Category Archives: Beauty

Going for Gold

Michael Kors gold fragrancesYou can’t have missed the memo about how rose gold is THE colour of gold to be seen in this year?! Well, here’s a newsflash: it’s also the gold to be smelled in… Confused? Then look no further than your nearest Michael Kors stockist where you’ll find that his perfume interpretation of the pretty pinkish gold metal is as desirable as the inspiration itself. But it’s not the only shade of gold being feted in fragrance.

Michael Kors adores gold – in all its incarnations, so it should come as no surprise that he is celebrating it in fragrance form. “There is nothing sexier than a woman with a beautiful glow after an amazing vacation,” he says.  “And nothing complements that glow better than shimmering gold jewellery and a hint of fragrance that feels just as opulent and glamorous.”

For autumn 2015, he has launched The Gold Collection, three distinctive perfumes (from £39 for 30ml): 24K Brilliant Gold, a romantic fragrance with orange mandarin and voluptuous florals; Rose Radiant Gold, a beguilingly seductive infusion of spices, florals and soft musks, and White Luminous Gold, a sparkling and sexy scent which captivates from its opening burst of pear and jasmine.

For stockists, call 0870 034 2566.

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Miracle on Every High Street

Max Factor Miracle Match foundation model shotApplying my foundation has been a delight rather than a chore lately. Why? Because I discovered the latest foundation Max Factor Miracle Match (£12.99) almost the minute it went on counter. Not only is its hydrating, creamy texture a pleasure to blend onto skin, but it also provides such a natural yet flaw-Max Factor Miracle Matchobscuring finish that it will earn you compliments on how well you look!

The reason for this is that Miracle Match has been developed using a breakthrough formula which blurs imperfections (older ladies rejoice!) thanks to its light-reflecting particles, and contains translucent particles which allow the natural radiance to shine through. The skin is nourished by such conditioning agents as vitamins E and B so it feels comfortable and cosseted. And, as someone who invariably has trouble finding a perfect match for her fair Scottish skin, I love the fact that there is a shade which is ideal for me – the palest one of the 12 available, Light Ivory.

Max Factor Miracle Match is available at Boots and Superdrug stores now.


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A Match Made in No7

No7 makeover 13Last week I finally visited Boots for a No7 Match Made appointment, having been invited ages ago when the much-loved beauty brand began offering the Match Made service for women shopping for foundation. Since then the Match Made service has been extended to lips and cheeks too. The process begins with a discussion about what you need from your foundation –  in my case, good and lasting coverage but with a natural appearance. This led Rose Marie, my cheery consultant, to opt for the Stay Perfect range of foundations. She used a little gadget to take a picture of my skin and calculate which three shades might work. After testing all three, we settled on Cool Vanilla – modelled here, and applied with No7’s foundation brush. Top tip? Don’t dab foundation on the face and then start brushing it all over; instead, squirt some product on to your hand and work from it there. Otherwise, you end up with too much on your face…No7 makeover 1Rose Marie administered Match Made concealer in the same Cool Vanilla shade as the foundation before colour-matching my blusher – the foundation recommendations determine which two blushers will be proposed. I was shown a coral shade and a pink one, Damson Mist, which is what Rose Marie had just applied before the next picture as taken.No7 makeover 3For the eyes, something subtle and delicate – so that the emphasis could be on the lips. I chose the Eyeshadow Trio in Good Earth.No7 makeover 4Here’s the eyes-wide-open photo of the eyeshadow’d look – complete with very baggy under eyes.. Eek!No7 makeover 5After she had worked on defining my eye brows, Rose Marie persuaded me out of my comfort zone by allowing her to use eyeliner under my eyes and not along my upper lash line. She followed this with lashings of Dramatic Lift mascara both above and below the eyes. I really wasn’t very keen on the results, as seen in the next picture. I felt I looked like my eyes were popping out of my head. I’ve never liked how I look with eyeliner under my eyes (maybe some of us just can’t carry it off; I don’t even think – shock, horror – that Princess Diana, the queen of that look, always managed it!).No7 makeover 6Phew, lower eyeliner removed – and Brown Felt Tip Eye Liner applied to eyelid .. and on to trying the list of suggested lipsticks that go with Cool Vanilla complexion. The first choice (not pictured) turned out to be too pink, but this shade, Soft Paprika, from the Moisture Drench collection, was much better.No7 makeover 9Instant Radiance Under Eye Concealer was a must to disguise the eye bags, and to make me look fresher and more awake! No7 makeover 11Powder and a hint of bronzer rounded off the whole experience very nicely. I’d recommend it – the foundation in particular was the perfect match. And my No7 consultant was very patient, and extremely generous with her time. Oh, and we had a good laugh while we were practising my “Ta-dah!” moment… It’s only make-up after all; it should be fun..No7 makeover 10


