Tag Archives: The Caledonian Hotel

Guerlain Forever

Guerlain pic

A few of my favourite Guerlain things …

It’s 21 years since I first fell in love with the luxurious French beauty company Guerlain. This fact dawned on me last week, as I floated in and out of wakefulness during my first-ever experience of a Guerlain facial in my home country of Scotland – at the recently opened Guerlain Spa in The Caledonian, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel, in Edinburgh.

My first encounters with Guerlain all took place in its home town – of Paris. Back in 1992, I was a student living and working in one of the more upmarket suburbs to the south of the city. Having worked initially as an “assistante” (language assistant) in a lycée, I had decided to stay on for the summer and, having  turned down offers of work at EuroDisney and  The Hard Rock Cafe (both of which would have done my French language skills no good whatsoever), I found a job in the Saint-Germain-en-Laye branch of the costume jewellery shop Agatha.

My friend, Anne-Sophie, was already a Saturday girl there and she helped me land a summer stint as a salesgirl. At the same time, she provided me with a basic education in French beauty rituals…. in particular, her must-have make-up – Guerlain’s Les Meteorites. I had never seen anything like these little shimmering balls of coloured, Parma violet-scented powder, but Anne-Sophie swore by them – and her luminous complexion certainly made Les Meteorites seem like a worthwhile investment.

Once I was aware of Guerlain – brand-aware as the 20-year-olds of today might say – it seemed to become a recurring theme.. My boss, a feisty Spaniard who exuded a sultry sex appeal, always had a bottle of her signature scent, Jardins de Bagatelle, stashed behind the boutique’s counter; my first encounter with fake tan was Terracotta, as used by one of the other girls in the shop; evening strolls along the Champs-Elysees in the summer meant a chance to ogle the elegant Guerlain boutique at no68…. And so on. Guerlain was Paris. And Paris was Guerlain.

The summer after my stint in France ended, I returned to Paris for a holiday, but the year after that, I was working full-time as a journalist and couldn’t get away. In readiness for my first big assignment, I had my first-ever splurge in a department store beauty hall. I don’t remember planning it, but it was probably inevitable that I ended up at the Guerlain counter, buying a coral/red lipstick and matching nail varnish; a purchase which I now look back on as marking a sort of coming-of-age style-wise. It was the moment I started forging my own path – a path that has led me back time and again to Guerlain.

The house of Guerlain marks its 185th anniversary this year so to celebrate that, plus the recent opening of its first UK spa, at The Caledonian Waldorf Astoria in Edinburgh, I’ll be running a series of articles on Guerlain this week – and at the time of the anniversary celebrations, in the autumn.

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The January Heebie Jeebies

KobalBlah. This festive season has been mostly about germs. Trying to avoid them, failing, cancelling Christmas celebrations due to unwell offspring, having to bail out of the re-scheduled celebrations because the germs had finally got me… So much for the glamour and glitz of Christmas present.

I’m finally starting to feel ready to face 2013 – with a little help from a crack team of products with guaranteed perk-me-up qualities, and a clutch of lovely events and relaxing treatments to look forward to …

Guerlain Orchidee Imperiale* Before the onslaught of festive germs, I was using Guerlain Orchidee Imperiale (£TBC) along with Guerlain Super-Aqua Serum (£TBC) and
my skin was looking at its very best. These are among the very best skincare items I’ve ever tried;  guaranteed to boost radiance and hydration, and counter the signs of ageing – and the results always seem to generate compliments.  And, having found the facials I’ve enjoyed over the years at the Guerlain Institut in Paris to be the creme de la creme, I am beyond thrilled that the first British outpost of the spa has opened in Edinburgh, at the newly revamped Caledonian Hotel. Can’t wait to try it out – the thought of it is making me feel better already!

Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask* At the Clinique Christmas dinner in mid-December, we journalists were all given a preview tube of Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask (£28; www.clinique.co.uk) and it has proved a lifesaver in recent weeks, especially latterly when – following several days in bed – my skin was feeling terribly neglected and dehydrated. Not only does this lovely, luxurious cream deliver a dose of moisture to thirsty skin, but it also soothes, calms and softens. You might find your face sticking to the pillow a bit during the night, but the results – smooth, bright, comfortable and rehydrated skin – are most definitely worth it. I think the Clinique girls popped it in our goodie bags so we could use it to counter the effects of any hangovers after a fabulous dinner that was fuelled by French Martinis, champagne, red wine and liqueurs!

* Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner (£24.50; www.clarins.co.uk) is great for an instant complexion pick-me-up, especially if you’re short of time and/or can’t be bothered doing the whole exfoliation scrub drill.

* Elemis Eyes-Awake Recovery Gel (£37.50; www.timetospa.co.uk) is fab for both making the eyes feel awake – and making them look the part too. It’s especially effective if you store it in the fridge. My only quibble is that far too much comes out in each pump – and it’s pricey stuff!

Chanel Le Vernis in Fracas* Chanel Le Vernis in Fracas (£18; available from January 18). Okay, it’s not complexion-improving skincare but a bright, spring shade of nail varnish is bound to bring a smile to the face – and a blast of colour is a boost for the mood on these grey January days. This pretty, sunny pink – a sibling to my favourite polish of last year, the gorgeous coral shade Distraction – is the cheeriest of the new trio of Chanel polishes being launched in the company’s new, and very feminine, Les Printemps Precieux de Chanel spring collection.

Of course, adding some colour to your cheeks will immediately bring your skin to life again – and the Chanel spring collection includes an apricot shade of blusher, Chanel Joues Contraste in Frivole (£31), which will do just that.

And if none of the above blasts the January blues/lurgy away, then get a load of this:


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