Tag Archives: Soho

Dr Hauschka anti-blemish system trial

I’ve been searching for the perfect solution to my skin breakouts and blemishes and since there are so many skin systems out there with weird chemicals and acids, I decided to go down the natural route with Dr Hauschka’s Daily Face Care Kit for Oily Skin.

My skin complaints date from when I moved to London almost two years ago from Newcastle and many of my friends have blamed the hard water and excess pollution and stress for changes in their own skin.

I popped in to Zest Pharmacy in Soho, a proper neighbourhood chemist, which stocks an excellent range of natural, specialist and French skincare brands.  I had a long chat with one of the owners, a French lady who knew pretty much everything about skincare and had luminous skin to prove it.

She showed me starter kits by La Roche-Posay, Murad, Vichy and Caudalie, but recommended Dr Hauschka for its homeopathic approach to solving skin problems.

I’ve been using the Hydra Medic skincare system by Repechage for about nine months, which I roadtested for ELLEuk.com, but after initial good results, it seems to have dried my skin out.  The Repechage Beta Hydroxy Serum is a great overnight treatment, as it smoothed out all the tiny bumps on my forehead, but the Mattifying Moisturiser is a horrible bright white that made my skin feel tight and uncomfortable.

At just £15 for six travel size products, I thought I’d give it a try and see if I have more luck without the drying chemicals I’ve been relying on for so many years.

The Daily Face Care Kit for oily skin consists of a Cream Cleanser, Clarifying Toner and Normalising Day Oil to be used instead of a moisturiser, as well as three weekly treatments – a Facial Steam Bath, Cleansing Clay Mask and a Revitalising Mask.

On the first day of the trial, I took some time out to do the whole seven step system with all of the products.  I expected the Cleansing Cream to be smooth and rich, but it had an oatmeal consistency that gently exfoliated my skin without drying it. The Clarifying Toner felt refreshing and calmed my skin with extracts of calendula, witch hazel and daisy.

Having used oil-free products for so long and having an almost pathological fear of getting an oily T-Zone, I was sceptical about using the Normalising Day Oil.  I could just imagine my make-up slipping off and suffering a greasy face all day, but I was amazed at how quickly the oil was absorbed.  It’s important to get the right amount and I found that two drops was enough to cover my face.

Dr Hauschka’s skin regime is completely different to any other I’ve tried, as he doesn’t believe in using exfoliators or night creams, as they upsets the natural rhythm of your skin, thus clogging pores and making your skin increasingly dependent on products.

It’s all about normalising skin and making it learn again how to repair itself biologically. I’m still unsure about putting so much trust in my own body to rid itself of the blemishes, as it’s been a bit of a bitch so far, but picking and choosing various harsh and expensive products is probably what’s given it the hump in the first place.

Once a week, you should give your skin an intensive treatment of steam, deep pore cleansing and radiance revealing.  The Facial Steam Bath has a subtle, herbal scent and helps open pores and detoxify skin. Add a few table spoons to a sink full of boiling water, cover your head with a towel and breath in the aromatic steam for five to seven minutes.  Afterwards, my skin, chest and head all felt opened and I instantly had more energy.

Immediately after steaming, you’re supposed to add a thin layer of the mustard-coloured Cleansing Clay Mask and keep your face moist for up to ten minutes (I forgot and my face felt tight and rigid, like it was covered in cement).  After washing it off, I applied the Revitalising Mask, which felt luxurious but not too rich and had a relaxing aroma.

Dr Hauschka’s regime can be a bit of a faff, as they expect you to have an endless supply of clean muslin cloths – cotton wool just won’t cut it, as it absorbs the skin’s natural oils – and enough time in the morning to steam said cloths in between cleansing steps.  However, it is good advice and it just requires a bit more effort and perseverance.

So on day two, I don’t have that tight, under-nourished feeling on my face and haven’t experienced any more painful breakouts, apart from a few spots when the steam and masks brought out the impurities.  I’m impressed so far, but will post updates after a week and when I finish the starter kit.

Zest Pharmacy, 18 Broadwick Street, Soho, London, W1F 8HS

Afternoon tea at Yauatcha

Earlier this week, the lovely Sheena Appadoo from Aramis invited me for afternoon tea at Yauatcha.  Sheena keeps me in delightful scents and replaced my summer daily staple of DKNY Be Delicious Fresh Blossom with the richer, Autumnal DKNY Women limited edition scent in gold and bright purple – I’m addicted already!

Back to Yauatcha, I’d already tried the macaroons from their patisserie and my favourite is the champagne flavour embellished with goldleaf, but I was excited to sample ‘the full works’ in the tea room. 

Yauatcha

The michelin starred dim sum restaurant and tea house, created by Alan Yau (he who launched Wagamama and Hakkasan) looks more like a boutique from the outside and is an oasis of calm with low seating, blossom-embroidered banquettes and blue-tinted facades half concealing the kitchen.

There are three types of afternoon tea available and we ordered the Oriental Afternoon Tea for one (£24.50) to share, which comes with a selection of dim sum instead of sandwiches.  I chose a pot of Darjeeling First Flush from a huge range of teas including blue, green, black and white tea.

