Monday, 22 July 2013

The journey of colour perfection

After travelling and spending some time in the sun, my colour had faded slightly, so it was off to see the goddess of hair colour, Liz Edmonds at Daniel Galvin.

“It is not just the sun that has an effect on your hair, but also the water and the fact when you are in sunnier and warmer places you tend to wash your hair more frequently which can cause the colour to fade making your hue appear dull,” said Liz. "I always advise my clients to have their hair coloured after a holiday not before.”

Maintenance is key. If you are going to be doing a lot of swimming, Liz points out that the salt from the sea and chlorine from pools can strip the colour and damage your hair, so it is essential to take care of it. “Always rinse your hair after being in the sea or pool, especially if you are blonde. If your hair is porous, it could go green.  I advise wearing a hat when exposed to the sun or use a UV protection spray.”

Hair needs moisture, even if it is fine. A good mask is an essential item in your holiday luggage to help keep your hair well moisturised. Ask your hairdresser which are the best products for your hair type before splashing out.

Liz cautions against the use of a colour depositing conditioner to revitalise your locks unless you have checked with your hair colourist that it is all right to use. It adds a slight amount of dye to the hair each time you use it, so you could find that your colour is different from what you started with as the shade will not exactly match your own.

“At Daniel Galvin, we mix a 'vegetable' colour specifically for each client’s requirements which they can use at home to keep the tone correct and stop hair going brassy. It won’t cover grey."

My hair was toned down to get rid of the warmth and make it slightly darker.

Daniel Galvin always says: “Perfection is a journey not a destination.” When I saw the results, a stunning light almost golden brown, I understood what he meant. When I thought my hue could not get any better, it did!

By Daralyn Danns

Daniel Galvin (

Friday, 19 July 2013

Say cheers with some unusual wines

Oscar Malek, head sommelier at Chewton Glen, one of the UK’s most luxurious country house hotels, has only been in his current position for approximately six months, and remarkably has managed to assemble a wine list that features 1,000 bins. In the selection he has, in his words, included a few cheeky numbers including some organic wines as well as a few tipples suitable for vegans.

One of his proudest achievements is the offering of 130 bins of dessert, of which many are served by the glass. So, there is no excuse not to try one.

Oscar Malek, head sommelier at Chewton Glen

The English wine selection has been expanded as people are becoming more interested after having their first taste of what we produce. According to Oscar they are an alternative to champagne as they are often less expensive compared some of the renowned French brands, especially when ordering them in a restaurant.

“English sparkling wines are definitely ahead of the rest,” says Oscar. “They are usually made using the traditional method. The chalky soils around the North and South Downs are similar to those found in Champagne and we grow the same grapes [chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier] that champagne is made from.”

Houses that Oscar recommends looking out for are Camel Valley, Nyetimber and Chapel Down. “There are also some great smaller local producers such as Hamphire’s Cottonworth, Furleigh Estate in Dorset and English Oak Vineyard, also in Dorset.

“A good English fizz can cost around £60-£80 in a restaurant,” says Oscar. “Compare that with the prices of similar quality Grande Marques from Champagne which can be over a £100. Pitched in a blind tasting it would be hard to distinguish one from the other!” 

The Duchess of Cornwall must be impressed as she has recently called for a new, rather more glamorous name for English fizz.

Ensuring perfection

There is no doubt about it that wine produced in England has improved in recent years and many people are surprised how good it is.

“English producers have moved away from the medium dry wines, which tend to be flabby and are now making the type of wines associated with cool climates such as riesling and pinot gris. Stophamp Estates produce a particularly good pinot gris bursting with tropical fruit flavours that work well with food. It is a sommlier’s favourite!” says Oscar.

If you want to try this wine, you will have to go to Chewton Glen, as the vineyard’s stocks are now depleted.

For fans of red wine, the shining star, according to Oscar, is pinot noir or blended together with rondo. He suggests trying reds from Kenton Vineyard. For rosé try Setleyridge’s melange of schonberg and rondo.

