Monthly Archives: January 2013

Back to Basics

Bath picSo, the last ten days have been spent managing my dodgy back. This has involved – at the start of the bout of back pain – an embarrassing amount of bad TV (who knew an addiction to the Real Housewives TV series was a side-effect of painkillers?) watched from a prostrate position, and then the challenges of trying to negotiate things like washing very long hair while in the bath as I couldn’t manage to do it any other way without help.  That took me straight back to childhood.

Still, the hair-washing challenges did inspire me to try a hair product that I’ve been meaning to experiment with for a while.  DHC After Bath Hair Emulsion ( £12; is a light cream, infused with nourishing olive oil, which is a godsend for coloured hair prone to split ends and dryness. Often, leave-in conditioners can weigh down fine hair like mine but I have nothing negative to report about this fab product which leaves locks looking luscious and feeling lovely. Oh, actually there is one negative aspect: the bottle! Pink and phallic – like some sort of retro vibrator.. kind of sticks out like a sore, erm, thumb on one’s bathroom shelf ..

Thankfully, I was fit to leave the settee – and to quit the Real Housewives, for one afternoon anyway – to keep an appointment at the PURE Spa at the Silverburn shopping mall, on Glasgow’s southside, for an Silverburn_0499_(Small)Elemis facial. I’ve passed this discreetly located spa – it’s upstairs in the shopping centre, on the floor between the shops and the car park – many times but never been inside. However, I shall definitely be back as it’s so handy, and was such a pleasurable experience. Who knew that behind its shop front there was such a vast space dedicated to relaxation, beauty and pampering?

PURE Spa – which also has outposts in Edinburgh, Leith and Aberdeen – offers a wide range of spa treatments as well as all the basics of beauty upkeep. I had an Elemis Pro-Collagen Quartz Lift Facial ( £79 for 75 minutes), the first full-length Elemis facial I’ve had in ages  – I’ve only had the very effective Power Booster facials (which last 45 minutes) in recent times.  Super-relaxing, and including two masks plus a terrific, toxin-draining and tightening, massage, the Pro-Collagen Quartz Lift Facial was just what the doctor ordered.  Tension evaporated as my therapist, Siobhan, administered a neck, shoulder and scalp massage – and my chilling-out session continued afterwards in the large, cocoon-like, relaxation room.

My back may be feeling much better now but hair-washing is still a challenge. I’ve now graduated to  doing it over the sink a la Ginger Rogers:

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Passport to Paradise

le_monde_interiors_&_hotel_rooms_selection-1104I’m behind with my blog, having put my back out last Thursday, the morning after my elegant dinner at The Caledonian to mark the launch of the AERIN range by Aerin Lauder. I wasn’t staying in the Caley (that’s still on my to-do list) but a hop, skip and a stagger away at the opulent but contemporary Le Monde hotel.

It may have been only my second overnight stay at this luxurious boutique hotel – but there is a white leather, high booth in the downstairs bar that I have regarded as my Edinburgh office since the city’s jazz festival in July so I do feel very at home there.

At Le Monde, every room is a destination. On checking in, guests are presented with their “passport” and details of the city to which they’re being sent for the night. Last time, I was in Milan, a chic, spacious,  dark-walled room with striking, wall-length photos of supermodels – opposite, rather disconcertingly, a full-length mirror! And it had a bathroom, with waterfall shower, to die for.

Last week at Le Monde, I found myself in another city I’ve never visited before: Los Angeles.  This suite had a wall of black and white photos of movie star portraits, a Hollywood mirror with lightbulbs down each side – the kind Miss Piggy had in her dressing room – and a TV viewing area with a comfy white leather settee that would have made the perfect casting couch (had I had company). All that was missing was an Oscar statuette or two. The vibe was, as I saw it, 1970s LA. I could imagine Faye Dunaway lounging around in one of the white towelling robes a la her iconic Terry O’Neill “morning after” portrait.

And as for the bathroom, well, it made me feel wholly inadequate. Why? Because it was wasted on the solo bather … The circular bath had insets for three people – was it designed for one of Hugh Hefner’s Playboy parties, I wondered? – and a TV screen (one of three in the suite) on the wall beside it, at eye level. Still, at least I didn’t have to share the gorgeous-smelling Temple Spa goodies with anyone else ..

* Le Monde, 16 George Street, Edinburgh (0131 270 3900)

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Hot (Pink) off the Press

Aerin LauderLast night, I travelled to Edinburgh for  what I knew would be an especially elegant dinner at the newly revamped Caledonian Hotel to celebrate the launch of AERIN, the beauty and lifestyle range created by Aerin Lauder of the famous beauty dynasty. (She is the grand-daughter of the legendary Estee.)

