documenting my life, thoughts and tips, as a 20-something woman trying to figure out her life's true purpose

Monday, January 30, 2017

Why is the appropriation of black culture a timeless trend?

With January soon to be over and the dust of the new year finally settles I found myself daydreaming about what fashion and beauty trends would grip the world this year? And then, I checked my Twitter timeline to see a tweet from Insider magazine entitled “Simple manicures have become too basic. You can now pierce your nails”. The attached video gave viewers a how to guide on this ‘new trend’ *cue intense eye roll*

For some piercing your nails is new edgy and least we forget sassy, but for others, especially black and ethnic minority women piercing nails are not new. The art of piercing nails has been around since the 90s when black female hip hop stars such as Janet Jackson, Missy Elliot and Little Kim and to UK legend Shola Ama graced MTV Base and Channel U respectively with their ‘ghetto fabulous outfits and nails’.

“hair done, nails done, everything did”

This new revived trend see women with acrylic nails pierce a tiny hole through the nail and adorn the hole with nail jewellery, including rings, studs and charms. yet again reinforces the cultural appropriation notion that we have all seen many, many, many, times before. The idea of white women imitating and popularising the dress sense, hairstyles and most recently the nail aesthetics of black women and in turn being praised as trendsetters.

We’ve seen the whitewashing of Bantu Knots turned space buns by the likes of Miley Cyrus, and Khloe Kardashian, we’ve heard Iggy Azalea’s rap with a false Southern black girl accent in her music and seen Kylie Jenner popularise fuller lips. More recently, I read an article on the since deceased Lilac Company and how four white males took original Hennessy, added a purple label and renamed it “Headphanie” as a blatant re-adaptation of Young Ma’s lyric in her hit record ‘OOOUUU’. Marc Jacobs was praised by the media and fashion world during Fashion Week 2016 for his ‘edgy and cool’ appropriation of dreadlocks, in which mostly white European models took to the catwalk decorated wearing multi-coloured dreadlocks. After the show, Marc Jacobs then took to Instagram to criticise the black community who voiced their concerns that dreadlocks were not a trend nor fashion accessory but a hairstyle steeped in black cultural significance. It was Jacobs’ open and ignorant dismissal of what dreadlocks mean to black men and women reminded me of what Azealia Banks termed ‘cultural smudging’ during an interview with Hot 97.

“you don’t own shit, you don’t have shit, not even the shit you created for yourself”.  

The media glorified and continues to glorify Kim Kardashian and her sisters for setting new trends including, ‘boxer braids’ cainrows, curvaceous figures and warm skin tones and in the same time it took to send an “OMG new trend alert tweet”, ignoring the fact that yet again black women have been wearing cainrows, celebrating their figures and embracing their melanin rich tones for decades.

The stomach-turning notion is even more amplified when you consider that not only are black women not even praised, celebrated or credited for the ‘trends’ they ignite globally, they are also taunted, embarrassed and laughed at for expressing their culture so beautifully. Zendaya was subjected to racist and ignorant comments  by  Fashion Police’s Giuliana Rancic for looking as if she “smelt of like patchouli oil, or weed as she adorned the red carpet with faux locs. Oscar nominee Viola Davis was deemed less classically beautiful by a white New York Times writer for wearing her natural hair in an afro and MAC cosmetics’ Instagram feature of black model Aamito Lagum’s lips was filled with racist remarks criticising everything from the size of Aamito’s lips to the colour of her skin.

White women are able to appropriate black culture without the stigma of being black

Black schoolchildren are being expelled and reprimanded from schools globally for wearing their natural hair, in the same hairstyles the media glorify white women for adopting. Hairstyles the schools deem unkempt, messy and in need of ‘fixing’. In one UK case a black boy wanting to wear cainrows to school was refused on the basis of the school’s anti-gang policy. In the same breath Katy Perry's ‘This Is How We Do” video showing the pop star wearing cainrows and manufactured gelled down baby hairs has been hugely successful, appearing on seventeen music charts for more than 200 weeks. Last year in the United States of America, a black woman was denied a job offer because she refused to cut her dreadlocks and in that same year Kylie Jenner graced the cover of Teen Vogue adorning what hairstyle? Yes, you guessed it dreadlocks.

In a world where a black girl with a few facial piercings, bright hair and extravagant dress-sense is considered ghetto and a white girl with the same facial piercings and extravagant hairstyle is deemed ‘alternative’. Why is it black things, creations and God-given features are only considered ‘high-fashion’, ‘brave’ and #bodygoals when they are imitated by white women?

