Sunday, 17 July 2011

Dream big...

My soundtrack for the week.... 

Why dream big?

Well, as a teenager, I used to fantasize - about my future life.... I used to think about what my home would be like, what my Husband would be like...what it would be like to be a Mum...what kind of job I would have and so on....

But now, when I think about the future, our future, I am thinking about such bigger things...I sometimes doubt myself and I can hear the little red guy on my shoulder saying

'hey, you're just you, why are you dreaming so big'

Thankfully, there's a little guy in white on the other shoulder saying

'why ever not! you are you and that is exactly why you should be dreaming big'

Sure, I still want the huge house where all my family can feast at Christmas, where Little Miss O could decide to get married if she wants to (can you tell I grew up watching Father of the Bride) ...but now I want more.

Despite feeling really content with my life at the moment (and I really am), I find myself feeling HUNGRY. HUNGRY, THIRSTY and constantly wanting to achieve more. Perhaps its because I'm a project-oriented person and so now that my PhD is done and collecting dust, I'm looking for a new challenge. Something to sink my teeth into and to run with...

The ideas have been brimming for a while now, but now the time has come...

Mr O and I are cooking up a little project - together. I'm so excited by it and so is he! We motivate each other and it's great to have the support that he offers me on a daily basis. He is actually my rock!

Every time I think about our plans and where they could take us, a cheesy grin just takes over my face. I am dreaming big again (!), and I feel that no obstacle in our lives can or should stand in the way. We have the big J.C on our side and are praying for our venture and for our family.

I think that every person is here to do something - whatever it is, we're all here for a reason. We are all blessed with different talents and its our duty, surely, to figure out what our passion and talents are and how we can use them for good. Even just by smiling at a stranger or telling someone that you like the way they are wearing their hair...we're showering blessings onto others, we're making someone else's day brighter and the effects are cumulative - trust me on this guys...

I am generally a smiley person (maybe annoyingly so) and I'm told that I have an 'infectious humour' about me. I decided to take this as a compliment! : )P But, other than people being happy to be around me (most of the time), I want to do more...

I want to serve more...

I want to achieve more...

I want to be more...

I want to be the best possible version of myself that I can be. Darn it, I want our family to be the best possible version of ourselves that we can be!

Am I asking too much? Am I egotistic? A narcissist even? Personally, I don't think so...

I suppose today,  I am realising that actually Mr O and I are on a great path.

We're so so blessed and have a lot going for us - we're still so young and have the whole of our lives ahead of us...

So, here's to a new week - of dreaming BIG! For all of us to dream big...

Someone once challenged me with these questions: 

What do you dream of achieving?
What do you love doing?
What are you good at?
What are you doing to make your dreams a reality?

 If you're reading this, I challenge you to do the same....share your visions for yourself in the comments box and I'll add this to my prayer list... (go on, it can't hurt right?!)

Have a great week - dreaming big and fabulous things!

Mrs O

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Henna - for next time....

So, I started doing some 'research' into henna as a hair dye.

I came across a 3-part blog session on the natural haven. I really love this blog because it explains scientific concepts about hair in such a clear and concise way. I'm a 'scientist'/'researcher' by day and so I am used to having to evidence everything I do, say or even think... so when it comes to my hair, I find it useful to look at evidence. I generally try a product (homemade or store bought) 3 times. I figure that if you try it once, you could get good results down to chance, a second good result could just be a coincidence...but if the same thing works 3 times, then I trust it that little bit more... :  ) I also try not to change or test more than one product at a time - if I applied 5 different things to my hair each day, how could I expect to see a positive change in the condition of my hair...and if I did, how could I know which one it was...

Because of this sort of hair confusion, I stick to one thing at a time...except when the closet artist in me comes out and then I ruin all my hard work and put some random concoction on my hair just because it smells nice!!!

Here's the links to the posts:

How henna works
Myths and Facts about henna
Cautionary words about henna!

The main thing that I'm taking away from this article is that if I do use henna are that:

1) I shouldn't be complacent about conditioning simply because its a natural dye rather. I suppose, I will just have to try henna and see how my hair feels afterwards in comparison to when I use ammonia-based hair dyes...

