Friday, 28 May 2010

The Blushing Bride

It's just under three months till the wedding of the century - mine - and I'm going hard with beauty preparation to ensure that I'm happy with my appearance on the big day. Yes I'm vain, yes I'm a girl, yes we're shelling out a fortune for wedding photos that I want to be tip top.
Having been a beauty therapist in my past life, I have a pretty good idea what I can do now to make sure my hair is full and shiny, my skin is soft and clear, and my nails strong and all the same length.
Unfortunately, life doesn't always go to plan. Having come off the Pill last October due to that whole I'M 30 AND WANT BABIES NOW NOW NOW feeling that tends to slam women in the face, my trouble-free skin has turned into a hormonally-charged 14 year old boy's. I'm getting lumpy, painful, blind pimples around my chin and hairline. HORROR. The tempTATion to squeeze the living daylights out of these stubborn lumps is sometimes too much, resulting in scarring. At the same time, the stress of moving house and finding jobs meant my hair - always fine but I had a lot of it - was falling out in handfuls. I was scared to brush it in case the whole lot came off in one big clump. My nails have always been soft, but they were flaking and heavily ridged.
These weren't issues I could deal with using a nice-smelling cream from the supermarket. Oh no. This required RESEARCH.
Going back on the Pill wasn't an option, so I went to the library. (As an aside, how awesome are libraries? I am obsessed with ours. Tauranga has a very good library and I will often go in for 1 book and leave staggering under 8). I found a great book written by some Dermatologist from the States, who basically said BENZOYL PEROXIDE. Now, I am not a fan of putting harsh chemicals on my skin, but I was at my wit's end. So I procured a tube of Pan Oxyl 5%, slathered in on my chin, and the next morning? JOY. It actually works. Now as soon as I get that lumpy feeling, I pop on a tiny amount overnight, and in the morning it's nearly gone. If they do come to a head, they heal much faster and don't scar. The trick with the Pan Oxyl is to not use it all the time as it loses efficacy.
Wanting to heal my skin and hair from the inside, I did some reading into supplements. Imedeen is probably the first supplement you think of, but the price turned me right off. Ridiculous! Having used Solgar vites before and been really pleased with the result, I got me some Solgar Skin, Hair and Nails supplements. Having taken them now for a month, I'm super pleased with the result. My skin is glowing, my nails hard as rock and best of all, my hair is sticking to my head. Richard is also taking them, being a little lacking in the hair department. He's noticed his skin is slightly greasier than normal, but that's a good thing for those who are noticing their skin drying out in this colder weather or as they age.
I've also switched hair products. My hair is straight, long and on the oily side. I normally wash it, dry it in 30 seconds and brush it - that's it. No product, no straighteners, nothing. My hairdresser despairs. Worrying that my shampoo was causing the hairloss, I switched to a sulphate-free range - Evo, which is a super funky Australian brand. Well. My hair is sooooo soft. I make Richard stroke it. He even said today, your hair looks like a girl's from a shampoo ad!
Lastly, I'm prepping the skin that's going to be on show on the big day - just my arms and decolletage. For the first time in my life, I'm applying body creme every day. In these cold mornings, it's a bit of a mission. My mother gave me the most beautiful body creme from Apicare, a lovely natural range made here in NZ. Made with Royal Jelly and Manuka honey, it has a beautiful lasting rose fragrance, and is glorious. I also exfoliate once a week with yummy Karen Murrell body scrub. I'm in love with my skin again.

So there you have it- it's going to plan and it's not costing the earth in beauty spa visits. Of course, closer to the day I'm NOT going to be attempting to wax myself - last time I tried that on a quiet day in the spa I had to remove half the wax with oil and go home with a very wonky bikini line - my brain won't let me inflict pain on myself!

I'm glad my $10,000 beauty therapy training is being put to good use.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

The Good Life

My garden is one of my favourite things. I like nothing more than to wander around it at the end of the day, wine in hand, Basil at my feet, checking all the growth and mentally noting all the horrible heavy chores I can get Richard to do in the weekend.
I garden purely by guesswork and logic. If it's wilting, water it. If it's boggy, don't. Feed it with sheep pellets because they're cheap and I like the smell when they mush down into the soil. Sun and shelter and Robert's your father's brother. This way, I've managed to grow tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli and zucchini (although if you can't grow zucchini, you should back away from the garden and go play with your plastic blocks). I've destroyed a tamarillo (not well staked) and a raspberry bush (not enough sun).
It's very satisfying. But this year we're taking it to another level. We've had a composting area built. 2 big wooden pens built right next to each other. You fill one, let it decompose whilst filling the other. And so on.
Who knew that rotting food could be so riveting?
We put all our veggie and fruit scraps in our container in the kitchen, along with loo rolls, paper towels and other organic matter. I'm a little bit obsessed with this container. I've found myself chopping a broccoli up and going, one bit for the pot, one for the compost. Perfectly good broccoli. Richard made an enormous veggie soup the other day, and all I could think of was, the off cuts are going to be perfect for the compost! I may even buy far too many fruit and veg from the supermarket with the thought that if we don't eat it, the compost will.
Anyhoo. Each day I tip the scraps over the heap and rake them in. The rich loamy smell is intoxicating, and the sight of all the wriggly worms is hypnotic. I often stand for 15 minutes at a time, just watching. A new idea for a TV channel - compost heaps.
Soon we'll cover the heap over with newspapers and let it rot for the winter, and we'll start on the next bin. We discussed moving house the other day, and when weighing up the pros and cons, I thought, no, because I won't get to use ALL MY COMPOST.
How sad is that?

