The day the government announced that all schools in the UK were to be shut because of the coronavirus was for me, as I’m sure it was for many other people, the starting pistol on a massive drinkathon. I mean fucking hell. Is this really happening? It can’t be, can it? Is it? Is it really… is this really happening? No, no, no, no, no! *Pop* glug, glug, glug.
If you are any sort of drinker, lockdown has basically been a massive big permission slip saying “Drink as much as you like.”
I had one rule: no drinking at all before 6pm – after that, do what you like. We drank everything. We drank beer and wine and cocktails and whiskey. We mixed Gins and Frenches and gimlets and a local bar Ladies & Gentlemen, shut but still trying to do business, delivered us a bottle of Old Fashioned. Some nights I wanted white and Giles wanted red so at the table is a bottle of each. “We’ll just cork them and finish them tomorrow,” we said. Before polishing off both by 9.30pm.
And then one morning I looked at my face and my belly and thought: right, I’d better pull myself together. I have been looking like an absolute goblin. I fall into bed too pissed to do anything about my face or my dried-out hands or my gnarly toes. I was dehydrated and fat and spotty.
So I am slowly cleaning up my act. As ever, not no drinking – but a lot less. What do I really want to drink? What I really want, what I really love right now – is cocktails. So perhaps I will just have one after dinner. I find that all this has been a sort of aversion therapy and I’m actually really quite sick of booze; when drink o’clock comes round I no longer have that zombie march towards the gin. I just sort of let it slide, looking at it sideways as it waves frantically at me from over there, cooing my name and yoo-hooing. I write to you from 7.10pm and I might have a drink later and I might not.
But the fact is that self-preservation, which is required at my age if you are not going to go full goblin, requires you to be reasonably sober at bedtime and not so hungover in the morning that you can’t be bothered to do anything other than drink tea.
Here are the parts of my regime that I have re-started that have lapsed horribly due to stress, anarchy and booze in the last month.
(I am including links to products just for your reference, I am not expecting anyone to buy anything at a time like this, not least because delivery times are so slow.)
I have started taking my collagen drink again. I started taking the Bobbi Brown Evolution_18 collagen tablets (you dissolve them in a glass of water) about 6 weeks ago but then stopped when I became too scared that the world was about to end to carry on. This may be psychosomatic but I swear that 24 hours after getting back on the collagen the effect was really noticeable – at least I think so. There are a lot of people who think collagen drinks are bullshit, but I think mine has had an effect.
Other skincare. I was falling into bed without washing my face (no make-up on anyway so why bother?) and it was dull and spotty and awful. So I went back to twice a day cleansing, serum-ing and moisturising with products from Decree. I have been using Decree since last year and it is stunningly good stuff.
Every so often a different brand will send me a range of their products and and I start using it and within two weeks I am breaking out all over the place and scuttle back to my little blue bottles. I use the Light Cleanser, the Protect Elixir, the Treat Tincture and the Peptide Veil. These were originally gifts from the brand but I have bought again with my own money because they are so good. Again, within days of using them properly my face looked more perky, the spots were beginning to recede.
I’m sure you have serums and treatments and all sorts in your cupboards that you’ve forgotten about – get them out and use them! I have been getting out my Exuvience vitamin C capsules, my Beauty Pie purple capsules with the unfathomable name and my Rodial Dragon’s Blood Night Cream (if you buy anything, buy this).
A side note about acne treatments. A while ago I was recommended a spray designed for post-surgical skincare, called Clinisept. It’s basically a mild, skin-friendly disinfectant that you can spritz directly onto the skin – it’s supposed to be used to stop surgical wounds from going gross, but it works on patches of acne, too. Just spray directly onto skin, using a tissue to dab off any drips about three times a day and it really helps.
Now The Light Salon, a light-therapy place in Soho that uses coloured lights to solve a range of skin problems has brought out their own more intuitive version of this, called “Cleanse & Recovery Spray“, which does more or less the same thing, but in a nicer bottle. It is the same price.
I have been also using other things like a weekly clay mask, which really, really work. If you’re only going to do one extra face thing, make it a clay mask. I’m currently using the Sand + Sky one but they’re all basically the same. I’ve got a lot of time for the Origins charcoal mask but it’s sold out online. A lot of clay masks seems to be sold out online – it seems everyone else is two steps ahead of me on this self-care thing.
This whole disaster has been murder on the hands, what with the general washing and the endless, endless housework. Ages ago I bought a cuticle oil off Amazon called CND oil (purely because it was the best rated) and I rub it into my cuticles every night and it totally works. But you have to be not too pissed and DN-give-a-fuck to do it.
I had a go at my gross feet with a foot-sandpaperer and have been using Beauty Pie’s Footopia. Usually I cannot stand foot creams – they are too thick and disgusting and make my feet feel slimy and horrible when I want them to feel dry and warm just as I’m nodding off. Footopia is much lighter and more refreshing and it has the most amazing scent. I absolutely love it. For those of you unfamiliar with Beauty Pie or reluctant to sign up, you can just pay the non-member price for this, which is £20 and worth it, I’d say.
If you are a fan of dry shampoo and enjoy seeking out new ones to try, I am a die-hard fan of Perfect Hair Day by Living Proof – and I’ve tried lots. I find most have an initially impressive effect which then wears off – the Living Proof one feels to me like it literally neutralises grease.
And last of all – I keep hearing everyone talk about Garnier’s Summer Body gradual tanning moisturiser, then I saw it in a magazine and then it was recommended to me by Angie Smith herself (after I accidentally replied to one of her Stories and she messaged back! InstaHeaven). Anyway I was at Waitrose the other day, having queued for 30 minutes to get in (completely worth it) and one of the things that was actually in stock was Summer Body! I took it as a sign.
How about you? How’s your face these days?