Mother of mountains
By anyone’s standards Maria Conceicao had it tough as a child. Her mother was too ill to look after her so the authorities in her native Portugal wanted to send her to an orphanage or put her up for adoption. But Cristina, an Angolan refugee cleaner, insisted on raising her along with her own six children. She made Maria’s childhood happy and continued to fight “tooth and nail” for the little girl as it was unheard of 33 years ago for a black woman to raise a white child.
Her actions inspired Maria, a former Emirates airline cabin crew member, to start her own charitable foundation to help slum children she met on a stopover in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 2005. Since then she has done everything to help them – including most recently risking her own life to climb the mother of all mountains, Mount Everest. At the best of times, it’s a hazardous climb, but Maria, 35, was determined to raise Dh3.67 million. She trained for a year, and even scaled several peaks including Kilimanjaro to be fighting fit for the challenge. But on page 28 Dubai-based Maria tells us how she ended up facing her own mortality after risking everything to reach the summit. Luckily she survived and continues to be the children’s ‘mother’ – and our inspiration. Until next week, This week I’m loving… 1. If there’s one beauty product you should invest in it’s La Prairie Cellular Revitalizing Eye Gel. Expensive yes, but a little goes a long way and what price can you put on having your eyes look their best? The blue gel chills as it reduces lines, puffiness, dark circles and banishes signs of fatigue. It even plumps out wrinkles with micro-filling spheres so you can look wide awake and years younger. Dh580 at selected beauty counters. 2. Matte skin is back and what better way to stave off the shine than with Laura Mercier’s smooth finish foundation powder. It hydrates skin, camouflages imperfections and reduces lines too. Result! Dh195, at Harvey Nichols from September. 3. David Beckham’s new Classic fragrance is the epitome of style. A fresh blend of lime and galbanum give way to a spicy nutmeg, cypress and mint aroma. The warm, woody base notes make this perfect for balmy autumn nights. Dh170 (60ml) at selected beauty counters from September.