London Grace has kids’ birthday parties nailed
- Credit: Emma Bartholomew
If you’re taking your tween and her mates for a birthday celebration manicure – as befits the craze amongst generation Z – you’ll be hard pressed to find any salon more on trend than London Grace.
The brand was set up by Kirsten Hazell to make getting your nails done more of a social occasion, and all their stores sell wine and cocktails - but the fun isn't reserved for adults.
The occasion was my daughter's birthday, and we met her pals at Grace London's Shoreditch branch in Curtain Road, which opened in June.
It's every bit as trendy as you'd expect for Shoreditch, with distressed brick walls, neon lights and swish shiny furnishings.
The party was all set up in the basement with balloons, cakes and Tahitan flower necklaces for them all to wear.
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First task was to pick out a colour from the Grace London selection, mounted on a spiral.
All the colours are named after Kirsten's friends, family and colleagues who have helped her on her business journey.
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The polishes are cruelty-free and made with a "no-nasties" formula without formaldehyde and all the other chemicals most brands have which have a toxic effect on your liver.
The polish itself was central to my decision to condone a nail salon trip for a bunch of youngsters.
Once the girlseach picked out a colour - ranging from a baby pink Mia, pastel blue Florence, sparkly emerald Amy and golden Daphne, two technicians get to work with filing, buffing and polishing before applying the lacquer in gloriously thick layer after layer.
There's a frisson of excitement in the air for little girls to be doing something quite so grown up in such an upmarket spot.
As the manicures get underway, loud gossip ensues touching on topics like Thorpe Park, starting secondary school, Kylie Jenner's baby Stormy, and culminates with renditions of a few Bugsy Malone numbers while hands are being held under a dryer for quite some time. Staff reassure me they don't mind the noise.
Once the perfect paws are dried to perfection, the girls make a start decorating cup cakes which are then devoured with fruit juices while playing a Guess Who game.
We then take plenty of photos as the girls pose with the blow-up musical instrument props provided, before all fitting into a fake picture frame.
"This is one of my favourite nail salons," said my daughter's friend, who as it turns out has only been to two. The glam factor wasn't lost on any of them.
A party costs £15 per child, with a minimum of seven children, plus the price of the treatments. These start from a slap dash with just nail polish at £10, to a hunky dory with a shape, nail buff and polish at £18. Parties include juice, cupcake decorating, sandwiches, fruit pots and a party game.