Monday, 21 September 2015

Your green hair isn't pretty enough

Colourful hair is a lifestyle choice.

So I wanted to write a proper post about having brightly coloured hair. I did write a post about my hair journey before, so check that out if your interested  (also you can laugh at old embarrassing photos of me!) But I have never really spoken about the impact my hair choices have made on my life. Whenever I talk about it with people, I always tell them that having *instert current colour here* hair was a real commitment and a definitive life style choice. Aside from the obvious risk of damaging your hair and possible DIY disasters, you do put some things at risk when you choose to go bright.  

Firstly, when you want to go a very bright colour, you have to take the time to bleach it at least once all over (for me three times) and then commit to having your roots bleached every inch or so. This is unless you naturally have very light hair, if so, I'm jealous of you! But for me this is maybe every 8 weeks or so. Once you are bleached, you have to colour it several times in order to attain a really vibrant tone, if you only do it once you will probably be very disappointed with a mediocre or worse result. I have had so many people tell me after bleaching they coloured it once, it looked crappy and they had "ruined their hair" and almost immediately went back to their previous colour. You just have to have a little patience. After that you might have to dye it every single week to maintain it. I only dye mine every other week now, but I also only wash it twice a week at a push. I also have abandoned my hair dryer in favour of gentle natural drying (my favourite way is to wear pigtail plaits when it's wet, the next day it's soooo mermaidy) and I straighten my hair rarely. Heat styling will further damage my hair and fade the colour  ( as will sunlight. Hiss!)  My hair also bleeds colour when wet, so I wear a hairband on my hairline for exercise, I don't swim, and take my own towels when I know I will be showering away from home. My bed linen and pillows are also stained, so I always take spare sheets or pillows as a guest when I stay somewhere. 

Unfortunately, as we all know, being unconventional can also affect our careers. When my old boss got wind of my plans to go blue (back when I was brunette) he threatened to fire me if I went ahead. I was on a zero hours contract at the time and he was pretty crappy to most of the staff, so shortly after this I quit in favour of the pub I work in now, the manager was my boyfriend's friend, and he offered me a job regardless of my appearance. Although at the time he had super long hair and a beard! But the kind of atmosphere at our place is very laid back and casual, we are a locals' pub and every one knows us. We never even had a uniform until a month ago, and even so it's only a t-shirt and we aren't forced to wear it. Sometimes I think about what I might do if I ever had to get another job. It's a difficult one because I really don't agree with judging someone by appearance  (as long as they don't look scruffy that's what matters) and if someone didn't want me to work for them because of how I look then I wouldn't want to work for them anyway. But my opinions on work and careers are another subject entirely.

There are also people's opinions to contend with. As I have said before, I normally have nothing but compliments from most people when it comes to my appearance. You get the snarky "it's not halloween yet" comments every now and then, and there's the people who throw me a patronising back-handed compliments about wearing skulls and bats in my hair. There was this one guy who used to drink in the pub where I work, and he would always get drunk and give me the same speech about how much prettier I would be if I was "normal" and his daughter also went through this stage, she had red hair and her nose pierced you know. It was funny because I would just nod and smile along with him, and then the next time he came in he would have forgotten all about it because he was so drunk, and would proceed to give me the speech all over again.

When I went to pick my four year old sister up from school (situated in a quintessentially English village by the way) all the mums were pointing and whispering behind my back. The mother of my sister's little friend was the only one who had met me before and indiscreetly went around the playground proudly dishing out the juicy gossip surrounding us.

But since we announced a couple of months ago that we are getting married my hair has become a hot topic once again even among close friends and family who have long since become used to what I look like. "So, will you have green hair at your wedding??"
"Are you dying your hair back before you get married?"
"What colour is it going to be for the wedding? Not green surely?"

It's like just because I'm getting married I am expected to suddenly become "bridal". My leafy coloured coiffure is some how not deemed feminine enough for the mainstream ideal of how a bride should look. Even those close to me have questioned me, who outwardly seem accepting of my colour when to begin with they thought that green was an ugly colour choice. It's  as if to say, "Well this green haired stage you're going through right now, that's all very well and good but it's not really a suitable choice for a wedding is it? I mean you've had your fun with it now but you should pick something a bit more sensible for your wedding dear."

Honestly I don't know what colour it will be when we get married next year. I've been feeling like a change for a while now, so who knows!

Anybody else had these sorts of opinions to contend with? How did you handle it? 

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Good news

So a little explanation as to why I have been so quiet this past couple of weeks, WE ARE MOVING HOUSE! We are so happy, we got the news a week and a half ago and it has been all systems go trying to get the new house in a livable state so that we can move in ASAP. It's only five minutes away from where we live now, with three bedrooms and a nice garden. We are planning to finally grow our own vegetables! Although at the moment I'm in the process of pickling all of the jalapeƱos that Rob's dad has grown, because nobody in the house likes spicy food but me, and I couldn't possibly eat them all myself. At the moment the house has no central heating so we are having a wood burning stove fitted tomorrow. Then we have to replace all the carpets and the kitchen and paint the walls before we can move in.


