Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Cleanse Away 2011 - Glow in 2012

It's nearly the end of the year - and as expected you're exhausted. Your skin feels gray, drab and it looks almost yellowish. You feel an urge to cleanse away all impurities that have managed to nestle themselves into your pores over the last 12 months. You want to brighten up again and start fresh. There's a simple solution for that - the facial cleanser. Now I know that most of you are attached to your regular go-to's when it comes to cosmetics and beauty products, and that when in doubt, nothing beats an express run to the Duty Free counter at Heathrow airport before catching a flight. I get it, I do it too. But no more. With my thirties fast approaching, I've decided to stop neglecting my skin and making it a priority for 2012.

I've recently been recommended a cleanser by a dear friend of mine whose grooming tastes I blindly trust. I tried it, bought it and never went back. The amazing Shu Uemura Skin Purifier is a rich and delicate oil, which rinses and purifies your skin to leave it looking smooth and glowing. After a long day of stress and makeup, simply use a couple droplets of water to foam up the oil and massage your skin, eyelids and lashes gently with your fingertips, soaking up all the makeup and dirt accumulated during the day. No need for extra makeup remover, no need for cotton swabs. Job done.

 Check out Shu Uemura's tutorial here:

Choose the Classic for normal skins, Aloe Vera for normal or ageing skin, and the Fresh for oily or blemish-proned skin. 

Visit Space NK, Liberty or the flagship Neal Street boutique to get your Shu Uemura Cleanser, and for £28 you'll be one step closer to a balanced and glowing 2012.

Friday, 4 November 2011

The Staves - The New Wave I Crave

The Sound of The Staves is nothing short of extraordinary. No joke, it is by far one of the most blissful sounds I've heard on earth - at least in 2011. A combination of the Dixie Chicks, Enya and the Corrs, their vocals are clear, crisp and honey-like. And if you lend your ear to their enchanting harmonies, acoustic loveliness and fairy-like melodies, you'll fall in love with them as well. The three sisters, Jessica, Camilla and Emily from Watford, UK, are bringing Hippie back with their smooth songs like Mexico and Facing West, from their undiscovered 2010 EP - one of my proudest 2011 zesty discoveries.
 Check out their Myspace and book your tickets to their UK gigs here!

Monday, 26 September 2011

A Pink Box Full of GGGs (Glossy Girly Goodies)

The latest Brit-born girly start up, called Glossybox, brings you an innovative and fun subscription service, offering its members a selection of 5 beauty product samples each month, from the most up-market and coveted brands to the most niche and exclusive, and that for only £10 a month. If you're an avid cosmetics consumer, love experimenting with new products but would rather die than to spend the money or time on products that you try once, hate and ultimately throw out, this is your new girly discovery. Or better yet, if you're fed up with the regular Boots run, gag at the sterile smell of over-the-counter pharmaceuticals on your daily lunch Cosmetics trip, you'll want to read on.
Glossybox is a fantastic consumer proposition insofar as it's easily digesteable and user friendly. This is how it works. It's a 3 step process.

1. First sign up to receive your monthly Glossybox and complete your Beautyprofile to allow the experts to carefully match products to your likes and personal beauty.
2. Every month you'll receive a beautifully wrapped pink and purple polkadotted box full of girly goodies in the Royal Mail.
3. Enjoy 5 cherry-picked luxury products each month and avoid the hassle of long queues and the pressure of sales people.
Provide feedback and with every survey, receive 20 points. After collecting 1000 points, your next Glossybox is free. You'll want to do this.

With brands ranging from O.P.I, Nars and Lalique, to All For Eve and batiste shampoos, you'll be able to sample from all sorts of products for nails, skin and hair alike.
Plus enjoy regular style and beauty tips via their online magazine. This week, Glossybox talks you through Olivia Palermo's beauty tips on how to look effortlessly glamorous. You can subscribe to news updates on Facebook and Twitter as well.  All of this from the comforts of your cozy living room. What are you waiting for? Check it out here and sign up now, zesties.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

The Latest Addition to the Bruton Street Fash Pack

No, this is not a joke and this is not a tease. Your heard me. It's happening and it's true. The cult Parisian designer Isabel Marant is coming to town and bringing her delicious garments to Mayfair's finest street to reside at 29 Bruton. While no official opening date has yet been announced, you can be sure that there will be buzz, fashion lights and beautiful people populating the new space and strutting their stuff with her latest collection through the streets of London. Marant will move into a 3,5000-square-foot premise, and will become neighbour to Matthew Williamson, Stella McCartney and Diane Von Furstenberg. Yes, dear. I did say the Finest.

