1 I feel really really old and lined and yet congested and spotty today. I put on loads of make-up and felt disgusting and sticky and looked like an old man about to go on stage as Widow Twanky. So I took most of it off and feel a bit better, but mostly feel awful.
This is strange because my main psychological problem is that I have absurdly high self esteem. I think I’m amazing, look really young for my age and am terribly funny.
I am confronted by evidence to the contrary all the time, and yet this delusion persists. But today I don’t feel it. I feel as lumpen and rotten and saggy and ancient as I actually look and feel.
I’ve GOT to do something about these foul tiny lumps and blackheads round my chin and jaw. The progesterone cream isn’t working clearing it up. The Glow Tonic keeps it at bay but doesn’t eradicate it. Microdermabrasion?
I also need a facelift. My study is a disgraceful jumble of boxes and bits of Christmas decorations. Why can’t I keep it tidy? Do I have that little self-respect.
I hate what I’m wearing. I hate my hair today. I have chewed skin off my bottom lip so it looks like I’ve been in a fight – my thumb cuticles are dry and picked-at. I have a burgeoning headache, neuralgia, puffy eyes and the onset of some acid reflux.
2 A mention on Instagram by Mother Pukka, (whom I now love inordinately because she said she liked my Stories – craven, me? But I also like her FlexAppeal stuff and am staggered at how much shit she gets on Mumsnet – I would have crumpled), means that I am hurtling towards 10,000 followers on Instagram.
When I get to 10,000 followers I get a thing on Instagram called “Swipe Up.” I have in the past coveted this like mad because it means you can send people to your blog or wherever else you fancy on the internet with a link from your Stories rather than them having to click on the link in your Instagram bio. BUT – as an Instagram consumer, I don’t really use Swipe Up that much. I feel like I’m being flogged-to a bit. I also don’t like to interrupt the flow of my Story-watching. What do you think? I wager a good 40% of you are not on Instagram or if you are, have no opinion, but if you do, tell me.
3 I want to find the perfect pair of invisible trainer socklet thingies. I don’t mean white cotton trainer socks, I mean totally invisible beige stocking slithers of fabric. I’m looking for pairs that will not ping off and roll down inside your trainer when walking along. I’m wearing a pair right now from John Lewis, which are promising. Any other recommendations?
4 Considering all of the above, plus my actually really mad and furious dash yesterday to Uniqlo in order to buy a £14 mesh navy shopper, I think I probably have quite bad PMT. I have alerted my husband to this and he has promised not to look me directly in the eye for the rest of the day. I have taken my vitamins and a StarFlower oil capsule and hope to go back to believing quite soon that I am, in fact, Margot Robbie.
You are not old and lined. You are very beautiful and you have lovely swishy hair. Xx
Alexandra Minton says
You do look super young and you are super funny. Fuck you PMT.
Have you tried using oil free products skin wise? Dermatologist told me to do that and I don’t get those chin spots any more.
Leah Serruya says
You’re ARE Margot Robbie and the pool are such a clique of head nodding smug bores (that long since ran out of any interesting content) I unsubscribed ages ago.
Leah Serruya says
God I got autocorrected but you get the gist.
misspellings never bother me. sometimes I leave typos in my blog on purpose because spelling nazis are losers. though if there are any reading this, they’re not losers and I love you.
Georgina Dylan says
I agree with EC, god grammar pedants do my nut in!
Swipe up is of no interest. Lots of the fashion mags have it, I have used it, got annoyed and swiped right on to the next story. Your Insta stories are just great without it.
I love this, it’s like you’ve accidentally posted your diary. I started warning my husband about PMT too, so now I will not be held fucking accountable if he carries on asking me inane questions and making stupid jokes like he’s going to get a normal response. It took me a while though to realise it was not a good time to try things on or look in the mirror. Do vitamins and Star flower really help? I’ve been treating mine with chocolate and seething rage but maybe it’s time for a change.
I KNOW I totally wanted it to feel like a mad teen diary. I think Starflower is very good actually. possibly around 40% placebo but, you know, sometimes that’s not necessarily a bad thing
Thank you, I will look for it x
I think starflower does have an effect. I am a weeping insecure mess with PMT, horrible to my small children and nastier to myself, but much less so when I take this.