It’s embarrassing to shoot down black women as the originators, whilst praising copycats all for your click bait articles. The problem I have with media outlets such as Insider and the Daily Mail’s tweet is that by purposefully ignoring the creativity of black women, they perpetuate the issue of cultural appropriation.  The ignorant inclination to use, wear or take something with cultural significance without fully understand the historical importance of that something. We see this occurring all the time, from festival wearers wearing bindis, dashikis, and cainrows, to culturally insensitive Halloween costumes.

This is one trend I hope dies very quickly.

What are your views on cultural appropriation? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @roshsrambles.

Rosh xo


Monday, January 23, 2017

Rosh Does: A trip to the Dentist

Like many adults in the UK, almost half of the UK population to be precise, are afraid of the dentist. The thought of that chair reclining, the smell of the dental surgery and that nauseous inducing drill sends me into a state of heightened anxiety. This intense fear stems from a traumatic experience I had when I was in my teens when I needed four teeth removed for orthodontic work. The dentist was not empathetic towards my fears, continuously rammed numbing needles into my gums and cracked, yanked and pulled my teeth until they were excessively bleeding. I was so traumatised by this experience, I had to get put to sleep for another dentist to remove the last two teeth.

And so, you can imagine my sheer horror when last Friday I noticed there was a small hole in my tooth. I immediately thought the worst: was it severe tooth decay, would I need a root canal or worse would the dentist be taking the tooth out?! So many questions were swilling round my head and so reluctantly I booked myself in for a dentist appointment with a new and younger dentist.

After a few deep breaths and a quick “you can do this pep-talk” I made my way to my local dentist. The grey cloud of doom immediately appeared when my dentist told me that the last time I had sat in the dentist chair was seven years ago. Can you imagine! I thought I would need numerous root canals and extensive dental work.

Two x-rays, a full teeth and gum check-up later I was overwhelmed to hear the dentist say “wow, I’m impressed your teeth are in great condition!” Even he was shocked to learn that there were no signs of rot, decay or plaque. Thank the good Lord!

I was told that the hole in my tooth was a result of weaker enamel, not due to tooth decay. The gap was quickly and painlessly filled and I genuinely left the dentist smiling.

For over seven days I honestly feared the worst, when in reality, my anxieties were misplaced and unfounded. I am determined to take this little lesson and apply it to other life situations when I feel stress and anxiety looming.

Read how I use coconut oil and fluoride free toothpaste in my oral care regime to maintain healthy gums and teeth.

Rosh xo

Monday, January 16, 2017

Rosh Does: Tackling seasonal flu the natural way!

Cold and flu season is here, common cold strikes 930,000 Brits a day and it has already taken some of my work colleagues hostage. And so now is a good time to make sure you are prepared and protected when that runny nose, high temperature and sore throat strike.

This does not necessarily mean heading to your nearest GP or pharmacy to stock up on prescribed paracetamol, as there are plenty of alternative natural remedies that can be just as effective at combating those seasonal sniffles.

From getting a good nights sleep to homemade recipes below are my tips for tackling the seasonal flu and staying healthy.

On average an Adults (18+) need 7 to 9 hours sleep as recommend by the National Sleep Foundation. I know that for me I need at least 8 to 10 hours of beauty sleep every night to feel at my best the next day as I tend to usually drink about 1-2 cups of coffee a week I need that extra rest!

Getting a good nights’ sleep is essential to keeping your immune system in balance as when you feel run down you are more susceptible to illness, including cold and flus. A study found that those who got less than 7 hours sleep a night were three times more likely to catch a cold.

This goes without saying. Drinking water daily is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Recommended water intake is around 2 litres a day according to the NHS. I tend to aim for 1.5L of filtered water every day. You need a constant supply of liquids to replace those lost due to fever and infection.

Vitamin C
I got beans, greens, potatoes, tomatoes… you know name it! Making sure you always consume plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables high in vitamin C, especially leafy greens as these will not only help you prevent colds but a hefty dose of the vitamin at the first sign of symptoms can help clear a cold up faster. Get those spirulina, kale, green apple and spinach shots ready!
I do not play when it comes to the cold, on average I wear around three layers top to bottom these include thermal vests, long sleeve t-shirts and thermal leggings. Even thermal socks, when I woke up to snow on the ground Friday morning these all kept the warmth trapped in to stave off those icy winter breezes! As I commute to and from London daily, you can never be too sure if you’re going to be abandoned on a cold train platform waiting for the delayed 18.01 to Bedford!

I purchased my thermal vests from Primark and I brought the thermal leggings for £14.90 and long sleeve tops for £12.90 from Uniqlo.

Hot Drinks
Now I swear by a mug of hot Ribena just before bed to warm you up and help fight infection but I know for some of you (including my best friend) the idea of hot Ribena feels you with dread and so an alternative is the infamous Hot Toddy. According to Physician Dr Sarah Brewer a traditional Hot Toddy of whiskey, honey and lemon infused in boiling water is the best go to remedy for a speedier recovery time. 

