Category Archives: Beauty

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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Spiralling Nail Problems

Josephine - Spiral 1There’s so much to love about Spiral, the gritty and utterly compelling French crime series. There’s the sexy cops, Paris, the sexy lawyers, the apartments, the sexy suspects – oh, and Josephine Karlsson’s hair. The red hair of the fiercely ambitious, morally questionable Maitre Karlsson (Audrey Fleurot) has been a talking point since series 1, and has undoubtedly inspired a rise in sales of red hair tints. In series 5, currently showing of a Saturday evening on BBC4 here in the UK, Josephine’s carrot-coloured locks have darkened – and seem to be darkening by the episode, which is undoubtedly symbolic …

What has struck me more in this series than Josephine’s subtly changing hair shade is the fact that she is never seen without blood red talons. I don’t remember noticing this in previous seasons of the programme, when she was more ruthless. I wonder if it’s a style statement about the character who defies the conventions (not least the rule about redheads not wearing red) in all areas of her life, or if the actress has the same problem as I (and a couple of friends)
have been having over the last year with dodgy nails which only look respectable when painted?No7 Strength and Grow Treatment

Which brings me to the latest way I’ve been tackling my nail problem: the new No7 Nail Care and Treatments range from Boots. So far, I’ve been very impressed with the results from using No7 Cuticle Oil (£8) and No7 Nail Strength & Grow Treatment (£8),  a twice-weekly treatment that you rub into the nails then rinse off before applying No7 Ridge Filling Base (£8). The last product in the quartet is No7 Cleanse & Prime (£8) which is a leave-on primer which conditions the nails and is designed to be used before the base coat. It removes any remaining trace of your previous polish – ideal if you’ve going from Josephine-style red to a more innocent-looking shade……

* Available from Boots stores nationwide and from


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Fragrant Fingers

Elemis Jasmine & Rose Hand Cream“Try before you buy” may not be a mantra usually applied to hand cream, but I would definitely counsel it as far as the latest launch from Elemis is concerned. Well, maybe not “try before you buy” as much as “smell before you spend”… Why? Because Elemis Jasmine and Rose Hand and Nail Cream (£18; available in March) has a very powerful floral fragrance which is most definitely not to everybody’s taste – least of all (unfortunately) mine, especially as I like to use hand creams at bedtime and I usually like how they smell. I love the rich but readily absorbed texture and it feels extremely nourishing – thanks to its combination of omega-rich oils – but I’m afraid I just don’t want to go to bed with it.

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Paris, je t’aime ..

Chanel Reverie Parisienne model shot 2Ooh-la-la, check out the spring collection from Chanel. Magnifique, n’est -ce pas? Inspired by the city of light, it’s entitled Reverie Parisienne and is just the job for brightening up a dull January day. The colours of Paris when its parks and squares blossom in springtime are translated into a palette that takes in pale metallic green, deep pink and dusky lilac for nails, vibrant corals and pinks for lips and coppers and rosewoods for eyes.

The limited edition Blush Camélia Rosé (£36) not only looks exquisite in its compact (the two shades of pink powder are embossed with tiny camellias), but adds a lovely glow to the cheeks.

Chanel Reverie ParisiennePictured above are the Les 4 Ombres (Multi-Effect Quadra Eyeshadow) in Tissé Paris (£40); Le Vernis in Desirio (£18) and Rouge Allure lipstick in Badine (£26). The collection is available from Friday, January 23 at Chanel counters nationwide, including House of Fraser stores.

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Intensive Skin Care

Aveda Botanical Kinetics Intense Hydrating creamsNew year, new skincare regime? If your skin is suffering from dehydration or dryness – and whose isn’t by this stage of the winter? – then check out Botanical Kinetics, a new mini skincare collection from Aveda. Two new moisturisers plus an eye cream make up the range which has been created around a plant energy complex which supports natural energy production in skin cells and harnesses the energy of plants to stimulate the skin’s natural hydrators, helping cells to absorb moisture instantly and retain it for 24 hours. Intense Hydrating Soft Creme (£40) is a light, easy-to-wear moisturiser, for morning and evening use, which suits all skin types. I’ve taken to wearing it as a day cream, as the texture works well for my combination skin and my make-up sits nicely on it. Intense Hydrating Rich Creme (£40) is a heavier proposition, designed for drier skins. I’ve been using it at night, but imagine that it would make a dry skin feel protected as well as moisturised if worn during the day. Also just out is Botanical Kinetics Energizing Eye Creme (£35), a lightweight creme developed with sufferers from dark circles and puffiness in mind. Available at Aveda counters, salons and spas nationwide, and from

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No Common or Garden Collection

Clarins Garden Escape imageIf you’re in need of an antidote to the miserable weather, look no further than Clarins’ spring collection, Garden Escape, which goes on counter today. A fresh and pretty range, it will not only boost your spirits but also give your possibly dull winter complexion a boost of radiance. With colours inspired by nature, there is something for everyone in this bijou collection which includes a beautiful 6 Colour Eye Palette (£32), featuring greens, pinks and beiges in different finishes, and a gorgeous new blusher, Blush Prodige in Sweet Rose (£26), which is guaranteed to give your skin a healthy glow.

Lips that haven’t quite survived the winter intact are especially well catered for in this spring collection. Choose from the brand new Instant Light Lip Balm Perfectors (£18 each) – six delicately coloured, lipstick-style balms – or the limited edition Instant Light Lip Comfort Oils (£18 each; available in two colours), or two new shades of Joli Rouge Brilliant Sheer Shine Lipsticks (£19 each).

* Available at Clarins counters nationwide and from and

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