Thursday, 27 June 2013

Important Notice: Google Reader shut down.

Just a quick one to reminder you all that Google Reader will be shutting down on the 1st of July 2013. For anyone following me and any other blogs on Google Reader you can import all your blogs to Bloglovin. Alternatively you can also follow my blog via email. If you are a blogger you will still be able to see all the blogs you follow on your dashboard after this date for everyone else on Google Reader please import your blogs to Bloglovin or any other blog feed of your choice or follow via email. Thanks people stay blessed.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Tag Time!

Got tagged a while back by Stella on a “What would you stand in line for?” post and Chantelle recently nominated me for another Liebster award.  So I decided to do a two in one post for both tags so here goes. First in line is “What would you stand in line for?” this I believe applied only to products that I would stand in line for I’m talking about sleeping outside the BSS in the cold all night kind of “stand in line” NOT! It’s never that serious LOL anyway I narrowed down my products of choice to an oil, a shampoo and a moisturizer. I left out deep conditioners because I can always whip out something out of my kitchen as a substitute and I haven’t found a regular conditioner worth standing in line for. I buy and use whatever conditioner is on the shelf at the time of my purchase most times I will go for old favourites but if they are not available I will pick the next best one. I am still on the market for a leave in conditioner all the new ones I have tried out so far have been disappointing, I recently went back to an old faithful but I’m still on the lookout for a second one. So here are my “stand in line” products;

Coconut oil – need I say more? This oil is like all natural oils combined into one!
Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Creamy Aloe Shampoo – just because it doubles up as a neutralizer and a chelating shampoo which is perfect for me being a relaxed/texlaxed head and a frequent swimmer. Kill two birds with one stone:)
Elasta QP Olive Oil and Mango Butter Moisturizer  – I recently fell in love with this product and love how it makes my hair incredibly soft. I would so stand in line for this one.

Couldn't find any photo of my coconut oil on file and was too lazy to get up and take one:)

And on to Chantelle’s Liebster Award Questions; (my answers are in italics)

Where do you blog from (Home, Office, Laptop)? Laptop at home
Name three of your favourite beauty products. Mascara, Lipgloss and Eyebrow pencil
Name a pet peeve. People reading over my shoulder! Very annoying.
If you had one wish what would it be? To eradicate poverty worldwide.
If you could tell your 18 year old self one thing, what would it be? Gosh Chantelle it’s been a minute since I was 18 but I would definitely tell myself to take more risks, grab opportunities and live life to the fullest and just do me.
Name a current favourite trend. To be honest I am not swallowed in by trends or fads so I do not even know what is going on at the moment unless someone points it out or it gets major media coverage.
If you could travel to one place on earth for free, where would it be and why? Tahiti! I am just in love with that place no particular reason but it has been my dream holiday destination for a while now.
Do you try to be eco-friendly? All the time.
If you could be prime minister/president for a day which policy would you enforce? Free healthcare for all! Not subsidized or free healthcare for certain groups but free EVERYTHING for EVERYONE. I would make billionaires and millionaires pay more in taxes to cover this:)
Name your favourite fashion item? Earrings! Can I add handbags to that too?
What’s your favourite hairstyle? A sleek chignon hands down.

I tag and nominate (same questions) everyone reading this! Have a lovely day or night wherever you are people!

BSS: Beauty Supply Store

Friday, 14 June 2013

Let's talk...

Lately I have been seeing a lot of posts on Facebook, Twitter and some blogs that I follow about an increase in women going out in satin sleeping caps and rollers; mostly flexi rods/bendy rollers. I am not talking about you were called to your child’s school or to the hospital in an emergency and dashed over there in rollers and pyjamas, no these women are going shopping, to the bank, to the mall and various other places, they are basically doing their every day errands while wearing a satin sleeping cap or rollers.  Growing up I remember seeing one or two ladies out at the local corner shop usually very early in the morning around 6 or 7 am with similar heads probably purchasing breakfast items or something but it was not a common occurrence. Personally I wouldn’t be caught dead walking around on the streets with a satin cap or rollers barring an emergency and even then trust me depending on the nature of the emergency I would probably tie a scarf before I leave the house. These "sightings" from the people who posted on social media were mostly observed among black women in the United States, Accra Ghana  and Lagos Nigeria.

