Saw Canterbury on Saturday and they were freakin' awesome!

Blog post other than youtube videos coming soon...



I needed a fresh start so I decided to delete 90% of my blog and start again. I hadn't felt like posting anything over the past few months as I've been really busy at work and have had stuff going on that's just left me feeling a bit meh. Not only did I not feel in the mood for posting anything, I didn't like the content of this blog anymore (too wordy and too revealing), so I thought I would do something about it and delete it!

p.s. new series of Forbrydelsen tonight! The knitwear is ready.

(Yet another Kimbra song that is amazing live, leaving me slightly disappointed with the studio version)

I am a teensy bit obsessed with Kimbra. But I'm not alone. Many comments on youtube are from girls proclaiming that would 'change their sexuality' for her! Hah!

Just take a moment to watch this video. If you're feeling stressed or having a bad day, this just makes you feel so much better.

I suggest you check out her other stuff if you haven't already, including Live at Sing Sing Studios.

'What is this? Several blog posts with less than several months between post times? Quick Jeeves! Pass me the smelling salts!'.

So, a few weeks a go I reached that stage of boredom where I was like, 'You know what, I'll get the sewing machine out' (boredom level: extreme). I was planning on hemming a skirt, which I eventually did but it went all weird so I then spent about 2 hours unpicking what I'd sewn. What I did instead was something that I was planning on making for my niece for Christmas but never did. I'd bought some beautiful scraps of material from the charity I volunteer at, and had intended to make some stuffed letters in her name for her bedroom. 

The more I thought about, I came to the conclusion a 4 year old would probably appreciate some toys and clothes more. And so my creative plan didn't come into fruition until recently.

And then as I sat down at my sewing machine, it hit me: why don't I take lots of pictures and make a blog post about it so that if someone reaches equal levels of boredom as I did that dark, autumnal evening, they can make something similar.

So, I set out to make a big, squishy letter A, as that is the letter that my name begins with. I've never written my name on here, but the title of this blog is a song by Yeasayer, and my initials 'ALP'. Clever, huh?! Hahaa..

The first thing that I did was to fold my material in half, inside out, and lay it flat. I then pinned along the open edge (that opposite the fold) to make sure that the material stayed in place.

I then took a white crayon (I used a watercolour crayon because that was the only white pencil I had that showed up on the material, but you could use haberdashers chalk or anything that takes your fancy) and sketched out the shape that I wanted. I then drew the shape in bold to make the final shape stand out more.


I then figured out what sides I could sew so that I was still able to turn it the right-way-round. I began by sewing along the top of the 'A' and down one of the sides, and then sewed down the other side. 


I then cut around the shape so that I could turn the 'A' the "right-way-round". Then I cut from the centre of the hole in the middle to the corners of the middle bit (if this makes sense), so that these could be tucked in when it was turned out. I then cut diagonally to all all of other 'corners' that would need to be sewed when the letter was turned out. 


I then turned it the right way round, and you can see that the letter is starting to take shape.


Now for the most difficult bit...
For the flaps (haha, can't keep a straight face at the word anymore) in the hole in the middle of the 'A', fold them in and iron them (or use straighteners as I did as they're smaller), which will help when it comes to sewing. It might be easier if you fold and iron them when the letter is inside out. Then you need to fold them in and sew along as close to the edge as possible.

It may be easier to stuff the letter as you go along, otherwise it will be increasingly difficult to push the stuffing in to place. I used polyester stuffing. You can buy this from craft shops or home shops, but I had an old pillow that needed chucking out, so I opened that up and used some of the stuffing from that. Creativity + recycling= awesome.

Basically, you just need to keep tucking in the folded edges and sewing them shut and keep stuffing. Then you should end up with something like this...


Now I presume you could do any letter of the alphabet or any shape. I've considered doing an 'L' and 'P' to go with this one but honestly I couldn't be bothered!


I actually wrote this post ages a go, but as I'm a massive procrastinator when it comes to uploading pictures from my camera, it's taken me a whole month to complete it. WHOOPS.


BEWARE. This post is quite long and picture heavy. 

