My lovely friend Victoria aka Mum in Make-up has written a guest post for me.
We met through an online support thread for women due in Nov'16 and have since met in real life too with the babies. She is a Hyperemesis Gravidarum survivor.and has become a peer supporter for Pregnancy Sickness Support. She had a tough pregnancy but she's even tougher, and she writes some pretty inspiring stuff.
In this piece Victoria talks about taking up monthly challenges - and it's February's one that stuck with her. Have a read on to see what she has to say about finding 'your thing' and why that is so important, particularly if you're in the middle of something as overwhelming and mind numbing as first time motherhood. Maintaining a sense of self is so important through all of life's hurdles!
"I don't usually consider January to be New Year. If that sounds a bit weird, consider that I’m a teacher who has never been out of education. To me, September with its fresh, new stationery and uniforms, crisp mornings and mist have always meant new beginnings to me. 2016 was different. This was the year I hadn't gone back to work in September even though I should have due to Hyperemesis Gravidarum. I had missed that lovely fresh start, the new exercise book waiting to be filled.
For the first time in a long time I really felt as though January 2017 was a fresh start and I wanted to mark it. Having had low success with wildly ambitious resolutions in years gone by I decided to devise some monthly challenges instead. Things that were fun, and would be a challenge to complete. Things that would keep my brain going during the first months of parenthood. There were some worthy ones; eat more veg, practise the piano, that kind of thing. Most of them have (surprise) fallen by the wayside. The winner though, surprised me. It was February's goal to wear lipstick every single day.
I don't know about you, but a lot of the self-care stuff can be a bit heavy duty and hard to keep up. Good for you, no doubt, but hard to maintain when you’ve a person (or people) to take care of who have only been in the world a matter of months. So this one was a winner. All I had to do every day before leaving the house was swirl a bit of lipstick on. It didn't seem like such a big thing to do, and it certainly wasn't difficult to maintain. All I did was put a reminder in my phone.
At first I felt a bit self-conscious. Lipstick to me has always been something my mum wore, something for grown-up ladies. Wearing a really bright lippy just to push a pram around the streets of South East London seemed a bit extravagant. Still, I kept up with it, and dug out all of the many, many lipsticks I’ve bought over recent years and worn maybe once or twice. I noticed that most of them were bright. Very, very bright, with a few nudes here and there because I have literally been on a search for the perfect nude lipstick since Kate Winslet spun round the steerage deck with Leonardo. (Spoiler: I may have managed it with the Rouge-Expert Click Stick from By Terry).
After about a week I noticed a few things. Firstly, there was a little extra spring in my step. I suddenly felt more confident, more polished, as though I could hide the baby sick, mum tum and supermarket leggings just by drawing attention to my face. After a little while longer I found myself wanting to buy some new clothes. I was still slopping around in my hideously stretched out maternity things, but I felt as though they really didn't go with the lipstick and I wanted a new “capsule” wardrobe, so I had a big clear-out and started again. It was a brilliant opportunity to get rid of all of those things that I know I’ll never get into again. Great for clearing out that image of myself as a size 12 25-year old and embracing me 2.0. Or should it be 3.6?
I’ve developed a few decided favourites along the way. Some spendy, some much cheaper. The great thing about lipstick is that, like nail polish, it's recession-proof. It's a cheap way for you to give yourself a treat; even the more expensive brands are rarely more than £25. This Autumn I’m loving the gorgeous berry shade of Boots No. 7 Matte Lip Crayon in Raspberry Red, £9. The bright pink of Bourgois’s Rouge Edition Velvet in Olé Flamingo!, £8.49 from Superdrug lifts even the dullest day. If you want a real treat, get yourself to your nearest Space NK and ask someone to try out different shades of By Terry's Rouge-Expert Click
Stick on you. I had a ball and picked two, my favourite of which is the wine red shade 9. £23, which I don't think is that much for such luxury!
This morning after a snatched shower while my 10-month-old wailed in his cot I wandered to the cafe to try and get him to nap. I’m wearing jeans that don't fit properly and a top that shows my bra, and was feeling pretty terrible about myself. Then I remembered that I had the No. 7 lippy in my bag, and as soon as I put it on I was walking taller. So I urge you to try it. Pick something to be your “thing”. Perfume, eyeliner, blusher, killer red shoes; it doesn't matter. Just have a go and see where it takes you."
Big thank you to the lovely Victoria for this beautiful piece.
You can follow her on Instagram and visit her blog to read more thought provoking content.