The perils of googling homemade shampoo recipes

| by Lou | 11.05am UK time |

This is a public service announcement folks. If you run out of shampoo and think "I'll just whip up a homemade coconut shampoo recipe from the internet" - don't. I mean, I love natural homemade products from the internet - I use homemade laundry detergent*, I use homemade face masks**, I use homemade body scrubs*** - but boy oh boy was this one a mistake.

To set the scene: I haven't used chemically commercial shampoo in years. I tried the 'no-poo' thing, but living in an area with extremely hard water it just didn't work for me. So now I do buy shampoo, but it's the most natural I could find that would work for my long thick curly locks (Lush Curly Wurly coconut shampoo, should you be wondering), and I don't use any conditioner or styling products. I can comfortably go a week between washes and it never gets greasy or gross-looking.

However, I ran out of shampoo and there isn't a Lush near me. So first I used baking soda. It completely and utterly dried my hair out - much worse than back when I was using it in a transition to trying 'no-poo' - and I spent a few days with fly-away brittle hair until enough natural oils brushed through to help it out a little. Still hadn't got to a Lush, so come next time it needed washing I thought "I'll just google a homemade coconut shampoo recipe". I find one on a website called 'Style Craze' (I don't want to link to them in case anyone else feels curious enough to try) that I had the ingredients for - coconut milk, olive oil. It assured that this mix is enough to cleanse the scalp, and that hot water would wash it all out.

No no no no no no NO.

It didn't seem to be coming out so good, so I turned the hot water up to scalding and hoped for the best. But honestly - my hair felt like it was slicked in oil. My neck became covered in oil. I looked like I'd dunked my head in grease. My boyfriend came home and said "I hear the greasy hair look is very fashionable right now", then snickered to himself every time he looked at me. Eventually it was dry enough to plait it, pin it to my head, and tie it up with a scarf, before scrubbing my neck for the 5th time.

I managed to get to a shop that sold natural castile soap, so this morning I whipped up a different homemade shampoo that actually used soap this time, turned the shower up to scalding, and tried to wash it out. Nope. My hands were still coming away drenched in oil. Okay, just the castille soap by itself then. Nope. Alright, how about African black soap? Nope.

Okay fine. After years - YEARS - of my hair having been kept from harsh commercial chemically shampoos, I reached for my boyfriends cheap shampoo, squeezed out a handful, and lathered up. I turned the shower up as high as I could bear it, and scrubbed.

It seems okay - still a bit of an oily residue, but probably a little bit mad at me for exposing it to silicon and whatever-the-fuck-else is in that bottle. I've probably taken ten steps backwards on the well-trained weekly-wash ecosystem, but at least I don't look like I work over a fryer at the local fish 'n' chip shop. [Update at 3.40pm - my hair is now dry and still looks like someone poured a gallon of oil over it.]

I shall continue the quest for a homemade shampoo that actually cleanses and doesn't leave behind a gallon of oil, and will update if successful.

TL;DR - don't let the internet trick you into using coconut milk and olive oil on your hair.

*Homemade laundry detergent: 2 parts each of washing soda and borax, 1 part grated bar of natural soap, give it a couple of pulses in a food processor to get the soap granules as tiny as possible
**Homemade face mask: Full-fat greek yoghurt with a splash of vodka
***Homemade body scrub: 4 parts brown sugar, 1 part olive oil, a tiny dash of honey

Why Les Miserables (the film) is brilliant #2: The Sweep! The Scale!

| by Lou | 3.55pm UK time |

After a lifetime of being confined to the stage, it is wonderful to see Les Miserables come alive at such an epic sweeping scale.

This was particularly swoon-worthy in the first half hour, from the opening shot through to the ripped pieces of Valjean's past flying over the countryside of France.

I salute Tom Hooper for approaching it with such ambition... and perhaps even more so for resisting the urge to apply it to the whole story, particularly in paring back the battle to portray it as the minor (relative to history) skirmish that it was.

Oooh I'm just making myself want to go see it again...


