Lunch at Talli Joe – the best Indian restaurant in London

I am a massive foodie and eating out with my husband is always something I am up to. We celebrated 6 years since we started going out recently and as he loves Indian cuisine we decided to have a lunch at Talli Joe. There are hundreds of authentic Indian restaurants and take-aways in London but as Talli Joe was voted the best Indian restaurant in here, it was a no-brainer and we booked a table on Saturday afternoon.

Location:

Talli Joe is centrally located in Covent Garden –  a popular theatre and foodie district of London. You can get here easily by public transport and Leicester Square, Covent Garden and Tottenham Court Road stations are just few minutes walk away.

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Atmosphere:

I went to the gym in the morning and when I arrived, I was welcomed by a smiley waiter who took me to my table. Whilst waiting for my husband, he took my drinks order and made me feel welcome.

The ambiance of this restaurant is very laid-back and relaxed. I really liked the funky décor and trendy finish.

The menu:

When my husband arrived, we reviewed the menu and discovered that there were lots of dishes we fancied trying. Talli Joe’s menu takes a modern day twist on the classic Indian dishes and offers its dinners a vibrant selection of small plates which are like Indian tapas and great to share in addition to half plates which we ordered as our main dish.

To start with, we ordered a few small plates to share:

  • Kale Chaat – my favourite dish;
  • Kolhapuri Chaap – nice and tender lamb chop;
  • Old Delhi Butter Chicken Samosa – Tandoori Chicken thigh;
  • Truffle Ghee Kulcha.

For our mains I had  Kochi Beef Fry. It was a nice Scottish Beef rump tail fried with some paratha. My husband had Gol Baari Kosha Mangsho – a lovely Lamb roast on the bone + luchi.

To finish our meal, we ordered some traditional Indian desserts. Talli Joe’s Black Gajar Halwa was voted one of the Time Out Top Ten Dishes of 2016 so I decided to try it and it was just right to finish my meal whilst sipping a bit of green tea. My husband doesn’t like desserts much thus he decided to have Gulabo omemad- a rose-flavoured ice cream and he enjoyed it.

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We finished our dining experience with a great cocktail.

Overall experience

Talli Joe is a perfect destination for a relaxed Indian meal with a twist. The food was delicious and the service friendly so I will definitely visit again soon!

Website:
For more information and to book visit:

http://tallijoe.com/

Address:

152 – 156 Shaftesbury Avenue London,

United Kingdom,

WC2H 8HL

I hope you enjoyed reading this review!

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Pauline

Saturday lunch at Galvin at The Athenaeum

Have you heard of Michelin-starred London chefs Chris and Jeff Galvin? I definitely have so I decided to visit their restaurant for a Saturday lunch with my husband. Today, I would like to tell you about our culinary experience.

Location:

Galvin at The Athenaeum is a hotel restaurant located in the famous area of Mayfair in London. It is situated opposite Green Park and only a few minutes walk from  Green Park station walk and around 10 minutes walk from the Buckingham Palace.

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Atmosphere:

As soon as we arrived, we were welcomed by a friendly door hostess who informed our waiter of our arrival. He took us to our table and made us feel welcomed.

The hotel and the restaurant both have a classic and modern décor. AS we visited during lunch, the restaurant was buzzing with Londoners enjoying their afternoon in the beautiful surroundings, most with a glass of prosecco in hand. There was a soft music playing at the background.

The menu:

Galvin at The Athenaeum offers its dinners a few menus to choose from – Afternoon Tea, Prix Fixe and Lunch Menu. We decided to have a set, bottomless prosecco menu.  The menu is developed Chris and Jeff Galvin who focus on British specialties. They champion Britain’s delicious local produce and support independent farmers across the UK.

To start with, I ordered some classic crayfish salad with Espelette pepper whilst my husband decided to have some deep fried whitebaits served with a bit of tartare sauce. Both dishes were tasty and presented well.

For our mains we both decided to have a Rose County rib-eye, Béarnaise sauce and chips. It was cooked to perfection and my husband cleared his plate in no time.

