… a word from Amanda

T’was the week before Valentine’s, when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…

Does this sound like you – no hot Valentine’s dates planned at all? What are you doing wrong? Are you wearing the wrong scent? Well, check out this story I stumbled across this week.

Before heading for a night out, any lengthy pampering routine just wouldn’t be complete without a spritz of perfume, right? Because we all assume a touch of Chanel No.5 is going to send all the right hormonal signals.

However, a scientist has given all new meaning to the term “signature scent” revealing that her “vagina juice” is her perfume of choice for an evening out on the town.

Sharing an excerpt of her new book “The Game of Desire with Refinery 29”, sexologist Shan Boodram was surprised by just how much attention her “delicious scent” attracted. The author claims to have worn her own natural scent several times over the years, and noted how people often “flock to her”.

Determined to test the theory out on other women, Shan asked three of her clients to see if coplulins –  chemicals secreted by the vagina – would also attract anyone, if used as perfume.

Shan asked the women to gather in the toilets of a bar. She wrote: “I instructed them to wash their hands, get in a cubicle and then move their finger around their vaginal opening. The goal was to get a sample from the Bartholin’s glands, which are the size of a pea but play a large role in vaginal lubrication”.

Shan then asked them to rub “a good amount of wetness” on their pulse points and around their collarbone and neck.

Sadly, Shan’s clients reported that they didn’t have much more success with men than beforehand. But while they might not ultimately have met “the one” as a result of the experiment, the sexologist was impressed that not one of the women wanted to wash off their “perfume” at the end of the night. She also claims it makes women “act in a bolder, more confident manner” which, in turn, could make them appear more attractive.

Is there any science behind it?

Wearing your vagina scent to bag a date might sound bonkers – but on a broader scientific level, pheromones have been proven to play a big part in human sexuality and attraction. 

So, there you have it, this could help, a strategy for Friday 14th Feb.

Onto this week’s instalment of Amanda Zips It Up and we discover the new Brow Trend adopted by Gucci,investigate Stella McCartney’s advice on keeping clothes clean and tell you how logo nails are so 2020.

Gucci Brows

I get it, that eyelashes make one’s eyes “pop”. I use fake eyelashes regularly. But what I’m NOT going to do is stick them on my eyebrows.

Nevertheless, this is what fashion brands are doing to their poor models right now, for some reason. And I really don’t get it. Gucci’s Spring 2020 Catwalk Show featured just that, as the models walked the runway wearing fake lashes applied directly on top of their brows. Apparently, it was makeup artist Thomas de Kluyver’s idea.

Now, anyone with taste should utterly adore Gucci, in fact, I admire all of their work, but this is madness. Are people really so “out of ideas” that they resort to such silly “hacks”? Surely the clothes speak for themselves?

The models were all laid with lashes in a surreal and fake style. Suffice to say, some of these models simply look mad. I bet some were angry, because this is crossing the line into “weird” territory.

I’m not saying that these models look all bad. Of course not, they are gorgeous. But a tarantula on the face doesn’t look pretty to me, so I’m going to pass on trying it at home. 

Fashion is getting exhausting these days. I can’t wait for someone to use nail polish as lipstick.

Stella McCartney’s Cleaning Advice


Stella McCartney’s models and celebrity customers never look less than immaculately dressed. Famous fans range from the Duchess of Cambridge to supermodel Kate Moss and Oprah Winfrey. My favourite ‘smart coat’ for fancy occasions is a Stella.  

Stella has this week advised us that it is better to simply brush dirt from clothes, rather than put them in the wash, saying: “I’m not a fan of dry cleaning or any cleaning, really.” Instead, she said, when it comes to a bespoke suit, “Let the dirt dry and brush it off”.

The designer has made a name for her sustainable fashion choices, prioritising eco-friendly materials and production methods for her global brand.

Asked what she thought about dry cleaning, McCartney explained that she had learned the benefits of avoiding cleaning whilst learning her trade with the tailors on Savile Row. “Their suits are like architecture. It’s amazing,” she said of the industry. “And the rule on a bespoke suit is you do not clean it. You do not touch it. You let the dirt dry and you brush it off. I am incredibly hygienic myself, but I’m not a fan of dry cleaning or any cleaning, really.”

McCartney regularly speaks about the importance of ethical fashion, with her stores using LED lighting, sustainable wood and paper, wind power and – on Bond Street – decorative rock and moss shipped from her father Paul McCartney’s farm on the Mull of Kintyre.

