It is rare that a girl of my age is roused by a stiffie first thing in the morning. By ‘stiffie,’ I am, of course, using the ancient Sloane word for ‘invitation.’ In the olden days, when my hair was very long and my skirts were extremely short, I was inundated by the things. It was an old Sloane practice (when confronted by so many stiffies you did know what to do) to take all the invitations into one hand and hurl them across the room. The heaviest, and therefore the most expensive invitation, would land closest to your feet and the flimsiest, cheaper, invitation would fly furthest away. It was a failsafe method of filtering. These days, however, I am lucky to get one a month. Or indeed any at all.
So you can imagine my excitement when not only did I get one through the door the other day, but it was covered in gold like something straight out of Willy Wonka. Not only that, but ‘dress’ was ‘evening’ and the ladies were requested to wear long. How goddamn smart is that? So smart in fact, that I was a little worried. You see the ball was Russian; it was going to be rammed to the rafters with Oligarchs and their super skinny wives and we all know what well groomed panthers they are.
Not to be out-trophied, I immediately booked myself into the Harley Street Skin Clinic for a Red Carpet Facial and I squeezed myself into Josh Wood’s Atelier for a big bouffy blow-dry.
To be honest I am not that keen on facials. I once blew over £100 on a Decleor one only to end up utterly plastered in Harvey Nichols (after one glass of champagne) with a face the colour of battered strawberry. I am also faintly embarrassed about someone fiddling around with my chops. I am prone to multiple chins and have no need of someone’s prying fingers to remind me of that fact.
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But as it turns out, Lesley was great. The treatment itself is a brilliantly brief 30 minutes of unction-packed loveliness with minimal fuss and maximum impact. Designed to be performed in a lunch hour, The Red Carpet is a perfect pick-me-up before a big night out. The clinic make their own products (StemCellution Anti-Ageing range) to work on those fine lines and dark circles, and they are packed with enzymes to help get rid of dead skin cells to make your skin appear shinier and younger.
I had a succession of masks, moisturisers and serums, finishing with a sunblock, Block It!, to see off those pesky UV rays. The end result was a fabulous baby bum spanking plump look that at last made me look like I wasn’t a serial abuser of wine’n’fags.
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Next stop, The Josh Wood Atelier which has to be the hippest, grooviest most achingly cool salon I have ever been to. It is like a Soho House salon. Tucked away in a West London side street, you go through an unmarked black door to reception and then on through magic-mirrored doors into the main salon itself. A construct of plants, glass walls and more mirrors, it expands tardis-like before you.
One frothy coffee later and Jack got to work with his blower. He sprayed, he tweaked, he bouffed and back-combed while I, naturally, flicked through the tango-tanned weddings in Hello! And when I finally looked up I had the biggest blown barnet I had ever seen. Cinders was ready to go to the ball!
How was the party I hear you ask? Did I manage to cop off with Prince Charmingsky? Great. And sadly no. However, I did see an old friend who’s having a book launch next week and he sent me a small invitation only yesterday. Two stiffies in one month. How’s a girl to cope?