Thursday, 30 April 2015

A visit to the Aēsop store, Lamb’s Conduit Street, Bloomsbury, London

London has some lovely little shopping streets which are hidden away and are discovered by chance or from those in the know. One has to be the Lambs Conduit Street in Bloomsbury which is full of small and interesting shops and people sitting out in cafés.  

Aēsop, the Australian beauty brand, which started out life in Melbourne in 1987, has recently opened a store there. Besides having body and haircare products, it also has a skincare line which is worth investigating. 

My favourite is the Immediate Moisture Facial Hydrosol (£17). The aromatic blend of steam-distilled botanicals including Rose Otto charms the senses as well as giving parched skin a much-needed drink.

The shop, designed by James Plumb, is a sanctuary of calm. Though brand-new, with the use of water features deployed throughout the store and some materials that look worn in, it has been cleverly put together to produce an environment that is visually appealing as well as warm and welcoming. 

There is also a garden room where you can go and chill out. Maybe this is giving retail therapy a whole new meaning?

By Daralyn Danns

For more information about Aēsop visit

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

A visit to Robert Kirby, Balham, London

When it comes to hair, it is not where you go but who you go to. Walking through the leafy suburb of Balham, in London, I discovered Robert Kirby’s recently-opened salon.

Decorated ornately yet still maintaining a warm and cosy feel, it  relaxes you straight away. Robert, a former leading member of the Sanrizz Group’s creative team and a regular at London Fashion Week, has struck up a partnership with IdHAIR, a Danish brand renowned in Europe for its quality products,  

His ethos is to tailor each haircut to the individual, ensuring that every style he creates is unique.

As Robert was about to shoot his autumn colour collection, I asked him about the up-and-coming trends. 

“Blondes are going to be more natural. Colours will be softer and more muted,” he says. “Brunettes will have more violet tones in them. It is a take on the burgundies of the 1980s, but this time round there will be more shimmer running through the hair.”

According to Robert, there will also be a lot of colour-blending of tones. “Roots could be done in a level 5, while the mid-lengths to ends would be done in a burnt violet making them look deeper and richer. It is working in the opposite direction to what we are used to.”

The whole idea, he points out, is to make colour look expensive. “Shabby chic”, is how he describes it. “It as if you have just got off a jet ski and are about to board a yacht. It is a look for a lifestyle. It is about taking a trend and making it your own.” 

Robert took one look at my locks and got the measure. “I will blow-dry your hair smooth with some body and then the ends can do their own thing.”

A great blow-dry that lasted a good five days. I was really happy and would be only too pleased to put my tresses back into Robert’s capable hands.

By Daralyn Danns

For further information visit


Sunday, 26 April 2015

Spotlight on Estēe Lauder Little Black Primer

Estēe Lauder's new Little Black Primer (£20) is a little gem. You will wonder how you ever managed without it.

The 19-year-old Kendall Jenner, in her promotional video for the company, had eyelashes that were so luscious and long that it almost begged you to go out and buy this product to transform your own.

Worn on its own, the company says this long-wearing primer gives a natural tint and  lift.  My lashes are dark and have a reasonable amount of curl. A coat certainly enhanced my lashes giving them just the right amount of definition for that elegant, understated look that I so love.

Pop a fine layer of mascara on top of the primer to create a more dramatic effect. Even if you usually apply lashings you should find this should be enough.

You can also pop it on top of your regular mascara to act as a water-resistant topcoat.  With a quick swipe of Take It Away Gentle Eye and Lip LongWear Makeup Remover (£21), it comes off easily.

By Daralyn Danns

Friday, 24 April 2015

In search of the perfect bra

According to recent research about 70 per cent of women are not wearing the right size of bra. Il-fitting underwear can lead to sagging breasts,neck, shoulder and back pain as well as pinched nerves.

Thanks to Julia Mercer, technical manager and Marks & Spencer’s bra guru, I am not one of them. A year ago, bemoaning the fact that I found it extremely difficult to find bras in a 30 back in small cup sizes I asked Julia to help me. She was horrified to find that I had had to resort to teenage bras.

