A Thank You on Mother’s Day : Look Good Feel Better

I’ve worked in the beauty industry for over a decade, striving hard to promote a sense of wellbeing and happiness that comes from feeling your best. A result from the purchase or first wear of a new lippy, a foundation that lasts all day or a lash curling mascara. Even a sultry scent. Somehow however it always seemed an ethereal feeling to try and evoke and conjure. This feeling, almost a self gratification or inner confidence that a bit of war paint seems to bolster in us. For me this is nail polish, if my nails are glossy, chip free I feel I can take on the world. Polished.

The meaning and in fact need for this was solidified for me today.

The reason? Look Good Feel Better, a charity I have worked with and supported in my decade in beauty. However, it isn’t until a charities work is personal to you that it really hits home. I’m sure it can even seem a bit trivial – a charity devoted to bringing beauty and makeup tips to Cancer patients. But it really isn’t.

My mum is undergoing Chemo for Breast Cancer for the second time in her life. The first 20 years ago. This time I’m an adult. I have more knowledge. More feelings. It’s harder. 

My mum is tough, she’s a terrier. One of those amazing women you wouldn’t want to short change as she’ll tear you to pieces. She’s hard working, still working and running an allotment in her sixties. I’m sure she thinks she’s still in her twenties sometimes.

But this evil disease has fought its way back and I know she’s scared. We are all scared. The other week she had to choose a wig, a horrendous reality of what is happening. My mums hair has always been a look don’t touch zone. Always perfect, always cut, coloured and styled. The knowledge of losing it is hitting hard. Suddenly the reasoning of those mothers and daughters who shave in solidarity makes some sort of sense to me. Not a route we will be taking but I suddenly get it. 

However in this gloomy state of affairs, there’s a spot of light. The amazing volunteers at Look Good Feel Better visited her during her Chemo treatment. Totally unbeknownst to me. Along with the nurses they helped her find a wig as near to her current look as possible.

Then today they phoned her. They have arranged some beauty treatments and workshops for her in a spa. I’ve not heard her so excited in months. She’s got appointments other than Cancer treatment appointments she’s looking forward to and think about. Helping her with makeup, such as what to do with her eye brows during treatment. Giving her products and guidance on what to use and how to boost her confidence in her new appearance. This simple charity reach out programme has so much more significance now. It really is true that if you Look Good, you do Feel Better.





No it’s not going to make the cancer go away but it gives a chance of normality. A day, an hour, a feeling of being you again. So this post is dedicated to the amazing work of these volunteers and charity teams. It has redefined the importance of my role in the beauty industry and made my mum feel more confident and like ‘her’ as she tackles this. 

So please, do click here to find out more about Look Good Feel Better.

To donate to this charity click here to go to their just giving site.





Just £5 will find a confidence kit for another Cancer patient like the one shown here, this is the kit my mum received and is over the moon with. She couldn’t wait to show me what she had learnt. 



This is my brave mum, smiling in her new look wig. This lovely charity is helping boost my mum’s confidence and made her feel great today on Mother’s Day. 

Thank you. 

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Autumn Beauty Done.

In a world where we are all too busy to sometimes text that friend back, post that birthday card or arrange those drinks with old colleagues. It is getting increasingly harder for brands to convince, engage and spend time with customers. Making in-retail events very hard to succeed at.

Do customers want to give over hours or even half an hour of their day to a brand, a store? What is the excitement for them if they turn up?

What is the magic algorithm to success? I’m sure there is a numbers geek out there that could apply some logic to the psychologies, but without access to this I would say after attending Selfridges recent Autumn Beauty Event they have come close to cracking the code.

A year to the launch of Selfridges Beauty Workshop concept, the store opened up the doors to the beauty set for an evening of education, make-up, fun, sugar and prosecco.

With a £10 coveted ticket price, which you have to apply in advance for. You are adorned with a golden wristband – the access to the fabulousness.