I love desserts so I was in heaven when I discovered that the restaurant offers an unlimited desserts buffet to its dinners during the Saturday & Sunday lunch. I was able to choose from:

  • Blood orange cheesecake
  • Chocolate mousse & coco nibs
  •  marinated pineapple & vanilla cream Yorkshire rhubarb,
  • champagne & white chocolate trifle Fruit salad,
  • meringue & blueberry coulis
  • Apple, pear & almond tart Pistachio éclairs
  • Macaroni

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My husband prefers savoury options so he had some cheese from a selection of English cheese and accompanied it with some grape chutney.

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Overall experience

We both enjoyed our Saturday bottomless set lunch at Galvin at The Atheneaum. The restaurant is perfectly located and I would definitely recommend anyone to go for a romantic walk around the Green Park and St. James’s Park after their dinning experience, especially if the weather is nice. The service and atmosphere were flawless and as the menu is very reasonably priced I will definitely return here again soon!

Website:
For more information and to book visit:

https://www.athenaeumhotel.com/restaurant-bar/galvin-at-the-athenaeum/

Address:

116 Piccadilly,

Mayfair,

London W1J 7BJ

I hope you enjoyed reading this review!

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Pauline

Iceland Foods Feaster Dinner

As some of you know I am a massive foodie and I love trying different products, recipes and cuisines. I normally write about dining at top restaurants but where do I shop to create meals in the comfort of my home? You will probably be surprised by what I have to tell you today so read on… I have recently attended ‘Iceland Feaster’ event focusing on Iceland’s Easter range and today I would love to share with you my thoughts about their products.

Background:

Iceland Foods launched a while ago in 1970 and it is currently one of Britain’s fastest-growing retailers with over 900 stores based in UK. Iceland focuses on frozen products and a recently conducted blind taste test by 32 UK chefs showed that there were no significant differences when eight frozen products and their fresh equivalents were put to test. In addition to it’s own branded products, Iceland offers lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, food cupboard, bakery options and variety of other products from famous brands such as: Slimming World, Pizza Express, Millie’s Cookies. There’s something delicious for everyone! What’s more, if you like eco-friendly brands then you will be pleased to discover that Iceland is the first major retailer to commit to being plastic-free across their own label range by 2023.

Event: 

I was invited to attend the Feaster event last week and I was really looking forward to it as I have recently discovered that Iceland won multiple awards such as ‘Business Initiative of the Year’ and ‘Online Supermarket of the Year’ (Which? 2016 and 2017).

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The event was lead by the UK Food Hero Award winning chef – Neil Nugent. The purpose of the event was to showcase some of Iceland’s Easter products and show all attendees how they can create a perfect Easter dinner for their family using high-quality frozen products.

Firstly, chef Neil showed us how to prepare a perfect fish-cake with a running egg in the middle. It was great to watch him conducting live cooking show demo and sharing his tips with all attendees.

I loved discovering little tricks such as cooking a pierced egg for 6 minutes and 10 seconds. Once our starter was prepared, all attendees had an opportunity to taste it. Our fishcake was served with a bit of sour cream, mayonnaise and mustard dressing. It was delicious! I couldn’t believe how easy it was to prepare it and I have already recreated it at home since I returned from the event.

Secondly, chef Neil worked on our mains.

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He showed us how to create a perfect dish based on the Iceland’s British Turkey Crown, broccoli on a bed of beans, couscous with an edible egg shell and accompanied by some rich Morley sauce with cranberries. It was delectable.

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After our mains, we were shown how to create some perfect hot cross buns in two different ways.

Chef Neil showed us how to make a perfect bacon jam and shared with us his rarebit recipe. I really enjoyed the bacon jam and I definitely need to prepare some for my husband!

Lastly, we were served some of the Iceland Luxury Raspberry & Pistachio Layered Pavlova.

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I have a very bad sweet tooth and this cake was simply delightful. It was better than some of the cakes I buy from Patisserie Valerie and was definitely my favourite product I tasted during the event. I couldn’t believe that it only costs £6 and serves 8. Clearly delicious food doesn’t have to be expensive.

