Forget the slicks of oily sheen and super-extended sweeps on this season’s runway and think ‘classic’ smoky eyes for Christmas. Bobbi Brown Old Hollywood Eye Palette has all the matte basics for a perfect, simple, foundation smoky eye anyone can master. Gorgeous, rich metals add glamour and all you need is a steady hand, a few practice runs and really good brushes – I don’t need to tell you the one that comes with the palette is just for show.

riri mac holiday red
We’ve all had Rihanna ‘what were you thinking?’ moments but never about her lipstick choices. No surprise then that she’s back with MAC for Christmas 2013 with about the best red lip anywhere this party season. Lots of depth and lusciousness, Riri © MAC Holiday Lipstick in RiRi Woo is destined to sell out as soon as it hits counters on December 5th. Find it at Selfridges, but be quick.

elegant touch garnet nails
In a perfect world, Christmas would be organised by elves and we’d be sitting about drumming our perfect nails just waiting for the big day itself. But in case that’s not your life, Elegant Touch UV Gel Technology Nails are the best cheat I know to fill in until ‘manicure’ moves further up your festive To-Do-List. Don’t be tempted to go for novelty – if you can resist a Reindeer Sweater you can resist Reindeer Nails – stay strictly polished, short and bright.

It’s the traditional season of the ‘Up-Do’, but don’t if you wouldn’t normally. This season’s low-ponytails convert perfectly for parties with a little bit more sleek and less casual in the construction. And if you need something more formal but not anywhere close to fussy, slick the ponytail part into a low chignon – easy.

Black crystal is everywhere from clutches and watches to ladylike heels. And, while ponies are cute and fine for hair, they’re definitely not the theme for festive shoes this year: go as high as you can, slim heel, no platform and just a hint of perfectly polished toes. These Balenciaga beauties are very covetable but it’s a high price tag for party shoes and there are lots of less costly, gorgeously crystalline alternatives about this Christmas.

lanvin floral crystal cuff
If crystal shoes are too much like commitment, try adding a touch of black and shiny to your wrists instead. I love this Lanvin cuff from Net-a-Porter but as long as you think: stand-out, statement and definitely not ‘skinny bangle’, you’ll find plenty of bracelets about that are just as glamorous.

I’m back with a monthly post from now on so if there’s anything you’d like to hear more about or want to know or need to say, get in touch and I’ll get right back to you. Have a great Christmas – and don’t forget to be good to yourself too!



Fashion legend (anything that happened more than 5 minutes ago) claims that online shopping killed white. Before you jump to the obvious conclusion that maxing out all our cards late at night on made us too poor to wear the fave hue of the rich and idle, think about any online shots you’ve ever seen of white clothes…….thinking? Yep, as a colour its online repro is rubbish. But, ‘death of white’ like most legends, is a combo of a little bit of truth and a whole of lot of complete nonsense. This summer white’s everywhere – proving conclusively that human beings have imagination and can work out what a plain, white shirt is going to look like without a detailed visual aid.

And ‘plain’ is pretty much the keyword when it comes to white (along with caution and detail).

shirt and dress
Seems like a lot of fashion editors this year had a hall pass when it was being explained that ‘sack tied in the middle’ wasn’t a compliment. There are more all-white dresses around at the moment than you can shake a little sticky hand covered in chocolate at. But proceed with caution. There are also a lot of draw string waists and hips – unless you’re standing completely still with the Parthenon in the background and accessorising with Laurel Leaves, don’t! Same goes for the (admittedly not so many) super fitted white dresses around, can’t think what this would work for unless you’re the type of person who likes to upstage brides at weddings.

You want to go shift and then you kill two looks with one deft, seamless move: 60’s and white but you don’t look toga or too beachy and the mix of clean shape and colour balances out the perennial white problem of looking just a little bit try-too-hard.

Basic starter thought for me on this one goes to Cos (H & M’s less confused little sister). Simple, white cotton, just above the knee, straight A and understated panel detail in front.

Oh how I love me a sleeveless, totally plain white shirt in summer. Buttoned up it looks fresh and preppy, open it’s got that slightly NY street photographer thing going and no fussy sleeves so sits and stays cool under a cardi or blazer (just to protect from all that relentless UK sun obviously).

