Friday, 20 November 2015


'Confidence is the key to success,' said Deborah Meaden when I interviewed her at an event at Annabel's last week, 'And it's what I always try to instill in my people'. 
And it's true, no matter how talented you are, if you're unable to squash the insidious voice in your head that tells you you're not good enough, you won't succeed. You need to believe in yourself.
You can if you think you can. 

Clockwise from top left: Astley Clarke Kula bracelets; my place setting at The Arts Club; selection of Astley Clarke Biography pins

It's easier said than done - over the years, I've become practised at oozing a veneer of self-belief. The truth is, I'm always quaking inside, convinced I'll be unmasked. I was particularly quakey about interviewing Deborah Meaden for Annabel's - I know about books, so talking to authors at The Books That Built Me every month is well-within my comfort zone, but steering a conversation about someone's life and successes for a large audience felt very daunting. Try as I might, I was failing to psych myself up: I couldn't find my confidence mojo. 

The morning of the interview, my consciously incompetent self was crying out for something tangible to prompt my self-belief. The universe has a way of giving you what you need, when you need it, albeit in unexpected ways, and I found it at a press breakfast given by Astley Clarke.

Astley Clarke is one of the great success stories of online retailing. Founded by Bec Astley Clarke in 2006 to celebrate the best in fine jewellery design, the company grew quickly and began to create their own collections with an ethos to inspire intelligent modern women to wear relaxed fashionable jewellery. One of Astley Clarke's signatures is the Biography Collection, and the purpose of the breakfast was to launch a new iteration of their famous friendship bracelet - the Kula collection (pictured above) -and to introduce Biography Pins: a clever new take on brooches, a selection of fourteen of Astley Clarke's favourite charms, each of which has a symbolic meaning, and can be worn on lapels, or on a scarf or hat, or anywhere and in any combination. 

It's a fun, accessible way to jazz up an outfit, but more than that, it struck me at once that you could edit your selection to act as a little aide memoire, to remind you that 'you can if you think you can'. I've never really been one for talismans, but with my nerves jangling about the interview, I knew I could really use a lucky charm. I opened my Astley Clarke box and there, in some gorgeously karmic coincidence,  was a Hamsa pin - a symbol of protection that brings blessings, power and strength, and a lightning bolt, to symbolise creativity and inspiration: Sometimes, things do come into your life at exactly the moment you need them.
I'm wearing the Hamsa the wrong way up, don't judge me.

Later that evening, in the taxi back home after the Annabel's event with the brilliant, witty, inspiring Deborah Meaden, I was fiddling with the pins I'd stuck to my lapel and I was reminded of Glinda in the Wizard of Oz when she says to Dorothy, 'You always had the power, my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself' and I thought, thank you, Astley Clarke for providing me with the perfect study aid.

Astley Clarke Biography pins from £45

Astley Clarke, 6 Junction Mews London W2 (also stocked in Selfridges, Liberty, and other stores nationwide)

For US Stockists, please click here

Confidence also comes from putting your best face forward, of course: it helps if there's no distracting voice in your head telling you your hair is a mess, your eye makeup makes you look tired and your shirt gaps at the bosom. Skincare and cosmetics brand, Eve Lom, partnered Astley Clarke at the breakfast to show off a lovely new product, Illuminating Radiance Powder, a very finely milled golden powder with rose shaped particles and mother of pearl extract. It comes complete with brush, so all you need to do is to shake it gently and sweep on subtle, light-reflecting highlights for instant desk-to-dinner glamour. Or if you're all over the strobing lark (I'm no expert selfie-ist, so it's safe to say that strobing is a completely new word for me) you can unscrew the bottom and use a finger tip to stroke the powder directly onto cheekbones and so on. 
Eve Lom Illuminating Radiance Powder inexpertly yet joyously applied

I really love the way it bounces light away from one's face, which has an excellent anti-ageing effect (see below for a picture of me in the harsh winter daylight - can you see my wrinkles? No, you cannot. I call that a result.)

 I daresay, if you're good at instagram and contouring, you'd be able to give yourself the cheekbones of Ursula Andress. 
It smells delicious and it's now an essential in my 'Tube to Party' makeup bag (other marvellous insta-glam discoveries include Charlotte Tilbury's utterly foolproof Colour Chameleon eye pencil - crayon it on and smudge with a finger for smokey eyes in a trice and Tom Ford lipstick in Wilful, a subtle, glossy red which looks chic rather than disco)

Eve Lom Illuminating Radiance Powder £50 Available from Space NK and other Eve Lom stockists.

1 comment:

donna baker said...

Glad to see you also quake inside. Self-confidence is a gift I wasn't given.