Final thoughts: 

I think that lots of you probably think that frozen food cannot be tasty. I had a similar preconception however it changed after I attended Iceland’s Feaster event. All food was mouth-watering and I will surely do my Easter Weekend shopping at Iceland. As I loved the Luxury Raspberry & Pistachio Layered Pavlova, I am looking forward to trying some more of the Iceland’s desserts to satisfy my sweet tooth cravings. You should definitely give Iceland foods a go and I hope that you will be as positively surprised as I was!

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Pauline

Godiva Easter Egg Masterclass

As some of you might know, I have a very bad sweet tooth. As Easter approaches, I decided to attend a Godiva Easter Egg Masterclass in London this week on Monday.

Godiva has recently partnered with six influences (Henry Holland, Gizzi Erskine, Candice Brown, Rosie Fortescue, Sophie Tea and Emma Block), to create six one-of-a-kind Easter eggs, to mark their Sainsbury’s Spring Collection launch.

Left to right; Sophie Tea, Emma Block, Gizzi Erskine, Rosie Fortescue, Henry Holland and Candice Brown

The creations include decadent dark and milk chocolate leopard print egg and glamourous jewel and peacock feather adorned creation.  The eggs will be given away to lucky members of public via Godiva’s social media platforms ahead of 1st April so make sure that you check their Twitter and Instagram page.

Godiva’s chocolates are always a perfect treat for those looking to treat themselves or others. After I saw these beautiful Easter Eggs, I was really looking forward to my masterclass. When I arrived, I saw a beautiful, flowery decoration throughout a room and I was welcomed by a glass of bubbly.

After a few minutes all attendees sat down at our egg decorating stations and we started our masterclass by some chocolate testing. It really enjoyed listening to one of Godiva’s chocolatiers about the differences in chocolate – how it smells, its texture, sound, taste and taste. Chocolate has never felt, or looked, or smelt so good…

Once our tasting was completed we started decorating our Easter eggs with a help of another chocolatier who assisted us with our design and provided us with some valuable tips. There were lots of edible  When my Easter egg was ready I was really proud of it. My final masterpiece looked amazing and I decided to gift it to my mother-in-law.

You should definitely check Godiva’s Collection as it’s not only delicious but it also looks great.

I hope you all enjoy your chocolate Easter eggs and treats!

Godiva’s Exclusive Easter range can be bought online:

http://www.godivachocolates.co.uk/spring-sale

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Pauline

 

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

As the Mother’s Day approaches, I decided to spoil my mum a bit and get her a few little presents to make her feel loved and appreciated. We are very close and she means a world to me so I always go through quite a bit of an effort on that special day. As my mum is 60 this year (in June), I decided to get her a hamper with a few carefully selected items.

As a result of my search, I put a shortlist of products that you could consider for your mum. I hope you find it useful and if you decide to buy any of the products featured below then I hope that your mum will love them.

Firstly, I thought about getting my mum a bottle of perfumes. As you are probably aware, there is a massive trend of personalisation nowadays – from handbags with initials to fragrances. I came across The Perfume Studio that offers many fragrance gift sets and allows anyone to create their perfect, signature fragrance at the comfort of their own home. They have various perfume making sets available i.e. the fresh, the exotic or the natural collection. I didn’t want to compromise so I decided to get my mum a luxury Ultimate Collection which includes almost all of the fragrance accords offered by the Perfume Studio.

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Your mum will have an opportunity to create her own sensational signature fragrance from 18 exclusive perfume blends carefully selected by Master Perfumer, Francois Robert. The set comes in a beautiful box and in addition to all lovely perfume blends it also includes a beautiful small purse atomiser and a 30ml glass dressing table atomiser.

What I like about it the most though is that you can add a special touch with a personalised message to which will be printed on the bottle. The bespoke fragrances normally cost fortune but The Perfume’s Studio Ultimate Collection is only £95. In addition to beautiful sets of fragrance making sets, you can get some Gift Experience Vouchers. If you would like to order anything then visit the website:

https://www.theperfumestudio.com/

Until the end of this month my blog readers can get 10% discount on their order by applying the code FIRSTCLASS at the checkout. Don’t forget to adhere to the delivery dates listed below:

  • Engraved items: Order by Midnight 06 March 
  • Everything else: Order by Midnight 07 March
  • Gift and Experience Vouchers: …anytime!

