Tag Archives: beauty routine

Quick beauty fixes for new mums

Royal baby fever has made me come over all emotional, thinking back to the day we left hospital with our baby son. I’m not a huge royal fan to be honest with you, but seeing the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the hospital steps yesterday did bring it all back-the sense of protectiveness, the realisation that this is your baby’s FIRST LOOK AT THE WORLD-just mindblowing stuff, not to mention the terrifying passing over of the baby from one parent to another (‘What if he DROPS him?’) and the ever popular hissed row about whether the car seat was in properly (I can’t believe William and Kate missed out on that one-nearly as much of a rite of passage as having to fold your buggy up on a bus with one hand).

Hair and beauty wise, Kate did exactly the right thing-hairdresser, make up artist and a very carefully chosen frock. For those of us without her resources (or the world’s media camped outside the maternity ward doors) there are some quick fixes which can help you look and feel a bit more like your old self during the first few daunting, sleepless and wonderful first days with your newborn. I did some of them, and wish I had done others!

Leaving the hospital

Hair: top recommendation here is to find a two in one (shampoo and conditioner) that suits your hair. Remember that your gorgeous, shiny pregnancy can sometimes fall out sharpish after you’ve given birth, so I went for a volumising shampoo and conditioner. Didn’t bother with any styling products, but it felt good to have clean hair, dried simply and pulled back with a simple clip.

Face: I had a foaming face wash in my maternity bag, as friends had warned me that the maternity ward was incredibly hot, and I’d need something refreshing (as an unlucky acne-prone person, too much heat has me breaking out sharpish). So a quick but thorough face wash, then a caffeine eye gel (one with a roller-think it was Garnier) to try to get rid of some of the dark circles, and a light moisturiser. Once that had soaked in, I used a BB cream, a creamy brown eye shadow and Vaseline as lip gloss, and I was ready to go and introduce my baby to the world!

Clothes: I was in jersey maternity smocks for several months after DS arrived, so don’t think I’m in a good place to give advice about post-baby wear…

Once you’re back home

If you’re lucky, your other half will probably have a fortnight of paternity leave. Pretend everything is normal during this time, don’t rush your bath/shower time-you may as well enjoy having someone else there to watch the baby. Once the fortnight is up, you’ll probably have to speed things up a bit though, or be shouted at by a sad faced baby while you’re exfoliating, which isn’t relaxing for anyone. So, use moisturising EVERYTHING (shower gel, face wash, hand soap) as it should mean you end up clean and moisturised in one step, rather than two. Oil shower gels are particularly good for this-I think I had a Nivea one. I used to sit on the end of the bed next to the baby while I dried my hair, and he’d happily watch me (and shriek if I moved away from him AT ALL). Vaseline your feet every now and then overnight to get rid of dry skin, and paint your toenails with something pretty if your baby ever naps.

A multivitamin is worth thinking about, and drinking a lot of water. I used to aim for a pint every time I breastfed, but buggered it up most times by forgetting to get the water before I sat down, then realising I was stuck for the next forty minutes. Think about booking a mobile hairdresser who can come to you when the baby is very little-mine needed feeding all the time when he was small, I didn’t dare go for a haircut, as I’d have been worrying about him being hungry all the time. Mobile hairdressers are often cheaper too, as they don’t have salon overheads-mine used to charge about a tenner for a cut, which was perfect for my maternity pay budget!

Resign yourself to the fact that everything has changed. Remember that just because you no longer come first, it doesn’t mean you don’t count at all-you just made a human, which is just a staggeringly brilliant thing to have done. You will almost certainly have days when it feels like the only thing you’ve achieved is emptying the dishwasher, so why not have pretty toenails when you do it?


Running (ish)

Yesterday was running club and I went. I had something very odd happen where as soon as my knees felt any impact other than just being walked on, they felt like they were jarring. I was very lucky that I was the only beginner there and had my own running leader, so I didn’t slow anyone else down-we power walked, did lots of lunges and squats and I think my heart rate was kept up pretty well for the hour, I’m just a bit disappointed as I was really looking forward to it. The running leader said I could be coming down with something, and I have woken up a bit headachey and snotty, so perhaps that’s it. Really looking forward to next week!

In beauty news-I’ve let things slide (a VERY little) so will be paying much more attention to that side of things over the next couple of days!

The north wind doth blow

It’s cold. It’s really cold. It’s so cold that my baby has stopped trying to pull his sock/boot things off when we’re outside, which has come as quite a surprise to both of us.  Other than that, he seems pretty happy with the temperature, which is good news for me because I love the winter. Best season by far. Christmas, snow, twinkling lights shining out into the darkness, snuggly cashmere jumpers, bubble baths and pie for tea-cliche packed it may be, but winter is great. Sadly, there is a price to pay for the amazingness of winter, and that is the toll it takes on skin. My lips get chapped, my face gets sore and my hands get so dry they hurt. So when it gets cold, I need quick and easy solutions to keep my skin smooth and healthy-my winter beauty wardrobe.