So ladies what are your thoughts on going out with rollers and satin caps on your head; Have you done it, would you do it or do you know anyone who does it and what do they say is their reason for doing it?

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Hair update!

Since I do not do regular wash day posts which is where I would probably talk about what’s been happening with my hair, I have decided to be posting regular hair updates  just to let you guys know what’s going on with my hair and any new products, tools, homemade recipes or techniques I may have tried out. Sort of like a combined post on various things that have been going on with my hair over a certain period. I wore my hair out for just a little over seven weeks after texlaxing. I mostly wore braid outs (I tried a bantu knot out once or twice as well) and buns achieved with the help of a curly drawstring ponytail and a DIY braided braiding hair bun during this time. I wore my hair down and straight for one week. I currently have afro kinky twists installed; I hope I can keep them in for at least 8 weeks. I will take care of my hair using my braids regimen that can be found on my “hair regimen” page at the top during this period. I plan to have the perimeter redone at around week 4 when they start to get real messy thanks to new growth and carry them for another 4 weeks.

Top left to right; Bantu knots, straightened hair and kinky twists
Bottom left to right; braid out and DIY braided braiding hair bun
I have learnt to rely on my fingers more and my combs less. Most times I finger parted to oil my scalp and to moisturise my hair, finger combed and detangled especially when re-braiding at night for braid outs. This has helped tremendously with my breakage issues. I have started doing something I like to refer to as co-poo-washing as opposed to co washing. I use a ratio of 4 parts conditioner or thereabouts to one part shampoo mixed together and I prefer this method to plain co washing with conditioner alone. It took one co wash that left my hair feeling greasy (I had been a bit heavy handed with oils the previous day) for me to start co-poo-washing. Don’t forget to check out my “DC Recipes” page at the top for a new papaya/pawpaw recipe that I recently tried out. I must be doing a lot of things right, the other day I was at a friend’s place and another friend of hers who I had never met before comes in introduces herself, stares at my hair for a while and remarks “wow your hair is so healthy!” that was just the motivation I needed to keep going.  

That's the papaya/pawpaw homemade deep conditioner in the white bowl
In products news I have been using what is marketed as a kiddies moisturizer for a while now and love how it leaves my hair feeling soft, it’s the Sofn’Free’n’Pretty Carrot Oil Crème it’s quite thick but spreads easily and a little goes a long way, I might just dilute it a little with aloe vera juice or distilled water when I take down my twists just to make getting it out of the bottle much easier. I infused my castor oil which I use primarily for my scalp with dried rosemary leaves added a few drops of eucalyptus and tea tree oils to it and that is how I am currently using it on my scalp and edges. A new oil added to my stash is avocado oil which is a nourishing oil. I started using Elasta QP Olive Oil and Mango Butter Moisturizer the last week before I had my kinky twists installed and I absolutely LOVE this moisturizer the only regret I have is not having started using it sooner. It is thick but not too thick the consistency is lighter than the kiddie carrot oil crème that I also use, it leaves my hair incredibly soft and moisturized in a nutshell this moisturizer is a keeper. Having fine thin hair I always thought thick crème like moisturizers would weigh my hair down, I was so wrong the trick is not too use too much product or dilute them down a little. Well that’s it for this edition of hair updates ladies have a fab day wherever you are whatever you’re doing!

What new products and/or techniques have you tried out lately?

