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.

Will changing my morning routine give me more spare time?

Whilst browsing through my LinkedIn newsfeed I came across the article titled ‘You’re wasting your spare time and it’s killing your success‘ by Tim Denning. Although I’m not completely convinced by all the changes the author has implemented in his life to make him more productive I am interested in trying to implement the whole getting a better nights sleep and getting up earlier and using that time productively. I don’t think I can give up television or caffeine completely and apart from the odd slip up and binge weekend I do try to eat healthily. At the moment I don’t think I can get out of bed a full hour earlier than usual so am going to try and gradually ease myself in by starting with getting up 30 minutes earlier.

Tuesday 25 July

Alarm goes off at 6.30 and struggled to get out of bed

But the light shining through my window at about 5.20 waking me up meant I wasn’t fully asleep when the alarm went off.

  • I managed to tidy a few things in bedroom where I had left things strewn around in exhaustion from the night before. I had gone to a different body combat class, lets just say my stamina needs a bit of work hence the exhausted / my body is broken feeling.
  • Did morning yoga video.
  • Was showered and dressed in record time.
  • It’s usually too early for me to have breakfast, I generally have some milk to tie me over until I get to work.
  •  I was all ready to leave for work with at least an extra 30 minutes to spare, something I don’t usually have. In that time I was able to get petrol and check the tyre pressure on my car and was still at work 15 minutes early. Enough time to get myself settled and ready for the working day.

Wednesday 26 July

Things are not going well

Alarm went off and I’m still half asleep. Rolled out of my bed and rolled out my yoga mat for a wake me up morning yoga session. Maybe it is just me but in those short minutes of yoga I did manage to wake up enough to not want to crawl back into bed. I thought about switching my laptop on and doing a few things but realised there wasn’t really a lot of time to do what I was thinking of doing so decided to read a chapter of a book I recently got called ‘My soul to keep‘ by Jackie Sonnenberg, I’ll write a review once I’ve finished it.

By now I was fully awake and ready to get on with the rest of my morning routine. I was at work early and seemed to be in a bit of a hyper mode, my mood levels were at a high. Not sure if this was because of my new morning routine where I didn’t have to rush around and had extra time for myself. Lets see how the rest of the week goes.

Thursday 27 July

It wasn’t a great start.

The night before I did fall asleep whilst reading at a reasonable time, however despite being July the winds picked up and my guttering needs repair, so loose guttering plus strong winds made a lot of noise right outside my bedroom window.  I woke up again at 12.30, read a bit more and resorted to putting cotton wool in my ears which helped me get a few hours sleep at least. This guttering debacle, weather permitting will get sorted out this weekend so I can continue with this experiment without looking like an extra from The Walking Dead, which defeats the purpose of

Alarm goes off, bleary eyed and pressing the snooze button did cross my mind before deciding against it and crawling out of bed. Opened the curtains and rolled out the yoga mat ready to start my day. I didn’t get much else done this morning other than the usual getting ready for work as my movements and energy to do things was a lot slower this morning. I managed to do some food shopping before work.

Friday 28 July

Finally, I’m finding getting up at 6.30 easier!

This morning alarm went off and I was up and out of bed, yoga mat rolled out and ready to go on with a stretch here and there. Relaxed a bit before I washed and dressed for work. This is how crazy I think I must be, I had plenty of time this morning and decided to clean my kitchen sink and scrubbing away the lime scale & and tea stains. Of all the things I could have done with the extra time this morning I decide to clean the kitchen sink! At least it is one thing of my to do list.

Saturday 29 July

Still up early bright eyed and bushy tailed!

With it being a Saturday I wasn’t sure if I would make it out of bed but the alarm went off usual time and I was up and doing my morning yoga routine. I even managed to get a few things done around the house all before 9 am. This left me with approx. 1.5 hours spare before a body combat class at 11.

Sunday 30 / Monday 31 July

These two days I failed miserably

The late night Saturday didn’t help hence the 7.30 start on Sunday, I would say I’m allowed a cheat day. I managed to get a few things that morning that will save me time and not be rushing around. There were a few family drama’s that Sunday which resulted in myself and my partner being at the hospital late Sunday afternoon until about 7.30. Those who know me well know that I don’t eat much take away but by the time I got home I was too exhausted to even cook dinner and resorted to a McDonalds. I know it’s not the healthiest of meals but needs must and I needed something convenient. To top it all off the dodgy guttering still didn’t get repaired, lets hope there aren’t any hurricanes in the near future. We might be heading into August, month of the school summer holidays but also lets not forget we live in the UK and the weather doesn’t care what season it’s meant to be, if it wants to hailed down torrential rain in July then it will.

