Fresh Zodiac Oval Soap Collection ($15 each), available at Sephora as of December 2016.
Astrologer Susan Miller breaks it down.
Trying to figure out what your colleague's kid, best friend's mom or second cousin who lives in Maine and you see once a year wants for the holidays is, well, a challenge. Easier: finding out their birth date and their corresponding zodiac sign. We had astrologer Susan Miller of the beloved AstrologyZone.com, who worked with Fresh to develop their limited-edition collection of Zodiac Soaps, break down the beauty gifts each sign would most like to receive. (Plus, we recommended a few of our own.) Go forth and strategically gift!
Aries signs should be gifted “something soft,” says Miller, because of their assertive tendencies. “This is a go-getting sign, that's ruled by Mars, the planet of action.”
Miller’s recommendation: “I'd give them the Fresh Rose Mask ($75) because it’s very soothing and it will calm down any sensitivities. Aries like spicy food, so once in a while they may have skin that needs a little calming. So they would like this!”
“This is a sign that has very, very acute senses; they test the world with [them],” says Miller. “Taurus rules the neck area, which I think is one of the most under estimated parts of the beauty routine.” If Miller was to buy a gift for a Taurus, she’d go with something “beautifully scented.”
Miller’s recommendation: Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream ($56), or Fresh Crème Ancienne ($350) if they have more mature skin. "You really want to take good care of your neck, that's very, very, very important," says Miller.
We also recommend: StriVectin TL Advanced Light Tightening Neck Cream ($99) at beautyboutique.ca; Louis Vuitton Rose des Vents ($265 for 100 mL), at louisvuitton.com; Nuxe Multi-Purpose Dry Oil ($45) at beautyboutique.ca.
“Gemini is associated with razor sharp intelligence," says Miller. "Gemini reads all the time; this is the sign of the journalist who is always sifting through all the material to know what’s fact and what’s fiction. They want to know what going on, what’s the newest.”
Miller’s recommendation: Fresh Vitamin Nectar Vibrancy Boosting Face Mask ($80). “Why? Because Gemini, she is born in the summer, and when you think of the summer you think of the orange trees and the grapefruit trees and all the scents that are coming out. The scent that is associated with Gemini is a citrus scent. This keeps their brain sharp, and grapefruit, especially, is supposed to wake you up in the morning. The whole colour yellow is associated with Gemini, like taxi cabs in New York, legal pads, pencils, the sun in the morning and orange juice. Yellow and orange and all those citrusy colours and scents are just so Gemini. That's what I would give to them and they would be so happy!"
“Cancers, they are known to have the most beautiful translucent skin. This is the goes from the face right down to the décolleté," says Miller. "Cancer likes to be modern, but if they had to choose between modern and looking romantic, they would pick romantic, because that's who they are. They are soft and touchable and never too busy to lend an ear to a friend who's been having a hard time. They always put other people first.”
Miller’s recommendation: “I would give the Cancers the new Fresh FreshFace Instant Glow Luminizer ($59) immediately, so they could put it on their clavicles and on their cheekbones. You could also put it on your shoulders for going out in the evening. They would love that.”
“Leo is a very dramatic sign, it's the most up-to-the-minute," says Miller. "It also is a sign that really likes to be first. I would give them a premium product, the best of the best. They don't care how much something costs."
Miller’s recommendation: Fresh Black Tea Overnight Firming Mask ($112). “It’s really nice because you can put it on and skip your normal [skincare] program. Now I only do it maybe once a week when I am really tired, but you wake up looking like a movie star! It’s definitely worth it.”
We also recommend: Chanel's Limited-Edition Christmas Makeup Collection in Les 5 Ombres in Architectonic ($70), Calligraphie in 65 Hyperblack ($40), Le Vernis 544 in Hyperrose ($32), Le Vernis Velvet in 542 Pink Rubber ($32), all at chanel.com; Kérastase Chronologiste Holiday Gift Set ($120), at kerastase.ca.
“This is a sign that's very, very natural," says Miller.
Miller’s recommendation: Fresh Umbrian Clay Purifying Mask ($75). “The thing I like is when you hear the word clay you think, ‘Oh that's for people with acne.’ No! It’s not. They have formulated this to be for anybody. The smell; The lavender smell gets me every time – I feel like I am in a spa!"
