Smooth moves


I am smooth. Soooooo smooth. Just call me 95.3 (Sydney reference). I refer not to my exceptional (though admittedly somewhat under-utilised) pick up skills, but to my skin. My face. It is unbelievably smooth. It’s not quite as smooth as Baby N’s bum…..but it’s on it’s way.

I turned 36 a couple of weeks ago. What’s that you say? I don’t? No, I swear, 36. Yep 1978. What? Why thank you! Oh please….stop! You’re embarrassing me!! Anyway despite what you say, I have been beginning to notice the tell-tale signs of *whisper* ageing…….I said ageing………Seriously do I have to shout it? I said AGEING.

It all started a couple of weeks ago. I read an article on 30 secrets to better skin or 20 ways to keep your age a secret…..or something along those lines (ha ha). Clearly I didn’t read the article that carefully because I’m pretty sure that announcing your age in the second paragraph of your blog was NOT one of the top so-called secrets but I read enough to know that it was time to make some changes if I wanted my face to age slower than my……age. Call me a sucker for marketing (because I am) but by the end of the article I decided that it was time to permanently import a serum, eye cream and night cream into my skin regime. I use the term regime somewhat loosely. I wash my face in the shower, I moisturise, and I buy exfoliants, masks, and all sorts of other potions which really do have serious magic to do as they have to work their wonder on my skin from the bathroom cabinet). I’ve always been really into beauty and skincare….just more into buying it than actually using it.

Realising that I might have reached that point in my life where I could no longer rely on the kind hand of G-d for half decent skin, I went off to my friendly Estée Lauder counter and bought Advanced Night Repair Synchronised Complex II (you know it must be potent and effective with such a long, complicated name) and Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum. They had a free gift offer on (free gift time is my favourite time of all) which means I got decent sized pots of Advanced Time Zone Age Reversing Line/Wrinkle cream and Advanced Time Zone Age Reversing Eye Cream. The sales assistant also wanted me to try their new MicroEssence Skin Activated treatment lotion, which at first, and second glance, could be mistaken for water. Slightly scented water. On my way past the Clinique counter I noticed that they were advertising a new serum too. Clinique Smart Custom Repair. Given that there was a seed of doubt as to the aptitude of my brain for its infallible belief in expensive skincare, I decided that perhaps having clever skin instead was the way to go. People always say that Clinique are very generous with samples so I bounded up to the Clinique lady and asked her for some to try. Strangely she was not all that happy to part with it, even thought she had a drawer full of generous sized samples. I told her I wasn’t going to buy a serum until I’d tried it (okay so brain still has some function), and she relented and threw in a sample of their Repair Wear Uplifting Firming cream too.

So that night I was all ready to begin my new night routine when I realised there was a problem. I don’t wash off my make up at night. Yep skin sin of all sins. I don’t. Or at least I didn’t. Too tired. The dentist wants me to floss each night, and the magazines say you HAVE to wash your face, and the obstetrician says do your pelvic floor exercises, and the kids say “read just one more story”, and the hand and feet people want you to pop some cream on your digits. And they all say it just takes 5 minutes. And technically they are right, but when you add those 5 minutes up, that’s half an hour of sleep, precious SLEEP I could be sleeping. So I say no to ALL of it. Oh yes I do. (Sorry Brian).

Well at least I did say no, but then I realised that if I was going to try out this night cream lark then I was going to have to wash my face first. But it’s winter and the water is cold, so I use Bioderma Crealine H2O, which I had initially bought to inspire myself to remove my make-up at night. It had been doing some serious time in the bathroom cupboard.

So first I remove my makeup, then I pat on the night serum (Estée Lauder), and then the night eye serum, and then the Estée Lauder cream and then the eye cream. In the morning my skin (apparently) activates the Microessense lotion, before I put on the Clinique Smart serum, and the eye serum, and the Clinique Repair Wear, and the eye cream. Except this morning I was in a super rush (it is REALLY hard getting four kids and myself out the door by 7.30. Really, really hard) and I put the night creams on by accident, and now my smart skin is all confused and thinks it’s time to go to bed. Anyhow. I figured once I was doing all of this I may as well start exfoliating, so I’ve been swiping every few nights with GoTo Swipeys. Seeing as they already have residence in the cabinet. Yep it’s a party on my face and the whole bathroom cupboard is invited.

I think philosophy’s Hope in a Jar is the most aptly named product ever. Because that’s what we’re buying when we buy a moisturiser isn’t it. Often little more than hope, in a jar or bottle. Or tub. Or tube. There is no stopping me when it comes to container synonyms. Still waters run deep.

After almost a week of my newfound skin fervour, my skin looks bloody fantastic. And seriously? It feels like silk (you’ll have to take my word for it, unless you see me, in which case have a stroke. Of my skin, I mean. Don’t have a stroke). I feel like I have dropped a few years from my face. Not that anyone has actually commented… technically it could be that Working Boy replaced 100 watt halogens with 40 watt, and my skin looks the same, I just see it less clearly. But it still feels good.

