Gabrielle Chanel

"A woman who doesn't wear perfume has no future. - Coco Chanel


A couple of weeks ago I visited the Chanel Beauty counter in Selfridges Manchester. Makeup artist Lorna whispered to me while she was applying my eyeshadow, “you’re a Chanel girl aren’t you, I can tell… do you want to come to an exclusive Chanel event in a couple of weeks time?” No-brainer!


The event was to launch Chanel’s newest scent for 15 years, Gabrielle Chanel. Hype has been building since the French fashion house revealed plans for a new fragrance earlier this year, with the scent itself being kept closely under wraps until now. A new Chanel perfume is a once in a decade event!


The eau de perfume captures the rebellious and unconventional spirit of the founder of Chanel, giving us a glimpse of the woman behind the ‘Coco’ persona.

The brand describes, “Before she founded her House, Coco Chanel was Gabrielle. A rebel at heart, passionate and free, she fought to become the woman she wanted to be.”


It was developed by Chanel’s in-house perfumer Olivier Polges, who also created one of my favourite all-time fragrances, Viktor and Rolf’s Flower Bomb. I had high expectations. 


Upon arrival at the Selfridges VIP event last Thursday, I was whisked up a private lift into the personal shopping area. I was greeted by lovely Lorna who, along with some of the other makeup artists from the store, demonstrated the new autumn beauty collection before giving us a special preview of the perfume. 


Champagne flowed freely and canapés circulated while we listened to Nora from the Chanel fashion boutique in Selfridges. She spoke us through the iconic pieces from Chanel’s history. The tweed jacket, the pearl necklace, the 2.55 handbag and finally the new Gabrielle Chanel scent. 


Whoever said money can’t buy happiness didn’t know where to go shopping - Coco Chanel

Housed in a square glass bottle, the perfume looks similar to the iconic No.5., however, fellow Chanel geeks will notice that the Gabrielle bottle is much cleaner and is without the neck ribbon from No. 5.  It’s the thinest bottle to date and took the fashion house over 5 years to perfect.

We were allowed a quick spritz before the release on general sale the next day. The perfume smells as good as it looks. It’s pure floral, based on a bouquet of four white flowers: jasmine, ylang ylang, tuberose from grasse and orange blossom.

Much more feminine than No. 5, it isn’t overly heady so is perfect for daytime wear. 


"'Where should one use perfume?' a young woman asked. 'Wherever one wants to be kissed,' I said. - Coco Chanel 

A promotional film featuring actress Kristen Stewart and Beyoncé was also released to coincide with the fragrance launch. It shows Stewart breaking free from what appears to be a cocoon and dancing her way into a wall of Gabrielle bottles.

Thank you very much to Lorna and the rest of the Selfridges Beauty team for inviting me along to such a special event. 

You can purchase Gabrielle Chanel here.

The Spa @ Suites Hotel, Liverpool 

“All I want is world peace and a pedicure” - unknown

One of the great things about blogging is that you learn about places to try that you probably wouldn’t have known about otherwise. 


I was recently invited to one such place, The Spa @ Suites Hotel in Liverpool, for a pamper day with my friend. 


Nestled away in the most unlikely of places, just off the M57 motorway in Knowsley, I’ve driven past dozens of times without realising it even existed. The exterior gives little away about the indulgent spa experience that you can experience inside.


Suites is the only 4* hotel in the North West that provides all of its guests with suites. Hence the name! The privately owned hotel opened in September 2014 and The Spa has since become a popular destination for a luxury pamper. 

Facilities include a Thermal Suite with Double Rasul Chamber, Sinann Foot Spa, Rainforest Showers, Hot Beds, Himalayan Salt Inhalation Steam Room, Sauna and Ice Room offering a range of heat, ice and water treatments.

The leisure facilities include an 18 metre swimming pool, two Jacuzzis and a fully equipped gym.


