Since becoming a mum I've had to pare down and simplify my approach to getting ready for days or nights out.
Even when I know the event I'm going to will be photographed, that people will be talking about what I'm wearing - good or bad - and that everything will be dissected in magazines and on the internet, I never have time to get my hair done, have a mani-pedi and all those other 'going out' routines I'd enjoy in a perfect world.
When I race home from work I might think I'm going to have an hour to get ready, then suddenly Ethan throws up over my shoulder and it's: "Ohhh, OK! Change of plan! I'll just put a scarf over this!"
These days, if I'm going out with Kris or friends, I can get ready in half an hour. My 30 minute routine is a work in progress, but here are some tips I've picked up during my first few months of motherhood.
Get ready in 30 minutes:
Hair (7 mins): I'd never been very good at doing lots of different hairstyles so I got Christian Vermaak to teach me something simple and easy that I can do with the flat irons. Basically I just twist my hair in lots of different directions, making it a bit haphazard looking, and put a bit of spray through it. Then I leave it while I do my makeup and put the finishing touches to it once it's had a chance to set. It comes out differently each time so I'm never sure exactly how it's going to look, but it works. I recommend investing an hour with your hairdresser learning one reliable style - it will be time well spent.
Makeup (8 mins): When I'm under pressure to get out of the door I keep it natural and stick to the same makeup I wear day-to-day. I don't try new, techniques or products, attempt to copy something I've seen in a magazine or start applying false eyelashes. The last thing I want is to find myself scrubbing my face off after catching sight of myself in the car mirror on the way to dinner. They say practice makes perfect, and this is exactly the situation in which to draw on all practice you've had applying your makeup over the years. When you're in a hurry tried and tested is the only way to go.
Dress (5 mins): When you know you're only going to have a short space of time to get ready after work, the key is to know your go-to outfits - the ones you feel at your very best in. Unless you've bought a new dress for a particular occasion and you're 100 percent comfortable that it makes you look and feel fabulous, this is not the time to experiment. Have a couple of options in mind, then slip on the one that best suits your mood on the night. If you feel good about what you're wearing you'll exude a confidence that gives your whole look a lift.
Accessories (5 mins: I have a basic little kit of earrings, rings and bracelets that work well whether I'm wearing jeans or heading out to the theatre. Above and beyond that, I'll have one piece of jewellery - perhaps a necklace - that I know works well with a particular dress. If you work out which of your accessories and shoes go best with each of your dresses and stick to them you won't go wrong, even if you are in a flap. Another tip is to always keep a safety pin and a couple of blister plasters in each of your handbags. That way you're always prepared to make running repairs or remedy rubbing shoes, whichever bag you choose on the night.
Nails (5 mins): I've been known to paint over shabby nail polish, either touching it up in the same colour or, if I've got a light colour on, going over it with a black or rouge noir polish. One quick coat just before I walk out the door because I don't want to smudge it when I put on my dress or do my hair. Use the car journey as drying time, taking great care to keep your hands and feet still.
The secret is knowing your style, but being prepared to be flexible when the situation calls for it. After an 'Ethan incident' I've been known to whip off what I'm wearing, rinse off the offending (or should that be offended) area, dry it with a hairdryer and pop a scarf over the top. What do you mean my pashmina doesn't go with my Versace couture?
If you've got any tips for making a quick going-out-getaway I'd love to hear them. Dx