Sarah Vine has found a bikini wax she actually looks forward to, an iron supplement that's doing wonders for her anaemia and the cleansing regime that she can fit around the school run

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For once in my life, I actually made an effort before going on holiday this half term. I had various bits of me waxed. I got a fake tan. I went for a mani/pedi. I even managed to stay off the chocolates. All in anticipation of a bit of sun.

Reader, it rained. Poured. At one point, there was freezing hail. Then it snowed. Admittedly I hadn’t expected tropical temperatures, but I really wasn’t equipped for three feet of snow. Luckily it didn’t stick: the next day the sun blazed away, and it all melted. Sadly by then it was time to go home.

But it wasn’t all a wasted effort. Because I’ve finally found a lady-gardening place that doesn’t make me feel like I’m getting up to something seedy:  Privet.

It’s never easy making what is essentially an extremely intimate and faintly absurd experience involving paper pants, hot wax in all the wrong places and a complete stranger pleasant; but Privet somehow does.

It’s not just down to the quality of the therapists; it’s also the environment, which is slightly bonkers, but in a good way. The place is owned by a successful builder who, being partial to a bit of a chest wax himself, decided to create a space where men wouldn’t feel intimidated by all the ladypinkness that tends to come with the territory.

So Privet’s treatment rooms are fitted out like ordinary rooms, full of books, pictures, this-and-that - all designed to put the most reluctant waxer at ease. After I’d been de-fuzzed, I even treated myself to a quick massage. Ten out of ten in all respects.


According to one of those endless surveys commissioned by companies to promote their products/services (I forget which), fully a third of British women admits to not taking off their makeup at night. And I’m very happy to admit I’m one of them.

There are several reasons. Firstly, I go to bed too late and get up too early. By the time I finally retire it’s all I can do to clean my teeth, let alone embark on some elaborate Lady Mary style toilette.

Secondly, this whole idea of obsessively cleansing before bed was developed in the days when make-up was made out of a mixture of cement mix and greasepaint. Modern formulations are so much more sophisticated, and the ingredients far likely to be sterile and even, in some cases, good for the skin. I’ve certainly never experienced any adverse effects from my slovenly habits.

Thirdly, Charlotte Tilbury sleeps in hers - and if it’s good enough for one of the world’s top make-up artists, it’s good enough for me.

Aesthetically, too, it’s quite pleasing. Morning-after make-up is like a day-old blow-dry: somehow rather sexy. Perhaps it’s because it’s a bit faded and fuzzy around the edges - a friend of mine calls it ‘French’. Chic without really having to try.

It’s also a great time-saver. I have to be up at half six in order to get the kids ready for the school run; by the time I’m done it’s half eight. So last night’s eye make-up, quickly tidied-up with a cotton bud dipped in micellaire water, is perfect.  Filorga  (love this brand) for older skins,  Bioderma  for sensitive skins and, if you’re of the youthful persuasion,  Good Things Acai Berry .

What discipline I lack in my rushed day-to-day regime, I do however try to make up for in quieter moments. While my husband takes the kids to football/ice-skating/ballet/parties I lock the bathroom door and get on with some serious housekeeping.

At the moment I’m using two products by the brilliant facialist  Su Man : the  Purifying Cleansing Oil  with the  Purifying Facial Polish , both £40. The latter is already winning awards. The first, meanwhile, is a gel that emulsifies on contact with water which is great for lifting invisible dirt, especially around the nose and chin. It cleans deeply without drying out the skin, which means I can do it twice without turning into a prune.

Then the exfoliation. Exfoliation really does work - especially if you have a tendency towards adult acne: dry skin plus raging hormones equals skin care hell. Su Man’s facial polish is made out of coffee granules, so it’s a bit like rubbing the contents of your cafetiere into your face, but it is quite brilliant: brightening, invigorating, decongesting.

Both the cleanser and the scrub last for ages, too, since you only need the smallest amount. Not quite as good as a facial with the woman herself - but a close second. All the products were developed personally by Su Man and her other half, so if you want to support a great independent entrepreneur as well as having awesome skin, do give them a go.

MORE GLOSS: Sarah Vine on how to revive dull skin


One final thing. If you’re in the market for a good iron supplement (and who of us ladies isn’t), I would strongly recommend something called  GlobiFer Forte . I’ve been taking these ever since my doctor told me I was very anaemic, and not only have I been feeling much better, my blood tests show a material improvement. Not for vegetarians, though: they contain bovine haemoglobin powder. But that’s why they work: most iron supplements contain iron derived from plant sources - but the trouble with that is that it’s very hard for the body to metabolise, which not only means it doesn’t do much good, it can also cause stomach upsets and constipation. Other advantage: it’s just one tablet a day, which when you’re taking as many sodding pills as I am is a blessed relief.

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