Make-up used:

Complexion: Airbursh Away Primer (£16.50), Stay Perfect Foundation in Cool Vanilla (£14.50), Match Made Concealer in Cool Vanilla (£7.50), Instant Radiance Under Eye Concealer (£13.50), Powder Blusher in Damson Mist (£9), Perfectly Bronzed Dual Bronzer (£12)

Eyes: Stay Perfect Smoothing & Brightening Eye Base (£7), Stay Perfect Eye Shadow Trio in Good Earth (£9.50), Stay Precise Felt Tip Eye Liner in Brown (£8), Dramatic Lift Mascara in Black (£13.50), Beautiful Eyebrow Sculpting Pencil in Brown (£8)

Lips: Precision Lips Pencil in Rose (£6.75), Moisture Drench Lipstick in Soft Paprika (£9.95)



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Hard as Coloured Nails ..

OPI Nail Envy Strength in Colour CollectionI had the most fabulous manicure recently (details to follow soon) but when I removed the polish a week (a world record for me!) later, my nails had slipped back into their old weak and splitting ways. Thank goodness then for the package that arrived from OPI the next day. It contained a new quartet of varnishes which not only paint but also treat the talons and are targeted at weak nails like mine.

OPI Nail Envy Strength in Colour varnishes (£19.50 each) harness the fortifying power of OPI’s famous Original Nail Envy Nail Strengthener with softly tinted colour in four delicate OPI shades (from left to right) – Pink to Envy (an online exclusive – at, Bubble Bath, Samoan Sand and Hawaiian Orchid.

I love the Samoan Sand shade which provides a very chic and subtle glossy nude finish and matches my pale skin tone perfectly. Watch this space for more colours as they’re launched!

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Chanel Me Beautiful

Chanel makeover 15As the sister-less mother of two boys, and a self-employed writer who works at home and doesn’t see enough of even her closest female pals, an afternoon of girly chat at Frasers in Glasgow was a real treat yesterday. The fact that it was a Chanel-themed chat, while my skin and make-up were being treated to mini-facial and makeover, was a delightful bonus. No wonder I looked happy at the end (above). Here’s how I looked once Megan had applied my base, tidied my brows and applied lip balm.Chanel makeover 1The reason for my visit to Chanel in Frasers was to experience their complimentary “Wear It Your Way” makeover promotion which runs nationwide until October 9. The concept behind Wear It Your Way is the idea that style is all about being individual, and the house of Chanel reckons that in make-up terms that means enhancing your natural beauty, specifically through your choice of foundation finish – whether dewy and fresh or subtly sculpted. Mine was natural but with good coverage especially for my cheeks, which are prone to redness, and my T-zone which gets shiny. (Scroll down for details of all products used.)Chanel makeover 2You shouldn’t waste any time you’re lucky to have with a good professional make-up artist, and Megan is definitely one whose advice is worth listening to – in fact, she is one of Chanel’s top 20 make-up artists in the UK. She showed me how to create a very subtle but flattering look for the eyes using the the limited edition Exclusive Creation Entrelacs palette from the autumn colour collection. Chanel makeover 6When I explained my aversion to eyeliner crayon or pencils and my love of liquid eyeliner (usually the only kind I can trust to stay put), Megan showed me a foolproof method of applying liquid liner – by first pencilling in the line with the Stylo Yeux Waterproof no10, a waterproof crayon. She then took a fine brush and “borrowed” a bit of colour from the tip of the waterproof liner, and used it to extend the line in to the inner corner of each eye – the bit that’s tricky to reach. Finally, the liquid eyeliner Ligne Graphique  – the black, no10, shade – was drawn on. Chanel makeover 7We opted for the new Ecorces shade of the wonderful Le Volume mascara, before choosing a delicate coral shade, Pensive, of the newly reformulated (it is now much better for dry lips) Rouge Allure lipstick, topped with a slick of transparent Gloss Volume. There was no debate about which perfume Megan was going to spritz me with: it had to be my very favourite Chanel fragrance, 31 rue Cambon.Chanel makeover 8My makeover was preceded by a mini facial from Nicola (below) , who – along with the new Ultra Correction Lift Express Firming Mask (£56) – deserves credit for how great my skin looked and felt. Chanel makeover 9Megan finished the makeover by showing me how to intensify the eye make-up, by using the darkest shade of the Entrelacs palette, for more of an evening look. Shame I was only going home to feed the children and watch Corrie!Chanel makeover 10I was delighted with the results which completely fulfilled my remit for the makeover which involved not overloading the eyes which I felt already looked heavy-lidded due to tiredness, and keeping the look natural but lasting. I’m going back for a masterclass in the Christmas colours in November. I hear the new collection is based around the iconic Rouge Noir nail varnish, so I’d better get myself into full femme fatale mode for that appointment – and make sure I am going to a cocktail bar or somewhere suitably noir-ish afterwards!Chanel makeover 14 or 1To see all the new season make-up on proper models, and for tutorials on how to do it yourself, visit For stockists and to find your nearest store for a Wear It Your Way makeover, call 020 7493 3836.

