Tag Archives: The Women

A Touch of Class, A Clink of Glass

Cocktail night - margarita

The Women – the original, 1939, version of course (from which the Style Matters banner photo comes)– is one of my favourite films and it sort of came to life here, at my flat, last week when I hosted a ladies-only cocktail party.

I may have been the only person there who saw the connection with the glittering and stylish 1930s MGM comedy, but I was rather tickled by the similarities – all three of them. There was the pan-generational, all-female cast (excepting my two children and the barman), the classic cocktails being sipped, and the fact that we all had our nails painted by the Cocktail night - Mojitoslovely Margaret – though not the Jungle Red shade that links the ladies in the movie. (Thankfully, unlike the great movie – which I have often referred to as one of Hollywood’s best bitchfests – there was no catty behaviour..)

What made the night so memorable, however, was the presence (in my own hall!) of a well-stocked cocktail bar and a barman well-educated in the sophisticated science of mixology – both thanks to Social and Cocktail, the must-visit website for cocktail devotees, which recently branched out into events.

Cocktail night - Jean

A satisfied customer

For a very reasonable £25 per head, each guest can enjoy five cocktails – chosen by the host. Social and Cocktail offers an impressive and wide-ranging menu which is divided into different sections – dessert cocktails, rum cocktails, vodka cocktails, classic cocktails and non-alcoholic cocktails.

For my Cocktails ‘n’ Cosmetics night, I opted for one non-alcoholic cocktail – the Summer Berry Sling (pronounced “delicious” by all who drank it) – plus three old favourites: French Martinis, Mojitos and Margaritas. And, since I’d never tried them but associated them with black & white movies, Old-Fashioneds, a whisky and orange bitters concoction which was the perfect final cocktail of our soiree.

* Social and Cocktail is currently offering its cocktail evening services in Glasgow and the surrounding areas, but it will soon be available in Edinburgh too. Contact them at info@socialandcocktail.co.uk

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My Week in Beauty


I was going to review a show at the theatre on Tuesday evening but I went looking as if I was heading for a night at the opera – or something equally glam. Why? Because I had had a meeting with Melissa, the chic PR for Tom Ford Beauty, just beforehand – and I’d been treated to a mini-makeover at the TFB counter in Frasers in Glasgow.

Melissa was in town to preview the company’s new colour collection of molten-toned colour inspired, as she explained, by “the beauty of a radiant, bronzed face”.  As a paleface, I wasn’t
sure there would be anything for me in this range, but the four gorgeous Tom Ford Cream Color For Eyes (£28), in metallic shades, were all extremely tempting – and looked as if they would complement blue eyes beautifully. I went to the theatre wearing the shimmering Platinum colour which can be layered for a dramatic look. And you know what, it’s the first cream shadow I’ve used that lasted the pace – it was still in place at bedtime.


Caroline, an Edinburgh-based friend and fellow jazz fan, hosted a dinner party at her new flat last week and invited some of the creme de la creme of the capital’s jazz scene to attend.

I found myself chatting about beauty buys with the singer Angie King. Last time we met, at Christmas, she expressed interest in trying the then-new Lancome serum Visionnaire, and, on Wednesday, I was struck by how luminous and youthful her complexion was. The secret, she revealed, was not Visionnaire (which she had never got round to trying) but Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair (£41; www.esteelauder.co.uk), which she has been using since we last. She would certainly be a great poster girl for this, the mother of all serums.


I’m still searching for a luxurious beauty parlour like Sydney’s (left) – the lavish, Surrealist-style, salon frequented by Ros Russell, Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer and their cohorts in George Cukor’s wonderful 1939 film The Women. But while I’m searching, I’m more than content to have a regular treatments in one of the lovely Clarins Spas. On Wednesday, I had a change of venue: instead of going to the spa in Frasers, in Glasgow, I tried out its sister over in Debenhams. It’s just as attractive as the Frasers one, but a little more contemporary in its design. My Clarins Triactive Facial (from £60) was – as ever – just what the doctor ordered. It’s the perfect blend of results and relaxation: my skin looked energised afterwards, and I was well rested thanks to the thorough face, neck and shoulder massage.


My hair has been feeling tuggy and a little dry at the ends so on Friday, with a few days to go before my hair appointment, I decided it was time to try out a product I’d only put off using because I thought it might be messy (and time-consuming). In fact, Ojon Damage Reverse Restorative Hair Treatment Plus (£16; www.ojon.co.uk) was easy (and not messy) to use.  You simply take a tiny amount of the solid, wax-like balm, warm it in your hands until it becomes an oil and work it through the hair. After 20 minutes you rinse it off. I found my hair’s texture had improved immeasurably, and the effects lasted several days – though, thankfully, the coffee bean-like smell of the product didn’t linger at all!

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My Week in Beauty


I caught up with my beauty therapist pal Margaret on Monday and she reported back to me on the Dior Capture Totale One Essential skin boosting serum (£75) I asked her to try out a while back. This is the anti-ageing serum which Dior launched earlier this year, with promises of “increasing the skin’s ability to repair itself in order to combat all signs of ageing” and of  “increasing the effectiveness of skincare products applied afterwards”.