Basic starter here is Joseph’s pure white crepe de chine with shell buttons and sweet, raw sleeve edge.

That’s Nice the capital of the Côte d’Azur not nice the blah adjective and the place that springs straight into my mind when I think of white jeans. Don’t get me wrong, I like white jeans in principal and they pretty much say summer in all their many shapes and forms, but the one thing they should never say is ‘Hello, I spend all day walking along the Promenade des Anglais and I am never troubled by thinking’. Classic jean styling (doesn’t matter what fit you’re going for think detail) is essential. And toughen it up a bit with great statement shoes (think bold if you’re going for heels and cropped with some of this summer’s really cute white brogue styles).

Basic to think about is Michael Kors’ white skinny jeans from The Outnet, classic styling and Kors luxe.


Don’t do ruffles (even if you’re getting married don’t do ruffles). Exception is a single, asymmetric pleat on an otherwise impeccably plain Miu-Miu white, sleeveless shirt.

Statement white sandals like Sam Edelman, cork soled and silver heeled from

White toenails (go for bright white for a 60’s look with lightly tanned and perfectly smooth toes or opt for a pearly, blush white that’s just the right side of transparent).

And if you’re buying white online, use your imagination and get free return postage.

main photo c. Musee Louvre (detail)


Busy family Sunday yesterday, running around after my three girls, catching up on homework, making sure everything was ready for Monday morning, having a bit of fun, sorting out ‘sister’ stuff …. all the working mum things we know and love (sometimes).

The UK Vogue Festival was running under my radar a lot of this weekend too: Twitter gems from Michael Kors (bone dry funny as per), Mario Testino talking about his weight loss (250 grams apparently), Natalie Massenet on everything Net-a-Porter and Victoria Beckham still has four children (I was sure I’d heard that somewhere). Got me thinking. Did I want full on glamour with hand massages and Dior goodie bags at Vogue? Or did I want to be makeup free mum and expert on trench warfare? Well a bit of both (WW1 comes up in conversation more than you’d think).

Here are five fast fixes for some instant glamour and a quick hit of that ‘I’m still gorgeous after all’ feeling everyone needs from time to time – even La Beckham, or so she claims.

1. New Clinique Chubby Sticks for Eyes
chubby eyes
Really does work slick of smooth, instant colour for eyelids, updated smokey eye for spring/summer, metallics for swift glam and subtle for sun-kissed definition. No creasing, long-lasting, colour building controllable and 12 shades.

2. Clinique Chubby Sticks for Lips
chubby lips
All lip looks (grown up and serious, 60’s, beachy summer etc.) in controllable, easy to use crayons. Not so new but tried, tested and addictive. Street photographer and voice of style reason Garance Doré admits to prowling NY’s late night chemists when her Chubby Stick runs out

3. Soap and Glory ‘One Heck of a Blot’
soap and glory
I’ve got this in my personal and professional kit permanently now. Soaks up shiny but still leaves skin velvety and no nasty powdery residue. Slightly colour correcting and soothing too.

4. Illamasqua ‘Paranormal’ Séance UV Nail Varnish
Illamasqua have just released the Paranormal range and this rich, intense purple nail colour is a real glamour essential for those ‘binary maths’ homework’ moments.

5. Egyptian Magic Cream
I love this packaging and the cream is a great go-to solutions for all sorts of stuff from skin soothing to hair taming and eyebrow grooming.

cream and varnish

May’s mantra is ‘can’t compromise, won’t compromise’. My five favourites might not sort everything but think of it like a work in progress, get in touch and share your own fixes.


brigitte bardot

Where do you stand on stripes?

st. tropez 3

Well if nothing would make you happier than spending days cycling on the cypress lined roads of La France in a matelot jersey (sans les oignons) or tripping around 24/7 in a Petit Bateau onesie, this spring is the one you’ve been waiting for.

swimmies 1.

Stripes are everywhere on everything and everyone. And the good news is, even if you hate the things there’s a soothing solution to stripes to calm all but the very worst phobias this season.

marni 1

philip lim 1

Will you wear stripes? Or will you stay inside till September? Just remember ‘Terms and Conditions Apply’ – don’t go all out stripey it’s too Dr Seuss; horizontal widens; vertical narrows; and always, always, always go for perfect fit.