Being a hardcore fan myself since 2004, I've never once not seen her catalogues, and never once not bought anything from one season to the next. I've always clung like glue to her ankle boots, floral prints and skin-tight leather trousers. And her knits have a way to make any look seem effortless yet feminine. There's something to be said about laid back French fashion. It's just undeniably cool.

Take a look at her exquisite A/W 11 collection here.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Like Ham & Cheese on Crack

You've probably been to Pret numerous times on your daily breakfast run and thought to yourself, God, it's that same old thing again; "a yoghurt and raspberry jam parfait, please, take away". Off you go, with a grunt and a softly-dying appetite, at the thought of swallowing down yet another tasteless breakfast this week. It's doesn't have to be that way, zesties. Weekday breakfast can be fun again! This morning, I took the adventurous road down the bakery aisle at Pret and bought myself a melty crispy, goldeny brown Ham & Cheese croissant. I did it. Carbs for breakfast, zestie, it's a fact. So sue me.

It's got all the winner ingredients for a happy breakfast and a splendid start to the day: the ham, the bacon, the cheese, the juicy tomato sauce, the crispy crust - it basically is 352 calories of pure goodness. I can't wait til tomorrow morning. Did I just hear my alarm clock?

In the Pret a Manger near you.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Strong in Body, Peace in Mind

Have you ever had an itching urge to kick all bad habits, smoking, alcohol, bad food and lack of exercise in a desperate effort to cleanse yourself? It's a spring cleaning thing, I reckon. It happens to me every year around this time. 2010 was the Grape Diet year. For four days straight, I "cleansed" my body with this supposed anti-oxidant miracle remedy. I cut out alcohol and all things toxic a week after wards. I felt light on my feet, strong in my body and re-energised. 2009 was the year of the Master Cleanse. Terrifyingly difficult and torturous, I managed to pull through and I was rocket of energy for days on end. In 2011 however, I'm not so much in the mood to starve and torture myself. In 2011, it's all about feeling strong in body and having peace in mind without taking extreme measures and becoming an anti-social hermit because of it. 

Yeotown Main House
 Yeotown Suite

Being a bit of a yoga nut, I decided, last weekend, to drag my mother to a yoga retreat - one of the most respected yoga retreats in the country. Well, to be fair, I dragged her, but she treated me. Voted by Tatler as one of the top 10 spas of the world and Harper's Bazaar as one of the top detoxifying destinations in the country, Yeotown Devon truly is the ultimate place for a mind and body cleanse. 

 Yeotown Yoga Studio

Tree Pose  

Choose a yoga or a detox programme and get carried away by the amazing classes, food and natural beauty of the surroundings. It truly is one of the most peaceful places I've ever been to. And let me assure you, two hours of power yoga in the morning plus 2 hours of restorative yoga in the afternoon, a massage and walk in the woods, for 3 days straight, beat the hell out of a grape or master cleanse cure. No pain (not really), no starvation, no anti-social lock ins, you'll find yourself refreshed, empowered and addicted to a healthy lifestyle. 

"Artistic" shot of newly pedicured foot on basin of rose petals

Buddha sculpture in front of main house

So fine, if you're short on cash, need a quick and efficient cleanse and you're not afraid of low bouts of energy during work hours and missing out on the pub run with friends, the four day master cleanse is the right choice for you. And again short term gratification is the goal for this type of programme. If you're one to need a solid make-over, a long-term cleansing and empowering solution, then Yeotown is where you should be headed to next weekend.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

They Make You Bake

It's like Colour Me Mine but for foodies or Paint By Numbers with edible ingredients. It's the latest form of microwave-oven dinners. And it's so good and so sinfully easy, you'll never go Dominos again. 

