Little Black Book

Beauty

facethefuture

Face the Future Advanced Skin Clinic — A multitude of choice with specialist advice to match and prices that are great value. I find they are one of the best places to get cosmeceutical products that are not all-too readily available on the high street. For a 5% discount (exclusive to The Private PA readers!) use the code PRIVATEPA5

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Inanch salon — Inanch Emir is the owner of the renowned Inanch salon, offering the very best hair extensions both in terms of product and application. She is innately charming yet modest and unassuming but best of all she delivers the highest quality service in the shortest time. Her team of stylists are also experts in cut and colour, so this is a one-stop shop for all. Her salon is relaxed but super professional with an eye for detail to ensure the customer experience is as pleasurable as possible offering Nespresso coffee, the finest teabags, luxurious hand soaps with a ‘nothing is too much trouble’ attitude resonating throughout.

LEs Senteurs

Les Senteurs Perfumery — Every woman needs her signature scent; if you want to move away from the mainstream this Perfumery in Elizabeth Street (or their newer branch in Seymour Place) is the go-to place for expert advice from highly knowledgeable staff and plenty of samples to find that perfect fragrance.

Blink Ledbury Road

Blink Brow Bar — This first London stand-alone store in Notting Hill is a peaceful haven, a far cry from the hustle and bustle experienced at any of the concessions within department stores. You are in safe hands with any of the well-trained staff.

51 Ledbury Road London W11 2AA

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Moon eyelash extensions — My good friend Kathleen is obsessed with eyelash extensions and cannot be without them, to quote her: "my lashes are to me what hair was to Samson". She has tried many different therapists but categorically claims nobody can match Moon's skill and dexterity in lash application.

+44(0)7702 189338

Karen Betts

Karen Betts permanent make-up — In essence this is a form of tattooing on the face to enhance eyebrows, eyes or lips, hence a steady hand and artistic eye are vital, Karen Betts is the true expert in this field.

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Charlotte Tilbury cosmetics — This make-up does "exactly what it says on the tin". CT makes it so easy, categorising shades to match skin tones and colourings.

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Lisa Eldridge make-up tutorials on YouTube — As an ex make-up artist (admittedly I was pretty pants) Lisa has taught me many a useful trick, showing me the quickest and simplest way to apply my everyday look, I now have it down to a 5 minute routine.

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Margaret Dabbs podiatory — An expensive treatment but in my opinion worth every penny, this is for when your feet need some expert care.

tranquility

Tranquility — Nail studio in Kensington offering a wide variety of beauty treatments, the salon is run professionally and efficiently, my favourite technician is the wonderful Ann, always in much demand.

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Joanne Evans — Skin Matters – I am complemented on my skin so often and I put this down to the genius of this Facialist, hard to get an appointment but worth the wait.

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George Northwood — Already a cult name in the hairdressing world, I am a recent convert and have spent many a year looking for that perfect stylist/colourist, this salon offers both. You can get the true GN experience with any of their team.

Cinemas

Lexi

Lexi Cinema on Chamberlayne Road — Indie cinema run by volunteers, showing mainstream films and live opera. Proceeds go to charity. A visit here makes me feel virtuous about whiling away the hours in front of the big screen. A bit off the beaten track for some but worth a visit.

Picturehouse Central

Picturehouse Central — In the old Trocadero building in Piccadilly you will find this unique set-up of great bars, cafés selling tasty and healthy food and a wide choice of both the latest movie releases alongside some Indie films. A welcome haven in the heart of London.

Gifts

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Soru Jewellery — Great design at affordable prices. Costume jewellery that can be dressed up or down, my new go-to place for those eye-catching pieces.

LEs Senteurs

Les Senteurs Perfumery — Every woman needs her signature scent; if you want to move away from the mainstream this Perfumery in Elizabeth Street (or their newer branch in Seymour Place) is the go-to place for expert advice from highly knowledgeable staff and plenty of samples to find that perfect fragrance.

Artisan du Chocolat

Artisan du Chocolat — For treating others and yourself, the dark caramel and classic salted caramel chocolates are hard to beat.