You are transported into Selfridges amazingly unique way of making events a must-attend show. With complimentary branded candy floss, pick-a-mix stalls (this guy had a queue as long as those for a launch of a new Chanel nail varnish!), snow cones (with real vodka toppings), DJ’s, manicurists, make-up artists, skincare gurus… Free gifts, free prosecco – lots of free prosecco. It was no wonder that despite the sheer volume of ladies – it was fun, giggly, girly, purely and unapologetically fun and frivolous. A night to dip in and out of brands you love, or those you want to discover without the pressure sometimes felt by stepping onto a luxury beauty brands counter.

A perfect launch platform for brands to start a relationship with new customers. Especially for the likes of Charlotte Tilbury whom was unveiling her new capsule make-up collection exclusively at Selfridges. However, with the economic downturn still pinching our pockets, the FREE aspect is key here, it was very interesting to see that even the big players joined in the fun. With super GWPs for high spending clients, juice bars, international make-up artists. Even Jo Malone had a lady making free felt brooches for those whom spent on counter. It was the apple version of a beauty event. Exquisitely planned, superbly executed. Dynamic and emotive.

This allows customers, myself included feeling more at ease at buying luxury products. We are investing in the quality rather than quantity but we do need to feel we are getting an amazing deal.

So as you can probably tell we had a great time. This may of course be down to the company I was in. However, looking around us all we saw and heard was excitement, giggles, smiles and good times.

Yes this is hard work to achieve, and without being privy to Selfridges bottom line, I dare say its an investment but I truly believe that investment in your key clientele is the best thing you can put your money on these days.

If your customers go away having had an amazing night that’s made them happy, chances are they tweeted about it, blogged about it, put it on facebook, instagrammed it. And even if they don’t pop back though your doors for a week or two the people they shared it with just might.

I have been to events, launch parties, make-up lessons, skincare workshops. You name it. With all of these things sometimes the fundamental element gets forgotten. Fun.

This was about a girly catch up, a bit of competitor snooping but ultimately celebrating what’s great about being a girl, make-up, trying every pinky red lip shade on every counter until we find ‘the one’ scouting out the hottest nail colours from the sea of choice. Daring to try a new look, a vamp goth lip a daring red…

Ultimately a night of escape with girl friends, of rewards with free goodies, a sense of enjoyment, a little chip away at re-claiming your ‘me-time’ away from family, work and other life commitments.

Whilst I think we’d all love it if these evenings happened more often, what is so special and desirable about them is their surprising arrival. Plus the effortless detail that does not go un-missed.

Thank you Selfridges. A pinnacle of light in today’s doom and gloom retail landscape.

Discover Selfridges Beauty Workshop concept in the Oxford Street store.

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The art of the re-purchase

Earlier this week I read an article about owning more beauty products than you would ever use. The reality of only ever using around 10% of the items you own. That the female consumption for products, especially makeup and skincare, was even more prolific in the UK. This resonated with me quite deeply – I actually have multiple beauty bags to categorise my beauty items for this very reason without actually really realising that this is what I had done.
After over 10 years in the beauty industry I have tried and tested a fair few products and I know what works for me on an every day basis. However this knowledge does not ever quench my desire for ‘more’ to buy the latest lip plumping, glossing, pigment rich… The justification list is endless.

I have the ‘pink’ makeup bag, that is my holy grail. The bag that turns me from bed head to beauty gal every day. Items that make it to here are there for good. On the replenish list for sure and that for any beauty product is like reaching nirvana.

With the world, myself included, thirsty for the latest and greatest securing a second and third purchase is harder and harder to achieve. Brands are searching for ways to mean more to the purchaser. Being multi-tasking, emotive or problem solving. The un-slowing generation of BB and CC creams fuel this theory.

So, with this in mind I thought I would take a moment to reveal my ‘go-to products’ the ones I deem re-purchasable. The newest to this line up is the innovative Nivea In Shower Body Moisturiser. Despite working in skincare I find body moisturising laborious. I don’t ever have time to lather my skin in body moisturiser before dressing, it simply takes too much time. I wish I did have the time as I truly believe in keeping your skin hydrated. Skin is the body’s biggest organ which we can all easily neglect. So this simple product has ticked a to-do and made me feel happy in the knowledge I’m now doing what I was failing to before. It’s simple just lotion on as you would a shower cream and rinse off as you would your hair conditioner. Perfect! It comes in 2 types but I have opted for the Dry skin version with Almond Oil. You leave the shower feeling super hydrated and smelling amazing. I bought my second 400ml tube yesterday, taking the last on shelf, the customer next to me taking the penultimate one. We both gave a knowing smile ‘this is an awesome product’.

