Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Since when did a facial involve your feet?

Number 16 on the list is to "Add the odd facial into your beauty regime"

A facial, you would think, involves your face. So imagine my shock when I went into the Clarin’s skin spa yesterday for a facial and was asked to “take your clothes off to the waist down and pop them there”. What have my boobs got to do with my face? Slight panic set in, but as facials are not a regular part of my “Not looking like a Hag” routine, I went with it and whipped em out.

I love the Clarins skin spa. All the therapists do a great job of being, or pretending to be nice. If I had to sit in the dark most of the day, wearing an ungodly amount of eye makeup (and that’s coming from me who is just 2 shades off transvestite when it comes to my eye makeup) – and rub my hands all over potentially smelly or scabby strangers, I would find it hard to raise a smile when the next one walked through the door. But these lovely, permatanned troopers manage it come rain or shine.

Once I had stripped to the waste down, I had to slip under a duvet on a treatment bed and the therapist began the treatment. She placed an eye mask over my eyes and then wandered down to the bottom of the bed. Now, I’m not questioning the intelligence of this woman, but I was under the impression that our most basic, free to all education covered the simple biology of where the head is in relation to the feet. She genuinely squeaked with surprise when she lifted the covers to find my feet – in socks – at the bottom of my body. “I was going to do a foot cleanse” she said. Not predicting that a facial involved my feet made me feel like a complete rooky in this pampering game.

So she smeared lovely smelling goop, upon lovely smelling goop on to my face, massaging my back neck and arms while it all attempted to sink in.

There was a lot of whispery talking, which made my mind giggle, because there was no one else around but I felt I had to whisper back anyway. All in all it was a very relaxing experience

Once she had finished I was greased up like an oven chip, my hair and face was glistening and this was how I returned to work. All my spots were out winking at people in the office but bless them, they did a good job of pretending not to notice.

The result? Well something reacted with my eyes, so by the evening with my greasy hair and skin, the addition of big red puffy eyes had me looking like a Witch. This morning however my spots did look like they had cleared up a little and my skin didn’t look as tired as usual.

I think I’d need to have a few more to really see the benefit of time rolling back off my face, but just for the relaxation factor and massage alone it was worth the £45 – next time though, I’ll remember to take my socks off.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Number 36 cut down on Alcohol

Number 36 Cut down on Alcohol

It's been a while - sorry! There have been a few bumps in my little road recently which have thrown me a bit off track, but things are beginning to settle down and I can get on with my mission to be IDd for booze in Tesco.

Number 36 on the list is Cut down on Alcohol. I've purposely left this until now, as tonight is my office annual party which predominently revolves around alcohol so I'm treating it as a kind of swan song.

I'm not sure exactly how much I drink, mainly because I'm a total and shameless binge drinker. So thought it best to cut it out rather than just cut down. My aim is to cut it out until my birthday and see how I do until then. You would think that after having 9 months off whilst pregnant then cutting it out wouldn't be so hard... but wine is my friend. My lovely pink (but I'm not wine racist - I'll take Red or white too) sloshy, fruity, winey friend. After a hard day with the child, wine is there for me, after a hard day at the office, wine is at home waiting with open arms and when I'm chilling with friends, wine chills too - unless it's red and then it sits on the side smiling at me from the kitchen.

So long wine (and vodka, and gin...) You are not friends with my skin or liver and so I must turn my back on you. But not until the morning when I'll probably hate you anyway for giving me a banging headache.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Neutrogina Wave

I’ve had a little time between posts, because the next thing on the list I’ve decided to try is the Neutrogina wave. So to test it fairly I thought I’d use it for a couple of weeks first to give my face due time to regress back to that of a spring chicken.

The first comment I have, is even the box makes you feel old. It’s a product that feels like it’s aimed at teens. The fresh-faced girl on the box looks under 20 and stares at you with beautifully clear skin and whiter than white teeth. She got thrown in the bin quite promptly.

The cheerleader from Heroes is used to promote it (in America) there is a video online of her rubbing the wave all over her fully made up face complete with mascara, looking like it’s the best thing that’s happened to here all day (click the title link to watch). Then the video cuts to a statistic to how the wave is clinically proven to be 50% more effective… finally cutting back to her in um…. Full make up, complete with mascara. So it can’t be that good if it can’t even make a dent in her foundation can it?

Before I even tried the wave, I was put off by the waste element involved. The hand unit comes with an initial 14 days worth of pads. Each pre loaded with face cleanser that is activated when you put it under water. So you have to commit to continuously purchasing and chucking these little pads away.

