Christmas is coming and ‘I Love it’ – the little girl inside of me is doing cartwheels and jumping jacks at the same time! Like many others, I don’t have a thing done for it, but who cares? Isn’t part of the ‘magic’ of Christmas having to drag overloaded shopping bags through crowds of people to car parks that are miles away? It only happens once a year and it is almost upon us. This year I’m insisting that you ‘shop local’, wherever you are in West Cork – roadworks, diggers and all; even if you have to put on your wellies to plow through the roadworks, as may be the case in the centre of Clonakilty town.
You might be able to ‘take the girl out of Clonakilty’ but you will never ‘take Clonakilty out of the girl’; it’s where I’m from and it’s where I grew up. Casement Street, oh the memories…Mairead Cullinane, Mary Lombard, Fiona Tanner, Jackie Jennings and Therese Tobin…we thought that we ruled the world then. The fun we had, the imaginary worlds that we were entirely devoted to and the sense that Clonakilty was all that there was. We grew up, some of us moved away, but we are all back… it says a lot really, doesn’t it? Community is everything, it boosts you up when you deserve a pat on the back and it tells you to ‘cop on’ when you lose the run of yourself. So when some of our businesses feel a ‘little under pressure’ we rally around to help. I keep hearing from people that they are very aware of all of the above and that this year they will not be buying online – this year they will be ‘shopping local’. We are living in times where almost everybody has everything that they could possibly need and far more – so I’m asking you to make this Christmas a little more special, support ‘your own’ and shop local; hint at local gifts. It doesn’t matter if your children only have €5 to spend getting a gift for you, make sure that they spend it locally and explain to them what an esteemed thing it is to do something good that has an even bigger knock-on effect. I’m absolutely sure that this will be the case in every town in West Cork this season, because we simply must look after our own!
The festive season is on the way and if you get some time, take a quick look through your wardrobe and pull out whatever sparkles, glitters and shines – that’s what it’s all about this year. From Christmas parties to New Year blowouts, you really do need to get the ‘glad-rags’ ready. People talk about over-indulgence when it comes to food but Christmas attire can also fall in under that category. While an exuberant approach to dress codes during the party season has always been encouraged, this season, in particular, with the likes of Tom Ford, Versace and Balmain all pushing an over-the-top approach to glamour – you have no excuses but to bring out the ‘glam’ look.
You can mix jewels with sequins, embroidery with beading and shine up all your ‘bling’ and even throw it all on together – embellish the hell out of yourself! This season you just cannot go wrong, mix and match gold with silver and don’t just wear black –that’s far too easy, adorn yourself in every colour. Sequin dresses might appear to be a bit ‘full on’ for some but by depriving yourself of wearing one, you really are doing just that – ‘depriving yourself’. Wear as much red as you possibly can, find your exact shade and hold yourself like a goddess while you wear it. Emerald Green is another great ‘eye-catcher’ and complements almost every skin tone while sapphire blue is a mixture of stunning and striking all in one go.
Did you ever open a tin of Quality Street chocolates and just pause and look at the colours of the wrappers – it’s mesmerising, shocking and wonderful – take note, that’s exactly the kind of colourful mix that will become so very familiar at every Christmas event you can possibly imagine. My advice to you is to just ‘go for it’.
Festive dressing does not necessitate that you spend a ‘truck load’ of cash, you will only need so many different outfits and if you are a clever shopper (my favourite kind) then you will mix and match and reuse and reinvent every which way that you possibly can –you only need to make sure that you sparkle somewhere or everywhere. If you don’t have some massive statement jewellery then get some. I always suggest that ‘less is more’ but there is always an exception to the rule and here it is – just smother yourself in glamour, sparkle and most importantly of all, a really great red lipstick – yes, the really shocking one.
Obviously a few great dresses are key to any ‘great wardrobe’, the choice is endless – bandeau style dresses, off-the-shoulder dresses, seductive lace dresses mixed with sequins and the list goes on and on and on, including velvet swing dresses and your classic Audrey Hepburn style with a jewel add-on. Playsuits and jumpsuits look amazing if you can find the right shape for your body and you simply must team them with killer heels and bling, bling and more bling.
I have spotted some amazing metallic dresses, take a chance and try one on because you never know – it might just be exactly what you are looking for. How about a plunge-neck dress with fringing, not for the fainthearted because a dress like this really stand out and draw attention. I saw a metallic trouser suit, ok, it might sound really ‘wacky’ but I loved the sheer ‘quirkiness’ of it, so if it is something that you are daring enough to wear, ‘good on you’, now more than ever you will be very ‘in-style’.
Enjoy the build-up to Christmas and allow the child in you to come out, grab him or her by the hand and have some fun. Don’t get stressed, remember the most important and precious gift that you can give is ‘you’ – spend some time with those who matter. Spend some time enjoying the magic of the fairy lights and get to bed early on Christmas Eve…he won’t come if you are still awake.