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7 questions that will make you a conscious consumer

6 February, 2016

If you live in a wealthy nation, most of my readers do, you are almost certainly a solid part of consumerist society. I live on a farm. We try and consume as little as possible, we grow and make and thrive without malls, but still, I am undeniably a consumer and waster. It is immensely hard to escape it. Here are some questions I ask that help me make the best consumer choices.

Do I really need it?
Gosh, what a hard one! Do I neeeeeed it? I can find myself to be quite convincing when there is something I want, but don’t perhaps need. I often find though, that giving myself a few days to sit on a purchase decision takes the shine away and I feel my urge disappear.

Can I make it?
Even if you don’t count yourself as crafty the internet is FULL of ways to make stuff from other stuff. I needed a cookie cutter once and instead of buying one I used some flat wire and made an awesome one! Check out Makezine for inspo.

Can I get it locally?
Do you have a Saturday or Sunday market? Save your purchases up and buy them locally, hopefully they will be handmade and have way less airmiles in them. I buy my wash cloths from an old lady at the market who knits them. No packaging, no miles, no money given to a bit supermarket corporate.

Can I get it made by people who I know aren’t being exploited?
Please do do a google search for your item with the word “fair trade” added in it. There are so many ethically made versions of things. Try TraidCraft for lots of things.

Can I buy it second hand?
Be patient, and persevere, and you could very well find exactly what you need, but from Gumtree of a charity shop. I am amazed at how I can buy whole Christmas lists secondhand. FullSizeRender (7)

Can I get a version that will last?
Do a bit of research, and perhaps spend a little more money, to buy something that will last. There are heaps of consumer forums and directories such as Interact that point the way.

Can I buy it through people who pay their tax?
Just quietely…. there are some big outlets out there, from whom you can buy anything, but who are a leeeeetle bit bad. Like, they don’t pay taxes. And I am a big fan of taxes! They are the only institutionalised method of redistribution we have! Opt for a better outlet to buy your stuff from.

Can I mitigate the excess waste?
Be inspired by the Zero Waste bunch who make almost all of their consumer choices dependant on how much waste it produces. I saw a blogpost of someone’s waste from last year year and it filled a glass jar. A GLASS JAR! I fill a glass jar when I sweep the kitchen floor! What is up with that? Amazing. I am inspired to choose things especially because they don;t come with all the packaging.

This post is a collaboration.

yurt life

Winning and losing at life

4 February, 2016

Ways in which we are winning:
We swim in the river everyday, sometimes four or five times

Most days I do the dishes, tidy the yurt, or do laundry (one of the above- if I do more than one I make myself an award “World’s Best Homemaker” and give a speech to all assembled about how both awed and humbled I am)

We spend a lot of time with friends – the family we live on the land with, friends who come and camp, locals we are getting to know and love.

The girls and I spend a lot of time in the forest, climbing hills and looking at moss (that has been an ambition for motherhood of mine for many years and it is every day life for us now, which really does make me a bit breathless)

The girls and I are besties. We have so much fun. Dance parties and hammock picnics and movies in bed and playing all the Toca Boca games on the ipad.

 I fermented and pickled a shitload of beetroot I grew last week. 

 Tim has built a bathroom and almost built a loft to go in the big yurt. (We are waiting for that to be done before we move in there.) 

 I painted our bath and painted the bathroom floor. 

 I planted more beetroot and lettuces and herbs. 

 Tim and I ate up an entire decade of marriage! yeah baby! 

❤️ 10 years married today ❤️ We were so young and determined… Now we grow beetroot barefoot 😬 How love grows 😊

A photo posted by Lulastic & the Hippyshake (@lulasticblog) on

Ways in which we are losing:
I’m not really spending much time on the computer which, for a writer/ vlogger/ blogger/ social media person means that I’m not being productive at all. I feel a bit down about it, a bit like I suck.

We still don’t have a bathroom. Or a kitchen.

My family come in 10 days and it is probably going to be still rough as guts. It is a deadline we gave ourselves in September (to be all sorted) and we are totally gonna miss it. (In fact, I was going to call this post “The best laid plans of mice and men” – you know from that poem about things going awry by Robert Burns but then I realised that if I do that I would have to tell the story about how I thought you said “awry” like “OAREE” rather than “A- RYE” until my brother in law corrected me about 3 years ago. Got to 29 saying oaree. Really did. And there’s that story!