So, as I said previously, I finally plucked up the courage to dip dye my hair lilac. I've wanted to do it for so long (for probably over a year) and I experimented with a temporary red dye a few times that washed out in one go. But to dip dye my hair lilac, I needed to be a bit more extreme. You see, I have medium brown hair. I would say medium to dark brown, but my hair is weird. The underside of my hair is really dark, whereas the bits that have been exposed to the sun are quite light. And I know what you're thinking. 'Sun, in England? You must be JOKING!'. Yes, it has got to the point where seeing the sun in the sky is a bit like what people from Africa seeing snow for the first time is like. 'ARGHHH, THAT IN THE SKY! WHAT IS IT?!' 'It's the sun, my friend'. 'AHHH, WHAT'S THAT?'.

Ahem. I wanted to write a post about the process because even though there are quite a few tutorials and blogs on it, I just felt that I could do a specific one for brown to lilac, and explain it with lots of pictures for those who are feeling a little unsure about taking the step forward to do this.

I digress. Back to my hair. So yes, medium brown. I have a picture before I started the process somewhere. Let me have a look.... ah yes, here:
My hair also varies colours on different days. Sometimes it will be brown with like a golden sheen, others it will be really dark, and as illustrated by the picture, on other days it is this really plain mousy colour. Mhmmm.

So, as I wanted lilac on the ends, I had to bleach my hair. I didn't want to, because it made the whole thing a bit more permanent than I was prepared to do. However, after watching several videos on youtube I was like SOD THIS I AM GOING TO DO IT (my favourite one being that of sprinkleofglitter and zoella; those two are hilarious!). The fact that I am in dire need of a hair cut also spurred on my decision as I can then go to the hairdressers and get more than my usual .5 of a centimetre cut off (I also LOATHE going to the hairdressers. I don't know why but it's just a painful experience).

So, this is how I bleached my hair:
As you can probably see, I had already had a go at bleaching and dyeing my hair once before. However, the bleach that I used didn't make my hair light enough, so the lilac/purple dye didn't show up that well on my hair. So I though I would bleach it again.
The previous time I used a L'Oreal highlighting kit as used my several people on youtube including LLYMLRS in this video hurrrr.

However, I'd seen several more videos on t'internet, and from a personal recommendation from a colleague at work, to use the Jerome Russell Bblonde lightening kit. I shall discuss the pros and cons of each bleach at the bottom of this post for those who can't decide which to use. Anyway, the Bblonde one comes in a solution for those with Blonde to Medium Brown hair and Medium Brown to Dark Brown hair. As I had already bleached my hair so it was sufficiently lighter than before, added to the fact that I didn't want to fry my hair, I bought the 'Blonde to Medium Brown hair' one.
So whatever bleach product you are using, if you're having to bleach your hair that is, always follow the instructions exactly. Bleach is rather a dangerous product as it uses ammonia and hydrogen peroxide, both irritants and harmful if swallowed. Always wear gloves throughout the whole bleaching process and wash immediately if you get it on your skin as it will start to sting after a few seconds. 

Also, take off any jewellery, such as bracelets. I learnt the hard way that bleach will damage these, as it took a layer off of my silver bracelet that I've had since I was 4.
Most people use an old towel to wrap round their shoulders to stop the bleach getting on their clothes, but I don't really have an old towel so I thought I'd use a carrier bag so that it can be disposed of and not damage anything. Plus, there's less chance of bleach leaking through a plastic bag than seeping through a towel onto your clothes!
i'm not promoting H&M, I just happened to have some bags from them as I work there and can't stop buying stuff I don't need.
To apply, I tied my hair in 4 pigtails and sort of back-combed it up a bit. This is because if you do it when the hair is flat, the bleach will form in a dead straight line and look really, really false. I know this sounds stupid, but just trust me. If you don't want to add colour to the ends and just want it 'ombré' style, then this makes the transition more natural looking rather than just a block of blonde on the ends of your hair. This was also on recommendation from someone I know and something I'd seen when perusing the internet. 

I put my hair in 4 sections not for any technical reasons, just because I kept on getting hair everywhere and tying it up just made sure that I got all of my hair.
Next, you just scoop some of the bleach up in one gloved hand and sort of rub it in into the ends of your hair up to where you want the hair to be bleached. Start from the bottom and work your way up because you can't undo the bleaching process, so it's best to work gradually. After you've completed the process once, you might want to bleach the very ends again just to make them extra light so that the ombré effect is more evident.
Make sure that the hair is covered with the bleach.

