The festive season usually means excess all areas - food, booze and most definitely fashion. After spending December in jewel-hued silks and velvets (well, ideally), come January I feel the need for a visual palette cleanser - to go back to basics.
It also feels good to have a wardrobe purge of tatty old t-shirts, laddered tights and the like and to replace them with just a few plain, good quality basics. So here are my new year purchases which I'm hoping will set the tone for a serene, organised 2015...
You can't go wrong with the ol' red, white and blue - nails, tee and jeans, that is. I didn't feel like painting my nails at all during the 'party' season (erm, didn't go to any parties but anyway...) - it seemed too obvious somehow, but I like the idea of wearing a really plain, casual outfit in the cold, bleak light of the new year and then throwing a glossy, Joan Collins-esque red nail into the mix to jazz things up.
The white t-shirt is from ASOS White - it has a cool, light feel and a nice boxy shape - like a men's undershirt - and properly long short sleeves, not the loathsome skimpy, tight, little cap sleeves that plague so many women's t-shirts. I usually buy men's tees from Uniqlo because they have a great fit and are a gloriously cheapo £4.99, but I like having this ASOS one in my collection too.
The jeans are shrunken boyfriend ones from ASOS in a nice mid-blue wash with some distressed bits. A good, comfy fit and ideal for everyday wear. The nail polish is No.7 Stay Perfect Nail Colour in a classic shiny red called (I think) Devil's Delight.
Christmas money was joyfully spend on two trusty old favourites - Lancôme Galatéis Douceur makeup remover and Kiehl's Ultra Facial Moisturizer. The thing is, I know I could buy cheaper moisturiser and make-up remover that would probably do a perfectly good job - in fact that's what I've been doing since my last bottles of Lancôme and Kiehls ran out a few weeks ago.
But these two just work for me - the Lancôme is a beautifully milky fluid that gently takes off every trace of mascara and liquid eyeliner without making my pathetically sensitive eyes sting, and the Kiehls again has a nice milky consistency which sinks in quickly and doesn't feel oily or sticky on the skin. I'm also a total sucker for nice packaging and these two bring honour to my messy dressing table.
During my work as a beauty writer I have tried fancier and more expensive formulations and while it's nice to use such precious products for a while, I always find myself returning to these two. So they might not be the budget options, but I firmly believe in everyday luxurious - things that make the boring acts of taking off your make-up and moisturising your skin feel that little bit more special. These two do it for me and I will stay loyal to them.
But I did decide to switch things up on the foundation front because I never feel like I've got this completely right - I always end up looking too pale, too matte, too grubby or 'glowy' (kind euphemism for oily). I asked my superstar make-up artist friend Emma Day which one she would recommend for me and she said Chanel's Vitalumiere Aqua in either 10 or 20. I went for 10 because although I thought it would be too pale, it wasn't when I tried it out but is a lovely warm, natural fluid that seems to give enough coverage without looking mask-like.
And although it's not technically 'beauty', here's my lovely new Smythson pocket diary. This year I went for a jolly apple green shade.
*One of my favourite Lightning Seeds songs and I ain't ashamed to say it.