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?