When I painted the bathroom floor it took me FOREVER and I got so worked up about it that I did it three times and the second time was the result of totally flipping out with the paint and literally throwing my brushes to the ground. (It looked cool…. but I still didn’t keep it, too bold for our au naturale life. Think there might be a whole post about floors coming up soon….)


When I fermented and pickled all the beetroot I got so frenzied by it all that I turned real angry at everyone. 

 Our little yurt is filling up with piles and piles and piles of things… the piles go down when the puppy drags something out from the bottom and eats it. We’ve lost books and Russian dolls and barbies and cables and slippers to her insatiable jaws. This IS our yurt, with the piles pushed aside>>>

New little crochet blanket free from the dump shop, like totally made for this moment forty years ago 😆🙌✌️#nicejumble #yurtlife

A photo posted by Lulastic & the Hippyshake (@lulasticblog) on


You cant even move in our bus, it has so successfully been turned into storage while we wait to get in the big yurt.

My courgettes keep turning into marrows. And now I have 9 marrows that I can’t even GIVE away.

Some days it feels like we’ve achieved nothing more than buying some second hand taps from the internet.

I’ve got about 70 billion baby leeks that needed to be planted yonks ago but I can’t seem to make it happen. There is such a crowd of them and they are so needy.

We feel like we are slogging away, Tim building in every spare minute, but the end result just keeps receding into the horizon. Endless DiYing.

And then there’s things that defy all lists about how well you are doing in life….how in the middle of the night last night I had to go to the toilet, the outdoor composting loo in the forest of gorse and I was bummed about it, like, WHAT IS THIS LIFE WE LIVE THAT I HAVE TO DO THIS and then when I went I met a little hedgehog there! And me and this cute little hedgehog hung for a while. I love a hedgehog.  

 And also, I do know that life isn’t about winning or losing. Even imagining a scoresheet is ridiculous and stupid, particularly if parenting is your main thing – it often looks like absolutely nothing has been “achieved” and the reality is the whole day has been a weave of tiny kindnesses and picking up of lego. 

I’m aware of things like Instagram (pretty much the one internet thing I am keeping up with a bit) making people look like winners- my life might look like it is all harvesting coriander seeds and waterfalls because I’m not going to take a photo of me covered in beetroot juice with a raging face, hey? And I get comments like “Your amazing life!” and we have chosen this life, because we have come to value freedom and wilderness so much. But it isn’t free of frustration or melancholy or the occasional metaphysical EEK-WHAT-ARE-WE-DOING moment or simple root-vegetable-rage.

So yeah, I’m a winner and a loser and a lover and a mother.

How you doing?

Shampoo Free

How going shampoo free cured my dandruff (plus 4 Natural Remedies for Dandruff)

26 January, 2016

Every week or so I get an email about my book Happy Hair that totally blows me away. This week I just had to share it. It came from London, from a reader called Sami, who has had a long, arduous battle with dandruff.

Hi Lucy

Wishing you a great 2016. I just wanted to share my story with you regarding the rye flour shampoo recipe. Iam based in London and I am a male. I had a really sensitive scalp and had issues with dandruff for the past many years. I tried every shampoo expensive to organic. All herbal and other alternate options. So many oils just to solve my issue. I went to many dermatologists they gave me medication and gels but all in vain. I came across your blog while googling a remedy that could solve my issue. Its been 2 months and I cant imagine iam so happy and feels like I have a new scalp on my head.. No dandruff , no itching or flaking no dryness its just all so normal. I just wanted to thank you for sharing your blog and its like an inspiration for me . By the way I use rye flour (wholemeal) and it works great for me…
Regards,

Sami

WOOOO! *puts pants on head and bounces victoriously on the trampoline* What a result!

I personally don’t suffer from dandruff really, only a tiny little patch of it that sprouts every so often.

(Although I have a lot of stuff generally sitting in my hair, sand and biscuits and leaves. I am mama to two wild children who have a hand on way of experiencing the world and their mother. But all of this comes out with my handy boar bristle brush.)

I can imagine how hard having an ongoing problem with dandruff is though, as I have had other battles with bits of my body where it feels like nothing, nothing is going to work. It is defeating and depressing.

