Wednesday, 26 September 2007

#51 Because you're worth it

I’ve always felt bad for the models whose images adorn posters in tube stations – within days, they’re decorated with a variety of gum, graffiti and savoury slang. I don’t tend to notice the remarks – although, the ‘She was my first’ line I spotted a few weeks ago did get me giggling – but the Perfectil posters in Angel tube station were different. Across the faces of the airbrushed model were a series of stickers, reading, ‘For women who hate themselves.’ My first reaction was to snort, I’ll admit – somewhat derisively, at the extremist notion. On my way home, I spotted them again. During the short ride home, I couldn't help dwelling on it. The airbrushed model, the peachy lighting, the name of the product – ‘perfect’. Someone was sort of right – the idea and image grated and of course, there isn’t a pill out there that will promote flawlessness – but perhaps those that swallow it do so in the hope that they’ll edge that little bit closer to the unattainable. And that’s rather a sad thing. But it’s the same idea that feeds the entire vitamin and mineral supplement phenomenon – the belief that you are lacking something, and when you address it, you’ll be complete, healthy, at your best. When in truth, the tubs of tablets – be they for hair, skin, nails – that I have purchased in the midst of many a self-perfecting crusade, reveal far more about my mental state than they do about my physical one. During weeks when I’ve been feeling down, low, fat, unattractive, I’ve been known to spend a lunch hour amidst the aisles at Holland & Barrett, rooting out wild algae, aloe vera, co-enzyme Q10, coconut oil… trundling home with a bag of rattling goods that celebrate their use-by dates at the back of a dusty cupboard. Had I taken them (or had time to swallow the myriad pills), they might have made a difference. I started, but didn’t finish. Something happened – normally my mood shifting back to a more positive plane and deciding I’m fine, just as I am, without the help of agnus castus or acai berries. I could be healthier. I could be slimmer. I could be a veritable wonder woman of pink tongue, glowing organ and glossy mane – but I am normal. I am healthy. I am happy. It sunk in, eventually – there’s no miracle cure, there’s no holy grail. Don’t waste your time or hard-earned money on mysterious multivitamins. So I don’t. Have not – not for years. Perfectil may be the greatest supplement ever, it might make your nails stronger, hair thicker, skin clearer – but there is one thing of which I am utterly certain, it will not ‘perfect’ you. As a matter of fact – NOTHING will perfect you. You’ll always be flawed. Now, isn’t that liberating?

Saturday, 15 September 2007

#50 Hand Maiden

This is just a fleeting note, a midnight fancy - but it has occurred to me, that I spend more time inhaling the scent of my hand soap than I do sniffing the latest perfumes. I'm obsessively particular about my hands and pretty much anything that I touch results in a trip to the ladies for a scrub down, but lest I sound like Lady Macbeth, I'd like to say that this is because, as most of us know, our work spaces have been scientifically likened to (and in many cases are far filthier) than the crappiest of crappers. So, in an effort to purge the panic, I wash - over and over again. Waitrose make a very cheap, but yummy-smelling range of liquid handsoaps - perfect to be kept in the kitchen, by the sink; Molton Brown & Space NK do the best-looking stuff, to be kept in guest bathrooms and only ever used on special occasions (price being prohibitive and scent too strong for everyday use); Burt's Bees do a large, inexpensive pump that lasts a long time thanks to the natural foaming agents and Crabtree & Evelyn Naturals, have produced delicious Olive, Almond & Myrtle and my favourite, Pink Grapefruit & Cucumber, with which my hands are presently scented. Essentially, the C&E soaps never dry out the skin, they're sulfate-free and made with 25% nourishing coconut and olive oils. So, if your hygienic compulsions refuse to be checked, at least your mitts won't suffer. This one wins, well, hands down.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

#49 Get Fresh

There are two fantastic scent blogs on the net - and Both have highlighted the dearth of smart scents launching onto the fragrance market and mourned the new, easy, commercially-foolproof direction i.e. FRESH & LIGHT. So, we've got the new Dior Midnight Poison which bears no resemblance to the original ethos in that it's easy to wear and utterly inoffensive. We've also had Gwen's L.A.M.B offering and Kate's KATE - both of which are about as enigmatic as, well, Jordan - and her scent too for that matter. That's not to say that they're not wearable - personally I wouldn't, but it's your nose against mine - just that they're easy, but not in a chino and white shirt sort of way, nay, not in a breezy Sunday morning sort of way, but more in a sugary, foam shrimp sort of way. They're obvious, they're saccharin, they're... too tutti fruity. They're the equivalent of the Rosé wine that everyone and their aunt now seems to be drinking... rather than the smoky reds that will make you FEEL something. So, it's a good thing that Prada are taking the saccharin edge off the season with their Infusion D'Iris - a fat mix of earth, wood and flower that'll knock ten shades of crap out of the competition. Bravo Miuccia-cia-cia.