Saturday, October 14, 2006


I love those travel-sized bottles of shampoo, shaving cream, body lotion etc that you can buy these days. I first came across them at a Wallgreens in New York, then at a Boots at Heathrow, and now I've found them at the Superdrug on Tottenham Court Road. These little goodies are a must if you travel on business, you and your partner are in denial about whether or not you are living together, or if you enjoy the occasional mini-break. They take up a hell of a lot less space in your bag, and if you leave them somewhere by mistake, it's no big deal.

I got all kitted out for our trip to Amsterdam - I had my Dermalogica (for dry skin) travel pack (cleanser, toner, moisturizer and complimentary sample skin refinisher), plus my mini Tresemme Shampoo and Conditioner. I had even packed a mini toothpaste - although our regular one doesn't really take up that much room - but if I was mini-sizing, I had to be consistent. I had a mini shaving cream, mini mouthwash, mini everything. So you can imagine how annoyed I was when I discovered last night (while attempting to freshen up ahead of meeting Blair) that I had in fact forgotten my entire mini-stocked vanity case in the bathroom back in London. What an eejit!

I was wondering why (for the first time in ages) my suitcase felt so light, and was stupidly congratulating myself for packing (for once) so ergonomically. Usually I include a fake fur coat, a ball gown, a pair of army boots, and a handglider - just in case. This time I was steamlined to the point of military precision. Only I don't think any self-respecting soldier would forget their bloody vanity case, now would they?

Fortunately the hotel we are staying in has complimentary L'Occitane products, and their shampoo and conditioner is quite lovely. Unfortunately, they (like 99% other hotels), don't really put skincare cosmetics out for your personal use. Mostly I imagine, because men don't bother, and women always bring their own.
Now I can survive with hotel shampoo provided they also do conditioner and sufficient amounts of it, because my hair is uncombable without the latter. Likewise the soap or bodywash they have on offer is usually fine. But what I cannot do without is eye-makeup remover, a facewash, or a moisturiser. These are grassroots basics in my beauty routine, and without them, my face resembles a leathery piece of something which covers a drum. I have very dry skin, but it's also prone to spots on occassion, which makes using the complimentary body lotion (which is usually rich in something like greasy cocoa butter) on my face, a risky enterprise. No one wants to be on a romantic mini-break with itchy, shiny, spotty skin, now do they?

This morning I made do with their 100% vegetable soap for my face, which wasn't quite so drying as most other soap, and thank god and all the saints, I found a teeny tiny little Origins sample in my makeup bag - which is called Youthtopia - skin firming cream. According to the teeny tiny instructions on the back, you're supposed to 'smooth over skin AM and PM after A Perfect World* White tea skin guardian.' Well, I didn't have no white tea skin guardian, but this stuff seemed to work OK as a moisturiser - at least until I can find the nearest shop selling Dermalogica.

At this point, Louise will be asking - why on earth didn't you have a mini face cleansing kit in your handbag, as well as a mini toothbrush and toothpaste, like any self-respecting prepared for anything London girl should? And my reply to that sarcastic comment would be - well I would have, if there weren't all these current bloody restrictions on liquids in your hand luggage. Fortunately, I did remember to bring my makeup bag (ergo Youthtopia discovery) and had packed that in with my luggage - but the rest has to be purchased. Oh dear, I guess that means I'll have to go shopping... .

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