And if you’re still feeling the fear, get in touch, together we can get through it.


matte velvet No. 32 la ravissante

The M’s have it this month: Marathons, Mad Men and Matte Lipstick.
Well I’m sticking with yoga but hat’s off to the 36,000 who’ll be lining up this Sunday for the London Marathon – Green Park will never have looked so good! Betty with brown ‘helmet’ hair and Peggy in knee socks makes me a bit nervous about the Mad Men frenzy at the moment so I’m hoping it’s Megan’s 60’s ‘free spirit luxe’ influence that rubs off this season – that and Joanie’s v. grown up, classic red, matte mouth.
My recommendation for perfect matte red is Chanel Matte Velvet No. 32 La Ravissante and here are my 5 top tips to make matte lips work – because it’s really easy to get it wrong. Matte for 2013 is lush, seductive and serious not dull, flat and dated.


  1. Exfoliate your lips – DIY with some granulated brown sugar in a little liquid honey, gently work into lips at night as part of your routine and you’ll be matte ready in no time.
  2. Moisturise – whatever lip balm you use now just double the dosage, good old Vaseline Lip Therapy works wonderfully.
  3. Use a lip liner – once your lips are in great condition the trick to good matte is keeping it all in one place. Use lip liner in the same shade as your lipstick, line the contour of your mouth and then fill your lip too. This gives your matte lip a great base and it means you get strong shape without a nasty, hard outline.
  4. Use a lip brush – in my Mad Men fantasy world I can just whip out my pristine lipstick and slick it on. But on planet reality the perfect matte mouth is precise and that means a good Lip Brush. Not only do you get a neat finish, you can colour build so you have the density and richness that are matte essentials.
  5. Concealer trick – bleeding and feathering at the edge of your lips will kill your matte look instantly. Prevent any possibility and lightly blend the tiniest bit of concealer (with a brush) round your lip line – defines your finished mouth and fixes your matte lip for longer.


I love a strong, red lip but if it’s not your colour there are plenty of alternatives with the same matte signature. Choose pinks wisely though, they are very 60’s and very on-point this summer but can look wrong if the colour’s too chalky or sweet – go for more natural pinks. And the rouge noir’s are dramatic as ever but watch out for Goth tendencies, never good.

What Makes A Classic?


Hermés CE, Jean-Louis Dumas, sat next to Jane Birkin on a Paris to London flight in 1981 and the ‘Birkin Bag’ was born. Legend has it the actress/singer, trying to fit her overfilled straw carry-on into the overhead locker – creating the type of cabin chaos we can never get enough of –complained she couldn’t find a leather bag she liked, the rest is history.

Based on an original 1891 Hermés design, the ‘Birkin Bag’ is now a classic. It’s simple with barely any branding and the genes couldn’t be better – Hermés gravity with Birkin glamour. Plus it’s practical and actually holds more than lipstick and a stick of gum (although Jane Birkin said hers was too heavy, some people are never happy).

Does the Saint Laurent Duffle 24 have what it takes to make it to 30 and still have icon status?

Well anything that Hedi Slimane touches turns to must have these days. The Duffle 24 isn’t ostentatious just serious and practical. There’s the cross-generation SL thing It won’t date and it’s got the clever hand/shoulder mix going so it works summer and carries through to the ‘big clutch’ look for AW 2013. And from Gwyneth Paltrow to Kate Moss everyone’s got one or wanting one or waiting for one.

But is the Saint Laurent Duffle 24 a classic?

THIS WEEK I FOUND …….. Blue Plasma Daily No Peel, Peel


Fast fix for dull skin without nasty chemicals and gentle enough to use every day, Perricone MD Blue Plasma Daily No Peel, Peel gives immediate and long-lasting results. It could be the quickest way yet to smooth and light reflective and that’s what I’m looking for in skin this spring.

Images: Yves Saint Laurent. Perricone MD

10 Ways To A Weightless Wardrobe


Way back in the 70’s the term ‘Capsule Wardrobe’ was coined. 40+ years later it still appeals, but is it practical for real people? Can you honestly imagine living with just two pairs of shoes? No, probably not.

