Monday, November 10, 2014

learning to embrace my natural curl and growing my hair out

hey there, thanks for stopping by to read my blog.

today i want to share with you how i am learning (because i am still learning) how to embrace my natural curl and grow my hair out.

firstly my hair history... i've use hair straighteners on my hair for the last 10 years, the first half of which i actually straightened it and the second half of which i use it to curl my hair. they were GHDs but were still very damaging to my hair. any time i wanted to let my hair dry naturally it would be a very frizzy mess of curls and straight bits and ringlets and waves, it couldn't decide what it should do because it was so damaged.

then one day in may this year, when we were celebrating my husband's birthday in london with my cousin everything changed.

i had been feeling strange about how 'natural' my hair was, i talk about natural haircare and natural beauty all the time on my youtube channel, but i felt like my hair was the one area in which i wasn't really practicing what i preached.

so that weekend in london i washed my hair as normal and let it dry naturally over breakfast with my cousin. before showering i had asked her if she would help me sort my hair for the day, saying that i'd leave it to dry naturally but that 'because it would be such a mess' i could use some help putting it up. anyway, once it had dried she looked at me and told me that i'd be crazy to do anything to it, rather it looked amazing just left down. her husband and mine agreed so profoundly that i spent the day in london with my natural hair (yes, i was looking in every window and bus reflection to check it throughout the day).

the only other time i'd had an epiphany like this about my hair was when i went on a lake adventure day in a wetsuit and i knew there'd be no power socket. that was when i was dating Pete (my now husband), and it would be the first time he'd see my real hair. i had spent a long time the week leading up to it dreading him seeing 'the real me'. BUT, when he saw my natural curls he didn't laugh, he didn't joke, instead he stared. and later he told me that he dreamt that his future wife would have hair like that. awesome!

so, with these combined experiences i really felt i had the confidence to go for it. i spoke with my cousin about how i should manage at work, as i felt i looked unprofessional with my hair all in 'disarray'. she said 'wear a killer outfit and do your make-up properly, then whack a grip in the front bit' - very sound advice to which i still keep.

so i've only used heat on my hair 3 times since may. once at the hairdressers and the other two for special occasions.

i've had to have a lot of encouragement along the way to stick with it. Pete has been really amazing at boosting my self-esteem where necessary and tell me that i look beautiful when i look as though i'm faffing. particularly when i was going on my birthday meal back in july...

my family are the most lovely and awesome bunch of people i know, and i respect their opinions greatly, and on the odd occasion they'd seen my real hair they had been less than complimentary, instead they had called it 'frizzy' or 'messy' or told me to go and sort my hair out. it was with sincere trepidation that i would ever let them see my real hair for fear of their comments really shaping the way i saw myself.

so for my birthday meal i spent a lot of time preparing myself and Pete spent a lot of time encouraging me and told me that he thought i looked beautiful and that it didn't matter about anyone else's opinion. and he was right. as it happens it seems like someone had forewarned my family that i was nervous about my hair and that they should all compliment it, so they went out of their way to be nice about it - which (although it was a little disingenuous) i loved and did improve my mood a lot.

since then, they've got used to seeing my real hair and they actually like it! at my grandads 80th, he said 'i can't believe you ever straightened it'.

yes, there's a lot of emotional baggage attached to my hair, it is after all supposed to be my crowning glory, and the thing that makes me attractive to men, it's supposed to be sexy and lustrous and shiny. it's supposed to look polished and healthy.

i think i'd really reached a tipping point in May, further helped by my having found plenty of split ends, and realising that my hair was not growing out, however much i wanted it to.

so, in the pursuit of long hair and gorgeous shiny natural locks, i embarked on this crazy journey to just let my hair be. here's some things i'm doing to help my hair restore itself:

  • trimming my split ends - i bought a pair of professional hair scissors from boots, and have been using them to trim off any split ends i find. there were loads to begin with, and by removing them have noticed the shine come back to my hair, and the curls start to look more even. (be careful because trimming split ends can be really addictive!)
  • haircuts - i hadn't had my hair cut professionally in 4 years, instead i've been doing it myself and so it had lost some of it's shape. i spent a lot of money on a professional cut and it made me feel like a million dollars, so i'll probably go annually from no on.
  • shampoo and condition - every  2 days i shampoo and condition my hair. i'm currently using that Jason Biotin range, which seems to be the first natural conditioner to moisturise my hair without leaving it feeling greasy. 
  • finger combing - i do this when i get out the bath and shower, and this helps the curls to dry more evenly.
  • gently does it! - as with my face, the best way to look after your hair is to be gentle with it and respect it. instead of roughly towel drying as i used to, i just gently pat it and smooth the towel over it to get rid of excess moisture before just leaving it to dry.
  • eat well - this is something i've always done for the functioning of my own body, but it's important to remember that shiny hair is encouraged by a plant-strong, nutrient-dense diet. get as many fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds into your diet to help it grow. i don't take supplements at all, instead i just eat real food and lots of it.
  • water - again, like with your skin, your hair benefits from you drinking water, so get as much in as possible. i try to get at least 8 pints a day!
  • exercise - now this is an area i'm definitely learning in. i haven't been the best exerciser in the past, and i am constantly changing my routine because of the changing seasons. however the majority of the year i spend on my bike riding long rides in my local forest and no matter the season i am always walking everywhere, and hiking on holidays too. one thing i need to work on which will help a lot with the shine of my hair is making sure i sweat more, so i'll be working on that one in the coming months!
  • silk pillows - i have one which i don't use, but i might get it back into use to see how it goes. this should really help prevent split ends and encourage shine.
  • invisibobbles - i find sleeping with long hair very tricky, and currently pop it up using an invisibobble. it doesn't catch and stays in my hair all night. i'm not sure that it's particularly eco-friendly, but it does the job for now.
  • coconut oil - the magical wonder product that works for everything - popping this on the end once in a while will help provide moisture to your hair and is the best and only hair treatment i would ever use or recommend.
So here's my video on the subject in case you haven't already seen it:

I hope you all have a lovely day, thank you so much for reading,
Alissa ♥

Friday, January 20, 2012

do you need to moisturise before bed?

this is a question i used to ask myself all the time - and i was highly confused about what the right answer was because i had so many opinions to choose from...

the conclusion i have decided upon, and found to be true is that it's different for each person. you need to get in touch with your face, and decide each night whether or not it needs a little extra moisture. your jawline is a pretty accurate reader of this - and you'll soon get to learn how frequently you need to apply moisturiser.

when i was going through my Dr Hauschka phase, i stopped moisturising at night time altogether, and that led to some really bad skincare issues, like acne and dehydration. it was only once i re-introduced nightly moisturising that my skin began to improve and heal.

so, my current routine is to moisturise every other night (most of the time, but sometimes a little more), and that seems to keep my skin in check. i use my regular Sukin facial moisturiser, rather than some expensive 'night' formulation, and i just lightly massage it into my skin 15 minutes before i go to bed.

for those people that think it'll clog their pores, there's no need to panic, because that's all down to the moisturiser you choose - if you choose a comedogenic product (pore clogging) then of course it will! any breakouts are more likely to be related to your skin being dehydrated, or using a product that's far too thick (unfortunately night creams have that tendency).

your skin should still be able to 'breathe' through a good moisturiser. a light lotion will do just the trick.

so, i'm curious, how many of you moisturise at night?

have a lovely day ♥

Friday, January 13, 2012

happy new year!

hello wonderful readers! i hope you are having a very happy new year so far. i just wanted to let you in on my latest video, where i show you what i got for christmas and update you on a few things that will be happening in 2012, and some of the resolutions i made for this year...

2011 was an epic year:

 - i published my first book, which received really good feedback from the press and blogosphere in general. you can check out healthy breakfast recipes on amazon, if you haven't seen it yet!

 - i reached over 3,000 subscribers on my alissaevelyn youtube channel! and started my notjustapples channel full of recipes and advice for type 1 diabetics, like myself.

 - i travelled to australia all by myself, and lived there for 3 months :) i met amazing people, saw forest fires, went to a Kate Miller Heidke gig, ate kangaroo, went on a roadtrip and lived on a retirement village.

 - i made some delicious, unsual and healthy food on my food blog, not just apples, which grew to an average readership of over 200 people each day...

 - i started working for my church, as events co-ordinator, which is super fun.

 - i met Tracy and Maria. blogger meetups are awesome!

