Monthly Archives: July 2016

Shower like an Aussie

So, who here hasn’t used Aussie hair products? They are cute, funny, the suggestions on the back of the bottle on how to use the products are a much needed change from the usual ‘wash, rinse and repeat as necessary’. The philosophy is simple, natural ingredients from Australia that help you become the Goddess you always knew you could be. Or something along those lines. 

In the late 90’s there was an influx of hair products endorsed by celebrity hairdressers and we were slowly becoming more used to and happier to spend a little more money on our product. We were starting to come out of recessions and the idea that we needed to save every penny and wanted to be able to spend our hard earned cash on a little affordable pampering. This is the environment that Aussie Hair came in, we were ripe for a product that was new, different, that wasn’t preaching from an Ivory tower, and that was appealing to our new sensibilities that meant we wanted fresh, natural, organic. We wanted to get away from the things our parents used, from Head and Shoulders, Wash and Go and even from washing our hair with bubble bath or washing up liquid. We wanted to avoid unnaturally bright colours and chemical smells. 

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And now, who hasn’t used their hair products? They smell great, they do great! Use it little of often there must be a handful of people that have managed to avoid using the shampoo and conditions or at least been confronted by them in the bathroom.

So, here we are in 2016, and Aussie Hair have released shower gel. I don’t even know if it was really advertised, I am the sort of person that puts Netflix on and watches an entire series as background noise. I am assuming some advertising was done. And as usual, the philosophy behind them was sound, mimicking the hair products, four different types were released and CLICK HERE to see them on their website. The ingredients again are for the most part found in Australia and all have very different properties, be it moisturising or energising.

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Being the part time fan of the Aussie Hair products that I am, I was curious to see what they would be like, so when I was on my weekly shop, I had a look and found that, at £3.00 I would give them a miss. I am a big fan of looking after my skin, I moisturise religiously. But there is a limit to what I will use while standing in the shower, I just won’t buy into anything promising moisture while standing in water. So I gave it a miss, I always have plenty of shower gel on standby, and I was sure I wouldn’t be missing anything.

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that the body wash had gone down to £1 each. I grabbed one of each, I mean who doesn’t want a bargain. It was a weird situation, oh look I am getting a great deal. By spending the same amount I usually spend on the same product. I can’t really review the individual products as I have only started on one of the 4. It smells lovely though and does have a similar consistency to the shampoo. The only real different is the size of the bottle which is smaller than their hair range at 250 ml which is good for people like me who are blind as a bat. But then it is unfortunate as it is an average size for body wash/shower gel, it is significantly smaller than their more well known products and we are pretty visual by nature. The bottle looks smaller than my other gels. Because it is round and not flattened so even though I know it is the same nett weight… and the other issue is that it was over £3 standard price. You are being asked to spend the same amount of money on a smaller amount of product, that you spend on either washing or conditioning your hair. 

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I went shopping the following week. The price had reduced again to 75pence and only 2 varieties remained, so I popped one of each into my trolley. This week? nothing left. I had a quick look over the shelves as they had been replaced by another product but couldn’t see them. It seems that the store, like me, felt that although the product showed willing and had the best intention, it failed to deliver.

Like I said, the product itself is okay, I use it to wash my body. As long as I smell okay and feel clean, while avoiding an allergic reaction… I am happy. Do I expect to be more awake… yes, that is why I have a shower in the morning. Do I expect to feel moisturised, well that is what I rely on my body butter from the Body Shop to take care of. Body Wash to me is just that. I really don’t expect much from it, I wish I could afford to use something from Neal’s Yard, but I can’t so I don’t. I feel that it was a failed experiment, it was an idea, but actually when it comes to premium body wash, others got there sooner, and did it better. The shampoo came in at a time that we needed and were looking for something new and is firmly now in our beauty vocab for great smelling, and beautifully conditioned hair.

If you find it on offer, I would go for it, they all smell really lovely. I just wouldn’t suggest it is worth the price tag at full price. If you want to spend a little more money and be sure of using natural, organic products, The Body Shop, Lush and if you have a few more coins, Neal’s Yard are all excellent places to go.

If your hair needs TLC and you want it to smell great, Aussie Hair is a great place to start 🙂

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CLICK HERE for Neal’s Yard, CLICK HERE for The Body Shop and finally CLICK HERE

 

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Addressing Equality

Recently, I was walking down a corridor and I saw a member of staff wearing a shirt dress. It was short, left little to the imagination although it was a lovely yellow and the lady wearing it looked fantastic. Perfect for the weather we were enjoying at the beginning of the week.

