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Inspiration For Dinner Party Planning

Emily John

With the party season approaching, we met with Blue Ribbon founder Esther Rulli, an expert on all things tabletop, and asked her for her top tips for the most fabulous party ever!

Interior Design Tableware

 

What is the secret ingredient for hosting the most fabulous party ever?

A great dinner needs many ingredients to come together - a great group of guests, fantastic food, beautiful table settings; but the key ingredient is an element of surprise: perhaps you are using beautiful mismatched teacups to serve champagne; perhaps you can move a very formally set table outside, to dine under the stars (British weather permitting); or perhaps something as simple as arranging your flowers not in vases but in glasses or even in a soup tureen!

What are key trends in tableware for Autumn / Winter 2017?

The key current trend is to really express yourself, make creative and bold choices that are very personal, and to infuse your settings with your personality. We see our clients picking beautifully bold patterns in dinnerware and flatware. Ca’ d’Oro by Sieger by Fuerstenberg is definitely one of the favourites, and its monochrome palette with just touches of gold works on any occasion, from relaxed dinner with friends to the most formal of settings.

The metallic trend is one of our current favourites. We are seeing a lot of gold-toned accents, both on the fashion runway, and in interiors. You can mix gold both monochrome or with bold, bright colours. For example, green and gold are key to the huge trend of all things exotic, Cuban and jungle-inspired, and we saw these themes playing out across major fashion collections. In homewares, they translate into green coloured glass, exotic animal tabletop accessories, and the use of foliage as a tabletop accent.

 
Gold Table
Gold candles
 

How would you advise a dinner host to introduce colour into a table setting if they haven’t done so before?

There are lots of fun, un-intimidating ways to introduce colour. One interesting way, and less expensive than changing your entire dinner set, is to introduce accents: you can add elegant yet colourful flatware, or glasses, or perhaps a centrepiece or a vase. If you’d like to take it a step further, I would suggest adding colourful side or presentation plates, to give that pop of colour to an otherwise plain, simple setting.

 
Floral Accents
 

How else can you evoke that luxurious, elegant vibe in your home?

Smell is a subtle yet powerful way to add a chic touch. It is an incredible medium: your guests will feel luxury yet they won’t be able to quite put their finger on how it is achieved. It is all part of creating an overall mood, orchestrating a range of subtle notes. We love these Bernardaud candles: they smell incredible and are just the epitome of all things festive: warm, inviting, chic and cosy!

Another secret to an inviting and welcoming decor is introducing interesting textures which invite touch. Whether it is a metallic, uneven rim on your serving platter, or the interplay between smooth, cool marble and warm wood in a tray, or the relief pattern on your cushions, touch is what ultimately connects us to that object, and what makes us want to hold it and to have in our homes.

 
Missioni Candles
 

And finally what are your top three tips for ensuring that your guests feel welcome and relaxed?

Prepare food that can be ready for a while before your guests arrive so you can focus on greeting, drinks and conversation once your guests are arriving rather than rushing around in the kitchen. Clear your schedule the afternoon of the dinner party so you can have an enjoyable few hours  preparing with great music and your favourite drink in a beautiful glass to get you in the mood for the evening.   Create a nice personal touch for your guests, you can even do something as simple as placing a different flower on each table setting; stay relaxed and enjoy - as the host, you set the mood for the party!

Christmas Parties, With A Difference

Emily John

Our expectations of Christmas parties are rather standard these days; whether it's a sit-down meal or drinks in a bar, we’ve all done it; on repeat! Office Christmas party planning is now in full swing so we’ve got some clever alternatives on our radar and, as always, we’ve got some nifty advice to go with them.  Read on for some rule-breaking good times.

 

Meringue Girls
Meringues

Take a Master Class

We are never too old to learn something new and it’s always better done in fabulous company. For the ladies, try Meringue Girls, which gives you three hours of meringue making mayhem with prosecco. This may not be an essential life skill but who doesn’t like a bit of sugarlicious goodness? And you get to take the meringues home too!

 

Our tip: avoid wearing shoes with a “nap” like fur or velvet because it is harder to remove should you mistakenly spill the meringue mix. Instead, throw on some black leather numbers that are easy to wipe down.

 

Address: Meringue Girls, 1 Broadway Market Mews, London, E8 4TS
Email: hello@meringuegirls.co.uk

 

 

Crystal Maze
Adidas Stan Smith

Golf Sized Swarovski Crystals

For some serious group bonding and a fiery mental challenge try The Crystal Maze, an interactive live experience based on … yes, you guessed it, “The Crystal Maze”, the heart-quickening 90’s TV show where contestants competed to win crystal balls to take them through to the nemesis task "The Crystal Dome". Think “The Apprentice” but really you’re all friends, well maybe. You’ll need to book far ahead to be in with a chance of visiting but it’s worth it. Book for Christmas 2018 on your way out – they won’t bat an eyelid.