Libra would want something "super feminine," says Miller.
Miller’s recommendation: Fresh Ultimate Nourishing Honey Mask ($172). "I just used it yesterday," Miller told us. "There are little granules in it, just heaven. I love it, I love it, I love it. They tell you to leave it on ten minutes, but I always take it off later." Miller also suggests a perfume, like Fresh Hesperides Grapefruit ($62 for 30mL), for Libra.
"Scorpio is very sensuous," says Miller. "We are going to get her things for the body because she is just so sensual. Scorpio eyes too are very memorable too!"
Miller’s recommendation: "We have to give her the Fresh Brown Sugar Scrub for the bath ($84), and then we have to give her a beautiful body cream, like a butter almost. I think we should give her the Crème Ancienne Eye Cream ($138) because I love it, it's like pure butter"
We also recommend: Gucci Guilty Platinum Pour Femme Eau De Toillette Spray ($118 for 75 mL), at Hudson's Bay and Sephora; Crush by Rihanna Holiday Set ($70), at beautyboutique.ca; Kiehl's Limited-Edition Jeremyville Creme de Corps ($38), at kiehls.ca.
Miller says Sagittarius is a total jet setter. "She’s always in the air, she’s never home!" says Miller. "She is the happiest when she is on an airplane."
Miller’s recommendation: Fresh Rose Skincare Ritual Gift Set ($59). "Anything travel sized is perfect for her," says Miller. "Something you would throw in you suitcase and you’re all set."
"Capricorn is very practical," says Miller. "This is a person who is very busy, she climbs very high in her career and so we have to give her something that makes her look young all the time. Actually, this sign lives the longest. Capricorn can live until 103."
Miller’s recommendation: "I would give her the full line of Fresh Crème Ancienne, because she's born in January and she's travelling a lot near her birthday. She's out there in the cold, and Crème Ancienne is the most protective of your skin in the winter. So this is anti-aging [and] it's a premium line. Capricorn is the sign of Princess Middleton, so she [would] love this."
We also recommend: Kat Burki Super C Holiday Set ($143), at Murale; bareMinerals Glow Together Dimensional Powder Trio ($43) at Sephora.
"Aquarius wants everything the latest and greatest: high technology, computers – everything that has just been invented," says Miller. "Aquarius rules what is just being developed right now, what’s new. It's very tied to science and mathematics. It’s also a sign that cares very much about humanitarian concerns, so they are often willing to volunteer for charity. You don’t see an Aquarian grab something old, even skincare, because it progresses. When something progresses, why use something that was developed 10 or 20 years ago? She’s also very curated, and then she will talk about it on social media. They love being online and with their friends."
Miller’s recommendation: The entire Fresh Lotus line!
We also recommend: Ty-Lite Protective Lighted Phone Case ($79.99), at ty-lite.com; The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12% ($12.90) at ordinaries.com; Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer ($500), at dysoncanada.ca; Sally Hansen Color Therapy in Unwin'd ($11.95), at drugstores and mass-market retailers.
"Pisces is a sign that does so much for other people; she's always there for other people," says Miller. "The trouble is that they absorb other people’s pain. Pisces has trouble letting go, she will continue to think about what her friend told her, and she will keep going until she finds another solution. She is like a sponge, so she needs to let go, we need to give her something soothing for her. She loves to have something that is scented. Pisces rules the bath and it rules sleep, so we have to give her something to enjoy! Something soothing that you might use in a spa."
Miller’s recommendation: Fresh Rice Sake Bath ($104). "It's actually made with sake," says Miller. "They found that the ladies who worked for the sake companies has such beautiful skin, and they started to investigate and they found out that there was a connection."
Credits: Getty Source: Elle Canada
It's all the rage for a reason.
The word “stopover” generally does not elicit excitement. That’s because they typically involve trudging, jet-lagged and crumpled, through the airport of a city you are not visiting, standing in yet another customs queue and then killing time by buying coffee and overpriced snacks before the scrum to get back on a plane, score some space in the overhead bins and squeeze into your economy seat.
Not so with IcelandAir. I’ve had what could be referred to as the opposite of aversion therapy. Conversion therapy? Yes, I’m a convert to stopovers. Especially when they involve magical landscapes, quirky customs and good food.
