Wednesday, 26 June 2013

A visit to Errol Douglas

With a hot date planned for the evening, what better occasion could I have than to put my tresses in the hands of Knightsbridge’s mane man, Errol Douglas? One of the industry’s most respected stylists, the award-winning Errol is renowned for his superb trend-led styling. He is also the brand ambassador for Morroccanoil.

As the weather was rather humid, this was a good opportunity to put the products to the test. I am already a fan of the oil, but Errol told me that to get full benefit I should wash my hair with the shampoo and conditioner from the range.

Errol spent a lot of time talking to me and looking at my hair before he got me shampooed. This, to me, is the mark of a good hairdresser. So many salons don’t spend enough time discussing the client’s hair.

After washing, the Moroccanoil Moisture Repair Conditioner was “cocktailed” with the Moroccanoil Intense Hydrating Mask. Errol believes in mixing products together. He also told me that it takes around six to seven weeks for hair to get used to a new shampoo and conditioner.

“Women often use too much conditioner,” he says. “Start with small amounts and work it through all the hair, not just the top layer. Use a treatment once a week, or every fortnight, if your hair is fine and use a lighter conditioner in-between.”

He also cautions on overloading your tresses with product. “Put a small amount of your finger and work through mid-lengths to ends.” On my hair, Errol used Moroccanoil Frizz Control mixed with the oil.

Errol decided to bring out the movement in my hair, so he styled it using a round brush. After doing each section, he rolled it up and pinned it. Once  the hair had  cooled down,  he loosened the curls. A spritz of hairspray and I was good to go. My hair looked great and it actually kept for four days, pretty impressive.

By Daralyn Danns

Errol Douglas (

Friday, 21 June 2013

Fixing a bad hair day

If it wasn’t bad enough that my roots were in dire need of some attention, I also managed to get caught in the rain and my newly blow-dried hair frizzed. That is surely enough to make any girl feel grumpy, especially when you happen to be on the way to a press launch for a new hair range.

Color Wow is the latest venture from Gail Federici, the co-founder of John Frieda’s hair care company. Gail started her presentation, mentioning changes that happen when you start colouring your hair such as it becomes drier, especially if you have highlights, more prone to frizz, colour fades and, of course, there is regrowth.

In short, she pointed out that you spend a lot of money having your hair coloured to look good, but it all too quickly starts losing that “I have just left the salon look”. 

Color Wow Root Cover Up

Roots are the bane of most women’s life when you start colouring your hair, especially if you have any dreaded greys.

But, it was when she talked about her first product, Root Cover Up, which comes in four shades (£28, I started to pay attention.

“The next hand-held device to change your life,” was how she described it. I saw the demonstrations, but as they say the proof of the pudding …

Stylist supremo Kevin Moss, and a member of Gail’s team, adeptly whizzed out a palette containing the “miracle powder” and, with the photo retouch tool, magically covered up my roots. “Now, you are ready to say yes, when a hot date calls up and asks you out for a drink,” he said.

I must admit that the powder wasn’t sticky and didn’t look dull as is the case with so many of them. It actually blended in well with my hair and looked natural. I half-expected it to blow away or end up all over my pillow, but next morning it was still in place. In fact, it lasted until I washed my hair. Root cover up has now become a beauty necessity.

The other products in the range that I like are the Color Security Shampoo (£16.50), which even though it is sulfate-free, produces a rich lather and the matching conditioner (£16.5) for fine to normal hair.  

Gail told me that I would find my hair easier to blow-dry. Yes, it did help smooth the cuticle. Once I had finished blow-drying I applied a light touch of Pop & Lock Crystallite Shellac (£14.50) which contains mica that helps make the hair look shinier.

Going out on a damp, dismal day, I noticed my hair didn’t go as puffy as usual, probably because the cuticle was smoother. And, that is something worth raising a glass to!

By Daralyn Danns

Monday, 17 June 2013

A blow-dry at Lockonego

Having heard lots of great things about the hair salon Lockonego, I thought it was about time I took a trip down the King’s Road in Chelsea to pay it a visit.

