Wednesday 15 August 2012

Playing the Lace Card

"It is difficult to see why lace should be so expensive; it is mostly holes."

Fortunately for me, it was on sale for 30p per metre. So I got a metre, along with a metre of  chunky elastic for 75p to make a headband.

I've been meaning to do it for a while but could never find anything I liked enough to actually wear.

I folded the lace material in half and then cut it into two, as I was intending for it to be a double headband and wanted to be able to sew it at whichever angle I wanted. I measured it around my head to make sure it would fit and see how much elastic I would need. Answer: Not a lot!

Excited at the prospect of making something practical and yet pretty at the same time, I sat down at my sewing machine. I eagerly looked forward to the winsome air I would achieve whilst wearing this headband - I would be both cute and charming.

It was at this moment I discovered how difficult it is to sew 1mm of lace with a sewing machine.
After the bobbin started throttling itself with the thread, and the machine started tangling up the cotton lace or just not sewing the two elements together, I decided to hand sew it together. My hand sewing skills are disgusting but I hoped that as the evidence would be behind my head, then nobody would really notice.

Finally, 45 minutes later, I was done. Despite the plainness of my ponytail, I decided to try it on. 
The gold thread glinted gloriously, highlighting the contrast of the white against the deep dark of my natural hair colour. The effort had been worth it for this precious moment of victory!

And then the next day, I promptly lost it.

You've got to be kidding me, I sighed to myself. Not again!

Oh well. Turning to other crafts to keep my sanity and self-confidence...

Monday 13 August 2012

Wash and Go girl?

So, this is the post where I hold my hands up and say - okay. Maybe I was wrong.

Maybe ponytails can be protective.

What with all the running about I was doing between the North and South and Midlands of England, as well as trekking continuously through Hyde Park, my hair was at the bottom of the list of things to talk about.

You know, next to laundry and other non important things like that.

Anyway, I stuck my hair in a double ponytail.
Basically, I put the top half in a ponytail and then add the bottom to the top ponytail with another ponytail holder/ hair band.

If none of that made any sense, it's a lot like this (except my hair never looks like that):

Maintenance was easy - let the shower hit it in the morning. If it felt extra dry, add some aloe vera gel and oil.

Tie a scarf around it at night, which revealed this in the morning.

And then it started all over again. Incredibly easy to maintain and so little effort. It did shrink up over the week but I really enjoyed the simplicity of it. Low maintenance, the shrinkage meant my ends weren't rubbing on my clothes and my clumped ends were protecting each other. Brilliant!

Friday 10 August 2012

Olympia - What's in a Name?

Finally - a sporting event I can take interest in!

It's weird to think that one of my first posts a few years back was talking about the World Cup in South Africa and now tis the Olympics!

This could be a really long post, so I'll summarise quickly: The atmosphere in London and at the Olympic events was incredible. We became French for a very exciting handball match - Allez les bleus!

But apart from the stuff that actually happened involving the Olympics, there were a lot of interesting things concerning international interest happening around them. My favourite that we visited was the African Village in Hyde Park.

There were lots of little tents for different countries, all with unique atmospheres.

I popped into the Nigerian tent, where they had a gallery displayed local artists and clothes for sale.
My favourite picture was this one:

But I forgot to grab the name of the artist...I don't think it was visible at the time.

The Côte d'Ivoire tent you could hear from a distance because of the music - I was dancing before I even got into the area and it was really packed full of people. The party mood attracted a lot of people!

The Moroccan tent on the other hand was quiet but had a lot going on - 

Free Calligraphy for visitors...

And sumptuous interiors. It was simply gorgeous on the inside!

There were quite a few items for sale too. Silver jewelley and trinkets [far too extravagant for my tastes, some of them!], vases... I imagined that this was a much quieter version of a souk.

Things were so beautiful, I just found myself continually taking pictures. That and I've always kind of wanted to visit Morocco.

Even the lounging chairs for the visitors - or the exhausted better halves of over enthusiastic bloggers!- were divinely embroidered.

£15 for a bottle of Argan Oil...I nearly bought one for a giveaway...

But instead I made the executive decision to spend all my money in the restaurant selling fried tilapia, suya, jollof rice, plaintain, lamb tagine and other delicious things.

On another note, I was having a chat with the Better Half about how some of the athletes were aptly named: Justin Gatlin [as in Gatling Gun], Carmelita Jeter [to throw...herself? Quickly?] and Usain Bolt...well, to be honest, his legend says it all.

I'm really enjoying the Olympics in London; playing a tourist in my hometown was a lot of fun. I'm definitely thinking of Rio in 2016 now! Better get cracking with the Portuguese lessons then...

