SHOPPING WITH... RUBY HAMMER: Frocks, flowers and a whole lot of brushes

MAKE-UP artist Ruby Hammer now uses her own brand of brushes and tools most of the time, but after 14 years in the business she has gathered "over 200 from loads of other people, including Shu Uemura, MAC, Trish McEvoy, Laura Mercier and Screenface." Hammer's heavy kit gets lugged around in a big black shoulder bag from Muji (enquires: 0171 323 2208), with several zip-lock bags inside, and a smart cosmetic tool box from Screenface (enquiries and mail order: 0171 221 8289) which she's had for a long time.

Beauty treatments are a must for the make-up guru: "I'm always interested in any unusual therapy or massage". She regularly visits the Aveda Urban Retreat in Harvey Nichols (enquiries: 0171 201 8610), and has her legs waxed by an old friend called Bernice Kee-tui, who has her parlour below a hairdressers in Lancaster Gate in west London (enquiries: 0171 262 6722). For manicures and pedicures sher stops in at Supernail of Los Angeles near Baker Street (101 Crawford Street, London W1, tel: 0171 262 3411).

In Soho, Hammer shops at Camisa (61 Old Compton Street, London W1, tel: 0171 437 7610) for "odds and sods like olives and balsamic vinegar. I like Asian food (Hammer was born in Bangladesh and came to England 25 years ago), and I don't like anything that's too bland and boring."

Her working clothes have to be comfortable - "I don't like to be too hot or too cold" - so she favours layering. Her favourite fleece from Jigsaw (enquiries: 0171 491 4484) zips up over T-shirts from Banana Republic (enquiries: 00 1 212 644 6678) or M&S (enquiries: 0171 935 4422). "I wear jeans and trainers, too - either Nike or New Balance - from Offspring in Covent Garden" (60 Neal Street, London WC2, tel: 0171 497 2463).

In her spare time, Hammer spends a lot of time reading "books on self help and wonderful novels" from Daunts (83 Marylebone High Street, London W1, tel: 0171 224 2295), a shop which has "all the up-to-date stuff, but still manages to feel intimate". Hammer much prefers the ambience here to that of the large chain book shops, where she feels she might "get lost". In order to keep her reading eyes in shape, the make-up artist is a regular at Scrivens opticians, ("I've been going there ages,") near Oxford Circus (3 John Princes Street, London W1, tel: 0171 355 2120), where she buys her disposable contact lenses.

Like her father, apparently, Hammer has a "shoe fetish". She invests in designer shoes by Manolo Blahnik, Prada and Miu Miu - "they fit well because I have narrow feet" - which she cherishes for years. When they're in need of repair, Hammer entrusts her Manolos to Crispins (28-30 Chiltern Street, London W1, tel: 0171 486 8924). Any which are beyond repair get sent to the charity shop. Hammer admits she's "skinny" and many of her clothes need altering. Perkins ( the Thayer Street and the Hampstead High Street branches, general enquiries: 0171 794 4849) are trusted because "they don't botch my designer stuff". The designer stuff is often bought from boutiques like Koh Samui (0171 240 4280), The Cross (0171 727 6760), Tokio ( 0171 823 7310) and A la Mode (0171 584 2133).

As for treats, Hammer loves to have fresh flowers in her home, usually bought from Parterre (available from the Aveda Institute, 28/29 Marylebone High Street, London W1, tel: 0171 224 3157 ). "I have them next to bowls of water because I'm into feng shui."

For gifts for her friends, she loves objects and jewellery designed by Wright & Teague (enquiries: 0171 629 2777). In fact, the duo were involved in the packaging design of Hammer's own recently launched make-up line, Ruby & Millie. Sixty 6 (66 Marylebone High Street, London W1, tel: 0171 224 6066), a fashion and furniture shop owned by Jane Collins is Ruby Hammer's favourite. "I've got all sorts of things from there - even light fittings. I go in there for a coffee and a chat, but I can't leave without buying something. I seem to have ended up with a whole collection of vases from there."

Ruby & Millie is available at Harvey Nichols and selected branches of Boots

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