Why Les Miserables (the film) is brilliant #1: Colm Wilkinson

| by Lou | 6.25pm UK time |

As a lifelong Les Miserables fan who fucking LOVES the new film, I'm taking the liberty of giving you my Top 5 reasons why it's fucking AWESOME.

Colm Wilkinson as The Priest

There is a special place in the heart of every Les Miserables fan for Colm Wilkinson, the original (and forever the best) Jean Valjean. One of the highlights of my life was being at the O2 for the 25th Anniversary concert when, after the main show was over, the original cast came out and Colm stepped forward to the microphone to deliver his ubiquitous line "God on high...", prompting a spontaneous mass eye-watering/geekgasm.

So when his face appeared on screen to sing "Come in Sir, for you are weary..." it felt like a very warm nod from the filmmakers to the Les Miserables geeks of this world.

(Of course, this also had its down-points, such as my utter inability to retain any sense of composure in the film's finale as Colm joins Hugh and Anne in giving the greatest of all final lines.)

Unemployment Part 3

| by Lou | 10.55am UK time |

Hi everyone! It's me! I'm back! And for the third time in three years, I'm an unemployed bum engaging in all the soul-searching and self-pitying that that entails.

For reasons I can't put into a public forum, I ended up with some money in my bank account after a (very personally unpleasant, but professionally successful) one-year stint at a major studio working as an Analyst. And I was like "This will be easy! I'll find a new job no trouble! It took two-and-a-bit months to find that job, but this time will be different!"


Well, yes actually - it will be different...Because three months later I'm like WHAT THE FUCK.

I've gotten an interview for one role, for which I was told I had too much experience (I did, so that was fine, it was at the very beginning when I was just testing the water).

I've since had absolutely no response to any job applications, even those for which I am perfectly (and, I assume, reasonably uniquely) qualified.

Oh, except for one where the agent replied to say that the job was too junior for me. (I then directly submitted a CV to the company itself, making myself appear slightly younger and slightly less experienced, and got no interest from that either.)

Contrarily, anything more senior and I don't even get a phonecall, let alone an interview, let alone the job.

What the fuck is going on??!

I've read probably literally hundreds of job-hunting blogs/ advice columns/ tips/ motivators.

I've refined my CV over and over.

I've kept in touch with every agency in town that handles media and entertainment.

I've scoured every jobs board, every day, and signed up to every job alert email.

I've written custom cover letters and custom refined my CV for every application, always applying within a day or two of the job ad appearing.


Okay, so you're thinking: Well, there's a recession on. The job market is rammed with people, and lacking in jobs. In fact, people are in much worse positions.

But it's London! And I'm highly qualified, highly experienced, and looking at jobs of all levels... including ones at about where I was six years ago when I left New Zealand.

In fact, after six years of working my way up again from nothing, having already established a career in New Zealand, now is when I should be leveraging all that to land a great job that actually increases my salary for the first time since 2008, not desperately scrambling about for anything.

And I think what's really, really bothering me is that I genuinely think that a lot of the people I've worked with are incompetent, disinterested, and lazy. Yet their careers seem to have happened so easily for them. And additionally, it seemed to me like a lot of the people I worked with in a film studio didn't even particularly like films. So I'm like "how come they have a job, and I don't?" But the secret is that they all got in on permanent jobs, while I've been stuck with contract positions, which are of course the easiest and quickest to cut (and thanks to the Tories, getting ever easier to cut). 

So... any ideas? New careers I could try out that it's easy to move sideways into...?? Any magic positive thought manifestos out there to help keep someone like me motivated......???

Because I'm very quickly descending into sitting-on-the-sofa-watching-tv-for-the-rest-of-my-life mode.

30 to 30: Nemesis update

| by Bel |


Do you remember how I have told you about how I have that nemesis, who I saw one time on the bus in [redacted] and he annoyed me how he was talking to the person sitting next to him and so now I hate him but I see him around town sometimes and I'm like GRRR THAT GUY even though I don't have any real reason to?