Margaret’s verdict? “I really enjoyed using it and definitely thought my skin looked more youthful. It’s expensive, given that it lasted only about a month – so is probably only for ladies with a disposable income!” She’s now testing Lancome’s Genefique …


Okay, I know it’s only June – season of sorbet colours and hot pinks – but the autumn/winter cosmetic collections have been arriving and we beauty writers are already experimenting with the shades everyone will be wearing at Christmas..

Last week, the Chanel colours – including their next sure-fire must-have, the pewtery purple shade Paradoxal – arrived, and then, on Tuesday, I received a package containing the already-available Marks & Spencer Perfection Long Wear Nail Lacquers (£7.50 each; www.marksandspencer.com) in Gunmetal and Rainbow (don’t understand that name – it’s silver).

If you want to get a head-start on everyone else, go for the Gunmetal – a glistening metallic grey which looks great on fingernails. The Rainbow shade would be better against more tanned skin than mine but if you feel artistic you could always give yourself a French grey manicure, painting the silvery shade along the tip of the dark grey. It looks fab! Practise now and you could be celebrating Christmas in July – beauty-wise, anyway …


With the hot weather last weekend, I noticed that both of my six-year-old twins had red bags under their eyes after they had been out in the sun – despite having been slathered in Factor 50. The younger boy, 11.41, who is fairer, actually looked quite ill because of it.

So, on Wednesday I set off to find a sun cream that could be used on the sensitive area under the eyes – and the only child-friendly one I could find in Boots was Garnier Ambre Solaire Very High Protection Stick for Sensitive Areas (£8.97; www.superdrug.com) which has turned out to be a great and speedy way of applying sun protection to the whole face.

What was particularly worthwhile about this trip to Boots was the chat I had with the excellent suncare advisor (at the Sauchiehall Street branch in Glasgow). I hadn’t known that almost all sun creams take a good 20 minutes or more to take effect, and that the only ones which are absolutely instantaneous are from the Nivea range. .


And speaking of suncare – or rather sun tans – is what my pals Lizzy, Colette and I were doing when we went out on Thursday. Lizzy is the chief of my department of fake tan testing so when she announced that her new favourite tanning product was a body tint which cost less than a fiver, I took note..

Actually, I’ve got a feeling I gave her this Rimmel Sun Shimmer Instant Tan Bronzing Spray (£3.25) last summer so I was especially pleased to hear it was a hit.  She reported: “It gave me a lovely, even, colour for the night – I got lots of comments about my healthy glow  – and I didn’t wash it off until the shower the next morning.” The only drawback, says Lizzy, was that because of the spray, she had to do the tan in her bathroom – so the ten minutes post-application were spent scrubbing her bath. In the scud!


I went into Debenhams to return a faulty necklace and came out looking like a movie star – though not Roz Russell or Joan Crawford (pictured, below, in the famous department store scene in The Women), alas!  My transformation was thanks  to a lovely girl called Gemma who was manning a new beauty counter – Smashbox.

Smashbox is an American company which was founded by the great-grandsons of a certain Hollywood make-up pioneer called Max Factor. I’m pretty sure it was available in the UK in the mid-1990s but it hasn’t been widely available here for years so we had a bit of catching up to do.

Gemma talked me through the philosophy behind the cosmetics. It’s a professional brand; the make-up has skincare benefits and it’s all about problem-solving. In this case, this meant applying some green primer to my flushed cheeks before the foundation went on. I hope to get to try out some of the products at home soon – as soon as I’ve tracked down the PR – but in the meantime, I may head back to Debenhams soon for another free make0ver!

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Great Movie Hats of the 1930s

I grew up on a diet of old movies and I love to style-watch them – to play at spot the fabulous frock or the ace accessory. Recently I’ve been a bit obsessed with some of the ridiculous – but wonderful – hats that popped up in 1930s films. And they don’t come much more wonderfully ridiculous than Greta Garbo’s in the 1939 comedy Ninotchka.

The Ninotchka hat was much more than a fashion accessory; it was symbolic of the fact that its wearer had succumbed to the romance of Paris and was shaking off the shackles of communism…. Irene Dunne’s crazy black heatgear in the priceless 1937 screwball comedy The Awful Truth, on the other hand, was representative of nothing more than high fashion – though her newly ex-husband (Cary Grant) doesn’t look convinced…

Cary Grant looks much more at ease in the next picture, from the 1938 romantic comedy-drama, Holiday – maybe because he’s just resigned himself to the fact that he’s outnumbered (by Doris Nolan, left, and Katharine Hepburn) on the silly hat front..

I don’t know if Linda Darnell wore this next hat in a movie, but, given that it seems to be Saturn-inspired in design, it’s way ahead of its time: after all, the sci-fi movie genre didn’t take off until the 1950s!

Similarly, I don’t recall ever seeing Ginger Rogers wearing this next natty hat – by celebrated hat designer Lily Dache – in any of her 1930s films. Maybe the stars circling the pointy peak of the hat was too much like Paramount Studios’ logo for RKO’s (her home studio’s) liking..

And finally, my favourite daft hat of the 1930s – worn, as only she could, by the inimitable Rosalind Russell (pictured here with Joan Crawford) in the gloriously funny and stylish 1939 movie The Women..


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