Marks & Spencer had just launched the Sumptuously Soft Plunge T-shirt Bra (£18, which comes in a plunge and full cup) and low and behold I found the perfect fit bra. Thanks to its clever design, smooth back “bagged out” (no back fat shows) stretchy hook and eye and oh so comfortable, this bra has become one of its best sellers. 

Perfect Fit Memory Foam Lace Padded Push-Up Plunge Bra, £22.50

I am still buying the bra that she chose for me but I wanted to see if I could find something different, especially as Julia thinks that women should have a wardrobe of bras. M&S, apparently, stock 113 sizes. I recently caught up with Julia to see if she yet again could help me.

Having just been into John Lewis  and also visited bra specialist Rigby & Peller, both of whom could not find even one to fit me, I was not optimistic at the outcome. 

Julia told me that M&S listens to their customers and she listened to my problems when we met last year and wanted to come up with a solution. It added a lot more bras in a 30 back to the range. I was impressed. Julia found me two other ones which fitted me perfectly.

The first one was the Perfect Fit Memory Foam Lace Padded Push-Up Plunge Bra (Sizes A-DD, £22.50). This gives a rounded fuller shape and having the lace makes it look so pretty. This is a super bra.

I also got a silk and rose lace bra (£25) and matching briefs (£12.50) from Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s Rosie for Autograph range. This is so sexy!  To be able to have underwear like this is a miracle.

Rose lace bra (£25) and matching briefs (£12.50) from Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s Rosie for Autograph range.

Bras have to be comfy. An interesting fact which I learned from Julia is that the body height contracts 3cm during the day. “So it has to go somewhere,” she says. "This is why your waistband always feels tighter after midday. So you want your bra to move with you.” Watch out for more bras with soft touch

It t is always best to get fitted every six months. Ensure that you have confidence in the person that is going to fit you. According to Julia, 23 per cent of women won’t go and have a professional fitting. If you are one of these there is an app on the M&S site to help you pick the right size. Besides picking the right size, you also take in consideration your body shape.

An advantage of buying one brand bras is that theoretically all bras the same shape, for example a plunge, should suit you. This worked for me. 

Another great plus of the lingerie department is the choice of knickers. What style you choose boils down to personal preference. If you like to expose your bum, then the Brazilian will work for you. If your body shape is triangular, then opt for a high rise brief. If you are an inverted triangle any cut will suit you. High-cut briefs can make legs look longer, while midis are an option for women who like shorts but are not as low cut on the leg.

I am thrilled now owning three bras in three different designs. I have never had a wardrobe of bras before. I am absolutely delighted. Marks & Spencer say they cater for every market and they do!

By Daralyn Danns 

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Chic hair

Styling and colouring your hair  simply  always makes you look classy. However, as we all know what looks effortless can be hard to achieve.

Since the experts at Daniel Galvin have got their hands on my locks, they have never looked better. No brassy highlights just simple colour that looks elegant. The team are masters at getting people guessing has she or hasn’t she had her hair coloured.

After colour supremo Daisy Twyman decided to take my hair darker – back to its natural colour – I find buying clothes easier. I am also able to wear the right colour make-up for my skin tone rather than having to choose hues that match my hair.

“The trick to always looking elegant is to stay within a couple of shades of your own hue,” says Daisy. “Make sure the colour suits you otherwise it won’t look nice. It has to work with your skin and eyes and has to be the right tone and depth. One colour does not mean one tone. The ends should be lighter as should the hairline.”

Get it right and it could have the same effect as a facelift, get it wrong and you could end up looking older, tired and washed out. 

Daisy also points out that you have to also take into consideration the light. In summer when it is warmer than in winter. “You should always evaluate your hair every time you colour it,” Daisy advises.

Each time Daisy has done my hair it simply gets better. I honestly thought that it after the last time it could not be improved upon,  but I was wrong.  It took a couple of years for all the highlights to grow out so now my hair is in better condition and as it is darker it looks healthier  and has not faded as quickly as it did when it was lighter. It will be interesting to see how it fares over the summer.

After a stunning blow-dry by Emma, I felt and looked glamorous. Looking good on the outside made me feel happy on the inside.

By Daralyn Danns

Daniel Galvin (