Friday, 10 June 2011

Cosmetic Surgery: Treatments in your Twenties?

It's around this time of year when I surrender to the truth that I'm getting older. It doesn't feel so long ago that the whole idea of one day being in my early twenties, mid-twenties - you get the idea - was laughably alien. Reassuringly, the future would bring wisdom, maturity and a wealth of exciting experiences. Yet, with birthdays, the 'future' would also fulfil its less desirable promise of ageing skin, tired eyes and potential, hateful grey hairs. It's not surprising, in a culture where youth is celebrated and old age feared (particularly amongst women), that we strive to fight the tell-tale signs for as long as possible. This, of course, is aided by multi-million pound industries, reinforcing our 'need' and providing us with 'essential' products, treatments and even surgeries. For a long time the source of controversy, cosmetic surgery is more pervasive than ever before. But, during your twenties, you're too young to think about such options. Right? On behalf of MSN Life & Style, I visited a leading London medispa, to find out the truth. My article is entitled: An afternoon of shopping and surgery? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Bring back the sunshine with Miami's summer soundtrack...

The Betsy Hotel, South Beach, Miami
One of my fondest holiday destinations of recent years has been Miami. That's every inch of the expansive and dazzlingly diverse city of Miami. From the striped seats and Hemingway-esque lobby of The Betsy Hotel (not to mention their renowned Popover bread!), to South Beach's sun-kissed beautiful people, to stunning Art Deco architecture and to the design district for the rustic and homey Michael's Genuine Food & Drink. In all it's many forms, Miami has one unifying quality: it feels good to be here. More than good, in fact. It's a seriously good feeling that we long for (but don't often experience) in the UK - that enveloping warmth that hits your face when you step off the plane and lingers all holiday long. Heat aside though, Miami's feel-good factor radiates from its inhabitants. Whether party-goers, or cultured types who prioritise their climate and artistic lifestyle, Miami never fails to bring a smile to both residents and holidaymakers. Add to that a variety of hip locations and eclectic energy, and you've got Miami.

W Hotel, South Beach, Miami
W Hotel, Living Room bar, South Beach, Miami

This Easter, I was lucky enough to stay at the W Hotel, South Beach. As super-slick, luxurious and trend-setting as it's cool counterparts elsewhere, the W South Beach had clearly tapped into the unique Miami vibe. Relaxing in my hotel bedroom, I discovered just how 'Miami' the W South Beach was, in the form of the hotel chain's latest album, Symmetry. It's geared for guests at all W hotels, no matter their location: whether resting inside, enjoying cocktails poolside, or dancing all night long. It's true that music has an uncanny ability to evoke a sense of place, yet it seems that the W's global music director, Michelangelo L'Acqua had Miami in mind, as he selected the cutting-edge music, first-time remixes and exclusive tracks. Not only was Symmetry's launch party held at the W South Beach, it seems to intrinsically 'get' Miami, recreating that highly-covetable Miami feeling. L'Acqua explains that Symmetry's artists "are pushing the boundaries of style and sound". Quite an apt description for Miami-ites themselves.

W Hotels 'Symmetry' album

Here are a couple of my favourite tracks, which I hope will summon London's sunshine and provide you with a super-cool summer soundtrack. Turn up the volume!

The xx - Crystalised

Friendly Fires - Paris ft. Au Revoir Simone (Aeroplane Remix)

If you like these, you can listen to the rest of W Hotels Symmetry at The W Hotels Store.

You may also be interested to know that Miami holds several music events each year, including the Miami Music Festival, the Winter Music Conference and the Ultra Music Festival.

Images: 1) My own, 2) - 4) With thanks to The W, South Beach.

Friday, 3 June 2011

This Weekend in London (and beyond...)

