Blush is powered by Vocal creators. You support Nicola Penny by reading, sharing and tipping stories... more

Blush is powered by Vocal.
Vocal is a platform that provides storytelling tools and engaged communities for writers, musicians, filmmakers, podcasters, and other creators to get discovered and fund their creativity.

How does Vocal work?
Creators share their stories on Vocal’s communities. In return, creators earn money when they are tipped and when their stories are read.

How do I join Vocal?
Vocal welcomes creators of all shapes and sizes. Join for free and start creating.

To learn more about Vocal, visit our resources.

Show less

Eternal Elasticity

Plumping My Dermal Layers

I’ve been obsessed with my skin and wrinkles from a ridiculously early age. I can remember sitting at school in my study periods joking with friends that I’d have to start wearing polo necks at 30 to deal with my turkey gizzard!

I blame it on the media. I negotiated my teens well before the age of the selfie, beauty tutorials Instagram updates, contouring and body shaming. For this I am thankful but it was the age of Kate Moss, cable TV and beauty magazines. QVC educated me in many more luxury skin brands and every month I would buy my fashion and beauty magazine selection and spend hours poring over the flawless skinned models and made lists of the latest creams and serums, hoping I could pick up a reasonably priced sample on E-bay.

Having now skipped well beyond the 35 year marker thankfully my worst fears have not come to pass and showing my face and neck in public isn’t yet a trauma.

Over the years I have tried many, many products and learned a few environmental lessons about my epidermis and I’m sharing some of that here.

The Hot Stuff

It’s been said many times many ways but the sun can be your skin’s worst enemy. By the time you’ve learned this first-hand the damage has already been done!

At 21 I went on the standard European backpacker trip to Australia with my bestie. Blue eyed, pale skinned and naïve I climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge, cuddled koalas and got the bikini on the beach at every opportunity with minimal sun lotion re-application. It was on a whale watching trip I came truly unstuck. White boat, sun and salty spray all day.

I burned. Really burned. My face burned to the point of blistering 48 hours later. I couldn’t put my face on a pillow for a couple of days. It was sore and ugly. Even more mortifying was my flight home. Travelling separately from my friend I was chatting to an attractive stranger as we headed to a stop off in Kuala Lumpur. I excused myself for the toilet and the sight in the mirror of my dried out flaking scalp and yellowed highlights filled me with shame and embarrassment.

Since then I’ll admit to a few comedy tan lines and a mole removal several years ago (thankfully found to be non-cancerous) I’m careful though now, so much more careful. I buy factor 30 and I apply and re-apply plenty of it when I’m enjoying the sun.

On holiday I wear the biggest shades I can find, alongside the biggest, floppiest hat I can find.

I also back a series of potions, lotions and hocus-pocus skin care aids I've found over the years to keep the turkey gizzard at bay! The most well used are the following...

Olay Regenerist

The moisturiser I have stuck with for over a decade. Peptides are great! Always felt this non-greasy SPF15 protection product gave zing and protection to my skin at price that doesn't hurt.

Aloe Vera Action

I've used Aloe Vera for years. I've taken it in tablet form since I was a teenager and recently discovered this skincare brand. Smells fabulous! Like cucumbers, so light and fresh. I mix it with other moisturisers and use on my face and body. Great for sunburn or any minor skin irritation.

Skin Gadget

I don't want to go down the route of botox or invasive surgery but I was curious about this little sensual looking tool. Its cute, super easy to use and has 2 different settings. I feel like my skin looks brighter every morning after I've used its buzzyness on my face. I like to cleanse and then use it before applying moisturiser.

Sleep Gadget

Copper is not just for your pots and pans. Copper ions in the case of this product are claimed to be magic for the rejuvenation of your skin. I had the sleep mask from this company years ago. It was so comfortable to wear, I slept better and even on my hangover days the skin round my eyes looked fresh when the rest of my body was struggling. Now I ram my face into this pillowcase at night in the hope of eternal youth.