We have already started painting two of the rooms and my inlaws already disaprove of our colour choices. Guess what boring people? I DON'T CARE IF YOU LIKE IT OR NOT. WE LIVE HERE NOW!! Hahaha.

Yep, our living room is now pink. Ish. 

This is us and we are expressing ourselves and making our own mark on the house. We won't be living there for longer than two years, but we want to love living there whilst we do. I'll post updates and photos as we go along so keep your eyes peeled!

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Small changes and some eco product reviews

I'm really trying hard at the moment to make some positive changes in mine and my family's lives that will hopefully have less of an impact on the environment. Environmental issues of all kinds are really very important to me, as they should be to everyone, and I don't think that one really takes much explaining. But as a young family some factors of our lifestyle will particularly affect the environment and those are what I'm concentrating on right now.

Here are my biggest concerns:

1. Disposable Nappies/diapers. The conventional sort are full of chemicals and take a very long time to break down in landfill. If one child can use an average of 8000 disposable nappies before they are potty trained, when four out of five mums that I know use them, that is A LOT of waste. Various sources claim they can take anywhere from 50 to 500 years to break down, depending on their make-up and the particular landfill site.

2. Our heavy usage of plastic. I have to say this one really gets me down. Sometimes I feel like we are drowning in this unsustainable, non degradable material. I know most plastics these days are recyclable but in my opinion it just isn't enough. When you have children you are suddenly surrounded by it, dummies, bottles, toys, toothbrushes, cups, spoons, bowls. Argh!

3. Toiletries cosmetics and cleaning products. Not to mention most packaging is plastic, a lot is animal-tested or paraffin based (you know oils, moisturisers and the like) or just plain artificial.

Now I'll tell you about some of the ways I'm trying to change our habits for good.

First up- nappies. Our living situation means that there is usually a queue for the washing machine, so whilst I desperately wanted to use cloth nappies it just won't be possible until we have moved house. So instead, I use eco disposables. They can be expensive compared to the dirt cheap deals you get on conventional disposables but the environmental difference is huge. They are all natural ingredients  (this also goes for the wipes and nappy sacks) they are completely bio-degradable and compostable. They take such a short time to break down that when I empty the outside nappy bin once a week the ones at the bottom have dissolved their nappy sacks and are falling apart already. It's great.

Plastics: obviously this one is particularly difficult. When you have a child, people buy them things. You can't just tell them no, or that they can only buy nice traditional wooden toys. You can gently encourage books and wooden toys of  sorts, but you can't keep them away from plastic toys completely, plus it kind of just feels cruel. But as parents we only buy one special gift for our daughter for birthdays and christmas, for example a baby trike for her birthday. Reegan just doesn't need that many toys, she has a lot of them and half of them she isn't even that interested in. Sometimes I give her a big mixing bowl and a spoon or a whisk and she will play happily for ages, the same with some wooden blocks or a cardboard box.
But things that I can control, I do try to make good choices. I have recently switched us onto wooden toothbrushes because I couldn't bear the thought of between six and ten of them (if you follow guidlines to replace every 3-6 months) going in the bin every year, just from the three of us.

So this is the eco bamboo toothbrush, which I found for a reasonable price on amazon. I bought myself a child's brush because  I have receeding gums, so I need soft bristles. Aside from the length of the handle I don't feel that the size has really been adapted for a childs mouth because the head is quite big. The bristles are nice and it's grippy to hold but the dry smooth wood against my mouth can sometimes make me gag, so if you have problems with gag reflex (hah) normally then do not go for the adult size (hah).

I also have a bamboo hair brush, which is barrel shaped for fringe styling. It's fine for purpose but you couldn't brush your hair with it normally because the bristles are extremely spiky and uncomfortable. I won't replace my normal (plastic) hair brush unless I absolutely have too, and then I'll switch to a bamboo one.

Finally cosmetics. You have probably heard me talk before about switching to cruelty free and small makeup brands, which is going well and I am also discovering some quite nice brushes (Eco Tools and So Eco). Eco Tools do a wonderful set of brushes for the eyes, and So Eco have a 'finishing brush' supposedly for blush and powder that is perfect for stippling on my foundation. It's feels all lovely and posh (get my fancy adjectives!) and the bristles are very soft. I used to use the Real Techniques stippling brush but the So Eco one is a lot bigger and softer so I am officially converted.

Real Techniques on the left, So Eco on the right

I have also been using a 'natural' deodorant for my underarms, after years of switching between Nivea and Sure roll ons because of my sensitive skin, plus after a little while I would seemingly become immune and smelly and so have to switch brands again. But this new stuff is great. It comes in a tin and you rub it in with your fingers like a balm, it's lavender scented and thick with little grains that feel exfoliating.

Putting it on in the mornings is a little ritual I quite enjoy and it feels nice on my sensitive armpits even after shaving. And it really works! It was about four pounds I think, and supposedly lasts six months, when I used to use one in under 2 months at £2.50 a pop! I got it from a website called Boobalou in case anyone is interested.

I'm still using E45 liquis paraffin cream on my face and body because it's the only consistent solution to my dry and sensitive eczeme prone skin. I use it as a facial  moisturiser morning and night and before makeup. If anyone can suggest an alternative I'd be grateful!