The Case For Red Lipstick And Frocks

October 3, 2012

It’s no secret that I often wake up in the morning feeling like death: almost five months of broken sleep will do that to a gal. I’m lucky enough to have a great husband who often gets up with Elfie between 6.30-7 to let me lie in  til 8 or so but I still never feel refreshed in the morning. Last night Hux woke at 12.30, 1.30, 2.30, 4.30 and Elfie woke at 6.10. Will is working away in Bristol so I was solo parenting and it’s fair to say I am feeling ridiculously not at my best.

Once this is coupled with a bit of an emotional week and the mess of frizz on top of my head I start feeling suspiciously like a hermit. Because it’s no fun facing the outside world when your insides aren’t feeling so hot.

BUT! I have found a solution! I realised that even when I’m feeling like crap on the inside, if I make the outside appear like non-crap then the inside magically gets better. It’s quite something and is a move I will be attempting on each and every day, even when my eyeballs feel like they’re exploding. And the key to my solution? Red Lipstick and a bit of blusher!

Let me demonstrate. Here is a shattered me, with bad hair and eyebags. Yuck.:

But then slapping on a bit of red lipstick with a hint of BeneFit’s Coralista blush and BOOM, all better:

 (Lipstick: Revlon red. So much more moisturising than its MAC counterpart)

The second step on my journey to feeling more myself when I actually feel like the back end of a bus is to GET DRESSED. It is so tempting to stay in pyjamas all day (and I have done that plenty of times since Hux was born) but if I need a bit of an extra boost I just put some proper clothes on. Which, as I write it down, must sound absolutely ridiculous. Especially to those without children, but it totally works.

Once I have a bit of make up on my face and clothes on my back I’m suddenly able to get things done, make things happen. It’s quite amazing.

This is not a new trick I’ve been trying out; soon after I gave birth to Elfie I was diagnosed with having Post-Natal Depression. My moods have always been wildly affected by my hormones so it was no surprise to me, especially as we had moved temporarily to a new town without the support of our families. I was prescribed antidepressants but really wanted to kick it on my own. And I did, with the help of my husband and my determination to get out of the house wearing lipstick and real clothes. I still get blue days now, especially at times of emotional upheaval and tiredness, but it really helps me pull myself out of it.

My lovely blogging friend Dee who I met at BritMums Live! this year has been involved in a new initiative to get mums feeling good about themselves and simultaneously raise money and awareness for PND. It’s a challenge to break out of your own personal style rut and break out your dresses called FrOctober. They want mums to wear a dress each and every  day of the month and Tweet, blog and Instagram their journeys. You can follow ‘Frocker’ Becca‘s journey on the FrOctober blog or see what everyone on Twitter is wearing via the hashtag #frOctober. If you are able please consider donating or supporting the cause via the FrOctober Facebook page.

As for me, I’m not quite pledging to wear a dress every single day of October (though I have the last two!). But I AM pledging to not wear my pyjamas. I think that’s a good start.

You Might Also Like

  • Reply Janet October 3, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    I tried to do froctober two years in a row (it’s been a thread on the natural mamas forum for some time – skirts or dresses for all of october) and I managed no more than 7 days each time. I just love me some jeans!!

    You are so right about the difference getting dressed makes though. I just feel more capable, somehow. Have been struggling with some blue days myself, and after not bothering to get dressed today I just had to make it happen today.

    • Reply alice October 3, 2012 at 10:14 pm

      I love that ‘I just feel more capable’… that’s exactly it.

  • Reply Dee October 3, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    It’s more than a start, it’s a great pledge.
    A fundraising ideas post will follow on my blog and guested on the frOctober one so that people can see that there are many ways to raise.

    This post is wonderful Alice, and I can remember those early days all those years ago, when I reached crisis point and tried to end it all, and I just wish that I had known then what I know now. That it will get better, that it does get easier (in some ways), that I AM the best mum they’ve got and that the little things CAN make the big differences.

    Well done. xxx

    • Reply alice October 3, 2012 at 9:49 pm

      Brilliant – I’ll highlight your ideas as you post them!

      I think blogs and Twitter are such a fab resource when you’re feeling down about the difficulties of motherhood. Because no matter how hard you’re finding it, someone else will have been through your experiences too xx

  • Reply josie October 3, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Love this post. Wrote something similar myself about how making an effort with your appearance makes you feel better. It’s all to do with your emotions being affected by your behaviour and vice versa (I’m a big cognitive behavioural therapy fan). I love any initiative that raises awareness of PND or just how bloody hard it is to be a mother.

    p.s you’ve inspired me to go and buy a red lipstick now.

    • Reply alice October 3, 2012 at 9:46 pm

      Go get your red lippie! It’s amazing, and the Revlon one is such great value for money.

      It is so bloody hard to be a mother, and I’ve actually really enjoyed writing about how hard it is. It helps!!