2) Henna contains Lawson that can mutate cells - ow, I'm not sure of all the effects of the product that I currently use, but the idea of cell mutation doesn't fill me with confidence! Then again has anyone actually done a proper scientific study to see what the real effects of henna are... (more research I think!)

Mrs O

Thursday, 7 July 2011

How to get rid of hair dye from your hands!

Ok, so on Tuesday I mentioned that I needed to sort out my 'silvers' and so as usual I bought a pack of hair dye from a well-known brand and whilst a friend was over, I started to dye my hair. I do not know what possessed me, but I didn't use gloves!!! : ( By the time I realised, it was too late. Why the friend didn't advise me is a mystery to both of us - it was only when Mr O walked in and asked what I was doing did I take note of the fact that my hands were changing colour!

Over 12 hours later, my hands are still a different shade of black compared with 24 hours ago! A classic school girl error you might say. Last night, I googled 'how to get rid of hair dye from your hands' and was met with a really unhelpful answer on Yahoo which was 'use gloves'... um DOH! If I had used gloves then I wouldn't be googling this... sigh...

Anyway, I tried a series of home 'remedies' and there is definitely a noticeable improvement, but since the initial staining was so bad, this doesnt really say a lot! Just in case anyone ever googles the same thing again, here is a little list of things that in combination/alone helped to alleviate my hair-dye stained hands....

* Note that adding more hair dye to try to 'dissolve' the stain did not work for me!

- Lemon juice (the freshly squeezed kind)
- Bicarb of soda
- Hand wash
- Washing up liquid
- Whitening toothpaste
- Shampoo
- Nail polish remover
- Alcohol hand cleansing gel
- Vanish stain removing spray!
- Window cleaner!!!!

** Also note that I did NOT soak my hands in undiluted bleach as suggested by source! (can you imagine explaining that one to your Dr!)

I tried to use natural household items as far as possible but you can just imagine the random array of chemicals that my hands are likely still covered in - not just from the hair-dye itself, but also from my 'treatments!'...

*** Finally note that I tried all these 'treatments' in the order listed above, you can see the desperation!

This experience makes my argument for finding (or darn it even making) a natural hair dye even more convincing. Seriously, my hands are still covered in ammonia. Yuck! They don't stink or anything but this cannot be good! Sigh, I just want to stop putting rubbish on my body - completely. I imagine that henna could still stain my hands, but in some way I would find this somewhat more acceptable.... 

Why can't I be one of those hippified people who wears bright colours and jewellery that jingles as I skip barefoot (yes, skip!) across white sands and who rides a bicycle with a hand-woven basket - all whilst casually carrying an acoustic guitar across my shoulder and sipping on carrot and ginger juice.

Sure, I realise its a massive generalisation, but really - I'd love that... to be/become that soul....

Maybe I just want to be India Arie herself?!?!
I bet she wouldn't forget to wear gloves when dying her hair... in fact, I bet she just goes to the salon...or better, I bet she doesn't even have any silvers : )p

Anyway, lesson learnt: Wear gloves when dying hair at home or just stop being a sissy and go the salon! Until the next time though, I'm going to start finding out a bit more about natural hair dyes... I have 6 weeks to come up with a natural, more hair, and apparently, hand- friendly, solution!

Mrs O

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Hair hypocrite!

I confess, I'm all into the whole 'natural hair revolution'... I love having my 'natural' hair and learning about what my hair likes and how hair behaves in response to different chemicals. Shaving my head back in 2009 has lead me on  an amazing journey, changing my eating habits (except chocolate!) and learning more about the benefits of what Mother Earth has to offer. But, to call myself  'natural' is a little misleading I think.

So, I confess... my hair is not 100% natural! I haven't relaxed my hair since 2009, BUT I still use crappy 'dark and lovely'-esque hair dye! Worse still, I dye it at home - myself! The reason is that I hate going to the salon only to be told 'ooooh you have SO many grey hairs..bla bla bla bla'. Obviously, I am aware of this - thanks!! So to avoid this public embarassment in front of some of hairs worst critics (black women - you know it is true!!), I do it at home. I mean if my hair was perfect would I really be sitting in their chair?!