But if your wardrobe’s cluttered and you still can’t find anything to wear – at least not easily – give the ‘capsule’ basics a try. It’s unlikely you’ll end up living forever with a wardrobe that would fit in a flight case at a moment’s notice, you might just find it easier to get dressed.

Empty your wardrobe. Take out everything, that’s everything, even the nasties lurking away in the back. Make a big pile, now you’re ready to begin.

Be ruthless. If you haven’t worn it for a year, you haven’t seen it for longer or you don’t even remember buying it, chances are you don’t need it. Send it to someone who does via your Charity Shop Bag.

Start sorting. Put trousers into one pile, skirts into another, shirts, t-shirts ….. you get the idea, if you’re enthusiastic micro-sort by colour. This is the time to start trying things on and only keeping clothes that really fit now, this minute. If it doesn’t fit it goes in the Charity Shop Bag.

Be basic. It’s a terrifying thought but here’s what your ‘capsule’ should contain; 1 pair of jeans, 2 skirts, 2 pairs of trousers, 1 sweater, 1 cardigan, 2 plain t-shirts, 1 dress, 1 LBD, 1 coat and 2 jackets. There’s shoe culling too, but you’re probably traumatised enough by now.

Create the capsule colour canvas. The blueprint ‘capsule wardrobe’ is based on neutral colours (navy, chocolate, camel, grey, black, white), so focus on selecting key items in this colour range. Just imagine how beautifully Japanese this is going to look when it’s hanging up.

Closet the final cut. If you’re short on space only hang dresses, coats, jackets, skirts and shirts. Trousers, t-shirts etc. can be put in drawers but don’t fold them, roll them – you make more room, you can see what you’ve got at a glance and you avoid fold creases.

Make a shopping list and stick to it. Be true to the capsule concept and think quality not quantity. Choose cashmere, wool, silk and cotton. Consider designers that focus on classic tailoring and exceptional finishes. Don’t think about trends, think about what suits you. Do think about accessories. Don’t deviate. The capsule wardrobe has no room for impulse buys or bargains you couldn’t resist.

Only buy in your size. Seems obvious but it’s not. Everyone’s guilty of the ‘diet buys’, just don’t do them. If you want to lose weight and you do it you deserve to go shopping all over again.

Try everything on and take your time. Don’t shop when you’re rushed or in places where you don’t feel comfortable. Move around and look at what you’re wearing from all angles, try different mirrors in the shop, think about the shoes you’ll wear. And again, it’s quality not quantity.

Own It. The confident capsule is yours and it’s a great discipline but it’s just the start.

Will you try capsule? If you do let me know how you get on (pics please) I’d especially like to see some before and after wardrobes.

THIS WEEK I FOUND ……… the ‘Closet’ App


Even if you’re not ready to go full ‘capsule’ yet, you could try the Closet App and add a bit of order to your wardrobe. Simple and effective it organises your looks, has a calendar so you remember what you wore and when and you can ask it for ideas too – all based on what you’ve already got. Plus, if you’re travelling ‘Closet’ is the perfect virtual packer.

A Few Fresh Spring Makeup Must Haves


So they tell us it’s spring. Can’t say I noticed and when it comes to a fresh start for makeup that’s a bit of a problem. One minute the light’s bright and won’t let you away with anything and the next it’s back to grey, flat and just as unforgiving – only in a different way.

Best plan is to pretend we’re in a makeup micro-climate, get ready for spring anyway and – even if it doesn’t arrive any time soon – at least we’re prepared.

Brows are back
And if you’ve been good and careful they shouldn’t have gone anywhere in the first place because nothing ages your make-up faster than over done eyebrows; that’s over-plucked, over-shaped or all-over-the-place. But even if you’ve been less than careful you can cheat a bold, youthful brow until you get the real thing tidied up more permanently. Forget pencils and gloopy gels and think Tom Ford Brow Sculptor – the man believes in brows and his solution comes in three shades (blonde, taupe, chestnut), soft, simple and totally convincing.

