Wednesday 23 November 2016

My Joy

When I'm happy, I dance.

But I've been a bit mopey these last few weeks so I've needed other people to do it for me.

When one is miserable, one watches this video. The pure euphoria mingled with an occasional mean mugging expression on QueenTeddy's video makes me swoon, sigh and hold up a white flag in acceptance of how knocked out I am.
This video is blooming marvellous to me and definitely brightens up any dull, dreary day I'm having.

I have replayed this several times. I probably am watching it now.

Saturday 29 October 2016

Wash Day - Return of the Mixtress?

This was the wash and go.

Nearly two weeks later...

Eeeeeeesh. All shrunken and tangled.
By day 6, I knew it needed a wash but by that point, it was too late. So here I am. Guilty as charged of neglect and laziness. There were days with no scarfing, no spritzing, rough ponytail styling....

Look, I'ma try to make it up to my hair, okay???

To help release the tangles, I used my argan oil conditioner on dry hair to start to weigh it down, making it easier to detangle and separate the strands.

 When I jumped in under the shower, it all activated (a la the Avengers when someone yells 'Avengers - assemble!') and made it easier to release the tangles and get rid of the shed hair. I gently separated my hair into six sections as I was going and worked on each one, one at a time., continuing to add conditioner as necessary.
Man, was it necessary.
I ended up finishing the bottle!

After I rinsed it out, my hair felt a little dry, which had always been my problem with 'traditional' cowashing using conditioner. So I remedied it with my absolute fave Edens Bodywork Coconut Cowash. I made sure to massage it into my scalp and smooth down my strands, separating the larger parts of entangled hair with my fingers. and then rinsing it out immediately and twisting then repeating on the next section.
It's seasonal shedding time, so by the time I was done, it seemed as though Cousin It had rocked up for a quick visit. It took me an hour in total to detangle and wash my hair - wrinkly fingers galore my friends.
Wrinkly. Fingers.

After this, I applied my homemade Henna Gravy (well, that's what the Wonder Thing calls it).

 I'm working on tweaking the recipe but today it had henna infusion, yoghurt, honey, olive oil, fenugreek infused coconut oil and guar gum (LOVE!) in it and is based on this goat milk recipe from Shelli of Hairscapades. This is definitely a tweaker (agh, cottage cheese lumps!) but it was worth the strange smell. It went on like an absolute DREAM!!

As soon as I applied it, my hair starting lumping together in the sections where there are curls and waves and it slid through my hair SO easily. Shelli was not joking about the slip!

 I left it on for about...20 minutes? As I rinsed, I notice it was a little bit hard to the touch but it rinsed out easily and left my hair feeling completely yummy - strong and not dry, ready for my leave ins.

I followed up with Eden Bodyworks Soufflé. I'm on a using up binge and I realised I've been sleeping on this when I used it in the wash and go that caused this wash day. It feels lovely and creamy but doesn't build up on my hair.

My ends felt a little drier so I sealed with my Aloe Gel with Shea Butter mix. Each twisted section was then transformed into a plait (except for two mega jumbo twists in comparison, which became four plaits).

I have no pictures of this but the soufflé always goes on creamy and white and eventually dries clear. I don't know why but it's helpful in avoiding questions!

When I pull out the butter-y products, as opposed to the gel products, it feels like pulling out the cardigans and tights, ready for autumn layering.
Maybe I am ready for winter.

I reserve my right to take that statement back if I get another morning like this before November... that Kate Bush I hear? "It's meee, Kathy, I've come home now..."

Monday 17 October 2016

Rejects Wash and Go.

It started with two buns.

I had some free time, and still have some excess (summer) products from last year's adventures that I thought I'd better use up.

So here we go.

1. I jumped in the shower and co washed with Eden Body Works Coconut Cowash.
It will take a meteorite of an an event/product to stop me from using this cowash - f'real, f'real. I'm on my third? Fourth? Tub. I LOVE this!

2, I wanted strengthening of my hair's pattern and I didn't want to spend aaages in the shower marinating, so I used Aphogee's 2 minute reconstructor. Am I the only one who has to plan their hairstyle before they wash so they know what products to use? Otherwise, I just end up in a foaming, flustered flap.