Set up by leading stylists, Jonathan Long and Ben Cooke in 2005, this salon is extremely friendly and although it has plenty of celebrities as clients and the team regularly do cover shoots for magazines, it is totally unpretentious. I loved the boutique-y feel and its intimate approach.

My stylist, Amy took one look at my hair and said: “the less you do to it the better,” She went on to say that people now want laid-back styles. “Working with their own natural texture, clients find their hair is much easier to manage,” she added. Mid-length hair is really popular right now.”

Another good tip from Amy is to blow-dry your hair when it is practically dry and then smooth it out with a round brush. “So many hairdressers try to dry hair from wet, resulting in them going over the same piece of hair several times, which actually can do it more harm than good.”

When blow-drying it yourself, she advised drying it forward and, taking sections, use a round brush to smooth it out. “You should find it easier to create tension,” she said.

I like the way that the stylists really talk through your hair and how it behaves before they start work. My blow-dry was superb – the kind of done but not done look that I like.

By Daralyn Danns

Lockonego, 394 King's Road, London,SW1 (

Friday, 14 June 2013

The Royal Scotsman

The Royal Scotsman
Courtesy of Orient Express

The Scottish Highlands’ lush green terrain laced with eruptions of purple rhododendrons and yellow broom interrupted by lochs and framed by craggy peaks, whisked by as the Royal Scotsman made its majestic way along the West Highland Line to Mallaig.

The tranquil waters of the magical Loch Lomond and the distinctive shape of Ben Arthur took their place in our window then faded into the distance as the train continued. So wild, so unspoilt. No wonder it is renowned as one of the world’s most beautiful train journeys.

As the years have zipped by, when the heaving frenzy of London on a hot summer’s day becomes too overwhelming, my mind often flashes back to the clackety-clack of the train and that special time.

Observation Lounge
Courtesy of Orient Express

We had boarded the Royal Scotsman in Edinburgh to the skirl of the bagpipes. We headed west, skirting Glasgow along the northern bank of the Clyde to Craigendoran, the beginning of the West Highland Line, on a journey that seemed to take us to the era when train travel was glamorous and romantic.

My fellow passengers, 26 in all, came from all over the world and from all walks of life. There were writers, ex-army officers, lawyers and doctors, all seasoned travellers, all with tales to tell.

Dinner was rather a lavish affair and, just like in an episode of Agatha Christie’s Poirot, (the Belgian detective) we all dressed up to befit the occasion. The ice had already melted and the eclectic bunch of people mingled like long-lost friends as we retired to the elegant Edwardian-styled Observation Car for after-dinner drinks.

A local Highlander came on board to sing traditional Scottish songs which we all joined in. It was more like being at a rather grand house party than on a train.

Cosy state cabin
Courtesy of Orient Express

The Royal Scotsman’s compact and cosy state cabins with rich wood panelling have been extremely well-designed and make use of every centimetre of space. They all have en suite facilities – with shower – which can be used 24/7. The train travels by day and rests by night, so sleeping is easy.

Breakfast next morning was against the stunning backdrop of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain. Could it get better? A walk on Morar Sands, south of Mallaig and about a15-minute drive north from Arisaig, Britain’s most westerly mainland railway station, managed to surpass it.

White sands fringed turquoise waters. In the distance were the rocky peaks of the Isle of Skye’s Cuillin Mountains. In between was a low-lying, flower-covered plain known as a machair. We were about 235 miles from Edinburgh, but it seemed like a world away.

Morar Sands

There were two other excursions on our route back to Edinburgh. In the afternoon was a trip with Ray Owens, a local historian, to the Glenfinnan Monument, at the head of Loch Shiel. The monument was built in 1815 as a tribute to the clansmen who fought and died for Bonnie Prince Charlie. The 21-arch viaduct here was used in the Harry Potter movies.

On the third day we stopped at Wemyss Bay (about 78 miles from Edinburgh) and visited Mount Stuart, a Victorian Gothic mansion on the Isle of Bute, the ancestral home of the 3rd Marquess of Bute.

After being cosseted by the staff of the Royal Scotsman for three days, being catapulted back into reality came as a shock to the system. It sounds like a cliché, but this really was a trip of a lifetime.

By Daralyn Danns

For more details of journeys on the Royal Scotsman visit