Five things

We’re in our third lockdown and only allowed out for exercise, dog walking, and things like food shops (and all must be very local – I do get grocery deliveries once every two weeks, but everything else comes from local, independents to help keep them going). I managed the first two lockdowns fine, but this one is sort sending me a bit loopy. I’ll manage but I do really appreciate things that take me out of myself.

I like lists and I loved when people on Makeup Alley’s old version of the Fragrance board would post a list thread (what are your five favourite fragrances today … list 10 favourite non-perfume smells). I would be among the first to jump in. So, thinking about such things got me focused on some minor lovely things from last year plus one thing I found at the beginning of 2021.

First is my hair. I last had it cut in August, masked up and when windows could be opened. I wasn’t hugely comfortable, but still very glad to be looking a bit more … sorted. I hadn’t expected to be able to return to the salon till spring but I was really starting to look like a hot mess. A friend suggested this way to cut it yourself: twist small bottom sections, cut, and clean up. And, low and behold, it actually came out sort of ok. One side is a tiny bit longer than the other, but I followed the shape and ya know what? It’s not bad at all – and it’s given me the confidence to continue to do it till I can visit my hairdresser at some point in the future. Who knew…

Second is Le Labo Ylang Ylang 49. I had sampled this a number of times, always coming away feeling it didn’t quite work on me. I got a sample in a pack my son bought me as my stocking gift this past Xmas and for whatever reason this time it sings on my chemistry. As I mentioned last Monday, it’s both hot and oddly cool and I just love it. It’s jumped to the front of my mental ‘I want’ list and as I’ve got a birthday next month this may end up as a self gift. It may well be the closest I get to a signature scent now, though I can’t really imagine having just one any more.

Third is Votary Super Seed Nutrient Cream. I threw this into a Cult Beauty order when re-ordering my favourite cleanser, Emma Hardy’s Moringa stuff. I was feeling in the moment that I needed something luxurious to balance out my almost otherwise cheap skincare routine (Inky List and The Ordinary, though the Emma Hardy is not cheap – I get the huge tub, though, which lasts ages). Yowza. Oh my. This stuff is cosmic. My skin is the happiest it’s been for years. Initially I was using it AM and PM but then I thought about how much it costs and decided I would use it at night only and revert to the under ten quid Ordinary stuff AM to stretch it out. So far, still working a treat.

Fourth is the clivea. My parents, who had loads of house plants, loved cliveas. These have a snake plant/mother-in-law’s tongue (UK name – I hate it … when I had a mother in law she was great) vibe, but they make this glorious flower spike with deep orange, mid-orange or almost yellow bell-shaped flowers. They also reproduce via pups. When I was clearing out my father’s apartment in Brooklyn after he died I convinced the friends I was staying to take his two cliveas. I went on a hunt for one late last year online as I’m now sort of obsessed with having indoor greenery. The only one I found on one of my fave internet providers wasn’t available till spring. But then, on an impulse when in the neighbouring village which has chi-chi shops, I went into the strange kitchen object/chatchka/plant shop and there they were – two of them, with buds! So, I brought it home, talking to it during the drive about how much history it had in my family. It’s now come into flower. See the pic.

And, finally, fifth, for 2021, is a French cop procedural series I’ve just started watching on BBC iPlayer, Engrenages (Spiral). A friend had mentioned it but it took me a bit to go hunting. If you aren’t familiar with it (I’m almost always behind the curve on these sorts of things, now especially as I don’t own a TV) it’s set in Paris (worth watching for that alone) and is very dark and unsettling. As it launched in 2005 and is now on series 8 that means I’ll be doing this for a while. Which is good as I found when I sat down and watched the first episode from the first series once it was done I hadn’t thought about anything other than following the thread of the story for a whole, complete hour. I watched two more segments that first day. Given I really need something right now that keeps me out of my own head and away from the news etc this is something of a godsend.

So, how about you: do you have a few things that surprised and have stuck?

  • maggiecat says:

    Until a few weeks ago, my last haircut had been on February 29th. It was getting ridiculously long, and I watched some videos and read several encouraging articles about how easy it was to cut it yourself. So I got some good hair cutting scissors and gave it a try. Nopenopenope. I ended up popping into a quiet Supercuts (cheap hair salon for those not in the US) while running errands. It ended up shorter than I wanted, but much less like a homeless woman who shouldn’t be allowed near scissors. The stylist said that fixing people’s hair had become a good source of revenue for them…. I’m glad yours worked out better – honestly, I’m just very untalented when it comes to hair!
    I’m enjoying revisiting older scents and playing with skin care and makeup (I’m on Zoom a lot so my passion for lipstick is perfectly justified).

