Feeling blue? Perk up the most depressing day of the year with puppies and lippies, Sarah Vine advises

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Today is, apparently, officially the most depressing day of the year. The tax return deadline is just a week away (if ever proof of the Inland Revenue's malevolence were needed, the fact that they make us do our tax returns in January is it), the Christmas credit card bills are rolling in, the weather's rubbish and there's nothing good on the telly.

There are various remedies for this situation. The best and most effective is, of course, a puppy. Preferably a silly, white, fluffy one with a black button nose. As luck would have it, I have just acquired such a thing: a bichon frise (one of the sillier toy dog breeds) that the children have christened Snowy. Here he is:

The only person in the family who doesn't seem to find his presence a delight is our other dog, Mars. Mars is a six-year old Jack Russell whippet cross, and he is less than impressed by the new arrival. All the puppy's attempts to make friends have been met with a low, menacing growl, and the other day he actually lifted his leg in Snowy's direction. I'm no expert on dog psychology, but even I can see that this is not a good sign.

Still, it gave me an excuse to bath the puppy which, I have to say, was a delight. In water his fur is even more like spun sugar, and with the help of The Dog's Trust’s excellent puppy shampoo  he scrubbed up a treat. Afterwards I blow dried him on a cool setting while he bounced about on the bed, looking like a small cloud and hilariously trying to eat the warm air.

If you don't have a fluffy puppy to groom, the next best thing for banishing the January blues is a trip to the hairdresser. For this year's blue Monday, I have a real treat in store: an appointment at Josh Wood's Atelier Liberty ( www.liberty.co.uk ) with George Northwood. In my defence, it's a work gig: I am to have my hair cut like the supermodel Karlie Kloss for a piece I'm writing for The Times. Since I look nothing like Ms Kloss, I suspect the results will be less than satisfactory, but I'm not one to turn down a free haircut, especially when it's a snipper as snappy as George.

It doesn't have to be a haircut, of course: a simple blow dry can be just as effective. In London, the best blow dry can be found at Real Hair's blow-dry bar (Blo, 0207 594 0250). The person to ask for is Kirsty O'Brien  she'll get you looking and feeling a billion dollars.

Lipstick is famously a mood-enhancer, not just because it adds an instant slick of glamour, but also because it doesn't require a huge financial outlay. Tom Ford's new Lip Shines  are slightly sheer, more moisturising versions of his full-on lip colours (which are a little heavy for my liking): perfect if you're in the market for a bit of affordable luxury. The red shade (Willful, £36) is fantastically uplifting and wearable; only snag is they're not out until February; still, something to look forward to on a gloomy Monday in January.