Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Big hair!

My twist out 'do has dropped! I taught three dance classes in a row today and I think, try as they might, the waves just couldn't go the distance. I however, am quite enjoying the result. I now have this style that is full and, well, big!
I don't know if I'll be able to recreate this look in the morning but I'm going to give it a good try.

Tuesday, 30 January 2007

You got me!

Every evening I stop by my favourite blogs to see what's new; Sistalocd's new post revealed that she had been 'tagged'. This meant that she had to share five things her readers didn't already know about her. I read these new insights with great interest, only to find that at the end of the post she had tagged ME!

So I have to tell you five new facts about myself. I must admit that it has taken me a while to decide on what to share, but here goes...

  1. My maternal Grandmother, my Nan, was Irish. She was from Clonmel in the county of Tipperary. I was extremely close to my Nan and still, after nearly 19 years, miss her dearly. I was very spoilt by her, being her only grandchild in England; the others were in the States and Germany. I used to spend practically everyday at her house, after school and at weekends. I am very proud of my Irish roots and hope to trace the family I have there, which I think will be very interesting.
  2. I used to play the Cello. I gave it up when my lessons were moved to lunchtime and I thought I was missing out on something in the playground! I bitterly regret this decision especially as nearly all the teachers in my faculty play at least one instrument. They can have little impromptu 'jams' which I get to watch! One of them is a very talented musician and she is keen to reacquaint me with a Cello...
  3. I am sooooooo competitive, it can border on being unhealthy! Last year, weeks before sports day at school I issued my form with individual training schedules to ensure that they won as many events as possible. I know, according to the P.E department, it was meant to be about taking part, but what's the point in that if you don't WIN! I try not to play games with anybody too often as I have to keep going until I win, again and again and again. This is also true when on my own; I had to ban myself from playing Solitaire on my laptop as I would often still be up in the middle of the night waiting to win 'just one more game'
  4. I make a mean White Chocolate Cheesecake (even if I do say so myself!). I make it with a ginger biscuit base and have even adapted my recipe to create a (almost) low fat version. I try not to make it too often because of course I have to eat it, and low fat version or not one slice is never enough!
  5. I love to DANCE. My degree is in Performing Arts and I majored in Dance; I have a real passion for Doris Humphrey's technique, thanks to two very good teachers I had in the past. That said I LOVE all kinds of dance and will get up prance around whenever the mood takes me. Students no longer bat an eyelid at me dancing along the corridor - think 'kids from fame', the solo version.

Well there you go, five facts that you never knew about me!

And I now get the pleasure of passing the tag along...

I am going to choose...

How many am I allowed?

Maybe I'll start with three and add more...



and Creyole !

I look forward to reading five facts that you haven't already shared...

My weekly treat...

I really love to wash my hair these days! I look forward to sitting down and plaiting it, putting matching little black hairbands at the ends and then planning how I'm going to style it when it's finished. I've always enjoyed the feel of water running through my hair and of course that feeling of cleanliness after the final rinse. What I've not looked forward to previously is the drying and styling.

I washed my hair yesterday evening and decided that I would twist it when it was finished. I had in my mind the look I was going for and decided that to achieve it I needed to start part way down the length of my hair, the twists should be fairly loose and that they should be quite large. Before twisting I gave my hair and scalp a good coating of Tea Tree oil spritz, which I just love. I tied my hair in my doo-rag, which incidentally is becoming too small for my hair so I will have to explore new avenues, and that was that. My hair was still quite damp at this point and I guess I should get out of the habit of washing my hair late at night. I do squeeze the excess water out of my hair and then pat it with the towel before separating it; I usually then just let it hang until I'm ready for bed. To be honest this is nothing new, as I often went to bed with wet hair pre-SL's; I was hopeless at blow drying and would become intensely bored when sitting under the hood dryer. Anyway, I took the twists out this morning and then finger combed to style. The pictures at the top were taken just after I opened the twists and the bottom ones after finger combing. I am really pleased with the results, it's a bit like a rollered do without the rollers! I don't own SoftSpikes, although I am really tempted to get some; I just don't know if I can do the sleep with them in thing. Perhaps you can help me to decide. Would I have to keep them in overnight? Are they a styling option for me so early on in the journey? If you could only take 3 hair/beauty items away with you, would they be one of them? OK, only kidding with the last one, but all opinions on SS' greatly received.