The airline offers free stopovers for up to seven nights to customers flying between North America and Europe. Seems like a no-brainer for those of us (and we are many) who’ve long had Iceland on the travel wish list but kept demoting it in favour of more cosmopolitan cities or multi-destination European tours. Plus, Iceland is having a moment, so you should probably get on it. Here’s why.
1. It is highly Instagrammable
Iceland is beautiful in a dramatic and varied way. Where it’s not fairy-tale-like, with vivid green landscapes and frothy rivers and waterfalls, it’s dark and brooding and rough. And when you see the moss-covered lava fields and columns of steam and gas rising from fumaroles (holes in the earth’s crust), it’s easy to see why some Icelanders still believe in elves.
The perfect setting for an insta. Credits: Ciara Rickard
2. You’ll eat really well
Although some Icelandic delicacies are not so appealing to Western palates (I wimped out on tasting their much-loved hákarl (fermented raw shark) after one whiff; think pungent, fishy Windex), most of the food I had in Reykjavik was up to the standard of that of any world capital. A meal at Fiskfélagi (Fish Company) was so good I hit “full” and kept going – which is saying something for someone who doesn’t usually love fish. Other great restos: Slippbarinn (one course here was a mini frying pan filled with melted cheese topped with honey and pine nuts – a bold move but oh so good) and Friðheimar, a tomato farm that serves tomato-themed food, from soup to cheesecake and ice cream.
3. “Swimming” is more fun here
When Icelanders talk about “going for a swim,” they often mean taking a dip in one of the country’s many outdoor geo-thermal pools – basically giant natural hot tubs. The famous Blue Lagoon is a beautiful example, but if you’re not into hoards of tourists (and, really, who is), there are plenty of quieter, more remote options. I had a restorative soak, Icelandic beer in hand, in the Secret Lagoon, which is about an hour and a half away from Reykjavik. Surrounded by bright-green fields and the hollowed-out remnants of the old stone-walled changing house, you literally feel like you’re in a secluded steamy pond full of just-the-right-temperature water. Hot tip: Get a drink at the little bar inside, and take your beer or wine into the pool for extra heavenliness.
Taking a dip in one of the country's many outdoor geo-thermal pools is a must. Credits: Ciara Rickard
4. Their music game is strong
For a tiny country (population: 332,529), Iceland has produced an impressive number of international acts – from Björk to Of Monsters and Men. One expat told me that almost everyone she met while living in Reykjavik either played an instrument or had friends and family members who did. Live music – in bars, living rooms, campsites – is part of the fabric of life here, while various music fests throughout the year attract fans from all over the world.
5. You can get a “Stopover Buddy”
IcelandAir offers a free “buddy” service – a local who can act as your personal host for a day. The buddies are all airline employees and offer insider intel on where to eat, drink and frolic. I had the pleasure of hanging out with five buddies – all charming, fun and knowledgeable. They were also full of fascinating facts about their homeland – like, did you know that there’s an app there so people can check whether they’re related to someone before they start dating? Because it’s a small population largely descended from the same group of settlers, there’s a good chance someone could accidentally smooch a second cousin. Now they can just bump phones, and if no alarm goes off they’re good to go. (The Stopover Buddy service is available until March 31, 3017.)
Credits: ELLE Canada Source: Grosvenor House Suites by Jumeirah Living
You ask, he delivers.
Dan McCaskie won’t be happy until you’re unhappy. That may seem like an unusual sentiment coming from the head concierge at one of London’s poshest Park Lane hotels and a member of Les Clefs d’Or, the world’s top concierge association, but he means no offence. Truly. “I believe in the traditional old-fashioned values of having a terrific holiday,” he explains. “I want people to be very sad when they’re leaving because they’ve had a great experience.”
Source: Grosvenor House Suites by Jumeirah Living
Bespoke experiences are what McCaskie and his team dream up for guests who stay at Grosvenor House Suites by Jumeirah Living. The hotel, which overlooks Hyde Park and is only a few tempting steps away from exclusive Mayfair shops, first opened in 1929. In November 2011, it was purchased by Jumeirah Living. While the outside has a British sensibility, the 130 suites feel very New York circa now. Think granite floors, stainless-steel kitchen counters, incognito appliances, Egyptian-cotton linens and a muted white and grey colour scheme. (If you’re a regular guest, McCaskie says, they discreetly photograph how you like to arrange your belongings – even where and how you hang your clothes – and replicate that for you when you check in.)
