Wednesday 25 August 2010

British Bloggers?

I recently saw a friend of an associate of my sister.
Me: So what are you up to?
Him: Yeah, well, I'm working on my writing.
Me: Oh! You should start a blog! That'd really help you improve your writing!
Him:...start a what?

And I realised something. There's a serious deficit of British bloggers. I'm sure there must be some out there but out of the 37 blogs I currently read on a daily basis, only 4 of them are British.
Just 2 of them are regularly updated.
Since I am (obviously) hair obsessed, a lot of the blogs are hair related - since finding information and hair style ideas is so hard to do on the ground in the U.K, I have resorted to the internet and she has responded gloriously.

However, I know there must be more British bloggers than this who have similar interests to me (y'know, hair, cake, fros, life improvement and trying to get 7 year old nephews to eat vegetables. The usual) but I have no idea where to find them.
As far as I know, there are no sort of web awards or conferences that happen everywhere. It's seriously not as if people have anything better to do (as obvious from my facebook news feed detailing the various boredoms of various 'associates').

I feel like starting a revolution, of grabbing the nearest apathetic teen, shaking some life and excitement into them and yelling "Express yourself creatively! Without having to resort to LiveJournal!!"
Oh well. Do as Gandhi did. Be the change you want to see in the world and all that.

Tuesday 24 August 2010

Homies, why do we have a problem?

I was reading the Natural Haven a couple of minutes ago, and her latest post made me think about this weekend.
In her post, she says:
"The top benefit of wearing your natural hair 100% of the time is beyond the physical experience but rather a mental one. You have to love
the person in the mirror and you have to see her as beautiful (failure is not an option if you want to be happy with your self image).

It is a life altering experience
to know that your beauty does not rely on what others tell you but rather what you see. This has been my experience and I can confidently say that yes I am cute all day, every day."

I come from a culture where the way you act, reflects upon your family. Therefore, the way you dress may also reflect negatively upon your relatives. And now it looks like how wearing my hair is affecting my family as well!
Most Nigerians - heck, most Africans I know - wear some sort of weave or extensions. And I am not against that. No, seriously, I'm not a natural hair police woman, giving out sentences if you decide to do something to your hair that I don't. I doesn't affect me personally, so I'm not really
In another post, I talked about some weddings and the reaction my hair garnered.

Apparently, my mum received some phone calls from some concerned Aunties asking what exactly was going on with my hair.
And it made me think "Whoa. Hold on a second. What's exactly is your business with my hair?"

Unfortunately, I was not made aware of when my hair was made public domain.
But it seems that a lot of woman, when they switch it up dramatically, like the length, the cut, the colour, have unwarranted negative comments come their way. "Oh I liked it better before" "Oh, why did you do that? You used to have such good hair!"
Whoa! Since these people are commenting on your hair and passing judgement, maybe it really belongs to them, and they were just lending it to you!

Here's news for you: It's not theirs. It's not on their head. Therefore, it's not their ish.

It gets me that some people actually thought that my hair was a cause for concern.

Let me repeat that:
The issue is that my hair isn't relaxed
Not that I am not currently suffering from any societal problems that we see in the news.
Nope. I'm not driving my parents around the wall with my juvenile antics.
No. None of that. Just my hair. I know I have some mashed up hair days, but I'm still in the process of learning. I like wearing the hair growing out of my scalp. I don't want to use relaxers on it. Nor am I fond of wearing someone else's hair on my head (no hate to the real hair wearers).
Why is that so hard to understand? Why is that mentality seen as so strange?!

In this day and age, we campaign against putting animals in small boxes, but why do still insist on doing this to people? Eurgh, so-called common sense, I wash my hands of you!

Sunday 22 August 2010

Being 'Not Weird'

Don't get too used to weekend posts, y'hear? I need them to catch up.
So this weekend, I went to two Yoruba weddings (on the same day! Dudettes, I was POOPED!) and thus came the massive topic of 'hair'. And what to do with mine.

To avoid any more arguments, and because I hadn't really made an effort since I expected to still be wearing the braids, I wore a scarf.

I was really mad at some things that had been said and it made me think about negative and positive things.
When you hang out with people who think the same way you do, you don't even think about how your mutual interests are odd. It's only when you go to 'the outside world' that you have to consider these things.

