A Christmas Curiosity

Shop window 1I don’t know about you but I love what we Glaswegians (or maybe it’s just my mum and I) call a good “guddle” around the shops. Not all shops, but shops which have interesting items to look at, especially when they’re presented in imaginative and attractive ways. The place to go for a good guddle in my hometown of Glasgow at the moment is The Curiosity Shop, a pop-up boutique on Hyndland Street (next door to the famous Rio Cafe).
Shop window 2The shop window reminds me a little of the warm and inviting one that a shivering Tiny Tim stared into in A Christmas Carol – and certainly the Curiosity Shop has been like a little beacon of good cheer during the cold and wet weather of the last few weeks. It’s the brain child of three go-get-’em Glaswegians – Jill Rodger, Jennifer McGlone (owner of The Braw Wee Emporium) and Sally Reid – who each specialise in selling quite different types of items, which all work very well together. My friend Jill is the vintage queen who has a particular eye for homewards, especially from the 1970s.Shop potsI have a bit of a vested interest in The Curiosity Shop because Jill is selling some of the pieces from my vintage jewellery collection which is long overdue a bit of a cull – my Christmas brooch  habit has been needing to be addressed for some time!Shop 2And it’s not only my love of classic costume jewellery and accessories that The Curiosity Shop appeals to; I was also rather taken with some cool – and very affordable – necklaces by Florence Box which, at £6 each, are potential stocking-fillers.

 

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My talented sister-in-law, Akiko, got loads of requests for her exquisite felt Christmas decorations a few years ago, when my pals spotted them on my Christmas tree. You’ll find her cute creations (shades of Dick Bruna, I think!) in The Curiosity Shop too.

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And if you’re looking for gifts for The Curiosity Shop is it is the first Glasgow stockist of the lovely new Ermana range of natural skincare – beautiful, preservative-free oils, creams and lotions made here in Scotland – which sits alongside handmade soaps by A Pony Called Steve. As a fan of old movies and movie style, I am very taken with the gorgeous Deco Girl lightshades which could be just the job for my new boudoir..Curiosity 10

Curiosity 11Anyway, the shop is gorgeous to look at so enough of my words, here are some more pix to tempt you. Curiosity 7

 

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Festive Noir

Chanel Rouge Noir model shotThis year’s Christmas collection from Chanel is as glamorous as ever but it has a dark twist. The Rouge Noir Absolument collection has been inspired by the classic, vampy Rouge Noir nail varnish, which celebrated its 20th birthday recently and was one of the biggest beauty stories of its era. I remember vividly writing a story for The Herald about it when news broke that this dinky little bottle of inky, blackish-red polish had a waiting list in the UK. I only got my hands on mine because I went on a press trip to Copenhagen where there were still a few bottles left!

Rouge Noir was originally inspired by a colour mentioned as a favourite of Coco Chanel in a 1926 magazine article, and this new collection puts the deep Chanel Rouge Noir Signe Particuliergarnet shade centre stage, with a number of roses, pinks and golds in supporting roles so you can release the inner vamp or temper her with softer, prettier shades. Highlights of the collection include the Signé Particulier Exclusive Creation (£44), an eyeshadow quartet which revolves around the matte Rouge Noir shade; a beautiful highlighting powder, Joues Contraste Lumiere 12 Coups de Minuit (£31), in a pearlised rose-gold shade, and of course the gorgeous new trio of nail varnishes  (£18 each) – the original Rouge Noir shade, plus brand new Le Top Coat Lamé Rouge Noir, a transparent top coat with gold flecks, and the delicate Rose Fusion shade.

I popped along to the Chanel counter in Fraser, in Glasgow, last week for a Rouge Noir makeover (scroll down to see my pix from the day). Late morning is probably not the best time of day to go noir, but it was worth doing as my make-up artist, Megan, gave me some great idea about how to wear the Rouge Noir collection. I particularly loved the eye palette, which was enhanced by the new Rouge Noir shades of the Ombre d’Illusion cream eye colour (£25 ) and Le Volume Mascara (£25).

