The beauty desk is empty this week as I'm on my summer holiday at my family home in the Alps in France. Swimming in Evian-style water at Lake Annecy does wonders for the skin, but the sun is strong and mischievous so I'll be loading up on the following holiday essentials:

- Beach SPF: I like to take a selection, from 30 to 15 for the last few days once my skin has got accustomed to the sun. Brands I have packed are Clarins, Estee Lauder, Sisley and Vichy - which all smell divine. I really believe suncare should be an investment, not a chore, and should be applied generously in copious amounts. As Mr Gordon Gekko once said: 'Greed is Good!' and this definitely applies to suncare.

- Cycling SPF: Cycling around the lake is one of my favourite pastimes, but the breeze and shady trees can trick you into forgetting to re-apply SPF. My secret weapon is UltraSun once-a-day formula. It comes in SPF 50, 30 or 20, and I can assure you one single application will protect you (even from spontaneous lake plunges!)

- Hydrating mask: After a day in the sun, pre rosé 'o'clock, I try to catch a 10-minute snooze in my bedroom with a cooling quenching face mask. In my washbag this year is Darphin Hydrating Kiwi Mask. Such a treat.

- Aftersun: Is there anything more indulgent than applying body cream without anyone or anything trying to rush you out of the bathroom? That's what holidays are all about for me, and this year my me-time aftersun is Clarins' Ultra-Hydrating After Sun Moisturiser. Yum!

Skin sorted, these are the little extras I'll be parading sur la plage:

- Lipstick: I know, right! Who wears lipstick to the beach? It's SO not my thing, but this year I'm experimenting with a bare face, lightly mascara'd lashes and a pop of coral lipstick, namely Tom Ford's decadent True Coral (which by the way matches identically to Bourjois' No Chip nail polish in shade 16).

- And on that topic, LOADS of nail polishes: Another du Parcq holiday ritual, I absolutely love painting my nails at the beach and I have a stash of hot tropical yellows, oranges and pinks by my favourite brands Chanel, OPI, Revlon and Andrea Fulerton.

Bon Voyage!