But then, I looked around at all the men that I work with, that I have worked with and may work with in the future. They don’t have much in the way of flexibility in what they wear to work. The only different between the winter and summer months will be a suit jacket or a jumper either present of removed.

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While I worked in a Contact Centre, one of the only men in the department petitioned to be allowed to wear shorts, it ended up meaning that we had a fairly flexible dress policy going forward, and since we were not customer facing, it made sense.

It is something I have struggled with for years, while in primary school I remember boys having uniform shorts, but this was removed at secondary school age. I even remember a campaign by a number of class mates who turned up at school in Bermuda shorts to petition the school to allow them to wear shorts in the summer as us girls we able to choose either skirts or trousers. It didn’t end well, nothing changed, we were all a little more jaded.

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Why aren’t men allowed to wear shorts? I am guessing it is the same reason that wearing skirts is still seen as optimum in some officers and places of business. It is a conservative left over, where a certain ‘class’ of person wears shorts. If I can (and do) wear trousers to work, then I would have to say that a man can (and should) wear shorts. I don’t mean denim cut offs, or cycle shorts. There are plenty of styles to choose from although in general men don’t wear them. I guess if you spend most of your time in trousers, a couple of days won’t make much difference.

Are men’s legs really so unattractive, and surely we put ourselves through enough in the summer, shaving, then putting tights on with our skirts. But notice what I said about the contact centre. The boys (all 2 of them) asked for a fairer dress code because they were struggling in trousers and shirts. The result was a department wide lowering in standard. That, to be is … yay equality, but then, surely as a woman, you have much more in the way of options. Personally I prefer wearing palazzo pants in the summer as it means I don’t have to worry about keeping upto date with my waxing appointments and it still feels loose and airy enough. You know, relative to chilling next to a pool in my swimsuit .

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And this is where feminism is failing all of us. Because it isn’t fair if the boys are allowed to wear shorts to work and women aren’t allowed the same level of casual dress. But then look at it another way, most offices now are ‘smart/casual’ which roughly translated means no jeans, or funky printed tshirts. Whereas, and at the risk of repeating myself, guys really don’t have many options. I have often joked that guys have it easy, I assume that since their clothes are actually made to size (ie waist) that there isn’t a massive amount of variation save the actual cut, but being lazy aside, they have little or no option when it comes to work wear.

 

But thinking on it, shorts, really are the last bastion of ultimate casual wear aren’t they, be it board shorts, boxer shorts, booty shorts. Shorts are not seen as appropriate office wear. Barely seen as smart. Do you see women rolling up to work in shorts? Really, we need to take a long hard look at ourselves, while there are certainly times and places where leg coverage is optimal … and ironically the amount of labourers I know that were shorts, is it really such a bad think if guys started wearing shorts. Or cropped trousers. Would it really be the end of civilisation? With so much inequality in the world, workplace, in every area really, as a feminist, is the idea that men should have better wardrobe choices really something to concern yourself about?

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I would say yes, because why should I sit here saying how women be treated equally, this should go both ways. Yep, you can think me shallow, I freely admit that I am. But where there are certainly awkward conversations that male employers have with female employees about what is and isn’t appropriate, and generally speaking men know what is and isn’t appropriate, I think it is really getting to a point that we admit, if tattoos and piercings are being more accepted in the workplace, a hairy leg should be as well.

And as I hope these photos have proved, men can look fantastic in shorts 🙂

Football Festivities

This is yet again, probably not the blog you are expecting. As you may or may not be aware, the UEFA European Championships are once again upon us. I found out via Facebook. First FB kindly asked if I would like to share scores, or some such. Then there was the influx of complaints about the football. I guess I am lucky, I can mostly avoid football in my ..’real life’ feels wrong.. my physical life? Non Cyber life? Okay that term is something I will need to work on.

Now I went on to see an interesting debate on a friend’s page following on from the question of football and why football tends to garner a certain reaction from fans, which isn’t present in other sports, an example used most often is Rugby, but you could through things like Tennis, Basketball, Hockey and if feeling facetious you could (and someone did) suggest Chess.

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My conclusion at the time was thus : Could it also be the type of person that the game itself attracts, for example those who follow sports also to a degree play the sport. Football non violent so there is always a degree of frustration both on and off the pitch whereas rugby is a violent game, where issues are resolved. Chess is an intellectual game, and so any arguments would be resolved with coherent debate, so I would suggest this would be the case in a perceived slight either as competitor or audience member? I would extrapolate that it might have something with the amount of testosterone that either participating or watching causes to be released, and how it is channeled, effectively or not.

