I’ve been thinking a lot about identity and attachment lately. These were concepts I first heard about when I started practising yoga a few years ago, and I’ve thrown words like ‘non-attachment’ around plenty of times, without actually really delving much deeper.
But life, and things like illness, injury and ageing, all offer the perfect vehicle for an experimentation with identity. What happens when we are used to our bodies responding in a particular way to exercise, and then we become injured? What happens when we receive a certain amount of pride and affirmation from the work we do, and then we’re retrenched? What happens when we’ve always identified with being ‘attractive’, and then we begin to age?
I’ve always loved make-up, and over the years when my skin was problematic and red and angry, make-up was an essential barrier to the world and a weapon to conceal imperfection. Luckily these days make-up is more of a nice addition, rather than a perceived necessity, although realistically I prefer myself when I’m made up. I feel prettier, I feel more self-confident, and I feel like I’ve got my shit together. And although these aren’t necessarily bad outcomes from applying a little mascara, what’s wrong with bare skin?
So lately I’ve been experimenting with going make-up free. It’s certainly a work in progress (I haven’t yet rocked a work meeting without mascara, and a night out bare-faced, feels, well, too bare), but I’m interested in investigating how much of my identity resides in how I look, and how attached I am to looking a certain way.
I’m interested to hear your thoughts! Do you feel comfortable wearing not a stitch of make-up to work, or are you never bare-faced except when sleeping?
So a few weeks ago (time flies!) I visited Rosendal, a tiny little village in the Free State, for the first time. It sits on the edge of the Witteberge, which forms part of the foothills of the Maluti mountains, and is home to many artists and writers.
The Free State has a bleak beauty to it, especially in the freezing winter when it is every shade of dusty brown. The scenery around Rosendal is stunning, and ‘golden hour’ in the Free State is really something else!
We stayed on a farm about 5km from the village, and although it was lovely, I think next time I’d prefer to stay in Rosendal itself. The village lends itself to wandering its wide, dusty streets, having long lunches at its one and only restaurant, and sitting lazily on a patio watching the village’s pack of friendly dogs go past.
I may be a bit late to this party, but I saw an image of Susie Bubble on Instagram, wearing a Molly Goddard dress, and I fell a little in love. I have a thing for tulle myself – the pretty-prettiness of it – and Molly Goddard’s dresses are full fantasy and wild feminine abandon.
I think I’d go with ultimate contrast – wearing the sweetest of tulle dresses with sneakers, jeans, and old t-shirts – to downplay all that whimsy.
ASOS did a collaboration with Molly a while back (which sadly I missed). Hopefully there is another coming soon. The dresses were sheer, delicate and the ultimate layering items. The ASOS styling is a little too pretty for me, but Susie’s styling wins, as usual.
As I’ve discussed in many posts over the years, my skin has not always been the easiest. Hormones and sensitive skin have led to many years of breakouts and discomfort, ranging from small bumps to full blown adult acne.
Happily my skin has been pretty clear for about the last year, and I think monthly peels at Laserderm, and perhaps a simmering down of my hormones, have a lot to do with it. I’m still super wary of using new products, but also want to use products that are ‘high-tech’ in terms of handling the onset of wrinkles and ageing, that are full of natural ingredients, and aren’t tested on animals.
Although I would like to buy local, I have been using Paula’s Choice for the last six months, and I love the liquid exfoliant. I also use Lulu & Marula’s purifying treatment oil, which smells glorious and really seems to calm down breakouts.
I’ve also recently come across Skoon, a South African bespoke, natural skincare range (with a beautiful website and lovely, minimalist packaging). I’m thinking White Cloud Manuka and the Purifying Clay Cleanser to start. Their Instagram account is pretty glorious too.
I really think that South Africa has some of the best jewellery design talent around! I’m always discovering new designers I love, and today found Anna Rosholt. I’m a fan of the beetles, bees and bananas (bananas about the beetles and bees?).
I’ve been thinking more and more that life would be simpler if I just stuck to a weekday uniform. I find it more and more difficult to buy clothes these days – harder to find things I really love that are worth shelving out hard earned cash – and although I’ve been fairly ruthless about getting rid of clothes I no longer wear, or that I don’t love wearing, I still have a heap of clothes hanging in my wardrobe (only to default to wanting to throw on the same thing I wore yesterday).
At the moment I just want to wear my current favourite pair of black or dark blue skinny jeans, a white shirt or t-shirt, or a stripey tee, and shoes that match my mood. We’re lucky with the weather in South Africa, so much of the year, bare arms will suffice. Weekends and nights out are a different story – hello colour and pattern, and maybe some bare legs – but it’s the daytime version of a man’s suit (or chinos and collared shirt) that I’m dreaming about.
I think these would make a very good place to start – Summer Uniform 101:
I am a flats kind of girl. Heels make my feet and back ache, I’m not very good at walking in them, and I’m often self-consciously tall. Give me a beautiful pair of flats any day!
These from Sevilla Smith are basically heaven on earth.
Beautiful gold pieces from StudioBALADI.