Friday, August 19, 2016

Feminine beauty at home


I’ve been immersing myself in elegance this week.  Not usually one for cut flowers, I even bought myself two bunches of Erlicheer which are now scenting our living area and ensuite.  I was inspired by Mrs Shockley’s lovely Instagram and blog.  We have a mutual admiration of Aerin Lauder’s sophisticated and elegant décor style and also of Jennifer L. Scott’s beautiful books.

In the past I've walked past flower displays and hardly ever bought them.  They seemed extravagant, not really necessary and even wasteful.  Now I think 'feminine and luxurious'.  I'm going to see how it goes to make this a regular thing; I will get a bonus benefit that I am spending a few dollars on flowers instead of  'treat' foods.  There are no calories in flowers!

Something else I did recently which always makes me feel feminine was to pretty up my makeup area.

I took my makeup tray and tipped everything out, then cleaned the tray and put back my makeup items, cleaning each one as I went.  I use a bottle of perfume as the cleaning agent (one of my least favourites to wear but still pretty to sniff) and a clean knit rag (from worn-out tee-shirts).  I clean the outside of the case and even open up and clean the mirror and all around the eyeshadows or blusher.  They look so new when I've finished.

I simultaneously went through my under-bed storage container too, which is where my makeup overflow is kept as well as travel items and hotel items from our trips.  I don't have much makeup overflow anymore since I don't work at Dior plus I've decluttered all shades that don't work for me.  But I still have multiples of blushers and eyeshadow palettes (about 4-5 of each).  Some are ones I've bought and a few are still Dior.

I swapped out a couple of eyeshadow palettes and kept out two blushes out to use (a cooler pink tone and a warmer rosy tone).  I switched one eyeshadow compact and it seemed brand new to me, both in cleanliness and because I haven't worn it in a while.

After I put back my selected, clean makeup items, I washed all my brushes in the basin with warm water and hand soap, then rinsed them all in clean warm water and laid them out to dry on a towel after squeezing the water from them.  They all dry overnight.

I couldn't wait to put my makeup on the next day with my 'new' makeup and brushes.  Doing this gives me such a feeling of well-being that it definitely deserves a spot on my 'what makes me feel high-frequency' list so that I can build up a reservoir of happiness activities.



Clockwise from top left: A gorgeous scented flower my mum gave me - it comes with a rose perfume spray to refresh it; my makeup tray; jewellery and hair pins/elastic; camellia and fern in our ensuite before I put Erlicheer in there

Plus it's thrifty because I've not bought anything!  When I'm sick of my colours and the containers are all dusty inside and out, nothing seems exciting to use and putting on my makeup in the morning seems a bit of a drag.  The shiny new makeup counters in department stores always seem so enticing, but have you noticed that the girls who work on them are always cleaning and polishing, wiping around lipstick tubes etc?  I see it all the time and when I worked at Dior it was said over and over to the counter girls to clean and polish their counters, displays and products every day.

Since I did this, I have been wiping items as I put them away (a clean tissue works well) and sharpen eye pencils if they need it so they are nice and new for next time.  All my makeup seems so new, and again, this is what makeup counter ladies do daily.  It really takes no more time, and it is such a pleasure to use my makeup, even more so than usual.

I recently bought a Beauty Blender sponge to try (I love it, but it does use more liquid foundation than I’d use with my fingers).  I viewed a couple of YouTube videos to pick up any tips and after one lady had done her foundation she moved onto contouring.  I don’t have any contour products but I kept watching because she was quite engaging.  She had a wind-up contour stick that she was applying to her face and I could see that the black plastic tube it was in had brown contour colour smeared all over it.  It looked gross!  After having just cleaned up all my makeup I wanted to grab a clean rag and clean her contour stick for her.  I was fixated on it!

If you're a bit bored with your makeup, may I suggest a cleaning session to polish everything up?  I promise you it will be like you have all new products when you go to use it the next day.  I love being my own makeup counter manager.  Wouldn't it be great if you could get a mini version of the tester displays they have so you could put your makeup in it on the top of your dresser?

