Like a bird alone on a roof…
I’ve been using a home-made exfoliator recently and I thought I’d share it with you because it works so well. It’s super simple and really cheap.
So to make it you need only 2 ingredients:
- granulated sugar
- Honey is naturally antibacterial, so it’s great for acne treatment and prevention.
- It’s full of antioxidants, and it is great for slowing down aging.
- It is extremely moisturizing and soothing, so it helps create a glow.
- Honey is clarifying because it opens up pores making them easy to unclog.
Just to reiterate something from my post about natural ways to cleanse, tone and moisturise. If you get spots on your chin – take vitamin B6! Take a lot – at least 100mg and it clears them up completely. Apparently spots on your chin are caused by a hormone imbalance or something and B6 sorts it out.
This exfoliator also helps with spots in a more general way though.
So there you go – super quick and easy to make. Really cheap and works SO well! I’ll never ever go back to shop-bought exfoliators.
In the photo you’ll notice my skin is a bit oily. I always put a little on my face afterward to soothe the skin – again check out my post:
for more about using oils on your skin.
I hope this is helpful. Give it a try! Let me know what you think in the comments and if you’ve got any good recipes for things like this I’d love to hear about them!
I’m writing this blog post because it can be difficult for people to financially support all of the causes that they’d like to and it can be even more difficult for people to find time to volunteer or help out in any sort of organised way.
A few people have said to me –
Tell me how I can help because I’d like to – I just don’t know how! I don’t have much time and I don’t have much money so I don’t know what I can do.
So yeah – I’m going to write (a probably garbled) post about the ways that I think people can help. These are just my own personal feelings on the subject and I have no real basis for anything I say except that it’s what I feel.
Next Friday then I will be sleeping outside all night –
-but I am so lucky to have family and friends who care about me – who might even worry about how I’m feeling on Friday night. I’ll know that I have a home to go back to in the morning. That I have friends who’ll ask me how I feel, will empathize if I tell them I’m tired or that I was cold.
I can’t imagine what it must feel like to think you have no one to turn to, no one you can rely on, and no one who even knows how you feel – let alone cares.
I highly recommend that next time you pass a homeless person, smile, and stop and say hello. Ask them how their day has been so far – talk about the weather – anything!
It’s very humbling how grateful people can be when you’re just treating them like you would anybody and it might just help them to feel like they’re still part of our community and not quite so forgotten. It only takes a few minutes.
Of course there are people who don’t want to talk and there are people who are difficult to talk to but you get a sense very quickly if a person would like to shoot the breeze or not. A smile and an acknowledgment that a person is there and exists is sometimes all you can do.
I always feel like one of the greatest things a person can do is to remind another human being of their worth and innate specialness – and it costs nothing.
Often when I see a homeless man in the street and see the tired or expectant expression on his face as people walk by or the lack of hope or the yearning, I find myself thinking – ‘What if that was your brother and for some reason you and all those who love him couldn’t help? What wouldn’t you give or do to be allowed to relieve him of the pain and despair he must feel crouching there, at the mercy of strangers? What tears would you shed and what pain would you suffer if you came across your own brother in the street like that?’ It’s an awful thought.
When you see someone and imagine that person is a dear friend or someone you love it becomes easier to know what to do. When my mother or friend is hurting I act instinctively in whatever way I feel will help. It’s difficult to do sometimes but I do try to look at people with love first so that I can see them clearly and know how I should act. A good friend of mine pointed out that a homeless person might not be feeling those emotions – that I might be projecting. That’s a very important point. There are all sorts of weird and wonderful things buzzing around in all of our heads!
Of course there are so many homeless people that you can’t see. You won’t pass them in the street; you won’t be able to speak to them. They’re hidden away. Some people feel ashamed of the circumstances they’ve found themselves in; they’re ashamed to ask for money from strangers, they’re frightened. Sometimes they’re frightened of you and me and our judgement.