Esther somebody mentions the socky things from Primark below – I was about to recommend them too, they are the only ones that don’t slip down your heel.
I quite like swipe up for easy links to blogs and products, but is very easy to ignore if you’re not interested.
And for what it’s worth, like MOST of your readers, your content is brilliant and the ONLY blog I read as soon as a post is out. *Fangirling*
Thank you Anna – less of that is definitely the ticket x
Ooooohhh Annaaaahhhhhh xxxx
I take a mix of Starflower and evening primrose oil (normally on a 3 for 2 offer in Superdrug) and it makes a huge difference – it stops me feeling so ragey with my kids and much more able to deal with their inane questions.
Esther, I wanted to watch your Stories, esp. make-up one, but can’t work out where link is. Can you direct me?
In passing, Skin Accumax by ANP might be worth a try for your skin
Hi Maureen, there isn’t a link as such, you have to have the Instagram app on your phone or iPad…
I loved your Max Factor live make up tutorial.. especially interesting was the crescent thing around les yeux. Bobbie Brown do a lip tint called bare pink which you put on like lipstick and it brings out the natural shade of your lips, so looks au naturel and not like you’re wearing lipstick – you said your lips were too big. I struggle too with finding comfortable trainer liners. I’m a size 8 and they’re never big enough! So frustrating. You’re the funniest person I know on Instagram and you have a lovely personality.
Swipe up annoys me. And whenever I hear the name Margot I mentally jump straight to the lady from the Good Life…and to be fair I thought, god I adore Margot from the good life, Esther really is as shit hot as her, I wish I were as cool as her 🙂
Caroline Hirons is the girl to speak to about your skin. I would die for one of her face consultations!
When I hear ‘Margot’ I think of Anne Frank’s sister. I’m not sure what this says about my life/psyche
Btw agree with Leah about The Pool and espesh Ms Hughes. They’re so self righteous. Also Ms Hughes was v rude to me on Twitter and I’ve never forgiven her. 😱
Oh no that’s awful
Claire O'C says
Swipe up annoys me too, I have done it once or twice and definitely felt I was being sold to, so I really dont think you need to as your posts are great without it. You do make me laugh as i have a similar crazy view that I’m still about 35 and that because I’ve been working hard on my fitness ready for summer that all the tiny bikinis I see online will look great on me – then sadly I saw by true body ( not the picture I have of my body in my head ) and realised I am still a 51 menopausal woman! PS how the hell did you get that Uniglo bag in Navy!!
I stole it off the mannequin! last one in the shop. told you I was being crazy
I sent some stuff to the Beauty Bank but agree 100% about the smug and self righteous The Pool.
PMT is the living worst but we can and should OWN it and everyone else can do one in the meantime. Also, you should consider donating the stuff to Give & Make Up which is Caroline Hirons’ scheme set up to donate directly to women’s refuges. I feel like the Beauty Bank is a ripped off idea of that and I feel a bit for Caroline, but perhaps I’m also being PMT-y and unnecessarily mean-spirited about the whole thing. EIther way, enjoy your day of rage and take it out on the £14 shopper if you have to x
You are gorgeous and funny and I love your insta stories without any swiping (though I can’t even be bothered to unsubscribe the Pool, I just don’t go there anymore). I’m with Kathrine OWN the seething rage. xo
When we met you at Costa Navarino last year my husband said “there’s no way those are her kids, she looks about 25”!!!
Ha! Thanks Lois that is really kind to say x
My tip is to put sheepskin insoles into your shoes and you won’t need shitty socklets again.
I also want to say I get a little jump of excitement when there is a new Spike post and you were amazing doing makeup and chatting so naturally yesterday. Thanks for the joy.
Thanks Sally xxx
I feel a bit meh about Swipe Up but you may as well use it for affiliate links and be rewarded for your excellent recommendations etc. I thought your live make up tutorial was great too, didn’t know about the crescent eye thing or the ‘3’ bronzer thing. And you have great hair.
Thanks Jenny xxx I will try a couple of different things and see what works. I think maybe sparing use of swipe up is good
Disclaimer: I never, ever leave comments on anything on the internet that aren’t positive, because I don’t think it’s fair to judge people who you don’t know, who are writing for reasons you don’t know.
