My West London Life

Dr Joshua Van der Aa, Harley Street


We chat to Dr Joshua Van der Aa, the youngest cosmetic doctor to have his own practice on Harley Street

What brought you to London and why?

Like many people, I moved here for work. I got a very tempting job offer incredibly early in my career that was too good not to go for: I pretty much packed my things immediately and moved!

How is life in London different to Belgium? Is there anything you miss about home?

In many ways, it was more of a culture shock than I imagined. There’s much more opportunity, more services, restaurants, shops, and different apps for different conveniences; it’s filled with international people with the most interesting stories…

Luckily, I manage not to miss home too much. Being my own boss, I’m free to structure my work in such a way that I can return often, once or twice a month, in fact, to work – and socialise – in Antwerp.

Since appearing in The Sky Is The Limit this winter (the Belgian TV series that follows entrepreneurs at work and play) I’ve added extra days in my clinic there to meet demand. That has meant more time to see friends and colleagues back home than usual, which is lovely; it’s a really sweet balance between locations.

You’re the youngest cosmetic doctor to have his own practice on Harley Street, how did this come about?

A combination of ambition, lack of patience and good ethics, I suppose!

I had a bit of a falling out with the management at the clinic I was working in because it became very clear they weren’t quite as patient-centred as they claimed to be. When I tried to persuade them to find another way, it wasn’t received well, so that was it for me. I gave in my notice and started my own practice.

Everything begins and ends with my patients now. The emphasis is almost entirely on consultation and collaborative treatment planning. And, being the sole practitioner, it means there’s continuity: they’ll only ever see me so we’re genuinely on a doctor-patient journey together.

I’m free to work with the products and devices I know are the best. Professionally, it’s much more rewarding: a better, more personalised experience for the patients and for me.

You offer some very innovative treatments, which do you find most rewarding to perform?

By far, that would be any volumising treatment around the eyes (in the right patient, of course). It can knock years off your face, or look like I’ve injected you with two weeks’ worth of solid sleep. And yes, it feels great to see my signature eye treatment, InclinEyes, gaining in popularity so quickly. The results are honestly amazing. It’s one of my most-requested treatments now.

Other than that, unfortunately, dissolving improperly placed or overfilled faces can be very rewarding. I’m all about the natural look, so, you know, helping people with obvious or badly done work get back to their natural beauty is definitely important to me. It doesn’t mean no work at all after that, by the way. We can still enhance, but with a light touch and elegantly. That’s all you need – a mere whisper can make the loudest impact.

Where are your favourite places to decompress?

If I really want to decompress, I’d probably stay at home. I’m really fond of my pad. Often, I enjoy nothing more than a stroll through Mayfair. I find it surprisingly calming. I’m also blessed to have access to the private Park Crescent park and square gardens, an absolute gem – truly an oasis of calm in the middle of the city.

Do you have a favourite West London restaurant or watering hole?

That’s a tough one. Both Marylebone and Mayfair are filled with amazing, renowned restaurants and bars – as well as a multitude of hidden gems. Although, my all-time favourite would have to be Chiltern Firehouse, both as a restaurant and watering hole.

Is there anything you find odd about the UK, as a non-native Brit?

Beer gardens … If you tell anyone anywhere in the world that the bar is full but they’re welcome to buy a pint and drink it outside in the rain, they’d tell you to sod off!

Do you have any ideas for future innovation in terms of aesthetics? Are any fledgling concepts for a new Dr Joshua Technique® swirling around in your head?

Oh absolutely. I’ve recently designed a technique to rejuvenate the eye area with a revolutionary new type of filler that’s made entirely of your own blood products. It’s kind of like a mini version of lipofilling without the invasive, risky and expensive need for surgical liposuction. I’m getting great results with it.

If you hadn’t gone into cosmetic medicine, what might you have specialised in?

I was always interested in orthopaedic surgery and later, plastic surgery. Although I’m not sure the surgical life would have suited me, I might have gone down another entrepreneurial path.

What inspires you?

Seeing others do well. No matter what the world is going through, there always seems to be that kind of person who can turn lemons into lemonade. And I’m not just talking about the big billionaires – who aren’t easily affected by much – but more so, the common entrepreneur and businessman; it’s that ability in them to find new and innovative ways to give the people what they want. That inspires me.

Where is your favourite place in the world?

Capri for relaxation. New York for excitement. Antwerp for both.

Who do you most admire?

I’d have to say, my mother. She was dealt a very difficult hand in life but, by God, she played that hand for all it was worth and never stopped fighting. Adversity after adversity, she always kept pushing through, no matter what. In spite of all the differences we’ve had in my tumultuous upbringing, I suppose that quality in her rubbed off on me more than I sometimes realise. I’m happy to say she’s finally found peace and is thoroughly enjoying her retirement.


London Real Estate boss Alex Bourne on Buying London


Kate Elliott meets London Real Estate agent Alex Bourne, fresh from appearing on Netflix's Buying London

Hi Alex, you’ve just hit our screens with the hotly anticipated Netflix show, Buying London… but you were working in Real Estate long before this. What made you want to work in property and how did you start?

Before finding my way into property, I had quite a few jobs, including being an actor, a massageRead more →

Mr David Gordon


Consultant Foot and Ankle Surgeon aka The Bunion Doctor, Mr David Gordon, spilled his secrets on 'healthy feet' and his favourite spots to visit in West London.

Where is your practice based?

I work across three separate hospitals, Spire Harpenden Hospital which is in Hertfordshire, Spire Bushey Hospital in North London and at the London Clinic, based in Marylebone.

What is your favourite place to visit or favourite thing to do in London?

I love visiting The… Read more →