And now for something completely different!
Most of this summer I’ve been obsessed with making my own cosmetics. From natural deodorant, to sugar scrubs and oatmeal masks, and coconut oil in EVERYTHING.
Aside from internet rumours about the link between breast cancer and antiperspirant or deodorant (which cancer.org largely denies), there were a few strong reasons for this.
-You can make this stuff with inexpensive items in your kitchen.
-You can control how much (if any) perfume goes into your cosmetics, which is great if you’re like me– obsessed with perfume, but allergic to pretty much everything on the market.
-You do end up saving a little bit of money if you’re addicted to brands like Lush, but can’t afford £5 per bottle of body powder.
Here is your arsenal.
For this recipe you will need:
1/2 cup corn starch (corn flour)
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
1-3 tablespoons coconut oil
5 drops lavender essential oil
1-3 drops sandalwood essential oil
1-3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
(optional) dried jasmine flowers
a squeeze bottle or powder shaker
Pour the arrowroot
and the corn starch into a small bowl.
Whisk them together. Now put the whisk away as you won’t be using it again.
Add your coconut oil and grapeseed oil. Make sure the coconut oil has melted. You can also use shea butter or cocoa butter instead of grapeseed oil. I find that this improves the texture a lot.
Add your essential oils. You don’t have to use lavender or sandalwood. Jasmine and vertivert make for a great combo as well (it’s the same combo as Lush’s silky underwear dusting powder.
Whisk that together with a fork and not a whisk. The oil will clump to the powders, and you will have to break them up and keep mixing it all together until it vaguely resembled grated parmesan. Use a whisk and you’re going to waste a lot of time peeling oily clumps out of the inside of your whisk.
To further refine this process, pour this mixture through a metal sieve (or sifter) until it’s all gotten through. If this is a sieve you use for cooking, make sure you wash it thoroughly and rinse with boiling water afterward.
Add your dried aromatic botanicals if you like, but before you funnel it into your bottle, unless the buds are somehow larger than the neck of your funnel. You might also want to make sure that they are larger than the mouth of your bottle cap, or the holes in your shaker.
Just mix this in with a fork, et voilà!
You can funnel this into your bottle now.
(I usually use my lush empties. This recipe completely fills the bottle, and lasts about a month of everyday use.)
Ever make your own cosmetics? I’m so obsessed. Any recommendations for recipes I might try?
Autumn has been my favourite season since I was a little kid. It’s the only time of year that I really miss the part of New York I went to High-School in. I lived with my father in an old boathouse on the bank of a creek that fed directly into the Hudson river.
In September, when the air finally started getting colder and the leaves would all change, fog would roll in at sunrise from the water and over the two-lane road up the hill from my house. The air was crisp and smelled faintly of wood fires and wet earth.
Sometimes I catch a similar scent wafting in from the open windows in my London flat, and suddenly I’m back in that house again for a brief second. I live next to a park, and somehow I feel connected to home because of it.
It’s comforting and weird all at the same time. High-school was a really bad time. My dad and I did not get on. At All. We used to fight and scream at each other constantly. I was angry all the time, and vaguely suicidal. I was a brat with a lot of issues and I took that out on everyone around me.
I spent a lot of time alone in that house. My dad had a tendency to work late, and I hated participating in after-school activities, so I usually had four or so hours to do what I wanted before he came home.
In the early days, I listened to the radio all the time. My dad had this really old boom box in the kitchen, on top of the fridge, next to a fish tank that rarely ever had fish in it. We didn’t have a TV or the internet at the time, so all of my news and current music came from that old radio.
The house was old, poorly built, and creaked with the wind and any minor shift in air pressure. All of the windows that faced the water were without curtains, but aside from the road and the water, our house was surrounded by a thinning wood.
When the leaves started to fall, there was an energy in the air. Like magic, and old earth and an encompassing darkness that would feel like it was closing in from all sides even when cut with the high-beams of my dad’s station wagon.
I don’t think I associated that feeling with anything bad, although I know at times it made me uneasy, or gave me a touch of overly romantic sadness– like the way you feel when you watch a sad movie, or get attached to characters in a book set hundreds of years before you were born.
I was a girl who had a hard time connecting with people, who moved around too often to put down significant roots, but I have always felt connected to that house and those woods.