I’m making an exception here to make a comment as somebody who has teally enjoyed your writing for a really long time. I’m seriously thinking about unsubscribing because I haven’t worn make up in 7 years. I work in an office environment. I just don’t give a shit about fashion or make up. Is the subject of your blog going to change, or should I just unsubscribe?
I don’t understand why you subscribed in the first place. I made it really clear when I started The Spike that this was going to be a lifestyle and consumer blog, and it has never been anything other than that. I’ve always discussed cosmetics and fashion. Have you been reading for all this time wondering when I was going to start talking about something else? Please – be free. Unsubscribe.
Sure, I completely understand that – but lifestyle and consumer isn’t exclusively fashion and beauty. I read because I really enjoy your writing regardless of the subject – there is no negativity intended here. Please accept my apologies if I caused any offence!!
Lizzie I very rarely take offence, don’t think on it at all. I was only baffled that you had been reading this long and yet feeling frustrated that I was not attending to subjects that you thought I might. Yes you are entirely right – lifestyle and consumer isn’t exclusively fashion and beauty, and I do often post recipes, or stuff about kids clothes or interiors – but it’s all a bit of a jumble. I wish I was organised enough to do a Meat Free Monday, then an interiors tuesday, fashion wednesday or whatever the fuck you’re supposed to do, but I just can’t be bothered. Life doesn’t work that way! And this is, after all, a personal blog. I can’t remember what I was saying now. Anyway look if there’s something in particularly you want me to write about or investigate just say! I take requests. x
*small voice* I really like The Pool though and I love Sali Hughes.
Me too! Sali is ace.
I don’t really swipe up but it doesn’t bother me as such… would anyone stop watching your stories because of it? Surely they’d just ignore it..?
Have you tried The Ordinary? Their Niacinamide + Zinc has finally shifted my disgusting chinful of hormonal spots and blackheads. And it’s a fiver (and comes in a cool bottle 🙄).
Esther, ever since RecipeRifle, your blog posts have been the only ones that get an instant look the moment I realise they’re out. Funny as fuck and it’s like having someone who has all the same tastes as I do (i.e. excellent OBV) but with the knowledge and understanding to know what to actually buy and wear and put on your face and eat and stuff. I’d already resolved to comment more, and today seems as good a time as any!
thanks Louise I will try this! I am also going to stop using an oil cleanser as although I love it I think it *might* be the culprit
I second The Ordinary! It is one of several lines from Deciem, The Abnormal Beauty Company. Look it up, they have really good information about what products to use in what order for what type of skin. They are a Canadian company trying to eliminate the absurd prices and lack of transparency of so many beauty companies – so everything is amazingly well priced and they tell you exactly what percentage of which active ingredient is in each product. I have been using the skin brightening range and can really see a difference, even on the backs of my hands (because I rub any extra product into my hands). And there are lots of reviews online from people with break-out prone skin saying they have finally found something that makes a difference, doesn’t require a prescription, and is affordable. Hope it works for you!! ps. I know how it feels to wake up and feel disgusting about all kinds of things about oneself – wrinkles, bloated, grey hair peeking through – and about one’s environment – messy house, etc etc. But you really are very beautiful and funny and all good things xx
Thanks Nikki – I will definitely go to The Ordinary.. I passed by one in Covent Garden and should have gone in and now I will x
I have to agree with some other commentators that I find the Pool too condescending and self-righteous nowadays. There are some exceptions but generally they need to lighten up a little, so I think it’s pretty good of you to rise above the slating of your husband. No one would judge you if you told them to b*gger off. Well I wouldn’t anyway, but I perhaps get overly defensive of my husband, in a “I can call him a dick but you can’t” kind of way. ANYWAY, thought your MF tutorial was great, not so fussed about the swipe up thing though.
Sudge (@Sudge) says
It’s the end of half term… We all bloody feel like that and I’ve been in Spain for a week with one scut, whilst his little brother was at home in wrap around preschool.
