8 year old drag queen

Many people, myself included used to get confused about the difference between being a drag queen and being transgender, they are not the same. Through a bit of research the way it has been explained is that a drag queen is a character that is played whereas a transgender is a way of life, part of that person’s identity.

No that has been cleared up what I want to discuss with you all is a bit of a sensitive subject and there are a few people that won’t agree with it but at least it will get us talking. I read about a family in Montreal where the mum is supporting her eight year old son as he embraces his drag queen alter ego ‘Lacaticia’. The young drag queen is already finding stage success having already appeared on stage with drag queen Bianca del Rio. Some could argue that the mum is being a bad parent by allowing her young son to behave this way or that the child is being sexualised and allowed to venture into what is considered an adult environment, but what harm is he really doing to himself and others? The mum and son must have a great relationship with each other that he felt comfortable enough to be so open with his mum about how he was feeling.

Don't panicI’m not a parent but this situation has got me thinking about how easy it is for me to say, ‘what’s the harm, the child is happy, the family is happy, live and let live’ but would I feel the same if it was my child who at such a young age decided they wanted to be a drag queen or say the age of 4 decided they were trapped in the wrong body and wanted to be the opposite gender? How would I react, would I be the supportive parent or the one that despite loving their child is now embarrassed by this declaration and direction in life they want to take? I would like to think that to some degree I would be relaxed about it, I probably would have a little freak out but more about how the handle the situation without the child feeling like they are doing something wrong or that there is something wrong with them. Culturally there might be a few questions from other people but change has to start somewhere.

self-esteem-1566153_1280_webIf you have read any of my previous posts you’ll know that I am fascinated by drag queens and there is a lot we can learn from them, from the way they do their makeup, how they carry themselves, yes they are crude at times but some of them have also had to go through a lot of different life experiences and hardship to get where they are. They are resilient and highlight the importance to be yourself and confident even when it feels like the world is against you. Ru Pauls drag show contestants are adults but they too were once children who went through the many experiences and emotions that some transgender children face today, though as a society we are trying to be more open and accepting change is not that easy and there are some countries that are in no hurry to accept that drag queens, homosexuals, transgender people etc should be allowed to live in peace.

Saying all this could the gradual changes in views and opinions the reason behind the increase in the number of children being referred to the only gender identity clinic in the UK?

The figures, from London’s Tavistock and Portman NHS foundation trust, show that in the year ending March 2016, 1,398 people used the service, compared with 697 the year before.

There are increased media reports and programmes following children through their day to day life as they transition, some delaying puberty with medication to live as the opposite gender, although  doctors can prescribe gender changing hormones to children as young as 12 depending on the situation. Is this the right approach, the article I read does provide a compelling reason behind the decision to allow children start gender changing treatment much earlier than the agreed age of 16.

As adults and roles of parents we are expected to guide and encourage the future generations to be decent human beings. But what do you do when your child comes to about such an adult topic, they are playing with Barbie and GI Joe dolls (This could have changed but that is what kids played with when I was young) but what if GI Joe wants to become GI Jane and Barbie has decided she is more of a Ken doll?

Sources

The Guardian: gender identity clinic
The story of two transgender children
RuPaul’s Drag Race

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Apple and blueberry muffins

Maybe it’s because The Great British Bake off is back on the TV or maybe because I’m getting my baking mojo back, whatever the reason I am rediscovering why I enjoyed baking. I am not making as detailed cakes as I once used but opting for quick bakes that can easily fit into my daily routine and still taste good; muffins, biscuits even bread that doesn’t take a great length of time. You’ll have noticed that I occasionally dabble in eggless baking, the texture and taste is different to that of an egg based cake but only those who are cake connoisseurs or are told about the lack of egg would most likely notice the difference. 

Tuesday night I had Bake Off on in the background but not sure if other avid fans of this television show feel the same but this series isn’t holding my interest. I was on in the background while I busied myself experimenting with a new recipe I had found for blueberry and apple muffins through Google from netmums.comApple Blueberry muffin batter_WebThe mixture looked ok, I don’t think I over mixed the batter and it definitely looked lumpy as the recipe said it should. Where I fell down was the timing, every oven is different but I think I just have a special one that either wants to cook food too quickly or wants to take its time, in this case it was the latter. The recipe said the muffins should take about 10-12 minutes to cook on gas mark 6, mine took about 16-18 minutes. I was concerned about overbaking them as they started to brown but when poked with a skewer there was still a bit of wet mixture attached.