So I thought of five things we can do to prevent 'not-weird-people' from stopping us from doing things like knitting, growing a beard, being a gamer (and not just the Final Fantasy series) dancing in the street or having natural hair:

  • If everybody else is doing what it is not-weird, then at the not-weird meetings, you will not get any cookies, because there's so many people. Eating up all the cookies.
    However, in the weird/kooky/freaks/oddity group, there are less of us. So that's less people eating cookies. Therefore, MORE COOKIES FOR US! Whooooo!

  • I used to think there had to be a time limit on how long people had to act no-weird (don't judge me). But apparently, you must be not-weird 24/8 (even when you sleep!). I don't know about you, but I have a very short attention span.

    So that just wouldn't roll. You get me?
  • Being not-weird must get very tiring - the list of things that are weird seems to grow everyday and change depending on your circumstances. Like, what may be appropriate for a 19 year old may not be appropriate when you hit 21, or 60 and vice-versa (thrice?).
Either this helped you or it didn't (I'm betting on the latter). But it's so easy to let other people's opinions change the way you see yourself.
Look at yourself as a whole, because it's the whole that makes you unique.

One of Gandhi's fundamentals was "Nobody can hurt me without my permission."
The way you react to somebody's actions towards you is your own choice. You can decide to flip out over people finger wagging over what you do, or you can laugh or walk away.
That's not to mean it might not hurt. I mean, we're human. But you can choose how far you let that hurt take you. Do you storm off, kicking tables and chairs over, screaming at the top of your voice about vengeance, wrath and raining fire and brimstone?

Whaddaya mean yes?? *backs away from you*

Eleanor Roosevelt said "You can never really live anyone else's life, not even your child's. The influence you exert is through your own life, and what you've become yourself."
No-one else can force you to do someone thing. You can resist! It's your life!
My goodness. I feel a song coming on...:

Anyhoo... *re-arranges self* At the end of the day, when it comes down to it, you cannot blame somebody for the life you end up living. We are all responsible for our own actions, and our lives will never exactly mirror any body else's - so by all means, use them for inspiration, but trying to emulate people may wind up a fruitless venture.
Do you. If that involves copying people, fine. Because in the end, it's down to you.

Thursday 19 August 2010

I was featured!

I was featured on Think and Grow Chick's site, as a part of her special 'She's Living Her Dream' feature! I've been stalking following her site for a while, so I'm very excited about it!

Go read it here!

*Runs around screaming in excitement until someone shoves a slice of cake in her mouth*

Wednesday 18 August 2010

The Long and Short of it (My hair)

So, as I said in a previous post, I'm trying to get to waist length. My hair is currently at collar bone length and is longer on my left side than my right:

My left side

I'm quite tall, so rather than the usual 12 inches between shoulder length and waist length, I have about 13 inches before I can rollick around like Lady Godiva with my massive blow out fro covering my modesty.
I can't ride a horse though. So that part may prove problematic. Amongst others...

It's not in great condition - the ends are frazzled from being hidden in extension braids and twists with no moisture or protein while I transitioned. I reckon those massages must be doing something, because the roots feel gorgeous.

I don't even know what I'm going to do to get it that far. Leave it I guess. I don't do too well with plans!

I can't lie - I got a bit bored of rocking a puff, plus, I haven't properly detangled in a while, so certain relatives were getting frustrated/annoyed.
In short, my mum did my hair in cornrows. They look pretty neat - just a simple patter on my head. I've currently unbraided one, so that I can have a bit of a practise, and my 3 year old nephew is mucking about with it.
He's rather aggressive. *whispers* help me!

Monday 16 August 2010

The All Important Waist of Hair

So, as all of you will not know, I am closely following A Grl Can Mac's 2012 Waist Length Challenge.

But why?

I'm extremely unadorned - so much so that my (female) family members are quite embarrased by it. At a cousin's wedding, I had my ankara (African fabric) made in the simplest design possible. I didn't wear make up. My hair was in a puff (couldn't. Be. Asked.)
No glitter. No glitz. No glamour. I can't deal with that.

Buuut, I'm growing my hair in what seems like a pursuit of the purely vain kind. And it kind of is.
When I relaxed my hair, I was always told that my hair was so long - but it barely brushed shoulder length. So I would look at people who envied my length like:

T_T What the heck is wrong with you? T_T

But when I went natural, I had a lot of opposition and one of the reasons people were so against me were the fact I would no longer have 'long hair'. So I guess, if I'm really honestwith myself, one of the reasons I'm doing this is because I'd like to have long hair, in lieu of a middle finger up at them.

