Oh the endless hair journey (p1)

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In 2008 I had my head shaved for St Baldricks charity to raise money for childhood cancer research (I raised £11k!) When my hair started to grow back I figured I might as well ditch the chemicals and go natural. Well, that barely lasted. I couldn’t deal with the little fro…just didn’t know what to do with it and permed it again. My hair was so limp and blah in comparison to my natural curls I couldn’t believe I’d happily kept my hair that way for so many years. Wow, perspective is really something. I grew it out natural AGAIN and toughed out the awkward ‘in-between stage’ of growth. Fast forward many years of endless useless natural hair products and my hair ended up dry, thin and brittle.

I assumed it was the cold weather in the UK and began to slather on leave-in conditioner. Every morning I would go through the routine of wetting my hair and applying product. It only made my hair worse. During a trip to the salon, my hairdresser, who is originally from Jamaica, explained what should have been obvious to me. It was probably due to hard water. The thought had never occurred to me. I’d taken for granted that the water I’d always used in my island home was fresh water.

Weeks later, after a good trim and a water filter ordered from Amazon, I noticed a difference for the better. Far more smooth and manageable with the same hair product (Cantu leave-in conditioner). Happy but not satisfied for some reason…

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You can never go home again

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We’ve all heard the idiom – we can never recapture the nature or feeling of the past. Someone recently posted a comment on social media stating that when asked if they miss Bermuda, it triggered no feeling within them whatsoever. I get asked the question all the time living in the UK, and have the same internal reaction. Sometimes I feel obligated to fake it a little because really….who in their right mind would leave a paradisiacal island when most people are trying to get there for holiday?

More importantly, why don’t I miss home?

I feel the experience for a lot of Bermudians is parallel to leaving a small remote town for the big city. Some may disagree with that because Bermuda does have a lot to offer, especially if you’re after a certain lifestyle. But for us dreamers who are ever evolving and want to see the big vast world with all the beauty and ugly it has to offer, it’s difficult to restlessly remain in our tiny little corner of the globe. We have to experience life outside of our small island for all our various reasons (career, education, connections, growth etc), and we want to evolve and grow with our experiences.

I believe everyone should experience living in a different country at least once in their lifetime with all the different cultures to immerse in and experience. I’m sure lots of xenophobes would disagree with that statement. Bermuda will always be there, even if it never again quite feels like the Bermuda I’ve always known.

Sugar scrub – keepin it simple

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My days of being a ‘beauty product junkie’ are so over. I love exfoliating my skin but do NOT love the expensive, chemical-ridden exfoliating products. It is such a simple process and not much is needed at all.

1. Raw cane sugar
2. Coconut oil
3. Aloe vera gel

Blend together to the consistency you want. Massage onto your skin then wash off with warm water. Bam. Soft, smooth and glowing skin after you’re done. No chemicals needed. Keep it simple.

Banana ‘French Toast’ – vegan

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Quick and easy breakfast if you want to ditch the eggs and dairy. So easy in fact you can just throw this together free-hand without having to bother with measurements. The minute the bread hits the skillet your kitchen or house will smell like you have freshly made banana bread baking in the oven.

What you need:

Non-dairy milk
Bananas
Vanilla or almond extract
Flour
Cinnamon & nutmeg
Bread

In a shallow bowl mash a banana or two with a fork (or a few, depending on how many you’re feeding – your call).

Pour in non-dairy milk (soy or almond or coconut etc) until it is the consistency of thick milkshake.

A tiny drop of vanilla or almond extract.

Mix in a bit of flour to help with the sticking while frying (maybe a few tablespoons or more)

Heat butter or oil in the skillet. Drench slices of bread in batter then fry in skillet.

Add a sprinkle of nutmeg and cinnamon on each side of bread as you fry.

Voila! French toast without the egg or dairy.

Some people alternatively dump all the batter ingredients in a blender. Your call if you want to do that, I prefer mashing with a fork because I like the consistency and occasional chunks of banana. The blender makes the batter more smooth and milky. Have fun adjusting or adding your own touch if you’d like!

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Stranger

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She had her limits and getting rides with strangers was one of them. She didn’t have much to lose she figured as she nervously tugged at her skirt. The lit late-night convenience store was misleading when she drove into the lot and turned off her car engine. She had forgotten to bring extra drinks for her sister’s party and was the one person in the world who didn’t own a cell phone. Much to her dismay there was a handwritten sign taped to the door, stating in sprawling red letters, ‘will be back, family emergency’. Adding to her frustration was the whining squeal her car gave when she turned the key in the ignition. Utterly annoyed she slammed the car door loudly, cursed a string of obscenities into the night and began her frightening walk into the darkness. It was absurd, a girl like her walking alone at night. It was absurd, she knew it was absurd but she was relieved when the shiny silver Lexus pulled up beside her. Her heart was already pounding from the rustling trees and the shadows sprawling eerily across the wide deserted street.                                                                       

“You seem lost miss, can I help?” his low voice floated into the still night. The breeze was gentle, she felt it against her bare legs. She hesitated, weighing the situation in her mind and rationalized to herself that getting into the car or not was equally dangerous. The stranger leaned over and opened the door for her, his hand thick. She slipped onto the cool leather seat beside him. His scent was sophisticated and musky. Her head throbbed from sheer nervousness. He sat watching her.