The only problem is: which product is it? Is it the Night Repair? Is it those serums specifically or would a supermarket brand have the same effect? Is it the MicroEssence? Or is it just that I am taking my make-up off at the end of each day? I estimate that to work it out would be a year’s worth of scientific experimentation. That seems like an awful lot of work. I think I’ll just keep going with all of it. As I said, I’m a marketing exec’s dream.

XOXO Shopping Girl



Magazine issue #1 (nostalgia)

It’s the little things…..the small details that etch their way into people’s hearts, imprint their memories. It’s the gelato coloured cotton wool balls in a glass jar on my grandmother’s dresser. Her Elnett hairspray. And her scent – face-powder and Clinique cream blush. Her bedroom had such a distinctive smell: a combination of her, the furniture, the briny Sea Point breeze…..I keep thinking if I breathe deeply enough I will smell it again.

There is something so unbelievably evocative about scent and taste. While I was at Coles last week, I bought some Fox’s Glacier Mints and Glacier Fruits. I love the idea of having a bowl of wrapped sweets on the lounge room coffee table for when guests are over. I like the look of it during the week. It makes us look like a fun, lolly filled house. My own little Wonka’s chocolate factory. The problem is that we have a whole lot of Oompa Loompas in the house too. 4 to be exact. They know I won’t say no when they have their Oompa Loompa friends over. No-one wants to be the mean mummy (I use up all my meanness saying no to sleepovers and shouting at them to clean up their mess when they do “experiments”). So my lovely little bowl of lollies has been offered to my own guests once and the Oompa Loompa’s guests approximately 43 times (they are quite social, my Oompa Loompas).

The other problem with the lolly bowl
is that, like Willy Wonka, I too am
partial to a sweet or 10. So perhaps the rapid decline of the bowl is not entirely the Oompa Loompas’ fault.

Up until last week I had only bought Fox’s mints. On Wednesday I added the fruits to my bounty. As I emptied the packets into the bowl, I unwrapped a blackcurrent one. It was my childhood in a hard boiled lolly. You have to understand I was weaned on Ribena. That and Strawberry Quik. I seem to have scores of sensory memories of blackcurrent pastilles and the lack of responsibility that came with that time. One suck of that blackcurrent, and just for a moment I felt a million miles and hours away.

This week I bought the Donna Hay Kids’ edition #11. It comes out once a year which means I have been buying it since Firstborn was born (possibly I bought the first issue on back order). I used to absolutely hang out for the kids’ issue. This year, more than anything, it just made me feel nostalgic.

Partly, it was the recipe for homemade musk sticks. My taste buds sprang to attention. Just the thought of a musk stick, or some Musk Lifesavers, has me hankering for that taste, and a few minutes of that time of my life again. I scoured the internet for kosher musk essence so I could, thanks to Donna Hay, make my own musk sticks, but so far I haven’t found any.

But the nostalgia was not just for a long ago taste. When I used to buy the Donna Hay Kids’ issue (DHK), I was convinced that in its folds I would find the perfect meals for my preschoolers and toddlers. That somehow the key to getting them to eat healthy, balanced meals was in the pages of the magazine (yes I am a marketers dream). All I needed was the right recipes. Now that my kids are older, I know, through trial and error and hours spent making snubbed dishes, that no such recipe exists. Even though I know this, the quest for the holy grail of cooking magazines / cookbooks continues. My kids aren’t even that fussy any more (well Master 6 is, but he gets told each night – you can have what we’re having or your can have cereal. He often chooses cereal but I don’t care – I OFFERED the well balanced meal and that’s all that counts on Planet Mum).

A couple of months ago I bought a new “family cooking” magazine called One-Handed Cooks. Full of expectations, I thought that I would find pages of healthy lunchbox, dinner and snack ideas that would leave my kids begging for seconds, that I could easily whip up with one hand, whilst the not insignificantly sized Baby N sat nestled in the other. It’s a clever name that, One Handed Cooks. The magazine is beautifully laid out, and there were a few recipes I will try…..but not surprisingly it did not fulfil my (unrealistic) expectations.

The other reason I used to yearn for the new issue of DHK was parties! There are always gorgeous pages of perfectly styled kids’ parties. I got plenty of ideas and recipes from these pages. There were years when I would take out a stack of back issues and tell the kids to pick their birthday cake. There is one word why this is less exciting than it used to be and that is Pinterest. And Internet explosion. We have access to kids party porn (yeah that really sounds wrong…..but so wrong it’s kind of right) 24/7……the pages of the magazine just don’t hold the same allure anymore because now I see this stuff all the time.

