Wednesday 28 September 2011

Assortment of Plaits

I'm sure I mentioned last week that  I put my hair in braids. I have about 50 on my head.

A few are as fat as a child's crayon, whilst others are a similar width to quite thick sewing thread.

It's officially been a week and I already want to take them out.

The weather has been so dry and crisp that my housemate and I have been falling over ourselves to do laundry so that it can dry adequately in the sun.

In short, perfect weather to let the hair loose.

But it's only been a week!

They're not even frizzy yet...
..and I don't think I have enough strength to undo the braids and then put them back in this weekend.

Tuesday 27 September 2011

Wangari Maathi

She never released a single or albumn, so her death won't be reported in the news.

I first read about this woman in a copy of the book 'Speak Truth to Power'. I remember reading her story and being amazed at all she had managed to achieve. She truly took multi-tasking to a whole new level:  a determined women that continuously battled discrimination and campaigned for equal benefits; a virulent activist for human rights and democracy that stood up for what she believed in, even when her own government was against her;  the only African woman to have ever won the Nobel Peace Prize for her actions concerning the Greenbelt Movement, a conservation project that also worked to reduce women's poverty in Kenya.
Her life was continuously threatened by the government who was suspicious of her growing influence as a woman but she just never gave up. Her resolve and courage are simply inspiring. If you can get your hands on her life story (c'monk, I know you can Google it), I'd seriously encourage you to take a gander at it.

I hope that her dreams will continue to bloom, flourish and bear fruit.

Monday 26 September 2011

Claiming Collarbone and Shoulder Length - Aiming for Arm Pit

It dawned on me suddenly when I was chatting to my mum:

Mum: You know, I was surprised. I was so certain that [when you stopped relaxing] all your hair would fall out. But it's actually grown!
Me: Mmm, it's down to my armpit now.
Mum: [Instantly skeptical] Really?
*A Simple Thing pulls her hair down as proof and Mum laughs*
Mum: Me too, I can stretch my hair that far!

She couldn't, but that's not the point.

I have problems with efficiently stretching [read: I'm too impatient and busy to wait for it to dry properly and I never plan it right], and I'm guessing that unless I straighten my hair, it's never actually going to be seen for the length it actually is. So why do I bother claiming APL?

To be honest - I don't know.

Maybe my goals would be more realistic if I looked at them in the right context. For example, if one day I did twists and they brushed APL length, I'd fall over in pure joy. But I don't blow dry and or straighten my hair, so that's not my reality right now. There's something quite cool in the fact that only I (and you) know how long my hair is -  but then sometimes that means it doesn't feel as real or factual. I don't want to prove it to people for the sake of it, especially since I'm not doing this for them.

I'm doing this for me.

Although we know where my hair goes down to, for now, if anyone asks me then I'm claiming shoulder length in general...

and collarbone length when gently stretched.

Achievements that I'm all very proud of :)

Friday 23 September 2011

Duh Moment: Oh Snap!

Snapped whilst I attempted a bun...

My first outing with a banana clip? No good. It quickly lost its a -peel.
What? Come on, that was a good one!

Font continuity? What's that?

So I thought I'd try something with a hair comb instead...

Maybe they're still in there.

Maybe this happened because my hair was tired of bunning.

Or maybe it was telling me to stop being so lame and get some studier, non plastic hair accessories.

Wednesday 21 September 2011

Condition and Make up

So I mentioned the rain once in this post and then, as though it heard me and felt I had declared some kind of challenge it just. Kept. coming. I was completely and utterly sogged out by the weekend, and my hair had still been in its punily stretched bun (I mean, I had washed it but then it went back into a bun. Obviously, my head is harder to get through than cement).

I did try stretching it but I'm useless when short on time and the most that ever happened was French braids.

After the abysmal treatment of my hair last week, what with rain and wet bunning and avoiding detangling, I decided I needed to condition it well (because kissing your hair is weird)  in order to make up. So when I went shopping last Saturday, I literally went through the aisles and thought to myself - "Hmm. What food have I not yet put on my head?"

 Okay, I'll be honest, that's not the actual yoghurt I bought that day. I bought this one.

Because I was only looking at the Greek Style bit and didn't look at the bit that said 'Coconut'. So it's got coconut bits in it and is quite tasty with some honey, but wholly inappropriate for slathering on my head.

I also picked up this:

At the time, I was considering something with the vinegar and yoghurt with a dash of honey and olive oil for extra yumminess.

And then, I promise this actually happened, I was doing my blog rounds that very evening and saw this:

Huh. Well. Okay. I'll try it that way!

It's basically 2-3 tablspoons of Greek Yoghurt + 2 tablespoons of Cider vinegar.
Leave it in for 20 minutes.
Rinse it out with your conditioner.
Apply Aloe Vera Juice as well and then get going.

On Wednesday morning, I followed that process in the morning, used my Tresemmé Naturals Conditioner, squidged the excess moisture out with a T-shirt (since I left my microfibre towel at high and refuse to buy another one) and used my Giovannni  Direct Leave in in lieu of aloe vera juice.