Sometimes they’re frightened for much more serious reasons –
I spoke to a young girl in Swansea once who told me that she’d left home because of her father. I won’t go into it too much but I felt entirely helpless. If I gave her money it was not going to help her in any real way. I asked her why she didn’t go to somebody and she said she hadn’t been believed (that is a ridiculously simplified account but here is not the place).
Here’s a quote from an Independent article –
“Women will know that sleeping in the gutter, or even on sofas, raises the sexual risks – of rape, reluctant sex and desperate prostitution. Some 41 per cent of female rough sleepers have prostituted themselves.
Females are likely to arrive on the street after a long, slow decline, stretching from childhood. Domestic violence is a common theme, and is a reason cited by some 35 per cent of St Mungo’s female clients as to why they finally left home.”
So there are plenty of homeless people who are frightened and hiding.
So if you can’t afford to regularly give financially and you can’t commit to helping out in shelters or with organisations like The Bethany Trust or Glasgow City Mission – how can you help?
Well I once learned an incredibly valuable lesson from a Big Issue seller. This is very personal and might be over-sharing but here goes.
My part in this story is quite absurd and I’m afraid it has to begin with the words – I was walking to my friend’s house with a hamster in a cage in my arms…
It was in Kelvinbridge where I lived at the time and I was heading along Great Western Road when I saw something a little way forward and on the other side of the road. It looked like lots of stuff in the road and something big and strange and I felt this peculiar sick feeling in my stomach and a sort of trembly strangeness and I was frightened to look too closely. I got to the crossing and a few other people were moving over when I got there.
It was a woman. There’s a reason that it was difficult to make that out at first that I won’t go into. She was mostly in the gutter beside the pavement. I had, and have never since, seen anything like that before. I didn’t know what to do. I stood on the pavement clutching this great big hamster cage and crying. I kept looking wildly about trying to think what I should do. I am a weirdo in so many ways and one of them is that I refuse to own a mobile phone. I couldn’t call an ambulance. There were other people there and I assumed they’d called one. I didn’t know what to do. I kept thinking over and over – what can I do?! What can I do?!
What did I do? I stood, trembling, crying, clutching a cage and watching. That’s what I did.
I started to think – is it wrong to stand here staring? I can’t just walk away from this human being as though it’s just like any other walk. I can’t just turn away from her – but is standing gawping worse?
There were a number of people there by now – most importantly the Big Issue seller – but I’ll get back to him in a minute.
I decided that I was unhelpful and ineffectual and that I had to be without the great big heavy cage. My friend was only 5 minutes round the corner so I suddenly turned away and rushed off to my friends and left the hamster with her. Then I came back.
Now to the important part of this story. The Big Issue seller. The man who taught me an important lesson that day.
I am a very privileged person. I am loved. I am financially comfortable though I haven’t always been. I’d seen death before – but not like this. I have suffered but they’ve been the sufferings of an extremely privileged person. In other words – I don’t know what real suffering is. Perhaps that’s why I didn’t know how to respond. There were quite a few people who stood around – just like me.
One person rushed to the scene. One person knelt down and held the woman’s hand. He spoke to her. He looked her in the eye. He got right down there with her. Now I don’t want to go into this too much but it was extremely difficult to look at this woman. I hadn’t realised just how fragile and strange the human body is. He looked and he didn’t flinch. I don’t know if she could hear or understand his words but she knew he was there. I don’t know if she could feel his hand but she looked up at his face.
When I stood about trembling with my hamster cage the woman was alive – she was there. When I came back from my friend’s – she was gone.
She didn’t die alone.
Just to make it absolutely clear how ineffectual I was that day –
- I didn’t call an ambulance
- I stood a couple of feet away the whole time
- I cried
- I did literally nothing to help the woman
- Because I have some mental health problems I compounded it all by becoming ill for quite a prolonged period afterward.
