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DEC 2014 ALSO INSIDE: Personality tests | Winter minibreaks | Angela Hartnett

DECK THE HALLS Get your home and yourself looking festively fabulous for the Christmas party season


DEC2014 Well, where on earth did that year go? I hope you’ve enjoyed yours as much as I have mine, albeit in a slight blur. And it’s been a great one for the profession, with International Year of the Secretary and Administrative Assistant raising the profile of office workers. Among the many interesting factoids about office workers that the celebration raised was the huge range of administrative roles with over 160 job titles the world over and one fifth of the world’s population working in administration. Here at Olé, we’ve decided you all deserve a little break, so we’ve got a Christmas-tastic issue. With fashion tips for your Christmas party glad rags and your living room on the job and a survival guide to the party season, we’ve got you covered. If the Christmas party isn’t quite enough to de-stress you, perhaps you’re in need of a winter minibreak. If even that doesn’t do the trick, you might start to wonder what sort of personality you have. Fear not, our piece on personality tests will tell you.

Editor George Carey





senior account manager


account executive

UPDATE Baking vandals and cereal killer cafés SAY WHAT?! Starting afresh and upskilling

ON THE JOB JOB NEWS The latest career news of choice WINTER MINIBREAKS Stop booking flights for executives and look for yourself PERSONALITY TESTS What colour person are you? 60 SECONDS WITH Celebrity chef Angela Hartnett

LUNCH BREAK BREAKTIME Catch up with the latest reviews and recipes

OFFICEE CATWALK COM F LY It’s party time AND MORE THING… W ISurviving TONEH ME party season

Merry Christmas


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COMMON COLD OR CHRISTMAS TREE SYNDROME? As Christmas approaches, your sneezing and blocked nose are the inevitable symptoms of the common cold, right? Not necessarily; it could be an allergy to the Christmas tree you’ve just bought or taken out of the attic (known as Christmas Tree Syndrome). Here are some useful tips to help reduce the symptoms. Christmas trees can hide all sorts of allergens, pollen, moulds and dust, so when you bring them into your living room, this can be a trigger for seasonal sneezes and sniffles. Pollen grains can collect in the bark of a real tree, not from the actual pine tree itself, but from other plants. This is sometimes released into the air when the tree is brought indoors, causing hayfever-like symptoms in sufferers, known as Christmas Tree Syndrome. Live Christmas trees can also collect mould on their trunks and needles, and trees that have been stored for a while will have collected more mould as well as dust. Moulds release spores, which can cause allergic reactions, bringing symptoms such as sore, itchy, watery, red eyes, sneezing, a runny nose and sinus pain. And it’s not just real trees. Artificial trees can also trigger allergies. If you’ve stored your tree since last year, it will have accumulated a layer of dust, which will suddenly be dispersed when it is disturbed. Take care when decorating the tree, or get someone else to do it, as allergens will be disturbed as you move the tree into position and move the branches to hang the baubles and add the lights. Hosing down your tree before taking it into the house, or after getting it out of the attic, can reduce the amount of mould and spores – though it’s probably best to get someone who isn’t allergic to do this! Putting up the tree as late as possible will minimise the risk. You can also apply an allergen barrier balm around your nostrils to stop allergens getting up your nose.

MARY BERRY THE ‘VANDAL’ Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood has told how his co-star Mary Berry vandalised his car by writing on it, according to Yahoo! TV. The 79-year-old wrote her name on his car but then had a change of heart and tried frantically to scrub it off several days later. Speaking during an interview for the Jonathan Ross Show, he said he had gone to collect his car after a day of work and was informed by security and a police officer that his vehicle had been attacked.“They said ‘someone has written on your car – Mary has written on your car’. As I got closer to the car it just said ‘Love Mary x’ with a Sharpie,” Paul explained. He went on: “I phoned her up because she was on her way home and I said ‘Mary what are you doing?’ ‘Oh I thought it was just marvellous’, – but the police officer was there and she said ‘would you like Mary arrested?’”Paul joked that he wanted her arrested for criminal damage. He added: “I did get her back though because we were at Bake Off a week later and I couldn’t get (the pen) off and I said to her ‘Mary, that’s still on my car’. I caught her – she went outside with a wet wipe, so I left her there for about half-an-hour.” Jonathan explained how he has recorded a Bake Off programme for next year’s Comic Relief and called it a “once in a lifetime experience”. Paul joked about the chat host’s abilities in the kitchen, saying: “I was quite impressed with you, up until the moment you started. “I would certainly say I have never seen anything like it before – it was quite unique.”