I am blatantly delicious.

Note to self: Don't do this treatment in your room whilst wearing black trousers - you'll end up with your own constellation.

 Initial impressions? Eh, it was okay. Since I've only done the treatment once, I don't have much to say about it.

I'd seriously learnt my sectioning lesson by now after a truly horrible detangling session the day before, so my hair was in four sections. I'd started braiding one bit, but I had to go to class. So I popped on my satin scarf, a hat and twisted my fringe and went out.

Hmm. This looks familiar.

And then I put it into braids that night whilst completing my course reading.

Monday 19 September 2011

Gusty Gales and Shrunken Roots

Originally written on the 13th September - but I didn't find my upload cable until this week.

As a guilty pleasure of mine has always been standing in strong winds in a warm coat, I have thoroughly enjoyed the last few days of Hurricane Katrin blustering about this little island, making the dustbins and fences and clothes pegs rattle to create a clattering cacophony.
There is something strangely exhilarating about surprising gusts of wind that force your steps sidewards, so that for a second, it was as though you were flying and taken by surprise by your own ability.   Even better than that, it's been dry and -

Even as I write this, it has started raining. Eh, I'm inside so I'm not too bothered. What timing though!

The presence of the exciting winds without too much rain (even if only momentarily) meant that, for some preciously brief hours, I could pretend that Autumn actually happens here, instead of that weird still-kind-of-summer-season where it rains 90% of the time and the vibrantly coloured leaves are already moulding before the leave the tree. Fruit is ripening everywhere, and the harvest suddenly coming into abundance means that people are picking and digging out and wondering what on earth they're going to do with 10kg of courgettes [zucchinis] or 2kg of damson plums.

One of my classmates decided to make damson jam for which I am incredibly grateful. It smells delectable and tastes scrumptious on crumpets.

Hi. Damsom Jam? Let me introduce you to crumpets.

I'm sure you'll be the best of friends...*cackles*
 Anyway, less about that, more about other things. I've been busy this, this is the end of my second week - these past two weeks with my course. Seeing as I took my hair down, and then packed and then hoisted my entire livelihood on the train, then moved into my current lovely, kitsch [yet damp] abode, then threw away my duvet [I said it was damp in here, didn't I?] then bought some more and now I have blue feet.

Basically, apart from the weekly wash, there has been little to no time for hair.
For convenience's sake, I threw it into a bun after washing and detangling last Saturday. Not a doughnut/stretchy/on a braidout bun. Nope. Dripping wet hair, up and out of the way.

This lazy attitude plus my hair continually getting wetted by the rain (the convenient way to moisturise! At least I'm not setting fire to it) means that my hair has shrunk. A lot. So it has tangled. A lot.
Add to this the fact I've still been adding oil and leave in and shea butter (to weigh my hair down to keep it stretched) and you find me as I found myself earlier this week: with a big mass of linty, knotted, tangled buttery soft hair. It was lovely and moisturised and soft, but incredibly, incredibly tangled.

I already know my main problem: After having washed and conditioned and detangled my hair (never going up as far as the roots), I just don't want to deal with it any more and I hate styling it when it's wet so I don't twist it. I simply put it in a bun, where it eventually shrinks up in certain areas and promptly destroys the de-tangling effort I've just made.

What I need to do is motivate myself to twist my hair up to prevent it re-tangling, because if I'm not going to do it, I may as well skip the detangling process and start the locking process right here and now.

Mmmm....locking process....*strokes imaginary beard*

No, no locks. Must de-tangle. It doesn't even take that long. I just dislike being in the shower dealing with my hair. Evelyn can do all her washing stuff in an hour, and I don't even deep condition for 20 minutes like she does, so I'm sure I can do it in 30 minutes.

Friday 16 September 2011

Supporting the Brotherhood

I try not to post too many music videos up, because I dislike it immensely when other people do it - it feels like they wasted a post and also my time. My guilt in my hypocrisy is exemplified by the fact that this is my only post this week until I sort my life out this weekend.

But I seriously cannot get this guy out of my head. If I must blame anyone, I blame the Wonder Thing - his genuine excitement over this artist was more than infectious and now I'm blatantly obsessed. I'm beginning to suspect whether this is a conspiracy of some sort. I catch myself singing his songs at the most inopportune moments [for example, telling the driver "I can't, no I won't hush; I'll say the words that make you blush - I'm going to sing this nooow" whilst lugging a bookcase onto the semi empty bus can probably be described as one such inopportune moment. Or, if you wish to be more concise, just plain awkward].

His skill as a beat boxer and musician, using his guitar, his voice and a loop pedal is undeniable; his voice is simply beautiful; his lyrics occasionally disturbingly profound, while the music still continues to be..well, not depressing. His English tour dates are all sold out until January

I wish his music would stop having its holiday in my head for just a second so I can focus on other things, but it's difficult.