Source: Grosvenor House Suites by Jumeirah Living
If you venture from your suite, McCaskie is there to book you into Zuma, Hakkasan or Nobu. Or, if you need a helicopter to get you to the Royal Ascot in time for your lunch, he’s on it. Need a bespoke tux within 24 hours? Done. Your pet needs a passport? Yep, he can help you. For Sherlock Holmes fans, he can sign you up for the city’s latest cool “immersive experience” where you join a cast of other fans who dress up and help “Sherlock” solve a mystery.
“This is reassuringly expensive and reassuringly exclusive – there’s nothing cheesy about it,” assures McCaskie, adding that money isn’t a challenge with their guests. “They’re not price sensitive. It’s all about time – and making things happen with what seems like impossible deadlines.” Like the prince who needed the window on his car fixed and flown back to Doha within 24 hours because his father didn’t know he was in London – or that he’d had his car airlifted there. “The vehicle wasn’t even released in the U.K. yet, so first we had to get glass flown in from Frankfurt. We delivered the car to the plane just in time.”
Does hanging with the super-rich make him envy their wealth? “No! It would be too complicated,” says McCaskie with a laugh. “We call it ‘morphing’ when people who serve the rich start to wear their cardigans over their shoulders and walk around in loafers. Oh, that’s not me. I was born to serve!”
If you find yourself in Paris without a human concierge at your service, why not try a digital version? Pre-book with Insidr, and someone from the company will meet you in Paris to hand you an Android smartphone that gives you access to custom maps, walks, dining guides and insider advice from English-speaking Parisians. The phone also comes with preloaded apps, like a currency converter and Google Translate, local calling and Skype, and it can even be used as a Wi-Fi hot spot for up to five devices. The company will arrange to pick it up before you depart. (From $10 to $42 a day, depending on the length of your stay, insidr.paris)
This article originally appeared in the December 2016 issue.
Hear me out, Prince Harry.
Although I have to admit I’m more likely to be keeping up with the Kardashians than caught up with the Royals, who can resist the excitement of a charming Prince visiting their home country? I’ve always been keen to tell anyone who will listen all about Antigua, the beautiful island paradise in the Caribbean where I grew up. And Prince Harry – looks like it’s your turn. #sorrynotsorry
The Prince is officially going to Antigua, and our sister island Barbuda, on behalf of the Queen to kick off a Caribbean-wide tour on November 20. But I guarantee it won’t feel very much like work once he steps off his jet. Surely, he’ll be ready and willing to check out some of the stunning views, and scope out some fun times. And seeing as Antigua has consistently been named the most romantic island in the Caribbean, I have a hunch he’ll have a certain someone on his mind too.
I know, I know, it was only just announced that he’s dating actress and activist Meghan Markle. But, I am so here for that relationship, and we’d be lying if we said we didn’t love the prospect of a grand old royal wedding.
So here goes. Are we thinking “beach wedding”? While Antigua has a beach for every day of the year (literally…there are 365 of them), Prince Harry will only get married once (hopefully), so he’d have to choose wisely. For a more rustic, local wedding, I’d recommend Dickenson Bay. It even has a vintage British telephone booth to remind the Prince of home!
But if he’s looking to woo Meghan with luxury perfection (which is probably the more likely scenario), there’s no place more suited than the five-star Jumby Bay resort. (Justin Bieber is a fan – he spent a few nights there earlier this year.)
As for the reception, the world-famous Shirley Heights lookout is the perfect place. Everyone who visits Antigua knows about the Sunset Party held here every Sunday, where guests can party while they take in one of the most breathtaking views in the world. #casualsunday
And finally, there’s the honeymoon to consider. Here’s hoping that while Prince Harry makes a stop in Barbuda, he decides to take Meghan there for a romantic getaway. Barbuda island is one of the most secluded spots in the Caribbean, and it was one of his late mother’s favourite vacation spots. Princess Diana loved the privacy and peacefulness of this small, untouched paradise. Bonus: it's got the prettiest pink sand beaches, so just imagine the flawless Instagrams Meghan will get.
So there you go Prince Harry, I’ve basically planned it all for you. All that’s left is to live happily ever after…that’s what Princes do right?