IN BRIEF Puppy love

CEREAL CAFE HITS LONDON The UK’s first cereal café will open its doors this December in Brick Lane, Shoreditch, according to The Independent. Cereal Killer Café, owned and run by punning twin brothers Alan and Gary Keery, is set to offer over 100 varieties of breakfast cereal and more than 13 kinds of milk, with customers able to mix their cereals at will. To top it off, the Keerys will provide a selection of 20 toppings. Alan says that he wanted to recapture the excitement he felt about cereal when he was a child, and that the vintage cereal memorabilia in the café will stir up a lot of nostalgia for customers. Gary told The Independent: “My favourite cereal at the minute is anything peanut butter flavoured from America, especially Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter mixed with Strawberry Milk! And as for the classics, I am still a fan of Shreddies which is my go to comfort food when served with hot milk.” The café will also provide locally produced coffee, as well as toast, pop tarts, and other breakfast staples.

After a farmer lost his beloved sheepdog, he decided to remember his loyal companion by spending £2,000 on a dog makeover for his car. Dave Isaacs, on losing Floss the sheepdog, decided to make a replica out of a Peugeot estate car. Mr Isaacs, who lives on an 180 acre farm in East Sussex , said: “I know it was a bit of a mad thing to do.”

Web of intrigue Arachnophobes should not apply for a job at Baltimore Wastewater Treatment Plant – where part of the building is blanketed by a fouracre spider web. Experts estimate there are more than 107million eight-legged friends living there. “Far greater in magnitude than any previously recorded aggregation of orb-weavers, the visual impact of the spectacle was nothing less than astonishing,” said experts.

We give you our pick of the top comedy viral videos this month. Click on the text below and enjoy. Tweet us your top videos @olemagazine


Dumbo triumphs


Humble pie






There’s one particular colleague who I can’t seem to get on with, no matter how hard I try. I’ve tried to chat to her but she is at best aloof and at worst, just plain rude. I love my job and the company but it’s starting to affect my concentration and my mood. I’ve got no intention of looking for a new job, so what can I do? Paula, Yeovil

I am hoping to change careers but I’m in my mid-forties and I’m worried that I might have missed the boat. Is there anything I can do to give my CV a boost? Sharon, Liverpool

This is a surprisingly common problem in the work place and one that could just be a misunderstanding in which case a quick coffee and chat could pave the way for stress free days. However, if you’re sure that she is being awkward on purpose, it’s time to kill her with kindness. Stay polite and friendly at all times and you might just wear her down.

caption competition

Navigating a career change is a challenge at any age, especially in the current economic climate where jobs are like gold dust. Give your CV a complete overhaul, filtering out any waffle you may have added in order to get a previous role. Try and emphasise the more transferrable skills such as initiative and team work. Have a look into what CPD opportunities there are out there, taking a course and attending relevant events will not only boost your CV but could help you build up a list of contacts in the industry.

This month’s picture

Last month’s winner: Sarah, Gravesend

She couldn’t help feeling the Windows vs Apple debate got a bit out of hand ”

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on the job

JOB NEWS PAs on the move over 10,000 According to a survey of es by Hays, UK employers and employe of growth this employers are confident r hiring. year,resulting in greate reased Confidence has also inc th 56% of PAs amongst job seekers, wi in the next year. anticipating a job move th their pay With 56% dissatisfied wi ting there isn’t and over half (53%) sta desire to move scope for progression, ely to increase. on is already high and lik & Geoff Sims, MD, Hays PA portunities Secretarial, says: ”Job op with more for PAs are increasing, to the model organisations returning ive, after of one PA to one execut r of assistants streamlining the numbe hile salaries during the recession. W nificantly, we have yet to increase sig in salaries and are seeing some uplift look to invest in benefits as employers staff." retaining their support

Pray you’re not on this list Ever had a colleague with workin g habits that rub you up the wrong way? Flexioffices has carried out a nationwide survey to discover the most irritating office behaviours. 1: ‘The blame dodger’ The clear winner, with 17% of the vote, this person will make a mistake and do anything to deflect the blame. 2: Lateness Second on the list with 15% of the vote, Lateness is particularly irritating to 55-64 year olds in the East of England. 3: People who stick their nose in With 14% of the vote it's time to che ck you're not one of them. 4: Power tripping The power tripper enjoys shouting orders and avoiding talking to peo ple like respected colleagues. 5: Poor listening Poor listening irritates people from Scotland and Yorkshire the most. 6 (joint): Playing music too lou dly Ever sat next to someone who has music bellowing out through their headphones? Annoying, right? 6 (joint): Dominating all meeti ngs They make every meeting about the m, never letting anyone else get a wo rd in. 8 Stealing other people’s foo d Still a prevalent behaviour in offices across the nation.

