With the summer upon us, I have been thinking about feet. Largely forgotten for most of the year and suddenly forced into daylight for a few weeks over the summer months, our feet put up with a lot.
Feet are such an important part of our bodies, getting us from A to B every day, forced into all styles of shoes and keeping us generally upright – it’s time we gave them some attention. My solution is a medical pedicure at least twice a year to give my weary feet a full health check. Margaret Dabbs, the celebrated podiatrist and foot expert, has the answers.
According to Margaret, there are several points to note.
1. Foot pain shows on the face, and all the beauty products in the world won’t help if your feet hurt.
Feet are very much like teeth, and any niggling pain that may appear periodically will come back with a vengeance if it is left.
2. What is the one thing we should pack in our suitcases for holiday feet care?
Foot Hygiene Cream – it has incredible powers and is brilliant for anyone who thinks that they have the worse feet in the world.
3. What is the biggest mistake people make when it comes to looking after their feet?
The biggest mistake people make with their feet is to hide them away rather than dealing with improving them. It is absolutely liberating to have feet that you can show off at any time.
Looking After Our Feet
Try Dr Kimoto foot peel socks – pop them on and leave them for 2 hours or so, then rinse feet – over the course of 2 days, your feet will shed the dead skin leaving skin softer.
A foot file is best used on dry skin once a week. A quality foot file will last years, so best to invest.
Fill a bowl or bath with hot water, add some of your favourite bubbles and have a relaxing foot bath.
Give them the once over with a gorgeous salt scrub – try the Laura Mercier almond coconut milk scrub.
We use toners and mists on our faces, so why not our feet. A simple rose water spritz or similar will feel fresh and smells great, I make my own with rosemary and mint from the garden.
Use a good body cream, or specific foot cream and slather it on. I particularly love Kenzoki barefoot fantasy massage balm, which smells fresh and powdery.
Apply a drop of solar oil to each nail and massage in, or almond oil will do just as well to nourish and protect.
At home foot care works wonders and feels restorative: a bit like a facial but for our feet.
Like the skin on our faces, the skin on our feet ages and so a simple skincare routine will help them keep step with the rest of us.
Imagine the most blissful experience and magnify it by one thousand times.
That is exactly how I felt when I floated out of Susanne Kaufmann’s Spa in Austria.
Susanne, who I introduced you to before, has created her own magic at Hotel Post in Bezau, Austria. Magic because the Spa is the most tranquil and restorative of experiences. Susanne has a way about her; she understands what we women need to relax and re-engineer ourselves in and out of the very busy lives we lead.
Hotel Post under Susanne’s direction offers wonderful retreats combining all that we need for wellness and a feeling of renewal. Did I mention Bezau is, “Heidi” territory? I am serious. Bezau in Austria is the most stunning backdrop and if you ever read Johanna Spyri’s Heidi as a child, you can conjure exactly the landscape I am talking about.
I was invited to Hotel Post as Susanne’s guest with my Ruuby daughter and needless to say we were spoilt and pampered. Yes, the Alpine scenery is superb, the yoga teaching some of the best and the food impossible to resist but what I really want to tell you about is the Spa.
And one particular treatment in particular.
The Bespoke Rejuvenating Facial is 90 minutes of sheer pleasure and the upside – my skin has never looked or felt better. This facial is one I am still dreaming about and if it weren’t such a distance – at the moment they are only available in Austria and New York but I believe Paris is coming – I would be in that Spa as often as possible. The experience truly was sublime.
The facial was hands on. Seriously.
From the minute I reclined to the very end, the treatment was all about the senses. Today’s beauty world is about instant results, machines and has very little to do with human contact or relaxation. This rejuvenating facial is about touch; the various massage techniques during the 90 minutes are designed for maximum lift, lymph drainage and promoting an even skin tone. The benefits of this style of treatment far outlast the quick and painful semi-medical style interventions so often on our radar.
And here I am still thinking and talking about it.
In a perfect world, I wish everyone could try it because it is a game changer. Susanne has managed to design an experience far more than a facial, to encompass not only skin care and skin quality but also well-being and rejuvenation. The products she creates in her Alpine laboratory are truly natural and they work. Not to mention the textures and scents are transporting.