But this hasn’t left me, as clearly, the football won’t be either, going by the signs of patriotism I saw on my way into town this morning (flags, houses and cars, festooned.. each to their own, I have Halloween decorations outside my home) and so I have continued to ponder this. If you are wondering why this has taken on so much of my time, I compartmentalise and so I am generally thinking on a number of topics or subject. But I have since drawn comparisons to the idea of ‘carnival’ which I did a blog post on last year The art of carnival! which was a brief exposition on what carnival once was and meant.

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You see, things always happen for a reason. I don’t mean, you missed your bus and ended up in a coffee shop and met your one true love. I am talking about timing. We still have festivals at certain times of year, the timetables have not changed, since before Christ. We have celebrations at certain times of year. For example, you could suggest that we have football tournaments at this time of year because the weather is at its more temperate. Which is a lie. It is an international game now, so the weather will be different depending what hemisphere you are standing on at the time. And we should… well.. the idea is that it should be relatively warm. It isn’t. It is because we have kept to the festival days in rough approximation for … well as far back as we care to go.

Is football a legitimised ‘carnival’ of sorts – well, yes, actually i would say it is. There is the idea that anything go’s, that it doesn’t count, there is a holiday atmosphere and to an extent it is encouraged. Why our fans (among others, England fans are not alone!) are so … extreme in their behavior may have something to do with the long hours that are put in, the lack of money for entertainment. From the moment you commit to becoming an adult, you are expected to provide, either yourself, or later your family. You become responsible and you can’t just go off for a weekend and leave your troubles behind. You have a wife, children, a job. When you go on holiday you are with your family. You are with other families, you have to keep some of that veneer of responsibility alive.

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But going away with the ‘lads’ is reminiscent of holidays that have to a degree, become a right of passage for many young people, going to Spain and other, far but still close, destinations that are hot, and cheap. That you can just get away from your real life, let your hair down, drink too much, spend too much time in the sun, and get a tattoo or 3 that you instantly regret. You are young, possibly singe (but who will tell) you have just finished school, college or in a break at uni. This is all very natural and part of human nature, and again comes into the idea of carnival. One of the themes is hiding your true self, either by mask or by becoming something you are not. For some people it is becoming promiscuous, or a heavy drinker, someone who has tattoos. I am not for a moment trying to become judgemental but this is my attempt at understanding the phenomenon! This is great when you are either just heading toward your Twenties, or mid twenties, but the older you get the more responsible, you have to adult.

And so, it reaches a point where you need a natural release. For families, local councils still offer ‘opiate for the masses’ by offering fun fairs, markets, entertainment that is relatively inexpensive and accessible by all. But it isn’t letting your hair down. It isn’t the type of letting down of hair and general debauchery that we are more likely to think as Roman. So while it is good at helping the towns citizens feel a little better about living there, and spaced throughout the year so that it not only makes everyone feel good, it allows for exchange of coin, people coming into the town and people having a good reason to visit other towns, thereby promoting tourism albeit on a small scale.

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But this is like I said, not really enough, if you work 40+ hours a week, you live with several other people of varying sex and age, with familial dynamics, where you have to be constantly aware of what others needs and wants are and often putting them in front of your own. But when you get to go away on to see a football tournament, you are encouraged to a degree to get lairy, to cheer, to promote your own team winning over others, you get competitive. You drink. A lot. Often you are in the sun for hours at a time and there is a feeling, generally, of festivities. We are pack animals, we are often effected by moods of those around us. So when there is a lot of goading, celebration, attitude of ‘them versus us’ it is infectious. It is spur of the moment, holiday mood, you are being validated because you are supporting your team either locally or nationally and you need to defend your team and your own honour. 

So, during the course of writing this, England were knocked out, and unfortunately, so were Germany. Which I am very upset about. Don’t talk to me about it. Still fresh. See, even someone who has zero interest in the sport, gets upset when her home team gets knocked out! But I can’t condone the violence, but I think I can now, understand it to an extent.

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Warcraft cashcow

So this is in no way meant to be a negative post, so please don’t get the wrong end of the stick! Giving blogs a title can be a chore!

So as you may or may not be aware, the Warcraft movie has been released. It was a staggered release over 2 weeks worldwide. It is predicted to do better in Europe that in the USA (which I assume is its biggest single market) and I have noticed several forums where people in past months have become rather upset that it is getting to North America last. I can’t quite say why this is, but I imagine it has a lot to do with generating interest.

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Now there is also a lot of confusion about the film, this is not a World of Warcraft (the game) movie. This is a story of the Warcraft universe, there were 3 games released before the all encompassing MMORPG that is usually referred to as WOW. This is effectively an explanation of how things happened, offering a history, a timeline, a backstory. So I guess for some it might be confusing. But if you have played Warcraft for any period of time, you will understand that the time lines are confused at best, and you won’t necessarily understand the history or who the key players are.

