Thursday 11 February 2016

A woman like Sally

People watching: 
Sally Curson, founder of Face Matters skincare

As I grow older I find myself becoming obsessed with little details such as wiping the kitchen surfaces and tidying away stray felt-tip pens. It is not a trait that I am proud of - in fact I actively fight against this instinct to control and order my immediate surroundings. Somehow it feels so unBohemian, so suburban, and worst of all it implies a disregard for the important things in life.

Sally: 'Focus on the important issues'
Nevertheless, most mornings, my son and I have our habitual disagreement over whether he has made his bed, drawn his curtains and hung up his pyjamas. My daughter, cut from the same genetic mould as her neat-freak mother, never waits to be asked. "But Mummy, I really don't care if my bed is not made," wails my son. "I like it all messy." Still I persist in urging him to follow my rules.

A few weeks ago, I met a woman who takes a different view. Lying on a couch, my face wrapped in warm flannels, I found myself in conversation with Sally Curson, a beauty therapist and founder of the Face Matters anti-ageing skincare range. She gives facials at Fenwicks in Bond Street and runs a successful business selling beautiful, silicon-based products (which I have recently reviewed for my lovely friends at CountryWives). 

Overcoming adversity

There is more to Sally, however, than her glowing skin and supple hands. To achieve her success, she has overcome some formidable obstacles, namely an abusive marriage and the death of her eldest daughter. Shortly after her 40th birthday, she found herself homeless and traumatised with two young children to support. I imagine it was strength of will, a passion for her work and the determination to stand by her kids that saw her through. 

"Throwing myself into my beauty treatment business kept me sane and was almost a daily therapy for me with the calming music, essential oils, candles and flowers," says Sally. "It definitely kept me focused and enabled me to concentrate on the daily demands of being a single mum."

Face Matters range of products - see my review on CW

As a result of what she experienced, Sally now donates a proportion of her profits to Refuge, the charity that supports women suffering from domestic violence. Like many people who have suffered trauma, she has re-evaluated her attitude towards life.

"I learnt that you just have to let go of some things and focus on the important issues," she says. "Untidy bedrooms really don’t matter if the effort is being put in at school. We really don’t worry about the small stuff – and I would hate to turn back into one of those women who did and constantly nagged and battled her way through each day over issues that really have no importance."

Turning into mother...

She could be talking about me. When we are young and groovy, we never imagine that one day we will turn into nagging wives and mothers - it was never there in my life plan anyway. And yet somehow, babies are born, households take shape, shopping needs to be done and before we know it we have become mother superior, director of operations, nagger extraordinaire.

We carry the weight of the world on our shoulders... except we don't, not really. When a woman like Sally comes along, you realise there's nothing much to complain about. Don't sweat the small stuff! Beds can be left unmade.

"Stressed mum = stressed kids, without a doubt," concludes Sally. "The most important thing to give your children is time at the end of the day to listen to their problems, talk through worries and reassure. If you have reasonable children who know you are always there for them and they can rely on your support - no matter what - without you constantly flipping out, then as they get that little bit older you find that the same understanding and support comes back to you."

Sally has also set up a 'Business in a Box' initiative, enabling women to establish their own start-ups by selling Face Matters products. For more details, email

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