I'm not going to lie - a part of me has bought into the Rapunzel complex. I'm not even sorry!

Also, this is the first opportunity I've ever had to style my own hair and decide what I want to do with it - when it was getting relaxed, I didn't get to make any of the major choices concerning my hair care. So it's also a part of the liberation aspect too.

Thirdly, I'm doing this because I want to see how far my hair will actually grow. I've always had the relaxer as an excuse, or someone else to blame for my hair breaking. But now, it's all on me. I'm kinda excited.

Fourthly, and most importantly, I'm proving this to point a to my mum. I've shown her the fotkis and youtube videos, of stunning women such as Pamera, Sera252, Mwdezi, Naturaline, and the Moptop Maven, all with similar hair textures to mine.
Her responses included:

"They must have Indian in them"

"She looks mixed race"

and finally, about to be defeated with my overwhelming evidence that it's possible to grow coiler hair to quite long lengths, she pulled a hard punch where it hurt - in my personal pride:
"Well, maybe they can do it. But your hair can't grow that long."
My response was as calm and mature as one can reasonably expect from me:

She reckons her hair will grow longer than mine with her methods, than with mine. It's not only vanity - it's now a competition. And I don't like losing.

I will not fail. Believe it!

The Naruto geeks will get the point ¬_¬

Friday 13 August 2010

Why Take That were right.

So, this post has a moral.

And that patience.

If you are not patient, right after devouring a chunk of Banana Coconut Sweet Cake, you will decide to make pasta, because you are hungry (unfortunately, in my case, greed and impatience seem irrevocably intertwined).

If you are not patient, you will put the dry pasta into the pot on the highest heating to make sure the pot gets hot quickly.

If you are not patient, you will get bored after 0.0001 seconds, and then decide to boil the water in the kettle, because boiling water on the stove, with the pasta, would take too long.

If you are not patient, you will run back to read your manga online because you reeeeeeeeally want to know how Fruits Baskets ends and finding out after your pasta cooked is not an option.

No, really, it wasn't.

If you are not patient, half an hour later, you will smell smoke, run into your kitchen and start choking to death on the fumes from charred pasta.

That's right. Charred pasta.

If you are not patient, you will run outside with the pan and dump the pasta on the ground, then run back in while you open every single window in your house to try and get rid of the smell/fumes with a T-shirt wrapped around your mouth to minimize smoke inhalation (this is a really stupid thing to do. I would not advise it. Not even with adult supervision).

If you are not patient, whilst opening a window, you will realise that it is a windy day, and the charred pasta is now on fire.

Yes, I did indeed say on fire. Here's a picture for proof:

At this moment, hopefully, common sense kicks in and you get a glass of water and and pour it over and save yourself (and more importantly....the environment) from the smoke.

So, I hope you've all learnt something. Mull that over, while I sit here and celebrate narrowly avoiding becoming a Darwin award recipient.

Thursday 12 August 2010

Banana-Coconut Sweet Bread

This recipe is sort of an amalgamation of banana cake and Caribbean Sweetbread. I really wanted some, so I got up and made some! Because it was so impromptu, this is a rough estimation of what I used. So here's my first picture tutorial...


For the cake -

2 overripe bananas
160g butter (or suitable margarine)
160g brown sugar (preferably granulated)
2-3 eggs
180g plain flour
2 tablespoons of baking powder
1/2 heaped teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 heaped teaspoon of nutmeg
70g dessicated coconut
100ml coconut milk (or plain milk)
A bad mood

For the Coconut filling -

60 grams dessicated coconut
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
65ml of coconut milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence


1. Preheat oven to Gas Mark 4/180 Degrees Celsius/ 350 Degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Cream together the butter and sugar...

until fluffy and light (this is where the bad mood comes into handy!)

2. In a separate bowl, put together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and dessicated coconut.

3. Add the eggs to the butter and sugar mix and stir until it looks vaguely combined (if it looks a bit like sick, you're doing it right. Okay, I know you don't want to think about sick whilst making cake, my bad!)
Mash the bananas down to a paste with a fork and then add it to the egg/butter/sugar sick resembling interesting looking mixture. It's easier to do this separately, rather than chasing banana pieces around your mixing bowl. This takes time. Precious time. Precious time that you could be using to eat your cake!

