Hello, and a Merry Christmas Eve to one and all! Sorry about the above. I’m far happier than I look.
Last Friday night I attended my work Christmas party, wearing the above. We always organise our office get-together to fall on the last Friday before Christmas, so we may be early in comparison with some Christmas parties or fashionably late compared to others. I love having it around then; it always feels extra festive when we leave it late. We meet at one of the local pubs to kick things off, then head to dinner where we sit over a meal for hours, laughing, joking and letting loose.
We reflect on the last twelve months of 2013 – the ups, the downs and our aspirations for the year ahead. Then those who feel up to it head on to enjoy a late one that usually includes a yuletide boogie with Mariah Carey, lots of embarrassing pointing and hugging.
Last Friday was also the first of my festive nights out. With the Christmas party and twelve pubs done, there are so many more nights of primping and polishing on the way..including this one! Since we’re all in the same boat and it’s half the fun of a night out, I thought I would share how I personally prep for the party season.
First things first – and I’m going to be honest here, I nearly always get ready with a glass of wine. Casillero Del Diablo Merlot is my absolute favourite. Red wine is a pretty wintery drink anyway, don’t you agree?
For music, I have a playlist going. Either old faithfuls with a mix of everything or something like Music from the Films of Woody Allen or the Great American Songbook…thirties and forties music are favourites of mine.
I usually light a candle, and my favourite, Yankee Candle’s Red Apple Wreath stinks to high heavens of Christmas. Yes it does.
I start off using Marissa Carter’s Cocoa Brown Tough Stuff exfoliator when I know lots of nights out are close together. I have very dry skin and it polishes and exfoliates perfectly, leaving skin completely smooth in a way no other exfoliator does. This is due to it’s especially rough texture, yet it doesn’t irritate sensitive skin. I buy a sachet in Penneys/Primark every few weeks for about €2.99. I recommend it for eczema sufferers out there, and it’s best used on dry skin before the shower.
After the shower I use Aveeno moisturiser to keep my skin soft and hydrated. The oatmeal relieves skin if it feels itchy at all, which can come in handy if you’re planning on wearing a wooly Christmas jumper!
I give my face a quick swipe with a bit of Bioderma on a cotton ball (it really is the most gentle and effective makeup remover and cleanser on the planet) and apply Kiehl’s creamy eye treatment with avocado, which I reviewed in all it’s glory here. It makes for an excellent eye brightener and eyeshadow primer. I then apply La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo, which I use solely for a makeup base/primer. It smells kind of weird, but whatever!
Nails. Nails will be RED for Christmas! Red is an obvious and timeless classic, so that’s a no-brainer there. I use a cheap base coat from Kiko and a deep, glossy and long lasting red. One of my favourites is Essie’s Apertif – you only need one coat and it doesn’t chip too easily.
I prep my hair with John Frieda’s Luxurious Volume.I’ve used this product for nearly a decade and it really does succeed in adding volume to the thickest of hair. I tip my head upside down and spray near the crown.I then apply Nuxe’s Huile Prodigieuse through the ends of my hair to keep it smooth and frizz free. It really does make hair soft and shiny and I use it every time I wash my hair as it keeps it tame if I don’t style it.
I bought Nuxe’s Huile Prodigieuse in a French pharmacy over the summer. If you’ve heard of it before, you’ll know it’s perceived as a multipurpose miracle oil for face, body and hair. It’s true that it keeps hair soft and shiny but I can’t comment on it’s benefits to the skin. I also loved the smell initially, but sadly I’m no longer a fan – it’s far too strong for me now. The bottle pictured cost just €19.95 and has a spray nozzle which aids application and definitely prevents waste and any sort of mess and a little goes a long way. The bottle itself is also beautiful but I can’t ever see myself repurchasing.
When my hair is 90% dry, I apply a small amount of Aussie heat protectant and use Babyliss New Big Hair to style my hair and add volume. This is one of my favourite purchases this year. It was about €60 and it’s worth every penny. The brush rotates and has a build in hairdryer, it’s easy to use and creates serious volume and curl – a salon blowdry at home every time.
For my face I prefer light coverage. I use Origin’s Vitazing and a little Benefit’s Boing Concealer in the palest shade to conceal under my eyes. Boing stays put all night, and it’s consistency makes it incredibly easy to blend to create a natural look. I contour my cheekbones with the Stila contour palette. I’m so bad at contouring, its the only part of my face I can manage. I then use the lightest shade in the trio as a base on my lids and brow bone.
I then apply Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Tipsy (which I bought as a change from my Benefit Cha-Cha Tint, which recently ran out) using my Real Technique brush. I then add some Nars illuminator in Orgasm on the top to add a little festive shimmer.