We cannot all travel to Austria or New York but we can spend time and care on ourselves. Taking time for ourselves is not what we women excel at. Susanne Kaufmann takes time and that is what I like about her philosophy of beauty. She is committed to creating not only experiences but also a natural and beneficial skin care range to use at home when the Spa is but a distant memory.
What I mean is the grey hair, the going grey and the wearing of grey hair can get you down.
It is not all smiles and confidence and feeling fabulous. Grey hair can mean grey days.
I want to be honest – I have done the whole grey thing – but some days looking in the mirror is tough. I don’t like it. Not because of how I feel inside but more for how it looks outside. I wax and wane; I love it or I don’t.
It is not a simple relationship.
The confusion can cause all sorts of poor decision-making.
Changing a style for the sake of colour, not for the right reason or plying the make-up in the hope of a changed vista. None of that is what is worrying me on those days. The reality is going or being grey is confronting and anyone who tells you otherwise is a legend and I want to meet him or her.
This week I don’t like having grey hair.
Now let me preface this by saying I am not feeling rational over this and it is very much a female whim. I am however in the right mind to know I am feeling fickle and I need to remember that. When I feel like this and for any of you, who are going through the process of letting grey hair dominate, remember it is natural to react to change and all this evokes.
Grey is not simply shades of; grey is an attitude and state of mind.
Yesterday, I sat with Nicola our new beauty writer at VA – she has magnificent grey hair, wears it cropped and looks fabulous – and lamented my feelings of blah around going grey. With all “girl” issues, as ever, it helps to talk to a kindred spirit. We decided that the alternative, going back to the bottle, was not an option for us and the solution was to find a way to handle those days when the mirror feels unfriendly.
How To Handle The Grey
Most importantly if the grey hair looked good last week, it will still look good this week.
It is more about you and your state of mind than hair colour.
When the grey gloom hits don’t rush any momentous decisions.
Those will be the ones regretted not the colour of your hair.
Grey hair does not have to look like “old lady”.
Keep your role models front of mind and focus on why you are growing out or wearing grey.
Be practical but not adventurous.
Have a blow-dry, a trim or wear a new lipstick. Mix it up but don’t make an irreversible decision. (I was all ready to cut mine off but knew to sit it out for a moment. I would not look good with very short hair. This is how the mind works with the blahs – what we know will never work, suddenly becomes a great idea.) Avoid this at all costs. The grey malaise will pass; the hair will take a lot longer to grow out.
Growing in the grey is a lot like a diet.
We are doing it for all the right reasons but it doesn’t make it easier. The diet is for our wellbeing but there are times we want to break it and go awol in a major way. When we do all that is left is remorse and regret; better to hang in and see the results.
Write a mental list of the pros and cons.
This is simply a way of re-establishing why you wanted to wear grey in the first place. For me, I know deep down I like the look and admire it on other women. My mood is most likely about everything other than the colour of my hair.
Listen to you.
Don’t ask others for an opinion until you are convinced of your own. Whether to wear the grey is a hot topic of conversation and women, rightly so, feel divided over it. Some women don’t like it and others do. Know yourself and speak to like-minded friends when you get the wobbles.
Forget the hair when these feelings strike and work on activities to boost self-confidence. Taking ourselves out of “us” and working at a deeper level puts everything into perspective.
Boost the wardrobe.
Try a new piece or re-engineer one you already have. Making a change in the wardrobe is the easiest trick to feeling better and look more up to date. Wearing “grey” does not equate with a lack of fashion focus. It is even more of a reason to do so. Linda Rodin (pictured) is the best example of someone who wears grey well with a fashion-forward focus.
Writing this morning has helped me understand my feelings and why I have been a little disenchanted with “going grey”. I do have the not-so-sure-about-it feelings but you know what?
I will wait this out because one thing I do know, it will pass. xv
We have Coco Chanel to thank for many things and one is making a suntan chic.
Up until the 1920’s, the aristocratic porcelain skin was favoured.
Fast forward to today, and many crave the ‘just returned from the Cote d’Azur’ glow.
Which self-tanning is suitable for you?
Gradual tanner – apply daily to build up a glow.
Fake tans – apply once and leave to develop for 4-8 hours before showering off.
Instant tans/tinted lotions – great for quick fixes and special events as they wash off easily with soap and water.
Prep the Skin
Remove any body hair and exfoliate thoroughly paying particular attention to problem areas.
Around the knees, ankles, elbows and wrists is where the product tends to streak.
