I had a very affecting message the other day from a woman who seems to be having a terrible time.
“I am very stressed,” she said, “I am not sleeping. My eyes have dark circles and are really puffy. I’ve got about £50 to spend – is there any cream you’d recommend to help me?”
Fuck the cream, I said. Save your money. I gave her the following advice.
1 Take your vitamins, even if just a Centrum multi-vit. In winter, I also take A Vitamin D spray from Better You, available from Amazon here.
(Off topic but quite amusing… Amazon recently signed up to an affiliate link programme, which is where if you click that link above and buy the thing I get a payout from Amazon. This was briefly great news for people like me – until it turns out that Amazon have not been paying out on their affiliate link cuts to influencers! 5% of me quite admires what massive awful badasses Amazon are. Feel free to buy that spray elsewhere, that link was really just to give you the exact name, what it looks like and how much it costs.)
2 Drink water. I don’t mean pints and pints, but when you are stressed and tired the last thing you will do is drink water. I have in my life gone weeks without water, just tea, tea, tea, noodle water, tea, diet coke, gin. If you are drinking none, just drink some. I will leave exact amounts up to you.
3 Keep the eyes hydrated. One of those heatable eye masks that you can bung in the microwave and heat up and lie down with over your eyes I think really help. For treatment for acute puffiness, one of those gel eye masks you keep in the fridge may do something.
4 Staying on the theme of hydration – moisturise around the eye. I often use either Eight Hour Cream or Lansinoh before bed. I have also discovered a really good new Argan Oil supplier – recommended to me by a mum at school. If you have dry or unruly hair it’s really transformative a as a hair mask – put it on 30 mins before you wash your hair. Otherwise you can use on any dry areas and also around your eyes. If you don’t like putting sticky cream on your face just before bed, wash your face as soon as you’re at home for the day and put it on then. By the time you go to sleep it will have absorbed but will still get the effect of any few snatched hours of sleep you’re getting.
5 It’s not for me to tell anyone to lay off the booze in times of stress. But it will make you look shit.
If you really, really want to just throw some money at the problem, I have found Elemis SOS Emergency Cream to be genuinely effective. But nothing can totally mask the ravages of total self-neglect, especially at my age – an expensive cream can only build on solid foundations.
Another side, side topic… I have been totally engrossed in the Clemmie Hooper drama recently – where she went onto the discussion forum Tattle under an anonymous handle and was mean about her peers.
Not very nice for people she was mean about, (reading horrible things about yourself is, well, horrible, especially as it turns out it was from someone who actually knows you), but I really felt for her. It was such a risky and desperate thing to do – it struck me as just the sort of total, massive loss of sense and perspective that Instagram encourages. I have had a glimpse of what those major instagrammer lives are like and the pace is relentless, the online abuse is relentless. I actually reckon that she wasn’t the only one driven to it, she’s just the only one who has been caught.
Totally agree with you over MOD. They’re all as bad as each I reckon but as you say she’s the one that got found out. The entire insta world has got beyond whatever it was originally meant to be; a place to share your experiences etc. Yours is great btw, as is Giles’ real life in north London 😊
Lovely post Esther.
MOD wasn’t just a bitch about her peers – she perpetuated racist tropes about a black woman she subsequently went on to use for her own gain. It worries and depresses me how silent the majority of the (white) insta mummies are about this.
Absolutely agree with Louise, this is the really despicable element. MOD needs some racism training amongst other things. I think her comments are all the more shocking against the backdrop of her being a midwife and that black women statistically have much worse outcomes in childbirth. That someone so vocal and trusted in the world of womens health could say what she did just peels back another layer of awfulness. She must really hate herself.