Come Monday morning and I’m still drained, skipped the 6.30 alarm and morning yoga instead getting up at 6.50. I was a bit concerned about looking like an extra from The Walking Dead where they have just been turned into the zombie and that was with makeup!  Lets see if I’ll have recovered by Tuesday and be able to go back to the routine.

Tuesday 01 August

I started of this experiment quite well

Waking up earlier, morning yoga, feeling relaxed. But the past few days I have fallen of the wagon, not enough sleep, not sticking with the morning routine and running the risk of falling back into old habits.

Today was a bit different, I got up early to go and meet a friend for breakfast before work. The food itself was so so, but the company as always was worth dragging myself out of bed for.

Conclusion

Will I stick with this new morning routine?

I’ve only stuck with it for a week to see how I would fare, I need to stick it out a bit longer to see what the long term effects will be. What I did discover is that waking up earlier in the mornings wasn’t easy, it was the initial being woken up by the alarm that I struggled the most with. Most days by the time I had finished the yoga routine I was more alert.

All in all I do think this little experiment taught me that with a bit of organisation I do have more time to get things done. I also found that;

  • I felt a lot better within myself and how I approached the day
  • I slept better
  • Had more energy

Lets see how long I can keep this up, at the moment the morning aren’t as cold so the temptation to stay wrapped up in the warm duvet isn’t there yet.

Learning difficulties, autism and employment

‘…6% of people with a learning disability and 15% of people with autism are in full time paid employment

I would like to say I’m surprised with the number of people with learning difficulties and autism who are in paid employment but I’m not. Unfortunately a large number of employers can’t get past the conventional way of employing people; CV, Interview then a choice is made to hire the appropriate person. In most cases this is the standard hiring process and works for many companies but not for those with a learning disability and/or autism.

This topic is close to my heart with a brother who is diagnosed with Asperger’s who finished university last year and is looking for work. His degree in graphics and animation and in my opinion he is talented; he is constantly working on something and expanding his skills and knowledge. However I also know that the conventional type of interview is a daunting experience for him. The interview tips that are given to people are not going to work for him. His body language and lack of eye contact doesn’t mean he’s not interested in the position it’s just he doesn’t understand that what is the right amount of time to hold eye contact or that crossing your arms are the slouching can show him in a negative light. He is passionate about what he does and has a great imagination not to mention his witty and sarcastic sense of humour that occasionally makes an appearance. But an interviewer will not see all this because they may not understand Asperger’s, have not been able to make changes to the interview setting to accommodate him or they just can’t be bothered to think outside the box. I may seem like I’m making sweeping generalisations here and unfairly vilifying interviewers and companies but the statistics don’t lie, they can be manipulated but in this instance they don’t lie. I am biased but personally I think employers are missing out on a valuable talent pool.

‘Normal’ is such a generic term

A disability of any kind does not automatically mean that person is incapable of being employed & being brilliant at their job. Like the rest of us they want to have some kind of self worth, feel a sense of achievement. Despite all the attention surrounding the lack of people with a learning disability, autism or both, I wonder just how many employees ‘get’ what it means to have learning disability, autism or both? What cookie cutter employee mould do they consider normal? ‘Normal’ is such a generic term these days, what is normal? We live in a day and age where people decide to pick which gender they relate better with or no gender at all, they are gender fluid. Yet there is difficulty finding gainful employment for those with a learning disability, autism or both.

So what can, needs and should be done about this?

As I sit here ploughing my way through a box of Mikado I browse through the intrepid world of Google seeking answers to this very question. To begin, with autism and learning disability are not the same.

Autism is not a learning disability, but around half of people with autism may also have a learning disability, which will affect the level of support they need in their life. Some people may also receive a ‘dual diagnosis’; ­ for example, they may have Down’s syndrome and autism.

A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities – for example household tasks, socialising or managing money – which affects someone for their whole life.

Network Autism offer useful pieces of advice for both Jobseekers and prospective employers. If you prefer a more visual guidance visit autism.org to view the video’s.

I know I am biased but do think employers are missing out on a valuable talent pool. With a bit of tweaking here and there, a bit of adaptability and understanding employers could tap into this hidden workforce which for far too long has been ignored.

