x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

The Beauty Spy: Brighten up your life with nail varnish

You won't see her, but she's there, in the salons, spas and shops, and she's happy to share her secrets on the uplifting power of nail varnish.

During the Rugby World Cup in 2007 I had an idea for a book called How to Seduce Jonny Wilkinson and Other Routes to Happiness. It would look at what makes women happy, how we can be happier and so on.

I have no idea how to seduce Jonny Wilkinson but that was to be what publishers call the "narrative arc". On my quest for eternal happiness I would set out to achieve what most of the females in England wanted at the time.

My agent liked the idea, but she doesn't fancy Jonny Wilkinson. So we opted for something that perhaps more women can relate to: pink nail varnish. And I realised how right she was (although the book never did get written; the publisher didn't like the idea, or pink nail varnish).

The other day I sat on my bed exhausted after a series of beauty investigations. Around me the children wailed and fought. I thought about the day ahead when I would have to keep them from killing each other, and all the horrible admin chores I needed to get to grips with.

In my hand I had a bottle of pink nail varnish, Funtime Fuschia, from Rimmel. I opened the lid and began to paint my nails. The glossy colour slid onto my toenails effortlessly, like a lump of butter melting on warm toast. I finished one nail and was pleased. The children came and yelled at me.

"Go away please," I said, Zen-like, without even looking up from my shiny pink toes. "I am painting my nails." Since then, no pink nail varnish has been left untouched. My fingernails, for instance, are gloriously painted with Dior Nail Vernis in Pink Boa while my toenails frequently boast Estée Lauder's Pure Color Surreal Violet.

A friend of mine in Paris drives around with a miniature manicure kit at all times. This kit - which includes Ballerina nail varnish by Chanel, a Tony Perotti Italico Manicure set and Essie clear varnish - is so precious to her that whenever she parks somewhere she shoves an old Monoprix bag on top of it. "Someone would steal your car for less," she explains. "If your nails are in good shape, then everything else works, too. You can be feeling dreadful and paint your nails and suddenly life looks brighter."

She is right. At the end of painting my nails the other day I felt so much better. And my nails looked so much chirpier than before. I was happy, and I haven't even met Jonny Wilkinson.

More tips and tricks from the Beauty Spy.


3 of the best

Be a sleeping beauty with these relaxing sleep aids.

BATH & BODY WORKS AROMATHERAPY SLEEP HAND SOAP DH30 Breathe deeply while using this fresh foaming soap, and let the essential oils of lavender and chamomile help soothe and calm your mind.

MOLTON BROWN BODY REMEDIES, CEDRUS TEMPLE SOOTHER DH111 Rub gently on your temples and other acupuncture points to help forget your stresses and strains and aid a good night's sleep.

NEOM ORGANICS TRANQUILITY BATH OIL DH260 Relax and unwind in the tub before bed with this divine-smelling bath oil. Rich in lavender, sweet basil and jasmine, it leaves your skin nourished and silky smooth.


M loves

SENSUOUS Noir perfume by Estée Lauder

This is an ideal scent if you are keen to go slightly ethnic but not ready for the total oud immersion. As its name suggests, this is a sensual scent, with a seductive smell and aura. It is a perfume for the evening, mixing purple rose; the rich petals of rose essence; jasmine, also known as "Queen of the Night"; and black pepper to create a spicy vibrancy with deep, dark undertones.

Dh294, available at all Estée Lauder counters across the UAE