Sunday, 14 February 2016

Week 4 - Childish antics.

I would like to say that I didn't spend the last week in five or six huge plaits/braids.


That I jazzed it up and made it funky and fabulous.

I would love to say that, but I can't. If I did, I'd be lying.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Oh dear.

In light of my recent reaction, I was really surprised (and saddened) to come across across this article discussing lead levels in a well known natural hair brand.

The link simply mentioned a beauty brand and I hadn't known it was going to be Alikay Naturals, since the site where I found the link was completely unrelated to natural hair.

For your own safety and information, whether you have used Alikay Naturals Bentonite Me Baby or not, I would urge you to read the article.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Week 1 - In buns

I stretched my hair using Curlformers on Monday and decided to put my hair in buns this week as part of the protective styling part of the challenge.

My first bun this week was my 'usual' bun - I made the ponytail using a Goody banana clip and the tucked the ends under on top with a mini Goody flex barrette.

I know it's hard to see since all my goody tools are black and so is my hair (doi!), so I've included the first blurry picture so you can see the placement of the mini Goody flex barrette since the light reflected off it at that angle there (I never get it on straight, and readjusted straight after this picture, so now it's on the other side).


"This thing? I call her Old Faithful."

A good picture of the banana clip making the ponytail.

Here's a shot from the side.
  After moisturising my hair on Thursday night, I decided to switch it up a little a split my hair into two sections - a top and a bottom. The top section is actually one ponytail split into two extra mini buns.





 This is the best picture of the triangular strucure of the two top mini buns and bottom bun I could take. I'm not sure it was the most flattering on me, but I wanted to be a bit more adventurous with my styling instead of sticking to Old Faithful all the time.

From the front, I simply twisted my fringe/bangs for some interest.
 I've been moisturising every day using the Eden BodyWork Moisturising Souffle (First impression? Me likey), and sealing occasionally with rosehip oil. Sometimes I sprayed aloe vera juice on it too.



As I was moisturising, I notice that my ponytail hung quite comfortably below my shoulders and the sight (despite my premature fairytale ends) made me ridiculously happy, so I decided to snap a pic (or fiften - this is my instagram, okay?) for posterity's sake. I changed my two sections on top into more of a bantu knot to make them easier to pin down and to see if I preferred that look to the two cinnabun-esque sections.


It's been an okay week, but I don't think my hair is holding on to as much moisture as it could because it's loose. After my next wash day, I plan to twist or plait it for the first week, and release it for the texture towards the end of the first week and see if that helps it to retain moisture. Also,  don't think the aloe vera juice by itself is a good idea on dry hair - I might need some water in there too!

My First Sheet Mask

This is not a review. This is more a 'my first time mucking about with a sheet mask' post.



One of my Chinese friends went back home a while ago. As a thank you for helping her pack, and as a way of getting rid of some luggage weight, she gave me these sheet masks.


Monday, 18 January 2016

I'm in - Love Your Tresses 6 month challenge!

How long has it been since I jumped on someone else's challenge bandwagon? I mean, I set myself my own, but that got a little bit side tracked....plus, it's better with friends, amirite? (Yeah!)

Anyway! Fiona of LYT is hosting a challenge and I am in like chicken (that made more sense in my head - please, don't judge me in my delicate state).

Her rules look like my usual to-do list/self-care goals, so no major change ups, which is great as I am notoriously rubbish with making monumental changes to my lifestyle - yay!

Also, we use the same leave-in so it must be fate *pushes box stuffed with various other leave-ins out of sight*

I'll be doing all the rules, except rule number 9 - far too lazy, no other reason.

My only addition, in light of my busted gut, is:
Rule 11: Eat to heal my gut.
Rule 12: Chill out more productively.

So - here's my contribution to Rule number 1 - my starting photo(s) I think of my hair in four quadrants: Left and right, then top and bottom of each.

Left bottom length: Healthy looking 10 inches, anaemic looking 11.5 inches - Arm Pit Length



Left top length: Same as above - healthy 10 inches, wispy 11.5 inches - shoulder length.




Right bottom length: 10 inches - just above Armpit Length (APL)




Right top length: 11.5 inches - collar bone.

I don't have any goals as such (but let's be honest, retaining enough to reach bra strap length by June would be lovely) - mainly,  I'd just like it to stop falling out so much!


Friday, 15 January 2016

Sick


Say hello to my little friends.

Nobody likes getting sick.

But when getting sick once means that it will be a snowball of different treatments, side effects and compounding illnesses, it feels like a real pain in the butt.

I've been sick since October. An infection that should have gone away, but didn't. My doctor recommended a treatment that I prayed and thought would work.

It didn't.
I spent Christmas and New Year sizzling in my skin.

