Sunday, November 14, 2010

Lick my face, or I won't cry.

A few years ago my father in law died. At lunchtime. In August.

Have you ever tried getting a funeral director quickly in Milano at that time, during that month ? Fat chance.

The paramedics had made a mess, it was an emergency, that it just how it is.

My father in law was a proud and dignified man.

The only practical thing I could do to help my husband and my brother-in-law was spare them seeing him at the end of his life disheveled and stripped of his dignity. So I washed and dressed him. Not something I was every culturally prepared for, but it helped that I knew, that if he knew, he would have appreciated being touched and handled with respect and care.

And I don’t think I cried, I just did it, it felt right and I knew I was doing the right thing and I was the only family member who could it. I liked having something useful i could do that made things better,or at least stopped them being worse.

And yet tonight, when Rosie, my littlest doggie, my first ever doggy, slipped away like we knew she would, I buried her with no stiff upper lip to be found.

If you had given me the scenarios in the hypothetical I’d have told you that I simply couldn’t do the first, cos I’d fall apart at the seams, and the second would be easier cos I have had to bury pets before and the first cut is the deepest.

But I was wrong. I haven't built up any immunity at all.

Maybe I just like animals more than humans. Although I don’t think that is true. But maybe I don’t know myself as well as I thought I did.

Or maybe I can only grieve openly and unreservedly if a enthusiastic face licking and trying to trip me up twenty times a day is part of the relationship.

Mario already leaves his clothes lying around everywhere like deathtraps. Maybe if he slobbers on my face instead of kissing me in the morning he’ll up his chances of a properly mournful widow.

Cos I have already decided he is going first.

Because I want to lay him out, so the last hand that ever touches him on this earth is the one who loves him the most.

Although I’m not sure he is too happy about his placement in the queue of mortality organized behind his back.

Do I make sense ?

Probably not.

Is my heart broken ?


My son, who will have some unhappy news in the morning, is snoring loudly, which means he is breathing and I have kept my sense of proportion.

I have a stubbed toe, not a broken back.

But it hurts, it really fucking hurts.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Am Queenie, pass the ermine.

I just got crowned !!!!! (means my review was supperfabbydozy and a bit special !!!!!!!!!!)

For my review of Mudd Mask.

If anybody else want to earn a bit of pin money (also in the form of vouchers for us expats with no UK bank account) just drop me a line at my email address sarahfonto AT

This is fun ( =

I've never done any sponsored posts cos
A) Never been asked to
B) asummed it would be boring and I wouldn't be that good at it.

I may have to have a rethink now I am regal LOL

Obvously I can't write straight so this is my slightly tittersome version of reviewing a product.

Advantages: works brilliantly if used regularly

Disadvantages: no "sparkle" and no jumbo sized tube option.

The Testing Ground....... for a pure clay, deep cleaning (with no exotic "dead sea" heritage) facial mask.

I've been using Mudd Mask as long as I can remember, at least two decades, but currently it is applied to a 42 year old face, which is being deeply unfair to its owner by suffering from blemishes PLUS wrinkles.

Rather than combination skin it is more what I'd call "downright fickle about what state it wants to be" skin. It randomly changes from fairly dry in places (with oh so attractive flaking) to quite oily for my age group.

The face still gets spots despite its advanced years, in the main caused by environmental factors. Like getting covered in a fine layer of ash daily when emptying three big fireplaces.

Also gets a fair bit of garden ground in to it, thanks to my struggling with neurotic pumps down wells. Usually in the dark, while it is raining. Ending up with me falling flat on my face cos the Italian Sock Dropper has wandered off with the torch for fear that his Armani socks might get a bit damp. It's not helped by me sometimes falling off the non smoking wagon due to the stress of an extended pilgrim invasion.

The above guarantees a lack of effortless clear skin. I'm at constant risk of blocked, oversized pores, blackheads, small angry zits and when the ciggies get thrown into the mix...massive acne like spots too.

(God I sound attractive. Almost feel like throwing the Mudd Mask away next purchase and just sticking the bag on my head.)

The instructions on the tube are really sparse, so I've gone into more detail to give an idea of the use and what the product is like.

Pre application

If you don't use it regularly the mask is almost TOO effective at deep cleansing and drawing out impurities and for the next couple of days after application some new spots can pop up to join the ones you were trying to get rid of. So I'd say avoid using it a couple of days before a big event if you don't want to risk "post mask breakout" angst.

You need to rinse and dry your face to clean it first, in my experience steaming and other complicated prep makes no difference to the effectiveness of the mask.


This product can separate a bit in the tube. At first squeeze you risk a sudden squirt, of what looks like a bad case of food poisoning affecting the lower digestive system, shooting all over your basin. Over time this squirty phase can mean the remaining product gets too dry and clumpy. So always shake the plastic tube of the Mudd Mask violently before you unscrew the lid.

In two decades I still haven't worked out which storage conditions cause this. I've kept the tube on window ledges, in total darkness (lost under laundry mountains in the bidet), in the wide variety of climates offered by Southern England, Yorkshire, Bangkok and various bits of Northern Italy. Makes no difference, it seems to separate according to its own personal agenda, when it feels like it . So good idea to always shake.

