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.

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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.

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. 

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.

Delivery Robot coming to a doorstep near you

Us humans are an impatient bunch, we want things to be quicker, more efficient and slot in around our busy lives. If you order something online we want it delivered yesterday, unless it’s food then we want it immediately and hot, not lukewarm, not stone cold but scald the roof of your mouth piping hot.

The latest on the streets is the delivery robot, this isn’t exactly new but is being trialled by large company’s. Don’t be alarmed if a robot turns up on your doorstep delivering your online shopping or takeaway. How else will companies be able to keep up with the demands of their consumers without costing them extra money in man power?

Just Eat teamed up with Starship Technologies to trial these robots in London using them in place of takeaway delivery drivers. These little bots can travel at 4 mph for 10 miles, uses GPS and cameras to get around so in theory they won’t get lost or need to ask for directions.

More recently, also working with Starship Technologies was Tesco who trialled this very robot which can hold up to 3 shopping bags and will still work in 20cm of snow. Considering how our public transport grinds to a halt at the hint of a snowflake that is impressive.

Don’t worry about potential thief’s.. ‘Earlier tests found people who tried to break in by jumping on it ended up with it trapped on their leg’, that’s one way to stop a chancer. Customers can access their shopping by typing in a pin and voila access to your shopping.

Future of delivery jobs

This can be a cause for concern for some delivery driver if these mini bundles of circuitry takes off. There will be companies who will find monetary value in using robots for small deliveries, they can only carry up 10 kg or three shopping bags and cheaper to employ.

‘…is cheaper than the average human delivery, costing £1 to transport within a 3 mile radius, compared with the £3 to £6 it costs for a human courier’

There is also the lack of human contact. We do like to complain especially if we can get ventingsomething out of it, that won’t happen with a delivery bot. These robots will remove that human element of being able to complain to the delivery driver when your delivery is late, items are missing or your food is cold! Where is the satisfaction in that?
Off to customer service you go to vent, until to you discover the person on the other end of the phone has been replaced with a chatbot!

Lets look at the pros and cons before we decide to vilify the deliver bot ;

Pros

  •  They are efficient, the aim of Start Technologies is to have about 100 robots that would need one person to step in and take over if they needed to
  • Can make short distance deliveries
  • They are secure
  • Won’t get stuck in traffic

Cons

  •  No more friendly delivery driver until you yell at them then they are no longer your friend
  • Loss of jobs
  • What happens if they break down on route, malfunction or get lost?

 

So, what do think, fancy a relative of R2D2 turning up on your doorstep?

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.

Thou shall not bake with eggs

My experience with eggless cake hasn’t been a rip roaring success, something always goes wrong;

  • The cake doesn’t rise
  • There is the bitter aftertaste of the bicarbonate that some of the recipes use
  • Just tastes awful, no accompaniment of icing, ice cream can save it

I’ve tried this eggless vanilla cake recipe from Sharmis Passions with some success, I remember it wasn’t very tall but looked like a sponge cake, needed a bit more sugar if you didn’t add any icing.

I’ve have tried this teen tiny eggless chocolate cake recipe from Cake Merchant before and the first time I made it the cake turned out perfect, it used to be my go to recipe.

Lately I’ve not been having much success with it.

It either comes out with the bicarbonate aftertaste or the cake is stodgy that it glues itself to your mouth. Am I using too much liquid, not mixing enough? Answers on a post card.

Why you are asking am I going to all this trouble to find a successful eggless cake recipe when I can knock up a decent cake with eggs? These days not everyone eats eggs due to allergies, religion become a vegan. Some of you know I have a regular biscuit stall at Kingswood Primary school fete, to be on the safe side I avoid baking anything that contains nuts and have a mixture of biscuits that both contain egg and are eggless. No parents have ever asked my if the biscuits contain egg but I just like to have a mixture just in case.

Back to my perfect eggless cake recipe quest

Eggless CakeI had some ripe banana’s and no eggs, found this vegan banana cake recipe from the Viveka Gardens which was adapted from a BBC Good Food recipe, I was pleasantly surprised.  Even people who don’t usually like banana cake liked this one.
This recipe gave me hope that I could produce something that not only is eggless but also edible!

 

Eggless Chocolate CakeFollowing my success with this the banana cake I had renewed faith that I was getting closer to finding a go to recipe. I have discovered this chocolate cake recipe from BBC Good Food. I forgot to add the 3 tablespoon of water to the glaze and it was a disaster. I then made a normal thin chocolate icing and that worked out fine. I made some holes in the cake so the icing drizzled through. This recipe was more like a brownie cake, and tasted nice with ice cream. My only criticism would be that it needed more sugar. With some tweaking this could become my go to eggless chocolate recipe.

Below is the recipe if you want to have a go, let me know what you thought of it.

Ingredients

  • 85g Butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 2 tbsp Golden Syrup
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 300g Self Raising Flour
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 25g Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

Chocolate glaze

  • 100g Dark Chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 3 tbsp Golden Syrup

Method

  1. Heat oven to 160C/ fan 140C/ gas 3 and grease a 20cm round cake tin
  2. Tip the butter, syrup and vanilla into a heatproof jug, add 300 ml boiling water and briefly whisk with a fork to combine
  3. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl, then in tip in the butter mixture. Stir until you have a smooth batter, then scrape into prepared tin. bake for 50 – 55 mins until the cake is well risen and springy to touch. Cool in tin for around 15 mins before turning out to cool on a wire rack.
  4. To make glaze, put chocolate and syrup into a small glass bowl with 3 tbsp of water, and microwave for 30secs on high until melted and smooth. leave to cool, then pour over the cake before serving.