Sunday, 28 January 2007


I was there, in the flesh!

My first trip to see Arsenal play at the new Emirates Stadium and for the first 60 minutes I thought they were going to let me down. Bolton are our bogey team and they give us a hard time every time we play them. Going 0-1 down to them after 50 minutes was difficult to watch and we then had to wait a further 28 minutes for Kolo Toure to score the equaliser. In the final 12 minutes we had a few chances to seal the deal, but it wasn't to be and we must now play them again.
Many of my friends think my only interest in football relates to Thierry Henry, but honestly this isn't the case! I got into football about seven years ago when my eldest son took it up. I figured that if I were going to watch him play every week I should at least understand what it was all about. My SO and son were already ardent Arsenal supporters so it followed that I watched the same matches as them; that was it, I was hooked. There is something about football that unites people.The World Cup last year was great for that; we even set up a huge screen at work to watch the England V Trinidad match whilst eating roti and drinking rum punch! I love to watch football and try to do so as much as possible; I won't however be travelling up to Bolton to watch the replay, I'll view it from the comfort of my sofa - come on you Gunners!

Friday, 26 January 2007

What the...

I came out of work late this evening having stayed behind to catch up on stuff, a few of us had decided to have a quick drink and catch up at a nearby bar. As I walked towards the car I could see that something was on the windscreen, sure that it was a leaflet promoting something or another I walked around the car to remove it.

And then I saw this...

The note on my car was from a witness who had seen the van reverse into my car and then drive off, yes, drive off! To say that this upset me was an understatement; what surprised me was the fact that I remained so calm. A few years ago I probably would have started to scream and shout in the middle of the street until all of the residents had come out their houses. But I have learnt that some things are beyond your control and getting unduly stressed about them is unhealthy. Like traffic - your in it, your going to be late, there's nothing you can do so just chill and put a good CD on!

So I sighed, inspected the car again, rang the witness and then went for the drink. Turns out the van was a delivery vehicle for a well known shop; I shall be contacting them in the morning. The damage is not horrendous and the car is driveable which is a good thing; it's the hassle it's going to cause trying to track down the driver or the fact that I will end up paying for the car to be fixed myself that winds me up the most.
Am I expecting too much to think that the driver should have left their details? My sister thinks they didn't because it would have caused them trouble at work. Is that my problem? NO.
OK, so now I can feel that my blood is starting to boil and I am forgetting my resolve that some things are not worth stressing about! I think it's a good time to end the post and get an early night; I have lots of phone calls to make in the morning...

Wednesday, 24 January 2007


It snowed today and I didn't get any pictures (so I've borrowed this one!). I thought about taking the camera out and snapping a few pics, but I got into a panic about having to drive in the snow, which I always find mildly traumatic. True to form my journey didn't let me down, it began with the car sliding down a hill and me having to stop it with the handbrake when the wheels locked. This was a rather dramatic moment as I was approaching a junction and I'm sure the drivers crossing my path were oblivious to my plight. Needless to say once that was over I drove very slowly whilst clutching the steering wheel tightly! I didn't bother with the shortcuts - too many hills - so I arrived at work JUST in time. The kids were sliding around and having a huge snowball fight in the playground and for a split second I was tempted to put my bags down and join in. Then I remembered the time I broke my wrist when 'ice skating' in the playground at junior school; so I decided I to take the professional stance and dodge the snowballs, head inside and make a cup of coffee!
By the time school was over, the snow had melted, which meant the journey home was less treacherous. It also means I have no pictures of me and my SL's out in the cold, yet; this is England and it is feeling rather cold tonight...

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

How did I forget?

My goodness, 19th Jan was my one month SL anniversary! How did I forget it? Oh yes, I jumped on a plane to Dublin - perhaps that could be considered my anniversary gift, YES, I think I like the sound of that!
Seriously, time has really flown by and I have enjoyed just about all of it (itchy scalp and curly perm aside). Sometimes I forget what my hair was like before, as do other people. While in Dublin my friend Parks and I were discussing hair when I brought up a haircut I had last year. "Wow" she said "I'd forgotten about that. I feel like your hair has always been like this, it just suits you so much". She obviously didn't notice how much lighter I had travelled - hair product wise - compared to when we had gone surfing in the summer; I am sure that all my equipment had a case of it's own back then.
Washing my hair is less hassle, no worries with the gym, I can dance the night away without sweating out my 'do, it doesn't matter if I can't find my comb (which, incidentally, is still in my handbag!), tongs & straighteners - a thing of the past. Yes, my hair life is a whole lot easier.
I am still learning, from my own hair and from those whose hair and blogs have been an inspiration. I am under no illusion that all on this journey will be rosy; I shall embrace the hitch or two that will challenge me at some point (and if I'm still stuck I'll ask for your help!).
I have no idea what my hair will grow up in to and I think that this is possibly the most exciting part of this process. I am happy to wait and be surprised.