Therapists are trained to Decléor and Carita standards, offering over 90 treatments. There’s a choice of manicures, pedicures, massages, facials, wraps, therapies, anti-ageing treatments, treatments for mums-to-be, couples treatments… the list is almost endless. 


My friend had the Drift Signature Treatment. This began with a skin softening body brush followed by a warm soya bean oil drizzled over the body before a full body massage. Guests are given the rest of the massage candle to take with them to enjoy at home. 


I had the Twin Souls Treatment, an exfoliation of hands and feet before a deep relaxation massage of both. 


After our treatments we went to the Thermal Spa for a sauna before retreating to the Relaxation Suite.


This little sanctuary allows you to relax and unwind while sipping a cup of tea. Perfect!


The venue also offers dining and drinking destinations in the form of Handley’s Brassiere and Bollinger Bar. Those visiting The Spa have exclusive access to the Spa Bistro, which serves up healthy and indulgent light-bites.


With a range of facilities and treatments on offer, The Spa @ Suites Hotel, truly was a pleasant surprise. It just goes to show that you can find a little bit of luxury in the most unlikely of places. 


Cocktail Saturdays was a guest of Suites Hotel

Sloane Square Hotel, London

Sloane Square was designed in 1771 and named after Sir Hans Sloane. It has long been one of the most exclusive areas in central London, situated between the Kings Road and Sloane Street. It’s the perfect address to thrill shopaholics, surrounded by the world’s most luxury boutiques.

Aside from the excellent retail therapy opportunities, the Square also has several historical buildings, including the Peter Jones department store, the Royal Court Theatre and the Sloane Square Hotel. 

Housed in a 19th-century building which was formerly The Royal Court Hotel, it has played host to many celebrities. Early in February 1962, The Beatles stayed for several weeks and in the following year they used the building as a venue for photographic sessions. The hotel also played host to the first meeting between Paul McCartney and his future girlfriend Jane Asher.

In 2005 the building was completely renovated and reopened as Sloane Square Hotel. The ideal location for my recent trip to The Glamour Beauty Festival at The Saatchi Gallery. The Gallery is conveniently just a two minute walk from the hotel. 

As per usual, I arrived at the hotel well before my scheduled Check In time. The intention was to drop my bags and grab some breakfast in the hotel’s French inspired Cote Brasserie. It was a nice surprise to be told that my room was ready, giving me the opportunity to have a quick freshen up before the Festival began. The staff at reception were all charming and extremely welcoming, setting the tone for the rest of my stay. 


I arrived in my room to find a handsome little fella sat waiting to greet me. We exchanged pleasantries while I inspected the room. 

The hotel’s rooms are elegant and luxurious, with bespoke ornate wallpapers and beds dressed with luxury 300-thread count Egyptian linens. Comfort is paramount with soft pillows on the huge King size bed.

My room had a lovely window seat looking out across the square and was pretty spacious, even by London standards.

After a quick spruce up, I bid my friend farewell and made my way downstairs to meet my (human) friend for some french toast before we set off for the Saatchi Gallery. 

The Glamour Beauty Festival is a two-day beauty event which launched in 2016 and returned to London for its second year.

The event was sponsored by Fiat, which staged a 'pool party', offering guests the chance to immerse themselves in a party experience with DJ music, a gelato van and parasols. We grabbed ourselves a prosecco sorbet and soaked up the party atmosphere.

The Festival is an opportunity to experience professional beauty treatments and gain expert advice, as well as watch talks with some of the industry’s leading figures. Brands supporting the festival included Nars, GHD, Garnier, Elizabeth Arden and Nails Inc. 

Youtube duo Pixiwoo kicked off the talks, followed by make-up guru Mary Greenwell and hair expert Sam McKnight. They spoke to presenter Angela Scanlon about how the beauty industry has changed and gave a fascinating insight into what it was like working with Princess Diana.

Fearne Cotton spoke all things food with celebrity nutritionist Amelia Freer. 

Dermot O’Leary was interviewed by Glamour Editor Jo Elvin on his new skincare range for men. 