Recent changes to the fashion industry, which have seen brands increasingly emphasise their eco-credentials to appeal to a new market, driven by young buyers demanding more.

Stella’s brand publicises the “Clevercare” system, which “reminds us all to consider the environment when washing, drying and taking care of our clothes”.

Its recommendations include thinking twice about washing, instead airing and brushing clothes or spot cleaning stains. Washing on a low temperature, hanging to dry outside, and ironing only when strictly necessary are also advised, along with finding an “eco or green” dry cleaner.

Logo Nails

If you’ve got as much love for “Givenchy Logo” nail art as me, then a new nail trend might be for you. Type #logonails into your Instagram search bar and enjoy the results.

You’ll find all the designer suspects on view. Many have “tried their hand” with Chanel, Tommy Hilfiger seems to be a favourite, and how could we forget Louis Vuitton? My daughter Phoebe is sporting a set of pink LV nails as we speak.

As usual, there are a fair few oddballs in the mix. Tabasco, for example, plus McDonalds. It seems that some people’s brand loyalty knows no bounds.

There are even sports logos getting in on the game – Adidas seems to be exceptionally popular.  Whilst the results aren’t displeasing to the eye, there may be something in sticking to monochrome brands.

Whilst you can’t fault Maccy D’s lurid red and yellow design for acting as a conversation starter – maybe it’s worth avoiding if heading out on a first date.

One bit of advice… leave the “artsy” bit to the pro’s. A lot of these looks can be eye-catching, but that is ultimately down to the pro finish. What’s the point in spending hours trying to stick on a Chanel ‘C’ only to have it resembling any other letter of the alphabet an amateur smudge or two later? Book in with a professional who you know to be nifty with a nail art brush, and post the finished article on your socials. And please, please somebody give the McDonald’s logo a go, and send a pic over to me. I’ll feature it on Zips It Up for sure.

… a word from Amanda

Welcome to END of the longest month ever, the END of the EU and hello Brexit. Boo hoo.

All depressing, on top of the fact that I’m flying to Thailand soon which is looking dangerously geographically close to the whole Coronavirus epidemic.

So, here’s a little light relief, albeit random.

I give you a brie-lliant place to stay if you’re in London this weekend and you’re a cheese lover.

A cheese-themed hotel suite has just opened in Camden – billed as a world first. The Cheese Suite opened its doors on Wednesday, featuring cheese-themed furniture, wallpaper, cushions and throws. There is even cheesy-scented soap in the bathroom. Guests can take selfies in front of the suite’s giant cheese installations before turning in for the night, snuggled up in cheese-themed bedding.

As the accommodation is self-catered, there will be plenty of cheese-themed cookbooks on hand. Plus, there’s a Morrisons and Aldi just down the road, with all the emmental and gorgonzola one could possibly consume.

And for those who don’t fancy cooking, guests can call a cheese delivery service to have snacks delivered straight to their door ,whilst listening to a specially-compiled “cheesy” music playlist.

The suite, in an apartment complex, is being created by Café Rouge to celebrate its new ‘cheesy menu’, but will only be open until February 6th. That seems a little dumb, considering all the effort required to create it.

Stays are limited to one night and are free, but guests are encouraged to donate to the restaurant chain’s charity, the Prince’s Trust.

Want to spend a night in The Cheese Suite? Email the cheesesuite@caferouge.co.uk to register for the chance to be entered into a ballot for a one-night stay. Nights will be allocated at random.

Onto this week’s instalment of Zips It Up, and we dedicate this issue to new talent. A beautiful Balearic jewellery range for all you Ibizans, an incredible coffee-table book full of heartfelt poems by Poet Paul Wood guaranteed to update your lounge immediately and staying on the Ibiza theme, a new health retreat opens at Pikes just in time for summer 2020.

Charlotte’s Web Ibiza Necklace

If you love the White Isle as much as I do, you can now keep the outline of Ibiza close to your heart – quite literally. I’ve uncovered this stand-out new jewellery range, after they sent over this gorgeous gold necklace, perfect for my Balearic summer.

Charlotte’s Web Jewellery captures the imagination, with vibrant display of precious metals, unique handmade designs, and brilliant gemstones, uplifting and empowering with a veritable rainbow of colours.

Created by Charlotte Howarth, this bespoke jewellery collection is a celebration of different cultures and continents. It’s enchanting, evocative, and effortlessly beautiful. And it all started with a trip to India.