The radio stations have been playing A-team for what feels like months, and I still join in despite the fact I don't like the music video [and that was a big enough reason to put me off Artic Monkeys' "Scummy Man"]. I love the intensity of the lyrics, rhythm and chromatic video of You Need Me (a couple of words means it's not really suitable for little ears) which is so much stronger compared to the rest of his lighter, sweeter stuff. Listening to the lyrics of Small Bump makes me feel tingly and melancholy all over, like I want to lie down and weep in a field of flowers. There's a strange sort of satisfied passion that seems to emanate when this guy plays his - what is it? Half-size? - guitar.

And I relish every single second of it.

Thursday 8 September 2011


If I purposely don't wear a hat when it rains, does this still count as moisturising my hair?

Friday 2 September 2011

Looking at my Future through my Past - Aspiration Analysis

I hope this post goes up in relative peace and serenity, whilst in real life I suppose I shall be losing my head as easily as people during the Tudor dynasty.

It's interesting looking at the list and seeing what I've done well and where I haven't done so well  and then reflecting on the whys and hows. 

But it's so good to see the stuff that I've been working on, seeing where I started and how far I'm getting. There have been less additions to the list the time around and more editing of old goals to modify them to where my mindset is at now. It's weird to see how much  (and yet, at the same time, how little) I've matured. For example, I use far less exclamation marks than when I first got into the swing of blogging. I like to think that this reduction, as well as my continual use of ellipsis,  shows I've gotten calmer...

General Life and School Aims

 Have an awesome stall at Fresher's Fair!    DONE

Get a  2:1 or a 1st in my degree DONE

 Quit Theatre Group!  DONE

 Finish my dissertation DONE

 Get onto a PGCE DONE

Help my college team get 3rd or 2nd place in the league FAILED 
Two match losses dropped us two places from potentially battling it out for first place to a firm 4th. 
Ah well, we've advanced a lot since being in last place in first year :)

 Stop getting sucked into the ridiculous drama of a certain friend group(s)DONE

 Focus on the Belly dancing society properly DONE

 Stop ignoring my commitments. Or, stop signing up to so many (sssh, pretend we don't see the irony!) DONE -  so far. But a new year brings new opportunities for failure...

Be able to have a gentle conversation in Mandarin and/or Japanese (revising)

Learn to use the family camera (because my camera phone is pants)! 
(I have a beginner's grasp on how to use the camera but my assumption that I would be able to use it freely has been proved wrong. So I think I'm letting this one go).

Do more with the blog - post at least once a week. Maybe do some give aways or something (still working on it - a continual work in progress).

Finish my PGCE

Try and stay organised with my classwork - if that means giving up a hobby or fun class to sort myself out, then so be it

Remember not to be afraid to ask questions about what I don't know - which seems to be a lot.

Start doing yoga/stretching regularly again.

Move out - possibly abroad for a bit.

Hair goals

Hit Bra Strap Length with the hair 
(Really, I'm aiming for Waist Length by 2014. And I've hit Armpit Length (APL) already. But my goal for reaching Bra Strap Length is by the end of December 2012)

Master the art of flat twisting (in progress)

Grow out my mullet sides (because they're not funny any more).

Remember to trim the middle section.

Focusing on Food

6. Cut cake making down to once a month    DONE 
(Perhaps in excess - I haven't baked properly in months)

Get my bento making game up to scratch! 
(in progress - I lost my food container again. But it's going to be even more important this year for me to keep myself fuelled.)

Try some Jackfruit. 
(Because you're only young once...)


Try and get a year without paying any unnecessary library fines.
  (Prompted by having to pay £19 at my library the other day because they'd changed their fining system and I didn't know.)

Out and About

 15. Run a 5k....? Okay, maybe that's reaching a little bit (meh, still thinking about it) [I don't know if I will ever run a 5k - it's not a prospect that excites me greatly at the moment. However, I do want to start this running business properly and am joining a group this autumn]

 Stop being a chicken and get someone to teach me how to swim properly (Finally taking the plunge  [heh heh] this autumn, as soon as my leisure centre sorts out its swimming schedule)

 And skate. Preferably roller, since I don't like the cold. (Another activity taking place this autumn, now that I've found a seemingly wonderful group that I hope to be able to access at least on a monthly basis. I'm seriously, seriously excited about this)

If the J.E.T programme doesn't happen, go to France for the summer. 
(*Sigh* This is probably my greatest disappointment. I was placed on the Alternate list for the JET programme and assumed that I would be eligible because of the disaster in March that meant people would be reluctant to go. This prediction proved correct. However, the changes in tuition fees meant that my PGCE university is not making any deferrals at all. So I could've gone to  Japan this year, but I can't do my PGCE interview whilst abroad. And then I needed to work this summer, so no flitting off abroad for me!)

 Get creative with my crafting and try and finish at least one project a month (Oh, another way to fail! However, winter is coming up...and that means hats! Lots and lots of lovely hats for me to start cracking on with)

I'm more than a little eager to get my teeth into this next step now - roll on Autumn!