You’re right Esther about eye area hydration being key – much thinner skin there I believe, hence trans epidermal water loss (I think this is what makes your skin look crap, tired, grey, papery) is more pronounced?? I’m not a skin expert in any way, but mine always looks worse when dehydrated. A very cheap, but highly effective method for the under eye area is a thin-ish coating of Vaseline (yep) at night – because it’s occlusive, it prevents the aforementioned trans epidermal water loss, hence you wake up with bouncier under eye skin. Any sort of long wearing concealers will make eyes look worse because their ingredients (usually volatile silicones) are often quite “astringent” (probably not the right word), in order to make them last longer, thus they will further dehydrate the under eye skin. Creamy, emollient concealers much much better (RMS Beauty makes a great one). I hope the lady who wrote in can just get some rest/sleep somehow! Everything is harder without sleep isn’t it. Don’t know anything about precise details of the Clemmie Hooper thing, but I agree it sounds like a desperate act….who knows what may have driven it…..
Clare Nash says
I utterly agree with Louise about MOD. I could understand the occasional tanked-up bit of anonymous trolling given the ‘pressure’ of being trolled oneself (and I put it in inverted commas simply because of the vast vast pressures that many others without partners, jobs, money or beautiful houses are under). I can’t however understand how she could have maintained this kind of behaviour over more than a year. That’s the bit that’s missing for me. Nobody on Insta has received more than MOD and FOD and it makes many of us very queasy indeed. (You have brilliantly recognised this aspect of insta Esther and you mitigate against it). So to discover that she’s *also* arguably a not terribly nice person makes it all worse. No schadenfreude from me though as a) it’s awful and b) I reckon they’re having a truly terrible time as a family now and no one wants that for anyone. I think they need to give it all up though.
Sarah Robson says
You’re such a thoughtful person Esther. I’m wondering if it’s ever tough supporting all your followers and that it takes a toll and that sometimes you might need to offload. (Awful grammar but I hope you get my drift!)
I agree with Louise regarding MOD. She wasn’t just ‘mean’ about her peers (and some of them were actually her friends – Mother Pukka credited her with helping her through baby loss and miscarriage), she said some unforgivable things about Candice Braithwaite and like people are starting to realise – she’s a midwife and when you look at the statistics regarding black women and giving birth in this country, those comments are a lot more serious & thoughtless than at first glance. She also said she went on there to defend her family, which people have quickly sussed simply by looking at the dates & what she wrote, isn’t true. She went on there to trash a single mother living in social housing, Cash Carraway. And as far as I could see the negative stuff to do with her on there wasn’t anything personal regarding her children, it was people feeling sorry for their kids and questioning MOD and FOD’s integrity and honesty. All that coupled with how vocal she’s been about trolls literally up until last week (she took down a pic of herself in a pink boiler suit because she was apparently ‘trolled’ about it?) makes me wonder how she’ll come back from this, if at all. I’m sure she’s having a terrible time at the moment, as are her family, but she really has no one to blame but herself for this. She should just stick to her day job.
Great tips re the eye bags!
Yes water makes such a difference. I found it hard to remember this and it took getting quite ill over the past year and having the doctor essentially prescribing it for me to actually drink more; I am so addicted to tea. I was always pouring a glass then leaving it somewhere. I find having lemon slices helps. I’ve had awful bouts of insomnia recently and my husband bought me some Passionflower tea (maybe he mistakenly thought it was for something else) and it really helped, maybe placebo effect but I’ll take it. As for the Instagram stuff I hadn’t seen it and only vaguely know of those concerned, but it sounds all a bit depressing. I think it must be terribly difficult for those who have hitched the wagon of their real life so completely to an algorithm to deal with the consequences when the wheels come off. The internet now reminds me of a horror story I read as a child where a woman was given an antique ring that enabled her to hear the thoughts of everyone around her and it was all jolly japes until it drove her insane and she eventually cut her hand off to make it stop (I assume she had tried washing up liquid and ice cubes etc first).
