Friday, 28 March 2014

Want a lift?

In your twenties and early thirties your face doesn’t show too many signs of ageing, but hit your forties and beyond, the image staring back at you in the mirror is not always what you want to see.

I don’t believe that dermal fillers and botox are a totally safe way to improve your appearance. There is always a risk of side effects such as an allergic reaction or tiny bumps forming under the skin, so you have to think about undergoing these procedures carefully. You definitely need to do plenty of research and find out the qualifications and experience of the doctor who you are going to put your trust in.

Wonder potions in a jar, too, usually fill me with scepticism, but I have recently been tempted to try Crème de la Mer’s new Lifting Contour Serum, (£230).

It promises “to define and re-shape the look of [facial] contours, significantly transforming skin’s appearance.” I was lured! 

Crème de la Mer lovers will already be aware of its renowned “Miracle Broth” which utilises the power of sea algae to help re-energise the skin. It is also in this new wonder potion along with its new Lifting Ferment ingredients. 

You get the impression that this is one product that is going to work as you immediately feel the tightening effects on your skin. 

After a few weeks of using this serum, I noticed my skin becoming smoother and looking more lifted. People kept commenting how well I looked.

If you have problems with a saggy jaw line, before you pick up the telephone to make an appointment for a cosmetic procedure, give Crème de la Mer’s new Lifting Contour Serum a shot.

By Daralyn Danns

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

The scent of a woman

Fragrances may come and go, but there are some that have stood the test of time and are just as alluring and sophisticated today as they were when they were launched.

Feeling nostalgic and fed up with those shouting the new must-have or celebrity, I wanted to envelope myself in real luxury and decided to revisit the some of the classics.

Chanel N°5 Eau de Parfum spray 100ml, £95
Arguably the world’s most iconic fragrance. Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel commissioned Ernest Beaux to come up with a perfume that reflected the modern woman, his creation, Chanel N°5 was revolutionary. And despite it having been around for over 90 years, this floral-aldehydic – the first of its kind – always smells divine and makes you feel all woman whatever your age. It is a wonderful comforting scent that is sexy and seductive and one that I always keep returning to as it always makes me feel so good.

Joy by Jean Patou, Eau de Parfum 50ml, £90
Launched in 1930, it is said to take approximately 10,600 jasmine flowers and 28 dozen May roses to make a single ounce of this elixir. This opulent floral dries down to a lovely rosy scent tempered with a hint of spice. It is like putting on an LBD that always makes you feel elegant.

Arpège by Lavin, Eau de Parfum 50ml, £50
Created in 1927, this gem was dedicated by Jeanne Lanvin to her daughter. A rich and complex masterpiece oozing character – although it probably has been tweaked over the years as ingredients may vary – it continues to woo women. If you like soft, warm powdery feminine florals with a bit of oomph, this one could be worth trying.

First by Van Cleef & Arpels, Eau de Parfum 60ml, £48
A scent for grown up women. This punchy aldehydic floral underpinned by a woody base became a favourite in the late 1970s and still has its following. Being quite a heady fragrance, it is best worn in the evening. It may be rather retro for some, but don’t dismiss it until you see how it reacts on your skin.

Vert Vert by Balmain, Eau de Toilette,75ml, £61
A ground-breaking scent when it hit the shelves in 1947 as it was the first fragrance created for Balmain and the first ever floral green for the world of perfumery. If you like fresh, fruity, floral, light fragrances that capture the essence of spring, check this one out.

By Daralyn Danns

Friday, 21 March 2014

Destination Iguaçu Falls via Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Cascading powerful jets of foaming water roaring and crashing, lush tropical forest, a sky ablaze with innumerable rainbows and exotic colourful birds, Iguaçu Falls are so magnificent that they would have even the most world-weary traveller spellbound. And topping the spectacular delights of Rio de Janeiro is no mean feat.

Discovered in 1541 by the Spanish Conquistador Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca as he was sailing along the mighty River Iguaçu, he named them the Holy Mary Waterfalls (Saltos de Santa Maria). 

Straddling the border of Brazil and Argentina, the “Big Water,” as the name translates, comprises 275 separate falls – the most imposing chasm being the aptly named Devil’s Throat (Garganta Do Diabo) which has a massive drop.
Wider than Victoria Falls and higher than Niagara, Eleanor Roosevelt, on seeing Iguaçu Falls for the first time, reportedly, remarked: “Poor Niagara.”  Having been there too, I understand what she meant. They are a mere trickle in comparison. At Iguaçu Falls all you want to do is stand and stare as you take in this awesome sight that manifests the power of nature. 

Iguaçu Falls
Courtesy of the Brazilian Tourist Office

There is no doubt about it that Rio de Janeiro has one of the world’s most phenomenal settings. This glamorous, high-octane city seduces you and catches you up in its spin in a way no where else could. Its streets, buildings and favelas  –  no longer no-go areas – are moulded chaotically into the granite peaks, with everything tumbling down on to the stunning beaches. It’s a city that has football branded in its DNA, pulsates to the rhythm of samba and crackles with energy everywhere you turn.

Being up close and personal with the statue of Christ the Redeemer on the Corcovado (hunchback) mountain, and gazing at Sugar Loaf Mountain, the blue seas and the golden sands of Copacabana and Ipanema beaches were awesome. But, Iguaçu Falls, one of the new seven natural wonders of the world, certainly was as thrilling and an experience I would not have wanted to miss for the world.

