Friday 14 March 2014

The Great British Sewing Bee

On Sunday evening, I was supposed to be cleaning my kitchen.

Instead, what I was doing was marathoning the Great British Sewing Bee.

Someone at my church mentioned it to me, after I bemoaned my lack of skill/progress in learning how to sew - particularly clothes. In three years, I've gone from enthusiastic amateur sewer, to glaring bitterly at the two(!) sewing machines collecting dust in my cupboard. Since my infinity dress, I haven't made anything since.

Every teacher seems to want to charge a bucket load of money and take up time that I don't have to teach me to make things I'm not interested in.

Then...this show. When I say I'm hooked, I'm hooked. It's great to me to see the various techniques being talked about, because I'm a very visual learner. Everything is explained perfectly for an amateur such as myself. I know it follows a very similar format to the Great British Bake Off, which was HUGEly popular amongst my friends but I couldn't watch that one because it was too tense watching the cakes come out (I know, I'm a wuss).

I also used to watch Project Runway with my mum but, although I loved the creation aspect of it, a lot of the technical terms went over my head and I despaired of many of the 'high fashion' projects and cattiness. After one guy made a maternity dress based around the concept of an egg or a nest or something, I. Was. Out.

 In this one, everyone gets on and supports each other and, though it's still competitive, there's no animosity. I find it hilarious when there's about right people, running around losing their heads, and then someone has finished already and is having a biscuit and a cup of tea.

It's definitely my kind of reality TV show.

 I like how they explore the history of fabrics in the UK, explain the different properties of whatever material they're using and give definitions to whatever jargon they're using...a total geek's dream! Squee! I found myself feeling really inspired and taking notes.

 I love the different characters and personalities. I don't want anyone to leave! Some of my favourites are...

I love Linda, whose beautiful smile reminds me so much of my mum, it twists my heart a little and makes me pick up the phone for a call. She's so bright and bubbly, and so...well, Welsh. Absolutely brilliant.

I adore Heather, who is incredibly elegant and a perfectionist and sweet and easily flustered. I love watching her talk, because she always makes me laugh. The fact that she learnt to sew so she could make clothes when she couldn't easily afford them just makes her the more endearing.

And then there's Chinelo. Wow. Maybe it's because her style of sewing is the one I'm most familiar with, having grown up going to people's houses, having everything from your nose to your toes measured; of drawing a design, rather than picking out a pattern, resulting in these crazy elaborate ankara creations...It's cool to see that on TV, but it's also great to see that (unlike many tailors I've come across in my ankara wearing years) she cares about the little details and the way the clothes fit, as well as the huge bow on your shoulder. She learnt the 'African' method from her aunty who is a tailor, but unfortunately, I don't have one of them lying around... She's not familiar with patterns, preferring to semi-create her own based on  the model's measurements, and doesn't always use pins but she makes it work for her.

Oh, and she has a blog now *stalks obsessively*.

All in all, it's massive inspiration to get back into sewing. One of the most basic things I've taken away from watching it is - have a go! Because if you don't start, you dont' give yourself a chance to succeed.
They all have varying reasons and motivations for making clothes, such as putting their own stamp on it or necessity. Mine is simple - when putting something on, I want it to give the wearer (me, probably), the best feeling they possibly can in it.

So I may not have been able (or courageous enough) to have a wack making my own wedding dress, but if I start now, I might be there by the time The Littlest Sis is ready to wander up the aisle.

Tuesday 11 March 2014

A Quick FYI

Is using acronyms in your blog title obnoxious? Sorry.

Anyway, the other day I was perusing my good old local supermarket, when I *ahem* accidentally found myself in the beauty aisle.

Look, it could happen to anyone.

While I was there, my eye fell upon something vaguely familiar...

These are the exact same conditioners I used in Paris! They were about £4 each (£3.89, if you want the exact details) for 400ml, and they're both silicone and paraben free conditioners, if you're into that kind of thing. The others in the Ultimate Blends range, not so much when it comes to silicones, but I think they're all paraben free.

I was so excited, I picked them up and added them to my trolley immediately (to the bemusement of the Wonder Thing, who I'd previously been desperately rushing to get out of the supermarket to get to his secret birthday surprise).

From what I've seen, the cranberry, coconut and lemon conditioners (not the 1 minute treatments) also seem to be silicone and paraben free (but please check, I just had a cursory glance whilst there).

If you're  someone who can't afford (or simply refuses) to spend £20+ on a conditioner, t have certain standards, you may want to check these out (the Vanilla milk and papaya one smells SO good). 

A full review will be out soon, but I'm trying to write it in French and English and my French is appalling, so....don't watch this space, haha!

Monday 10 March 2014

Quick Condition Day (Cowash Day)

Is it a cowash day if I don't use the conditioner on my scalp? Just on my hair?
If it helps, my 'dealing-with-my-hair-days' are going a lot better than my 'coming-up-with-an-appropriate-title' moments.

 The only thing of note this week is that I wore a ponytail for the whole week, applied wheatgerm oil almost daily to my ends and slicked my hair back with gel on Friday..
What I was starting with.

1) I pre-pooed with coconut oil overnight and wrapped my head in a silk scarf and then dumped a satin bonnet on top. Although I'd awoken the morning before with this ensemble intact, this Saturday morning I woke up to find the bonnet literally hanging on for dear life. Oh well. That's what the satin pillowcase is for, no?