Here's the idea: you pick up your "nearly baked" pizza at The Pizza Makers. You glance over the wonderful menu of pizzas available and then, you select your favourite Margherita, Artichoke, Pepperoni or Prosciutto pizza recipe. You put in your order - and in the blink of an eye, your pizza is ready. Well, not quite. You let the pizzaiolos work their magic on the dough and the balanced distribution of ingredients on the beautiful blank canvas. It's the job of your home-oven to finish the masterpiece. And voila! It's DIY Pizza!

They make it, you bake it. Nowadays, who even makes their own pizza anyways? But then again, who enjoys biting into a take-pizza whose dough is half soggy and sticking to the back of your teeth from traveling for God knows how long in the back of a Dominos delivery vespa? That's right, zesties. Nobody. That's why, it's time for a revolution. 

Bite into that crispy, thin-crust, fresh and tasty - the one you nearly made from scratch - delicious pizza and enjoy! Okay, so there's a minus. It's in Chiswick. But hang on, I was there last month and compared to Shebu, it's not half bad! Jokes aside, it's an up and coming area full of yummy mummies and upscale boutiques, with a grungy flair. So now you've got yet another reason to visit the neighborhood. 

The Pizza Makers
85 Chiswick High Road(corner of Chiswick Lane)
W4 2EF
020 8994 8080

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Water: Drink Responsibly

Are you one of those avid water drinkers? You never leave the house without clutching a water bottle. You always drink between meals and never during. It's two liters of waters per day, not one. Yeah, you know all the rules. You think you're the water expert. There's just one rule you're missing though. By buying and using new water bottles each day, you are going against the basic philosophy of recycling, a philosophy we humans preach but hardly ever exercise; polluting the earth and creating unnecessary waste around us. Yes, okay, I'm guilty, I like my occasional Evian bottle and enjoy the sporadic sip or two when I'm on the go. Sometimes, I even go out of my way to buy my fashionable and yes, delicious, Voss Water. My dear friend works for them in Asia and really believes in the water's nutritional values. I completely buy into it. At restaurants though, I've gotten into the habit of ordering tap water. It's not cool, but it makes me feel a little bit better about myself each time. 

Recently I've been introduced to the unbelievably sleek and clever Bobble Water Bottles. Bobble is a £10 portable reusable water bottle invented by world-renowned industrial designer Karim Rashid. Its clever design incorporates a filter, which equates to at least 300 water bottles, substantially reducing the waste otherwise generated by disposable water bottles. Change the filter approximately every two months and wash the bottle every so often. How easy is that?

Available in different colours online and in various Planet Organic Stores throughout London per location below:

Muswell Hill:
111/117 Muswell Hill Road
N10 3HS

Notting Hill:
42 Westbourne Grove
W2 5SH

Central London:
22 Torrington Place

64 Essex Road
N1 8LR

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Eliza Does A Lot

If you haven't yet heard Eliza Doolittle's gleeful, lovable, Spring-in-her-step album, no sweat, she is performing it live this Saturday, 9th of April at O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire (London) as part of her global  2011 tour. And if you can't make it to that, she's got a Gold album, 22 years of age and a whole lot of career ahead of her. 

Known for her juicy tunes "Skinny Genes" and "Pack Up", and her delicious golden summery voice, she is Britain's, better yet, Pop music's, next it thing and she has definitely won me over. Nevermind that she is Moschino's new mascot and muse, that she has killer legs and a great sense of fashion - London-style. She also has tunes that will blow a breezy wind through your hair on those hot summer days. So hurry up, Zesties, and book these tickets now for she will not be be kept a secret for long.

