[LONDON. 10.28.15] I had attempted to princess myself from a Shoreditch meeting to Covent Garden to meet my husfriend at the Apple store where he was attempting to charm an Appleite into giving him a new keyboard.

It was my Uber driver’s first day on the job and I was his third customer. He knew not the secrets of London mid-day traffic yet, and despite his loveliness, we weren’t moving. He was awesome. But I was rushed. So I thanked him, and tipped him more generously than I could realistically afford (he was saving up for an electric car to uber people around in) and rushed off down the street towards Covent Garden on foot.

I had recently decided the mascara, which had been in my care of a good 9 months, needed replacing. My mantra of only making purchases when I “need” to and my commitment to making all my purchases as eco, ethical and earth friendly as possible, had lead me to commit a good week of research to eco mascaras.

Intense stalking of my favourite eco beauty bloggers had lead me to the decision that Neal’s Yard would be would be the first eco/ethical brand I’d try.

It just so happened that they are based in Covent Garden, so I figured as I had now missed meeting up with my guy, it was time for me to make that mascara mine.

As I entered the store a young girl dressed as a rodent bounded up to me with Disneyland-esc energy asking me how it was that she could help me on this "beaut-eh-full day"

I felt my stomach tighten with anxiety.

I've never been a fan of hopping humans over the age of ten - let alone grown humans in those animal onzies you see wandering around festivals like drunken toddlers with their saggy bums and superior height. I can adjust my adverse reactions after a few whiskeys, but I need fair warning and a self-imposed pep talk in advance. 

I looked behind me, it was still raining, and the faded feeling that comes with non-sensical dream states caused by questionable versions of reality had set in. And I realized I had been staring blankly and unemotionally at the creature who stood before me for a good few minutes.

She was smiling from ear to ear with the look of a crazed Cheshire cat, and had likely asked me a few questions since I’d regressed into reflection.

“Why are you dressed like a rat?” I asked abruptly, having already decided it must have something to do with animal testing or lack there of. It's Halloween!” she exclaimed with the same glee my 2-year-old nephew exudes when Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk sneaks out of some speakers somewhere. “LOLLY!!!!” he’ll shout, pointing at his ears, before he breaks into an extreme form of stroller dancing with a
berserk look of joy in his eyes.

"You want some anti-aging eye cream too?" the Rat asks me. I cock my head slightly, marginally insulted but mostly interested, my expression quite obviously betrays me and she quickly back peddles into a frenzied "ohhh nooooo, I wasn’t saying YOU look OLD, we have a deal on, you buy the cream and you get the mascara free."

I smile like a Stepford Wife, this whole interaction had become far too comical not to. How often will I have the chance to buy mascara from a grown women dressed as a rat anyway?

I calculate the offer, the mascara is cheaper on its own, and I already have an eye cream I’m quite pleased with. I reel in my gleeful consumer demon and buy only what I came in for, thanking the girl for her help with as much genuine Love as I can muster. She gives me a hug.

The guy buying hand cream beside me randomly tells me I should go to Aveda and get some deep conditioner for my hair.

The Rat laughs.

I smile like a Stepford Wife again, and back out the door and into the rain. Quickly injecting myself with caffeine and food to shake off the weirdness that was.

One month later, despite the strange encounter, I find myself both pleased with the memory and the purchase itself. Sure enough my haggard lashes have grown and curled as promised and the mascara does exactly what mascara should do: lengthens, darkens and curls.

To top it off, this particular mascara is soil association certified, organic, antioxidant, nickel tested, ophthalmological tested, allergen free, preservative free, dermatologically tested and tested on contact lenses wearers, vegan, and not tested on animals. 

And thus, I can recommend it highly to you for your next mascara purchase.

You can buy Neal's Yard Mascara online (it is sold worldwide by various distributors) - just type in: "Neals Yard Lengthening Mascara Black" into google.

If you're in London you can visit them in person here: 2 Neal's Yard, London WC2H 9DP