 The dim sum selection included a baked venison puff, char sui bun and scallop siu mai – the former two were tasty but unusually sweet. I’m always more excited about the cakes and they didn’t disappoint!  There was a layer of sweet sandwiches – a bright pink rasberry and lychee jelly filling packed between layers of fine sponge and one with vanilla sponge and bitter chocolate ganache.

Yauatcha

The top layer resembled a mini version of the patisserie counter and included a rich chocolate macaroon, a lemon and cola tartlet, chocolate chip marshmallow, chocolate financier, a piece of shortbread and a shot of apple and kiwi mousse.

Just as I had worked my way through the sugary layers, then came two mountainous scones (one Matcha green tea flavoured and one plain) with a tray full of oriental jams and mascarpone cream – I was defeated!  From other reviews, I’ve discovered that had we managed to wolf these down too, there were still flavoured marshmallows, mini chocolate slabs and truffles to come!

The service was unobtrusive and we were served at a steady pace, although this should be the case, as we went on a quiet weekday afternoon.

Yauatcha

The only criticism is that they won’t box up the left items to take away, due to ‘health and safety’.   At many afternoon tea establishments like Pret-a-Portea at The Berkeley, they package up what you can’t eat for you to munch on at home. It’s no biggie though, just take a paper napkin with you and drop a scone or two into your handbag, in case you get peckish on the bus.

You can of course go to Yauatcha for a simple pot of tea and a cake from the patisserie, but the Oriental Afternoon Tea is perfect for sampling a little bit of everything in exquisite surroundings and believe me, it’s more than worth it!

Yauatcha, 15-17 Broadwick Street, Soho, London W1F 0DL

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A.P.C…easy as YMC

Following the pre-recession trend of investing in simple, classic pieces, London fashion has gone back to basics. Luckily, the leaders of the utilitarian revolution have set up camp in London, just in time to supply us with some natty autumn knitwear.

British label YMC (You Must Create) opened their new loftspace a few days ago in Soho and French fashion house A.P.C (Atelier de Production et de Création) have made themselves at home close to Dover Street Market in Mayfair’s most minimalist neighbourhood.

YMC store front

YMC has been delivering well-made classics with a twist since 1995, but is having a bit of a ‘moment’ right now, with devotees Alexa Chung, The Horrors and Claudia Schiffer championing the label.  Their Spring/Summer 09 collection was awash with twee embroidered knits, sailor girl dresses, patterned playsuits and a multitude of stripes – mixing folk and prairie chic with a good old dose of Northern Soul.  The store is now stocking their Autumn/Winter 09/10 collection, but if birdwatching chic isn’t your thing, then it’s still worth a gander round the shop.

YMC inside

YMC’s loftspace is like an old curiosity shop with victoriana artefacts, retro gym equipment and some creepy taxidermy.  You’ve got to be impressed by a two-headed crow, but I can imagine A.P.C owner Jean Touitou’s gallic lip curling at the sight of such antiquated articles of yore.  

A.P.C’s new London flagship store is a much sleeker affair, and has just been officially launched, despite being already open this summer.  The interior is just as unfussy as A.P.C, with smooth wooden shelving and plenty of natural light.

A.P.C

A.P.C are best known for their innovative denim, but their Autumn/Winter 09 collection is all about checks, bright statement colours and marine-inspired tops – so, not that far away from YMC, then.

While a £100 plaid shirt doesn’t feature highly on my new season wish list, it’s good to know that it’s now a lot easier to find a decent winter coat to go with the H&M coral angora mitten I’ve got my eye on!

A.P.C  35a Dover Street, Mayfair, London

11 Poland Street, Soho, London W1

Pop in to Soho’s new pop-up

The pop-up eating and drinking establishment is as ubiquitous as London’s other current obsession, the flash mob (is there anything they won’t ‘pay homage’ to in Liverpool St station with a camera rolling?), but are any of them worth the space they inhabit?

Bistrotheque founders Pablo Flack and David Waddington have been hosting arty guerilla dinners in disused buildings for years and in October, they’re taking over the Masonic Temple at Andaz for a 3 night ritualistic supper club – good luck booking a table!

But you know that a good thing has been spoiled when premium spirit brands try to get in on the act by errecting ‘ice bars’ in…ahem, already existing posh watering holes, signposted with oversized advertising – surely that’s cheating?!

Central Perk

So, cynics will probably pan the upcoming Central Perk replica coffee shop as the most grotesque of the lot, but unlike the masquerading ‘ice bars’, the new fleeting addition to Soho’s cappuccino scene doesn’t take itself too seriously and is shamelessly nostaglic and just on the right side of twee.

Sipping a coffee next to show memorabilia like Rachel’s wedding dress will not bring you any closer to your favourite Friends characters and it will no doubt be so packed that you and your ‘urban family’ won’t be able to bag the centre sofas, but it could be a fun alternative to after-work drinks.

Gunther

If you’re still unsure about taking that potentially painful trip down memory lane, Gunther (no really, he’s actually opening the cafe on 23 Sept) and co are offering a FREE COFFEE voucher to download from 14 September – could that BE any more generous?

Central Perk in London, 24 September-7 October, 67 Broadwick Street, London, W1F 9QX.