Monday 27 February 2012

Mini Twist Recap

I held true to what I said and finally took out the twists, but I always feel like I need to reflect on it all...

Putting them in

I wrote about putting them in here, but in short:
It took 2 days to put them in.
Used some detangling spritz that I managed to rustle up and shea butter mix to put them in (so hair was damp and I don't think it was stretched).
I think I used the sister/rope twist method, where you twist the separate strands around themselves before wrapping them around each other and this helped in the longevity of the twists.


A bun. Seriously. That was it. Very similar to the first picture in this post. The thing I loved the most about this was that it was so low maintenance. I don't think I wore it down for longer than two days over the entire six weeks.

Some Fridays I declared casual and would thus wear my a ponytail.

If, if some strange reason, I did want to wear it down (*gasp!) I used about 50 bobby pins, and became a liabilty around magnets, to cross wrap my hair at night, took them out in the morning and then went on my business.


(Almost) Every Friday night before I went to bed - or Saturday morning - I would massage my head all over with some Vatika oil and leave it on for at least 20 minutes. Then I diluted 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 1 tablespoon of water and sprayed that mixture all over my head piece and then went about my house cleaning business smelling like a chippy.
And then I hopped under the shower (before it broke, at which point I dunked under the tap) rinsed, rinsed and rinsed some more and then conditioned with Original Source Almond and Coconut Conditioner. I found it fore a reasonably cheap price (£1) from Home Bargains [it appears and disappears intermittently - it's really annoying] and it boasted some protein in it's ingredients. It works reasonably well, but I end up using a lot. I quite like the smell - it reminds me of marzipan, which I dislike (go figure). If my hair felt drier than normal, due to continual abuse, I just added a bit of olive oil and rosemary essential oil.

If my hair felt dry half way through the week, I either used a heavier moisturiser or got back in the shower with the Original Source Almond and Coconut conditioner to sort it out or just sprayed some rice water on it.
Going to bed, slept on my satin 'pillow case' and put my hair up with my scrunchie.

Such fun!

They stayed in for 6 weeks and a day before I started taking them down.

Taking them out

It took me a ridiculous amount of time to actually take them out - I started on Saturday morning and didn't finish until Monday.
My hat saved me at church, I swear.
I didn't use any product to help the take down process - I was far too lazy this time around and my focus was the ends. I checked the end of each twist before dismantling for knots or split ends. If I saw any split, snip! Off they went. I knew I had a lot of knots before I'd still been wetting my hair and letting it shrink up over the 6 weeks. Although I don't mind knots too much, I know that too many in one area would could cause lots and lots of tangling. When I finished taking the twist down, I ran my fingers over the area. Of I saw a split end, I trimmed. If it felt knotted, I trimmed, sometimes up to 2 inches in places where I felt it needed it.If I ran my finger over a few strands and felt the bumpy presence of knots, I cut them out because I knew that if I didn't do it then, they'd just tangle later. In short, I'm back under APL once again.
There were times over the two days when I got fed up, ripped through my hair from the roots instead of the ends and immediately regretted it.

Yes, that is a knot. Sometimes the knots of shed hair were bigger than the hair still left and attached to my head. I just shed a lot.

To be honest, I really enjoyed having them in and if it didn't mean going through another 2 days of putting them in and then 2 days to take them out, I'd definitely consider doing them again. My hair really enjoyed it - I was surprised at how soft it felt when I took them down. I'd done my best to keep them moisturised and the ends away from the multitude of scarves I had insisted on bundling myself up in.

But I'm definitely taking a bit of a break from protective styling for a while...

Friday 24 February 2012

O Na Na...

I found this picture on tumblr. At first, I didn't get it.

Then I listened to the song...

I laughed for a full minute afterwards.*

*In the song, Rihanna continually sings 'O Na Na'. In the periodic table, 'O' stands for Oxygen and 'Na' stands for Sodium.'

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Friday 17 February 2012

The myth of the Stupid Question

It was a semi balmy day and my siblings and I were stretched out in the living room, too satisfied with our current positions to even consider moving. Suddenly, the Rebel Sis perked up, looked me straight in the eye and asked:

"Hey. What's the Holocaust?" 

For a second, I stared back incredulously - was she serious? Was she genuinely asking me this question?
But just then, I remembered - she'd spent two years of her schooling in Nigeria during when thy would have taught the Holocaust at school in England. Although I wasn't incredibly sure, I doubted that the Holocaust was a huge part of the Nigerian curriculum. Upon realising this genuine reason for her not knowing, there was also a part of me that was chuffed that she'd thought to ask me to enlighten her upon this topic.