Dandruff is definitelty not at all the fun that The Breakfast Club makes it out to be.

It impacts heaps of people too – apparently Head and Shoulders has been the best selling shampoo for yonks and yonks.

Some people find that anti dandruff shampoo works a treat – although research seems to suggest it only works as long as you use it– meaning it is simple keeping it at bay, rather than curing it.

Surely we can aim higher? Surely we can aim at curing our bodies, helping our bodies to thrive?How giving up shampoo cured my dandruff plus 4 natural remedies for dandruff

Dandruff – otherwise known as malassezia

Dandruff can be one of a few things. It might simply be a dry flakey scalp, due to the use of certain products, or diet, or circumstances. (Even constant air conditioning might be impacting your scalp’s health.) If it is this, then simple a good boar bristle brush and the odd sugar rub (to exfoliate the scalp) and more nourishing natural alternative shampoos will be the answer.

But for most people who feel that their scalp is long term getting them down, the problem is bigger than a few flakes here and there. For these people, it is most likely the spicy-curry-like sounding malassezia – a kind of fungus. Now our bodies at all time are a mixture of funguses and bacteria and there is no good or bad, technically. What there is, is a lack of right balance. So if your scalp is full of dandruff, the fungus has gotten the better of it.

Rock on, acid mantle

I love to talk about acid mantles. They absolutely rock. Our acid mantle is the protective layer covering our entire body, skin and scalp and all we have to do to keep it healthy is try not to interrupt it too much.

Learning about my acid mantle was pretty much the thing that made me realise how much the No Poo movement is based in science. So much research is appearing about the importance of our body’s microbiome and No Poo is basically a microbiome promoting regime.

Most of the high street bought shampoos and conditioners get way, way too involved in our acid mantle, stripping it of all the healthy sebum and bacteria it requires to protect us.

If we can get in to a rhythm based on water or one of the many natural alternatives to shampoo, we are handing our acid mantle a mega, mega gift. (And, if we struggle with dandruff or other scalp issues, ourselves a gift too!)

Please read more about the wonderful world of our skin and experiments in no products, but lots of healthy bacteria here.

Support from within
In all my travels amongst the world of Shampoo Free and Natural remedies I have begun to put huge stock in what we eat. Our skin is the talismen for what is going on inside. And if I can sum up everything I know about food into two things it is this:
Enjoy your food (oooh, I know! Counter cultural!)
Stuff yourself with probiotics

Probiotics are the answer to so, so, so many of our health problems. Ferment your food and eat it. Buy pickles and kim chi and kombucha whenever you can. Our acid mantle will almost certainly get stronger if we promote the balance of bacteria from the inside.


Why Rye Flour though?

My own theory about why Sami found rye flour to be so effective is that rye flour is incredibly bacteria – respecting! Rye flour isn’t one of the tamest washes – in fact, it is such an effective saponion that it feels like it rubs out every bit of sebum, some times. But I believe it does it in a way that doesn’t strip out our fungal/bacteria orchestra up there.

Rye Flour Shampoo

Look for the best, wholemeal, organic rye flour you can find. Put a table spoon or two of it into a cup and add enough water to make a paste. Rub into hair, leave for a few minutes and wash out. You will need to brush it heaps when it is dry, unless you seive your flour first. (Really recommend this!)
Please read my Rye Flour experiment over on Cosmo.
And watch my video here:

Other Natural Remedies for Dandruff
Whilst writing my book I came across quite a few effective natural remedies for dandruff – ones that would work expecially for folk who have given up shampoo, but possibly also for the die hard shampoo fans.

Apple Cider Vinegar is an increible dandruff busting natural remedy!
Get your hands on the most organic and the most natural apple cider vinegar you can. Ideally something with the Mother still in it (the original blobby plant thing from which it ferments.)

Add quarter of a cup of vinegar and quarter of a cup of water. Put it on your scalp, half way through a shower. This will be easiest to do using a squirty bottle. Allowing you to get right in on the scalp, covering every bit.

Leave it on for at least 20 minutes and do this three or four times a week.

Warning: if you don’t do a wash after this, the acv will quite possibly make your hair feel quite lank. It will have closed all the shingles on your hair shaft, make it super, duper sleek and shiny – but also looking greasy! (Such a bizarre thing.)

