Sunglasses can conceal far more than tiredness; a simple slick of lipstick appears considered, organised, ‘together’. If you’re going to invest in something for yourself (other than a decent, expertly fitted bra – which is always advisable) then a lipstick or a pair of sunglasses are easy, everyday & affordable armour.
Whatever the situation or season, I’m rarely without sunglasses or lipstick either on or about my person. They’re not secret weapons, they’re glaringly obvious & that’s why I like them; they detract from everything else. On first impressions, I almost look serene here & that’s thanks in large part to them. A bit of window gazing & watching the world drift by from the comfort of my train carriage – albeit seated in those Smurf-blue, itchy seats with suspicious stains & my hair wafting in the un-necessarily hot blast of smoky radiator air.
I’m aware it looks a tad ‘smell the fart’ method acting but Joey’s technique is a good way to remember to b-r-e-a-t-h-e & check in with yourself ‘hey, how you doin’?’ This was my first trip into London by train then tube since I had my daughter & without my husband by my side (less hand holder more hand squeezer, for me); usually opting for him to drive down on visits. My Anxiety, which for the most part I’m managing really rather well, had been stopping me.
Despite the fact it’s a journey I’ve done countless times. Despite the fact that my destination that day was in my old neighbourhood – I was headed to the BDC Islington for Stylist Live – & I could have probably managed it blindfolded. It filled my head with dread & my armpits with sweat. It kept me awake the night before; I was tired & anxious which is never a good combination. So in truth, what you see in the photograph is me trying to focus on techniques learned & practiced in CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). Other than my daily dose of Sertraline, these methods have enabled me to cope with some stressful situations, get back on the road driving my beloved little car & go about my everyday activities as a busy Mum.
I’ve learned from experience that avoiding social situations or ‘trigger’ circumstances simply isn’t helpful in the longer term. Finding patience & understanding in both yourself & in friends or loved ones – even relative strangers – is incredibly helpful too. Being able to accept anxious thought as just that: simply thoughts. I can acknowledge them & then quieten them. I used to battle & brawl with them but now it’s more of a whisper; they have been tamed. I don’t have to get on that particular train just because it’s pulled up to my Head Station. I was also very fortunate to be accompanied by my lovely & patient friend, Rhiannon, who just happens to be a Doctor, a Psychologist (& no, we didn’t meet in Therapy). She acted as my Knight that day. She loves lipstick & sunglasses as armour as much as I do.
My go-to Lipsticks to face the day:
Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet in ‘Nude-ist!’ £8.99*
This does exactly what it says on the tin (well, tube). Technically it looks like a gloss applicator but it feels like soft, velvety lipstick. This particular hue is a slightly deeper, rosier shade than that of my natural lips & glides in all the gaps without much care. I now wear this more than any other lipstick & it sits amongst my vast collection of lip balms (I always wear balms either under or over my lipsticks unless it’s very matte). I like to pair it with my favourite tinted Burt’s Bees balm in Hibiscus. (NB: Bourjois is currently on offer at Boots 2-for-£12)
MAC ‘Lady Danger’ £15.50
This particular punchy shade of coral-red needs no introduction from me. It’s earned its reputation as a modern icon of a shade & I can spot it a (s)mile away. It really does suit everyone & if you don’t own it, try it to see what the fuss is about. MAC are great at letting you try stuff if you can manage to squeeze through the typical teenage clientele. Go on a weekday during Term Time to ensure pleasantry rather than panic or take a gamble & order it online. This is also a great gift for any friend, particularly if they need a little boost.
Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips in ‘Electric Poppy’ £23
Charlotte Tilbury is an inspirational bombshell of a woman in every sense & her cosmetics will make you feel a bit like that too. A world famous Makeup Artist & Mother of two herself, she gets what women want, how they feel & their desires. ‘Give the woman the right makeup & she can conquer the world’ is one of her mantras. Hers is the right stuff. I always intend to buy individual pieces from her range to build up a collection but as I’ve adored everything I’ve tried, I end up repeat purchasing the same items. Now that a concession has just opened close to home, I made a beeline for the counter to try something new. I couldn’t resist my daughter’s namesake shade; it was love at first swipe.
Tom Ford Lip Colour in ‘Cherry Lush’£39
For when you need to bring out the big guns. Forty quid for a single lipstick? Yes & it’s worth every single penny. I’m waging you might easily spend this sum on Coffee or snacks on-the-go within in average month, so cut back on those (opting for quality over quantity on fewer occasions & get yourself a flask – I wouldn’t suggest anyone give up that pleasure entirely) even for a little while to save up. Better still, ask Santa for a Tom Ford Lipstick. I’ve got a few in my arsenal now & they are amazing. From the sturdy yet sleek, glossed black & glittering gold encasing the creamy jewel within, to the ease of application & staying power, to the satisfying case click. Ah! Tom Ford just does sexy like no other. I save mine for special occasions, date nights or if I’m not feeling very special about myself. It’s an investment in transformative powers.
My security blanket Sunglasses:
Topshop ‘Cateye Monochrome’ £16
This is a similar style that I purchased a few years back & even at their price tag, they’re still going strong despite being dropped countless times, being used as a teether/toy & even surviving the washing machine. Perhaps not the most protective of eyewear, they just feel a little bit fun & are usually kept near my house keys or in my changing bag. They’re my grab-&-go-don’t-care-if-I-lose-them pair.
Ray-Ban ‘Wayfarer‘ £165
These are my second pair of Wayfarers. My husband & I used to argue over who would get to wear them so we decided to buy another pair. There’s nothing I can say about them that hasn’t already been said or demonstrated throughout history of their rockstar cool credentials. They can take a good bashing too. I often wear mine with a Frame Chain so I don’t lose or misplace them & I do love a bit of practical quirkiness to offset a classic.
Karen Walker ‘Super Duper Strength’ £180
I actually won this pair of bug-eyed beauties a few years ago – Thank you Browns & despite being quite a bold style (& pink! – sadly unavailable now), I find them incredibly wearable & fun. The lenses & frames are on the larger side of the shades spectrum but therein lies their unique charm. Karen Walker is the queen of quirk & I really want another of her designs to add to my ammo. I’ve noted the Metals Collection made of what appears to be Valyrian Steel*; now there’s some armour! On the flip side, there’s also a Limited Edition of Liberty Print pairs of prettiness if you’re of that persuasion. Whatever style you opt for, they are good conversation starters or avoiders (the lenses are especially dark).
*GoT fan here.
I’d love to hear what lipstick bullet you like to bite or how you like to hide in the shade. If you have any other questions about either the products I swear by or my tips for coping with Anxiety issues please comment below. Sometimes it’s ok to fake it until you make it 😉