I really, really hate the cold. I’m writing this post while sitting on top of an oil heater, wearing two thermals (Uniqlo Heat Tech – they’re the best), a cashmere jumper (Boden - super soft and affordable) and two pairs of socks. And my toes are still numb. My mum told me to try taking cold rinses at the end of my shower to help boost my circulation - which I actually did for a whole hellish week. It was sadistic self-torture and I noticed no difference. I do dry body brush regularly, eat lots of warming soups and curries, and drink bucketloads of tea, but nothing makes a difference (hey - if anyone knows other ways you can boost your circulation please comment below, I would love to know.)
So – living in this constant state of shiver - you can understand that I’m constantly seeking out anything that makes my plight a little more bearable. Anything that hydrates, adds a shot of warmth to my winter palour or makes me feel cosy gets my instant tick of approval. Read on for my pick of the most beautiful ways to get warm this winter…
The smell-of-a-fireplace candle: Diptyque Feu de Bois
I am obsessed with open fires but sadly live in a rental so we’re not allowed to use our fireplaces. That doesn’t mean that we can’t play pretend. Seriously, burning this candle is like having a roaring woodfire going in your home, minus the need for kindling. With crisp notes of wood, smoke and spices, if you close your eyes, you could almost be in your chalet in the Swiss Alps, lounging on a deer hide, sipping gluhwein.
The head-to-toe glow-getter: EcoTan Winter Skin
To combat my seasonal predilection for pastiness, every second day, I swap out my normal body lotion for this light and easily absorbed gradual tanner. It means I have a lovely subtle glow - even when my skin hasn’t seen the sun in months. The all-natural organic formula contains hydrating aloe vera and cacao fruit powder for an added shot of antioxidants.
The facial self tan oil: St. Tropez Self Tan Luxe Facial Oil
In the past I’ve found facial self tanners a bit scary and often a bit drying, so a facial oil answers all my prayers. Its hydrating so you don’t have the danger of it catching on flaky dry winter skin, and the oil slips on and massages in evenly and beautifully. It’s a dry oil so it absorbs quickly, and it’s not too dark so it’s hard to mess up.
The indulgent body oil: Sodashi Serenity Body Oil
I’m all about oils in winter. Your skin is calling out for nourishment and the lipid-heavy nature of oils is the perfect panacea. A deliciously spicy mix of frankincense and cardamom with refreshing citrus notes, this blend is gorgeous in the mornings post-shower. Pop it on damp skin to lock in moisture and breathe in the stunning up-and-at-‘em aromas of mandarin and vetiver.
The dessert body-cream: Jo Malone Nutmeg & Ginger Body Cream
Sometimes you just want to smell like a biscuit. Well I do. When you want to smell good enough to eat (hello, date night!) look for dessert-spiked scents. Studies by the Taste and Smell Research Centre in the States, found that certain sweet scents like pumpkin pie and vanilla sent men’s arousal levels rocketing. Where sweet can sometimes be cloying, this super luxe Jo Malone body cream is a more sophisticated take on sweet - think less fairy-floss bubblegum and more Ginger Nut Biscuit. The spicy nutmeg notes are a bit Christmassy too, which is nice in the cold weather.
The hydrating foundation: La Prairie Skin Caviar Concealer Foundation
I did a little dance of happiness when La Prairie relaunched their famous Caviar foundation. The super hydrating, deliciously creamy base is the perfect thing for parched and ruddy complexions. With skincare ingredients like caviar and peptides it soothes my stressed skin, evens out my tissue-tortured red nose, and gets to work on the crepey texture that I get after days spent sitting on the heater.
The self-heating facial: Dermalogica Multivitamin Thermafoliant
I love thermal products – they warm on contact with water, so have the added benefit of heating the skin while treating it. This gritty scrub – which warms satisfyingly when you wet it - contains a mix of physical and chemical exfoliants to slough off tired skin cells, and help a host of vitamins and retinol renew the skin. To increase the intensity of the scrub I use it on dry skin then rinse off.
The Cleansing Oil: La Mer Cleansing Oil
I was recently lucky enough to go to Qualia with La Mer for a “brand immersion”. While we were there we learnt about the brands famed “miracle broth” a special concoction of marine ingredients that features in all their products. My new favourite from the range is their cleansing oil- it’s the perfect cleanser for thirsty skin. Massage it into dry skin and it melts away makeup (even stubborn mascara) then just splash water onto your skin to rinse it all away. My skin always feels springy and fresh afterwards, a nice change from the tight feeling you can sometimes get after cleansing.
The scalp-saving shampoo: Moo Goo Milk Shampoo
I get a horrible dry scalp in winter and after many years of trying to figure it out I think it may have something to do with sulfates (an ingredient that gives products their “foaminess”) I keep hearing about MooGoo - an Australia product that is gaining a great reputation for helping eczema and psoriasis sufferers. My mum has been using it for her irritated skin and loving it. This shampoo is really gentle and my scalp has settled down a lot.
The indulgent night cream: Sisley Supremya Baume
As much as I rave about facial oils, sometimes you just want a thick, unctuous, luxury cream like Mama used to use. This uber luxe cream is Sisley’s latest top of the line offering. It’s not cheap, but if you’re into investing in skincare then this is a pretty luxe way to do it and I like that Sisley has a decidecly botanical take on things. Their concoctions always smell amazing. This cream, designed to repair skin while you’re resting contains wonderful winter hydrators: hazelnut oil, kokum butter and macadamia oil.
The Flameless Candles: Real Safe Candles Ivory Gift Set
I put these in the fireplaces in my home and out of the corner of your eye you could almost imagine there’s a fire flickering away in there. It’s a beautiful, soft way to light a room and a much safer option than using real candles. I can leave them 'burning' if I leave the room and I love the remote control for ease of use. A great touch for dinner parties.