 

Our tip: woah! The only buzzword here is comfort, essential for adrenaline filled tactical thinking. Slick looking trainers are perfect here and Crep protect can keep them looking whiter for longer and The Restory’s in house cleaning service can bring back that new feeling, just check out this Case Study on Stan Smiths

 

Address: The Crystal Maze, 10-14 White Lion Street, Angel, London, N1 9PD
Email: info@the-crystal-maze.com

 

Yoga

Namaste with Jokes

No bad-taste Christmas jumpers required here because you’ll all be laughing for a different reason, and that’s real laughter too. HasyaYoga is the practice of laughter yoga, best enjoyed in groups; you’ll be laughing with each other, not at each other. Not only is this a massive stressbuster its actually fun with health benefits: the body naturally releases endorphins (those happy hormones) and the effects last for 24 hours! Namaste Santa.

 

Our tip: you will be barefoot for the session, so be sure to care for your feet as much as you do for your shoes.

 

Address: Laughter Yoga Wellness, Hargrave Hall, Archway, London, N19 5SP (or they can come to you or hire a suitable venue of your choice)

Email: info@laughteryogawellness.co.uk

 

 

For those who do end up keeping it classic, we are here for the recovery too! If you need someone to save you the next day, The Restory’s specialist cleaning service can make the evidence disappear but leave you with the memories from the night before. Book a collection today.

Gatineau's Guide To Skincare This Winter

Emily John

‘If one had to choose one of the most inspiring stories in the history of French cosmetics…it would certainly be that of Jeanne Gatineau’ 

Les Nouvelles Esthetiques

Heritage Collection.jpg

The temperature has dropped in the last few weeks, so as we turn on the heating and start wrapping up in our favourite winter coats, our skin is going to be suffering the consequences. Winter is a crucial time to be taking extra care of the skin – after all it’s also party season, and we all want to be looking and feeling our best.

Enter Gatineau.  Before being the name of a famous cosmetics brand, Gatineau was first and foremost the name of a woman, Jeanne Gatineau, who started her career with a small treatment room in her apartment in 1930s Paris. Word of her results-driven, innovative facial techniques spread fast, and she quickly became a famed facial therapist across the city and beyond. Responding to demand, she soon opened her own international training Institutes in Paris, Casablanca, Antwerp and Milan.

Madame Jeanne Gatineau was a true pioneer who created a high-performance brand renowned for breakthrough innovation and unrivalled skincare expertise – a philosophy that continues to this day, 85 years later, with targeted formulations and know-how that have stood the test of time. After many years treating and observing the skin, Gatineau took what she had learned, and back in 1932 worked with dermatologists and biochemists to create the skincare range of the future, pioneering breakthrough movements in the cosmetic industry.

1982 pub facial 3.JPG
1966 pub coujeune.JPG

 

1935 

As many of us now know our skin has a specific pH, a layer of water and oil, which acts as our “defense shield” however products containing soap or detergent will strip this shield and cause dryness, tightness and redness, and in turn premature ageing.

All the way back in 1935 Jeanne Gatineau was the first to recognise this, and pioneer the industry’s very first soap-free cleanser. To this day the Gatineau Gentle Silk Cleansing Milk, enriched with Silk, Cotton and Sweet Almond Oil proves to be one of the best-selling Gatineau products.

At the same time Jeanne Gatineau recognised the damage that was being done to the epidermis by alcohol-based toners which sucked the moisture out of the skin. So alongside her soap-free cleanser she also launched the industry’s very first alcohol-free toner, loading it with skin-replenishing and skin-restoring ingredients.

Now with a further enhanced formulation, the Gatineau Gentle Silk Toner is a crucial step in every skincare regimen, designed to put the hydration back in the skin with Silk Extract, Cotton, and Conditioning Agents.

 

1949 

“Applying product to un-exfoliated skin is about as effective as trying to drink a bottle of water without taking the lid off!” This is something Jeanne Gatineau discovered in 1949, and quickly introduced the industry’s first ever exfoliator – Peeling Beauté.

Ever since Gatineau has been a trailblazer in this arena! The Vitamin C-enriched balm-to-oil Radiance Enhancing Gommage has been described by customers as ‘witchcraft’ for its ability to instantly reveal fresh glowing skin.

