Oops! Pounds lighter and Skin Still Shiny

Is there a word for skincare/foundation addiction? If there is, it describes moi.

[Sucker probably covers it; along with marketeer’s dream].

So a weekend away in Newcastle (our last as a non-married couple) and in the spirit of compromise – me: what do you want to do now? Wander round department stores with me? No? Ok, here’s a tenner take yourself and your newspaper off to the pub – I found myself at the Laura Mercier counter of Fenwick’s nodding vigorously as the salesgirl extolled the benefits of her products.

Ahem. Several pounds lighter off* (and darn it, money ones not fat ones) I skipped away with my little bag of purchases. I was excited. ‘Ooh, this product will give me flawless skin and a matte finish which lasts all day! Hoorah!’

Oh reader, alas… One day and six hours of foundation wear later I am shiny. Not the nice glow-y thing, but a bit greasy looking.

My last count of foundations/skin primers I own (most bought in the hope of long-lasting/non-shiny thing) is eight foundations and five primers. Perhaps I should open my own foundation exchange if folks can get over the slight hygiene issues?

Hmm. Am I destined to constantly seek out skincare products which promise what they can’t deliver and end up disappointed? Or is it just an impossibility – we humans are physically incapable of not being shiny-faced by the end of the day?

On the other hand, a bonus of ageing (and I believe, added wisdom aside, there may not be many) could be the drying out of skin. Give it another ten years and I may well look back fondly at my shiny skin years…

 

*In my defence dear reader, wine had been consumed. I was susceptible to sales of most things. Possibly, if I’d been a Newcastle resident, at this point I’d have bought coals.

For my lovely American readership, there is a saying ‘selling coals to Newcastle’ which is roughly the equivalent of selling ice to the Eskimos.

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My Wedding – My Way (Totally)

According to popular rumour some women get pretty worked up about all things bridal…

Popular culture calls this Bridezilla territory and I heard one story this week that I feel compelled to share. My mum and I went mother-of-the-bride outfit shopping (personal shopper appointment at House of Fraser – do IT) and while mum changed into the 15 or so different combinations the talented personal shopper had picked out, I chatted to the lovely lady*.

It turns out she is going to a wedding this year and is to be a bridesmaid. The bride-to-be insists that her bridesmaid grows her hair so that it fits with her vision of how the bridesmaids look.

In the world of me, I view this as utterly unreasonable. And who flippin’ cares either? My mum, bless her heart, chipped in at this point with a comment about me being a very non-Bridezilla type.

Strictly speaking, I am a bit Bridezilla – if only with myself. I am frantically exercising, frantically dieting and frantically doing all kinds of extravagant skincare** things in order to make sure I look my best by May.

This self-improvement is very shallow – perhaps I should instead frantically research how to be a good spouse, the secrets of modern marriage or what I need to live a worthwhile life. (I have a feeling that the fixation with skincare, cookery programmes and my waist to hip ratio isn’t so worthwhile.)

So with this newly-reinforced ‘I am not going to be a Bridezilla’ resolution in place, my fiance and I have re-entered the minute-by-minute negotiations for what happens on our wedding day.

Me – speeches before dinner. Him – speeches after. Me – ABSOLUTELY no alcohol before the ceremony. Him – I would like a drink with my brothers beforehand. Me – so, despite our shared atheism, we do have a Catholic priest from New York coming, shall we get him to say the Selkirk Grace? Him – NO. This could be interesting…

 

 

*So, how did you get into this job? Do you love your work? Are you happy on Mondays? What happens, each season the new collection comes in do you familiarise yourself with the garments? What kind of discount do you get? You worked for the Mary Portas franchise? It wasn’t so great?

**Ahem, while in House of Fraser, I got tangled up in its beauty counters. I bought Clinique’s pore refining solutions serum and the instant pore corrector. Serum – I’ll deliver the verdict three weeks down the line. Instant corrector thingie – pretty good, but it’s never going to meet my perfectionist standards.

A 60-Second Facelift; Can it Work?

Yikes, the lack of wine drinking and cake baking has left me with plenty of time on my hands to surf the net, fall for the hype and purchase skincare products…

I am now the proud owner of a Rio 60-second face lift thingie. One of the (many) advantages of the world wide web is the wealth of reviews you find online so I did read these before pressing the ‘order’ button and the vast majority were positive.

Motive for buying? A desire to look fresh-faced and unlined for my wedding especially as I’m older than your average bride.

Basically you press the device on various parts of your face and it causes the muscles to contract. Exercised muscles stop sagging, allegedly. It is pretty uncomfortable and it doesn’t half hurt your teeth, but in the four days I’ve been using it, I have noticed an effect around my eyes and on the nose-to-mouth lines. I shall report back…

I’m back at my pre-Christmas weight. I made up my own diet; eating between three to eight ‘superfoods’ a day and sticking to about 1,400 calories (try myfitnesspal.com for a great calorie counting app).

Superfoods are a marketing concept, but spinach, berries, broccoli and oily fish are very good for you and they give you great skin too. I may well trademark my concept and write a diet book (as the world DEFINITELY needs another diet book, non?).

The Top Ten Tips for Beautiful Skin

These are a few of my favourite things...

These are a few of my favourite things…

I re-read my ‘about me’ info (often I forget who I am, where I’m going and what I’m supposed to be doing…) and realised I haven’t really blogged about skincare despite listing it as one of my interests as I’ve been too caught up with cake and fascinated by food!

(I love alliteration; it’s sublime.)

Having read a very useful post on attracting attention through blogging, I’m now shamelessly borrowing a recommended technique – the tried and tested Top Ten list (oh bliss, more alliteration).