Apple blueberry muffin_WebThe end result was better than I expected, I did think they felt a bit soft but were cooked but that can happen with additional liquid from fruit but they were holding their shape and not falling apart when they were removed from their cupcake cases. As always I have willing guinea pigs who give honest reviews, my work colleagues;

  • the blueberries gave a jammy texture
  • it was light with a nice texture
  • they were a bit soggy probably caused by the apple but tasted nice!  

Here is the Netmums recipe if you want to try it out.

Ingredients

  • 256g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 220g soft light brown sugar
  • 1 apple (large)
  • 150g raspberries
  • 2 eggs
  • 120ml milk
  • 50g unsalted butter, melted

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200’C/400’F/Gas mark 6
  • Line a muffin tin with muffin cases
  • In a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients together
  • Beat the milk and egg together lightly, add the melted butter and then add the apples and raspberries
  • Mix gently into the dried ingredients until just combined (the mixture will look lumpy, but that’s okay!)
  • Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden, well risen and firm to touch
  • Remove from the oven and cool in the tray for 5 minutes, then remove from the tray and leave to thoroughly cool on a wire rack

 

Latest attempt at eggless baking

The Great British Bakeoff is back on our screens and on the new TV channel, Channel 4 with the exception of old blue eyes; Paul Hollywood, new presenters. I did find that the last years series on BBC One wasn’t has good as the previous series so thought the revamp and the current changes would be a good move, breath some new life into the programme. I was wrong. Presenter Noel Fielding has a witty personality which I just feel is being suppressed, it’s like he is on his best behaviour not to offend anyone, and I’m waiting for him to break free. It could just be me and maybe I’m being a little unreasonable but I don’t think the talent is has high as some of the bakers from past series, let’s face it no one has been able to top lion bread. There are a few bakers that have won me over, Yana, Julia and Liam. He was robbed of star baker, think Facepalmsomeone needs to check that it is only tea in Pru and Paul’s mugs when they have to such an important decision. The introduction of Caramel week was interesting, though I think I will stick to buying stroopwafels, not a single baker was able to get the caramel right in the technical challenge, what was that all about?

I haven’t tried any of the bakes from the show but have been having my own little challenges. I back on the eggless baking trying to find a perfect go to eggless cake recipe. I personally don’t have any concerns baking with eggs but over the years I have come across people for whatever reason don’t eat eggs be it an allergy, religious or vegan or simply don’t like to eat eggs.

I am getting closer to reaching my goal with my recent attempt, think I may have found the ideal recipe from Carve your Craving. The mixture makes your own buttermilk by adding vinegar to milk and letting it curdle, I just bought buttermilk. I thought my mixture looked a bit too dry in the notes it says to add water but I didn’t read this part and added a few extra table spoons of buttermilk and chocolate chips. You can use an electric mixer but a trusty old hand whisk did the job.

In the eyes of my guinea pigs these cakes were success; the texture was that of an egg based cake and got thumbs up on the taste, I was a bit concerned they may not be sweet enough but I was Eggless Cupcakes Cooked Webwrong. I was just a bit disappointed with how the top of the cakes looked, I thought maybe I had overbaked them but the actual cake didn’t taste dry. With some icing on top no one who even see what the top of the cakes looked like!

One cake taste tester did say they had turned out nice but they did prefer the egg based muffin. I do think the egg based equivalent was that tad bit fluffier but that could also be down to over mixing the batter slightly. I am my own worst critic. I’ve added the recipe below but do visit Carve your Craving website for the original recipe as there are lots of accompanying pictures and helpful tips, plus lots of other recipes.