  • Reply Karen October 3, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    I can really relate to this, I have suffered with PND too and now help to support other women, one thing that makes me feel more normal and like myself is blow drying my hair and having my toenails painted, just these little things help me to feel like I can face the outside world! I haven’t heard of FrOctober until now but will definitely checking out more about it, thanks for highlighting it here for other mums to see, great post! X

    • Reply alice October 4, 2012 at 9:40 pm

      I’m really enjoying FrOctober so far (4 dresses in a row) and actually have a cause to dress for is helping me get dressed every day! x

  • Reply Domestic Goddesque October 3, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    I had no idea about FrOctober and never made an effort with my appearance as far as make-up goes. I believe I told you that on Friday night though you may have been so bored by my conversation that you blocked it out :D But I always put earrings on, and matched them to my ‘outfit’ (read jeans and a clean top0 so do know what you mean. The thing that got me through more than anything (apart from a weekend lie-in) was getting out every day, no matter how much I was loathe to do it: I created a schedule of activities and made myself go out in any weathers. And a mere two and a half years later, I am beginning to improve :D

    • Reply alice October 8, 2012 at 1:12 pm

      It was really lovely to meet you! If anything I was thrown by the flowing wine ;)

      Going out is a definite must and I spend a fortune at the Tesco Express in my village for this reason! x

  • Reply Tori October 3, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    I had no idea about this initiative however have wanted to do something to raise awareness for this as I have now suffered twice from PND (wish I’d known you’d been in a similar place at a similar time back when Elfie & Joseph were born – it’s pretty lonely). I totally agree with putting ‘real’ clothes and makeup on – my thing is that I need to have painted nails and a blow dry). I was really resistant to going on medication the first time however it really did help and I came off of it no problems before I fell pregnant with Sam. I didn’t really hesitate to go back on them as soon as I saw the warning signs after Sam was born – my hormones have always wildly affected me (as well as there being a history of depression in my family) so I am not surprised.
    A dress every day may be a bit of a challenge with breastfeeding, so maybe heels instead ;-)

    • Reply alice October 5, 2012 at 11:18 am

      Wish I’d known too! But it’s kind of difficult to announce on Facebook ;)

      I get the same with my hormones and I’ve been on antidepressants once before when I was on hormone treatment for endometriosis and I went a bit nuts for a while. They helped so much then and I wouldn’t worry about going on them again but I have picked up some really good coping techniques (the lipstick, the getting dressed!).

      My frOctober is involving getting out of my PJs before midday… You will know more than anyone how rough it is with two really small ones sometimes!x

  • Reply Peggy October 3, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    There is nothing like a bit of makeup and real clothes as opposed to pjs to lift a mood. When my boys were newborn I made the pact with myself each time to be showered and dressed by 9am (except weekends when i was tolerating the pjs longer) and the days I didn’t I generally ended miserable by lunchtime.

    • Reply alice October 8, 2012 at 1:13 pm

      9am, you are my hero! I often go back to bed with Elf if Hux has been up a lot in the night so my aim is 12pm… we’ll get to 9am soon I hope! x

  • Reply Jenny Mortimer October 3, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    I love you in red lipstick lady :) Its a look I can’t pull off :(

    • Reply alice October 8, 2012 at 1:13 pm

      I bloody bet you could! xx

  • Reply Aimee October 4, 2012 at 7:36 am

    I hear you about the pyjamas thing, as I’ve spent the last two days in mine, up until around 7pm, when Ashley’s home & I can have a nice long shower! Such a skank. I need to get out of this slump though & get into some kind of routine, especially as I’m back to work next month. Ugh!

    You look great in the second photo, although you still look lovely in the first too, dammit!

    • Reply alice October 8, 2012 at 1:15 pm

      I am slightly jealous that you will be going into a workplace with actual grown-ups and conversations! I bet it will feel lovely to get dressed up to go out into the world childless x

  • Reply Richmond Mummy October 6, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Great post and a great pledge. One of the things I’ve enjoyed about being back at work is that it forces me to get dressed and look presentable 4 days out of 7 (although am still rubbishly lazy about putting on make-up, unless I have a client meeting). Will need to try and maintain this when I’m off on mat leave again come January as you’re right, a little bit of effort goes a long way towards making you feel part of the human race! Off to buy that red lipstick too…! X

    • Reply alice October 8, 2012 at 1:16 pm

      This is what I really miss about work. I don’t feel justified in buying fun things like heels, I have no-where to wear them anymore! x

  • Reply Kelly October 7, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    I hadn’t heard of FrOctober and when I first heard my brain rebelled a little, it sounded like too much work. But I have made the effort over the past few days and actually it has been really nice. Helped I think by the fact that it has been a little colder so my favourite brown suede boots are back in play! Thank you for passing the message on.

    • Reply alice October 8, 2012 at 1:17 pm

      Argh I’ve been resisting the boots but it’s time, isn’t it?! Converse aren’t cutting it anymore.

  • Reply Kylie Hodges (@kykaree) October 9, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    My son was born at 27 weeks gestation. I made sure I packed some nice clothes and make up in my hospital bag and often went to the ward looking like a mum rather than a patient. I do think, not only does it lift your mood, but it makes people look at you differently. There are days for PJs don’t get me wrong, but there are days for putting a frock, some lippy and straightening your hair and facing the world.

  • Reply Day 22 – Fantastic Froggers | The FrOctober Blog October 22, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    […] really got the spirit of FrOctober in her post on More Than Toast – it’s not so much about wearing a dress every day, as spending the time on yourself, […]

  • Reply BEAUTY: Artful Hair Tutorials | Mama UK November 28, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    […] Seriously; the week I learnt how to fishtail and french plait was a really good one. Along with red lipstick something that makes me feel like ‘me’ is good […]

  • Reply Bex November 30, 2012 at 6:53 am

    What lip liner are you wearing here?!? It looks bloody fab! My recent foray into red lippie territory has left me with orangey-y lined lips (so not the sexy siren look I was hoping for)! I used MAC Red, but I’ve been left somewhat disenchanted with the whole affair… Recommendation please?? x

  • Leave a Reply