July Rubybox revealed

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Hello! I know I’ve been a bit quiet, but it always gets so crazy busy some days in Ramadaan. We’re also on Day 26 of fasting which means Eid is fast approaching. Queue extreme preparation.

I wanted to share my July Rubybox with you all, while most bloggers did a video, I am not quite there yet. I’m not comfortable with the idea just yet and also know my video editing skills are lacking. Anyhow Hazel and I made a deal that she would video and I would blog.

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If you've never seen a rubybox before this is what it looks like when you take the lid off

I was pretty pleased with this month’s Rubybox since it has two full sized products plus a Rubybox tool.

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1. John Frieda Frizz-Ease – full size (R100)
Self explanatory hair serum. Perfect for dry, unruly locks as well as keeping humidity related frizz at bay. I’m looking forward to testing this one out.

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2. Woolworths longlasting lipstick – full size (R140)
I think everyone got varied wintery shades of this. Mine is red. I’ll give it a go, but due to my weird lipstick hating lips I’m not holding my breath. I know mums eyeing it anyway.

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Swatched in natural light

3. Lanolin Agg-Tval Swedish egg white soap – sample. Full size is 50g and retails for R135
This is interesting. That egg white facial we all know about which is supposed to firm up skin, simplified. Without the mess, fuss or smell. This contains rose water, olive oil and yoghurt so it’s all around nourishing.

4. Rubybox tools makeup sponges – full size (R40)
I love using these to remove makeup with my regular cleanser, or just some gentle exfoliation. These are also great for removing a mask, it makes it super simple and quick.
I have a few other Rubybox tools I’m trialling and will report on them all soonest.

Rubybox have a fantastic offer on at the moment where you can sign up for your first Rubybox for just 99c. It’s ridiculous looking at the items I got and their value.

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You can pick up your box on the spot at Gateway Umhlanga,  Cavendish and Fourways Mall till the end of the month,  so hurry! You’ll find the Gateway stand opposite Edgars on the lower level (outside Queenspark?).

How To: Care for your hands and nails – Guest blog featuring Ordinary Misfit

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I have had so many of you ask about nail care. How to prevent splitting, peeling and hang nails. So I thought I would call in an expert. We all know and love Michelle and her beautiful nail creations on OrdinaryMisfit.com. She graciously agreed to guest post for us. Let’s get stuck in – F
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Hi,

I am pleased as punch to be posting here today.  Not only is this one of my favourite blogs and it’s such an honour to be here but also because it’s something I am quite passionate about.

I am here to tell you about hand and nail care and health.  For most of my life I had really weak nails and they were always short.  I couldn’t grow them because they would break or split before I could even do anything with them.  When I started playing around with nail polish and art it was important for me to not only do pretty things with polish but also have healthy nails and cuticles.  So my research began…..and I want to share what I learnt.

The first thing that is important to know is that some people are just lucky to have naturally strong nails and healthy skin and cuticles.  Some people aren’t.  That simply means that some people have to ‘work’ harder at it than others.  I say ‘work’ because it might seem like a lot of effort but it becomes part of a routine and before you know you aren’t even thinking about it.

The most important thing is moisture.  The skin on your hands are exposed to the elements and need all the moisture they can get.  Hand lotions and creams will leave your hands and cuticles soft.  This is also one of the only ways to prevent those hard bits of skin forming on the sides of your nails.  It will keep your cuticles in top condition as well.  It’s a good idea to use hand lotion every time after you’ve washed your hands (at least).  I am a little OCD and wash my hands a lot so I know how it can seem like a chore but if you find the right lotion you won’t even notice the time and you can get right back to what you were doing before.

Your nails however, need a little more TLC than just moisture. Even though moisture goes a long way to nail health, it isn’t all your nails need to grow stronger and healthier. Here is something interesting about your nail structure….