Think Pink (but just a bit)
If you saw January Jones at Paris Fashion Week with her ‘bumped’ beehive, girly bow and bleached out makeup you just saw ‘retro’ go from reference to wrong, wrong, wrong. And this spring’s makeup does have a bit of a retro feel ie. plenty pink. But take it easy here, too much pink isn’t fresh and bright, it’s just dated. The look we’re going for is matte and velvety, Parisian effortless and just a dash of blossom. Try Laura Mercier’s Arabesque Range as an introduction; Crème Cheek Colour in Praline, ‘En Pointe’ (barely there pink) Nail Lacquer or a slick of Crème Smooth Lip Colour ‘Arabesque’, the finish is translucent and the colour buildable so it’s up to you how pink you go.

PS. Highlight with Care
Finally make the most of the light this Spring with careful highlighting. Remember it’s matte and velvety so try Paul & Joe Pressed Powder, it’s subtle, sheeny and comes in several shades so choose one that’s the same as your skin tone or just 1 shade lighter. Apply lightly to cheekbone, brow bone and cupid’s bow. Parisian Spring (lavender and green in a swirl) is a great Paul & Joe pressed powder for all over even skin tone.

THIS WEEK I FOUND …….packaging that’s just too pretty


What can I say? One look at this pretty packaging and I want a boudoir, Maribou feather mules, a huge dressing table with an even bigger mirror and someone to run baths for me!

You were right Mum, Happy Mothers’ Day!


This is the best gift I could possibly give my mum on Mothers’ Day; proof that I really did listen to her a lot of the time.

You were right about elbows according to you scruffy elbows make you look older than crows’ feet do. So here’s your tip for dealing with the rough, nasty, dull skin I just might have forgotten; mix sea salt crystals with a little almond oil, put the gloop in the palm of your hand and gently rotate your elbow in it – it’s messy skincare and you have to do it regularly, but it works. Try it at night and the left over oil sinks into your skin while you’re having 8 hours sleep (another Mum tip).


You were right about Vaseline I used to think you were either mad or had shares in the stuff but turns out good, old, ordinary Vaseline is one of the cheapest and best go-to’s in my kit. It’s great for removing heavy eye make-up (really dissolves mascara). It conditions eyelashes. Slather it on your heels at night and wear socks to bed (ok, not beautiful but you get nice beach feet eventually). Use it as a lip salve or a quick gloss if you’re stuck. Elbows (them again) love Vaseline. Massage it into your nails the night before a manicure. It seals and heals little cuts and scrapes and ………

You were right about Witch Hazel Remember all my broken hearts and the tears and the puffy eyes? Well Witch Hazel does work (it doesn’t mend the hearts but it does sort out the puffiness). Use a little Witch Hazel solution on a cotton pad to dab under your eyes – gently. Reduces puffiness, brightens the skin, soothes redness – fantastic if you get allergies and don’t want to look like an angry grizzly bear.


You were right about mascara I know you didn’t think I was listening when you told me ‘less is more except when it’s mascara’ but I was! Yves Saint Laurent Mascara Volume Faux Cils is my choice at the moment; single application, smooth and rich, no flakes, lengthens, thickens and makes big, luscious, weightless lashes in one swoop.

You were right about necks And I remember your words of wisdom every time I moisturise mine (more gently and carefully than anywhere else). Try Chanel Hydramax + Cream it’s also an excellent all-over, rich and fast-fix moisturiser (sounds extravagant, but it’s good for pregnant tummies too). Like my mum says ‘you only get one skin and who wants a neck like a turkey?’

You were right about shins They are the Sahara of the body; always up the SPF on shins, use a much richer body cream on them, don’t ever exfoliate them – pretty, bare legs and scrubby, desolate shins are not a good look.

wooden shoe lasts

You were right about baths showers are for getting clean and washing hair, baths are time to soak, think, read, relax – and like you always said mum – they save water.


And you were also right about Tea Tree Oil, it’s a universal antiseptic. Lavender does make you sleep better (a few drops of oil in the bath works for hyper kids too). Arnica Cream is a must in every mum’s bag. And always wear a hat when it’s cold outside!


This week I found ……Balenciaga Was Born in Spain


I always assumed Balenciaga was French. I never even thought twice about it. But in fact the ‘Great French Couturier’ was actually born in Gateria in the Basque Country (there’s a Balenciaga Museum in Gateria and it’s near San Sebastian – two good reasons to visit).