Captivated by the vibrant colours, charmed by the gentle spirits of its people, and empowered by a world of possibilities, Charlotte fell in love with the spirit of India. In particular, Charlotte found the beauty of Rajasthan, the Land of Maharajas, intoxicating. It was here, in the Pink City of Jaipur that she forged friendships with skilled local artisans and gemstone experts, with whom she created a collection of spiritual jewellery, inspired by ancient Tibetan traditions and symbolic Hindu practices.

It was in a back room of a small Indian shop where Charlotte, together with her newly established team, created a capsule collection of handmade silver jewellery and vibrant, colourful clothing, inspired by Tibetan prayer wheels, India’s melting pot of colours, and Charlotte’s unique sense of style and individuality. 

With the introduction of an online jewellery boutique, Charlotte’s Web was almost complete, but her adventurous spirit demanded more. Charlotte set sail once again, this time heading to the mystical shores of Ibiza, a haven for bohemians, creative souls, and artistic spirits. Inspired by the warmth of the Mediterranean sun, the colours of the ocean and sea life, and the celestial energy of the island, Charlotte now calls Ibiza home.

Charlotte returns to India every year to source new semi-precious stones, discuss new designs with her team, plus to check every process to ensure each piece is ethically sourced, consciously created, and fashioned with love. With PR and buying assistant Lisa Creed at her side, Charlotte looks forward to taking Charlotte’s Web to the next level. 

IBIZA CONSTELLATION necklace

The perfect gift for bridesmaids or wedding guests of an Ibiza wedding or an Ibiza hen party.

This stunning gold necklace reproduces the outline of the Ibiza island and features the island’s Scorpio star constellation (which shines its powerful light over this magical place, energising all who visit it). On one side it shimmers with zirconia stones;  on the other it is engraved with ‘Ibiza’. You decide how to wear it.

Your chosen necklace will arrive packaged in a Charlotte’s Web gift box and come complete with a card explaining the magic of Ibiza and the Scorpio constellation.

Match with our Ibiza Constellation Bracelet for a magical set.

You might also LOVE the Chakra Jewellery collection: 
https://charlotteswebuk.com/products/throat-chakra-pendant-gold?_pos=14&_sid=54a57750e&_ss=r

Rockovery At Pikes Ibiza

Introducing Rockovery Retreat…

It’s one of my favourite paces on Earth to let one’s hair down, but it’s not always all about parties at Pikes Ibiza. In fact, over the years they’ve realised that their guests like to balance hedonism with a hefty dose of health and wellness. Over the winter, Pikes have been working hard behind the scenes with their in-house personal trainer and nutritionist, Franky Vincentio, to develop an all-new retreat experience that is a true holiday for the soul – in classic Pikes style, of course.


The first ever Rockovery Retreat takes place over three nights and four days from April 27 to 30, 2020. Focusing on the connection between mind, body and spirit, there’s a whole range of wellness activities. Think gong baths, nature walks, yoga, meditation, training, nutrition and Franky’s Fight Club, among many other things. Plus, specially curated meals and all the fun and games you’d expect from Pikes.

It’s all about exploring connection with guests’ own spiritual self, whether that may come through a gong bath in the Pikes Rockovery Dome, or through visualisation and meditation work, or simply watching the incredible sunrise during dawn nature walks. 

A sophisticated retreat for rebels and Ibiza royalty, it’s done the way only Pikes know how: with a little bit of rock and roll, baby. It will reconnect guests to music with the best Balearic soundtrack and take them back to nature, exploring the natural beauty of the island.

FROM €1500 PER PERSON

Download the brochure for a full breakdown of what’s included in the Rockovery package. In true Pikes style, some sessions will be kept a secret…

The retreat is limited to 16 spaces only. If you’re interested in booking it’s reservations@pikesibiza.com.

360 Degrees By Paul Wood

360 Degrees is a collection of poems – often humorous and always honest and reflective – based around the author, Paul Wood’s life experiences.  It is a collaboration between Paul (an artist and poet), and Art Director Graham Wood (Tomato).

To be clear, 360 Degrees is not just any old poetry collection – the book’s circular geometric art makes it aesthetically spellbinding and (in keeping with the heartfelt poems inside) it will linger with you. I was given a fabulous stylistically-matching goodie bag of T-shirts too, to celebrate the book’s launch

Paul Wood was born in East London; leaving school in 1981 he went on to qualify in Fine Art and Design.  He has utilised his artistic writing and creative skills throughout his life to further his art career.  He has successfully exhibited his work in Europe and America and his artwork is owned by clients Worldwide.  Paul now focuses on his writing, taking influences from everyday things, stories and life experiences. He writes fun and amusing poems which encapsulate the moment, viewing everyday items and situations, such as washing machines, supermarkets, in a totally different and frequently humorous way.

