Getting gorgeous in time for Christmas

Want to look gorgeous for the festive season? Wander to The Workshop

Ask your best mate, your boyfriend, your boss, your dentist (you get the gist) how they are and I’m willing to wager they’ll reply: busy.

'Busy' has replaced ‘fine’ as the automatic answer to any enquiries about our wellbeing. In daily modern life - with its endless  deadlines, to-do lists and non stop social media pressures - we’re all time poor. Particularly at this time of year when, in addition to work, a draining commute and your usual daily chores, there are Christmas cards to write, gifts to wrap, Christmas cakes to be baked and - most importantly - parties to plan and attend.

Christmas parties are arguably the highlight of my working year - I love that I get to let my hair down and eat, drink and make merry with friends and colleagues after a frenetic year. Of course I want to look good - nay gorgeous - throughout the holiday season shindigs too but looking at my jam-packed diary, I did wonder if/when I was ever going to find time for the obligatory mani-pedi and a hair cut and colour…

My Christmas prayers were answered in the shaped of The Workshop Hair & Spa - a chic, stylish (think wooden floors and Orla Kierly cushions) one stop beauty salon in the up and coming area of Streatham (saving the need to schlepp into W1 and compete with the crowds) that’s got me looking party-worthy.

The person who pulled this off? Say hello to Andrzej Gruszeczka - The Workshop’s maine (pardon the pun) hair stylist. What’s so special about this guy? That’s easy: Andrzej makes bad hair cuts and colour jobs a thing of the past. He doesn’t just give you a trim, he shakes up your hairstyle while remaining true to you...

While most hairstylists I have visited in the past play around with my hair for five minutes before snipping with wild abandon, Andrzej sat me down on the ‘consultation sofa’ and asked me - face to face - the big question: what did I want from my hair cut? My answer: ideally I’d like Amal Alamuddin-esque tresses but I know that’s not a reality (I have short hair). I’d settle for just looking a little better and more modern than my current, commuter worn, shapeless blonde bob.

Andrzej got it immediately and after assessing my hair type (fine but lots of it), and face shape (smallish) said that I should embrace my short hair rather than shy away from it. For, shock horror, short hair styles are actually having a moment. Stars such as Scarlett Johansson, J-Law, Julianne Hough and Jennifer Hudson have all recently taken the plunge. Andrzej suggested I channel Strictly star Frankie Sandford who is known for her trademark sweeping side fringe and short cut. As for my colour, Andrzej recommended that I tone down the brassiness (I entered The Workshop - owned by ex Harrods and Harvey Nichols man, Kamil - in danger of being mistaken for one of Hugh Hefner’s playboy bunnies) to a more natural shade of blonde which would help make me look years younger. My current platinum hue was memorable but not entirely flattering, and exhausting to maintain.

Following the assessment I had total confidence in Andrzej, so was content to sit back, sip a flat white (The Workshop has a proper coffee machine for those caffeine emergencies) and read a magazine -  a real treat - while Andrzej worked his magic using Aveda products (a pioneer in natural ingredients).

Meanwhile Andrezj’s colleague, Emma, subjected my nails to a much needed MOT ahead of the party season. The fabulously friendly Emma asked me to choose a shade of OPI polish and after much deliberation I plumped for Bubble Bath (a classy neutral) for my hands and the fun sounding ‘Brazil red’ for my feet, which met with Emma’s approval. Not only is a bright shade of rouge appropriate for the festive season, but it’s more practical too when you consider that your feet will be taking a battering from being in and out of boots this winter.

Once I had picked my polish, Emma got to work: dead skin scraping and cuticle clearing was the order du jour before polish wass applied by Emma’s remarkably steady hands.

A couple of hours later after yet another heavenly coffee, I looked up into the mirror which revealed what Andrezj and Emma had promised: an age appropriate, reassuring expensive looking shade of blonde and a game changing hair style, plus fab not drab hands and feet. And the compliments I received later than evening showed that my confidence in Andrezj and Emma hadn’t been misplaced: my friends all thought I looked healthier and more interesting.

So would I wander to The Workshop again? Absolutely. Three weeks down the line I’m wearing less make up than usual as a result of my new cut and colour while my heels are still baby soft. More than that: I managed to carve out some me time - a small window in my manic existence when I could step away from the computer and the tyranny of the 'to-do list' and, gasp, be idle. And as someone on a constant treadmill - evenings invariably see me run from my day job to a dance class, dinner and drinks with friends, business meetings, charity work and extracurricular activities before collapsing into bed around 1am - this was the greatest gift of all.