Monthly Archives: October 2013

Tom Ford’s Stocking Fillers

Tom_Ford_Jasmin_Rouge_Collection_2013Over a lovely lunch in the Monaco private dining room of The Blythswood Square in Glasgow last week, local journalists were introduced to a breath-taking array of new collections from Tom Ford Beauty, including the new Grooming range, the gents’ Tom Ford Noir fragrance range, various jaw-droppingly impressive Christmas box sets of lipsticks and nail varnishes, and this gorgeous quartet of reds – the Jasmin Rouge 2013 Colour Collection.

I may have gone along with my nails suitably attired in the classic Carnal Red shade (it’s a pillar box red, but that doesn’t sound as Tom Ford-esque as Carnal Red!)  of Nail Lacquer, but I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the Jasmin Rouge Colour Collection which contained the new pairings of cherry shades – the Nail Lacquer in the shimmery Trophy Wife, pictured bottom left, and the Vampire Kiss Lip Color (bottom right) – and the brick red Shameless Nail Lacquer and the Rouge Fatal shade of Lip Color. The new cosmetics were designed to complement the Jasmin Rouge perfume, which is described as “daringly feminine”, with spiced floral notes.

I must say, I’m having a bit of a love affair with Tom Ford Nail Lacquer just now: I applied the Carnal Red at the front door just before dashing to the lunch, and was very struck by how well designed the slender brush is for quick, easy, mess-free use – and how well it lasted.

* Lip Colors in Rouge Fatal and Vampire Kiss (£36 each); Nail Lacquers in Shameless and Trophy Wife (£26 each); Jasmin Rouge (from £140 for 50ml).

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Tartan Chic

heatherbwJust as I was thinking about planning an elegant little cocktail party for St Andrew’s night, what should land in my mail box but a brochure for Beretk!Ah, a range of elegant, vintage-inspired designer headwear and hair accessories. And the new season collection that immediately caught my Scottish eye was the Tartan Tribute one, which includes this chic number… For more information, and to view the rest of the collection, visit

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Christmas, PURE Spa Style

PURE SpaI think I might be tempted to do all my Christmas shopping this year at the Silverburn shopping mall. Why? Well, not because it has the most fabulous selection of shops (it hasn’t – hello, a book shop or big newsagent’s would be handy) but because tucked away between the ground floor shops and the upstairs car park – though visible if you glance up between bouts of window shopping – is the wonderful PURE Spa.

When I went along to the PURE Spa’s Christmas preview evening recently, it was just my second visit to the spa – and I vowed that I would be back more often. It really is a bit of a hidden gem. From the outside, and even on first impressions inside, it’s not remotely as sumptuous and luxurious as a hotel spa, but once you get into the relaxation room and the treatment cabins, it’s a different story. It’s a bit of a Mr Benn-style experience: you go into the changing/locker room, get robe’d up and step into a cocooning chill-out zone – all dimmed lights, comfy reclined chairs and soft music. I could quite happily take up residence. Which is not something I thought the last time I visited a five-star spa – where “chilled-out” could have referred to the temperature as I shivered through the treatment and the relaxation periods before and after it.

At the Christmas gift preview event, beauty bloggers (and their mothers) were treated to a choice of treatment. I opted for a back massage and, by jingo, it was the best, most thorough back massage I’ve had in yonks. Lynn, the therapist, worked wonders in a mere 20 minutes. The spa has a terrific range of treatments, some of which which can be purchased online, along with products – from top British brands Elemis, REN and nail care experts Leighton Denny – and an impressive selection of gift packages. My Christmas wishlist already includes the Busy Mum (£75), which comprises a hot stone body massage and Elemis facial, the PURE Spa Essentials Experience (£99), in which you mix and match three therapies from a choice of facials, massages and complementary therapies, and the Top-to-Toe Spa Package (great value at £65 off-peak offer and at £79), which includes an infa-red sauna detox, PURE Spa foot ritual, hot stone back massage, Elemis booster spa facial and a foot nourishing treatment.

Ideally, however, I’d quite like to just check in to the PURE Spa from now until December 24. (And leave Santa to sort out everyone else’s presents.)

* Visit or call the PURE Spas in Aberdeen (01224 211639), Glasgow (0141 881 7770), Edinburgh (0131 221 9133) and Leith (0131 561 1320).

