Monthly Archives: May 2015

Seeing Red

Tracy's nails 2I’m typing out this post with Tracy Barlow’s nails … For the benefit of non-British readers – or those who aren’t up to speed with their soaps – Tracy is the longest-serving bad girl on Coronation Street. This week, the street’s resident villainess has been plotting revenge on her sister-in-law, and yesterday – in the second of this week’s nightly episodes – we saw her sneak into her intended victim’s flat with murder on her mind.

Anyway, back to the nails which I hope I won’t be biting tonight as fire rips through the apartment building that’s home to several characters. I noticed a few months ago that Tracy – who is brilliantly played by Kate Ford – is never seen these days without red nails, no matter whether she’s on the school run, in the Rimmel Salon Pro in Rock n Rollpub or working in her shop. I’m not sure when it started though I think I remember being surprised by her red nails on her wedding day last autumn. In any case, she (and my obsession with her nails) has taken over from where Spiral’s bad girl left off.

While Spiral’s Josephine Karlsson probably wore an expensive brand of nail varnish, complementing her designer wardrobe, Tracy’s red is altogether more affordable. Coronation Street’s Head of Make-up Elizabeth Armistead tells me: “It’s a Rimmel one – Salon Pro in Mars Red. Kate’s worn red nails and lips for a while – she wanted to wear red and so we found the products for her.”

Kitting Tracy’s nails out in one of the most purse-friendly ranges is genius – since she is a character on a limited budget. But according to Elizabeth, that’s not how the Rimmel connection came about: she asks the actors which ranges suit them and tries to accommodate their preferences. She’s going to have to hit the shops again, however, as Rimmel tell me that Mars Red was a limited edition red and has now been replaced with the equally glossy Rock n Roll, another £4.49 shade designed by that other Kate, Ms Moss. I must say, I’m very impressedSexy Sensation Nail Lacquer-2 with my Salon Pro manicure: I’ve now typed two articles and innumerable emails (and had a bath and washed my hair) and the single coat (it’s a base coat, polish and top coat all rolled into one) I applied early yesterday is holding up beautifully.

I’d say Rock n Roll is just a little deeper, more scarlet than what Tracy has been wearing during her red rampage. So if she is not getting carted off to prison any time soon and is still allowed a nail file, here’s my pick of alternative reds for her manicure. If she wants to further economise, she could try Rimmel’s new 60 Seconds Super Shine range (£2.99 each) in Queen of Tarts, a shade that’s blood red and spot-on name-wise.

For a very similar red to her first choice, she could splash the pawn shop cash on Tom Ford Nail Lacquer in Coral Blame (£26) and if she fancies more of a tomato red that also has a designer tag but is not quite as dear as Tom Ford’s, I’d recommend Michael Kors Nail Lacquer in Sensation (£15.50;

In the meantime, here’s to another non-nail-nibbling viewing session tonight!

* Coronation Street continues at 9pm each night this week on ITV.



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No1 for Eyes

No7 Eyeshadow trioSeven seems to be my lucky number – in eye make-up anyway – this year. First No7 brought out the fabulous “mini” eye palette that I’ve been using continuously since it was launched in February; now it’s followed it with another winner. If the last one was mini, this one is positively bijou.. No7 Stay Perfect Eyeshadow Trio in Tea Party (£9.50) is its name, and a variety of looks – ranging from pretty-in-pink to a smoky, plummy eye – is its game. The rest of the No7 Summer Collection – which includes three new No7 Gel-Look Shines (£7) for nails – ain’t bad either!



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Aveda to the Stress-cue!

Theda BaraI was scouring the net for a photo of a glamorous movie star with a headache – Carole Lombard in Nothing Sacred or Myrna Loy in The Thin Man sprang to mind – and I turned up this pic of silent era vamp Theda Bara whose scowl and pose combine here to remind me of how I feel when I’m stressed-out and tensed-up. The last time I felt like that, I was lucky enough to have an appointment for an Aveda Stress-Fix massage booked – and it sorted me out. But you never know when you’re going to be struck with a stress or tension-induced headache, so it’s not always possible to have a treatment lined up.

Aveda Stress-Fix new additionsThat’s where the at-home collection of Aveda Stress-Fix products comes into its own. This range has been around for a while (the Aveda  Stress-Fix Concentrate, a roll-on oil, has helped keep me on this side of sanity on more than a few occasions) but has now expanded thanks to the launch of Stress-Fix Creme Cleansing Oil (£22), a luxurious body wash which releases the signature, lavender-based, Stress Fix aroma as it’s lathered, and Stress-Fix Composition Oil (£22) which can be used as a bath oil or a massage oil if you’re lucky enough to have your own personal masseur!

