Sunday, 28 March 2010

Caudalie Experiment

I went into Space NK yesterday to return an eye cream that I was sceptical about using. I only wanted to get my money back but ended up getting sucked into spending a bit more and buying a 'Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum Complexion Correcting'. 

I was so close to going back for a refund next week (and resist the any form of eye contact with the sales people), but when I read a bunch of review online, the majority were very positive so I thought I'd try it out and keep a log on the progress.

It costs a whopping £43.50 for 30ml. It comes in a glass jar with a dropper - I reckon thats where most of my money was spent on (the packaging). I am not comfortable about it being in a light coloured glass jar because I heard that formulas are ruined by sun exposure the moment air gets into it. So i'll keep it in the box, in my wardrobe where the sun does not hit it. The product is a far more runny consistency than your average serum and the smell is quite nice - almost like the smell of the Origin skincare products.
Product Description: In four weeks, it claims to:
  • Correct existing dark spots, prevent the appearance of dark spots, and boosts the complexion`s radiance.
  • Provide anti-oxidant protection and offers your skin unique anti-ageing action 
  • Make your complexion look even and radiant
For maximum results, you use it morning and evening before your moisturiser. It also claims to be ideal for smokers, scar marks, sun-derived or age-related dark spots, pregnancy marks.

So lets do an experiment and see if it works! I have red scarring from a row of old spots, and and the dark spots have been there for over five years. The use of sun cream on my face has helped any new ones from appearing, but I really want to get rid of these uglys. So these are the two areas on my face that I will base on whether or not the products have worked for me. Plus its supposed to help even out the skin tone. With typical indian skin, the area around my mouth and nose is darker than the rest of my face. Hopefully this serum do something combat this trouble as well.

The lady in the store says that the serum should last me about nine months... I'm not too sure about that. I'll also give the experiment longer than 4 weeks. I'll take pictures of the offended areas every week for eight weeks. At the end of that, I'll compare the pictures to see if it was money worth spent. 

The serum also came with two very small samples of their day and night cream in this range which they recommend using for optimal results. But I have a bunch of products and samples I need to finish off. So here will be my routine:

1. Serum
2. Moisturiser (I am finishing off the Olay 'Complete Care Multi-Radiance Daily Illuminating UV Fluid'. I am also going to use up samples of 'Creme Fraiche moisture emulsion', 'Jurlique day cream', Eve Lom 'TLC Radiance Cream' and the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion')
3. Clinique face cream spf 40

Night time
1. Boots Rose water & Glycerine or the Elemis Rehydrating Ginseng toner if my skin feels like it needs it
2. Serum
3. Home Health Goji Berry Facial Cream

I tried to take pictures of the two offending areas I want to concentrate on but they came out far too blurry, but I will try again in a different light.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

My favourite face cream

I am devastated. I went to my local Holland & Barratt to buy a few of these to stock up in:

They informed me that this line was being discontinued. I refused to believe them, so emailed H&B and sadly they confirmed the disaster. I went into another store and they had taken the last few out so I swiped two of them and my friend took the other one.

I use this once a day (usually at night, but in the mornings if I forget/don't bother to wash my face). It has all the right words - goji berry, hyaluronic and retinal. It just blends so well into my dry skin, has kept my spots at bay and makes my face so soft and plump. I am gutted that it is discontinued. I've checked around the web, but the all the suppliers seem to be outside of the UK.

If anyone knows where I can get my hands on anymore these (UK based supplier), I would be eternally grateful. 
In the meantime, I will be desperately searching for another face cream that contains all three of these ingredients. I am just hoping this company is rebranding, so the cream will be around - just under a different name... the hunt is on!!!

Thursday, 25 March 2010

It was Animale, freakin' Nitrate time last night!!

I just found out that Suede had played a one-off gig at the Royal Albert Hall last night. I AM GUTTED!! I never got to see them first time round and now again I missed out. I would have sung those songs with feeling and swayed my arms about! I cannot believe I didn't know they were playing. What did I do instead last night? Watch the diabolical 'Bounty Hunter'. It was so bad we walked out three quarters in. Have I really sold myself to commercialism? 10 years ago,  this would never have happened to me. I was actually just horrified when I discovered what I was doing the day Suede came back for a one-off gig.

