people that you are, this blog wouldn't have the following it does and this blogger wouldn't have the enthusiasm that I still possess!

Stick with me for 2010, spread the word on Pretty Stylish London and look out for more exciting developments in the months ahead, I won't say too much now, but I just know that you'll love it.

In the meantime, I'd really appreciate your feedback on the blog thus far, it will help me to continually improve, post by post.

Thank you, Hugs!
xx

Brown's was the first ever hotel to be opened in London. I recently had the pleasure of visiting to learn more about the legendary location and rich history.

Stepping into the grand building what immediately grabbed me was the unique blend of historical features juxtaposed with the contemporary additions from its 24-million renovation in 2005. With soft colours, chic artwork and statement furniture throughout, the hotel exudes elegance.

Founded In 1837 by hotelier James Brown and his wife Sarah, I wonder if they ever imagined the magnitude to which their small but perfectly formed townhouse hotel would expand and be rooted in the milestones of London. Impressively, the hotel has had many a pioneering personality stay; Alexander Graham Bell who made the first ever telephone call from within the hotel, the likes of Franklin Roosevelt honeymooned there, and it is believed that authors Rudyard Kipling and Agatha Christie penned bestsellers during their stays.

A hotel so rich in English history can risk being stuck in a time long past, but not so with Brown's; its services and interior meet the demands of contemporary living very well. From its award-winning Tea Room to The Donovan Bar, the atmosphere is far from dated and you won't be pushed to find gliterati sipping on cocktails whilst discussing the photography of Terence Donovan whose prints line the walls. It's a pretty trendy spot.

The bedrooms designed by director of design Ola Polizzi are pure luxury; expect 300 thread count Egyption cotton bedding and all the essential amenities for a restful experience. It's no wonder that royalty from across the globe have flocked to stay at the hotel throughout the 19th and 20th century. Fast forward to 2010 and the attraction of Brown's is still strong with 117 rooms, a acclaimed restaurant and indulgent spa.


Ah yes the spa (I do love a good beauty treatment); a hot stone massage by Brown's expert therapists will leave you positively floating. As the aches and stresses of my day were melted away with every stroke, I experienced a buzz that can only be matched by my love of chocolate. The food at the Albemarle, Brown's in-hotel restaurant, was quintessentially English with a gastronomic offering that didn't disappoint.

Executive chef Lee Stretton has devised an accomplished menu featuring Treacle-cured salmon, a savory-sweet starter that's so good it will leave you wanting another bite. The Swainson House corn-fed chicken was equally mouth-watering, and as for dessert; the Amedei Chocolate pudding with brandy ice cream was an intense burst of flavour that adequately satisfied my sweet tooth.

The hotel's Mayfair location makes it easy to reach sought-after shops and other London attractions, so for an experience that is enjoyable and enriching, Brown's deservedly earns its place as a luxe spot - in my view, it's the definition of sophistication.

Brown's Hotel
Albemarle Street
London, W1S 4BP
Tel: 020 7493 6020
Web: www.brownshotel.com


The Real Greek restaurant situated on the South Bank is a popular venue for alfresco dinning. Unfortunately for me, it was pouring with rain when I visited this week, making it impossible to enjoy the view.

That said, the decor and atmosphere largely made up for the poor weather. The surroundings are inviting with low modern lighting and an American diner feel. Admittedly, the interior was not what I expected to see from a restaurant boasting a 'real Greek experience' but it definitely works.

The menu offers a modern take on traditional Mediterranean food - there was everything that you'd expect to see on a Greek menu; from Souvlakia to an extensive selection of Meze. If you're Greek you'd probably decide that the food isn't as good as your grandma's homemade dishes, but in terms of authenticity, it's probably not far off. With so much to choose from it's easy to get carried way with the number of dishes to order, (I certainly did) everything sounds so scrumptious, but with each dish ranging between £2.25-£5.50, you can afford to order generously.


The Greek Flatbread was served deliciously moist and warm; matched with Htipiti (Greek feta dip with roasted red peppers and onion) it was simple, fresh and very moreish. I also enjoyed a medley of seafood including Grilled Sardines and Anatolian Spiced Gambas (Prawns). The Saganaki Kefalotyri (Grilled goats cheese) on a bed of Horta Salad was divine. The dishes were all served on tiered racks, which in my opinion was a novel and clever idea; because it meant that the table didn't become overcrowded and it made serving yourself so much easier.

The staff were very attentive; they explained the menu and provided recommendations, thus helping me make an informed decision on which dishes to try. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and I'd definitely go again. The venue is about to undergo a major renovation come February, so it will be interesting to see the difference it makes, I just hope that the venue doesn't loose its charm in the process. For now, I highly recommend you head to the Real Greek and sample yourself some Saganaki Kefalotyri, it's a winner.

The Real Greek
Units 1&2 Riverside House
2A Southwark Bridge Road
SE1 9HA

Tel: 020 7620 0162
Web:
www.therealgreek.com

Dates:
7th January - 29th April
Admission: £15

Pizza Express has teamed up with Geddes Entertainments to bring you a season of Jazz and Cabaret performances at Pizza On The Park.

This musical led initiative showcases new talents for 2010 as well as some familiar faces. The lineup includes Sarah Ellen Hughes, award-winning songwriter Michael Omer and US jazz vocalist Pauline Jean.

With live music scheduled throughout January, Pizza On The Park is a cool eatery to grab a bite this month. The recently refurbished venue has a tempting new menu with a choice of 17 pizzas and a charcoal grill. Further information on the forthcoming events is available online at www.pizzaexpresslive.com or call 08456 027 017.



