Sunday, 31 August 2014

Skincare made simple

Ah back to my old favourite, talking about skincare. But this time I'm done. No further adjustments necessary. I have found the holy grail of skincare and I want to tell you all about it. 

Remember I talked about linoleic acid and how important it is to acne prone skin? Well after a bit of trial and error, I decided that the only way forward for me was to ditch all oils that aren't high in LA. This meant finding a new way to moisturise my skin, as I couldn't be certain of the values in commercially made moisturiser, even the best ones.

Enter Hemp Seed Oil.

This is a wonder product, the right balance of oily and dry. I clean my face with it, moisturise my whole self with it, use it as a hair styling product and on wounds to promote healing.
After a rocky few weeks of some sort of adjustment, where the skin on my forehead became very dry, my skin revealed itself to be perfect. At the same time I also stopped using harsh spot killers, and resumed using rosewater as a hydrosol to help the oil absorb better. 

So now I cleanse my face (once in the AM, twice in the PM) using the oil cleansing method with hemp oil and a hot flannel (hot is important). Then I spritz with rosewater and apply 6-7 drops of hemp oil to my damp face, massaging it in until it has absorbed. In the morning I add a tiny dab of a rose eye gel. 

That is it. Well, I drink at least 4 litres of liquid a day as well. Hydration is important.

It has been nearly 2 months now, and I am so happy with the results. The most notable effect has been the dramatic reduction of my acne. Bar some monthly hormonal acne that is helped by eating a moderate amount of soy, the rest is totally gone. The odd spot that does appear disappears with speed and virtually no trace. The sebaceous filaments on my nose and cheeks are so much better.  In the pictures below you can see what my skin looks like at the moment. Diet is also still very important for my skin, but the flare ups as a result of not managing that properly (too much travelling) have not been anywhere near as bad as in the past.

My skin as a result looks younger and fresher. My foundation looks much better on. And lasts better. Bonus: I need hardly any concealer! The key to all this is good quality hemp seed oil (organic is preferable) and taking the time for a good cleanse, especially in the evening.

Forget your expensive lotions and potions and opt for a good quality oil and a decent flannel instead. Your skin will thank you, and so will your purse. 

Hemp Oil (Hanf Öl) by Fandler. Flannels from Ikea. Rosewater and eye gel by Melvita. 

Sunday, 24 August 2014

We do still need feminism

Just recently it seems as if there has been an explosion of debate about whether feminism is still relevant or not. Coupled with an increase in visibility by men's rights groups and 'anti feminists', the movement is facing tough times.

Quite frankly, these so called men's rights groups can just do one. Most of them are made up of white men who sit at the top of the priviledge pyramid, therefore demonstrating no comprehension whatsoever of the actual struggles that people without all their priviledge and power face.

Then there are the white women who take to the internet to declare why they 'don't need feminism'. I don't know, is it because you are a white woman living in a developed country... although arguably there is still a chronic need for feminism in those contexts too, but just for different reasons perhaps than in other parts of the world.

I've talked about this before, but it definitely bears repeating. Feminism is not about the dominance of women. It is about the equality of everyone (ok, there are some branches of radical feminism who believe that men should be subservient, but you get fundamentalists in all walks of life). Why not call it equalism, or humanism then?

Well, probably because women find themselves so far behind they have to make extra pushes to even remotely level the playing field. There is just so much to overcome still that calling it humanism or equalism at this stage would dilute the message and weaken the fight.

The name doesn't stop it being about everyone though. Patriarchy hurts men too. Patriarchy is what keeps the image of masculinity binary, what feeds homo- and transphobia. Patriarchy is the force that leads to bullying and non acceptance of the other. Patriarchy contributes to war and conflict, which hurts everyone.

So how do we get more people on board, and educate those that are reluctant?

Sadly it won't be possible to capture everyone's imagination with the feminist debate. There will always be people who don't want to join in, most likely because they fear the loss of the power that they currently hold. In my opinion religion has a lot to answer for - most religions were formed in a time when patriarchy was at its strongest and therefore those roles are written into the texts and tomes. Breaking that level of inequality takes major will power and a lot of fighting. And while there are strict adherents to the letter of the religious law, there will still be inequality.