Eliza Doolittle
19:00 - ticket price £16.45

Thursday, 31 March 2011

As Close As It Gets to the French Pharmacy

There is one really huge thing I miss about France these days, aside from, well okay, a lot of things. But lately, what with Springtime being nigh, the sunshine lending us its delicious rays and pollen allergies kicking in, I feel a dire need of a pharmacy run. I generally get my pharma-fix once a year, when visiting family and friends in Paris. I spend about 60 euros (who am I kidding, 100?) on Homeopathics, shampoos and conditionners, body oils, waxing strips, curing creams and gels, and last but not least, my beta-carotene sun capsules (from Oenobiol Solaire). I just find the pharmacy experience that much more pleasant over there. I guess I'm just a bit of a pharma-snob. And judge me all you want, but I'm just not that big of a Boots fan. There is no such thing as an enjoyable Boots run. It's get in and get out. So where to go where Lifestyle Guru Gwyneth shops for her fantastic pharmaceuticals? I found just the place today on my Covent Garden lunch run.

The Garden Pharmacy is as close as it gets to a good-old fashioned, vintage French apothecary and carries all of the essential go-to French products. Here are some of my body and healthcare products of choice:

 Oscillococcinum: the homeopathic cure-all for seasonal flus

 Caudalie Makeup Remover: gentle and strong at once; no need to use 2 cotton swabs, one is enough

 Biotherm Aquathermale Spa Body Scrub: exfoliator and scrub for the body

Avene Eau Thermale: perfect mist of clean, mineral water for irritated and dry skin

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse: For a smoothe and silky skin on those summer nights

 Klorane Shampoo and Conditionner: For all hair types; leaves your hair feeling rich and healthy

No need to plan your next Parisian trip around your cosmetics. Find all you'll ever need in terms of delicious cosmetics in the midst of busy Central London, but enjoy your pharmacy run too!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Muffins Are So Yesterday

#Forget about doughnuts, gelato and choc chip cookies
#Muffins are so yesterday
#At Wafflemeister I lost my heart
#OMG, just discovered WM and I'm in heaven

These are some of the tweets on Wafflemeister's Twitter. That's right, it's all about waffles these days (yes, and about Twitter too, as I've discovered for myself). And guess what? Waffles don't have to be rich in fat, sugar and cholesterol to be a tasty delight. At Wafflemeister, that's not what it's about. The all-natural Waffle dough recipe at the South Ken Waffle Bar is made from organic and fresh ingredients, and topped with all-natural chocolate, berries, nuts, whipped cream and coconut flakes! Have it for breakfast, dessert or for your 5pm snack. Have it as a midnight munch. The place is open til 00:00. You can go for the no-fuss dark or milk chocolate drizzle option or the banana, nuts and fudgetastic waffle spectaculaire. Hey, what other important decisions do you have to make this week?

Check out WM's new Notting Hill spot on Portobello Road.

Zesties. Go. Indulge.

26 Cromwell Place
SW7 2DL 
020 7193 8649
137 Portobello Road
London W11 2DY
020 7221 1153

Oh and come follow me on Twitter!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

An Ode to Something British: The Jacket Potato

It's the Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich of the Albion. The Moules Frites of the Brits. The Kung Pao Chicken of Mother England. A carb/fat fest on crack. The good ol' traditional, sloppy, slimey and incredibly salty jacket potato is something I've only recently discovered - not because I wasn't aware of it, but simply because I wasn't ready for it. And quite frightened of it to be perfectly honest. That's right, to enjoy the Jacket Potato moment, you've gotta be ready, you've gotta be open to an indulgent, rich and somewhat surprising culinary experience. Well, it took me ages - two and half years to be exact - but I finally sunk my teeth into the JP with beans and cheese earlier this week. And I wolfed it down.

It's not that I don't see what you see. This looks positively gross. The orange colour from the bean sause looks awfully artificial and the runniness of the melted cheese could tie a stomach in knots for days. Call me crazy but I think that sounds like a recipe for a fabulous Monday work lunch. At the divey Franx cafe in Covent Garden, you couldn't find a cheaper, more delicious and absolutely fantastic JP with beans and cheese. Add a dollop of bacon and you're all set.

I'm pretty much a beginner when it comes to the Jacket Potato in London. If you zesties have got any recommendations, I would love to hear them.

Enjoy the early Spring sunshine!

