Ageing

I posted this on Instagram late Saturday night in a moment of candidness and it got quite a heartwarming response. So I thought, why not share it here? It’s one of the things I think of the most at the moment, the relentless passing of time and how it affects my self-esteem.

I know it’s not something I can stop and I know we all feel this way from time to time, or will feel that way, it’s just a subject close to my heart. So sue me.

IMG_20180217_221136_012You know something? It’s hard getting older. It’s nice getting older but it’s also incredibly hard to come to terms with the fact that you’re not the young sprite you used to be. I’m insecure about being over ten years older than a lot of the people in my life but I like the variety and I feel more energetic and lucky to be able to learn from them too, I would never change it.

I mention my age a lot like a proper grandma but I wouldn’t change it. I’m mostly comfortable in my own skin and it’s so important to embrace who you are. I got to this place via a hundred funny stories, some loss, hardship and good old-fashioned love. Not to mention with (a lot) of help from my friends. Life is amazing and beautiful and it’s mainly down to the people you surround yourself with.

I wouldn’t change a thing, for all the tea in China. And I really love tea. ❤

What are your thoughts?

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The Neon Demon (Film) Review

I’ve been very distracted of late and not paying my best attention to anything beyond my own misery. Anxiety August, in other words, is going great. I am working my way slowly out of it though and will be back to normal soon, I have no doubt.

Until then there is this film which is definitely on the more unusual end of the spectrum. I’d seen it and discussed it before for the podcast and don’t remember liking it all that much. But for some reason when searching for a film for this week’s post I had a hankering to revisit.

*Spoilers ahoy!*

The Neon Demon (2016)

IMDB Synopsis

When aspiring model Jesse moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has.

Mmmmm, sticky

My Review

Beauty is a curse, innit? Well, apparently. Most of us mere mortals will never know the feeling of being so universally desired that people from all walks of life want a piece of you – and not always in the healthiest way.

Jesse (Elle Fanning) knows though, lord does she know. She pretends otherwise because that’s good grace and becoming of a small-town girl just rocked up in the City of Angels. But she knows her power and her power is great.

Alone and family-less, Jesse soon meets make-up artist Ruby (Jena Malone) on a shoot and the older girl takes our ingenue under her wing. This basically involves taking her to a fun party and introducing her to two fellow models, Gigi (Bella Heathcote) and Sarah (Abbey Lee) who are immediately threatened by Jesse’s youth and good looks. In an agonising bathroom scene, the women ponder who Jesse is fucking and which parts of her body are ‘real’.

Mean Girls 3’s setting was decidedly less glamorous than the original’s

This gives us an insight into the bitching and backstabbing of the beauty world and frankly, who would want it? These girls do though and their womanly relationships do not thrive in direct competition with one another. When Jesse attends a catwalk casting, despite having no walking experience, she nails her audition smuggly in front of Sarah, who is visibly devastated.

Later, there is an altercation between the two which takes a dark tone and Jesse is injured. She’s fine but it’s dramatic because that’s this film, isn’t it?

Meanwhile, Jesse is also having to deal with dating an older man, the creepiness of her motel landlord and the increasingly intense affections of Ruby. Her career is going from strength to strength though, so what does she care?

Well, things turn darker still when her rivals decide they’ve had enough of this comely little newcomer and Ruby, feeling rejected, instigates something terrible.

In at the deep end

TND is rife with symbolism, with comments on society’s obsession with youth and beauty – and an awful lot of it is pretentious af. Plus, I doubt I understood it all and I sort of like the film for that.

Fanning’s performance doesn’t require an awful lot of skill. She merely pouts and looks doe-eyed 99% of the time and it works for her. Jena Malone’s somewhat sneaky Ruby is probably my highlight, though some of her motivations in the name of desire aren’t to be sniffed at.

As with other Refn movies, this is a highly stylised world view and could be held up as a perfect example of style over substance.

Every frame is perfectly structured and the lighting particularly is sublime but you expect that. But is it any good beneath the neon facade? I think it’s weirdness makes it above average, if not the best film ever made.

When James and I discussed this for the podcast, I remember us drawing parallels with some fairytale elements and I still feel that here. Jesse’s the innocent left out alone in the world, coming up against all manner of threats, including The Big Bad Wolf (Keane Reeves) and the Three Witches.

And Jesse, she’s not so innocent after all. Every sweet smile, every slanted look is perfectly contrived. She’s her own cautionary tale.

My Rating

4/5. Better the second time round. Still pretentious though.

What did Wifey think? Did she gobble it up or would she send it for extensive plastic surgery? Find out here.

Oh hey…

Skin Care for Basic Bitches

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My bathroom looks NOTHING like this

Just lately I’ve been feeling like an old lady, with an old face to match.