on the job

Wages edging up Gerwyn Davies, labour market adviser at the CIPD, has commented on labour market statistics published by the ONS. “Today’s headline employment and pay figures all seem to be pointing in the same positive direction,” he says, “but beneath the surface a more nuanced picture emerges. On the upside, it’s encouraging to see such a high proportion of people moving into full-time jobs. “While the employment statistics are improving, they are somewhat flattered by the tail end of increases in demand for labour earlier this year. News that wages have risen sharply compared with last month and are approaching parity with inflation is good news for people in work. “Indeed, with so many applicants chasing jobs, it is easy to see why basic pay growth remains well below prerecession levels. As the CIPD reported earlier this week, employers are currently receiving 60 applicants for every lowskilled job, and 20 applicants for every high-skilled job. There are signs that the conditions for growth are starting to come into place, but real improvements will rely on firms finding the way to help employees work smarter, not just harder.

Commute times on the increase The amount of time that commuters spend travelling to and from work has increased substantially over the past five years, according to a TUC analysis of official figures. The figures show that on average workers are spending almost an extra 11 hours a year commuting. The South East has seen the most dramatic annual increase – with commuters there facing an additional 20 hours to their journeys. Since 2008, rising commuting times mean that workers in the East Midlands now have an 18-hour annual increase, while those in the South West and East of England have also seen above average rises in travel to work times. Although Londoners have only seen their commute times go up by an extra 10 hours a year, the TUC points out that they already have way and above the longest daily commute time in the UK – at almost an hour and twenty minutes.



The number of applicants for every high-skilled job in the UK

on the job


With all the stress that the winter period can bring at work, it’s a great time to get away for a long weekend to keep yourself sane. With only two days of holiday taken, you can return refreshed and ready to face the daily challenges. Ole examine the best winter mini breaks.

on the job

VIENNA, AUSTRIA You’d have to be a fool to not be even a little tempted by a whirl around Vienna. One of Europe’s grandest and most historically rich capital cities packed with imperial history, it also has exciting contemporary museums, lively eating and nightlife scenes, and many quiet corners to explore. If you’re feeling active, try the Vienna Highlights bike tour. COPENHAGEN, DENMARK The Danish capital is a regular fixture in the lifestyle pages thanks to its wide range of fabulous eateries, most notably the justifiably hyped Noma, which was – not for the first time – voted the world’s top restaurant in 2012. But if you haven’t recently gained an inheritance or won the lottery there are plenty of other places to indulge your culinary side. You can fill the rest of your time spotting the landmarks from your favourite Scando-thrillers, such as The Killing and The Bridge. VENICE, ITALY Walking the deserted streets of Venice becomes a joy in winter: the fine squares, churches and palaces are revealed in all their glory under a low sun. The canals are coated in an eerie mist, unobscured by traffic jams of gondolas. And the acqua alta, Venice’s seasonal flooding, makes for an atmospheric Piazza San Marco. For the best possible trip, visit between early January – after around 70,000 revellers have kissed to welcome in the New Year and the carnival in February when you’ll be able to find good deals. BUDAPEST, HUNGARY Budapest is the perfect destination for a winter break. Sit outside in the hot thermal water of the gorgeous Széchenyi baths, luxuriate among the yellow baroque walls and watch old guys play chess on floating boards. Visit the Turkish baths of the Rudas or Gellért Hotel, then chill out with a coffee and a chaser of the national drink, Unicum, sitting among Hungarian poets and writers in the Müvész coffee house on Andrássy út, Pest’s grandest boulevard BOLZANO, ITALY One of five mainly Italian-speaking municipalities in the Germanic province of South Tyrol in northern Italy, Bolzano is a hidden gem. Voted the Italian city with the best quality of life in 2010 and 2012, this alpine city is the perfect place to unwind. Wonder the streets, ski down the peaks, or take one of the cable cars up to the plateaus that surround the city. It’s the perfect place to ramp up your Christmas spirit with its festive markets, lights and the great food and wine they offer.

