Goodness knows how our skin has suffered recently: freezing temperatures outside and dehydrating overheated conditions inside. So needless to say, a visit to the Mandarin Oriental’s Spa to try one of their Aroma Radiance Lift Facials was a welcomed invitation.
As I descended the stairs to the hotel’s basement, leaving the hectic pace of Knightsbridge life outside, I could feel the spa’s zen calmness awaiting me. Even the process of arriving was enough to wind down.
Once inside the treatment room, I discussed my skin type and the therapist recommended the Aroma Lift Facial, to rehydrate and reinvigorate my skin. Each of the Aroma Radiance Lift Facials uses machine technology to omit electric currents onto the face, to allow the natural aromatherapy products to penetrate deeper under the skin.
My facial began with an enzyme peel, which contained passionflower and pineapple. Following the peel, a serum was applied onto my skin as the therapist massaged my face with two metal prongs, which created micro currents to lift the muscles underneath. This may all sound very technical but in fact it was very relaxing. I could feel myself drifting off as my breathing became deeper.
The next stage involved the application of a magnesium skin booster and hydration gel whilst a lymphatic drainage massage was carried out, again using the metal prongs. By the end, my skin felt instantly replenished and was glowing. And the following day, it still looks fresh.
I was advised not to enter the steam room following the facial but I did take a peek into the relaxation room before walking past the inviting Vitality pool. Pure bliss. And as I stepped back onto the busy streets of Knightsbridge, I felt a slight warm feeling on my skin and the vague hope of spring in sight. I can’t think of a better way to leave winter behind.
Last Thursday saw the first Chelsea tweet up take place at The Cadogan Arms. The night started off with champagne cocktails as we anticipated the delicious looking menu for the evening.
For starter, I had the pickled Devon crab, blood orange, fennel and citrus vinaigrette, which I enjoyed thoroughly. And for main, I tried a gluten free Venison (no Wellington), which was accompanied by potato gratin and red wine jus. For sides: red cabbage, honey roast parsnips and mixed leaf salad arrived on the table – although I refrained from venturing onto the sides. Given that we are still in January, I was attempting to practise some level of restraint. But all self-control was quickly diminished by the time dessert arrived: white chocolate parfait and raspberry compote. Praline crisps also accompanied the non-gluten free dishes.
I devoured the rich dessert as if chocolate were the source of life in an Arabian dessert. It was a pure melt in your mouth sensation and I savoured every moment of this experience – like I said, it is January.
The wine chosen for each course were also very well selected and by the time our digestifs arrived in the form of either Espresso Martinis or brandy, I was ready for a game of pool upstairs. Given the number of years I have visited The Cadogan Arms, it really is a wonder why I hadn’t even stepped into the billiards room before then. And what larks were had!
The night was a real hit, even if my pool skills weren’t. The food and wine provided a great feast and as for the Espresso Martinis, surprisingly spot on. Last Thursday night made me realise that whilst life is full of many wonders, even regular haunts on the King’s Road like to keep us locals on our toes.
On Saturday night my friends and I enjoyed our Christmas dinner at The Windsor Castle, which is located on Campden Hill Road. I hadn’t been to this pub for a couple of years and as soon as I’d walked in, I wondered why I hadn’t been back in so long.
It is the perfect winter pub; perhaps because it feels Dickensian with its very low inside doors which are technically oblong shapes cut out of the wooden panels: you have to stoop through in order to get to the next section of the bar. It’s only when you take a look at the website that you learn how the pub was designed to segregate class and sex back in the 1830s. Yet despite their initial polemic function, a sense of romanticism lingers as you make your way through the pub.
Despite the cosy nature of this pub, there’s a real sense of privacy here, as Kensington and Notting Hill locals perch on stools or sit huddled around tables. And if you stand at the bar like the group of revellers on Saturday night who donned loud Christmas jumpers as they began their festive celebrations, you get a real sense of this place as you take in its intimate landscape: The Windsor Castle is traditional through and through.
As for the food, if you’re looking for gastro fare you’re in the wrong place. On the Christmas menu there was venison pie, salmon in pastry and of course, a Turkey dinner. Most people finished their dishes and there weren’t any complaints. The food here is simple, honest grub.
But The Windsor Castle isn’t just for winter; it also has a lovely garden in the back. And I for one have decided a Gin and Tonic will be on the agenda there next summer.
On Wednesday night, the place to be was at the KingsRoad.co.uk party at Juju, winner of Best Bar 2011 at The London Bar and Club Awards. KingsRoadRocks reports from the front line.
In the past Juju has also won an Outstanding Mixology award and another for Best New Bar but admittedly until last night, I hadn’t understood why this place was so exceptional. I had visited it once before, on a Saturday night but the atmosphere felt somewhat lacking as it tried to establish itself along Chelsea’s main strip, which we all have to admit inhabits quite a tough crowd.
But finally, it all clicked into place: why Juju deserves its success. Whilst its interior has always been slick, its design proved its ability to handle a busy night. With a dance floor, where Gabriella Ellis of Made in Chelsea fame performed impressively at one end, and comfortable seating throughout, Juju is a great party venue.
As for the well placed bar that doesn’t interrupt the flow of the party, this is where Juju’s real magic is found. The bar staff’s ability to deliver consistently on the quality of their cocktails was remarkable given the endless thirst they’d created by making us all want more.
The Porn Star Martini was the night’s favourite. I’m not sure at which point I should confess my faux pas in knocking back the champagne shot before sipping the Passion Fruit Martini. Apparently, the shot is supposed to be sipped in conjunction with the cocktail, to allow their flavours to fuse. Needless to say, after this initial error, I left plenty of room to practice as the night went on.
Juju opened in 2009 and over time, it has allowed the quality of its cocktails and venue to successfully develop its reputation. And after a great night I’m sure to return enthusiastically.