Gel cleanser is out, and cold cream is in, for morning and evening cleansing-warm water, flannel-takes two minutes, and gives a really thorough cleanse without any tightness. Afterwards, a few drops of rosehip oil (a great dry oil-really doesn’t look or feel oily) and then moisturiser-nothing too thick in the morning, as I need to get make up on quickly. Avene Repair cream is good if my skin is already sore, or Norwegian Formula Ultimate Moisture day cream. Evening moisturiser at the moment is Weleda Skin Food-fabulous, but much too rich for daytime use. Once a week, I use Eight Hour Cream as a night treatment-layer all over my face, then wake up the next morning to amazingly glowy (if slightly medicinal smelling) skin.  Eight Hour Cream is also my preferred lip balm-just the regular stuff in the tube, applied as often as necessary.

In the shower, a cream oil wash like Dove is comforting, followed by Nivea Q10 Body Firming oil-quickly absorbed, this gives a gorgeous sheen and helps that slightly scratchy feeling you get from wearing a lot of layers and sitting in centrally heated rooms all day.

I’m still searching for the perfect winter hand cream-I have had the most luck so far with La Source Hand Therapy cream, but do find that it ‘bobbles’ slightly on the skin sometimes. Norwegian Formula and L’Occitane creams are a bit gloopy for me, and the Dove Intensive Repair cream I have just doesn’t seem rich enough. Until I find the right hand cream, I’m working on moisturising from the inside out, with good oils in my food and lots of water, but would love your recommendations-how do you help your skin cope with the cold?

First things first

Eyebrows. They’re pretty small in the grand scheme of things, but you really notice when you just ignore them. Or, if you do ignore them for six months, then have them waxed, you spend the next weekend shyly checking yourself out in every reflective surface you pass, and feeling cheered up when you see how amazing your eyebrows look (or furious with friends and family for letting you leave the house with Denis Healey style brows for so long.) Eyebrows matter.

Having spent the last six months in my maternity leave bubble, eyebrow maintenance has fallen off my list of things that Must Be Done, and has now been added back on. Wax-once a month, at a salon, costs a fiver, worth every penny and more (I know threading is better. I love threading. In the olden days, I used to have my eyebrows threaded at Blink in Selfridges every month, and it was brilliant.  Hideously painful, but brilliant. If I had access to a threader now, I’d be threaded not waxed. But accessing the only threader in my town is nearly impossible-you go to a shop, and they phone her, and then you have to negotiate times and locations through the shop assistant until you hit on one that works for both-no, too complicated, so I’ll stick with waxing.) While I was there, I had my lashes tinted black, for mornings when wielding a mascara brush is just too much effort.  £15 all in, and it should have taken 15 minutes, but she didn’t want to do the eyebrow wax while the lash tint was on, so it was actually more like 25. So I will work on persuading her to do it more efficiently next time, or just go somewhere else.  I’m booked in for the end of December for the same again, and a haircut.  A haircut!  No idea what sort of cut at the moment, but  have a good few weeks to think about that.

Any other mini beauty achievements? I painted my nails last night (Nails Inc Porchester Square-darker than I was expecting for something billed as a neutral, but it has made it through the morning unchipped, which is a good start) and have booked a appointment at the podiatrist for next week.

Feeling – slightly better groomed than yesterday!

The new normal

My husband is tired. I know this because he tells me so, many times a day. ‘I’m so tired!’ he says, shaking his head in wonder that anyone could feel so exhausted. I offer up a range of options that could help him in some way-taking a multivitamin, B vitamins, regular exercise, starting a meditation programme-but these are rejected. ‘No, those won’t help’ he says sadly. ‘All I need is a few nights of uninterrupted sleep, and-‘ I stop him.

‘We have a BABY. You know when you told everyone I was pregnant, and they all laughed and said to get some sleep in because we would have wrecked sleep for the rest of our lives? THIS is what they were talking about. This is the new normal.’ And then I let him sleep downstairs on the sofabed, so he could have at least one of the uninterrupted nights he required, because I am quite a nice person.  This is not a long term solution, as I am going back to work in a month, but I thought it would earn me some points, and I was right.  He arrived upstairs this morning with a coffee for me and whisked the baby away, so all is well in our house.

I have started the going back to work countdown, and am making plans-the baby is finally eating very smooth food and drinking formula during the day, so he won’t actually starve, however cross he gets. I have a new work bag, and notebook and pens. I have new work clothes to keep me looking okayish while I lose the last few kilos.  What I haven’t sorted out yet is my back to work beauty routines-I need a structure to follow, or it won’t happen. I don’t want to look immaculate (although that would be lovely) but I do need a few basic plans in place to make sure I don’t look as tired as I feel. I don’t have a huge budget, or a lot of time, so I like the idea of a little and often plan, (using the cupboard full of nice bits and pieces which has been ignored for the last few months!) with a few regular things organised to help me keep on top of the whole body/face/hair thing-the bare minimum I need to keep me looking and feeling more like my old self.   And that’s where this blog comes in. I have a baby, so not as much sleep as I’d like, and that’s fine. I’ll take my own advice on the vitamins and exercise stuff, but I hope to use this blog as a guide to keep the beauty bits going in the right direction-finding makeup, products and treatments to move me from sleep deprived mum to polished professional.