|Orchid snapped in Singapore Botanical Gardens|
As we all readjust to the here-and-now while not going stark raving bonkers and spending too much of the day cleaning the skirting boards, I’ve found the ongoing, liberty-dashing curse of the cloud-covid doth bringeth several silver linings. Number one, eldest daughter currently on post-graduate-pre-career-sabbatical in her childhood bedroom. Another woman in da house! So. Beauty product testing. And nails. And mummy daughter LOVE.
I usually have a gel manicure once a year. At a push, twice. I eek out these manicures until my pale nail-beds are sometimes six weeks long. But sweet Lily and I have become nail bar regulars. Three weekers. For any visitors to Queenstown, we totally recommend Amore Day Spa for the best nails. And better gossip. You want to know where to get the best Martini Espresso lakeside, just ask the petite proprietor, Hanna.
Since May? I’ve done. Lilac. Sapphire Blue. Lemon yellow. I’m currently British Racing green. Nek week, I’m going for gold. With sparkles. Shape-wise I’ve done square, round, almond and now my nails are long enough to try stiletto. Stabby.
|Lordy love-a-duck will you look at some of these!|
For the uninitiated, I liken a gel manicure to getting a few coats of boom-colour- *Timbacryl on your nails, with a top-coat of polyurethane. Because the wondrous thing with gel is that it’s dry and dent-proof, the moment your hand is retracted from the mini, UV light, nail-baking machine. After a quick slosh on of cuticle oil and a mini hand massage, you’re ready to plunge your hand into your handbag and scrag around for your credit card and car keys. No worries. No damage. Despite having to get gel salon-removed (you can purchase a bottle of acetone and do it yourself) your manicure is not wrecked by the time you unlock your automobile and start it.
Radically, the total sum of my social outings over the last six months, have included a 19th Birthday and a 70th Birthday. I danced at both. I was a happy Cinderella dressed in rags. Favourite old rags. I don’t know about anyone else but spending my life as an at-home-hermit has forced buying clothes totally off my radar. Manis and beauty products are my current nemesis. They bring the joy of a quick fix. And you can enjoy them. At home. Alone.
A gel mani costs $69 (inc $10 removal.) This does seem extravagant for permanent pretty hands. But that’s less than a $5 coffee a day over three weeks. I share a daily brew with The H. We discovered a handy local coffee roaster Steve during #lockdown, when my horse decided to hoof it down the drive and graze his front lawn. Now, when the acrid smell of burnt toast fills the Dalefield air we know it’s time to nip over for a refill.
I’ve been reading Marian Keyes’ ‘Making It Up As You Go Along’, a sort of memoir and collection of previously published columns. (How famous do you have to be before you can repackage your writing and resell it?!) Anyhoo, it’s laugh-out-loud, Irish humour funny. She’s cute. Five foot with size 35 feet. Super eccentric. She’s also a beauty potions sluzzer. Friend! She writes very candidly about being a slave to many of the female beauty larks of our time. Fake tans. Eyelash extensions. Lasering (she slathered her entire legs in Emla cream and wrapped them in GladWrap hours prior to treatment with a potentially catastrophic outcome.) Hairdressers. Skincare. Teeth. Nails!
On the subject of skincare … I did some overzealous aging-be-gone attempts with The Ordinary’s Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutus 2% serum and found myself in need of a calming, random red spot evaporating system. Dr Lewinn’s Recoverederm cleanser, toner and day cream for sensitive skin soon calmed the unsightly blotches on my cheeks. Dr L’s boasts Bio-Active Marine Algae and Cehami(R). This range is around $30 per product. I like the gel cleanser and cellular defense rich replenishing cream, but the aerosol-canned toner has a meh fragrance-free, fragrance. Would not buy again.
For a refreshing spritz over the face in the morning, I love Antipodes Ananda Antioxidant Rich Toner. Its raspberry scent is divine.
Waiting in the pharmacy yesterday, for some repeat prescriptions (as us young folk do!) Marian Keyes spoke to me, ‘Be the Janeys!’ (Irish lexicon for ‘an expression of astonishment') she said. And I found myself, eyes glistening, in front of the Dr Lewinn’s range. An enormous, red shelf-talker was talking to me - Instantly Plumps & Boosts Advanced Pearl technology Ultra R4 Plumping Gel. Soon my hand was prizing open the seal on the yet unused tester and I was anointing the back of my free hand, wrist and lower arm with the gloriously silky rich concoction within. I marvelled at the luxe texture of my freshly plumped and boosted skin. I shuddered when I checked the price. $84.95. Shite, I thought. (Gobshite might be more appropriate here.) My name. Jane. Was called over the aisles of temptations. I went to the counter, hoping I had a Living Reward’s $10 voucher owing. I didn’t. I skipped home with my new purchase. Twitching to try it. Result. I love it. It's so hydrating and smoov. Would work well as a makeup primer.
Meanwhile. Spring. If you’re planning to get your knees out soon I recommend you get scrubbing with this magic. Weleda – Birch Body Scrub. $16.72, 150 ml. With carnauba and beeswax pearls, and the zingy essential oils of grapefruit and cypress it exfoliates like a dream and stimulates circulation thus helping to purge all that cursed crinkly sourdough that’s crept in since April and is taking a nap under your arse shelf. Use once a week in the shower, massaging in circular motions, while dreaming up the next bonkbuster and bring on the ath-leisure-shorts.
This scrub is best paired with Birch Cellulite Oil. $29.52, 100 ml. I have been massaging like a dervish those needy, knee to navel trouble spots, post-shower daily. Briefly, I must call out its scandalous name. It’s the sort of bottle one does not want guests to view amongst the Aesop handwash in one’s bathroom. I guess it’s better than Subcutaneous Fat Dissolver or Orange Peel Thigh Eraser. But who wants to be reminded of this. Female. Affliction. Cellulite.
Moving on, I’m fine to smell like a citronella candle for a good cause. Ahem. Blended with wheat germ and jojoba oils it absorbs quickly. And after just three weeks of the Birch scrub/oil combo, daughter and I both believe. Winning. For me, the skin on ye olde sourdough is definitely looking more Bao bun. And the above-the-knee crepe looks finer. Roll on above-the-knee dress weather.
In celebration of the Spring Equinox, Weleda's current prices are 20% off. Available until 27/9/20. Sunday.
I love the whole biodynamic, organic philosophies of Weleda. I’d be filling cow horns with manure and burying them if I had access to some. I plan to visit their store, and gardens (if pos) when I’m in Havelock North this Xmas. Meanwhile, I’m ordering the Citrus Creamy Body Wash. $16.72, 200 ml. For darling daughter and I. “Wake up, shower and add zest to your day … Gently cleanses your skin and makes you feel happy!”
Why wouldn’t you?
ps. I'm not a beautician. I'm not sponsored nor Insta famous. Opinions my own.
*Timbacryl is a long lasting exterior paint.