Monday, 14 February 2011

LondonZest Tries Hollywood Glamour

How can one think about gowns, jewels and stilettos when the outdoor temperature reaches the zeroes and all you want to do is slap on some mittens and a hoodie just to brave the cold London wind? I am feeling awfully shabby these days, preferring to settle for the jeans and knit sweaters than the cute LBD and accessories combo. But the Hollywood awards season having kicked off already and Spring weddings and exciting travel plans coming up shortly, I am finding myself longing for the occasion to dress up and be glamourous. Done with the winter blues, hello to the bejeweled evenings out and parties. In comes the shopping.

Walking past the Merchant, the posh yet welcoming high end designer Vintage store on Ledbury Road in Notting Hill, I was immediately enamored with the beauty of the window. I saw Chanel, I saw Stella and Dior, I saw Louboutins, Choos and Prada.

I grinned. I immediately had a vision of myself, tall, confident, glamourous, donning a flowy frock and diamond earrings, an Oscar in hand, on stage, thanking my mum, my dad, God, and of course, the academy. I don't know how it happened, but before I knew it, I was inside the treasure trove, trying on dozens of items, garments, shoes and jewelry and forgot about it all, the cold, the wind, the mittens. And then I grinned even wider, the treasure trove sheltered a Golden chest filled with vintage jewels. 

And suddenly, the long grey gown I had chosen for my upcoming friend's wedding seemed much less dull. The earrings were on my ears - and there was no taking them off. I smiled to the clerk - and there was not much else to say but thank you. And have a good day.

These are no diamonds but I'll settle for these any day of the week. I wish I could tell you the name of the designer but he remains nameless- honestly the shop assistant had no idea what his name was. You'll have to go check it out for yourself. So off you go, zesties.

The Merchant
36 Ledbury Road 
London, W11 2AB

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Way Down to Chinatown

Not since Milk & Honey in New York and the Curio Parlour in Paris have I been able to find a decent place for a yummy, fruity, splashy, fabulous cocktail in London. It's just not that easy to come by. Paris has recently started up on the trend, while New York has been a pioneer of all things spirits and fancy alcoholic recipes for at least a decade now. But look no more, Zesties, the latest and trendiest cocktail bar in all of London has opened its doors in none other than London's Chinatown. The Experimental Cocktail Club London, known by all the Paris loyals as the ECC, is just a month old but is already buzzying with Central London's most fashionable and exquisite people.


One of the main problems with London, I find, is that most pubs and bars inconveniently close between 11 and midnight. And whether we're talking crowds, music or strict door policies, clubs over here- they just don't cut it. Who wants to pay £££ for memberships to places you end up showing up to only fortnightly, and £££ more extra to pay when the tab arrives in your lap, no less. Cocktail bars and lounges aren't really crowding the streets either. Okay so you've got the uber-fancy-old-man-take-a-call-girl-out Connaught Bar in Mayfair- though I can't say it's my weekly go-to option, considering the Euro-Posh customer base and the up-market cocktail prices. In a nutshell, for any wide-eyed and bushy-tailed London expat like myself, that's just not going to cut it.


So when I heard about the ECC's arrival in London last month, after reading rave reviews of its original namesake in Paris, I jumped at the opportunity to book a girls' night out. I was not disappointed. Deliciously decadent, creative and innovative cocktails, like the Spicy Old Cuban and the Experience, coupled with  luxurious velvet sofas and gorgeous crowds in a cozy and romantic speak-easy room make for a delightful and unforgettable evening. No membership. No queues at the door. No maxed-out credit cards. Who could ask for more?

The Experimentail Cocktail Club
13A Gerrard Street

Monday, 10 January 2011

En Fran├žais, Paradis Means Heaven

If you are a devoted fan of Vanessa's as much as I am; if you've collected all of her albums, and hummed Joe le Taxi, Divinidylle and Sunday Mondays all throughout your teens, and if you've watched her appear in gorgeous Chanel ads and stunning campaigns for years on end, then you'll be delighted to know! Honey-voiced French Pop Princess, actress, fashion icon, face of Chanel and envied wife of Johnny Depp,Vanessa Paradis is popping into town for a once in a lifetime performance of her greatest hits EVER at Koko London in Camden!

Rush now to get tickets as they are selling fast! 

Be ready for a bewitching evening on February 2nd at 7pm at:

Koko London
1a Camden High Street
London NW1 7JE
0870 432 5527