Monday, 3 May 2010

My Hen's

When we were young, my sister and I liked to play "libraries". We would take all our books - and we had a lot of books - and make a label that stuck to the back cover. These would be "stamped" with due dates. Green stickers on the spine meant Fiction. Red - non-fiction. They're still there on all our old books. Our libraries - for we played this game twice - were called Palm Tree Library, and Windsor Fountain Library. The game seemed to take all summer. No doubt Mum thought we were kinda autistic and weird for shutting ourselves in a room for weeks on end doing authentic-looking barcodes and organising the next-door neighbour's kids to come and "borrow" them (late fees 1c per day) but we didn't bother her, which must have been a bonus.
Now I thought we were pretty cool, doing our own libary, until I spent the day with my friend Meghann at her house. She and her sister Anna ALSO had a library. But they had taken it one step further. They had CATALOGUED their books. An actual filing system. Perhaps it followed the Dewey Decimal, I don't recall. I do recall feeling beaten.
20 years later, Meghann is now my head bridesmaid, and she used these incredible organisational skills to throw me the best Hen's Party any bride-to-be could ever want. She sent lists to my other bridesmaids (sister Megs and Trisha). There weren't any games at my Hen's - there were Initiatives. And each Initiative required a Facilitator. (Can you tell she works in HR)? So Trisha Facilitated the "How Well Do You Know Richard" Initiative. And so on. It was brilliant. I'm going to buy her a headset and clipboard for her birthday - and I can guarantee that she will use them.
So the actual Hen's day. It was the best. Meghann is my head bridesmaid, and we've been friends since infancy. We went to school together, to Uni, and have stayed mates when both of us were living in far-flung corners of the globe. Other bridesmaids are my sister Megan and boy-bestie Cameron as mentioned in previous post - last but not least is Trisha who I've known since I was 11 and lives in Melbourne. She was over in NZ for another wedding so we killed 2 birds with one stone and had a nice early Hen's so that my liver/skin/body could recover before the wedding.
We started off trying on earrings and shoes for the girls. I didn't want pigs-trotter satin horrors that cost a fortune. Luckily we found some very classy nude heels that were actually really wearable. I think I trotted out the usual bride excuse "you could definitely wear them again!!!" Seriously. How many of you have ever worn a bridesmaid dress again?
We had lunch at the Stables on Elliot which is this super cool food-court type place, but instead of 8 kinds of Chinese and 1 dead-dog-on-a-stick (kebab shop) they had Bruschettaria, Italian, German Bratwurst, Creperies and a whisky bar. I had an ENORMOUS bowl of pasta to line my stomach.
14 layers of makeup and a super cool blow dry from Tom at swishy Ryder later (a present from me to me, I am so generous) I'm ready to par-tay.
It's funny how you get 15 women in a room, and in literally 30 mins and a few bottles of bubbles, the decibels go through the roof. Meghann had organised all my friends to send her a story about me and also their favourite recipe, and she made a beautiful album from them. Perhaps this was a Group Initiative? Anyhoo it is the most wonderful thing I own. All these hilarious stories from school and old photos ... I bawl every time I read it. It's special. After presenting me with the book, we did the Quiz. Now, I hate losing. I am not allowed to do Pub Quizzes because I don't let anyone else answer and I get really mad if someone gets a question wrong (thanks, Dad-genes). Cameron had Facilitated part of this Initiative, by coming up with questions for Richard. No "what's Rich's favourite colour?" for Cam. Instead I had to battle with "what does Rich dislike?" "what was his first impression of you?" Putting it bluntly, I failed miserably. I had to be given HINTS. Sigh. Things came back on track with the next Initiative - a music quiz. Thanking my Dad-genes again, my team kicked butt.
It was time to head into town. Donning the obligatory veil, we had dinner at Brew in town, and acted our age by inhaling all the helium balloons in the room. Things get kinda blurry from here, but we ended up later at some totally rando dive bar on Karangahake Road (that's K Road to the linguistically challenged). Before we got there, the bar had 2 people and 6 teeth in it. After we got there, suddenly heaps of guys turned up. Why?! Anyhoo this bar had karaoke. It's another of my downfalls. Like a pub quiz, I don't like to let go of the control. In this case, the microphone. And because it was my Hen's, I was allowed to veto everyone else's song choice, and also take over the singing if I thought I could do better. So anyway I'm pretty sure I sang about 90% of the songs. The next day, my stomach was actually sore from belting out tunes. I have this horrid, awful feeling that a friend was VIDEOING me. Videoing. I'm super glad a Hen's happens only once because that kind of behaviour should not be tolerated as my old school principal would say. I even recall doing Like a Prayer with my veil over my face for the first bit, then I dramatically flung it off as we got into the dance-y bit. Except that my veil got caught in my hair so I'm trying to sing and my friend is trying to untangle me and I'm all, DAMMIT MY PERFORMANCE SHE IS NOT WORKING. Because all of Auckland's homeless were judging me.
So after we blasted everyone's ear drums with catchy 80's pop tunes, we went into Ponsonby to find people with teeth. Now Ponsonby is one of the things I miss about Auckland. Tauranga's night life is dire, people. Dire. There are two acceptable bars to be seen at. You can always get a drink at the bar and usually a carpark outside. Ponsonby - Every.Single.Bar. is packed to the rafters. There's always a party to go to. Heading to The Crib, there's a live band and wall to wall people. A few cougary type blondes tell me DON'T DO IT! But most people are super lovely. At least I think they were. Who knows. By this time my shoes are in my bag and I'm standing on a table. My new dress is covered in wine spillage and my stockings are laddered.
It's time to go home. Feeling no pain whatsoever, I potter around, taking off my makeup, texting various people to let them know I'm okay. (I only know this because they told me the next day). I even leave a message on Rich's phone, reassuring him that I didn't see any real penises whatsoever. I bawl over my beautiful album and pass out with the light on.
The next day - wake up, wish for death.
Bring on the wedding.