Welcome! Honest Lies is the personal site of a 25 year old graduate electrical engineer living in the UK. Covering every day life, books and various other randomness. Read more about me and the site here.

A ‘no-poo’ update

Hair that has not been washed with shampoo in seven years. Sorry for poor lighting; forgot to take last no-poo pictures in daylight :( I modelled this photo after the four year update picture, as I am amused at the fact that I am wearing yet another stripey cotton knit. Some things don’t change.

I bought a bottle of shampoo today.

This is kind of a big deal actually, as I have been ‘no-poo’ for SEVEN years now. Honestly, I was a bit shocked when I saw the dates myself. SEVEN. YEARS. For seven years I have been washing my hair using just water, and have trialled all kinds of teas and other slightly odd ‘natural’ hair masks as treatments/other forms of cleaning (I still don’t like using the term ‘natural beauty’ as I’ve mentioned before.) However for the past year, I’ve become increasingly unhappy with it. A year ago I said I would not start using shampoo again and my stubborn self really wants to keep clinging to that, to try and force this thing to work.

But. My hair doesn’t feel as clean as I want it to. It doesn’t look as clean as I want it to. It looks dull. I don’t like going to work with it looking like this. When no-poo works it’s great, but I feel you need a lot better water quality (read: soft water) than I have, and although I have a water filter, I just don’t think it does enough and for money and living-in-a-rental reasons I feel reluctant to buy a new one of those (I have been changing the filter medium every few months as required, so that’s not the problem I don’t think.) I also think its water pressure? I have found a higher water pressure helps with no poo, but my shower isn’t so strong and obviously I can’t change that. I could try the usual teas and hair masks but I want something more convenient. And this is weird, but I miss the smell of shampoo. Whenever my sister comes over the bathroom smells so nice after she has showered. I miss those delicious chemical scents. D: I feel like over the past few years that sulfate free shampoos have become much more mainstream and easier to get hold of than they were back when I first went no-poo – and that there’s a lot more of them. I bought one of those and am planning to use it. I’m super nervous about it! (I can’t believe I’m so nervous about something like washing my hair. but – seven years!) I hope it doesn’t irritate my eczema. No-poo has been amazing for my eczema – it sadly never cured it, but it did make it a lot more manageable. It also made my hair curlier, and at one point it was thicker and more voluminous too, although sadly that did pass (the volume, but I still have some waves that I like and I am worried will disappear when I start up shampoo again. T_T) (I would not mind the texture, look or feel of my hair right now, if not for the extra grease and dullness.)

I don’t regret going no-poo, and I’m glad for how it introduced me to ‘natural’ beauty products and then to more sustainable life style choices in general. I like how convenient it was and how cheap and easy. I like that it made me think about what I use and whether it’s all actually necessary, or if it’s actually just marketing/society/pressure to conform. But I want to try something new now. I just hope that using shampoo doesn’t go completely wrong, as trying to transition back to no poo will be awful, basically, especially when working.

So that’s another thing I’m giving up. 2017 and 2018 are the year where I abandon things, it seems. I feel like I’m giving up so much lately, that lately so much is just not working or has just changed for me. I’ve changed? My sister gave me a “Let the quarter life crisis begin!” card for my 25th birthday last year. Maybe there’s a hint of truth in it? As I shed the student life and enter the professional world, my world has become a little topsy turvy. I’m trying to adjust. And maybe I’m taking it out on my hobbies and my old routines – which, I suppose, is actually kind of natural. Maybe. :/

“I end up feeling empty, like you’ve taken something out of me, and I have to search my body for the scars, thinking ‘Did he find that one last tender place to sink his teeth in?'”