Resources
Mencap
The National Autistic Society
Network Autism
Dimensions

Find your online voice

When I first looked into developing my online personal brand I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing or where to begin. After reading a few articles with their own tips and words of advice the fog is starting to clear a bit I realised I was approaching things all wrong. Some of the articles I read said I should keep my online persona and my actual persona separate, maybe this works for some people but not for me. I have a varied set of interests and that I should focus on one topic and work on building an audience around that subject felt like I wasn’t giving a clear picture of the type of I am by neglecting my other interests such as baking and reading. The problem with this approach is I can’t give every topic the full attention it deserves, at the moment my Twitter feed is full of posts relating to mental health, social media, technology with the odd post about baking and exercise adding the personal touch showing that I do have a life and interests that may attract a new group of people who also bake and have an interest in robots being developed to mimic human traits.

I need to find a happy middle ground that worked for me, a mixture of posts that Once I had worked out that in order for me to be comfortable posting online and building up a network I needed to be more ‘human’, more myself. Remain professional but understand the people I engage with online and whose posts I share haven’t met me in person, they don’t know my personality all of which I need to convey through an online post.

This new approach seems to be working with Twitter and I’m trying to utilise some of the resources on there to help my bother find a job by sharing his digital artwork. His Asperger’s does hinder him in some ways, new people can unnerve him but don’t feel sorry for him as his has a lot of positive traits that any employer would be lucky to have him once both parties get past the initial obstacles. LinkedIn I’ll keep it more professional for now until I find a voice for this network that I am comfortable with, this is still a work in progress.

I know I have been lax in posting on this blog, but on here I have always tried to be myself. Blogging is the one place where I have written about my interests, things that have caught my attention in the news to work related pieces. I probably should have put more thought into the type of image I wanted my blog to have or what personality I wanted it to have, but over thinking all this would just stress me out instead of having fun with it. Which I think I do, I’ve written about random people fly tipping to the lack of forks in the work kitchen, I have also been serious when writing work related articles.

If you want to know about creating an online personal brand than there are lots of articles out there to help you, some will get straight to the point others will be very long winded that you will lose interest within the first paragraph. They will have one thing in common, be you; be genuine, be real. This is your selling point, talk about the things that interest you, make you laugh, make you cry, share your knowledge and experiences but don’t be fake. You can’t please all the people all the time but the first person you might as well please is yourself the rest will eventually fall into place. For some an online persona is about building an audience for their brand for others it is a therapeutic experience. You can think about how you want network, market yourself and your blog once you have found your online voice. Once you achieve that there will be no stopping you.

Weekend; Body combat, guttering & eating

Body combat

I survived another week at body combat and lived to tell the tale. I thought I was doing okish in the class, was doing my best to keep up if it got too much then slowed it down to my pace and only had to fight the urge the vomit once, pretty good going if you ask me. There I am feeling all proud of myself when as we’re walking back to the car my sister comments that at one point she was genuinely worried about as she thought I was going to pass out. Her reason for this was I looked worn how and my cheeks had gone very red, how red I can’t say as I wasn’t wearing my glasses during the class to see in the giant mirror opposite us. By the time we had got home my cheeks apparently had calmed down but not enough for her to worry our mum that I should stop or slowed down if I start to feel that I’m pushing myself too much. It doesn’t help that our dad passed away last year from heart failure and in general our family has a history of diabetes. The reason we exercise and try to eat a bit better is because we are not ready to given into our family’s medical history of diabetes and heart disease.

The problem with a high intensity class like body combat is that I am always so hungry afterwards, can’t be a bad thing as food is required to replenish energy and nutrients. The problem is this weekend in particular I even surprised myself by how much I could pack away, the share bag crisps were shared between me, myself and I on top of normal lunch, dinner, trifle, rice pudding, bagel and generally whatever else I could get my hands on. I personally don’t think it was all a bad thing as my body seemed to recover a lot quicker and I could lift my arms above my head without crying by Sunday evening.

My sister who has discovered the physical and mental benefit of exercise and making full use of the gyms is trying to get me to go to a spin class with her. I’ve seen the videos I’m not putting my knees through that, that’s the excuse I’m sticking with!

