Tag Archives: Glasgow Jazz Festival

My Week in Beauty


If there’s one thing I can bear less and less well as I get older it’s being kept dangling when it comes to arrangements – and being at the mercy of other, more laidback, folks’ timetables (or their habit of confirming rendez-vous at the last minute). I’m always waiting for people to get back to me in my work; I can’t stand it happening in my personal life as well..

By Friday night, I had recovered from a stressful week work-wise, and was feeling in control of my weekend plans – when I received a text telling me that the main focus of my weekend plans was under threat. By the time I finally learned that the get-together was cancelled, I felt stressed-out and I was upset at how upset the unexpected change of plan had made me.. There was only one thing for it (well, three, if you count the double G ‘n’ T): a long soak in the tub with the lavender-scented Aveda Stress Fix Bath Salts (£29; www.aveda.co.uk), which help to calm and relax and are part of a new range of body products from the American beauty company. Indeed, so therapeutic was the bathtime experience that I carried the Aveda Stress Fix Concentrate (£21) – a rollerball oil with the same soothing scent – around in my handbag for the rest of the week.


It’s totally irrelevant to my beauty journal – though I could tell you exactly what make-up I was wearing at the time (Clarins eyeshadow, Guerlain eyeliner, Clinique mascara, Dior foundation and lipstick, Benefit blusher – see?) – but I met Tony Bennett on Monday.  Well, I accosted him and his wife in the street… I had been propping up the bar in Rogano (drinking coffee, I should point out), when I turned round to find
a dapper old gent in a powder blue suit giving me the once-over. By the time I had registered that it was Tony Bennett, whose concert I was going to review that night, he had gone. I leapt off my bar stool, peeked out into the street and saw him heading off into a busy shopping street.

Having long wanted to meet him – not least because his one-time musical director, the late John Bunch, was a good friend of mine – I sprinted (that’s how it looks in my mind; “galumphed” is probably a more apt description) along a few blocks, caught up with him and breathlessly introduced myself. And, er, that’s the high point of the story. He didn’t say much, didn’t shake my hand and probably thought I was just a nutcase.  Still, these are the chances you have to take sometimes when you’re faced with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity…


Oh dear, an emotional (PMT-fuelled) chat with a very mixed-up friend on Tuesday threatened to make a mess of my new mascara….  Clinique High Impact Extreme Volume Mascara (£17; available from August 1; www.clinique.co.uk).

However, I’m delighted to be able to report that despite a couple of tissues’ worth of tears,  my naturally poker-straight lashes remained beautifully composed (this mascara has a very clever wand, which separates, stretches, bends and lifts the hairs as it coats them)  – though I can’t say the same about my eyeliner. (Or my friend!)

The mascara comes in two shades – Black and Extreme Black (the one I’ve been wearing, which is very glossy and certainly wears well through the day).


I’m big into the blues this summer – royal, cobalt, navy, turquoise, any shade as long as it’s not wishy-washy pastel which wishy-washes out my pale skin. For the first night of  the Glasgow Jazz Festival, on Wednesday, it had to be my new “electric” blue (that’s what the shop assistant called it) top and last summer’s nail polish of choice, Chanel Le Vernis in Pirate (£18), a bold, vampy shade guaranteed to make you feel like a bold vamp – even if you’re feeling more like a washed-out wallflower!


Leave a comment

Filed under Beauty

Jazz Style Icons

It’s all about jazz for me at the moment, in the run-up to the Glasgow Jazz Festival (June 29-July3) and I’ve had to neglect this blog a little  … However, I have – as always – been finding a great deal of style inspiration in jazz –  not so much from the current crop of jazz stars as from the greats of yesteryear. Here’s a selection of some of my favourite style icons, starting, above, with Chet Baker (1929-1988), the James Dean of the jazz world, who wins my style award for services to the white T-shirt .. And below is his one-time band-mate, baritone sax star Gerry Mulligan (1927-1996) who was rarely without a crew cut and Ray-Bans in the 1950s.

Another super-cool jazz musician whose music and style I love is the legendary Lester “Prez” Young (1909-1959), the ethereal-sounding tenor saxophonist who came to fame in Count Basie’s band in the 1930s and made a series of landmark recordings with his friend Billie Holiday. He became a much-feted solo star in the 1950s, and his signature pork-pie hat is as recognisable to jazz fans as Lady Day’s gardenia and Louis Armstrong’s white handkerchief – possibly moreso. So indelibly linked are the Prez and his pork pie hat that Herman Leonard famously took an evocative portrait of Lester Young without Young in it: the pork-pie hat plus the saxophone (and a swirl of cigarette smoke) were enough to suggest their owner’s presence.

