Sunday, 29 July 2012

Sunday Spa day at The Sheraton Grand One Spa

Sundays are made for satisfying souls. So when some much needed R&R is in order a spa day is the only thing for it come the sabbath.

For year's I've walked past the Sheraton Grand on my way to, and from town. When you live in a city like Edinburgh it is easy to get complacent and not sample the wonderful things on your doorstep. But I'm writing now to remedy my buffoonery.

Perched high above the tremendous tenements, nestled neatly inside the financial district One Spa is a roof top refuge ready and waiting to revive you.

With the Castle and Usher Hall in eye line at the front of the hotel and the quirky new builds of Edinburgh's commercial sector behind, the hotel is lucky to bridge the burgh's old and new worlds like no other venue.

It has just come through a glamourous facelift having reopened it's doors after a lengthy refurbishment. Inside bold interior design warms up large lofty communal spaces and the bedrooms are modern with clean lines and quirky pieces of furniture accenting them. It marries chic and classic interiors well with relaxation oozing from every floor.

The Pièce de résistance reigns supreme at roof level. The thermal suite and hydro pool within Spa One are a relaxation wonderland.

Essential oils and aroma therapy are pumped into sauna's, steam rooms and tropical showers. Without another soul laying their hands on your body the rooms within the thermal suit clear your mind and melt tension from your body.

Then there's the hydro pool bubbling like a giant bath with jets in all shapes and sizes pumping water to pummel and message your muscles. That gorgeous contradiction between hot and cold as your head bobs above the water is soothing and exhilarating all at once. The perfect slap around the puss to rejuvenate you.

It's a must for locals and visitors alike.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Making Hats with Sally Ann Provan

There's nothing better than when a project you're working on brings friends together.

Sally Ann Provan, milliner supreme, sent me an email asking for a little assistance which I duly obliged. She has just moved into a fabulous new design studio and is working on her latest collection. Her request was to rope in my songstress bestie Ms Lou Hickey to model the new work and have me style the images.

Now I know people say never mix business&pleasure but I think it's the only way to work. You get to hang out with friends and be creative together, not too shabby for Lynne.

Anyway, while coming up with a bespoke hat for Lou I pottered around the studio looking at Sally's new hat blocks.

Here's a sneak round the studio....

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Topshop and the New Pink Lady

Topshop have given the Pink Lady a make over befitting of summer 2012.

Feathers, wet look bomber jackets, tinny hot pants and skin tight drain pipes are on offer should you feel the need to pledge pink.

They've tapped into the Retro Americana trend that swept spring summer catwalks but kept the collection distinctly their own by creating clothes on the cooler side of the high street.

0845 121 4519
Pink Feather Skirt £80.00
Shorts £40.00 Jacket £60.00
Jeans £40.00

Crisp country strolls in Corstorphine and Hillwood House

Nothing beats bundling the boys into the back of the car for an afternoon stroll up Corstorphine hill.

The woods are nestled in between a golf course and Edinburgh Zoo high on the hill giving it breath taking panoramic views of the city.

I've always had a soft spot for the place. Partly because it has a little bit of history right at the foot of the hill.

Here the park meets a border line with a very impressive private property called Hillwood House.

Build in the late 1800's it became home to the Drambuie family in the 1920's. It remained so until the death of Malcolm MacKinnon, founder and chairman of Drambuie in 1945 before being sold off by his son. From there Edinburgh Council acquired it in the 60s, letting it fall into disrepair for the next three decades. Then in 1994 Malcolm MacKinnon's grandchildren bought it back reinstating it as Drambuie's HQ.

The reason I know all of this is because in 2005 the fate of this stately house was to change yet again as it went up for sale due to company restructuring.

In 2006 I was guided around the impressive pile by estate agents Rettie&Co, not to buy (alas I've never had a spare 3 million pounds to hand) but because I was producing a radio show and we were planning on discussing Drambuie's history.

The place left a massive impress with me because even though it was vast there was something very homely about it. It felt like there had been a lot of love and happy time in the room and I hope whoever calls it home now feels the same staying in it.

