Beat Winter Dolorousness With Your Winter Dollar!
January is bleak as Narnia and drear as a deserted bus stop. Everything tastes of watery, unsweetened porridge. Days of endless, floating glumness are broken up only by pockets of despair when you start to fear that nothing nice will happen ever again. Your bastard friends are doing some nauseatingly smug making detox with a freshly minted portmanteau too horrible to print. Or they’ve skipped the grey and the sad and are skipping about their own sun drenched private island, leaving you feeling fat, shivery, and weepy, getting a double barrelled dose of guilt from your uncompleted online tax return and your unworn and yet mysteriously stinky trainers. And everyone is broke. It’s in the news. Everything is interfering with your ability to feel joy.
I’m not saying that you can make all these feelings go away with products. And if you spent Christmas buying things as gleefully and mindlessly as The Shooty Texan in The Simpsons, you might already be at the stage where you can only purchase goods with beads, buttons and sexual favours. But smelling nice will cheer you. It will remind you that the days are slowly getting lighter, that people do fancy you and that you will not see death before you leave the house without a cardigan again. If you went to the sales and bought something pleather, with a peplum, and you left the tags on and threw it into the prison of the bottom of your wardrobe, take it back. Swap it for a slightly extravagant fragranced flight of fancy. The joy will start to creep back in, like grass pinpricking through a picnic blanket.
Elemis Gentle Rose Exfoliator, £27 for 50ml, available nationwide
This like being lost in a gorgeous, grown up sweet shop. When Katy Perry matures beyond pink hair and lollipops, this is the fragrance she will channel. It’s the exfoliator version if being in a turkish bath as you’re hand fed turkish delight by Turk from Scrubs. The heady sensuality of the rose is tempered by fresh cucumber, which makes you feel all whooshy and hopeful and also negates the need to expose yourself to any other salad ingredients until spring. And it brought forth all sorts of compliments on my “glowiness”.
Shiseido Advanced Body Creator Aromatic Sculpting Gel, £45.50 for 200ml, available from House of Fraser
“It’s Berocca for the thighs!” I yelped, as the Sculpting Plant Complex started to do its magic. It rings and zings with freshness, and the scent of Kuroho, the ingredient of choice for Japanese aristocrats makes you feel like you’re being plunged head first into a eucalyptus forest. I’m not sure how everyone would feel about the cooling, tingling effect – I think it might be a little too intense for my Granny – but I loved the sensation, which was as rousing and energising as an endorphin generating work out, but made me smell far nicer than I would do after hitting the gym.
Repose Aromatherapy Resting Cream, £37 for £50, available from www.templespa.com
Had Garbo had the good fortune to have been around when this was launched, she would definitely have used this. It’s a heavy, decadent, veil of smoky florals, to be slathered on by starlets who wish to get away with having an IMDB entry that lists a birth date that happened several years after the one on their birth certificate. The very English flower fragrance will make you feel as frothy and feminine as a parasol carrying Wodehouse heroine – but the woodiness brings the grown up sexiness. Smooth it all over your face and decolletage before you go to sleep, and when you wake you’ll feel smug, smooth and gorgeous all the live long day.
SAI-SEI Relaxing Minerals Set, £48 for candle and 95ml bath oil, exclusive to Space NK
We all love “the spa”, yes? The gorgeous, groomed staff with the eyebrows. The pre recorded sound of sea mammals yelping because they want food or sex. The aesthetically challenging slippers. The lukewarm lotus tea, which tastes of dishwater that has been festooned with petals. Sometimes, a much anticipated trip to “the Spa” can make you wish you were at “the Spar”, and had spent all that cash on Malborough Reds and Dairy Milk. SAI-SEI’s bath oil candle combo means you can make your house your spa, which is much nicer. Traditionally sweet jasmine is reinvented with the addition of warm amber and a leafy musk. The effect is so cleansing and calming that I’m tempted to fill a bottle of Rescue Remedy with the bath oil and breathe it in during difficult life situations.
Penhaligon’s Malabah Bath Oil, £39 for 200ml, available from www.penhaligons.com
When Celine sang “love will be the gift you give yourself” she has obviously not spent enough time browsing the right sections of the smarter department stores. Anything that comes in a stiff, sexy, gold and pink crested box (By Royal Appointment) and makes your bathing experience much like Madame de Merteuil’s in Les Liaisons Dangereuse. Malabah Oil will make your bath – and you - smell crisp, sweet, but disarmingly seductive, with top notes that belong in a lemon grove, and a wildly sexy aromatic heart that will take you to a tangle of bedsheets with a disturbingly high thread count.