Sunday, 29 March 2009

Byzantium Burn Baby Burn

Couple of weeks ago I went to see the sumptuous Byzantium 330-1453 exhibition at the Royal academy with my husband and my old university roommate who now has a PHD in the Byzantine Empire (and also has a heavy metal rock band). The empire spanned across Venice, Istanbul and Greece and as a result the artefacts were mind blowing. I loved the jewellery, which wouldn’t look out of place in Browns today. As I walked around I revelled in all the gold bling from religious icons and this rather impressive silver gilded perfume brazier in the shape of a domed building from the 12th century. Fragrance such as incense would have been burnt in the brazier in a highly ritualized and religious way and I find it fascinating how people throughout history have shown their reverence for God using all five senses including the sense of smell.

Fragrance is a very powerful phenomenon as it taps into memory and your emotional well- being and it was only a few years ago I realised how much I loved the fragrance world and how much it means to me. Certain fragrances can put me in a foul mood (overt Bergamot / orange blossom if you want to know) while others leave me feeling happy and chilled.

I went to a Catholic girl school and adore Calvin Klein’s Man on my husband and surprise, surprise one of the key ingredients is incense. Pushing aside any weird Catholic guilt I realised I love incense, especially on my man, as it taps into my warm, fuzzy, serene and safe emotions. On me I love big, sexy oriental fragrances and white flowers such as tuberose, jasmine and gardenia, which brings out the vamp in me. I love Annick Goutal’s Gardenia Passion and Le Jasmin for their sensual bouquets.

To lock in happy memories on my wedding day I wore L’Artisan Parfumeur’s La Chasse aux Papillions a fresh floral, which is laced with linden flower and tuberose. I also made sure the reception room was filled with Diptyque Tuberose candles to make my wedding reception feel more like a fabulous 18th century boudoir, which I loved. Everytime I smell tuberose it whisks me right back to that day. That’s the thing about fabulous fragrance, it has the ability to carry you away and take you on a spiritual journey.

Monday, 23 March 2009


I am always on a mission to find the perfect pinky nude gloss for my dark skin tone. Lots of pinks are too warm toned, light or don’t have enough pigment in them and looks washed out on my lips. However, my current favourites which have made their way into my handbag (a very hallowed place) are NARS All night Long, which is a fabulous dusky raspberry pink and Bobbi Brown’s Aubergine lip gloss, which contains lip softening avocado, jojoba and aloe extracts.

On my search I have recently turned to Prescriptives Custom Blend Lip Gloss, a bespoke service where you can create your very own colour. The service was only available in Selfridges but has now gone Nationwide.

The thought of creating my very own gloss from scratch was too exciting and I wasn’t disappointed. The Prescriptive’s make up artist Andrew created my holy grail of nude pink (opaque, deep pigments and with blue tones with a smidge of warmth) by skilfully mixing an array of shades and even laced the gloss with a berry flavour. Now I have my very own piece of heaven in a tube and my lips are loving it.

Monday, 16 March 2009


I am not a red lipstick kind of girl (nude shades are more my style) but I do love red when it comes to my nails. Revlon have been famous for their reds for decades and Valentine is a delicious, decadent rich red Marilyn Monroe would be proud of. Until recently it was only available in the US but my cries for this perfect red polish along with other beauty editors meant it was brought over to the UK. It looks good on all skin tones and will leave you feeling like a lady.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Mischa and Me

Last Thursday I was lucky enough to be invited to attend a small cocktail party with Mischa Barton at the Soho hotel in her room. Mischa was in town to present at the P & G beauty and grooming awards (I was honoured to be nominated at the prestigious ceremony). As the new ambassador for Herbal Essences her hair was looking fabulous as it was styled by the amazing celebrity stylist Ben Cooke and she loves the hello hydration shampoo and conditioner.

She was warm, fun and cool and a fountain of knowledge. We talked about her favourite stores in LA she loves ‘The Way We Wore’ for vintage and LA is apparently great for getting teak and Moroccan furniture! It was great to meet her and she brought some OC sunshine to old London town.

Monday, 9 March 2009

It's a Kinda Magic

This week has been a whirlwind of deadlines and late nights. As a result my skin has had a bit of a freak out. In times like these I have 3 face masks I turn to magically get my skin back in shape. One of my favourites is Ole Henriksen’s Blue/Black Berry Enzyme mask, which is as delicious as it sounds. The berries act as brilliant skin brighteners and a healthy dose of lavender is skin soothing and calming.

I also rely on Dermalogica’s Multi-Vitamin Power Recovery Masque, which is packed full of vitamin A and C and plumps and reduces inflammation. I slather it on while typing in the early hours of the morning and by the next day, it looks as if I have spent a couple of weeks in a spa in Switzerland.

The scud missile of masks is Kiehl’s Soothing Gel Masque- I only whip it out when I have been a little over enthusiastic with a muslin cloth, I have had a dodgy facial or my skin is dehydrated after a long haul flight. The chamomile, dandelion and green tea extracts hydrates and softens the skin. This mask is so amazing, once my husband accidentally poured hot tea on his chest and I slathered the gel on and the blazing redness went down and didn’t leave a mark! With these masks you too can have a cupboard full of tricks.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Am I my hair?

I have just discovered the amazing song by India Arie ‘I am not my hair’, which really struck a cord with me.

I don’t think it’s an accident that when my hair looks fierce- it’s a good day. In my time I have had every hairstyle known to womankind. I have had braids, a Jheri curl perm (think Shirley Temple), a weave Naomi Campbell would be proud of and I even shaved all my hair off once (I wasn’t doing a Britney- it was due to a botched chemical job). Bad hair days are a reality and when it comes to reading a woman’s emotional state of mind, a good place to start is by looking at the top of her head.

One friend years ago after breaking up with a bad boy had all her long hair cut off, which ended up looking like a homage to Joan of Arc. 24 hours and 3 boxes of Kleenex later, she splashed out on hundreds of pounds worth of extensions to get the same length and style back. When it comes to a lady’s hair all bets are off.

When it comes to my hair today nothing makes me feel more fabulous than a blow-dry and there are a handful of people in London I trust to deal with my thick, rebellious, afro hair.

One of the best stylists I have ever met is now one of my good friends Paulette Blake, tel, 07723340911. She is based in Manchester but my polite stalking and hysterical cries along with those of many other London girls, means she comes to London every 2 months to see her loyal fans and chemically relaxes my hair.

Angela Mitchell at MichealJohn is another blow-dry Queen and I see her for regular blow- dries and treatments, which has meant my hair has never looked healthier.

My days of being a hair slut are well and truly behind me. Anyone looking for a power blow-dry, which will last should see the magician Chris at Daniel Hersheson at Harvey Nichols, after he finishes with your hair it looks like you’re walking around with a wind machine in your pocket. I also think Giles at John Frieda at the Alford Street salon is really talented and makes you look catwalk ready even if you are just going home to watch Corrie.

Am I my hair? No, but I can’t deny my hair is a part of me and my well-being and I will be seeing you blow -dry genius’ again soon.
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