Monthly Archives: September 2020

Strange Tales from the Cookie Kitchen.

“Don’t you just know I waitin’ for the train that goes home sweet Mary, hopin’ that train is on time, sittin’ downtown in a railway station, one toke over the line ……” One Toke Over the Line. Brewer & Shipley. 1970.

We flew to Lucerne very early in the morning at the beginning of December for a three day work trip sometime at the end of the eighties. It was bitterly cold and there was snow on the ground, but with clear blue skies and sunshine; we picked up a car at the airport and went to the very nice hotel to check in and dump our cases.

We had to meet a car and its driver around 11.00 in the Lucerne train station underground car park. We left our car a few hundred meters away from the station and walked there, arriving punctually. We went down into the car park and took a look around for a car with Dutch plates, but found no one. Hoping it was just late we went back up into the train station and sat in a café for a while. After giving it about an hour we repeated our steps in the search for the car. Again, nothing. We began to think that the guy had not made it. We repeated the above one more time, to no avail, and started to get a bit paranoid.

We went to a phone box to make a call to Holland. Things ran differently in the days of no mobiles, and took a lot longer to reach people. Disadvantage was trying to get through to someone who may or may not have been at home by a land-line. Advantage was that tracing calls from phone boxes was extremely unlikely, if not impossible. No answer.

After about three hours, paranoia level quite high, we got through to The Man in Holland. He told us that the guy we were there to meet had called and asked where we were, and told him that he was on the very lowest level of the car park, and lurking in very furthest corner. Not suspicious at all.

He had been there since morning. You need balls of steel for this kind of work. We had gone down to the third level of the parking garage, where there were nearly no cars, and took a look on the fourth level, where there were no cars at all, and not gone on down to the sixth level.

We got our car and drove into the carpark, parking up on the second level. I climbed into the back seat and covered myself with a blanket. Chris said he would be back in a few minutes and headed down to find the guy. I laid there frozen with fear, wondering what I would do if he did not return.

I heard the screech of wheels approaching, and a car turned sharply into the space next to us. Was it them? I was barely breathing. The boot opened and a 10kg bag was thrown in, and the boot was then slammed shut. We left the cars and all went up into the Bahnhof to eat, after which the guy we met, having finished his part of the job, left.

Smooth sailing from then on. Chris grabbed the bag and carried it up to a storage locker in the station, I stood from afar watching. He deposited the bag, locked it up and pocketed the key. We drove about forty kilometers, where we delivered the key, along with the locker number, to one of the Swiss Angels.

Job done, we went back to the hotel. It had been a long day.

I recently came across a postcard from Switzerland that I had sent my mother and stepfather in England. Excitedly telling them that we had gone away for a break and to do some Christmas shopping. Perhaps this is the truth and as with other Strange Tales the above story is but a figment of my overly-active imagination.

CQ

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Mood Scent 4: Unsung Heroes

Hey there A Bottled Rose, It’s a Mood Scent 4 week. WOO HOO! This month the crew are looking at Unsung Heroes. Yes, those under the radar beauties that feel like we are the ONLY people on earth who love them. They rarely get chattered about on the scentbloggosphere, don’t come up in frag nerd conversations and you never see their names and pics in SOTD threads. We all have a few of them. Maybe we bought it blind, it came in a group from a yard sale, spritzed somewhere and fell madly in love, or maybe it’s just a few years old and seems to be forgotten. Doesn’t matter why it’s not being talked about, now is your chance to tell us some secret loves you’ve been keeping to yourself. SHHH! We won’t tell.

Obviously, these choices are subject to change, daily.

Can’t wait to read about your favourite Unsung Heroes perfumes in the comments too.

So excited to be blogging with these three superstars again: Esperanza L’Esperessence, Megan Megan In Sainte Maxime and Samantha I Scent You A Day. Check theirs out too.

Mood Scent 4: Unsung Heroes

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Going Curly

One of the unexpected things that changed for me during lockdown was my hair. I have straightened it on and off since my teens (more on that off).I haven’t worn it curly for the last ten years or so and for the last several of those I’ve been chemically straightening it using Brazilian Blowdry keratin treatments. Even so, I’d still need to blow dry my hair and then run through it with straightening irons.It’s not that I disliked curly hair, rather I didn’t think I had the kind of curly hair that looked good. Now I think it was more a matter of not being able to manage it.

This is my (dyed red) curly hair about 12 years ago after putting A LOT of effort into it for a special event. It did not look like this day-to-day. Unsurprisingly I have not kept the photos of it looking a state.

Early on in lockdown I tried washing it as normal and diffusing it. It was a mess and I continued straightening. Then in early June I let it dry naturally after deep conditioning and it was much better. For reasons I can’t quite recall, I decided to investigate The Curly Girl Method – and got totally hooked.The method originated from Lorraine Massey’s 2011 book The Curly Girl Handbook in which she sets out a whole regime that curlies should follow to achieve their best and healthiest hair. Some bullet points are:

  • Cowashing (washing hair with conditioner, not shampoo),
  • Avoiding a whole list of ingredients in hair products (including sulfates, silicones, waxes, phthalates and drying alcohols).
  • No heat styling except for diffusing (I’ve been air-drying over the summer).
  • Stop colouring (no chance!),
  • Do not dry brush hair.

There is a lot more to it and I did a deep dive into the whole CG world. I’m happy to report it is about as friendly as the perfume community with just as much jargon such as ‘squish to condish’ and ‘SOTC’ (scrunch out the crunch).My wash day routine is: cowash, squish to condish, apply curl cream then gel with praying hands, scrunch, ‘plop’ hair in a towel for 15 minutes, diffuse roots, air dry and finally, scrunch out the crunch.As you can imagine, there is a wealth of information on YouTube and Instagram as well as Facebook support groups. You can laugh at the latter, but this method involves big changes in how you treat and view your hair and the transiton period can be rough, with a massive amount of trial and error in terms of products and technique.At this point I want to note that’s it’s nowhere near as rough as what many Black women go through when they decide to go natural. Invariably they have to go for ‘The Big Chop’ which involves cutting off the entirety of their relaxed lengths and starting again from scratch. This is a hugely significant and emotional moment. Much of the Curly Girl Method is derived from the Natural Hair Movement which dates back to the 1960s.I got off lightly. Despite ten years of heat and chemical damage, my hair didn’t take too long to begin to regain its curl pattern (some never get this back completely).

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This is my natural hair just before I started the CG Method in June. Basically fluffy and frizzy.

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A few weeks into the method and it’s become wavy with more definition.

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Two months CGM and a traumatic haircut later, the curl pattern is getting stronger and hair is healthier.

One of the of nicest things about embracing the hair you were born with is a feeling of self-acceptance. I still struggle with whether it suits me but I already feel some of that from not fighting it anymore.I don’t know how long I’ll keep it curly or follow the method, but right now it’s benefiting my hair. Cowashing has actually made my hair less dry as well as less oily at the roots. To prevent build-up, I wash with a sulfate-free shampoo about once a month. It’s the healthiest it’s been since I started straightening and dying it at age eighteen.Do you straighten your hair? Are you happy with natural your hair type? What is your dream hair?

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