Tag Archives: london

POWDER ROOM: FROM ZERO TO AMY WINEHOUSE HAIR-STYLE TWIN IN JUST 30 MINUTES!

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Strolling around some of my favorite alleys in east London last november I discovered this iper-pretty little place that looked like a miniature Bugsy Barkley film set from the 30s: The Powder Room. A place of glamour and pamper for girls with a taste for retro-beauty treatments.

As I peeked inside, behind the large glass window, I saw women wrapped in tight pink & black uniforms completed with lovely black pillow-hats trasforming other women from plain looking ladies to classical hollywood goddesses.

It was such a beautiful sight that on a recent lazy sunday I decided to get back to the Columbia Road address to try out the wonder on myself, but what I found out instead was that the prettiest beauty parlor in town was on its last opening day. I bought a gazillion products on sale and walked home with a little disappointment staining the glamour-spot in my little girly heart.

Thank god, even though the beauty parlor closed down, the work of the Powder Room staff did not end: in fact they continue helping beauty spread across the oceans not only as a glamour task force anyone can book for private events and parties, but also in a “pop-up store” kind of fashion, by regularly treating costumers to their magic at the Hoxton Hotel and every saturday at Paper Dress the vintage-shop/bar/live-music-joint on Curtain Road, right next to the London College of Fashion.

As I walked into Paper Dress I immediately noticed that this is definetively a place where I would want to go back to buy a piece or two for my ever-growing vintage dresses & accessories collection, since it is the ONLY vintage shop in London that clearly does not overprizes items. Rare habit in this days and age where even old label-ess crap gets a fat prize-tag, in order to cater the bulimic appetites of the average fashion-monkey.
The fun in vintage garnments’ hunting relies on the power of random discovery, knowledge & recognition of that one truly rare precious piece and, above all, on the power of the impossible bargain, which is that childish feeling of over-excitement of having been so immensively cool and smart to have stolen candies from a child who did not even imagine the value of what he gave away for a small bunch of pennies. Otherwise it’s just another way to throw money into the burning furnace of fashion industry without getting much in return, not even a little fun.
Well, at first sight, I reckon that one could easily walk out of Paper Dress with exactely that inebriating feeling and new dresses (and a taste of good coffie and cakes and live music) on top of it!

Sadly, I did not have enough time to explore the shop in depth. I went to Curtain Road with only half an hour free time and a mission: getting myself be transformed in the fine coiffing hands of the Powder Room lovely girls!

A quick glance at the look book, illustrating styles spanning from the 20s to the 70s, and I left the choice to the pretty girl in pink, also known as the stylist who was about to work a miracle on my thick mediterranean wild long hair. And indeed a miracle is what she worked on me!
I sat on the Powder Room‘s chair an overworked, always in a hurry, wild-haired girl and next thing I know, 30 minutes later, I was transformed into the hair-style-twin of late singing queen Amy Winehouse! Daring one might say. YES! But it came out so good I had to revise all my prejudices about back-combed 60s heavy hairdoes. Only half an hour of pamper and I walked out a good looking happy camper!

Everything about the experience has been pleasant, from the care they took in styling me to the lovely time I had conversating with the Powder Room founder, who told me how she went from being a Film and Tv hair & make-up expert to starting her own business, spreading fun, style and beauty into the world with her posse of great professional stylists, known as the Powderpuff Girls.

I am now convinced that these girls can do it all: from Downton Abbey to Mad Men, all it takes it’s only 30 minutes in their hands!

Being so close to the release of Baz Luhrmann‘s new film “The Great Gatsby” promising to scream roaring 20s’ grandeur in every single detail, there is only one number in town to call to get tuned to the coming style new age of bobs and waves, thin lips and smokey eyes, take note:
Powder Puff Girls +44 844 879 4928 …they’ll deliver the style & glam 100% with a touch of fun!

to get a little inspiration, here’s the trailer for Luhrmann’s “Great Gatsby”

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BIRTHDAY BREAKFAST IN LONDON, LOST IN LILY VANILLI’S LAND

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I started my tradition of Birthday Breakfasts over 10 years ago, when, being too busy to throw a big party, I thought It could be nice to start the day with a yummy breakfast surrounded by friends and loved ones… the tradition is based on the simple belief that nothing could go possibly wrong in a day built on such delicious and joyful foundations. So far my theory has proven 100% right!

So it goes that every year I start my birthday with the most amazing, often wonderfully random and yet perfect breakfast. Being on a warm African island in my bikini, or at the baker outside my office, the breakfasts are always unique and a first step on a path of love and discovery.

This year the birthday breakfast fairy brought me to find a little courtyard around the Columbia Flower Market in East London, where people flock by the thousands just to get a taste of Lily Jones‘ (aka Lily Vanilli) beautiful and delicious baking magic. Lily tip-toed her way in the cakes’ business a few years ago when, to make some extra bucks, she started selling her home-made cakes at Swanfield Market; she would pay 10£ for the pitch and go back home with 30-40£ earnings each week, until in 2009 a journalist from The Time wrote an article about her, and Lily Vanilli was born. Since then she has baked for the likes of Elton John, made a cake sculpture for V&A, created insect shaped candies for Alexander McQueen and the list could just keep on going. Every sunday Lily and her staff of 7 open their cake lab to the occasional Columbia Market’s visitors and tourists. It must be her way to inject good karma in this world, one tasty cake after another.

As far as my experience go, I have to admit, as I sat in the shop, it was not what I had expected to find. I was a bit put off by the amount of people crowding the place and the horrible paper cups, somehow I had imagined to get to a more private joint, with fine china tea-cups and grandmas’ type silver spoons to go with the freshly grinded coffies and fine teas. But As I gave a look at the Red Velvet Cake (my 1st birthday cake in a million years!), so luscious and beautiful, I understood that sometimes one should not pretend perfection in every detail, but just find that one fantabulous thing that would make the journey worthwhile. And – oh boy! – the Red Velvet sweetness of it, made it so worth it!

As a present to myself I bought the book Sweet Tooth where some of Lily’s recipes will be soon turned into Christmas presents to others…passing on the sweetness!

Big up for Lily Vanilli!

and now please meet Lily

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Filed under Art of life / Life of Art, books & coffee, me, myself & moi, Supreme Cuisine

POWDER ROOM for all your retro-beauty parlor needs

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Back in 1961 the legendary Holly Golightly casually declares in Breakfast at Tiffany’s to take 50$ from her generous dates each time she goes to the Powder Room, today in 2012 at the POWDER ROOM on Columbia Road in London for that same price one might get treated to a “Jiffy Make-up” a “Speedy Hair Do”or a fast manicure. In the hands of pretty pin-up girls, stylishly dressed in pink & black uniforms, in a 40’s interior screaming retro-glam in every detail, the ladies fancying to pop in this charming little shop can have a complete make-over Hollywood classics style while sipping cocktails & tasting pretty puffy pastries. In the 1944 film by Vincent Sherman, Bette Davis firmly says in the words of Mrs. Skeffington  “A woman is beautiful if she sleeps 8 hours every night and goes to the Beauty Parlor every day…” well, next time I decide to follow that piece of advice I exactly know where I should go: 136 Columbia Road!

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