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Our style columnist Esther Walker makes the case for some good old-fashioned R&R this month


I think we all agree – don’t we? – that we love January. It’s February that’s the monster. And March. Oh my god March, you are cruel, and almost always giving us snow in a very unfestive and unhelpful way.

By April we can see a budding leaf, we can sniff spring in the air and the clocks will have gone forward: there is hope.

But January – we all know that January is pretty much the month

equivalent of a long, not-so-busy Sunday morning. Not Sunday afternoon where you get antsy about work on Monday and “Where are the kids’ book bags?” and “Oh my god, I’ve just seen that I’ve written ‘out’ in my diary on Monday night but not when or with whom”.

No, Sunday afternoon is terrible. But Sunday morning, when there’s no one coming for lunch and nothing much to do except sit about... January is like that, for a whole month.

Personally, I don’t bother with a health kick in the new year, although I know it’s popular. I find it difficult to over-eat or drink too much in December because I get such acute, nameless anxiety about not getting too drunk at Christmas parties and not eating all the sugar (as I get older I’m starting to get really worried about my teeth).

I also find that December is such a scramble that it’s hard to relax fully into drinking and eating with any determination. What with

deadlines all brought forward by two weeks so that the entire country can relax from 24 December until 2 January, Christmas Eve has suddenly taken on a slightly apocalyptic air.

It’s become more than just the end of term – it feels like the end of the world! So much so that I feel I need to be sober and not so busy grabbing mince pies with both hands that I can’t fend off the metaphorical zombies at the gate.

[Continued below]


Take this cosy knit
beyond the sofa
Reach for these
star-print pyjamas
Ideal for soothing
partied-out tresses
Boost dry skin with
soothing eye masks


“New PJs and fuss-free beauty treatments are the only companions you need in January”


So, I often find myself at the start of January in physically OK shape but mentally drained. What I like to do is make up for all the lost partying time in December by drinking steadily and eating carbohydrates while in coordinating loungewear, like this super-natty star-print pyjama top and bottoms.

The really great thing about this is that you can put on a pair of trainers and a coat and go up the road for more buns, without looking like you are in pyjamas. I feel there is something quite gangster rap about coordinating loungewear and I like to feel as much like a gangster rapper as I can wherever possible. (Perhaps without the bad language.)

The acres of spare time in January, what with having front-loaded all that work back in December, are also an opportunity to do some time-consuming beauty care. I’m not sure if you’re aware what a brilliant selection of skincare there is at Marks & Spencer, but it is superb. They have hand-picked some of the best and most effective products for their beauty hall, doing all the hard work for you.

The Philip Kingsley Elasticizer, which will repair any general damage to your hair caused by, you know, just being alive, requires a good 20 minutes on the hair to work. It is not a thing for every day or even once a week, but a whole month when all is as still as a millpond? Fine.

The Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask will drag any general toxic waste out of your pores (my pores are prone to be so clogged I’m like a human Exxon Valdez), but again, you must apply it and leave it to dry which takes about 15 minutes. At the point at which the mask tightens so much you’re worried it may suck the whole of the front of your face off, you soften and soak it off with a warm flannel. It makes a difference to even a human zit zone like me.

Or, apply Rodial Dragon’s Blood Hyaluronic Eye Mask – it’s made from real dragons (it’s not) and brightens tired eyes in 20 minutes. Then have a bath in a This Works Deep Sleep Bath Soak and then go to bed until Easter.



Welcome to your winter of content
These PJs are your licence to chill
Hit the mask with this potent formula
Make sleep your new year’s resolution

Photographer: Jonty Davies / Stylist: Chloe Forde / Make-up: Karina Constantine
Hair stylist: Bjorn Krischker / Manicurist: Emma Welsh

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