So for the bride to be, here are my recommendations for fab skin. (Things to note – I don’t think one range of skincare gets everything right, so this selection is a mishmash of what works for me.)

1.     Boots No7 Protect and Perfect Intense Serum. Sometimes, powerful advertising exerts its seductive, siren call so I opt for other serum products and end up disappointed. When skincare has been developed in conjunction with university experts, though, it makes sense to stick with it.

2.     Dr Organic Dead Sea Minerals Bio-Plasma Mud Mask – it stings a little on application (I have sensitive skin), so put it on in the evening and wake up to clear skin.

3.     Dr Organic Rose Otto Night Cream – really gorgeous smell and, as I live in a country where daily SPF protection really isn’t needed, I use it as day cream too.

4.     Too Faced Primed and Poreless Pure primer – does a great job of disguising open pores. I put it on and occasionally contemplate going foundation-free (but after more than 25 years of wearing foundation, it’s too much of a deeply ingrained habit).

5.     Clinique Clarifying Lotion 2 – I love the clean feel you get from using this toner and the big bottle lasts for ages.

6.     bareMinerals Purifying Facial Cleanser – this does a great job of taking off make-up.

7.     Boots No7 Stay Perfect Liquid Foundation – it definitely lasts all day (which is what you want on your big day).

8.     Jerome Alexander Magic Minerals make-up – really easy to apply and fab coverage; I get compliments when I wear this.

9.      Coconut Oil – I use this occasionally as a moisturiser when my skins feeling dry and sensitive.

10.  And finally… food (way hey back at my blog subject of choice!) The best skincare advice is to drink plenty of water, eat lots of salad, fish, eggs, berries, beans and wholegrains and not a lot in the way of processed food.

The Accidental Abstainer

Have you ever given up something by accident?

I ask because when we set a date for getting married, fired up with joys of planning and list-writing, I included a note of everything I was going to give up to save money for the aforementioned nuptials.

They included (it was pretty ambitious, given my penchant for the frivolous): diet coke, women’s magazines, beauty treatments in salons, taxi journeys, new make-up or skincare before existing stuff ran out, clothes, shoes etc.

Needless to say, several weeks after the list was drawn up diet coke, new make-up, beauty treatments et al were still making their way into my shopping basket. The incentive just didn’t seem to be there.

However, about a month ago I discovered a new author I really like; a woman who has written a series of epic stories scanning continents and including fabulous characters, themes and wit. For a month or so I haven’t looked at women’s magazines and, when this registered consciously, it became a point of pride not to buy them any more. (The odd free edition of Stylist or buying Good Food magazine does not count).

So, thanks Diana Gabaldon – you may have inadvertently contributed to my wedding funds!

As I am a marketeer’s dream, being without women’s magazines has also affected my make-up and skincare buying habits. Without the constant bombardment of new product advertising and promotions through beauty pages, I’m no longer tempted by the latest snake oil trick promising all kinds of wrinkle reduction, complexion brightening and skin plumping.

In addition, reading novels tends not to leave you feeling as inadequate as magazines do (‘why oh why don’t I have that great job, those gorgeous clothes, that particular new form of exercise guaranteed to tone me up in half an hour’). And, er, why do I care so much for these things?!

Now, I just need to stumble on a few more accidental giving up tricks and watch those money-wasting habits disappear…

Bramble vodka and crumble – could we get more mellow fruitfulness…?

Favours update: this week we went brambling (see the pictures above). For those of you outside Scotland, this means gathering up free fruit courtesy of your nearby hedgerows, and specifically refers to blackberries. We’ve collected roughly 1.8kg in total, which have been mixed with 700g sugar and four bottles (4x75cl) of vodka – cheap and cheerful, no point wasting Grey Goose on this. I’ve sealed it up in Kilner jars and it’s now a waiting game; the end result (hopefully) a pretty potent fruit liquer to be divided up among small bottles and labelled for the wedding.

Eat salmon and lose wrinkles?

Can you believe it – two close friends are getting married this Saturday and, short of the ability to split in two, we can only attend one.

So, Pam and Keith’s it is. I can’t wait as Pam is a dear family friend so the wedding is also an opportunity to catch up with family and lots of wonderful people.

I’m also experimenting… I first read about the Facelift Diet in 2004; created by Dr Perricone, basically it involves eating salmon two or three times a day, no processed foods, lots of green veg and water, and a little bit of fruit for three days straight.

So, in the interests of proper science, I took a picture of my face this morning (sans make-up! Honestly, I put make-up on to put the bins out) and will compare and contrast on Thursday, by which time I’m guessing I’ll probably not want to eat salmon again for a long, long time…

The gorgeous girliness of wedding planning!

My name is Emma and I’m getting married next year. Apparently, the average UK wedding weighs in at just over £14,000 – so are weddings only for the wealthy? Does anyone really need favours? Or pipers or printed invites or make up trials, garters, special underwear and a £500+ cake?* Now, I can think of plenty of ways to better spend £14,000 plus (which is not to say that financial common sense comes naturally to me; in the quest for the perfect complexion I have six bottles of foundation in my house link to the current favourite** here). My budget is £7,000 and over the next few months I’d like to share with you (and invite you to share with me), my ideas for a wedding which might be cheap, but which won’t look it. Along the way, I’ll probably meander off topic and include musings on food, the bridal industry, shoes, diet & fitness and skincare.

*I don’t condemn you if you do. There sure is a lot of powerful marketing around the bridal industry and it’s a strong woman (or man?) who doesn’t get sucked into that quicksand of spiralling costs.

**Subject to change on a weekly basis. And £14,000 – that’s a flippin’ lot of skincare (or whatever else floats your boat).