Secondly, as my mum loves skincare so I got her some SAMAYA’s skincare. SAMAYA brand is based on Ayurvedic principles, which helps anyone to achieve samadosha or a ‘perfect balance’ in your life, beginning with your skin. SAMAYA’s range includes cleansers, creams and treatment oils. As my mum uses Elemis moisturiser, I got her a Kapha Treatment Oil from a range of 3 high-performance all natural oils: Vata, Pitta, Kapha.

All SAMAYA’s Oils contain a concentrated blend of active compounds that visibly reduce the appearance of wrinkles by using some clinically proven active anti-ageing ingredients. All SAMAYA cosmetics are made in England and have a quick-absorbing formulas which aid skin to appears youthful and radiant, whilst their calming aromas impart a deep sense of tranquillity. The oils come in attractive frosted glass bottles with convenient pumps that dispense the perfect amount in one go. SAMAYA’s Anti-Ageing Treatment Oils make a very thoughtful and (again) personalised present because in order to choose the right oil for your mum, you have to take into consideration the person’s constitution type. I am sure that my mum will appreciate that I took the time to find her a unique and luxurious gift that is high performing, stress-alleviating and all-natural.

The oil costs £79 for 30ml and you can order the oil from SAMAYA’s website:

https://www.samayaayurveda.com/

Thirdly, as my mum has lots of jewellery and travels a lot I decided to get her a Caroline Jewellery Portfolio from Wolf – a luxury British leather-goods company established over 180 years. They are known for designing the world’s most beautiful jewellery cases, watch winders and boxes. The Caroline Jewellery Portfolio is defined by its distinctive quilted exterior and classic shape. It looks just like an elegant wallet and is made of high-quality quilted black leather, anti-tarnish LusterLoc™ lining, zip lock closure, gold finished fittings and leather tassel.

It has 13 earring holes, 1 ring roll, 2 compartments and 4 necklace holders with pocket. It is definitely a perfect gift for anyone who pursuits perfection, luxury and style and I am sure that my mum will love it. After opening it, I now want one for myself as well. The prices of the range start at £49 so if you are interested in ordering a jewellery case or portfolio for your mum then visit:

https://www.wolf1834.com/

Lastly, I decided to get my mum a couple of products from the Scentered range – a portable mood therapy collection of 100% natural, fragrance therapy balms and candles, designed to help busy people cope with the challenges of modern day living and achieve their best at all times. As I mentioned above, my mum travels a lot as my parents have 2 houses so she spends most of the week in the city where she works and them spends the remaining part of the week at the countryside with my retired father. She loves all travel versions of any products so I got her Scentered Mindful Aromatherapy Minis Tin and a Sleep Essential Set.

Mindful Aromatherapy Minis Tin contains five of Scentered best-selling 100% natural balms:

  • Sleep-well – a bedtime ritual to quieten an over-active mind and relax the body, at home and away.
  • De-stress – a calming balm to ease everyday tensions, soothe the mind and lift the spirits.
  • Be-Happy – an uplifting ritual, perfect for days when you’re feeling less than your best and in need of an extra lift.
  • Focus – an ability boosting ritual to help you perform your best at work.
  • Escape – an Escapism ritual to stimulate motivation and creativity, and enhance meditation practice. Recharge the batteries in a moment and go.

The tin is travel-friendly and perfect for transporting the balms.

All Scentered balms are formulated with a blend of moringa and shea butters, to ensure a non-greasy finish and long-lasting fragrance delivery. They can be used individually to target a specific need or together as a ‘booster’ kit. They come in a handy 5g non-drip mini version and a whole tin of 5 balms costs only £26.

In addition, I got her a Sleep Essential Set which contains:

  • a super soft, 100% silk eye mask to block out unwanted light;
  • Scentered’s Sleep Well Therapy Balm (5g) .

The sets aim is to help you to let go of everyday stress and tension and encourage deep sleep. As my mum have had some sleeping problems recently, I hope that it will help her to get a restful, good night’s sleep.

Visit https://scentered.me/ to order any products from this range. 

I hope that this review will give you some ideas and help you to come up with a perfect gift for your mum.

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Pauline

 

Tried and Tested: Blank Canvas Cosmetics

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Time flies! We’ve just entered a new year and I decided to change some areas of my life. Many of you might think what to do to meet(do you mean get?) the idea behind ‘New Year-New Me’ concept. I decided to focus on trying as many new things and experiences as possible in 2018. The first step was to refresh the way I look and try some new make-up ranges and trends.

I have recently received a set of Blank Canvas Cosmetics and decided to try them.

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The set was presented in a gorgeous slider keepsake gift box which contained the items listed below:

  • 5 piece brush set;
  • Large Face brush;
  • Pippa palette;
  • Winging IT Eyeliner;
  • Borderlines Brush Soap;
  • Gift Candle.

As some of you might remember, last month, I had a total hair transformation and this month I decided to create a unique and different look which I’ve never done before. If you read my posts regularly then you will know that I love highlighters and pearly eye shadows so I was really excited to try this range which includes a set of beautiful nude, matte colors.

Firstly, I unpacked my Blank Canvas Brush set – all of them were extremely soft and made of a high quality anti-bacterial, easy to clean synthetic fibers.brushes

Secondly, I applied my regular Laura Mercier primer and Capture Totale Foundation from Dior. I then decided to use Pippa for Blank Canvas Palette. The palette was designed by Pippa O’Connor who is a leading model, busy mum and businesswoman. Pippa for Black Canvas Palette is inspired by Pippa’s love of fresh and natural make-up and consist of 6 matte finish, natural tones and 3 face shades.

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What I love about this palette is that you can apply these eye shadows dry or wet when you want a more defined, smoky look. Applying dry tones is perfect for a subtle day / work make-up and if you are going out then you can apply some of the tones with a wet brush and then get a more intense look. The palette is Blank Canvas’s bestseller as it is handbag, travel and make-up kit friendly. All shades can be worn alone but as you can see from the picture below, I like layering them to get a more classy, defined look. I finished my look by applying some of my favorite DiorShow mascara. I then needed to finish my face make-up by using 3 face shades included in a palette. Firstly, I applied a bit of highlighter to brighter up my complexion and define my nose. Then I applied a bit of a pinky blusher and finished my make up by applying a bit of bronzer to contoure my face.

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Lastly, just before I left for work I used some Bordelines Brush Soap. As some of yoiu know, I previously worked for Christian Dior as a make-up artist. Caring for your brushes is very important and if you do care for your brushes then they will last you much longer. In addition, it is absolutely crucial to clean your brushes regularly to prevent bacteria that can be harmful to your skin.

Verdict:

I love trying new products and as a formal make-up artist, it’s always great to discover a  new range that provides high quality products. Blank Canvas Cosmetics are affordable, made of quality materials and the pigments used in their make-up palettes are long–lasting. My make-up lasted all day and I didn’t have to retouch it so I would love to try some more Blank Canvas products soon.

For more information, please visit:

https://www.blankcanvascosmetics.com/

Price:

The gift box I received was €100 however you can buy all the products separately and their prices start at €5.

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Pauline

My hair transformation at The Chapel Hairdressers

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Are you looking for a top-notch hair transformation? I was. A few weeks ago, I finally decided to do something about my hair to bring a bit of life and color back to it. My friend-Amy recommended The Chapel Hairdressers in London. Over the years, the salon has won over 30 business and consumer awards including being ‘Best London Salon’ (Islington) and ‘Best UK Local Salon’ (Tunbridge Wells). I decided to listen to my friend’s recommendation and give it a go.

History:

The Chapel is owned by  Amanda Dicker who decided to develop the unique Chapel experience a while ago. She started thinking about her own brand back in 1994 and during a sabbatical year to travel the world she experienced her ‘eureka moment’ that would later have a huge impact on her business. She realized the key factor that made one place more memorable than another, wasn’t its location or décor but the people and service it provided. She then decided to provide her clients with moments of great hospitality in the oasis of her salons. Amanda opened her first salon, Number 9 Colour & Style a year later. In 2001, Amanda was struck by the architecture of the old Baptist chapel that transformed Number 9 into The Chapel at Tunbridge Wells. Followed by the success, in 2007 a Victorian pub was converted into the Islington salon in London and in 2011 an old school house in Sevenoaks was a location for a third salon.

Location: 

The Chapel Hairdressers is located at 3 prestigious locations in UK: Tunbridge Wells (flagship salon), Islingon, Sevenoaks. In addition, international guests in Verbier can have their hair done in the stunning scenery of the Swiss Alps.

As I live in London, I decided to visit The Chapel located in the heart of London in Islington, just a stone away from a tube station.

Services: 

The Chapel‘s vision is to provide all its clients with the best experience possible. The salon vision is to assign the best expert stylists to collaborate in confidence on each guests new cut, colour and style using only the best hair products from the companies such as Redken, Kerastase, Shu Uemura, Olaplex and Purelogy.

Appointment:

I decided to refresh my hair color and when I contacted The Chapel a friendly receptionist invited me for a skin test which was scheduled for 48 hours before my coloring.

Before my skin test appointment started, the receptionist brought me a drinks menu. Whilst relaxing at the beautiful lounge, in no time I received some sparkling water and a mince pie. After a few minutes, I was welcomed by a friendly stylist – Sian. She listened about what I wanted to achieve during our coloring session. We had in-depth conversation devoted to understanding my individual requirements where she provided me with her expert advice and showed me some images of how my hair could look like. We agreed for me to have some highlights to brighten me up and bring out some natural color. After the consultation, Sian conducted a skin test and applied a couple of drops of hair colorant onto my skin.

My follow-up appointment was scheduled 2 days after the initial consultation. As soon as I arrived, Sian welcomed me and took me to the lounge to confirm my requirements and what I wanted to achieve.

In the meantime, a friendly receptionist offered me a drinks menu and as it was almost Christmas I decided to have some mulled wine. The Chapel has four areas for each stage of the visit Relaxation, Education, Service and Tailored treatments (REST). On ground floor there is a reception area, lounge, bar as well as a treatment area for washing, cutting and styling.

On the lower ground floor there is a washing / coloring area and a relaxing lounge.

We started my appointment by coloring so Sian took me downstairs and prepared: a gloss to bring out some richness to my natural darker tones and refresh them, as well as a solid lighter color to add some lighter tones.

Whilst Sian was applying the mixtures, we were talking about her background, Christmas and our holiday plans-it felt like we knew each other for ages. Once my hair colorants were applied, Sian invited me to relax at the lounge whilst my color was developing. In the meantime, she prepared a few ‘potions’ (Olaplex and Kerastase treatments) to minimize the negative effects of coloring and restore the health of my hair. After 20 minutes, when the color developed, Sian washed it off and applied the treatments to my hair. Once, my hair was washed, Sian took me upstairs to cut and style my hair. As I was going out after the appointment, she applied some loose curls to my hair. When she finished, I looked like a new me and my hair looked fuller, healthier and I really liked my highlights.

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Prices:

The Chapel prices are calculated by time rather than individual treatments and they depend on the chosen stylist to create a more flexible bespoke service to its Clients. It also helps guests understand the cost of each appointment in advance. My highlights and cut appointment lasted 3 hours, by Sian told me that women’s cuts average an hour, while more complex cut and colour treatments can last 2-3 hours or upwards.

Final thoughts: 

I loved ever aspect of my hair transformation appointment at the Chapel. Although, it’s not cheap, the salon offers a personalized service and my hair looked amazing so it was worth every penny. In addition, whichever stylist you choose, they will be with you throughout the appointment to answer any questions you might have. I am already looking forward to visiting again and seeing Sian as she’s been wonderful.

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If you are interested in booking your hair transformation, please visit The Chapel’s website:

https://www.thechapel.co.uk/

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Pauline