You’re gorgeous and I totally did your makeup this morning ❤️
slightly scared..i am feeling exactly the same. and therefore buffed, cleansed and charlotte tilbury’d the shit out of my skin last night in the vague hope of feeling ‘livlier’ in myself today. kind of worked. put on new favourite jeans – levis wedgie fit – amazeballs (head nod to gizzi erskine for the tip) and slathered myself in self tan last night. it makes a bloody difference. it really does. pale is beautiful and all that but there are levels of pale and mine was not beautiful.
re: sock thingies I know you want nude, but they make your feed sweaty. stick to the white cotton. .i have tried every pair from low to stupidly pathetically high price and the best of the best are…. da- da-daaaaaaa…. Primark. pack of 3 £3.50 i think. will insta message you a pic of them they are super duper hidey even with lowest trainers… (yes. your spankly new KG ones.)
I love your blog. I envy the rate you post. I seem to save up and purge post. would love your comments on mine (no pressure.. you’re not like those ‘the pool’ people are you……? (they rejected every piece I have submitted to them. Whatevs.)
Oh, one last thing – swipe up – hmmm, i kind of like it.. if i like the thing it’s referring to. Eg. Caroline hirons posted an amazing t shirt. i loved it. I swiped. Anthropologie. job done. same with certain beauty products, eg. Nadine Baggot often does it. I have to be in the moochy mood to swipe though.
Enjoy your swiping. Enjoy your 10k followers. Enjoy your swishy hair. Enjoy the fact you don’t look your age.
Mylifeasadomestictechnician (quite a mouthful!), I wanted to thank you. I was feeling horrid – fat and ugly – and then one child came down with a severe flu while the other went stir crazy over a long weekend, obviously at the exact moment hubby went away for five nights. After reading your post I decided to at least use whatever time I did have to detox, to remember to drink gallons of water, and, when the kids went to bed, to exfoliate and apply masks all over myself. I have now also made time to dye my hair, pluck the eyebrows, and rub on some fake tan. Back to work tomorrow, but my daughter is on the mend and my skin looks a million times better. All I need is a good night of sleep tonight and hopefully I will feel ready to face the day! Thanks for the inspiration xx
yayyy! it makes a bloody difference doesn’t it? couldn’t be arsed every day, but how lovely once in a while to go luxe and make yourself feel nice. xxxxx
Beauty comes from within and no amount of lotions & potions will cure bad skin. Kefir is the way ahead: read up about it at The Chuckling Goat. It’s an acquired taste but well worth it.
Esther, as you already use acids (Glow Tonic), give Medik8 2% Salicylic acid pads a try – £27 for 60 (so last 2 months if you use once in the evening). Really helped me – salicylic works better for congestion/blocked pores/comedones than glycolic I think. Btw I have nothing whatsoever to do with the company, i’ve just tried everything and these actually do work! Might need to up your moisturiser though as salicylic can be drying for some (i’ve found this not at all too bad though). Good luck! 👍😍 Love your posts and Insta – please don’t stop!
Thanks Louise! top tips xx
Joanna R says
OH Esther, bloody hormones! They have a lot to answer for. At 44 I’ve just gone onto magic hrt and it is AMAZING! You’re too young for that but pmt sucks. Also, I quite like swipe up, I’m on Insta as farfromthemadding, it’s handy but doesn’t bother me too much. Have a lovely weekend x
I think the oil cleansers (I tried Simple) are the culprit, most writers seem to love them but they make me break out every time I venture back hoping to be wrong… In the end go with what works for you. But cleansers are SO HARD!! If I break out I use Simple wipes which are environmentally terrible but always make my skin happy when I use them.
Your writing is great, you look fabulous in all the photos and hormones are THE ROOT OF ALL OUR PROBLEMS.
Microdermabrasion is great as long as your skin can take it. Mine is hardened from years of acne treatment so it can. The Vaishaly spa in Marylebone really sorted my skin out years ago and calmed it down (alongside dermatologist stuff). They do microdermabrasion and high frequency which feels lovely. Also if you can bear going out to Chiswick Prof Tony Chu is THE man for acne treatment.
I’ve given up social media for lent and one of the things I’m missing most is your insta stories, if that makes you feel any better.
Love your writing, love the blog, always makes me laugh. Hate the swipe up thing – just feels like I have stuff being pushed at me – be careful what you wish for with it.
(*whispers* I love the pool et al, but appreciate they can be a bit much)
They’re fine! Just doing a job. And they’re entitled to turn my husband over if they want, but I get a bit defensive about him as he works hard and looks after us all, sometimes by writing rude and controversial things and he takes the flak on the chin, without complaining. So when people have a massive go at him I can sometimes get upset, especially when it’s a media outlet I had previously thought was roughly on my side.