3. I jumped out and used my As I am Leave In Conditioner. Lazy Quick Review: Love the citrusy orangey scent, has no slip and feels a bit weird after you've handed it, but works well on wet hair and as an underwear layer on my wash and go because it's light and has little to no build up. The packaging drove me MAD though. The ink is water soluble, so every time I touched the label with wet hands for my wash and go, I'd end up with black specks everywhere. In annoyance, I pulled off the label, but the glue was tougher than the writing ink and now it's like having gentle velcro on the bottle when I handle it.

On top, I layered Eden Body Works Pudding Soufflé, inspired by Christina and her sister. My hair looked like I'd put soufflé in it, but it dries clear.
I'd originally bought it as a moisturiser for dry hair but it does so very much better as a leave in on wet hair.

Then I finished off with Kinky Curly Curling Custard. I like it but it's 2) too expensive and 3) slightly too sticky/tacky to the touch even nearly two weeks later.. It's soft but touchable (kinda...) hold can't be denied and neither can that deee-licious scent. Plus, a little goes a long way. I thought I'd finish it this time around but no. I still have enough for another go it seems.

Friday 26 August 2016

Viscose Maxi Skirt

I mean seriously, I make one or two skirts, and suddenly I think I'm an expert.

The worst thing to do after you've bought a fabric that you think might be tricky is to google it and have it confirmed.

So. Viscose. Slippery, silky, slide-y.

The sequel to the pre-wash, if you like. How did I cope?

Reasonably well, I'd say - I do have a skirt out of it. It didn't take very long to do either. I decided not to cut the fabric and just gather it at the waist.  The less sewing I did, the better I reckoned.

So I :

  1. Sewed a side seam with tissue paper pinned under the fabric.
  2. Sewed a 4 inch channel (2 inches deep on both sides) at the top.
  3. Measured the elastic around my waist and cut trimmed to size.
  4. Inserted the elastic in the channel and stitched it together using a zig zag stitch in two places and backstitch over them twice to make it super secure.
  5. Realised I'd made a mobius loop by sewing the elastic together the wrong way and proceeded to hunt down my seam ripper, undo my hard work and fume furiously like the most timid downtrodden sailor.
  6.  Repeated 4. but the correct way this time.
  7. Did a 1/2 inch and then 4 inch hem.

And it still touches my ankles. Well, the floor. I could be a bit more generous with the hem, I guess, so that I stop tripping myself over but I quite enjoy having to pick it up in a princess-like manner when stepping down from the door say or, you know, awkwardly clambering over a stile in the countryside.

Oh, and the waistband is just under my bosom.
I found a few things - viscose is notorious for shrinking and my fabric didn't shrink evenly, so one of my side seams was slightly long on one side, so I trimmed upwards to let them meet. Other than that, once I'd worked out where to put the tissue paper, the longest part was number 5, which took about half an hour.
I didn't finish the seams and I should. I will. Well, I might.
I used a 34mm wide elastic, which was fine, but it's not non-roll, so my elastic has ended up folded in half around my 'waist'. My waist just can't do big waistbands I guess.

Next time, I'll use non-roll elastic for the waistband and see how that turns out.

Fabric wise, I love it. Like my cotton maxi skirt, I don't start burning under my skirt when it gets too hot bu.t unlike my cotton equivalent, when it's a little breezy, I don't feel like I'm standing in my underwear in public!
It is swishy and flowing and absolutely perfect for summer. I'll take 5 please.

Unknowingly inspired by Cashmerette.

Friday 19 August 2016

Rag 'n' Bone Man - Wolves

Mr Simple (I can call him that now, right?) and I have been a little bit obsessed with a show on BBC called New Blood over the last month. Funny, heart-stoppingly thrilling and quick paced.

Oh, and it had an AWESOME theme tune and introduced me to Rag 'N' Bone Man.

If you can, turn the bass up till your table is thumping and sing loud enough to startle your neighbours.
I do.

