Girl Problems 2

The title of this made me laugh. It sounds like a very boring, formulaic, straight-to-TV tweenie film from the early 90s.

It’s time for my eagerly anticipated (thank you two people) new installment of my series on female-related problems. This time: HAIR.

You’ve got too much. You don’t have enough. You want it long, You want it short. Then you want it long again. You want it a different colour. You get roots. You never should have dyed it. You’ve got split ends. It looks like someone has accidentally microwaved it and scrubbed it with a brillo pad. It’s the colour of boiled potatoes that have been cooked for two weeks solid. You get a hair cut. You get manipulated into spending £50 on products ‘specifically designed for your hair type’. You break up with your boyfriend. Time for a new hair cut! “That’ll show him I’m over him, and also a much newer, more attractive and all-round better person!” Your hairdresser is thinking: fierce bob. You’re thinking “What if I get mistaken for a man?”* You’ve got mousses and waxes, pomades and serums, sprays and oils, mists and cremes. And that is just for the hair on your head.

The way your hair is does say a lot about you. Absolutely. But with a guy, really all it has to say is: I get it cut. I’m neat. I’m clean. It costs £7.50 every six weeks. If you’re a man and this does not apply to you, say for example you have it long, or get it coloured. That says something different to me. Like, you’re not my type.

I’d like to take a minute, though, while we are talking about men and hair to mention that I know they do go bald. And I think this must be quite a hard thing to come to terms with. When I first met my husband, he had a full head of sandy-blonde hair. “He looks like Prince William!” I used to think. Now he really does. Because they have about the same amount of hair. His crown looks like a really shiny place where only five reclusive hairs grow, steadfastly remaining in the area, despite the fact everyone has left. Like some kind of extremely localised follicular apocalypse.

All of my life has basically been spent either: growing out a fringe, craving a fringe when I see the one picture of me where it actually looks nice, then absolutely hating my new fringe. Then the whole stupid cycle begins all over again, as if to remind me: “You are thick. You never learn. And you have a stupid fringe. Haha.”

The single "good fringe" photo

The single “good fringe” photo

Part of my problem is that I fucking love going to the hairdresser. Making the appointment, looking forward to it, and (now I have a child) enjoying three beautiful hours where I don’t have to pretend that I’m Gaston from Beauty and the Beast, or the big bad wolf, or Rapunzel’s Mummy, or pick little bits of dried-up playdo off the sole of tiny little Peppa Pig slippers.

Someone takes my jacket! And makes me a cup of tea! And looks at me in the mirror and asks me what I’d like! Then I get to sit and talk nonsense, read shitey magazines about how some lassie from TOWIE has lost 3 stone eating only green and purple foods. Then they wash my hair! And dry it! And tell me I look awesome! And then they say “You must be going out tonight now!” And I say “No… I’m just going to stay in and catch up on my washing…” But at least I’ll look amazing doing it! *Swishes head around, in the style of Jet from Gladiators*

Another problem is: bobbles and kirbies. Like, WHERE THE FUCK DO THEY ALL ACTUALLY GO? Because I’ve never found them. I must have owned millions of these things. I have visions of people living in houses I used to prising up a floorboard and just finding it stuffed full of brown kirkbies and black bobbles. CCTV would reveal I’d been putting them there myself while I was sleeping. Chilling.

Hair also gets everywhere. And I mean EVERYWHERE. It clumps up behind doors and in corners, covers all black clothing, and generally just floats in the ether. And also: Plugholes. It has to be the worst job in the world to dislodge what looks like half a head of hair from the shower plughole. It’s like a slimy, smelly, dry-boking scene from The Ring, especially if you have dark hair. I imagine for men, living with a woman with long hair must be a little bit like having a high maintenance pet that constantly moults. Strands of hair, bottles of product, and piles of kirbies mark out our territory. I remember feeling different about a boyfriend when I found one of his ex’s (blonde) kirby grips at his house. You’re not over her! She’s still here, like a wiry ghost! She watches us while we sleep! Also, you prefer blondes. I’m leaving! Don’t call! And all that perfectly normal, not-overreacting-at-all stuff.

All of this stuff basically comes down to one thing. I always think: I’d be happy if I had X or Y. Or “I would have enjoyed that night out if I’d had the red dress on.” Or “Once I’ve got that I will not need to buy anything else.” Or “This haircut will define me. It will crystallise who I am as a person. Everyone will know with a single glance.”

But this is nonsense. I get no self-fulfillment really from how I look, or from waiting for a new dress to arrive or from getting my nails done or getting a new colour. I feel good when I look good. But there is something missing. And I am not going to find it by getting stuff and things or through beauty services.

Although it is marginally less problematic than a drink problem, I grant you.

*This has happened to me.

 

Girl Problems part 1

I like to moan. Don’t you? So tonight I’m going to have a whinge about some things that I feel are specific to my gender. I hope you read this and go, “yeah! Me too! Totally.” Not out loud though. Or out loud. I mean if you want. I’m not going to start dictating those kinds of things.

This will be a series, as I’m worried people might drift into a coma halfway through.

