Monthly Archives: February 2015

An Aveda Kind of Sanctuary

A New Kind of Love - massageI was going to use a photo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame to illustrate this piece but thought it might put readers off .. so you’ve got Joanne Woodward in the dated-but-divine looking fashion-themed film A New Kind of Love instead. But why was it Quasimodo with his misshapen face and hunched back that you nearly saw? Well, because I was feeling wretched a couple of weeks ago – a pain in my shoulder and some sort of skin irritation on my face which made my complexion flaky and red.

I may not have had Quasimodo’s problems but I felt miserable. Thank goodness I didn’t cancel my facial and massage at the Aveda spa in James Dun’s House in Glasgow. Instead, I sought Hunchback-style “sanctooooary” there! And, boy, did my therapist Lindsay sort me out. She tailored the facial and body Aveda Enbrightenment rangemassage so that she could tackle the areas that were particularly bothering me. Fusing the Elemental Nature massage with aspects of the deeply relaxing Stress Fix massage, Lindsay worked out the knots in my shoulders and back and made me feel more human than hunchback again.

Given my unusually irritated skin, I was rather nervous about the Elemental Nature facial part of the 90-minute process, and almost skipped it. Afterwards, however, I was relieved that I hadn’t – and that I had placed my dodgy skin in Lindsay’s safe, Aveda-administering hands. She prescribed the Intensive Massage Masque (£42) from the “enbrightenment” range and, I kid you not, it corrected whatever it was that had been causing problems with my skin. Admittedly, before she started, it wasn’t looking as bad as it had the day before, but after the treatment, all signs of irritation had vanished – so I believe it accelerated my skin’s recovery. Put it this way, I now have one at home and it has become a key part of my weekly skincare routine …

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Max Glamour, Min Fuss …

Max Factor smoky eye 3Backstage at the Diane von Furstenberg show last week, Pat McGrath, Max Factor Global Creative Design Director, produced a seductive smoky eye look. She said:  Diane’s theme of seduction sparked ideas of intense, diffused smoky eyes framed with dark, voluptuous lashes; bringing to life a real sense of feminine power, mystery and deep allure.”

Not only is this look super-sexy but it’s also an easy one to achieve. First, Pat created a true nude base by working a smooth, medium coverage foundation into the skin like moisturiser using her fingertips for a perfect, translucent finish. Next, she followed up with concealer to cover any small skin imperfections before adding warmth to models’ complexions with a sweep of gold toned shimmer shadow across the tops of the cheekbones, for a highlighting effect.

To kickstart the smoky eye look, Pat first created the shape using a kohl pencil in black and brown then blended it seamlessly with a charcoal eye shadow shade across the upper lids and along the lower lash line for a deep, diffused effect. She followed that with a layer of black shimmer gel-shadow on top for extra allure, before finishing the eyes with a slick of black mascara applied to the top and bottom lashes for dark, volumised lashes.

Finally, lips remained sheer to ensure eyes were the focus of the look.  Add a small amount of clear lip balm and a touch of concealer to pale out any redness in the lips.

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The Beauty of Bergman

IngridIs there a more radiant screen smile than Ingrid Bergman’s? It lit up the scenes she appeared in, and it is infectious even now when you watch her movies. And what a diverse bunch of films she made – something that’s obvious from the retrospective that the Glasgow Film Festival has put together for this, her centenary year.

Bergman was like a breath of fresh air when she arrived in Hollywood, already a successful actress back home in Sweden. Her natural beauty and the air of vitality and wholesomeness she exuded were in contrast to the heavily made-up glamour pusses who populated Hollywood studios in the early 1940s when Ingrid as Mariaher career took off. Audiences loved her in such hits as Casablanca (1942), Gaslight (1944), The Bells of St Mary’s (1945) and Notorious (1946). Her short cropped, curly hair in For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943) launched a trend, and her androgynous appearance in that film was ahead of its time.

She was also somewhat ahead of her time in her determination to be the master of her own career path, rather than relying on others or waiting to be offered parts. When, in the late 1940s, she saw Rome, Open City she decided to write to its director, Roberto Rossellini, in Italy and tell him that she would like to be considered for a role in one of his films. He offered her a part and she went to Italy to work with him.

They fell in love and, not yet divorced from her husband back in America, Bergman bore him a son – and went on to have more children with him (among them the future model/actress Isabella Rossellini). They were married
by then but the relationship had been an international scandal, with Hollywood horrified by Bergman’s behaviour and the press outraged by it. Even Congress weighed in; she was denounced there as “Hollywood’s apostle of degradation”.

But she went on to win her second Best Actress Oscar (the first was for her brilliant portrayal of a young woman Ingrid in Notoriousbeing driven to the brink of madness in Gaslight) for her “come-back” performance in the title role of Anastasia
(1956), an Oscar that was widely interpreted as evidence of Hollywood forgiving her for her “sins”. In 1974, she won her final Oscar, the Best Supporting Actress statuette, for her turn as the apparently simple Swedish nanny in Murder On the Orient Express. By that time she had been diagnosed with breast cancer, which would kill her eight years – and several more acclaimed performances – later.