“Thank you so much, appreciate this.” Her voice was soft, hesitant. She tugged at her skirt, aware of her bare skin. He chuckled softly, a violin played erratically yet beautifully on his car stereo. He had on a dark suit, the first few buttons of his shirt were unbuttoned. She explained where her sister lived and told the story of the locked convenience store and dead car, laughing nervously at intervals and waving her small hands in animation. He listened quietly then spoke solemnly of things happening for a reason, of how he had just left a wedding reception after watching his best friend marry a woman he loved. He asked her about her sister and she explained it was a late-night girl’s party to celebrate her sister’s divorce, how they were having catering and music and male strippers…the works. He laughed and she noticed how thick and firm his thighs looked through the suit pants. She saw his hand resting heavily on the stirring wheel and felt a heat flush through her as she pictured him stroking her parts. She turned her face to the window, embarrassed and painfully aware that she had skipped on wearing panties this particular day. He chuckled again deeply and said he felt people should have ceremonies for divorces the same way they do with weddings.

 “You know, to celebrate what once was.” He said, “A new beginning.” He turned, saw her watching him and smiled. They talked about chances and fate, they talked about risks and impulses, zodiac signs and star constellations. She felt the heat stirring within her and touched her face.

 “I’ll show you an awesome star-gazing spot.” He pulled the car into a grassy plain overlooking the ocean. She hadn’t been drinking but she wanted to feel his hands on her, she wanted to kiss his throat, she desperately wanted to do something to tame the throbbing in her parts. Impulsively she slipped a hand under her skirt. She only wanted to touch it once. The stranger saw this, breathed slow and steady, ran a thick hand over his jaw. She heaved uncontrollably as he got out of the car. She was afraid and shocked at herself. She didn’t know what to expect. He was tall, handsome, sexy. He slowly walked around the car, opened her door and slowly took her hand and lifted her out.

 “These are the stars I wanted to show you.” He said breathlessly, pointing to the sky but never taking his eyes off her, leading her to the front of the car, leaning her against the bonnet, taking her head between her hands and kissing her deeply, pressing his manhood against her. The small heels of her shoes sunk into the earth and she kicked them off. The stranger placed kisses on her neck and she threw her head back and got lost in the glittery dark sky. The grass felt cool beneath her bare feet. The stranger lifted her skirt exposing her naked parts to the gentle breeze.

 “I don’t usually do things like this.” She gasped as he turned her over and unbuckled his belt.      

 “Neither do I.” he replied. He leaned her over the hood of the car, slipped a hand under her blouse and fingered her soft breasts, he ran another hand over her plump buttocks rubbing, pinching and squeezing. He suddenly pulled away and she remained where she was, her cheek resting against the warm hood of the car, her buttocks still in the air, standing on her tip-toes to receive him. She waited while he rolled on the condom then moaned and writhed uncontrollably as he plunged into her, fucking her hard and fast until she was too breathless to scream. Her orgasm came in body-jerking spasms. The stranger immediately turned her over, lifted her blouse completely and took her breasts into his mouth, sucking hard and fingering her clit with his fingers. He plunged back in and she wrapped her legs around him tightly. He came loudly and they remained in each other’s arms for a moment.

“I can’t believe we just did that.” He whispered in her ear. She threw her head back and laughed. They both coyly fixed their clothes and quietly returned to the car.

 “How is it that you just happened to have a condom on you?” she wondered out loud.

 “I was depressed. Took it with me to the wedding in case I got lucky.”

 She giggled. “But that’s crazy.”

 “Not that crazy. You know how wedding receptions can be if people get drunk enough.”

 “I suppose. Your friend’s new wife missed out on a cool guy.”

  “That’s very sweet.”

 She told him where to turn to get to her sister’s house. He pulled up to the house.

“Thanks for the ride and the…interesting experience.” She said shyly. “Don’t take this the wrong way but I hope I never see you again, the memory will be exciting enough.”

“Don’t worry.” He replied and took her hand and kissed it. “Tonight I plan to go home, drink myself to sleep then start a new life tomorrow, putting this chapter of my life completely behind me.” He winked at her as she stepped out of her car. Her sister greeted her at the door.

“Where are the extra drinks!” she exclaimed, “and why didn’t you drive here yourself?”

“Believe me, it’s a long story.” She replied stepping past her sister into the house. “Lets get this party going.”

At the doorway her sister watched curiously as the stranger pulled out of her driveway and drove away.

 

© Ninah Gray

 

Spaghetti Spinach & Mushrooms with Creamy Garlic Sauce – vegan

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So I gave Miriam’s spaghetti spinach & mushrooms with creamy garlic sauce a go for a quick weekday dinner meal. I added sauteed onions and red pepper and used shittake mushrooms instead. It was creamy and tasty indeed, a quick healthy and filling meal. I set aside a portion for myself for next day leftovers. With the remainder for my kids…well…you know how kids are. I ended up dousing it in tomato sauce and letting them sprinkle parmesan cheese on top (they’re vegetarian not vegan). Yikes! Sorry for the kiddie-friendly twist on your dish Miriam! However, the flavors fused lovely with the creamy tomato sauce for the kids and they LOVED it. As for me, I preferred it just the way it was.