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.

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. 

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.

Life changes, but it still goes on

Like most people I do have a side of me that tends to worry about completely unnecessary things but I wouldn’t say that I would get overly anxious. I don’t think I suffer from crippling anxiety issues and can’t even begin to imagine how those who do suffer from this condition. But ever since my dad passed away if feel that my own confidence has taken a bit of a hit. It is entirely possible the way I react to some things is an emotional knock on effect and that over time it will pass but it’s a case of getting a handle on things now.

It’s not even like the things I over think are even that significant for example part of my guttering has decided it would become lose, it’s not dangerous and not likely to fall down. But of course with my over active imagination every time there is a gust of wind and I hear the guttering rattle in the stop it has become loose I think not only will it fall down but it will also rip the fascia off with it!

cartoon_car_01_vector_156346Then there is my car, in all likely hood it is possibly just the way I drove riding the clutch a bit too much. The few times the car has stopped in traffic I thought there was something wrong with the car, every other time the car has been fine with no problems. No warning lights flashed up on the dashboard, took it to the mechanic where it was hooked up to a computer and no warnings flagged Fuel cleanerup there either. Spark plugs have been changed but because no warning signs have been flagged up the mechanics are going in blind as when they drive it they can’t find anything wrong, these are mechanic I trust and have been going to them for years.  Not content I still think the car is just going to stop in the middle of the road, I have now put a cleaner into the petrol tank. For £5.00 it was worth a try, if nothing else it will clear out any gunk from that side of things.

Prior to the above non problem with the car I had to drive to Hertfordshire for a work event. I have driven many places with varying distance by myself and not every been that worried about it. But even my sister asked me what the matter is as I haven’t ever been like this.

I think it’s because my dad was a bit like a safety net, if anything happened or went wrong I would just call him. I know I have RAC breakdown cover but it’s not the same thing, if things broke down in the house I would phone my parents who would come help me figure out what to do. Now I feel like life, fate has thrown me a curve ball where I feel not all but some aspects of my life have been flipped upside down. A lot of things just carry on as normal but then there are the moments when you realise that no things are not normal, you just have to try and create a new version of normal that hopefully doesn’t involve  worrying about situations that realistically only exist in your own head!

Sometimes I think I need to go back to kickboxing, punch and kick out those anxious feelings. Kickboxing was always something I loved to do, if I did no other physical activity that would be the one constant activity I took part in, when dad became unwell that all stopped and even afterwards my heart wasn’t in it. Now I tend to do yoga at home, body balance class at the gym and the odd Zumba class. I have tried out a kickboxing for weight loss aerobic style workout YouTube video at home, it is only 20 minutes long but I had to lay down afterwards the first few times I did the video. Baking helps, that also stopped for a period of time. Gradually I’m getting back into making other people fat again, I mostly bake biscuits to help raise money for charities friends and colleagues are taking part in, recently I baked some biscuits raising money for the British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research. I have my regular spot at a school fete next month, it’s worth the hard work and effort that goes in making the biscuits and decorating the table. The whole event from the PTA to the children and their parents is always a great experience, I even have a few regulars.

I do feel that physically I am getting better, eating habits have improved, the exercise though different from before is helping and as I don’t feel like my clothes are suffocating me! Mentally I have my good days and bad days. Sleeping can be an issue at times, one week I’ll go to sleep at a reasonable time other weeks I would could be wide awake until gone 1. I have found that a bedtime yoga YouTube video, I can either do the 7 minute or the 20 minute version that reduce me to mush, ideal when I am trying to wind down to sleep.

I’m don’t expect I’ll ever be the same person I was before dad passed away but I do hope that I’ll be able to take something positive out of this heart breaking life event and the changes I do make will make me a better person.

Indulgent Asian food

It’s not often that I get to cook with my mum, it’s always an opportunity to experiment with new recipes.
This particular weekend we decided to make some homemade vegetable samosa’s with homemade pastry followed by some instant homemade jalebi. It was a completely indulgent weekend because both the samosa’s and the jalebi are fried so copious amounts of tea were drunk to help the delicious food to go down but then it’s the best way to eat this type of food.

The samosa’s were more my mum’s idea I simply assisted. She had already boiled the potatoes 20170604_132135before I arrived I simply had to make the filling. I had no recipe to hand so in my usual style I winged it, making it up as I went along tasting to see if there were enough spicies, salt etc.

For the pastry my mum found this YouTube video, (please note it doesn’t have any sound) my mum watched it mostly for the technique the lady in the video used to make the samosa pastry. She rolled out the round discs and cooked them slightly on a flat pan! It sounds odd but the technique worked, you have to watch the video because the way I would describe the technique wouldn’t do it justice.
This is a time consuming method and much easier when there are two of you making them or if you make them in bulk then freeze them but the end result is work it. The pastry when fried was light and crispy just how a samosa should be. My youngest sister is extremely fussy and even these won her seal of approval.

Jalebi is one of my favourite Asian sweets, it’s sticky and very sweet. Using a piping bag or squeezy bottle a batter is piped/squeezed into hot oil in a swirly round pattern until a nice golden colour then soaked in a sugar syrup to give it’s sweet sticky taste and texture. It is because of it’s sweetness that I can only eat one of two at a time so thought a homemade version to suit my taste would be ideal. A normal jalebi batter is expected to sit overnight to allow so the jalebi once fried is light in the middle and crispy on the outside. I didn’t have the time or the patience to wait almost 24 hours for a jalebi batter to be ready, luckily I found this instant jalebi batter recipe from Tarla Dalal, you can add colouring to the batter if you want but I left mine au naturel. This was my first time making them so my piping technique needs some work but I did make some interesting shapes and patterns with the batter.

