YOUR WEEKLY DOSE OF INSPIRATION, TIPS AND TASKS TO FILL THE HOLE IN YOUR SOUL AND BRING BACK SOME POSITIVITY INTO YOUR WORLD AND FILL THE REST OF YOUR WEEK WITH SUNSHINE.
SO TODAY MY STYLISTAS I WANT YOU TO BE SUPER STYLISH AND PRACTISE THE FOLLOWING MANTRA.
KINDNESS IS FREE. SPRINKLE THAT STUFF EVERYWHERE………..
IN A PARTICULARLY CRUEL WORLD AT THE MOMENT IT COSTS NOTHING TO BE KIND TO THOSE WE KNOW AND MORE SO TO PEOPLE WE DON,T KNOW. UNEXPECTED KINDNESS CAN BE MORE POWERFUL.
THIS WEEK SPRINKLE YOUR KINDNESS EVERYWHERE TO YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS BUT ALSO TO STRANGERS YOU ENCOUNTER ALONG THE WAY . THIS WILL LIGHT UP YOUR SOUL AND BRING YOU JOY AND HAPPINESS NOT TO MENTION LIGHTING THE FLAMES IN OTHER PEOPLE SOUL.
SO GO SET THE WORLD ON FIRE IT IS YOUR POWER TO DO THIS.
JOJOS STYLELIST TIP: KINDNESS COSTS NOTHING, IT MAKES YOU HAPPY , MAKE OTHERS HAPPY SO WHY DO WE CHOOSE SO OFTEN NOT TO DO IT ?
Having just returned from a long weekend in Como I thought it would be great to share some of the secrets of Como with you guys. It is surprisingly difficult to find great restaurants as it is fairly quiet as it is mostly about villa living here. There is not a sophisticated social scene and it really is a place to go to rest and recuperate. However Como is still one of the most magical places I have been to and just a couple of hours from the hustle and bustle of London you can restore the senses with peace and tranquility whats not to like ?
As you only have a few days to unwind let me save you some time and share the most amazing weekend I have just had and some gorgeous discoveries I stumbled upon. It is surprising how many people who have visited Como cannot give you a recommendation for a good restaurant as they just stumble on them by accident and can “never remember the name”. So let me give you my secret guide to getting the best from Como but sssshhhhhh…….. dont tell anyone else.
We arrive late afternoon after taking the 3.30pm BA flight to Milan from Heathrow. Hire a car but keep it small for the winding Como mountainous roads. You wont regret this. Staying at a firm favourite Il Duca Hotel close to La Scala and La Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II the wonderful designer shopping mall. Yes before heading up to Como we have one night in Milan for shopping (Como not great for shopping) and dinner at Savinis. We choose the lobster linguini and the sea bass with a bean and leek puree. Savinis has a wonderful history of famous visitors since 1867 and is one of the most prestigious restaurants in Milan. You can also choose to visit Il Duomo the beautiful cathedral in the same vicinity. Beautifully lit up at night. Back to the beautiful Il Duca for drinks on the rooftop terrace.
A relaxing coffee and croissants in one of the many street cafes before heading off to Lake Como for the 1 hour drive (one toll e 1.70). The Mandarin Hotel is just beyond the town of Como in stunning Blevio one of the early points on Lake Como . The Mandarin newly opened 2019 is a welcome luxury Hotel. I cannot praise this Hotel enough but be warned once you have stayed here nowhere else will do. From the beautiful restaurant along the lake, the floating swimming pool, sumptuous spa and outstanding service , expensive but worth every penny and 2/3 nights are plenty. From the main entrance on the winding road down to the front door of the hotel we were mesmerised by the view across the lake. We were welcomed with glasses of Prosecco and ushered to the best seats in the house to lap up the views and the prosecco.
A chauffeur driven buggy escorted us to the Villa Quercia to our penthouse suite with a large terrace and a bath tub the size of swimming pool. Champagne on ice and a cornucopia of macarons , pastries ,apperitivos.
A reservation was made for a late lunch although the Hotel was mostly empty (a CV19 blessing). I can thoroughly recommend the Tuna Tataki salad and the Rose Laria , produced locally.
As we have hot stone massages booked for the evening we decide to wind down in the Spa, although the sauna and tepidariums were shut due to CV the private suite was made available to us with its own sauna and steam room.
The massages were deeply relaxing . We felt we had been away for a week already. We retired to our terrace (and the champagne and pastries) just to stop and take in the views.
Decide to try out the floating pool. Dressed head to toe in Melissa Odabash head down to a very quiet pool area .The hotel has a full range of detox and revitilising fresh juices so I opt for a’ Bosco ‘to detox Even though the Hotel was not busy there is still an emphasis on peace and calm with SSSHHH notices everywhere. As we are still in full relaxation mode we have lunch at the Hotel again with King Prawns on a cacio pepe pasta. More Rose Laria.
