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Penhaligon's Betwixtmas


The presents have been dispensed, Aunt Julia is slowly nodding off on the sofa and nursing her champagne, and Uncle George is taking the dogs for a walk three times a day. It’s that time of year again – those, long empty days between Christmas and New Year when the booze isn’t quite keeping you merry, and you can’t quite come up with an excuse yet to return from your family pile back to normal life. It’s also that time when tensions are fraught and family are prone to, well, grinding each other’s gears. It is one of the great immutable facts of life.

So, here’s our guide to surviving, or flourishing, through the Betwixtmas period this year.



Once the joy of Christmas Day has ebbed away and the Boxing Day walks are but a memory there’s a tendency to regress a little, for your relationship with your family to be approximately that of a 16-year-old in a grump. No longer do you greet your family with the happy glow of someone home for Christmas, but instead with the teenage glower of someone packed off to boarding school. This year, try to leave the teenager where it belongs – far in the past.


More relationships end in the lead up to the winter holidays than at any other part of the year. So why don’t you embrace the boozy, and somewhat woozy period, and reach out to all those in the same area code as you? All exes welcomely accepted! This provides the perfect opportunity to explore the many pubs of the Cotswolds/Notting Hill, and that can never be a bad thing.


It’s 11 o’clock on Christmas morning and the siren call of a Buck’s fizz travels up the stairs. One leads to another, then another, and then comes out the claret, and the brandy hip flask on the walk. Suddenly you feel like you’re on Mars and the floor feels like it’s the waltzers at the county fair, wishing Boxing Day came only once a decade. Perhaps during Betwixtmas it might be wise to moderate – you’ll save your waistline and find it easier not to nod off mid-conversation with your Aunt Penelope.


It’s 100 years since the Radio Times became the go-to for all our amusement needs. So plan your Betwixtmas listening with their bumper-sized issue. And if that fails you, you can always dive deep into the back catalogue of Desert Island Discs on iPlayer. We particularly recommend the Princess Margaret episode. And, don’t forget, if you can’t sleep, you can always rely on the shipping forecast to get you through the night.

DO: Lay down, spread out and switch off

The new year means more parties, and every year we start January wishing we hadn’t hit it THAT hard in December. So, why not take advantage of this splendid time when your when your food is taken care of, the fire burns like a sun, and get some decent R and R. By rest we don’t mean drink – but binge-watch your favourite series, finish a good book, or help father come up with a better way to use up the Boxing Day ham. Do we really need another ham hock pie?



So this is love. A mysterious perfume heady with rose, grapefruit and spice.


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