 

1966 

After incredible success with facial skincare products, Jeanne Gatineau turned her focus to the body and in 1966 launched the instant best-seller, Cou Jeune, a firming and lifting gel for the neck and décolleté. A recent study found that French women over 40 look on average 3.4 years younger than us Brits – and now you know why! With further technological advances to the formula over the years, Gatineau is now proud to present the Strategie Jeunesse Firming Throat Gel, for a smooth, line-free & lifted décolleté and neck area.

 

2012 

With constant research and development Gatineau Laboratories continued to innovate in to the new millennium, exposing pollution as the major contributor to skin destruction.  “Urban-aging” is a buzz word of 2017, but back in 2012 Gatineau had already launched the patented Mélatogénine™ Range, designed specifically to counteract the damage pollution was having to the skin, providing a 100% physical and biological skin shield.

www.gatineau.co.uk

Instagram: @gatineauuk

If you'd like to try out their products they are offering The Restory readers £10 off orders over £40 until the 30th November 2017, just use the code Restory10

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Style Series Featuring Andrea Hickman

vanessa jacobs
Wearing - Furuki-yo-Kimono-Vintage

Wearing - Furuki-yo-Kimono-Vintage

Hi Andrea, Great to meet you can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

I’m a self-confessed party girl who believes that life is all about working hard, playing hard and knowing when balance is in order. I knew from a very early age that I wanted to get into fashion and made no secret of my desire to get to director level as quickly as possible, ensuring that I was absolutely committed and passionate about the job. I love fashion but won’t become a slave to it. I am  passionate about sustainable fashion and believe that a woman should know her style and dress appropriately. I am all about timeless fashion over fashion trends. I absolutely love the 50s and 60s where you can witness artists at work. Designers with more originality, taking risks and staying true to their brand ethos. I also love to see fashion from different cultures Indian and Japanese traditional dress being among my favourites. Yoga and Pilates are something that I try to do 3 times a week. During my year off from work I discovered both. I found them to be hugely beneficial for my state of mind, improving my core strength, posture and fitness levels.

You have been working in Fashion for over 15 years how did you break out into the industry?

I studied Fashion design and technology at Manchester University. It was the first time in my life that I had ever been so dedicated to studying. I had never shown any interest in the academic side of school, far too distracted by gymnastics, boys and fast cars. I scraped through both my GCSEs and A-Levels. It was the wakeup call that I needed when all my friends left me for university to study medicine, law and marketing. My dream had always been to become a designer, that didn’t happen! On finishing university I applied for a job as a buyers coordinator at Monsoon. With a view to move into design once my feet were through the door.

I interviewed that week and by the weekend I had been offered a role, packed up my life and started a job in London the following Monday. I hated it. There was no formal training, no structure, I had no idea of whether I was doing right or wrong. Within weeks I decided to turn it around and use the situation to my benefit and decide processes and make decisions that way I felt best. It paid off I became an assistant buyer in 7 months and junior buyer 7 months after that. Monsoon was a small boutique brand when I joined and by time I left 7 years later a huge business with a very different strategy. I was becoming unhappy with the direction and my passion started to falter. My boyfriend at the time encouraged me to work on my CV and go after my next dream. My confidence was starting to drop and I decided now was the time. I had one brand in sight, that was Coast. On meeting with agents they advised that I should broaden my horizons and have other brands in mind. I was prepared to wait. A buying role came up, of course I applied, within a week I was offered my absolute dream job as a buyer for Coast on soft separates. I couldn’t believe it. It taught me to stick with what you believe in.

Wearing - Catherine Malandrino 

Wearing - Catherine Malandrino 

I see you were a buying director at Coast, how did this prepare you for your role now?

I worked at Coast for 10 years. I started my career there as a buyer and gradually moved up to buying director after 5 years. It came through years of hard work, passion, dedication and commitment as an ambassador for the brand. I kept trying to push myself to move up, take on more, always be the person where nothing was too much trouble. I travelled excessively to Europe, The Far East and America. I was also lucky enough to travel to The Middle East and South America for a mix of supplier, inspiration and store visit trips.

The role was very hands on. I have a tendency to lean more towards the creative side of buying, and therefore worked very closely with the design directors on the ranges from a creative view as well as commercial.

During my years at Coast I also spent some time managing the design, production and technical teams so I gained a much wider experience than just buying. The variety of my role was very much the reason I stayed for so long, in many other businesses a buying director would focus solely on managing the buying function. This variety in role got me ready for my next role at Precis Petite.

So, you run two brands called Precis Petite and Dash tell us about these brands?