And so paging through the magazine I felt less excitement and more…..just nostalgic. Nostalgia for that time when I would note down in my diary the release date on the kids’ issue. When I eagerly read through it and envisioned all the well eaten dinners I would create, all the brilliant kids’ parties I would bake for, style and host (now I just buy my way out of them). When the kids were all small and the days were hectic but relatively simple because when your oldest child is in preschool, your children’s needs may be endless, but they are relatively simple.

I can’t go back in time, but if I can find that musk essence I might, even if it’s just for a sensory based flash.

XOXO Shopping Girl

2 minute make-up routines

A couple of weeks ago, beauty expert extraordinaire, Zoe Foster-Blake, posted a pic on her Instagram, which I follow. Having recently had a baby, it was titled the Oh Shit The Baby is Starting to Cry 2 minute make-up routine.
Personally I like to think of myself as somewhat of an expert in this genre of make-up application.
And so I present to you the Oh no (I had to cease swearing looooong ago) the baby is starting to cry, the 6 year old wants to do his reader which he should have done last night, the 8 year old is refusing to get dressed, the 10 year old needs his diary signed, and the 39 year old left for work at 6am two minute make-up routine.

Mine differs from Zoe’s in that she utilises a BB cream. I have not yet found a good BB cream (not for lack of trying), so I use the old fashioned moisturiser-primer-foundation combo. I’ll probably give her Clarins recommendation a go – I pretty much listen to anything Zoe says.

Anyway, this is my face:

Clockwise from the top:
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ASAP Ultimate Hydration – as I am inhaling my first coffee, and if Baby N is playing happily for a few minutes, I run into the bathroom and rub this all over my face. While it’s sinking in, I go and prepare breakfasts / get the lunches out of the fridge / start helping Master 6 get dressed / find the bits of uniform that have inexplicably gone missing.

At some point, in amongst all this (and more) I go back to the bathroom and smear a thin layer of Napoleon Auto Pilot Skin Primer. I am almost 100% sure my foundation stays on longer than without it.

I give Baby N breakfast (that is a whole separate blog post). I try and interest Baby N in continuing to play with his toys. But by now he is getting fed up with being fobbed off and wants some ATTENTION.

I take Baby N to the bathroom with me. I put him on the floor so I can apply my foundation (YSL Le Teint Touche Éclat). I pump it into my hand and start smoothing on with my fingers when I notice that Baby N is gripping the toilet bowl (and of course, with 3 older boys our seat is always up) and pulling to stand.

I abort the foundation application. Pick up Baby N, wash his hands, disinfect them, dry them. Not only does the rest of my make up have to now be applicable in under two minutes, it also has to be done one handed, holding a 14kg baby whose sole object is to grab whatever I am holding and to capture my attention so I will look at him, and not the mirror. You’ve got to know it’s a pretty foolproof routine.

Hourglass concealer
This step is crucial. 4 kids = dark circles.

Napoleon Amazing Lash Mascara. This came free with a magazine. I love magazines. I have a lot of free magazine mascara. I actually quite like this one.

Estée Lauder Pure Colour cello shot
Can’t go wrong with this. Quick rub with my fingers and it gives me a pleasant, subtle rosy glow that makes me look as alive as my second coffee makes me feel.

Benefit Watts Up illuminator. According to the magazines, an illuminator gives you that “lit from within” look. I like the idea of glowing like a nightlight. So I plop a bit of that on too in case it works. Maybe I just look strangely slightly sparkly. You can tell me next time you see me.

I run an old kids’ toothbrush through my brows. You know how kids don’t really rinse their toothbrushes? So the first time I did this I ended up with dry flecks of used toothpaste in my brows. Oh yes I did. Nina, stop laughing. Anyway now that I have overcome this problem, it really does do a decent, quick brow grooming job.

A squirt of Chlôe (I’ve always wanted a signature scent and I think this is it), and I’m done.

If for some reason I need to put in a token extra effort (Preschool concert, Mother’s Day morning tea, really REALLY bad night where the only thing that will make me feel remotely human or alive is painting my face) I add these in:


Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess. This neither turns me bronze (it can’t work miracles), nor into a goddess (again with the miracles), but it does give me a less ghostly appearance and sometimes even gives the impression that I have relaxed in the sun.

Revlon Colourburst balm stain (if I really want to look like I’ve made an effort) or Clinique Chubby Stick in Heaping Hazelnut (for a more subtle, generally polished look).

Chanel le crayon kôhl. Doesn’t have to be Chanel – anything smudgy and black will do. This is good when I am sick of looking like someone’s mum and luckily this looks GOOD with messed up hair because as you will notice my routine does not include a hair brush. Sadly I don’t think anyone is fooled by my rock-chick liner. The baby on the hip and the 7 seater car is just too much of a give away. And then, of course, there’s the handbag.

And that’s it.

XOXO Shopping Girl