I don’t usually blog about beauty products, but it is a category that I am involved with at work this week, which makes a nice change from last week, which was banking. I am at my desk, studying brands of shower gel, bath cream, bar soap and liquid hand wash. As anyone in an advanced state of consumerism knows, the most desirable of these is bar soap, which should ideally be hand-crafted and have visible inclusions, such as pieces of flowers.

Here are my favourites of the British brands.


These citrus soaps are shaped like fruit. The gentle, modernist designs on the outer packaging are soothing and tasteful (looks like they’ve redesigned the packaging, it used to have bright and rather overbearing photography). As for the inner packaging, each soap is lovingly wrapped in its own paper. Each soap is 100g and they retail at £3.35 individually or £9.38 for a box of three.

bron lem box 2

Gentle Cosmetics

These spectacular soaps are a feast for the eyes. I couldn’t stop staring. I can’t find the weight of these soaps (why not?) but they individually retail at £4.20 (flowers) and £4.95 (apricots) so I’m guessing at least 100g. These are almost too lovely to use.

Fortnum & Mason

The world’s most luxurious department store, est. 1707. Fortnum & Mason does everything very elegantly; soap is no exception. Pictured: a medium-size box of bath soaps. Specially made for Fortnum’s, the soaps contain oils, herbs and spices and are decorated with dried miniature roses. Weight and packaging dimensions are not given but this box retails at £30 for ten bars. I find the packaging, with the roses and the tissue paper, almost irresistible.

fort bath box

A special mention also for this UK-based Etsy supplier. I hardly ever buy things from Etsy but these beautiful soaps slipped into my basket. The photography is stunning. This seems to be a new Etsy retailer so I’m happy to help a small business along. Cannot wait for these to arrive. Shown here: Orange & Cinnamon; Lemon Poppyseed; Strong-brewed Coffee; Turkish Mint Tea. The soaps are 113g and are priced at £4 each. Please make more flavours!

Ottoman Bliss

In which I take on slightly too much, because it’s all I know how to do.

Crikey. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself, it is that I do better when I am busy. After thinking that I was going to have a nice, relaxing time, further to leaving the World’s Worst Company, my life is bursting at the seams with activity. I hardly know what to tackle next. Let’s have a quick roundup of non-work things.

  • Gym. I am in the gym regularly and although I’m not yet weighing myself, I can feel that I’m starting to lose some of the fat that I stacked on over Xmas. My pot belly will be the last thing to go and I am not ruling out liposuction if I can make time for it. Gym uses up a lot of time and, as we all know, you have to keep going several times a week if not every day, but it is well worth it.
  • Dentist. I am at the dentist aaaallllll the time. Fillings, cleaning, this and that. Periodontist on the 22nd.
  • Other beauty stuff. Hairdresser because my hair goes grey so fast. Laser hair clinic. I need to see my Botox man again, haven’t seen him since October.
  • Dating. I am very popular with boys at the moment, which is very welcome after being unmercifully dumped by someone I’d sustained a 14- or 15-month relationship with. I went on a date yesterday with an absolutely beautiful model who kissed me at the tube station. When I say model, I don’t mean some 50-year-old, silver-haired character actor, I mean an actual model.
  • Art and Culcha. So much of this. I saw the South Africa exhibition that is currently on at the British Museum and will blog about it separately. I am going out again over the coming weekend to hear more music.


  • Choir. Is this evening. Need to wash my hair and iron a dress because it’s a big social event of the week.
  • Friends. I have miraculously seen 4 of my long-suffering friends who have to wait two years in between meetings.
  • Housework. I can tell I am super busy because the house is getting out of control again even though I only cleaned it up last week. I still have not unpacked the boxes that I brought away with me from the World’s Worst Job and I seriously want to clean and renovate the back room, which is now my clothes room.
  • Gaming. I have done no video gaming for a solid week, even though I am desperate to get back into it. I am absolutely desperate to play Battlefield 1 and Resident Evil 7.


So there you go. The things on that list, as well as work, are merely the things I’m actually managing to do plus the most immediate priorities. We won’t even mention the second tier of priorities, such as playing other video games, reading, pursuing half a dozen other hobbies and trying to get back into learning Chinese.

I am getting enough sleep, so there’s that.

Face cream.

Work is still kicking my ass. I have suspended my online dating account again because I am too busy to meet people. I told Leroy I am no longer dating anyone else and he was pleased about that, in a rather serious way, that was designed to let me know he is taking it seriously, so at least someone’s happy.

The Honcho has been quiet this week.

Travel is coming up over the next several days so fingers crossed for sunshine and nice photo opportunities, despite it being winter.

My Shiseido face cream that I had for my birthday ran out. I decided to go back to Clinique for a while, the default brand choice of so many women. I already have a bottle of the famous yellow everyday moisturiser, I think most women over about 24 have a bottle of this somewhere in their bathroom. It is light, easily absorbed and really is good for every day, but as I get older my skin is losing its fine texture and I wanted something to give my face a smoother, more polished appearance without resorting to laser skin resurfacing, which is what I would actually like, along with a neck lift and a lower face lift and a boob job. So my new thing now is two pumps of Clinique Smart Custom-Repair Serum mixed with two drops of Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus. Put on your face using upward circular motions (as though you would do anything else), then use the surplus on your neck. It applies a silky coating to your skin which smooths everything out and hides pores, which is good. I think the latter item is the one delivering instant results and the former is the one where you are supposed to use it every day for a while before being impressed. So I will let you know how I get on.

