Monday, 28 May 2012

Time to pay the colourist a visit

A brunette that spends a lot of time in the sun

How time flies! I can’t believe that it is almost six weeks since I last visited Liz Edmonds, colour director at Daniel Galvin. Thanks to this wonderful lady I don’t have any nasty orange bits in my hair, which considering the colour correcting Liz has to do, is a miracle in itself.

Liz set to work. Firstly, she examined my hair in the natural daylight – you can tell this is a salon that specialises in colour. I hate it when colourists take you downstairs and rely on electric light to judge your hue and skin tone. I think it why a lot of mistakes occur. 

After the usual dark-blonde shade (which, on my hair, comes out light brown) was applied to my roots, Liz took me over to the basin for a “colour bath”.  Apparently, this dye, although permanent, has a lower pH than other colours. The hair cuticle remains closed during the process, sealing in the hair’s natural moisture so hair looks healthier.

A colour bath is a slow process – Liz said it could take around six months to get my hair perfect – but that is a small price to pay for beautiful tresses.


My locks shampooed and conditioned, I was now ready for my stylist, Megan. As it was raining and my hair is fine and fluffy, she said that we should keep it curly. She put in some extra bounce, so my hair would last. It sure did. It looked perfect for days.

As for the colour, I’m now a brunette that looks like she spends a lot of time in the sun. After leaving Liz, I walked into a store and one of the girls who works there and came up to me and said: “Wow, your hair looks amazing!” I can’t ask for more.

By Daralyn Danns
Daniel Galvin (

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Coping with fine, fluffy hair

Rain and damp weather can play havoc with your hair, especially If you have fine, fluffy hair like mine which tends to frizz at the slightest sign of humidity.

As I was going away for a few days and the weather forecast predicted more rain, I decided to pop into the Aveda Institute Salon and Spa, Covent Garden to get my hair done.

Jay Doan, my stylist, took one look at my hair and said: “Heat is the answer. You need to smooth your hair before you style it and then put a little movement back into your hair.”

Before Jay dried my hair she prepped it with Aveda Smooth Infusion Style-Prep Smoother (£18.50). “It contains organic tapioca that helps defend against humidity making the blow-dry last longer,” she told me.

For the best results, Jay explained, you also need to use the right brush to smooth out your hair. Round bristle brushes are good for creating volume and smoothing, if you have frizzy hair. Create tension by holding the brush taut. Paddle brushes are good for straightening long hair. You can use a round brush afterwards if you need extra volume.  

Ceramic brushes let the warm air from the dryer circulate and work on the surface of the hair and underneath, so your hair is dried quicker. “Don’t apply too much heat, otherwise you can damage your hair,” warns Jay. “You can use ceramic brushes like heated rollers to create curl or a soft wave. Leave it in the hair for a few seconds and then, when cool, remove.”

If you want to create waves with a curling iron, Jay says: “Take a section of hair and start in the middle and feed the hair through. If you want to use heated rollers, comb a section of the hair, wrap it round the roller making sure that it is clean at the roots and sitting on the scalp. Don’t leave it dangling.”

When I leave the salon and it is raining, I tie my hair back into a ponytail with a metal-free hair band and let it down when I get to my destination.

Jay’s blow-dry, I’m pleased to tell you, survived the worst downpours. In fact it was so good, it didn’t need touching for three days.

By Daralyn Danns

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Friday, 18 May 2012

English Wines

Courtesy of Chapel Down

If you feel patriotism stirring as the Queen's Diamond Jubliee approaches, why not add a sparkle to your celebrations with a glass of one of our home-grown wines? Bursting with zesty, fruity flavours, they are perfect for summer.

Over the last few years, the English wineries have upped their ante. Fizzes from houses such as Nyetimber, Ridgeview , Chapel Down and Camel Valley have become far more sophisticated, making them a good alternative to average champagnes. It helps that southern England has a climate and chalky soils similar to those of France’s Champagne region.  

The 300-year-old wine and spirit merchant, Berry Bros.& Rudd knows a thing or two about the subject. It first supplied wine to the Royal Family during the reign of George III and continues to do so. According to the company, 2011 was a record year, for English wines with sales up 50 per cent by value and 25 per cent by volume on 2010.

Courtesy of Chapel Down

“2011 was the year that the vicious cycle has been broken,” says Simon Field, English wines buyer at Berry Bros. & Rudd. “Makers are creating far higher quality wines, which has meant that retailers can put more English wine on their shelves and that consumers have a better and wider choice of wines available – and with stronger sales, there is more for makers to invest. The cycle has become a virtuous one this year and we expect that to continue in 2012.”

It’s a trend that Waitrose, also a Royal Warrant holder, noticed. The company says that English wines have, with recent vintages, enhanced their reputation. Noted for their fresh, aromatic styles, these wines also tend to have a lower alcohol content than those from hotter climates, making them the ideal drink for warm, sunny weather.