It might sound ridiculous to most that a 38-year-old may feel this way but I feel like it’s natural to be looking at yourself in a new light as you approach significant junctions in life.

As a result of my navel (or rather ugly mug) gazing, I’ve taken a few steps towards skin care with a view to waking up looking like a wee baby one day soon (or Cara Delevingne, I’m not fussy).

My friend Darren is a skin care and product aficionado who’s only too happy to share his favourites so, based on some of his recommendations (and some of my own finds), I’ve put together a very simple skin care regime. All I have to do is stick to it, sit back and wait for people to start commenting on how goddamn radiant I’m looking.

For the purpose of this post: I think I have normal skin with a propensity towards dryness around the edges. My routine before this involved Simple Facial Wash and a no-name cleanser. If you’re lucky, I might remove my eye makeup before bed but it’s really hard to do as all my products are waterproof (and therefore would survive the Apocalypse).

If I’m honest, my lacklustre complexion may have kicked off this new campaign but a night of heavy drinking last week brought me out in a horrible alcohol rash (anyone else get these following a binge drink?) and that did not help my self-esteem one bit!

It’s been a week now and I’m really trying to stick to it. What I’m using at the moment:

8878808334366Nip+Fab Dragons Blood Fix Cleansing Pads

I usually stock up on these bad boys when they’re on offer, which thankfully they seem often to be. They might be hard on sensitive skin but for me they seem fine. I like how they clean the skin but also seem to leave a slight sheen on the surface, which is better than it sounds. I feel clean when done, and do this before bed and first thing in the morning.

A couple of these products contain acidic properties and this one contains Hyaluronic acid which hydrates the skin, making it plumper (funny how plump is acceptable when it comes to the face and mouth!). I likes it, though, I likes it a lot.

Nip+Fab Glycolic Overnight Purifying Gel8940456083486

This one sounds a bit scary but I love the idea of my skin working overtime as I sleep. Again, this contains some heavy-duty acids that work together to exfoliate (I don’t get how without me physically helping it along – it’s a beauty miracle!), hydrate, purify and resurface my tired old skin.

This has a sort of grapefruit-y smell to it which I enjoy but when I first used it it really warmed the skin, almost to an uncomfortable degree. It’s not been quite so bad since so I’ll put that down to getting used to the acids. Sensitive skinned lovelies might have to exercise a little caution if they try this product.

8906053648414Superdrug Simply Pure Hydrating Serum

This is Darren’s pick which came after he read this article. Apparently it’s something of a miracle for its tiny price tag and that couldn’t appeal to me more (I’m cheap, what can I say?).

I apply this in the morning before primer and make-up, and I’m counting on this to change my life. I definitely have less dry skin around the nose and chin now and its lovely and light, so the skin drinks it up without too much effort. I like that. Providing it doesn’t disappear again (due to insane demand), I’m happy to give this a permanent place amongst my essentials.

Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Reliefs1084805-main-Lhero

I should admit that I got a sample of this free with a lipstick when I popped into the Big Boots on a week day off. The sales girl persuaded me to buy a matching lip scrub for the free moisturiser and she was nice, so *why not*, right?

I love the name because it implies exactly what my skin needs, a lovely nourishing drink of something cool for the face. It’s a nice consistency and isn’t so rich that it causes breakouts, which is what I get from heavier night creams. Although I tend to pop it on after the serum in the morning and before the rest of my face (is over hydration a thing?).

~

So there you are, my current recommendations. I’m really no expert in anything beauty but I know what I like. I’d also like to be better educated – perhaps this is my time and my late thirties and beyond will be where I finally start to shine!

What are you loving right now? ❤

On Advertising

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Be fluffy, get laid

I have a morning ritual and it goes a little something like this: roll out of bed at least 20 minutes after Glynn, have a wee, head to the front room with my hula hoop (on a good day) and flick on the TV.

I know this is a horrible habit but like I say, this is my ritual and it’s won’t be changing any time soon. I also like to hula hoop in front of the TV in the colder months and on miserable days. Hey, at least it’s still a workout.

At the moment my morning programmes of choice are: Will & Grace until Happy Endings starts at 7.25, then the end of Made in Chelsea (repeat) once that is done. Again, not something to be proud of, but I like to wake up slowly and other people’s drama while I put my face on isn’t the worst way to do it.

One thing I have noticed of a morning, and maybe throughout day time TV in general, not that I have the opportunity or inclination to indulge, is the steady flow of infomercial goodness. It’s not quite your tin cans being sliced up by kitchen knives as slim as a feather, but we’re heading that way. The biggest difference I can see is that all these adverts have the same thing in common: they’re designed to make us feel bad.

Shocker, innit? I mean, what, advertising geared towards women, making women feel AGAIN like they aren’t good enough? Big shock.