This weekend was another long weekend for me: I’m disorganized enough that I booked the Friday off without realising I was doing so directly after a long bank holiday weekend. Oh well. I went home to my parents on Friday and stayed with them over the weekend. On Friday and Saturday we chilled at home and I showed my parents all my photos from my trip to south Africa, and then on Sunday I went for a nice walk with my dad into the Peak District, before traveling back to my flat. It was a nice weekend, but also awkward, with the usual bickering and arguing to listen to, and try to blank over. Arguments between my parents, my mom ranting at me, and my sister came round once just to shout at everyone which made it all awkward, and it’s just tiring, that kind of atmosphere. I wish my family got on better. Or rather, that we could find some middle ground. Either we are getting on or we aren’t and it’s often hard to tell when the tide has turned. I felt particularly sad to be shouted at by my sister, who I usually get on well with, but she has a cruelty to her, which shows itself randomly and in that way, always takes me by surprise. You never know when she will turn on you, and that makes me feel vulnerable and sad. (It’s confusing – how just a week ago everything was fine and yet now it’s not.) It hurts to see such ugly sides of the people you love. Sometimes it feels like the only one who really wants me to come back, and who enjoys me being there, is my father. It’s a little disheartening – to endure over two hours of boring public transport, and to pay the ridiculous over expense of it, to go there and just end up feeling tired and drained. But I guess if it’s making just one person happy, I shall continue to try and be good and visit my parents as often as I can.

Still. Once going home to my parents felt like a refuge, but now it feels like just another place I need to put on a mask and craft a careful personality in order to avoid stirring the pot or doing something wrong, much like work. It’s not great. I feel unbelievably tired of it all. It was a good walk on Sunday though – the sun was trying to shine, it did not rain, there was no wind, no snow or ice, and the air was warm but not too warm, and smelt fresh after rain on Saturday. We did have to squelch through some terrible mud at one point, but otherwise it was not too hard and very pleasant.

Today I started work at another office, which requires a much longer commute. To get there, I drove on narrow, winding, pot holed, country roads for a good deal of the way, feeling pressured to go much faster than I was comfortable with the entire time by other people driving on my tail. I don’t see what they think they are acheiving by driving on my bumper, except making me more nervous and prone to mistakes. Sigh. This morning there was a thick mist which obscured my view, so it felt like I was driving into nothing. It was very disorientating. Thankfully it had cleared for my evening commute. And, although I was even more stressed this evening, tired and desperate to be home, not bumping along on the country roads with some person on my tail, the countryside was beautiful, and I saw a lot of wildlife. Tommorow I’m trying a different route though, which should hopefully be less in the country. Some much better roads. I hope it goes well.

Long Weekend

The long weekend kind of snuck up on me. I didn’t realise it was Easter weekend until my sister contacted me earlier in the week to say she could come round for the bank holiday if I was free. It was pretty awesome to realise I would have four days off work. Friday and Saturday I switched between chilling out and cleaning. I’d been feeling aweful all last week- headache – and so appreciated the rest and the fact I could slowly go through my chores, no rush. Well, apart from the fact my sister was coming on Sunday. She turned up around lunch on Sunday. We ate, a simple lunch of butternut soup and bread, then we went to a local park for a walk. Of course, the weather was aweful, cold and rainy, and our little walk was fairly short, both of us eager to get inside. We retreated back to mine and spent the rest of the day watching all of Michael McIntyre’s stand up dvds- which were very funny- and ordered takeaway for supper. (Vegan junkfood, yum.)

Today the weather was even worse – as it had snowed overnight. Is it not typical? Finally time off work and there’s snow. My sister and I headed out anyway as I had booked lunch. We shopped a bit then went to lunch. At a cat cafe. Yep, I finally got to go to a cat cafe. One opened at my old city just before I left so I never really had the chance to go. So when one opened in my new city I was determined to experience it. Food and cats – what could be better? It was my sister’s birthday recently so I thought it would be the perfect surprise celebration for her. (She loves cats too.) Of course, she figured it out before we got there. I’d told her I had a surprise for her birthday and to come round sometime for it. But on Sunday she asks me casually if we’re going to the cat cafe. She cannot be fooled :(

She was still excited though and happy I’d thought of it. We had an hour’s slot. Enough to have lunch and wander around the cafe several times trying to find cats, and trying to get them to approach us. Only once we had food did any of them come close to us. Typical cats. There were many of them and they were adorable but of course more interested in chilling out and doing their own thing than anything else. Just being there, and occasionally succeeding at petting the kitties was enough though. The whole atmosphere of the place was just wonderful- with how they’d designed it, all comfy armchairs, cat and local scenery themed decor, and cat towers and mini waterfalls they could drink from, and cat shelves and wooden walkways between then, but also so many different kinds of people, all going loopy over these cats no matter what age or how they looked or whatever. The food was yummy too and they had wonderfully named mocktails – I had a kitty floss and my sister had a cattitude. It was, basically, awesome. And a perfect indoor activity too. So nice to be out the cold and the rain and spend an hour in a room full of cats with my sister. (my favourite animal and my favourite person, respectively.) We shopped a bit more then headed home. Thankfully despite overnight snow it rained all day so it was still miserable weather but easy to drive at least.