Ingredients
  • All purpose flour – 1 ½ cups / 215 grams
  • Granulated Sugar – 1 cup / 214 grams
  • Cocoa powder – ½ cup / 43 grams
  • Baking soda – 1 teaspoon
  • Salt – ½ teaspoon
  • Milk – 1 cup / 240 ml
  • Oil – ½ cup / 118 ml
  • Pure Vanilla Extract – 1 teaspoon
  • Vinegar – 2 teaspoon
  • Milk plus vinegar is nothing but buttermilk:) so if u don’t have vinegar use sour buttermilk ( chaas) 1 cup by replacing milk and vinegar
Instructions
  • Preheat oven to 350 degree F or 180 degree C.
  • Line the cupcake tray with cupcake liners
  • Sieve and Mix all dry ingredients (All purpose flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt) in a bowl. Always sieve from a height for tender crumb outcome
  • Now time for liquids
  • Add vinegar to milk and let it stand for a minute .. Stir in oil
  • Use liquid measuring cup to measure the liquids for best results smile emoticon
  • Mix liquid in the dry ingredients – whip with a electric whipper or by a spatula or hand whip only till the batter is smooth and no lumps – don’t over beat – very important
  • Mine is always ready within 30-40 secs.
  • And bake in pre-heated oven for about 18-20 minutes or till toothpick inserted in center of cupcake will come out with few dry crumbs .. Don’t over bake
  • Remove it from oven and after 5 minutes remove cupcakes on wire rack and let them cool completely before frosting.
  • Please follow the given tips – for the best tender moist cupcakes

 

Notes
I recommend adding 1 tsp instant coffee powder to the batter.. It enhances the flavor of chocolate… Do add if not making for kids
Milk plus vinegar is nothing but buttermilk:) so if u don’t have vinegar use sour buttermilk ( chaas) 1 cup buttermilk in place of milk
As there may be difference in flour quality – if you think the batter is too thick add no more than 3 tbsp water – 1 tbsp at a time
use whipping attachment not beaters
Can be stored at room temperature unfrosted upto 3 days in a air tight container
1 week in the fridge
3 months in the freezer

 

 

Morning routine update; Did I stick with the changes?

alarm-clock-1193291_1280_WebNot too long ago I wrote an article about changing my morning routine, this involved me waking up earlier, doing a some exercise and anything else if I have time for it all before work. I only trialled this new routine for a week but have since tried to maintain it.

There have been days where I have fallen off the wagon and skipped the morning yoga choosing to get out of bed a bit later or generally having a ‘go slow’ day where I have had more than enough time to get ready for work, arrive at work early but the mind and body were not being that responsive.

Bar the few occasions where I have hit the snooze button I have managed to maintain the exercise part of the routine. I still do the 5 minutes yoga video stretching out the morning kinks helping to dissipate the last dredges of sleep. Where I have only been keeping up with part of the original routine personally I have felt disorganised and rushing around trying to get things done.  I have been feeling under the weather lately but I don’t think that is the only reason behind my lack of energy and  motivation throughout the working day. I am hoping that my renewed drive to get back on track will help combat these feelings.

Diet has played its part, being organised and having breakfast ready meant I was eating something other than a chocolate muffin or a doughnut for breakfast, you imagine how I felt after that sugar crash. I was eating more fruit and drinking less caffeine, this has all gone out of the window and the extra sugar I have been consuming it definitely affecting my energy levels. As well as having a more structured morning I have been trying to stick with a bedtime routine involving removal of makeup, brush teeth etc I am also bringing back the bedtime yoga video. This could be the 5 minute or the 20 minute YouTube video depending on time but the aim to do at least one of them. Reading has become virtually non-existent, this is something I should try and find time for, it was a form of escapism and relaxation. Need to make to time to wind down and let go of the day.

I’ll let you know how I get on or if I fall back into bad habits. If this week has been anything to go by, it’s a work in process. I’ve discovered the TV series Dexter on Netflix so have been having a TV binge fest going on. I have been managing to get up early, I have a lodger and I need to get in the bathroom before her if I don’t want to be late for work.  I am still managing the morning yoga and eating a few more bits of vegetables and fruit, not quite the recommended daily amount but something is better than nothing.

Wish me luck!

World Suicide Prevention day

2017_wspd_banner_english

Sunday 10 September was World Suicide Prevention Day. It shouldn’t be that we need a day to raise awareness about such a sensitive topic, but like with mental health the stigma and negative opinions associated with suicide are taking time to dispel. It is only as a society, encouraging and educating people will we be able to move forward and prevent potential suicide victims reaching the stage where they feel death is the only solution.

