I know that there are much more important things to worry about, such as war and global warming, but since my recent birthday I have found myself fretting somewhat about my age, and more specifically, the negative effect time is having on my appearance. Yes, I am aware that vanity is not an appealing characteristic, but that’s for me to live with and you to judge me on.
The sad fact is that I am now most definitely a ‘thirty-something’, and no amount of pretence and artifice is going to change that. So I have decided to become a high maintenance woman.
Now, I must make it clear that high-maintenance is not something that I have had more than a passing acquaintance with. For me, going to a salon is a twice yearly event and one of those trips usually involves no more than a request for a trim (inevitably followed by tears on the way home. Why is it that a simple request for “two inches off the ends please” is interpreted as “give me a buzz cut and why not throw in a few ginger highlights while you’re at it?” Sadism or pure lack of brain power?). The lack of opportunity to shave my legs has led Alpha Male to start calling me ‘Brian’. My daily outfit is less of a considered choice and more of a decision forced on me by what happens to be clean, ironed, sporting its full complement of buttons and if I can zip it up fully without passing out from lack of oxygen. Make-up is a coat of mascara applied on the London Underground on my way in to work. Forget having a Brazilian or a Hollywood, I make do with the full Amazon. I manicure with my teeth followed by a quick saw with a nail file if I can find one. It ‘ain’t pretty, let me tell you - I make a slattern look saintly when it comes to personal grooming.
The final straw was when Firstborn drew a picture of me and proudly announced, “This is you, Mummy. Here are your eyes, here are your ears, here is your nose and here is your moustache.”
Moustache? Oh My God. Out of the mouths of babes. Suffice it to say that I was prowling the pharmacy shelves less than five minutes later looking for an industrial-sized tub of Jolene.
My new dedication to the discovery of a new and glossy me got off to a fine start recently when I went to facialist Kirsty McLeod’s eponymously named salon. Having had over 18 years of experience and having worked for temples of beauty such as AVEDA and Bliss in New York, I knew that she had to be pretty good. I was wrong. She was amazing.
After a skin consultation, during which I hung my head in shame as I confessed my numerous beauty sins (smoking, not drinking enough water, too much scoffing of chocolate, using baby wipes to take off the daily build-up of grime, euww the list goes on…) I was tucked under a duvet on a heated treatment table (much more comfortable than my own bed) and an hour-and-a-half of pure pampering commenced. Let me tell you, this is the kind of high-maintenance I could get used to. Exfoliation, a million different massages with heavenly-smelling oils and creams on my face, hands, arms, neck, shoulders, calves and feet (poor, poor woman), lymphatic drainage, extraction, face pack and hot towels… it went on and on and on. Pure, unadulterated bliss. And the best thing? Looking in the mirror afterwards to see my usual wan, tired mug transformed into that of a woman who’s led a virtuous life and never experienced a broken night – glowing, radiant and kind of peachy. Maybe its wishful thinking, but I would venture that it took a good five years off me, and that was before I put my mascara back on.
Kirsty has also just launched her own range of beauty products, available from London department store Selfridges. What I really like about her stuff, apart from the fact that the little jars are very pretty (and yes, I have some in my bathroom right now) is that they don’t contain nasty petrochemicals. These magic potions use natural ingredients such as pineapple extract, Arctic raspberry seed oil, and shea butter, which jam in all the necessary vitamins, enzymes and other good stuff that promises to keep the Botox at bay.
Check it out: www.kirstymcleod.com