I know Christmas is a time for giving, but even saintly Cliff admitted it was a time for getting too. Focussing on the latter for now (my Christmas gift guide will be going up shortly for selfless shoppers), below is the A-Z of things I suggest you get before Christmas to have you looking and feeling top notch.
A: Aromahome Rabbit knitted Hand Warmers. Christmas sometimes requires a great deal of outdoor endurance. I do not speak of skiing or tobogganing. Even the least athletic of Christmas activities such as cradling mulled wine and perusing shops really does put one through the paces, especially if you struggle in the cold as I do. I approach such events armed to my chattering teeth, and these hand warmers can be clicked and slipped anywhere for instant heat (and are soft as a bunny to the touch).
B: Bumble and Bumble Semi-Sumo. This new addition to the family of sumo products is my favourite. A surprisingly fragrant pomade, this product is your ticket to getting tousled, dishevelled hair in an instant – just rub it in and watch your hair take on a messy quality. It is a one product ticket to looking artfully undone in a jiffy for Christmas parties.
C: CoPilot Live Premium HD Europe. Many a festive event is ruined by accusations of shoddy directions. I have often been at the receiving end of wrath when a simple instruction has been misconstrued. For those of you who don’t have a sat nav, your iPhone or iPad can easily double as one for a snip of the price with the CoPilot app so if you lose the way, only the phone is to blame.
D: Damart thermals. The cold while outside isn’t the only challenge of the winter months. Remaining warm whilst inside is also a difficulty when surrounded by rather more warm-blooded specimens than I who insist on keeping the central heating off. In a flash of inspiration, I remembered the good work thermals did when I was at school and will now be sneakily padding out my form with Damart thermals to ward off the chill in the coming months.
E: Ellis Faas Creamy Lips in L101. This silver bullet is my secret to achieving a perfectly blood red pout painlessly. Just twist a little of the lipstick out first to provide the base colour and then build until your have the intensity you require. A way to line, stain and colour, this is the easiest way to give a make-up nod to Christmas without any ado.
F: Fresh Fragrance Essentials Rollerball Trio. These three vials are full of the sort of scent you want to have to hand when dashing about in December – fresh, uplifting and ideal for day and night. Use the sugar lemon or brown sugar if you perfect sweet scents and the grapefruit for a zing on the go.
G: Gazelli Triple Youth Ultra Nourishing Saviour Mask. There is no denying that December is one of the most trying times for your skin. Poor diet, lots of booze and late nights all don’t do anything for the inner glow most of us would like to be sporting. This mask is made for the morning after to inject some intense nourishment and vitally.
H: Higher Living Fab Four Tea. Being a devotee of the herbal tea’s mighty hydrating abilities, I have found this pack containing four winning bags (ginger, evening, berry and orange and green mate), to be a popular carton on my shelf, outdoing all the other teas which nudge at its sides hoping for some watery action. As the power of tea is at its most potent after chilly walks and exhausting evenings, repurchases of this will be made.
I: Institut Esthederm Repair System Eye Contour Lift Patches. When your eyes feel beyond help and the puff has the poor delicate skin surrounding them in its grasp, a ten minute session with these patches will release the effects of exhaustion rather well. Instantly refreshing, they leave eyes feeling tightened and hydrated. Don’t be afraid to use them under the eyes and on lids for ultimate post/pre-party revival.
J: Jurlique Hand Picked Rose Collection. Technically designed as a Christmas present, I chose to deploy this duo to treat myself instead. The marvellous hand cream is well-deserving of its plaudits and the Rose Love Balm a worthy partner to it. Having road tested them, a very lucky member of my family will definitely be receiving this come Christmas morning.
K: Kinvara 3 Trainers. Being of the mindset that prevention is better than cure, I have decided not to get enormously fat this Christmas only to then have to punish myself throughout January. I have, instead, vowed to employ sense and these Saucony trainers to keep my form healthy. My first foray in them proved their worth – lightweight, comfortable and pretty to behold, I’m rather looking forward to their next outing.