Dadruff often clears up with weeks of using this remedy, but for others it can take up to 6 months.

Rosemary Rinse is an ancient folk remedy for dandruff

One of the remedies I talk about in my book is based on a pretty ancient scalp-reviving tea rinse. Take a sprig of fresh rosemary and place it in a cup of hot water. Let it steep for twenty minutes and use the rinse on your head, mid shower, every week. (Make it fresh each time or do a huge batch of the tea and freeze it into ice blocks and defrost one each time.)

Plantain shampoo is the most secret natural remedy for dandruff

I recently made a mash of plantain, a weed that grows freely in every grassy field pretty much world wide! And I genuinely think it works!

Take a handful of the weed, add a few dashes of water, blitz it in a blender and place all over your problem areas. I think it exfoliates the dandruff and supports the acid mantle. My ittle patch of ‘druff hasn’t been back since.

Read the whole plantain as natural dandruff remedy experiment here.

Go for the long game

We are talking about the business of healing your scalp, possibly after a lifetime of abuse! Please, please give yourself months for this healing work. And eat sauerkraut every day.

PS- Here is a link to my ebook, Happy Hair: The Definitive guide to Giving Up Shampoo.

Feminism

Who’s afraid of the big bad… princess?

19 January, 2016

I looked across the paddock last week to see both my children standing on top of the chicken house, jumping up and down in their own revelry. I had to smile, as it looked so incongruous. They were dressed in their fanciest princess outfits – one Cinderella, one Elsa. They had smudges of poultry poo across their silky torsos, tulle caught on stray wires. They are brave climbers and dedicated builders, they are fierce in battle and verociously loud. They race the dog through puddles, slide down mud hills, ride their bikes through cow pat… and they do it all in tiny royal ball gowns.

I never, ever thought I would raise two princesses. But I’ve come a long way since my ban on Barbie and my pride that we didn’t have a single dress in our daughter’s wardrobe. I now relish the royal games we play and beam with joy when I see my youngest child struggling into another princess dress to go on top of the first, and with an extra tutu tucked underneath. But I do understand that belly squirming anxiety that our children are being shaped by values that are ugly and toxic – disguised by glittering tiaras.

I’ve come to believe we have less to fear about princess culture and more to fear about rejecting something so important to our children. 

So here are some thoughts- I’m not advocating a blith acceptance a la Lego theme song Everything Is Awesome (“Allergies- they’re awesome! Pathetic female role models – they’re awesome!) but rather an analysis* that is child and relationship focused.

*if an analysis can be written on a bench outside the library using the free, slow, wifi

Why we don't need to fear princess culture

Good princess vs bad princess
Not all princesses are created equal. I admit that there are plenty of stories out there of the passive princess, the one who is forced to marry against her will and do other things that are a shocking portrayal of consent and body autonomy. Early on in my parenting I actually used to get out scissors and glue and edit tales like the Princess and the Frog, and replace “princess” with “prince” and “got married” with “became besties forever”… these days I am more likely to instigate a conversation with my children about why the father thought it was okay to make his daughter sleep with a frog.

But there are also a stack of amazing princesses! We have watched Brave about 187 times, and Frozen about 393 times, they are brilliant films with awesome female heros in them. (There is also some good feminist critique of both of those films, but how it is experienced by young girls, for me, is the most compelling. Read a cool story of that here.)

Princess doesn’t have to be a bad word.

Talk about it
Fairytales and Disney movies provide heaps of material for discussing gender roles through history and how things have changed/ are changing/ still need to change. Conversations stick in a child’s mind. They will love sharing their opinion and hearing some insight from you. That is, if you are coming from a place of connection, rather than disapproval. They will pick up on you trying manipulate their likes and likely to be saddened if they feel you deep down hate something they are getting a lot of joy out of. Which leads me on to what, for me, is the most important thing…

Let’s love what our children love
I have spoken about this before, in regard to ipads. I am big on learning to love what our children love. It isn’t hard to do, because joy is contagious, and once we learn to love something alongside our children we open SO MANY doors to connection. I read in the recently published parenting book All Joy and No Fun about how little “flow” parents experience at home with children. (Flow is that lovely state of being so completely into something that time disappears.) It made me spend some time monitoring my own experience of flow at home. One of the times I really experience it is playing Barbies with my girls – untangling their hair, sewing princess dresses for them- this was a huge shock for me, considering how much I used to HATE Barbies as a mother. I swore I would never own one, any that came into my home (usually by way of my sister who is a right stirrer) I’d find a way to get rid of it. Slowly, as I have become better at seeing my children and being with them, I’ve come to discover that there is very little we need to be afraid of, and that disconnection, rather than barbies or princesses is really the thing to fear. Imagine if I hadn’t come round to this idea – I’d be depriving my kids a lot of joy, and even myself, the experience of flow in the home.

