Everyone’s way of getting through/celebrating autumn-into-winter is a bit different, I’d love to hear what works for you? Here’s what I do every October when summer has finally said goodbye, the clocks go back, and the trees are ablaze like fireworks.

  1. SWITCH TO A DO-EVERYTHING BALM. I have a love-hate relationship with facial oils in summer (and I only use them at night) but when colder, harsher weather arrives, that’s when they really perform. Having said that, if I had to choose ONE hero product for Oct-March, it would be a multi-tasking cleansing/nourishing/overnight balm – some do a few things, some do all…


Top British facialist Jane Scrivner’s Nourishing Cleansing Balm 

A nourishing oil-packed SOS for even the most distressed skin, this one’s a skin-balancing game-changer. Try it – it’s in Caroline Hirons’ Hall of Fame too.


The ultimate “winter protector”, this one’s not just great on the face it’s also fab for nails, lips, heels and any dry patches. Or leave it on overnight and let your skin drink it in.  Rosehip seed oil is a huge healer and like argan, it’s one of my favourite oils.

I take the label off my jar when I’ve finished the product and pop a tealight in it for a luminous indigo glow on chilly nights. This is such a “garden-lover’s beauty balm” full of potent but gentle calming, anti-inflammatory ingredients like geranium, hemp, rosemary, jojoba and famous eczema star, starflower oil.




Similar to another good one (the Moringa Balm by British facialist Emma Hardie) this is yet another cleansing balm that does way more than cleanse – here’s:

5 Ways to use Elemis’s Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm


2. GET OUTSIDE WHILE IT’S STILL LIGHT  We are chronically deprived of Vitamin D in the UK and current research shows it’s vital for certain diseases like Hashimotos (autoimmune thyroiditis), Alzheimer’s, and depression.  One spray a day of BetterYou’s Vitamin D oral spray and you’re covered. Standing in the winter sun for 20 minutes may help a little but for mood, health and things like thyroid issues a decent Vitamin D supplement is non-negotiable.

To be honest, I think this product which is slightly minty could be improved taste-wise. More mint, less “sweet” but it’s such an easy way to get your daily D fix.  I keep mine in my handbag.



In summer, it’s all about chlorine contamination, sun-parched flyaways…in winter it’s one big hair-wrecking attack (or it feels like that some days!). It’s a protect, protect, protect game – high powered conditioners, hair masks, and turning the heat down in the shower.

3 brands we really rate include Paul Mitchell, Leonor Greyl and Tabitha J Kraan, while Dr Organic’s hemp range includes a great hair repairer. Living Proof is also a fab hair brand, we’ve tested their products during the awards.

Feeding hair from the inside is useful ammunition, too: B complex and especially biotin, Omega 3s, silicone, good proteins, lots of dark leafy greens and zinc, for starters.

Check out Paul Mitchell’s 5 Days of Effortless Style (for when your hair’s misbehaving and you can’t be faffed to deal with it)…



My own autumn/winter splurges always tend to be candles, fragrance or reed diffusers along with mini-buys like deeper shade nail polish and a seriously good self-tanner for the face (my all time favourite is Omorovicza’s Glam Glow – sheer brilliance).

It’s totally natural and it delivers a “glow” that’s quick and almost magical the way it adds glow rather than colour “only”.  No weird scent, no over-staining of hands, no mess, and it’s light and fresh to apply.

Honestly, I haven’t found an equal contender for this facial tanner top spot yet and I’ve tried more than a few. #understatement
“If you’re a real hater of that fake tan scent, Omorovicza’s Glam Glow is for you. The light formula is easy to apply and develops in to a natural glow. Best used overnight.” – InStyle



I once spent a whole winter in an isolated converted barn. It was an experiment essentially, to see how isolation in nature – in winter – would affect me (the other interesting one was spending a few weeks living with a Berber family near the Sahara – backbreaking and incredibly hot but it was the best ever testing ground for the five SPFs I lugged around with me – for the record, La Roche Posay’s Anthelios SPF50 came out top).

Anyway, by mid November I was ready to call it a day (a very short, dark, rainy one) but I stuck it out until April, my Merrells boots caked in mud after the first heavy semi-freezing rainfull. There was no pavement along the local winding country road – dangerous corners, especially at 3pm when the light was fading fast, so I’d trek across fields that led to nowhere.

