Hugs & Kisses: A Flying Visit to Smashbox

Back in January, on a wander through the East End of London whilst visiting a pal, we came upon Boxpark, a clever pop-up set-up in Shoreditch. I related my Urban Ears PR horror story {back when I used to review gadgets, I was asked to return the headphones I was reviewing. Yuck} and we moved on. Just a few weeks ago, I spent a morning in the Smashbox pop up; considering the constraints of the ‘box’, they more than managed to make the space their own.

SMASHUP

Mood board; Da gang; Janine demonstrates hugs + kisses on Heather; new shades of Be Legendary lipstick

Above, a mash-up — indeed, a Smash-up — of some of the highlights of MUA and National Makeup Coach Janine Bird‘s masterclass. The highlight of the morning was the contouring lesson using the brand’s Step By Step Contour Stick Trio, three softer-than-soft pencils for highlighting, contouring and bronzing. Here’s an introductory video from Lori Taylor Davis, Global Pro Lead Artist for the brand {who did my makeup once!}; Janine applied contour beneath the cheekbone in Xs, and highlight on the cheekbone in Os, and blended them flawlessly together, what she called using ‘hugs and kisses’. It worked amazingly well, it’s easy to remember — and cute! — and it prevents one from drawing on one’s face like a child drawing on a wall and making a mess.

05 MIIIINE

Miiiiiiine!

The clutch of lippys in the collage are all new shades in the Be Legendary line; above is Fireball Matte, that literally has my name on it. Now, this is definitely at the warm, orange-y end of the spectrum, the end I generally avoid. I’m glad I didn’t and availed of the expertise of MUA Heather Jackson, because:

06 FIREBALL

As seen in the wild {the back of the number 8 bus to Tottenham Court Road Station}

It’s not all that orange-y, and it lasted until the burger I had at Stanstead on the way home! That’s me off on a jaunt on the number 8 bus to the National Portrait Gallery, where the John Singer Sargeant show was slightly disappointing, but the view from the rooftop café was boss.

Fog + Rain + Big Ben = London

Fog + Rain + Big Ben = London

I’ve got a few things to take for a spin:

Smashbox collection

That’s a new face right there

There’s the pencils, along with two of the new LA Lights Blendable Lip & Cheek Color. Also: the Donald Robertson Photo Angle Pure Pigment Gel Liner is in purrrrrrple, and the upside down thing is a bronzer {d’oh!}

Do call in to your local Smashbox counter and get your face did — you’ll learn something new and end up being able to use whatever you purchase to their best effect!

***

Smashbox are in Arnotts in Henry Street, Dublin and in good pharmacies nationwide. Check the store locator at smashbox.com.

***

Synaesthesia Treatment at Lush Spa, Chelsea

Life can be hard, and so can London. I’ve never lived there, but I’ve visited often, and even after one day — one happy, varied day wandering around, breakfasting on eggs royale, getting some makeup put on my face at the Charlotte Tilbury counter at Selfridges; taking the Tube; looking for WiFi… even after less than eight hours of it, London was wearing me out. By the time I got to the LUSH Spa in the King’s Road, Chelsea, I was shocked there wasn’t line of people streaming out the door, queuing for pampering.

The level of busyness reminds me of New York, which I mention because I got confused about the way the numbers run on streets. In Manhattan, it’s across, so 19 may be on the left, and 20 on the right. Here, and in Dublin too, the odds are all on one side, the evens all on the other — so when I got to where I thought 123 was, I was surprised at the lack of LUSH branding… and at the thought that it was in a some class of shopping centre. I did that thing where I wandered up and down, undecided, and then decided to wander along the road a bit longer — ah. There was the storefront. That made much more sense.
LUSH Kings Road Spa front

Despite the length and breadth of the city, the Tube makes you get places faster and I was half an hour early. My stupid injury leg was acting up too, but there was nowhere for me to wait, so I went next door to the Starbucks and had a big auld Chai Latte with a helping of some previously elusive WiFi. I almost had my nose removed by an impatient, not-watching-whose-space-she-was-invading, skinny-latte-to-go person who just reached right across me to grab some sugar — GRAB THE SUGAR BEFORE IT ALL GOES AWAY LONDON PERSON! Janie Mac. I am increasingly sounding like auld dear, but you’d want to try that in Dublin!

This is all to say that I really needed my 80 minutes of massagey goodness by the time I was lead down to the spa, in the lower ground floor of the shop.
Kitchen Table
The waiting space is small, and the essence of the LUSH treatments are so personal, that I saw why you wouldn’t want anyone hanging round while you were being taken through your preparation. I was to receive the Synaesthesia, the brand’s first, and signature, treatment.  
Massage bars in kitchen
The event is organised around a word that one chooses from the phrase written on the wall, and the bottle chosen {very Alice in Wonderland} from a nearby shelf. I chose my word and my bottle, and was talked through the use of the music, a bespoke symphony that mirrors a day from dawn to dusk in the Dorset countryside. I was advised that it would be played at sound level, which is: not as a subliminal element. There were moments when the transitions between movements were jarring, but in general, it was lovely, and was an unusually big part of the experience.
Synaesthesia
I was greeted at the door of the room with a dry-iced infusion of the scent I had chosen: it was theatrical, but fragrant. The room actually had a chair for me to sit on when I disrobed, and I can’t stress enough how much sense this makes, and how few rooms actually supply this basic piece of furniture. Particularly when you’ve got a stupid injury leg and don’t need to be hopping all over the place trying to get your knicks off.

{You have the choice of hot stones, as shown, or an abdominal massage. I went for the belly rub despite being dead ticklish.}

The massage was thorough, from face to toes. I had been invited to remove my make up beforehand, and there was some confusion as to what was going to happen. I had other stuff to do following and didn’t really want to cleanse. I was assured this was okay, but it really wasn’t, as the treatment kicked off with a face massage. Now, I have long longed for the face to be included in many a full-body massage I’ve enjoyed; I was somewhat distracted by the use of product on my face over my foundation and wished I’d asked what was specifically going to happen. I think that the LUSH ethos comes down so heavily on the side of ‘whatever suits you’ — which is normally great — but in this case, it would have been preferable to have cleansed.

It took some time to cop, but the movements of the massage flowed with the movements of the music. The breaks in the score were timed with the breaks in the massage, and the whole thing felt like the perfect gestalt of sound, touch, and scent. I didn’t find myself as floaty as I might get during a treatment, due to the sound level of the toons, but otherwise, I felt utterly relaxed.

A lovely cup of tea awaited, as well as a massage bar emblazoned with my word, and bath bar that unlike many of LUSH’s offerings, is reusable — just hold underneath the flowing water and let dry when you feel your bath is properly bubble-fied.

I left, to the easy-going goodbyes of the staff and a decision to give the number 11 bus a go. I just couldn’t face the Underground and the stressy crowds. The journey from King’s Road to the East End took basically forever, and the conductor was a fussy young fella who was unhappy with the way the side doors were closing and made a big production out of his feeling — I called him ‘Stan Shunpike’ in my head to preserve my good mood. Otherwise, the bus was the perfect tour of the sights, from the fancy window displays in Chelsea, through Trafalgar Square, past St Paul’s, and I did ultimately reach my destination.

Any my stupid injury leg? All the better for the attention to it, and to my entire body. As ever, I resolve to have more massage in my life, for both physical and mental wellbeing — we’ll see how that goes…

***

In the mood to splash out? This is super splashy: £125 for 80 minutes, plus your complimentary products.

***

LUSH Spa
123 King’s Road, London SW3 4PL, United Kingdom
+44 20 7376 8348

***