Coffee with a lovely friend who is going through a bit of a tough time recently reminded me of an occasion at work, a few years ago where, as a team building exercise, we were asked to bring in something that ‘represented us’. It’s probably of little surprise that I totally forgot to find anything and at the last minute found myself scrabbling around in my bag……..what was recovered (amongst Freya’s emergency snacks and socks) was more lipsticks than was strictly acceptable for one bag, including my most coveted Chanel Rouge Coco Lipstick in Jersey Rose.
That lipstick had been purchased at a point in my life where things weren’t exactly going to plan (the saying – if things aren’t working out shout ‘plot change’ and carry on – was particularly relevant) and some may have said financially spending £30 on a Chanel lipstick wasn’t the most savvy of decisions. I, on the other hand, saw it as a £30 investment in myself and walked out of Boots feeling like I had just purchased the world. Because that lipstick was more than an item of make up to me, it marked the start of reinvesting in myself.
My love affair with all things beauty related had always been simmering in the background, stemming originally from the peel off nail varnish I found buried in my stocking one Christmas, but the usual distractions of life, work, being a mum, prevented me from ever dedicating much time or thought to it. The silver lining to finding myself in the world of co-parenting and negotiating weekends, was the gift of time. Things that had fallen by the wayside, such as having long drawn out baths, became reprioritised. I discovered the most heavenly bath range in Sainsbury’s, of all places, called Mandara Spa. The sister company of Elemis, their range of bath soaks and milks are divine, inexpensive and rival any bath products from higher end ranges that I’ve tried, and many hours were spent submerged.
Other beauty items which resurfaced included face masks; Oskia’s renaissance mask being the splurge option, worth every penny for its ‘peel in a balm’ brightening and smoothing abilities and signature rose scent. The less spendy but still effective version, Superdrug’s Vitamin C mask, delivers similar results with a touch less ‘luxe’. I broke out candles which I had been saving for ‘another day’, the type of candle that feels like you are burning money but smells heavenly and lifts even the foulest of moods. I can still remember the scent emerging from the Diptique Bais candle as I lay in the bath, having rescued it from it’s box where it had sat for several months unburnt – word of advice, that ‘another day’ is now! If you don’t fancy sending quite so much money up in smoke then Aldi’s Jo Malone dupes serve up a decent amount of scent and burn well. A bath, face mask, candle and an ice cold Baileys (my bath drink of choice – don’t judge!) rivals any fancy spa experience in my opinion!
And that lipstick. It became part of my routine, a nod to the start of the day. Not the brightest of shades, more a ‘my lips but better’ colour, those moments where facing the world felt that little bit harder, the Coco Rouge was a welcome boost of get up and show up. I defy anyone to invest the equivalent of a Friday night takeaway in a luxe treat for yourself, and not feel the benefits of a little self-therapy. Spending time on yourself; feeling a little more confident, reinventing your look, faking it on days where you’d much rather crawl back into bed – these are the times when beauty can play such a crucial role. There are certain times in our lives where there is nothing we can do about the walls tumbling down around us, but we sure as hell can look good whilst they do!