Trust the learning
Sometimes it is hard to gather what out children are learning when they obsess like this. But be assured that they will be learning HEAPS – it is a child’s only setting! (And also, question the word “obsess” – it is pretty negative even though we tend to admire focus in adults!) The potential for your child to be learning about power and responsibility, clothing and fabric, history and culture, royalism and democracy is enormous!!

There’s a thoughtful analysis of what is going on for children going through a Princess phase here in Psychology Today. “In clinging to pink and princess culture, perhaps a girl is celebrating and acknowledging a variety of things: her gendered body, her generative capacities, her ability to captivate and mesmerize (as all children can) as well as her place in the surrounding culture.” I have read that young girls go through a massive yearning for dresses between 3 and 5 because that is when they are trying to figure out what it means to be female. They soon learn it isn’t much to do with wearing skirts, and the phase is sucesfully navigated. I believe we can support them through this by seeking out amazing skirts for them while discussing sex and gender and transgender and identity…!

A leading female role
Have you seen any of the Princess Barbie movies? You’ll know that Princess Barbie occupies a pretty important role in her society. I used to run ahead in the video shop and put all the Barbie movies on the top shelf so I could say to Ramona “Choose any film you like!” and know we wouldn’t be coming home with a Barbie. It came to a head one day when I was kneeling in the aisle of Blockbuster, my four year old clutching a Barbie dvd that I hadn’t spotted to hide, saying patiently “I know Barbie is an idiot, but I love her!” I was so scared of Barbie! But I didn’t really know her! I realised I was giving the impression that it was okay to call things we are scared of/ don’t understand idiotic. So we got that movie, and as I watched it I was impressed by Barbie’s strong, kind character and was relieved to find a bunch of movies where females had leading roles.

Almost every single kids film we had otherwise got out was filled with male-only characters, with females being very rare, and if featured at all, tending to be love interests. Of course, we also talk a lot about the characters in Barbie who were obsessed with clothing and make up who tended to nearly always be stupid and ditzy. (Noone here is saying Barbie movies are directed by feminists!) Please see Sacraparental’s excellent posts on the Maisy Test for more on non-misogynist kids films.

I recently enjoyed the argument that Princess Culture has been going on for two decades, and what we have now is a situation where women are more likely to pursue higher education, and graduate, then men and perhaps this is because they’ve grown up in a world where little girl’s likes have been catered too, where they have, as children, played leading roles.

How about reframing princess culture as being pro-women in leadership, celebrating a space that females occupy successfully?

Loving women
I can’t help but wonder if our problem with princess culture is ever so slightly sexist, with roots in a patriarchal society. Bear with me. Do people have a similar problem with their male children wanting to be knights all day? Violent, sword wielding, massacring knights? I don’t hear about it much, if it is a thing. Why are we so bothered by the princess thing? Is it because we live in a society where a woman is undermined constantly, where whole sections of society are cut off to her, that this one role she can inhabit because of her gender, one that is exclusive to men, is slammed for not being good enough?

The problem isn’t so much with princesses, pink, gowns…
For me these days it is more that things (colours, roles, clothing) are exclusive, based on gender. A dress is an amazing thing. To feel it swishing around your legs, flowing out when you dance. And who doesn’t want to wear a crown and point a sceptre and boss everything around? But let’s not allow it to be just the realm of girls. Dresses are for everyone! (Read Freedom Kids on this) Pink is for all! Trucks aren’t operated by a penis! Speak up to marketers who claim otherwise! Rant and rave against those who want to make certain colours and toys exclusive to any gender! Power to the people!

