Monday, 19 March 2012

New leaf

I am really, really fecking tired (children's party: treasure hunt over 4 floors/pinata/high pitched screaming/krautrock/buttercream/non-RSVPing surprise guests/WHATEVER) and I want a bath but oh, no, the boiler is being an obstructive dickhead, so instead I will just bathe in this, erm, glass of red wine. I could, of course, also bathe in the loving warmth of my precious infants, but their warm love is rationed as they are busy watching "La Vie de Palace de Zack et Cody" or some such shit, because we have CRACKED, and none of us can bear another episode of the cretinous anglophone "Kid Detectives". I would rather they could not longer speak my language than that they end up being incredibly fluent English speaking yet inept Australian child forensic technicians.

(Despite this, I rather like them tonight. Especially now they are in bed, but they were pretty great even when they were awake. Call it a Mother's Day miracle, even though it is not Mother's Day here).

ANYWAY. The point of this post, and yes, there is one, is this:

I have just seen myself in the unforgiving, cold light of Photo Booth (I was showing M my new lipstick, very nice) and holy mother of Pokémon, I look rough. The spring brightness is here and not only are my windows shown for the smeary slattern traps they are, my face, too, is a testament to neglect, Peanut Butter Chunky KitKats and booze: puffy, grey, spotty, lots of chins. Many, many chins. Something must be done. For the next week I am going to try and do something about it, and post my feeble, ineffectual exploits every day. It will be a good exercise for me (the writing, I am not ACTUALLY going to exercise, obviously). If you have any suggestions - non expensive, non surgical, preferably - do place them in the comments. You know, stupid facemasks using household ingredients, tried and tested alternatives to the demon water, that kind of thing.

Today I will start by:

Eating some green things. Including some fruit. Sometime in the last two years I sort of went off fruit. I'm sure fruit used to be one of the things I ate most of, to the point where it eroded my tooth enamel. I must make my peace with it. There are only ever apples and bananas in the house and I repudiate the banana and all its works, so maybe I will have to start by acquiring some other fruits. Do suggest fruits, if you can think of any whose work you admire. I used to like mangoes but the Belgian ones are, without exception, rubbish. (Brussels dwellers: where do *you* find decent mangoes? Inquiring minds demand to know).

Washing all my make up brushes in case they are giving me some kind of scrofulous face disease.

Making one of these two soups: Trish's "green" or this one M recommends. I am the worst maker of soup in the world. I am the reverse soup alchemist, taking perfectly nice ingredients and reducing them to a sort of filthy, brown pond scum that tastes stridently of cumin and disappointment.

Oh GOD, yes, I suppose I ought to drink some water too. God. This will really be under sufferance. Perhaps I need to dip a toe back in the sordid underworld of the herbal infusion?

That is all. Baby steps. I will report back.


Laruca said...

Scrub your face with oats. Soak some porridge oats for a bit and then rub them vigorously on your face. Leave them on for a bit, wash off. Nice soft skin, mmm.

Dilly Tante said...

Drink lemon juice in hot water. I'm feeling the same as you and did this today. Not sure how it's supposed to help, but, you know, it feels healthy.

Anonymous said...

Every morning have a smoothie, then, if all you eat is shit for the rest of the day, you know you have had a good dose of fruit.

Chuck strawberries, frozen raspberries, some grapes, a splodge of greek yoghurt and some skimmed milk in blender. Whizz and drink whole lot. It should, after a few days give you that 'glow' of better health, hair should improve too.

Next, limit wine to one glass, easier said than done - I should know as I have failed.

After wine, have fruity herbal tea instead of that second or third glass.

Obviously drink water, with lemon is also good for skin, hair....

Lastly, just stand on the beach on a really windy day and suck in the air, you don't even need to move, the air is so good and restorative. You will sleep better and just get some fresh air in your lungs.

Lastly, pot some plants and fiddle around in garden. Very theraputic and calming.

I too look pretty shit most days, but when I have done all or any of above I do notice an improvement, and it does not involve gym, yoga sessions or moving very much at all.

If all else fails get some clever make up to give you a healthy glow, NOT fake tan, just some illuminator cream and some YSL Touche Eclat, which became my best friend when second son was born and I had no sleep for a year and everyone kept asking me what was wrong (god I must have looked such a wreck).
Hope these help, keep us posted on your progress this week!

vivien y said...

Lemon juice, honey, some little slices of peeled fresh root ginger in hot water tastes lovely and has to be good for you - detox to the max

Anonymous said...

I read somewhere that someone did an experiment involving eating salmon every day for a while, and ended up with fabulous skin! Although the fresh fish is wonderful, I don't think it matters if it is tinned salmon for this effect. It's the special fish oils that are so good for skin, hair and also your brain - worth a try I reckon.
In our household we must have apples available at all times - however kiwifruit are also very good - full of vitamin C and extremely refreshing. Hope they're not too expensive over there.
Heather (NZ)

JB_Kiwi said...

Mix sugar with olive oil and scrub bare skin with it before rinsing in the shower. Makes skin feel all glowy and dewy and ready for summer, even if your legs are actually the texture of tofu and the colour of London skies in winter. NB: it will coat your shower in a sugary oil slick once you wash it off. This can be dangerous the next morning when you forget and slip in the shower, and, if care about such things, might make you feel bad about the state of the oily bathroom. So it's win/ lose, but your skin will feel soft and tingly and it's close to free so I'd count that as mostly a win.

cruella said...

I just ate a huge cinnamon bun of the half baked variety (most delish) and had a gargantuan cup of hot chocolate with it so maybe you should heed somebody else's advice.