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Them There Eyes

Clarins head shotYou know how you sometimes go for beauty treatments and don’t really notice any difference at all – but are thankful anyway, because you were pampered and had a lovely snooze? Well, forget that when it comes to the latest treatment from Clarins

With the new Age-Defying Eyes treatment (£30 for 45 mins), you get the pampering and the snooze (if, like me, you’re prone to dozing off mid-pamper) but what you also get are effects which are visible several days later!

I went to the Clarins Spa in Glasgow’s John Lewis store on Friday, in the hope that the recently launched  Age-Defying Eyes treatment would help improve the appearance of the skin round my eyes which was tired-looking and which has developed some lines over the last couple of years, due – I reckon – to excessive, PMT-induced, crying. I’ve been using, and loving, the new Clarins Super Restorative Total Eye Concentrate (£54) for the last month and this treatment has been designed to tie in with it.

After the cleansing of the eye area, my therapist Leighanne exfoliated the delicate skin around my eyes for what was undoubtedly the first time ever. This helps to brighten the skin and removes dead skin cells so that products are better absorbed. After that, two masks are applied: a cream mask followed by a gel mask which hydrates the skin. The eye area, forehead and scalp were massaged; a particularly beneficial part of the treatment for anyone, like me, who is Clarins Super Restorative Total Eye Concentrateprone to puffy eyes. The process ends with the application of a touch of colour after the appropriate eye cream has been applied.

I must say I didn’t notice an immediate difference in the appearance of my eyes and was bemused rather than convinced by Leighanne’s assertion that the effects might reveal themselves over the next few days. But you know what? On Sunday, I met a friend I had seen earlier in the week. She seemed to be studying my face while I was talking, then pronounced that I was looking great and not at all the knackered specimen I was professing myself to be! And when I looked in the mirror, I saw she was right!

Safe to say: I’ll be back ..

* Click here to find your nearest Clarins Spa.  The number for the Clarins Spa in John Lewis, Glasgow is 0141 354 0417.

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The Beauty Code Breakers

Codage Paris foundersThis Parisian pair are Julien and Amandine Azencott, the brother and sister behind the coolest new French skincare brand on the scene. The Azencotts , who come from a medical family and have both already worked in some of the beauty industry’s biggest brands, created  CODAGE, so-named because it is all about “decoding” individual skincare needs and then providing a formula tailored to suit them.CODAGE serums

Inspired by the apothecaries of the old days, when anyone could walk in and discuss their way of life, needs and issues with an expert – and be provided with a treatment tailored to their requirements – the Azencotts aim to revive the art of service while acknowledging that everyone’s skin is different.

And you don’t have to be able to physically walk up to a CODAGE Paris counter or salon to be able to benefit from the range and to be able to start practising its three-step ritual of prepare, act, protect. You can get a prescription online for a bespoke serum or you can buy one of the nine ready-made serums which have been formulated to cater to specific skin types identified by CODAGE. It’s also possible to buy a month’s worth of samples whether you’re going down the tailor-made or ready-to-wear route – check out the CODAGE Paris website for details, watch out for it on QVC or visit Fenwick or Selfridges in London.

I’ve been using one of a set of samples built around Serum No3 – for Radiance and Energy – and am a CODAGE convert, having loved the feel and results from the day and night creams and the serum in particular.



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Clinique’s Pop Lip Culture

Clinique Color Pop group shotClinique counters are exploding with colour this spring – and I for one plan to raid them as bright colour is the only antidote to the miserable wet weather we’re experiencing this week in Scotland. The reason for this colour explosion is the introduction of the new Pop Lip Colour + Primer collection – 16 shades of beautiful lipstick (£16 each) which not only provide long-lasting colour but also condition and moisturise the lips.

There are five or six nude/neutral shades (I love Melon Pop, a pale coral which evokes Audrey Hepburn’s lipstick in Breakfast at Tiffany’s to this movie-mad beauty buff) but it’s the eye-popping bright colours – Punch Pop, Cherry Pop and Poppy Pop – especially which smack of summer. Oh, and the squared, coloured tubes are pretty gorgeous too..

Visit the Clinique website to read about the fab #LipPic competition in which participants post pix of their Pop Lip-painted lips for a chance to star in a Pop Lip advertising campaign. Now, after “3”, say “Cheese”!

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