Monday, 22 January 2007


I got this lovely scarf as a 'Secret Santa' present at work; I love it because it's so long I can wrap it around my neck several times and feel very cosy. Dublin was freezing so I spent most of the time wearing my scarf. The trouble is that I have been finding bits of grey fluff in my hair all day! Any advice on how to get the stubborn bits out, will be greatly received.

Sunday, 21 January 2007

The Craic...

I spent the weekend in Dublin and I had a fantastic time!
For a while it was touch and go as to whether or not I'd make it as I'd been so ill; I'd only gone back to work on Thursday and then I ended up losing my voice! Thirteen of us flew over to Ireland after work on Friday, arriving late in the evening. First stop after putting our bags down was to the hotel bar to toast our arrival. Now I don't usually drink Guinness in England unless it's in Guinness Punch, as I find it incredibly bitter. However, in Ireland it has a totally different taste, almost sweet, so I had half a pint...

Saturday started with a good, hearty breakfast and boy did I need it to fuel the five and a half hour shopping spree we were about to embark on. Oh my goodness, what a workout - for both body and bank balance! The men gave up after a couple of hours and went to The Guinness Factory, but we ladies kept on going. To our complete surprise we bumped into one of our students! (seen here between Parks and I) Can you believe it? There we are, looking at shoes when we hear "Miss what are you doing here?".

The group had dinner together in the evening, which was a great way to get to know each other better. Although we all work in the same place, we often don't have the time to say more than a passing 'hello'. We chose Italian; I know, you don't go to Ireland to eat Italian food - but it was delicious! From there we moved on to a club and boogied into the early hours.

We were all quite, shall I say, fragile in the morning. But that didn't stop the ladies from wanting to hit the shops again. The pace we moved at was noticeably slower than it had been on Saturday and sometimes I just had to stop! After a late lunch of Irish Stew and lots and lots of water, we walked back to the hotel to collect our cases. The flight back to London was quick, followed by a short train journey and a taxi - Home Sweet Home. The best part of being away always seem to be arriving home!

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

I have just been to see...

It's amazing.

I have seen it before and I would watch it again! Matthew Bourne's choreography is slick, witty and at times awesome. I just love the male chorus, their movement is absolutely breathtaking; down to the most minute detail, they are swanlike.

This was a school trip and my students absolutely loved it; believe me there are some harsh critics amongst the group! This really is an exciting piece of theatre, and for the time I was there I even forgot I was sick!

If you haven't seen it already and the opportunity arises, I can thoroughly recommend it.

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

I've been under the weather :-(

I haven't been feeling well since the weekend, I jokingly put it down to taking my hair for a walk in the rain but it was on the cards before that. By Saturday night my weapon of choice was Ibuprofen and white rum mixed with honey & lemon - it didn't work! I woke up on Monday morning and my throat felt like it was on fire, my head was throbbing and my joints aching. Still, I made the decision to go to work, it didn't last long. I was there for just under two hours before I had to admit defeat and return home; since starting there in September '05 I hadn't had a day off sick. I spent the best part of yesterday and today in bed, giving myself time to recuperate.

I had to go out this evening as it's my sister's 18th birhday - Happy Birthday!

I did manage a new hair do - I twisted up the sides of my hair and pinned the twists at the sides, the back was left to hang down. You can really see the parts at the sides with my hair like this; I think this is the first time since having my hair done that I have left the house with this amount of scalp exposure.

Even my eyes are feeling bad, If you look closely you'll see that one is bigger than the other!

On a separate note - I am watching a programme on Channel 4 called 'I love you. And you. And you.' It's about Polyamory - the "art" of long term, multiple, stable relationships. A bit like Polygamy but without the threat of arrest!
I just don't get it...

We love...

our shower radio!