After a year off working I started at Precis Petite as Brand Director in early 2016. The brand had become very underconfident and lost its identity within the market. The handwriting was very old and colour palettes very brash. I was brought in to give the brand a new identity, to define its personality and bring it back to life.

As a petite person myself at 5ft 2 inches I was well placed to understand the challenges and desires of a petite woman. You need to consider flattering shapes, prints that don’t swamp the figure. I engaged with a creative agency who helped bring the brand personality and core values to life. This really helps all of the teams to understand who the customer is and what she stands for. Understanding your customer is one of the most important things you should do in retail.

At Precis Petite we are all about style and proportion for the petite woman. We think that it’s important to look and feel your best. We love colour and pattern. And discovering new ways to wear old favourites. We are happiest when we are with our friends & family, enjoying the moment. Our obsession is fit and attention to detail. The customer is absolutely passionate about fit and quality, she has a love of print. We have worked hard to create more beautiful prints with more variety.

Dash is a very casual brand that has been around since the seventies. Dash is all about modern life understanding that a woman’s life can be busy and demanding. The contemporary woman needs clothes she can live her life in. Dash has a positive attitude to life and wants you to live life to the full. We design clothes that express this and suit this attitude to life. Dash is about giving busy women considered, versatile clothes so you have total confidence and a zest for life. My aim is to feminise the brand through colour and print, and bring about a more cohesive and desirable collection.

Wearing - Self Portrait 

Wearing - Self Portrait 

How do social platforms like Instagram or Pinterest influence your designers?

Instagram and Pinterest have become an integral part of everyday life. Our designers use both every day to help form the concepts at the beginning of the season. We can pull ideas for prints, styling and colour palettes. We also look at key designers, celebrities and bloggers. Its also a great source for real life and ensuring we are in touch with as much as possible that is going on around us. Instagram and Pinterest have really helped to broaden our source of knowledge and inspiration.

What was the best advise that you were ever given and what advice would you give to others wanting to break out into the Industry?

Wearing Self Portrait and Yves Saint Laurent 

Wearing Self Portrait and Yves Saint Laurent 

Stay true to yourself. Believe in your vision and stick to it. Try to avoid becoming a yes person, and follow through with the belief of your convictions. Pay attention to the market and understand consumer behaviours. Watch, observe, listen to various conversations around you. No matter which department, you will always learn a lot. Try things, even if you fail you'll learn. Take risks and be brave. You don’t need to have completed a fashion degree, however a passion and love of it is extremely important. The retail industry requires long hours, therefore loving what you do is an absolute must. Being dedicated and respecting the roles of your peers is something I always tell my team. Each team member has a unique part to play, respect their contribution and pull upon on your skills to create a dynamic high performing team.

 

We love your Instagram account and see you wearing lots of gorgeous designers what brands do you consider your go to right now?

Thank-you. I do love Instagram. I am a photo fiend, I have about 75,000 photos on my mac. For me looking back through photographs trigger’s memories. My absolute go to brands are Sandro, Zara, And Other Stories and Whistles for my every day. They cater well for my lifestyle and feel age appropriate for me. I have a love for Self Portrait dresses, although sadly due to the success the label is becoming over saturated and copied everywhere. Bags and shoes are my guilty pleasure, most of which are designer.

For bags I adore Celine & Chanel. For Shoes I love Yves Saint Laurent. I believe in bags and shoes being timeless classics that you can wear for years. I have a pair of Gucci shoes that I have owned for about 12 years and they still look as good today as they did when I bought them. 

I do love to shop Vintage every now again. I love vintage kimonos, when I travel to Tokyo I love to find vintage silk pieces with distinctive prints. The one I am wearing in the shoot I bought a few weeks back from a pop up store in Farringdon from Furuki-yo-kimono-vintage, she has the best selection of Vintage Kimonos.

Tell us about something you really love and that you would love to see carefully restored, and why is restoration important to you?

My absolute favourite bag is my mini Chanel classic in black. I have never used or loved a bag as much as this. It’s the perfect size for a weekend away, a night out with the girls, I even take it to the club and get a few funny looks, I don’t care! As a result the lambs leather has become a little worn, and the chain broke. I would love to see my bag restored back to its natural beauty. I would like to use this bag for the rest of my life because its classic, its beautiful and I know it won’t date. Restoration is important to me, because I don’t believe in throw away fashion. Invest in something and keep it forever.

Wearing Self Portrait and Miu Miu

Wearing Self Portrait and Miu Miu

Instagram: @andreahickman

Instagram: @PrecisPetite  and @thisisdash