Any psychiatrist knows that the first step is admitting you have a problem. Well, I’ve done that. I’ve admitted that I have become a total streel (Newfanese for an untidy, messy, dirty person). I might not be especially dirty, I do wash from time to time, but I do need a bit of a sprucing up. Any psychiatrist also knows that no one can help you but you. So I picked myself up, dusted myself off, put on some real world clothes and informed my husband to prepare to finance the great battle ahead.

First stop, Avallon, a town about a 30 minute drive from Semur. And what’s so special about Avallon apart from a kick-ass bakery? This …

I stood outside trying to develop a strategy to combat make-up store intimidation. Don’t forget now, I have to do all this with the little French I have left after months locked away with the bloody blook. As usual, I neglected to study up before I went. I mean it’s enough that I have to deal with all this beautifying nonsense let alone verb conjugation, right? Anyway, at least the name of the store is in English and you have to admit it’s entirely optimistic and supportive, far superior to Beauty Failure.

Ah, vive la France! Even in the smallest of towns beauty is big business. There had to be something here to fix me up.

And that something was a woman named Sandra. Mon dieu, you should’ve seen her! Black pixie hair, flawless skin, the perfect violet smoky eye, stunning (I begged her for a picture but no dice). Thank god I had decent clothes on, although standing next to her did make me wish that I’d worn a push-up bra or at least brushed my hair. She was fantastic all around. She spoke slowly, didn’t try to oversell me and shocked me by revealing that she had relatives living in Rimouski, Quebec. See, I told you, word of my decrepitude is going to get back to Canada one way or another.

In the end I left with all this …

All I really bought was cleanser, foundation and a brush and loofah to slough off the three inches of scales I’ve been growing. The rest were freebies from the beautiful Sandra. She also threw in a menu of all the spa treatments and I could tell she thought I needed every one of them. But that’s it for me, I’ve exceeded the defense budget for the year. I spent 70 euros in all, 50 of mine, a Christmas gift I’d been saving for an emergency like this one. The remaining 20 came from Neil. Interestingly he handed over the bills quite quickly. He’d never say, but I think he’s more than happy to invest in cleaning up this mess.

Alright, I’m well on my way. Dressed, descaled and headed toward a luminous complexion (at least that’s what Chanel promises). Next step, mullet maintenance. Sasquatch to supermodel in just 178 easy steps.