You squeeze the product onto your hand. How much can depend on the weather (on a hot and dry day a too thin layer on the face can cause a strangled yelp as your skin gets sucked backwards at warp speed 10 with no warning).

You also have to think about the size of area you want to cover and if you wish to use a slow drying facemask as an excuse for a quick nap.

I go for a pencil thick line, about as long as my palm diagonally, so I'm looking at something that resembles a shrunken, three day old decomposed slug that caught the sun. Greeny brown, a bit moist still, with a suspiciously clumpy texture. Luckily it doesn't smell of dead slug. Just a subtle, clean, but earthy, natural scent.

I stick my finger in the slug and apply generously to the T-zone. Just enough to cover the skin completely, not so much that I look like my face is melting.

The eye area needs to be given a wide berth, I aim to look like the negative of a deeply shocked panda.

To the rest of my face I apply what little product is left on my hand much more thinly, just a whisper of coverage. Unless I am having a random dry and flaky phase, then I avoid the more dehydrated areas, like cheeks and neck, altogether.


I have a low boredom threshold, so during the wait for the mask to dry I creep up behind my unsuspecting spouse, yell "GWWHAHWHAHWHA !". Then wet myself as he shrieks like a girl and leaps ten foot in the air at the sudden sight of my "Shrek's swamp" coloured, monster face.

About ten minutes of hysterical giggling later, more or less, I get the "Joan Rivers" feeling and know the mask is dry. It is uncomfortable cos the dried mask pulls on your skin and makes smiling, let alone laughing quite twingy.

That means the end of fun and games, so I pull my husband's fingernails out of the ceiling, lower him to the floor and then pootle back to the bathroom.


I rinse vigorously in warm, running water for what feels like a month of Sundays. Paying attention to creases as it tends to get stuck there. It takes ten times longer to get off than it takes to get on. If I'm having trouble getting it off completely I have to use a bit of facewash along with the elbow grease. It feels like you are getting nowhere for ages, and then suddenly it all starts to come off and you are finally done.

This is why the packaging says to expect to be a bit pink afterwards I think. Nothing to do with the mask in my opinion and everything to do with the effort and rubbing involved in getting the stuff off you.

Moisturize, abundantly in my random dry areas post mask, to avoid feeling tight around the gills.


I always see an immediate, vast improvement in pore refinement which lasts until I get hot and sweaty cooking dinner, but for two to four days after that my pores still look clearer and tighter than before the mask.

Over the next few days the old, odd spot usually speeds up their disappearance. A few zits can suddenly pop up within the next 48 hours or so, which is why I avoid using the mask a few days before a party. I always find that, when washing and exfoliating for the next week, any stubborn clogged pores and blackheads liberate themselves in a jiffy.

Used regularly for a couple of months I find I hit a point where I can maintain fairly clear skin by preempting any breakouts by keeping my pores clear of what would have caused the spots to develop.


I feel the product only really lives up to its full potential if you use it as per the instructions. Which is regularly enough to get past the "post mask break out" cycle, so it can function as a preventative, refining measure, rather than trying to manage spots and blackheads with it in an ad hoc fashion.

When I do maintain the routine for 8 weeks onwards my skin is brighter, cleaner looking, fresher, less break out prone and far freer of blemishes. It also helps refine the general texture of my skin, which helps my make up sit better allowing it to enhance, rather than struggle to cover up.


I'm married to an Italian who has the famed defective gene that leads to ever optimistic, excessive bottom grabbing. Given the heightened risk I run of being hobbled with my tights half down and falling over in my efforts to avoid third party contact with an unsightly bottom, Mudd mask is perfect for when my rear has been encased in jeans or tights for weeks of winter and is not at its silky, smooth best.

As long as I remember to turn up the heating, to avoid chilly fluffy bits during the process, nooks and crannies carefully excused from participation, I can get a lot nearer to a perfect peach texture compared to pre treatment.

Given this additional usage I feel the mask should also be sold in considerably bigger tubes. Especially if I've been hitting the cake.

The other whinge is that the Mudd mask is so very basic in cost, packaging and presentation, making no attempt to frilly itself up in any way, that it leaves me open to infidelity with posher, less effective products as an attempt to seek out a "pamper" factor. Which then don't work so I am spotty AND poor. I feel they could try harder to inject just a little sparkle into the product.


It might not be pretty, or flashy or "spa" like, but despite the low cost (or maybe because of it) it works, and gets the results I want in terms of clearer, healthier looking skin. Top and tail. It only costs me about 5 Euros for a tube that seems to last for ages (during the parts of the year when I restrict the use to my face only, like a normal person) making it fabulous value for money.
Perhaps because it is so "hospital matron" there is a lack of incitement to make a beautification performance art piece out of the its use. Which lends itself better to the busy life of a working, home educating, wandering hand avoiding, time crunched woman. Who needs to squeeze in her skin care in a day which could do with at least another six hours added to it.

Summary: I may cheat on it, but I always come back to my staid and sluggy, honest Mudd


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