Getting through January the Homebody (easy & inexpensive) Way…
The January ‘blues’ hit me on 7th Jan this year. When I say blues, I mean a vague feeling of discontent and ennui mixed with tiredness and a physical toxicity left over from the festive season. Add to this, the extra pounds in weight gained and a general sluggishness and you have a full on tsunami of feeling crappy. Now don’t get me wrong, at this stage in my life and more than ever, I fully appreciate how lucky I am. I’ve been fortunate so far… a truly fab husband, who’s my best friend, two wonderful children and a career I’ve been proud of. So this was nothing more sinister than a belated hangover from all the excitement, late nights and glasses of wine of the previous weeks. However, it ain’t fun and it ain’t pretty and when it comes it can hit you for six. It did for me and I was a hideous grump for a couple of days leading up to the date, that is until I decided to take matters into my own hands and put a stop to it. Pronto. The mantra I’ve pretty much used for most of 2017 has been the ubiquitous ‘Life’s too short’. I know it’s an utter cliche, but when you get to your 40s and life has thrown a few challenges at you along the way, it’s pretty evident that nothing is certain and time is precious, so you know.. DON’T WASTE IT.
So, January 7th. This was the date that I refused to give in to this state of ‘un-grace’. Realising that no amount of cool French films, Netflix Originals or anything would cure the malady, I decided to take matters into my own hands and set a new course into the New Year. Here, dear readers, is what I did….
So I ran a bath. In the MORNING. Yes a simple tub of pure, hot H2O, but to this I added Epsom Salts and a good glug of Aromatherapy Associates ‘Open Space’ bath oil from Space NK. I lit the Santal and Ambre Diptique candles I’d received for Christmas and made myself a nice creamy smoothie. I put on a REN glycolic face mask and closed the door to all the noises of busy family life and luxuriated in the ambient light and fragrance of those aromatherapy oils. That was it. I stayed there for a good 20 mins, perhaps longer. But the point is, I didn’t keep track of time and I let my thoughts drift off… somewhere. I may even have meditated. I’m such a big believer in bath therapy. It works wonders. In fact most nights I treat myself to a bath if I can. Just call me Cleopatra. But seriously, I know this is kind of banally obvious, but this is ALL it took to lift myself out of the doldrums that Sunday morning. Well not all. After that I moved on to the next phase of this process…
Next up I raided my plentiful vitamin supply and took the following with a Kefir drink.If you haven’t tried Kefir, I recommend it. It’s a fizzy-ish yogurt drink originally from the caucasus I think and Turkish in origin. It literally means ‘good health’ and is full of probiotic properties. It’s creamy and filling and easy to take vitamins with (if you’re one of those people like me who don’t take well to swallowing down big tablets). I took a probiotic tab for immunity, a chewable throat probiotic, 1000mg of vitamin C, an iron supplement and a magnesium supp on top. You can see the exact make of vitamins from the pictures but I got them all from Victoria Health – purveyor of high quality vitamins and beauty products with a great newsletter to boot.
Ah that hateful word ‘pamper’. I know the action of ‘being pampered’ itself can be amazing, but it’s the word that’s so horribly overused these days and makes me cringe. It brings to mind reductive and naff pink-tinged adverts aimed solely at women, when times have clearly moved on…but then I am awkward sometimes. After bath time, it was high time to give my poor skin a treat with the wonderful REN Neroli & Grapefruit Body Cream. REN’s products are such quality and aren’t highly, chemically scented. In fact they pride themselves on their clean and cruelty free credentials. Prior to this I used a proper body brush to exfoliate and brush my skin especially on the tummy and leg areas. I’m not 100 percent sure it breaks down fat or gets the lymph moving (as a good body massage is supposed to do) but it feels great to manipulate those areas that feel ahem.. stodgy. Even if it’s just a psychological thing – I don’t care, it all helps. I gave myself a quick pedicure and painted my toenails. Lastly I put on my comfiest and nicest loungewear – a cashmere jumper and some soft merino wool joggers. I wanted to be relaxed and unhindered but not look like a total bag lady in the process.
Lastly, my pale and bloated visage needed some serious TLC and this is where the therapy really began. Make no mistake, taking your time to apply make up can be a VERY therapeutic pastime. I once did an approximation of this in a five-minute mime improvisation (supposedly of an everyday ritual) in a drama class as a young woman, to some pretty bewildered looks from the audience. 😉 Oh well…it was the only thing I could think of at the time 😉 Anyway, laying out the stuff you want to put on your face, matching the shadows and kohl and experimenting with flicks and contouring is the ultimate in feminine ritual. I’m not saying you’ll find nirvana, but it can be elegant and sacred in a very accessible way if you give it the time. That’s surely no bad thing.
I used (and use) the following and in this order:
- Clarins self tanning milk for the face – does the trick and brings warmth and NOT an orange glow under makeup.
- Nip & Fab Viper Venom Micro Blur blurring gel – feels nice to put on and seems to smooth and close the pores a bit and is a good base for foundation.
- Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow – love this so much. A great texture and gives a dewy finish either underneath or on top of your foundation.
- Estee Lauder’s Double Wear foundation – brilliant staying power and consistency especially when applied with a good quality foundation brush.
- Urban Decay’s Naked smoky eye palette – the star of the show! Got this in a Black Friday sale and so glad I did. Wonderful range of highly pigmented neutral, metallic and dark shades for the perfect smoky eye. Had a fair few positive comments on my eye makeup lately after using this.
- Laura Mercier concealer. Used it for years. It’s creamy and doesn’t cake and is of the highest quality. (From Space NK)
- Dior’s Pump n Volume black mascara. For me this is simply the best mascara around. Dior discontinued their Extase range and this is the closest one to it. Gives thick lashes in minutes. Sometimes it cakes, but I don’t mind that too much. I’m a lashings of mascara kinda girl.
- Charlotte Tilbury’s Iconic liquid eye kohl pencil in violet.. A beaut of a product. Soft and highly pigmented, the violet colour makes hazel eyes pop. Only got this last week but adore it already for underlining beneath the eye and the odd flick on top.
- Fusion Beauty bronzer. This was such a find. Again a sale item from Space NK. I can no longer find it on their website so need to do some investigating. Otherwise I use Nars Laguna bronzer but I think I prefer this for its rosier tone!
- Kevin Aucoin highlighting palette. Another Space NK sale bargain! Love this booklet of shades and directions for contouring. I don’t contour greatly as I think it looks odd if not done well but I do a bit of highlighting on the cheekbones and on the tip of the nose – a makeup artists trick 🙂
- A spritz of Tocca’s ‘Margaux’ Eau de Parfum and greatly reduced in yes you guessed it the Space NK sale. I always wanted to try it. It’s an unusual scent and inspired by old-world Europe, so it has a whimsical feel to it and comes in a beautiful vintage-look bottle. It’s floral and musky with a hint of gardenia. It’s not for the faint-hearted on first spritz but soon dries down to something more subtle.
After all of the above, I felt like a QUEEN, ready to reclaim my kingdom from marauding boys and their Christmas toys littering the floor. No longer inhabiting grumpsville, I felt rejuvenated enough to tidy the house, getting aforementioned boys to help me, walk the dog and generally muster my depleted energy for the week and year ahead. Best of all, I didn’t spend any extra cash on this process, using what I already had in the house for a little bit of SELF CARE. Simples. xx