I’ve been so super busy with work and uni lately! I was super stoked this past Saturday, as I was invited to Lucy J’s #BloggersGoneWild– and had a blast. Lots of fun, lots of food for thought.
After being served cocktails by our handsome moustachioed waiter at Pizza East;
(and subsequently breaking my diet)
We made our way to Beyond Retro for a style challenge.
Once inside, it was a little bit overwhelming, and with the staff busy with the Saturday crowd– we were more or less left to our own devices. I’d been dreaming about heading to the shop for a couple of years, thanks to having a flatmate who was obsessed– and now I see why.
At one point, I was running around the shop with a pile of fifteen or so items in my arms. (I’d like to apologise to the Beyond Retro retail staff for being THE WORST CUSTOMER. When I worked in clothing retail, customers like me would have made me roll my eyes SO HARD.)
I really threw myself into it, dragging huge piles of clothing around with me. I’d attempted the ‘festival look’ challenge, but my look was more on the point of ‘adorable douche’.
I think I nailed it.
Normally I wouldn’t even dream of wearing a kimono in public– as it’s a bit appropriative, but this one was so beautiful (and purple.) I literally could not stop touching it. I need it in my life! I’m so in love with it. The poncho was only £17, and I was literally two steps away from buying it– but it was a poncho or eating for the rest of the week.
It was a tough choice.
The prices in the shop are ace, and there’s so much choice.
I’m definitely going back. I also spotted this super-cosy, turquoise and purple kaftan once I’d thought I’d finished trying things on.
By the time we made it to Lounge Lover, (and being the resident introvert,) I was so knackered from running around and trying things on– I could barely keep track of what the lovely PR Ladies from Cred Jewellery were saying.
Do have a look at their site! They pioneered fair-trade jewellery, and some of the items are really really cute. I’m particularly partial to the Joli leather and Pearl bracelet and the star tie charm bracelet. I might just need them in my life.
I just had the best time! Thank you so much to Pizza East, Beyond Retro and Pizza East, Cred Jewellery, and especially to Lucy for organizing this bloggers event.
It’s been a YEAR since I attended the Blogcademy London in Shoreditch. I know, I know. Its been ages since I attended. I’d actually written something up back in February but never got around to posting it. For a while I thought maybe I shouldn’t post about it, that it had been too long and I sort of missed the timing boat– but I was wrong. Even a year later, The Blogcademy has left me with good vibes.
Last January! I’m in the back with the purple hair. ;)
The Blogcademy is run by three glamourous headmistresses, Gala Darling, Kat Williams (of Rock & Roll Bride) and Shauna Hader (Nubby Twiglet), who are just as lovely in person as they are in their many stylish photographs.
Not really sure my style does them justice.
I wasn’t really sure what to think when I signed up for their second London workshop. £500 is a hefty amount of money for a jobless student to pay. I ended up using Christmas money, money meant for clothes, and food money. I even had my own business cards made up specifically for the class. NO REGRETS.
In the end I’m really feeling like I got my money’s worth– but maybe not in the ways I expected. It is everything and nothing like you think it will be. They don’t skimp, they answer all your questions, are down to earth and even if you’re an old hat at blogging, you definitely come away with something.
It was actually the first time I had managed to properly get out of the house and act like a normal human being since the start my breakdown. Before the Blogcademy, I was sleeping in every day until 5 PM, I never went outside, had no job, and had fallen out with everyone I had previously been very close with in the UK. It was a really crucial first step in my recovery.
The course itself is incredibly informative and interesting. It was then that I realized that I had probably picked the wrong major for university– I hadn’t been this interested during a class in a long time. Even in my medication-induced fatigue, I felt refreshed! I was surprised at the great feedback I got– not only from the headmistresses, but from the other bloggers as well. So many people hugged me, and told me I was “very brave” for sharing what I do, that they loved my drawings and that I had made them laugh. It was really touching, and frankly made me feel that there was more of a point to this blog than I was even admitting to myself.
Oh and– Did I mention that I won “Best Blogger Face?” Scored some killer shoe clips– which I wore to death for the next six months. All for being experienced in taking myspace style portraits! I knew all those selfies would eventually pay off.
MY BLOGGER FACE.