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Now, back to the pink bag, the item I can’t live without the most has to be Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua, this shake-able little guy is my morning go to. I recently thought I would try something ‘new’ because you never know when the next must keep will surface from. As Vitalumiere Aqua replaced my love of DiorForever (sorry Dior), with that in mind I purchased DiorSkin Nude BB Cream. It is good, not great but has a good texture, not amazing colour matching and I found my shade a little on the pale side which for summer left me feeling too washed out. Then I went back to an old favourite MAC face and body makeup. This is a great product and one that lives in and out of the pink bag (its a chunky monkey so gets thrown out when room doesn’t allow). But as much as I try I felt the need to go back to something I simply LOVE there’s no other way to describe it.
The smell – divine, one that never fails to delight and make me smile, the coverage – beautiful, it sinks into your skin leaving a dewy radiance that I simply have been unable to achieve with other products.
Eyeliner! Yes I know that was an exclamation mark. For me, eyeliner is essential. The pink bag is 60% full of them. Now for everyday of course there is no other option than Urban Decay 24/7 pencils. I own every colour (literally) they are fabulous and un moving. I do wish they were automatic – I loathe having to sharpen liners. My favourite of course is Perversion. This blacker than black carbon liner leaves you with amazing definition. Whether using it for a waxy smoky eye to a thin line it simply delivers. I do however have a secret lover when it comes to liners, I do on occasion cheat on them with Bobbi Brown’s Long-wear Gel Eye Liner in black. This is simply the don. It’s texture glides on to skin, it’s precision is divine. The fact you must apply it with a brush allows you the creative edge to create really graphic eye looks. You can build it up and I can not love it more. But for me, it’s not for every day.
No makeup bag is complete without mascara, with this product I have been rather promiscuous, I do love to try something new but for ever dalliance I have come back to one that I covet. That is none other than DiorShow the black to me is slightly brownish this suits me perfectly as with very blonde hair tones the look down for everyday. I have recently been very impressed with Guerlain’s Maxi Lash mascara.
Lips… I love, love, love lip products! They don’t however, always love me. After suffering for all my life with cold sores I like every sufferer try to avoid anything that triggers the disease. With that in mind this product features in every room and handbag I have. CARMEX. This is a little pot of magic. Smoothing, nourishing, healing, medicinal. It delivers. I can not live without this product.

I could go on and on… However, I will do this for my skincare musts one day.

What products make it to your daily use makeup bag?

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A day in Dior

What better way to spend a Sunday than to disappear behind the scenes to one of the most renowned couture brands, Dior, following the takeover by CHANEL in 2011, this exhibition embodies Dior London embracing how this brand has styled the very best of British.

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As you stroll along the Brompton road you are delighted to unique and impeccably created window designs, from the humorous with vast Dior umbrellas (which plays perfectly with our less than Spring weather) to the cute with giant styled Harrods bears to a london we all wish we lived in, with Dior buses travelling alongside Diorified london sights, a Miss Dior London Eye to a London Underground stop I certainly wished existed ‘Lady Dior’

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Throughout my tour of Harrods you see reminders of what makes Dior so iconic and innovative, taking its heritage in design, modernity and not being afraid to give it an edge. The Harrods colour hall takes centre stage to a studio set up, making you feel more like a film star whilst having a makeover than sitting in a department store. It’s starry, glamorous and filled with limited edition makeup that is beautifully alluring. And even if the idea of sitting for a consultation is a little daunting for some, the wonder of Dior comes to the rescue with an in built video with subtitles within the limited edition makeup display – so you can happily stand, be inspired, learn and discover how to create your own ‘New Look… That is So Dior’

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Captivated as I was with the makeup… I made my way through to the black hall, where their latest ‘Collection Privee’ unveils a new debutant ‘Gris Montaigne’ an ultra feminine exclusif parfum infused with Patchouli, bergamot, rose, amber, cedar, sandalwood and oak moss blended by master nose Francois Demachy. Whilst some Patchouli fragrances can not really be my thing on first scent this is a delightful fragrance not too over whelming, it hasn’t made my to buy list but it is one I urge you to discover. At the moment CHANEL’s last addition to their Les Exclusifs de Chanel collection 1932 remains top of the Perfumes I want to buy list.