Luckily, I was running the Awards in the run up to Christmas, so things were very busy but if I hadn’t been working it would have been tough. Hot water bottles on my lap, not enough heating and the whole place was too dark if you’re typing all day.

I love looking after dogs in remote homes but this was different. No human contact for days on end, until the supermarket delivery man arrived once a week (who amazingly looked like an English, more low key version of George Clooney – bit of a plus!)  One thing that really helped lift my spirits in this low-lit, not enough daylight little barn with old furniture was aromatherapy (burning Tisserand’s essential oils – I love grapefruit and peppermint is fantastic for brain fatigue), reed diffusers and candles.


London florist Timothy Dunn’s Mille Fleurs is just exquisite- a thousand flowers in winter, what a treat! Velvety, warm, rich exotic florals against a backdrop of freezing rain, this candle is transformative and “transportative” (?)

And Jo Loves (Jo Malone)’s Pomelo fragrance launched during my winter-in-a-barn. What a find. It’s still my signature scent, and the most commented-on fragrance I’ve worn (strangers literally asking me in Whole Foods or as I emerge from a hotel loo, what scent I’m wearing).  Zesty, feelgood, mood-boosting, this scent is a true spirit lifter, full of captivating citrus sweetness with a modern twist (suede).


Jo just launched her new Fragrance Paintbrushes (including a Pomelo version but not surprisingly it’s sold out).  I could not love this scent more – if winter gets to you, and you’re near Elizabeth St, SW1, go try it at Jo’s gorgeous store.

One brand that hit my radar last winter was Summerdown Mint. And they make a cracker of a Reed Diffuser (there’s a new Room Spray that’s out now, too – and you can try the blend for just £1 as they do a mini-sampler). This is such a revitalising combo of lemongrass and the specially cultivated Black Mitchum mint that Summerdown mint grow on their farm. This is Sir Michael Colman’s new venture (the mustard family) and everything across the Summerdown Mint range (bath, hand cream, candle, etc) is quite divine!

This is such a beautifully uplifting blend for a winter living space – mine lived near my laptop in the run up to Christmas (or perfect in the bathroom).


On the polar opposite scale to uplifting citruses is Prismologie’s  seductive, woody OUD massage candle. Sultry, seductive and one to note if your man’s birthday is up soon, this candle is deeply relaxing and will scent your whole living space in a veil of Moroccan oud. Delicious. Every time this product gets sent to our judges rave reviews come back. It’s unique.

Lastly, if you’re in the mood for something new on the fragrance front, VOGUE just rounded up its 10 Best NEW Scents for Autumn – here’s the line-up including The Perfumer’s Story by Azzi “After Hours” and Gucci’s Bloom. Nothing autumnal about Gucci’s newest floral bouquet-in-a-bottle, but if you miss summer every winter, this one’s for you…

And what happened after my “in the bleak mid winter” barn experiment? Apart from swearing to only live in the most luminous living spaces I can find from now on, it was, in retrospect, worth it.

It taught me to look for the light in the dark, how nature is the best healer, I began to notice simple magical things like the pale English winter sun setting behind bare twiglet-like trees. I really came to appreciate the fresh light of each early morning, mug of tea in hand, slippers on, and what a difference exercise makes – even if you’re bundled up in rain and freeze-proof gear. If I hadn’t done so much walking I’m sure my mood would have plummeted at times. And the cosiness of evenings with aromatherapy oils, music, a good book in bed). The biggest luxury was the lack of noise at night. Birds in the morning, an owl at night, a cock crowing at dawn. That was the soundtrack to that winter. No cars, no noisy neighbours. Sleep is the ultimate luxury and I got lots of.

But mostly, I think, it taught me that even for those of us who love isolation (for me it’s a big healer but only – only – if there are dogs or horses around) human contact is vital. It’s one of the reasons people live past 100 in the world’s Blue Zones: a sense of community, no racing against time, mountain teas, good olive oil, a glass or two of local wine with friends, growing your own veg, eating straight from the earth. The simple things.

#HappyAutumn (I found this leafy beauty yesterday) x








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