Monthly Archives: August 2012

My Week in Beauty: Autumn Serenade

Just when my withdrawal symptoms for my favourite city were starting to subside (thanks to forthcoming trips to St Moritz and Amsterdam), along comes Estee Lauder’s delightful PR, Pip, looking like Audrey Hepburn when she mooched through Montmartre in Funny Face and armed with an i-pad on which to show me a video filmed in (sigh) Paris… The reason? Well, the talented Tom Pecheux, Lauder’s make-up maestro,  has created two new collections of Estee Lauder Pure Color Nail Lacquer (£14.50 each; directly inspired by the multi-faceted appeal of the City of Light at night. Here he explains how the Beyond Black and Metal Mania collections came about.


I can’t wait to get autumnal. And not just in the  nails department.  One of the most appealing of the new fragrances hitting shelves in the next few weeks is a particularly timely choice for the fall: Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay Collection (cologne from £38; is a warm, fresh and slightly fruity unisex scent which can be worn alone or layered – as its creators suggest – with Lime, Basil & Mandarin for added vibrancy.


I realised on Thursday that it was a few weeks since I had started using my new favourite cleanser. Boots Botanics Organic Softening Cleanser (£4.99; is a surprisingly luxurious-feeling and beautiful-smelling (I’m a sucker for products with a geranium scent) cream which removes make-up very quickly and easily and is an absolute snip at £4.99.. It’s part of the newly revamped Botanics skincare collection which was developed in conjunction with the world-famous Kew Royal Botanic Gardens and comprises four different ranges, tailored to specific skin concerns, plus an organic one.


Mother Nature has also come to the rescue of my hair in recent weeks – in the form of the new Ojon Rare Blend Oil Total Hair Therapy (£29; exclusively at QVC in September, then Harrods, John Lewis and Fenwick stores nationwide from October).

This is a cocktail of seven naturally-reparative oils from around the world and it addresses just about every hair concern going. It can tame frizzy and flyaway hair, protect from heat damage, condition, detangle, repair and boost shine. I’ve been using it regularly since I was given it last month and have been very impressed. Even the tiniest drop of it can make a difference when it comes to combing my now-ridiculously long hair (my trip to the salon has been held up – ironically – by my coverage of the Fringe festival in Edinburgh), and it has helped keep my hair in good nick between cuts. Oh, and I like shaking the bottle so the different oils – and colours – blend. The resulting shade is, appropriately, very autumnal.

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Ladies Who Launch

The first beauty event in Glasgow in ages was  a stylish affair which took place in the elegant Hotel du Vin in the West End, and marked the launch of Lancome’s new fragrance, La Vie est Belle.

At a table decorated with beautiful white roses and over an afternoon tea too mouth-watering to resist (half-cupcakes kept landing on my plate as the journalists on either side of me couldn’t face the guilt involved in demolishing a whole one toute seule), Lancome’s chic new PR Holly introduced this grown-up gourmand fragrance to us.  When she mentioned the word “gourmand”, my heart sank as the term usually connotes sickly, heady fragrances of the Angel variety. La Vie est Belle, however, is more sophisticated, with the gourmand note – although much in evidence – tempered by fleshy iris, jasmine and orange blossom as well as sparkling fruity top notes, and a patchouli heart.

Of course, the fact that it’s not a fragrance designed for first-timers is underlined by the choice of poster girls: the luminous Julia Roberts, a fortysomething mother-of-three.  At the launch we were given a preview of the advert which Roberts has filmed for La Vie est Belle – and it shows her as a self-assured, sexy woman completely at ease with herself and exuding a confidence which many of us find when we turn 40.

In the ad, her character – a picture of health and radiance with flowing locks, a sparkling, pale-coloured gown and no accessories – surveys the scene at a chic Parisian party. Miserable-looking women and men – all dressed in black – pout moodily and are bound by glistening, diamond chains. Roberts breaks free of the shimmering shackles and, beaming that famous toothpaste grin, heads for the freedom and fresh air. Actually, she climbs a little staircase towards the open window – and it did seem to me, for a split second as she smiled and looked back,  that she might jump…  But I think that was just my twisted mind. (I hope!)

Anyway, you can see this striking ad for yourself when it hits TV and YouTube screens on September 1 – it certainly made an impression on me. (Indeed, I’m describing all this from memory as I haven’t been able to re-view the advert.) As has the fragrance which I plan to give to an Angel-worshipping friend in need of reminding that life is, indeed, full of beauty and hope.

* La Vie est Belle (£56 for the 50ml eau de parfum) is currently available in Frasers, Glasgow and nationwide from September 1.

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My Beautiful Summer

Dior’s autumn collection, Golden Jungle

You may suppose that I’ve been having a fabulously relaxing holiday somewhere exotic, given my absence from the blog for over a month. But.. this has actually turned out to be the busiest period work-wise of the year so far – a whirlwind of jazz previews, reviews, Edinburgh Festival Fringe coverage, meetings with beauty PRs and, of course, a spot of socialising.. It’s been a challenge to keep the signs of over-indulgence, under-sleeping and working round the clock at bay – and to keep my skin hydrated and healthy. This year I was assisted by two new products – Clarins HydraQuench Intensive Serum Bi-Phase (£40; and Clarins Hydraquench Cream Gel (£46) – which counter dehydration.  I kept my skin thoroughly exfoliated with the heavenly scented and soothing Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel (£28.60) and,  since I had a long-overdue catch-up with the lovely Chloe from Origins & Ojon (over one of my few proper lunches of the Edinburgh Jazz Festival week), the new Origins  Plantscription Anti-aging Eye Cream (£35;  and Origins Plantscription Anti-aging Concealer (£16) have been in charge of tackling the signs of tiredness.

The Scottish Jazz Awards, easily most glamorous event of the jazz calendar, took place on the eve of the Edinburgh Jazz Festival – and as I was a presenter, I felt I had to make an extra effort, squeeze myself into my slinkiest dress and pull out all the stops on the make-up front. As it turned out, I only arrived in Edinburgh (“fresh” from the family holiday at the rain-swept seaside) around an hour before the pre-awards reception so all plans for a leisurely make-up session went out the window and I only had time for a simple eye make-up with a statement lipstick.

This was the moment that YSL Rouge Pur Couture Vernis a Levres (£22.50;  came to the rescue – and my addiction to it really took hold. I’ve been faithful to three of them ever since – Corail Aquatique (no7); Rouge Gouache (no11) and Corail Fauve (no12). And I should point out that I don’t do gloss: this is an altogether more chic and practical way to sport shiny lips. My other beauty appointment mid-jazz fest was with Melissa from Tom Ford Beauty who treated me to a sneak preview of the autumn/winter look which Mr F has created. Strong, jewel colours are to the fore once more and if it hadn’t been a surprisingly glorious sunshiney day when I saw the new collection, I would have been praying for an early winter so I could start wearing them in earnest. I’m already looking for opportunities to wear the vibrant new season Tom Ford Lip Color in Aphrodisiac (price TBC).

The new Dior colour collection, Golden Jungle (pictured above), arrived just as I was embarking on my second reviewing campaign of the summer: of the Edinburgh Fringe. And I’m already hooked on the Dior 5 Couleurs Designer in Khaki Design (£40). It’s been a revelation. I am now a convert to green eyeshadow, as it looks absolutely fantastic with blue eyes. It’s going to be difficult to wean myself off this palette and on to the other autumn ones that are starting to arrive through my letter box.

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