It helps me feel better when I miss the (occasionally begrudging) bromance between the two main characters Rash and Stefan *sniff*

Keep the wolves from the door
I hear them scratchin' like I don't know better
Won't you keep the wolves from the door? 
Won't be long before I cave in and open up -

Monday 15 August 2016

3 flat bags

As well as my plans for myself, I've also been working on a little something-somethng for three littlies that I know....

I have to confess - if you'd told me I'd make what are essentially three flat bags this year, I'da said you were crazy. I'd thought flat bags were mad BORING and...well, flat. No excitement!

Well, maybe I've changed my mind. A little. 
A lot.
Plus, I needed the sewing practise.

If the first bag looks familiar, it should - it started out as an interesting way to use up my scraps from the riding hood cape project. All the drawstring bags in this post were upcycled from scrap fabric I had lying around and made using this tutorial (the first is slightly longer because I was making the measurements up as I went). So this is quilting cotton, and red fleece...

Denim (from a pair of old jeans) and green scrap satiny fabric with green drawstring. I was definitely channelling Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles when I thought this up and I'm glad it worked out as I imagined. The satiny fabric frayed like no-one's business, so it's on top of some more denim so as not to undermine the integrity of the bag, especially with the rambunctiousness of the new owner >.<

Can you see the dark patch where I unpicked the pocket on the bottom?

The final one is cotton poplin, chosen specially by the recipient, who couldn't decide between pink and yellow, so received a satin lined patch pocket. It was only after I put it on that I realised it was ever. so. slightly. crooked.
Beh, I thought.
        Two surprises instead of just one.


Tuesday 9 August 2016

Prewash - the prequel.

I am very often frightened of the future.

Using all my strength, I take a step towards it 

and find that the fear transforms into excitement.

Monday 1 August 2016

Protective style - Summer Hat edition

In my household, we have a saying*:

Sun's out, runs out.  

Gotta get some Vitamin D, because Lord knows how seriously deficient we all are on this lovely soggy island. Hair can wait, amirite?

* I may be the only person saying it, but it's a saying that's said. In my household. So it counts.

Saturday 23 July 2016

Trepidly Trying Trepadora

So I took the plunge and ordered all of the samples, after at least 7 months of flirting eye-winking across my browser for the sale that would never come.

So this begs the question - do I just go all in and have a Trepadora themed wash day, or do I ease them in one by one?

Decisions, decisions.

Tuesday 19 July 2016

LYT 6 Month Challenge Review + Length Check

 The challenge officially ended yesterday... Who knew it'd be so hard to say goodbye to a challenge? *cues up BoyzIIMen*

I've taken up lots of challenge in my hair-based journey. Some more crazier and short-lived than others. There has always been that sense of excitement and anticipation at the beginning, eventually followed by confusion and disappointment at the end.

You know, like:

Till now, o' course.
This post is a little gif heavy because how else can one express their emotions on the internet?

Sunday 12 June 2016

Oh Hermione

When I saw this picture on Twitter:

1) At first, I thought it was cosplay (because of the link I followed to it and I'm so far removed from reality at the moment that most of this Harry Potter and the Cursed Child business has over my head.
Which, a few years ago, would have been absolute sacrilege in my household, but I digress).

2. Even though I thought it was cosplay, I was so still touched by it:

You do have duck spring rolls left? Thank you. <i>Thank you.</i>
I don't know who you are. But. I....I love you.
*Voice breaks* So. Much.

I even bookmarked the damn thing.

3. J.K Rowling's opinion on the backlash can be summarised as thus:
"With my experience of social media, I thought that idiots were going to idiot. That's the way the world is.  Noma was chosen because she was the best actress for the job," she said. "When [director] John [Tiffany] told me he'd cast her, I said, 'Oh, that's fabulous' because I'd seen her in a workshop and she was fabulous."

Update (14/06/2016): Naturalbelle posted this screencap of J.K Rowling's brilliance.
I don't care what anybody says. The geeky girl who first read and identified with Hermione in the book has finally received brain canon validation. I'll be sitting in the front row, all:

Captain Holt, you are so *sniff* so r..r.. righaaaaaahhhhhh *sobs*
Am I even allowed drinks in theatres? No? Right.
Now to find someone to take me to this already sold out show...

