Friday, 13 March 2009

Plenty of pots and pots of potions

If pots and potions are an obvious outward sign of matters magical, then I can expect to find myself convicted of witchcraft sometime soon. And combined with my love of cats, I'd be a goner!

There I was in the bathroom last night, performing my toilet, when it struck me just how many different liquids and lotions this seems to entail.

There’s the cleanser and the toner. Then the face serum, followed by eye cream and a general face moisturiser.

There’s hand cream and lip salve, and foot balm and a body lotion.

Not forgetting the face cream wash for mornings, the face scrub for a couple of times a week, and the body scrub too.

And cocoa butter for the feet.

And we won’t mention the shaving gel (although I promise it’s not a girly pink one).

It’s madness! But I can’t believe it’s a situation that is unique to me.

In partial mitigation, I should point out that the building I currently work in has a dismal air conditioning system, which is very, very dehydrating. Even remembering to drink enough water each day, my skin gets dry to the point of flakiness if I don’t moisturise regularly.

Of course, in days of yore, perhaps I’d have made the contents of these pots and potions myself. But now we witches, trying to find the spell that keeps us young – or at least holds some of the ravages of time at bay for a while – can fulfil our needs at the shops rather than huffing and puffing over the cauldron.

Personally, I’m only in search of a limited amount of magic. I’ve no desire to attempt to look like a twenty-something; I quite like being middle-aged. But neither do I want to join the blue-rinse brigade and wear twinset and pearls – my mother had me doing the latter when I was still in my teens, and once is quite enough.

We live at a time when, for all the pressures women face, we also have far more choices than our mothers and grandmothers ever had about how we live our lives. Whether I use any potions at all is down to just one person – me. The same with make-up and so many other things.

There are times when I think my life is all a bit Benjamin Button – I started out as the youngest spinster in town and became the oldest teenager around.

At least the pots and potions help me feel that I haven’t yet succumbed to looking, as my mother would intone, “like mutton dressed up as lamb”. And long may it continue.