Thanks for the eye bag tips … I’ve resorted to wearing my glasses full time, so I’ll try your suggestions. The MoD thing … I used to follow her and FoD ages ago, but I stopped following him when it became clear his posts were becoming more and more staged, rather than the impromptu posts he started off with. I stopped following her when she was clearly trying to blag a free designer bag (‘oh, some of my followers are saying that @designername should send me a free one, lol’) – just felt as though they were starting to believe their own hype, so to speak. I don’t really buy her reasons for doing the tattle thing: one of her Insta friends said she was trolled by Clemmie’s fake account for over 8 months: all the while she was talking to Clemmie about the horrible things being said about her, and Clemmie looking her in the eye and consoling her. Whatever place MoD is currently in, surely it’s now time to step away from social media and just get on with life? It will be interesting to see if she/they can just step back and live a regular life, or whether the adulation and Insta celebrity status has become too powerful a drug to give up.
Oh god the MOD thing. What an absolute mess. I do feel sorry for everyone involved and sad that people are driven to do awful things over what is basically just a pimped up online magazine.
2 glasses of water, for the first time in too long, whilst reading up on all of the mod shenanigans without having an insta account.
You are so right about water, but why do we find it so hard to drink all the time? I recently limped along to an osteopath with aching hips and ankles and her opinion is that I am very dehydrated, she also had the pleasure of touching my desiccated skin and that supported her theory.
I read some good advice from Jack Monroe – the cook – on giving up alcohol and she recommended making up jugs of herbal tea and leaving them to chill in the fridge, and drinking that whenever the urge to drink grog / coke / tea took hold. Needless to say I haven’t done that once.
Janie yes it went without saying. Someone once told me that all you need to do is drink one glass of water with every meal and you’re basically done. Sometimes I can’t even do that.
It not the easiest option but giving up the booze is definitely the quickest way to good sleep and peachy skin. I stopped drinking for a few months and my god the transformation was miraculous. I look and feel a decade younger, and I was just having a glass or two of wine a night, not hiding gin in my coffee cups. Turns out insomnia, anxiety, IBS, acne, puffy eyes, that weird redness on my skin, all gone thanks to a few months alcohol free, and tbh I think insomnia is really the root of it all, which is in turn caused by drinking.
I’m back having the odd glass now and then, but the daily drinking is long gone. I’m still rubbish at drinking water but I do love that robinsons cucumber and mint cordial, better than nothing right?!
Ah Catherine I know you’re so right but I love a daily g&t! Had to stop drinking wine because it’s basically the devil but would struggle not to drink gin. I’ve got two small kids and I’m afraid it marks the end of a generally tough day. I haven’t had one tonight because I’ve got a splitting headache and I know when I don’t drink I feel a lot better (still bloody knackered) but I haven’t stopped for long enough to get all the benefits you mention here and I know I should. More important than any of this what the hell is this cordial and where can I get it, it sounds delicious x
I’d never heard of her until this blew up over the weekend and quickly became obsessed. Has anyone seen the Instagram clip of her husband in the kitchen cupboard with the stupid flapping hat? Think it explains a lot…
Being an influencer and a midwife doesn’t really gel if you ask me. Not surprised it sent her a bit crazy.
Oh Esther this post couldn’t have come at a better time my eyes are fucked – actual eye and skin around – I went to the optician 3 times and she was so appalled at the state of them sent me off to a consultant. He prescribed things I can’t bloody use because I’m breastfeeding and it’s dodgy ground. So I’ll happy try all of the things you suggested, thank you! I definitely need more water. I had a significant birthday a couple of weeks ago 🙄 that passed me by in a sleep deprived haze. The bags under my eyes are insane. I look about 92. Louise I think you’re spot on about concealers, I’m using one that I thought was brilliant (Tom Ford) but recently it just sits in the crap skin / lines and makes me look far worse. Ugh
As for the MOD business I must admit I couldn’t stop watching it unfold last week but now all the racism has emerged it’s all a bit revolting. All the fan girls are sending her virtual hugs and saying she’s only human but come on, 8 months of posting and plotting is not a human error it’s disgusting…I could go on but probably shouldn’t. FOD definitely looks like he needs more than a good eye cream though
Anyway, thanks as ever for a brilliant post Esther and for navigating this murky insta world with such grace and proper honesty x
The whole can’t take stuff cos you’re breastfeeding is usually not true. There’s a lady called Wendy who can tell you – she’s a pharmacist who specialises in drugs and breastfeeding. Just google Wendy bfn. Goood luck!