This is how they are meant to look. 220px-Awadhi_jalebi

This is how mine looked.

20170604_170253

The texture of the finished jalebi’s is slightly different to the overnight batter mixture but they taste just as good and quite addictive. They were sticky, crispy and the right amount of sweetness for my taste. I personally found they weren’t as crispy the following day but still nice to have with a cup of tea.

This type of food it a treat, I couldn’t eat like this every weekend but it doesn’t hurt to be a bit indulgent now and then.

Body shaming

The action or practice of humiliating someone by making mocking or critical comments about their body shape or size

I don’t follow celebrities on social media, I don’t watch reality TV shows like the Kardashians, and Big Brother but recently it was in the news about the singer Rihanna being body shamed in an article published by sports blog Barstool blogs titled “Is Rihanna Going To Make Being Fat the Hot New Trend?”, this article received a lot of criticism and has since been deleted from their website. What right has anyone to comment on someone’s weight in a negative way?  It hasn’t gone noticed that Rihanna appears to have put on weight but is it right for the public to comment on it in such a negative way?

The short answer is no but the reality is we have all done, maybe not in such a public way but we have made comments about peoples weight be a gain or loss, I know I have. That’s all without knowing that person’s story, have the changes in a persons weight illness or medication related or maybe they are just happy and comfortable with themselves and it is the rest of us that have the problem.

Rihanna isn’t the only celebrity to have been a victim of this body shaming trend, performing at the Super Bowl Lady Gaga wore a top that showed her midriff which according to some critics was not toned enough to have been put on display. Looking at the pictures I wouldn’t say she was fat at all but by celebrity standards you could be considered obese.

Both stars in these examples have hit back, in an Instagram post Lady Gaga is captioned  promoting the need to be happy with your body by saying;

‘…I’m proud of my body and you should be proud of yours too,” 

Lady Gaga is no stranger to promoting a positive body image, in 2012 she posted pictures of herself in her underwear without the glamour of makeup after being body shamed about putting on 25 pounds.

We are always seeing stars bringing out exercise videos and showing how they went from looking like an unhealthy version of themselves to a svelte figures with toned abs and arms and how they are now so much happier. Yes be healthy but being skinny doesn’t necessarily mean you are happy. Tess Holliday an American plus sized model promotes her shape and size, though plus sized in terms of her cholesterol etc she is healthy. Yet her image doesn’t conform to the rules so she has received some criticism.

body positivity

People like Lady Gaga and Tess Holliday are focusing more on the need for people to happy with themselves but also highlighting the dangers of body shaming people and how trying to conform to what society deems to be an ideal body shape. Not all of us have the same body shape, I am just about a size 8 occasionally flirting with a size 10 but have been told that I am finally looking like I have some curves and look better for it.

Snow white PosterYou would think that by now society would have learnt that there is no ideal body shape, publications have been criticised for their heavy handed use of Photoshop. Lets not forget how the marketing team messed up with the advertising for the animated Snow White film, Red Shoes & the 7 Dwarfs with the line ‘“What if Snow White was no longer beautiful and the 7 Dwarfs not so short?”  As you can imagine this didn’t go down to well. The advertisers have since apologised but come on in the world we now live in why would you want to give the impression to kids that being short and overweight is unattractive?

You don’t even have to be a celebrity to be body shamed, you could be going about your business unbeknown to you that someone is surreptitiously taking your picture to plaster all over social media. This is what Dani Mathers did, her post didn’t receive the reaction she was expecting resulting her in going to court. She had the choice of a prison sentence or community service, she opted for the community service. The victim has chosen to remain anonymous whilst Dani Mathers has been on TV to cry and apologise for her actions, I personally don’t have any sympathy for her she knew what she was doing she’s is just upset that others didn’t agree with her post and got dragged over the coals for it.

Eating disorders

According to the eating disorder website BEAT based on a study they commissioned PwC in February 2015 to carry out they estimated that 725,000 people in the UK are affected by an eating disorder.

“725,000 people in the UK are affected by an eating disorder

11% of those affected by an eating disorder are male”

You hear the horror stories and the lengths models will go to, to maintain or lose weight such as eating tissue but France have now put their foot down banning the use of excessively thin models. It doesn’t promote a healthy image nor a realistic one. “Models will need to provide a doctor’s certificate attesting to their overall physical health, with special regard to their body mass index (BMI) – a measure of weight in relation to height”

Employers who choose to ignore this ruling could face fines of up to 75,000 euros and up to 6 months in jail

I spoken a lot of the whole body shaming from a female perspective but no one is safe from this abuse, male celebrities have been ridiculed from once having the body that their female followers dream off to now having what is considered a ‘dad body’, the expanding waist and belly. Though usually associated with females, eating disorders affect both male and females

I would rather be happy and healthy than be concerned about what someone irrelevant person thinks about how I look, for some this is easier said than done and there are a lot of other issues that can relate to a persons weight gain / loss.

I’m content for now just pass me the plate of samosa’s, and leave me to it.