Wednesday, 21 May 2014

OOTD| Showing my midriff and ish

Cropped jumper and skirt: Daisy Street via Asos
Shoes: Poste Mistress @ Office (vintage)
I've always loved the crop top trend - on other people that is. After two kids I really didn't think it was something I'd ever feel confident wearing, but boy was I wrong. This little cropped two piece has me belting out Will-I-Am's 'hot damn it, hot damn it, I'm feelin myself!' Lol.
What I love most about this stripy set is the fact that it's a more sophisticated take on the trend which I've struggled to find. My almost 27-year-old self has become extremely conscious of trying not to dress like I'm still in my teens or even early twenties and this fit the bill perfectly. I wore this the other night just because. I wasn't doing anything particularly exciting, I just felt like getting dolled up and this outfit came to mind.

God these shoes are ancient! I've had them since my uni days and have worn them to death. I actually remember when I first got them. It was back when I was working in Office.I smashed my target for the weekend and won myself a double discount (70%) off a pair of shoes. I remember thinking I had to get myself an expensive pair and these were £89.99, a lot for a broke student. Ahhh memories!


Saturday, 17 May 2014

OOTD| Kimonoing

Kimono: H&M
Vest: H&M
Leggings: George@Asda
Trainers: Nike via Office

This kimono is cleverly concealing the absolute filth I've been eating this week and the massive bloating that has been caused by it.
Seriously, I've been scoffing on nothing but junk food! What was meant to be cheat day turned into cheat week and it's definitely evident on my waist line. Healthy eating resumes immediately!
Anywho, I'm loving my new kimono, especially the fact that it's quite a muted version in comparison to the psychedelically coloured, tassel versions seen all over the high street. I particularly like the way it has considerably spiced up the dullness of what I'm wearing beneath it, making it somewhat stylish but still errand-running appropriate which I've been doing all morning. 

I hope you're all enjoying the weather, I'm about to have a nap, cause I'm gangster like that lol! (My nephew said that to me earlier and I just had to add it in lol!)


Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Wishlist| Things I want!

Typical! It's always when I haven't got a spare penny to my name that I see the things I need want. 
It's so bloody annoying!
The High Street is absolutely killing it right now and I've managed to whittle down my Summer wishlist to the 8 pieces below. 

Things I want!

What's on your Summer wishlist?


Monday, 12 May 2014

Hair| Current Favourites

I've enjoyed being completely au natural in the hair department these last few weeks and have really gotten to know the needs and wants of my hair. So before I embark on my plans to protective style intensely for the next few months I thought I'd share some of the products and sort of regimen I've been using to maintain and nurture my 4C kinks and coils. 
Quick disclaimer: I've been dealing with a lot of shedding recently due to my post-pregnancy hormones and I've been consciously trying to tackle it. My regimen at the moment is protein heavy which isn't suitable for all hair types. 

1. Cantu Shea Butter hair lotion. My hair is completely besotted with this stuff. It's a lightweight non-greasy moisturiser that leaves my naturally parched hair quenched. I'm quite heavy handed with this product which isn't a bad thing as it leaves my hair moisturised for a few days. I tend to use this a 2-3 times a week.  

2. Dabur Vatika enriched coconut oil. Coconut oil, in my opinion, is a must have in every hair regimen. I've tried various brands in the past and have always been quite happy with them. However, this particular one has changed my life. Lol, dramatic much? It's infused with henna, amla and lemon which help to nourish and protect your hair in various ways. I use this after I've moisturised my hair to seal in the moisture. 

3. Aloe Vera gel. Can you believe I got this gem of a product for 99p? Yep! One of the many reasons I love the 99p shop - sometimes anyway! I use this badboy as I would any gel; to smooth down stray hairs and to fix a style in place. It's doesn't flake which is always a plus.  

4. Organic Root Stimulator Replenishing Conditioner. My hair can't seem to get enough of protein at the moment. This is an ultra light protein conditioner that also has moisturising properties. I've used it during the past few wash days, alternating between using it as a pre-poo (pre shampoo treatment) and as a deep conditioner. I love how it leaves my hair feeling soft but strong. 