Rio de Janeiro
Courtesy of the Brazilian Tourist Office

See the falls from both sides, as you get a different perspective. (Remember to check out visa requirements before you go.)  On the Brazilian side you get more panoramic views. The Argentinean side, which has the lion’s share of the falls, I found, has a lot more paths to discover. You can spend hours on end here. Looking at Devil’s Throat from above as the foaming waters violently roar and thunder down is incredible. From the Brazilian side you get to see it from below. There is also a walkway which takes you close up to the drama and where you can almost be guaranteed to be covered by spray.

But, there is nothing that can compare to having your own Indiana Jones moment (the film was shot here) with a boat trip which takes you right into the rapids or the cataratas as the locals call them. You won’t just get wet, you will get soaked!  

Iguaçu Falls will be ingrained in my mind forever. Whenever I hear the song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” I transport myself back to the sights and sounds of the watery miracle that is my utopia.

By Daralyn Danns

Getting there

TAP Portugal offers 17 weekly flights to Rio de Janeiro, via Lisbon. Fares start from £590 including all taxes and surcharges. For further information, visit or call 0845 601 0932. A perfect way to start your holiday, this airline consistently delivers good service

Return flights to Foz do Iguaçu from Rio de Janeiro, approximately £250. Costs vary dependent on when you are travelling visit Azul ( Gol ( or Tam (

I stayed at the Hotel das Cataratas ( owned by Orient Express in the Iguaçu National Park, Brazil. A touch of the old-world with good service. It’s the amazing location – hop across the road for your first sight of the falls – which is its draw

I stayed at the Copacabana Palace, Rio de Janeiro, ( across the road from Copacabana beach. Elegance from a bygone era

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

A cut for a new season

Having cut down on the use of heated appliances, not highlighting my hair and religiously applying hair masks a couple of times a week has paid off. 

It had been about 11 weeks since I had had my hair trimmed by hair supremo, Michael Charalambous, who surely is one of the best cutters on the planet. My ends weren’t fried and my tresses were in remarkably good condition.

“We only need to take off a couple of centimetres and get rid of the graduation at the back,” said the maestro. “We should keep it long for the summer.”

Now, according to Michael, is the time to let your hair grow. “If you are going to have layers in your hair they should be long so that there is some movement. Don’t go overboard on product. For the coming season hair maybe longer but there is no need to over style. What you want is some understated spontaneity,” he said.

We may be thinking of kissing good-bye to the big bouncy blow-dry and seeing the return of poker-straight hair, but Michael points out that it doesn’t suit everybody.

“It looks great if you are petite, but others need a bit of bounce. Keep the sides straight and add a bit more body to the back to make the style more flattering,” says Michael.

When styling your tresses, Michael advises against using metallic brushes as they can burn the hair. Instead go for natural bristle or ceramic ones as they will do less damage.  

If you colour your hair, now is the time to go half a shade lighter to make a gradual transition to summer.

My hair was amazing: sleek and shiny. A look any celeb would be proud of on the red carpet.

By Daralyn Danns

For appointments with Michael visit Nyumba

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Seduced by Madeira wine

All rights reserved by Madeira Islands Tourism

Wine and cheese make a great combination for a party as well as being a traditional way to finish a meal, but finding a single wine to accompany an array of textures, different types of milk and stages of ripeness can be extremely challenging.

Ahmet Ucar, sommelier at Bovey Castle, a five-star hotel set within the spectacular Dartmoor National Park in Devon explained to me that even the headiest wines find their aromas countered by the challenge of cheese.

So, if your cheese board consists of a creamy and strong camembert, a Swiss gruyère, a fresh goat's cheese or a mature tomme, what should you serve? According to Ahmet there is a solution: Madeira.

“The typical caramel, nutty character of these wines it obtained through a specific heating process, followed by a long-ageing in oak barrels. It ranges in style from dry to sweet, but always with nuttiness, and spice,” he said.

All rights reserved by Madeira Islands Tourism

This conversation sprang to mind when I was recently enjoying the therapeutic benefits of the beautiful island of Madeira. As well as getting up close and personal with nature, going for invigorating walks along the sea front and relaxing in its wonderful spas  (See my post on Madeira ) a visit to Blandy’s Wine Lodge, bang in the centre of Funchal, the capital was on my must-do list.

Blandy’s has been producing Madeira wines for over 200 years, so it should know a thing or two about the tipple. The Blandys are the only family of all the original founders of the Madeira wine trade still to own and manage their original wine company. 

After walking round the museum picking up some historical facts from our extremely knowledgeable guide, watching videos and learning about the production, we got to taste different types fluctuating from dry to full and rich. I have to admit I am not usually a fan of fortified wine, but these won me over.

A piece of good quality chocolate and a glass of Madeira are also a winning combination. This explosion of flavours will invigorate your taste buds!  

Once, reputedly, a favourite drink of the Founding Fathers of America – Thomas Jefferson is said to have used it to toast the Declaration of Independence – Madeira wine is back in fashion. And, it is well worth going to taste it on the island where it is made because like the wines it produces, Madeira is very special.

By Daralyn Danns

Getting to Madeira

TAP Portugal has a daily flight from London Heathrow to Madeira. Prices start at £169 return including all taxes. For further information, visit or call 0845 601 0932

Stay at Quintinha São João Hotel, Rua da Levada de São João, Rooms from €96 per night. For more info visit

For information about tours of Blandy’s Wine Lodge visit

To learn more about Madeira visit and