P.S. No, I always mispronounce her name too.

Sunday 22 May 2016

Sew Slow

Can you guess what this is going to be?

Saturday 21 May 2016

This week's protective style:

A simple bun with plaited ends ends plaited/braided and pinned to my head. I smooth my hair down into a ponyail, split the ponytail into 4-5 sections and then plait each section. Then I treat all the plaits as one ponytail, wrap it around its base and pin in down in several places.

 It's been so easy to maintain - I put a scarf over it at night to keep the front smooth (not sleek - that's far too much effort and is often, in my case at least, counter-productive) and spray it with a..well, spray every morning, tie a scarf to stop the curls springing up in raucous joy and celebration and then by the time I take it off at work, I'm sorted. When it gets a little frizzy, I undo the plaits, add a moisturising cream, seal with my aloe-shea butter and plait it back up. I don't detangle when I do that (well, not properly. There's some light incidental detangling, but that's it). I also don't object to getting it wet in the shower (read: dunking my head under the shower faucet at least twice a week).

For the sake of moisture. Clearly.

I don't know when I'm going to unravel this style and deal with the detangling monster but that's a problem for next week really. Future Simple Thing can deal with that.

Right now, I'm more interested in breakfast. Because, you know, priorities.

Thursday 5 May 2016

First flexi-rod set.

Did you guess that I was hiding some lovely lumps under my head wrap?

Sometimes, Queens gots secrets. Sometimes that secret is that you are going out that night, want to actually look good and there's no way in Heck nor Hike that your hair is going to dry in time.

So you improvise.

Now, every time the British queen wears a hat, I'ma be thinking, "Liz, you got curlers under there?"
Snap, Liz, snap. I see you.

Wednesday 4 May 2016


Is..that a headwrap?


In bright, bold 'African' fabric? You did it yourself? In 5 minutes?

And you wore it all day? Even to work??
And, fear of repetition be acknowledged, KABLAMO!

The thing I learnt was that, whilst wearing a headwrap, you could NOT walk apologetically.
 It won't let you. If you put your head down, with the extra added weight, it's going to go ALLTHUHWAYDOWN. 

So you overcompensate and start lookin' regal and stuffs. Like, "Yes, I would like salt and vinegar - and a bigger kingdom while you're at it, chum. Oh and ketchup too please." 

Queens gotta be polite.

It was AWESOME. And terrifying (draws attention and people reminisce at you about this one time, in Africa..,). Mainly awesome though,

But Simple Thing, why does it look so lumpy though? 
Because it's hiding a purple and not-so-terrible secret...

Sunday 14 February 2016

Week 4 - Childish antics.

I would like to say that I didn't spend the last week in five or six huge plaits/braids.

That I jazzed it up and made it funky and fabulous.

I would love to say that, but I can't. If I did, I'd be lying.

Thursday 4 February 2016

Oh dear.

In light of my recent reaction, I was really surprised (and saddened) to come across across this article discussing lead levels in a well known natural hair brand.

The link simply mentioned a beauty brand and I hadn't known it was going to be Alikay Naturals, since the site where I found the link was completely unrelated to natural hair.

For your own safety and information, whether you have used Alikay Naturals Bentonite Me Baby or not, I would urge you to read the article.

Sunday 31 January 2016

Week 1 - In buns

I stretched my hair using Curlformers on Monday and decided to put my hair in buns this week as part of the protective styling part of the challenge.

My first bun this week was my 'usual' bun - I made the ponytail using a Goody banana clip and the tucked the ends under on top with a mini Goody flex barrette.

I know it's hard to see since all my goody tools are black and so is my hair (doi!), so I've included the first blurry picture so you can see the placement of the mini Goody flex barrette since the light reflected off it at that angle there (I never get it on straight, and readjusted straight after this picture, so now it's on the other side).

"This thing? I call her Old Faithful."

A good picture of the banana clip making the ponytail.

Here's a shot from the side.
  After moisturising my hair on Thursday night, I decided to switch it up a little a split my hair into two sections - a top and a bottom. The top section is actually one ponytail split into two extra mini buns.

