Friday, 17 August 2018

ROADTRIPPIN'

San Francisco Bridge and Bright Flowers Scenery Photo
Route 66 Road Sign

As the last bank holiday approaches before the Christmas run of them, I can imagine many of you are creating fun plans before that back to school feeling kicks in.

Some of you may be considering a road trip (fun times!) so I thought I would impart my knowledge and tips for preparing to get away in the car! I have had a fair few car mishaps and I wish someone had told me these things so hopefully you will find this useful 😊

CAR MAINTENANCE, SERVICING AND CHECKS

This seems like a really simple one but one I have been caught out by. Are you on top of your MOT and Servicing? I had a shock last week thinking my MOT was due at the end of August but nope the very next day it expired. Whoops. I knew of a couple of things that it would possibly fail on and in all honesty I wish I had got them sorted sooner and spread the cost as it was an eye watering £500 all in and whilst I absolutely haven’t been taken the mick out of by the car garage, some of the things I could have dealt with earlier.

Remember, you can take your car for it’s MOT earlier than it’s expiry date and places like Calmac MOT Northampton Centre for MOT Testing can get your car roadworthy in advance of your trip.

There are other things that don’t form part of the MOT that you should definitely be aware of before a long trip which is why it is also sensible to get your car serviced regularly! You wouldn’t want to remember that weird thing your handbrake has been doing when you are miles away from home…

Moving on nicely to;

ROADSIDE RECOVERY

I remember thinking having Green Flag or RAC Cover was a waste of money. HOW WRONG WAS I?!

I once broke down on my way home from work, luckily on a relatively main road but within traffic and before I got on to the Motorway. I went to put my car into first gear and was like 'why won’t the gear stick go in?' There was a police van behind me and they came round to see what the problem was and I could tell they were like 'oh for god’s sake what is her problem?!' They offered to try and help me with the car and the policeman then agreed something was definitely wrong, we managed to get it off the road and he commented that he thought the gear box had gone as WELL as the clutch!

I was working at a College who had a Motor Vehicle Dept and they helped me with recovery and fixing the issues but ever since then I knew I needed breakdown assistance!

There was then the time my car battery went when my car was at home. And then more recently when my car overheated and just came to an abrupt stop on the motorway. Suffice to say I cried on the phone to my insurers to find out who the roadside assistance cover was with and then cried again on the phone to the RAC man. It was absolutely terrifying and I rarely even do long trips so imagine if you were away from home and something bad happened. I just think it is an absolutely necessary expense if you drive anywhere!

TYRES

Check your tyres! Look at the tread or for any bulges or anything that looks odd. Check the Tyre Pressure and also check your spare too. This is something often overlooked and can cause such serious accidents if something was to go wrong.

Your MOT or Service should pick up any major issues but remember that something that was advised on an MOT, i.e. your tyres are borderline on tread, paired with weather factors, can increase the risks to you ten-fold.

Tyres also contribute to how fuel efficient your car is too so ensure your tyres are inflated to the advised pressures. Sometimes it is worth making the investment into new tyres just for additional peace of mind, especially if you are planning to make a trip.

TUNES

All great road trips have an even better playlist for car karaoke! Make a playlist on Spotify and get your pals or family to contribute. Even older cars can enjoy Spotify or Apple Music through the radio with a Bluetooth radio transmitter. They aren’t expensive and you can pick them up for about £15 on Amazon.

SNACKS

Keep those energy levels up! Breakfast butties if you are hitting the road early, sweets for a sugar rush and caffeine to stave off the sleepiness.

FUEL

If you think ahead you can fill up at a Petrol Station with better fuel prices, this can make a real difference if you are travelling some distance. For anyone in the Manchester area, the petrol station at Asda Walmart near the Etihad Stadium is the cheapest I have seen in the area!

I’d also advise clearing all the junk out of the boot to make your car more fuel efficient too...

What are your road trip tips?
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Saturday, 11 August 2018

WAXING LYRICAL

Leg Wax Spatula
Spa Bed and Towels

I am a documentary nerd and love hearing about how customs we think nothing of today actually become a popular thing. Waxing is one of those things! I have been going to the Brazilian Waxing Company in Manchester for some time now and it occurred to me that I had no idea how the trend of getting waxed started!

Cue some reading and I just had to share my findings as it is SO interesting! I have shared the sources below just so I am not accused of plagiarism...

If you thought going fully bare down there is a modern trend, think again. Turns out, women have been putting themselves through the painful routines of body grooming for a very long time — though past methods were obviously much less high-tech than the lasers we have today. According to the Encyclopedia of Hair, copper razors from 3,000 BC were found in Egypt and Mesopotamia, while paintings from the 1500s would occasionally show women with little or no pubic hairs. Meanwhile, Egyptian art showcased women with perfect little triangles.

