Looking ‘chic’ while trying to stay cosy is most definitely an art! Natural fabrics should always top your list when it comes to winter dressing. Our absolute and everlasting love affair with wool looks beautifully minimalist, most especially when it is layered together. The added benefit is that a natural fabric does not need to be bulky, a thin layer does exactly the same job as a thick one…alpacas know how it’s done! After all, who wants to look like the Michelin Man for the winter season? I’m laughing at myself now and you probably know why…the catwalks were full of ‘Michelin Man’ look-a-likes for this Autumn/Winter! This over-sized puff look comes across as a tad ridiculous; imagine yourself parading through the streets of any town in Cork wearing a double quilt made into a coat in a pastel pink, other than for fancy dress that is. So back to staying warm and looking fantastic – it’s simply just a balancing game. Gorgeous colourful wool jumpers are definitely the way to go and if you opt for a chunky one, the secret is to keep the jeans very skinny underneath. Your legs never get as cold as the top half of your body so skinny pants even everything out.
There was a time when even the hint of a mention of thermals would have had me gawking but not anymore. Thermals have come a very long way and even fall in under the ‘cool’ category now. They are meant to be skintight, can be found in a low v-neck or round neck, in full, three-quarter length or t-shirt sleeve and do exactly what they are supposed to do…keep you warm! These tops are ideal for under your favourite jumpers, especially if wool makes you feel like a dog with fleas!
Hats have to be my favourite winter accessory; I have them in every colour and located some gigantic click-on bobbles in a variety of fur and wool – the perfect way to feed my ‘always changing hat’ addiction. Wearing a hat in the winter time seems like an obvious thing to do, after all, we lose heat through the top of our head and choosing a natural fabric like wool will help to avoid hat hair.
If you love layering then you already that the trick to layering up without appearing bulky is to keep the colour palette of your outfit within one spectrum. Concentrate on textures more so than colours or else choose one key colourful item and build the rest of your outfit around it.
I know that it might feel like Christmas is heading towards us almost a little too quickly – a bit like a freight train with no brakes – but resist all you want, it is just around the corner. My favourite time of year took on a new meaning last year when the eldest of my flock flew the coop and nested in another country. We all felt like little kids going to see Santa on the journey to the airport to pick her up on Christmas Eve; it was magical and she is treating us to a repeat performance this year. I suppose I’d always taken for granted that we would all be together every Christmas and as your children get older you start to realise that you need to make the most of those special family gatherings. On the other hand, after a few days cooped up in the house, living on leftovers, faulty toys and electronic gadgets way beyond the’ helping capabilities’ of regular Moms and Dads, the annual flu or tummy bug, the laundry room taking a sabbatical, a few sick heads and short tempers – you wonder if Christmas memories are a bit like childbirth…you only remember the good bits and the baby at the end.
No matter what, the excitement is bubbling away inside me and this year I am determined to make a very conscious effort to shop local for everything or at least as much as possible. The thriving towns in West Cork are full of beautiful boutiques, stunning costume jewellery shops and quirky craft shops so we need to support them, most especially at this time of the year. Christmas party season is starting to make a little noise in our heads and what to wear is one of the conversations that we will soon be having. Every work party is different depending on what’s on offer, where you are going and what time of the day or night the party is on. Here are a few simple tips to help you on your way.
• A sequin dress that snuggles your body is always a winner, perhaps this year you could wear with low boots and a clutch
• Wear skinny jeans and a bow/ruffle top with heels for a slightly more casual look
• A sequin pencil skirt with a bell-sleeve top leaves you perfectly balanced
• The perfect work upgrade outfit is a crisp white shirt, tailored black trousers, RED HEELS and hoop earrings
• Dress up your work dress, a solid colour dress can be re-worn with shimmering heels and statement jewellery
• Invest once in a dress coat that instantly adds glamour over whatever you wear and keeps you warm
• Adding a faux fur jacket to just about anything will instantly transform you into a party girl
• Spend a little time researching a new way to wear your hair, amazing tricks can be found on YouTube that give a wow factor
• Find your shade of red lipstick…an absolute must
Parties are all about having fun so make sure that whatever you choose to wear embraces how truly beautiful you are and that you feel really comfortable in it. If not, go buy something that takes your breath away and leaves you giggling. Don’t forget to stock up on some tights and new underwear, the littlest of things can make the biggest difference. Break in those amazing heels around the house, my boys are well used to seeing me floating around in my dressing gown with a killer pair of heels on…muttering ‘Jesus Mom’ or I just get ‘THE LOOK’. Parents of teenagers know very well what I’m talking about here!
I don’t normally mention skin products but when I come across something truly amazing then I have to share it with you. I bought the Lacura Charcoal foam cleanser and the Charcoal Mud Mask for my boys in Aldi. I had come across a few bloggers raving about them, as they are made in the factory as a designer product and seeing as the packaging was not ‘girly’, I decided to try them out, I think they were about €25 for the two. The nagging began then of course, me telling them to try them and me getting more of the ‘look’, so I tried the mud mask myself – oh my God, my skin felt amazing for about four days after and I can see why it says to use twice a week. I’m hooked, getting compliments on my skin that generally looks quite dull and lifeless but all of a sudden has a glow. It’s mid-term today so there are three of us sitting here with mud on our face literally, having a few giggles and I’m encouraged that the boys might do this again, as they both said their skin felt great afterwards.
November can be a tough time for some people, spare a thought for others, call to see someone that you notice has ‘kinda fallen of the face of the earth.’ Sometimes a friendly face at the door or a funny text is all a person needs to pick them up. I know that I am a chatterbox, I come from a long line of chatterboxers and someone recently said to me that I would ‘talk the hind legs off of the Lamb of God’. I got really embarrassed, fumbled a bit, apologised and beat myself up all the way home. Last Friday, doing my shopping I met someone that I bump into from time to time, she lives alone and while we were chatting I relayed to her the ‘Lamb of God’ story and she grabbed my arm and said ”Louise, sometimes you are the only person that I talk to on Fridays”. It shook me a little and reminded me to embrace the chatterbox in myself always. Make it your business to talk to people this November.