What should I have done? I should have done what the Big Issue Seller did. He looked suffering in the face. He responded in the only way he could by being there – being available. He made sure the woman didn’t feel alone – she couldn’t see all the people standing about but she knew there was someone with her who cared and was there. He recognised her and he recognised her suffering.
That Big Issue Seller has probably seen a lot of suffering in his life. Homeless people are over 9 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population. The average age of death for homeless people still remains shockingly low at just 47 years old, and with the average age for homeless women being even lower at 43. This compares to an age of 77 for the general population. As might be expected, the causes of death for homeless people differ from those of the wider population. Whilst disease causes the vast majority of deaths amongst the general population, homeless people are more likely to die from external causes. There are much higher incidences of suicide and deaths as a result of traffic accidents, infections and falls are also more common.
So through that Big Issue seller I learned that the most important thing is to not turn your face away from suffering. If all you can do is acknowledge and remember – then do that. It automatically changes the way you behave and makes you act instinctively as you would with your hurt child or parent – with someone you love. Look at suffering, acknowledge it and remember it. Remember it when you’re walking down the street.
Remember it when you vote.
If you feel you do have time to help in other ways –
Glasgow City Mission do some amazing work and always need people to help out – http://www.glasgowcitymission.com/about-us/what-we-do/
Of course there is The Bethany Christian Trust who are organising The Big Sleep Out that I’ll be taking part in on Friday – http://www.bethanychristiantrust.com/
There are organisations across the country working tirelessly to make a material and emotional difference in the lives of people who have come up against desperate circumstances and I know they’d all love to hear from people who are able to assist in any way- big or small.
I’m going to give up my bed (and Charlie’s company) for a night on 18th March 2016 to help fundraise to make sure that loads more people get a safe, warm bed this winter. Over the last 15 years the Big Sleep Out has seen over 2000 participants in various locations raise over £300K to help the people that are most in need in Scotland. £300K is an amazing amount of money and in real terms, could provide over 10,000 bed spaces in their emergency winter care shelters – but they need more and need to continually fundraise. The number of people using the shelters is on the rise.
So I’m going to sleep in a cardboard box for the night mainly to raise awareness and hopefully some money to help too. I don’t normally do sponsored things but all you who know me well know how much this subject matters to me. If you are able to and feel like it’s something you’d like to support please sponsor me at the link below.https://bigsleepout2016.everydayhero.com/uk/h-a
If not then do please check out some of the websites of organisations that are working with homeless people in Glasgow – there are lots of different ways to help. As well as Bethany Trust there is Glasgow City Mission who do amazing work – http://www.glasgowcitymission.com/about-us/what-we-do/
I love plants. I mean I really love them. My flat is filled with plants.
My friends call my flat my ‘jungle’ 🙂
So I’m going to post a bit about indoor planting. I’ll do a few posts covering a few different topics.
Growing plants is one of the most rewarding things you can do and you don’t have to have a garden to enjoy doing it.
I’m going to post just a few tips for basic house-plant growing today but something I’m beginning to research and experiment with is terrariums and Wardian cases. So look out for posts on that in the future.
The possibilities for indoor gardening are endless and it is becoming a small obsession of mine. I might as well share what I learn with you!
So anyway here are my top 10 simple tips for basic indoor gardening:
- Never over-water your plants. This is one of the most common mistakes people make. Water until the soil is damp only. You get to know your plants over time and how much water they like. There are signs that can guide you in this –Too much water:
- The edges of leaves turn brown
- Leaves that are low down turn yellow and fall
- succulents and cacti look bloated
- you find soft black and brown patches on the leaves
- you find brown dry patches
- Leaves, stems and rosettes start to rot
- New growth is pale and soft
2. Equally though be careful not to under-water. Again there are signs. Not enough water:
- Leaves and stems begin to wilt
- The leaves lower down dry up and fall off
- You find brown crunchy patches on the leaves
- buds drop off
- flowers die very quickly
- succulents and cacti shrivel
- If your soil becomes completely dry all the leaves will drop off
- The soil shrinks away from the sides of the pot.