In ancient Greece, having pubic hair was considered "uncivilised." Yep, we've all seen those seemingly hairless Greek statues — and some women, in an effort to mimic that aesthetic, would pluck or singe off all their pubic hair. Archeologists believe Samoans would scrape their skin with sharp seashells to get rid of underarm hair, and “sugaring,” a practice originating in the Middle East, called for cooked sugar and lemon to remove body hair — perhaps the first wax, ever.

But, grooming trends have changed far more in the past century than ever before. Thanks to modern technology, our celebrity obsession, the tendency to overshare, and let’s face it, porn, what people do to their body hair has become the focus of many a trend piece — and the styles are always changing. One day, Sex and the City is telling you that Brazilians are all the rage, and the next, The New York Times is saying au naturel is in. So, what’s the deal?

We chatted with Spruce & Bond wax and laser specialist Ildi Gulas, and she walked us through some of the major body-waxing trends of the last century — and what may have inspired them.

Ancient Egypt

The Egyptians may have been the forerunners of many beauty rituals, but they invested the most time into hair removal. Women of ancient Egypt removed all of their body hair, including that on their heads, with tweezers (made from seashells), pumice stones, or early beeswax and sugar based waxes.

Roman Empire

During the Roman Empire, the lack of body hair was considered a sign of the classes. Wealthy women and men used razors made from flints, tweezers, creams, and stones to remove excess hair. In fact, even pubic hair was considered uncivilized which is why many famous statues and paintings of Grecian women are depicted hairless.

Middle Ages

Just like Cleopatra was a trendsetter in her time, so too was Queen Elizabeth 1 during the Middle Ages. She set the precedence for hair removal amongst women, who followed her lead by removing it from their faces, but not their bodies. The fashion of this era was to remove eyebrows and hair from the forehead (to make it appear larger), which women did by using walnut oil, or bandages soaked in amonia (which they got from their feline pets) and vinegar.

1700s

The late 18th century ushered in a more civilized approach to hair removal. While European and American women didn’t take too much consideration into it, Jean Jacques Perret, a French barber, created the first straight razor for men in 1760 which was used by some women.

1800s

By 1844, Dr. Gouraud had created one of the first depilatory creams called Poudre Subtile. Soon after, in 1880, King Camp Gillette created the first modern day razor for men and thus a revolution was born. However, it would be another three decades before a razor specifically marketed for women would appear.

Early 1900s

In 1915, Gillette created the first razor specifically for women, the Milady Decolletée. The early 1900’s also saw ads for depilatory cream hit the masses. In 1907 an ad for X-Bazin Depilatory Powder began circulating, promising to remove ‘humiliating growth of hair on the face, neck, and arms’. A decade later, a leading women's fashion magazine ran an ad featuring a woman with her arms raised and her armpits bare, the first of it's kind.

1900s-1920s

Gillette introduces the first safety razor for men in 1904, and in 1915, the first women’s razor from the brand hits the market. (It was called Milady Décolleté). This was the start of what author Christine Hope called “The First Great Anti-Underarm-Hair Campaign,” in which ads told women to clean up their “objectionable hair.” At the same time, sleeveless dresses were just beginning to be deemed acceptable, so completely bare underarms were a new "necessity," as emphasised in this Harper's Bazaar ad from 1915.

1940s

Remington released the first electric women’s razor in 1940 after the success of a male version. Due to a wartime shortage of nylon, more products and techniques for hair removal hit the market as women were forced to go bare legged more often.

Second, the bikini was introduced to the U.S. in 1946, as Sarah Hildebrandt writes in The EmBodyment of American Culture. And, as the bikini line rose higher and higher, more and more women began putting effort into grooming their nether regions. “As this history illustrated, the more clothes women were 'allowed' (or expected) to remove, the more hair they were also expected to remove,” Hildebrandt writes. Women either tweezed or shaved their pubic hair outside the panty line (now known as the bikini line).

1950s

During the 1950s, hair removal became more publically accepted. Since many depilatory creams were still irritating to the skin, women relied on razors to shaver their legs and underarms and tweezers to groom and shape their eyebrows.

1960s

Wax strips made their début in the 1960s and quickly became the method of choice for removing unwanted hair under the arms and on legs. The first laser hair removal method hit the market in the mid-sixties, but was quickly abandoned due to its skin damaging tendencies.

The mod movement (and all those miniskirts!) meant that women were expected to have hairless limbs — and thanks to the introduction of waxing strips, getting rid of unwanted fuzz was easier than ever. But soon, things would get decidedly less high-maintenance...

1970s

Although electrolysis had been around for nearly a century, it became more reliable and safe in the 1970s with the development of transistorized equipment. The decade also saw a resurgence in the removal of bikini area hair as the swimsuit fad of the 1960s stuck around.