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My daily spritz at the moment is CHANEL Eau de Cologne from the Les Exclusifs range it’s zingy citrus notes allow me to hope that if I wear it daily the sun will appear in much the same way in the movie Field of Dreams you embrace the theory of ‘If you build it, he will come’. So despite the wind, rain, snow and arctic temperatures, my house is filled with Daffodils, I’m wearing Spring Neons and I am spritz-ing my way to spring.

However I digress, the main event of the Harrods takeover lies on the Fourth floor, where after battling your way through childrenswear and families, a little challenging on a weekend, you are rewarded with the entrance to the ‘So Dior’ exhibition… Within lies a tribute to the world of Dior, from the 1947 New Look – that caused such a stir in post war europe as it heralded a new sense of joy in clothing, style, elegance. To the couturiers links to perfumer – the launch of Miss Dior, created in 1947 and re-embodied today by Natalie Portman it is easy to see how Dior’s style is one that continues to stay chic whatever the decade.

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As a fashion honours graduate you can imagine my delight at being surrounded by such beautiful atelier craftsmanship, I am very lucky that I was privileged to have been invited by Dior, to the launch of the Dior V&A exhibition back in 2008 ‘The Golden Age of Couture’ which remains today one of my favourite evenings. So it was a delight to see a host of stunning gowns on display. The most mind boggling of all was the sequin dress created for Audrey Hepburn – I stood for a good five minutes trying to work out how small she must have been to fit in the dress… With all this size zero talk I would imagine she was smaller if not at least a zero in today’s standards.

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Of course no Dior exhibition in London is complete without a tribute to Lady Dior herself Diana Princess of Wales. The handbag who’s name pays homage to one of Dior’s most exceptional ambassadors. You can watch in glory on a Lady Dior screen how this icon is created.

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After your Dior-over what better way than to sit on a Sunday afternoon and take afternoon tea, The Dior Cafe is open to serve clients a stunningly beautiful array of English Afternoon Tea with a little Parisian Chic, the cafe resides to the side of the exhibition and can be full so advanced booking is certainly recommended. And of course a take home, after such a fabulous afternoon the return to reality can not be commenced without something to remind you that it wasn’t an Alice in Wonderland moment…

Enjoy your Day in Dior at Harrods until 14 April.

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A walk through ‘The world of CHANEL’ at Harrods

Ever wondered what it would be like to live inside a brand? If you could pick any brand why not the ultimate brand (in my opinion) CHANEL – well of course if any store could make this happen it would of course be Harrods…

Yesterday I took a walk through ‘The world of CHANEL’ in Harrods. It is a takeover of such immense scale it is amazing how it has been so cleverly kept secret until now.

Even from the walk along Brompton road you get a sense of what lays ahead as the Harrods flags have turned monochrome with just CHANEL fluttering away along the iconic building’s length, all it’s 23 windows along the stores front have been utterly transformed into Karl’s AW ready to wear catwalk show, suddenly walking along the pavement you can be front row of the ultimate fashion show. Take in the fantasy ethereal forest dream – where animals meet haute couture! I wasn’t even inside yet and it had taken my breath away!

Entering through Door 6 and into the stores Colour Hall (formerly the Lifestyle room) I discover a new pop up neighbour for MAC a PINK, yes you read correctly, CHANEL beauty boutique offers itself like a grown up sweetie shop – that you just have to discover! From giant 900ml bottles of No5, which yes you can buy money permitting, to a gorgeous EXCLUSIVE Collection created by the master, Peter Philips – Creative Director of CHANEL Makeup just for this installation and named ‘The Harrods Collection’ the star of the collection, none other than a pretty pink powder blush compact ‘Brompton Road‘ for £46, this is a great way to own a little limited edition piece of this fantastic take over.

