I am currently in London with a tight timetable, so I decided to catch up with all the new fashion and beauty trends in one go by visiting the big three: Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Harrods.
London is heaven for anyone who likes beauty, as the girls – and boys – there wear so much makeup.
The women in headscarves are particularly outstanding, with their elaborate eye makeup and huge sets of false lashes.
Everyone looked so fabulous, I had a small crisis of confidence and so I headed for the Charlotte Tilbury counter in Selfridges, a brand that I had heard has a moisturiser called Magic Cream. That, I knew, would fix my life.
The lovely sales girl put one aside for me (it smelled like Ponds Cold Cream but whatever) and we then decided I needed Magic Night Cream, because what idiot would think to use the same cream 24/7?
We then got into the “I’m over 5O and it is really most annoying” spiral.
“This powder is fantastic,” she said.
“No, face powder accentuates fine wrinkles and dryness,” I said emphatically.
“This eye shadow is….” she began.
“No, I’m going to stop you there, it has shimmer in it, which is harsh on older lids,” I replied.
“This lipstick is….”
“No, matte is ageing. No, gloss runs into the lines around your mouth.”
She battled on bravely.
“This eyebrow product fills in patchiness.” Aha.
“This bronzer will give you the look of a firmer jaw.” Now she had me.
I bought all the magic products and, just to make her happy, a lipstick in a too-dark shade that made me look like a crone chewing on a dead crow.
I moved on to the fashion floors. What I love about department stores, if they are well-edited, is that you can see all the dominant trends at a glance.
Summer has hit the floors and it is almost 100 per cent about a mid length floral dress.
This happens to be one of my favourite fashion items ever, the 1940’s style floral dress with a sweetheart neckline, darts under the bust and a flared hem.
I wore them all the time when I was in my twenties and thirties, buying them in Paris at Claudie Pierlot and Cacharel, and wearing them with a red lip and black suede forties style sandals.
Here they all were again, racks of exquisite floral dresses by Erdem, Peter Pilotto, Joseph and Chloe.
I reached for them instinctively, but when I held them up to the mirror I did not see myself reflected back, insouciant, in a red lip and bare legs, carrying a straw basket.
Instead they made me look old. Vintage. It hit home why granny print is called granny print.
I started to feel wistful, and sad, as it is hard to let go of a look that you loved.
But then I spied a beautiful navy blouse, with a lipstick pink satin pussy bow, grown up and glamorous.
Yes, you can do 1940’s in your fifties.