Makeup tip I once heard (and remember to stick to!) – you should always apply blush before your eye makeup, as you’re more likely to be heavy handed with blush to complement a dark eye.
I have read so much about Tarte products online, especially reviews on how great their blushes are. I haven’t used this a lot yet but it does have great staying power and it’s highly pigmented. These blushes are also enriched with beeswax, vitamin E and vitamin C. Tarte Cosmetics aren’t available in Ireland or the UK at the moment, so I ordered mine online via this Ebay seller.
I always fill in my brows with Benefit’s Browzings in medium. This is by far the best eyebrow kit out there. At over €30 it’s not cheap, but it lasts about 3-4 years and it’s the most effective kit I’ve ever owned.
I then applied Boot’s Seventeen Wild Eyes in Wild Nude to my lids with my ring finger and applied Chanel Illusion D’Ombre in Ebloui to the outer edges of my eyes and along the crease. This eyeshadow feels incredibly spongy in texture so it can be easily applied using fingers or a brush and the colour is beautiful – very complementary to blue eyes.
I then always use a Mister Mascara eyelash curler that my sister bought me for my birthday years ago, which is fantastic. I use it every single day, whether I wear mascara or not.
I then line my upper waterline with Guerlain’s Terracotta Kohl wand, and use Sephora’s Smart Liner to create a cat eye. I normally use liquid eyeliner but bought this out of curiosity due to it’s shape. The shape is meant to help create a smooth line, acting like an extended finger for better precision. I actually find liquid eyeliner easier to use but the pigment of this is impressive and would be perfect for beginners. You can rest the base of the pen on your cheek to keep things steady.
A few extra notes on Guerlain’s Terracota Kohl Eyeliner. I was initially drawn to this product purely due to the beautiful vial. While expensive, it does last forever and because it’s so pigmented, it can be hard to remove. To apply, first tap the excess powder off the wand, then rest the tip of the wand on the inner corner of the eye. Close the eye and gently sweep the wand from the inner to outer corner. You will end up with a very intense and smudge-proof line across the upper and lower waterline. Warning! The depth is not for the fainthearted. I simply used it like a pen to fill in my upper waterline for this particular night, so the effect is very subtle.
Here are three of my favourite lip colours I nearly always reach for to brighten up my (festive) face. My favourites are Rimmel’s Apocalips in Across The Universe which is perfect for this time of year, as is Revlon’s Black Cherry, which isn’t nearly as dark as it looks and complements pale skin.
With little time to spare on Friday night to prep and line my lips, I went with another favourite of mine, Topshop’s Hedonist. I own a lot of orangey-coral lipsticks as I find they really perk up fair skin and make you look healthier, however you feel.
I then finish my face by applying a dusting of powder on my forehead, nose and chin and apply Topshop’s highlighter in Crescent Moon on my brow bone, the inner corners of my eyes, my cupid’s bow and the top of my cheekbones.
I then apply my favourite perfume – either Jour by Boss or Agent Provocateur’s Maitresse to my collarbones, tips of my ears and wrists. I chose statement earrings, as I felt this dress looked better without anything busying the neck. I buy a lot of cheap but bold earrings in places like Penneys/Primark or Awear for nights out, because I’m a little clumsy and lose jewellery easily. I almost always wear an ear cuff, my Daniel Wellington watch and a cocktail ring. The one above was a gift from my sister from H&M.
Since I’m nearly 6 feet tall, I don’t wear heels that often but Christmas time calls for shiny dancing shoes, so I tend to make an exception! I always order a glittery pair of shoes for the festive season from ASOS or visit Zara (my FAVE!) if I don’t settle for something online. This year, I see myself wearing these red satin shoes most on nights out. I bought them on ASOS after seeing them in Elle last month. I had to have them! They’re the right height for walking and dancing, are incredibly comfortable, and have embellished heels…a style I’m seeing a lot lately in Zara and Penneys. The perfect party shoe in my opinion.
So after all that, I’m now ready to roll!
I really need to improve on my serious looking poses. I’M ACTUALLY BURSTING WITH HAPPINESS REALLY…CHRISTMAS EVE! Here’s a better shot of my dress I wore, I find myself going for simpler styles these days. This little black dress is from ASOS too. What can I say, I’m an ASOS addict!
Thank you for reading this post and others throughout the year, you’ve been so kind to me. Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year, and enjoy getting ready for your festive events, wherever they may take you. If you have your own weird or special party preparation or holy grail products, let me in on your tips!
Lots of love,
♥ ♥ ♥