 Taking a minute to reach out to someone – a complete stranger or close family member or friend – can change the course of their life

This year’s WSPD theme was ‘take a minute, change a life’.  Every year, more than 800,000 people die by suicide and up to 25 times as many make a suicide attempt. How many of these could be avoided if we were to just take a minute and have a conversation with each other. We can blame technology and social media for many things;

  • social media is damaging to people’s mental health
  • mobile phones and social are ruining the way we communicate
  • we are becoming less sociable

But we can’t keep ignoring the elephant in the room, it’s time to turn these negatives and use social media and technology to our advantage. Campaigns like Time to Change’s ‘Be in your corner’ mental health campaign, if your friend’s acting differently, step in. It isn’t always easy to make that first step, there is always the worry that you may say or do something wrong but more often than not all the person going through a rough patch wants is someone to listen. You don’t always have to have the answers or know the solution but showing that non judgemental support can make all the difference. If you think someone you know is struggling then go ahead and start your conversation.

Mental health problems can affect anyone at anytime, regardless of age, gender ethnic background. It is so important that as a society we all come together to raise awareness and educate people. Being Asian and of a Muslim background it was and in some cases difficult for people from the Asian community to acknowledge the existence of mental illness. In many religions suicide is a sin which as further confusion and stress to those who are already going through a difficult period. It’s not about vilifying religion and those who have a strong faith but more about educating people and having religion and treatments complimenting each other. Having a faith has helped those with a mental health illness, giving them inner strength and peace.

University Students

With the new semester starting there is more focus on the mental health and wellbeing of university students who for many it is the first time away from home, pressures of study, exams and student loans can be a stressful time. A study carried out by IPPR showed that the number of students reporting and seeking help for a mental health concern had risen to 15,395 in a decade and 134 students killed themselves in 2015 (source The Guardian)

Experts put the rise down to growing pressure on students who leave university with huge debt, as well as increased awareness – meaning more people are reporting problems

Men’s mental health

imagescfk9d35gSuicide is the leading cause of death in men below the age of 50, men were more likely to take their own life than die from road deaths, coronary heart disease, accidental poisoning or diseases of the liver.

There has been a lot of work being done to encourage men to talk about their physical and mental health. There are a lot of stereotypes I that negatively impact society and how people function. Pigeon holing them only leads to people feeling trapped thinking they will be ostracised, ridiculed and not taken seriously, an attitude Movember is trying to change. Admitting there is something wrong and talking about it is not a sign of weakness, it doesn’t make you less of a man. if anything it takes a lot of strength to open up.

Post natal depression

Spoken about students and men’s health we can’t ignore women, in particular post natal depression. It is important to understand that this is not an illness that women will recover from in a few weeks, it can take years and can be a long road.

Some people, myself included have confused the baby blues with post natal depression. Though the two have similar symptoms the recovery is different.

Up to 80 per cent of women report “the blues”, usually within the first week after birth. It often coincides with an increase in breast milk supply. Women may feel teary, sad, anxious or struggle to concentrate.

“The blues” are usually self-limiting and no treatment other than reassurance and support is required.

Postnatal depression (PND) affects approximately 15 per cent of women in the months following the birth of a baby, so is a lot more common than some might imagine. It is more severe and prolonged than “the blues”, and can substantially affect the relationship between the mother and baby during this critical period. Women who suffer from PND frequently report feeling sad, tearful, anxious or guilty, often without an obvious “trigger” that they can identify.

There are support groups like Pandas and Mind. Social media Twitter support groups like Lotus Petal, PND & Me. Don’t forget your health visitor will also be able to help if you are struggling.

Days like world suicide prevention day is a time to raise awareness and educate people that we can all fall down, some of us will need a little bit of extra help to get back up again. You could be that person that makes a difference in someone’s life.

Don’t forget that World Mental Health Day is 10 October, hold you own tea and talk day!

References

WSPD Home
Time to change
Samaritans
The Guardian
The calm zone
Essential Baby
Pandas
Mind