OK.

#1
Clothes
Girls love shopping. “LIVE TO SHOP!” is emblazoned across various jute bags I’ve seen doing the rounds at local shopping centres. But I’ve actually never met a woman who truly loves shopping. The only shopping experiences I genuinely enjoy are ones where I don’t need anything and I don’t buy anything. So that sort of defeats the purpose of going shopping. I invariably leave the shopping experience feeling one of or a mixture of : guilt, anger, extreme fatigue, frustration, generally low or like I have the body of a freak. I have walked out of Topshop wondering if I’m secretly part-alien.

If you are a man, as far as I can tell, you are either a small, medium or large. That’s it. And if it’s a bit big, it doesn’t matter. If it’s a bit tight, then people will generally not complain, especially if you’ve got something they’d quite like to see underneath.

But if you’re a woman, one is not simply ‘a’ dress size. The question, “what size are you?” will probably be met with a warning look, but once you stress it is for research purposes, you will probably find that there will be several follow-up questions. “In which shop?” “Summer or winter clothes?” “Are we talking tops? Or trousers? Jeans are something else altogether.”

Shopping for the right jeans, my friends, takes not only extreme strength of character, but also a lot of energy, and acceptance that this may not happen in your lifetime. This may well be an endeavour that will still not be fulfilled on your death bed. “I wish,” you will gasp, ” that I never bought all those jeans that were slightly too big in the waist, knowing I would never ‘just wear a belt’.” Seriously; these will probably be my last words. I’m betting that the average woman will spend thousands on jeans that they buy in the hope they will suddenly, out of the blue (pun?), fit properly. I suspect these jeans are bought in desperation, perhaps tinged with hope, or resignation.

I go into the changing room at River Island or whatever with about 8 pairs of jeans, all in different styles, and different sizes. The 18-year old changing room assistant counts out my selection with quizzical skepticism. I look at her, daring her to say something. She backs down. “Let me know if you want any different sizes!” She chirrups, and skips away. I swish the curtain closed, take a deep breath, say a quick prayer, and steel myself for the coming tsunami of emotion.

Pair number one I’ve tried on before, and hated. But you never know, and they look so nice on the hanger. I poke my toe in, and then can’t get them over my ankle. I retreat, knowing it’s not worth it.

Pair number two slide on like a dream. Tiny, baby butterflies begin fluttering about jubilantly in my lower abdomen. Could this be it? The moment I’ve been waiting for? I pull them up round my hips, and… there’s six inches of material round the waist but they are skin-tight on my calves. I immediately remove them. They’re a size bigger than a normally buy anyway, so there’s no danger I would have bought them. Even typing this makes me feel sad about myself.

Pair number three are a boyfriend style, which I don’t like the look of, and they’re a funny colour. I put them on. They look like straight-legged jeans on me, but still two inches of gappage at the back. I pull them off, nearly ready to poke my own eyes out.

Problems with subsequent pairs: too short, too long, can’t get my arse/calves/thighs in, I look like somebody’s granny (I don’t even know why I picked up the bootcut ones), too high waisted, or they are pube-revealing, don’t like the colour, they are ripped at the knee (not a fan), they go on OK, and would be fine as long as I don’t walk, sit down, or bend over. The list is, to be frank, fucking endless.

I’m hot, I’m sweaty. No clothes are made for me. I’ve been out of the house for three hours and all I’ve bought is a lamp and spent £40 in Lush. I just want some jeans that don’t expose my arse or make me look like I have the knees of a rugby player.

I exit the changing rooms, defeated. “Were they any good for you?” enquires the assistant, looking doubtful.

I momentarily glower at her, but then remember it isn’t her fault. “No, none of them fit!”

She looks surprised. Maybe it is just me?

Then I spend £45 on a handbag I don’t want or need.

Sound familiar?

Travelling light with a baby

I remember when I was pregnant, and the changing bag idea excited me. I love a bag-more or less of any kind. I even love canvas and jute supermarket jobbies if they’re bepatterned-and so the changing bag with its novelty additions (a changing mat! A bottle warmer! A dummy clip! How precious!) opened up a whole new avenue of bag shopping for me. I even manbagged my husband (he wasn’t even that horrified). Pretty quickly, though, I realised that every changing bag I’d bought (4, if you’re interested) was crappy. The changing may was too small/easily stained, the bag itself, despite being massively bulky, could barely hold what I needed, the bottle warmer didn’t work, the dummy clip broke, it wouldn’t sit properly on the pram without adjustment, and then it wouldn’t fit on me when I took it off the pram…. those damn bags were the source of many sweating, screaming child moments where I wanted to throw all my baby paraphernalia at passing cars, firebomb the mamas & papas HQ, stick a nappy in my pocket and hope for the best.

Anyway, you can imagine how chuffed I was when it dawned on me that I actually no longer needed that much stuff now when out for the day with junior. I’ve always been the kind of person who enjoys a big bag. I’m a tall person, and small bags look like children’s bags on me. Also, I’ve never really been a keys-lipstick-phone person, so. What I do now, is just have my regular handbag, and make four additions, and i’m ready to go out for morning/afternoon with junior. Obviously, if I had to give her a meal, I’d need her lunchbox too- but I have a bottle bag with a long strap so I can just along that over my shoulder too.