* The Glasgow Film Festival runs until March 1


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Goodbye Gaston

Louis & LeslieLouis Jourdan, the dashing Gaston in the ravishing 1958 movie Gigi – a favourite film of every lover of beautiful things, surely? – has died at the age of 93. Click here to tead my obit over on GirlFriday Films.

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The Sweet Smell of Valentine’s Success

Marilyn with hearts

It’s that time of year again, when beauty halls are invaded by well-meaning males of the species congratulating themselves on coming up with the idea of buying their Valentine a bottle of fragrance as a token of their romantic feelings. It’s also that time of year when women receive beautiful bottles of fragrance that they can’t stand, and become quietly disgruntled because they might have to wear the damned perfume just to humour their Valentine. Men, here are my tips on how to avoid such a scenario arising:

1. Don’t buy a fragrance on the spur of the moment – unless your Valentine is with you.

2.  Do your homework. It’s easy: just check her dressing table and note whichever perfume bottle has the least in it. That’s one that she has liked enough to use till it’s almost run out – and she clearly needs a refill. Note the name and buy that one. She will thank you more for something she loves and will use than for something that might end up languishing on her dressing table!

3. Buy the perfume in a department store or fragrance boutique – this will ensure that it is wrapped prettily and shows extra care and attention.

4. Don’t listen to any sales assistant who tries to sell an alternative if they have run out of the perfume you were planning to buy. Go elsewhere.

5. If you haven’t a clue which fragrance she prefers, don’t bother buying one. There’s too much chance of the purchase misfiring. There are probably as many other lovely ways to treat your Valentine as there are shades of grey …


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It Might As Well Be Spring

No7 Mini Eye PaletteYes, it feels as if spring is still a long way off – but that’s all the more reason for treating yourself to some spring make-up goodies, especially ones which don’t tug too hard on the pursestrings. No7’s spring collection fits the bill perfectly.

I am totally hooked on its Mini Eye Palette (£11), which comprises the eight No7 Gel=Look Shine Nail Colour in Coral Crushmost popular shades of No7 eyeshadow, all neutrals, some matte and some shimmery, that can be used wet or dry depending on how dramatic or subtle you want your eye make-up to be.

And if you need something brighter than neutrals to pep your winter days up, the new No7 Gel Look Shine in Coral Crush (£7) is the shade to choose from the two spring colours (Sweet Lilac is the alternative) – especially if, like me, Coral is your favourite choice for summer nails.

Available now from Boots stores and

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Katharine the Great

Katharine HepburnKatharine Hepburn (1907-2003) is the subject of a major retrospective through February and March at the BFI in London. Much as I admire her, I find a little of her goes a long way – but she did appear in some wonderful films during her six-decade career, including several of my all-time favourites. Here’s a list of my top five Katharine Hepburn films from the vast collection screening at the BFI.

1. The Philadelphia Story (1940)
The Philadelphia Story poster 2Who could forget Hepburn as the haughty, ice maiden who has a meltdown on the eve of her society wedding when Spy magazine sends an attractive young reporter (and his photographer girlfriend) to cover her big day, her still-smitten first husband turns up, and she discovers that the high moral standards she imposes on others are occasionally hard to adhere to herself. An Oscar-winning James Stewart (for my money he could have won the award for his drunk scene alone) and an especially charismatic Cary Grant also star in this glorious, sophisticated and very funny classic from director George Cukor.

2. Woman of the Year (1942)Woman of the Year poster

Hepburn plays a famous political newspaper columnist who first spars with then falls in love with her newspaper’s sports editor in this utterly delightful George Stevens romantic comedy which features one of the all-time great comedy sequences, when Hepburn’s gal-about-town character tries to prove that the domestic stuff is as easy as pie, and comes a memorable cropper in the kitchen. Like The Philadelphia Story, this is a particular delight for wardrobe-watchers as Hepburn’s clothes were designed by the great Adrian. And it’s also the first of the nine films that she made with her real-life long-term love, Spencer Tracy.

3. Summertime (1955)

Summertime posterWhile other middle-aged female stars were forced to play bitter and twisted women clinging on to their youth (and their men) – All About Eve, Sunset Boulevard etc – Hepburn gave a wonderful, appealingly vulnerable performance as a “spinster” falling in love for the first time during a holiday in Venice in this beautiful and sensitive film by director David Lean. Neither the 40-something Hepburn nor Venice ever looked lovelier.

4. The African Queen (1951)The African Queen posterJohn Huston’s exciting First World War-set adventure/romance stars Hepburn as a buttoned-up missionary who finds herself (in more ways than one) when she and boozy steamboat captain Humphrey Bogart (who won his only Oscar for his performance) undertake an increasingly dangerous journey downriver, taking on the elements, the river currents and even the Germans at various points.

5. Alice Adams (1935) Alice Adams poster

Despite what the poster says, Hepburn was in fact in her later twenties when she played the awkward young social climber whose compulsive need to put on airs and graces (and force her slightly screwy family to do the same) is her undoing in this gentle comedy from George Stevens. It also starred a young Fred MacMurray, and Hepburn counted it as one of her favourite of her own films.

* Visit for the full programme


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