The end of the workshop was highlighted by drinking entirely too much gin, and pancakes for dinner at the breakfast club with a wonderful few stragglers from the course. It was good. Really good.
At the end of the two-day course, I left with a couple of notebooks full of invaluable information for my blog, fresh ideas, a new outlook on my creative work, and an amazing and supportive community of fellow bloggers. It’s given me peers in a field that is almost entirely solitary, which I think is really the best thing I came away with.
I felt excited about life for the first time in recent memory– and I wasn’t alone.
Naturally, I was eager to recapture that magic when the headmistresses announced they were having a reunion of sorts at the beginning of September (lunch at Wagamama). It’s a strange and awesome vibe that leaves you inspired and itching to create. I’m not really sure I can put it into proper words. There’s just an energy that hangs in the air when you get that many enthusiastic creatives in the same space.
There’s me in the back with the white hair. You can see my arms! (And my eye xD )
If you can make it to their next workshop– DO IT. I couldn’t recommend it enough. Even if it doesn’t change your life, it’s a total blast.
For more info on the Blogcademy, visit their website. Also do check out Lucy J’s post The Many Faces of Blogcademy. I’m in it! (My whole face and everything!) Also just read her whole blog. All of it. It’s great.
♥ Kelly Cutrone’s books; Normal Gets You Nowhere and If You Have to Cry, Go Outside
♥ SHERLOCK, (and books that help you think like Sherlock)
♥ The Skinny Artist
♥ The Very Worst Thing’s Kawaii Baphomet drawings
♥ Feng Shui-ing my bedroom
♥ Ulyana Sergeenko’s style
♥ Puerto Rican comfort food
♥ Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon
♥ These fluorite earrings my boyfriend bought me for Christmas.
(Apparently supposed to help with concentration. I may be wearing them, right now. Talk about a burst of energy.)
I think it’s absolutely essential for you to know that you are sacred, magical, and special, to nurture that truth and unleash it into the world. That’s right. I want you to fuck this earth with your energy. It’s about time we stood for something real.
I’m suggesting that what is real is you.
-Kelly Cutrone, Normal Gets You Nowhere
Today is the official end to the Christmas season, the twelfth day of Christmas having ended yesterday. This means it’s time to dust myself off and crawl out of my sparkly, merry cave. I’m back to work, the school year starts up again, and I seem to smell vaguely of mimosas and expensive cheese. Delicious, but stinky.
Smelly or not, I’m psyched.
Or how I spent 2013.
Or the year my life changed forever.
Or; my annual giant-ass New Year’s post.
I have been very insular this year.
I don’t usually go out on friday nights.
I’m down the pub maybe once every few months.
Sometimes I go days and days and days without ever speaking a word with someone else face to face.
I spent Christmas and NYE entirely in my own home.(albeit very, very drunk.)
When I first moved to London this would have made me miserable.
I would have felt like a supreme loser. There are probably a lot of people that do see me this way.
And you know what? You guessed it.
Those people can fucking fuck off.
I’ve spent a lot of my free time laying around, resting my weary old lady bones, dreaming, planning– thinking about creative projects for the future– remembering who I am as a person and dropping dumb societal standards to the wayside. For the first time in my life, I feel pretty fucking great. For the first time in my life, my base mood is not anxious, or sad or angry. It’s mostly okay.
When I moved here four years ago I could have never imagined that. It was still pretty unimaginable four months ago.
For once, I’m living for me and not for the approval of other people– and to think I was writing posts about suicide this time last year.
This is huge.
For 2014 I want to keep this mostly positive other-people-can-fuck-off vibe. Here’s some resolutions.
Here’s to you, 2014.
It’s the 1st day of September, which means its mix tape time. You probably weren’t aware of that.
I, like a lot of other girls I know, have this bad habit of focusing on boys who are bad news and not focusing on myself. I made a mix tape about it because I am obviously trapped in the 90’s. There’s a LOT of white girl rap on there. You’ve been warned.
So much to share, but it will have to wait.
Also I’m blonde now.
Nine months ago I had a nervous breakdown.
When I tell people I had a nervous breakdown almost a year ago, they seem to think that this is what I want to talk about.
