Monthly Archives: January 2013

Monthly routine-face time

I had a facial today, a Dermalogica one. Dermalogica products are expensive but brilliant, and their facials are excellent. Not even that expensive, but more than I could manage on maternity leave, so this was my celebrating being back at work and having an income again facial, which will happen every other month from now (haircuts and facials alternate months).

My skin has been crap recently-I’ve been quite busy, the baby has two teeth coming through, so sleep is quite rare, and I’ve just stopped breastfeeding and it’s made my hormones go demented in a bad way. After a bit of a beauty disaster on Thursday (walked into a random salon to see if they could do my eyebrow wax and lash tint, and they could, but only because it’s a terrible salon and that’s why no-one goes there. The treatment room was a cupboard, it was next to their smoking room and the therapist had shockingly bad breath. I left a tip. What is wrong with me? It’s like I can’t not tip, however rubbish the service is. Anyway, enough of the crap place, I won’t go there ever again) I was a bit nervous going to a new place, but it was brilliant. Not a salon-this was in a little extension in the therapist’s garden, and it was a lovely room, very relaxing and clean and the lady was great. I had to fill in a looooong questionnaire-allergies, usual products, that sort of thing-then we had a chat about how dreadful my skin is at the moment (after ten years of adult acne, I cope quite well these conversations) and then I got to lie down, for a whole hour, while she sorted it out for me.

I fell asleep for a fair bit, and never know what all the different lotions and bits are that they use (I just lie there thinking ‘this smells a bit minty/lavendery/medicinal’) but there is something immensely reassuring about letting someone who knows their stuff else deal with everything. When she had finished, my skin looked brighter, less spotty and much smoother and happier, which is exactly what I wanted. And I’d had a sleep, which is an added bonus. She has given me a few samples (think this is a Dermalogica thing, I have Precleanse, Dermal Clay and another one, can’t remember what at the moment) so I’ll try before deciding if I want to buy the products.

I paid £37 (and yes, of course I tipped) and have booked my next appointment for March-would have booked for the year, as I had with haircuts, but the therapist will be on maternity leave from some time in May, so I’ll have to find somewhere else to go while she is off enjoying her baby. But I still have my March appointment to look forward to before I need to think about that. Facials-not all worth the money, but this was really was.

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Handbags for control freaks

Control freaks in a good way, obviously. Because I’m one of them. And I have a handbag-well, I have a few different handbags, and I actually feel quite sick and panicky at the idea of leaving the house without all of the things I could possibly need to get through the day. Before I had a baby, I dealt with this quite badly, by basically buying giant, ugly bags and piling all the stuff I could think of into them. It met the requirement of not forgetting/being without things, but it made me feel scatty and I quite often had that thing of KNOWING something was in my bag somewhere, but it taking whole minutes to find. Not good.

So, having failed to use my maternity leave to do any of the things I planned (trip to the National Gallery, organise bookshelves, redecorate, learn how to make choux pastry hahahahaha) I decided that it was very important that I should get the handbag thing sorted out before I went back to work. Because I have something in my head that says mothers, as a group, should be organised people. I know it’s wrong, and it represents weirdy conditioning, and fathers should be just as together, but I’m not a father, I’m a mother, and I wanted to feel like I was actually in control of something in my life. It clearly wasn’t going to be my baby, so I thought my handbag would be a great start. And I was right, hurrah.

Handbags. I started by taking all the stuff out of my huge bag and seeing what I was actually carrying around. Quite a lot went straight into the bin, but the stuff that stayed generally fell into little groups of things-stuff for my hands, assorted tablets and medicines, make up, money and keys and bits. I bought a vast stack of clear plastic pencil cases from ebay, and each little set of things got its own pencil case, keeping it neatly together and visible with the added bonus of keeping it free of baby slime/sticky hands. I bought a new handbag for work (Scaramanga flight bag, I love it-room for my laptop and all the other stuff I cart around with me) which now contains all of these things in little pencil cases:

Hands Mini hand cream, nail file, orange stick, small bottle of clear polish or topcoat, tiny round pot with those all in one polish remover wipes

Essentials Phones, USB phone charger, debit card, house and car keys, work pass, £30 cash in notes, five pounds change in coins for car parks, comb and mini mirror

Medicines/emergencies (this one is very full, but has no more than four of each tablet or thing!) paracetemol, ibuprofen, sudafed, Strepsils, immodium, senna tablets, Karvol, Calpol sachets x 2, teething powder sachets x 2, plasters, earplugs in a small case, single use twisty thing of saline solution, tampons x 2, mini tube of antibac gel, tweezers, tea tree oil spot stick and probably a few other things I’ve forgotten!

Snacks Small bag of almonds, small bag of apricots, Nakd bar, Earl Grey teabags x 2, pack of chewing gum

Make up (worked this out as everything I’d need to repair my face if I ever cry at work) Travel pack face wipes, 2 x sachets of facial moisturiser from a magazine, cheapy Boots cucumber eye gel. Tiny pot (5ml?) with enough foundation for me to use it two or three times, concealer stick, mini eyeshadow, black mascara, eyebrow pencil, very thin flat pot of blusher and small blusher brush

Also Fully charged Kindle with lots of interesting things to read, and Organised Mum Family life planner book (this is brilliant-comes out and about with me, and then I have the family calendar on the wall at home, so EVERYTHING gets written down as soon as it’s agreed)

If I am going out for the evening, I can take the essentials and make up cases in a small bag. There are more cases for travel, but I think I’ll do those in another post as this one is quite long already. I like to think I have most things covered-what do you always carry around with you?