So that’s me. Travel plans are coming together. Botox has been booked. Teeth have been recently bleached. The drycleaning is at the drycleaner’s. I have a couple of new items of lingerie on the way, in a size that I believe I can actually fit into. Face cream are go. I may be fat, but I am beautiful and everything is going to be okay.


Hairdressing: Wish me luck.

I called in at the hair salon and they can fit me in this evening.

Wish me luck. Last time I was at the salon, in June, my formerly loved hairdresser gave me a haircut that aged me by 10 years and sent me fucking running to the Botox clinic to try and claim those years back. A haircut that makes me feel depressed just thinking about it, never mind having to look in the mirror. A haircut that belongs on a woman who is actively trying to be unattractive. A haircut that looks awful no matter what I do with it. A haircut that is significantly less fashionable than the one I saw my 70-year-old aunt wearing the other week. A really, really inappropriate and wrong and bad haircut that I never asked for.

My hairdresser and I will be having a Very Serious Conversation about the haircut I actually want. It is still 4-6 inches too short to even achieve a very short bob, but at least we can start working on getting it into shape.

I swear to God, if he fucks this up a second time, I will never go there again. I will go straight to a competitor salon and have them attach an entire head full of extensions at whatever cost, until my hair grows back. I can’t live with this awful haircut any more. It has got to go. He is getting one more chance to demonstrate that he understands what I want, and then that is it. Finito.

I am scared of letting him come near me with the scissors now and I am ready to be upset. The last couple of months have wrecked my self-confidence. Wish me luck, please. It should be game over by about 7pm. I will immediately report in here with news.


Unexpected Bursts of Romance

It is Week 7, day 7 of the happy pills. I am slowly and incrementally happier, day by day. I will know I have achieved my Recommended Daily Allowance of happiness when I start dancing again. We are not there yet, but I sense that we are not far off.

I am absolutely overjoyed with the results of my encounter with Botox. It was 7 days ago. At the time, the doctor informed me that it would take a week to achieve its full effects. I didn’t really understand why, so I was sceptical, but I look in the mirror every day, here we are on Day 7 and it is amazing. It is beyond anything I could have hoped for. What I hoped for was an eyebrow lift that would restore the arches to their former glory, and this happened quickly, within a couple of days, but what we have here on Day 7 is an upper eyelid lift as well. Because I’m quite old, I had got to the point where my upper eyelid was collapsing on top of my lower lid, and I thought this was something that couldn’t be rectified without surgery, but as of yesterday my eyelids are right back where they used to be 10 years ago, and I don’t look a day over 35. It is like a miracle. It even makes my haircut look better. Speaking of which, it’s time to see my hairdresser because roots.

Perhaps coincidentally and perhaps not, in light of my renewed confidence, I am suddenly having a very rewarding dating season. I am getting a lot of interest on the trusty dating site, which is always flattering, and there are two guys in particular who I’m happy to have in my life. One is William, who I’ve blogged about a few times recently. He was quiet for a couple of days and I wondered if he’d changed his mind but then he texted me and now it looks like we will have our third date this week. I am excited about this because I have quite a crush on him, also in the fickle world of online dating, if someone makes it to three dates, that’s very unusual and is a long relationship.

Additionally, he has a rival. There’s another guy, a Northern lad, let’s call him Charlie. He’s 28. I like a bit of Northern urban grit. We understand each other’s roots and culture. We’ve had two dates and I am getting to like him more than I expected. I could see how we could settle down into a comfortable thing together with absolutely no difficulty at all that involves joking around and saying Northern things and watching horror movies and having sex. In fact, that is pretty much the plan.

So that’s me. I am happy and I am well provided-for. Thank you Jah.

Iggy Azalea: Fancy (2014)


My First Botox

I had such a happy day today.

I went to the celebrity Botox clinic and had my face done. Like most things, Botox takes a while to kick in so apparently I shouldn’t expect to see any results for at least a week and my eyebrows are quite saggy so it’s going to take the full effect of the Botox to restore them to the position where they should be. However, the crows-feet wrinkles at the corners of my eyes are reduced to about 10% of what they were, they have almost completely disappeared, already. I am quite amazed and also thrilled. She was a nice doctor and I am going back on the 19th for a check-up and a top-up as necessary, included in the price. That was really unexpectedly fun and I did feel like a celeb even though I was by far the scruffiest and least glamorous person in the waiting room.

Then this evening I went to visit my friend D and we had a lovely dinner together and expressed deep affection for each other. 1 Friends point and 1 Vanity point, even though we don’t collect Vanity points. I can hardly pass it off as health, can I.

Lord, how the flowers bloom.

It is Week 6, Day 1 of the happy pills and I can feel something like happiness seeping back into my system.

  • I found myself singing a song this morning, not for very long, but there was definitely singing.
  • I walked to my office and back again and enjoyed the sunshine (1 Health point, as it is a 40-minute walk).
  • As I was walking, I noticed how attractive the general public suddenly looked, esp the runners with their muscular legs.
  • Hot guys are flirting with me on the dating website and I am glad of their attention. I am meeting the big smily entrepreneur, who we shall call William, tomorrow and I am excited about it.
  • My weight has dropped to 143 pounds because I have stopped comfort-eating, I am now only ten pounds over what I should be and am optimistic that I can get the rest off.
  • Physical energy gradually returning. The crushing fatigue which until very recently was lasting from morning ’til night is now only hitting me in short bursts and I am learning to take tactical naps as necessary.
  • Concentration at work has improved a lot.
  • The celebrity Botox clinic called me and I am having Botox NEXT WEDNESDAY.


Naughty by Nature: Sunshine

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