Make up. It's the devil's work, as far as I'm concerned. I see women who are good at it; their eyes look dark and sexy and bruised - and their lips are glossy and defined. Their skin is smooth, cheekbones highlighted.
And I think: how the fuck do they do that?
Because when I put on make up, you can guarantee - GUARANTEE - that within 30 minutes, most of it has slipped down my face and come to rest just under my chin, like a muddy tide mark. Any mascara, waterproof or not, will be smeared all over my cheeks and forehead. Lipstick will only be visible on the outer bits of my lips; my inner lips will be back to their magnificent nude peeliness. Glitter on my eyelids will have migrated, somehow, to my ears.
In short - I look like a Jackson Pollock.
It was about six years ago that I went to a proper shop and bought a ton of Mac make-up. Most of it sat unused and so after three years, it went in the bin. Since then, I have lasted on Vaseline lip balm and what I think must be an HB pencil stolen from my son's pencil case, for eyeliner (it scratches a bit). Occasionally, when I'm looking half dead in the morning, I 'apply' blusher. Which gives me that 'clown' look that everybody (nobody) is going for these days.
Then, suddenly, it was 2015 and I realised that I might die without ever having known how to look good in make-up. So off I went to the shops.
I went into Boots and was drawn to the Benefit counter. I had been there before. Sometimes I just go to ogle the packaging (I'm always too scared to talk to the beautiful assistants). But that day, I was brave. I want some of THIS, I said, to a heavily face-caked lady, even though I have NO IDEA WHAT IT IS! It turned out to be this:
Which, apparently, Kylie used to highlight her buttocks in the Spinning Around video. The lady told me that it wasn't really supposed to be for buttocks, rather for highlighting cheekbones. Even though I don't have any cheekbones (I do have buttocks, plenty of them), I bought it.
And while I'm at it, I said, I want THIS! It was a eyeliner pen. YES! I want to look like Claudia Winkleman!
I have to be honest with you. This is not the easiest thing to use. I mean, it works, but I am shit at using it. Here is my first attempt:
And my more recent goes have not been much better. But I. Must. Learn.
I. Must. Be. Claudia. Winkleman.
Since that day, Make Up Day, or M.U.D., I have been back for another round. Sparkly grey eyeshadow has been purchased, along with nude lip thingy, and - joy of joys - a proper tinted foundation. This above all things makes me happy. It has changed me from middle-aged slightly rotting face woman to a 30-something adult who is not yet looking death squarely in the eye. It's from No.7, who henceforth in this household shalt be called NO. 1!
(See what I did there.)
And the lovely, beautifully turned out, fully alive lady on the No.7 desk did this colour match thing - which as far as I could tell involves holding an electric shaver to your face and making a beeping noise. Somehow it tells you which shade is best for you and WOULD YOU BELIEVE IT - it only jolly well bleedin' works. Although when she said I was 'Cool Ivory', I mis-heard her, thinking she'd said 'Cool Library'. (Another sign of ageing. Shame they don't do glittery hearing aids.) "Cool Library," I said, "That's a bit Farrow and Ball!"
You know that look that much younger people give much older people? A sort of 'I pity you, but I've been told to be nice to you so I'm doing my damnedest not to show it'? That.
Anyway, it's ace, she was lovely, and so here's a pic. Well done Boots.
And there's the nude lip balm too. Which is nice, but I haven't yet worked out how to put on lip stuff and immediately not lick it all off. A bit like doughnut sugar. Any tips gratefully received.
So that's it. I feel all set now for a slightly older but more painted version of me to launch headlong into 2015. There's one particular meeting that I'm looking forward to in February. Please God - let me have figured out how to use that effing eyeliner before then. Less Pollock, less pillock, more.... Winkleman.
Yes. More Winkleman please.