Happy 2015 everyone! I hope you all had lovely holidays.
A month ago, I decided to trial my new Pai kit for 30 days. Tomorrow those 30 days are up. I’m going to tell you what I think about Pai but I’m also going to tell you what it taught me about where I’m at right now.
Thanks to that glorious Black Friday deal, I’ve been using nothing but the following products (in the order written) since 13th December: Camelia and Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser, Lotus & Orange Blossom Bioaffinity Toner, (the only non-Pai product) Trevarno’s Revitalising Facial Oil, Sea Aster & Wild Oat Redness Serum, Avocado & Jojoba Hydrating Day Cream, and Echium & Argan Gentle Eye Cream.
In late November, the skin on my face started getting pretty fed up. I had a couple of big flare ups and the rest of the time it was just itchy, prone to redness and very, very dry. Since using the Pai products, there’ve been no more flare-ups. The itchiness and redness have persisted a bit but a gentle touch tends to keep them on the manageable side. Individually, the cleanser and the redness serum feel like real hero products. The cleanser is so gentle; it feels instantly soothing on the skin. And I really do think the serum, which is a very light easily absorbed fluid, has brought some welcome calm.
I’m less convinced by the toner. As refreshing and soothing as it is, I’m not sure it’s doing anything that my considerably cheaper Quinessence hydrosols aren’t capable of. And the day cream is lovely but I’m not sure whether it’s quite hydrating enough for me. I’ve found myself applying it more than once throughout the day but that is probably more to do with the time of year.
The thing that I’ve found most rewarding (and illuminating) over this last month is how much I’ve loved the simplicity and sense of ritual about my skincare. In times past, I’ve been a skincare magpie, constantly tempted away by the ‘shininess’ of a new product. I don’t feel like that at the moment. It’s the very sameness of applying this suite of products that I’ve loved the most; the consistency, the uncluttered shelf.
I’ve had a slow, gently contemplative start to the new year while I’ve tried to organise my thoughts on my goals and ambitions for the months ahead. Last year was a real rollercoaster. Going freelance in August was a watershed moment, as indeed any moment you’ve been building up to for years is going to be. It’s changed my life in ways imagined and totally unforeseen. It’s been great and it’s been challenging. I’ve learned so much.
First and foremost, I’ve learned that freelance life doesn’t mean extra time. In some ways it does, what with dropping my commute and gaining a little flexibility. But in other ways it really doesn’t. I’ve worked harder in the last 6 months than in the last 6 years in my full-time job. I feel as if the responsibilities I carry are heavier, the line between working me and me-at-rest is ever blurred. I started out struggling with that but a few months in, I think I’m starting to get it. I’ve realised that I have complete control of my time but what I get out of it has as much to do with what I take out as it does the things I keep or add in.
Some of the more astute among you may have seen me groping around towards this realisation months ago and I’m grateful for your patience while I figured it all out. I have such lovely readers here and you continued to engage while I pondered, wrote, didn’t write, stripped back and just generally floundered a bit.
All of which makes my decision so hard.
I’ve decided that I’ll be taking an extended break from the Natural Beauty Cabinet. I can’t say if it’ll be a permanent one because I’m not dealing in absolutes at the moment. But the shift of the last few months has taught me that I need to move to a simpler, more selective place. Like so many people, I’m someone who likes to do everything. But there just isn’t space for everything. It’s taken a while but I feel ready to make some tougher choices and to curate better.
In 2015, I’m going to plan less and do more. I’m going to listen to that inner voice a bit better and try to follow my heart. I’m going to let myself off the hook by recognising that I will achieve so much more with a focus of one or two core things than by trying to do everything and not quite succeeding at any of them.
This has been such a rewarding space in which to write and learn. The people who come here to read and comment have made me feel thankful and happy. The brands I’ve been fortunate enough to discover will continue to be a core part of my skincare routine and I shall be continuing to read all the amazing natural beauty blogs out there. I had the chance to do some wonderful things as part of this site. I’m appreciative of every one of those opportunities.
I won’t stop writing. In fact, a key part of what I’m hoping to achieve in 2015 is to find ways to take my writing ‘out there’ a little more, although I’m not sure what that looks like yet!
Really though, this post is a very long-winded way of saying thank you. To everyone who read my posts, who commented, to the people who got in touch on email, the people I met, and to the whole warm, friendly community out there. I got more out of the last five years than I could ever have imagined I would when I began.