Monthly Archives: October 2011

My Week in Beauty


Oooh-la-la, on Monday I was sent the sexiest new mascara I’ve tried in ages: YSL Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils Shocking (£22) is just the job for creating come-hither eyes. Or, as the press release says, for achieving “indecent volume”… The mind boggles.

Anyway, it does this thanks to its asymmetric brush and the combination of two types of wax in its formulation: a soft adherent wax to thicken the lashes and a hard wax to maximise the curve.

Since it’s part of YSL’s Noirs collection, there are six shades of black to choose from – I’ve been using No2, Ashy Black, but would like to get my hands on Jade Black and Cherry Black to see how much difference there is…


Wednesday was the Estee Lauder companies’ annual Christmas press day in Glasgow – which means that we journalists get the chance to view all the festive goodies from the likes of Aramis, Aveda, Darphin, Clinique, Ojon, Origins and Bobbi Brown. One item which leapt out at me as being the ideal suits-all cosmetic was the Bobbi Brown Party Eye Palette (£39;, a lovely, new, limited edition sextet of neutral shades perfect for day or evening wear.

They sure know how to throw a party, those folk from ROX, the jewellers in Glasgow. French Martinis, fabulous jewellery on display in the chic “Thrill Room”, and lovely fellow journalists to mingle with – my pal Kim and I had a great night at their “Audience With  Shaun Leane” event on Thursday.

Aside from the chance to chat with celebrity jeweller Shaun, the girly gossip and the trying on of each other’s bijoux, I enjoyed having the opportunity to wear my favourite of the Christmas collections’ nail polishes – Chanel Le Vernis in Rouge Carat (£17.50; from November 4; for stockists call 020-7493 3836), a beautiful garnet shade with gold running through it, seemed the perfect choice for a night in a jewellery boutique…


And speaking of Chanel, I was invited to their Espace Beaute at Frasers on Friday to have a little make-over and a play with the new Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet Lipsticks  (£23.50). As they did when they launched Rouge Coco Shine earlier this year, Chanel had a fancy photo booth there so that glammed-up customers could get a souvenir of their makeover. Their lovely Regional Make-up Specialist LucindaPaterson-Brown, who transformed me in March when Rouge Coco Shine was launched, was on hand – possibly for the last time before she starts a new job working more closely with Chanel’s Creative Director of Make-up, Peter Philips.

I couldn’t take my eyes off Lucinda, who was wearing the La Fascinante shade – a dark red – of Rouge Allure Velvet and had teamed it with a very simple, retro eye. She used the same colours on me but I felt it was just too harsh so she tried a different shade (pictured): La Raffinee. My pal Margaret, herself a make-up artist whom I met years ago in Frasers, got the Chanel treatment too. And while she wasn’t convinced by the coral La Ravissante (it was nothing like her usual nude shade), I think she looks gorgeous.

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Style on Film: How To Steal a Million

This is the look everyone remembers from the 1966 romantic caper movie How To Steal a Million, in which the irresistible Audrey Hepburn played Nicole Bonnet, the daughter of a master art forger. Set in Paris, the film features glorious locations – the Bonnets’ fabulous mansion, the Louvre, the Ritz – and, of course, some fab fashions from who else but Hepburn’s favourite couturier, Hubert de Givenchy. For the opening scene, he kitted his muse out in a kooky helmet hat, with matching sunglasses – very much a la Paco Rabanne. Here’s our first glimpse of Nicole:

When she arrives at her (presumably right bank) home, we get this glimpse of the rear view of her natty cream and white ensemble..

Later that night, Nicole is disturbed from her bedtime reading (a book about Alfred Hitchcock!) and discovers that a rather attractive Englishman (Peter O’Toole) is trying to pinch her pere’s Van Gogh. And when I say her pere’s Van Gogh, I mean the one he painted; not “Van Gogh’s Van Gogh”… After shooting him, tending to his injury and driving him back to the Ritz (well, he is, as Nicole points out a particularly “chic burglar”, she arranges to meet him the next day. For her secret rendez-vous at the Ritz to seal the deal, Nicole goes semi-undercover in an unforgettable black lace ensemble – which is very, very now.

Even the eye make-up glimpsible under that mask looks very 2011 – Chanel’s Illusion d’Ombre in Epatant would achieve a similar effect as Nicole’s eyes in that last picture. Here’s a better look at that exquisite lace mask.

For their next meeting – to case the joint for their heist (they are going to steal back Monsieur Bonnet’s Cellini statue from the Louvre) – Nicole dresses very conservatively. This is colour-blocking, 1966-style.

And here’s an off-duty shot of the stars which shows off one of the many pairs of patterned tights sported by Nicole in the film.