Puppy Love

Growing up my family had budgies, my grandparents had budgies, I can barely keep a plant alive! I’ve not ever had a great love of animals; I haven’t had any desire to own fish, no rodents or reptiles of any kind and definitely did not have a desire to have a cat or a dog. The hair, the slobber etc. just does not appeal to me. Until I met my partner, who let’s just say has ruined me! The person I once was has evolved into the person I don’t recognise. He has always owned a dog from a Doberman to a Rottweiler, usually raised from a puppy up until the end. His last dog was Rottweiler, this hulking beast of an animal who came up to my waist was a puppy deep down inside unless he didn’t like you or didn’t know you then depending on if you were an intruder or a non-threatening person a few treats and a firm voice could sway him to your side. Sadly this loveable creature became quite unwell and became paralysed and the unthinkable had to be considered and a very hard decision was made. I had known this dog for over a year and her recognised me every time I came to the house, would sit with me and tell me off when I would stop fussing over him. This is not me, I do not behave like this with animals, or at least I didn’t but something about this dog just tugged at my heart strings. Don’t get me wrong I still washed my hands a million times after running my fingers through his thick coat of hair and needed to use a lint brush after being covered in said dog hair but he was still one of the first people I would say hello to in the house.
When the end came it was a private moment and I wasn’t sure if my partner would want me there as I hadn’t know the doggy as long as the rest of the family but was touched that he wanted me there at the vets with him and other family members. Not going to lie, I was probably worse than everyone else a blubbering mess, I still feel I should replace the box of tissues at the vets based on the amount of tissues I singlehandedly went through. It was one of the most horrible and heart-breaking things I have ever experienced.

Can you guess where this is going?

My partner has always had a dog for companionship, friendship and security. Going through the options when deciding future dog a few boxes needed to be ticked.

  • limited slobbering
  • limited hair moulting tendencies
  • child friendly
  • formidable guard dog

Proud co-owner of a gorgeous playful puppy

RoccoI am the proud co-owner of a gorgeous playful puppy who will grow into an equally lovable and trained the right way a, protective adult dog, I am so excited.

When my partner and I initially went to see all the see the puppies for sale at the breeders we had a few choices but settled on one particular pup. During this process I’ve learnt that buying a puppy or any dog is not as simple as popping into your local supermarket and picking one of the shelf. There is the breed, the family line, who are the parents, any history of illnesses, disabilities etc then there is such a thing called stud dogs, all of this was a complete education for me. This all explains that before making a final decision and parting with money partner wanted to see the dad with whom the breeder is friends with and would also be at a dog that just so happened to be taking place that same weekend. The breeder brought along the puppies to the show, as you can imagine cute fluffy puppies garnered a lot of attention so thought in order to protect our interests it was necessary to get our future pup out of the shared pen so other potential owners new it was off limits, I wasn’t quite tall enough to lean over but decided to give it a go anyway and nearly fell in the pen trying to get hold of my pup. I’ve turned into one of those crazy puppy women!

The puppy will live with my partner as he won’t be left on his own during the day, my partner is also the most experienced to train him. I am still working up to being able to pick up his poop, I know I will have to do this eventually I’m just not there yet.

All I know is I talk about this puppy as if he is a child and if anyone was to hurt him, let’s just say there would be some serious consequences. Researching into getting the right deworming and defleaing products that won’t make him ill; some on the negative online reviews were enough to cause nightmares. Then there are the toys, blankets and getting the right food that doesn’t cost a small fortune. If this is a fraction of what parenthood could be like I don’t think my young / old ticker can take the stress and worry.

Soda Bread anyone?

Generally I’m more comfortable baking cakes and biscuits and have been learning the joys of freezing cut biscuit dough. As much as I like baking it can sometimes the preparation can be time consuming and when I’ve been at work and then have the craving to have a few biscuits, take a few out of the freezer and in about 15 minutes maybe 20 at a push I have fresh biscuits ready to go with my tea!

Enough about the cakes and frozen biscuits, the one area I dabble in and generally fail miserably is baking bread from scratch. I’ve used shop bough ready mixed bread where I just add water in the past, I’ve even tried focaccia bread from scratch with varying degrees of success and failure. So I thought I would try something a bit simple and opted for soda bread, no yeast involved, thought what could go wrong? My first attempt went wrong!

The dough was a wet, sticky mess …

Soda Bread_AllrecipesI found a recipe on Allrecipes that looked straightforward, I didn’t have any buttermilk but the recipe used the homemade version of buttermilk; milk with vinegar. I halved the recipe just in case it all went horrible wrong, which it did. The dough was a wet, sticky mess to which I kept adding flour that should have made the situation better, it didn’t. The dough became a bit tough and even though I was trying to find the silver lining in the moment and though the dough still had the chance to develop into a great looking and tasting soda bread, the oven would be the cocoon to make this all happen. Alas no this did not happen, the bread shouldn’t have taken long to bake yet the outcome was a lovely looking bread on the outside and a doughy substance on the inside. I couldn’t subject the daring foxes in the area that like to roam the streets, the only place for this lump that would offend bread bakers everywhere was the bin.