It's great being able to listen to the news and weather whilst in the shower in the morning. It gives a decent sound, has a clock and best of all you can plug your iPod or mp3 player into it and listen to your favourite playlists. This comes in handy when you want to relax in the bath with lots of bubbles and candles whilst listening to good music.

We got ours from Argos, but I'm sure similar versions can be picked up quite easily on the internet or from a department store.

Sunday, 14 January 2007

As crime rates rise...

be sure to take care of your belongings!

A compliment!

I pulled my hair into two bunches to keep it out of the way whilst in the bath. I decided that I actually quite liked the look but went downstairs to get a second opinion:

Me: Do you like my hair?

SO: Yes, it looks good like that

Me: Oh, take my picture then

SO: (whilst taking picture) You look just like a Care Bear

Me: :-o

I kept it like this for the rest of the day and received no more comments likening me to a small furry children's toy!

Saturday, 13 January 2007


I have just got in from having my first re-tightening and my head is feeling very tight! It's funny how quickly I forgot this sensation after my installation. It took my hairdresser about two hours to do my hair and the time flew by. She said my hair is doing well and that I'd obviously been looking after it - well I have had so many great teachers!

I got the bus home, but decided to walk the last ten minutes of my journey despite the fact it was raining; I wanted to revel in the fact that I could be in the rain even though I had just left the hairdressers! I'm not sure that this was a good idea as I am now having to have a medicinal white rum...

Thursday, 11 January 2007

Questions answered...

I really enjoy receiving and reading comments on my blog. I know it's not everyone's cup of tea to remark on what they have read; I ploughed through many blogs for months before I had the courage to leave a comment. (now you can't shut me up!) I continue to read the blogs of others - it's addictive - not only do I find them entertaining but highly informative. 9 times out of 10, if I have thought of a question to do with SL's, I have found the answer on a blog.

And now I have been asked a couple of questions which, I am going to attempt to answer in more detail here, should they be of interest to more people...

You mentioned using water with tea tree oil to help with the itchiness - how many drops of oil do you add to the water?

Since having my SL's put in I have been troubled by itchy scalp, at first I tried to ignore it but it started to really get to me. I posted a question on LockItUp and many replies suggested using an Apple Cider Vinegar solution. This was a one part ACV to two parts water mix. I was advised that this could be left on or applied, left for a few minutes and then rinsed off just before washing. Whilst leaving it on had a comforting effect on my scalp I was overcome by the smell. So with this one, I personally prefer to apply and then wash off.

Whilst reading blogs I then came across the idea of using Tea Tree Oil and Witch Hazel - much nicer smell!

For the Witch Hazel/Tea Tree Oil, mix I fill the Witch Hazel bottle's cap with Witch Hazel and then put a drop of the Tea Tree oil into it. I then use a cotton bud to apply it to the parts in my hair. I have found this is handy when I have the itching in a specific area of my hair.

This solution has a very soothing feel to it and reminds me of the sensation I used to get when I used ALL WAYS ISOGRO (Menthol) to grease my scalp.

I really have no exact measurements for the Tea Tree Oil spritz. But I can tell you that I fill the bottle (which is quite small) with water and then add 25 drops of Tea Tree Oil - I don't why 25 it just seemed like a good number! I use this more regularly to spritz my scalp and to give my hair a fresh smell in between washes.

BTW, how did you keep the ends from coming a loose?

I don't! I had nearly all of my length SL'd during the installation, apart from maybe 2-3 inches at the end. I have 2-3 inches of natural hair at the root. I have no idea what the effects of this decision will be, but so far I have had no issues.

It has, I believe, meant that my hair has been lower maintenance as I don't have to worry too much about keeping my ends looking neat.

I know that eventually they will have to go, otherwise I can imagine that as my SL's start to mature, I will have nice puffy locs that morph into chemically made stringy looking things!

Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Two strand twist is the new black!

As promised, here are the results...


Brunsli suggested the two strand twist after my curly incident last week and Leighann agreed with her. It gives a much softer look than plaiting and it's easier to do, which is exactly what they said!

Thank You both - you know your stuff :-)

(BrainTraining Age - 28!)


Enough said!

Monday, 8 January 2007

I'm gonna wash these curls right outta my hair....... and send them on their way!