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Mini pack of baby wipes. Book (preferably with flaps, textures bits or noisy bits), musical toy with buttons.
I always need baby wipes! If you have a baby it needs to be wiped in some way or another, pretty much constantly. I find the same is true of husbands. I draw the line at two multi tasking toys that do lots of things or a favourite. I sometimes feel even if I took twenty toys she wouldn’t be occupied any longer, anyway.

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Ah, my zippy thing. I don’t even know what this is, but it us like a make up bag with two zip compartments. And ok, after slagging them off, it’s from a change bag. This is what I put inside:

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My change kit!

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Snacks, tissues (sometimes you need a dry wipe. Babies always have runny noses), sachet of calpol and spoon, bubbles (constant source of amazement and free in a party bag.)

So I hope i’ve convinced you that don’t need to suffer the change bag depression after 12 months, at the latest. I’ve been doing this since she was about 8 months, when pooing was more, erm, reliable and I had a really strong idea of her needs and wants.

If you have found a good change bag… Tell me!

Products I Regret Buying…

I have purchased sooo many beauty products in my time, and so of course, every now and then you are going to have an absolute nightmare with a product which is mediocre, not as good as the one you would normally buy, or worst of all, absolutely useless. When you buy a product, you invest based on the claims made, and you can feel so let down and cheated when it doesn’t work for you!

A good idea, if this has happened to you, is it have a ‘product party’. I have never actually done this, but what you do is invite a group of friends and take along a few hardly-used products that you have not enjoyed, and you can swap them for others that your friends bring. Then add wine. This way you can try a larger range of products for far cheaper. Of course you can always do this with perfume too- let’s face it we all have a few fragrances we’re not massive fans of, perhaps ones we received as gifts. I had a perfume that smelled like cat pee on me but was lovely on a friend! I wouldn’t recommend the party for makeup though- unless you don’t mind receiving a cold or eye infection as well as a ‘new’ lipstick or eyeshadow!  I had a couple of friends that swapped shampoos and conditioners half way through the bottle- a good idea if you change your hair regime on a regular basis!

Just a quick disclaimer, that although these products didn’t work for me, they might be great for others!

I mentioned in my last post that I had a few Benefit Blunders, and here they are!!!

1. Benefit You Rebel Light

This is a much-hyped tinted moisturiser. The original You Rebel was touted as being suitable for all skin types and colours. Well it was so orange even the cast of TOWIE would have shied away from its brightness. I’d heard so much about it but the colour was so wrong for me that I never bothered until I saw they had made a lighter version, and when the wee assistant put it on me, it looked nice- dewy and smooth on my skin. So I bought it. Twenty minutes later, however, my face looked like I had rubbed it with baby oil. No joke. And I have dry skin! Not for me.

2. Benefit They’re Real mascara

What an absolute joke this mascara is. This was probably the most hyped mascara of 2011, and it is just not as good as mascaras half the price.I persevered with it, because it cost about twenty sheets, but I considered it a blessing when it went dry and flaky two weeks later. Into the bin it went. That was so worth slaving away teaching kids for. NOT.

3. Benefit Benetint and Poseytint

Probably the most famous cult product of all time, and also the worst if, like me, you have dry skin. It is a lip and cheek stain that comes in a little bottle like a nail polish. You brush it on to your lips for a light stain which lasts all day long (yes it does, but makes them dry as bone) or onto your cheeks for a light stain. This is where I have the real problem. When you apply to to your cheeks, you need to rub it in with your finger, which then become more stained than your cheeks. Or you can use a sponge, which absorbs so much product you would use up a bottle very quickly. It also does not go onto a base very well so then you would need to apply it underneath. But then it gets covered up by the base. So then you try to make the stain darker. So then you look like Aunt Sally. AAAAARRRGH!!!! There is just no winning with this product! The Poseytint is the biggest waste of time. It is invisible- and I’m milky white! Luckily I got the Posey one free with a magazine or I may have firebombed the Benefit HQ.

4. Clinique Three Step Skin Care System

I was allergic to the extra mild soap. They said it had never happened before. The toner was stingy. I don’t even see the point of toner anyway. That ‘amazing’ yellow moisturiser (dramatically different I think it is called) is so crap you might as well slap a bit of baby lotion on your face and you would have a similar effect. No joke. Save yourself £65. This is what I paid for it. I went and got my money back and it took my face two weeks to stop being sore.

5. Garnier BB Cream

Mix half your normal day moisturiser with half your normal foundation. The effect will be better, guaranteed Give the money you would have spent on it to a tramp and this will be a better investment.

6. Avon Super Extend Mascara

Just not lengthening. At all. With a completely unwieldy brush. AND it cost a tenner- please. Avon should stick to what they do best- amazing lipsticks. Do it now!

What products do you regret buying? Share your fury with us now to protect womankind from costly blunders!