  • For stockists call 020 7493 3836Chanel Rouge Noir nails

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A 1950s Christmas Carol

Carol 2Yesterday I was at a press screening of the most gorgeous-looking film I’ve seen this year. Carol is its title, and it was directed by Todd Haynes – who also directed the similarly ravishing-looking Far From Heaven back in 2002. To be honest, I wasn’t really convinced by the characters or gripped by the plot but I was utterly seduced by the autumnal palette, slightly grainy film and – most of all – the  way the two central characters, socialite Carol (Cate Blanchett) and young department store clerk Therese (Rooney Mara), looked. (Scroll to the end of this post for more images plus trailer.) Anyone who loves and appreciates 1950s style and beauty, as I do, will not be able to take their eyes off the screen!

The plot centred on the love affair between these two women – and it was a bit like watching Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn (in Sabrina – pre-Paris transformation) getting together. They both look amazing in clothes designed by costume designing legend Sandy Powell: Blanchett sports chic suits or fitted dresses with silk scarves and elegant jewellery, tidy little hats and a ubiquitous mink, while Mara wears simpler, gamine gear. (Indeed, the pinafore-turtle neck combo she sports for Christmas in the country is a direct lift from Sabrina.)

In an interview earlier this year, Blanchett said: “The mink was old and it kept falling apart. Between takes, Sandy Powell  the costume designer, would sew it back together by hand. I considered changing coats, but when you find the right thing, you know immediately. That coat was the one to tell Carol’s story. It was perfect.”Carol 6

Just as perfect and every bit as striking was the make-up look created for Blanchett by her regular movie make-up artist Morag Ross, who told the MakeUp411 website: “The character of Carol Aird was a sophisticated, wealthy woman, so the make-up and hair had to reflect that. As was the norm of the period, she was always made-up and lipsticked, always put-together and elegant when in public. When the two women go on their road trip the look became more relaxed and free.

“Cate’s look really came together with the immaculate and stunning hairdressing by Kay Georgiou. We took our inspiration from period photos of Grace Kelly who, of course, always seemed effortlessly elegant and beautiful, and we made our aim to channel that kind of look and feeling.” Carol’s coral-red lips, says Ross, were painted with Chanel’s Rouge Allure Lipsticks in Coromandel and Incandescente (used on the middle of the lower lip), while her nails, throughout the film, sport the Lilis shade of Chanel Le Vernis.

And Blanchett’s verdict on her make-up also referred back to Chanel. She said: “I had to pluck my eyebrows nearly every day to achieve that very stern look. I just hated it. I much prefer a natural approach to beauty. You know, Coco Chanel always said to take one thing off before you leave the house, and I think that also applies to makeup.”

Carol is in cinemas from November 27Carol 4

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Black Velvet

Max Factor Velvet mascaraFancy having flutterable lashes with extra va-va-voom? Then get along to a Max Factor counter near you and treat yourself to the latest magic mascara wand from the company which invented them. Max Factor’s new False Lash Effect Velvet Volume Mascara (£11.99) features the brand’s latest innovation – its “Lavish Volume brush” – plus a revolutionary new mousse formula.

Why do we need another addition to the already bewildering array of mascaras on offer, you might ask? Well, because Max Factor has designed this one in Max Factor False Lash Effect Velvet Volume Mascararesponse to research which found that while women love the full lash look, many of them can’t stand the volumising mascaras already out there because they feel they leave lashes looking stiff and feeling brittle.

With its gentle, mousse texture – the formula has been blended with natural beeswax – False Lash Effect Velvet Volume is kinder to lashes and adds volume in one fell swipe. My verdict? I loved the mega-lashes look and their intense blackness, and liked the softness of the mascara but, sadly, it turned out (unlike my existing favourite Max Factor mascara, False Lash Effect Clump Defy Extensions) to leave smudges under my eyes after a few hours’ wear.

 

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Luxe Lips on a Budget

Bourjois Rouge Edition AquaAll hail my latest beauty hero! Bourjois Rouge Edition Aqua Laque (£8.99) may have been around for a few months but it took me till now to stumble across it in Superdrug while on a quest to find something to replace a much-loved and much-missed lip lacquer which I can’t really justify splashing my cash on…

When I fell in love with YSL Rouge Pur Couture Vernis a Levres back in 2012, a tube cost £22.50; now the price tag is £26 – and I’m afraid I just can’t help but think that that much of an increase smacks of greed. Of course, I might have been tempted to part with the asking price – and kept the lip shine for special occasions – had I not discovered the beautiful Bourjois equivalent and taken a chance on it. (A no-brainer especially just now, when Superdrug is offering 3-for-2 across all its beauty brands!) It was a miracle that in the coral-pink Appechissant shade (right) I found a pretty close substitute for the gorgeous Corail Aquatique colour that served me well across several adventures in 2012, and was always complimented.YSL Rouge Pur Couture Vernis a Levres Glossy Stain