Give these areas a thorough application of moisturiser before applying any tan.
When applying self-tanning always wear a mitt.
Remember to wash your hands thoroughly after applying the product to avoid staining.
Start with a light colour of tan and build up when you feel it is necessary.
Particularly do this if you are fair skinned, an orange tinge would be a shock to a pale complexion.
Jules von Hep has spent the best part of a decade fake tanning the stars and has now launched a self-tan range called, Isle of Paradise.
“With self-tanning it’s important to remember why you’re using tan – to look like you’ve been away, to look rested, to feel great. The skin on our face is incredibly reactive to product as it’s completely different to the skin on our body so a kiss of colour is all you need for a glowing, tanned complexion. Top up once in between body applications as the face fades quicker than the rest of the body.”
Jules von Hep, interviewed for the Evening Standard, has some clever tricks to help with the application:
“When in a rush, dry your tan with a hair dryer on the cool setting to fix it quicker.”
“Tanning your back and no one to help? Lean forward and spray the product into the air and it will land on your back. Alternatively turn your mitt around so that it is on your knuckle and you can reach right around your body.”
“Last but not least, keep you tanning water in the fridge in summer months — it’s so refreshing.”
I recently found a new paint on lip colour – seriously, sensational.
They aren’t really called lacquer, rather Pure Envy paint on liquid colour, but I have christened them lacquer for some reason.
Not that the name matters as they are truly one of the easiest lip colours I have applied. Easy and long lasting. So long lasting, which is what I want when I wear a stronger shade. I hate the thought of the lipstick disappearing in the centre of the lips and a rather messy line remaining. Thoughts of “the Joker” from Batman spring to mind.
I have been wearing Heart Crush and Pink Zinc and cannot wait to get my hands on some of the other colours – Burnt Raisin and Naked Ambition for starters.
There is also another red called Poppy, which is on my wish list. Or there is this little trio of fabulousness for starters.
Lipstick is lipstick, I know, but these are really, really great and I have a serious crush. How a small dab of colour on the lips can make everything seem brighter is beyond me, but it works. They do.
A new lipstick for a woman is as feel good as anything.
Start with Heart Crush or Naked Ambition and let me know. I dare you to stop at one. xv
p.s forgot to say i mix them with regular matte lipstick over the top, lasts even longer.
Generosity is one of the most powerful beauty secrets.
Generous is not confined to the obvious; it is about so much more.
A generous mind, a generous heart and a generous nature set us up for life. Life can exist without generosity but it is a far different one from the world I am thinking of. To be generous requires thought, dedication, observation and caring.
Generosity begins with us; it must start there.
Most of us are not particularly generous when it comes to us. How often do we criticize ourselves, feeling despondent with our achievements or get lost down the rabbit hole of, “not good enough”. I know I am guilty of this. I am not suggesting we don’t deserve some criticism from time to time but I believe we confuse criticism for what is natural.
Generosity towards ourselves allows us to be more generous to others and have a greater understanding. What goes around comes around, or so the saying goes and this is never truer than in the case of generosity.
Generosity, forgiveness and understanding go hand in hand – they thrive with each other. Generosity works. It’s a very simple equation where more equals more time and again. Don’t we gravitate towards people who have a “generous spirit” and want to be around those who give of themselves?
Generosity does not mean we have to be over the top and indulge others or ourselves with material goods. Think about the one perfect flower in the bedside table where the gesture of scent and nature is what counts. Being generous with our time is another example – lacking the rush, the impatience and the boredom with others is an act of the greatest generosity.
As is to be made feel welcome.
Welcoming is a grand act of generosity and this is something on my mind as I make the final preparations at La Maison du Village. Our little boutique hotel is just open and I am here to add the finishing details. Although, it is a work in progress and one I think will never be done. I’m working on the small bits – what’s in the bedrooms and bathrooms – but I have come to realize they are also the “big things”. I want our guests to feel not only is it their home away from home but that they are spoilt in the right way. We are working here this week, sleeping in all the rooms and trying everything out. I look around and see my selections are impractical – old linens, lots of light colours and porcelain that is fragile but I don’t care – it does feel generous. For me to feel happy; La Maison du Village must feel generous. Perhaps it is not the perfect business decision but I do believe in the long term it will be.
Provence is about the senses; the scents, the sounds, the tastes and feels and so should a stay at La Maison du Village and Le Petit Bijou.