30 comments:

  1. Hi, Fiona,
    First things first ... if you've seen the film Educating Rita, the Maureen Lipman character comes out with a phrase something like, "Wouldn't you just die without Mahler?" Well, I'd die without flowers! I buy them on a regular basis, they are part of my weekly shop and if I could afford it I'd buy armfuls more. Yes, it might be considered extravagant, but I'd rather do without the daily paper than flowers. They are ephemeral, the only last a short time and that is why they appeal to me, we have to enjoy them while they last. Today I've bought two bunches of pale pink roses and they will go into our bedroom. I don't know the flowers you bought, we don't tend to see those here in the UK, unless I'm missing something! I love white flowers, but they don't look right in our sitting room, so tend to buy alstromeria in shades of rust and pink.
    Next, I don't have many makeup items. I tend to buy the same make all the time (Boots Number 7) but recently, having had a makeup makeover in a dept store, I've bought a couple of Lancôme products (and like one of them in particular - the liquid brow makeup is a waste of money, it's only any good if you have good eyebrows to start with, I need a soft pencil to fill in with, nothing beats a soft pencil, I don't think - cheap and cheerful and does what it says on the pencil, har, har!)
    But yes, I love to have a clean out of my makeup. I use only one brush for blusher, and recently my favourite colour, Soft Damson by Boots Number 7 has been discontinued and now they have a bright pink which I tried but which is a mistake and will go into the bin. It's gross. Who decides on these colours? I reckon the manufacturer made a vat of the stuff by mistake, someone added to much red to the mixture, and Boots might've got it at a reduced rate, "the customers won't know the difference!" say the male buyers! "Oh yes we will, " we scream! I'm not saying this happened, but I can't believe anyone actually chose to make this revolting colour on purpose!
    But yes, it's lovely to see products all clean and lined up. I do tend to wipe the top of my foundation each time I use it to prevent it getting mucky. Aren't I a good girl!
    PS I now have my blog: www.margaretpowling.com but I am very new to this, and I don't have a header picture yet, even though it will be called DEVON DREAMING. There is still a temp header there, called Magnolia (I didn't put this there, but I'm such a novice I don't know how to remove it!)
    Margaret P

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    1. Firstly, congratulations on your blog Margaret! It's the start of big things to come :)

      Pale pink roses, how gorgeous. Erlicheer is from the daffodil/narcissus family. I even saw them called 'double daffodils' somewhere. They have that beautiful spring flower scent.

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    2. Margaret P - congratulations on your blog. You and Fiona inspire me :)

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    3. Oh, I'm delighted and humbled ... me, to have inspired anyone is a miracle!
      One of these days my blog www.margaretpowling.com will have a new header which till be DEVON DREAMING once I've received the header and logo from someone in America, making it for me, and I can then figure out how to change the header on my blog at present.
      Margaret P

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    4. Oh, and Fiona, thank you for explaining erlicheer - I think we'd just call them double daffs. I do like them, especially the creamy white ones.
      Margaret P

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  2. I love to clean my makeup! I had a little pile of facial cleansing wipes that I'd received for free and, because I find them a little harsh on my skin, I used them as wipes to clean all my makeup. Most satisfying of all is cleaning my brushes in some warm soapy water. It feels lovely to use them the next day, all fresh and fluffy. Your flowers are beautiful and, I always think, a well-deserved and guilt-free treat. They seem particularly luxurious (a la Rachel Ashwell) in the bathroom. Thank you for an inspiring post, as always.

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    1. I use inexpensive unscented baby wipes for quite a few jobs, but hadn't thought about them for my makeup. I love freshly washed brushes too - they are soooo soft.

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  3. Hi Fiona - great post and good idea about cycling your products. Just returned from a trip and when I put my make up back in my vanity I took out anything I did not take with me...trying to simplify. As for the beauty of flowers - just cut some flowers from my garden for the kitchen table, but was intrigued by your post as one of our fellow travelers took a plastic vase in her luggage because she loves fresh flowers in her home, and in her hotel/state room when she travels. Wow! Will make me remember when my garden is gone this fall and winter to indulge in fresh, wonderful flowers !
    Agree with Olive...your posts are always inspiring!

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    1. Taking a travel vase with you - wow, that IS commitment to cut flowers!

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  4. I love fresh flowers. They bring so much beauty and life into your home. I can't remember the last time I bought any. I usually stop and gaze at them, and then look down at all my groceries waiting to be paid for and decide against it.

    Dirty makeup is one of my pet peeves. It always makes me fear that I'm putting bacteria all over my skin. Having everything clean and maintained is so much nicer. I love makeup counters and how everything seems to sparkle. Your vanity is lovely!

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    1. Me too about the flowers - they seem an impractical purchase and waste of money... I'm getting over that :)

      And with my lovely clean makeup products, I never even thought of bacteria, yuk!