Hepburn’s reputation as the epitome of chic is affectionately sent up in the movie. When Nicole puts on her char woman disguise, her suave accomplice quips: ” Well for one thing, it gives Givenchy a night off!”  Setting off for the heist, she dresses in sophisticated beige …

Style-wise, How To Steal a Million is a bit of a mixed bag – one of Nicole’s outfits (a canary yellow suit, plus white tights) looks like it was inspired by Tweety Pie, and she spends quite a bit of time in a boring cotton nightie, but the opening scene outfit and, especially, the black lace ensemble are worth tuning in for. And this make-up is very inspirational for the party season.


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My Week in Beauty


There’s nothing like being treated like a supermodel to brighten up a dull Monday – and that’s exactly what happened to me when I was reunited with Jamie Coombes, Dior’s National Make-up Artist and a member of the International Pro Artist Team. I loved the makeup he did for me this time last year – he taught me how to create the look and I trotted out variations on it at every event I went to last winter. So, on Monday when I had an appointment with him at Frasers in Glasgow, I challenged him to come up with an evening look that would see me through this year’s party season. “Oooh, can I play about?” he asked. Carte blanche was duly granted.

Jamie must have been reading my mind because he immediately picked out green as the dominant colour in the smoky eye he elected to create. His first step was to apply a little foundation – Dior Forever Fluide 010 (£29.50) – on the eyelids as a base. Then, taking the Dior 5 Couleur Designer in Green Design (£40), he applied its darkest shade along the lash line and created a V shape in the outer corner. He spent quite  a bit of time smudging the dark green, and pulling the colour further into the lid while keeping the darkest part at the outside. In the centre of the lid, he applied some of the central, shimmery shade in the palette – as well as the golden shade from the Dior 5 Couleur Designer in Amber Design. 

To complete the dramatic eye look, Jamie lined my eyes using a combination of the Carbon and Navy shades of Diorshow Waterproof Liner (£17), and then applied the Carbon shade to the inner rim of the eyelids to intensify the effect.  He plumped up my stumpy eyelashes with a coat of Diorshow Maximiser (£22), a bodybuilding primer, before applying the fantastic Diorshow Black Out Spectacular Volume Mascara (£22).

After sculpting my cheeks with blusher and highligher, Jamie painted on a nude lip – the Rouge
Dior in Beige Angelique
(£22.50), the shade he used recently on Charlize Theron. That’s what I’m wearing in the photo at the top of this article. Then we experimented with a bolder – almost scary – red: Diorific High Fashion Lipstick in Dolce Vita Red (£21.50). I think the pale one is slightly too pale and the red a bit too strong with the strong eye, so I’m going to conduct further experiments at home – sticking to warm shades to complement the greens.

Meanwhile, Jamie is coming to a House of Fraser store near you over the next few weeks: Tuesday, October 25 & Wednesday 26 at Selfridges, Manchester; Thursday 27 at Harrods, London; Friday 28th at Selfridges, London;  November 1 & 2 at Jenners, Edinburgh; November 3 & 4 at Frasers, Glasgow; November 15 & 16 at Arnotts, Dublin; November 17 & 18 at Brown Thomas, Dublin and November 28 & 29 at Harrods, London.


This is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and, as they’ve been doing for the last 18 years, the Estee Lauder Companies are highlighting this great cause with their own campaign.

Jo Malone London‘s contribution to the cause is one of the most covetable: Jo Malone Red Roses Body & Hand Wash (£30; is a gorgeous new product which went on sale at the beginning of the month and is almost too delectable to use on a daily basis. (If you think my kids are going to get to wash their mitts with it, think again!)

£5 from every sale of the Red Roses Hand & Body Wash is going to be donated to help fund grants for research into breast cancer, here in the UK.


Well, I’m not sure if my legs would have made the grade in a 42nd Street-style line-up, but they certainly stand a much better chance following the Clarins TriActive Body Treatment – The Body Sculptor (£63; selected Clarins spas nationwide) which I enjoyed on Thursday.

The TriActive Body Treatments are the first new treatments to be introduced by Clarins in four years, and I was delighted to be getting the chance to try one out at the Clarins Spa in Frasers, Glasgow (0141 221 5760). There are three variations on the treatment – The Moisture Quencher, The Firming Age Corrector and The Body Sculptor. It’s a very thorough treatment- the therapist asks if there are any areas you would prefer she skipped as the massage takes in the breasts, tummy and inside leg.. Very French, you see. I skipped the tummy – mine does not like massage since I had my twins.