Our retreats coming up in later in the year will be operating on the same principle. ( More details will follow soon for those who have expressed interest.) How can we move forward and work towards a goal of “better, not younger” if a generous mind is not at the forefront?
Generosity, when shown, puts us in the brightest of moods and it opens our hearts. Witnessing generosity has the same outcome. When we feel something is less than generous or there is a hidden cost associated with the so-called “generosity” our hackles rise up and we withdraw – we don’t give of ourselves in the same way. It’s not about feeling entitled or being greedy it is about being made to feel wanted. Generosity illuminates value.
Beauty is not a one-stop shop – but generosity goes a long way to enhancing our appearance. xv
They Are The ONEs WE SHOULD BE TAKING MORE CARE OF.
The routine of looking after our hands is one that is often neglected. Guilty, I raise my hand here. Our hands, a vital support system in everyday life, are frequently forgotten about.
They play a significant role. We express ourselves with them and show affection with them. But, we also put them through some tough doings; the stress of daily actives and chores.
We should be taking more care of them. (WHY is it I neglect to do what I know I should?) With this in mind and making more of a conscious effort to consider Number 1, hand cream must become a vital part of the beauty routine.
Here is what I’m thinking.
Tips for Taking Care of Number 1
* Use a gentle soap when washing them.
* Exfoliate at least once a week to keep them feeling revitalised.
* Like our face, our hands are exposed to the sun’s rays. Protect them when walking and when driving.
* Moisturising is crucial; washing regularly to prevent germs dries out the skin. We need to replenish hydration.
* Massage, using a nourishing cream, up and down fingers and palms in a circular motion, help release stress and pain.
* Avoid extremely hot water.
* Pat gently after washing rather than rubbing; it is less likely to irritate and dry out the skin.
* Seal in moisture by applying hand cream whilst hands are still damp.
My latest crush on hand cream comes from Byredo. My friend, Fiona introduced me – every time we meet she would open her handbag during the course of our time together and dab a little on her hands. I was curious and she told me she has a baby tube not only in all her handbags but also for her travels. These are available in 30ml tubes, making them so easy to move about with. She loves Blanche – so do I and recently I tried Bal’d’Afrique – heavenly. These little tubes are a bit of an addiction but my hands are reaping the benefits.
I like them for their light consistency and nourishing texture but there is something else. It is rare to stumble across a hand cream that delivers delicate fragrance, without having to compromise on hydration.
But I always feel my skin is getting the best repair, replenish and workout when I am sleeping.
I like to do extra at night, especially when I am less tired. Take a bath, relax and luxuriate in the bubbles while treating my skin to a super-hydrate.
Serum has become my go-to. I can’t quite recall when I first reaped the benefits but I do remember Estée Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair was the one. My daughter Venetia gave me a bottle for Christmas and she could not believe it was my first time. Okay, so I am slow to the party; she promised it was a game changer. She was right and it is. It’s one of the most well known of the serums and for a reason; it feels fabulous and works its magic by being active throughout the evening. This serum is one I always have on hand and also regularly travel with.
(Try applying these on a long haul trip before sleeping; one way to beat the tired jet-lag look.)
Why should we add serum to our skincare routine?
Serums are made of the most important and active ingredients which, mean we are more likely to get the results.
I’m looking for hydration, skin tone clarity and firmness.
If you are worried about an oily complexion, a serum is brilliant. It’s less heavy and more effective than a night cream.
I like to wear both, but my skin is on the dehydrated side as a rule.
Serums are expensive but I have found I use far less of the other products so the savings come that way.
When we were in Paris last week the VA girls and I talked lipsticks; I am a stickler for mattes, they are more adventurous. I stick pretty much to reds, 50 shades of and the nude colours. I like to wear a nude if I have worked the eyeliner and the reds are my go to, generally when the time is pushed. The girls are happier to wear the glossier textures, although when I showed them my latest matte collection from Estée Lauder (hopeless when it comes to lipstick restraint) they agreed I had a point.
I am a fan of Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy lipsticks it’s true because they are in the most delicious shades and stay on. They are also easy to apply when the lips are no longer as perfcet as they once were – it’s a lipstick that goes where it is meant and stays where it should. Know what I mean? (There is also the Pure Color Envy in Liquid Matte – if you want something to really, really last, this is the one. I gave “heart crush” a thorough test last weekend and it passed with flying colours.)