And rightly so. I’d be the first to defend the other half.
I laughed so hard once at one of Giles’ comments that I had tea come out of my nose… I can’t actually remember the joke (so it can’t have been as good as “c’mon birdies…”) but it must have been pretty amusing. Stupid Pool… Generally, the “anti-Giles” commentators are very unfunny. So basically rubbish. Funny is all in all.
Still love your blog and all your fashion tips and advice and enjoy following you on Instagram, although I missed the make up tutorial as I was at work, ggrrrr. I actually follow loads of fashion people on Instagram now, but there are only a few I like. Some are so desperate and needy, unlike you, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s because you have another job. I also thought you looked the best in the photo, from the Max Factor evening and your pleather mini is great. I have also ordered a really nice jumper from the Ines range, which is different from the ones you suggested but I like it. And they have reduced all their merino wool jumpers. So, don’t stop what you are doing please. I had really bad hormonal spots last year, I’m 51 ffs, and was diagnosed with anemia, since I’ve started taking more supplements my skin has improved. Also why does no one ever rave about Liz Earle skin care? Her cleanser is still the best in my view. Been using it forever and always go back to it. Sorry about this long diatribe, I am rushing, and can’t be bothered to do paragraphs or grammar. Teenagers need feeding before they start on each other………
I’ve was anemic for a long time and it caused me loads of different problems, I was losing a ton of hair and all sorts. Amazing the difference once I started treating it, I take Spatone now to ward it off.
Yes I was surprised at how awful I felt Cindy. Spatone is what I have been taking once I stopped the prescribed iron tablets. Have also just got some Feroglobin capsules, as Spatone is supposed to be taken on an empty stomach and I never have one of those.
Hope you get your zest back soon. Feeling miserable is just horrid.
I’ve been meaning to say this for ages and today, when you’re a little blue, seems as good a time as any… I LOVE your blog. There are so many mummy/fashion blogs which are really inane and basically ‘I like this jumper. Oh and this one’s nice too’. Or complete stream of consciousness rambling. Which is fine, you know, if it works for you.
But yours is just a treat-it’s so sharp and funny and original and surprising. I feel now that I’m gushing in a very non-spike way so I’ll leave it at that! But thank you x
Oh Willow thank you. That is really kind of you to take the time to say that. I must admit sometimes I AM a bit “this is a nice jumper” but I really really hope that I provide value, too. I’ve only ever wanted to be a writer and it’s a difficult time at the moment in newspapers and magazines, so I’m really grateful for your support.
Falke do really good nude teeny sock things and they dont make your feet sweat! 👍
Hello Esther, is there a way you can replay the Insta make up story? I missed it and fear it has now gone forever. Thank you
I’d love to see it too. I’m a bit dim with Instagram, but was looking forward to watching it in the evening and couldn’t find it again.
Hi Liz! I will do it again. And I will try to maybe post a video here, though I have tried in the past and it hasn’t worked – I possibly did something terrible to a WordPress administrator in my 20s and am on some kind of list
Next invisible trainer sock things have a teeny gel bit at the back that stop them pinging off your feet. They are AMAZING. Not beige but never pingy.
Your blog is fab. One of the few I regularly follow and your instastories are pretty much the only ones I watch (except perhaps Erica Davies too – she uses quite a lot of swiping and it in no way bothers me, she’s entirely open about anything sponsored and if I like it I can look, if not I don’t have to – wouldn’t put me off at all if you added).
I hear great things about the ordinary. But frankly the routines seem too bloody complicated to work out. Not expensive though so perhaps worth a go. Although give it a week and I bet the PMT and the bumps will be better!
Keep the fab writing coming please 👏🏻👍🏻
Thanks Lous – I will check out Erica Davies to see how it’s done! xxx
OMG. You looked lovely in the post today. If you could see my attempt you would absolutely cheer up. Something went wrong between the C and the 3! xx
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT BABEZ
I never swipe up. I generally go straight to your stories – I love the variety. Don’t change. It’s a haven from people’s immaculately insta staged kitchens(which depress me and make me feel inadequate) ps on defending Giles I love his responses to comments on his column.
it brings him joy – but mainly ruins our Saturday mornings. I might insist he spends Saturday mornings in his study from now on so that the kids aren’t going DAD DAD DAD DAD DAD DAD and he doesn’t reply because he’s face down in Twitter
Faith @MuchMore_Less says
I have zip all useful advice on skin care so hope suggestions from others help. But I am wildly jealous of you hurtling towards the swipe up threshold on Instagram. I love all the pretty pics on Insta, but got fed up as it does eff all in redirecting people to my blog. Do think swipe up is a useful function if people are genuinely interested in buying something they see in stories, or reading more about a topic, and it’s easy to ignore if not. All power to your elbow.
