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Friday, 13 December 2013

Rose's December Survival Guide

If you, like me, are feeling partied out and jaded before we have even hit mid December – here are a few little tips!

The Office Christmas Party
I've probably only looked at 73 different shops online looking for the perfect dress.  It was driving me quite potty before I gave myself a good talking to about not really needing a new dress, and that really good hair, make up and jewels will liven up any of the 476 black dresses I have hanging in my wardrobe that just aren't quite right.  Let's face it, it will be dark and everyone is pissed anyway.
Get the frock out a few days before and make sure it is spotless.  Nothing worse than grabbing it out the wardrobe on the day and noticing halfway through the champagne reception that you actually have gravy stain on your left nork and it slightly whiffs of a perfume you can no longer stomach. 

Fail safe styling products are:
Babyliss waving wand - these are soooo hot I actually curl my hair the night before, brush it out in the morning and maybe freshen 1 or 2 of the curls up before I go out.  So much easier than dangling in the disabled loo at work with an extension lead trying to do it while the chaps from Accounts are lining up with their hair gel. 
Killer earrings
What is really important is getting lots of sparkle on the earlobe so as to reflect your eyes as much as possible.  If the sparkle is too low you miss out on this effect. 
These, from ASOS, are perfect. 

Suck in pants
Yes we have all had too much Christmas Cheer by now, just 1 too many Pret Christmas Sandwiches washed down with a mince pie.  Sadly the party is looming and other than panic there isn't much you can do about this now.  Or so you think. 
I was in Monsoon the other day, idly looking around for party dresses (don't bother, their clothes are dire this year) and spotted these tights.  I gave them a try and have been so impressed – they really work, don't roll down and don't squeeze you so tight that your intestines get crushed and give you bad breath.  We've all been there. 

Hot new restaurant
You've left it too late to book something for that special night out with your best friends and can't think of anywhere new, lovely, charming and delicious?  Look no further than Plum and Spilt Milk – this is a recent opening.  Mr Rose and I had an historic dinner there a few weeks ago – a brilliant little find.

Christmas Presents:
It is now the 13th December so quite frankly if you haven't done your shopping by now you are horridly disorganised and I'm not sure we can be friends.  However, help is at hand because many of the big department stores have started their killer sales already. 

For the women in your life - Charlotte Tilbury's new make up range is HEAVEN.  I repeat – it is HEAVEN.  The red lipstick, So Marilyn, is the red lipstick I have been waiting my whole life for.  The bronze and glow is fabulous for contouring and grown up shimmer – it works on many different complexions.  I know this because when I have it with me in the office most of the women here borrow it.  It is that good.  You can't go wrong with the eyeshadow pallets, liquid eyeliner – actually all of it is divine.  And the packaging is soooo Chritmassy! 

If in doubt then I've never met anyone who doesn't like Diptyque's Baies candle which smells heavenly.

Cashmere always goes down well at Christmas, but make sure it is good quality.  No one wants to get a hole under the armpit by 4th January, which can happen.  So invest wisely.

For men, well who bloody knows what they want!  Notonthehighstreet have some lovely personalisable gifts, but quite frankly every middle class chap in England has now got a cheese board with his own name carved into it.  So if he already has one of those then really good leather gloves, vintage film posters, first editions of his fave book – all go down well. 
All I can say is you need to pray the men in your life have hobbies as it makes it so much easier to buy them things. 

Hostess gift
Very important to turn up on The Big Day not just with a bottle or two of Châteauneuf-du-Pape – but also something useful for the hostess.  A flower arrangement for the centre of the table is really nice idea.  Other possibilities are desert wine, placecard holders or musical crackers for Post Lunch Entertainment. 
Only thing you need to do is warn her what you are bringing so she doesn't duplicate. 

Hope you are all enjoying the festive season!

Elf Rose


Friday, 6 December 2013

Christmas Approaches

After what has been a fairly stressful and busy year, slightly later than usual, I have got my Christmas Tickle. 

In my family we have a rather unusual approach to present buying.  We each email round a list of exactly what we would like to open (my requests this year were a YSL glossy stain, brown leather gloves, Bobbi brown lipstick in Roseberry, Clarins shower gel, bath oil or bubbles, sparkly stud earrings) and then everyone replies all saying what they are going to get you.  It is not really the spirit of Christmas, but we all agree there is nothing worse than the Christmas I received 11 sponge bags.