With each expansion is a new storyline and a shift in the universe and even time line, so really when you think about it… how are you going to capture that in a movie. What storyline are you actually going to pick to go down. What side do you pick?

So yes, this movie is a back story, to help us all catch up and what I assume will be a trilogy of movies that will net Blizzard some more money. Again, I sound negative, but you can’t blame them can you ? Why not build on your franchise. I guess what a lot of people will be asking is why it has taken so long? Well remember the Street Fighter movie, or the Dungeons & Dragons movie? Do you REMEMBER them? They are bad and in the case of Street Fighter, creepy. Go watch it… you will have a niggling suspicion that there is something a little ‘off’ about the movie. The sound track. Or lack there of, no ambient sound. It is off putting in its silence. And the Dungeon and Dragons movie is truly cringeworthy. Like it legitimised every assumption and stereotype about the franchise.

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But I digress, Blizzard, in World of Warcraft, have a cash cow. To the point that they are able to take a little more time over other games (let us not think about how long it took to release Diablo 3, and personally it felt like a massive let down. Yes it recreated the other 2 games beautifully… but again a little too accurate considering the time between the releases of the games) and even work on off shots of the game, Hearthstone being a massively popular game which combines a card game with the WOW universe. They have recently added Overwatch to their stable which makes for a pleasing change of direction and hopefully initiate new players to the franchise.

There was an understanding, long held that WOW would stop level 100. That is, that the last expansion allowing players to reach 100 would be the maximum level. That they would then release an entirely new game. But this hasn’t happened. And why should it. Right now, as in today, I had a look at the EU/English speaking servers. I have played for over a decade and so I have characters on numerous servers. Not a single one was listed as having a high population, barely any was touching a medium population. Because people have leveled, they have leveled a few characters, they have done all that can be done and have seen all there is to be seen. Until the next Expansion is released (end of August) people are winding down, enjoying their summer, remembering what friend’s and family look like, and generally relaxing. All hell will break loose when the expansion hits, and the servers will be over populated once again.

So back to the reason for this blog, the movie, the Warcraft movie that has recently been released. It has been timed rather well to cover the down time while everyone waits for the next expansion and hopefully will bring new and old players to the game. Again, it is generating an interest in the genre and game, a game that has been going for over a decade which is pretty good going. It is an innovative marketing strategy!

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I went to see the movie, I was warned by my SO that I would hate it, I have a history of being over critical when watching movies, including genres that I like (The Hulk, X Men) and he still laughs at my falling asleep during The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, then waking up during the credits and proclaiming that the movie was shite. In my own defence, I fell asleep. It can’t have been that good a movie 🙂 I also fell asleep during the first Captain America movie… I am a very critical person, in most aspects of my life, so my SO was right in suspecting that I would end up disliking the movie. I was willing to give it a chance, after all, I did give Batman VS Superman a chance!

So let us fast forward to the end of the movie, I walked out of the movie theatre smiling! Literally smiling,  I was really on a high watching a game I have been playing for many, many years, come to life. I don’t want to spoil the film for anyone who hasn’t seen it, I promise! The movie is fantastic, the cities we all know and love come to life, you can feel yourself being transported into the film. It is the little touches, the spells you recognise along with the in game description (you will laugh, I promise). There is enough background and characterisation that you care about what happens to them, that you become attached but understand the motivation that drives them.

There is something for everyone, there are good looking girls, good looking guys, there is family, romance, there is fighting, explosions, intrigue, magic. Somehow it manages to blend everything seamlessly and it works. It doesn’t feel like a movie about a game, it works because it isn’t a movie about a game, it doesn’t rely heavily on prior knowledge. It isn’t a film for gamers. The things I mentioned earlier, like the spells, the cities, they are part of the rich tapestry of life in a fantasy setting. It is the perfect all round movie that will actually keep an entirely family entertained and should be judged on that and not its pedigree.

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#FORTHEHORDE

Also if you saw the movie and want the leggings, go check out Wild Bangarang By Clicking HERE

Dude looks like a lady.

A couple of weeks ago (this has been sitting waiting to be published), a relative posted the following meme which I found pretty offensive, I am sharing it here only so you can understand this blog, and my motivation behind writing it.

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I immediately pointed out that this statement is erroneous, that advice often is to give the child the lead in decisions of gender, that enforcing gender stereotypes isn’t helpful, I finished by pointing out that little in life is truly skin deep. I figured… naively that it would be left at that. The OP is not someone that garners much in the way of debate. I am not sure exactly what prompted me to say anything, I do try and keep discussions and debates in forums I feel relatively safe.

