I think one of the reasons I stayed in beauty for so long is the link it gave me to Paris, which is the capital of beauty, after all. There were the occasional press trips there, and the city also visited me regularly in the form of the product sample bags that would drop on my desk daily. There’s just an extra je ne sais quoi with French fragrances and makeup.
… and finally sit down to write a book — and so I did just that. At first, I envisaged more of a travel guide to Paris. But then it started to write itself more as a personal memoir, examining all the ways in which Paris had influenced me over the years, and what the city could also offer other women. Paris has been such a historically influential city in so many fields: politics, cuisine, philosophy, fashion, perfume … so beauty was always going to weave its way into the book in the end.
I’ve had a girl crush since I discovered her at the age of 16. I was instantly smitten by her insouciant style — the bedhead hair, the sooty eyes, the breezy dresses … After some embarrassing experimentation with my own beauty look, I came to accept that I wasn’t a convincing bombshell myself and I toned it all down, but my long-held preference for long blonde hair, smudgy eyes and tinted lips is probably due to having fallen for BB at such a formative age.
It’s not about fighting your skin and covering it up; instead it’s about working with, and enhancing, it. With that in mind, I make sure to always give myself a good twenty minutes in the bathroom each morning (I have two young boys so I also see this as my girlie-slash-sanity-slash-me-time!). I use BioDerma’s cleansing water, anti-redness creams by Avèneand Uriage, Embryolisse moisturiser for both face and body, and La Roche-Posay suncreen, all of which I stock up on each time I raid a Parisian pharmacy.
… but for the most part my personal routine has stayed quite minimal. I always begin with the aforementioned camouflage work. I so wish I could be the girl who wears rosy blush but enough natural warmth shows through my base so, alas, no rouge for me. Dark circles are another pet peeve of mine. My complexion doesn’t hold foundation well so I need my skin to be as clear in tone as possible. That said, my rosacea worsens each year. I’ve had some IPL to keep it in check; I also find that a blend of It Cosmetics CC Cream and Clarins Beauty Flash Balmcovers it nicely.
… but I covet beautiful lipsticks in shades of pink and red — I just wear them dabbed on for a tinted effect. I especially adore those by YSL, Guerlain and Chanel. For lipcare, I can never go past Lanolips. I must apply the 101 and hand cream at least ten times a day; I have tubes of it everywhere — on the desk, in my drawers, in my bags, in my car. I’m also always spraying room mist or lighting candles; I love those by Cire Trudon, Diptyque and Ladurée. For a frumpy-feeling day, I’ll reach for Chloé Fleur de Parfum, or If I’m just hanging around Bondi, I’ll spray onNuxe Prodigieux Le Parfum – it’s a summer’s day in a bottle. But my usual signature is Guerlain L’Heure Bleue.
My hair, thankfully, is pretty much wash-and-go, but I have had to step up my colour maintenance lately. A lovely colourist comes to my home every eight weeks. I’m morphing to more of an ashy cool-blonde because the increasing number of silvers (I refuse to say ‘grey’!) was clashing with the golds. I’ve been trying all sorts of purple shampoos and conditioners and treatments of late to tone down the warmth; I’m quite in love with Christophe Robin Baby Blonde. I actually love all of Christophe Robin’s haircare, especially the rose range. David Mallett, another Parisian hairdresser-turned-brand (albeit an Australian-born one), is also a favourite.
Perfume is a particular obsession. The adjective used to describe the power of a scent to take you back in time is Proustian, after Parisian author Marcel Proust, whose epic novel In Search of Lost Time was inspired by the aroma and taste of a madeleine. My most Proustian scent is that of Guerlain Météorites Powder Pearls. I found a box in my Christmas stocking when I was 13; ever since their powdery violet aroma instantly transports me to a time of yearning to be grown-up and glamorous. I collect Météorites like they’re going out of fashion. Luckily, they’re not — they still give skin the most divine luminosity.
Due to the aforementioned males in my life, I’ve made it super-feminine, fragrant and a little French (of course!). I have lots of prints by Parisian-born, Bondi-based artist Clémentine Campardou of Blue, who illustrated my book; I love Kerrie Hess’s work, too. I adore perfume bottles for decoration, along with lots of flowers and books. I feel most like myself in my little boudoir-ish study. Although I sometimes sneak down to The Shop & Wine Bar for a glass of rosé. Those little moments, along with family time and nights out with girlfriends, are actually the big ones. They’re what make for a beautiful life.”