Guttering

It’s no secret I’m not the most sociable person, sure I can fake it if I have to but otherwise I’m the person who may smile and say morning to the neighbours but that’s as far as it goes. So you’ll be proud of me when I say that I spoke to a neighbour to ask if I could borrow his ladder to fix some guttering on my house. I had the guttering redone a few years ago and one of the clips had come loose, seeing the size of the screw that had been used it is no wonder the clip had come loose. I had so much trouble with the company used and cannot find the paperwork that I’m not rushing to phone them to see if there was a warranty of some kind on the guttering and if they could search their records. I could find payment details for the company as proof they had done the work but the question is can I face the headache when I now have obtained a ladder and a friend has offered secure the clip that has come loose and add another one for extra measure.

Cooking

20170724_131718Now that you have finished laughing no I didn’t cook as such, because I got a bit too eager with the rice measurements I had plenty of boiled left over and didn’t want to throw it away so decided to make something with it. I discovered recipes for Kheer (rice pudding) and Zarda (sweet rice) both Asian sweet dishes on the veg recipes if India website. which turned out better than I had hoped. I would have taken pictures of the kheer but it got eaten, like I said my eating habits were on a roll this weekend. The zarda I improvised a bit as I didn’t have all the spices to go in the mix but I had the rice, sugar, cardamom pods and threw in a few sultanas because I like them and it was too shabby. Definitely edible.

Rest of the weekend

Remainder of the weekend resulted in me vegetating in bed with the not so share bag of crisps and watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix. There was no yoga before bed, I didn’t get out of bed in time for my 5 minute morning yoga session this morning either. Think my vegetation moment is over and I need to leave the crisps and equally bad food alone until the weekend and get back into a healthy week routine. I had fruit for breaksfast….after the cinnamon and raisin bagel but I promise I will be back on the porridge oats once I have finished the bagels, don’t want to waste them now. 

How do your hobbies make you better at your work

I came across this question from Dave Kerpen on LinkedIn; How do your hobbies make you better at your work?

Exercise, reading a book, painting picture etc things we associate with winding down, relaxing and forgetting about work. Many of us try so hard to keep our personal life separate from our work life that we don’t always realise that experiences in our personal lives can actually make us better at our jobs. This question got me thinking about how my own hobbies and without realising how they have helped me in my work and shaped the person I am.

Kickboxing

Over the years my range of hobbies have varied, up until the middle of last year I regularly attended a kickboxing class. Finding the right class with the right people is important, the activity itself is a contact sport but it also teaches discipline and respect for each other. We don’t all walk into the class as black belts, it takes hard work, determination and practice to get the moves right. None of this happens if you don’t have the support of your club, your team and your instructor. Everyone at all levels working together to encourage and teach, you have no idea the positive effect a few words of encouragement can have when you think you haven’t got enough energy to survive that last minute in a round of sparring or if like me your lower body isn’t very flexible when you can finally get your round kick that little bit higher. It is those qualities that can be transferred to the workplace. Support and encourage your team, we all fall down sometimes and need a little help to get back up again knowing you have your team in your corner can make all the difference to how you progress, handle certain situations and projects.

Reading

My other hobbies include reading. When needs must, I have resorted to reading a book on my mobile phone using the Kindle app, but you can’t beat reading from a physical book. Yes they take up space and to the untrained eye can be seen as clutter, however there is something about a good book that can help you escape from the drama of life and help you relax. I’ve recently discovered audio books on YouTube and when I want to block out the world oddly enough having my headphones on and a book playing in the background helps me to concentrate, maybe I’m just odd like that but whatever works to help make me productive can’t be a bad thing.

Yoga

I’ve not ever been a fan of yoga until I discovered the online videos which I can do at my own pace and to my own ability. I’ll not ever be able to move in those pretzel shapes but just doing the short bedtime and morning yoga videos help me feel a lot calmer, the tight muscles and knots get stretched out and I feel much better within myself. The breathing techniques learnt from yoga help me bring myself back to a much calmer place when I’m feeling stressed at work. I have been known to have essential oils at my desk like peppermint to help my sinuses and altogether feel ready to tackle the task at hand. The office can smell of peppermint but who doesn’t like that scent?

As individuals we are always learning and changing, I’m a believer that depending on the job role our personal and work lives can and do influence the other. I know from working for the NHS has benefitted me and changed my thinking for the better.

So, how do your hobbies make you better at your work?