The actual process of washing your face is quite comical. Summed up nicely by my husband when he walked in on me one evening with “What on earth are you doing”. Exactly my thoughts… what on earth was I doing? I was rubbing what looked like the cross between a vibrating sex toy and a Borrower’s floor polisher all over my mush. That’s what I was doing.

It did get the muck off, but not from my eyes. My usual face wash takes it all off so I don’t have to mess about with taking off my eye makeup separately. There is some tingly hocus-pocus in the cleansing ingredients of the pads that gives you the impression your face is really clean and the vibration of the wave seems to promote blood flow to the surface of your face so right after you do have a bit of a glow.

Does it make you look younger though? Well after 2 weeks I can’t say I’ve noticed anything significant. My skin is pretty much exactly the same as it is when I use my regular face wash. Though a lovely girl I met at a Hen do yesterday said I didn’t look old enough to be married with a baby, which made me fall instantly in love with her and pretty much stalk her for the rest of the evening.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Time to shut my vintage face - Can lipstick really turn back time?

One to the Machine

One of my friend's recently told me to "shut my vintage face". This was because I was probably mouthing off at him covered in red lipstick, with a nice black smear down the side of my face where I've forgotten I'm wearing liquid eyeliner and rubbed my eyes. I love the vintage makeup look, the classic black eyeliner flick and ruby red lips. I have for years tried to get it right, but one thing has always bothered me. It's not that I don't suit red lipstick as such, but I do think it makes me look older. This may be down to the fact I'm slightly colour blind so frequently mistaking film star red for middle age spread red, but there is something about it that just doesn't quite 100% work on my head.

Now, for the record, I don't care about that and will continue to leave big cliche red kiss marks all over my son and friends and family when they come within 10 paces, but I have been looking forward to sitting down with a makeup artist and seeing if a change of colour really can make me look that much fresher and younger.

Usually when I go to makeup counters I stick to my 2 faithfuls, MAC and Bare Minerals. They both have a track record of not making me look like a drag artist, unlike the likes of Benefit who seem to think it's perfectly acceptable to paint your face orange, then send them out into the street to be stared at by the general public. This time however, I decided to give Chanel a go.

As per usual, I was slightly freaked out by the amount of makeup that the girls on the counter were wearing. I've always marvelled at how on a makeup counter, one human can possibly wear about 80% of the products on sale and their face not be weighed down and dragging along the floor. Chanel was a less is more kind of woman so I was hoping her representatives would apply this theory to my face.

Luckily for me the makeup artist actually did a lovely job. She understood my brief of "I'm on my lunch break, so need to keep it light" and then spent some time looking through the lipsticks to find a more youthful shade than bright orange (which is what I went for the last time I bought a lippy). She clocked on to the fact I was into vintage this and that, and commendably (but I clocked what she was up to) worked into her sales patter that the shade I was veering towards looked very "antique".

The result.. I LOVE it - Rouge Coco Shine in 42 Biarritz, which I though she was calling Beirut (Derelicte anyone?) until I got it back to the office. It does look fresher and younger than my usual darker red so this one is to the Machine. Changing the shade of your lipstick may actually give the illusion of turning back a wee bit of time.. right time to stop waffling and shut my Antique face.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Creme Divine

I waddled passed l'occitane last week after lunch and wine with my lovely friend Emma, our other halves and our babies. After 9 months off the source, Em and I are a cheap date. So cheap in fact that when we spied the free wine in L'occitane to tempt people off the street, we promptly parked the babies and other halves outside and sauntered in pretending to be interested in some lavender soap or whatever.
There was a product that did catch my eye however. This Creme Divine has seemingly been getting a fair amount of attention for being an anti ageing must have. It's around £60 a pot so I asked for a sample to see what the fuss is about. One thing that I have noticed is that it doesn't contain an SPF which u thought would be the starting block for any anti ageing cream. I'm going to slap it on tonight and let it work it's magic. But if in the morning I don't wake up looking like Scarlet Johansen, I won't be forking out £60 for a pot of what may just be yet another face cream.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

The cream smelled really nice, much like all the products from this brand. It also left a good base for applying makeup. But as this is a multi purpose anti aging cream I wanted to see the results after a nights sleep.
I can't say there was a marked difference in the morning. It wasn't negative, I didn't have any blotches or a breakout. But I didn't wake up thinking "WOW I have to go spend £60 on this... I bloody well look like a film star!!". To add a little salt to this wound, I went to see my dad who promptly told me I looked knackered.
The day after though, I saw my mum for the first time in a week and she commented that my skin was looking nice. It may have been something to do with the cream, but I think it's more likely the fact I'd had a golden 9 hours sleep that night which may just be a record for the past year. So in conclusion. It's a nice cream, but it's not £60 nice... I wouldn't even say it was £20 nice to be honest.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

2.Get Enough Sleep

“Get enough sleep” After nearly a year of parenthood, this bit of advice feels like a joke. I long for enough sleep, so much so that on the rare occasions (as in about 5 nights In the past year) where I have had 8 hours solid sleep, the next day I’m practically bouncing off the walls and foaming at the mouth.