I’m happy to report that the Rouge Edition Aqua Laque was a big hit on its first outing on Sunday. What do I love about it (and the YSL)? Well, the flattering colour which can be used to soften a darker shade, the high shine and the complete absence of any stickiness (this is not a gloss, and I am not a gloss wearer!). As someone who won’t be doing the matte lip thing this winter, I am hoping that Bourjois add some more shades to the current existing sextet. And that they don’t hike the price up by £3.50!

 

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A Little Noir for the Soir

Tom Ford Noir faceYou can rely on Tom Ford to confound cosmetic expectations – and for this party season, he has created a dark and decadent look that is in contrast to the reds and golds and other seasonal shades we normally see at Christmas time.

The Noir Color Collection – available from Monday – was inspired by Ford’s new signature women’s fragrance, Noir Pour Femme, and features the darkest smoky eye, matte nude lips and vampy black nails. I’d say it was reminiscent of that great beauty icon Morticia Addams, but she would have had to be feeling extra audacious to swap her red lipstick for the pale one that’s key to this look.

It’s not all sombre sophistication, however: there is a playful side to the Noir proceedings too – in the form of the new Lash Tips Mascara, in cobalt or gold, which adds a dash of colour where you might least think of Tom Ford Lip Color in First Timehaving it!

Personally, I’m already rather smitten with the Lip Color Matte in First Time (£42), which is a beautiful, very wearable velvety nude shade – and one which is surprisingly comfortable to wear.

This limited edition collection also comprises Cream & Powder Eye Color  in Night Sky (£50), Eye Defining Pencil (£29), Waterproof Extreme Mascara (£39), Lash Tips Mascara (£35 ) and Nail Lacquer in Black Out (£30).

www.tomford.com

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The Crème That’s Not For Ma Mère

CDLM Renewal Oil High ResGood news for Crème de la Mer fans – or anyone else with the financial resources to fight off the signs of ageing! The cult skincare company this month launches The Renewal Oil (£155), a highly potent and super-versatile elixir which offers a new way to deliver the famous Crème de la Mer “Miracle Broth” – a kelp-based formula which is at the core of every CDLM product – to the skin.

The dual-phase oil, which you have to shake gently before use, contains a liquid blend of sea-sourced nutrients plus the Miracle Broth which rehydrates, helps to lift and claims to plump the skin and soften emerging lines and wrinkles.

It’s not only luxurious (and expensive), it’s also great for using on the body and on hair. I have a tiny bottle and am rationing myself to just a couple of drops at a time – on the old visog, where the anti-ageing assistance is most needed! Gone are the days when I’d ask my mum to test the wrinkle potions….

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Forward Festive Face Planning!

Bourjois Night Lights in ParisI know it’s not yet Hallowe’en, but I thought you might appreciate a heads-up on a gorgeous Christmas cosmetics range which goes on sale today – allowing plenty of time for customers to perfect their party make-up or start filling their daughters’ /sisters’/friends’ stockings. Bourjois’s Night Lights in Paris collection is all about old-fashioned, high octane, glamour – smoky eyes plus classic red lips and nails.

The historic French beauty house has even created a new “night” edition of one of its oldest products, its rice powder – Illuminating Java Rice Powder (£9.99; Bourjois Poudre de Riz openexclusively from www.feelunique.com) is perfect for adding a hint of festive stardust to cheekbones, shoulders and décolleté and comes in a beautiful retro tub.

Choose from two new editions of Bourjois Smoky Stories Quad Eyeshadow (£7.99 each) –  No9 Grey-zy in Love, and No10 Welcome Black – for the eyes. (The model above is wearing No10.) For lips, there is a new shade of Rouge Edition Velvet Lipstick (£8.99), No15 Red-volution, and for nails, paint on a coat of So Laque Ultra Shine Nail Enamel (£5.99) in No22 Rouge Diva, and top it with the sparkly 1 Seconde Nail Enamel (£3.99) in No39 It’s Raining Down.

All products available from Boots and Superdrug stores unless otherwise stated.

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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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