Do you have a Mandy??
I recently had a very telling conversation with a straight alpha-male colleague called Mark in which he informed me of ‘Mandy’; a presence in his life who’s been his one-and-only for seven years. She’s delivered such wonderful experiences, he’s never been tempted to stray or cheat, but has in fact followed Mandy from pillar-to-post as a loyal companion. Mandy is Mark’s hairdresser. Jealous and somewhat perturbed, I realised …I don’t have a Mandy. Actually, I’ve never had a Mandy. It made me recollect every past salon visit ever, in an attempt to question whether I’d accidentally by-passed my potential Mandy. The last visit a year ago cost me a chunk of my hair, a very bruised scalp, big child-like tears and a crossed word with my bored, bitchy male hairdresser. Other visits have included ‘accidental’ bob cuts, walking out looking the same as I had when I walked in and -the worst one -feeling like an absolute hindrance to the staff. Mandy, I realised, has never made an appearance in my life. Where IS Mandy?
Then recently, after two years of London life, I did some research and found Eleven. The first thing which struck me was very personal -eleven has been my lucky number for some years. Not really applicable to you, maybe, but still, it’s nice to share. However, the next thing which struck me was its post code; just off Bond Street -great, easy location, lovely and central.
Eleven was an all-round beautiful experience -which is why its made my site and I urge you to visit. Firstly -an important note for me- is its decor -light and spacious with a good injection of glamour and luxury. The interior design of this place immediately made me feel pampered before I’d even sat down.
Add to that a plethora of incredibly friendly staff. …Staff? Actually, I felt more like I was being initiated into a new circle of friends and our spark was instant -from the moment I was offered a chilled white wine, I knew we’d be friends for life. Chat and banter flowed easily, Russell (my hair guru) didn’t ask any pre-planned, routine questions and he took genuine interest in the conversation as though it was his first day on the job. It was the first salon I’d been in where I felt relaxed, that I could completely be myself and -most importantly- I wasn’t paranoid about being a pain in the neck of my hairdresser. All the above is all very well and good, but what about the actual hair cut? And so onto the hair treatment itself…
The hair wash was utter bliss; their products are beautiful and you might find yourself coming out with phrases like ‘it smells like there’s a holiday in my hair!’ …Think coconuts, pineapples and general tropical fragrances which makes the relaxation and escapism even easier. The head massage which was factored into the wash also relieved a lot of tension and no sooner had the lovely lady put ‘step 1’ of my conditioning treatment on and told me she was leaving me for five minutes, I was away with the fairies -my head in a sink, my wine in-grasp, snoozing for forty winks. Once the three step conditioning program had wound its soft-and-silky ways into my tresses, I was handed over to Russell who talked to me about what I wanted doing, how I wear my hair, what I like and dislike about my hair and then he clearly mapped out exactly what he intended to do to my hair: keep the cut simple, leave the length as it is, neaten it up and style it. The salon had already won my approval but this just made me even more emphatic about Eleven’s ethos -Russell listened to me and delivered the results I was looking for. Simple, clean, beautiful. That’s not to say they don’t do daring -the girl before me turned up to the salon with white-blonde Monroe hair and left with an incredible Frenchy-pink shade to her volume-happy curls.
As a scissor party went on in my hair, the dead-ends were kissed goodbye and a new lease of life was breathed into it -without sacrificing the length. I felt so relaxed and knew I was in good hands. After roughly blow-drying my hair, Russell went one step further beyond brilliant by showing me a style I can do at home, explaining ‘there’s no point in blow-drying your hair to perfection if you can’t go home and recreate it!’ …I love this man.
So, separating my dried hair into pigtails -as you would when dressing up as Britney circa 1999- he used a curling tongue to turn my pigtails into curled bunches. When he pulled out the ties, both sides fell into incredible glamorous looking waves around my shoulders. Open-mouthed, I actually slow-clapped his efforts; it was quick, simple, recreate-able and it looked amazing.
I left feeling the happiest I’ve felt when leaving a salon in …well, ever. I felt pampered, well catered to and sexy. As I crossed the road, I got a double take from a suited and booted male. I smiled to myself as the thought crossed my mind…
‘I’ve found my Mandy…’
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