Five favourites from the month of January, in the year 2021, which will surely go down in history as the longest month on record. It’s like when they say on the weather forecast, “the temperature will be at around eight degrees but will feel like two” because of the wind chill factor or whatever it is. Well this month has been thirty one days but has felt like a hundred and thirty one. I thought that it was February about two weeks ago!
My least favourite things of the month have been, in no particular order: homeschooling, making up a Betty Crocker Vanilla Sponge Mix that was inexplicably in my baking cupboard (you mix the powder with oil!) and getting back on my Peloton exercise bike after a two month hiatus.
I’m not a big exercise fan. I do it because I want to retain a good fitness level, not because I’m one of those people who gets a kick out of it; I do walk quite long distances every now and then, and that is all very well and good, but it doesn’t exactly get the heart pumping. The only reason I even remotely tolerate the Peloton is that I can get it done and dusted in twenty minutes, no faffing around in gym changing rooms (if gyms were even open) and trying to find a car parking space and all that nonsense.
I have a thing about gym changing rooms. Did I ever tell you about the time a woman was drying her muff in front of me with a hairdryer? You can tell that it was a good while ago, because who sports a muff now? Nobody, that’s who. Everyone, seemingly, is bare as a burger down there. I feel quite left out with my seventies ‘do.
I digress: this is supposed to be about favourites, not un-favourites, and so let’s get cracking. If you would rather watch me chat this through then scroll down the page immediately and click play on the video screen!
My new glasses. Crikey, these have been a rigmarole. I wanted some the same as Rosie Byrne’s in the TV series Mrs America (she plays Gloria Steinem) and it has taken me five months to track down the right ones, with a central bar and retro feel.
As everything is closed, I had to order them online, get them posted to check I liked them and now I’ve sent them back again to have – get this – light-sensitive brown-tinted ultra-thin prescription lenses put in. I know! I’m going to look like an actual walking time capsule from the seventies.
My glasses are these Givenchy frames – I bought them from Fashion Eyewear in London.
A couple of beauty favourites now, things I’ve used over and over to the point of mild obsession. I had a little flutter yesterday when they weren’t in their usual place in the bathroom and didn’t calm down until I realised I’d been shooting them for this video and they were in the spare room on the windowsill. The first item is the brilliant Discoloration Defense Serum from Skinceuticals, £85 here*, which is pricey in comparison to general beauty pricing levels but not for a Skinceutials product. This helps tackle dark spots and discolouration and worked a treat on my patches that came up along my cheekbones last spring/summer. There’s a whole post about that here if you want to read more!
The other beauty bit is Dermalogica’s Active Clay Cleanser (£35 here*) which does a great job of keeping skin clear and deeply-cleansed with absolutely no aggressiveness or tendency to dry out the skin. Great for those who are suffering a little with congestion from wearing a mask or being stuck inside eating Jelly Babies for two of their meals a day or combination of both, it’s a soft alternative to using one of those proper deep-cleansing clay masks and a lot more pleasant and convenient to use. Just apply a layer, let it sit for a while (I do thirty seconds) and then remove with a warm flannel. I use it every other night when I’m in the bath and have become quite attached.
Sleep Salts from Aroma Active Laboratories, £15 here*. Now I know I’ve been very vocal about the benefits of buying Epsom Salts buy the 20-kilo and adding your own essential oils (please read my detailed post here, if you want to save some money and have the world’s most relaxing bathing experience) but these pre-mixed salts have a very clever aromatherapy blend going on. Not surprising seeing as though the brand-behind-the-brand is It absolutely knocks you for six, so don’t use them before you’re about to go to your job in, I don’t know, heavy engineering or open heart surgery. Do use them, however, if you’re constantly anxious and find it hard to unwind before bed. They are the business.
Back to fash-un and this remarkably simple-but-clever jumper from Me+Em. It doesn’t have to be this particular jumper, it’s more a category of Me+Em jumpers called “all the ones with the removable snoods”. What a great idea! You start the day off by putting on a jumper that to the rest of civilisation looks like a roll neck, or polo neck, or whatever it is called when your jumper has one of those big, high necklines that tickles your chin. It’s chilly, you want full coverage, the neckline makes you feel cosy and great. But by 10.30am the neck is pissing you right off, for want of a more polite phrase – it’s making you feel claustrophobic and itchy and generally so irritated that you can’t function. No problem – you can whip that neck right off! The knitted one, obviously! So these Me+Em jumper+snood combos are an incredibly good idea. And with the heavier weight jumpers the snood part just sits atop the jumper, anchored by its own bulk. No buttoning needed.
You can find a whole load of examples on their website here* – deep breath, they’re definitely an investment, but the quality, cut and general execution of everything Me+Em make is just superb.