Friday 10 January 2014

Enhancing my Face

When I moved to Shepherds Bush, 14 years ago, the Askew Road consisted of a Coop, a betting shop, a couple of cafes, some lousy pubs and a funeral shop.  A few years later a high street beauty spa opened and I spontaneously booked a Christmas facial. The beautician showed no mercy and squeezed my pores until I began to weep.  Afterwards to my horror, I found burst blood vessels all around my nose, which took an expensive few sessions of  laser therapy to remove, and even after that they never really disappeared. I decided not to let just anyone tamper with my face ever again.

Luckily, soon afterwards, I joined the Park Club in Acton and not only benefitted from getting fit after the birth of my first baby, but discovered Anya at the health spa, who is the woman I go to for facials and pedicures and the occasional massage. Part of my routine at the Park Club also includes regular Pilates with Louise and more recently dynamic yoga with Karen. The sessions are part of my week,  written in stone in my diary, and I couldn't do without them.  The Askew Road is unrecognisable too now, with the opening of  The Eagle (gastro pub) The Ginger Pig Butcher, Lavelli Bakery, two supermarkets a vintage clothes shop and a mid century furniture shop.

The area is improving and then last year with much fanfare and a day of free mini mani/pedi/facials for members, the Medispa at the Park Club opened. The director is Dr Bela Horvath, a true professional, who is adamant that he only uses the best and safest products and takes the job of analysing your face very seriously. It is a real bonus to have all these treatments available only a few minutes away.  If I could afford to, I would probably try every treatment on offer and there are a few to choose from including Botox, dermal fillers, dermal roller, mesotherapy, PRGF twilight therapy skin peels and hair removal.

It was hard to choose what to have for my first treatment, but in the end Dr Bela suggested that I try a bit of cheek contouring, which would hopefully make my face that little bit more youthful. (Believe me I need any help I can get!) The treatment took about forty minutes, and started with Dr Bela gazing at me intently and then chalking some lines on my face that would guide him when he inserted the cannula under my skin. He used Juvederm Voluma, but he explained that different products are used for different parts of the face. The micro-cannula  is a newer and much safer method compared to needles. When he inserted the cannula one side of my face, it was relatively pain free, but on the other there was some pain, despite the tiny bit of anaesthetic. After two weeks of some sensitivity to the area, it settled down and I can see a fresher version of myself.  The only problem is that now I want to go back and have everything possible done!

To make an appointment call 020 8743 1900 or visit the website to see the January offers.
020 8743 1900

Tuesday 7 January 2014

A Very Cornish Holiday

In my mind Cornwall equals summer holidays:  Beaches, sun and sandy picnics, seaweed, rock-pools and Daphne de Maurier. Teenagers partying in Rock and the Port Eliot Festival. So a post-Christmas Cornwall break was not a plan that I had formed or thought about, until I saw an inviting three-bedroomed house for rent in Port Isaac, North Cornwall, right above the harbour. It looked idyllic.
Mount Pleasant
View from the twin Room
Port Isaac is a charming, fishing village where Marin Clunes films Doc Martin and out of season, it is lively, but not crowded. Our house is called Mount Pleasant which we rented through Classic Cottages.  On our first morning, we wake up to the sounds of seagulls and the sea and an incredible view - sunlight on the cliffs, waves laping on the beach, fishermen preparing to take a boat out. My husband is delighted to discover a good coffee shop and a fabulous fishmongers selling fresh oysters, mussels and all kinds of fish, less than five minutes walk from the house, but my tip would be to avoid the cornish pasties.

We are lucky enough to have almost perfect weather. On our first day, we hire bikes in Wadebridge and cycle along the old railway line, The Camel Way, five miles to Padstow, which the children love, as they don't particularly like going for walks. When we arrive we stumble upon the queue  at Rick Stein’s cafĂ© and join it. The grilled mackerel and chips are delicious, my husband enjoys his cod and chips and it all seems even better after our bike ride. We waddle off to one of several ice cream shops in Padstow and the children tank up on huge sticky icecreams.  Rick Stein has a food empire in Padstow, although apparently he lives mostly in Australia!  When we pop into his deli on the way back to the bikes, I am not amused to find a loaf of bread selling for £7. The second time we went to Padstow to meet some friends, we had to queue at the fish and chips for 45 minutes, but still somehow it was worth it. The man I was queueing next to, told me that in August you can’t even get into the car parks in Padstow! I dread to think how long you would have to wait for a table during the peak summer months. 

The children went flowriding twice at the Retallack Resort  (about a half hour drive from Port Isaac) which they loved – basically you learn to surf on a kind of giant wave machine, an ingenious idea.  They enjoyed it despite freezing their buts off and having to wear over-sized wetsuits that were wet and cold when they put them on (NB Retallack, equip yourself with more wetsuits).  On New Years Eve we gazed at the short but sweet firework display over the harbour  and wished each other a Happy New Year, while swigging champagne that had been left for us in the fridge! 

We walked along cliffs, glanced at rainbows, ate in numerous pubs, played scrabble, read and ate some more. We walked along the beach at Polzeath, where brave surfers were out on their boards despite the cold. We did a challenging walk along the cliffs from Port Isaac to Port Quinn on a beautiful afternoon. I came home, rested, fat and happy to have spent time with my family, as usually we go on holiday with friends. Happy 2014!

To book Mount Pleasant (from £456 for the week) or other coastal and country cottages call 01326 555 555 or visit

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