The cupboard in the bathroom

I have a giant cupboard in the bathroom. I’ve never tested it, but I know from looking at it that me, my husband, the baby and probably a small car could all fit inside comfortably. Okay, maybe the car would be pushing it at a bit, but it really is very big. If another doorway to Narnia were found at the back, it would truly not come as a surprise to me. It’s also full of stuff-multipacks of nappies, wipes, loo rolls and all other bathroomy things. I’ve got so much stuff in there, it took me about two hours on Sunday to sort it out. And it was like going shopping at a small branch of Boots, when I got everything laid out. So I’ve decided not to buy any more toiletries or cosmetics until I’ve used up quite a lot of the things from the cupboard. It will sometimes feel a bit like a punishment (Snow Fairy shower gel from Lush, with your vile pink smell and bloody glitter everywhere, I’m giving YOU a hard stare at the moment) but will have good moments too. I found an unopened tube of Jergens firming body lotion and used that after the (pink) shower this morning, and it was good stuff. Absorbed quickly, no scent that made me wrinkle my nose up, no actual firming seen so far, but I’m easily satisfied when I’m this knackered. Also felt like a freebie, as I have no memory of buying it, bringing it home or unpacking it. Perhaps a small Narnian creature deposited it there for me to find. Who knows-it did what I needed it to.

Down at the nail bar

You can get a file and polish for £6. SIX POUNDS. And it only takes 15 minutes. And they basically do a mini manicure (file, trim cuticles, some kind of buffing/sandpapery thing) before they apply the polish and topcoat (which does make me wonder what you get for the extra £14 they charge for an actual manicure). It’s a bit crap looking, the nail bar, called something like American Nails Etc, and has some quite scary customers, but they do a bloody good job. Some half-hearted upselling from the Vietnamese man in charge (‘ONLY polish? Why not shellac?’ but nothing horrendous. And it’s about 200 yards from my house.  So-£6, 15 minutes, nails now painted in Second Honeymoon by OPI (nice neutral) and the shiniest topcoat ever. I’m taking nail maintenance out of the weekly routine of stuff I need to do, and will just nip in there once a week instead. Sorted.

Editing my wardrobe

‘Editing my wardobe’ sounds a bit fancier than ‘charity shopping or chucking most of my stuff’ so we’ll go with that as a description. I spent a couple of hours last night having a good sort through, and anything that was truly crap (tatty, really knackered, trodden down hems, ripped, massive holes in things) has gone in a bag for the bin (rag bin at the back of the local charity shop) and anything wearable and decent but not right for me at the moment (maternity clothes which I’ve been wearing even though the baby is several months old, giant comfy but very unflattering smock things, colours that don’t seem to do much for me, things that are so tiny I really don’t ever see myself wearing them again) have been shared between vacuum bags in the loft and a charity shop bag.

So I have very few actual things left in my wardobe now, but what is in there fits me and is reasonably flattering. I’ve also taken inspiration from a brilliant Style and Beauty thread on Mumsnet and sorted through my knicker drawer too, leaving me with two bras that fit, about five pairs of knickers, and not very many pairs of socks (but at least those remaining are hole free). Some shopping is in order, and I’ve booked an appointment at Bravissimo this weekend to get some more really well fitting bras (I like Freya, and Bravissimo own brand-Panache have some really lovely things, but aren’t a good fit on me) and will get knickers and socks sorted too. Clothes I’d like to have a bit more of a think about. I don’t really have a style, or any sense of what my style could be. The clothes I’ve kept are all quite plain and mostly in black, navy, grey or cream, so definitely run the risk of being a bit boring. I like the idea of having basic work and weekend ‘uniforms’ which I could add splashes of colour to (dark blue jeans, breton striped top and a scarf for the weekend? black trousers, top and a cardi for work?) and think that might help me feel a bit more pulled together. What do you think? I’m pretty crap at clothes, but would love 2013 to be the year I feel like I started to feel confident in the choices I make. Any suggestions would be very gratefully received!

Back to work-I am ORGANISED

A whole post moaning about my boiler (now back on, thanks) and I forgot to mention the really terrifyingly well-organised thing about my haircut-once it was cut, blowdried and I had paid, I made appointments for all of my 2013 haircuts. Every single one. End of every other month-February, April, June, August, October and December. I don’t even have to think about it now, just go when it’s in my book. I would have done the same for eyebrow waxing and lash tints (same salon, different lady) but the beauty appointment book only goes up to the end of March, so I’ll have to wait till they have a new diary before I get that organised too.  As a massive (and quite busy) control freak, I’m feeling pretty good about having all haircuts sorted now-I got to choose the dates, times and stylist that suit me, rather than taking an appointment when they could fit me in. Sorted.

Yesterday was my first day back. It went well, the baby was a bit grumpy when I picked him up, but had had a lovely day without me. I felt very odd-like I was watching myself living my old life, where I got to to wear smart clothes without porridge on them and sit at a desk drinking hot cups of tea all day and hearing all the office gossip. My make up lasted all day, I had two car journeys without having to sing nursery rhymes the whole way and I have some interesting projects coming up. The baby shouted a bit, slept a lot, ate a banana and two pieces of toast and played with his stacking cups (morning) and crackly book and octopus toy (afternoon). I think we’ll get used to it soon enough-who knows, maybe he’ll actually smile at me when I collect him in future!