I had a mad moment yesterday - I’m often gripped with these bursts of energy and inspiration that disappear almost as quickly as they arrive. I’ve been feeling a bit down and frumpy recently, Lydia’s insistence on calling me Granny every time she sees me is not helping much. She finds it hilarious, I find it all a bit tedious – I’m younger than her. I was also a bit hacked off at Janey and Darren’s anniversary party because I felt like a pelican surrounded by all the exotic and pampered birds of paradise. “Darling, you look fine” said Bea as she admired her glossy French polished nails. Fine. Not lovely, not beautiful, just fine.
When you look in your make up bag what do you see? The gorgeous array of Mac colours that Janey has? The complete Boots Natural range like Eliza’s? A mix of Rimmel, L’Oreal and Miss Sixty that Charlie has? Or broken eyeshadow compacts, sharpened-to-within-an-inch-of-their-life eyeliner pencils, three (empty) tubes of mascara and a lipstick circa 1997? The latter, in case you hadn’t already guessed, is mine.
Mum always used to tell me that not wearing a lot of make-up as you grew up meant that you didn’t have to wear a lot of make up when you were older. She got by with a bare face unless she was going out "out" and then it was only eyeshadow and mascara. Bea has always impressed upon me the need to buy quality. Lydia manages with an age old block of mascara, a frequently washed brush and some face bronzer. When I tried face bronzer I looked like I’d been microwaved.
I love Avon: give me an Avon catalogue (old styley in the event of their online shop but even so), a pen, some paper and a cup of tea and I’m in heaven. No matter that I cover one side of A4 with the list of goodies that I want, cut it by at least half and then talk myself out of buying the three different shades of lip plumping lip gloss and end up with just some brown nail varnish, hand cream and their bubble bath.
I love wandering round the beauty counters too but am put off by the white suited ladies who pop up just as I’m drooling over the eye colour palettes and offer to make me over. Telling myself that they’re probably on commission on whatever they offload after the make-over does not in any way stop me thinking that they obviously think that I’m in need of a makeover. I scuttle away and end up buying another mascara and an entirely unsuitable lipstick.
I started out with good intentions whilst I was mooching around The Glades in Bromley. Mac was at Ben’s for the day and I was finding my feet as a lady of leisure. I had a coffee, a wander outside, spent ages in Waterstones looking for David’s birthday present and then moseyed on down to the glamour counter at Debenhams. Such an array of Clinique and Clarins that would bring Bea to her knees and tears of joy. I was promised by the display stands that I would “discover a natural flush of light airy colour” and David would discover I’d spent the best part of a hundred quid on make up that matches our pink bathroom exactly. An over-zealous, over-painted harpie (who looked a lot like Big Brother 9’s Lisa) was heading in my direction so I left, sharp exit stage left.
Into Boots and I felt more at home: L’Oreal, Rimmell, Number 7……safe cosmetics and no overly pushy sales people intent on telling me that the horrific shade of purple lipstick would suit me “beautifully”. I favour browns, purples and moss greens for my eyes, black “bog standard” mascara, simple safe eye pencils in either aubergine or brown and nude, non descript lipsticks and glosses. I toyed with the idea of buying an electric blue eye liner but my eye (and hands) were drawn to the liquid eyeliner, such a funky pot. Then I saw the most amazing eyeshadow compact that ranged from the softest, almost white green to the most vivid bottle green and threw it in my basket along with a trio of browns: sable, mink and mocha. Kate Moss raves about it so I bought one of these too. A pinky-brown lipstick found its way into my hot little mitt and my basket, as did a wonderfully scented make up removal liquid and some cotton wool pads. Eyelash curlers too (I was seriously enjoying myself despite the fact that the last time I used eyelash curlers I nearly yanked them all out) and a brand new make up bag that cost almost as much as the make up. Oh, and lip plumping lip gloss as I most definitely wasn’t born with it. Fake tan was added to the basket, along with this. Perusing the hair care aisle I rang Amanda at Shear Class who could fit me in on Friday “for some colours, Lorna can’t make her appointment cos she’s did her back in when she was in the Lake District”.
When I got home I unloaded my booty and sorted through my current make-up bag ditching the 1997 lipstick, all of my diddy eyeliner pencils, all three mascara tubes and all the eyeshadow compacts that, compared to my brand new ultra glossy ones, looked dingy and horrible. I sat there for a while, looking like a Bond villain, stroking the shiny exterior of the bag and emitting high pitched giggles.
David is worried about a) my sanity b) the bank balance and c) how far I’ll go on this self improvement scheme. He’s started saying derogatory things about plastic surgery and, today, rang me to tell me that his PA’s daughters breast implants "almost exploded” during her flight to Singapore.