My body combat class experience

I have thought about going back to a kickboxing class but due to financial constraints this isn’t yet possible so in the mean time I’ve been on the lookout at the gym for a class that can give me the same release as kickboxing and came across the body combat classes. Plus side with the gym is that it is already paid for and fortunately my monthly membership isn’t extortionate as long as I go the gym every week. The class my youngest siblings and I attended was on Saturday morning, double bonus in the way that I get fit and I save money by then not going shopping and spending money on things I don’t really need. See how I am bigging up the positive points of trying out a body combat class on a Saturday morning? Now comes the evil part!

The class is intense, being my first time at this class I should have taken things a bit easier but with the music pumping and the instructor shouting out her words of encouragement you get caught up in moment until every part of body, inside and out, starts screaming at you to stop. But did I stop…person of course not! There were people in that class that were at least 10 years older than me and then there was my siblings who 10+ years younger than me, there was no way I was going to show weakness and give up.

e7e9c9e574890a90f57082e2a51fdb57--body-combat-les-mills afterFast forward as we come towards the end of the class, although I’m breathing deeply fortunately I’m still conscious. I thought when we were asked to use the mats to cool down I would have the opportunity to lay down, getting up would be a different story but laying down sounded good. Through my exhausted, sweat drenched state I was clearly getting this class confused with body balance where the cool down  involves laying down and closing your eyes. This ‘cool down’ involved sit ups and planks! My experience of body combat did remind of my first kickboxing lesson at a new club which I did have to leave early to go lay down in my car whilst I fought of the urge to vomit, I did go back again and went on to achieve two belts.
With the body combat class I felt like a part of me had died and my legs were feeling like jelly but I was able still able to drop my siblings off home and sit down for a bit before I drove myself home, by this point I also desperately needed a shower.

After shower and food I was good for nothing and spent the rest of the day on the sofa reading a book & my appetite shot through the roof, I kept eating what felt like every hour! It has taken my body nearly two days to recover and be able to raise my arms without the muscles in my upper arms and shoulders screaming in resistance. Crazy as it sounds, though my body was put through its paces and pushed to its limits it was worth it, I slept well that night and know that if I was to keep up with this class my stamina would improve as well as my recovery time. I’m being over dramatic but it does make for a good blog article.

All that said and done I’m no quitter and am aiming to attend the class again this Saturday, guess I’m just glutton for punishment.

Punctured tyres & eventful journey to work

What a start to the day, I woke up early to take my car to the garage to get one of the back tyres looked at before work. I already knew there was a slow puncture as I have been having to pump it up every few days. Got there, got the pressure checked it was low again and the mechanic found a nail in the tyre, 45665b770c045e69459c50c723b00e5e--silver-lining-quotes-cloud-quotesbecause of the position of the nail he was able to save the tyre. Excellent news or so I thought. At this point I was feeling quite positive and thought while I’m there ask him to check the pressure on the other three tyres when he discovered the pressure on the other back tyre was also very low. I had only checked the tyres a few days ago and the pressure was fine, another bloody nail only this time the tyre wasn’t salvageable. Plus side I now have a car with four road safe tyres, always look for the silver lining.

I had already messaged ahead to let work know what was happening, if it wasn’t the second punctured tyre I would have been in on time, realistically at least not as late as I was. The roads were clear so at least that worked in my favour but clearly I have peeved someone off somewhere as they didn’t want me to get to work so easily, or it’s a sign that it could be time to find a new job, just a thought. A driver in front of me couldn’t make up their mind which lane they wanted to be in and kept swaying into my lane until they had figured it out, either they weren’t sure which lane to use or they were distracted by something. 

I get closer to work and am on the roundabout in the right hand lane and about to turn off when the car in the left hand lane decided he wants to go all the way round the roundabout and cutting in front of me close enough that my heart momentarily stops, I still managed to find the horn on the car to let him know that any closer and I would have been sitting in his lap. Give me the crazy drivers during the usual work rush hour, the quieter the roads the more dangerous the roads seemed to me!

As I’m writing this you can tell both me and the car got to work in one piece. In comparison to my morning work day has been a breeze, busy but who wants a day where you’re clock watching. My office doesn’t have air conditioning and is prone to create sauna like conditions that we have at least three fans on the go, either myself and my work colleague have climatised the conditions but the temperature hasn’t been too bad, put it this way it has been a lot worse.

I have my summer school fete biscuit stall again this year so tonight I am preparing for my stall. Let’s home the journey home is uneventful.