5. Add the coconut milk and mix some more.

6. Before you become completely reviled by what you've created, a la Dr Frankenstein, add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and dessicated coconut. Then beat it like it owes you money! (i.e. with gusto, to make sure the flour is combined. I'm not into this whole 'folding it in' bizness).

7. Letting the cake breathe (After your bad mood was hopefully spent...) in a small container, add the other 60 grams of dessicated coconut, with the vanilla essence and brown sugar and coconut milk.

7. Grease your tin and, if you're not feeling lazy, put some greaseproof paper in the tin too.

I was feeling lazy.

8. Pour in half of the cake mixture, and then spread half of the sweet coconut mixture over the half that's already in the cake tin. And then pour the rest of the cake mixture over the coconut mixture.

Kind of like a cake-coconut-cake sandwich cake!

And then sprinkle the rest of the coconut mixture on top of the cake-coconut-cake-coconut mix!

8. Then put it into the oven for about 40-60 minutes (it varies hugely on what kind oven you have!)
Adorable and hungry baby cousin to intently watch cake is optional.

9. When you put a toothpick/skewer, fork into the centre and it comes out with just a few crumbs clingly desperately to it, then the cake is done! Leave it on a cooling rack to...well, cool.

And then have a small slice....or a big slice, and turn your cake into a celebration of Pacman!

Even if you do as I did, and demolish that huge chunk all by yourself, you won't feel guily, because it taste so. darn. good. Moist, coconutty, creamy, and just the right amount of spice to tantalise your tastebuds....Dangit, I think I'm going to have to make another one at this rate!
Happy om nom nom noming!

Monday 9 August 2010

Trying New Things

A year ago, my mum would have sworn that she hates curry.
The thought of it made her turn her nose up in scorn: "I just don't like the colour! Why is it yellow?"

The irony of this coming from someone who devours jelloff rice with gusto made me laugh. I tried to explain that you could get it in other colours, that you could make it yourself to change the flavours to your taste - but she was having none of it. If it was curry, she didn't want any.

Until, my aunt made some.
She didn't tell my mum it was curry - she just set about making it in our kitchen, and making it so that was quite a lot of it left over.

My mum is also incredibly nosy curious, so there's this pot with this..stuff inside that my aunt, she tried some.

And she loved it. A bit too heavy on the chillis, but "That's fine, I can change it when I make it".
Aaaaaalright mum! *whispers* I told you so!

But this relates to other stuff. We love to stick to the familiar. And I do this when it comes to my hair choices. I like hairstyles that I've been told my various family members 'make me look like a child'
I watch youtube tutorials from dusk till dawn on how to to certain styles on my hair, and I love it the lady doing it - but then I think "Nah, it won't really suit me." And forget about it.

Well, this week, I forced myself to try and experiment with some protective styles that don't involve effort twists or braids.

So I've tried some cinna-buns, and I really liked them! I don't like having stuff too close to my hairline, so I pulled it back in a puff, and then instead of leaving the hair out in a puff, I used bobby pins to pin section down to make the cinna-buns.
Part 1 of tThe tutorial is here (skip to 5:50, because the first minutes consist of a rant >.<) or you can just go straight to Part 2 here.
I really liked this style because:
  1. Unlike twists (my eternal protective style) my hair doesn't go flat after sleeping on it ¬_¬
  2. It works better on non freshly washed hair, so I don't have to wash and condition and add a billion products to my hair for me to do it.
  3. I could touch my hair up without feeling guilty about mechanical manipulation damage (satisfying my Hand in Hair compulsion).
  4. I looked like I had a cinnamon roll on my head! I love cinnamon rolls!!
I also had my eternal fringe, because that is essential to my existence as a human being.

I think the moral of this post is that it never hurts to try something new (unless it's an activity, such as boxing or having shuriken stars thrown at you. Those could hurt).

Thursday 5 August 2010

Procrastination Post

So, I've been whining and complaining about my distinct lack of a camera blah blah blah, wallowing in self pity here, griping there etc...

But...I should finally be getting the camera by next week! I'm very excited and hopefully should be posting pictures within a fortnight (because my Paint game is not on point and I didn't really want to expose you to that sordid world of wobbly drawn fro. There is far too much sadness in the world already).