    • Cinnamon says:

      Well, that’s positive for hair stylists 🙂 My hair is still a work in progress — I cut into it a bit this morning on one side. I expect that by the time I can actually go get it cut (everything closed here due to lockdown #3) it’s going to look very very interesting.

  • Dina C. says:

    My hair is long and curly-wavy. If it gets too long I can have my daughter trim it since she recently became a licensed hair stylist and lives at home. Lucky me! She cut and colored her friends’ hair in our kitchen (with lots of safety precautions of course) until she started her new salon job.
    She and I watched Bridgerton and enjoyed that a lot. We’re big Regency fans; normally Jane Austen is our jam, though this is way more racy than JA. It was very entertaining. I agree with Musette’s review. I also enjoy mysteries — loved Broadchurch, Sherlock & Shetland.
    A few high school girlfriends and I chat on email, and every January we challenge ourselves to do a whole-house clean up and declutter in time for Chinese New Year (this year it starts on February 12). So I’ve been going through cupboards and drawers, straightening, wiping surfaces, assessing. You can do as much or as little as you feel like. It’s a nice way to start the year off.
    Our dog, who we’ve owned for almost two years now, is a constant source of happiness. This is our first dog, and he’s such a happy, playful fellow. So funny and fun.
    I also love vitamin C serum like a lot of you, and I’ve been wearing all kinds of scents this winter season. Lots of classic, vintage stuff in particular: No. 5, Arpege, Joy, and modern iterations of Bois des Iles, and other aldehydic scents.

    • Cinnamon says:

      Love your list. So many things we do to keep sane in this strange time and from my perspective I hope to keep some of them up once things are a bit safer and easier.

  • Ariel says:

    List o’ 5:

    Exercise. I’m also trying to do a cardio/strength with a bit of stretching in the morning, and then a good walk followed by yoga in the evening. Not always successful- but it really helps.
    Bass lessons. I’m still very, very new- but I get lost so quickly in making music. I’m on guitar for now, but once I move into home-home, I want to get a stand-up.
    My kid. Is so. Delightful. She’s reached the age of making jokes, which is mostly making simple, ridiculous statement really loud, and then laughing: shoes that walk by themselves, hahaha! Also, butts, farts, poop. Classic and uncomplicated.
    Anthony Bourdain. I’m a sucker for learning about people who make food and he had the nicest, but also viciously incisive, gossip. RIP. I know various people who knew him personally and they all miss him terribly- apparently he really was a true gent, and vulgar AF. Also, the The History of Food by Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat. Eight hundred pages of love for cooks, anthropologists, and agriculturists. A bit more refined than Bourdain, but no less snarky.
    Cooking. I’m now doing contactless dinner pickups for other households in my social circle. It’s really lovely to take a hobby and make it into a supportive act for people I love.

  • Tara C says:

    My hair is a disaster, if the lockdown lasts until May like last year I might shave my head. I’m sick of all the food in my house. This has definitely been the longest year of my life, with no end in sight. Perfume-wise I’m well-stocked and have started randomly reaching for things that haven’t been worn in a long time. The only thing keeping me sane is my dog.

    • Cinnamon says:

      Ah, the dog. He helps with everything but particularly de-stressing. I thought about giving myself a pixie cut and just seeing how it grew out. I may yet get there.

  • Portia says:

    Hey there Cinnamon,
    CLIVIA! Our backyard in the old house was quite big and instead of doing multiple underplantings (that rarely lasted or flourished under such shade with ferociously hungry trees sucking all the soils nutrients) of the trees and the base of hedges we had orange flowering clivia everywhere. It was like the whole garden was on fire for about a month each year when hardly anything else was flowering. I remember when we bought our first lot and how quickly they multiplied. Every few years we’d brave the funnel web spiders and break them up to put in other parts of the garden. Whenever I see them it feels like home.
    Portia xx

  • SpringPansy says:

    Let’s see. I’m going for five.
    1) Loved Broadchurch, loved River, loved Shetland series. And Borgen – although a different genre. More like that please.
    2) Latest favorite easy recipe: Taco Torte from smittenkitchen food and recipe blog. So good – vegetarian (although you could add meat or you could even make it vegan) and a big hit at my house.
    3) Exercise – my latest obsession is to get in two different things every day. Yoga in the morning, a walk at noon. Or yoga in the morning, 15 min abs/core in the afternoon. Or 20 minutes cardio in the morning and 15 minutes upper body in the afternoon. Etc. Destresses me and gets me up and moving twice.
    4) I don’t spend a lot on skincare but I am loving my Perricone MD, Vitamin C serum. I read that if you just want to do one skin thing, make it Vitamin C. And it smells great.
    5) Fragrance-wise I’m obsessed with some of my oldies at the moment: Fendi Fendi, Fendi Theorema, Parfumerie Generale Bois Blond.
    And yes, anything that takes me out of my head, I am pretty happy about. COVID stress is just unending.