“I was introduced to Graham Wood’s work when I read his latest book “Memory is the Medium”. I noticed the correlation between the geometric abstract designs that appeared in my artworks and Graham’s use of circles in his work within the forms of a one sided shape.  Graham’s designs and play with words, would result in a perfect match. My writing revolves around life experiences…”

Graham Wood is the founder of the acclaimed, multi award-winning agency Tomato. He is an artist, designer and director, from print & TV, to online, events, performance, generative and reactive installation, experiential, product design, film and motion graphics.  

The circular theme for the artwork happened organically, almost by accident, when Graham  began  to make very simple, almost children’s book-like imagery for Paul’s poems, and realised once he’d created  6 or 7 images that they were all constructed from circles. It was at that stage that Graham pursued circles as a theme . But it’s not art for art’s sake – each image relates to each poem in either literal or abstract ways.

Publisher Tracy Stokes comments: “there just seemed to be a natural pairing in their work, a mutual empathy. I saw that the tone and feel belonged in the same world and it was a joy to work with them both in being able to create this”.  

Available on Amazon now £25

https://www.amazon.co.uk/360-Degrees-Paul-Wood/dp/1527221385/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Paul+Wood+360&qid=1579719913&sr=8-1

… a word from Amanda

Welcome to the longest month ever. We’re still in January. Still dieting and abstaining. Still broke until we get paid. And it’s getting colder everywhere.  Sounds like song lyrics, doesn’t it?

As per the last two instalments of Zips It Up, we’re here to try and brighten up your week and enlighten you with some Valentine gift ideas.

And here’s another which will definitely make you smile. Especially if you’re a fan of The Simpsons.

You can now turn you and your loved ones YELLOW with www.turnedyellow.com and immortalise yourselves as Simpsons characters in a framed picture. Could this be the best present ever!

As one option, you can re-create Homer and Marge’s lounge in a ‘Valentine theme’, i.e. lots of red and pink love hearts, with you and your other half sat on the famous sofa.

All you have to do is go to the website, upload a photo of you (plus partner or family), perhaps on a graduation or another special occasion and Turned Yellow will transport you to Springfield and ‘Simpsonise’ you.

The company have nothing to do with the actual Simpsons, so I have no idea what the legal complications are, but if you check out the reactions of those who’ve created pictures of themselves as yellow characters, you’ll see what an absolutely genius idea it is.

Anyway, let me know if any of you try this out.

Onto this week’s edition, and I invite you to look twice at the “Kate Moss” story, explore which supermarket Beyoncé is partial to, and if you thought the smell of last week’s vagina candles was bad, check out the new perfume I’ve tracked down.

Le Biryani Perfume

Last weekend, annoyingly, I damaged my new year cleanse, devouring a delicious Lamb Biryani at my favourite Indian restaurant, Dashoom in Kings Cross.

If you’ve ever tucked into mouthwatering Indian food (and by Indian, I mean South Asian staples in general) and loved it so much you wished it was a daily occurrence, then I have good news. You can now smell of your favourite biryani.

A digital artist based between Pakistan and London, aptly named My Curry is Popping on Twitter, is in talks with the appropriate “smell” people about launching a biryani perfume. The 22-year-old designer, working on the prototype of a flavoured rice based fragrance, posted it on his socials and the image quickly went viral, being shared among Bollywood stars and politicians.

I don’t know if I’d actually wear Le Biryani perfume.  Fried onion isn’t the most desirable smell – but who says you have to wear the scent on yourself? Perhaps you can lure guests over with the promise of delightful Indian cuisine and spritz some Le Biryani about the place, tricking your diners into thinking you’re a South Asian gourmet chef? Then bring out an M&S ready-to-eat Korma.

For good measure, Le Biryani has also added a hint of aloo potato to the fragrance. The designer said: ‘Aloo is there because I prefer my biryani with aloo – I don’t know if there’s any other way.’ 

He has been in talks with a few fragrance businesses in order to commercially market the perfume, however it is just as an exhibition piece for now.

Though certainly quirky, this idea isn’t anything new – fast-food chains such as KFC and Bird’s Eye have been getting in on the scented action. But I’m not sure I’d want to leave the house smelling of chicken and gravy.  There are too many hungry urban foxes in my neighbourhood to take that chance.