New Year’s Resolutions

This year I thought I’d make some New Year’s resolutions, so here they are:

  1. Use perfume more often. I went through a phase in late 2013 and early 2014 of buying perfume. Then I stopped wearing it. So now I have a heap of bottles, containing Avon Perceive, Avon Pur Blanca, Avon Far Away, Avon Romance, Charlie Red and J-Lo Glow (I’m dead classy, natch. Actually I went through a phase of only wearing expensive designer perfumes… it got expensive and most of them aren’t good for day-to-day wear) knocking around, and I never wear any of them. This year, that’s going to change. I need to use them all up before I emigrate.
  2. Read more books. I have SO MANY BOOKS that I haven’t read, and yet I find myself either re-reading old favourites or buying new e-books (they’re guilt free because I don’t have to store them anywhere) and reading them instead! Worse still is the fact that there’s so many books I want to read but haven’t even bought yet because I have such a backlog.
  3. Write more books. This year I’ve published 3 books but I have written 7. One of those is coming out on 6th January, but I go through 3 month periods where I don’t write anything! An example of this is the last 3 months, while I’ve been working hard at my MSc in Obscure Science. I want to get 6 books out in 2017; that’s one every 2 months.
  4. Wear my nicest clothes more often. I have some decent items but I tend to slouch around the house in my dressing gown (robe) or nightie, and when I have to go out, I throw on a pair of black trousers and any old top. Since writing is a work-from-home job, and since I no longer have a car and my unemployed husband doesn’t need driving to work, that means there are entire weeks where I don’t get dressed!!! I want to make more of an effort to dress nicely more of the time, just for myself, because I have so many things that don’t get worn enough.
  5. Wear my nicest shoes more often. I own 9 pairs of shoes (excluding roller skates and ice skates); some of them are truly pieces of art, but I tend to gravitate towards my rainbow-soled sneakers or my one pair of Vivienne Westwood pumps, so my pair of Doc Martens, all the jelly shoes, and my Irregular Choice ones get left in their boxes most of the time. I’m probably going to have to get rid of a lot of them when I emigrate, so I should wear them more now so that I feel less heartbroken. Maybe I should start wearing shoes in the house?? Nope, it’s just too weird, I can’t do that!
  6. Go skating more. Last week, I went ice skating for the first time in 6 years. Aside from my ankles being weaker, I was as good as I was last time I went, mostly because in 2016 I took up roller skating since I don’t live within 30 miles of an ice rink. At one point I was roller skating 6 miles a day. However, the last few months I’ve stopped roller skating too, because my bipolar medication made me exhausted all the time and I lost interest in any kind of physical activity. I plan to go skating (roller or ice) at least once a week next year, let’s see if I can’t do that Biellman spin again.
  7. Eat more new stuff. I have a list of foods I’ve never eaten. I need to get back onto that. I bought a tin of smoked oysters this week, and I’m going to try them tonight, to get 2016 finished with ticking one last thing off my to-experience list.
  8. Drink more alcohol. It’s usually found in social situations, and I shy away from them sometimes, and other times I’m just working too hard (I tend to put in 12-16 hours a day, because I really love what I do; people who know me IRL will remember that I used to ice skate 16 hours a day when I worked as an ice skating instructor; I’m also still trying to achieve a level of financial independence that’s bipolar-proof), so I plan to play harder and that starts with drinking more alcohol. The occasional day off won’t lead to financial ruin (says the girl who is, right now, sitting at home editing a manuscript to send in, rather than going out to any of the 4 New Year’s parties she was invited to, because she wants to get that next book in a better place before 2016 is through).

What are your New Year’s resolutions?

Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler Review

Since I’ve been using the Revitalash Eyelash Conditioning Serum, I’ve found that they’re not as curly as they used to be, probably because it seems to make my lashes grow thicker as well as longer, and thicker hair curls less easily.

I am dubiously blessed with Elizabeth Taylor’s double layer of eyelashes, which means that conventional eyelash curlers have always struggled to make my lashes curl. When my sister (who has worked on a bunch of different make-up counters at a selection of famous department stores) told me that the Shu Uemura eyelash curlers were the best ones, I cursed my bad luck in living in the middle of nowhere, in a town with only the most mainstream make-up counters and none of the best ones.
Luckily for my cosmetics addiction, I found myself in London recently, so since I had several hours to kill in the afternoon, I went straight to Selfridges where there was a Shu Uemura counter.