Was I beaten by this failed bake?

Soda Bread_James MartinI was for a short period of time, until I bought a pot of buttermilk then with the aid of BBC Good Food website and a recipe by James Martin (also see below) my bread baking fighting spirit was back in action. The ratios worked, the dough looked how I think it was meant to, onto the actual baking. Though there are many steps in bread making that I fall down on the actual baking and listening for the hollow sound does confuse me a bit but I went with it. The bread itself did catch a bit more colour than I would have liked, if I was comparing it to a colour chart I think it would have been the colour swatch that is just before burnt! The response from critics; brother and sister was the bread was a bit chewy, could have done with a few minutes in the oven which could explain why it tasted ok toasted and with butter, extra cooking under the grill. The main thing to take away from this attempt was it was edible.

Ignoring my limited bread making skills this bread is actually very simple and take no time to make. Give it a try and come and share your bread conquests on here or head on over to my Twitter share your thoughts.

Ingredients

170g/6oz self-raising wholemeal flour
170g/6oz plain flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
290ml/½ pint buttermilk

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 400F/200C/Gas 6.

2. Tip the flours, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl and stir.

3. Make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk, mixing quickly with a large fork to form a soft dough. (Depending upon the absorbency of the flour, you may need to add a little milk if the dough seems too stiff but it should not be too wet or sticky.)

4. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly.

5. Form into a round and flatten the dough slightly before placing on a lightly floured baking sheet.

6. Cut a cross on the top and bake for about 30 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.

Using different oils for your skin & hair

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about beauty stuff. I do like my makeup and the ability to magically banish a multitude of sins with a handy little tube of concealer. No matter how much makeup I use it have the same effect if the base, in this case my face, isn’t in good condition. I use the term good loosely as I do have my problem spots, my face can produce enough of its own oil to make me quite shiney which can be a problem with makeup, I do also have dry patches where it can be noticeable when foundation and concealer doesn’t blend in properly.

  • I’m not that great at eating my 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day
  • I try and stay hydrated but if it’s a rough day I am known to hit the caffeine
  • I don’t drink alcohol so I caffeine is my vice.

Externally I try and do right by my skin, wash my makeup brushes, moisturise, use eye cream, all that good stuff but what I have discovered several months ago and still use on my skin is oil. Yes you have heard my right oil, I use coconut, jojob, almond, olive all for different parts of my body.

Face

I stopped using shop bought makeup remover for over a year now and only use baby wipes if I’m being extremely lazy to remove my makeup otherwise it is a good old trusted jar of coconut oil. This stuff is great, it removes all my makeup including the waterproof stuff. I know you’re meant to use the good organic stuff, but I generally use this one from KTC. I do also have a jar of organic coconut oil and you can notice the difference between the two products but for the removal of my makeup I find the cheaper product does the job just fine.

Face wash is great stuff but did find it could dry out my skin. I was going through a phase of trying to save pennies and also be kinder to my skin and came across oil cleansing.

Oil Cleansing

Oil cleansing doesn’t agree with everyone’s skin as you using a blend of oils clean you face and using warm tap water and a flannel to wipe it all off. From reading other people’s experiences oil cleansing caused them to have acne breakouts. Fortunately my skin hasn’t reacted in the same way, not only does it leave my skin feeling nice and soft it is all great for removing makeup, when I want to skip the cotton pad and coconut oil I just got straight to the oil cleansing.
It sounds odd and you would think that your face would be left feeling greasy from any oil residue, and some people have experienced this but I haven’t had this problem.

Pumps some of the blend you’re your hands, rub your palms together to warm the oil up then massage onto your face. Using warm tap water, dampen a flannel and wipe the oil off. You will have you wipe your face with the flannel and water maybe 2-3 times until all the oil and if you had any on the makeup is removed.

I tend to use a mixture of castor oil and almond oil with maybe a few drops of essential oil thrown in. My usual blend;

1/3 castor oil
2/3 almond oil

Or if I’m feeling like a change I’ll use this blend;

1/4 castor oil
2/4 almond oil
1/4 jojoba oil

Everyone’s skin is different and it took a bit of experimenting with smaller quantities until I find the combination that worked for me.