On the flip side, when my mum and I were in the kitchen prepping food, whilst peeling the obligatory onions and garlic, I looked at my mum and asked, "Mum, does garlic grow on trees?" My mum had grown up on a farm and so threw her head back and started laughing at that simple question that seemed plain ridiculous to her. When she had finished displaying her mirth, she opened her her eyes to see my patient fifteen year old self waiting for a response. I had grown up in London, and never grown anything of my own because we bought everything from the supermarket, so how was I to know?

Thus it drives me nuts when questions are labelled 'stupid'. It shows a massive assumption on someone's part that certain types of knowledge are universal and prevents people who don't know from learning. because they're afraid of being painted as stupid as their question would be seen to be. 

I don't know if I believe in stupid questions. But I know I think that childlike questions definitely exist - questions innocently asked to someone they trust has more knowledge in that area than themselves; questions that they genuinely would like the answer to; questions that show a gap in knowledge that they long to have filled.

Basically, it means they trust you more than they trust Google.

Thursday 16 February 2012

Twenty is Plenty - Week 2


I bought a lot of meat this week - minced beef, chicken fillets and some chicken drumsticks. Most of my financial blow out this week was directly connected to Valentine's Day, because I had a get together and provided all the food and drink. The other alternative I guess was getting everyone to chip in for Dominos, but I dislike the pressure this puts on people to give money that they don't have because everyone else is doing it.
Plus the waiting time is a pain.
So I cooked for 8 people on Tuesday, 2 people for 3 days and will be cooking for 3 people on Friday so I guess doing that all for around £40 is pretty decent.
Well, technically, I spent more like £55 but while I was running around like a headless chicken looking for buttermilk that was not there, the Wonder Thing acted like a ninja and paid for my shopping -___-

I actually said "Um. Hi. What happens to the bit where I pay for my food?"
The Wonder Thing: "I already paid."
Me: "Why????"

There were two reasons, he said, for paying: 1) Most of the meat I'd bought that weekend was for us. I don't usually tend to buy meat that often and definitely not in those numbers.
2) He had agreed to give me a Sainsburys voucher but had used it on his own shopping instead.

Me: "There is a massive difference between a £3 voucher and a £20 shop. But thank you. ^_^"

Anyway, I also grabbed some instant food (over the week, a hot chocolate, some delicious hand cut chips, a muffin and a pasty, arrrhhh!) which added up to just under a tenner's worth of damage.

On the bright side, I have a bit lot of food left over, so I'm at least mildly sorted for at least half another week.

So I'm still going to need to go shopping again this weekend...

Thursday 9 February 2012

Twenty is Plenty - Week 1

£19.61 in one week *does a happy finance dance*.
Well, technically, it's £20.61, but I found a pound coin that helped subsidise my purchase.
I didn't do anything extraordinary - wrote my shopping list and did my shopping. However, looking at my shopping list, there seems to be an awful lot of fruit....

And not much else. I literally can't remember what I ate this week - how did I survive?!

Talking about thrifty things - don't forgot about some freeness right here!

Wednesday 8 February 2012

Lining a Hat: A Tutorial?

For Christmas, as part of the Faerie's and Lady V's gifts, I made them hats similar to the one I'd made myself a while ago.

But, as an additional treat, I lined both of them. This was mainly because the Faerie was concerned her hair was thinning out due to breakage - she does MMA and suspects that the grappling and the mat work might be taking a toll on her hair.

I made a few alterations to her hat (which I've nicknamed 'Turkish Delight') in that I skipped rounds 13 and 14 and then proceeded to squish the next three rounds in where available, before finishing off with 5 rounds of sc. I lined her hat with a lovely fuschia pink polyester satin. I searched and searched, but I couldn't find a proper tutorial on how to fully line a hat with satin, so I kind of hob cobbled my own out of two other tutorials.

The first part comes from this lining tutorial. I'm working on the wrong side of the material right now.

1). Firstly, I measured out the material - twice the height of the hat plus two inches (I gave myself an extra two inches for mistakes, mismeasuring and seam allowance).

2) Then I folded it in half, with the brim of the hat facing towards where the two edges of the fabric met, half an inch away from the edges.
3) I drew around the edge of the hat in pen (don't do that, use tailor's chalk!)

4) I pinned the edges together as I cut half an inch outside of the markings I'd made on the fabric (and I would really pin around where the markings have been made as well, just to hold it in place properly)

5) For appearances' sake, I folded up the brim edges of the hat about half an inch and sewed along the brim, as detailed in step 9 of this tutorial. It'll give the hat a neater appearance when it's finished.

6) Then I sewed the two pieces together along the curved top part of the hat, so it finally became one piece and all the pins could be removed.