It’s no news to me that sleep is akin to staying fresh and young. Since losing my precious sleep my eyesight has worsened a fair bit gaining me a slightly lazy left eye, permanent dark circles and eye bags and specs which I pretty much wear all the time as my eyes are tired. I look knackered, because I AM knackered.

On becoming a parent you are instantly engulfed in a world of sleep promises not too dissimilar to the quick fix promises of the diet industry.
Wander into any parenting section of a book shop and there is row after row of books promising parents the gift of sleep if they follow some programme devised to coerce your little one into some sort of adult circadian rhythm. I’ve tried most methods which all would lead to one of 2 results; either throwing the baby or the book in the bin. So the books have gone.

Luckily, 9 nights out of 10 our nights are now going undisturbed, it’s a good job because as you stand at the front door pressing the button on your car keyfob wandering why the door isn’t unlocking, you start to really question if you should be allowed out of the house at all. Even more so now I’m back at work.

So you would think early nights are something I can now enjoy again? I wish it was that easy, there are a few obstacles standing in the way of me and my lovely comfy bed.

The First is my house. It needs keeping on top of, so evenings include at least a few chores.

Then there are my chickens. I got pissed and answered a twitter appeal to find homes for ex battery hens. When I sobered up the next day I realised I had to follow it through. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Britney, Witney and Winehouse – they are my girls but they not quite sure what it is to be a chicken. I didn’t realise that chickens actually have a bedtime and when it goes dark, they take themselves off to bed. However, because mine are still learning the ways of the chicken, I have to go out at night with a torch gathering them up from where they have fallen asleep and putting them in their bed.

Lastly there is cutting out sugar, which means I have to bake my own bread and make my own yoghurt. If I don’t get the bread on as soon as I get in, I’m up until midnight wandering around in a daze waiting for the bread maker to beep.

When you have a few precious hours a day dedicated to doing exactly what you want to do (like writing a blog), bedtimes manage t get pushed back. But this has to change. So from now on I will be aiming to go to bed between 10 and 11 every night.

This article from the American sleep foundation talks about “Sleep Debt”, based on this I need to go to bed for a year. It also outlines steps to take for a healthier sleep pattern:

• Establish consistent sleep and wake schedules, even on weekends
• Create a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath or listening to soothing music – begin an hour or more before the time you expect to fall asleep
• Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool
• Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows
• Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex (keep "sleep stealers" out of the bedroom – avoid watching TV, using a computer or reading in bed)
• Finish eating at least 2-3 hours before your regular bedtime
• Exercise regularly during the day or at least a few hours before bedtime
• Avoid caffeine and alcohol products close to bedtime and give up smoking

So I’ll be putting this into practice from now on and seeing what sort of difference it makes. Night all! x

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Number 8 - Wear Tinted Moisturiser

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Have you recovered from the horror of the pictures above? Good. I know I shouldn't inflict my bed head on you without warning but I have to get you to come read the blog somehow.

I've been drinking my 2 (or nearly 2) litres of water now for a couple of weeks. This has been fairly uneventful apart from when I decided to wear a jump suit. For those who don't own a jump suit, getting in and out of it, especially when drunk is not too dissimilar from an escapologist trying to escape from a straight jacket. The more you need a wee, the more you panic and the harder it is to escape. Then when your flailing arms finally break free and drop it to your ankles, you find yourself more or less naked on the loo. This always feels completely wrong in a public toilet.

On the upside, my skin has completely cleared up. I don't have a single spot at the moment. This doesn't make me look younger - if I wanted to pass for 16 then a bit of acne would probably help. But I don't think I've knocked any years off the clock so far.

But what is that you see on my lip? Is that not some crustation due to not putting healthy stuff in my system? No dear reader, that, is where I managed to smack myself in the face with a picture frame. A picture frame I was holding so had full contol of. Why? Because by now you may have reached the deserving conclusion that I am a bit of an idiot.