Well, that was bloody silly of me. I was told by a stranger that ‘legitimately half the transgenders are not born into the wrong body’. I mean how are you supposed to respond to that? What is that even supposed to mean, where do these figures come from? And this is the reply ‘Look ‘guy’ there is a difference between being born of both sets of genitalia and wanting to dress up as another gender because your emotions and outlook on life make you feel that way’.

Now, the thread got deleted shortly after this exchange, by reply was to point out that I am in fact, a girl and the reply to this statement was… well it wasn’t polite and there was an implication that I am trans. Not the first time this has happened, probably won’t be the last. Now, a couple of paragraphs ago, I had stated that little in life is skin deep. The person replying to me would have done well to remember this. I use a different first name on Fb, one that could be considered masculine. Coupled with a female profile picture, I guess it is easy to become confused. If you are super lazy and don’t do a quick sweep of a person’s profile.

I have no issue with being called trans, it bemuses me more than anything else. What upsets me is that it is used to hurt, upset, to insult. There are wider issues here. The fact that laws being passed or being attempted to, at least, in America have called into question what gender means in wider society. When you are walking down the street, how often do you really look at a person walking toward you. How often do you really notice the person serving you in the corner shop. Why are people suddenly concerned about how is using the rest room with them.

It is one of those strange situations, where I don’t entirely know where I should fall. Should I be happy that these topics are being discussed and therefore making them less of a taboo subject. But on the other hand why are these things still needed to be debated. Why does it matter if one dressed like Saul during the week and Sally at the weekend. If Harry became Claudia by their 21st birthday. Does it matter who your co-worker shares their life with? I don’t think you can legitimately say that it does, it is genuinely not harming you. But MEME’s like the one I opened with are adding nothing to the debate. It is small minded attitudes, regurgitated in a way that makes it look legitimate, it validates a train of thought. That it isn’t okay, it isn’t normal and people that we are bought up to trust are in agreement.

Oiling up at the Body Shop

So… I am getting older, it is a sad state of affairs but at some point I have to admit that I am no longer 21, and that as much as I might want to look as good as I do on line, real life doesn’t offer filters.

With that in mind, I popped into The Body Shop to try their new moisturiser. Actually, I had been sent the information and was curious. The next stop was to check in store, and speak to someone about that would be my best most. I am the sort of person who will go with something because the ingredients appeal or it smells nice and not always because it is the best fit for my skin.

I had a chat when I got in store and agreed to try the new Oils of Life moisturiser, the entire range can be found at The Body shop online here or in store. I was curious about the range as it did seem to be what I needed for my troublesome skin, and at no point did I feel pressured into buying. As an added bonus I was given a sample of the Oil and Night cream to try as well, with instructions to wear the oil under both the day and night cream.

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I, until very recently, have been rather reluctant to put oil anywhere near my face, I have combination/dry skin and it would just sit on my skin making me feel kinda grim. But times have moved on, these days we embrace oils! No, Honestly we do.

Now back to the review, the samples given were very generous (I still haven’t finished them!) and I was actually pleased with the results, putting oil on first thing then popping on moisturiser… I was pleasantly surprised at how little moisturiser was now needed. My skin genuinely felt better, more nourished. So of course, I had to try without the oil, and immediately I found that I had to tripled the amount used to cover the same area.

Now, as a combination the oil and moisturiser works really well, and you need a couple of drops of oil a tiny bit of moisturiser, so I would suggest that actually even with the cost of buying the combination of products, it will work out cheaper over time. It really does work, your skin feels fantastic.

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Now with regard to night cream, can I be honest… I don’t know how much I have let slip in previous blog posts, but I am really, really bad at taking makeup off. The only time I do a proper strip of an evening is if I am wearing a face mask, so I will be honest, I don’t wear night cream every evening. I love waking up to beautifully moisturised skin, but then I often have a shower within 30 mins of waking .. I will say though, that it does leave your skin feeling beautiful. I am somewhat on the fence about needing cream though. I do tend to wear coconut oil as a night treatment in the winter, and I don’t think that the cream is required.

My advice is that you should certainly give The Body Shop another look when it comes to their creams. This isn’t the shop with the perfume stands and kiwi lip balms of old (although, boy do I miss them) this is a shop that is embracing change, embracing new farming methods, fair trade, new ingredients and ways of working with both the environment and with communities to make it work for everyone. There are some really great new lines at the moment. And they are doing samples. So if you are unsure, and really want to give it a go at home, don’t be shy about asking!

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