It is my mother's birthday and whilst spending some time together in Norfolk last week I asked her what gift she would like. Perhaps not surprisingly for a woman in her twilight years she said "that's easy, anti-wrinkle cream".
So once back in London I dragged my daughter off shopping in search of the ever elusive, miracle anti-wrinkle cream. After trawling the department store beauty halls filled with the usual plethora of young sales girls "caked" in make-up and not a fine line or wrinkle in sight, we headed off in search of a different shopping experience.
Our destination was Space NK. Surely there would be something "different" in there. Greeted by smiling, glowing staff dressed in the black ensemble that is de rigeur for anyone working in beauty, we stared bewilderingly at the floor to ceiling shelves laden with pots of elixir guaranteeing a miracle transformation.
As a near 50 year old myself, my LOVE of shopping for anti-wrinkle creams has reached a new level of excitement tinged with desperation, so whilst I gasped, Teenager No.2 outwardly groaned and skulked off to find a dark corner where she could hibernate with her phone in peace.
Seeking advice from a quite simply stunning French girl, with exquisite olive skin, dark hair in a neat chignon and perfect cats eye flicks, she started by asking me my mother's age, what type of skin she had and whether the texture and appearance were similar to my own. I am remarkably like my mother in appearance, but whilst we both have dry skin, I also have an abundance of freckles which she does not, but it was a good place to start.
She then quizzed me about my mother's skincare regime, the kind of products she has used previously and her lifestyle. Armed with all this information and particularly the fact that she lives by the sea and is an avid gardener so is frequently outdoors, she advised a nourishing oil which could be mixed with any moisturiser and selected some products for me to test.
Decision firmly made and having spent double my intended amount because I wanted to spoil my mum, inevitably perhaps the assistant's attention turned to my skin as she suggested that maybe I would like to try some of the chosen brand's products, particularly one that might help with the deep lines on my forehead.
My daughter spotting me moving towards the till had by this stage rejoined me and outwardly exclaimed "That's rude!" perhaps more as an expression of mild panic as to how I might react than anything else.
Whether it was the French accent that helped to sugar coat the words "deep lines" or my own surprise that someone had dared to acknowledge their existence, I am not sure, but instead of taking offence I said my best friend who works for a cosmetic clinic in the States had suggested some "mild botox" as a solution, but that instead I had resigned myself to a face that enjoyed life and maybe being bold and going for a fringe instead.
I did however leave with multiple samples of a Needle-less line smoothing solution, which on first use reminded me of the days when in my twenties I used to slap egg white on my forehead as it similarly tightened my skin and smoothed away the appearance of any lines. This was probably around the same time I abandoned the use of moisturiser to avoid spots, thus initiating the development of the lines I now sport proudly on my forehead.
As my daughter and I headed off into the sunset debating the sales technique of the glamorous French sales assistant I did wonder whether I had fallen for the oldest trick in the book and whether my mother and I should just follow the lead of two of my dearest friends who since our university days have stuck to using that 70's favourite Astral and are still wrinkle free.
Do you spend money on face creams? Do you have a favourite you have used all your life or are you like me constantly on a quest for the perfect miracle cream?