Anyway I am digressing. I need to start using my brain again. I mean, I chose the freakin' bounty hunter over 'The Green Zone'. What the heck is wrong with me??!! (Quick side note: I love Jen A and I just wish she'd make something worth watching).

I'm going to book a bunch of live bands to see. Yes, thats what i'll do - that way I can start to feel part of my soul again.

Samaritans update - The branch I wanted to volunteer in only take a small number of people on three times a year - January, April and September. They finally got back to me with a text message to say I have to go in for the selection process in the middle of April. Unfortunately I won't be in the country then. So I called and left a message asking if I can come another time. They got back to me today to say yes I can, but it will be in September! I don't hold a grudge against the guys at Samaritans for not being flexible, or even taking so long to respond. Because its a hard job they do, and I can do understand that they are very busy, and they should only get the best in anyway. However I was talking to a friend about this and she said that she had to keep ringing to volunteer for a mentoring scheme she had heard of. Its just so resource intensive for the people who run these things. If anyone feels that they aren't getting through a particular charity or oganisation they would like to volunteer in the first time round, don't give up just yet. If you think you can be useful, then just persevere a little more - and think of all the good you'll be doing if you do just that!

Thing is, I think I'll be really good at it. I'll try some other branches but if I have no joy, I'll have a look for something else and try my luck again in September.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Current Eye Creams

I have severe, hereditary dark circles. I remember at my early years of secondary school, there was a girl working with Avon. My friends bought makeup and perfume ('Far and away' was the range back then, along with the original 'Charlie' perfume!)? Me? Well, I bought eye cream. Yep, I was obsessed with it even way back then. I am in denial that I am getting older and developing wrinkles. So I don't think about whether the eyecream helps reduce this. For me, its all about the dark circles.

Over the years, I have tried many, many products - cheap and expensive. Non of them made much difference. But I live in the hope that something will be a miracle cure for me. However, thought I'd mention the two I am currently using:
Daytime - Molton Brown 'Eye Rescue Ultracool' (£25)
I bought this one because i went to return a gift from their store that I didn't want. They offered an exchange so I thought I'd pick up this. It claims:
"This cooling cream-gel uses Algisium CTM marine extract and starflower to ease away fine lines and soothe the delicate eye area. Eyes look and feel refreshed and renewed. "

What is does is that that my eyes do feel cool when I apply it and keeps it moisterised. But that is literally all it does, I just don't think it is strong enough to combat my bruise-like eyes. But I think it comes in the most gorgeous packaging!
Nighttime - Origins 'High Potency Night-A-Mins eyecream (£29)
What it says:
"Formulated with extra vitamins (including B-complex, C, E and also A), extra minerals and an exfoliating extract to help skin repair while you sleep."
I think this is actually okay. However it is quite a creamy consistency and I wonder whether the heaviness of this is what is increasing the bags. But I do feel like something is happening when I apply it - I wouldn't mind repurchasing it if I haven't found anything else before my jar runs out.

Booster every few weeks - Talika Eye Therapy Patch (£34)
'An instant pick-me-up for reducing dark circles, puffiness and fine lines and wrinkles. Incorporating ceramide technology to instantly firm the eye area. Contains six pairs and one case, each patch is resuable three times'.
This is my most recent purchase, I've only used one pair of patches. When I put it on, I feel like i'm going through some surgical procedure - it feels so wierd! The convenient thing about it is that I can place these under my eyes and go about my day to day stuff around the house. I haven't noticed any results yet as its early days, will let you know how I get along.

One thing I do know is that these three products combined are not working for me. I'll have to change some around. Two products which showed any real, visible difference for me, have been the Aveda 'Tourmaline Charged Eye Creme' (£27) and Origins 'Eye Mask: No Puffery' (£19). I don't understand why I keep forgetting to repurchase them, once I've run out of the ones I already have, will make sure I stock up on these kids.

It will be quite a while though, as I just bought the Darphin 'Wrinkle Corrective Contour Cream' (£39) and have a HUGE, generous sample of the Natura Bisse 'Diamond Extreme Eye' to try out. Will keep you posted on how these go!

Monday, 22 March 2010

Nails. Of. the. Week (1)....

I've only started doing patterns on my nails. Its still not as daring as the designs you get at the nail salons, and I am quite a novice at this. But I brought a few very funky coloured Barry M nail paints which makes my skin look grey. As you can't really return make up stuff in most shops, I thought I'd see how I can make use of them.
So I tried this....

with this...