    Oh and my hair is wild and curly and I haven’t had it professionally cut since last December. Son trimmed it a bit in June. I’m just letting it be for now.

    • Cinnamon says:

      will have to look up smitten kitchen. the walk and yoga combo — it works so well.

      • Ariel says:

        Smitten Kitchen has my absolute favorite online recipe stash. I usually prefer cookbooks (my printer sucks and I don’t trust having my electronics in the same space as food prep), but if I need a recipe/inspiration that I can’t find on the shelves, I look to Smitten Kitchen first.

  • Musette says:

    Well, as I mentioned to Shiva-Woman below, I really found ‘Bridgerton’ a treat. Because I am older than Lady Danbury the actual sex scenes were my least favorite part (no prude here – just prefer the allusion/illusion) – what I loved was the soundtrack and all the sensual tension. I saw an interview with Rege’-Jean Page (the Duke) and had to turn it off because that incredibly sexy, husky Dukevoice IS NOT HIS REAL VOICE. And I don’t wanna know that right now. 😉
    Still very much enjoying the Beauty Pie Fig Leaves & Lime.

    ‘Balthazar’ (on Acorn, I think). Tomer Sisley is fabulous and I’ve been watching it with the subtitles off to improve my French, with marginal results. Probably because I can’t stop looking at Tomer Sisley. Ah well.
    Citrus. Those little mandarines are keeping me sane.


    • Cinnamon says:

      Oh, it’s awful when the actor turns out to be so much less than the character they play. I haven’t eaten citrus in ages but have started buying those huge naval oranges. They both taste good and perfume the whole room.

    • MizChristian says:

      OMG! ‘Balthazar’ is fantastic! I work in the medical field and love forensic pathology shows. Even though I’m a lesbian, I find Tomer very easy on the eyes and love the character’s sense of humor.

      • Musette says:

        Honey, you may be a lesbian – but you ain’t dead! 😉 I’m straight but there are some women out there who take my breath away! Tomer Sisley is just… I don’t even know… but it’s good. Sexy has few (if any) gender boundaries, imo. xoxoxo

  • MizChristian says:

    A friend introduced me to ‘Sprial’ during a very difficult time in my life several years ago. On weekends, when I was not up or even very capable of doing any more than the basics of existence, it allowed me to safely and thoroughly escape plus I improved my French accent tremendously.

    Now that life is different, I am geographically and mentally far away from that awful period and Spiral’s Season 8 has aired, I am not binge watching but enjoying it judiciously as I reflect on how much better my life is now than when I first began watching it.

    • Cinnamon says:

      It’s so well done I find I get completely sucked into the story line. Have you watched Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch?

      • MizChristian says:

        Yes, I have. Mr. Cumberbatch is so talented. I don’t watch late night talk shows but I have seen a lot of clips on YouTube of him doing impressions of other actors/celebrities and he is a riot-as in laugh out loud funny.

  • Shiva-woman says:

    I’m working my way through Broadchurch, liking it so far after finishing the campy, fun and insanely engrossing frippery of Bridgerton, getting a bottle of Le Lion and planning on getting the newest EdpJicky after. It is amazing! As an aside, read one of the British papers about Vit. D. We’ve been taking for months, but I’m increasing the dose. So stay safe and sane and add more D!

    • Kathleen says:

      I gifted myself LeLion for Christmas. I hope you love it! How is the newest Jicky EDP? Is it improved from past reformulations? I had recently been wanting to try Jicky, somehow I have never sampled it and now I am curious.

    • Musette says:

      LOL! I am WAY too old to have enjoyed ‘Bridgerton’ as much as I did! What a totally gorgeous escape. xoxo

    • Cinnamon says:

      I am curious about Le Lion but testing will have to wait. Do you mean Vit D regarding covid? Where did you read stuff?

  • filomena813 says:

    I just redid my TV apps so I will now have NetFlicks, among other things. As I have no significant other or husband, I always buy myself a bottle of perfume for my Christmas present to me. This year I bought Parfum de Marly’s Delina, original version.

  • taxi says:

    “Spiral” is a great series! Glad you found it.