Glamour’s Beauty Director, Alessandra Steinherr, interviewed a group of gorgeous ladies as to their Desert Island essentials. The group consisted of singer Frankie Bridge and bloggers In The Frow, Samantha Maria and Niomi Smart.

Winnie Harlow spoke to Erin O’Connor about working in the modelling industry. 

After all of the talks we had our hair done by GHD before heading next door to Gallery Mess for some much needed food. 

Gallery Mess has a beautiful setting within the grounds of the Saatchi Gallery. The decor of exposed brickwork, high ceilings and unique displays of art make for a lovely relaxing atmosphere. The perfect place for a long leisurely meal in readiness for some cocktails in Chelsea. 

Returning to the Sloane Square Hotel in the evening, we enjoyed a complimentary glass of prosecco in the hotel bar.

When I returned to my room a lovely little surprise awaited. The room had been turned down, with my bed made ready to slump into. A chocolate had been left on my pillow and a bottle of water on the bedside table. I’m can’t be sure who the kind and thoughtful person was who did this for me, but I have my suspicions. He’d even left out a mug for me to have a late night feast of hot chocolate and cookies. What a gentleman!

Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge

Often dubbed the younger, more fashionable cousin of Harrods, Harvey Nichols has become a playground for beauty connoisseurs. 

The ground floor of the Knightsbridge store reopened last summer following a ten month refurbishment. It is now home to ‘The Beauty Lounge’, a concept space offering express blow dries, makeovers, brows, lashes and manicures.

It has been designed for busy people in need of quick treatments between meetings. For those with a bit more time on their hands, Harvey Nichols also offers a unique Beauty Concierge service. A team of beauty experts help you select exactly what you’re looking for from the vast number of products on offer. 

It is the ultimate luxurious environment to be pampered and preened. There are 130 of the best beauty and 50 of the top fragrance brands all under one roof. 

The designers created an open, fluid space to allow as much natural light as possible. A mixture of luxurious materials such as marble, bronze and rose gold are set against glossy whites and greys.

It’s a step away from the usual loud, noisy beauty halls in so many department stores. The sophisticated and elegant space takes you away from the hustle and bustle of Knightsbridge into a peaceful beauty retreat.

My friend and I were invited along to have our makeup done before having afternoon tea at The Berkeley. The Concierge team emailed us in advance, asking what kind of looks we were hoping to achieve and the brands we tend to use. It was decided that the Nars beauty team were best suited for the task. 

I met with Noor, who set about working on my request for a slightly smokey eye with a nude lip. I emphasised that it had to look very natural, as I didn’t want to look too made up for afternoon tea. It also had to take me through to the evening when we were going out for cocktails. 

She selected the correct products for my skin type and explained the purpose of each product. I’ve never been one for using primers but Noor explained that this would ensure my makeup lasted all night. 

She also introduced me to the infamous Nars Orgasm Blush (a cult product amongst beauty addicts.)

Noor did such a great job with my makeup I had to stop myself from purchasing all the products to take home with me. Justifying some spending with the fact that I’d earn loyalty points on my Harvey Nichols app, I walked away with the following:

Smooth & Protect Primer SPF50 30ml £27.00 & Night Series Eyeliner £19.00

I’m pleased with all the items I bought and have used them every day since. Noor created the perfect look for our afternoon tea and it took us well into our night of fancy cocktails….

*Cocktail Saturdays was a guest of Harvey Nichols. 

Charlotte Tilbury

Makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury is renowned for creating gorgeous beauty looks for celebrities like Adele, Penelope Cruz, Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Aniston. She is best friends with Kate Moss, and did Amal Clooney's wedding day make-up when she married George Clooney in Venice.

every woman wants to feel beautiful, powerful and sexy and that make-up is a great way to achieve this

Not quite content with her success as a make-up artist, Charlotte has recently launched her own make-up products. Her aim with the ‘Charlotte Tilbury’ range is to bring her famous red carpet looks to reality for women around the world. She is passionate about make-up, firm in the belief that it is “a woman’s secret weapon”, and wants to engage the 50% of British females who do not use beauty products to their advantage. 

