Monday, 24 January 2011

Homemade Skincare - Sugar Scrub

I've slowly become more conscious of what I put into and onto my body, especially in the last year. It started with my hair just under 2 years ago when I replaced my moisturiser with a home made mix consisting of shea butter, castor oil, extra virgin coconut oil and aloe vera gel. There are many advantages to it including:
  • I know exactly what it's in it, no weird ingredients that I can't pronounce or would have to Google to figure out what it does
  • It's cheaper 
  • It's been the best moisturiser I've used on my hair so far
So of course I've stuck with it :)

Last year, my friend Keris (of Fitter London) attended an eye opening  course, made some changes to her diet (more organic food less processed rubbish), hair/skin products (some ingredients were a no-no) and just generally more aware of everything she ate, used, etc. Lucky for me, I'd already adopted some of the new habits she formed a while back so I was happy to learn more.

Late last year, I went to the States to spend Christmas with my Sister and the first thing I noticed when she picked me up from the airport was how much her skin was GLOWING! My Sister has had on and off skin problems for years and she has tried so many skin products and treatments, not have been successful long term. Last year she started doing some research and followed some blogs of ladies who took care of their skin with natural, homemade products. Her skin has totally transformed, it's amazing!

Funny thing was I'd heard of these methods and had actually tried one of them but didn't keep it up for reasons I can't recall now. Some of them are:
  • Using oil to clean the face - yes, oil! This is another blog post in itself
  • Oil as a moisturiser... yep, you read right OIL.
  • Using a homemade scrub to exfoliate <--- Reason for this post.
  • Bentonite clay (this is an Indian earth powder) to fully cleanse the skin
Once I got back from my Xmas break, I went out and bought grapeseed oil to use as my face moisturiser and some bentonite clay from an indian store and decided to try it out for 2 weeks before blogging about it.

I'm loving the results! I know I didn't start out with spots but I have always had dry skin so no matter what soap/wash I use for my face, it always feels super dry after washing. Now sometimes I forget to moisturise until a couple of hours after!  For me, that's HUGE!
  • My face cleansing oil is a mix of Castor Oil and Sweet Almond Oil (I'll blog about this next week)
  • Moisturiser - Grapeseed Oil

My exfoliating scrub is a mix of Sugar and Extra Virgin Olive Oil and the first time I used it, I couldn't stop stroking my cheeks, lol! My skin was baby soft... seriously!
I aim to use this once a week.

I mix 5 tablespoons of Brown sugar with 7-8 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and store in a glass jar.

  • I apply to my dry face and gently massage in circular motions... I do this for a few minutes and rinse with lukewarm water. 
  • Then I soak a face towel in hot water and place it on my face for about a minute - during this time, the excess oils are being removed. 
  • I rinse the face towel and repeat a couple more times. 
  • Then I do a quick *cold rinse* to close my pores. 
  • Dry my face and apply my moisturiser (grapeseed oil).

There'll be more posts on skin and hair care from me :)

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Get Trimmer... The Healthy Way

The #1 reason for wanting to lose weight is to look and feel good. Another less common (but more important reason) is to be healthier e.g. to reduce likelihood of diseases (heart, cancer, etc) and to increase life expectancy plus many health related reasons.

The need to Look and Feel Good leads to people trying fad diets which are usually unhealthy and unrealistic.

Why should I drink meal-replacement shakes to lose weight (especially WITHOUT medical supervision) when I know that it definitely won't be a part of my lifestyle once I've reached my goal? Why should I go on the Maple Syrup Diet knowing fully well that  I probably won't last a week on it and if I did, I definitely won't stick to it for the rest of my life?

I know the feeling of wanting to be slimmer immediately, I wanted to go to sleep a size 16/18 and wake up a size 10/12. So any diet that claimed to strip fat in a matter of weeks would have been an amazing idea to me and I'd have jumped on that bandwagon asap. I'm really lucky I found Weight Watchers and I lost weight healthily enough but I know a lot of people have tried everything and are still trying... unsuccessfully.

While working towards your goal of your dream body, try to eat more natural/organic foods.

Most people back home (in Nigeria) don't realise how lucky they are to eat organic food - No super-chickens 'grown' with antibiotics, no genetically modified food and the many scary things I discover everyday here in the UK. For those in Europe, USA, Canada, etc - Trust me, I know food labelled as 'organic' is sometimes more than 2ce the price of the regular alternatives in grocery stores. But you need to remember that organic food isn't only sold in chain grocery stores e.g. I buy my free-range, organic chicken from the Butchers and they cost much less than the Organic chickens in fancy packaging but it costs much less :)
Another example... fruit/veg can be bought from smaller businesses who carry organic produce, my friend went to an Organic store and ONE cauliflower was £3 (what?!?!?!).