Anyhow. I had a vision of eating Real Green Things more often, the other day. Avocado for starters, followed by green peasoup (vichy-soisse sounds more elegant) and then maybe asparagus that is slowly coming into season. Not very fond of fruit either, but berries I like. Smoothies? Maybe you can even stomach bananas thus disguised.

And of course a spot of sun on your cheeks never fails.

Unknown said...

Not exactly free, but I can really recommend Aromatherapy Associates' Overnight Repair Mask - you just leave it on at night, so no faffing about with cleansing off. Also, Weleda's Pomegranate Serum is really good, same results as with much more expensive serums.
Eating oily fish, berries and drinking veg/frut smoothies also makes a difference.

MargotLeadbetter said...

I am doing this too. In my case it is because I just tried on a swimming cossie in M&S in preparation to go on holiday in 12 days. (Luckily, 12 days is plenty of time to transform myself, isn't it?)

I will read the comments with great interest. I am especially interested in any magic cures for fat wobbly cellulity thighs.

F said...

I just had a vision of you adapting Anonymous' excellent advice to Brussels living: seek out the wind tunnel on Rue de la Loi or the Parliament esplanade and suckin a good lungful of the finest air this city has to offer. The grit from the exhaust fumes should exfoliate your cheeks nicely too...

Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes said...

You could try yoga? My mother does it every day and she looks like a Victoria Secret model, albeit a little more wrinkly.

The Reluctant Launderer said...

I generally look like shit, which I put down to motherhood; before I popped out the sprogs I generally looked passable, and tended to get by on a diet of booze and sleep-so I'd recommend those. However, on the rare occasion that I decide to take matters into my own hands, I find that some sort of exfoliator brings out something akin to the pre-parenthood glow. Oats, as laruca said, or Clinique daily scrub, or dissolvable aspirin -put a couple of drops of water on one and it'll turn to scrubby mush in your hands, contains salycilic (sp?) acid which zaps zits.

Unknown said...

Organic coconut oil! It transformed my old skin, and I can cook with it, too. Better than botox AND butter.

Anonymous said...

I know what you mean. I'm pregnant and for the first 3 months couldn't eat anything but mango. Try finding decent mango in Brussels in January. But I did! There is a small shop selling fruit and veg on Chaussee de Waterloo (, mango will cost you an arm, a leg and some other extremities but at least it smells and tastes like a mango. Otherwise try the markets (Chatelain, Flagey etc), they usually sell better fruit than the evil that is Delhaize. No advice on the skin front, look like a hormonal disaster myself.

Sara said...

Sali Hughes, Guardian beauty columist, has a rather excellent Facebook group for these sorts of dilemmas. Lots of lovely, friendly, supportive women who will make clever suggestions. Hopefully this link will work, otherwise search for Sali Hughes: Get The Look:!/groups/303915806295784/

Sonya said...

I love Ataulfo mangos. These are the smaller very yellow ones that are best when they are so ripe they are wrinkly. We are also fans of blueberries - lots of amazing antioxidants and pretty tasty. I also chuck them in plain yoghourt and add a bit of maple syrup.

Taking a high quality omega-three/essential fatty acid really helps your skin as well. Look for something with about 1000 mg of DHA or EPA on the label. This can be from fish oil if it has been microfiltered to make sure there are no heavy metals.

I had the same impulse last night and made a large pot of chicken veggie soup. I make my own broth from the remains of a whole chicken and then chuck in half a head worth of garlic, onions, french beans, potatoes,fresh basil, a few fresh tomatoes, cauliflower, celery and carrots. I add a bit of chili powder and cayenne 'cause I like a bit of spice and throw in the left-over pieces of chicken meat in the last 5 minutes. Stay away from cumin, though or the whole thing ends up tasting like a curry that went wrong. Also problematic is turnip or broccoli - they just overwhelm all of the flavours.

Anonymous said...

Just an idea regarding the mango situation. Here in England they can be rubbish, puny and over priced, but the best and cheapest I have come across have been in Lidl. The rest of the place is questionable, but the fruit and veg are brilliant, in season, a mango is so cheap you end up buying a dozen in a box and they are delicious. They just smell of beaches and sunshine and holidays away from grey drizzle and sleat!
Also, they must be properly ripe, leave them near sunlight til soft and squidgey. Don't give up, sure there must be a Lidl'ish type discount supermarket where you are.

Patience_Crabstick said...

I am on board with repudiating the banana. Frozen berries are the best fruit and berries are especially good for you. I am partial to pomegranate seeds, but this is the wrong season, but they are available frozen in some places.

Dara said...

I second the sugar/olive oil scrub...warm the oil for extra special goodness.
About the chins...try Dukan. I know , I know...there is no cake on that diet!! Or fruit, for that matter. I am sure you don't have to lose much and will shed your winter layer quickly, then you can eat fruit. I am in love with this diet. I have lost 40 pounds since 10/21/11....only 20 more to go for me tyo get back to pre-baby weight...the baby will be 10 years old in May.

Katrijn said...

If you can find it, I think you would enjoy dragonfruit - it looks weird and deserving of its name, and tastes like nothing much so no reason to go off it either.

Hot water, honey and lemon is very nice and feels very healthy first thing in the morning.

Apparently if you have a spoonful of oil in between meals (at least an hour after the last time you ate and an hour before the next time) you will not be hungry, in fact, forget that strange thing called "food" and magically lose every single ounce you ever had to spare. And then some.

No personal experience, though.

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