She has tried to simplify make-up by packaging her range into 10 carefully edited, signature looks which can be bought as a kit, meaning that you can’t go wrong when you recreate it at home. My personal favourite look is Uptown Girl which is “groomed, glossy, gorgeous perfection.” Having been raised in Ibiza, the glamorous bronzed look has become Charlotte’s signature style, which all her products reflect.

The range is sold nationwide in selected stores, including John Lewis Liverpool, as well as a flagship “beauty boudoir” in Covent Garden. It has had great success since its launch two years ago and is highly regarded within the beauty industry. The packaging, the range of colours and textures, but most importantly the quality, have catapulted the brand into an award winning bestseller which is loved by celebrities, models, makeup artists and editors. It’s no surprise that this week Charlotte has been nominated for the Veuve Clicquot Business Women Award 2016.

give a woman the right make-up and she can conquer the world

For Charlotte, the formula of her products is paramount. She has beavered away with her team in secret laboratories to perfect her magic lotions and potions for the past 5 years, until she was finally happy to release it to the public.

I truly believe that make-up can change your life!

Having gained her expansive knowledge of beauty through working at top level for the past 20 years at the forefront of the industry, she has poured all her best-kept secrets into her make-up products.

She has a very refreshing stance on beauty, that women should not feel guilty for wearing make-up saying it can help make the best version of yourself, calling it “the incredible transformative power of make-up.”

I was fortunate enough to receive an invitation to attend an event earlier today to meet Charlotte at John Lewis in Liverpool to learn more about the range.

Before I arrived I visited the brands counter in the beauty hall of John Lewis. It’s very glamorous and buzzing with beautiful sales people. I was served by the lovely Jodie who applied the Filmstar Bronze and Glow.

Charlotte is a fan of contouring providing it is done correctly. This product does just that. There’s no awful orange or grey tones, just a clever blend of pearl and pigment to give a perfect sun-kissed complexion. Think J-Lo!

The product is also Paraben-free which is a huge plus for me and my sensitive skin. Jodie also applied a lip-pencil in Pillowtalk and a coating of Bitch Perfect lipstick which were both beautifully nude. Once my transformation was complete I was lead upstairs to a private room to meet the lady herself. 

Charlotte was absolutely lovely, and spoke for over 90 minutes about her products with such passion. This isn’t just a brand she has put her name to, she has carefully selected each and every product and its formulation and knows her brand inside out.

During her talk she gave us an insight into her life as a make-up artist and was open and honest about herself and the industry. I have to say I was really impressed with how down to earth she was and how much time she spent talking through her products. She was really warm, absolutely hilarious and only too happy to answer questions and pose for photographs afterwards.

Equally her team were all lovely, each of them taking the time to demonstrate the products on us while Charlotte spoke. At the end of the talk we were all gifted a make-up bag containing a look for us to take home. I was given Uptown Girl and can’t wait to try the products. 

I’ll post a follow up review once I have had a chance to try each product individually. In the meantime, here are some titbits about Charlotte:

- Her husband has never seen her without make-up, she takes her make-up off at night and then immediately reapplies it before bed
- Her favourite cocktails are Margaritas and Skinny Bitches (vodka, lime and soda)
- Her favourite place in Ibiza is La Paloma in San Lorenzo
- Her biggest inspirations are Coco Chanel, Estee Lauder and Helena Rubinstein, who famously said "There are no ugly women, only lazy ones”
- Kate Moss is godmother to both of her two young children
- Her father is an artist and she used his painting brushes as inspiration when designing her makeup brush collection
- She has over 220 black dresses and over 350 pairs of shoes in her Notting Hill home, only one set of which are flats

A huge thank you to Charlotte and her team for such a lovely day, and a big thanks to John Lewis for my invitation.