Wanted: helping hands

Now here’s a natty way to get your nails done. The London College of Beauty Therapy is attempting to crack the Guinness World Record for the highest number of File and Varnishes to be carried out in eight hours. The epic challenge is free for all volunteers taking part (i.e. you) and the college insist that each and every volunteer is guaranteed ‘an excellent treatment’. The venue is located at 47 Great Marlborough Street, W1 – ooh, a stone’s throw from Liberty – and the event takes place between 11am and 7pm this Thursday, 13th May.

The event is also to support the charity Wellbeing of Women which funds research into women’s health issues. So round up your friends, colleagues, boyfriends, dads and brothers (guys can have a Shape and Buff) and help them achieve their record. Just email to book a slot.

Nails Inc x Diet Coke

If anyone ever asks my top 5 brands I can reel them off in under 5 seconds. Sony, Gap, Disney, Levi’s, Coke. Easy.

Sony was really cool when I was growing up (hey, they invented the Walkman and had a great logo). Even though their products got less reliable over the years I still have an allegiance to them, I can’t help it. Maybe it’s because Big Audio Dynamite wrote a song about them.

Gap is just a brand I love the idea of. Great American classic wardrobe staples and their ad campaigns are always so beautifully produced. Plus, I have just found the perfect ankle length chinos I’ve been looking for all my life. Disney? Well, duh, can I just say Mickey Mouse? What other reason do you need? Levi’s – again, all about American heritage. I love everything this brand stands for, it’s a nostalgia thing. And finally, Coke. It’s weird, even when I hear bad things about the brand, all I can think about are the red and white colour combo, the iconic logo, the even more iconic bottles and those brilliant ad campaigns.

And now, Nails Inc has collaborated with Coke to launch the Diet Coke City Collection of nail polishes. WTF has Diet Coke got to do with nails? Not a lot, but I really don’t care. I’m not even a Nails Inc fan but I will be making it my business to nab one of those ruby red bottles. That’s the power of the brand for ya.

The Nails Inc Coke set is available from Boots between now and 30th June, free when you buy two 500ml bottles of Diet Coke from selected Boots (subject to availability).

Paint it red

On Monday, I was invited to the launch of new beauty brand, All For Eve. I don’t cover beauty much on here but I wanted to go as two of my favourite beauty buddies were involved. All For Eve is a not-for-profit brand launched by George Hammer to raise money for gynaecological cancer research. It launched its first capsule collection to the public on Monday but has already won four industry gongs at the CEW Awards (the CEW Awards are voted for by industry insiders).

The launch gave us the opportunity to try out the two make-up products, Daniel Sanders’ red lipstick and Sophy Robson’s red nail polish. Sophy is one of the UK’s most innovative nail artists with a client list to die for – French Vogue! Chanel! Tom Ford! Nancy Del’Olio! She’s also a top blogger and tweeter – her tweets are like juicy little nuggets of insider trend forecasting. I couldn’t resist the offer of having my nails done by Sophy’s assistant Zaida. I find it really therapeutic watching my nails being painted and Sophy has created a beautiful, clear red with a great, smooth consistency.

I am slightly obsessed with red lipstick at the moment. In my teens I used my mum’s Revlon Love That Red and it became something of a trademark. Rediscovering it recently, it looked all wrong, giving my skin a not-chic porridgy hue. Ugh. Daniel Sandler’s tip for those having trouble finding their perfect red is to ‘custom blend’ it over your usual lipstick to give your colour more depth and he asserts, “when you find the perfect red, you don’t need any other type of make-up.” (Watch his red lipstick tutorial on Daniel has to be one of the loveliest make-up artists around, we have known each other for years and he didn’t mind one bit when I plonked my champagne glass on top of a display case, obscuring his CEW award – oops. (BTW, don’t you just love that Daniel is surrounded by a Ready Brek glow in this photo?)

The All For Eve range is slowly being rolled out to the best-known retailers in the country. So far, the lipstick is available from and launches at Harrods on 1st May, followed by Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Fenwick and Fortnum & Mason from mid-May. The nail polish is available from mid-June and there’s a chance to win one on Sophy’s blog.

UPDATE: The nail polish goes onsale from 15th June from

[Top photo:]

The beauty pages

I’m having a makeup moment. To look at me you’d never guess – my make-up arsenal consists of cheek-coloured blush, Carmex cherry lipbalm, barely-there lipgloss and a blot of powder but that’s not the point. It’s make-up imagery I’m talking about. When it comes to photography, it’s the fashion imagery that tends to get all the love while beauty is the neglected sister in the attic – ridiculed or ignored. One of my friends who is something high up on a UK glossy openly sneers at the beauty pages. During our regular magazine critiques this contributing editor will skim past with a dismissive hand-wave, ‘Ew, beauty pages – nobody reads those.’ Er, excuse me, I do!

In particular, I adore a product-heavy still life page – smears of eyeshadow, great shiny blobs of lipgloss and scribbles of eyeliner will stop me in my tracks on my way to the horoscope page – especially when supersized to heroic proportions. And sitting in on a beauty editor’s meeting is the best thing ever – all the products are arrayed in front of you while decisions are made on how to shoot lipsticks – ‘shall we do slices or smudges?’.

Harper’s Bazaar are currently doing the best still life beauty pages – they’re like artists’ paint palettes. Actually, the face shots aren’t bad either…

[Pics: Harper’s Bazaar]