I'm sure I have images of it stashed away on an old camera some where, so I shall have a look and pop them up online.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Belfast and its arty revolution

When you are a regular visitor to a city it's easy to get complacent.

Belfast has been my home from home for a decade now and I could count on one hand the things I've seen. Shame on me.

Last week I sat and soaked up the arty side of Belfast for an afternoon. You may seem shocked to hear of its softer centre but Belfast has been a creative hub much longer than the troubles have been rumbling on.

That being said it is this dark, gritty side that has permeated its people. Giving artists and writers alike food for thought, letting their work flourish though it's darker days.

The cathedral quarter, situated in the south and east of the city, is home to Belfast's eclectic bunch. It's one of the oldest parts of the city with derelict buildings dating back as far as the 1800's. There are great little pubs, brasseries, shops and indie offices. It's home to Belfast's Education board and around the corner the city's iconic newspaper, the Belfast Telegraph, is based. This makes for an amazing mixture of people milling around the narrow streets.

Originally it was the city's warehouse district when the linen and shipbuilding industries were in full swing. The lofty red brick buildings are a passport to Belfast's past, and although there has been much regeneration in the area there is still a rugged earthiness running through it as many buildings still lie empty.

*note to property developers, don't even think about turning this space into yuppy 'luxury' housing!*

A stones throw away a beauty of an art deco building has been taken over by Occupy Belfast protesters. They have set up residence inside a former Bank Of Ireland branch. It is one of my favourite buildings in the city, and every time I passed it by over the last ten years I'd get sad it stood empty. I'm glad people are putting it to good use even if it is a bit of a sore point of discussion in the city.

Actually the Bank of Ireland squat is Belfast in microcosm. A beautiful place that divides opinion, but at its core it has honest hard working people desperate to make a change for the better.


1: Leather sofa inside The Mac art gallery.
2: Mural on the side of a building just before turning onto Commercial Court.
3: part of an exhibition piece inside The Mac.
4: Looking down Commercial Court.
5: Occupy Belfast, the Bank Of Ireland building.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Fashion: Retro Americana - Fashion -

Retro Americana was all the rage with fashion’s big hitters this season. So it is only fitting that the girls of Auld Reekie get their glam on and try the trend out.

A modern twist has been placed on the classic affluent 1950s dress code that was all about being super glossy at its core.

Dare to bare your midriff a la Prada. Tiny bandeaux tops were placed with skinny printed pencil skirts. Don’t panic at the thought of partaking in Prada’s vision. This look is all about a hint of mid-section, designed to show off the smallest part of your waist. Belly buttons should be banished as skirts skim and suck in the bottom half of your tummy.

Go for gingham like Jil Sanders showcased. This print lends itself perfectly to a laid-back look. Team it with shorts in a similar shade when the sun comes out.

Quirky prints are a fun way of adapting the look to what is around this season, be that in your own wardrobe or out on the high street. Opt for frocks that have a bit of personality, there are a ton of tea dresses with flirty fruit and veg prints to be found right now. Pair that with Prada’s must-have flame motif bag or heel and you are on to a winner.

Pay attention to hair and make-up. Keep lips red and vampy. American girls of this era were seriously manicured and that attention to detail was apparent during the showing of collections at fashion week. So keep the whole look groomed from head to hoof.

The only contradictory clash between old and new is texture. Classic Americana dressing was about matching, and some collections showed tiny bandeaux tops in the same material as skirts. But that doesn’t mean you have to stick to the rules. Popping a plain top underneath a brighter boxy blazer gives the same effect while covering up.

As for accessories, head for the holy trinity: handbag, sunglasses and necklace. For bags make sure they are as much of a statement as your outfit. Leathers should be super shiny, think freshly buffed Cadillac for inspiration.

Sun specs should curl up into perfect cat’s eye shape to be bang on trend but if that doesn’t agree with your face shape find a large pair of statement glasses instead.

