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?
With you on the drinking and on the skincare. Re: Summer Body, do you get the light or the dark shade? Has anyone tried the Dove one in the tube?
I’ve tried the dove one (the more expensive one, but bought when on offer) and it’s good. Moisturising, smells nice and the colour is pretty natural.
Thank you! I always buy the light shade for fear of going streaky but should I be branching out??
sheila birch says
I go DARK. fuck it xx
sheila birch says
Hilarious….me too.. with my pink Irish freckled complexion
Dove is a much better and less expensive buy… but choose the darker shade, Garnier is the most attractive skin colour.
Warning! I have used skinny tan! don’t recommend…it only half works..I awoke a lovely brown…. but still fat)
LOL! I’ve always despised Skinny Tan for their mendacious marketing
Sharon in Scotland says
I only have alcohol at the weekend, just a bottle that lasts from Friday until Sunday morning, (at the most). I live by myself an I’m working from home, I was so tempted to have wine etc in the house to “cheer me up” but I knew I’d get into a cycle of having a glass/glasses when I logged off my laptop for work…………….do not want to do that.
So now I sometimes have a bottle of wine for the weekend, sometimes I don’t. The same applies for all the home baking that is going on, I would love to bake some cakes, but there is just me and I would eat them, therefore, no home baking.
I totally agree about skincare routine. I watched a random YouTube clip of Caroline Hirons on day time telly and now I follow a much more organised routine, especially in the evening, it is very soothing and underlines the day for me. I think I’m menopausal so there are sometimes strange spots and lumps, but less (?) then there were since being grown and sensible about cleansing etc.
Thank God for West Indian parentage, I couldn’t be arsed to gradually build up colour!
Sharon, fake tan application is a bore like you wouldn’t believe. I’m not saying you don’t have problems but… you’re lucky not to have this one. I admire your stoicism re: wine x
Perfect Hair Day is the best dry shampoo I have ever tried. Really works on day three hair, for me, when none of the others really do. I love the stuff, just wish it wasn’t so expensive!!
I had to knock the booze on the head a couple of years ago after getting into a habit of drinking every night to ease the anxiety of life and motherhood. If I was still drinking now it would be utter carnage! Since doing that I spend most evenings wallowing in the bath and applying various serums and face creams. It’s definitely the better of the two evils! As always Esther you are right on point and I’m sure you’re not alone in this. If I could trust myself cocktails woulld be the way to go, wine always ends in a whole bottle gone.
Diana Jerman says
I’m in hysterics. ‘I started taking..but then stopped when I became too scared that the world was about to end to carry on’. The situation here is full body scales from dehydration, face ravaged by neglect and I’m reading this hungover to hell. This post was just the tonic. Chin chin.
Ahh Esther! You read our collective minds!
I had a firm ‘no drinks Mon-thurs’ policy pre-lockdown. Then went into mobilisation madness (it’s like the same but opposite of de-mob happy?!) and managed to drink 2/3 a bottle solo. Unheard of since my last night out with the girls two months ago. So I’ve put a stop to that because my tolerance is so low these days, a 6pm drink means I’m fuzzy headed just as the children reliably kick off.
My skin is also ugh. I have rosacea which had been fine for ages, thanks to firm but fair treatment from Kate Kerr Salon (hideously expensive and also totally worth it). In the last 10 days without fail, at 6.30pm my face looks like a Brit Abroad after a day on a lounger in the Algarve. Lobster red. I can’t figure out why – different mix of skin care/ additional booze/ additional sunshine/ all of the above… It’s misery.
Dont know how you can be arsed with any grooming at the moment. I can’t. All too depressing.
I’m with you on the cocktails. I drink white wine like a fish but cocktails hit me harder so I go slow. Also there is some thing a bit meditative about making a cocktail. Gin and tonic is my standard but lately I have been making a Paloma: tequila, grapefruit juice or even easier, sparkling grapefruit soda then lots of lime. It is a beautiful blush colored cocktail.
Not taking great care of my face. But maybe not wearing makeup is helping?
We nonchalantly thought the second bottle was a good idea earlier when the sun was still shining on the patio. Regretting it now I can hear the snores from where he’s fallen asleep on the sofa….
Other than a stubbornly tricky chin, my skin is definitely benefitting from the no-make-up regime. I swear by The Ordinary: simple, effective and the little pipettes make you feel very scientific!
This is so right about the booze, when the world is basically terrifying, who cares about units! I’m trying to cut back a bit too now apart from anything else I keep running out! I have tried to keep up the skincare. I’ve more products ordered but everything is taking longer than usual to arrive. Good reminder about the clay mask, I’ve wanted to try the Sand & Sky one. I have quite a lot of products in my Cult Beauty basket already, I’m hoping for even a teeny discount before I purchase so I can feel better about all the online spending!
As ever you’re spot on Esther. I was ill (possibly corona, possibly an annoying cough) when all this kicked off so we’re on week 4 of lockdown and I didn’t drink for the first 9 days (only due to illness I must add) I was so fucking proud (amazed?) of myself I haven’t stopped. I had a doorstop chat with a friend of mine the other day and said I was thinking of not drinking for a while and she said why, it’s all we’ve got! This has been ringing in my ears ever since.
I’ve knocked wine on the head other than the odd glass because it fucks my sleep and with a one year old and a four year old, I don’t want the little sleep I do get to be shit. I love a cocktail and wish ladies and gentlemen delivered here (although probably a good job they don’t) so it’s generally just gin for me. I don’t start drinking until the kids are in bed unless it’s the weekend and then start about 5ish. I physically can’t drink more than about 4 drinks these days and that’s pushing it. I have no idea how I used to drink at least a bottle of wine on my own on a regular basis. Anyway sorry I’m waffling! I’ve somehow maintained my cleansing / moisturising routine and trying to boost things a bit with a regular hair mask / face mask, currently doing a beauty pie foot mask. Husband was aghast I didn’t have some kind of beauty treat for him. Agree that dry shampoo is immense and I’m going to start taking collagen. Right I’ll shut up and get back to my gin now x
My acne has returned with a vengeance and there is nothing I can do to stop it. Great horrid lumps all over my jaw and chin and along the hairline. It’s very distressing on top of everything else.
I had to switch pill a couple of months ago because my usual one is out of stock everywhere (Brexit? Corona? Who knows) and I’ve got the most awful stubborn hormonal acne below my mouth on the sides of my chin and I HATE IT. Said to my GP it was fine because I’m not going out but UUUUUUUUHHHHHHHHHHHUUUUUUUUUGGGGGHHHHHHH.