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Kitchen Korner: Unripe Green Bananas

I am an island girl I was raised on this beautiful island. I carried the island and its culture in my heart even after we moved that is why coconuts are an integral part of my life. Islanders like me add coconut milk to almost everything we cook, rice, beans, baked foods, pastries, chicken, fish, meat, sweet potatoes, cassava etc you name it if we can trust me we will be adding it. I learnt as a little girl how to make homemade coconut milk from scratch; we would break the shell pour out the coconut water into a cup and drink it most times:) then proceed to grate the flesh using a sit down hand grater called a “mbuzi” and then squeeze the grated bits in a cone shaped woven basket like container called “Kifumbu(a regular sieve works just as good) using warm water to make the milk. The first squeeze produces very thick, creamy milk which gives the best flavour and taste when cooking. Please see the link at the bottom of this post to see how this is done. The entire coconut tree from the leaves, to the stem to the actual coconuts themselves has a gazillion uses from building houses, making brooms and furniture, making hair and beauty products to cooking.
My friend who lives in Mombasa, Kenya was kind enough to send me this picture of a traditional coconut grater. Apologies for the grainy image it was from a camera phone go HERE to see a clearer photo of the coconut grater. It is very common to find traditional equipment in modern western style kitchens in African homes both in Africa and abroad; the lady in the video link at the end of this post lives in the United States but uses a traditional coconut grater.
Green bananas (these are unripe bananas; once they ripen they become fruits and are best used in pancakes, desserts or baked foods) are part of a main meal and also a snack depending on how they are cooked in many parts of East Africa. I put emphasis on unripe because there are some bananas that remain green even when ripe. Different communities have different names for them but the one name that is popular across the entire East African region for any green banana meal is Matoke which is Ugandan in origin. It doesn’t matter whether you are in a restaurant in Kenya, Tanzania or Uganda chances are if you ask for Matoke the waiters will know what you are talking about. They can be steamed, boiled, mashed, fried, roasted or oven baked.  This recipe uses both coconut milk and green bananas in Swahili we call it Ndizi mbichi za nazi or unripe green bananas in coconut milk in English.

4 small or 2 large green bananas (unripe)
½ cup coconut milk or ¼ cup coconut cream
Salt to taste
Pinch of cardamom powder (East African coastal folks love cardamoms it is used a lot in cooking)
Enough water to boil the bananas

Using a sharp knife, peel and chop bananas into big chunks. The peel can be sticky so greasing your hands with cooking oil prior to peeling helps to keep them clean of the sticky peel residue. Rinse the peeled, chopped bananas and place in a pot. Pour water I would say fill ¾ of the pot with water it doesn’t have to cover the bananas. Add the salt and cardamoms and let them boil for about 10-15 minutes on medium heat or until tender. You can test for tenderness with a fork if it goes through they are done. Drain the water and add the coconut milk and let simmer for about three minutes until the bananas are entirely coated with the coconut milk and have absorbed the flavour. Turn off the heat cover the pot and leave to steam heatless for anything between 3-5 minutes to let the bananas fully absorb the coconut flavour. Serve with any protein (beans, chicken, meat or fish) or vegetables of your choice and a vegetable salad if you wish. I had mine with grilled chicken and sliced tomatoes. Alternatively if you have access to plenty of coconut milk then you can leave out the water and boil from start to finish with the coconut milk. I do this mostly with plantains since they are already soft. Quick tip: if you end up over cooking the bananas don’t worry you can just mash them and have them that way instead.

This meal can also be made as a one pot meal which is how I make it sometimes. For simple one pot meal instructions; make your meat, chicken or vegetable stew as you would normally. Just before the stew is done add the peeled chopped bananas and coconut milk as the last ingredients. The one pot meal is ready once the bananas are tender. Both meals can be prepared without the coconut milk if not available or desired but I highly recommend using the coconut milk if you can. The peeled bananas can also be left whole I just prefer mine chopped.
Vegetable one pot: onions, tomatoes, eggplant/aubergine and unripe green bananas
They can also be fried the same way you would shallow fry plantains or potatoes. The trick to fried green bananas is to use the ones that are just starting to ripen but are still firm. I use the same recipes for plantains and unripe green bananas they are family after all. Depending on where you live you can purchase unripe green bananas from your local green grocers, Afro-Caribbean or other international food stores.
Fried green bananas

Kitchen Korner is a feature that appears regularly on the blog showcasing food made with ingredients that can also be used for the hair; double food hair products I like to call them. Today’s double food hair products are bananas (use only ripe ones for hair, overripe are even better) and coconut milk/cream. Please see my "DC Recipes" page at the top for deep conditioning recipes using these ingredients.