3. Where possible, don’t use cold water. Use tepid.
4. Don’t transplant new cuttings until they have been growing for about 6 or 7 months.
5. Don’t place plants next to direct heat like a radiator or fire.
6. In general don’t put plants where it is cold and draughty.
7. Don’t take a plant from a room with warm conditions into a cold room -unless the plant is in resting phase but then the room ought to be cool but not cold.
8. Use rain water to water your plants as much as possible. You can keep a little container outside to catch the rain for this purpose.
9. Keep any seeds in a cool, dry place until you need them.
10. Use a fork to gently turn the top layer of earth every few months. This stops top soil from becoming mouldy.
Post any questions you might have or any topics you’d like me to cover on the topic!
I have very pale, very sensitive skin and very pale blue eyes. I’ve been trying to find natural alternatives to use to cleanse, tone and moisturize and also natural alternatives for makeup. I find it difficult enough to find manufactured makeup that suits my colouring and doesn’t end up looking really heavy and unnatural so it’s probably not surprising that I’ve had more success with the former than the latter.
- First of all -Spots
I used to get break outs of spots all over my chin just about all of the time. A friend advised me to take a vitamin B6 supplement and they completely disappeared! So there’s just a very quick bit of advice – spots on your chin? – try a vitamin B6 supplement. If I do ever feel a spot developing I just sweep some cider vinegar over the area and it usually stops it in its tracks.
I have discovered that absolutely the best way to cleanse my skin is with oil and a hot flannel. I use avocado oil most but sometimes macadamia or olive.
I’m not sure about the ethics here though. I come from Scotland – I really don’t know what sort of oil I would have to use in order for it to be locally sourced. I mean our climate is definitely not conducive to any of the above mentioned plants. I’m doing my best to try to rationalise what I use and how I spend my money and also the impact of these things on the environment and other people. Clearly the oils I use have traveled very far to reach me. What do you think about this? Also, I’m fairly ignorant when it comes to oils – if anybody has some advice about the most ethical way I can do this I’d welcome it 🙂 However, if you live in America or the Mediterranean or somewhere like that then you won’t have to worry about this moral conundrum.
These are the types and brands of oil I have in the cupboard at the moment:
Oil removes all makeup – including waterproof, incredibly well. What I usually do is gently put oil all over my face and leave it for a minute – then I put a face cloth / flannel under hot running water and then wring it out and gently wipe the oil from my face. All of the makeup comes away onto the flannel. I usually rinse out the flannel and repeat.
That’s it! It leaves your skin feeling very clean and moisturised. If you have oily skin don’t worry – it is actually beneficial to use oil based cleansers if you have oily skin prone to spots. If you over-use astringent cleansers and try to remove the oil from your skin the more it produces (or so I believe) and so this course of action is actually counter-productive. Cleansing with oils means that your skin won’t over-produce its own oils because it won’t have to.
I don’t do this all that often because my skin is so sensitive but if I have any signs of a spot coming I’ll do this and it is a good toner if you don’t have sensitive skin. I sweep some slightly diluted apple cider vinegar (with the mother) over the area. You can do this over any parts of your face that you’d like to tone.
To be honest I really don’t feel the need to tone and I don’t do it very often at all.
Usually after cleansing with oil I don’t need to do any extra moisturising but if I really want to treat my skin then I’ll rub a little extra oil in, leave it for a few minutes and then dab off any excess. Then I’ll go to bed and wake up with super moisturised skin.
So basically I use only oil and occasionally cider vinegar on my face to cleanse and moisturise and the skin on my face has never looked better! (Clearly that’s not altogether true – it looked WAY better when I was younger!)
I have started to use more natural makeup products with various degrees of success and I’ll do a separate post about that soon.
As always I’d love to hear from anybody else who uses natural products and has recommendations!
I hope this has been interesting and useful.
