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Diary | A Week Without Makeup

Now that I’ve dropped my attempt to write down three positive things each day, I figured it was time to get back into some actual diary writing: you know, the totally honest, accompanied-by-blurry-iPhone-photos kind of diary entries I used to write?

That’s the kind of diary post I prefer writing, if I’m honest (and if you can’t be honest in your own diary, when can you?), and although they might not always be all shiny, and happy and positive, at least they give me the opportunity to write about ALL of the things that happen in my life, both good and bad. Things like this, for instance:

And, I mean, OK, this is obviously a photo of my face. I don’t mean that I want to just write about my face all the time, just FYI. (She, er, says while blatantly writing about her face…) My face HAS been a bit of a worry this week, because on Tuesday night, I was taking my makeup off before bed, when I suddenly realised my left eyelid was really sore to the touch – oh, and roughly the size of a golf ball. I immediately assumed a tumour had started growing behind my eyeball (Because, health anxiety…), but luckily I only had to think that for a few minutes, before remembering that, actually, this has happened to me before, and it’s just my ol’ friend blepharitis – which, for those of you who can’t be bothered clicking that link, is a condition where your eyelid randomly swells up for a few days. Awesome, huh?

I’ve had this a few times now (the most memorable time being right before my wedding: thanks, body!), and I put it down to stress. I’ve been pretty stressed lately, mostly because I’ve come to realise that I’m a complete and utter control freak (I think this is where my phobia of general anaesthetic/hospitalisation comes from: it’s not the fear of surgery, or of dying, or of just being in a hospital – it’s the complete lack of control which those two situations would give me. That freaks me out BAD. See also: flying.), and lately I haven’t felt even remotely in control of life. As I mentioned in my blog progress report last weekend, I have a couple of work projects on the go which are totally out of my hands (And one of which leaves me in the frustrating position of having to wait for someone else’s permission to post something on my own blog…), and that, coupled with a flare-up of health anxiety, has made the last few weeks a bit of a ‘mare, really (I find it really hard to deal with situations where I can’t plan out my time, and am basically just waiting for other people to give me last-minute instructions…), so I suppose it’s not surprising that my body would be all, “Hmm, Amber’s stressed: I wonder how I could make that worse? I know! I’ll force her to go without makeup for a week!”

So, yeah, I had to spend (almost) an entire week without eye makeup, while I applied hot compresses, and massaged my eyelid every few hours. It wouldn’t have been too bad if I’d been able to keep my sunglasses on all the time, obviously (I did continue doing my brows and lips when I had to leave the house, because there are limits to how much humiliation I can take…), but it turns out that sunglasses indoors are only acceptable if you’re Anna Wintour or Karl Largerfeld, so I just had to suck it up and present my mascara-free, swollen-eyelided self to the world, for the first time since I was about… oooh, 13, maybe? Or whatever age I was when my mum finally bowed to my threats to call Childline if she didn’t start letting me wear mascara? I’m not sure.

Just to make matters worse, since I had to have two doses of methotrexate, back in December, I’ve noticed that my eyelashes have been really short and sparse. I’m not sure if the methotrexate is totally to blame for this: it’s technically a chemotherapy drug, so it CAN cause hair loss, although, from what I’ve read, that doesn’t normally happen with just two doses. It MIGHT also just be stress, then, but, whatever the reason, my eyelashes have been looking like crap, lately, even without the swollen-eyelid situation, so I was NOT happy to have to ditch the mascara for a week, thus making myself look like I don’t have any lashes AT ALL.

(Sidenote: I’ve tried RapidLash, No. 7 ‘Fanomenal’ serum, and plain ol’ coconut oil, none of which have made the slightest bit of difference. Most of the other products I’ve seen for this seem to cost £100 a pop, which I just can’t afford, so if anyone has some lower-cost recommendations, which are available in the UK, I’d love to hear them!)

Any time something like this happens, my main technique for dealing with it is just to point it out to everyone I meet, before they can notice it for myself, so I’ve basically spent the week going around saying, “Hi, good to see you! LOOK AT MY RED SWOLLEN EYES!” Cute, huh? Comments have ranged from, “I thought you were wearing pink eyeshadow!” to “I just assumed you were really ill!” so I’m happy to report that, at the time of writing, my eyelid is pretty much back to normal, so THANK GOD FOR THAT, and BRING ME ALL THE MASCARA.


I actually didn’t intend this entire post to be about my stupid eyelid, so, look, here’s a photo of a milkshake with cake in it!

milkshake with cake

This was taken in TGI Friday’s. We’d actually gone there because they’d been advertising a milkshake with Cadbury’s Creme Eggs in it, and you all know how I feel about Creme Eggs, right? As it turned out, though, the Creme Egg one doesn’t launch until later in the month, so it looks like we’ll have to go back… and when we do, I might just go and visit this jacket, at the nearby branch of Zara, too:

mint green biker jacket

(Sorry about the photos, they’re from Instagram Stories!)