I should add I’ve always liked Kiehls midnight recovery eye cream. Used it for the first time in ages this eve and promptly dropped the lid down the sink. Managed to retrieve it but then got worried about all the shit down my sink so got rid of it.
I also have one of those mask things that goes in the microwave but never bloody use it. And don’t forget spacemasks they’re always a winner just a bit spenny for frequent use. Right i’ll shut up now
The MOD thing is a car crash. It’s escalated out of all proportion now. She was really really stupid to do it and now she must be in a living hell. Now she and Simon need to delete their accounts and focus on their family. But they won’t, because even after all this, they can’t let go of the cash stream. He put up a post this evening about hair bands. Presumably to put space between his post addressing the shit-storm, and an #ad he’s got booked in for tomorrow or later in the week. It feels so desperate and the greed is nauseating.
They probably have old commitments and contracts to fulfil that they can’t get out of. I mean… I’m being too nice now aren’t I
I’m sure he has, but wouldn’t you just bail? For the sake of your kids and your sanity? They’ve done nicely out of it but being an ‘influencer’ was never going to be a job for life. He has a normal job too. I’d rather pay fees back than endure the hell of putting myself and my kids out there after what’s happened.
I would have bailed out of that life so, so, so, so, so many moons ago
….. and that is the reason I only follow you and a couple of others. You have a sense of proportion about Insta and all it’s mad trappings. I guess if Insta disappeared tomorrow, it wouldn’t be the end of your world. The Hoopers are obviously in deep, too deep. Where rational souls would just walk, they can’t. Keep on Esthering, Esther – just lovely.
Clare Nash says
I imagine the food/new tiles/kitchen contracts are easy enough to bail on. They’re either comparatively minor freebies (grub, clothes and the like) or already installed. And you could retrospectively pay for the tiles/taps if necessary. What I’m curious about, (and I say this as one who worked briefly in advertising albeit a very long time ago) is what happens with the M and S deal? I ask, I promise not out of any prurience or schadenfreude…..but what is in the contract if you have ‘intel’ you’re not disclosing (such as a ‘hidden life’) which might cause the company huge harm? I guess M and S will be furious about the posters and in-store merch and the rest but that can be removed should they choose. And companies have faced far worse – when a footballer suddenly shags someone not his wife or knocks some other bloke out outside a bar etc. But what are the legalities surrounding information she *could* have divulged but didn’t? Maybe contract law doesn’t cover that. What a horrid horrid mess. The poor kids.
I think the M&S campaign she was in has come to an end anyway which is convenient. I worry about the jeweller she collaborated with for her collection though. What must she have paid Clemmie? For a smaller business like hers it could be disastrous.
A teeeeny part of highlighter in your inner eye corner/tear duct then a good concealer applied on top and under is a GAME CHANGER for me. Saw it on you tube!
Also water, water water. So easy to drink for me if it’s fizzy, hello soda stream!
MOD, oh dear, hoisted by her own petard. It ways only a matter of time, she always had a touch of the Dorian Greys about her…..she was on a terrible TV dating show some years ago.
The MOD thing… what a storm in a teacup. Yes, she shouldn’t have done it but the thing I find most shocking is how so many people are leaping on the bandwagon to kick this woman when she’s down. Grown women saying they’re “shocked and scared”, people calling for her to loose her job as a midwife, the bloody BBC reporting on it when they can barely write a story that doesn’t involve the US, BREXIT or Syria?? Can you imagine what this must be like for their daughters? Also the sheer lack of facts involved…what did Clemmie actually say that was so vile? No one is providing quotes but everyone is happy to call her a racist troll who deserves to loose her job. Perhaps she did say horrendous things but I haven’t seen them and the fact that people aren’t able to readily provide them makes me extremely suspect about this whole thing. People are more sympathetic on Tattle than they are on Instagram and they saw what Clemmie actually wrote. Don’t get me wrong, i’m no MOD fan (i don’t think influencers and NHS employees mix…) but I can’t help but be revolted by how everyone (including people who claimed to be her closest friends) are feeling this for their own private gain.