It’s a tale as old as time and it’s knackering me out. I mean, I haven’t got time to worry constantly about blotchy skin, acne, facial hair, fuzzy legs, saggy neck, ageing jaw line, stretch marks and all the flab, all over my body. Do you? Why is all such a big deal and why, oh why can’t we just get on with things, in our own imperfect way? I think I might be done with it.

Which, of course is easy for me to say today, as I’m wearing a pretty dress and the sun is shining. Catch me on an overcast Wednesday when my skin is breaking out, and I’ll be nodding my head in total agreement.

“You’re so right, over-enthusiastic American TV presenter and star of Dancing with the Stars, I can’t take any more awful days because my skin looks so shit. Here’s my credit card number, do what you will as long as you make me desirable and therefore worthy of love!”

Here’s a thought: maybe I should just try to get on with life. Do only the things I love or focus my attention on something useful like, I don’t know, getting a new job? Rather than continuing to sit, worrying about my horrible face. Which I do, I worry about it every single day without fail, even on the pretty dress days.

The truth is, I don’t have the beauty regime to match my morning routine. If I remove my eye makeup at the end of a day, it’s a good day. I wash my face in the shower and sometimes, if I can be arsed, I moisturise with something I bought for the witty name.

I have hairy legs and I rarely shave my pits because ingrown hairs are the thorn in my side. They are painful and unsightly. Far more unsightly that a little bit of cute fluff which is soft and strokeable. Put that in your pipes, infomercials, this girl has fuzzy pits!

I’ve got a bumpy, lined neck too, stretch marks from getting boobs quickly as an adolescent. I’ve got flab for days and hands that are stumpy and starting to look old (GREAT NAILS THOUGH). Sometimes I sport a slightly red chin, have a greasy nose, cellulite a-go-go and my pièce de résistance: a scowl line beneath my fringe that my mother warned me would stick around if I didn’t start smiling more. Despite this massive list of defects, I’m loved (and have a fit husband who has sex with me, willingly). What’s more, I’m happy.

Sometimes I wish for a skinnier tush, who doesn’t? But the fact of the matter is, I worry. We probably all do at some point. I’m trying to love myself more each day and to remember that the perfect ideals foisted upon me (us) by society aren’t the only way. They never were.

So, to all those ads peddling hair removal gadgets/creams and lotions/potions and spells for a younger/smoother/thinner me, I say: not today thank you.

Make Up Your Own Rules

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Marilyn knew

After spending quite a lot of time away from home with family over the Christmas period, it was really lovely to be back in our own flat. I’ve talked about being a homebody before and this is never truer than in the Winter months when it’s cold and wet outside, and my sofa is willing to hold me while I watch Netflix.

But this is not a post about home comforts, it is a post about warpaint, or lack thereof. On returning home on the 27th, I half-arsedly unpacked my fluffy cat shaped travel bag, only to find that my make-up bag wasn’t there. No need to panic, I thought, it’s obviously in my handbag, where it normally lives.

Why I was expecting to find it in my luggage, I don’t know. Except, it wasn’t in my handbag either…

Not that long ago, this discovery would have send me into a tailspin, or at least straight to the nearest make-up selling establishment. I did send a text immediately to my mother, suspecting that it had fallen into the boot of her car (it had) but then I really started to think about make up and why I needed it so much.

I came up with this. I need it because I love and want it. I don’t need it because I can’t conceive of leaving the house without it. This is not something I would ever have been able to do a decade, even five, three, two years ago but now I can and do.

There is a freedom in being able to operate without having to think about your face, it’s true and weekends are usually spend bare-faced and slouchy. I like the feeling of being fresh and clean. I don’t run from people I know should I bump into them in the street.

But, and here’s the big but (tee hee); I love make up and really enjoy wearing it. When people describe it as warpaint, I know exactly what they mean. I’m just not myself without my signature liner (even when I’ve fucked it right up).

That can never be a bad thing as far as I’m concerned, knowing what works for you and which bits you love, therefore want to play up. It’s not vanity to want to present the best of yourself. Plus, for me, it’s about ritual and I have a pretty non-negotiable one:

Wake up at 7am
Hula hoop in front of the TV for 30 minutes
Do make up with a cup of tea
Get dressed
Brush teeth
Watch about 20 minutes of bad TV (I live ten minutes from work)
Leave for the day

My make up applying session is the only time I really spend with myself. It’s just about the only time in the day that I really look at myself and I think it’s important.

I mean, I wear glasses all the time and I love how cute (and smart!) they look but I do miss my face. I haven’t really shown it to the world without specs for two years and on the rare occasion that I have been caught off guard without them, I’ve been complimented on my eyes or make up, and that feels bloody great. Like I’m no longer invisible.

Continue reading “Make Up Your Own Rules”