When the hippie movement hit the mainstream (although Nair entered the market in 1972), it ushered in an all-natural look, as Deep Throat showcased. This brief dip in grooming was soon to be over (although the expression "'70s bush" lives on). In 1974, the first “pink shot” of a bare vagina appeared in Hustler, and porn stars started shaving it all off soon after.

1980s

Today, most women rely on some form of hair removal in their everyday beauty routines, whether it is tweezing, shaving, waxing, or depilatory. Waxing bars, eyebrow threading studios, and electrolysis centers are at an all time high and continue to rise. New technologies in hair removal had made it one of the most popular beauty services out there.

One word: Brazilians. In 1987, seven sisters from Brazil opened a salon in New York City called J. Sisters (yes, all their names began with the letter J), which popularised the Brazilian wax in the States. "In Brazil, waxing is part of our culture because bikinis are so small," says the salon's website. "We thought it was an important service to add because personal care is no longer a luxury, it's a necessity."

The bodybuilding craze of the '80s meant that men were also getting into body grooming. One memorable quote from Arnold Schwarzenegger when he decided to run for governor? "It's the most difficult [decision] I've made in my entire life, except the one I made in 1978 when I decided to get a bikini wax." Thanks to Schwarzenegger and Mr. Olympia competitions, this trend continues into today.

1990s

Though it started in the '80s in the States, a completely bare look didn’t really proliferate until the '90s. "In the 1980s and 1990s, a landing strip was common," Herbenick says. “Before it was popularised, the bare look was being seen more often in strip clubs and in porn films, though this is less often talked about."

Then, celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Naomi Campbell started talking about their waxing regimes. The first mention of a Brazilian wax in The New York Times appeared in 1998, and a Salon article in 1999 noted the proliferation of celebrity photos on the J. Sisters' salon walls (Gwyneth wrote, "You've changed my life!") Meanwhile, men started grooming a bit more — mostly their chests and backs, but some sensitive parts, too — and it was dubbed the “metrosexual” movement.

2000s

Brazilians reach the pinnacle of cultural influence with a mention on Sex and the City. “It was definitely that episode that made it a major boom,” Spruce & Bond's Gulas says. “We’re starting to see now that people are going straight to laser, not even going through waxing; just lasering it all off.”

2010s

Brazilian bikini waxes got so popular that researchers began to predict that pubic lice would become extinct. But, as it happens with pretty much everything, there was soon a backlash. In recent years, many started shifting back to the full bush — or, at least, bush in the front, Brazilian in the back. Original Brazilian proponent Gwyneth Paltrow started talking about the beauty of going au naturel, alongside celeb BFF Cameron Diaz. In The Body Book, Diaz published an entire section titled "In Praise of Pubes," referring to them as a "lovely curtain of pubic hair." It's even popped up on American Apparel mannequins.

Sources:
The Encyclopedia Of Hair: A Cultural History by Victoria Sherrow; Gillette archives
https://www.elle.com/beauty/makeup-skin-care/tips/g8155/history-of-hair-removal/
https://www.refinery29.uk/body-grooming-history
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Friday, 10 August 2018

MANCHESTER EATS: BANYAN BAR AND KITCHEN

Sparkling Water and Aperol Spritz Banyan Manchester
Spring Rolls and Belly Pork Banyan Manchester
Aperol Spritz at Banyan Manchester
Stylish Cocktails at Banyan Manchester
Gin Paradise at Banyan Manchester
The CrossFit Burger at Banyan Manchester
Crispy Duck and Watermelon Salad at Banyan Manchester

Sampling the Menu at Banyan Bar and Kitchen

Since I attended the Cocktail Tour at Manchester's Corn Exchange I have been keen to try more of the bars and restaurants within to sample the food on offer. I was given the opportunity to try the food at Banyan Bar and Kitchen and head there last week with my friend to see how it was.

Naturally, any good catch up and gossip with a pal includes cocktails and we tried their Aperol Spritzes which were delicious! And let's be frank, just tooooo easy to drink!

I opted for the glazed belly pork to start and my friend opted for the spring rolls. The belly pork had a lovely flavour and was very tasty, me being slightly greedy would have probably enjoyed even more of it!

For mains, I went for the crispy duck and watermelon salad and my friend had the CrossFit Burger.I definitely got food envy I can't lie.. The salad was actually really very nice, the combination of the crispy duck and the watermelon was perfect, kind of sweet and sour!

My only negative comment really would be that there was not alot of duck for the price and the menu stated that there would also be pomegranate seeds and there wasn't any. I don't think this made a massive difference taste wise but I do think this is quite expensive for what you get.

The CrossFit Burger looked really good.. it is a low carb burger so served without the bun and accompanied by sweet potato wedges and an avocado salad. Definitely a good option if you want an ok cheat meal!

I was impressed with the food and drink and will definitely be back! Thank you Banyan for a wonderful evening!

*In the interest of full disclosure, this meal was complimentary but I was not under any obligation to post about my experience. My post is my genuine opinion.
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