5. Organix Nourishing milk shampoo. The smell of this shampoo is everything! It's another protein enriched product with hints of moisture. I've been using it non-stop lately to help strengthen and to also clean my hair. It cleanses my hair well after only one application and it doesn't completely strip my hair due to the fact that it doesn't contain any sulphates. 

6. ElastaQP DPR-11+ (deep penetrating remoisturizing conditioner). I picked this up without reading the ingredients list and was initially disappointed with the heavy amount of mineral oil and petrolatum it had in it. However, I hate wasting products (and money) so I've been using it. Surprisingly, it's a pretty decent conditioner and I've been using as a prepoo. It leaves my hair impressively moisturised and It didn't have the coated feeling I was expecting. I've since done a lot of research on mineral oils and petrolatum and have learned that it isn't the devil it's been painted as, providing you know how to use it. That's a whole other post in itself lol!

7. Aphogee ProVitamin Leave in Conditioner. The leave-in conditioner of all of leave-in conditioners! I love, love, love this stuff and have recently introduced it to one of my Besties who is equally impressed. No joke-of-a-lie (an old Irish teacher of mine used to say this all the time lol) it feels as if you're spraying liquid strength into your hair. It's another protein packed product that I use after I've washed and deep conditioned my hair. I can't get enough of this stuff!

As mentioned before, I intend to put my hair away for the rest of the year and plan to alternate between braids and weave. This will hopefully combat the shedding I've been experiencing.   
Stay tuned for more hair talk on ze blog, coming soon.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Ramblings| Tell them they are beautiful

I saw this tweet floating around twitterland last week and as dramatic as it sounds, it really touched something in my heart and I haven't stopped thinking about it since.

As a parent of two beautiful dark-skinned children, it is wholeheartedly and unashamedly my duty to ensure that I raise them to recognise and celebrate the beauty that they possess. 
Unfortunately, despite living in a multi-cultural society, the depths of our darkness, the kinks and coils of our hair, the curves and troughs of our bodies are yet to be recognised and promoted as being beautiful. 
I would hate for my children, particularly my daughter, to covet the beauty that is the polar opposite of her own or even worse, to not see the beauty in her own reflection.
Although I had and still have amazing parents, they were not the type to tell us that we were beautiful or compliment us on any aspect of our physicality. Their compliments and praise were deeply rooted in academic achievement and intellectual success which was not a bad thing. However, as a young child surrounded by the media, seeing only the one image out of the thousands around that slightly resembled a thinner, lighter me, led to feelings of insignificance and inadequacy. 
It didn't help either that even within my sub-culture where everything about me should have been celebrated, I was deemed as being too fat or too skinny, too dark, too tall, not voluptuous enough in certain places and so on. These insecurities were echoed by 'well-meaning' family members who would make 'compliments' such as "you are pretty despite being so dark". Unfortunately, these 'well-meaning' individuals didn't realise how detrimental these so-called compliments were. 
Despite my confident bravado, I was plagued with insecurities which was only fuelled by the media. The likes of Halle Berry, Tyra Banks, BeyoncĂ© and the late Aaliyah were the black ideals of beauty and these women, who were stunning in their own right, represented a black community I wasn't a part of. Although we had Naomi Campbell waving the flag for us darker skinned girls, her beauty seemed somewhat tarnished by her phone throwing and aggressive diva reputation. 
It wasn't until I reached my twenties that I began to see the beauty staring back at me in the mirror. I began to love my dark skin, my wide nose, my big forehead and other things that the younger me would have desperately traded away. Even till this day I'm still learning to love the me I see in the mirror. 
I wouldn't wish my old feelings of inadequacy or insignificance on anyone especially my children. Although they are too young to understand, I shower them both with compliments on a daily basis. I celebrate their beauty and rejoice in their imperfections. Already 'well-meaning' relatives have started to direct their vitriolic views towards Naila (who is only 4 months) with one saying the other day that "I hope you don't get any darker than this". It's comments like these that I will wash away with positive affirmations. And with the stunning Lupita Nyong'o hailed as the world's most beautiful woman, I'm praying that the media will begin to promote ALL ideals of beauty not just a token few. 
But as the tweet suggests; it's up to us as parents, siblings, aunties, teachers etc... to reinforce what is beautiful to our kids - inwardly and outwardly - which I will continue to do unapologetically. 