So as part of my DIY, I make myself a natural (really!) moisturising treatment that really helps to restore what is lost with the harsh drying chemicals found in hair dye - can you spell ammonia! Still, the fact remains, I put this crap on my hair, knowing that every time I do it, it makes my hair weaker and weaker and weaker.... go figure?! In other respects my hair is doing well - but the greys  really are just not a part of who I am regardless of whether or not they sprout from my head!


I dye my hair 'natural' black mostly or sometimes a deep mahogany colour - both of which I like equally. I don't dye my hair for any other reason than because of 'my silvers'.

Yes, I confess, I have  A LOT OF 'silver' hair. I wish I could blame my PhD for causing me so much stress that it turned my hair grey - but I can't. I started silvering at age 12 (close your mouths now!)... a fellow school traveller announced this is on the coach to France one year - and this was the first I had heard of it. I should really thank her but at the time I didn't.

The ONLY good thing to come of me silvering in random places is that when I do dye my hair deep mahogany, I get copper(!) highlights which look as though they are intentional. Apart from that, there really is nothing else good about silvering this early. I have already accepted that by the time I am 50, actually probably 45, I will just allow it and rock my silver fro...but I am just too young darn it to sport grey hair. I refuse and would not even contemplate doing so... so for now, dyeing my hair is the only way forward....

I am due to dye my hair (yes myself!) and this is why I am exposing myself on the www!

I am asking for anyone out there in the hair world, whatever you're hair texture:


Has anyone tried Henna? Is it any good?
I heard black tea stains the hair but does this work?

I am clueless to the options.. and am open to all and any suggestions welcomed with open arms!!!!

Mrs O

Monday, 4 July 2011

Little Miss O does the funniest things...

Little Miss O snaps a crayon, on purpose whilst drawing.

Me: Don't break your things, you wont be able to use them in you break them like that.

I turn around, and Little Miss O has found a stick of glue (I won't disclose which brand as they have not paid me for advertising!) and she is trying to glue the two pieces of crayon back together...

I wanted to burst out laughing, but she was concentrating so hard and seemed really determined. I had the mind to lay the crayon down and replace it whilst she sleeps with a fresh, unbroken yellow crayon... I thought, all that effort...for nothing! I did think this with a sneaky smile though and decided not to reward her breaking of crayons with new crayons - probably not the best lesson for a 3 year old! Instead, I explained sensitively:

'I don't think its going to work darling, you'll just have to use a different colour'

The response I got was what can only be described as a 'death stare'. This is a stare that I recently being made aware of it. It's one of those, 'if looks could kill, then this one would, except that I would never actually kill you with anything other than my cold hard stare'... Apparently, I have been doing this stare for years and its only at work(!) that someone thought to tell me about this. Thanks family!!!! : ) Anyway, Little Miss O gave me the death stare! Its the first time that I've been on the receiving end and ouch - its a wonderful yet sometimes dangerous thing to have such an expressive face - you can always tell what I am/she is thinking...

I just had to note this down somewhere so that when she is all grown up and possibly and artist or a joiner or maybe even famous for pulling funny faces like Jim Carey, then I can remind her of this!

Thanks for giving me such funny moments Little Miss O

Mrs O

Saturday, 2 July 2011

40 days of thankfulness

So, today is day 42 of 40... That's right, my 40 days of thankfulness is up! I've not kept my blog up to date and at first I felt 'oh no! I didn't achieve what I set out to' but then I realised that I did and more. I started my blog posts on thankfulness because I was going through a moody, whingey annoying phase- I mean when you start irritating yourself by your own behaviour- there's a problem. Initially I blogged daily about what put a smile on my face that day and then as the days went on I didn't Feel the need to validate my exercise by blogging. By day 20 or so, I found that I wasn't so much having to consciously think of positive things that had happened in my day. I really feel like I've achieved something by retraining myself to find the positive and dwell less on things that don't go my way, are beyond my control, displeasing to me' or anything like that. I'm feeling so energised lately and so even if I haven't managed to write down my daily entries... I'm just as 'busy' as I was 42 days ago, except now, I don't feel stressed for all the positive things in my life.

40 days - successful xxx xxx
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