The Ten-Day Christmas Build-Up

Linda Mitchelmore's alternative lead-up to the festive season is a ten-day Christmas build-up to a relaxed and beautiful you for these party months of December and January. This guide will ensure you look your best from Christmas and well into the...

Don't you just hate them? You know, those super-smug glossy magazine articles with a minute-by-minute countdown to Christmas lunch; 5am - rise and stuff the turkey, 5.30am - put turkey in warm oven. It's as though the turkey (or the goose or the chicken or the nut roast) is the star of the day. Well, excuse me, but I'm not a turkey (or any of those other things), which, let's face it, isn't going to enjoy Christmas is it?

So, here we go with the opposite of the countdown - the ten-day Christmas build-up to a relaxed and beautiful you.

Let's start with your shining glory. Get a good cut (and highlights/lowlights/colour) at least three or four weeks beforehand so that you grow into the shape and the style. There are salons to suit all budgets. Another thing to do well in advance is have a manicure and choose a nail polish to complement the Christmas Day outfit.

It goes without saying that shopping means too much time on your feet, so think pedicure and foot spa. Maybe a little reflexology on those tootsies, too. I mean, you don't want to collapse with fatigue the first time someone hands you a glass of champagne during the festivities, do you?

Which brings me to parties; those times when we really must look our best. Eye contact is just so important, but how many of us think about having our eyelashes tinted and our eyebrows shaped? How much better and sparkly-eyed might we look if our peepers are perfectly presented to the world?

Make time now for an aromatherapy facial, or maybe an ampoule facial, or an active collagen facial or aqua visage facial, or a non-surgical facelift for the serious fashionista - no excuses that you can't find one to suit!

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Got half an hour to spare, or maybe an hour? If it's the former then you can't afford not to have a back, neck, and shoulder massage, can you? If you're one of the lucky ones with an hour to call your own, then put yourself up for a full body massage. Make it an aromatherapy massage, with oils blended especially for you, and physical, emotional and mental tension will evaporate into thin air.

While you're still lying down and have lost your inhibitions in front of the therapist, may I suggest waxing. We're not talking candles in twee glass holders on the mantelpiece here. We're talking full or half leg, bikini, arm, lip or chin, eyebrows even. Ouch! A woman must suffer for her beauty, so the saying goes, but it will be worth it.

I'm willing to bet that if you've read this far you've almost forgotten about Christmas. We're working our way towards the perfect Christmas Day, aren't we? Right, now the body is as perfect as it's going to get this side of the Seychelles and some serious 'me' time, why not think about an all-over body tan - fake, of course.

Well, you've made it with days to spare and it's time to gild the lily you have now become. Maybe that designer dress won't be in your stocking, but there are still ways to look your best. A personal shopper at one of the bigger stores is free and worth an hour of your time, because you're ahead of the game and everyone else will still be on the card buying/present wrapping/sausage roll making, won't they? And you could go for a little make-up experimentation at any of the numerous beauty product stands, couldn't you, because everyone else will still be running around like headless chickens?

Which is more or less where we came in, isn't it?

Happy, beautiful, Christmas.

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