There are certain items that you stock up on when you have a baby to help you prepare for the craziness of life with a newborn – nappies, box loads of baby wipes, batches of meals for the freezer, copious white muslin squares. All completely essential fodder for your baby shopping list. And all sensible investments that are unlikely to cause any raised eyebrows when negotiating your baby budget. Then there are the under-the-radar purchases that you snap up with excited anticipation and have to think more creatively to justify.
It may be splurging on an over-priced but oh-so-pretty changing bag which will be just as pleasing to the eye as it is practical to the needs of your petit poo machine (did you know Chloe make changing bags?). Some choose to shun budget-friendly plain white muslin squares and opt for designer dribble wipers (how do Aden+Anais make such practical squares of cloth so desirable?) Or maybe you’ll be lured into adding bespoke limited edition covers, cup holders and all the other numerous upgraded features to your travel system to transform it into the Ferrari of the buggy world. Yes, these purchases could be categorised as extravagant. Yes, they will probably divide opinion on whether they represent good use of your household finances. But, my goodness, they could make you a cheery mummy (or daddy) too. And can you put a price on that?
My completely non-essential baby splurge was not on any of the above however, it instead involved stocking up on new mum friendly make-up – completely justified I argue when you only have stolen moments of unpredictable baby nap time to get ready for the day ahead.
Now, I classify myself as a cosmetics junkie rather than an expert, which means I love snooping in other people’s make up bags when given the opportunity. So, with this in mind I thought I would unveil the contents of my bag for the guilty pleasure of any fellow addicts who happen to wander upon my little blog.
1. A solid base
Foundation feels a bit much for strolls to coffee shops and afternoons pushing a swing in the park, but there’s no denying I need more than a bit of coverage nowadays. After some fairly thorough research of the plentiful non-foundation, complexion correcting, miracle promising potions available in the Selfridges beauty hall, I bought into the CC cream hype. Whereas the tinted moisturisers I tried felt too weedy to cover the worst effects of long breastfeeding nights, Clinique’s Moisture Surge CC cream seemed to offer just the right amount of colour and coverage in a nice moisture-friendly consistency.
2. Good brushes
OK, so you don’t necessarily need a brush to apply a CC cream, however, I’ve found when applying my base in haste, I’m less likely to leave the house with telltale patches if I use a brush. I love the firmness of the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush and the real bonus is it doesn’t leave you sporting unsightly fallen bristles on your chin when the needs of a screeching baby mean you don’t have time to give yourself a final glance in the mirror before leaving the house.
3. Concealing the evidence
I’m predictable here and swear by YSL Touche Eclat to disguise under eye darkness and the shadow of excess eye baggage. Although I’ve heard the much cheaper Collection 2000 version is just as good (I really must try it) and the Boots own alternative is alleged to contain the same ingredients.
4. Faking the ‘glow’
My lovely pregnancy glow soon disappeared in the early days of caring for a newborn. I’m however managing to add a hint of dewy rosiness to my pasty complexion with this Clinique Chubby Stick in Robust Rhubarb (I think it’s the colour name that lured me in – love it). I love the consistency and the pencil application definitely enables essential speedy, single handed application.
5. Pencil power
Yes, pencils are my biggest mummy make-up tip. These No7 Stay Perfect Shade and Define pencils are easy to apply, long-lasting and don’t clog up in any creases. Basically fool-proof even when applying one-handed while waving a rattle in front of a tetchy baby with your other hand and simultaneously negotiating with a toddler over the benefits of brushing her teeth. I have them in a few colours but Cool Mink is my everyday favourite.
6. Pale shades
When it comes to nails I love deep dramatic shades and bright colour pops, but they both require maintenance. Add to this the copious hand washing and use of skin ravaging hand sanitiser gels that comes part and parcel with parenthood, and the longevity of a bold polish is reduced to a few hours rather than the 7 days promised somewhat optimistically on the bottle. So for now I’m embracing more neutral shades, with this Essie polish in Rock Candy being my current fave.
7. A sprinkling of fairy dust
This last item is a complete indulgence, but as I currently spend a significant portion of my waking moments wiping baby sick off my shoulder and transporting bags of pooey nappies to the bin, I think I can forgive myself a little extravagance. I mainly love these Guerlain Meteorites Pearls because the silver pot looks just so pretty on my dressing table and they smell of parma violet sweets. However, dusting this on also gives a subtle hint of radiance to my otherwise dehydrated winter complexion.
So there they are, my mummy make-up essentials… except something very important is missing – mascara. My quest to find a mascara worthy of a permanent position in my make-up bag continues I’m afraid. I’m massively fickle when it comes to mascara brands and even when I think I’ve found perfection, I tire of it quickly. Length versus volume versus curl… basically I want it all. And with absolutely zero clogging. So if anyone has any recommendations, please send them my way…