As you can see, I wasn't that daring as I've only bleached the bottom inch to an inch and a half of my hair because if I didn't like it, I didn't want to be bald after going to the hairdressers.
Refer to the instructions for how long to leave the bleach on for. I left mine on for 35-40 minutes as I didn't want to fry my hair, nor did I want it white blonde. You can always re-apply if you want it lighter, but to get it darker again you would either have to dye over it or use toners, which is a lot more effort.

Wait for a bit...
Wash the bleach off with the conditioning shampoo provided, just to ensure that you've washed all of the bleach away and to condition your hair.
No, I'm not lactating in the previous picture, it's just water from having washed off the bleach! 
I then applied a hair mask onto the ends to deep condition. I know a lot of people have complained about bleached hair being really dry and straw-like, but in doing this, I think I prevented my hair from becoming like this as my hair is still fairly soft and 'normal'. I used John Freida Sheer Blonde Highlight Activating something.... Smells lovely.
Now I didn't like my hair blonde, and dyed over it the next day. However, I've seen loads of people with their hair like this and it really suits them. Personally, I think I'm too pale and the contrast between the blonde and the brown, although gradual, is too great of a difference. If I had started higher up, such as below my chin or cheekbones, then it probably wouldn't have looked so garish. 

NOW, onto the dyeing process.

To dye my hair lilac/purple, I'm using a semi-permanent, conditioning dye from Directions in, surprise surprise, 'Lilac'. I've also bought another colour, 'Carnation Pink', which is really vibrant, and I keep adding the odd stripe into my hair so that the dip dye has different tones of purple and pink. Purty. I like this dye because it's an easy to apply, jelly like substance, and it isn't tested on animals! 
So, again, I split my hair into 4 sections. This just makes it so much easier than just dyeing your hair in one go. As my hair is dark, I can apply the dye really high up as it doesn't change the colour of non-bleached hair. If you have light brown or blonde hair, I would suggest only applying the dye to the bits that you want dip dyed otherwise you'll have a lot more of your hair in a different colour.
The Directions dye recommends applying to clean, towel-dried hair, so probably do this after you've had a bath or a shower. I've tried just wetting my hair and towel-drying it, which also work, but I just feel better when doing it this way.
I suggest wearing gloves for this again, not because it will damage your skin but because it will stain your skin. I got some of the lilac dye on my finger for about 5 seconds and had a purple finger for the rest of the day.
Leave the dye on for 15-20 minutes. If you want, you can apply heat using a hair dryer to get the dye to take, but I find that this dye takes to the bleached hair really well.
Then wash it out using tepid water. You can then rinse again in cool water to seal the hair and make it soft and shiny.

Then let your hair dry naturally (better for your hair and the environment).
Brown hair with lilac dip dye!
Now I wrote this post because there wasn't a lot on the internet about dip-dyeing brown hair lilac. There are a lot of videos showing how to dip dye brown hair different colours, but for me the lack of info was regarding whether lilac would go with brown hair. I think it does, but you decide for yourself!

Now, I said that I would compare the L'Oreal and Jerome Russell bleaching kits, both of which have been recommended by various different bloggers and vloggers. Now I tried the L'Oreal bleach first, and it did lighten my hair, but not as much as I expected. This however, could either be down to the product or the amount of time I left the product on my hair for (I left it on in total for probably 45-50 minutes). The Jerome Russell bleach did lighten my hair a lot more, but again, this could have been down to the fact that my hair had previously been lightened.

The main differences that I feel I should point out between the two kits that I used however is in the packaging and instructions.

What put me off about the L'Oreal kit is that the pictures of the products on the instructions didn't look like the ones provided, and it was also quite disturbing that everything had WARNING: POISON written on it. This difference between the products and those pictured wasn't that much of a problem to be honest, but I just felt so much more confident using the Jerome Russell kit after reading the instructions on that. It provided TWO pairs of gloves (handy) (that wasn't meant to be a pun), and the instructions were just so much more helpful and...friendly sounding. I know that seems daft but when you're a wuss attempting something like this, it can make you feel a lot better. Also the times for bleaching were better explained, and I also liked that you could ring them if you had any questions. Everything just seemed more precise and covered. But either are good!

So, I hope this helped anyone considering dip dyeing their hair, and I hope I didn't ramble too much!