Just realised I didn't include the No7 glittery nail varnish in 'spotlight', which i applied directly over the grey.

I've just bought a 15 piece nail art brush set from ebay, so looking forward to trying new things with those. Also at £2.30 (incl p&p!), lets hope they come in one piece and don't fall apart on the first use and I make use of them instead of getting bored and forgetting about them after a week's use!

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Eyes for tea

I went for tea, toast and cakes with a friend's mother yesterday. This lady is just about to hit her retirement age, but she is always so impeccably dressed and her make up is never out of place. So of course I needed to make sure I looked presentable around her. I wore a dress from Warehouse which was multiple swirls of grey, black and brown. I combined this with a black belt, a long knitted grey grandad-style cardigan, leggings and flat black boots. I was planning to take a picture of the outfit but I was already running 45 minutes late so had to run out of the door.

For my eyes, I did my usual everyday routine, usually with the following products

This is how the look tends to come out (I have taken the pictures with and without flash, apologies for the quality of the photos, the lighting in my room is pants):
So.. here is how i use the products:

  1. pout translucent pressed powder: over whole eyelid after applying a bit of concealer. As a powder it is far too light and chalky for me, so I make use of it as a ‘primer’
  2. nyx jumbo eyeshadow pencil (in yoghurt):blended all over the lid as base
  3. Stila eyeshadow (in ray) all over lid and just above crease
  4. Bobbi brown nude on nude shimmer eye shadow palette: ‘wheat’ on crease,  ‘mahogany’ on the corner and blended thoroughly
  5. Mac eyeshadow (in ‘bisque’): used all over the lid to blend everything throroughly. This is the only non-shimmer product I use, so it helps tone down the look for daytime
  6. bobbi brown long-wear gel liner in ‘sepia ink 2’ to top and bottom of line, followed by ‘cement’ from the bobbi brown palette, to a third  of the way to the lower line.
  7. Maceyeshadow  (in ‘vanilla’): under brow bone to highlight
  8. e.l.f eyebrow kit dark
  9. N0 7 Extravagent lashes (in 01black). I do also curl my eyelashes, but I seem to have misplaced them at the moment.
The nyx pencil is a recent addition to this routine, but in general, this is my usual routine, just the eyeshadows change depending on the occasion.

We went to 'Richoux'. The waitress serving us was a bit nutty, but the food was just delicious. An eccentric older couple sat next to us and mentioned that they have been coming here for over 20 years. The man pulled out his iphone and I ended up downloading some applications for him! It was my first time there, but I can see it turning into a regular haunt for me!

Friday, 19 March 2010

Trying to earn my living

A girl at work told me the other day that I can't save everybody. It was one of those statements that I will remember for life. But I do feel useless. I think I am incapable of being loved and loving rationally. I find that sooner or later, any man I am remotely interested in, finds me annoying and repulsive. The only person who loved me unconditionally was too overcome with sadness, so he left. I keep having this feeling of worthlessness and helplessness. I've been meaning to do something about it.

This year is a complete write-off about trying to make me happy. Instead, I am trying to occupy my mind with things so I don't have to think. Train journeys are the hardest because I am left with my own thoughts. I should take a book with me to rectify this problem. There's no point of me being happy, because I end up feeling terrible and guilty for days afterwards. Having said that, I love the of staying in my maxi the entire weekend, doing nothing but play silly computer games. He used to do that.

So... I've signed up to volunteer at the Samaritans. I gave my contact details online over the weekend and received a letter to say someone will be contacting me talk me through the process. I don't know if its for me yet, but I might as well see what it is about. There is no need for previous experience - they put you on a 6/8 training. If I decide to do it, I will make sure I keep a record of the journey. It might help some, it might not, I dunno. I will make me feel slightly worthwhile.

Anyway, let hope I stick this one out!


