Hard as Coloured Nails ..

OPI Nail Envy Strength in Colour CollectionI had the most fabulous manicure recently (details to follow later in the week) but when I removed the polish a week (a world record for me!) later, my nails had slipped back into their old weak and splitting ways. Thank goodness then for the package that arrived from OPI the next day. It contained a new quartet of varnishes which not only paint but also treat the talons and are targeted at weak nails like mine.

OPI Nail Envy Strength in Colour varnishes (£19.50 each) harness the fortifying power of OPI’s famous Original Nail Envy Nail Strengthener with softly tinted colour in four delicate OPI shades (from left to right) – Pink to Envy (an online exclusive – at www.opiuk.com), Bubble Bath, Samoan Sand and Hawaiian Orchid.

I love the Samoan Sand shade which provides a very chic and subtle glossy nude finish and matches my pale skin tone perfectly. Watch this space for more colours as they’re launched!

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Chanel Me Beautiful

Chanel makeover 15As the sister-less mother of two boys, and a self-employed writer who works at home and doesn’t see enough of even her closest female pals, an afternoon of girly chat at Frasers in Glasgow was a real treat yesterday. The fact that it was a Chanel-themed chat, while my skin and make-up were being treated to mini-facial and makeover, was a delightful bonus. No wonder I looked happy at the end (above). Here’s how I looked once Megan had applied my base, tidied my brows and applied lip balm.Chanel makeover 1The reason for my visit to Chanel in Frasers was to experience their complimentary “Wear It Your Way” makeover promotion which runs nationwide until October 9. The concept behind Wear It Your Way is the idea that style is all about being individual, and the house of Chanel reckons that in make-up terms that means enhancing your natural beauty, specifically through your choice of foundation finish – whether dewy and fresh or subtly sculpted. Mine was natural but with good coverage especially for my cheeks, which are prone to redness, and my T-zone which gets shiny. (Scroll down for details of all products used.)Chanel makeover 2You shouldn’t waste any time you’re lucky to have with a good professional make-up artist, and Megan is definitely one whose advice is worth listening to – in fact, she is one of Chanel’s top 20 make-up artists in the UK. She showed me how to create a very subtle but flattering look for the eyes using the the limited edition Exclusive Creation Entrelacs palette from the autumn colour collection. Chanel makeover 6When I explained my aversion to eyeliner crayon or pencils and my love of liquid eyeliner (usually the only kind I can trust to stay put), Megan showed me a foolproof method of applying liquid liner – by first pencilling in the line with the Stylo Yeux Waterproof no10, a waterproof crayon. She then took a fine brush and “borrowed” a bit of colour from the tip of the waterproof liner, and used it to extend the line in to the inner corner of each eye – the bit that’s tricky to reach. Finally, the liquid eyeliner Ligne Graphique  – the black, no10, shade – was drawn on. Chanel makeover 7We opted for the new Ecorces shade of the wonderful Le Volume mascara, before choosing a delicate coral shade, Pensive, of the newly reformulated (it is now much better for dry lips) Rouge Allure lipstick, topped with a slick of transparent Gloss Volume. There was no debate about which perfume Megan was going to spritz me with: it had to be my very favourite Chanel fragrance, 31 rue Cambon.Chanel makeover 8My makeover was preceded by a mini facial from Nicola (below) , who – along with the new Ultra Correction Lift Express Firming Mask (£56) – deserves credit for how great my skin looked and felt. Chanel makeover 9Megan finished the makeover by showing me how to intensify the eye make-up, by using the darkest shade of the Entrelacs palette, for more of an evening look. Shame I was only going home to feed the children and watch Corrie!Chanel makeover 10I was delighted with the results which completely fulfilled my remit for the makeover which involved not overloading the eyes which I felt already looked heavy-lidded due to tiredness, and keeping the look natural but lasting. I’m going back for a masterclass in the Christmas colours in November. I hear the new collection is based around the iconic Rouge Noir nail varnish, so I’d better get myself into full femme fatale mode for that appointment – and make sure I am going to a cocktail bar or somewhere suitably noir-ish afterwards!Chanel makeover 14 or 1To see all the new season make-up on proper models, and for tutorials on how to do it yourself, visit www.chanel.com. For stockists and to find your nearest store for a Wear It Your Way makeover, call 020 7493 3836.

Make-up used:

Complexion: Le Blanc de Chanel primer (£33) to even out skin tone and illuminate the complexion; Perfection Lumiere foundation in Beige Rose (£36) applied with the new 2-in-1 Foundation Brush (£38); the highlighting concealer Perfection Lumiere (no12) under the eyes to brighten the skin and hide lines;  Poudre Universelle no.130 (£36) plus Les Beiges Healthy Glow no30 (£39) added a very subtle hint of sun-kissed colour; Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour Stick no21 (£32).

Eyes: Exclusive Creation Entrelacs (£46), Stylo Yeux Waterproof no10 (£19); Ligne Graphique (£26); Le Volume in Ecorces (£25); Le Sourcil de Chanel (£43)

Lips: Rouge Coco Baume (£25), Le Crayon Levres in Natural, no34 (£17.50); Rouge Allure in Pensive, no162 (£26); Gloss Volume (£26)


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Debenhams AW15

Debs AW15 3I had a great time at the Debenhams Autumn-Winter 2015 press launch at Glasgow’s Blythswood Hotel last week. The entire first floor bar area was given over to showcasing this season’s trends – and the rows of white mannequins cut a real dash. Debs AW15 2The event focused on the Designers at Debenhams collections – which this season include a couple of new labels, Nine by Savannah Miller and Jenny Packham for Debut. I was particularly smitten by this gorgeous dress by Jenny Packham (below left), which stood out from the rest.