I was worried about buying the full-sized eyelash curlers rather than the little ones for doing parts of your lashes at a time, because the big issue I’ve had with other eyelash curlers is that they curl in a weird straight line that looks unnatural and pinched. When the assistant at the Shu Uemura counter curled my lashes for me, he explained that the Shu Uemura eyelash curler curves in the same way that your eyelid does, so instead of getting that straight line across your lashes, you get a curl that looks natural and follows the line of your eye, to give a romantic curl instead of a severe one. There’s a part of me (the part that used to be a chemistry teacher) which wishes more eyelash curler brands would pay attention to Gaussian curvature whilst designing eyelash curlers, because mathematically these eyelash curlers are a thing of beauty.

The curl lasts all day on my lashes (with the other lash curlers I’ve used, usually it lasts an hour at most), which I can’t explain. What I like best, though, is when I’m using them, I feel like my eyelashes aren’t being pinched or pulled. For me, that alone was worth the £20 these eyelash curlers cost.
Shu Uemura Eyelash Curlers are only available from Shu Uemura counters e.g. at Selfridges.

All quiet on the home front

Sorry I’ve been a little quiet lately. My life has been literally falling apart around my ears and I’m trying very hard to fight a lot of fires but they’re just everywhere by now.

I don’t really want to go into great detail but I’m looking forward to my first Christmas on my own in about 6 years (but not alone — my friends wouldn’t let that happen).

I don’t want to go into long details because it’s just my unerring ability to ruin my own life, and I’m actually feeling happier than I have in years, but I promise I’ll get some product reviews up starting later this week, including Shu Uemura eyelash curlers, Too Faced Naturals Pallette, Laura Mercier Primer, Benefit Porefessional and so many more things too!

Kim Kardashian’s Skincare Routine: High-End Cheaper Alternatives!

Kim Kardashian-West has a skincare routine like you would not believe! The lotions and potions she uses all look so nourishing and luxurious, but it’s about the most expensive list of products I’ve ever come across. So I thought I would go through a few of them (there were many more than these) and talk about alternatives. All the alternatives are still high-end products, they’re just not quite as shockingly expensive as Kim K’s skincare recommendations:

Kim uses Tatcha Beauty Camellia Oil. If you’re looking for a more affordable beauty oil, try the Amaki Japanese Tsubaki anti-ageing face oil, which also contains camellia. Any face oil is going to do some good to your skin, though, it doesn’t have to have such an expensive price tag.

For a face mask, Kim recommends the Chantecaille Bio Lifting Mask. A less expensive option (but still high end) is Dermalogica’s Multi-Vitamin Power Skin Recovery Mask, which is used by Natalie Dormer.

Kim also uses Givenchy Beauty le Soin Noir Face Masks (a lace sheet mask), but I couldn’t find these for sale on Amazon. There’s a variety of fabulous Korean sheet masks out there, though, including these Dermal Korea Collagen Green Tea masks.

Kim’s face cream is the SKII Cellumination Cream (an anti-ageing cream), which is also not available on Amazon; a similar product is the Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Anti-Wrinkle Moisturizer a moisturizer by Gwyneth Paltrow’s beauty company.

Guerlain Super Aqua Eye (under-eye patches to reinvigorate the under-eye area); these are only as good as the Skyn Iceland Eye Gels which are 1/3 of the price. As an extra bonus, the Skyn Iceland ones are used by Natalie Dormer, who in my opinion looks better than Kim K.

Lastly, Arcona Eye Dew (an eye cream). Arcona’s active ingredient is hyalauronic acid. My personal favorite hyalauronic acid eye cream is from By Nature New Zealand (and it smells nice too)!

One thing I thought was a little strange about Kim K’s beauty routine is that it didn’t talk about heavy-hitting anti-ageing creams (there were no retinols or peptides on her list), despite her list being incredibly long. I am also curious about how often she uses all of these products. I wonder how long she spends doing her beauty routine on a daily basis?

Discontinued? Sanctuary Spa Active Reverse Peptide Protect Day Cream SPF 20

What do you do when when you think a shop has discontinued one of your favourite face creams? I had finished one full jar of the Sanctuary Spa Active Reverse Peptide Protect Day Cream SPF 20 and I’d actually even gotten all the cream off the sides and bottom of the jar. I don’t normally do that, but it was still good and I hadn’t gotten round to buying a new jar yet. I like to rotate products to get multiple benefits, which means I’ve been using it one or two times a week since about August 2015, so it was time to get a new one. It was an integral part of my skincare routine for just over a year, so even though I got it for £10 on offer, I could justify paying full price of £20 this time.