L: Liz Earle’s 24 Days of Christmas Calendar. Given the above vigour, it would be foolhardy to go the usual route of finding a calendar with the biggest possible chocolates within and spend the rest of the day lusting after more chocolate having had my first taste of it. This calendar is currently winging its botanically-packed self to me and I couldn’t be more excited for its arrival. 24 mini skin and body treats meted out daily will really mean Christmas has come early for me.
M: Miniature Bath Oil Collection. These 3ml vials are ideal for long soaks when you’re at your most stressed. I have just purchased these to fill the most prestigious of bathroom appointments – a seat at the head of the bath. They glitter at me invitingly.
N: NYX All I Ever Wanted Box. This palette contains an extraordinary selection of quality eye shadows and powders for the face (I kept that description purposefully broad as the purpose for these powders is so very broad). For someone who likes to change the way they do their make-up daily, this is unequalled.
O: Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm. I know I do wave this flag a fair bit, but cleansing well is about the best thing you can do for your skin. Don’t be put off by the this black balm, the Hungarian Moor Mud to which it owes its colour gives a gentle but thorough cleanse.
P: Phyto Paris Subtil Elixir. Hard to come by in the UK but well worth the price of shipping, this French pharmacy favourite is a pre-wash conditioning oil. Pop it in overnight if you go overboard on the styling around this time of year and wash off in the morning for damage-free locks. J’adore.
Q: QVC. No mention of a Christmas list of indulgences could ever be complete without a mention of the televisual feast that is QVC (quality, value and convenience, for the uninitiated). I watch with a view to finding mentions of ‘with anything, for any occasion’ a la Bridget Jones, but usually end up buying in in a big way. In all seriousness, the quality of products sold now is really up there so if you’re stuck for ideas a little late night watch won’t go amiss.
R: Rococo Gold Leaf Lacquer. Solvent-free, long-lasting and really very beautiful, this Rococo gold varnish is just the thing for sprucing nails up for Christmas. I like it on its own or over a nude polish.
S: Stila Christmas Brush Set. Why Stila have priced these 5 brushes at £20 is beyond me, but I am most glad they have. This bargains kit covers base, blush and eyeshadow. If you haven’t understood why make-up artists often cite brushes as the most valuable tools in their kit, get these and you’ll soon join the enlightened.
T: Tweezerman Glitter Red Petite Tweezer Christmas Set. My ever-bountiful hair growth is always most unwelcome, but is especially so when I am required to appear sculpted of brow for days on end. As I will be skiing this year, this leather pouch and two tweezers (the iconic slanted and pointed, for short and ingrown hairs), will be coming with me to ensure my natural persuasions are culled.
U: Unica Bliss Baby & Family Lotion Stick. I’ve had this organic lotion on my desk all year and used it daily on my lips, eyes, elbows and multiple other places and it still hasn’t run out. If you tend to suffer from unsightly chaps, take this everywhere with you.
V: Votivo Red Currant Candle. I’m quite mad for candles during the Christmas period. This tin has been residing in my cupboard waiting for its chance to shine and the hour is nigh, for it has clearly been made to be surrounded by merriment in the form of mince pies and sherry.
W: Weleda Skin Food. The list of celebrity devotees to Skin Food is as extensive as its skin-soothing abilities. Victoria Beckham, Adele, Brooke Shields and Winona Ryder number its fans, and it isn’t surprising. Having been around since 1926, this is an inexpensive way to nourish and protect daily.
X: Xen-Tan Transform Gift Set. I’m all for pale and interesting, but I sometimes verge on pasty and deceased over the winter months. I have this set in Gradual/Light to ensure I am glowing, not radioactive, when flashing the flesh.
Y: Yardley Royal Diamond Eau de Toilette. This scent is a bit of a winner with me for several reasons at this time of year. It is light and floral, but with a woody vanilla base, so won’t be too heady at a time of year when rooms tend to be scented and dense with a clash of different smells competing… and you can never go wrong with a bit of classic Yardley.
Z: Zelens Eye Cream. This may be at the end of my A-Z, but it tops my skincare list at this time of year. The skin around your eyes needs extra care, it being subject to a battering from the cold and endless applications of make-up. This cream is excellent for daily care and a little dab goes the distance.