The table of the private dining room upstairs at “The Caley”, next to the sumptuous new Pompadour restaurant, was covered with little round vases of tiny peony roses of all shades of pink, from blush – which is clearly Aerin Lauder’s signature colour – through to a shocking, fuschia. Flowers loom large in the AERIN philosophy: not only has the packaging (especially of the spring colour collection) been inspired by them, but every AERIN product is infused with a unique floral scent.

AERIN reflects Ms Lauder’s own, very personal, take on beauty. The 42-year-old mother exudes a very natural and relaxed style and says: “With my own life as inspiration, I created a collection that makes beauty effortless, stylish and easy.” She believes in “paring beauty down to the essentials with the most impact” and describes herself as “the ultimate beauty editor” .

Thus, we were introduced to the basic, core collection of exquisitely packaged (blush pink and battered gold) AERIN Essentials (pictured below) – “a carefully edited selection of products I simply can’t live without” – which comprises just the seven staples of the Aerin Lauder cosmetics regime: Brush Essentials (£120 for five brushes in a dinky, AERIN patterned, make-up bag), Pretty Bronze Illuminating Powder (£34), Fresh Skin Compact Make-up (£37 ), Multi-Color for Lips and Cheeks (£30), Rose Lip Conditioner (£20), Rose Hand and Body Cream (£36) and Essential Make-up Bag (£38).

The range – which will, in time, broaden out to include lifestyle products – launched in America and in London last autumn, but it will be rolled out in selected John Lewis stores (for stockists, call 0870 034 2566) across the UK from February 1. And it will be joined by the limited edition spring colour collection, A Garden in Bloom.475500_Essentials_v9.psd


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The January Heebie Jeebies

KobalBlah. This festive season has been mostly about germs. Trying to avoid them, failing, cancelling Christmas celebrations due to unwell offspring, having to bail out of the re-scheduled celebrations because the germs had finally got me… So much for the glamour and glitz of Christmas present.

I’m finally starting to feel ready to face 2013 – with a little help from a crack team of products with guaranteed perk-me-up qualities, and a clutch of lovely events and relaxing treatments to look forward to …

Guerlain Orchidee Imperiale* Before the onslaught of festive germs, I was using Guerlain Orchidee Imperiale (£TBC) along with Guerlain Super-Aqua Serum (£TBC) and
my skin was looking at its very best. These are among the very best skincare items I’ve ever tried;  guaranteed to boost radiance and hydration, and counter the signs of ageing – and the results always seem to generate compliments.  And, having found the facials I’ve enjoyed over the years at the Guerlain Institut in Paris to be the creme de la creme, I am beyond thrilled that the first British outpost of the spa has opened in Edinburgh, at the newly revamped Caledonian Hotel. Can’t wait to try it out – the thought of it is making me feel better already!

Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask* At the Clinique Christmas dinner in mid-December, we journalists were all given a preview tube of Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask (£28; and it has proved a lifesaver in recent weeks, especially latterly when – following several days in bed – my skin was feeling terribly neglected and dehydrated. Not only does this lovely, luxurious cream deliver a dose of moisture to thirsty skin, but it also soothes, calms and softens. You might find your face sticking to the pillow a bit during the night, but the results – smooth, bright, comfortable and rehydrated skin – are most definitely worth it. I think the Clinique girls popped it in our goodie bags so we could use it to counter the effects of any hangovers after a fabulous dinner that was fuelled by French Martinis, champagne, red wine and liqueurs!

* Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner (£24.50; is great for an instant complexion pick-me-up, especially if you’re short of time and/or can’t be bothered doing the whole exfoliation scrub drill.

* Elemis Eyes-Awake Recovery Gel (£37.50; is fab for both making the eyes feel awake – and making them look the part too. It’s especially effective if you store it in the fridge. My only quibble is that far too much comes out in each pump – and it’s pricey stuff!

Chanel Le Vernis in Fracas* Chanel Le Vernis in Fracas (£18; available from January 18). Okay, it’s not complexion-improving skincare but a bright, spring shade of nail varnish is bound to bring a smile to the face – and a blast of colour is a boost for the mood on these grey January days. This pretty, sunny pink – a sibling to my favourite polish of last year, the gorgeous coral shade Distraction – is the cheeriest of the new trio of Chanel polishes being launched in the company’s new, and very feminine, Les Printemps Precieux de Chanel spring collection.

Of course, adding some colour to your cheeks will immediately bring your skin to life again – and the Chanel spring collection includes an apricot shade of blusher, Chanel Joues Contraste in Frivole (£31), which will do just that.

And if none of the above blasts the January blues/lurgy away, then get a load of this:


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