Sunday, 14 March 2010

Powder Blushes

I don't have as much make up as a lot of the lovely ladies and gentlemen on YouTube and the blog world. I wear make up nearly EVERYDAY, and it seems like the only things I always have to stock up in are foundations, concealers mascaras and eyeliners. Blushers and eyeshadows, they seem to last a lifetime. I thought I'd bring out all my powder blushers - somehow I have managed to accumulate a decent amount for myself. I do use cream and stains, but I'll save those few for another time. Putting these guys next to one another, I realise that they all look rather similar in colour.
So here they are:
No7 eyeshadows are completley useless for me, but I really like their blushes. My favourite of these is the 'Apricot'. It gives a lovely natural-looking flush to my cheeks and its really easy to work with.

The infamous E.L.F one is okay, but don't think it blends very well. Plus it can be a bit shimmery for the daytime.

The Collection 2000 is just far too shimmery and flakey. I feel that it just comes off within an hour of wearing it. It came free with something so not too fussed about it. I use the lightest bit as a quick highlighter or body shimmer, just so I can make some use of it.
The Stila blush is the first blush I ever bought. If my calculations are correct, I bought it nearly 8 years ago - and I'm still using it! 
Of all my blushes, I probably use the MAC ones the least. Its not to say I don't like them. I'm just not sure how I can work the 'Flirt & Tease' on my skin, and I kinda find 'Prism' a bit boring (like the No7 Soft Damson). As a rule, they are supposed to be the ideal colours for my skin, which I suppose makes me feel a bit dull. I dunno. When I use them, feel a little bland, but I suppose I its time for me to get a bit conventional. I am loathed to waste them away, so will take some time to play around with the products and make them a bit more 'exciting' for me.

The Cargo one is my newest purchase - it is a great multi tasker . When I went away to visit some rather conservative relatives, I needed to make sure I had a natural looking face. I picked this up and used it as eyeshadow, highlighter and blush. It did give me a natural and radiant look to my skin. The shimmers aren't as chunky as E.L.F or flyaway as collection 2000, and it blends into the skin to make it glow rather than make me look like an 80's disco ball. Last of all, as it is set in different colours, you can blend it to different intensities depending on the look or mood you are going for. So a definite thumbs up to this one. As a blush, its not pink or coral, so I don't love it. 

Regardless of what powder blush I use however, I almost always wear a blush cream or cheek stain underneath which means I don't have to reapply on cheeks throughout the day.

Nail stuff

Ive been doing a lot of self indulgent shopping recently. My brain seems to justify me buying things just because its on sale, regardless of whether I need/can afford to or not. I have brought loadsa dresses, tops, and ventured into the world of....'jeggings'. I've recently put on shit loads of weight and non of my jeans fit me anymore, not even my trusted, comfortable  baggy pair :( So I'm literally living in dresses with thick opaque tights or legggings, and now 'jeggings'(urgh what a horrid word). A long cardigan covers the 'middle aged spread' and wide bum.

Last year, I really got into gel nails. Because of this, my nails just literally chip off every time I try to grow them. Boots were doing a 'buy one, get one half price' promotion with Sally Hansen products, so I thought I'd experiment with these:

Diamond Strength Instant Nail Hardener
It promises to give me back "harder, stronger, healthy looking nails in 5 - 7 days". Apparently its got real micro-diamonds what ever that is, that is meant to make my nails durable. We'll see.

Insta-Brite Nail Whitener
Yes folks, I eat my curry and rice with my hands! Silly me, money wasted. It does make my nails look shiny but they still pretty yellow.

Anyway its Sunday and I've been at home all day tidying, sorting day to day stuff out etc. I decided to attempt a messy 'french tip' nail polish - something I haven't done for a while because a) I haven't had the patience to do and b) I'm rubbish at french manicure and any sort of nail designs. Luckily I don't mind if things don't look perfect anyway, so this is quite ideal for me and my personality (i.e never quite right ha ha ha!). so the products I used were:

1. Insta-Brite as base (might as well find some use for it)
2. Sally Hansen Natural White on the tips in quick upward strokes - two thin coats
3. Maybelline Salon Expert in Sheer Ballet Pink (No. 145) all over the nails, including the white tip
4. No7 Stay Perfect in Clear - all over as top coat

Quick tip - Boots always do those £5 vouchers off Ruby and Millie and No7 porducts. So I tend to pick a No7 nail varnish for under £1.50 each time. I don't necessarily think their nail varnishes are particularly great (they start chipping away far too quickly for my liking) but for that price, you really can't go wrong!