If the person who cleans the toilets at this lady’s hospital was caught leaving bullying and racist notes on people’s desks because they were mean to her people wouldn’t say ‘oh dear, I wonder what drove her to it. Maybe it’s the pressure of her job’ they’d just fire her, or at the very very least discipline her. I know literally nothing about this scandal other than what you’ve all said, you are pretty much the only person I follow on insta that I don’t know in real life. But that’s my tuppence worth. I could be wrong. Elaine x
Esther, I hope you saw Molly Gunn in the Telegraph this week citing you as the best giver of advice about trolls – Don’t feed them!
Good old Molly… always said she was a very sensible woman
No help to anyone but……. just told I couldn’t (really, really couldn’t) drink alcohol due to meds for a health condition I have just been diagnosed with. Was actually more upset about the alcohol ban than the health condition, yes really!
9 weeks on it has been the most painless transition ever. Sleeping like a baby, skin hugely improved, not missing my glass or three of wine every evening. And yet, if I am told in 6 months that I can drink again, I know I’ll be racing for that corkscrew. What kind of f##kwit am I?
I’d be the same. I really must quit. AGAIN.
I can’t imagine living my life under the microscope like MoD and others do,where their income is dependent on so much sharing online.
A lovely post Esther, thankyou! A reminder I needed that the annoying things like cutting down on alcohol and drinking more water are mroe important than whatever fancy cream I think I need. As nice as a fancy cream can be.
I had NO drinks last night! Maybe I can do it again tonight x
Hot tip for white wine drinkers: just don’t put any in the fridge. It’s not a foolproof plan but it does help somewhat.
On the MoD topic – her (and others) Instagram accounts, for me, read like one big smarmy ad. I am so tired of everyone trying to flog me stuff I don’t want or need and trying to emotionally manipulate *mostly women into spending money they don’t have on improving parts of their lives that were probably perfectly fine to start with. I am happy to follow actual businesses that I admire on Instagram, I know full well that Me + Em, The Outnet etc are trying to sell me things, they’re businesses, not a person pretending to be just-like-me-only-slightly-better, despite being a Limited Company making £200K.
A good tip I have found for tired, puffy eyes is to chill a couple of used teabags in the fridge and put them on your eyes for minimum 10 minutes; the caffeine in them somehow helps to draw out the puffiness. Also, take a tablespoon of live, natural, plain yogurt and use it as a face mask. It really brightens up your skin, and, if you have dry skin and/or have time, mash in some avocado for extra moisturisation.
now I’m hungry and need a cuppa
Love this post. I had never heard of MOD before but googled to see what the fuss was about and got lost down a rabbit hole. I oddly understand perhaps the need to troll back – but your mates? Maybe done to look less suss – but still… for months? I mean, I remember being 13 and two mates reading my diary (in it I wrote about having thrush after a holiday spent running around in a bikini) and these mates then spread it around school – which as a teenager was beyond humiliating. I wanted to die. So I can only imagine how she must feel – her total fuck ups on the very stage she lives and thrives on – for all the world to see. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone… I wrote a blog about motherhood started way back in 2008 – and never once planned or wanted to monetise it – it honestly was just a place where I could vent and feel less alone. The minute you make that pact with the devil – (I don’t mean you Esther BTW – I mean instagrammers who live online and profit from their kids being there) your life isn’t your own….
it’s just not a thing that humans were ever designed to do or to be able to cope with ….
This is not a comment about this post but I wanted to ask if you were going to write something about Paris with kids?! Thanks!
Hi Nicola! I wasn’t going to but I can if you’re interested? The only helpful information I have is that everything is incredibly expensive.
Ah we’re going in May (before heading to Disney – help!) and I wasn’t sure to do 1 or 2 nights. I think we’ll stick with 1… Thanks for replying.