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Alex Bryant designs — Alex makes the most adorable personalised baby rocking chairs detailing the date of birth and name of new born, a wonderful accessory for the nursery and a life long keepsake.

Monica Vinader 2

Monica Vinader jewellery — The free engraving service on friendship bracelets and pendants make a gift that much more special and personalised.

jeroboams

Jeroboams — Wine merchants with an expansive offering of fine wines, Champagnes & spirits with hugely knowledgeable staff on hand to advise, which is always useful for a tee-total layman like me!

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Etsy & Not On The High Street.com — Original ideas, unique designs and more often than not, ethically sourced.

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Smythson personalised notelets — This is such a useful gift and more often than not, this is something you wouldn’t buy for yourself as it is not cheap. However it adds a touch of luxury to the everyday task of writing a Thank You note, something a PA is well versed in doing on a regular basis. It is so rare to receive a hand written note in this age of e-mail.

Pashmina

Pashmina on Great Portland Street — An Aladdin’s Cave of feathered gilets, pashminas, fashionable woollen hats and much more all at wholesale prices!

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Andrew Prince — Jeweller specialising in the use of the highest quality crystals, widely used by brides and the best bridal dress designers. His bespoke jewellery can also be crafted for everyday use and hence a great source for a gift.

Hotels

Grand Hôtel du Cap Ferrat

Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat — Embodying the classic glamour and timeless chic of the French Riviera, the Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat, is the Côte d’Azur’s most legendary palace hotel – an icon since opening in 1908. This is such a special place as it manages to keep that personal touch and continues to deliver superb service to all its guests.

Restaurants

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The Barbary — "Petite eatery for small plates with Berber-style flavours served at a bar by a central kitchen" - sample dish: slow-cooked Persian goat stew with turmeric, root vegetables and pomegranate juice

16 Neal's Yard WC2H 9DP

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Foley's — "A unique new restaurant serving up a diverse range of exciting Modern World dishes" - sample dish: Aubergine, pomegranate, dates, chilli lime yogurt, puffed quinoa, feta

23 Foley Street, Fitzrovia W1W 6DU

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The Harcourt — "A menu from a Finnish chef meets drinks devised by a Swedish mixologist at this elegant former pub" - sample dish: line caught "skrei" cod with cuttlefish, musself, potato, samphire and cucumber

32 Harcourt Street W1H 4HX

sexy fish

Sexy Fish — "Swanky, art-filled setting for robata-grilled fish, raw-bar items & more" - sample dish: sesame seed sea bream with pickled kohlrabi & beetroot

Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square W1J 6BR

Por

Portland — "Food based on the very best produce they can find cooked as simply as possible" - sample dish: Bitter chocolate, baked milk, blackberries

113 Great Portland Street W1W 6QQ

Services

Art & Design

photobox

Photobox — Great way to put all those photos in a beautifully presented bound book.

jana

Jana Doubkover — A talented illustrator that is affordable for those smaller projects.

Fashion & Accessories

finchley-road

George’s Shoe Repairs — In Finchley Road tube station, perhaps not the most glamorous of locations, George has been there for 32 years mending the footwear of the North West London fraternity. Without a shadow of a doubt, I would entrust him with my favourite and most expensive shoes.

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Barbara Palumbo tailoring — Just off South Molton Street this amazing seamstress with an A-list clientele can turn a high street article of clothing into a bespoke fitting garment and is a true artisan of the needle & cotton or sewing machine.

hatton

F Sinclair, Hatton Garden — When you need any of your gold jewellery replated there is a small company established for many years (they still close for lunch to highlight the sense of tradition) in the heart of London's jewellery quarter.

23 Hatton Garden

+44 (0)20 7405 3352

Florists

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Phillo — The proprietor is an ex doctor turned florist, his shop located on the Chepstow Road offers amazing blooms and the bouquets always exceed expectation in terms of design, colour and arrangement. They also offer free delivery anywhere in the W2 area.

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Scarlet & Violet — Think natural, country garden and meadows, Scarlet & Violet is a favourite amongst the Queen's Park fraternity and for good reason. You can spot the shop from a distance with an old fashioned dis-used Citroen named Audrey sitting outside that I am reliably informed is used for storage.