Although my hair has gradually loosened since my curl disaster the other day; I decided enough was enough today and washed them out. I am really enjoying the ease of washing my hair now. Yes I know that I have to b&b it and separate it afterwards, but that's about it. It's not so long ago that washing my hair was far more of a trial; don't get me started on drying it!

Three weeks in and I'm loving it; it rained today and I didn't care! I am looking forward to going away in the summer and not worrying about going into the pool. On holiday last year I took a dip once and had a ponytail for the rest of the time we were there because my hair wasn't right anymore.

But back to now and my wet hair...

I like the fact that you can't see many of the parts anymore

and it has a fluffy look at the root.

I hope to get it retightened at the weekend - my appointment is scheduled for the following week but I have remembered that I won't be in the country!
On very good advice, I have twisted my hair and will take these out in the morning - pics will of course follow...

Friday, 5 January 2007

I need a break!

I know I've just had one, but these two days back at work have left me exhausted! I seem to have so much to do. I detest taking work home, yet over the Christmas holiday I marked just under 100 books. This weekend I will be in the same position with 40 books and 3 portfolios to mark, two plays to read and a presentation to prepare!

So what was my alternative? That I stayed at work until it was all finished? Now depending on the content, I can mark on average five/six books in an hour; that means it would take between 7-8 hours to get through the 40 I have to do. The school day finishes at 3.10, so over the past two days my choices would have been to either stay at work until 11pm on one evening or split the task and stay until 7pm on both.

I just about coped with the shock of getting up at 6am again this week, if I'd stayed late to work I quite possibly would have woken up there in the morning! So working at home it is, which of course comes with it's own issues, but on this occasion it is the lesser of two evils. This post should in no way be taken as an indication that I am unhappy in my work; I have said it before, I love my job. As with most things in life it has attached to it, things which have to be done that are less appealing than others. Whilst marking may be a downside, one of the many ups are the holidays. Only six weeks until the next break...

On a side note - today's news has been filled with the findings of a study in Scotland:
Tell us something we don't know!

Thursday, 4 January 2007

My Curly Perm!

No you're not about to see an Old Skool pic of me sporting a Jeri Curl!
Spurred on my the positive response to my hair yesterday I decided to show how versatile my SL's are. I plaited my hair and spritzed with Tea Tree Oil/Water mix (my new solution to itchy scalp).
When I took the plaits out this morning my heart nearly broke - I looked like I'd put my finger in a plug socket! The curls were so tight that my hair barely covered my ears. I tried to stretch, shake and finger comb the curls loose but they weren't having it. In the end I decided I'd just have to smile all day to keep the attention away from my 'do. I twisted a small section from the front of my hair and pinned it back on a diagonal (not sure how clear this is in the picture) - I have been wearing the life out of my centre part!

The curls seemed to drop slightly throughout the day and by the time I got home and took some pics it wasn't looking too bad.
But where did I go wrong? Plaits too small, too tight or both? Shouldn't have spritzed? Too much spritz?
All advice greatly received - I do not want to repeat this again!

Too vain to post a pic that shows the full disaster!

Wednesday, 3 January 2007

Nothing to worry about

Having worked myself into a near state yesterday, worrying about how to wear my hair and what people would say; I decided to just let it hang and do it's own thing. My hair was well received and I got many great compliments.
Of course there were many, many questions and I had some interesting conversations. Thought I'd share these two with you...

Student: I like your hair miss
Me: Thank You
Student: Are they plaits miss?
Me: No
Student: Twists?
Me: No
Student: Are they dreadlocks miss? Are you a Rastafarian?
Me: :-)

Colleague: Hair looks good
Me: Thank You
Colleague: Locks?
Me: Yes
Colleague: I fall for women with locks, you'd better watch out
Me: !

(BrainTraining Age - 52! What! First day back at work obviously took it's toll!)

Tuesday, 2 January 2007

I'm nervous...

I'm going back to work tomorrow and feel myself getting nervous about my hair; I'm not really sure why...
My hair was done at the start of the Christmas holidays and so this look is going to be new to my colleagues and my students.
I think my concerns surround the extra attention and questions that my new look may bring. Did anyone else have these feelings when first returning to work etc?
My SO thinks I'm mad - he says everyone will love my hair!

(BrainTraining Age - 30!)

Monday, 1 January 2007

Happy New Year

To my family, friends and my new found community of lockers and bloggers

May this new year see you all blessed

Mel x