I have a love-hate relationship with birthdays. When family and friends ask me what I want for a present, I’ll often find myself stuck for ideas.
As a modern woman with her own income if there’s anything I need – perfume, make up, clothes, flowers – I’ll just go out and buy it.
But then when I don’t get anything (which has happened, not recently but it has) I’ll go into a ‘poor me’ strop and start feeling sorry for myself; it’s my own fault for not being assertive enough.
This year I thought I’d be proactive, so I made a list, about a month back. Thing is most of the things on the list have now been acquired – apart from the mini Mac Book pro which I’m now saving up for (at £750 even with my NUJ discount, it’s a bit much to expect anyone to buy me!).
If there is one thing I’d like for my birthday, apart from world peace and the health of Andrew and Imogen, it is look more rested. Not as in younger, what I want is to look and feel like I’ve had eight hours sleep a night for seven nights in a row.
The only way to achieve this – considering I get around 7 hours a night’s sleep anyway – is to try and take better care of me. So that’s going to be my present, to myself. Starting on Monday, my birthday.
Not in a ‘let’s buy a new wardrobe/spend more time in the gym/get a new hairdo/try and be nicer to everyone’ way. For a start that’s expensive and way too much pressure. No this year I’m going to make the best of what I have.
First up, my tired face. A bout of conjunctivitis which made my left eye so red a shop assistant asked me if I had one green eye and one brown eye (anyone with hazel eyes knows that if your eye gets red it can look an eerie shade of green) forced me to throw out all my eye make up – on the basis you understand it could be infected. My friend Amanda will agree with me on this.
But if I’m to buy new make up, I need to know what works and what doesn’t. Thankfully I met up with Moragh Ross, a very well-known film make-up artist. We met up at the Fragrance Lounge in Mayfair (wedding perfumers to The Duchess of Cambridge) at a launch of Slendertone Face (which I’m now trialling – more on this later).
Her rules – and she saw me at my worst – are the ones I’m going to try and adopt:
Good brows – are the best way to frame your face. So get them shaped – natural but tidy - and if yours are looking sparse make like I am and visit a Bobbi Brown counter for a make up lesson, or any make up counter where you can get expert advice and recommendations on brow pencils (I love my Mac liner) or brow enhancing alternatives.
Good base – a primer to stop make up sliding off. Shu Uemera is one of her favourites. Having a base means you don’t have to cake on foundations which is another no no…
Light foundation – use concealer for under eye circles (she recommends Benefit’s Boi ing) and a YSL Touche Eclat highligher pen to reflect light from wrinkles, then use a tinted moisturiser for the rest, Laura Mercier’s is her go-to product.
So that’s make up. What else can I do to look a bit more zingy.
Well I’m fairly happy with most of my clothes, if anything I need to get rid of a few. I managed to buy an LK Bennett silk wrap dress in a really lovely brown, cream and beige pattern for £30 on eBay, and it is age appropriate, but can be teamed with my Top Shop skinny jeans and trainers on ‘rainy/school pick up’ type days.
That leaves me with my last, but hardest, challenge to looking and being my best self One of my best friends – noting how much I ate and drank while staying at hers the other weekend – maintains that my worrying is the reason I’m slim. But it’s also the reason why I look so tired.
Well I’m loathe to say this but I think I’m going to swap some of my aerobic sessions for yoga. My practice has slid down my list of priorities. Margie Pope, of the Body Studio recommends I start each morning doing a few sun saluations. Which she says is a great massage for the soul. It’s also a great way to stretch and learn to control breathing.