Pizza On The Park
11-13 Knightsbridge
London
SW1X 7LY
Tel: 020 7235 7825
Web: www.pizzaonthepark.co.uk

Main image: Courtesy of kissandtellcabaret.com

Last week I visited the Harbour Club and Amida Spa in Notting Hill with a friend for an afternoon of relaxation and pampering. It was a more modest venue than anticipated; a community gym of sorts come spa, and not the luxury expected. We opted for the Heavenly Spa Day for two, a special deal we bagged at a discounted price via Wahanda.

This deal entitled us to a 30 minute massage, express facial, mini pedicure and a light lunch, plus full use of the facilities. The facilities however were 'compact', so this basically meant use of the gym and the wet area, which included a tiny steam room and sauna.

After accepting the mediocre fate of our pamper afternoon, the treatments started off with a hitch; they only had one pair of slippers available that were clean. To be honest the pair of slippers they did have looked like they needed a good clean... In the end, we were issued make-shift flip-flops, the ones used to help transport freshly painted toes from the treatment room to the lounge.

But then came a positive worthy of note; the staff - so apologetic and lovely that I couldn't stay vexed for too long. And the treatments despite being super speedy were very thorough and performed to an excellent standard. The therapeutic massage did well to ease the niggles in my neck and shoulders, whilst the Elemis balancing facial was perfect for giving my skin a quick shot of hydration. The pedicure was great (the polish still looks good as new today). And the lunch was a wholesome grilled burger and chips (not exactly healthy but it was yum).

I've since learned that the package which cost £140 could have been experienced more indulgently for the same price at the Harbour Club, Chelsea - it's high-end counterpart. In reality, I suspect that the Harbour Club, Notting Hill is a place where locals pop in for essential waxing and a quick polish rather than a fully fledged spa day.

The result? I felt a little deceived; the photos of the facilities online looked lush, but I quickly understood from the staff that it was all down to fancy camera work. The phrase 'don't believe hype' comes to mind.

Harbour Club
1 Alfred Road
London W2 5EU
Tel: 0845 125 7017
Web: www.amidaspa.co.uk

Happy New Year guys and gals, I hope you all saw in 2010 stylishly! However, if like me you've overindulged on the mince pies this Christmas, here's a healthy way to kick-start 2010. I bring you my hot list of free gym passes across London.

Yes, I'm sure you'll agree that it's essential to try out the facilities at any gym before committing to a membership, and with most health club chains jumping on the 'try before you buy' bandwagon, it's good news for us. Here are some hot offers, from places in town, potentially giving you a week's worth of free gym access - not bad at all!

Editor's Choice
Get a FREE 3 day trial for you and a friend at The Bankside Health Club

With a large air conditioned gym, state of the art cardio equipment and a dedicated spin studio, the Bankside Health Club is a convenient option for south Londoners. It's the newest and biggest health club in SE1, bringing the 'bigger is better' gym culture of America to the UK. Choose from over 50 studio classes per week and get physical in the fully equipped boxing ring.

If you're smitten with the facilities, the average membership costs around £50 per month and there's no joining fee. To claim your pass, email info@thebanksidehealthclub.co.uk

The Bankside Health Club
Unit 11a
Blue Fin Building
110 Southwark Street
London SE1 0SU

Tel: 020 7921 9343
Web: www.thebanksidehealthclub.co.uk


Get a 1 day FREE pass plus two weeks membership from £14.00


Harpers Fitness is a chain of 70 centres in the UK, and the health clubs have recently undergone a 2.6 million facility makeover to feature the latest gym equipment, fitness classes and personal training. There are branches in Lewisham, Wileseden and Harrow, all offering you the chance to test out the new look facilities.

These health clubs are community based, so you'll find the surroundings fit for families and individuals alike; great if you don't mind the pitter patter of tiny feet by the poolside, or if you have children in tow yourself.

Visit the website to claim your FREE pass and for more information on getting a two week membership from £14.00. This is ideal for getting you on the fitness track whilst waiting for pay day. Not bad, considering you could pay that for attending a few cardio classes in one week alone. For your nearest branch visit the website: www.harpersfitnessshop.co.uk



FREE Power Plate Session - various venues

Power plate sessions promise to offer a non-sweaty alternative to a productive workout. It has been claimed that 10 minutes on a Power-Plate achieves the same results as 60 minutes of conventional cardio training. It's the machine that gives the body's muscles a high-speed workout by using vibrations to stimulate them to contract and relax. Try it for yourself with a free session available across a number of health clubs throughout London, here are my top choices:

Movers and Shapers
7 Branches in London including Stanmore and West Hampstead
A 30 minute workout and personal training.
Book via Wahanda

Powertone Studios
4 Studios in London, including Chelsea and Mayfair
A 25 minute workout and personal training.
Book via Wahanda

Powerflex Studios
Located in Victoria, London
A 25 minute workout and personal training.
Book via Wahanda


FREE Introductory Pilates Session at Kinesis Studios

Pilates is still a big favourite when it comes to low impact classes, personally I'm a big fan so see what all the fuss is about with a complimentary pilates session worth £35 at one of the top studios in London.

Kinesis Studios is based in Notting Hill, and run by a team of highly trained teachers. Sessions are usually a group class of up to 4 clients with one instructor on pilates apparatus. Whether you're just starting out or a pilates fanatic, everyone is instructed to work according to a program individually designed to address personal goals and needs. Book your free session via Wahanda

Kinesis
Unit A Royalty Studios
105-109 Lancaster Road
London W11 1QF
Tel: 020 7229 2100
Web: www.kinesis-studios.com
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