I went to Boots….

And they didn’t have it. They had replaced their entire Sanctuary Spa Covent Garden range of products with new ones. Only they hadn’t replaced the Peptide Protect Day Cream SPF 20 with anything. I checked Sanctuary’s website and there was no mention of the Sanctuary Spa Active Reverse Peptide Protect Day Cream; it’s been discontinued, clearly. And now it’s selling on Amazon for stupid amounts of money. I’m annoyed it’s been discontinued without warning, and that there’s nothing online telling me what to try instead (and of course, the pre-Christmas party season is such a bad time for this to happen!!!), so I decided to do my own investigating.

Firstly, I’m not going to buy discontinued cream, because while I’m sad it’s been discontinued, it’s not a good enough product to cost that much (it’ll only keep getting more expensive if it’s not being made, and it will expire/go inactive, so there’s no point clinging to the past), especially since I only use it once or twice a week, so I thought it was a good time to try some new things.

I’ve decided it’s time to bite the bullet and go for the retinol creams. After all, some websites suggest you should be starting retinol in your late twenties, and I’ve just turned 30 less than a month ago, so it’s time to try it. I like the look of the ROC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Night Cream (that’s for UK Amazon, and holy COW that cream’s cheaper in the US) so I’ve ordered a tube and let’s see how it performs on early expression lines and general skin quality.

A big beauty concern for me is keeping my blue circles under control, and the Sanctuary Spa Covent Garden was one of the ways I did that, because one of the main ingredients in the Sanctuary Spa Active Reverse Peptide Protect Day Cream was Matrixyl, a peptide (Matrixyl is palmitoyl pentapeptide-4), which helps get rid of under-eye circles in combination with allergy remedies, and Matrixyl is also in the Olay Regenerist 3 Point (which I keep meaning to review), so since it’s also a peptide cream, I might switch to that more regularly for my peptide fix; if Olay Regenerist 3 point had an SPF, this would be my everyday day cream, but the reason the Sanctuary one was so good was because it had SPF20.

I’ve said before that wearing a daily SPF is so important for good skincare, not least because it prevents dark circles, which are caused by sun exposure and ageing. I already fight blue circles on a regular basis; I don’t want to be grappling with brown ones, too! Since the ROC retinol cream (a night cream) might make my skin photosensitive, I’ve decided to splurge on the Age Smart by Dermalogica Active Skin Recovery, which is SPF50. I will let you know how it all goes.

Nearly all links on this page go to Amazon UK.

The holidays have officially begun!

My projects are all finished, the tree is up, there are fairy lights adorning the walls, and while I was researching something unrelated, I found this really profound quote from the eminent phenomenologist J.D. Lewis-Williams:

“All communities are obliged to formulate definitions of consciousness, various kinds of altered consciousness and madness, whether explicitly or implicitly, for these mental conditions are inescapably part of being human. At the same time, those definitions are always a site of contestation. The resources on which Upper Palaeolithic individuals drew in the construction and transformation of acceptable and powerful social identities therefore doubtless included definitions of various kinds of consciousness. As in many societies and subcultures today, altered, or ecstatic, states of consciousness were a manipulatable resource. Indeed, any account of the past that omits consideration of altered states of consciousness is likely to be incomplete (cf. Sherratt 1991: 52). The hostility of some researchers to discussion of altered states is obscurantist.”

— J.D. Lewis-Williams, 1997, page 812.

I had the distinction of meeting Professor Lewis-Williams in a pub back in 2008 or possibly 2009, and I am sorry to say that I did not understand phenomenology in the slightest, although he explained it very patiently. Maybe that was the point of the conversation, since I started out thinking I understood phenomenology and finished the first pint of beer whilst realizing I had less comprehension than John Snow. Revisiting the whole concept this week has been enlightening, though I’m sure if I met him again I’d discover that I still don’t understand it.*

Happy beginning of December, everyone!

 

*Due to the Spiral Curriculum.

Full reference:

Lewis-Williams, J.D. (1997) “Agency, art and altered consciousness: a motif in A7 (Quercy) Upper palaeolithic parietal art”, Antiquity 71. 812.