I've reached 36 sans botox and I have little time for regular mani-pedis. I wash my hair twice a week, at most, and barely blow-dry it at all anymore. I wear little or no make up to and from the school run. Even when I'm out-out, I take all of 10 mins to get ready (not withstanding considering my outfit options for about two days). I'm low maintenance right?

Wrong. Upon truthful introspection, I've realised, that my proudly laissez-faire attitude to grooming is rapidly becoming extremely high maintenance in reality! Nearer to 40, than 30, the pretence of not caring, but really caring quite a lot, costs a bomb and is taking up more time than I've cared to admit to myself.

Holding it all together is a series of highly addictive and effective treatments and routines that day-to-day save me so much time and make me feel infinitely better about myself - but are a cost and time commitment in themselves.

What's involved isn't unusual in Dubai, but shocking to review none the less.

HAIR
With my one length bob, I wear my natural waves with beach girl pride now - young and cool and effortless innit'?! I pin it in twists in a rush, or sleep in it wet, ala Caroline deMaigret. BUT, the hair is where the tangled web of deceit was first spun. These highlights don't come cheap, nor does trying to get an appointment with one of Dubai's top stylists, my girl, Rachel at Slam, come easy.
Slam 04 800 7526

And now I've gone and tried a Biolustre treatment at Marquee, a masque that packs your hair with protein until its smooth and shiny and so much more easy to manage. Which is clearly going to be an additional 500 odd dirhams I need to misappropriate through the family accounts every two months from here in. Doh. ...but think of all the serum and blow dries I'll save on in the humid months - right?!
Marquee 04 399 5336

MICROBLADING
And this one demonstrates where I possibly get my high-low maintenance habit from. My mum has been having her eyebrows tattooed for decades, long before the 2010's browvolution. After months of market research and due diligence, I first went to Charlotte Walsh last May and had my first maintenance session since this week and was reminded how this is one of the most essential of all my treatments once she bought them back to life. In this sweaty, beach/pool, no time to get ready, mum-life, my brows seem to hold my face together when everything else slides off my skin and all control hangs in the balance.
Chloe 055 677 0860

SPRAY TAN
There are few mobile spray tanners in Dubai - admittedly that's on a relative basis for a girl from Essex. But to me there's only one! I avoid unprotected, direct sunlight at all costs, but wouldn't dare face a swimsuit or bare limbs situation without a tan. Australian sweetheart, Manelle does all the celebs that come through Dubai, from Lindsey Lohan and Paris Hilton to Ladies of London resident Caroline Stanbury. I always look forward to our sessions, she's the most fun, so full of positive energy and of course I look a good 3kg lighter and 7 years younger after she's bronzed me.
Manelle 056 303 4044

EYELASH EXTENSIONS
I've only tried this once and it won't become part of my regular regime. But there's nothing like waking up with thick Disney lashes every morning and not needing a scrap of eye-make up. Definitely one for vacations and party seasons or when you really need a little va-va-voom make over in an hour. My husband was devastated when I had them removed.
Get a little blow out and mani whilst you're there... The Cure 04 391 6485

MIRACLE INGREDIENTS
My clever friend Sarah who works with cosmetic surgery spa grade beauty products told me last summer to use hyraluconic acid wherever I can. It locks in moisture, 1,000 ml of water per gram in fact. It's a game changer and can be found in a few clever pharmacy brands now. I love Indeed Labs goodies, which you can get in UK/online Boots.

I'm also trying the Fillerina Day Cream at the moment. Fillerina is the 'at home alternative to fillers' and it does feel pretty special.

SUPPLEMENTS
I've tried them all. Sugar Bear Hair, Medicoll (collagen), Viviscal (hair) to name a few and I think they all worked to extents. You can't beat the fish oils and Vit C.

PERSONAL TRAINER
I always think of him as a mums bod specialist, but that's because I train with a group of mums after school drop-off, in our Breakfast Club. But Matthew Henry is a former international athlete and a top notch all-round personal trainer and lovely bloke. I'm no walking advert for him at the moment, having skipped Breakfast Club for Eating My Sons Easter Eggs and Not Training At All Club over the past fortnight. But when I'm going, it's so so good.
Matthew 050 195 5216

I'll end this here before I incriminate myself any further. I might as well just pack my matching Louis Vuitton trunks (I wish) and move to Beverly Hills with my small bijou dog (actually true, she's called Molly and I've had her 9 years). Ciao!

CS7_6288-2
At my deluded 'wash and go' summer best. www.clairestaffordphotography.com

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