But if that is not all, the space plays host to a whole 3 weeks of celebrity makeover events, I was lucky to spot Mary Greenwell and Sophy Robson who were giving expert makeovers and manicures respectively using the CHANEL new AW collection. Once made over I could not resist indulging in some CHANEL photobooth fun (not only is there an in-built wind machine, so you can create that hollywood glamour pose, but the miraculous booth even airbrushes you so your photos arrive picture perfect in a lovely CHANEL folder) now if only all my passport photo posing experiences where that good!!

A stroll along the ground floor and suddenly I feel and see tweed underfoot and I know I have entered something special. If like me you have ever felt a bit too intimidated to enter a CHANEL boutique now is your chance to experience the absolute wonder and awe of it. Another pop up boutique this one on a grand scale for the Ready to Wear Collection, Handbags, Accessories and Les Exclusif CHANEL fragrances. It is a little CHANEL curiosity shop – there is no other explanation for the dream you will feel you have entered. You will indulge your eyes in some of the ultimate visual merchandising you will ever witness as well as being able to touch, see and feel iconic CHANEL products. As well as some EXCLUSIVE products that you may recognise….

The iconic Harrods tote has been pimped up CHANEL stylee with a uber luxe chain, golden CHANEL logo and quilting effect. CHANEL’s biker boots have been given a wash with Harrods green as well as their classic overnight holdall. For those with slightly more disposable income there are also limited edition Classic handbags too!

The pure attention to every detail is brought to your attention at every turn, and no more so as you take in the mural wall and ceiling hand drawn in chalk to create a CHANEL forest backdrop to the latest AW fashion pieces.

With my eyes already starry and feeling like I am in the best luxe dream I went further into the world of CHANEL….. up another 2 floors to the 3rd Floor in Harrods, past illustrated maps of the world, to the entrance to ‘Une Promenade’ the most stellar installation and creation of a brand yet.

Through a wall of pearls you disappear and enter another world (I can only imagine that this is what stepping through those fur coats in Narnia would have been like – had it been real) but thanks to Karl & the CHANEL team sometimes fiction and dreams obviously do come true!

You move through the promenade with a CHANEL guide or alone if you prefer, through the making of 2.55 handbag – watching a multitude of screens as the Ateliers work their magic to create the dream handbag for girls worldwide.

My favourite room has to be Karl’s CHANEL doll house, hosting CHANEL Bearbricks – which if you follow the cult of Bearbrick life you will instantly want to own but alas they are not for sale! They stand over Harrods bears in their hand-made CHANEL suits (and boots) and you just wish that Karl Lagerfeld had designed your childhood bedroom.

Then onwards to Gabrielle’s apartment, featuring printed Coromandel screen walls, Haute Couture dresses, replica furniture from Gabrielle’s original apartment – you can feel like you are in 31, rue Cambon, PARIS.

No CHANEL world is complete until you see and even feel a bit of TWEED, and this world does not disappoint – enter the 54 room (named for 1954 – the year of Gabrielle’s return post war and the entrance of the tweed CHANEL jacket) stand and take in the hand drawn jacket designs on floor to ceiling scale on none other than tweed canvas by Karl himself. I never in a million years thought I would come face to face and touch one of his hand drawn designs.

A CHANEL world also naturally must pay homage to the world’s most iconic fragrance – that of course is none other than No5. A fragrance that is a brand in itself, step inside Andy Warhol’s famous prints of the mystery bottle. Watch the No5 films played on none other an immense No5 bottle.

There is of course lots more – such as a 2.55 handbag the size of your double bed (you could literally live in it and to be honest I would be more than happy to do so)…

Why not enter the world of CHANEL at Harrods too… explore from 5 – 24 September at Harrods, Brompton Road, London. I think I need to go again just to check I have not dreamt it!