 This is the best picture of the triangular strucure of the two top mini buns and bottom bun I could take. I'm not sure it was the most flattering on me, but I wanted to be a bit more adventurous with my styling instead of sticking to Old Faithful all the time.

From the front, I simply twisted my fringe/bangs for some interest.
 I've been moisturising every day using the Eden BodyWork Moisturising Souffle (First impression? Me likey), and sealing occasionally with rosehip oil. Sometimes I sprayed aloe vera juice on it too.

As I was moisturising, I notice that my ponytail hung quite comfortably below my shoulders and the sight (despite my premature fairytale ends) made me ridiculously happy, so I decided to snap a pic (or fiften - this is my instagram, okay?) for posterity's sake. I changed my two sections on top into more of a bantu knot to make them easier to pin down and to see if I preferred that look to the two cinnabun-esque sections.

It's been an okay week, but I don't think my hair is holding on to as much moisture as it could because it's loose. After my next wash day, I plan to twist or plait it for the first week, and release it for the texture towards the end of the first week and see if that helps it to retain moisture. Also,  don't think the aloe vera juice by itself is a good idea on dry hair - I might need some water in there too!

My First Sheet Mask

This is not a review. This is more a 'my first time mucking about with a sheet mask' post.

One of my Chinese friends went back home a while ago. As a thank you for helping her pack, and as a way of getting rid of some luggage weight, she gave me these sheet masks.

Monday 18 January 2016

I'm in - Love Your Tresses 6 month challenge!

How long has it been since I jumped on someone else's challenge bandwagon? I mean, I set myself my own, but that got a little bit side, it's better with friends, amirite? (Yeah!)

Anyway! Fiona of LYT is hosting a challenge and I am in like chicken (that made more sense in my head - please, don't judge me in my delicate state).

Her rules look like my usual to-do list/self-care goals, so no major change ups, which is great as I am notoriously rubbish with making monumental changes to my lifestyle - yay!

Also, we use the same leave-in so it must be fate *pushes box stuffed with various other leave-ins out of sight*

I'll be doing all the rules, except rule number 9 - far too lazy, no other reason.

My only addition, in light of my busted gut, is:
Rule 11: Eat to heal my gut.
Rule 12: Chill out more productively.

So - here's my contribution to Rule number 1 - my starting photo(s) I think of my hair in four quadrants: Left and right, then top and bottom of each.

Left bottom length: Healthy looking 10 inches, anaemic looking 11.5 inches - Arm Pit Length

Left top length: Same as above - healthy 10 inches, wispy 11.5 inches - shoulder length.

Right bottom length: 10 inches - just above Armpit Length (APL)

Right top length: 11.5 inches - collar bone.

I don't have any goals as such (but let's be honest, retaining enough to reach bra strap length by June would be lovely) - mainly,  I'd just like it to stop falling out so much!

Friday 15 January 2016


Say hello to my little friends.

Nobody likes getting sick.

But when getting sick once means that it will be a snowball of different treatments, side effects and compounding illnesses, it feels like a real pain in the butt.

I've been sick since October. An infection that should have gone away, but didn't. My doctor recommended a treatment that I prayed and thought would work.

It didn't.
I spent Christmas and New Year sizzling in my skin.

The second (different) doctor recommended antibiotics. By now, the infection was ravaging my body and making it hard to function, so I had no choice.
But my heart sank a little. My immune system is pretty poor anyway, but adding antibiotics into the mix would blast away any happy bacteria I had left in my overheated, little overwrought body.

I'm finishing up the course now, with the effects of the infection still present, the symptoms of a virus erupting in my weakened state and my gut having given up the ghost after all this abuse.

I've been reading a lot of information that seems to imply that the health of your gut can have a huge impact on your health in general.
I said in my previous challenge post that I was looking at fermented foods. In this article, Curly Nikki mentioned the effect poor gut and digestive health may have on the hair - and to me, it makes sense. What is the point of taking lots of supplements, if your body can't/won't make use of it by absorbing it properly?