Now one MUST DO when in Como is to hire a boat to take on the Lake. The Rivas are very expensive but the Mandarin has another option a speedboat (100€ per hour) with a sunbathing deck. Faster than a Riva so allows you to explore further and steps at the back of the boat enable a refreshing swim in the lake very chic. You can even take a picnic on board if you wish. This was the best fun and enabled us to bypass George Clooneys villa and more importantly discover a couple of stand out lakeside restaurants ( these are few and far between ). One such restaurant was Vapore in the village of Torno which once back on dry land we headed to this pretty village right next door to Blevio. Now a TIP if you stay on the main roads none of these places look amazing but dip down into the villages and they are breathtakingly beautiful. We meet Ali who owns Vapore we then find an equally stunning restaurant Belvedere …..there was Ali again yes he owns this one too. We end up there for a couple of hours when the locals invited us to join them for Franciacorta Rose . I love Italiens ! We make reservations that evening for Vapore. Head to a cafe bar on the lake for Gelato …….yes you guessed it Ali is there too. This village is picture perfect.
That evening we head to Vapore the restaurant is full to the brim we pass a celebrity wall of its past visitors including Robert de Niro, Harry Styles and Silvio Berlusconi . The setting, the food and the service was exquisite. I had fish fresh from the lake and the Tiramisu was unmissable ! As we watched the sun set over the lake I defy anyone to find a more perfect setting. This will be a permanent fixture on our future visits.
Today we decide to venture a little further afield to the town of Bellagio. A tourists favourite. It has many boutiques and restaurants. Although is very busy and parking initially is very difficult. But as you come into the centre of the village carry on out the other side where we discovered a huge hillside car park and the walk back to the village was really very nice although a lot of steps and hills just to give you some warning. Wear walking shoes if you are planning a visit. The restaurants here were catering for the tourist and it took us a while as foodies to locate a really fabulous restaurant. But we found it. SUISSE, although it was authentic Italien. The best Caprese Salad , salt baked sea bass with olives,tomatoes,capers and olive oil. I am salivating just thinking about this scrummy lunch in a little square by the ƒerry stop with white clothed tables. Try it !!
Bellagio is known as “The Pearl of Lake Como” but not sure we would revisit as it was a very busy town and not the r&r we were looking for. A 45 minute hair raising cliff top drive from the Mandarin , honestly we were glad to be back in the tranquility of Blevio.
After a long day we retire to the elegant Mandarin bar spouting tunes of a bygone era. Of course while you are here it would be rude not to try George Clooneys Casamigas tequila on the rocks, it really is very smooth.
Unfortunately time to head home (about 30 mins direct to Malpensa Airport, Milan). The wonderful staff are there to say goodbye. Honestly it was the hardest goodbye of any trip both to the staff and the beautiful Lago Di Como. We spend some time before we leave just soaking up the view and doing nothing that is the real secret of The Lake.
We vow to return before the Summer is out…………just like everyone else !
Well you guys I hope you utilised your time in lockdown effectively to make your surroundings more beautiful and streamlining your routines. It is so important to envelop yourself with a gorgeous environment and lovely rituals. Making every day as beautiful and pleasurable as possible is a way to live a happier life. A word about rituals , they are established patterns that make our every day existence and the journey of life, our real life, more enjoyable.
Let me share some of my own ideas with you:
Use a beautiful bath oil or foam. Its no secret that mine is L’Occitane Lemon Verbena Foam Bath. Allow yourself time to soak. Have a glass of wine/champagne or freshly squeezed juice topped with spring water. Soft classical music. Neom candles. DOOR SHUT. Big warm fluffy terry towels and robe. Your whole evening has a fresh new beginning.
I love to write notes in beautiful Smythson notebooks with brightly coloured inks. I have a beautiful set of Kate Spade cream and gold cards for thank you notes that actually make you want to write notes. Everyone should have at least one beautifully expensive fountain pen for ritual note writng i.e gratitude notes in the morning, To Do lists in the evening.
AT HOME MEAL TIMES
Always lay the table with the best tablemats, best china, fabulous cutlery and a charming set of colourful napkins. My mantra is save nothing for ‘best’ use them now, daily. Meal times should absolutely be a ritual to get into the habit with your family or loved ones or just make it special for one.
We spend a large amount of our time in bed. Keep your bed linen fresh, egyption cotton . Lots of comfy huge pillows on the bed and i beautiful cashmere throw . Stunning pile of books on the bedside table. Your bed is not just for sleeping but can be a sanctuary for rituals like a Sunday afternoon nap . Curling up under the throw with a good book early evening. Watching movies on a cold winters day. Saturday morning breakfast in bed on a tray.
