Icing on the cake

Hello world, I’m grabbing a moment to blog while my husband is chaperoning the little one out and about in rainy Peckham.

I just wanted to share some recent gold nuggets of joy, which illustrate my main philosophy in life which is to embrace moments of pure happiness (in whatever small form they happen) as and when they occur, and store them up in little pots of icing to be grabbed and mentally squeezed out onto the cake of life when moods are less uplifted.

The first are a couple of beauty gems that I’ve happened upon. I used to be a bit of a beauty product junkie in my salad days (“when I was green in judgment, cold in blood” quoth Cleopatra), any cream or potion that promised revitalised glowing plumped radiant…etc… skin or silky shiny manageable hair, I leapt on with zeal and gusto. It meant I always had a cupboard full of practically unused products which didn’t quite live up to the promises they had offered (although some did, which I fell in love with and would still use now if it weren’t for beauty product guilt, which I will now describe…). I then turned onto the road of my 30s, and at the same time worked on a book at Rodale called Skin Deep by Pat Thomas, which looks at the toxins present in our beauty products, and life…it’s amazing how you just sort of accept things that are on sale for all to purchase must be definitely ok and not bad for you, but the amount of potential carcinogens alone present within most regular beauty or household products is staggering. It’s just not publicised as, well, that’s not really the greatest advert for people to buy your product really is it.

I also started thinking more about the huge amount of superfluous packaging and carbon footprint that lies behind all big-corporation beauty products, and the sheer plasticky waste of it all, and sudden thought of animal testing that might reside somewhere far back in the chain of chemicals that go into each potion, rather turned my stomach and made me unable ever to enjoy the decadence of the beauty industry… eagerly trying out a brand new shiny miracle cream… in quite the same way (occasionally I lapse, but I have been on this natural toxin-free wagon now for about 6 years). I started using Organic Pharmacy products, to reduce the toxic load on my skin. But the glossy packaging element has increasingly left me feeling slightly queasy. So when I found the small company Essential Care http://www.essential-care.co.uk, I jumped for joy. Everything about this company ticks all my boxes for avoiding beauty guilt, yet indulging the insatiable beauty addict. For example, their philosophy is to support fair trade, natural farming methods and an active commitment to the care of the environment, which means organic certification of their products, choosing materials for products and packaging which are locally-sourced where possible, are from sustainable and renewable resources, free from chemical contaminants, and are either recycled or can be recycled safely. Perfect!

Another joy was to be found in a small company/beauty person called Angela Langford, http://www.angelalangford.com, natural and organic skincare products containing no parabens, petrochemicals or synthetic fragrances – all hand made and tested on her friends, family and herself… never on animals. Another tick for this one then! I discovered that she gives away free samples of her skincare as a cunning way of drawing you in and casting a wondrous spell over you, specially chosen for your skin type. Mine arrived yesterday, and it felt like an early Christmas present, all wrapped up in a pretty bag tied with a bow, the joy made me fizz like a 6-year old opening a stocking. I’ve been given a sample of “sweet cheeks” face cleanser, which smells of pure heaven, and contains beauty heroes such as neroli to calm the skin, and papaya to gently slough away pesky dryness and old skin cells that get in the way of the radiance that I would otherwise be exhibiting. I’ve also been given a sample of Perfect Pores anti-ageing, plumping and pore perfecting specialist face serum, and, AND Bloom and Glow Balancing and Calming Radiance Face Oil.

Don’t you just feel a little bit more balanImageced and calm just having read that? I am very much looking forward to adding these guilt-free products to my daily beauty joy.

My other slightly different joy today comes from our efforts to transform our very tiny outside space into some semblance of a garden. I think being surrounded by greenery is so important for enjoying life…just being able to gaze upon plants or trees offers a calming effect and gives you a sense of a connection to your environment, which is sorely needed in city life I think, and lost very easily. When we bought our flat, it was advertised as having a “courtyard garden”…this should win an award for hyperbolic estate agent speak, as it is basically an outside room, a box room at that, and isn’t amazingly inspiring. The previous owners had left it in its uninspired state as they maybe didn’t have the time or energy to decide how you could begin to alter this. But, we’ve been drawing from my new favourite source that I have discovered, The Balcony Gardener, http://www.thebalconygardener.com, there’s a website and a blog, and even a book which I’ve just bought, all of which offer titbits, advice, information and fab visual inspiration for just what on earth you can do to create a garden out of basically nothing in an urban space. A big trip to B&Q last weekend and we have been all systems go in making the leap between our dingy caterpillar of a courtyard space, to creating a greeny Imagemini garden butterflyImage, for us and Maurice to enjoy over the next few years/however long we are in our home here. It’s lovely to be able to be outside, even if it’s not a huge area to run around in for Mo, but just to have the potential for sky and natural daylight rather than roof over our heads. Maurice already loves smilingly waving up at the sky which always makes my heart burst (and incidentally I think all of us should wave up at the sky whenever we first see it day to day), and now he has flowers to bash as well.

Right, that’s it for now. Have a lovely weekend!

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