They don’t seem to have this pale green version on the website, but they DO have it in pink and blue… which I also want. I will try to resist, but… I probably won’t try too hard, knowing me. I will report back…

How was your week?



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  • Susie
    April 8, 2017

    Amber, I use Revitalash and it makes a noticeable difference to my lashes. It’s about £60 from Amazon. I tried Rapidlash before that and it didn’t help at all. I’ve seen castor oil recommended but it is so gloopy that I don’t fancy that at all. It seems a bit flippant to just be offering advice for your eyelashes when you’ve been having such a rubbish time of it – so sending you lots of love and strength too. I really enjoy reading your blog. xx

    • Amber
      April 8, 2017

      Oh no, not flippant at all, I need all the eyelash advice I can get right now, so thank you! Will have a look at Revitalash!

  • Wendy
    April 8, 2017

    Morning! My PhD research was on hair cycling so I can confidently say that there is nothing on the market you can buy over the counter that will impact eyelash growth, whatever marketeers, beauty writers or bloggers say. The methotrexate will have had some effect on your hair cycling – it works, as you know, by killing rapidly growing cells and as the hair follicle is a dynamic system, constantly cycling, any of the follicles that were in the active cycle when you were taking the drug will have been prematurely sent into the resting phase. Don’t worry – they will reboot and you’ll be back to normal pretty quickly. You are right in that stress will exacerbate the situation and you have had that in shedloads recently. One thing you can do to give your hair generally it’s very best shot is to take plenty of biotin and zinc, both of which are key nutrients for hair health.
    Thus endeth the boring science bit 🙂

    • Amber
      April 8, 2017

      It’s confused me a bit because my eyelashes were a bit like this – although not quite as bad – when I had my extensions removed last year, but they grew back really quickly (well, about 4-6 weeks) – this time it’s been four months and they’re still no better 🙁

  • Wendy
    April 8, 2017

    I did not put that apostrophe in “its”. Stupid autoincorrect 😡

  • Sharon
    April 8, 2017

    Is that angel cake in the milkshake??? I fricking love angel cake.

    • Amber
      April 8, 2017

      I’m actually not sure – it was delicious, whatever it was!

  • Brenda
    April 8, 2017

    I use Latisse on my eyelashes and it has helped a lot. It doesn’t encourage hair growth so much, but it prevents the ones you have from falling out, thus they grow longer and a little thicker. It is expensive though, but for me worth it. Maybe it is the same product as Revitalash, just under a different name. I buy mine in Canada.

    • Amber
      April 8, 2017

      It’s £100 a tube over here, unfortunately, and I think it’s only available on prescription, although I might be wrong about that – just a bit beyond my budget, though!

  • Dana Lynch
    April 8, 2017

    Sorry to hear about your eyes! I had something similar happen to me back in my ’20’s. I’m just like you–anytime there’s anything different about my appearance (or anything, really,) I tend to point it out to others. It’s funny–we obsess and others love us and barely notice anything about us other than–see photo above–“you look great!” and then they go back to obsessing about themselves. That said, it is a really great selfie. You look very LA!

    TGI Friday’s, Yum! I think they went out of biz in the US or at least in my city. We used to go there when I was in high school/college and try to order the ice cream drinks with liquor in them and then play dumb, lol! Also, love the jacket!!

  • Heather
    April 8, 2017

    I was going to suggest eyelash extensions but I see in another comment that you’ve done that!

    When I first saw that milkshake photo on Instagram, I thought the cake thing was a BANANA and that it was a riff on a banana split and was like omg, my husband would love that. But now that I know it’s cake, I know *I* would love it, ha 😀

  • CiCi Marie
    April 8, 2017

    Buy Lilash. Seriously, that stuff works and it’s about £65 to buy here (direct – they seem to cover customs for you). I will be posting a before and after at some point but I’d say my eyelashes have doubled in length in 3 months. It’s worked on my mum too and she’d tried Rapidlash to no avail.

  • I’m sorry about your eyes and not getting to wear eye makeup, but I guarantee it probably looks much better than you think! And you got a lot of compliments to prove it!

    Charmaine Ng
    Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • susan
    April 8, 2017

    Thats milkshake though??? YUMMY 🙂

  • D M Day
    April 9, 2017

    Hey. I’ve been taking sea kelp for hair thinning and eyebrow damage from PCOS and it’s helped a lot. My eyelashes are thicker too so that might help! I just had a creme egg milkshake at Gourmet Coffee which is an independent coffee shop here in Liverpool. It was immense! 🙂

Amber Florals in Springtime
Diary | A Week Without Makeup