AMSTERDAM There’s something special about viewing a magnificent painting of a winter landscape by a Dutch master in the Rijksmuseum – and then seeing it come to life as you step outside onto Amsterdam’s cobbled streets. Occasionally the city’s historic canals freeze over bringing locals out in their hordes to carry on a beloved tradition. Even if you don’t manage to get your skates on, warm up in the city’s worldclass galleries and museums or partake in another Dutch tradition: a warm chocolade or glass of Grolsch in a gezellige (cosy) ‘brown’ cafe. MALAGA, SPAIN Like most airport cities, Málaga is often overlooked but makes a great accessible winter city break, especially in early December, when the most tasteful Christmas lights you could hope to see are switched on. Don’t miss the nativity scene at the corner of Alameda Principal and Calle Larios, then explore the streets festooned with red, green and gold lights. There is a truly festive atmosphere, with street entertainers and a free rock concert in Plaza de la Constitución. BADEN-BADEN, GERMANY Baden-Baden is a charming Black Forest town with all the usual winter attractions – bars selling glühwein, cake shops, and chic women who march round the shops clad in furs and designer labels (even the dogs wear matching capes). However, the greatest lure in winter is the outdoor thermal spa, the Caracalla. For just a few euros you can relax in the mineral-rich waters of 12 pools, including some where you can soak in 68C naturally heated, curative water as snowflakes twirl around you. NICE, FRANCE This was once the place to holiday in the winter, and many locals will tell you it still is. The sea remains azure on this Côte, the climate mild, the vistas outstanding. Nice is still nice – and actually affordable – in winter; even that boutique hotel in Antibes might be within reach off-season. Without the humidity and hordes, a stroll around the millionaires’ playgrounds of St Tropez, Cap Ferrat or Monaco is a pleasure, not a pain. Things do get crowded, however, during the Nice Carnival, when a million people hit the streets for soirees, fireworks and processions complete with giant papier-mache heads. POPRAD, SLOVAKIA This is another of the less obvious winter city breaks that eastern Europe has to offer. Try the AquaCity hotel spa resort where you can sit outside in the thermal waters and gaze at the snow-capped High Tatras mountain peaks, or move into one of the Aqua bars and try a warming Demanovka liqueur while wallowing in the water. AquaCity even offers cryotherapy, a sub-zero healing treatment said to prolong life!

on the job

I T TA K E S A L L S O R T S Companies are increasingly using personality tests to help employees understand themselves and how their personalities relate to their roles. GEORGE CAREY sees what they could do for you

on the job


ersonality is something that we informally and unwittingly assess every day. When we talk about ourselves and others, we frequently refer to different characteristics of an individual’s personality. Now formal assessments of this kind are becoming ingrained in the culture of a huge number of companies to help employees understand themselves in relation to their roles; embracing their strengths and recognising their weaknesses. Around 80% of the Fortune 500 companies use personality tests such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to assess their employees for the purpose of coaching, development, and team building. Estimates of how much the industry is currently worth are between $2bn and $4bn a year. The first personality tests were developed in the 1920s and were intended to ease the process of personnel selection, particularly in the armed forces. Since these early efforts, a wide variety of personality tests have been developed, notably the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), and a number of tests based on the Five Factor Model of personality, such as the Revised NEO Personality Inventory. These tests assess personality and emotional intelligence (EQ). Personality refers to an individual’s unique constellation of consistent behavioural traits and emotional intelligence consists of the ability to perceive and express emotion, assimilate emotion in thought, understand and reason with emotion, and regulate emotion. The dominant test currently employed by companies is the MBTI test. Developed by Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers in the 1960s, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) sorts personalities into four different pairs or psychological types. Measured on a scale, these pairs include extraversion and intraversion, sensing and intuition, thinking and feeling, and judging and perceiving. While these tests are extremely useful for companies, they are also very beneficial for individuals, offering excellent opportunities for self-reflection. By taking a personality test, people can often learn about themselves and encourage self-awareness. For example, if a job involves a lot of networking and other highly sociable activities but you’ve always felt a little uncomfortable performing the job functions, knowing that you are naturally introverted can help you to better

