tweenage kicks

Every so soften I try out a beauty thing- a new magic potion, a bright nail polish or some sort of bronzer. These are rarely happy events. That’s why I have wrinkly, very pale skin and boring finger nails. I rarely feel like experimenting; I’m jaded, think it’s not worth the effort, and largely stick to what I know. Can you see the enormous rut I live in? I’ll be wearing the same make up when I’m 85, convinced it works or not caring that it doesn’t.

Girl1 and Girl2 have no such reservations. Nor should they. They’re young, adventurous and energetic. They’re finding out who they are and experimenting is a big part of that.

Last year, Girl1 was all about the dip dye hairstyle. (It may be a notion for 12 year olds- see Suzanne’s post.) I said I’d think about letting her do the ends of her hair if she read a whole novel. I won that one.

This year a fake tan was required for the 2 weeks of performing in France. Girl1 is more pale than I am (who knew that was even possible?). I have been laughed at abroad for being the whitest person ever on mainland Europe, so I was happy enough to spare her that fate. A dancing mummy does the full on professional fake tan- she put up the tent in the garden and a procession of tiny dancers assumed the position and laughed a lot. It was a jolly part of the whole performing abroad experience, and she didn’t end up with random finger prints all over her legs…

Last week she bought herself a bottle of spray tan for the face. I might have freaked, but it’s been too much fun. She’s got random circles of ‘tan’ all over. It washes off, but lingers long enough for us to be entertained by her feet. Splodges, with drips, like a badly iced cake. Since we all know I could do no better, it’s a learning experience for all of us.

What I’m really admiring is the nail varnish. Both girls have developed a great interest in fancy nails. None of this one colour per nail nonsense. Stripes and patterns are required. Tape and patience. First thing this morning they were working out how to do a water marbling effect- you tube, instagram and vine are the go to instruction spots. They were completely unfazed by it not turning out quite right. They’ll have another go later.




They will not be knocked back. They’re enjoying themselves. I’ve always seen ‘beauty’ as a bit of a chore, a job that I can’t quite do. I’d still rather read a novel. I love that these things are a game to them. I hope that happy, fun, confident, ‘can do’ attitude stays with them forever.

But the nail varnish smell makes me queasy.



everything I know about the internet I learned from

Long ago, in a world far away, I had a job. Not a career, but a job that got me out and about, meeting people and trying to make a difference. I felt useful, it paid the bills and I liked my colleagues. The time came when I couldn’t get out of bed. I missed being useful, but, more than that, I missed social interaction. Sleeping on the sofa during daytime TV for months is very isolating…

One day, I searched for something on the internet and it led me to a whole new world. I discovered, known for years round here as the ‘pink blog’. You’d think I’d avoid something too pink, but this was different. It was funny, and real, and happened to be about make up, style and how to make those work outside of glossy magazines.

I learned about brands and primer and mascara. I read hilarious reports of waxing of delicate areas or colonic irrigation, and decided never to try either of those. I won a make up bag and a packet of biscuits.  I learned that young women play tag rugby. I realised that the social aspect of the site, the Blather, had become my ‘watercooler’ life. When Kileen and I got together, we’d chat about the people on the Blather as if we knew them. Internet people became real characters that we cared about. There were blather bust ups and trolls were dealt with promptly. It was  generally a warm and fuzzy place, with common sense prevailing. Somewhere along the way I found out that some commenters had their own sites, and I started to read their ‘blogs’.


Over the years, became more than a virtual meeting place for people with a sense of humour, with an interest in looking good in the real world. It became a brand itself, with books and events. The writers branched into the national press. Hundreds of beauty blogs were set up in its wake.

Sometimes I felt too old for the blather, too far from the Dublin hub. I was really more of the ‘Mammy’ category, but why would that be a problem when Marian Keyes was writing articles?

Life took over and I moved away from the blather. I was lured away by the variety and challenge of twitter and the range of blogs I’d found.

Last weekend shut down. I was horrified, despite not having read it for months. Why was I so bothered? Because I cared about the people. Did they choose & plan to move on, or did something happen? Kileen and I exchanged theories. We weren’t happy. What about the young people? Were they going to be left with daft body images to aspire to? Who was going to let them know that feminism is important?

It turns out that fairy tales happen, even in the mysterious ether of the internet. Beautie is back. The real people made real connections and the soul of Irish beauty has been restored.

The internet is about people, it’s about communication, and personality is key. taught me how to communicate, as myself, about what interests me. It doesn’t matter what the content is, how big the audience is- it’s ok to just be me.

Bloggy buddies, you’re stuck with me. Blame Kirstie and Aisling.

beautiful and chubby

Chubby sticks.

Lipstick in crayon format.

Like a twistable.

Worthy of investigation, surely?

If this was a television event I’d be marketing it to you as ‘LIVE’ because I’ve started to write the post without opening the product. You’re going to be getting reactions as they happen. Go on, at least pretend to be excited.

First off, how could anybody not like a product called ‘chubby sticks’? Being a stick insect is not required. It references cute, cuddly, non threatening. Accessible to all. Humour. It’s a crayon- fun, bright colours, easy to use.  Make up for real people.

Those who know say it’s a sort of mixture between a lipstick and a non sticky gloss. Marian raves about it. Her enthusiasm is infectious, so I was delighted to get a gift of, not one, but two chubby sticks and a rather cool wee pencil case for them to live in.

Clinique call these “moisturising lip colour balm”, and in truth, that’s what they feel like. Gentle, with colour. Soft. I’ve got neutral type colours that look like they will be easy to wear everyday. I don’t often need ‘statement’ type make up.

People, I’ve realised why I don’t do make up posts. A close up of an unmade up face, with only a neutral coloured moisturising lip colour balm to hide behind… eek!

That feels so much more exposing than any amount of rambling about brain fog, gabbling about grieving or venting about volunteering.

Laugh long and loud. Enjoy. You may never get this chance again!

the secret to looking good

Blogging makes me a better observer of my world. I try to find a story in the everyday; to find the humour in the mundane; to value what goes on around me.

Last year I started to take photographs. Some of you may remember that photography used to be an expensive thing to get wrong. I never learned how to get it right. Now, I keep the camera about and pretend the worst shots never happened. I’m getting into the habit of taking pics where once I’d simply have been too self concious to even try.

When going out for a walk at the weekend (a regular trundle by the river when I have the energy) I came back in to lift the camera. Why? “Because I look better when I have the camera…”

the ultimate accessory

Think, people, of all the money I could have saved on hair gunge, skin ungents and face colour inners. I need not give weightwatchers any more money for meetings. I don’t have to buy flattering clothes, or leg extending shoes.

All I need to do is carry the camera.

No need to thank me for this wisdom; some secrets are meant to be shared.