Tuesday, 9 March 2021

my hair is getting long : a new approach

 yep, that's right, another YouTube video about my hair! some of you have been waiting a really long time for an update on this, and i know you've all been patient. so scroll down to watch...

i wanted to do a little update blog here too, to go with it, so i can chat about things you should be looking out for from the channel, a bit about where i've been, and chat about zero waste / products etc... so read on if you're interested.

the footage i filmed on the weekend, on a day where i only had a short space of time to film, i was headed out for a socially distanced walk with a friend and wanted to make sure mostly that my hair was as dry as possible, so it is by no means as perfect or perfectly curly as it could be, but it is fast! 20 minutes! and i'm so grateful, because if any of you saw the 8 things i hate about the curly girl method video, you'll know my biggest frustration was how long it would take, so now i've figured a few shortcuts i'm happy with, and it does involve a little give and take with my quest for perfection.

of course, as any curly girl knows, if your hair isn't perfectly dry before you head out the door, the curl will drop, and i even usually really like to make sure that i don't scrunch too much gel out my hair before i go outdoors, because it will naturally loosen with the wind/air (especially around here, lol).

i'm still growing out my hair, trying to see how long i can go, but at the moment it's in need of some more layers put back in. it's also starting to really grow back after the birth of my daughter and i have lots of wispy bits at the front. i keep eating my good fats (thanks almond butter blondies!) to make sure my hormones are in check on that one! anyhow, when i was looking back at the footage i realised that i wasn't loving on my hair very well, being pretty vigorous with the brushing :( so i need to do a mask day soon.

i'm also working my way through lots of products i bought two years ago when i started out the CG method. so the products i use here aren't my favourite but they do work, if not as brilliantly. i do believe each product can serve a purpose, and i'm determined to not throw any of my products away, unless i feel like they're actually damaging my hair.

eventually i hope to start afresh, get only my favourite on my beauty shelf, and try more zero waste ideas - i loved my rye flour hair wash, but i want to try chickpea and fenugreek. and i want to make my own aloe conditioner. i do believe the way forward isn't to have loads of products but just one of each. simplify, simplify, simplify! if you want to see my reviews of every product i've tested, click here. and if you have any requests let me know :) i hope reading my reviews saves you some money!

for now, i hope you enjoy the video, and i hope you don't feel the need to go out and buy any new products after watching, i've learnt that it's about 80% technique and 20% the right products for your hair type, you can make most products work, you just need to apply the right amount in the right way for your curl pattern...

anyhow, grab a cuppa tea and relax...

thank you so much for reading and watching, it's great to be back sharing my more relaxed approach to my hair with you, and i would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or on the YouTube watch page. over and out x

ps. if you didn't read my latest post about 'my sustainable wardrobe', i would encourage you to check it out.

Thursday, 4 March 2021

my sustainable wardrobe, part 1

hey all, i feel like today's post is a looooong time coming, and also, i feel like i'm majorly behind on the times. suddenly i'm out of the haze of baby #2 and it seems like "everyone" is sewing their own clothes, repurposing and mending things, buying only from sustainable brands and having smaller capsule wardrobes...

today i'm going to share where i stand on sustainability as it pertains to my wardrobe. it's actually my one and only "resolution" for 2021, because i figured 'sorting out my wardrobe' was an achievable goal for the mum of 2 littles.

and i apologise for how shallow and unimportant this post is truly, and how for some, dressing is just formulaic and not a creative expression, and that's totally cool (and i'm a little bit jealous). but for me, i understand getting dressed as a chance to express a little of me to the outside world, as well as a little window of opportunity to create that i have every day. also, i'd much rather spend time with my kids, cooking, journaling, walking, gardening, etc, rather than spend my time choosing an outfit - so i figure if i put in the thought process now, i can save time in the future. and hopefully stop me looking at photos of myself and saying "what was i wearing?!"

so, apologies over, let's start with where i am starting from...

i had (and still have) a bulging wardrobe full of too many clothes and shoes. most of which don't go together. i don't really know what 'my style' is these days. i haven't stopped to consider what suits me in my current lifestyle or what looks good on my post-two-babies body. i still buy too many things (even if the majority are thrifted). i know a little about sustainable fashion, but it feels like a minefield.

at least if i have on thing going for me, it's an organised wardrobe...

so, onto my plan, how i've already been tackling it, and how i plan to proceed. also i want to share helpful and inspiring resources with you, in case you're in the same boat as me and ready to make some changes.


so, already i've been really ruthless with my wardrobe, i've cut it in almost a half, and i'm still going. i've got a whole bunch of things waiting to list on ebay in the spring. 

i have previously found it really hard to get rid of things, thinking maybe one day i might "need" it, but after watching a whole bunch of capsule wardrobe videos on YouTube i was like, hmm, i really don't need most things that i keep for that one occasion. 

if something is still in my wardrobe i have to LOVE it, it has to make me feel good when i wear it, it has to be comfortable and practical, it has to be in good condition. i got rid of lots of things i used to love, things that have memories. i got rid of lots of things that were for my old job, or my life before parenthood. i got rid of things that were expensive when i bought them but never wore them. i got rid of "trendy" things too, the ones that really didn't look like "me" at all.

one cautionary word here though: the most sustainable clothing you can add to your wardrobe are the ones you already own, or in other words, getting rid of stuff is really costly to the planet, so be careful how you do it. start by seeing if you can make it into anything else/adjust the length/reuse the fabric, then see if family want it or swap with a friend, then consider selling specific items on ebay (branded things sell well), donate to a good cause, or retire to the fabric recycling banks.


