My call to arms in heating war
B eing a bit of a skinflint when it comes to certain bills, I usually try to leave putting the heating on until everyone has turned slightly blue.
In fact, having once read an interview with David Cameron, in which he claimed that his family relied only on thick dressing gowns and "proper" pyjamas to keep them warm until November, I have tried to leave turning the heating on until as late as possible (no Southern wuss is going to beat me in the stalwart Brit stakes, I can tell you).
But personal grudge matches against Old Etonians aside, there is a better reason for leaving the heating off as long as possible.
For, although the temperature is already unseasonably cold, and almost everyone I know has regretfully admitted reaching for the little dial on their boiler already, the other side-effect of winter's early arrival is dry, chapped skin.
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And one of the major causes of that snaky, rough epidermis that comes with the change in season is central heating, which evaporates all the skin's moisture in almost one turn of the dial.
If you are anything like me, the cold, dark mornings also mean you are so reluctant to leave your warm bed and face the day that half your beauty routine and, on some occasions, even your personal hygiene gets neglected for the sake of an extra ten minutes under the covers.
The organised and efficient, however, make sure their beauty regime changes with the season. This year, having already felt the rough patches begin to form, I am determined to join them.
Firstly, eradicate foaming cleansers from your routine and turn instead to oil-rich products. A few years ago, local skincare expert Katerina Steventon recommended the Elemental Herbology range to me and its olive oil-based Cool And Clear Facial Cleanser (£28 from spacenk.com) would be perfect.
You could also try Liz Earle's Cleanse And Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser (from £12.75 from lizearle.com) and muslin cloths (£4 for a pack of two). Use the cloths to remove cleanser as a gentle way to exfoliate or add a few drops of rose oil to warm water and rinse your muslin cloth in it. Place the cloth over your face before cleansing and relax – your pores will open, allowing your products to penetrate deeper and brighten your complexion.
Last, and most importantly, slather on the moisturiser, which, among all the spurious claims of the beauty industry, is the one product that all skincare experts agree is essential for protecting our skin.
The current crop of moisturisers are multi-taskers, providing hydration while performing all the other skincare jobs we imagine we will get around to but never do. Aveeno's Positively Radiant Daily Skin-Brightening Moisturiser (£9.99 from Boots), which brightens and moisturises skin, is fantastic for the price, while L'Oreal's Revitalist Repair 10 Daily Moisturiser (£9.99, also Boots) promises to do everything except the washing up.
Add a humidifier in the bedroom to make sure air is not dry or, as a final resort, simply book a flight to somewhere hot instead and forget all about winter.
As I admit defeat to Cameron and reach for the central heating dial, that seems like a very attractive alternative.