Friday, 15 May 2015

How the other half live!

I dipped my toe into the ‘luxe’ beauty arena yesterday. Wandering past Space NK in search of Malin & Goetz spot cream to calm my troubled chin, I was invited to a special event they had on -  whereby if you spent a certain amount (not hard to spend big in there) you got a selection box full of trial size products including the cutest mini candle, several masks and a mascara. I was in.

Aside from the Malin and Goetz sulphur paste which, 2 days in, seems to be working incidentally…I also had a splurge and bought the following:

·        By TerryTea to Tan – water / tea based spray on tan – washes off with soap and water – suitable for face and body

·         By TerryDensiliss Blush (colour 'platonic blonde' 01)

·         By TerryEyebrow mascara (colour 'medium ash' 02)

·         By Terrylip / cheek stain due in coral and red

·         DiptyquePhilosykos EDT

(err… on reflection, looking at that list, I wonder whether the person helping me might have been on ‘By Terry’ commission…?!)
So since Weds I have been sampling all these lovely products and my goodness they are Lovely with a capital L. 

The most fantastic product is the blusher. I am embarrassed to mention the price but reader it was over £50. Am I insane? Have I lost my marbles totally?  Well, I wouldn’t rule it out. But setting aside the fact this product needs its own mortgage, seriously it’s the most amazing blusher I have ever tried and mark my words I have tried a lot. Even my friends call me ‘Caspar the friendly ghost’. No-one does pallor like me. So I can (kind of) justify blush as an essential in the interests of not scaring the children.

The thing which sets this blush apart (so the sales patter went) was that it fills in and disguises fine lines rather than settling in them. And this had been my problem, being of a certain age with crows’ feet and laughter lines, I found the very areas I needed to brighten up becoming like little sand dunes, accentuating both dryness and crinkliness (not a good look).

(Why oh why is it upside down?)

It was something I was resigned to in order to avoid the deathly pale look. But no more – this blush really gives the most amazing natural youthful flush.  Used over the Tea to Tan sprayed and blended onto my face it gives a natural healthy bronze glow (not orange at all). And I had several compliments J

It got me thinking. Oh - to be able to buy everything from this product line…! 

How fantastic to have this sort of quality as the norm.
I’m hoping the products will last a while but it’s going to be a (financially) painful process to re-purchase them…as I suspect I will become addicted. It also means there may be a dearth of clothes purchasing going on, as the need to balance the budget kicks in.  
(And on that vein, Primark post pending...!)

Saturday, 18 April 2015

How to live a clutter free life. Is Marie Kondo the answer?

As with so much else in life, listen to your heart, your gut – whatever you want to call it. It rarely lies.

Marie Kondo is the author of a book called ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up’

Her approach to de-cluttering is based on focusing on what you love and what you want to keep, rather than necessarily what you want to get rid of. Or to put it simply, keeping only those things which ‘spark joy’.

How to find what sparks joy?  You will know, but to follow the Marie Kondo approach, you have to take out everything and pile it up, then take hold of it and see how it makes you feel.

After a few nondescript items sparking not much of anything quite frankly, I suddenly spotted and literally ‘leapt on’ my green bargain Toast cotton coat – a purchase made all the sweeter because it was from Oxfam so was (a) a bargain and (b) supporting a good cause. I will at this point own that I am slightly mad – but reader, I seized this coat, clasped it and jumped up and down and did a little happy dance.  Luckily I was in the privacy of my own home. However, in terms of clothing - this is what joy feels like.

Similar items followed – a beautiful and classic tan mulberry tote bag I’d lusted after for ages and then found at 70% off in an outlet store. More loveable and wearable basics followed – a black Whistles tube skirt (works with anything in any season and just so easy & versatile); an LK Bennett classic tan raincoat;  a ouple of Longchamp le pliage bags;  scarves in colours I just loved.

Things that I looked at which made me happy. Things that reflected how I feel and who I am right now.  Marie says that if you keep something that does not spark joy then you are either holding onto the past or have a fear of the future. How true this was – for me at least. 

Those things that looked so good 5 years ago….whoaa… stop right there – 5 years ago (not now).
Those things that cost a lot and I’m afraid to get rid of because I might want them again (even though I don’t love them) and worry about the waste of money…?   Yup - they have fear of the future written all over them.

Now I am quite a frugal person and did temper some of the decisions with a little practicality. For example, I can’t claim really to love any of my current umbrellas but clearly need at least one. However, what the exercise has done is to highlight that there is a gap in my wardrobe for an umbrella I do love and - when I see one that fits the bill I will get it. 

To free yourself of those things which no longer spark joy, Marie advises saying 'thank you for your service' before then placing them into the bin bag or donate bag. This may sound crazy but for me (disclaimer I AM crazy) it really worked and made the parting / closure better / easier. There was a sense that 'yes you have served me well and I loved you when I got you but it's time to say goodbye...' If like me you struggle with the emotional part of letting things go then I really recommend trying this approach. 

Kondo-ing (a verb Marie’s devotees have coined) also makes you think about what you have in terms of how much you have and how much (or little) you truly need.

I think that even if I reduced my possessions by 50% I would have all I needed and more – both for now and some way into the future. 

The feeling of letting things go brings an amazing lightness and freedom.

Marie Kondo’s approach has really struck a chord with me, and I think I was close to reaching something akin to it after a long puzzling and largely fruitless de-cluttering journey of my own.

But without Marie Kondo, and her legions of fans, I wouldn’t have had the courage to go for it.

In true Marie Kondo style I have not acquired the book (another needless possession) but have gleaned the essence of the approach from googling and from YouTube videos.

Happy Kondo-ing. Try it and let me know how you get on!

Friday, 17 April 2015

Whistles sale shopping

Hi everyone, I've been AWOL a long time for which I apologise.

I found some lovely things the other day in Whistles, all of which were in the sale.

Here they are:

I have the black also and it's a real wardrobe staple, so the grey was a no-brainer :-)

This was a bit random but just one of those odd ball impulse purchases that I tried on and looked good so I went for it.

Just because it's pretty!

I have been busy clearing out my stuff following a radical new no nonsense approach from a lady called Marie Kondo - which (so far) has worked even for me - a hoarder extrordinaire.  

Post on that to follow .......

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