Oscar has also managed to source some quirky wines to tempt your taste buds. How about a white from Japan, a red from Armenia or a tipple form Mexico or China? Nearer home would you have thought about buying a wine from Switzerland or Luxemburg?  So get experimenting and travel the world of wine.

By Daralyn Danns

Friday, 12 July 2013

Destination Bogotá, Colombia

From the top of Cerro de Monserrate, the view of Bogotá shrouded by smog was irresistibly hypnotic and alluring. The church and its shrine to Señor Caído (Fallen Lord), reputed to be responsible for many miracles, may have been attracting visitors to this hill for hundreds of years, but the fact that I was actually here in Colombia’s capital was reward enough.

Not so long ago the mere mention of Bogotá conjured up images of kidnappings and cocaine. Now boho chic fuses with urban grit. And, mainly due to the former president Álvaro Uribe and Antanas Mockus, a past mayor, South America’s edgiest city dances to a different beat. The streets, set against a backing track of tropical birdsong, are filled with the aromas of freshly brewed Colombian coffee and the scent of beautiful flowers. The most coveted souvenirs are emeralds.

Courtesy of Proexport Colombia

Perched in the Eastern Andes, Bogotá is approximately 8,700ft (2,650m) above sea level. The weather is spring-like all year round with warm days and chilly nights. Once you acclimatise to the altitude, you will find the city easy to get around as it is laid out in a grid system of carreras and calles.

Bogotá is a vibrant, modern city where cultural mixes of Spanish and Indian meld with high-rises and universities rubbing shoulders with colonial houses and shanty towns. (Like any other metropolis, there are parts that you don’t venture.) The city’s frenetic pace and heaving traffic are tempered with green oases of tranquillity. 

La Candelaria, the old historic neighbourhood

The Bogotanos are extremely welcoming and even going through immigration was easy because the staff were so helpful. They all seem genuinely pleased to see tourists, which makes a refreshing change.

To get a feel of how Bogotá started, head to La Candelaria, the old historic neighbourhood. At its heart is the Plaza de Bolívar, home of the presidential palace Casa de Nariño, other government buildings and the Gothic cathedral. At its core is the statue of Simón Bolívar, the South American liberator.

Soak up the village-y atmosphere as you wander round its narrow cobbled streets peppered with colourful colonial buildings, ancient churches and museums interspersed with cafés, restaurants and market traders competing for business.

Take a hike into the past and visit the Museo del Oro (Gold Museum) to learn how gold played its part in shaping the country. Not to be missed is the Museo Botero, named after the Colombian artist Fernando Botero, housing some of his renowned works of voluminous figures as well as paintings by Renoir and Monet from his personal art collection.

The Salt Cathedral, which has been carved out of a salt mine, at Zipaquirá, north of the city is well worth a visit, if you have time.

Leave some space on your itinerary for shopping. The Zona Rosa and Zona T are home to some of the city’s best boutiques, full of names you won’t see at home. There are also plenty of excellent restaurants in the city. Parque de la 93, Zona Rosa and Usaquén are all trendy areas. Some of the city’s hippest eateries are owned by Harry Sasson ( whom I was told by a local friend, is Colombia’s most renowned chef.

At night Bogotá crackles with electricity. “Vamos a rumbear?” (are we going to party?) is an expression that you often hear.  In this heady, sensuous atmosphere, the sounds of meringue, salsa or vallenato are sure to propel your dancing feet into action. For a night of great music and food head to Andrés D.C., a fusion of a restaurant and night club or for the legendary Andrés Carne de Res, in Chia, outside the city.

Bogotá is an intoxicating mix of contrasts. It’s a city that whisks you up on a whirlwind, engulfs you in its giddy spin and before you know it, you are completely seduced by its charm.

By Daralyn Danns

Getting there

I stayed at the Charleston Casa Medina,Bogotá, (  and flew with Iberia via Madrid

Last Frontiers ( offers tailor-made holidays throughout Latin America including Colombia

For more information about Colombia visit