Merry Christmas!

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Merry Christmas!

2014 has been extraordinary for me. It started with me delivering my then untitled book to my publishers in January, then in February, I was asked by Selfridges to curate and host a series of debates, discussions and workshop events for the Beauty Project, a six-week long celebration of beauty throughout all Selfridges stores. To see beauty taking centre stage, and in such an inclusive, positive and intelligent manner, and on such a grand scale, was an absolute thrill – not least because I met so many hundreds of clever, interesting, opinionated women who were united by a love of beauty. I always knew they were all out there. Selfridges just invited us all to the party and handed out mini Proseccos. The Beauty Project is something I will always be very proud of, and we are already discussing how to ensure the conversation we started continues in 2015.

 

Before the project was even over, I started shooting the photography for my book. This was a family affair from the start. My beloved friend (and wonderful photographer) Jake Walters, who I’ve known since I was just sixteen, agreed to take on the project. Another old friend and my former partner in crime at ELLEgirl, fashion editor Steph Stevens, agreed to style the shoots. Nat Saunders, my partner in crime who has made almost every video we’ve ever posted, filmed all the behind the scenes footage and book make-up tutorials. My assistant Lauren Oakey did everything, from making coffee to dragging around clothes rails, from assisting with hair and make-up, to illicitly scoring an empty Botox vial and needles. Friends and contacts loaned us their houses, and because I was determined not to have cookie-cutter professional models in Pretty Honest, I set about persuading friends, readers, forum members and even their mums and kids to appear in the book. Lou Brown, who has been cutting my hair on and off for eight years, signed up, then, to my overwhelming JOY, the inimitable Mary Greenwell stepped in to do make-up.

 

I can’t sufficiently express what Mary’s involvement meant to me. This woman was my idol growing up as a fashion and beauty obsessed kid in south Wales. I’d sit in my pyjamas at home, watching Mary being interviewed backstage at Paris Fashion Week for the Clothes Show, mentally logging all her tricks and techniques, straining to see which products she was using on the supermodels’ faces. I’d flick through all my Vogues and be able to identify her work immediately, without checking the credits. And although I’ve been lucky enough to work with Mary several times since joining the industry (and it never doesn’t make me giddy), to have her – one of the most talented and influential make-up artists of all time – working on my face, in my first book, and being so genuinely delighted to do it, represents one of the most personally thrilling moments of my career. Truly, it was a dream come true. The kindness, support and sheer skill she and all of these people showed me when I needed them meant the world to me.

 

The rest of the year was bonkers, to say the least. Between travelling to New York to film with beauty powerhouse Aerin Lauder, and to Dublin to snoop around the bathroom of officially The Loveliest Person In The World, Ever, Marian Keyes, I spent pretty much all of my time writing and shooting countless features to promote the book, or sitting in hotel rooms in advance of literary events, public speaking engagements, book signings and the like. Oh, and I picked up TWO major industry awards on behalf of salihughesbeauty.com – the P&G and the Johnson & Johnson – for our videos. I feel as though I’ve been everywhere this year, and met so many brilliant women, and talked about lipstick perhaps more than is healthy. I am more knackered than I’ve ever been, but at the same time, beyond grateful for such incredible opportunities and experiences. It’s been absolutely brilliant.

 

So a HUGE THANK YOU for keeping the faith this year, while I tried to juggle thirty balls and often seemed missing in action (and a big thank you to Debra for ensuring a grown-up was always around and in charge). Thank you so much for clicking the links, leaving your comments, watching the videos, subscribing to the YouTube channel, supporting the forum and its community, and for generally being the most impressive readership of anything I have ever worked on. Thank you so much for buying tickets to the Selfridges and other events, for coming out on weekends to get your book signed, for reading my Guardian column, for listening to my radio stuff and taking down sexist nutters on Twitter following my Newsnight appearance, for tweeting and Instagramming so positively about Pretty Honest, for buying my book and making it such a big success. Truly, you’ve made this year one of the best of my life. I plan to repay you with more great content in 2015.

 

But for now, we are taking a much needed few days off. The forum will be open as normal throughout the Christmas period, of course, and we’ll no doubt see you there for laughs and chats. Site posts will resume early in the new year. In the meantime, all of us here wish you a really fantastic Christmas and a very happy, healthy, successful and peaceful 2015.

 

Love Sali and everyone at salihughesbeauty.com

xx

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