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Beauty| My Holy grail skincare products and daily routine

I've had a love-hate relationship with my skin for as long as I can remember. But after years of trial and error; tears and tantrums, I can finally say I have found the perfect products and routine for MY* combination/oily (mostly oily) skin!

Despite my absolute conviction that these products work uh-ma-zingly well on my skin, I think my rigid morning and night time routine is what has allowed my skin to flourish. 

Each morning I start by using:
  • Clean and Clear Exfoliating Daily Wash. I absolutely love this face wash! It has the tiniest little particles that get right into the inner corners of your pores. Although it's an exfoliating face wash, it is extremely gentle on my skin, but harsh enough to scrub off all the dead skin. I also find it to be quite moisturising as it doesn't leave my face feeling tight and uncomfortable like some of the others I've tried.
  • My next step is to add the Boots Botanics Gentle Cleansing Cream to some cotton wool pads and massage it all over my face to remove any remaining dirt from my skin. I've been using the Botanics All Bright range for some years now and I have noticed a massive improvement in the colouring of my skin. My skin was initially on the dull side, with grey undertones instead of the yellowy undertones it now has. Although I am aware that my improved diet and exercise plays a massive role in this too. 
  • The Boots Botanics Cleansing Toner is next. I apply it the same way as I do the cleansing cream. I find toners on the whole to be quite drying and to be honest this is too but I love the way this particular one leaves my face feeling cool and fresh. 
  • My mum actually introduced me to the Avon Anew Vitale Day Cream which I use next and I am bloody glad she did! It's part of an anti-ageing range for women in their twenties. As much as I like to believe and repeat the statement 'black don't crack' I still think we should be looking after our skin appropriately. This cream is extremely light but moisturising and a little goes a long way. As my skin is on the oilier side, this cream somehow absorbs excess moisture and leaves my skin feeling a bit more balanced which I can't thank it enough for.
  • I'll admit I sometimes forget to use the Avon Anew Vitale Eye Gel Cream. But when I do, it definitely reduces the puffiness that often appears under my eyes when I've had little to no sleep. It's actually meant to reduce the fine lines from under your eyes, however I don't have any yet (and hopefully won't for another 30+ years) so I don't use it for that purpose. Perhaps it'll help to delay the appearance of fine lines hmmmm... Anyways, I love the texture of this eye gel and I'm convinced it is responsible for lightening the dark circles under my eyes.

Thankfully my night time routine is less time consuming and consists of only two products. I start by using:
  • Garnier Micellar Water. I can't even begin to explain how much I love this product. It literally gets rid of all my make-up including the oh-so-stubborn kohl liner from my eyes. I add a very generous amount to a cotton pad - using additional ones if needed - and wipe away till all my make-up is gone. What I love most about this product is the fact that my skin actually feels clean once I've used it. I have tried several make-up removers and skin wipes in the past and nothing compares to this. With other brands I would always use a cleansing face wash after wiping off my 'face' but I find there is no need with this one. I'm so in love!
  • Finally I use the Avon Anew Vitale Night Gel. I detest going to bed feeling greasy and this gel ensures I don't. It's extremely lightweight and quickly absorbs into my skin. I love the way my skin feels supple and hydrated in the morning which is a good indicator that the gel is doing something to my skin whilst I'm asleep.
I'm pretty chuffed that I've whittled down my skincare products to only 7. I have friends whose daily skincare products are in the double digits. LOL!

What are your holy grail skincare products?

*Although I wholeheartedly recommend the products mentioned in this post, I cannot guarantee that you will have the same outcome as I have. These products work well for me but may not for you.