Make-up used:

Complexion: Le Blanc de Chanel primer (£33) to even out skin tone and illuminate the complexion; Perfection Lumiere foundation in Beige Rose (£36) applied with the new 2-in-1 Foundation Brush (£38); the highlighting concealer Perfection Lumiere (no12) under the eyes to brighten the skin and hide lines;  Poudre Universelle no.130 (£36) plus Les Beiges Healthy Glow no30 (£39) added a very subtle hint of sun-kissed colour; Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour Stick no21 (£32).

Eyes: Exclusive Creation Entrelacs (£46), Stylo Yeux Waterproof no10 (£19); Ligne Graphique (£26); Le Volume in Ecorces (£25); Le Sourcil de Chanel (£43)

Lips: Rouge Coco Baume (£25), Le Crayon Levres in Natural, no34 (£17.50); Rouge Allure in Pensive, no162 (£26); Gloss Volume (£26)



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Full Marks for Clarins

Autumn Make-Up day modelClarins‘ Autumn Make-up Collection has really put me in the mood for the new season. A beautiful, compact collection of cosmetics, it boasts as its star buy the Limited Edition “Pretty Day” 5-Colour Eyeshadow Palette (£33), which features beige, pink and shimmering taupe plus matte and shimmering warm browns. I, however, am more smitten by the new Heather shade (pictured below) – a deep mauve – of Ombre Matte eyeshadow (£19).

These little individual pots of cream-to-powder formula (the other new shade for autumn 2015 is Carbon, which is just a bit too dark for me) provide silky, Clarins Ombre Matte 08 Heatherlightweight colour which is very easy to apply and blend, and lasts very well. (I teamed mine with one of the new Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Eye Defining Singles, £20 – the mushroomy Fiery Topaz shade.)

Also in the collection are a trio of new Eyebrow Pencils (£17 each), and two new Crayon Khols (£17 each), in Carbon Black and True Black – to team with the eyeshadows, plus two new shades of Rouge Eclat (£19.50), the nude-ish Tawny Rose and the russet Red Paprika. Clarins is clearly ticking all the autumn colour boxes – and undoubtedly many of the winter ones too!


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Black Orchid Bonanza

TOM FORD Black Orchid EDTIt’s still sunny and mild and not even terribly autumnal yet, but the first sign of winter is sitting here on my desk – in the gorgeous, Art Deco, shape of the latest addition to the Tom Ford fragrance family: Black Orchid Eau de Toilette (out October 5).

Unfortunately, I don’t have a bottle of the original Black Orchid (which was an eau de parfum) sitting on my dressing table so I have to take Tom Ford’s word for it that the new Black Orchid (oops, I nearly abbreviated it there to its initials – then realised that that would be a fragrance faux pas!) is a distinct entity with its own character.

This sibling fragrance offers an immediate hit of the custom-grown Tom Ford Black Orchid which, along with tuberose, is at the heart of this carnal, sophisticated scent. The top note is a sensual blend of black truffle and ylang mixed with fresh bergamot and blackcurrant, while the perfume’s dark and opulent sweetness, enhanced by vanilla, is balanced by patchouli, incense and vetiver.

And then, of course, there’s the bottle. I always think that the white Tom Ford fragrance bottles look like they’d have been at home in Jean Harlow’s boudoir; this black version would be perfect for Joan Crawford’s.

* Prices for Tom Ford Black Orchid eau de toilette start at £45 for 30ml; for stockists call 0870 034 2566.


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