Debs AW15 1

Dress by No1 Jenny Packham, £199

Savannah Miller’s new range, Nine, embodied a rock chic vibe – with lashings of black suede fringing and gorgeous skinny scarves a la Kate Moss. Some of the colours of the clothes were a bit grungey for my taste but I thought this patterned shirt was lovely.

Debenhams Nine By Savannah Miller Swallow Shirt £32

Nine by Savannah Miller, £32

And it wasn’t just the day clothes that were covetable; there was some beautiful lingerie to ogle too. I especially liked the elegant range of pale pink and black lace-trimmed lingerie by The Collection, of which this pretty wrap was a stand-out.

Debenhams The Collection Wrap £30 (2)

The Collection, £30

Like the wrap, this next dress exuded old-school Hollywood glamour – and could have come straight from Joan Crawford’s Mildred Pierce wardrobe!

Debenhams Edition Preen Lace Trim Wrap Dress£75

Preen/Edition, £75


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Full Marks for Clarins

Autumn Make-Up day modelClarins‘ Autumn Make-up Collection has really put me in the mood for the new season. A beautiful, compact collection of cosmetics, it boasts as its star buy the Limited Edition “Pretty Day” 5-Colour Eyeshadow Palette (£33), which features beige, pink and shimmering taupe plus matte and shimmering warm browns. I, however, am more smitten by the new Heather shade (pictured below) – a deep mauve – of Ombre Matte eyeshadow (£19).

These little individual pots of cream-to-powder formula (the other new shade for autumn 2015 is Carbon, which is just a bit too dark for me) provide silky, Clarins Ombre Matte 08 Heatherlightweight colour which is very easy to apply and blend, and lasts very well. (I teamed mine with one of the new Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Eye Defining Singles, £20 – the mushroomy Fiery Topaz shade.)

Also in the collection are a trio of new Eyebrow Pencils (£17 each), and two new Crayon Khols (£17 each), in Carbon Black and True Black – to team with the eyeshadows, plus two new shades of Rouge Eclat (£19.50), the nude-ish Tawny Rose and the russet Red Paprika. Clarins is clearly ticking all the autumn colour boxes – and undoubtedly many of the winter ones too!


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Black Orchid Bonanza

TOM FORD Black Orchid EDTIt’s still sunny and mild and not even terribly autumnal yet, but the first sign of winter is sitting here on my desk – in the gorgeous, Art Deco, shape of the latest addition to the Tom Ford fragrance family: Black Orchid Eau de Toilette (out October 5).

Unfortunately, I don’t have a bottle of the original Black Orchid (which was an eau de parfum) sitting on my dressing table so I have to take Tom Ford’s word for it that the new Black Orchid (oops, I nearly abbreviated it there to its initials – then realised that that would be a fragrance faux pas!) is a distinct entity with its own character.

This sibling fragrance offers an immediate hit of the custom-grown Tom Ford Black Orchid which, along with tuberose, is at the heart of this carnal, sophisticated scent. The top note is a sensual blend of black truffle and ylang mixed with fresh bergamot and blackcurrant, while the perfume’s dark and opulent sweetness, enhanced by vanilla, is balanced by patchouli, incense and vetiver.

And then, of course, there’s the bottle. I always think that the white Tom Ford fragrance bottles look like they’d have been at home in Jean Harlow’s boudoir; this black version would be perfect for Joan Crawford’s.

* Prices for Tom Ford Black Orchid eau de toilette start at £45 for 30ml; for stockists call 0870 034 2566.


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Beauty With Benefits

Clarins FEED Purse with Products 2015For the second year running, Clarins is teaming up with FEED Projects to offer its innovative “Gift With Purpose” – whereby each customer who makes a purchase of two Clarins products (one of which must be skincare), will be offered a FEED 10 pouch containing five of the classic French beauty brand’s most iconic products. For each customer offered the FEED 10 goody bag, Clarins will provide ten nutritious school meals through the UN World Food Programme to children in developing countries.

The five iconic products included in each FEED 10 bag are large travel sizes of Moisture-Rich Body Lotion, Relax Bath & Shower Concentrate, Gentle Refiner, HydraQuench Cream-Mask and Hand & Nail Treatment Cream.

FEED Projects was founded by Lauren Bush in 2007 after she had witnessed first-hand the the devastating effects of hunger while travelling as a United Nations World Food Programme Student Spokesperson. Its mission of “creating good products that help feed the world” fits in perfectly with Clarins’ longstanding humanitarian values.

The Clarins FEED 10 offer runs from September 20-October 3. Spread the word with the hashtag #FEED10.



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It’s Not My Party (So I’ll Cry If I Want To!)

Smashbox LA LightsThere’s a party over at Smashbox Cosmetics and I’m dying to join in… No, I’m not having a funny turn – but feeling left out of the fun is how the American beauty company’s fab LA Lights Blendable Lip & Cheek Colour collection (£25 each) is making me feel. Why? Because not a single one of the five shades is right for me as a lip colour – but I absolutely adore the texture and finish.

They’re super-moisturising so ideal for my frequently dehydrated lips, and they’re super-glossy too. But the Malibu Berry one is too dark, the Venice Beach Bronze and Silver Lake Sunset are too coppery, while Hollywood & Highlight and Beverly Hills Blush are too pale. Please, please expand this collection – and soon! I want in on the fun…

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