Caroline Wofinden says
Hope you’re feeling better today? You’re funny and an inspiration – I have gone from frumpy to feeling like I look a little bit cool because of your capsule recommendations, and for that you should feel happy – helping people is awesome so that makes you lovely, even if you (wrongly) feel shite. PMT is pants! xxx
ha ha! yes I feel a bit better, thanks xx
Louise "Elbows" Jack (@xloubellxx) says
cindy fried says
Sorry you have felt a bit mojo-less – I’d say it is general end- of-winter-ness and wretched PMT (and half term). Bet you will see a vast improvement next week – or the week after, depending on school.
Love your Stories! Swipe up wouldn’t bother me at all – I sometimes swipe and sometimes not – particularly love House and Garden’s, where I can perve over the domestic porn.
Also missed the make up tutorial and sure could use it.
‘Head nodding smug bores’ – it is so perfect when someone puts what has been nibbling around the edges of one’s subconscious into perfect words. The Pool has gone the same way as Lena Dunham’s newsletter for me, though I love Sali’s column in the Guardian on Saturdays.
As for your husband – I can’t look at Prince George without what Giles wrote about him last year making me smirk, and sometimes laugh out loud. Not a lot of newspaper columnists can get close to that.
Finally re Starflower Oil – two a day from Tesco stops my hips from aching and I really notice the creaking in my joints when I forget to take it for a few days. #yesimancient
I can’t even REMEMBER what Giles wrote about prince george… xxx
Esther, this mad rant really made me smile. Only discovered you fairly recently and I’m so glad I did. You’re a sharp, smart, crazy gal and I always look forward to seeing what you’ve written. Don’t go changin’ xx
Amanda I couldn’t even if I tried. I’m feeling much less mad today x
Tesco sell bamboo fibre shoe liners which are really amazing. You can even put them in the tumble dryer and they don’t shrink. I feel your pain regarding shoe liners slipping down inside your trainer!
Love your Instagram stories – stay real, it’s so refreshing.
Thanks Camilla! xxx
Hope you’re feeling better Esther? God this resonated. I’m not sure (but I do kinda hope) there’s many of us out there that have ridiculously high self esteem but I totally get it. Your Margot Robbie is my Cate Blanchett (I look nothing like her and I mean NOTHING) and I think I have body dysmorphia to the point that I’m sure I haven’t put on any weight – all my favourite shops just keep on shrinking their sizes every effing year…🤔
I never bother with the swipe thing on insta stories and look out for yours every day. Like others, I came here by way of Recipe Rifle and it’s not over the top to say that if you get stopped writing or posting I’d feel like a little bit of me died inside. My husband has a habit of asking me at random times how many things I’m thinking about (cos he knows it’s at least 10 and with him it’s none, one and at a stretch two). My point is, of my minimum of ten thoughts, I can know that you’ve given voice to AT LEAST half of them either via insta or here in the last 24 hours. It’s reassuring. Spiker hive mind maybe?
I could ramble some more but my 5 yr old is wondering why I’m letting her watch Netflix and not making any attempt whatsoever to do bath and bed at 6.55 pm…🙄
Carry on being you. Oh and second The Ordinary. Xxx
Cathy! Thank you for taking the time to write this. I often leave my children wandering about unsupervised while I write reams and reams of stuff to various people. I personally feel like that comment was worth the delayed bedtime xx
H&M 3 pack shaftless (wtf) sock. Highly recommend xx
WTF?!?! thanks x
J crew trainer socks are the best. I’ve tried many in the past and these ones don’t shrink, slip or show. Not cheap though unless you’re stateside…
really love the blog, thanks Esther. I frequently dip in to see what you’re saying, and I’m never disappointed 🙂 x