It is the MOST boring thing to talk about. There is only so much conversation you can make out of “oh yeah, I was crying all the time” and “I sleep about 15 hours a day because I can’t get out of bed!” and “yeah, I don’t really have a great explanation for why I haven’t done my coursework, but I haven’t! Yeah I totally know this can affect my visa status.” and “I wish I still had the motivation to do things! Like bathe, or brush my teeth. That was awesome.”
I don’t know what else to fucking tell you, but I’m not going to lie.
I have not been okay.
I’ve spent the past three months writing an article for this blog about my nervous breakdown, explaining signs and symptoms that I experienced so that others could have some sort of point of reference. It was funny, and made me feel cool and strong– like I could prove to the invisible audience that was judging me that I was okay and I had moved on and learned to be this glamorous rich bitch.
I think I was the only one trying to prove this to, really.
I wanted to prove to myself that I was funny and cool.
Remember this bitch?
I had most of it written up from the first night I wrote the article, but I struggled with the art and I struggled wrapping it up into something succinct. The fact is, even though I’ve become a master of making light of my issues, there was nothing really funny or cool about any of it.
It was awkward and painful and really uncomfortable. I spent most days feeling ashamed of myself, feeling like I was emotionally bleeding out and drowning in the resulting ocean of feels that surrounded me.
It’s difficult to put into words, and frankly it’s often embarrassing to talk about. Even now. Sometimes especially now.
It’s also not really over. I am better than I was, but that is not difficult. Things were really bad for a long time.
There are sporadic moments of light and darkness. I feel like I’ve lived more in the past six months than I have in the past six years.
I’ve been inspired by crazy wonderful people I met over the Internet, became addicted to boozy milkshakes from The Diner, watched the sun rise over Angel station, had some of the best sex of my life, had my heart broken, stopped trying to sleep at night (vampire hours), queued up in soho overnight for record store day despite not owning a record player, gone for drinks with pagans, had pancakes for dinner with people I’d only met the day before, watched real magic happen, got my 28 year old best friend consistently carded for cigarettes with my adorable baby face, started working out regularly for the first time in my life, had the most enjoyable birthday of my life– ALONE, attended the blogcademy (so good), and learned not to be afraid to smile at strangers.
None of these things have been constant, but they do give me hope for the future. I spend a lot of time just trying to forge ahead and not be haunted by the past.
It doesn’t always work.
I have made a royal ass out of myself for a good portion of it, and burned more bridges than I would even care to admit–some out of negligence and some out of self preservation. I have spent a lot of time alone in my flat just trying to stop feeling so fucking overwhelmed. I stared at the walls, I danced, I sang, I wrote a lot of fiction, I sometimes made burgers at 3 AM. They were delicious.
I can tell you right now that my breakdown is not over.
But it might be the best thing that has ever happened to me.
photo sources ? x x x
Today is the last day of July–which means that summer and the year are both more than half over. It’s been about 81F on average most days, with 100% humidity more often than not. I wouldn’t mind it so much–but there’s practically no fucking air conditioning in this country. Or ventilation. Or deodorant that actually works in the heat. The minute I step outside, I turn into a drippy, stinky, grumpy puddle of a woman.
This has driven me to be more than a little nocturnal. Even as I write this, it’s about 6AM, and I haven’t slept yet. I’m not sure I’ve even been awake for more than 12 hours, but I’m not really sure I mind. Early morning in the British summer is delicious. I hate it when people use flavour adjectives for things other than food as it makes me nauseous, but I can’t really find another word that describes the feeling I get.
Thunderstorms have been rolling in almost nightly as of recent, usually making an appearance around 1 or 2 AM, leaving sunrise (around 4:30) feeling cool, crisp and smelling amazing. English air smells a bit sweet, even in the city– and especially in the summer.
My bb Robyn at RobynCarlaDanielle.com made a summer mix tape a couple of weeks ago, and as a sucker for playlists I made one of my own to reflect my own summer. Its been a summer of cute boys, romance drama, cocktails, weird club nights, my birthday, new friends, the royal baby, self acceptance, strawberries, and Wimbledon. ❤
Make the most of this next month, yeah?
It leaves a lot of us feeling a little drained or sad. I know I do. One of my favorite coping mechanisms is to make mixtapes that reflect my feelings or make me feel a bit better.
This one is a bit of the past month and a half. (There’s a bit of pop.)
Hope the holiday didn’t drag you lot down too much.