This isn’t a treatment designed to send you drifting off for a wee snooze – it’s about results. The 60-minute massage is all about detoxifying, toning up the skin and “sculpting” the contours. My skin felt lovely afterwards and where I had the toning mask (upper arms), there was a distinct sensation of tightness. I wouldn’t expect visible results after one session so I may well consider booking in for a series. Just as well, then, that, until October 29, Clarins Spas are offering the chance to book six body treatments for the price of four. Call 0800 036 3558 for more details or information on your nearest salon.


October is proving to be a great month for new lipsticks: in fact, we’re spoilt for choice. The latest is Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Golden Lustre (£22.50; from October 19), a sheer lipstick infused with gold. There are 12 beautiful shades in the collection – so far I’ve fallen for no.112, AKA (appropriately enough for someone who’s overdue a trip to the French capital) Rose Parisien…

The make-up maestro who created this sumptuous purpley pink – and the rest of the range – is Lloyd Simmonds, YSL’s Creative Director, and he’s going to be previewing his new Holiday collection at Selfridges on Thursday, November 3 (from 5pm) and at Glasgow’s Frasers on Friday, November 4.

During his visit, clients can have their make-up done by a member of his team – and receive a luxury goody bag and glass of champagne. Appointments cost £25, and are redeemable against any purchases made on the day. For Selfridges, call 0207 318 1358 and for Frasers, call 0141 221 3880, extension 2036.

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My Week in Beauty


One of my highlights of my trip to Paris with Chanel earlier this year was the moment when Peter Philips – the company’s Creative Director of Make-up – unveiled the new Rouge Velvet Allure range of lipsticks (and complementary nail varnishes). Or rather, when his squad of chic assistants opened the coffrets of lipsticks to show the waiting beauty press.

While the other girls reached for the nudes, beiges and subtle shades, my eye was immediately drawn to a strong coral shade – La Ravissante (love the name – the Ravishing One). The bright colour perked up my pale complexion and prompted Peter Philips himself to compliment me on the colour – his colour! Not only that, but, considering that it’s a matte lipstick, it’s much creamier than you’d expect. Oh, and it lasts extremely well.

La Ravissante is one of eight shades of Rouge Allure Velvet (£23.50 each) – the model in the picture is wearing La Fascinante, teamed with the new Le Vernis in Pirate (£18) which I’ve been hooked on since the summer. I also love the Rose Cache shade which was launched at the same time.  

I was wearing my La Ravissante  on Monday when I went to hear the great jazz singer Carol Kidd playing a duo concert. It was just as well I popped backstage to say hello, as she had left her lipstick at home – and asked if she could borrow one. Check out the results – and the fact that the same shade looks completely different on the more tanned Ms Kidd.

Here’s a wee clip of Carol Kidd and her guitarist Nigel Clark (oh, and La Ravissante!) in action last Monday, singing one of Style Matters readers’ favourite songs – well, it does come from Breakfast at Tiffany’s…


I’m loving my Diorskin Forever but it’s not the only foundation that has recently seduced me: Shiseido Perfect Refining Foundation (£32; for stockists, call 020-7313 4774) is another lovely new one which has a great shade for my pale skin, and provides impressive coverage and a natural look.

Not only that but it has skincare properties -and comes in a lovely art deco bottle..

And if you’re interested in experimenting with new looks but are put off by the idea of having your make-up done in a department store, check out Shiseido’s Magic Mirror, a virtual make-up application that allows you to try colours without anything touching your face. It’s touring round the country just now – currently in Jenners in Edinburgh, until October 19. To find out when it’s coming to a counter near you, call 020-7313 4774. 


After being quite unwell on Wednesday, I was really short on sleep on Thursday – and had a girls’ night out to get ready for, to celebrate my friend Siobhan’s birthday. It seemed the perfect time to dig out the Clarins Skin-Smoothing Eye Mask (£28.99; which I’ve been using intermittently for the last month or so.

I have to confess: I don’t find this sort of eye mask – a cream – nearly as effective as an actual mask that you lay on the skin round your eyes. (Chanel, why did you discontinue yours?!) I wouldn’t say it makes my eyes feel particularly refreshed but it does produce a tightening sensation and perks up the old peepers. Next time I have a hangover, I’ll give it another shot – that’s the big test!


The eye cream I’m most enjoying using on a day-to-day basis came into its own on Friday when I was even more sleep-deprived .. Estee Lauder Resilience Lift Firming/Sculpting Eye Creme (£40;  is one of the latest products at the Lauder counter and it really does brighten the eye area as it’s a sort of iridescent cream – though one that you use night and day. I can’t say I’ve noticed any particular improvement in the firmness of the skin around my eyes – yet – but it’s a lovely eye cream with the bonus of meaning you can skip using a highlighter when you look tired ….

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