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The nail matrix is the “mother of the nail” and lies directly below the eponychium(cuticle) stretching to the first joint. This small area of living tissue is the most important part of the entire nail unit. The matrix produces a super tough protein called keratin. These keratin cells are the building blocks of the nail plate. The matrix is an opaque, bluish white, almost rectangular area of highly specialized cells. The matrix is richly supplied with blood vessels, lymph and nerve endings, which carry nutrition to the new cells. The matrix (the living nail) will continue to produce new cells as long as it receives the necessary vitamins, oil and moisture to remain in a healthy condition. If the matrix becomes damaged the effects are usually seen on the nail plate. If damage to the matrix is severe, it could lead to permanent deformity.

That part of your skin above the first knuckle to the tip is where all the magic happens.  For good nail health it is important to use a cuticle oil.  Cuticle oil is made to not only soften and moisturise the skin but also to penetrate the nail.  That means that all the good stuff gets soaked in at the matrix and your nail will grow healthier, stronger and more than likely faster.

If you use a base coat that promises strength etc, it will only do anything while it is on the nail.  That part of your nail has already been formed and can’t be ‘fixed’.  You can only grow out stronger, healthier nails.  So if you do have weak or brittle nails it is always a good idea to use a base coat that can help while you wear it WHILE your stronger nails are growing out.  I couldn’t believe the difference in my nails in just a few weeks of using good moisturisers and cuticle oil.

There are a few things that you will never catch me doing to my nails:

• I will never ‘buff’ my nails.  This removes layers of your nails that basically makes them thinner, weaker and causes ‘damage’.  I would much rather wear a ridge filling base coat if that was my problem or I would use a very shiny clear coat if I wanted the shine.
• I will never cut my nails.  I don’t use nail clippers to cut my nails.  It is much healthier to file your nails.  The best grit to use for natural nails is 180.  
• I will never cut my cuticles.  No.  Just no.  It is too risky and can be very painful.  It is also the quickest way to get infected cuticles and will have no benefit.  The skin is there for a reason!
• I will never not use a base coat.  Not only because of the normal staining etc but also because it will protect your nails.

Lastly, it is a good idea to have a daily and a weekly routine.  My daily routine is very quick and simple and really just involves hand lotion throughout the day, some scrubbing at least once a day and some ‘treatment’ at night when I go to bed.  My ‘treatment’ is usually a cuticle balm or rich moisture high hand lotion or butter.  My weekly routine is a little more involved but can still be quick and will make a huge difference.  I soak my hands in warm soapy water for a few minutes to soften the skin.  I then put some cuticle remover on and leave that on for as long as is required (this depends on the brand you use, some are just a few seconds and some are a minute or two).  I then push my cuticles back gently and rinse off the cuticle remover.  When my hands are dry I file my nails if necessary and slather my hands in a rich hand butter or lotion.  That’s it.  I sometimes do this while I am soaking in the bath.

You can find my nail care routine [here] and more about nail health [here] if you are interested.

I hope you have found this interesting and helpful. I know it sounds like a terrible bore or chore but you will be surprised how these things become habit and you barely even notice that you are doing them.  The difference in your hands and nails will make it worth it.  As I mentioned, some people are lucky and need to work less on getting great hands and nails and others need to work harder at it.  I am very lucky that my cuticles are generally in good condition but I need to stick to my routine to make sure my nails don’t go back to how they were before.  It is so worth it for me.

Thank you so much for having me Faeema.
Thanks for reading!

National Cookie Swap 2014 – ready, steady, bake!

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Please note the Durban event will be at 10:30am

Yay it’s Cookie Swap time. This is the fourth year since Cookie Swaps inception and the second year that Cookie Swap has gone National. For those of you new to the concept, Cookie Swap is the brainchild of Ishay Govender-Ypma from foodandthefabulous.com. Ishay is a well known food and travel writer, she says:

The idea is to create an opportunity where bakers can gather in a fun, relaxed environment to share their efforts. We try to highlight the work of a lesser known NPO or skills organisation to this group of social influencers. In this way, bloggers and their friends can lend support and make a financial contribution, particularly towards other women.

Cookie Swap is a fund raising initiative that gives bakers and cookie monsters alike the opportunity to swap homemade cookies, spread cheer, go home with a stack of treats all while contributing to social empowerment.