Anyhow, back to the topic in hand. These are the before and after pics of applying Oil of Olay Total effects (apparently combatting the 7 signs of aging) touch of foundation moisturiser.

The savvy among you may notice that..... you can't tell which is the before and after pic. I still look pretty knackered in both photos. I don't think it helps that holding my camera phone at a slighty different angle manages to radically change the lighting in my bathroom.

The bottom picture is before the moisturise and the top is after. To give Oil of Olay some credit, in the flesh it does even out the skin tone and add some much needed warmth without looking like I've trowled it on. It's perfect for a busy morning when I'm trying to reduce the "I look like crapometer" from 10 to about a 6. But as far as combatting 7 signs of aging the jury is out, because as you can see I just look like I may have had an extra 15 minutes in bed.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

L'Oréal's Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington ad campaigns banned | Media | The Guardian

L'Oréal's Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington ad campaigns banned | Media | The Guardian

Have you ever bought a product because you were sold on it transforming you into the image on the poster? Did it? Would you like to write a guest post about it? If so, get in touch with me at mylifeaccordingtomarieclaire@gmail.com

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Did you know I've been rubbing concrete into my face?!

I passed through Selfridges this lunch time, not to buy anything - I age just looking at the price tags in that place.
In the centre of the beauty hall there was a stand for the Clarisonic Skin Cleansing System.

Soap and water? Pah. Cleanse tone and moisturise? Pah. Exfoliate? NOT LIKELY.

According to the heavily made up woman presenting it to me, this wondrous little device that was invented "by the same people that invented the electric toothbrush" have come up with the "Next Botox". All very strong claims for something that looks like the hybrid love child of a sex toy and washing up brush.

Firstly, I'd like to point out that this gadget ranges from around £120 - £179. Having obtained my degree in product design, I'm fairly confident in saying that this hand held unit with an oscillating brush on the end is commanding a huge profit margin. So either A) the claims are true, it is the next botox and thus the company can put such a high value on the results. Or B) it's a complete and utter rip off.

The lady then demonstrated the brush on my arm. Apparently all the exfoliating I have been doing in my adult life has been like "Rubbing concrete" on my face. Speak for yourself love, if that's what it takes to get half the Benefit makeup counter off your face, so be it, but I certainly have NOT been using anything even similar to concrete. She went on to explain that the gentle oscillating brush manages to deeply cleanse my face, without me having to perform some sort of unknown building materials related self harm. Seriously, where do they get these nitwits from to sell these products?

I picked up a leaflet with some before and after shots on it. Apparently girls, up until now all we have been told by the beauty industry is a lie. Cleansing and toning or washing your face with any one of the plethora of products out there in the beauty market has NOT been working. I repeat NOT been working. We still have makeup lurking on our face and the only thing that will help is a vibrating dish brush.

I will try this gadget later on in the blog and see for myself if it works. If it does I'll personally go and find the Selfridges nitwit and shake her hand in a sort of stealth apology for accusing her of talking rubbish.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Flat Spelt bread fail

The next step on my journey to a wrinkle free future was too cut the sugar out of my bread.

What I didn't realise, until after I bake this loaf is that the yeast needs the sugar to increase the mass of the dough. So my Spelt loaf has turned out a bit crap.

I used honey, but it obviously wasn't good enough.

This cutting out sugar business has resulted in a few late nights for me, experimenting with these kitchen gadgets so I can make my own stuff. The late nights are cancelling out the cut in sugar.

I'll do some research and see what I can come up with in a couple of days on order to make the bread rise.

In the meantime, if anyone a spare brick, or something to rest their feet on while thy watch T.V, this Spelt loaf would be perfect.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

No 15. Cut out the white stuff

I love cake, I view cake as a food group and part of my 5 a day. Cake is probably responsible for for the last 12lbs I can't seem to shake off since having the baby. But it's my friend. My crumbly, moist, sweet bakey cakey friend. I also love chocolate, but not as much as cake, don't tell chocolate because it might get jealous.

No. 15 in the article is to cut out sugar. I'd rather stick pins in my face (and I will as facial acupuncture is on the list and far more appealing than no cake).

So I scoured the internet to research this "cutting out sugar", my fingers sieze up just trying to type the words. I came across a great blog "My Years Without Sugar" written by a woman after my own heart. One that likes to document her experiment whether it succeeds or fails. She was doing great, but then fell off the wagon at the start of this year.

I believe this is because if you fully cut something out of your diet, it makes your brain flip out and go into battle. I'm sure if you have ever been on a diet, you have found you start to obsess about what you can't have. I know I certainly have. On more than one occasion I have snapped on a diet and been found snaffling the chocolate / bread / *insert cut out item here* in the local supermarket car park, like some sort of binge eating Gollum.