 - i was given a press pass, and lots of Total yoghurt.

and i believe that 2012 will be filled with amazing things also: my niece turns 1, the olympics will be held in london, the queen is having her diamond jubilee, my best friend is getting married, my natural beauty tips book will be published...

and i know that there's a whole host of things that lie in wait, that i don't even know about yet!

what was your favourite thing in 2011? what are you most looking forward to in 2012?

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

101 things to do when you're bored

  1. drink some tea
  2. go for a walk
  3. watch a movie
  4. turn on some music
  5. dance
  6. check out videos on YouTube
  7. bake some cake
  8. send an encouraging text
  9. go wild food foraging
  10. create an inspiration board or book
  11. knit or crochet something
  12. write a letter
  13. sit in a cafe and people watch
  14. figure out exactly how you'd spend a million
  15. sing
  16. meditate
  17. clean & tidy your room
  18. change your desktop picture
  19. organise your recipe folder, and go through your recipe books and mark ones you'd like to make.
  20. have a nap
  21. update your budget
  22. write a blog post
  23. play with your makeup
  24. dress up
  25. draw
  26. try out a new hairstyle
  27. call someone
  28. chew some gum
  29. find 5 new words in the dictionary
  30. scroll through old photos
  31. organise your wardrobe
  32. plan a party
  33. video yourself
  34. paint your nails
  35. weed the garden
  36. follow some yoga on youtube
  37. have a bath
  38. light a candle
  39. go to charity shops and play the £5 challenge (basically see what amazing thing you can get for £5, good fun by yourself or with a friend)
  40. write to your local council
  41. write a "happy list" of 10 things that make you smile
  42. make some bunting
  43. origami
  44. watch catch-up TV
  45. open a tin from your pantry
  46. tie dye
  47. make pancakes
  48. learn a phrase in a foreign language
  49. alter a piece of clothing you never wear
  50. put stuff on ebay
  51. clean
  52. sprout some seeds
  53. make an indoor tent
  54. go to your local petshop and look at the fish
  55. skip or hopscotch
  56. poach an egg
  57. offer to babysit for a friend
  58. go to the library
  59. brush your teeth
  60. doodle nonstop
  61. plan a roadtrip
  62. do laundry
  63. get friends round for a sleepover
  64. walk barefoot
  65. pack a picnic
  66. lie outside on a blanket
  67. sew up a bag out of an old shirt
  68. go fishing
  69. play boardgames with your family
  70. lay the table and have 'high tea' with friends
  71. watch the sunset or sunrise
  72. practice creating perfect winged eyeliner
  73. write a gift list for Christmas
  74. make a mixed CD
  75. scavenger hunt
  76. create some art for your bedroom
  77. make homemade applesauce
  78. catch a bus
  79. barbecue
  80. rearrange your room
  81. ride a bike
  82. camp in your own garden
  83. draw with chalk on the sidewalk
  84. wash your car
  85. take a photograph every hour
  86. fly a kite
  87. visit your nearest art gallery
  88. pluck your eyebrows
  89. alphabetise your books
  90. volunteer for charity
  91. go for a torchlight walk
more ideas for things to do when you're bored at home, or with friends and family:
 - laugh hysterically for no reason at all
 - pray
 - go wild swimming
 - make and eat cookie dough

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

3,000 subscriber giveaway!

hey everyone! i have just passed 3,000 subscribers, which is incredible :)

so, to say a massive thankyou to each and every one of you, i have decided to hold a giveaway of some special things that i bought in australia, as well as give you the opportunity to be part of my upcoming book!

for more info and to see the prizes that are available, check out the video:

to enter, all you have to do is:
♥ leave a comment on Youtube, or on Facebook or Twitter, telling me the best thing you've learnt from my channel - perhaps a tip about acne, skincare or healthy living, or maybe you've learnt something about positivity or inner beauty?