But that is ok, I'm not here to bash religions and wipe them out. Each to their own on that one. What I am against is those religions having a say in my non religious life. So we need to fight to keep religion out of the state.

We need to convince people that their lives really would be better if women were equal. There is a lot of work to do. We need to be nice to each other - women hating on other women was the downfall of a lot of great groups in the 80s, now is the time to stand together, despite our differences. This doesn't mean that we need to create a single message this time around. I think enough has been achieved in the developed world that we can create a nuanced message without it getting complicated.

Because really, at the heart of it all, don't we all deserve to be treated equally?

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Overcoming that lost feeling

I thought I was going to be able to come back and blog just like that. But in reality, I have written 10 posts and not published a single one of them. With some it is because I need to take some photographs to go with them, but haven't gotten round to it yet, and others because self-doubt has prevented me from pressing publish.

Self-doubt is a funny thing. In most walks of my life I'm a fairly confident, outgoing person. I'm good at my job, I enjoy life. I can throw a frisbee with both hands (a newly discovered but not unwelcome skill). I can cut my own hair.

But something about writing a blog is absolutely terrifying. I guess this is why I decided mid way through university that life as a journalist. There is just something about baring my soul to the world that feels a bit, well, odd.

All these questions keep coming to my mind. Will people find my writing style annoying or pretentious? Am I too boring? What do people want to read about anyway?

I mentioned in my last post that a colleague said I should write a blog, and do something with the vast amounts of trivia that swims around in my brain. So maybe that is the key - stick to the impersonal.

The original purpose of this blog was to discuss alternative fashion and beauty, but that wasn't ever going to last, let's face it; there are only so many different ways that you can style black clothes. Since I went back to my natural hair colour and discovered a profound love of neutral make up, my day to day look has become distinctly uninteresting to the average person (although definitely a signature look for me). And there I find the gap between what I wanted to do with this blog and the reality of what I can do with it.

So let's just see where this takes me right? I think I should make myself a promise, that I will write and post whatever it occurs to me to write about, no doubts, no thinking, no worrying about who is actually reading.

It's a bit like talking to myself, but with the faint promise that someone is actually listening.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Hello again?

I'm sort of tentatively putting my foot back in the water again. I didn't think I'd feel the urge to blog again, but a colleague told me this past week that it would be great if I had a blog. Seeing as I already do have one....

Anyways. I just returned from a week long trip to Ethiopia for work, where I ate a lot of amazing food, took part in a fantastic training workshop that will really help enhance my ability to do my job, and I got to see bits of my organisation that I'd only dreamt of seeing. All in all, a fantastic week!

My colleague who said I should have a blog was there with me, and it was a comment in response to the seemingly endless random information that I can recall at a moment's notice. I'm never sure whether my brain is a blessing or a curse, but I am definitely helpful on a pub quiz team (my favourite pub quiz moment was staunchly atheist me getting the answer to the question "How old was Jesus when he was crucified?" correct - 33 in case you were wondering)!

Things like knowing the exact details of Strawberry Shortcake's outfit (oddly despite never really having played with her as she smelled funny), or knowing that the use of the word Board to refer to a group of people that make governing decisions comes from the old Norse for table, and refers to the way in which the Vikings lived and conducted business (by gathering in a hall with a table at one end, where the leaders of the village would sit, eat and dispense justice, permits and all other things that facilitated the smooth running of the community).

See, I really am a mine of information!

Trouble is, other than being good at pub quizzes, and ever so slightly annoying everyone else by sounding like a smug know it all, I don't really know what to do with all this information. So maybe I'll just bore anyone who reads this with it. Maybe you could ask me questions and I'll do my best to answer them?

So I'm sort of back to the blogging. The break has been good, and I remember why I like writing. I realise that although I originally started this blog for a specific purpose, it has really grown beyond that, and I shouldn't feel pressured to writing about specific things. So expect more random crap from my brain, on the days when my head feels fit to bursting if I don't put that information to some purpose!


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