understand yourself. You will realize that performing these social functions will drain you of your energy. By making this realisation, you will be better able to cope with your job and create happiness for yourself. For example, you can learn that you might have a better evening if you spend some quiet time alone before the functions to gather your energy. Personality tests and quizzes can also provide insight into how you react to other people. For example, certain personality types have a tendency to get along better, while other personality types often are prone to arguments and clashes of style and opinion And it’s not just personal reflection lessons that these clever assessments can provide. In addition to understanding your own personality type, it is often beneficial to understand the personalities of those around you. For example, many work teams and even sports teams, use personality tests to help the team members learn more about each other. Since the personality test indicates some of your innate preferences, it can be very useful for other team members to understand what makes you tick. Going further than that, these tests can also be used as a tool to help dysfunctional teams learn more about each other and begin to work through some of their differences. Each team member would take the same personality test and then would share their results with the other members of the team. Then, as a team, they would discuss the results and how to function as a more cohesive team. Increasing the teams’ awareness of the personality types of the other members can create a more functional and cohesive team atmosphere. Once the team members realise that someone has a different personality type that might make them more suited to one type of communication than the other, they can adapt and work together to create the best team dynamics. Personality tests can be a great tool to use to bring team members together and create more productive teams. So what are you waiting for, get testing today. With the obvious benefits available to your company, bosses should find it a tough proposition to turn down and your colleagues will surely thank you for opening up such a fascinating process and helping you all to learn valuable information about yourselves.

on the job


GORDON RAMSAY’S former protégée talks heritage, the man behind the TV persona and the importance of seasonal ingredients Have you always loved cooking?


I come from a family that always liked food and food was always part of our lives. We always ate together as a family and cooked together so it was something I grew up with from both sides – my mum and my dad’s. I was taught to cook by my grandmother and my mother. You were expected to help out in the kitchen and learn what to do.

Has your Italian heritage had an influence on your cooking style?


That’s what I grew up learning. It makes sense that you stick to the things you know best, hence why I do more Italian food than anything else. I cook the type of food that I was brought up on and I know well. You work with what’s in season because that makes sense. You’re not suddenly going to put asparagus on in the middle of December. If it’s not in season it will taste rubbish.

What was Gordon Ramsey like to work with?


He was great. He was an absolutely top bloke. If I hadn’t worked with Gordon I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in now, without a doubt. He taught me about running a kitchen and the importance of consistency. I worked with him for 17 years and you don’t work with someone that long if they are intimidating. You work with someone because you enjoy working with them and because they’re a good person.

Do you get a break from cooking at Christmas time?


No I tend to end up doing it, as it always seems to be at my house or one of the restaurants, but I have people helping me. Last year we had lots of friends over so the day before we did all the prep together and then on the day you just stick it in the oven and carve it.

lunch break

BREAKTIME desktop dining WEST END W AT C H


MADE IN DAGENHAM Rupert Goold directs this stage version of the hit film, depicting the struggles of the brow-beaten workers in Dagenham’s Ford factory in 1968. Shop steward Rita O’Grady (Gemma Arterton) joins with union rep Albert Passingham in an attempt to get a better deal for the 187 underpaid and overworked women machinists who assemble car seat upholstery in lousy working conditions. She soon discovers there’s more to the dispute than she realised: women are paid an appalling fraction of the men’s wages for the same work across the board. Refusing to put up with it any longer, Rita leads a strike for equal pay. A grinding labour and political struggle follows that will ultimately advance the cause of women’s rights forever, around the world. Adelphi Theatre The Strand

• 225g/8oz plain flour • 140g/5oz butter, cut into cubes • 5 tbspns ice cold water • Pinch of salt

FOR THE MINCEMEAT • 1 apple • 85g/3oz sultanas • 85g/3oz raisins • 45g/1½ oz currants • 85g/3oz dried cranberries • 45g/1½ oz flaked almonds • Grated zest of 1 lemon • Grated zest ½ orange • 1 ½ tsp mixed spice • 2 tbsp whisky or brandy • 55g/2oz melted butter • 1 ripe banana METHOD 1. Make the pastry by sifting the flour into a large bowl. Add the butter and salt and rub in until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add approximately 5 tablespoons of ice cold water. Bring together to a ball of dough adding a little more water if necessary. Flatten into a circle and wrap in cling film. Chill for 15-20 minutes. 2. Wash and grate the apple, including the skin. Put into a bowl and add the sultanas, raisins, cranberries, almonds, lemon zest, orange zest, mixed spice, whisky and melted butter. Mash the banana and add to the mincemeat. 3. Roll out two thirds of the pastry and cut into medium sized circles using a pastry cutter. Line a 12 hole patty tin with the pastry. Place a spoonful of mincemeat into each pastry case. Roll out the rest of the pastry and cut into stars. Top each open pie with a star lid. Chill in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. 4. Preheat the oven to 190˚C/Fan oven 170˚C/gas mark 5 and bake for 15-20 minutes.

lunch break



Night at the Museum: Secret Of The Tomb

Out 19 December Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb sees Larry (Ben Stiller) travel to the British Museum to restore the magic that brings his museum exhibit friends to life. The powers of the Tablet of Akhmenrah are beginning to die out, which prompts Larry to embark on a globe-spanning quest to restore them, uniting old and new characters including Theodore Roosevelt (Robin Williams in his final performance), Jedediah (Owen Wilson) and Lancelot (Dan Stevens). This ideal pre-Christmas film also stars Sir Ben Kingsley as the villain.