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    2. I hope you will get over your aversion to flowers as being a waste of money, Fiona. They are a luxury when funds are tight, I know that, but they are worth it, believe me. I would rather cut back on other things than have a house without flowers.
      Margaret P

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  5. I adore fresh flowers and try to always have them in my home. In warmer months, I am fortunate to pick them from my garden. Colder months, I will buy inexpensive bouquets at the market (some times I get them for just a few dollars). Flowers are so much beauty and elegance to even a very simple room- can't imagine life without them!

    I am a bit bored by my make up and will definitely take your advice and clean everything well and rearrange. Honestly, whenever I tackle a project of just cleaning and organizing anything (kitchen drawers, closets, car, etc) I always feel much more relaxed, happy, and chic!

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    1. I couldn't agree more about cleaning out and organising an area making me feel good, Danielle.

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  6. Every Sunday afternoon I hang my outfits for the week on hooks,rinse out all the bras I wore,defuzz my upper lip, clean the make up area and wash the brushes. I love starting the week without (much) stress.

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    1. Carol, I love your weekly organisation ritual, it's fabulous!

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  7. I wonder for how many people cut flowers have been spoiled forever by tragedies in their lives. The smell of cut flowers will forever take them straight back to that sad and devastating time. Having once had my house a mass of bouquets, I struggle even to pass a florist shop. I have also found that people can be quite snobbish about cut flowers, a visitor to my restaurant once stating that she never goes to a restaurant again that does not have cut flowers on the table. My advice is enjoy the flowers but know that those who do not behave as you do may have another story to tell and in the face of unbearable tragedy, take the time to write a lovely note or make a plate of food rather than send flowers.

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    1. Nicole, true, I never thought about that. The visitor to your restaurant sounds like a charmer, not! I've never heard anyone say anything like that before. If I do notice a candle or flowers, it's always pleasant, but if they're not there I never miss them. It's more about the overall friendliness, ambience, yummy food etc. Flowers are only one way to add niceness.

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    2. I read a while ago in one of my magazines which was running a feature on interior designer, Nicholas Haslam and he is quoted as saying: "... my wonderful neighbour, Princess Joan Aly Khan told me she thought flowers on a table at meals were common - traditionally, their scent was considered to interfere with the aroma of, say, truffles, or to swamp the bouquet of Chateau Lafite - and her dictum has stuck with me ever since. Not that anyone is likely to find such delicacies on this table."
      This demonstrates a totally different view than the person who came to your restaurant, Nicole.
      Margaret P

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  8. Thank you Fiona for this wonderful post! I love it when women embrace beauty. For me, flowers bring in beauty and elegance. And I am forever grateful to you for including me in this post. I have had the biggest smile for 2 days! Thank you...

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    1. That's lovely, Mrs Shockley! Your blog and Intagram page have changed my mind about flowers and being more elegant in the home :)

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  9. I have all of my things on a silver try and use our empty Diptyque candle glass jars to store my make up brushes and Q-tips...all the scent bottles are on the tray and in a tiny makeup bag I keep my minimal make up items.
    Like you I regularly wash the brushes and I use shampoo and then let them air dry...
    Flowers in the house be they fresh picked from the garden or store bought in winter add just the right touch of elegance.
    Enjoy your weekend!
    XO

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    1. I love using empty candle jars for everything too, Leslie. I love seeing your photos of little areas that you've organised (styled!) - such as your dishwash area.

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  10. I enjoy having fresh flowers. When I worked in an office I would buy myself a bunch of roses from the local grocer to place on my desk early in the week so I could enjoy them before they wilted. I was surprised how many comments I received at first, from both male and female colleagues and over time that others started doing similar with either flowers or greenery from their garden or a pot plant. Now that I no longer work in an office I have flowers at home. I don't spend much due to limited budget but my local grocer has a good supply. As you say, they are a nice treat for yourself that is calorie free ;)

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    1. That's really cool that you inspired your co-workers to prettify their own areas because of your weekly roses, Lara!

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  11. Those flowers are lovely. They add so much elegance to a home and it's a pleasure to see them throughout the day.

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    1. Elegance and pleasure, totally, Stephanie :)

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  12. for years I had one night a week where I did all the ironing, cleaning of make-up, cleaning shoes, mending & sorting clothes for the week. Different from the beautify night! Then I was working 5-6 days & often evenings as a solo mum...alas....my special preparation time fast became a memory. But now it's back! Thanks, Fiona, for the post, it's a great reminder.

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    1. Ratnamurti, I wish I had that weekly evening, I'll just have to implement one I suppose. It's such a great idea.

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Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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