I said I was going to try and help heal my gut by eating more fermented foods.
So far I've got two jars of kimchi in my fridge (one pictured above - it was full at the beginning of this week), in order to help replenish my lost army sacrificed in the terrible battle against evil usurping bacteria any probiotics.
I'm making fruity gelatin once a week to feed these probiotics in my gut till I've used up all my little packets.
I'm bone broth(isn't it basically stock?)-ing my way through this (now) freezing winter, to help feed up and fix my gut too. (I'd been looking at it anyway, but in relation to my teeth).
I've got some fermented ginger and turmeric on the way too, just because you can never have too many good bacteria.

Fighting the good fight! Hoo-ha!

Friday 1 January 2016

Resolutions - loading...

Self -care is hard.
The amount of time it takes to look after yourself seems preposterous:
I have to spend how long in the shower?
How many exactly of my teeth do I have to brush?
Breakfast too?
And I hafta do this every day??

I...can't take this!

There's definitely a scale of self-care time and different people feel comfortable at different points along this imaginary scale. For example, teenage me thought doing her feet once a week was a luxurious necessity. Now, I don't even want to talk about it.

Starting to care for myself was easy - so easy.

Keeping it up, in order to make it a lifelong habit was hard - so. dang. hard! I ran out of bamboo tea and then spent a ridiculous amount of time thinking about whether I should repurchase enough
I ran out of Vitamin D and somehow talked myself into thinking that it was too expensive, too much of a bother, well the days will start getting longer now so I shouldn't repurchase and should just wait it out.
I started second guessing my commitment to look after myself.

I started spending my weekends looking after other people instead of making sure I had enough vegetables in the house to give me the vitamins and minerals I needed.

There was, for me, a huge difference between purposeful resting and not having the energy to do anything. I did a lot of one, whilst telling myself it was the other, but the proof was in the pudding - in the apathy I started to feel towards many areas of life. I love food and cooking but eating pizza for dinner twice and breakfast?

Looking at my original self-care post, I expected to be hugely disappointed. But actually, the things I'd said were part of my personal philosophy, so I've made a start:

Cleansing my face once everyday - I don't want to talk about it. But no wonder my hyperpigmentation is still rife and a big part of my life.

Experience based treats - check! Kinda...I've been doing well on the crafting front, lame-o on the relaxing and pampering front. Balance, yo.

Eco-friendly teeth cleaning options - I've been thinking about this for ages. At the moment, I'm using Lush's Atomic Tooth Powder to clean my teeth.
I still have a plastic toothbrush because I had to buy one in an an emergency and there aren't any options around me I like. Still looking into reliable chewing sticks.

Give myself enough time to make what I need - I've done really, really well on this body moisturiser wise. Now to do the same hair- and health-wise!

Simplifying my stuff:

Getting rid of stuff I don't need - Minimalism has been on my mind for a while, so that's done a great job of spurring me on into giving away clothes, accessories and gifts that were inappropriate for me but could be great for someone else.
The one thing stopping me from going full hog is how much I dislike actual shopping on the high street. Clearly not designed for me, clearly a waste of time. And I'm the slowest seamstress in the world, so handmade clothing takes a while to appear...

Using up my craft stash - Again, slowest seamstress/knitter in the world. It's taking me a while. Lots of projects, loads of ideas - short on time. August was ambitious as heck. Plus...I bought more fabric this year. Can I say by 2020? my defence, the fabric I have been buying has been very purposeful.
I made a baby blanket (quilt since I added wadding?) in a couple of days flat, I'm working on a skirt, and I have big plans for the red fleece in my cupboard.
I can't even be mad at myself over this one, haha!

Stop making excuses for not using things that work - Ahhh, trying to break the habit of a lifetime! I spoke about that (and some lame excuses I make) here. Great at the start - but I never seem to finish. I'm working on it!

Looking at that list and helps me to realise how great the little changes I have actually made make me feel.
 Like millions of other people all around the Western world, I'm back on the wagon with a vengeance. I'll be working to change from red and orange to green lights. Sometime. Eventually.
But it's ongoing, isn't it?

Self-care is so, so, so very hard. But so very worth it.