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Hairspray Heaven & Hell

Elnett Satin Unfragranced HairsprayLadies! Do not make the same mistake I did when it comes to hairspray… As someone who loves her favourite perfume and wants to only smell of Chanel, I am a devotee of that rare – possibly endangered – species of hairspray known as “unfragranced”. There aren’t many around, and L’Oreal’s Elnett Satin version seems to be remarkably difficult to come by, especially in my preferred handbag size. I’m telling you all this to justify why I have spent the last six weeks sporting a helmet-like quiff: unable to find the L’Oreal Elnett Satin Unfragranced I was looking for, I bought Boots Firm Hold Hairspray  which is also sans scent.

It may only have cost £1.65 – but, boy, have I paid a price for it. It’s a nightmare. I know it’s called Firm Hold, and that’s no exaggeration. One scoosh and forget running your (or his) fingers, let alone a brush, comb or any other implement through it. For days. Stick your Boots Firm Hold-sprayed coiffeur under the shower and it only starts to budge once you’re on to the final stages of the conditioner course. I feared I had done my hair some damage by using this hellish hairspray on a daily basis these last few weeks but Colin O’Rilley, hairdresser extraordinaire at the James Dun’s House salon in Glasgow, who tended to my tendrils today, assures me it’s not as bad as I feared. That said, he did send me straight to a larger branch of Boots than I’d checked for a while, and lo! I found a large tin of the L’Oreal (at £4.20) . Not exactly handbag size but, hey ho, I can start toting a Mary Poppins-style hold-all….

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A Trio of Beauty Heroes

Le Jour La Nuit Le Weekend de ChanelOften, in the course of operating as a beauty journalist, I get mildly – occasionally wildly – excited by a new product, only to abandon it when the next big thing comes along. Fickle? Well only up to a point. And that point is when I realise that I’m seeing results beyond the initial, inevitable quick fix effect. The reason for explaining all this is that I’m approaching the end of my summer of serums, the serums Le Jour, La Nuit, Le Weekend de Chanel –  which I started back in June – to be precise. And, as occasionally happens, I’m not ready to give them up without a fight – or at least without a reliable replacement because my skin has undoubtedly benefitted both in terms of appearance and how it feels.

The concept behind the trio of serums may have seemed a little gimmicky –  “re-setting”  the skin’s clock by giving the skin what it needs at the right time of day, and even the right time of the week – but it’s worked for me. I’m particularly smitten with the Nuit one which is extremely nourishing and smells gorgeous. I initially found that the Jour, which has the consistency of a runny gel, left my skin still feeling dehydrated so I used it in conjunction with my Chanel Hydra Beauty Serum for the first six weeks or so.

Each serum – one to be used in the morning, one to be used at night, and one to be used at the weekend – is quite different, and the ingredients have been determined by the pace of life and the natural rhythms in the skin. The idea is to “re-set” the skin’s clock: Chanel’s research boffins have discovered that most women’s skin has lost the notion of time – biological rhythms which used to be synchronised aren’t, because the pace of modern life gives no rest to skin.

Chanel has identified four aspects that together define what they call “exceptional skin quality” – luminosity (reflection of the light), plumped appearance, smooth surface and even complexion. And these new serums have been designed to meet the needs of “desynchronised” skin that is lacking these qualities. So, Le Jour – whose role is to “reactivate” the skin – contains a jasmine extract that kickstarts the cells in the complexion, and salicylic acid which gently exfoliates the skin, producing a radiant effect. La Nuit – whose role is to “recharge” – soothes the skin, thanks to a Frankincense extract, and uses hyaluronic acid to plump it up.

They are expensive so I asked top London facialist Sarah Chapman, who had roadtested the range before I got my hands on it, if there were any advantages to be had from just using one of them – and if so, which one?  Her answer was “yes” – Le Weekend.

Indeed, Le Weekend is the most intriguing of the trio. Its role, say the Chanel scientists, is to “renew” the skin and “reset all counters back to zero”. Sarah explains: “At the weekend, you would put aside other serums and use this morning and evening. It uses a gentle glycolic acid to exfoliate and renew and rebalance the skin’s PH. After using it, your skin should look clearer and brighter and feel smoother, but it is also balanced and therefore ready to protect itself during the busy week ahead.”

While some serums are worth using as a short, intensive course every now and then, when the skin needs pepping up, Le Jour, La Nuit & Le Weekend de Chanel are designed to be used continuously as the results are ongoing. I’ve been using mine for over a month and can testify to the smoothness and increased radiance of the skin – and, as someone in her forties who is concerned about the effects on he complexion of ageing, it’s a nice feeling to know that, as the Stones said, “time is on my side”, rather than being my enemy.

* Le Jour de Chanel (£60), La Nuit de Chanel (£60) and Le Weekend de Chanel (£72) are all in shops now, and are also available in a coffret (£172). For stockist information, call 020-7493 3836.

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