Night time

At night instead of a night cream I use an oil blend, sometimes I use a few drops in my day Jojoba oilcream if my skin if feeling exceptionally dry and the face cream alone isn’t going to cut it. I haven’t and measurements for this as I chop and change it up all the time. I always use jojoba oil as my base oil and leave it at that, a few drops of lavender essential oil, good for the skin and for help you sleep and few drops of vitamin E oil also great for the skin. I’ve been noticing lately my skin has been feeling a bit dry, that could also because I have been feeling a bit under the weather and not drinking enough fluids. To deal with the dry skin problem inside an out I’ve added coconut oil to the mix, when I have time I’ll make a rich cream with oils and coco butter always great for the winter. 
I also use a simple homemade facemask with yoghurt, gram flour and turmeric, the one I really like at the moment is just yoghurt and white kaolin clay. My skin feels so soft afterwards.

Body

Creams and Lotions

I have played around in the past making my own body lotions which have been heavily oil based with a blend of coconut oil, almond oil and coco butter with some essential oil thrown in. I do like ylang ylang. I haven’t been brave enough to experiment too much with my own measurements but have used a whipped body recipe from Wellness Mama and a 3 ingredient body lotion from Mommypotamus, with this one you also use water and no preservative so best to make a small batch. You have to remember that oil is used and at first it will feel greasy on your skin until it is absorbed. Great for the winter as skin tend to be drier, great to use in the summer before bed so your skin has time to repair itself.

Body Oil

In the mornings I can be quite lazy and skip using body moisturiser, not great when my legs get Oilvery dry and itch. So I have just begun using a blend of almond and jojob oil to spray and massage onto my wet skin after a shower. I would definitely recommend investing a small travel size spray bottle, only 50p from Wilkinson as it means you don’t waste any oil and less chance of it spilling everywhere. I can’t tell you yet if this blend works as I have only just starting using it, I can tell you though that my legs do feel a lot let dry.

Shaving is a pain, I do own an epilator but the patience to wait for the hair to grow enough to use it is sometimes non-existent, so shaving it is. Instead of investing in shaving cream I have used shower gel, not great really as this contributes to my dry legs! No I could make a homemade shaving lotion with an oil blend, shea butter etc but have instead resorted to whipping up some coconut oil with maybe some almond oil (you may have noticed that I use this oil a lot), or forgo the almond oil and just use the whipped up coconut oil in place of shaving cream. I wet my legs, massage the oil onto my then razor away.

Fancy a body or face scrub? You guessed right, a bit of coconut oil and sugar. If you want a gentle scrub then use brown sugar, for a more gritty scrub opt for granulated (white) sugar. I’m currently using coconut oil with a mixture of granulated and brown sugar for my face and body. It smells nice too with a few drops of peppermint essential oil. Of course you don’t need to use sugar or oil, honey and coffee granules are also an option.

Hair

Hair oil is great, I tend to either leave it on overnight or about 10-30 minutes in the morning depending on how much time I have. In the past I used to use hair oil called Amla hair oil that I used to only be able to get from an Asian shop when my parents did their food shopping in Ilford, I now use almond oil or jasmine hair oil. Gently massage onto your scalp and your hair, if leaving on overnight I lay a towel on my pillow, you can also use a shower cap. For a hot oil treatment, wrap you oil covered head up in a warm towel.

I’m not an expert on these things, I just like to play around and if I can save a bit of money in the process then added bonus. These treatments worked for my skin, like with anything if you have an allergic reaction then stop using it.
Not all oils will be suitable for your skin, I’ve read that jojoba is the closest to the sebum oils our body naturally produces so if you are brave enough to try out using oil anywhere on your body then this could be the one to begin with.

What can you learn from a drag queen?

I’ve recently discovered RuPaul’s Drag Race on Netflix and I am hooked! The programme is a take on America’s Top Model but the Queens make their own outfits which are phenomenal especially when teamed up with the sometimes outrageous wigs and disgustingly high heels that make me want to scrunch my toes from imagining the pain.

These ladies have skill, imagination and big personalities to match. It is fascinating to watch seeing how these men turn themselves into women from their makeup to their figures, everything gets all tucked away, a bit of padding here and there, use of chest plates and voila! In some cases you can’t even tell they work born male, the transformation is that good.

The Queens who starred on the show were over the top dramatic they would refer to themselves and call each other ‘bitch’ but it wasn’t necessarily to be unkindest ‘bitch’ can also be an acronym for babe in total control of herself. The tones used were playful and teasing but secretly they all wanted their competition to crash and burn in the challenges and on the runway so they could win.