Anyway, here are the results. You can tell I didn't file my nails beforehand, but it goes with the 'messy' nails concept, so it will do for this week. I reckon you can do this effect with most light colours... I might try a coral version next time.

In the evenings, I have done a dark tip and used a clear, sparkle as top coat and it looked pretty good for a five minute job!

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

No more safety blanket

So, life is pretty rubbish at the moment. I've always been one of those emotional type gals with extreme highs and extreme lows. It just at the moment, I feel to be stuck in a rut on the lows and cannot shake myself out of it.

My ex who I thought I was in love with for all those years, got married on Sunday. For a long time, I really believed that if I believed hard enough, he would realise I am the one for him. But he isn't emotional and sentimental. He thought with his head and got married to the girl his parents found for him. He realised much earlier than I did that we fell out of love ages ago. Over the years, every now and then someone would come along and I'd be happy, but he always creep back into my thoughts. His outlook in life is far more conservative and hypocritical than mine. But I just held onto some hope that I wasn't wasting my time and that it will all be alright in the end. I wasted 10 bloody years with this sense of delusion. Whereas all this time, he had his ego massaged because someone was pining for him. Now he's married to someone younger than me, who will probably only know me as some girl he dated years ago, who is still in love with him. I don't think we will ever lose in touch completely because I am grateful for how he supported me last year. But for now, I have chosen not to respond to his messages as it's not fair on his new wife, or me. Maybe I'll send him a quick note in a few months to congratulate him. Somebody once said I have characteristics of subjugation where I always worry how other people feelings are affected before my own. So I suppose I shouldn't contact him if it means it pains me inside, just because it's the 'mature thing' to do. I am less selfish than him, he hurts people on purpose so why does he get to be happier than me? I know he never was the one for me, but I can't help but think: his wife is not me. Why wasn't I good enough for him and his family? He used to say that I'm too independent and liberal - like it's an awful thing. Well he got the submissive wife he always wanted.  Despite what happened between us, of course I still want him to be happy. I just want to be happy as well.

Last night, I met up with one of my most favourite people in the world. I'm always excited when I know I'm meeting him. He always makes me happy. We caught up, he talked a lot about his new girlfriend a lot who he seems to be really into. I gave him advice about nice things to do for her. It was a good night. When we said our goodbyes, I got this horrid sinking feeling in my stomach. What if I'm in love with him? I've been a wreck all day today asking myself this question. This coupled with the huge feeling of guilt over J - that I subconciously tried to substitute J with this friend of mine for the last two years. Back then, he was a light release for J. This friend of mine knows what happened, but he never contacted me. Even last night, he didn't say anything. I gave him another opportunity today over an email, and again, he was his usual jolly self. 

At the time I was really angry with him. I resented how he never lets anything affect him, he never takes on anyone else's problems and is purely concerned with having fun. But poor love, he probably didn't even realise what he had done. I've been angry with so many people for so long. And out of all the people I have been angry with, I missed him the most. So I tried to not be angry anymore, and I wasn't but ended up pretty depressed instead. 

He liked me one time, but as usual, I didn't pick up the signs until it was too late. I can never tell him how I feel because it will never be reciprocated. Now is not the time, he doesn't feel for me at all. I cannot believe the wreck I've been today over my friend - what if I am in love with him. Please don't let me be, I don't think I can survive and another heartbreak. .

Again, I wonder, why am I not good enough for him? Am I good enough for anyone? I don't have my comfort blanket anymore. For the first time in a long time, I am now truly by myself for the first time and it sucks and feels so scary.  

They have left my life now. 

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Current Facial Cleansers

One of my lifetime ambitions is to have even toned, radiant skin (like most women; I know I know). I think I can have the ugliest features but if my skin is good, then it masks some of the insecurities. I think I am losing my battle. Especially as I seem to be sensitive to nearly everything. My skin is pretty dry, with large pores mainly around my nose (yuck yuck yuck).

I do wear make up every day and try to thoroughly clean my face every night (if I'm back home late, I get lazy and cleanse in the morning). Here are the cleansers I'm using at the moment:

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser (£13.00 for 100ml + 2 muslin cloths)
I first started using this back in October, I really love this product, and vow to use this all my life. It has a creamy texture which you massage over your dry face. I usually wear waterproof mascara so I would gently massage my eyes at the end so the mess doesn't smudge all over. I like to breathe in the scent when I'm massaging as the smell of eucalyptus is so relaxing and invigorating. You then wet the muslin cloth with hot water (said cloth is currently in the wash) and use it to wipe away the product. I can see the makeup transferring onto the cloth and it just feels like my skin is getting really cleaned (works as a good exfoliator as well). It does make my skin feel fresh and supple, and I don't tend to use a face wash afterwards afterwards everytime. The whole process is such a lovely ritual.