Wednesday 8 August 2012

Raspberry and Chocolate Cupcakes

When I was younger, I had a friend. We adored each other, as friends tend to at that point in life and friendship. If I received a text from this friend, I would drop everything to go and just hang out with her. There was actually a point where I semi-moved into her bedroom - my things stuffed under her table in preparation for my inevitable arrival at some point during the day.
Unfortunately, at this point in my life, that closeness has evaporated; the opposing tug of our differing duties pulling us into different areas.

We drifted apart for various reasons. The tragedy of this split is that it was entirely preventable; we just stopped holding on. She stopped caring and I didn't have enough time to prioritise fixing the cracks that appeared. Our ships have not yet crossed paths again and I don't know if they ever will again.

One thing I do know was that she loved raspberries - they were her favourite fruit. She shunned strawberries as mainstream slackers that could not live up to the sharper, sudden flavour of raspberry. Looking back, I think it was like a fruit microcosm of her personality.

I, on the other hand, was a renowned chocoholic with a famed sweet tooth that lent itself to my baking.
For some reason, I never baked anything with raspberries in it during the duration of our friendship.
Her birthday is coming up soon and I got to thinking about what I would have made for her in celebration. If we still hung out.

If we were still friends.

And this recipe is perfect - the chocolate is dark and rich, gently muted by the raspberry buttercream frosting.
You can drop the raspberries into the batter before baking them or you can cut the cupcake open afterwards to insert the raspberry jam. Because the icing turns out pink from the raspberry jam, people always think it's going to be sweeter than it is. It's a surprising and refreshing surprise!
Since first making this recipe, I've made it about 5 more times, not including the birthday request - they're very popular.
And if you share them, you will be too!

Monday 6 August 2012

Holy Smokestack Simple Thing!

On Sunday, lazing about, the Wonder Thing and I were lying about, probably on Sporcle,  when he remarked "Why have you got sand in you hair?"

Firstly, I was all like

And then I was like

Then he started picking at whatever was in my head and then my insides and my very soul screamed:

I don't know if it was the epic amount of shea butter or gel I slicked down on my head last Thursday, or the dodgy clay mixture [Aha! The purpose of the ominous music is revealed] but there was flaky, build uppy stuff. Basically, the story ends with the Wonder Thing leaving and me washing my hair.

When I took my hair down from the bun style, my hair was stuck together, matted and tangled. Thanks shea butter.

In fairness, it had been extra moisturised too and I'd been considering wearing it until swimming on Thursday - ergo, FOR A WHOLE WEEK.

I was slicking on some coconut oil, as a anti-hydral fatigue pre shampoo treatment and then I realised that with all the shea butter up in my head this may be a waste of time. So I continued on, finger de-tangling instead in order to justify the coconut oil use, separating my hair into about 8 twisted sections as I went.

Then I leapt into the shower, removed my cape and started sudsing up with Anita Grant's Kelp and Ylang Ylang Babassu shampoo. This is what I use when the gentle touch of bentonite isn't enough [or may have caused the problem - darn bootleg bentonite formula!]. I made  sure to get both my scalp AND my hair *gasp!* Then I used my trusty sidekick, Tresemmé Naturals conditioner to add some slip to the situation, as I continued on with the de-tangling situation. I was in there for 40 minutes, which is twice as long as I usually spend, but desperate times...

I scrunched with a T-shirt I had lying around [my microfibre towels have both gone walkies]. Then my Felix Capillus + more Tresemmé Naturals went onto my damped hair, along with a lot of Aloe Vera Gel. I'm kind of experimenting with 'sealing' with Aloe Vera Gel on top to see how I fare. So far, so good.
 Then I did a flat twist version of my pajama style, because I had to leave the house

I did consider wearing the flat twist pajama style for longer, but on Monday, decided to do something different.  At first, I tried to do the beauty department's Inside Out French Braid style.

So I did a big cornrow down my hair, rolled it under itself and held it in place with a ponytail holder and then accented it with two flat twists.

 I'm okay with how it turned out - I just didn't like it on me. I'm someone who like hiding behind her hair and being without my fringe in front, and with my face so exposed, left me feeling more than  a little naked, so I took it down. I didn't use any more products; my hair was still slightly damp from the evening before and I'd learnt my lesson from last week!
I simply put it in a ponytail again, with three chunky twists pinned down with one huge hair pin [you can see it sticking out a little bit at the top].

Oh, and of course my fringe was released again in front.

On Wednesday morning, I simply took my down out of the three twists and luxuriously finger de-tangled, applying coconut oil as I went as a pre-shampoo treatment for the next day. Then back up into the three extra chunky twists my hair went.

I've got to say, I LOVE the way the chunky twist style looks and just how versatile it is - I'm literally doing the same thing every single time but it looks so different depending on how you pin it. And it's so easy to do. And it makes my hair look amazing.

Am I allowed to have found the perfect hairstyle? BECAUSE I THINK THIS MAY BE IT!