- this is open internationally!
- you must be a subscriber
- the deadline is a month before Christmas, on the 25th November at 9am GMT
- you should be over 16, or have parental permission to give me your postal address if you win
- by entering, you give me permission to use your comments as part of my upcoming beauty tips book

for extra chances to win, leave another comment on:

you can also leave a comment on this post to enter, if you like! 

for more info on the beauty tips book, have a look at my introductory post here...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

how to build self confidence & increase self esteem

hey everyone! i hope you are feeling fantastic today ♥

today i want to share with you a video that i created a while back, but that i've been thinking about a lot lately - especially since my return from Australia.

self confidence 101 took a lot of emotional energy to create, and a lot of time went into making sure that i shared only sound advice with you. in the video i share a little of my journey to becoming a more self confident woman, tips and advice i've learnt along the way and practical steps on how you can get there too.

i believe that true confidence is something that can be learnt - it's not something you are born with. so without further ado, please check out the video, and then read on for more of my story, as well as tips, links and further advice...

so, i hope that this has inspired you to live without fear, and to take charge of your life!

once i'd uploaded this i got lots of emails from people who've had difficulty making big decisions, or who suffer with social anxiety, or who just don't feel confident in everyday life to speak their mind, saying how grateful they were for the advice and how much it's helped them. because this is something i have dealt with personally, that made me question... how many more people can i help?

i started the Youtube channel in order to build the confidence of people like me, to inspire people that a different way of life and a different way of thinking was ok. that being a positive person was great, and that your interests, no matter what they are, are important!

my shyness used to stop me from interacting with the world - i was a very socially anxious teenager - but i've come through that, and i have now travelled across the world by myself, and i also run my own business. i just would have liked to have to learnt the things that i mention in the video sooner, so i could actually LIVE life to the max more!

anyway, my mum and i sat down and had a heart to heart. we decided to compile all these tips into a book, so that you could be encouraged further and understand deeper the lessons to increasing your self confidence and boosting self esteem.

i've edited this book loads of times, because i wanted it to be phrased positively, and be of the most help it could possibly be. so i hope you like it!

it is very simply titled How To Build Self Confidence & Increase Self Esteem - and it's currently available as a Kindle (which you can download to your smart phone or computer too)

let me know what you think, or leave a comment. i hope it's also good advice for you to share with other friends who struggle with self confidence too ♥

Monday, October 10, 2011

an introduction to natural toothcare

hey everyone! hope all is well in your life at the moment ♥
today i want to share a little more info about natural toothcare with you all - it's something that i'd been putting off for ages. saying to myself 'well, everyone uses Colgate, so it must be fine', but i'm fairly certain that that's probably not the case, and if you start to understand more about what's in it and how much you digest each time you brush.

did you know that one less than 1 tube of toothpaste can actually poison a child so much that they die? yep, there's even a warning on the packet. so, what do you think that's actually doing to you?

there are so many unexplained illnesses in the world - so many diseases and auto-immune attacks that science can't fathom yet. one day we will, and we'll all be really shocked by our past behaviour. i picture myself sat down to dinner when i'm 70, chatting with my grandkids about how much food we gorged on, how we were able to fly whenever we wanted for minimal costs and how we saw it as our right to drive, own a microwave and surf the internet for hours on end.

i figure it makes sense to live with that future notion in mind, and a very simple way is to start by ridding your bathroom cabinet of poison. after all, doing something because everyone else does it never got anyone anywhere did it?

if you want to know more about switching to natural toothcare, and some more good reasons to do it, check out:
  •  this article about the amount of "Colgate for Kids" toothpaste it takes to kill a child
  • learn that fluoride is the main component of rat poison!
  • read the wisdom of arguably the greatest dentist of all time, Weston A Price and his discoveries on the role of nutrition in tooth decay, and how through his research he came upon a solution to avoiding 95% of all dental caries (cavities)
  • find out why the government started adding fluoride to our tap water and how fluoridation has changed our health - thanks to the anti-fluoride campaign for taking a stance against this.
  • learn the importance of preparing your wholegrains, to enhance nutrition and digestion, and keep your teeth sparklingly clean
it's so important to realise that so many things have been so well advertised and subsidised by big companies earning mega-bucks, that we've lost sight of what's really right and good for you!

large toothpaste companies earn shed loads of money, and their advertising preys on the human need to look beautiful and have white teeth. whereas if we ate a natural wholefoods diet without any of the other stuff that gets well advertised (like crisps, chocolate, cereal, margarine, icecream and pizza) our teeth would do alright anyway - as Dr Price shows us in his research.
all i'm saying is, think about it.
figure out if it's worth the slightly additional cost of buying a fluoride-free natural toothpaste...
do you use a natural toothpaste? what do you think of fluoride?