As I mentioned in my previous New Year’s Resolution post, I am doing Dry January so I would leave out the alcohol and replace this ingredient with ginger ale. The honey coats and soothes a sore or dry throat, the lemon helps to cut through mucus to clear nasal passages and tackle viruses and ginger is a natural antiviral which helps to fight against illness and bacteria that causes cold. For those of you wanting a little tipple before bed the whiskey helps you to sleep and aids in reliving congesting by dilating the blood vessels.

What are your natural remedies for tackling seasonal flu? Let me know in the comments section or on Twitter!

Rosh xo

Monday, January 09, 2017

8 amazing ways to use raw organic coconut oil to look and feel great

Over the past two years the popularity of coconut oil and the interest in the incredible health benefits it possesses has rapidly increased. I have been using coconut oil as part of my beauty and cooking regime for two years and I swear by it. The coconut oil I use comes in its raw organic form in three sizes, 300ml, 500ml and 1L from Coconut Merchant. At room temperature it is solid white, however once it comes into contact with heat i.e. from the warmth of your skin or from the temperature of a frying pan it turns into clear liquid oil. There are hundreds of various uses for coconut oil and so I thought I would detail my top ten uses for organic coconut oil:

1. Face and Body moisturiser – As raw coconut oil is made up of good saturated fats, when applied it melts from its solid form and easily seeps into the skin pores, moisturising deeply and thoroughly. It does not leave any greasy or sticky residue. I have oily skin on my face and tend to have dry skin on my body but coconut oil has helped to balance my skin out. I usually apply coconut oil straight after drying off from the shower and then leave it to sink in for around 5-10 minutes. I no longer have blemishes and I very rarely get spots and my ankles are no longer ashy!

Coconut oil also contains natural SPF ranging from SPF 4-6 and although it may not keep you safe during a full day on a Caribbean beach it will help to keep you protected from daily solar radiation. SPF and UV protection benefits, coconut oil can also therefore prevent fine wrinkles and premature aging by reducing oxidative damage which can cause the skin to look tight and dry. For my natural skincare tips see this blog post.

2. Oral health care – Nearly everyone has seen CocoWhite and other health brands selling coconut oil sachets as a natural teeth whitening alternative. Oil pulling the 3,000-year-old Ayurvedic practice of swishing a tablespoon of oil around your mouth every morning for 20 minutes. Yes, that's right — 20 minutes. The practice is supposed to cleanse your teeth and gums of bacteria that can cause tooth decay, plaque and other dental horrors. Here's how it works: the coconut oil sticks to bacteria and micro-organisms in your mouth, and so when you spit it out, you’re also spitting out all those little nasties in there. This practice also claims to help with eliminating Halitosis (Bad Breath) due to the cleansing of the mouth from bad bacteria. 

3. Lip balm – As discussed above, coconut oil is extremely moisturising and antibacterial, this also makes it a great ingredient for lip balms. In summer it can be applied to protect sensitive lips from the sun’s rays and in winter it acts as a barrier to prevent lip nasties including chapped lips, cold sores and them annoying little splits you can sometimes get in the corners of the mouth. For an all-natural, cruelty free lip balm that contains organic coconut as well as other natural ingredients check out cocolem’s online Etsy shop here.

4. Make up remover – As coconut oil is gentle, it is a great alternative to use to remove makeup from sensitive areas of the face including your eyes and mouth. I tend to use a face flannel and warm water to wash my face then go over tougher makeup with a cotton pad with half a teaspoon of coconut oil on it. Even waterproof mascara doesn’t stand a chance!

5. Natural deodorantCoconut oil contains antibacterial properties which fight against bacteria so body odour doesn't occur. I went through a phase last summer where I was only using coconut oil and half a lemon as deodorant. I attended festivals, commuted to and from work in London and even worked out. No sweaty armpits, no body odour, this really does work.

6. Deep Conditioner Hair Mask – I have Afro hair which tends to get dry quicker than other types of hair and so Coconut oil is a must in my pre-poo (Pre-Shampoo) regime. I scoop about two tablespoons of oil all over my hair, cover it with a plastic shower cap. Leave it overnight and follow with my regular shampoo and conditioner. The result for me? Softer curls, easier to detangle and moisturised shiny tresses.

I have recommended coconut oil to my friends with finer hair who have all confirmed that it has helped their hair feel silky soft and conditioned without it feeling greasy.

7. Cooking – unlike many oils, coconut oil is solid at room temperature and will only being to liquefy at 76F. coconut oil has a high smoking point at 350F which makes it optimal for almost all types of cooking. For you gym buffs virgin coconut oil is higher in protein than extra virgin olive oil and there is also considerable scientific evidence that coconut oil can help you lose weight.

