When it comes to holy grail skincare, I’m not sure you can go wrong when it comes to Kiehl’s. I’ve had various pots and bottles of their products floating about my collection for as long as I can remember, and whiner my skin feels a bit sensitised or overwrought, I invariably go back to their iconic Day Cream, and their limited edition Gardenia Body Cream is still one of my most-missed products. So, when I heard about their new launch, I couldn’t wait to give it a go.
The Vital Skin-Strengthening Hyaluronic Acid Super Serum might have a long name, but it’s a seriously potent formula which is perfect for protecting skin from winter aggressors. I’ve been using a couple of pumps each morning, applied straight to a clean face before moisturiser and then applying my makeup as usual. The serum has a light, almost watery consistency, which melts immediately into skin. It doesn’t feel like it adds a layer of product, and instead, it almost feels like it disappears, so if you’ve got oily skin, this won’t feel like it’s too heavy for you.
Even though the serum feels like almost nothing on the skin, it delivers some hard-hitting benefits which are perfect for beating winter skin. Thanks to a formula full of Glycerin and low molecular Hyaluronic Acid, the serum penetrates up to eight layers of skin, and works to strengthen the skin barrier. It’s this barrier which can help you look younger, and the dose of hydration ups your skin’s glow too! It’s a perfect combination which leaves skin looking and feeling it’s best – considering that we’re on the brink of winter, it’s the best way to guarantee you look and feel your best throughout the whole season.
Kiehl’s Vital Skin-Strengthening Hyaluronic Acid Super Serum is priced at £42 and is available here
If there is one small positive I’m taking from 2020, it’s that my hair is in the best condition it’s been in for a while. Prior to March, I was blow drying it and straightening it basically daily, and no matter how many conditioners, masques, serums or oils I slapped on it, it was dry and seriously prone to frizz. Obvious heat is pretty much the enemy of healthy hair, and honestly, I was really overdoing it. Since lockdown though, I’ve been able to give my poor ends a bit of a holiday – I can count the number of times I’ve straightened my hair on one hand, and even though I wash and blow dry my hair daily, the difference is seriously noticeable. Now that my ends have somewhat recovered, I thought it was time to turn attention to my scalp, which is were Omorovicza and their gorgeous new Scalp Reviver comes in.
I’ve been in all sorts of love with Omorovicza for years now – I fell for them when they released their black cleansing balm a few years ago (review here), and I’ve always thought of them as a purely skincare brand, but when they sent over their new Scalp Reviver, the timing couldn’t have been better. Designed to refresh and revive the scalp between washes, the formula works to absorb excess oils whilst also exfoliating the scalp and preventing product build up thanks to the inclusion of salicylic acid. The tonic also protects the scalp from environmental aggressors, and moisturises it too – meaning that even in the depths of winter, when the heating is cranked all the way up, you won’t suffer from any sort of flakiness.
Using the Scalp Reviver couldn’t be easier. So that it’s as effective as possible, shake the bottle prior to use, then simply use the pipette to distribute a few drops all over your scalp. I like to brush my hair out in sections so I know it’s really getting used as effectively as possible. The Reviver has a fresh, almost minty scent, and you get a blast of coolness when you apply it thanks to the menthol in the formula. I like to apply it in the evenings, prior to going to bed, as it means I can skip the shampoo if I’m off to the gym or coffee shop in the morning.
Omorovicza Scalp Reviver is priced at £69 and is available here (UK) and here (US)
Situated high on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, Ondine Restaurant is pretty much the go-to spot for celebrations and special occasions. Jay Rayner has raved about the place since 2013, and for good reason. Along with some of the best views in the city, when you dine at Ondine, you’ll enjoy some of the best food on offer too. Obviously, in Scotland, all restaurants in the Central Belt, have, completely unfairly, been shuttered by the government until the end of the month. It’s absolutely crippling for the industry, and in response to the measures, Ondine have launched their takeout menu – a genius idea which lets you enjoy Chef Roy Brett’s incredible dishes at home.
I’m not the world’s worst cook, but there are things I definitely get a bit nervy about. I stay away from breads and I don’t cook as much fish as I should, as I tend to cook the life out them, and have been left with sad, crumbly little fillets in the past. Happily though, Ondine’s Takeaway menu is foolproof. Every day, from Wednesday to Sunday, just give Ondine a call or an email, pick your favourites, and boxes of delights can be picked up from the restaurant, or even delivered to your home. It’s genius, and it’s such a fabulous way to expand your cooking abilities too!
Some of the dishes require nothing more than plating – case in point, the Newhaven Smoked Salmon (£11). Thickly cut slices of salmon were perfect, with a rich, savoury flavour. Served alongside the traditional accompaniments of lemon, capers and finely diced red onion, this is old school dining at its best.
One of the runaway favourites from the meal was the Dressed Brown Crab served with Buttered Crumpets (£8). Again, the technical know-how for this dish ended at heating the crumpets in a little butter, but seriously, this dish was incredible. The crumpets themselves were light and slightly chewy – a far cry from the hockey pucks you sometimes get served up for breakfast. These, piled high with the sweet brown crab meat, a squeeze of lemon and dollops of the most perfect hollandaise sauce was perfection.