the next thing i've spent time thinking about is what i want to look like. this is the area i most struggle with, and probably is the reason lots of wardrobe/fashion books recommend taking daily outfit photos, because knowing what cuts, fabrics, colours, shapes, etc, work on you, and look most like you is really tricky. though a daily photo would be hard for me, i might try a little morning photo shoot try-on with my mum in the spring, so we can assess what works and establish some "go-to looks" for me.

i've found 'The Curated Closet' (US/UK) by Anuschka Rees a really useful resource for helping figure out where i want my wardrobe to go. it's got some helpful tips in it, if you're interested into digging a little deeper.

i've also been really guilty of just copying other people, and their style, trying things out, but not pulling it off. why? because it wasn't really me, and then i looked way too try-hard. so, i have at least worked out some words to keep in mind if i'm buying a new piece or putting a look together. 

  • soft
  • feminine
  • comfortable
  • timeless
i also found using these words as i was/am purging my closet to be really helpful - shiny fabrics had to go, as well as things that were too masculine, or things that were too tight, or too trendy.

quality over quantity - reduce

now i'm moving into the next level of my sustainable fashion journey, i think the key thing is to assess my wardrobe each season and ask if there are any pieces that are missing or need replacing. cardigans is the first place i've started, because i wear them all the time, they get worn through almost every year. so i've tried to work out which colours would suit and then i've tried to source quality ones - it's taken a LOT of time to find quality sustainable brands at a good price. 

quality and thought is so important when it comes to sustainability, because if you can buy fewer items of clothing and make them last much longer then you save the environment in the long run. in fact, even if you bought one well made natural fibre piece from a high street chain that you kept for a long time it would be a massive improvement. the amount we throw away is a huge environmental issue, so i want to make sure i reduce this as much as possible by making sure each piece is really thought through and i don't ever impulse buy.

mending & sewing - reuse

i've been patching my sons trousers for the last year, and it feels so good to get a few more months of wear out of them. i even then take the trousers with completely irreparable knee areas and chop them and sew them up into shorts. so easy and quick and gets another life out of the trousers. so, i want to start doing more of this for myself. 

i've had a sewing basket and sewing machine for over a decade and i'd say i'm only a 'confident beginner' when it comes to actually sewing. i don't know many techniques, but i'd be happy to give anything a shot. so i've started reading and watching a bit about #memade wardrobes and saving patterns i like to a list. i've even bought two, but i'm waiting for the charity shops to open again post-lockdown to look for some vintage linens/fabric to use to make them.

if you're interested in sewing patterns but not sure where to start, check out Birgitta HelmerssonBy Hand LondonMerchant and MillsPeppermint Mag (for free patterns), Made My WardrobeAnna Allen Clothing - they're all modern patterns and they look fabulous!

mostly i've been mending my clothes the last couple of months, adding elastic waists, taking in denim jeans (easier than i thought it would be), seam ripping ruffles and taking up hemlines. it's really satisfying to keep my favourite fabrics in my wardrobe but give them a new lease of life. i've also started back up crochet - so i can make cardigans for me and my girl (there are some lovely modern crochet patterns out there).

in the past i've made great use of my local tailor, altering things to make them fit perfectly always makes things look more expensive and helps you get more wear out of them. so if you're not interested in owning or using a sewing machine, this is still a fabulous option for reusing your clothes.

thrifting - recycle

i've been thrifting / charity shopping for probably about a decade now, and the number of gems i've found is always amazing! i even did a YouTube video about my top tips for charity shopping. i cannot wait to get back out in the charity shops, simply because i find it really good relaxing and inexpensive "me-time". i do think it's the cheapest sustainable option out there if you do need something else in your wardrobe - but to find the things you are after you might have to make it a few visits to different stores. 

making sure items i buy are made of natural materials is really important to me. not simply because i think they look better on me because they're usually softer and less 'shiny', but because i know that eventually once they're worn beyond repair that the fibres will naturally biodegrade right back from where it started from. so i look for 100% cotton, linen, 100% wool - they're usually easy to spot and there're plenty of them. i also check for quality of construction - some items are made to last, and some literally made for a few wears - i check its washing instructions too, as that's a good indication of how sturdy the fabric is and how well it will wash.


so, having said a little photoshoot to establish some good "go-to looks" for me would be good, the other thing i plan to do is upload my wardrobe in chunks to the Stylebook app so that i can see my wardrobe, track what i wear, and geek out like the little statistician i am. this also means i can sit and put looks together the night before, a week in advance, plan for trips (if Covid ever lets up!) and just generally know what i wear on a regular basis. 

i've also started a Word doc where i keep all the links to clothing i'd like to buy, so i have links to brands i love, things i think my wardrobe could do with. that way i can keep coming back and editing it, adding and removing pieces, feeling out my style. but mostly, it's so that if something has been on the list for a really long time, and i still love it, it probably is a piece i'll love for a long time. it eliminates impulse shopping completely. it also means i give it a good clean through at sale time, and check for sales on the styles i'm after. actually i say this is a list, but it's pretty short - i hope it stays that way!

anyhow, that's all for today! i hope it's interesting if you're also starting on this journey, and if you've already got a wardrobe you love, i'd love to hear thoughts and tips on this too.