Health

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Brent Osborn-Smith — Everyone needs a great osteopath and acupuncturist and this is what you get with Brent. His skills and specialist knowledge are evident upon meeting him but even more so after a treatment session and he has a knack of putting patients at ease with his polite but approachable manner.

Shops

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Soru Jewellery — Great design at affordable prices. Costume jewellery that can be dressed up or down, my new go-to place for those eye-catching pieces.

Laurence Coste

Laurence Coste — Offering jewellery collections in a mix of materials as well as bespoke couture pieces, French-born Laurence "helps us to express ourselves" and is on hand to personally advise with her keen eye for detail and knowing what suits. Bearing in mind the location of this shop, prices can be surprisingly affordable.

Clothes

Celtic & Co

Celtic & Co — Great for snug gilets and high-quality, ethically sourced items (from sheepskin boots to Merino wool throws). This is a great find for anyone who wishes to support British trade.

Aspiga

Aspiga — A one-stop shop for stylish gear to take on a sunny holiday. A variety of gorgeous accessories, swimwear and sandals all with an ethnic vibe in terms of design. You will find bright colours in abundance together with great products, and all this coupled with the overriding principle of the company and its Founder of helping to fight poverty through trade via her suppliers in Kenya and India.

Elliot Rhodes

Elliot Rhodes belts — Think of pick n' mix, you can choose any style and colour of belt and match it with your desired buckle. The choice is endless varying from the more classic designs to the most bizarre with as much or as little bling as you require. I love this whole concept and of course I tend to opt for the rhinestone-clad pieces!

Claire Goldsmith

Claire Goldsmith at the OG Store, Notting Hill — Great for edgy or quirky styles of frames, located in an equally trendy part of Notting Hill.

15 All Saints Road W11 1HA

Bromptons

Bromptons Opticians — Spectacles are as important a fashion accessory as any other and can transform a look. If I have to wear glasses I want to make sure I have frames that make the right statement about me. Bromptons offer a wide range of smaller niche brands from the more conventional shapes to the Dame Edna style.

84 Kensington High Street W8 4XP

Joseph

Higher-end investment pieces — Tory Burch, Joseph, Gerald Darel, Michael Kors, Theory, Vince

LK Bennett

Mid-range classics — LK Bennett (my favourite go-to place for work wear), Jigsaw, Reiss, Hobbs

Ines de la Fressange

Everyday staples — M&S (search hard and you can find hidden gems), Zara, Uniqlo (great for cashmere jumpers/Moreno wool sweaters as well as their various collaborations with well known fashion names)

Food

The Fruit Garden

The Fruit Garden — *The Fruit Garden is currently closed for refurbishment* There is definitely a case of "don't judge a book by it's cover" with this treasure trove of unusual health foods, fruit and vegetables, conveniently located between Baker Street and Marylebone stations. A tip: it is £5 minimum spend on cards, but it is easy enough to spend more than that with their wide range of products, which are generally very good value for money.

21-23 Melcombe Street NW1 6AG

Olive tree

Olive Tree — The Proprietor Costas has been running this shop for 22 years having built up a solid loyal following of local residents. He buys in a wide variety of fresh organic produce as well as a huge choice of health foods and keeps his costs well below those of the larger high street chains. He is always personable and innately knowledgeable about health, nutrition and well-being.

152 Willesden Lane NW6 7TH

Theatres

Savoy Theatre

Savoy Theatre — The old fashioned glamour of the hotel rubs off on the theatre which shares its name and is steeped in British tradition. Go here for a classic experience of seeing a play followed by the famous Savoy afternoon tea just a stone’s throw away from the theatre doors.

Donmar

Donmar Warehouse — I saw my first play at this iconic theatre only recently and it was a very special experience. The seats surround the stage and the whole auditorium is small, so the audience feels part of the production. I will be going again at any given opportunity.

The Tricycle

Tricycle — My local theatre, I often try to see a play on a Saturday afternoon, it is compact and bijou and the tickets are very affordable. There is also a bar/café and cinema, this is an entertainment mecca in the heart of Kilburn.