Personal Services

So, this is the year you're going to get fit? While millions make that resolution, how many actually see it through? The service offered by New You, a Dublinbased personal training and health clinic, will help train, and retrain, clients with an intensive programme to strip away the layers of lard, bad eating habits and scatty fitness regimes with something far more targeted and effective.

Each client gets a full screening by the in-house doctor before a full programme . . . from goal-setting and diet-planning to exercise and assessment . . . is devised.

Then, it's just a matter of doing it. Each course involves personal training at New You's studio with regular screenings and revisions. Created to suit each individual, there are two one-month programmes on offer designed to overhaul sad New Year bodies, the prices determined by the number of personal training sessions . . . from three a week to the most intensive level. For more information, call New You on 01 644 9530.

Lip Service

Between icy gales, dark days and sofabound nights, there really isn't much on offer to cheer the soul in January. Say hello, then to the new range of MAC tinted lip conditioners, designed in collaboration with Disney and featuring one of five different 'Toon characters on the packaging. The slightly coloured balm soothes lips and protects them from the elements, but these come with added smile-factor thanks to Bambi's Miss Bunny, Daisy Duck, Pinnochio's Cleo. All are oldskool characters from Disney's early stable, all are ultra-girlie and each comes upon a different shade . . . from soft caramel to lively pink. Sure to put a spring in your stride and priced at 17, they'll help you battle the elements with bonhomie. From Brown Thomas stores nationwide.

Eat Neat

Nigel Slater's cookery books are always winners. His colourful prose and manageable recipes help even the most novice potwallopers create menus to be proud of.

And his latest tome, The Kitchen Diaries (published by Fourth Estate), is a real addition to any foodie library. In it, the writer charts a year of his eating . . . the bonus being that unlike us, that means a whole lot more than pre-packed sandwiches and oft-repeated staples.

Some days are creative banquets, others will just involve a simple soup. Whatever he writes about, he contextualises why he ate the thing and how it fitted into his gastronomic lexicon. And, of course, all recipes are included. Just like a diary, the foods are all seasonal too, so when you go to try a dish out, all the ingredients will be easy to source. Well worth getting stuck into this January, your 2006 will be much the better for a stroll through Slater's 2005.

Chill factor

JANUARY detoxing doesn't have to be all penance and purgatory, what about those precious pampering sessions? A trip to a good spa has never been more deserved and the newly-opened spa at the Marriot Johnstown House Hotel is the perfect destination for those who want a reward for all their hard work. Around 30 minutes drive from Dublin, this Elemis-stocked spa is huge, offering an endless variety of relaxing, rejuvenating and refreshing treatments as well as an extensive range of 'maintenance' options . . . from electrolysis to tanning. There are 17 stunning treatment rooms, and while you can choose from a massive list of therapies, at this time of year we recommend indulging in a half-day package to boost mind, body and soul. Go with a mate and spent the post-treatment chill time planning world domination.

Actively Passive

Whether you've decided upon a punishing new exercise regime, or simply don't fit into your waistbands any longer, there's help at hand at Active Couture, Howth's cool fitness boutique that stocks some of the best fitness gear that are ultracomfy and work just as well in the gym, around the great outdoors and slouching in front of the TV. With a rollcall of brands including Hilfiger, Elle and . . . just in . . . Fenn Wright & Manson, this kit's more Victoria Beckham than Vicky Pollard and, best of all, a lot of it is 50% off until the end of January. Worth checking out until you can make it back into your slinky scoring gear. Check out www. activecouture. com for more info.

Blunt instrument

So you haven't been outside the door all week except for work, the Christmas tree dump and a few forays around the overflowing gym carpark?

Time for something far more pleasurable. This time last year you hadn't heard of James Blunt, now he's selling out stadia with his current live show. An extra gig at The Point has been added tonight so what greater excuse do you need to light up your mobile phone and wave it above your head to the strains of 'You're Beautiful'? If you didn't catch Blunt at his many festival appearances last summer, you're in for a treat. If you did, you'll already be on your way to the venue.

Jean Genius

You can't turn on the telly these days without countless ads for diets and 'challenges' popping up in the commecial breaks. This year, Kellogg's have gone one further with their Special K 'Drop a Jeans Size' plan, and it's something we approve of. While battling away with losing the lard, Special K has teamed up with Enable Ireland and is asking successful slimmers to donate their old jeans (how many retired pairs do we all have, people? ) to charity. There are collection points in all of the stores, and unlike your kid sister, they're not fussy what shape, style or vintage your denim may represent. Listen, those skinny jeans never did fit properly, and grey never really was your colour dear. . . so do the right thing. . .


Right, you didn't hear it from us, but www. craftytv. com is possibly the find of the holiday season.

Sign up to this website (it might take an invitation from an existing member, but persevere, it's worth it! ) and get access to hundreds of episodes of dozens of TV programmes . . . both seen and still-tobe broadcast. Family Guy, 24, Lost, Desperate Housewives, Little Britain, Nip/Tuckf they're all here. It's a chance to be the most spectacular dinner party bore in 2006, and ruin a year's worth of viewing for all your friends.