Ok back to the subject... ;-)

If any of you ladies eat/drink anything that falls under any of these categories listed below, I'd really appreciate it if you could read the ingredients and post them in the comments section:
  • Meal replacement shakes e.g. Slim Fast
  • Low Fat snacks

Over the course of 2010, I made changes to what I was putting in and on my body. From hair moisturisers (I now use shea butter mixed with oils) to health bars (I swapped protein bars with ingredients I couldn't even pronounce to those which contained seeds, nuts, etc). In my opinion, this was a great decision and I am loving knowing that most of what I eat or use is not full of artificial ingredients. I won't go full on in this post but will be sharing the small changes I've made often :)

PS Please keep posting your questions, food logs etc :)

Sunday, 16 January 2011

I love Natural Hair :)

I remember when I initially told my Sister I was going natural i.e. No more relaxers. She didn't understand why I'd want to do that, especially as my hair was very healthy and was long enough.

For a quick recap, take a quick look at THIS

Recently, I recieved a few comments which made me have to bite my tongue to avoid giving a rude reply:
  • "If my hair was as long as yours is/was, I'd relax it" - Errrr... ok I'll keep my thoughts to myself on this one, I'm trying so hard here, haha!
  • "Your hair is different, it's not like the usual African hair" - Last time I checked, I was 100% African, 100% Nigerian. My hair looks "different" because I take very good care of it :)
  • "Why did you go natural when your relaxed hair was thick and full" - This was the most acceptable comment/question because  I totally understood what they meant. Some people go natural as a last resort - damage caused by relaxers, thin hair due to overprocessing (constant application of relaxers), etc I decided to stop relaxing my hair because I decided that I didn't need relaxers to have nice looking hair and also because I didn't want relaxers (chemicals) applied close to my scalp every 4-6 months (but I'm  not trying to preach in this post so I'll not go into that now).
I've been relaxer-free for just over 2 years now (25 months) and I straightened my hair in December... right before Christmas, I was wearing my hair like this:

On Xmas Day, I did a donut bun (I love these!):

And I straightened:

I've heard a lot about going natural hair being a fad and I roll my eyes.

I understand that some people are going natural because "everyone" is going natural. I see nothing wrong with that because, although a huge fraction of these people will get frustrated and go back to relaxing their hair, a significant number will love having natural hair and will stay natural :)

Anyone who needs tips on taking care of relaxed OR natural hair, let me know - I'll be glad to help :)

Oh... and my Sister is going natural too, it's been a year since she last relaxed her hair :)

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Get Trimmer... and stay Trimmer

Hi :)

During the 1st week of January, it's best to slowly discard bad eating habits. Slowly is the keyword here - If you're someone who for e.g. eats out every night, drinks a couple of glasses of wine almost everyday, drinks a can or two of coke everyday, etc.

It's unrealistic to stop doing all these things at the same time. A more realistic approach would be to initally:
  • cut down to one *small* glass of wine every other day (red wine is a healthier option, I'll go into that another time)
  • choose healthier options when eating out e.g. ask for dressing on the side when ordering salads, pick roasted, grilled meals over deep fried foods
  • switch to diet coke (which you will eventually reduce because although it contains less calories, it contains artificial sweeteners) and drink more water
When you are successful with your small changes, you take the next step:
  • small glass of red wine 1ce to 2ce a week
  • eat out less so you know *exactly* what's going into your meals.
  • diet coke a couple of times a week
And then:
  • wine, eating out and diet coke will be classed as "treats" ie you only have them on special occasions.
A similar approach worked for me (although I don't drink and I've never been a Coca Cola (I initially entered 'coke' haha!) addict, I based this on someone else I know and I hope she reads this :) ... ).

This week, please post what you feel your bad habits are and how you think you'll slowly wean yourself off them.

Enjoy your week :)

Monday, 3 January 2011

2011 - The journey to good health continues

Happy New Year! I'm so excited!!! I hope your 2011 is off to a good start :)

I've been on holiday for a week and a half with family and I feel refreshed and recharged... might have to do with all the food I ate ;)

Let's not bother with 2011 resolutions... how about we pick up from where we left off last year? :)

To those who aren't aware already, check out the 'Get Trimmer' challenge HERE.

This year there WILL be videos, especially cos I promised my sister and her friend (they both live in the US) and I know they'll constantly remind me ;)

Preye K just joined the challenge today which means I'm DEFINITELY putting up a post by Tuesday.

I am really sorry for being MIA in December... hope you're all still in :)

How are you? How much did you eat? ;) How ready are you to keep working towards a healthier lifestlyle?