Thanks to Copperwitch from many moons ago, here's a few of my practical and achievable grooming ideas that so many of you have been begging me for for so long. And so often.
I've never bothered with it because it just makes me look as though I've done a runner from Madame Tussaud's or people look concerned and offer to get me a sugary cup of tea and make me lie down. It seems pretty handy stuff to have under the house though.
I probably should use it, if only to prevent myself from looking like a wet chicken but to be honest I can't seem to apply it without ending up with a jokey extra pair of lashes being smeared onto my upper eyelids and big snotty black chunks on the few tiny hairs I have on my lower lids. And nothing says 'Erk' like staring at someone with black boogers of mascara stuck in their tearducts or having the wrinkles under their eyes emphasised with cartoonish fillers of black.
Mum was and still is a Nivea Creme afficionado, and due to my fairly English-rose-like complexion as a child I soon had the entire year 5 class rushing out to buy their own blue and white pots. These days, I'll slather some on my face and neck straight after the shower. It's getting to be like a challenging cross country skiing race these days though, because I have to dab it near but not on my pimples. I blame writing (not chocolate) for these, as I tend to sit at the desk with my chin and jaw in my hands, fiddling, picking and encouraging more zit bulbs rather than bonafide literary ideas to bloom. Sadly, Clearasil still stinks as badly as it did in 1982 and the check-out chick was cheeky enough to snigger when I said it was for me.
Essential Beauty Product:
Apart from being an expert in Photoshop, I'd say sleep. It's sad that my face still bears the crease marks of my pillow even an hour after a strong coffee, shower and breakfast and is even more unwilling to fully unfold if the little sleep I did get wasn't refreshing. As it is, my eyes already look as though they're two tiny currants pushed too far into some bun dough, but one day I'm sure my sagging eyebrows will outdo even Clive James's and permanently overshadow my pupils like an awning of ageing flesh, joining up with the bags underneath.
Favourite Makeup Product:
Money in my wallet, not spent at any stupid cosmetics counter. Whatever cream is on special at Coles, especially if it smells nice and isn't instantly licked off by Milly the dog. A good BO-repellent, especially in this era of clingy tops, crowded public transport and being crammed into synthetic sleeping bags.
Lagerfeld's Chloe. I've been wearing it for twenty years and still love it. I go through two bottles a year and it is my only real girlie indulgence. I'm sure it must look/smell a trifle unorthodox to see a woman wearing grey marle trakkies, a bloke's oversized t-shirt and unbrushed hair holding a full dog poo bag yet smelling like a Parisienne model.
I cut them as soon as they're long enough to gather any gunk underneath or when Sapphire says, "Ouch Mum, you just scratched me," when I was in fact trying to tickle her instead. Those outlandishly long, rectangular stick ons with painted white stripes on them give me the absolute heebie jeebies and send out a clear message that their owners don't do any work that extends beyond applying polish or opening up a can of Pringles. Invariably too, the more stupid the nails, the fatter the owner: in a desperate effort to detract the viewer from their bulky bodies I presume.
A blob of whatever's cheapest rapidly rubbed in as I climb into bed. Love Chunks quite often has the lights turned out, only to hear me:
1) click in my mouthguard (I'm a grinder)
2) kick off my ugg boots
3) have a nice long honking blow into a tissue
4) slip slop slap my hand cream on
5) fumble around trying to set my alarm
6) knock the pile of books on my side table over and
7) invariably fart as soon as I bend over to retrieve them.
......and who said romance is dead?
My nails are kept extremely short so that they don't carve up the other toes in my running shoes or bash up against the edge which turns them black before they die completely and fall off, which is not a good look in summer sandals I find. My actual feet are rather large (Dad used to say, "Hey, you'll always have good balance", whereas my brother would crow that I was Ronald McDonald's love child) and are permanently covered in blisters and loose, peeling flaps of skin that, if dried, I can rub up Love Chunks' legs in bed and give him a tiny sanding down of sorts. Overall, they are best hidden in running shoes, uggs or Crocs, which isn't saying much.
Three products to bring on a deserted island:
30+ sunscreen (I burn just thinking about it, and my legs have been known to glow in the dark); dental floss (for all those sand grains and coconut shreds) and soap.
Women I admire for their beauty:
Kate Winslet. Yes she's gorgeous, but she admits that she has to diet like a mad monk and exercise like a Tassie Devil on acid to look the way she does. My Mum - great cheekbones, beautiful eyes, kind smile and a natural dignity and grace that only increases with the years. Sapphire - when she giggles all I see is light and stars.
Woman with the best sense of style:
Any woman who is confident enough to not be sucked in by uncomfortable stacked heels, tight belts wrapped over bulky cardigans, too-skinny jeans, fake-straightened hair, butt-ugly ankle boots, orange tans, stupid scarves that threaten to overtake the entire body, freezing mini skirts, exposed bra straps or hoop earrings wider than their necks.
My ultimate dream:
To win lotto. Oh, you mean beauty wise? To never look older than my age or ever be described as having a 'lived-in face' - ouch. Looking my age is OK, but I don't want to be handed out retirement village brochures or be offered the handicapped parking spaces just yet. I'm also not interested in having Elle's body, Paris's fortune or Madonna's fame, but a mortgage-free life with opportunities to buy a new car and travel extensively wouldn't go astray. Neither would regular weekly deliveries of fresh Haigh's chocolate.
How do I define Womanhood:
Being a grown up who knows the value of a good bra, a good laugh and the confidence to enjoy her own company. Ask me tomorrow and the answer might be - writing all bad behaviour off as PMS-related, laughing at fashion-fraught teenagers and only looking at my reflection in the sliding door that makes me look skinnier. The day after will be a different story again: a happy child, a one-pot meal that's edible and enjoying easy access to wine.
Favourite fashion publication:
Marieclaire, but just for the laughs. At least once in every page I'll look at a $13,000 handbag and say, "Yeah, right," or the eleven year old anorexic model wearing a bespoke designer kaftan made from cobwebs and coffee dust and think, "Yep, she represents their 30-something readership spot on." Or their hilarious green fashion page which exhorts the reader to plonk down $400 for a bamboo-derived organic t-shirt: that's about my yearly clothing budget!
Any hints you wish to share?