“The trick for English makers over the coming years, however, will be to make their wines a bit more attainable when it comes to pricing,” says Simon. “That should result from higher volumes and stronger sales, but the truth remains that, while they compare favourably with wines from across the world, English wines remain a premium product and, if they are to break into mainstream and gain a bigger following, producers will need to find ways of bringing prices at the checkout down.”

Here are some recommendations.

Chapel Down, 2004 Pinot Reserve Brut, Kent, £23.95,
Made in the traditional méthode champenoise, this bubbly has a high proportion of pinot noir grapes, giving it a rich and fruity flavour with just the right amount of crispness.

Ridgeview Cuvée Merret Bloomsbury 2009 West Sussex, England, Sparkling Wine  £22.99 to £18.29 until 29 May, Waitrose
Packed with fresh fruit flavours and hints of biscuit, this racy and refreshing fizz is made using the classic champagne grape varieties. It’s a great buy.  

Nyetimber Classic Cuvée Vintage 2006 West Sussex, England, Sparkling Wine £29.99 to £22.49 until 29 May, Waitrose
This sparkler, made in the same way as champagne, explodes with citrusy tangs. It is hailed as one of England’s best wines. 

Wickham Vineyards Vintage Selection Dry White, Hampshire, England, £10.75,
As you open the bottle, aromas of newly-mown grass greet you. The chalky, floral flavours are similar to a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc but with an English twist.

Three Choirs Annum 2011 Gloucestershire, England, 20% off, £8.99 - £7.19 until 29 May, Waitrose
A collaboration between Three Choirs and Waitrose, this exclusive blend of five locally-grown grape varieties, is fresh and crisp, yet well-balanced. Ideal with seafood and chicken.

By Daralyn Danns

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The Stafford London by Kempinski

The Stafford London by Kempinski 

A fusion of understated elegance and romantic seclusion, The Stafford London by Kempinski bubbles with English charm.  It is an exceptional find in the capital and that is why I love this hotel.

Nestled in a quiet street, not far from Buckingham Palace, this discreet establishment, which is celebrating its 100th birthday this year, is rumoured to be a haunt of members of the Royal Family as well as A-list celebrities. According to press reports, David Beckham was seen there having a pre-Xmas drink with Prince William.

The place to head for is the American Bar. The walls, covered with signed photographs of guests who have walked through its doors since it opened in 1930, will entertain you for hours. Don’t get too engrossed, you may miss who is sitting at the next table.

The courtyard

If you are looking to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee in style, this is the place. On 3 June, the hotel’s quaint courtyard will be decked out in Union flags and bunting. Don’t worry about the weather, there will be a grand marquee to protect you from too much rain or sun. The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant will be screened so you can watch it while sipping champagne cocktails, listening to the sounds of jazz by Rio Trio and savouring a special menu showcasing the best of Britain including spiced lobster and fennel cocktails and spit roasted meats.

Tickets to the Diamond Jubilee Party from 12:00pm.-6:00pm are £100 per person (advanced purchase only) and include all food and beverages.

By Daralyn Danns

The Stafford London by Kempinski (


Monday, 14 May 2012

Hair to dye for

“The old version of luxury was about needing a whole head of the best colour possible to feel empowered; whereas now all you need is a streak,” says Josh Wood, global creative director for Wella Professionals and a familiar face backstage at the catwalk shows.

Today’s colour is about working with your own natural shade and enhancing it with complementary tones to create a multi-dimensional effect. The look is soft and feminine.  “This is about looking real. Yes, it’s sophisticated, but it doesn’t have to look old and overdone,” he adds. 

DKNY spring/summer 2012
Courtesy of Wella
Dean Slack, senior technical director at The Nicky Clarke Hairdressers Leeds salon suggests  that anybody having highlights should go for the blushing technique. “A slightly lighter semi-permanent is used in between the foils to soften any dark regrowth so it makes unsightly roots appear softened,” he says.

Brassiness is a common problem for those with dyed hair, especially in summer. Dean’s remedy is chalking. “This is a great in-between highlights service. This application of glazing returns any brassiness into beautiful, shiny blondes and can be achieved in your lunch break as it is a speed service,” he adds.

I’m sure that this is a problem that has happen to lots of you who had highlights. You start off with the perfect colour and each time you have them done your hairdresser manages to add a few more until you end up with too many.  “When highlighted hair becomes over highlighted, sometimes we need to give the hair a bit of a holiday and bring it back to reality,” says Dean. “Applying a gloss in between new highlights can make the hair appear much more glamorous and expensive.”

A good trick from Dean for adding depth to the hair is a technique called Tonal Drifting. “This is where we see the roots darkened and the ends lightened giving slide of depth through the hair. The ends should still contain separation to avoid the dip-dye effect which is so last season!”

Looking to inject some colour into your life this summer? Dean’s recommendations for blondes are: midsummer mauve, Inca gold, fuzzy apricot and sand blushed suede. Brunettes should think muted mink, espresso brown and café latte.

By Daralyn Danns