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Chocolate coconut macaroons from Boutique Boulangerie at Durban Cookie Swap last year

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More yummy treats from last year

If you missed all the fun last year, you can read about what went down here and here. Last year’s Cookie Swap raised enough money for shoes and chairs for the lovely ladies of Khayelitsha Cookies. This was vital to the work they do.

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Khayelitsha ladies unwrapping their new shoes

This year Cookie Swap proceeds will go to Learn to Earn’s Bake-for-Profit arm. They are a skills development and job creation organisation, to date they have created employment opportunities for some 10 000 people. You can visit their website here.

Myself, Nicola from runoncoffee and Michelle from OrdinaryMisfit will be hosting the Durban event. Here are the details:
Date: 2 August (Saturday)
Time: 10:30am
Venue: Quarters hotel, Avondale rd
Official hashtag: #CookieSwap4
Cost: R50 for bakers and R100 for non bakers
Bakers bring 60 small cookies or 40/50 larger or novelty cookies to the event.

While payment is at the door, you have to book your seat with either myself, Nicola or Michelle. Seats are limited in Durbs! So make sure you’re on our guest list so we can cater for you. If you’re in either Cape Town or Jozi get in touch with your local host (see image at the top).

Durban is still sourcing auction and prize items so get in touch if you would like to contribute :)

How To: Add Shine to your hair

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I’m back with my How To series of posts, I’ll try to keep them going weekly. I decided to start at the top, with hair care. Everyone wants shiny, glossy locks. Things like blow drying, styling, chemicals like chlorine and even too much sun can leave your hair damaged and dull.

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Totally. I always wanted perfect flowing tresses like Ariel

Of course using the right shampoo and conditioner are the first steps. Then treating with leave in masks to combat any dryness and damage. You can use this inexpensive homemade hair mask to treat damage and dryness and give your hair some life:

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Remember these?

1-2 egg yolks
1 tsp olive oil
Combine and massage into hair. Leave on for 30 minutes. If you have some serious troll doll issues going on you can do this 3 times a week. Also, don’t be put off by the egg, your locks will love it. Plus instead of completely defeating the purpose and making custard, now you know what to do with all the yolks from your egg white scramble breakfast (no? Just me? Ok).

Right, now that we have healthy hair we can add some shine. Here are some easy but effective natural ways to add lustre. And you probably have all these ingredients in your fridge/cupboard.

• 2 regular teabags
2 tablespoons of white vinegar
A dash of lemon juice
Boil this together, when just warm and lovely massage into your hair and leave in overnight.

• half a cup of coconut or olive oil
A few drops of rosemary essential oil if you have dark hair
Or chamomile if you have light hair
Lemon juice
Mix together and apply. Wrap your hair and leave in overnight. The next morning rinse your hair with warm water and lemon juice.

• 1 teaspoon fenugreek crushed
5 tablespoons of coconut or olive oil
Boil these together. Leave to cool completely and apply generously.  Leave on for 2 hours.

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If you find it uncomfortable sleeping with your hair slathered,  do it on a day at home and give it as many hours as possible. Or, turban day! Having product build up on your scalp, if you’ve been using a lot of styling products can also lead to dullness, you can fix that by either using a clarifying shampoo once a week (at first for seven days straight if you haven’t been clarifying) or use my home remedy which you can find here.

I hope you will enjoy trying these out and if you have any “How To” requests please let me know :) I’m open to suggestions and will be happy to help out as far as I can. You can find past How To posts here.

Second Treasures furniture and decor

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If you’re looking for re-purposed, pre loved furniture and decorative items these guys make beautiful pieces. Everything is made using waste and natural resources. The strangest piece of wood is turned into a lovely placard.

At Durban Blogger Meet we were all given quirky Easter themed sign boards. Each item is one of a kind and whether you’re going for Eco-Chic or Shabby-Chic, you will find something you love. Here are some items I loved after trawling the website.

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Frenchy side drawer

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Basically

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Chalkboard dresser

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If you would like to view their range or find out more about them you can visit the website http://www.secondtreasures.co.za or blog http://www.secondtreasures.blogspot.com

You can also find a Second Treasures stockist near you here

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