Behind the layers of foundation and reams of tape used there is a serious undertone. The show always ends with the line ‘ If you can’t love yourself then how the hell are you going to love anyone else? ‘ which I think is a very important message. Many of the contestants have gone through emotional ups and downs, personal tragedy and experiences. Being unhappy and disliking yourself can have a negative effect on an individual’s mental health and wellbeing, some of the contestants touched upon the topic of suicide. There is a lot we can learn from these Queens and apply some of their attitude to everyday life.

Be yourself

untitledHow many of us have tried to change ourselves just to please others or to ‘fit in’ an environment that wasn’t really suited to us to begin with, it was just something we thought we had to do?

Many of the contestants have gone through difficult, painful experiences.

  • Some either no longer speaking with their families who don’t approve, don’t understand their lifestyle choices or the fear of being disowned once their family find out the truth about them.
  • They have suffered physical and emotional abuse from family members and random people.
  • Eating disorders
  • Joining gangs
  • Hating themselves by being an angry gay, one constant on the show said he was an angry gay, just angry for being the way he was and he looked fantastic as a woman; Carmen Carrera

Yet despite all of this they have learned to accept and corny as it sounds love themselves. Eventually you will find the slot you fit into and if you don’t then you create one where others will see you shine.

Inspire yourself and others

Our life experiences, the good and the bad help shape the person we become. We all fall down but there is strength in how you get back up to be happy, content and be where you want to be in life.unleash inner dag

For some of contestants this show was a platform to tell their story, to inspire others to take risks and be themselves. It’s ok to be scared, not everyone will always agree with the choices you to make as long as you are confident in those decisions.

Looking at these Queens, their diva attitude and fighting spirits you can’t but feel inspired to channel your own inner drag queen to be the best that you can be.

Be supportive

We all have our strengths and weaknesses and need a bit of help to pick ourselves up when we fall down. Behind all the sniping there is a team spirit, in group challenges contestants helping each other with their makeup, helping to put a dress together as not all the Queens were a great with a sewing needle and thread, many opting to use a hot glue gun.

Helping each other and being supportive is how we also we learn new things and see things from a different perspective. I would rather help someone feel confident about themselves rather than try to break them.

It’s one thing to get ahead, but get there on your own merits and hard work, not by stepping on other people. Remember the people you upset on your way up that ladder could be the same people you see on your way down.

Work frustrations

I know this is going to sound like a bit of a ranty blog and it probably is but I need to release some of the pent up frustration of the day. I’m not out to offend or insult anyone but since I haven’t visited the gym, kickboxing is on the back burner until finances improve and yoga can only do so much so writing is my outlet.

Ever get days where you thing that all the planets have aligned so that all the difficult people are sent your way on the same day just to challenge you? If that is the case then in some ways I feel that I succeeded and rose above that challenge by remaining calm then in other ways I failed miserably and got somewhat annoyed.To counter balance this I was on the caffeine and sugar,  yet the spawns of Satan kept coming in my direction. Maybe I was being punished for something in previous life or the past few days, who knows.

Bit of background, part of my job is updating the company website, working with the different teams in the company to update their web pages. We could give everyone their own access to the website so they could update their own webpages..only if we wanted the website to look like a child had been let loose on it or we want to get sued. So I’m polite, I’m patient but no matter how much I may wish it, I am not a unicorn and I cannot scatter fairy dust create miracles. So you can imagine my frustration when I am trying to accommodate a request and may have to use Google to find the answers only to discover the person making the initial request already knew the solution but for whatever reason didn’t do it. Bit unfair I think especially when I do have other work to be getting on with. By this point there wasn’t enough caffeine in the world that was going to placate me.

I’m not ashamed to say that despite there being times where I do feel like I am banging my head against a brick wall I do enjoy my job. It has enabled me to learn a lot and opened me to new skills. As a result I do feel a bit protective over the website, it’s not that there aren’t other people  who also update the website but I am one of the main people who are know for updating the website. Not saying I’m perfect, I make mistakes too but if there is a breakdown in communication, work is duplicated and then to top it off it’s not done properly you can imagine I’m not an impressed bunny. As you can tell I am a bit agitated but I also know this will pass and things will calm down, there will eventually be a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities in place until then it looks like there are going to a lot of smiling, internal Tourette’s, occasionally that is also external and lots of mugs of tea in my near future.