Nude Oil Cleanser (£22.00 100ml)
Then I went to Space NK in February where there was a sale, I went a bit bonkers and brought three of these cleansers just because they were reduced - without doing any thorough research on it beforehand or even trying it out. I only knew the brand name and got suckered in thinking it was a bargain. So I have all these cleansers that I need to finish off. The product is okay. It takes a bit of time to understand how to use it - the whole oil thing kinda throws you off balance. It does take all my make up off, but do have to use a bit of eye make up remover beforehand. It doesn't foam up much and it feels a bit fiddly to use compared to Liz Earl. I'm not a fan of the jasmine smell, and on that alone I probably won't buy it again as there are a whole bunch of good cleansers out there in the world that doesn’t smell like this. The smell actually lingers on after washing it off and it gives me a headache. But who knows, after I've finished my third bottle, I might have fallen in love with it if it helps my skin!

Neutrogena Duo Power Cleanser (Boots promotion: £6.66, or normally £9.99)
This is my latest purchase (yesterday to be precise).  I've used it once and I really like it so far. I love using the little gadget and can feel myself getting addicted to it. I used this after using the Nude cleaner, and it felt like I had just finished a luxury facial! My face feels so smooth and clean. I used it over my huge bumpy spot and there has been no sign of irritation (and my skin is SUPER sensitive). It will be too harsh for me to use daily, but once a week for deep cleaning (sorting out the huge pores) will be ideal. I cannot justify spending so much money on a Clarisonic, so until I win the lottery, this cheaper alternative will do... and I love it!

In the morning, I'm using these below two just to finish them off. The Bodyshop one (£8.00 100ml) does the exact opposite of what it claims to do for my skin, it makes me look grey. The Clinique scrub (free from Bonus time) is not bad, not good.

I do have samples of the Shu Umera cleansing oil and the Eve Lom Cleanser. I am waiting to use them up for when I go on holiday next month (please let it happen!), as they won't take up much luggage space. And I CANNOT WAIT - they seem to be the top two cleansers EVER and I fear I will end up forking out a fortune on the full size once I start using it.

But, if it helps with my quest for the perfect skin, I'll bloody pay that fortune!

Monday, 1 March 2010


As I was walking up the stairs of the tube station this evening, I was surrounded by people rushing to get home - the music I was listening to on my ipod suddenly engulfed me and I felt completely disconnected from my entire surroundings. It took all my might not to burst out crying. I always tend to listen to music whenever I'm on the tube or going somewhere by myself. I can't hear what is going on around me and end up in my little bubble. The few times I have left my ipod at home, I feel very exposed and don't know where to look.

In my culture, its not encouraged to grieve over the dead - they are meant to have gone to a better place and it may stop them from being content in that new place if we hold them back with our tears. When my mum's dad died, she was by his side. She grieved at his funeral and when she came back, I did not see her shed a tear. I only saw my dad cry once when his mum died (I wish I never see my dad like that ever again, it was such a painful sight). But me, I can't stop grieving. I don't think about it for a few days and then something happens and the pain comes back. Like today, this morning we were going over the funny stories of the Friday night, got on with my work, and partially succeeded in not getting offended by my boss. Then I see a small snippet in the news. Then I start feeling guilty about trying not to think about it, upset that people will only remember exaggerated negative things, and worse still, me forgetting the wonderful person I was lucky enough to have in my life.

I don't feel a part of anything anymore because I've lost the only thing that made me feel okay for not being normal. I keep doubting myself - what if I'm just never meant to fit in society as well? I'll carry on being cheery and friendly for as long as I can, but I believe that I am destined to be unhappy and lonely even when I'm surrounded by people. I was away for a couple of weeks recently and was surrounded by people - day and night - that showed nothing but kindness and love to me. Yet I couldn't feel close to anyone. I smiled and joked with emptiness, and my soul was out of my body the whole time.