When I was around thirteen, my mother decided we would have a girls’ night. My dad looked on, a little bemused, as my mother filled a shopping basket with face packs, kohl pencils and nail cream.
Neither of us was especially girly, in the traditional, made-up, hair-crimping sort of way, but I was too young to object and she was all for taking care of one’s skin and nails. (I think the eyeliner was my idea, which would explain why I wore it for the next twelve years.)
We’d been wearing the face packs for about five minutes, and were getting to that point where it’s starting to tighten, when my mother hissed that we could have made our own face packs. It would be a good bonding exercise, she said, and it would save us a fortune in the long run.
It took her three or four attempts to say it but, she decided that all we’d need were porridge oats, cucumbers and honey. There was no point in lining the pockets of the face pack people when we already had porridge.
However, given that she couldn’t really open her mouth, for fear of cracking her face, it took my dad several attempts to write out the shopping list she was dictating.
He talked her out of it while she was dealing with her cuticles. No one needs to spend that much time mincing cucumbers.