A love of clothing isn’t necessarily dooming your child to a life of oppressive objectification or materialism
I LOVE CLOTHES. Love, love, love clothes. I have loved them all my life. I wonder if this was worrying for my mum when I was a kid. I can remember being 7 and having a crush on a boy and going home to put on my neon tutu (it was 1989) and then swishing around in it in front of him and being completely delighted when he noticed it and said “nice skirt”… that should be worrying, don’t you reckon? I went through a phase when I was 21 of being so disgusted with my love of clothes that a friend and I went on a clothing fast together and for 3 months allowed ourselves only 5 items of clothing. A jumper, two pairs of trousers, and two tee shirts. I wanted to tackle what I saw as a deep set materialism in my life. It was quite a fun experiment, but if anything taught me that my love of clothes, of wild colours and different fabrics and playing with styles wasn’t inherently bad. In fact, it bought me a lot of joy. History tells us that homosapiens have always done this- it is one of the distinguishing things- that we carve beauty into objects and embroider clothing and dye furnishings. We don’t have to fear that our children’s talk of beautiful clothing and desire to change into different skirts 60 billion times a day is going to mean they will be an insecure adult who can’t leave the house without a full face of Maybelline. I hope I am a good example here – like, I LOVE CLOTHES (did I mention that?) I have a pair of sequined shorts that I sometimes where around the farm just to cheer me up, but at the same time, I care so little about other people’s opinions that the others day this conversation between my husband and I occurred:
Tim: Er, are you going into town like that?
Me: Like what?
Tim: With your henna on your hair?
Me: Yeah, cos it needs to be on for four hours and I put it on and now I want to go into town.
Tim: Okay
Me: What’s the problem?
Tim: It looks like you have poo all over your head?
Me: *drives into town*

So, y’know. Humans are complicated. I bet you a million bucks that if you are consciously building your child up and letting her know that insides count more than outsides she isn’t going to grow up with an oppressive mantle of beauty upon her.

Nurture your child’s faith in herself
The thing that will most likely make your child sway with the winds of a consumerist, objectifying society, rather than the stirrings of her heart is if she learns not to trust herself. If she feels undermined in the things she loves, if she feels your approval is conditional on what YOU like, if she gets the impression that her opinion is dubious.

So be conscious about what is in your home, talk about things, buy books with kick-ass princesses in to sit alongside the Cinderella she found at the library, ask big questions of corporations that attempt to make any one thing exclusive to girls or boys, address your own insecurities about your body shape, analyse the latest Disney flick with your parent friends, but do, do, do allow her freedom of mind and heart. Instill in her a great faith in herself.

Revel in princess culture
Have you ever dressed up as a princess? No? Get thee to a second hand shop immediately and buy up a ball gown! Nothing beats hanging about in the house looking ridiculously opulent! Buy all the tutus. Sew capes. Watch Brave and Frozen and download the soundtrack. Weave crowns of daisies. Enter into the imaginative world of your children. Whittle swords with them. (We are nearly always warrior princesses.) Keep talking about all the models of “princesses” out there.

This too shall pass
It will pass. You might even be sad to see this phase leave, because you’ve now begun having SO MUCH FUN with your kids! But trust in the fact that very few adult women actually want to be rescued by a man, and even fewer want to actually be a princess.

Trust in yourself, your model as a strong, creative mother or equality loving father. Trust in your children, that this phase is important to them. This princess thing won’t last forever with your child, so find joy and connection in it while it does.Feminist parents don't need to fear princess culture

collaborative

5 things you must know about skin care during winter

19 January, 2016

It feels a little strange posting this – I have literally just stopped in at the library to do a little work after a surf in the sun!! But there are some handy hints here, my northern hemisphere friends!

Winter is a very hard season for our entire body. And the biggest organ we have – our skin – probably suffers the most. But this is not how it is supposed to be, and you can always change that if you know how to treat your skin right and how to help it live throughout the cold season.
For the best result and the best pampering, bellow you will find five essential things you must know about skin care during the cold season. If you think that you won’t be able to afford some of those special products – don’t worry! At JCPenney store, you might find it all! But before that, don’t forget to check for some of these JCPenney deals and coupons and relax – you will be able to afford every high-quality product there is there a lot cheaper.

After that, other things I am going to mention don’t require a lot. All you need to do is to take a look at a few things and chance your daily routine a bit. And that is not that hard after all if you want to help your skin!