As I mentioned, one of the most identifiable accessories in jazz history was Billie Holiday’s (1915-1959) gardenia – which, for a decade from the late 1930s, was a key part of her look. Legend has it that the first gardenia was pinned on her head to cover a patch of hair which had been singed by tongs. It quickly became her trademark..

I also love the hair style she sported for much of the 1950s – the sleeked-back ponytail. This was how she wore her hair in the landmark TV programme, The Sound of Jazz.

Perhaps more of an all-round style icon was the lovely Lena Horne (1917-2010), a woman with exquisite taste and a sense of elegant style that lasted her whole life.  She was known for her turbans and for her gorgeous evening gowns …

Not all of the great jazz style icons have left us: Annie Ross (born 1930), the 80-year-old pioneering jazz vocalist is still performing (she plays in London next week, at the Bluesfest, and in Glasgow’s Oran Mor on July 8). And I haven’t seen a photo of her looking less than stylish. Check out this beautiful portrait from the 1950s.

And I especially love this one: three of my favourite jazz style icons captured on photo as they record the wonderful album Annie Ross Sings a Song of Mulligan (that’s Chet Baker in the middle). Cool in every sense of the word..

Leave a comment

Filed under Style

My Week in Beauty


I never used to care much for Kate Winslet’s looks, but since she became one of the faces of Lancome, she has really blossomed. Her latest ads are for the new Lancome L’Absolu Nu (£19.50; www.lancome.co.uk) range of lipsticks – and boy, what terrific lipsticks these are. They’re extremely moist, glossy and they miraculously make your pout look fuller.

At first I thought I was imagining that last quality but then I read the press release and it explains how Lancome harnessed the latest advances in optical science to intensify the radiance of the lips and make them really eye-catching, even in the most natural shades. It sounds like hooey but it works…

There are 12 shades of this gorgeous new lipstick – and I want them all! Especially since they are extremely comfortable to wear – even for the driest of lips.


New eyeshadows have been rather thin on the ground recently – it’s all been about the lips, dahling! – so I was desperate to get my hands on the new Estee Lauder DoubleWear Stay in Place Shadow Cremes (£15.50; www.esteelauder.co.uk) – although, as someone whose oily eyelids usually don’t hold creme colour for more than five minutes, I didn’t have any great expectations…

However, these are fab: they really do stay in place. My favourite combination is the new limited edition shade of Buttercream (worn all over the eye area), with Smoky Plum to shade in a slightly smoky eye – a lovely day look which I’ve been teaming with the Lancome L’Absolu Nu No.103, a violety-pink shade. Creme eyeshadow? I’m a convert!


I ran out of my favourite toner, Lancome Tonique Douceur, last week and was very wary of experimenting with any new ones as my skin can be on the sensitive side. However, after using the newly re-formulated  Dr Andrew Weil for Origins Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Soothing Treatment Lotion (£23; www.origins.co.uk), I found that my skin felt lovely – and no sign of redness.


The jazz side of my journalistic career doesn’t usually overlap much with the beauty side but my jazz pals and I all had the chance to get glammed up for the swishest event in the jazz calendar (indeed, the swishest jazz event I’ve ever been to!) on Thursday night: a formal fundraiser for the Glasgow Jazz Festival, for which I’ve programmed some movies this year.

It was the exactly the right occasion for me to give the autumn-winter colours from Chanel a first outing – although they don’t go on sale until August 19. The new Chanel Illusions d’Ombre eyeshadows, which shimmer and glisten, and the most bling of the new trio of nail varnishes, Chanel Le Vernis in Peridot, simply scream out to be worn to a fancy do, and since I was wearing a simple long black dress with minimal jewellery, I decided to go for the most dazzling of the Illusions d’Ombres, the gorgeous Epatant shade – a greeny, sea blue which, like the Lauder cremes mentioned earlier, lasts brilliantly. It was so dazzling, in fact, that I felt it distracted from my eyes so I toned it down a little – with some of the coppery eyeshadow from the Dior 5 Golds palette I’m still loving from last year.


And speaking of Dior … it’s launching an exquisite-looking leopard print compact of eyeshadows, the Mitzah Palette, as a limited edition for Selfridges from June 1. Inspired by Christian Dior’s muse, Mitzah Bricard, it has camel, deep brown and nude shades and looks very sophisticated. Sadly, there were no samples for the press … but a bottle of the complementary new limited edition nail colour – Dior Vernis in Camel (£17.50; available exclusively from Selfridges from June 1) did fall into my hot little (hungover) hands on Friday.

It’s a matte shade which is a lovely alternative to the lighter nude shades of earlier in the year. Dior are definitely gaining ground in the nail colour department this summer … this one is tres, tres chic!

1 Comment

Filed under Beauty