Thursday, 26 February 2009

Time for (caffeine-free) tea

Oooh, we love a cup of builder’s and a pot of Lapsang. But at the same time, we’re always trying to find good alternatives to black tea so as not to overdo the caffeine. So it was great to stumble upon Yumchaa, a new (but shabby chic) tearoom on the corner of Berwick Street (No 45) and Great Marlborough Street in London W1: love the bare walls, the scrubbed tables, the white china - and this excellent rooibos tea, which gets a major spiced kick from red peppercorns, ginger and chillis. (Can’t claim any great health benefits for the raspberry and white chocolate muffins they also offer, so don’t say you weren’t warned.) And if you really need that caffeine fix? There are dozens of black and green teas on offer, too.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Beautiful bodycare at Browns Hotel

We all know Diptyque’s scented candles. And they’ve dipped a toe into bodycare, in the past. But at Brown Hotel on Albermarle Street, we just encountered truly swoonworthy creations - showcased in a fragrant suite that had basically been transformed into the Chelsea Flower Show. (Very welcome, that, on a gloomy February day.) Had to show you a little glimpse: the bath was filled with olive trees, the dining table became a citrus-strewn lawn - and the dressing table was sheer rose heaven. (Each room took its theme from the key ingredient in the Body Oil, Hand Cream, Body Lotion etc.) We’ll let you know when you can get your soon-to-be-smoother hands on this lot, but meanwhile, our thirsty winter skins are loving our carefully-rationed preview samples. (Oh, and the handsome chap in the photo is Tom Konig Oppenheimer, the beauty PR world’s No. 1 pin-up. He will blush at that, but we don’t care.)

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Always nice to see!

Spotted in the Neal's Yard store on Marylebone High Street: a jolly big window sticker with an 'As seen in The Green Beauty Bible' on it. Makes it all worthwhile.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Gorgeous Guerlain goodies

Always cheering – when feeling pastry-pale – to start fantasizing about summer. And on every wannabe-bronzed-goddess’s wishlist this summer are likely to be Guerlain’s Terracotta launches for summer 2009, which Beauty Bible previewed over very unsummery hot chocolate with Jazzy Kaur, Guerlain’s PR. (They’re due to hit Selfridges on 14th March and we’ll update you on national availability, which kicks off two weeks later). Guerlain really pioneered bronzers, and this collection not unexpectedly contains two innovations: Eau sous le Vent Soothing Moisturising Mist – a spritz-on hydrator that’s a breath of tropical sultriness, infused with exotic tiaré flower – and Huile de Voyageur Nourishing Body Oil Illuminating Tan Intensifier (SPF 8); a mouthful of a product, but basically a dry oil which swirls with pearly gold particles to magnify a tan. What’s more, both feature a ‘Tan Booster technology’, based on carob tree bark, to boost the production of melanin – so the tan-enhancing effect isn’t just cosmetic. Only downside? The glass bottles – with their hefty wooden stoppers – aren’t very luggage-friendly, but the rest of the Terracotta collection is more portable: fabulous tinted lip balms, limited edition nail polishes, mineral-based Terracotta bronzer, intense Khôl Kajal, plus quite the best brush for bronzer we’ve seen in a long time: soft, stubby, and great for swirling colour into washed-out complexions. Summer? Bring it on!

Friday, 13 February 2009

Scandinavian make-up boutique discovery

It’s really not often that Beauty Bible comes across a make-up store that’s not remotely been on our radar, but Stockholm’s Make Up Store is already all over Scandinavia, in Australia, Canada, even Vietnam. And - according to the make-up artist I spoke to there - there’s a whisper they’re coming to the UK. It’s a bit like M.A.C., but super-friendly and with products I’ve never seen anywhere, as well as a fabulous über-glossy magazine, ‘M’, packed with striking imagery and how-tos. Yesterday, on a flying visit to Stockholm (for Green & Black’s) I stocked up the beauty swag you can see here: an amazing shocking pink powder brush, 225 Krone (K11 = approx £1); tawny Crème Blush Duo (K165), tweezers in a really useful little zip-up pouch (so no more bent tweezers for me), a soft and flattering Old Rose lip pencil (K130), plus a sparkly red make-up bag (K175), which is very Dorothy’s-shoes-in-the-Wizard-of-Oz. Am now in Helsinki (if-it’s-Friday-it-must-be-Finland), and there’s another branch around the corner. The bank manager has been warned. So stay tuned: we’re on their radar now and will be first to tell you if those whispers about Make Up Store coming to Britain are true. Manicured fingers firmly crossed.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Most beautiful bottle of 2009?

It’s been six years since Narciso Rodriguez’s first fragrance, but the new launch – which Beauty Bible saw unveiled this morning at The Mayfair Hotel – is worth the wait. It may only be Feb but the flacon's definitely a contender for Most Beautiful Fragrance Bottle of 2009 – as if it’s sculpted from mercury – and what’s inside is super-pretty, with subtle whispers of Diorissimo and (for those who can remember the 70s), Balmain’s classic Vent Vert. A very green fragrance in a very silver, utterly dressing-table-worthy bottle. There’s a two-week exclusive launch at Harrods at the end of March, then nationwide (we’ll let you know where it’s on-line).

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Boots's amazing vintage archive

In Boots's vast Nottingham HQ, there is one very special zone: the precious archive, which even has memorabilia from the very first store opened by Jesse Boot in 1849. I was sooooo lucky to get VIP access this week, to take a look at the extraordinary wealth of swoonworthy vintage packaging and souvenirs they've assembled over the years. Archivist Sophie Clapp (I think she may have the best job in the world) and my best Boots pal Annabel Franks had put together a selection from what's almost an aircraft hangar (you could have lost me for days in there...) Did you know Boots made the most amazing silver dressing table sets? That they organised fantastic seaside works outings for their whole workforce, with printed cards listing the treats the workers could expect? Or that Florence Boot - Jesse's super-philanthropic wife - set up schools for the younger girls (who could start work at 14), as well as rest homes for Boots' workers who'd fought in the Crimea. Personally, I pine for the manicure set pictured here - and definitely think No. 7 should revive some of the Hollywood-esque packaging for nail polishes and deodorants. The archive inspired the new Boots Original Beauty Formula range, just hitting the counters: fab vintage designs (tomorrow's collectors' items), unfussy but sense-pleasing, do-what-they-promise formulations - and beauty steals, every one. Packaging junkies will love it - and for anyone who doesn't have Above Top Secret level access to the Boots archive, it's the next-best-thing.

Guess who's under the tiara!

Welcome to the first Beauty Bible blog posting. We’re lucky enough to get access to all the big names in the beauty world, but we thought we’d start with a kooky competition - with a fab prize for guessing: who’s the beauty dynamo wearing a tiara on top of this Louis Vuitton carrier bag? We snapped her recently at a ‘Tiara tea’ hosted by Gill Sinclair from Victoria Health - much cake and hilarity involved - and she’s agreed that if anyone guesses her identity, we’ll ALL have tea together in London, with a great goodie bag for the winner and a friend. (You’ve got to stump up your own travel, though.) E-mail us with your guesses, and the sender of the first correct guess wins! (Clue: she has made our feet VERY happy...)