Have you ever been in one of those posh French skincare shops? As you dare to step past the threshold, a pleasant lady in a white apron looking like a dental receptionist, gives you a big smile and offers you a cup of lemon tea.
As you gulp down the warm liquid, you are stunned by extortionate prices boldly displayed under each item as if you were in the heart of Dubai. You spot a 10ml bottle of shampoo selling for £28.50 and make approving noises with your throat to give the impression that you can afford to be in this shop, but the bottle you have at home still has plenty in it.
Then your eyes rapidly scan the shelves for a tester, just so you don’t embarrass yourself by walking straight out again. ‘Browse even though you will not buy…’ are the words running round your head, even though you know you just want to dump your cup and head for the door.
One such day, my daughter and I, after covering ourselves with 7 types of fragrance, headed downstairs to the serene lower floor where the mixture of rose, vanilla, sandalwood and shea butter smothered up our arms, blended with the subtle tones wafting around the quiet room.
An assistant coaxed us into doing a ‘How dry are your hands test?’ and of course the results showed that we were so dehydrated that unless we walked round with them in our pockets, our hands would be missing by the time we got back home. Crumbled away and lying forlorn somewhere on the high street. I looked at Sarah and gave her my, “Ooh, we simply must by up all the creams the next time we are in town! look’, then politely thanked the lady and disappeared out the shop.
I don’t use designer hand cream so I squealed with delight when my sister offered me a little tube of almond smelling L”Occitane Lotion Pour Les Mains’. She had received a dainty pack of 4 creams for Christmas from a loving friend who no doubt frequently visits the shop that scared us with their skin tests and prices.
I treasured my new fancy handbag item from Provence, but as the contents rapidly diminished day by day, I wondered if I should top it up. As I always keep a bottle of home-made hand cream in my kitchen, (Aldi’s Lacura, Aqueous cream & Extra Virgin olive oil) it was worth a try.
The siphoning was going well but taking ages, as each blob needed to be tapped to get it to fall inside.
After ten minutes, my husband could bear the monotony no longer and in true male fashion, decided to ‘fix’ my problem.
“Why don’t you just use a syringe?”
I’m not on drugs – he was referring to the ones we put into liquid paracetamol then down a child’s throat when they are in pain.
However, getting the home-made cream from the bottle – into a teaspoon – to the syringe – to be squeezed back out into my little tube, proved to be more time consuming and messy than my original plan, so I ended up with white gunk everywhere but in the tube. It landed on the floor, on my shoes, and somehow even got into my hair.
As I stood there covered in slop, it got me thinking about my relationship with God. Why do I often wait until I am completely empty before asking him to fill me with his Holy Spirit again?
Re-filling should be a daily pleasure, not a weekly panicky one. And what a mess I make with my life when I don’t take the time to top-up every day. My life ends up with splodgy useless over-spills that need to be wiped up quickly.
Indeed, I have learnt that a daily dose of the Lord keeps us wonderfully hydrated and causes us to make much less mess of our lives.
And I want to do that test again. How dare she say I need and anti-ageing serum!