That leaves jewellery. Go for vintage or vintage-inspired pieces like Tippi and Grace’s collection. Bold beads sculpted elegantly around the neck are offset beautifully with shimmering crystal brooches for an extra touch of glamour. Adding a piece like this finishes the look off perfectly.

Fashion: Retro Americana - Fashion -

Model: India at Mannequin
Make-up: Ebony at Glam Candy
Hair: Sonya at Be Ba Boom
Images: Jayne Wright

Styled by Lynne McCrossan
Assisted Louise Arnot

Chillie dress Debenhams £38.00
Anne Klein shoes £55.00
Prada handbag £1,800.00 Harvey Nichols
£110.00 vintage necklace Tippi and Grace

Leather skirt warehouse £90.00
Bustier Topshop £22.00
Shoes Zara £49.00
Necklace £75.00 Tippi and Grace

Orange blazer Jaeger £199.00
Skirt Zara £19.99
Bandeau top New Look £4.99
Blue shoes £59.99 Zara
Necklace Tippi and Grace

Skirt Resis £129.00
Bustier Topshop £35.00
Prada Clutch Harvey Nichols £780.00
Red Necklace £50.00 Tippi and Grace
Heels £49.99 Zara

Green ruffle shirt £95.00 Ralph Lauren
Blue skirt Debenhams £45.00
Black shoes £80.00 John Lewis
Necklace Tippi & Grace

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Pretty in Pleats

Prepare to pour yourself into some pretty pleating this summer as the trend takes to the high street.

You can’t swing a maxi skirt at the minute without it being pleated, and the look isn’t going anywhere as autumn winter catwalks showed the trend being carried right through to next season.

Collections from Chloe, Prada and Rodarte felt like they were paying homage to designer Mariano Fortuny. The man famed for bringing fluid pleated fabrics into silk shift dresses inspired by Greek Goddesses in the early 1900s paved the way for the pleating we see today.

Classically, you want to go for light material in silk and chiffon. The key is movement and light to create a carefree feminine feel to your look.

One of the easiest ways to wear the trend is in a skirt. Floor-length hem lines add drama and grace to an outfit and instantly makes the item you are wearing appear expensive.

By keeping pleating in the bottom half of your body it gives the illusion of elongation, making the wearer appear longer and leaner.

Pair a calf-length skirt with classic wellies and slouchy knit and you are festival ready. Go for much looser pleating and you can pair it with a plain T-shirt, blazer and pumps for a relaxed, preppy look.

Be inspired by Kate Middleton by placing pleating and lace together for a regal and girlie feel. If you are missing your denim fix, add a cut-off studded waistcoat to floor-length skirts. There are a ton of tea dresses around crisply cut with pleating. Investing in one is a smart shout as you can make many looks from it.

Image 1
Orange skirt £95.00 whistles
Jacket £135.00 whistles
T shirt £35.00 whistles
Snakeskin shoes £95.00 John Lewis

Image 2
Jumper Phase Eight £45.50
Red skirt Hobbs £55.00
Hunters Wellies £99.00
Hat jigsaw £69.00

Image 3
Denim waistcoat Isla Skye £35.00
Hat Reiss £31.00
Brown skirt Reiss £48.00

Image 4
Lace top Jaeger £160.00
Skirt £99.00 Jaeger
Carvella £49.00 shoes

Image 5
Oasis £55.00 dress
Shirt £35.00 Oasis
Boots £170.00 Kurt Geiger

Image 6
Skirt £149.00 Top £89.00 Blazer £159.00 all Ted Baker
Sandals John Lewis £35.00

Model: Kirsten from the Scottish Rockettes Cheerleaders.

Style assistant George Thain

Make up by Ebony at Glam Candy

Friday, 6 July 2012

Day at the MAC in Belfast

Today was spent pockling around the character filled lanes of the Cathedral Quarter.

First stop, the exhibits inside the MAC. A new building in Belfast for art, studio space for musicians, dancers and artists with a spot for wining&dining too. I feel in love with this butter soft leather couch on the second floor.

Then it was off for a wander around the side streets. Every time I come home to Belfast I'm bowed over by how bohemian it's becoming.

Long live the cultural revolution!