As a child I treasured the trips to London with my Dad and brother. A few times a year we would bundle into the car and travel for what seemed like hours to explore the Big Smoke. Each time we arrived in the city, we would take trips to Hamleys, Harrods and Harvey Nichols, followed by a walk around Knightsbridge. As we paced the streets and rode the world famous tube trains on the London Underground, I knew that this was where I wanted to be when I grew up. So when I finished college, I packed up my life and came down for a new start in a city that had inspired me for countless years.
London is one of the best cities in the world and one where, even after seven years, I still feel incredibly lucky to live. There is never any excuse for boredom in such a culturally vibrant city and just when you think you have seen it all, think again, there is much more to come.
London is home to the best – the best fashion, restaurants, museums and the best salons. London soaks up some of the best UK talent and once they arrive, they scarcely leave. Mark Alexander is a perfect example. Hailing from the North, Mark originally came to London for a couple of months but was so taken with the city that a couple of decades later still calls it home.
I came to London with a dream, one that I haven’t quite fulfilled, but I’m pretty sure I’m on the right track. Seven years on and I still feel inspired as I walk down the escalators deep underneath the city whose streets I’m certain are paved with gold. Somewhere. This year has been my busiest yet and after what seemed like a short summer, I was in desperate need of a hair cut and colour so I headed to Daniel Hersheson in Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge for a couple of hours of pampering.
I visited on Saturday afternoon and was surrounded by beautiful women armed with the latest designer handbags and glossy locks. I swapped my jumper for a gown in the cloakroom and was shown to my seat. ‘Would you like anything to eat or drink’, asked my host. Would I like anything to eat? I’ve never been asked that before. I settled for a glass of water and slumped into my seat.
I glanced around and one woman next to me was being attended to by three staff – one blow drying the hair, another giving her a manicure and another a pedicure. I was told she visits the salon twice a week. Another beautiful Asian lady with a Hermes bag plonked next to her sat nonchalantly chatting on her phone with foils in her hair. The woman next to her flicked through fashion pictures on one of the ipads supplied by the salon. I retrieved my ipad from my bag and sat tapping away until Jenna appeared next to me, all smiles. ‘I am going to be doing your colour today’, she said in a sweet voice. The consultation, to my surprise, was quick. Very quick. She glided off and returned a few minutes later with a pot of grey gloop. As she was busy brushing the colour through each strand of my hair, we got chatting and realised that we were not only hair twins but we both come from a similar part of the world. Both of us had moved to London a few years ago to escape the dull and lifeless cities. Both of us are never going back to live in our respective home towns and for the moment, neither of us has plans to leave London.
As Jenna was putting the finishing touches to her masterpiece, Carly bounded over and introduced herself. She was going to be cutting my hair after the dye had been washed out. She ran her fingers through my hair, wincing up her face as she did so. ‘You haven’t had your hair cut in a long time, have you’? Feeling flush I told her what she already knew. Rather than asking me what I wanted, she told me what I should have. Usually I would be hesitant to listen to someone I didn’t know telling me what I should look like, I like to think I have my own sense of style, you see. But I completely agreed with her. She walzed away and waited while I had my hair washed.
The cut was short but sweet and Carly left my hair looking healthy, glossy and full of volume. It’s funny really how a lick of paint and tidy up can make you feel – I walked out of Daniel Hersheson that day feeling like I belonged in an episode of Desparate Housewives. I may not be in the same boat as the woman who can afford a blow dry, manicure and pedicure twice a week but I will certainly be saving my pennies and return to Daniel Hersheson, if only to walk out of Harvey Nichols feeling like I had just walked off a L’Oreal set.
Food for Think was a guest of Daniel Hersheson
My semi permanent hair colour with Jenna – £75
My cut with Carly – £75