It is nearly the weekend! True to form, every inch of London is bursting with brilliant events. For me however, there is only one event that matters: the wedding of my lil' sis. A 'twin-centre' wedding, the day will start in London and end in Paris, crossing the channel mid-celebrations. Needless to say, I am very excited! If you are following City Girl (EC1) on Twitter, you may have heard about my search for the perfect wedding accessories, bridesmaid hair-dos, 'train outfits' and so on. Thank you to everybody for their great help! I will report back on the 'Big day' asap. For now, in the spirit of these two beautiful cities, here are some weekend highlights, whether you are in London, Paris, or both...

  • Free Range Art and Design show. Visited by both industry and design/fashion enthusiasts, this exciting exhibition showcases the work of new graduates, from 150 courses across the UK. A great choice for design inspiration. Graduate Fashion Week follows on Sunday.

Bistro du Vin, Clerkenwell
Bistro du Vin, St John's Street, Clerkenwell
  • You probably already know that I love French dining. Well, Clerkenwell has long been a centre for French cuisine. One of its most recent openings, Bistro du Vin, has swiftly become a personal favourite. It is a superb choice for lunch, dinner or cocktails (but you just try resisting the food). My review will follow shortly.

Cybill Shepherd in The Last Picture Show
  • This weekend, the BFI is showing Apocalypse Now and The Last Picture Show, both high on my films-you-must-watch-and-watch-again list. The start of Apocalypse Now has to be one of the very best in cinema history... rivalled by Manhattan? Follow a film with a stroll along the Southbank, or cross the river for Fortnum and Mason's Summer Tea Party (Saturday). As though tastings, tea and cookery demonstrations, beauty treatments and consultations weren't enough, you'll receive 10% off purchases in-store and online.
Straw hat, Oliver Bonas
Straw bowler hat, by Oliver Bonas
Nautical dress, Oliver Bonas
'Poem Josie' nautical striped dress, by Oliver Bonas

Anchor necklace, Oliver Bonas
'And Mary' gold anchor necklace, by Oliver Bonas
  • The sun is set to shine this weekend (keep your fingers crossed for the wedding!), so put on your holiday 'best', or treat yourself to something new. I love this nautical-inspired ensemble by Oliver Bonas. Very relaxed, but also very chic.
  • Spend the day in Saint Germain. Buy breakfast from Poilâne, shop in select boutiques (like Isabel Marant), then visit Musée Rodin. Once those feet won't walk any further, slump (elegantly) into Hotel Lutetia's art-deco surroundings, for une coupe de champagne, oysters, steak... and don't forget their famous pommes purée
Brasserie du Lutetia, Paris
La Brasserie du Lutetia, Hotel Lutetia
  • Indulge in movie memorabilia at Cinémathèque Française. The Cinémathèque (housed in a striking Frank Gehry cubist building), hosts retrospectives, cult movies, classics, experimental cinema and Q&A sessions. Perfect.
La Maison Angelina, Paris
La Maison Angelina, Paris
  • On the subject of cinema, where could be better to watch Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris? Time Out Paris lists all Parisian cinemas. After, walk along the Seine and climb 'La Tour Eiffel', as seen in the film. 
Bar 228, Le Meurice Hotel, Paris
Le Bar 228 at Le Meurice Hotel, Paris
  • Soak up the sunshine in the lovely Jardin des Tuileries, before a sugary-sweet afternoon at renowned tearoom, La Maison Angelina. The quiches, eclairs and macaroons are not to be missed. Follow with cocktails at nearby Le Meurice Hotel, and if you can still be trusted to go shopping, you'll be very close to Rue Faubourg Saint-Honoré.

Lastly, if you are looking for distraction on your trip over to France, or long for the French feeling from this side of the channel, you can enjoy all the best moments from the Cannes Film Festival 2011 by downloading the free CINEMOI Cannes 2011 App. Look out for my post entitled Cannes Film Festival 2011: The Red Carpet.

Images: 2) The BFI, 3) - 5) Oliver Bonas, 6) Hotel Lutetia, Paris, 7) - 8) My own.

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