If you are organised get your skin ready for the onslaught party season will inflict by undergoing Sisley's Botanical 10 day Intensive Night Programme, pounds 155. Sisley products are (fab but) ridiculously expensive. You get ten tiny bottles of runny white stuff containing hops and horsetail amongst other witchy-sounding ingredients which you put on before bed. I didn't notice a massive difference, but then I wasn't very diligent about applying them over ten days and kept leaving gaps. Sisley also make something called Botanical Tensor Immediate Lift, pounds 75, which, similar to Clarins' Beauty Flash Balm, pounds 19.50 is like a pleasant slap in the face and a good boost before going out. Personally, I find a stiff margherita just as good.
A very, very good idea as an emergency stand-by is Marcella Borghese's Skin Calming Essence, pounds 35. A few weeks ago I had (unusually) a break-out reaction to a face mask and this stuff was brilliant. Really worth the money. What's not, strictly speaking, worth the money but a nice little treat is Marcella Borghese's Lip, pounds 29, or Eye, pounds 34, compresses (keep them in the fridge for even more of an aaaaah experience). These are gauzy bits impregnated with soothing, calming, youth-giving solutions and it's lovely to lie in the bath with them on whilst relaxing, breathing in wafty smells from a hot tub (Neal's Yard Exotic Bath Oil, pounds 9.50) and sipping the aforementioned salty margherita. Yes you can do the same with cold tea bags/slices of potatoes but it's not the same. And the eye compresses seem worth their weight in gold the morning after the night before (MANB).
The most famous product for the MANB is Guerlain's Issima Midnight Secret, pounds 68. You slap it on before going to bed and no matter what abuse you've put your body through you'll wake up looking like a princess. A good remedy for smoky hair is L'Occitane's Purifying Spray for hair, pounds 6.50; it contains essential oils of rosemary, lemon, mint and lavender, it's good for making smelly hair more fragrant. On the subject of hair, Aveda's Mask Hair A, pounds 12 - like a mascara wand for hair - is excellent for hiding bits of grey that manifest themselves just as you're creating your festive hair do. Don't over-use, though, as it makes hair dull where it's been applied.
Naturally, party time is a good opportunity to layer on your favourite pong, using the complementary body lotion etc. Coco by Chanel's scented body cream, pounds 50 is an old time favourite, sensual and grown up. For something so delicious you will want to eat yourself, try (and I hesitate to say this as I love it and don't want you all smelling of it) Jo Malone's Lime, Basil and Mandarin. It comes in bath oil, pounds 14.95, body lotion, pounds 14.95, cologne, pounds 29.50 and shampoo, pounds 12 and conditioner, pounds 12. Every time I wear the cologne someone asks me what it is, and like a fool, I tell them. Christian Dior's Body Radiance Moisturizer, pounds 19 gives legs and arms a metallic shimmer (nicer than it sounds). But rub in well otherwise you could end up looking like a disco ball and be aware that the glitter can rub off on clothes. Origins' Birthday Suit, pounds 12.50, body oil in a spritzer gives your skin a great shine, perfect for bare legs. For more specific glitter application try Lancome's lovely Micro Paillettes, pounds 9, a tiny bottle of "loose" glitter which you dot where ever you like (not near eyes) for a bit of a fancy shimmer.
Finally, lip gloss. My absolute favourite is Clinique's Glosswear with Brush, pounds 8. Black Lilac is like a rouge noir for lips but my favourite is Air Kiss because it has just a hint of colour. Another nice lip gloss is Elizabeth Arden's Crystal Clear Lipgloss, pounds 11 which has a proper Seventies shine (very Abba) and has a hint of spearmint, so it's fun to use and great for parties. Remember not to spend too long cleansing, toning or moisturising your face over the festive season. It's time better spent eating, drinking and kissing strange folk under the mistletoe. Have a very splendid time.
Aveda: 0171 410 1600; Chanel: 0171 493 5040; Christian Dior: 01273 515021; Clarins: 0171 629 2979; Clinique: 0171 409 6951; Elizabeth Arden: available from department stores and larger chemists nationwide; Guerlain: 0181 998 1646; Jo Malone: 0171 720 0202; Lancome: department stores nationwide; L'Occitane: 0171 290 1421; Marcella Borghese: 01273 408800; Neal's Yard: 0171 627 1949; Origins: 0800 731 4039; Sisley: 0171 730 1234.