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You know what? I believe in Santy more than I believe in summer, and since I don't believe there is any such thing as summer, I'm not going to care if I'm brown in, say, October or January, or whenever.

Forget it! Self-tanning no longer recognises these silly boundaries of months in which we are meant to have warm temperatures and streams of sunshine cracking the stones.

Besides, we all know that there are occasions all year long and that a bit of colour to the complexion never goes amiss. That's why I went along to Harvey Nichols in Dundrum to check out the He-Shi spray tan -- just because 'summer' is over, it doesn't mean I'm not going to need to be brown at some stage.

Getting sprayed has to be the single most awkward thing in the world of beauty, a world known for its strange rituals. There you are, chatting away with your technician, totally naked with a plastic cap on your head and those awful, awful paper knickers that take away your dignity as they attempt to protect it, standing in a booth -- a roomy, well-built booth, it has to be said -- in the middle of a department store . . . well, let's just say it adds to the frisson of OMG of the whole experience.

My spray tech, Amy, was a total star however, and, since I already had some colour, recommended that I go for the Supreme, which is the darkest tan they do.

As I had been happily coating myself with He-Shi's Dark Mousse Self Tan, I eagerly agreed.

I had sticky things to attach to the bottom of my feet, and my palms and fingernails were liberally coated in cream to repel the tan.

The spray itself was fantastic: no toxic smell and the applicator was less like a hoover and more like an airbrush.

The procedure was quick yet thorough, and I stood around for about five minutes to let it dry, which surely must be a record time.

The tan took within about five hours, and it looked spectacular. I also managed, through care and attention, to make it last eight days, which was longer than expected.

In all, this is going to be my go-to spray tan and I'm thinking of treating myself to a glow to get me through the Christmas -- maybe Santy will put a gift voucher in my stocking!

He-Shi spray tanning is available in Harvey Nichols for €30. Book on 01 291 0423