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You can go to the ball on a budget...

THIS Christmas party dress thing is a big con -- it's just evening wear with a metaphorical big red bow on it. If I do have to buy something brand new, then I want something that's affordable and in fashion but won't date.

It's got to last in your wardrobe as long as the plum pudding can in your kitchen cupboard. This lace and leatherette skater dress (€59, from Love Label @ Littlewoods.ie) ticks all the boxes and it comes with a price tag I don't have to squint my eyes to live with. Note how the stylist completely lifts the look with a statement necklace -- so if you're way too broke for the dress then have a mooch around the highstreet for some costume jewellery instead and resurrect an existing LBD.


I heard a dermatologist on the radio recently talking about a possible link between delayed motherhood and the issue of problem skin for women in their 20s and 30s. While there's no arguing that hormones most definitely have their part to play, the good doctor admitted that having a baby would be a very expensive remedy to skin issues. During my own search for better skin, I tried the Vichy Normaderm range and it, alongside my must-have Dermalogica products, helped to keep breakouts in check. Try its new Teint, €19, a foundation specifically formulated for imperfection-prone skin.

Its light and fluid texture gives some coverage, while the purifying ingredient works behind the scene to visibly reduce any imperfections and improve the skin's health.


On a rare visit to a beauty salon, a therapist told my mum the face mask she was using at home, Dermalogica's Multivitamin Power Recovery Masque, could easily be left on over night. We thought this sounded a bit yuck but then I told mum about how I sometimes layer on Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Cream and try to sleep on my back when I really need to cheat good skin. And now I find out Clinique is about to launch Moisture Surge Overnight Mask (€38).

I think the brand may just have its finger on the pulse: an ultra-rich cream mask which replenishes skin leaving it softer and more supple the next morning makes total sense to me. It might be a case of the same man in a different suit, as in a super-good night cream that's called a mask, but I cannot wait to try it out.