EMRACE THE SEASONS
Mark new seasons with childhood reminiscences: In Spring fly a kite. In Summer, make a sand castle. In fall go for a brisk walk crunching in the leaves. In Winter build a snowman. Take time to look at the changing landscape as nature runs its course. Listen to the changing sounds too the different bird chatter from each season, the sound of lawns being mowed, the new buds on the trees.
BAKING WITH A FRIEND
Book a regular baking day with a friend in your kitchen. Then gift the goodies to elderly people in the area or friends that need cheering. This is a rewarding ritual both for your friendship and the recipients. If baking is not your thing then choose photography, pottery or Art classes with a friend, equally bonding while you learn a new skill.
ORGANISE A GIFT WRAP STATION
In my office i have on cupboard constantly stocked with beautiful gift wrap, ribbon, bows, labels and scotch tape. a beautifully wrapped present is a gift in itself. When someone spends time elegantly wrapping a gift for me it is immensely touching that they went to such effort. Make gift wrapping an enjoyable experience and never a chore with a hurriedly wrapped present. Get creative.
DINE OUT WITH ELEGANCE
A weekly ritual of dining out at a special restaurant. Im not talking pub grub here or Nandos but an elegant, renowned restaurant in your area. The food and wine become the pleasure. Really admire the presentation, taste , smell and textures of the food and the wonderful service you receive. Choose your Company wisely an exceptional meal can be ruined by obnoxious company. Try to experience Michelin star restaurants whenever possible this is a real treat for the senses.
So there were some of my rituals to be enjoyed together or simply alone. but rituals are regular and require effort but they soon become encompassed within your regular life. But they all make life feel a little more special. Why wouldnt you build one or two or several into YOUR life.
SHOP BELOW TO MAKE YOUR LIFE MORE BEAUTIFUL TODAY. If you received this by e mail then click on the URL at the base of the mail.
JOJOS STYLELIST TIP:WE ALL CHOOSE HOW WE LIVE . LIVING A BEAUTIFUL LIFE NEED NOT BE EXPENSIVE BUT JUST REQUIRES A LITTLE EFFORT WITH GREAT REWARDS. CHOOSE SOME THAT WILL MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE TO YOU WITHIN YOUR PRICE RANGE.
THOUGHTS, NOTES AND A DOSE OF INSPIRATION TO UPLIFT AND REFRESH YOUR SPIRIT AND MENTAL WELLBEING.
SHINE BRIGHT LIKE A DIAMOND
WE ALL HAVE LIGHT WITHIN US THAT THE WORLD IS WAITING TO SEE. DISCOVER YOUR OWN LIGHT . WHAT MAKES YOU A SPECIAL INDIVIDUAL ? HOW DO YOU WANT TO SHOW THIS TO THE WORLD. WE ALL KNOW PEOPLE THAT LIGHT UP THE ROOM AS THEY WALK IN, SOME PEOPLE SEEM TO OOZE LIGHT AND RADIANCE.
SPEND SOME TIME TODAY GETTING TO KNOW YOURSELF. LOOK AT YOURSELF IN THE MIRROR. LOVE WHAT YOU SEE. APPRECIATE THE PERSON YOU ARE. MANY OF US LET THE HUM DRUM OF LIFE TAKE OVER WE LOSE OUR LUSTRE. SO POLISH YOURSELF FROM THE INSIDE. TAKE A DEEP BREATH OF LIGHT INTO YOUR BODY FROM YOUR HEAD TO THE TIP OF YOUR TOES AND AS YOU EHALE DISPEL ALL THE DARK NEGATIVE AIR. DO THIS A FEW TIMES YOUR BODY FEELS LIGHTER AND CLEANER.
WRITE A LIST OF YOUR POSITIVE QUALITIES AND WHY YOU LIKE YOURSELF. ONCE YOU HAVE FOUND YOUR GLIMMER DUST IT OFF AND GO OUT AND SHOW IT TO THE WORLD. SHOW YOUR GREATNESS AND ILLUMINATE YOUR DESTINY.
JOJOS STYLELIST TIP: BATHE EVERYONE AROUND YOU IN YOUR NEW FOUND GLOW. I PROMISE WHEN YOU RADIATE LIGHT PEOPLE WILL BE ATTRACTED TO YOU LIKE MOTHS TO A FLAME.
I have decided to break up from a 15 year relationship ……..with my hairdresser . Many service providers will be judged on how they treated us during this pandemic. It is evident that there are some Companies who are capitalising on the Covid experience but when it happens with those you have developed a close personal relationship with it is felt more deeply.
Talking to women everywhere the major anticipation of the big 6th July reopening of hair salons ending months of hair hell has resulted in varying experiences . So this is not directed at ALL hair salons but many of you have been victim to greedy hairdressers at this time.