7) However, at this point, I began to worry about the fitting of the lining in the hat - I wasn't sure if I had measured so that it would stretch with the hat efficiently. Scratch that: I knew I hadn't measured so the lining would stretch with the brim of the hat efficiently. In hindsight, I probably shouldn't have worried as much, but I did and ended up seam ripping out the sides of the lining , to give more flexibility in the brim and ruining the look completely. Oh well.

8) Then I turned the hat lining right side out, so the satiny side is now facing you and the not as shiny side you were working on is now touching the hat. I slipped the lining over the hat and pinned it into place.

9) To work out the amount of thread I'd need to use, I simply wound the thread around the circumferences of the brim twice, and then added 3 inches. You know, for one of my inevitable mistakes. To sew it in, I used this incredibly informative and detailed tutorial.

And then you're done! From start to finish, took me a total of 3 hours - the longest part was definitely number 9, sewing the whole thing in by hand. Took me about an hour and a half, but it was very therapeutic.

All in all, I love the way the lining contrasts with the colour of the hat- see why I called it Turkish delight?

In the next picture, you can kind of see the gaps I ripped in the lining in the top right and bottom left corners of the picture.

I bought the yarn for £1.49 from a charity shop 5 years ago and I used about 3/4 of it, the ribbon was about 50p and I only used half of the £1.55 lining.
£1.12 + £0.50 + £0.76 = £2.38

Yeah, New Look and the rest of the high street can go kick rocks *does budget dance of smugness*

Monday 6 February 2012

It's All Coming Out...

This weekend. *Insert Cinematic music here*
I don't know if I'm looking forward to it or not. But I feel I should prepare some cake as nutritional support.

You know, one day I will take a photo where one part of my body doesn't look grossly disproportionate to the rest of me. Maybe. Well, let's hope so anyway. How I still have any self esteem left is beyond me...

Friday 3 February 2012

Can I get me some Vatika please?

One of the things that usually drives me nuts is when it seems everyone in their blogs and the forums are going nuts for a product or ingredient and you can't get your hands on it. It's a major pain in the backside.

One such hard to get your hands on product is Vatika Oil. I quite like this oil - I'm not sure if it's any more incredible than ordinary coconut oil, but I quite like it the smell and am not bothered to make my own, so it's likely to stay in my arsenal for a while. If you want to know more about Vatika Oil, check out this post by Shelli at Hairscapades.

Let's get onto the actual purpose of this post. Whilst visiting the family for Christmas, I went into our not so local Indian grocers (because they actually have one within a 5 mile radius, unlike my pedestrianising self up North) I picked up another bottle.

One for me, and one for you.

It's a 300ml (10.14 fl oz) bottle, so slightly bigger than my last giveaway, and the instructions are simple.

1) Comment on this post and include the word 'Vatika' in your comment somewhere.

The giveaway ends on the 1st of March 2012 23:59 GMT.

Winners will be picked by random - probably out of a hat because that's how I roll.

Good luck!

Thursday 2 February 2012

Thrifty Thursday: Twenty is Plenty

Firstly, I have to put my hands up and confess - this idea was not an original one of mine. It is actually based off an idea started by Penny Golightly, except that she is far more hardcore and keeps to £10 for a week.
During my first reading of the said post, I was completely and utterly convinced that I could complete such a feat with ease. But as I took my time to read over it again, I was struck by a sudden thought:
"Wait a second...surely this tenner challenge can't include food too?!"

Food can be a rather large expense for me. I like it - I enjoy sniffing it, cooking it, even looking at it occasionally and I especially enjoy eating it. Which is why I know that there is no way in heck that I would be able to survive on £10 for a week.
I eat a lot; if I go longer than 4 - 5 hours without eating, trouble starts to brew. My shiny demeanour starts to dull and fade, I get grouchy, I get grumpy. As my blood sugar drops, so does my mood and I turn into a furious harpy, intent on devouring the nearest edible thing.
It's really not pretty and I would advise keeping a distance of at least a mile (3.6km).

 I once managed to survive on £9 for 5 days. I was incredibly proud of my thriftyness, though entirely focused on finally being able to restock that Saturday for the entire thing but then I completely and utterly blew it on the Friday night by eating out with friends and the portions were so offensively small, I ordered dessert too (sticky toffee pudding - oh, it was divine).
My handy dandy budget that I meticulously fill in every week helps me keep track of what I'm spending and where I've spent it. Which is how I've noticed that my food spending is going up and up and nearing the £40 per week mark.
A few years ago, I'd have spluttered in indignation at the very thought of spending £40 a week on food. What exactly has changed? Surely not my appetite (though with the cold we've been having lately, can you blame me? Obviously my body is craving more insulation.... ^_^)

Anyway, to cut this increasingly long ramble shorter than it could be, I've set myself the challenge of spending £20 per week on food in total for the entirety of February. All food is included! That includes eating out, food shopping and junk food.
Surely, £20 will be plenty?