The second (different) doctor recommended antibiotics. By now, the infection was ravaging my body and making it hard to function, so I had no choice.
But my heart sank a little. My immune system is pretty poor anyway, but adding antibiotics into the mix would blast away any happy bacteria I had left in my overheated, little overwrought body.

I'm finishing up the course now, with the effects of the infection still present, the symptoms of a virus erupting in my weakened state and my gut having given up the ghost after all this abuse.

I've been reading a lot of information that seems to imply that the health of your gut can have a huge impact on your health in general.
I said in my previous challenge post that I was looking at fermented foods. In this article, Curly Nikki mentioned the effect poor gut and digestive health may have on the hair - and to me, it makes sense. What is the point of taking lots of supplements, if your body can't/won't make use of it by absorbing it properly?

I said I was going to try and help heal my gut by eating more fermented foods.
So far I've got two jars of kimchi in my fridge (one pictured above - it was full at the beginning of this week), in order to help replenish my lost army sacrificed in the terrible battle against evil usurping bacteria any probiotics.
I'm making fruity gelatin once a week to feed these probiotics in my gut till I've used up all my little packets.
I'm bone broth(isn't it basically stock?)-ing my way through this (now) freezing winter, to help feed up and fix my gut too. (I'd been looking at it anyway, but in relation to my teeth).
I've got some fermented ginger and turmeric on the way too, just because you can never have too many good bacteria.


Fighting the good fight! Hoo-ha!

Friday, 1 January 2016

Resolutions - loading...

Self -care is hard.
The amount of time it takes to look after yourself seems preposterous:
I have to spend how long in the shower?
How many exactly of my teeth do I have to brush?
Breakfast too?
And I hafta do this every day??

I...can't take this!

There's definitely a scale of self-care time and different people feel comfortable at different points along this imaginary scale. For example, teenage me thought doing her feet once a week was a luxurious necessity. Now, I don't even want to talk about it.

Starting to care for myself was easy - so easy.

Keeping it up, in order to make it a lifelong habit was hard - so. dang. hard! I ran out of bamboo tea and then spent a ridiculous amount of time thinking about whether I should repurchase enough
I ran out of Vitamin D and somehow talked myself into thinking that it was too expensive, too much of a bother, well the days will start getting longer now so I shouldn't repurchase and should just wait it out.
I started second guessing my commitment to look after myself.

I started spending my weekends looking after other people instead of making sure I had enough vegetables in the house to give me the vitamins and minerals I needed.

There was, for me, a huge difference between purposeful resting and not having the energy to do anything. I did a lot of one, whilst telling myself it was the other, but the proof was in the pudding - in the apathy I started to feel towards many areas of life. I love food and cooking but eating pizza for dinner twice and breakfast?

Looking at my original self-care post, I expected to be hugely disappointed. But actually, the things I'd said were part of my personal philosophy, so I've made a start:

Cleansing my face once everyday - I don't want to talk about it. But no wonder my hyperpigmentation is still rife and a big part of my life.

Experience based treats - check! Kinda...I've been doing well on the crafting front, lame-o on the relaxing and pampering front. Balance, yo.

Eco-friendly teeth cleaning options - I've been thinking about this for ages. At the moment, I'm using Lush's Atomic Tooth Powder to clean my teeth.
I still have a plastic toothbrush because I had to buy one in an an emergency and there aren't any options around me I like. Still looking into reliable chewing sticks.

Give myself enough time to make what I need - I've done really, really well on this body moisturiser wise. Now to do the same hair- and health-wise!

Simplifying my stuff:

Getting rid of stuff I don't need - Minimalism has been on my mind for a while, so that's done a great job of spurring me on into giving away clothes, accessories and gifts that were inappropriate for me but could be great for someone else.
The one thing stopping me from going full hog is how much I dislike actual shopping on the high street. Clearly not designed for me, clearly a waste of time. And I'm the slowest seamstress in the world, so handmade clothing takes a while to appear...

Using up my craft stash - Again, slowest seamstress/knitter in the world. It's taking me a while. Lots of projects, loads of ideas - short on time. August was ambitious as heck. Plus...I bought more fabric this year. Can I say by 2020?
Buuut...in my defence, the fabric I have been buying has been very purposeful.
I made a baby blanket (quilt since I added wadding?) in a couple of days flat, I'm working on a skirt, and I have big plans for the red fleece in my cupboard.
I can't even be mad at myself over this one, haha!

Stop making excuses for not using things that work - Ahhh, trying to break the habit of a lifetime! I spoke about that (and some lame excuses I make) here. Great at the start - but I never seem to finish. I'm working on it!

Looking at that list and helps me to realise how great the little changes I have actually made make me feel.
 Like millions of other people all around the Western world, I'm back on the wagon with a vengeance. I'll be working to change from red and orange to green lights. Sometime. Eventually.
But it's ongoing, isn't it?

Self-care is so, so, so very hard. But so very worth it.