I've had a bit of a royal connection in two Chelsea hair salons, well - not actual royals, but people sharing DNA with her majesty duchessness Kate. I was invited by blow dry bar Duck & Dry to try out their menu of speedy up-do's, blow dries and curls, and arrived to find the staff gathered in a corner, talking in hushed excited tones. When my stylist came over and took me to a seat, she told me that I'd missed Pippa Middleton by minutes, and Pip had just been sitting in the very same seat as me. It was still warm from the Royal Wedding's most famous body part. On another occasion I was a hair model at Richard Ward, which is just down the road. Even though a trainee was working on my hair, I was sat in the 'VIP section' - a chair separated from the rest of the salon by a curtain of chains. I only bagged this spot because there were no salon floor chairs empty for freeloaders models, but I asked who might normally sit behind the chains. It's mostly Carole Middleton, I'm told, it's so people don't look at her when she's getting her hair done. I'd be able to pick Her Highness Kate's mum out of a family photo, of course, but I don't think I'd recognise her on her own. Maybe she's more known amongst the Chelsea set, but they're not allowed to look at her in her foils, that's for sure. The trainee also told me (my, my, don't hair stylists like to talk) that Kate used to be a regular customer as well, but now she has a hairdresser go to her house each day to blow-dry and style her hair, and Richard Ward himself pops round to the palace to do her main cut and colour there. That's got to be the best thing about being married to the future king; daily blow dries. Ultimate hair goals.
Back to Duck & Dry, a highly Instagrammable and pretty salon, based on New York blow-dry bars where women go to get a speedy non-washed blow-dry for work or for the weekend - the whole idea is that you're in and out in twenty minutes. They do have hair washing as an extra, and also offer trims, braids, bridal hair, beach waves, Essie nail manicures, and you can even hire the place for a party (the bar is well stocked with prosecco!). My stylist was lovely, and she gave me beautiful big bouncy curls. Unfortunately, they didn't last the duration of my walk from the salon down the Kings Road to Sloane Square, and that's entirely the fault of my hair. I'd been to a few blow dry bars (the trendy thing to review) and had the same result. It was one of the things that made me finally decide to cut half my hair off. I'd thought it was just me being rubbish when I tried to style my own hair at home, but seeing the pro's not being able to help made me realise my long, thick mahoosive barnet was a deadweight and I went for a much more fashionable and manageable lob (long bob, keep up). If you're in the Chelsea area, you don't need to be a Middleton to have your hair done, it's very reasonable at Duck & Dry, and they don't mind if you take five hundred Instagram pictures.