So I'm going to opt for weening myself off sugar by replacing my usual brands of sugar laden foods with alternatives one by one, but not have a thrombosis if I have a little bit of birthday cake or a slice of Pizza now and again socially. This cut down should still be significant, and luckily for me, I've found oodles of refined sugar free recipes for cake.

My first replacement will be Yogurt. I thought I was being healthy with my daily dose of berries and low fat natural yoghurt for breakfast. Errr NO! 9 sneaky grams of sugar per 100ml. So this will be replaced with homemade yoghurt but first I need a yoghurt maker. I'll keep you posted as to if it's nice or not.

Monday, 18 July 2011

2 litres of water


This is what 2 litres of water looks like, the orange one has a Berocca disolved in it (just in case you thought I was cheating).

Sunday, 17 July 2011

No 9. Drink Plenty of water

Since having my little bundle of joy, I think I’ve frequently replaced what should be water with either coffee to stay awake, or wine to stay sane.
It’s all well and good trying to plough through 2 litres a day. Often however, that day consists of a demanding cycle of running around wiping up someone else’s bodily fluids and sqarking “No, don’t punch the cat!” So when you do get that precious 5 minutes to sit down with a coffee or (if past 7pm… well 11am some days) wine, it’s that little glimmer of relief and relaxation that allows you to regroup. Within those 5 minutes you take a well-earned breather and halt the plans you have been hatching for the previous few hours to try and sell your child to Madonna.

Some how over the past 10 months it’s seemed a waste to fill these golden moments with a glass of water when they could be used as some sort of speed date with your pleasure senses. “QUICK, BABY IS SLEEPING, GET CAKE, COFFE, 3 CELEBRATIONS AND A MAGAZINE!”

I used to be an avid water drinker, I’d drink it boiled instead of tea and coffee and my skin was always really clear. Now though, the zits are creeping back along with the frizz, eye bags and dark circles. I’ve helpfully annotated a picture for you taken today.

So this is the start. This is the “before” photo. 30 and knackered. No makeup and some large red arrows to highlight the pesky post baby issues.

As from tomorrow morning I’m going to aim for 2 litres a day. Which with a post baby pelvic floor could be a more entertaining read than you may anticipate.

Blog to you soon x

Friday, 15 July 2011

Age Against The Machine

Hello there!
Remember me?
I was the one who used to write a blog called “My Life According to Marie Claire”.
In a nutshell, I vowed to do everything Marie Claire told me to do for a year. It was a strange little journey, sometimes good, sometimes bad, but more often than not quite funny. The aim was to find out if you did EVERYTHING a fashion magazine told you to do, would you eventually end up looking like the wistfully happy, beautiful, rich, stick insects that drape across the pages?
One of the tasks was to look into my fertility, which opened up a whole new can of worms and ultimately took the journey on a different path. I had to stop the blog. I am now at the end of that path. Older, fatter, completely knackered and the proud mother to a strapping little chap.

I have not been churned out the other side of pregnancy and birth ala Abbey Clancy, who (THANKS NOW MAGAZINE YOU SHITS) was pictured just 12 weeks post birth, in a bikini looking like she’d spent the last 12 weeks in a health spa. I have been churned out a dress size larger, complete with stretch marks, or “baby lightning” as I have dubbed them as it makes me feel hard. But the one thing that has really bothered me is how absolutely knackered I look. My lifestyle of hardly any sleep coupled with a heroic amount of cake seems to have aged me a good few years.

This got me thinking. The anti aging industry is a powerful machine. Promises of creams, injections and operations to turn back the clock are everywhere. But what actually works without you having to staple the loose skin from your jowls back behind your ears? I got googling and found an article from the Daily Telegraph’s Web site “50 Ways To Look Younger”. The article states “None of these suggestions is going to make you miraculously appear a decade younger, like a candidate on a makeover reality show. Nor will they turn you into Claudia Schiffer or Keira Knightley. Pick out what appeals to you and give it a whirl. There's nothing to lose but a few wrinkles.”

Luckily, I’m not aiming for a decade off, or miraculously turning into a celeb. I just want to look like me, pre baby. Halting the decent into a life where I use double sided sticky tape to fold my eye bags back up on themselves. So if like me, you are interested in what is hype and what actually improves the facial furrows sign up and hopefully this little journey will be as fun as the last one. (I’ll try not to get up the duff this time). X Mrs T