And how do I know this? Because this week I’m reading ‘The Master of Us All: Balenciaga, his workroom, his world’ by Mary Blume. It’s wonderfully written, beautiful to look through and about the first real look into the mystery of Balenciaga the couturier who gave us the ‘Cocoon’ silhouette (see Alexander Wang’s take on it at PFW 2013) and so awed his clientele that one of them claimed, she wanted to be buried in Balenciaga in case she met him in Heaven. Definitely not a ‘coffee table’ book, this one’s to read (but not in the bath).

Good timing too, Alexander Wang’s first collection for Balenciaga showed at Paris Fashion Week on Sunday – was he as good as Nicholas Ghesquiere? Anna Wintour thought so, what do you think?


Photograph of Elise Daniels by Richard Avedon 1949



I don’t know about you but I’m sick to death of dark grey days, no sun and everyone walking around wrapped in layers of brown, black and more black.

Even The Oscars – the one red carpet even where you expect to see some real, old fashioned, knock ’em’ dead, Hollywood glamour – was a sorry parade of neutrals and pinks that were so shy they might as well have been white. Notable exceptions were the gorgeous Sally Field in Valentino Red, miles of skirt and demure sleeves and, two decades younger, Jennifer Aniston also in Valentino Red. Anne Hathaway – who decided against Valentino at the last minute – went for Prada and ended up looking sicker than Fantine ever did. Jennifer Lawrence in Dior was like a wee kid in her mum’s wedding dress and don’t start me on Jessica Chastain, all that wonderful hair and flawless skin and …… blaw, the totally washed out excuse for a gown.

valentino retro dress

Why are we so afraid of colour and why does every woman in the world think that neutrals are safe and suit everyone? They don’t. Why are our wardrobes filled with black? Navy (French Navy this spring) is a million times kinder and really does suit just about everyone – don’t overload navy or you go from chic to granny in a time unit too short to measure. Why are we convinced that bright colours only look good on darker skin tones? Jessica Chastain in Emerald Green (another colour that’s big this spring) looks like the true screen goddess she is.

I’m not suggesting that we wake up tomorrow and go all out Mardi Gras, but spring’s coming (I hope) so could we just brighten up a bit?


Unsurprisingly green is big this spring, from Emerald right through Light ‘new leaf’ to Soft, Dusty Grey/Jade. Blues are taking in French Navy, Blue/Black and Dusty Bright Blue. And Pale Sienna (almost terracotta but not as hard edged), Poppy Red, Citrus Yellow (not neon, never neon) and Pale Violet and Blush Pink are good accent choices.

Here’s the thing; if you’re colour phobic, start small. Experiment with a scarf or a shirt – you’ll be delighted by the reaction even a hint of colour gets. Once you feel a bit bolder, add more colour. It’s simple, we’ve all got a colour palette and that palette has endless shades, learn what works for you and, really important, what makes you feel good and then be creative.

So what’s going to work for you? A Colour Analysis is a really quick and effective way to get to know your personal palette. We’re all quite instinctive about colour whether we know it or not and you’ve probably already got things in your wardrobe you bought just because you liked the colour. And you’ll definitely have clothes you don’t wear because they feel tired or you’re tired of them. A Colour Analysis isn’t about throwing everything away and starting again, it’s about making everything work a lot harder and giving your wardrobe a new lease of life by adding ‘your colours’ into the mix.

And after all that finger wagging No. 1 on my Wish List this spring is a Linen Pink Chloe Jacket – rules are made to be broken!


THIS WEEK I FOUND ……..old school still wins


The Big 3 that took everyone through every Fashion Week this February whether they were in London, Paris, Milan or New York were Water Mists, Hairspray and Concealer.

Even the youngest and freshest models began to look about tired and frayed round about the middle of the month. Good old fashioned concealer was the go-to fast-fix for everyone’s dark eyes. One of the favourites for a real quick hit was L’Oreal BB Nude Magique Concealer, rolls on, matches all skin types and has caffeine for an instant de-puffing and brightening boost.

Coconut Water was just about everyone’s drink of choice, but the fall back for thirsty skin was tried and trusted water mist. Spray of choice was super kind, Avene Eau Thermale developed specially for sensitive skins and packaged to stay cool even in high temperatures.

And finally, hairspray, cans and cans and cans of the stuff. Nice to see that it’s still Elnette that holds a special place in just about every hairdresser’s heart.