The main courses hovered either end of the effort spectrum – the East Coast Lobster (£30) just needed slid under the grill, but the Monkfish Curry (£24) was a little more involved. After seasoning the two fillets, I heated a little oil and butter in a pan and browned off the fish. As it sputtered away, I slid a perfect little dough ball into the oven for it to transform into a flatbread.
Once it was golden on both sides, I added a little water and emptied the sauce into it. At the same time, I popped the rice on to warm up. As someone with a past of really overcooking fish, I was diligent not to leave the stovetop, and I’m so glad I put a little effort in. The finished dish was incredible. The rich Bharta Aubergine sauce had a perfectly balanced level of spice, and it worked so well with the sweet monkfish fillets. Monkfish used to be known as ‘poor man’s lobster’ thanks to it’s texture and flavour, and honestly, it couldn’t have been lovelier. Paired with the Jeera rice and warm flatbread, I could happily eat this on a daily basis.
The East Coast Lobster (£30) sounded too good to resist, and honestly, this has to be one of the most perfect dishes I’ve tried. The lobster itself came split and smothered in the garlic and parsley butter, and just needed to be slid under the grill to heat up. The butter was a delight – bright green and full of flavour, it made the kitchen smell absolutely delicious! Paired with the sweet lobster, it was an absolute dream!
The desserts were similarly spectacular, and they only needed the briefest amount of assembly (crucial when you’re full of the delicious courses which precede it) and both of our choices were absolute showstoppers. The Mango & Passion Fruit Pavlova (£6) was full of the taste of summer. A zingy mix of fruit with a rich vanilla custard and whisper-light meringue, it was an absolute hit of flavour to end the meal.
I had been dying for a bit of a chocolate-y treat for weeks, so when I saw Chocolate Royaltine (£6) on the menu, there was no other option. A rich chocolate mousse, topped with a dark ganache and sitting on a crunchy bed of praline, hazelnuts and chocolate was an actual cream. The touch of salt within the crunch, really lifted the dish into a whole new level, and it was such an indulgence to be able to enjoy such a treat.
If you want to enjoy your own feast from Ondine, the Takeaway menu is available to view here.
When it comes to weekend breaks, my most visited destination is definitely Cheshire. It’s only about three and a half hours by car from Edinburgh, and I’m down every six weeks or so, either for work meetings, to see friends, or even to get my hair done. Over the years, we’ve stayed in tonnes of hotels – from country piles to intimate B&Bs, and nowhere has ever really felt right. We had resorted to staying in Manchester, then just driving through, but when we found out that The Legh Arms in Prestbury had enjoyed a bit of facelift, we booked up pretty sharpish.
The Legh Arms is situated right in the centre of Prestbury Village, you can take a stroll up and down the hughstreet, and enjoy everything that the little town has to offer. Henry’s is right across the road, and they serve a great coffee if you need a caffeine hit in the morning!
With a buzzing pub downstairs, serving up local ales and tasty meals, your room rate even includes breakfast each morning. The building itself if beautiful – a cozy warren of beamed rooms, with features which date right back to the 16th century. The mix of modern, comfy decor with these features was pitch perfect, and it was exactly the type of spot I wanted to check-in to after the drive down south.
We stayed in the Tatton Room, which came equipped with a soaking tub, fabulous comfy four poster bed and sitting area. I loved the fact that there were even bath salts to enjoy (and happily I had brought along some sleep-aid salts and bubble bath too), which meant I got to spend a rather glorious hour in there with just a book for company.
With a view out onto the Main Street of the village, it was the perfect spot to spend an evening. When we cracked a window, we could hear the happy chatter from the restaurant across the road, and it felt like the cosiest spot in the world to spend a Friday evening. Indeed, we enjoyed ourselves so much we’re headed back this week for a couple of days of work meetings, and I cannot wait!
A night at The Legh Arms starts at £80 and you can book here.
When it comes to this time of year, I feel like my skin always needs a bit of a helping hand. We’re right at the cusp of winter, and although the temperatures haven’t quite dropped, it’s getting chillier, and my skin is starting that awkward transition into my cold weather routine. So, last week, when I went to my first Covid-safe press event at Harvey Nichols last week, I was pretty thrilled to get gifted this genius powder from Pixi.
Part of the brand’s Vitamin +C line, which is designed to keep skin radiant, the Glow-y Powder is a multiuse powder house, which you can use as a blush, highlight and even eyeshadow. It’s one of those products which finds a spot in your daily makeup bag, then never really leaves. Personally, I find my skin can look too ruddy if I pile on the blush, but I’ve been loving swirling a light layer of the powder onto my cheekbones, and buffing it in as a neutral shadow.
The powder has a beautifully buttery texture which just melts into the skin. It has such a gorgeously soft texture, it almost feels creamy, and as a result, it won’t ever cake or look cake-y on the face. Instead it just brings a warm glow to the skin without adding any of the dreaded sparkle. I’m more than a little obsessed with the amount of shine it brings, which whilst beautiful, never looks too much. Even when applied sparingly, the colour and glow lasts all day long, and it’s pretty much golden hour in a pan – exactly what I’m looking for at this time of year!
Pixi Glow-y Powder Vitamin+C – Peach Dew is priced at £14 and is available here (UK) and here (US)