8. Health benefits – there have been some claims that raw coconut oil could be used as a treatment or even a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. The primary argument is that coconut oil is rich in medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs, which are metabolized a little differently than most types of fat. The MCTs in coconut oil break down into ketones, which can be used by brain cells for fuel. The idea is that supplying the brain with some extra fuel might make it run better.Monica Reingael, licensed nutritionist and professionally trained chef. For example, there is a case study where Dr. Newport started giving her husband who did not have a short term memory a daily dose of coconut oil and after just 60 days Dr Newport recalled that his memory improved and he was able to concentrate better on tasks.

However, there is currently not enough scientific evidence to back up these claims. There is a clinical trial being conducted in the United States as to whether coconut oil has any effects on thinking or memory of people with Alzheimer’s and the results are due to be announced in mid-2017. 

If you are still unconvinced by the wonders of Coconut Oil then you can read 101 more uses here. For those of you who are interested in purchasing high quality coconut oil at a reasonable price. For me Coconut Merchant coconut oil is the best out there. You can preview their range of coconutty products on their website here.

What do you think of coconut oil? Do you have use it differently? Let me know in the comments section below!


Rosh xo


Monday, January 02, 2017

The year of realising stuff - Rosh's 2017 resolutions

We (including myself) all laughed when Kylie Jenner said that 2016 was the year of realizing stuff and how wrong we were to pass judgment! As 2016 really has been the year to realise, reflect and refine ourselves and our crafts.

From all this realising I decided to compile a small list of what I have learnt in 2016 and apply these revelations to my resolutions to 2017.

Live for yourself
After a pretty hectic year this will be my mantra for the new year. As long as I am happy with the decisions I make, as long as I am not hurting anybody and as long as I am comfortable, then I will always look to put my happiness and well-being first.

Being happy for me is also having the confidence to speak your mind honestly when placed in uncomfortable situations. The art of saying no without offering an elongated explanation.

Additionally, I will let go of the belief that I need to have everything figured out right now. I will be comfortable in the fact that the steps I am taking will lead me down the path to the lifestyle I have visualised.  With the rise in popularity of social media and instafamous influencers I have spent endlessly hours scrolling through the gram comparing myself to the lifestyle of these individuals. This stops now, I will live my life for me, minding my own business and continuing to pursue my dreams. Patience is key.

Stop self-sabotaging
There were a few good opportunities that arose in 2016 and for reasons to this day I struggle to understand, I did not follow them up or allowed them simply to slip into my mountain of unread emails.  2017 I am grabbing and holding onto all the great opportunities the Universe brings into my path. With this I will strive to be more confident in myself and my abilities. And instead of watching life past me by I will decide for myself that I am brave, powerful and confident enough to change things, release negative energies and to let go of toxic people for the sake of my happiness.

Praises your successes
Sometimes I need to stop, sit back and be grateful to be living, happy and surrounded by loving family and friends. Too often I get caught up in constantly chasing the future ‘next big thing’ without stopping to give myself credit for my past and current accomplishments. From restarting my blog in July 2016 I have to this day achieved over thirteen thousands views, I started on an entrepreneurial journey as the Founder of cocolem, a natural cosmetics company that makes cruelty free and organic lip balms suitable for vegans and vegetarians, I started my current Paralegal job in an area of law that has always interested me, without the LPC, I was asked to be a Godmother to a beautiful baby girl and I was able to self-finance my dream car and despite a few slip ups I was able to get meat out of my diet!

Healthy is not a goal, it is a way of living
In a year an average Brit spends £787 on alcohol, men spend an average of £934 per year compared with women spending £678. A study has also estimated that we Brits spend 315 days of our lives hungover and will have more than 3,000 hangovers in our lifetime. Lung disease as a result of heavy alcohol consumption is also one of the number one killers in the UK.
And with that the most cliché of my New Year’s resolution is to cut out alcohol. If I actually stop to think of the amount of days and coins wasted spent on beers and recovering from a hangover the number would be quite high. I had one dark fruits Strongbrow on NYE (can you tell I like beer lol) and that was it, even then I got home thinking did I even need that. So I plan to complete dry January and take it from there.

A different language is a different view of life
I have always wanted to be bi-lingual but I tend to enthusiastically start learning a language and then after a few weeks I get distracted only to start a few weeks later from scratch. This has pretty much been my language journey since the beginning 2016 and so this year I will attempt to be able to speak conversational French and I also will learn basic Arabic. I have already re-downloaded Duolingo, dusted off my Harry Potter series books in French and Mastering Arabic Series.

I will be writing a follow up NYE resolution post later in the year. What are your resolutions?

I cannot wait to see what 2017 holds; I wonder what Kylie will predict.

Happy New Year!

Rosh xo

© Roshsrambles

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