(L-R): Diluted apple Cider Vinegar, Darjeeling tea & Garnier Ultimate Blends Nourishing Repairer Conditioner
2) I started by dousing my entire scalp and hair with some diluted ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) and took some time to massage it in. Then I rinsed.

3) Then I doused my hair and scalp with the Darjeeling tea. I had enough to have a go at saturating my entire head space. Instead of rinsing immediately, I applied Garnier Ultra Blends Nourishing Conditioner on top of the tea-sodden hair and left it for five minutes while I splashed about. I used quite a bit - about four generous squirts? My hair always seems to drink it up!
I hadn't sectioned my hair at all during this - just treated it as 'left section' and 'right section' and smooshed everything through with the applicator bottle or my hands.

4) I rinsed and then wrapped my hair in a towel for ten minutes. Then I sprayed on some aloe vera juice and started plaiting my hair using Anita Grant's Cafe Latté leave in and some wheatgerm oil that I'm trying to use up. When it started to get a bit thin towards the end, I just started twisting.

Finished product.
5) After I'd finished plaiting, I applied a squirt of Organix Anti-breakage Serum all over.

Because it took me quite a while to do the plaits/braids, I've decided to leave them in for a while. Maybe until Friday.
I don't think not sectioning made a difference when I was in the shower and when it came to my hair tangling, but it definitely makes a difference when it comes to my hair's shrinkage after washing! It felt like a lot of manipulation, because I didn't section my hair before conditioning, so my delightfully moisturised hair shrunk up like I was preparing for a wash and go instead of a semi-protective style.  Definitely something to remember for the summer...

Friday 7 March 2014

Our Favourite Blogger(s)

Now that we're married, The Wonder Thing is continually exposed to my (slightly obsessive) youtube watching habits.

Being as that none of them benefit him directly, he fails to see the appeal in watching and reading other people's work. Especially when I don't comment on them.

But the other day his sister sent him a video that, for those up to date in the natural world, is kind of old. It's the one of the guy doing his wife's hair.  The Wonder Thing loved it and now he's always bugging me to watch their videos together, instead of watching yet another hair video. He was fascinated by Ty's revelations on raising bi-racial children, stunned by his weight loss and amused by his antics with his children....basically, I think he wants to be best friends with Ty ;)

Well, at least he gets the appeal now.

I can't post any of the videos, since embedding is disabled, but I can definitely leave you with this screenshot:

I would definitely check that hair video out, at the very least! 

Sunday 2 March 2014

Deep Treatment Day

I don't really think of my 'conditioner-only' wash days as co-wash, or wash days. I think of them as more as days to inject ssome much needed moisture into my hair.

Which, after nearly two weeks, was kinda parched.

1) I pre-pooed with Coconut Oil during the day, but when it came to the act of washing and stuff, it felt like it had all absorbed. So I slathered on some more and then went blog reading for an hour.

2) After that, I heaped on some Aubrey Organics Glycogen Protein Balancing in Lavender and Ylang ylang, in an effort to make up for the fact I'd been wearing my hair exposed in a ponytail all week and had forgotten/neglected to do anything to it in the meanwhile. I left it on for about 30 minutes.

3) I rinsed it out, using the stream of the water to separate my hair into four twisted sections. Then I squirted a diluted mix of Apple Cider Vinegar all over my scalp. Then I applied Herbal Essences Hello Hydration to each section and let it rest while I massaged the Apple Cider Vinegar into my head.

4) After 5 minutes, I rinsed out the Cider Vinegar and the Herbal Essences Conditioner with warm water, detangling gently with my fingers as we went. I noticed that, for ten days worth, my shedding was a lot less than normal *jaw drops*. Maybe the tea rinse worked?! Definitely have to incorporate it next time I pop my head under the shower stream!

5) I spritzed on a generous aloe vera juice, and then got on with Curlformering. Each twist section was massaged with an amount that covered my nail of Anita Grant's Creamy Café Latte Coconut Berry Body Butter, and then a squirt of Organix Coconut Milk Anti-Breakage Serum.
This time, it only took me an hour. Maybe the practise from last time helped me.
That or the fact it was close to 10:30pm on a Friday night and I was not sleeping with these things in.

6) I put on the Curlformer Soft Bonnet Hood that The Littlest Sister and The Younger Bro had bought me for my birthday last year and kept it on for about 45 minutes.

7) Finally, after 11pm, I removed the Curlformers and started twisting the curls with Eco Styler Olive Oil Gel. A couple were still puffy, but were adequately stretched for my purposes. I pinned the finished twists to my head, to avoid them splaying as they do in a ponytail, which just makes the set look weird.

8) In the morning, I put a small amount of coconut oil and wheatgerm oil (trying to use it up) over the twists to give them shine and make them smell nice. Then, I removed everything. It looked a bit stringy, having been done on a fresh Curlformer set (last time, it was a day and a half old, so it had more volume) so I separated the twists apart, in the knowledge that it probably wouldn't survive another night.
Freshly unravelled...
..and then separated.

That's it! I'm elated by the smaller amount of shedding (thank you Jeni from JustGrowAlready!) and will definitely be implementing tea rinses more often into my hair care.
Oh, and I will not be doing my hair so late in the night again....