I've now bought everyone a present, apart from Mum who seems to be reluctant to make a specific request which suggests she is expecting emeralds.  Sigh. 

Things I am REALLY looking forward to: 

Well strictly speaking this has already happened, but Mr Rose and I like to do Hanukkah because he is sort of not very but kind of Jewish.   As neither of us really know what Hanukkah is about we decided when we first met years and years ago to give each other a little present every day worth no more than £2.50.  Believe me – that is no mean feat since Woolworths has closed!  But it is great fun opening a random gift every day for 8 days.  Last night he got a new washing line chord and looked really bemused by this, poor chap. But I pointed out he'd had some Fortnum and Mason chamomile tea the night before, so at Hanukkah you win some, you lose some. 

The Circle of Trust Christmas Dinner which takes place TONIGHT at a very glamorous location. Since Natalie has been on Maternity Leave, the 4 of us haven't had a really good chin wag for a while – so we've so much to get through tonight that an agenda has been created.  

We also have a Not Very Secret Santa to get through.  It will be a marvellous evening. 

In a week or so Cousin LL and Baby Heinz are coming to stay.  I've only spent 1 weekend with him since he was born in Germany, so am aiming to get as many cuddles as possible in for their visit.  I've taken a day off and am looking forward to the day immensely as I get to be a pretend North London Yummy Mummy but Cousin LL gets the 4am feeds!   It isn't for 10 days or so, but I already have it intricately planned: 

8.00am – Mr Rose says "Darling, you asked me to wake you up when I leave so this is your wake up call.  I've made you a delicious and nutritious Breakfast Smoothie so up you get!".  
8.07am – Mr Rose leaves to run the country and Rose falls back to sleep. 
09.30am – Rose wakes and races around the house with hoover to prepare for The Offsted Inspector – Cousin LL. No time for actual dusting, so the trick of using Pledge as room spray will do the trick.
10.10am – weak with exhaustion, Rose watches as little bit of Jeremy Kyle with a nice cup of tea.
10.40am – Rose remembers she was supposed to ice the Christmas cake – puts Mariah Carey Christmas Album on full blast, dicks around with marzipan, plastic reindeer and icing.
10.55am – pleased with the look of her cake, Rose instagrams the shit out of it, sends pic to Mum and Auntie Mame, tweets it and adds to Facebook.
11.01am – Rose frantically checks social media to see how many 'likes' the cake has got.
11.05am – Rose races around turning all of the Christmas lights on, lights scented candles, puts extra layer of lipstick on.
11.16am – Rose boils kettle, gets out most Christmassy mugs, Fortnum and Mason Christmas Tea, puts milk in milk jug, arranges cake stand with Christmas Cake
11.26am – Rose sits with nose pressed to window awaiting the arrival of Master Heinz and his mama, Cousin LL, who will arrive right on schedule at 11.30am.   We will squeal so loudly on being reunited that the neighbours will look out the window to see what is occurring.
The afternoon involves trying out the best buggy hotspots that Muswell Hill's café culture have to offer, a nice walk in the fresh air, little mooch around the shops.
Once the Little Prince has been put to bed and Mr Rose has returned from work, we will have civilised kitchen sups featuring champagne with hibiscus flowers in for a lovely festive touch,  and a giant chicken pie. 

Fast forward a few more days and we have Christmas Eve which Mr Rose and I are spending together, at home, having what we call Our Christmas Dinner – all of our favourite foods accompanied by some extremely good wine we have been saving.  Mr Rose is the chef extraordinaire and has been plotting the menu for weeks.  We do it every year and it is a lovely, romantic pause in what can be a really busy time. 

Then of course we have the Big Day!
There will be only 7 of us for Christmas Day at Auntie Mame's and Uncle R's house.  Which, for us, is a really small, select gathering.  Mame casually suggested that we have Beef Wellington on Christmas Day with the full on Roast Turkey on Boxing Day when a few more of us will be there.  

The decision was put to full public vote. We believe in democracy in this family.  No fixed voting, or dictators rigging the vote here – no siree.  This is not Zimbabwe or the Eurovision Song Contest!

When the votes came in it was a clear win for Beef Wellington – 4 votes v. 3 for Turkey.  So I'm very much looking forward to my Democratic Beef Wellington, with side orders of Liberty, Equality and Fairness. 

I hope you are all enjoying the most wonderful time of the year!