Using sunscreen shouldn’t be so weird after all
Knew it or not, but during winter sun can make as much damage to your skin as during summer days. So one of the essential tips, in this case, would be using a sunscreen before any long time outdoors and applying it on your face and arms if you are not going to wear any gloves. Also, look for sunscreens that have a broad spectrum with SPF 30 or higher and protect your skin from harmful sun rays and unneeded sunburn!

Ban hot and long showers and baths
Despite the fact that hot and long baths during winter time are so relaxing and fun, you should be very cautious about that and either ban the time in it or limit your bathing time radically. For example, 10 minutes per day in a hot shower is just enough to get clean and not to wash all the protective oils your skin makes naturally. On the other hand, maybe skip hot showers at all and take a shower with lukewarm water instead. Hot water actually can dry out your skin even more, and this is just not what you were trying to achieve in the first place.lulasticcouk-5694e8331a64f

You should add something new to your beauty bag
If you have noticed that your skin gets a little bit red during colder days, that means it is time for you to add something slightly new to your beauty bag. In this case, you should look for special kind of a primer with neutralizing green tones which will contrast the redness of your face and create a more even look. Also, it is time to hide away your liquid or cream blushes and foundations and stick to powder products instead to avoid dry skin.

Read the labels
When you are shopping for beauty and skin care products, you should always read the labels on them. There are basically three things you should look after. The magical duet of ceramides and hyaluronic acids are just the dream come true for all ladies who suffer from dry skin during winter. While grape seed oil or extract in beauty products are perfect for girls, who have a more problematic skin with acne. So, definitely, look for them on labels, keeping a careful eye out for any toxic ingredients too, and buy only those products that have them!

Hydrate double
And by double I mean double! A double from the outside and the inside, and double in the morning and the evening. The more water you get during the day, the healthier your skin will be, and you will avoid dry skin a lot easier. So, a glass of water in the morning and occasional sipping during the day should become your routine in the winter time. On the other hand, you should invest in a good moisturizer as well, and use it twice per day to hydrate your skin from the outside as well. All combined will surely help you skin glow and be healthy!

yurt life

New Year, New Yurt

11 January, 2016

It takes a triplet of things, at least, eh, to make a collection? Like, I definitely collect vintage tea towels, typewriters and mouldy things in my fridge, because I’ve got loads of all of those…

But two yurts wouldn’t make us Yurt Collectors right?

It just makes us Yurt Lovers, which sort of seems more reasonable, do you reckon?

This last week we put up our second yurt, a bigger, fancier version of the first. It has proper windows and we plan on putting in a little sleeping loft and things. We are mega excited as this is our roots-down home now, and the little yurt will be a spare room for people to come and stay. (By “people come to stay” I mean “hide things that we should have got rid of ages ago but are hanging on to just in case we ever get invited to another Kids Shows of the 1980s fancy dress party or if I do decide to start using my leather hole punching tool more regularly or you know whatever”)

We’ve tended to have momentous first weeks of January over the last few years. Two years ago we moved to New Zealand on January 1st, then one year ago we walked on to this bit of land on January 1st and went “Woah, this is IT” and this year we finally get our home up. So mega. (We’re gonna really have to work on something for next year eh… but maybe we need to pull back on the momentousness… maybe like, New Year, New Gerbil or something.)

Yurt Raising New Zealand

We love yurts because they are such a beautiful, affordable home… there is this concept, democratic architecture, a sort of movement all about houses for The People … homes that people can actually afford / build themselves / don’t just line the pockets of a tiny few. Yurts definitely fall into this, with their easy construction and simple design. (Thanks Mongolia, for this ingenious gift.)

Yurt Raising New Zealand

We put this yurt up, a home that will eventually have the footprint not far off that of our South London home in a day and a half with a huge amount of help from friends … and only a few hairy moments (one involving a friend inching down the outside of the roof with some gaffa tape.)

Yurt Raising New Zealand

And for those of you who want to get down with the actual construction of our yurt have a look at my latest Youtube video of the whole shebang from start to finish, with a retro 1990’s slideshow styling…

Anything new for you this year? Resolutions or dreams? My resolutions, made just this moment, are to not collect mouldy things in my fridge any more, and to, where possible, slim down the chances of friends having hairy moments on our roof with gaffa tape. 

Happy New Year to you! X