Here is the pretty: Top 5 Beauty Products

The five beauty products I cannot live without, no matter how tight the budget.

1. KMS Free Shape Quick Dry

This stuff is the bomb. It cuts down trying time, saving your precious strands from a second longer under the dryer than they need to be. It also acts as a leave-in conditioner, giving hair gloss and health without weighing it down.

Fake bake

2. Fake Bake Flawless Tanner

Whenever I use this stuff on my face and chest, people comment on how healthy and relaxed I look. When I forget it, people try to dial me an ambulance. It’s super-simple and fool proof and NEVER makes you look orange. Trust me, I’ve tried them all. You put it on before bed, it develops overnight and you wash off the “guide” (darker colour which helps you see which parts you’ve done or missed) in the morning. Voila! Perfect, streak free tanning that fades naturally. Literally idiot-proof. It also doesn’t stain sheets or clothes…unless you drool. Water makes the guide wash off and you can end up with slightly purple discolourations. So don’t drool.


3. Garnier BB Cream

This stuff cannot be beat for value. It’s light and relatively sheer, and gives a nice glow to my dry skin. It won’t cover spots so if you prefer full coverage or you’ve got some zits or redness, you will need to add concealer to your routine. But you can’t go past this for giving you a healthy glow (they also do a matt version), with some coverage.


4. Rotating Brush hairdrying wand.

I was “blessed” with thin, lank hair that, if left to it’s own devices, will frizz but stay stuck to my head. Enter this baby. You plug it in and warm air comes out through the brush which rotates clockwise or anti-clockwise depending on which button you press. It takes a few attempts to get used to, and it certainly isn’t pretty. But once you’ve got the hang of it your hair turns out with bounce, a nice natural-looking curl and volume every single time. Takes a bit longer than normal drying, but I can get three days out of a blow-dry with this – and that makes the investment worth it. This is the exact model I have. I don’t even really know what it’s called because mine is in German, so I made up the name.

KP Duty

5. DermaDoctor KP duty

My friend Jen used to rep for DermaDoctor and totally drank the Kool-Aid. Thank god, because she ended up with a bunch of stuff after her repping days, and passed this along to me after I complained of the rough bumps on the top of my arms. I suffer from Keratosis Pilaris and this stuff blitzes it. It’s not cheap, but if you want the confidence of smooth arms (and I guess you can get KP on other body parts too) then it’s worth the investment.

However! I have to say that since I eliminated all grains and sugar from my diet, and introduced a daily cup of bone broth, my KP has completely disappeared. My skin is much, much smoother. Still, it’s quite a sacrifice to make if you’re not on that particular food journey, and this stuff does it for you without the dietary change.

What are your “can’t live without” beauty products?


Book Review – Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers By Mary Roach

Books like this make my world go round. Really. It was also an NYT best-seller, so chances are good I am not the only one who loved the heck out of it. But why?

Firstly, I love non-fiction. I feel like I am getting two for the price of one when I read a really great non-fiction book: an education and the pleasure of reading the words of someone skilled at their craft – the pleasure of reading for it’s own sake.

Secondly, good ones are often hard to come by. Some writers can get so absorbed in their subject matter that they forget the book might not be read by scholars but rather laymen interested in the topic. Other writers may lack the finesse needed to pull non-fiction off, and the finished product can be dry and uninteresting. But when the two things come together well – immense knowledge of a topic and great word-smithing – it’s a complete delight to me.

Mary Roach nails it with this book. She investigates every single aspect of what can be our “life” after death, so to speak. The various afterlives of cadavers, should they be donated to science, involved in an accident, or just suffer garden-variety death.

The book is so incredibly respectfully written. Not an easy feat considering she discusses an ordinarily taboo and unpleasant topic. Roach somehow manages to write about adult male cadavers dressed in leotards and used as crash test dummies without causing any distress to the reader.

I loved this book for what it taught me about things I’d never considered, such as the embalming process when bodies are prepared for viewing by loved ones, or how what happened in air fatalities is pieced together in investigations. But mostly I loved it for the moral questions it raised with me. Namely the ethics of dealing with corpses donated to science. And the issue of how we choose to be handled once we have passed on.

The first part, dealing with ethics, is something I had never thought of. Basically everything we know about our live selves was learned through studying dead bodies. Here, science has an inglorious past and several of Roach’s historical stories were stomach-churning. You’ve probably heard of Burke and Hare, but there were so many more commonplace travesties. Men inheriting medical positions from their fathers, despite lacking even the most fundamental training or consideration for human life and conducting experimental public surgery on suffering patients without even the benefit of anaesthesia.

One quote from the book has stuck with me. Robert Berkow, author of a definitive medical textbook said, “It wasn’t until around 1920 that the average patient with the average illness seeing an average physician came away better for the encounter.” Every time I have been to the doctor since, I have said a silent thank you to all the poor souls who have fallen ill before me. Science didn’t get to where it is today without effort, sacrifice, experiment and suffering. We are so lucky we live in an age where we can take advantage of that.

But there are so many things that we still need to research. If you learned that a relative had donated their body to science and you ever thought about what that might entail, you would perhaps like to imagine some gentle, laboratory-style research being carried out on blood and tissue. How would you feel if you learned they were actually being shot at close range to study the damage done by bullets and to develop better protection for soldiers or officers? These are the questions Roach broached with members of the scientific community carrying out these studies. Not every corpse can be used to try to cure cancer, sometimes we just need to learn more about how bodies decompose so we can better investigate murders and deaths.

It’s something I had never considered before, and gave me great respect for people who choose to donate their bodies to science. I also realised that if a loved one of mine does so, the less I know about it the better.

As for final resting places, in most cultures this involves some form of burial. But how do we deal with booming populations and the accompanying space shortages they bring about? Not everyone can be buried on a plot of land within the bounds of a peaceful green garden. Stiff introduces some alternatives to this, and the one that captured my interest was Promessa. A Swedish company, Promessa offers to transform your remains into a kind of ecologically-friendly fertiliser that can be used to nourish a tree or plant.

This book is a fascinating, hilarious and highly-recommended read that is sure to prompt some interesting discussions around your dinner table