For homemade exfoliator see my post: https://blossombombs.wordpress.com/2016/10/20/home-made-exfoliator/
From: Towards Survival issue 19: A Journal of Sustainable Policies – January/February 1974
FOR LITTER’S SAKE
containers marked EASILY
float permanently on pools.
letters proclaiming perennial loves
are too temptingly brittle to keep
from the fire.
we retain what is useless-
destroy the essential.
who knows what – to whom –
one or the other?
might not a container be fingered in warm surroundings,
or a letter – profound though it
tender shallows of affection?
if we laid no hand on possessions
our land would be littered.
a reason for litter – perhaps.
by Jenny Johnson
Living a macrobiotic lifestyle isn’t just about eating natural and ethical foods. It’s about embracing as many natural and ethical ways of doing things as you can. It can be difficult and I’m only just starting out but one of the things I’ve found really successful is switching from chemical hair dyes to henna. I thought it might be nice to do a blog post about how I go about it and what has and hasn’t worked for me. I’d love to hear from anybody else who uses henna. What type do you use? where do you get it? What method do you find works best for you and how long do you prefer to leave it in?
My natural hair colour is a sort of light reddy brown that goes really quite blonde in the summer. Yes – even Scottish summers have a bit of sunshine! Here are some photos of my natural hair colour:
However I have been dying my hair off and on since I was about 19 years old. That’s why I’m so young in the two photos I could find with my natural hair. The top one I was at primary school I think and the bottom I was about 16.
I have mostly dyed my hair black over the years though I have experimented with reds and one time I went blonde. See examples below:
To be honest I’ve had pretty much every colour under the sun – including some real disasters!
Chemical hair dyes have links to bladder cancer, many serious skin conditions and can have devastating symptoms when a person is allergic to any of the myriad ingredients that can be found in them. I say all this and I have been dying my hair for a VERY long time and would happily change my colour more than once in a month. I have used an awful lot of hair dye over the years. I did it without really thinking about the consequences to myself or the environment.
There are many natural ways to tint your hair but henna’s effect lasts longer than a vegetable rinse and adds shine, highlights and bounce to your hair. Henna products, which are gluten-free and animal-cruelty-free, are not always a red colour, but all henna contains and imparts a little red. You can get henna in a wide array of shades, not just red, but it will not lighten hair. The other colours usually contain indigo. Henna enhances your natural colour rather than totally covering it, which allows some of your natural highlights to come through. Coating and sealing advantages are inherent with henna.
You still need to be careful when selecting henna products. The FDA states that certain “black henna” may contain the “coal tar” color p-phenylenediamine. This is very toxic – DO NOT BUY HENNA THAT HAS PPD in it. You must make sure that any henna you buy is 100% natural. It shouldn’t have anything other than cassia, henna, indigo in it. Lush henna has herbal ingredients and so on and that’s fine but the colouring agents must be one of, or a combination of, the ones listed above.
My favourite products are Lush Caca Rouge and Renaissance henna. I always use 100% henna only. That makes your hair very red though! Not for the faint-hearted.
There are various ways you can mix up henna but my preferred method after trying a few things out is just to add hot water and a little cider vinegar. I leave it for a few hours and then put it into dry hair. It can be tricky to do as the mixture is thick and doesn’t spread the way other dyes do. You get the hang of it with practice though. Then you wrap it in cling film or a carrier bag and wrap your head in a warm towel. I leave it on for 4 hours usually but occasionally wear it to bed then rinse it out in the morning.
Henna has quite a strong smell but I don’t find it unpleasant (though many people do). It is VERY messy! It takes a lot longer than chemical dye. Despite these minor drawbacks I can’t recommend switching to henna highly enough!
My hair has improved in health no end and feels stronger, thicker and is much shinier than when I was constantly dying it. I know that only natural ingredients are touching me and that I haven’t added to environmental damage in the process.
There’s a really fantastic guide to dying your hair with henna here:
that’s very detailed. The link she lists for the free book doesn’t work but here is the one that does: