Best of Britain
Live out your most opulent fantasies in this 18th-century mansion.
The Grade I-listed stately home, Hawkstone Hall & Gardens in Shropshire, opened in April earlier this year. This spectacular Georgian property, set within 88 acres of manicured gardens, has been restored to its former splendour; and now, for the first time in its 550 year history, is open as a luxury hotel and exclusive wedding venue.
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What better way to treat myself than head to Ragdale Hall Health Hydro and Thermal Spa. With a team of over 460 staff, this privately owned retreat set amongst the soothing peace of the Leicestershire countryside is a relaxing heaven. The guests are predominantly women (90%) and the 93-bedroom spa offers luxurious pampering with a huge range of facilities including six pools, heat experiences, tennis, boules, pitch ‘n’ putt, croquet, cycling, and a mind gym are all available. My aim for my Overnight Reviver Break was total relaxation. On arrival, my mum and I were greeted by the friendly and polite Guest Liaison team who offered a refreshing drink while we were booked in. Valet parking is offered to all guests, and our luggage was whisked up to the room in a matter if minutes.
When double checking the location of the restaurant on my phone, I saw that it was located a minutes walk from Hackney Central Overground Station - and it wasn’t lying. Within a minute of stepping off the train, I was stood outside the seemingly secluded venue and was pleasantly surprised with what I found. Stepping inside the large Nordic themed restaurant I was expecting to hear the trains rumbling past, but for the entire duration of my meal - not a peep was heard from them which helped to create the illusion of actually being in a secluded Nordic restaurant. The room was open and spacious with grand high ceilings, however, felt really intimate and cosy making this venue the perfect place for brunch dates - or if you're visiting with a group of friends you can take advantage of the long tables and benches which are perfect for socialising.
However, I was instantly impressed by how lively and expressive she was through the screen, making it immediately feel like we were in the same room. Miller is the CEO and creative director of Oona Series, which she launched alongside co-founder Boniface Verney-Carron. We’re having an introductory chat before I start my one-month trial of the platform so that I could get an idea of how Oona came to be. “Oona Series is a personally curated space dedicated to the alignment of the physical, mental, and social. Born for those in pursuit of one's complete self. Rooted in my eternal passion of dance and movement,” says Miller. She tells me about how she first met Verney-Carron at her Marylebone studio where she was training his wife. “I remember vividly Boniface walking into one of my classes. It was a Saturday morning and the session was fully booked. He ran in with his motorcycle helmet and quickly jumped into class. He proceeded to move through my Barre class with an impeccable technique which instantly had me intrigued,” she shares.
With so many stories of botched cosmetic procedures and dodgy dental work, it’s important that you know that you are getting the best treatment out there. For the past year I have been a patient at Smile Architect in Harley Street, a private practice owned and run by Dr Adam Slade. Adam is a very experienced dental surgeon and has extensive experience in Prosthodontics and implant placement. He was awarded Master of Clinical Dentistry (Prosthodontics) in 2004 from London University having studied at Guy’s King’s and St Thomas’ Dental Institute to add to his other dental qualifications. I first met Adam when I was working on a documentary series which saw patients who had medical treatment disasters corrected. Adam was the resident dental expert correcting their smiles. It was then that I watched some of his more invasive and technically skilled work first-hand. Our case studies would arrive with very complicated issues, many needing all their teeth removed.
When we met, she was the beauty presenter on ITV1’s This Morning, which she did for 15 years, alongside her work as beauty editor of Hello! magazine. Now a huge YouTube star, she shares the beauty and lifestyle secrets that she’s learned over the years to thousands of subscribers. When we met I was just 21, now I am 41, her words to me then, ‘Don’t have Botox until you are 40!’ - It felt like such a long time to wait. But the years passed quickly and my young wrinkle free skin began to show signs of motherhood, sleepless nights and a life of working hard and playing hard. Botox became my friend and for the first 6-12 months I was relatively happy with the results. However that was until Nadine introduced me to a cosmetic doctor, who I now hope will be in my life forever! Dr Vicky Dondos is regarded as one of the UK's ‘best face-perfecting doctors’ by the British press and is highly regarded for her sophisticated application of Botox, fillers and lasers - and after meeting her it was easy to see why.
I had heard so many good things about this ultra-discreet salon, which has become something of a mecca for high-profile clients, from actors to supermodels and media moguls, names like George and Amal Clooney, Taylor Swift, Mel C and Bryan Adams. Tucked down a picture perfect London side street, it’s the ideal location for a salon of this calibre. Although small, this salon packs an impressive punch with a roster of talented stylists assembled by co-founders Belle Cannan and John Vial, including Emmanuel Esteban, famed for his sleek and speedy blow dries, and leading hair colour specialist, Sophie MacCorquodale, favoured colourist of Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson. When I entered the salon, I was struck by the simplicity of the interior with its polished wood panelling and black leather chairs. It was sleek and unfussy and there was a sense of calm. This isn't a salon that needs to impress with gimmicks and loud music, the levels of expertise under just one roof says it all.
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