Take That Out now

The three remaining members of Take That, Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen have announced their new studio album, which is wryly called III. This is the first time Take That have written and recorded as a three and with that new dynamic has come a new sound; “These Days”, the album’s lead single, is described as “something unlike anything the boys have ever written before”, featuring “Chic-style funk guitar riffs and Pet Shop Boys style vocal effects.” An album set for the top of the charts.

POWER HOUR ONE-MINUTE BURST This fast-paced DVD programme from celebrity trainer Paul Katami is based on the science of one-minute burst intervals. You’ll repeat reps of each move—one highintensity cardio, one lower body, one upper body, and one core—for one minute, then take 30 seconds of active recovery before repeating the round four more times. The exercises are basic (think pushups, lunges, and burpees) to ensure optimal effort and results, but this workout is definitely not for the faint of heart.

BOOK THIS PURNELL’S If you’ve got a few extra pennies burning a hole in your pocket, you might want to give this high-end Birmingham-based treat a try. Glyn Purnell’s trademark unfaltering quality is on show night after night with delicious dishes such as a duck egg yolk with black pudding crumble, bacon, cauliflower purée and trotter nuggets for starter or poached and roasted duck, rolled in liquorice charcoal for your main course. 55 Cornwall St Birmingham

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LOVES Ho ho hope you’re organised It’s time to get some of that Christmas shopping done, so here’s a few ideas

1 3

4 2



HOME 1 Dotcom Gift Shop, Christmas stockings, £9.95 2 Dotcom Gift Shop, Mistletoe garland LED lights, £19.95 3 Amara, MacKenzie angel ornament, £14 4 Suzy Newton, Luxury bauble wreath, £29


5 Ginger Ray, Red and white garlands, £7.95 6 Next, Rose gold glass bauble, £2 7 Tesco Direct, Heart Cone Wreath, £20

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O F F I C E C AT W A L K ‘Tis the season... to party Dress to impress for this year’s office shindig










1 New Look, Glitter playsuit £29.99, Gemstone clutch £29.99, Grey faux fur stole £12.99

1 M&S, Autograph blazer £149, Bow tie £12.50

2 The Vestry, Embellished waist dress, £60

3 Charles Tyrwhitt, Black Garrick patent shoes, £99

3 M&S, Gold sequin tunic dress, £69 4 Next, Stripe sequin dress, £75

2 Ben Sherman, Silk pocket square, £20

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S U R V I V I N G T H E O F F I C E PA R T Y Love them or loathe them, it’s the season for office parties and if you want to avoid being the person gossiped about around the water cooler come January, read on. Drunken bosses, overly amorous colleagues, drinking too much, dressing inappropriately, speaking your mind injudiciously or revealing more about your personal life than you should, are all classic examples of the drunken office party faux-pas.

CHRISTMAS FAIRY Guardian angel

HANGOVER HELL The effects of the morning after the Christmas party are caused by dehydration and can feel pretty horrific under florescent strip-lighting at 8.30am, with the phone ringing off the hook. Dry, sticky mouth, tiredness, insane thirst, muscle weakness, headache and dizziness can all be avoided if you remember to drink smart at the party. DRINK WATER Not all evening if you don’t want to, but if the party is held in the office, treat the water cooler as your friend. For every glass of alcohol you have, make sure you match it likefor-like with at least one glass of plain, simple water from the cooler. (Heading over to the water cooler is also a good excuse to escape from an over-amorous colleague, or to get out of that awkward conversation with the MD about the sales reports. Why did you have to make eye-contact?!)

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THINK BEFORE YOU TALK A few glasses of wine can make you feel like the wittiest person in the office, but when you replay it in your mind the next day will you be cringing? Remember where you are and who you are with. But don’t spend the whole night talking work either, there’s nothing worse than someone piping up about last month’s figures in the middle of dessert. PLAN YOUR ESCAPE Whether it’s your office stalker or a work rival, make sure that you have a friend who can come to your rescue on cue. Keep a taxi number handy for if it all gets too much and if you’re catching public transport, set an alarm on your phone so you don’t miss the last bus.

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