I hear stories at my job about the time before the digital world. It sounds rather fabulous, really. Long lunches. Manicures at midday. Weekly facials. Beauty editors had gurus, nutritionists and personal trainers.
Now, it’s a gobbled Pret, a hasty face mask done while shouting cooking orders to hubs in the kitchen, the shortest, the most high impact exercise sessions conceivable in an attempt not to succumb to winter blubber, and a manicure whenever I can slide one in – it’s basically now a bi-annual event.
Time for leisurely writing has therefore been squeezed, but I like nothing more than writing a little blast here, so have come up with a new format that I hope will help me to speedily fill you in on the week, and give you some shopping hints and perhaps something to watch/read.
Here’s the plan: I’ll pop any freelance bits in this weekly-ish (I am trying not to make promises I might have to break!) post, and also let you know about a couple of stellar products and maybe some other stuff too. Let’s see. If there’s something I’m not covering, shout in the below comments box or on social media (but please say nice or constructive things if you can – I’ve had a brush with trolls and it’s been rather unpleasant indeed!)..
Douglas Booth / My colleague, Josh, was off on Monday so I assumed the mantle of celebrity interviewer on his behalf. Pleasingly, my subject was Douglas Booth (Josh has impeccable timing), but I felt poorly on the day and as a result looked pale, sat in a lump on the chair, and didn’t even attempt to flirt, which just seems like a ridiculous waste. Anyway, Douglas was charming and beautiful and whatnot. Interview here.
Romantic Outlaws by Charlotte Gordon / I have been forcing this book upon everyone I encounter because it’s brilliant, and also because so many people have not heard of one of its subjects, Mary Wollstonecraft. She was an extraordinary woman, often now referred to as the first feminist writer, despite the efforts of prudish Victorians to bury her memory. Her daughter, Mary Godwin, went on to marry Percy Bysshe Shelley and write many books, including Frankenstein one cold, long summer in Switzerland after a volcanic explosion blocked out the sun and meant that the Shelleys and their companions (among whom was Lord Byron and Polidori, who’d write the first vampire story called The Vampyre) were forced to spend time indoors dreaming up scary tales. This book tells the stories of Wollstonecraft and Shelley’s explosive lives and I found it gripping from beginning to end.
The 1950s Make-Up Challenge / I’ve now taken on a few challenges for the new Mads About Beauty series, but this has to be my favourite thus far. While I thought I might look a bit absurd stomping through Devon in the full Marilyn Monroe look, I actually found it quite liberating and have vowed to channel full film star glamour more often. If you want to give it a whirl, I’ve written a step by step here. (Side note: during look two, I go to Winfield House to celebrate 25 years of Estee Lauder’s Pink Ribbon campaign and encounter a rather hilarious pic of Melania Trump. It made the cut so keep your eyes peeled!)
The Big Glossier Launch / If you have even the most passing of interests in make-up, you surely can’t have missed the launch of Glossier in the UK. My verdict on the range as a whole? It’s honest, decent make-up and skincare and basically does what it says on the (very pretty) tin. Is it revolutionary in terms of results? Not especially, but that’s the point – there’s a whole backlash to ridiculous promises and overly fussy language on products, and Glossier fans like that if they buy a balm, they get a balm – no more, no less. If you’re interested in buying in, my money would go on the Wowder powder, or, if I had dry, less spotty skin, the Skin Tint, which offers a really light veil of colour to unify skin and would be a dream on anyone with parched skin in need of perking up.
Cliveden House / Last weekend, I went on a press trip to Cliveden House. It’s really quite a brilliant spot – an hour door-to-door from west London, delicious food, sumptuous rooms, manicured grounds, a shiny, new spa, and charming staff who make sure everything runs smoothly. It all, of course, comes at eyewatering prices – but if you’re willing to pay it, I’d highly recommend going.
Charlotte Tilbury NAILS Eye Make-Up / The most thrilling launch of the past fortnight has transpired to be Charlotte Tilbury’s Instant Eye Palette, £60. It’s not cheap, I know, but trust me on this if you have a love for shadow. The twelve shadows come grouped into four rough categories, and while I don’t believe in make-up rules, I do think they’re very handy if you’re after a guide or if, like me, you do your eye make-up in approximately twenty seconds.