Firstly let me set the scene this is someone who I have supported since she was a junior at a leading hair salon and when she set up her own salon 15 years ago persuaded me to leave with her and support her in the venture. A bi monthly visit for 15 years for highlights plus bringing many new clients with me constitutes major support.
Late 2019 my colourist moved up one level but the prices moved up several levels to almost double. But my loyalty continued. Early 2020 the salon decided they would no longer offer a “finished blowdry” unless you pay another £15. meaning the price rise in 5 months was now 150% . I decided to continue with the “rough dry” which meant i was leaving the salon looking worse than when I went in. Illogical , I know but…….my loyalty continued. All though on occasion I took my own tools in to blow dry my own hair if I had a meeting to attend immediately after. Why pay when I blow dry my own hair better than a junior.
Then the pandemic hit…………..
Many of us were thrown into mass panic not because there was a killer virus on the loose but who would tend to our tresses! Given strict instructions from our hairdressers not to colour our own hair under any circumstances. Of course knowing full well that we would all be clambouring for their services upon their return.
Sure enough 6th July was upon us the pandemonium was in full swing. Despite leaving several messages at the salon for appointments I eventually got an appointment 3 weeks later. It was at this point I realised customer care had gone out of the window and loyal long term customers were not to be rewarded and new customers scrambling around for salons anywhere to help were given priority. FIRST MISTAKE.
Contextually hair salons have had 80% of their wage bills paid , their rent deferred and no outlay on products during this period. On top of this a huge backlog of business building up which means they will be doing way over and above their normal numbers for this trading period. Unlike other businesses this is seen as a neccessity for most women and will not be as affected as other business and could potentially do very well and certainly bounce back in the first 6 months of reopening.
On the day obviously no tea and coffee served but no water either. Although I can go to any high street cafe and get one ? No water either ? Now i understand that coffee can be served in paper cups and bottle of of water could have been made available as in most repiutable salons who value their customers did. After all over 3 hours without refreshments IS a long time for any caffeine addict and of course no magazines to distract me either. SECOND MISTAKE.
But once the foils were in I ventured out to the high street scaring all the locals as if I was a space alien descended from another planet. After walking around for a good half an hour no available coffee anywhere and the local petrol station had decided to clean their machine at 3pm in the afternoon ! No decent glossy magazine shops either. So I settle for a bottle of water and a “Best” magazine.
I arrive back to the salon deeply humiliated and demonstrating caffeine withdrawal symptoms.. Then I am hit with the biggest BLOW of all, there will be no blow drying of hair due to “regulations” although everyone I spoke to during the writing of this article managed to get a blow dry ! Which of course meant I would have to leave with my hair dripping wet ! Please any hairdressers reading this HOW CAN YOU CHECK COLOUR WITHOUT DRYING IT ? My hair would be dry after my long drive home meaning I would have to wash it again in order to blow dry again. THIRD MISTAKE.
Obviously I cannot do anything about the salon owners interpretation of the “rules” so they got her on the phone ( yes she was at home with her feet up relaxing while making all this money) but I addressed with her that it may be a little unreasonable to expect clients to pay full price for half the service and perhaps a little adjustment was neccessary it was then that she informed me that she had in fact ” had to put up her prices due to Covid” and “im a business woman here to make money where I can” FOURTH MISTAKE
So with hair dripping wet, colour unchecked, caffeine starved and handing over the worst £100 I have ever spent was then politely told by the receptionist “oh……sorry love but you have to pay £3 for PPE” “but I brought my own mask” I replied . “Don’t matter love, it applies to everyone” she quipped back. FIFTH MISTAKE Witholding my normal generous tip I walked out of the door vowing after 15 years never to return.
Note not just to my hair salon but to hair salons everywhere your clients are not the virus, they are also victims of the crisis just as you are with their own financial problems. Now is the time to build loyalty and compassion not crush. I will urge any customers not treated correctly during this fraught time by ANY business PLEASE walk with your feet straight to another business that cares I am sure during this time there are many that will welcome you in. The businesses that will survive now will be the ones that cosset their customers not squeeze them dry.
FINAL NOTE TO MY HAIRDRESSER……..YOU WILL COME A CROPPER (EXCUSE THE PUN) AND YOUR CUSTOMERS WILL WASH (OH NO ANOTHER ONE)THEIR HANDS OF YOU. BUT THIS COVID CONNING NEEDS TO BE HIGHLIGHTED (LAST ONE I PROMISE!)AS IT SEEMS TO BE HAPPENING TO A LOT OF YOU.
JOJOS STYLELIST TIP: IT IS HARD TO BREAK UP A CLOSE DEPENDABLE RELATIONSHIP BUT IF YOU ARE BEING ABUSED WALK AWAY AND FIND SOMEONE WHO REALLY APPRECIATES YOUR WORTH.