As the weather starts to change in London, it’s easy to let one’s fitness and wellness slip. I find it in myself, as the days get shorter, the morning’s darker, it’s even harder to find that daily motivation. On the other side of the coin, however, the industry itself shows no sign of slowing down. That’s why I’ve taken the time to highlight some of the most committed people, the most useful products and most motivating places, to help us all through these next few months.
Aera Scent Diffuser
Fragrance meets design with the Aera Scent Diffuser. I was reticent about this product as first. I don’t like strong scents, and even worse, many give me an allergic reaction. Activated through your smart phone, this is home-scenting on an entirely different level. The futuristic design means it fades seamlessly into any home space. With the Aera, tiny scented molecules waft through your home, all derived from the highest-quality essential oils. At any time you can control the level of scent with your phone and you can actually programme the app to increase or decrease scent throughout the day and week.
Hilton Head Health
Hilton Head South Carolina is beautiful. Known for its endless beaches and green-grass golf courses, it’s also the ideal location for a health and wellness resort. At Hilton Head Health, you’ll find everyone from first year university student who are there to quickly burn off that freshman 15, alongside couples who have been married 50 years opting for a long-stay experience and looking to do an entire 180 on life. There’s no shortage of things to do once you’re here – from lectures on nutrition and portion control, to cooking classes, alongside a robust schedule of fitness classes – at any one time there’s often two or three options for fitness. From Pilates to TRX, yoga to aqua aerobics. And don’t avoid the natural surrounds, you can borrow a bicycle throughout your stay, join in on a beach walk, or simply explore at your own leisure.
Bobbi Brown London Flagship
I’ve long been described as a Bobbi Brown girl when it comes to my makeup preferences. I don’t like to wear a lot of makeup; instead, I love using a few great-quality products that accentuate my best features. And this is precisely the philosophy behind everything they do and develop at Bobbi Brown. Last year on Portland Street in London, the brand opened its new high-tech flagship, offering everything from masterclasses, workshops, photography and filming. Inside, as well as rows and rows of candy-floss-coloured lipsticks and glosses you’ll find presentation screens, cameras and professional lighting, making it a hub for customer events and experiences.
David Mallett Salon in Soho, New York
Aussie-born Paris-based stylist to the stars David Mallett has just opened his first New York salon. Exquisitely designed, it’s no wonder he counts the likes of Natalie Portman, Marion Cotillard, Diane Kruger, Penelope Cruz, and Karl Lagerfeld as clients. In Paris, David has two salons, one standalone and the other in the stories Ritz Hotel. He also sells his coveted eponymous product line.
Skin Food by Sophie Thompson
Sophie Thompson is beyond impressive. Having started and grown Sister & Co – the coconut-based body and skincare brand – she’s now written her first book. Edifying and practical, Sophie teachers readers how to concoct their own spa-grade products in their kitchen. All natural and heavily trialled, use Skin Food to turn your kitchen into an apothecary.
From clubs to restaurants, Luca Del Bono has been involved in a host of venues and initiatives making him a name known and revered throughout London. His latest venue ONDA is a little different. Less business and more philanthropic, the idea is to give people access to some of the world’s best venues and members clubs through an exchange of knowledge and skills. In a world where every hotel and venue is trying to curate a programme of the best experiences, talks, lectures and events – through ONDA you can have all that content free of charge. They’ve just launched an app, making it even easier to connect people around the world.
Elena Lavagni is a powerhouse. She founded and owns the six-floor Neville Hair & Beauty salon in Knightsbridge . Always packed and offering some of the best and most consistent blow-dries in London, Elena also founded the Neville Salon in the nearby five-star Bulgari Hotel. Always on the look out for the latest and greatest, she consistently brings new concepts, partners and products into the salon. She recently launched The Facial Bar – a concept created by Elena and Dr David Jack, offering express dermatological-grade facials at an affordable price. Rarely does one visit Neville and not see Elena’s cheek-to-cheek smile. She’s a force whose success is due to her persistence, talent and own making.
Recycled Capsule Tumi Carson
Tumi has long been recognised as the leader for bags and backpacks. I know, as a freelancer, I live my life out of a back pack – each day I’m often carting around my laptop, a full change of clothes and gym kit, and often at least a litre of water. A top-quality backpack makes all that lifting and shlepping all that much easier. And now, with Tumi’s new recycled capsule collection, you can feel like you’re doing something positive for the planet along the way. The Carson, a longtime Tumi favourite, is now made with textiles engineered from 22 post-consumer recycled plastic bottles, diverting 1.8 ounces of post-industrial nylon waste from going into a landfill. This is the future of consumer goods.
Started by three friends brought together by skin difficulties – predominately eczema – Marie, Krystal and Austin have now founded Shea Brand. The idea behind the company is to use all-natural shea butter to create beautifully designed skincare and body care products presented in 100 percent recyclable packaging. All made in New York City from raw certified organic, cruelty free ingredients, the lovely colourful packaging means you’ll be proud to showcase these on your dresser or in your bathroom. And they make perfect gifts.