It’s not a beauty potion or a skincare miracle, although there are still plenty to fall into that category.
When it comes to my hair I cannot be separated from dry shampoo. Truly, it’s a lifesaver.
On our recent trip to Paris, the Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo saved the day (actually the evening) about three times. I absolutely love it and especially the way it makes my less-than-ready-to-go hair work. I was late to the party to enjoy the benefits of dry shampoo so I guess I am making up for lost time. This makes my hair feel clean and voluminous and it also makes the silver shades very clear.
We were running all over town during the day, starting early and finishing late in the evening, there wasn’t the time to work on an immaculate blow dry. The thing about having the grey (maybe it is my sensitivity) but I like it to look well groomed most of the time. It’s the fine line, especially with longer hair, between looking groomed and downright messy – not cool messy French style – but messy as in unloved. I had already washed and conditioned with the Oribe Silverati line before our trip so it was just a case of maintaining with a blow over and spray.
Easy, easy and that’s what I need when I am on the move.
Hair is a funny thing; I find if it feels good, I feel good and even more so now I am courting silver. Natural hair, especially as it is changing colour, needs extra vigilant attention and the right products to suit. Going grey is not a quick fix for most and it is a patient process. The Oribe Silverati products have really helped me maintain my equilibrium when I have felt like faltering. In particular, when my hair still had blond remnants, the silver products were my best friends.
Oribe is still my best silver shampoo and conditioner. – I have experimented with many, but these work beautifully for me. The Oribe dry shampoo is also one I use sparingly but nothing works as well as this to hold the volume. I do a lot of “upside down” spraying and blow-drying to get the look I want. Believe it or not, I have even started teasing a little underneath?
We do need a daily routine to guarantee a fresh face.
If there is one thing to concentrate on when it comes to the daily skincare routine, it is cleansing. Choosing an effective cleanser is the foundation product for a good skincare regime. Heading straight to bed with a face full of makeup on is a definite no go.
A few minutes to thoroughly cleanse does hold the key.
* Removes makeup and the build-up of oil. The build-up of product on your face often results in clogged pores, causing breakouts and a dull complexion. Using a cleanser ensures that your skin is super clean.
* Boosts hydration, giving your skin a layer of moisture before even applying other holy-grail skincare products.
*Maintains clear, fresh skin. Doesn’t it make you feel amazing to stand at the bathroom mirror and staring back at you is a fresh, fully cleansed face? A blank canvas to begin the rest of your day.
Beauty Bible: Cleansing Holds The Key
1. Cleanse Morning and Night
It is important to cleanse both when you wake up, and before bed. A simple tip to follow when the idea of slipping straight into bed is all too tempting; complete your skincare routine as soon as you return home.
2. Do A Two-Step Cleanse
For higher results in maintaining a fresh, clean face make sure to double cleanse. Opt for a premier cleanser to gently and efficiently remove the build-up of product. Take a second gentle cleanser to remove any excess residue and add hydration.
3. Ditch The Wipes
Often we lean towards the quickest and most convenient solutions for our skin, but are they the most effective? Using face wipes is not the answer for cleansing on a permanent basis. Perhaps handy for a quick pre-gym swipe over but never for a full cleanse.
*suzanne kaufmann a new one we are trying and so far, very good
“Susanne Kaufmann’s gel cleanser contains Ribwort and Masterwort – two alpine herbs known for their calming and antibacterial properties. This formula cleanses your complexion while preparing it for other beauty products, and is enriched with PH-neutral Tensides obtained from sugar that is gentle on the skin.
Suitable for normal to oily skin types – Ingredients cultivated organically from the wild – biodegradable – Removes eye makeup.”
*filorga mousse a tried and true for a deeper cleanse
“Filorga Foam Cleanser is a luxurious, gentle, anti-ageing foaming cleanser that removes makeup with an airy, enveloping texture. It’s enriched with hyaluronic acid, an active agent that moisturizes the skin and combats ageing. Skin is left perfectly clean and ready for your anti-ageing cream.”
*darphin cleansing emulsion the very gentle never-leave-home without cleanser
“This ultra-gentle water cleanser addresses the specific needs of sensitive skin, prone to redness and irritations. The delicate creamy texture removes make-up and impurities without irritating as it soothes, softens and refreshes.”
images, luc coiffait, laurent darmon, carter smith