Founded and run by two sisters, Lauren and Sarah, By Sarah is a beautiful young skincare brand aiming to cut through a lot of the noise and confusion in the industry. It all began out of trauma, when Lauren was diagnosed with leukaemia, her sister Sarah set about to blending a series of all-natural serums and oils to soothe Lauren’s sensitive skin. Now a fully fledged natural and organic skincare line, the mission is still to keep things simple and transparent. All the ingredient are listed on the front of each bottle and they’re simple, pronounceable and real.
Aicha McKenzie, Founder of AuthenticallyFit Yoga
A successful agent, creative director, choreographer and former British gymnast, Aicha McKenzie has now started AuthenticallyFit Yoga. Aicha hosts a series of bespoke yoga, breathing and meditation-based classes, helping busy and successful people decompress and reconnect with themselves. She hosts her classes in the homes of her clients or even at their offices or on the fly at events – backstage at fashion weeks etc. Aicha works with her clients to create what they need, when they need it, predominately with clients in the fashion and entertainment industries.
The product line from American-based Patchology is fantastic. These are clever products designed for women and men on the go. Everything they develop works quickly and is ingredient dense. As someone who travels a great deal, I never leave home without a few of their patches and sheet masks tucked into my travel case. The best thou ing about the sheet masks is once to remove the sheet itself, you simply add your moisturiser and go – there’s no hassle of removing a heavy mask or ruining face cloths with clumps of pink or green clay. Instead, you can simply let any remnants of the product continue to sink into your skin throughout the day.
A family run company in the New Forest, Sue Stowell launched Willow in 2007 with her two daughters Bonnie and Tamryn. Their beautifully designed products are all made and formulated in England and the bath and beauty products all carry the coveted Soil Association Certification as natural and organic. Their range includes collections for sensitive, dry, oily and an anti-ageing formulation, meaning all skin types are considered and looked after.
Japan-based and formulated, Shiro now has three standalone stores in London alone – the King’s Road, Christopher’s Place and Monmouth Street. A mix of skincare and makeup, the backbone of this brand is around creating products from natural ingredients bought from producers who share the same values as Shiro. Using the best herbs and oils to nourish the skin – everything from their peachy pink lipglosses to their sleek hair care products are beautifully and carefully formulated.
A writer and editor, as well as a fitness junkie who teaches yoga and has run countless marathons, Dervla Louli is the founder of Compare Retreat. The idea behind the site is to offer a bible of the best fitness and wellness retreats the world over, alongside and in-depth writeup and review of each programme. The former digital editor at Hong Kong Tatler, Dervla has a wealth of editorial experience behind her and a clear passion for what she does.
Co-founded by Steven Schapera who started and sold the successful company BECCA Cosmetics to Estee Lauder in 2016, alongside his new business partner Defaf Alamri, the idea behind London Labs is that we need to treat and nurture our hair with the same care we do the rest of our skin. Their stable of 14 products includes scalp masks and exfoliators, more traditional shampoos and conditioners, as well as a beautiful oil made with prickly pear – each bottle contains more than 30kg of the hallowed fruit – known for its restorative and vitamin-rich properties.
The world is changing so that no longer is it necessary to distinguish between products for men and women. While originally created for men, the new range from Men-u is fun, affordable and well-balanced. Making it perfect skin and body care for any women too.
Spring Green London
Spring Green London certainly helps make it easier. A healthy food delivery service loved by the likes of Laura Bailey and Alex Eagle, much of the menu offered is plant-based and everything is delicious. Created and run by Bonnie Stowell who trained under Michelin-starred chef Matt Tomkinson, the ethos behind the brand is about creating delicious, nutrition-rich meals that help clients look and feel their best. A typical menu includes items like berry protein pancakes with cacao nibs to start, a botanical green salad with beetroot fritters for lunch and pumpkin pasta with cashew and mushroom cream to end the day.
Wanting to cut through all the complications around haircare and styling, Kaye Sotomi founded Chop Chop London. The idea here is to be able to cut and style all hair types from clients of all backgrounds and ethnicities, quickly and affordably. You can choose from 24 different hair styles, each which takes no longer than 20 minutes and will cost you £20. There’s no awkwardness or confusion over which level or seniority of stylist you should choose or that certain stylists specialise in specific kinds of hair. Their fun and well-designed hairdressing pods have everything one might need, and you can book and pay directly through their app. Everything has been created around the notion of making hairstyling, fun, easy and automated. With outposts in Old Street and Westfield – it’s a perfect pitstop whether you live East or West. Always innovating, Kaye recently hosted a pop-up Chop Chop in the Eurostar terminal, and he is constantly working on brand partnerships with the likes of Asos and Net-a-porter.