My sister went home and then I spent my evening not doing very much, and feeling a little nervous about work tommorow. It’s easy to fall into this altogether more pleasant routine – sleeping late, idling the day away, doing the bare minimum, eating too much Easter chocolate etc.

South Africa Days 8-10


Whenever we go back to South Africa we always try to find a couple of days to ourselves to get outside the city limits and explore the surrounding area. There are many wonderful things to do that are only a short drive from Cape Town, or a slightly longer drive if you so feel like it, but still relatively close. I’ve been to a lot of those places over the years – from all the way out to Knysna and the Red/Yellowwood forests there, to Oudtshoorn (ostriches, caves), Caledon (hot springs), Cape Agulhas (Southern Most Point of Africa), Hermanus (gorgeous coastal walks and whale watching opportunities), the Garden Route. I’ve never had the chance to explore the Karoo though, and neither has my sister. So we decided that for our trip out this time we would head to the Karoo. My sister found us two Game Places to go to, the Inverdoorn Game Reserve and the Njalo Njalo Safari. (My sister did all the planning for this trip, because she loves it and I hate it, so I was really just going with the flow and wherever I was told to. It was quite nice to do this – to absolve myself of any and all responsibility and just sit back and enjoy. Again, I stress, my sister loves being in charge and organising things so she didn’t mind this.)

The drive to Inverdoorn was extremely scenic, and eventually we could get on some dirt roads, and find ourselves properly in the middle of nowhere, and then, finally at the Reserve. It took us ages to check into Inverdoorn – they kept us waiting for our room for a long time, and so we started out not particularly impressed, but things would improve.

We went on our first Game Drive that evening which was nice, we saw many antelope and Zebra etc. and they took us to watch the Cheetahs run – they are a Cheetah rehabilitation center, and part of that rehabilitation is teaching the Cheetah to hunt. They do this by making them chase after their food in the evenings. It was kinda awesome to watch. We came back to camp for the evening and had a nice supper before retreating back to our rooms for an early night.

Lions in the early morning. Apologies for different lighting in all the pics. Taken across both days…
The next day we had to wake at 5am for the first game drive of the day, which was difficult, but worth it to see the sun rising over the Karoo. We drove around their big cat enclosures – they had some barbary lions there, which are a type of lion with an especially long mane I think. The three they had had all been rescued from canned hunting and so cannot hunt from themselves and therefore were rather fat and lazy. Poor things. At least they are clearly enjoying the remainder of their life now free from that horrendous practice, being looked after and with space to roam as they please. We also saw their cheetahs, which were adorable. Cheetah’s make the most peculiar sounds – it sounds more like bird call than a cat.

Top: Cheetah in its enclosure. Bottom: Meeting Lula up close.
Following a delicious breakfast, we had the highlight of our trip, which was a Cheetah Encounter. They bring out one of their young Cheetah’s – the one we saw was a young female called Lula – alongside two of the girls working with the Cheetah’s, and let you pet the Cheetah and talk to the keepers about their work. At first there was a big group but they all disappeared pretty quickly, leaving my sister, her boyfriend and myself alone with the cheetah and her keepers which was brilliant. We were chatting for ages, whilst Lula lazed at the feet of her keeper, purring away. Yes, she was purring almost the entire time. Cheetah’s can actually shift between being relatively tame and being wild, which allows them to hold these encounters, whilst still rehabilitating the cheetah, and eventually releasing it back into the wild (apparently they just need to ensure they release them in a remote enough area as they will still happily approach humans otherwise) So yes, she also let us stroke us. Unfortunately we could only stroke her back and the top of her head – I was dying to play with her tail – but still, it was amazing to get so close to her and the way she just allowed it. The way she purred like a domestic kitty cat as you scratched behind her ears. Her fur was coarse and kept falling out all over me – Cheetah’s do not groom, and roll or scratch to get rid of fur. She wasn’t actually comfortable to the touch like that, but she was warm and purring and you could feel the muscles beneath her skin. She was a very solid kitty.

It was really amazing.

We had the rest of the afternoon free. They had swimming pool that was still filled, somehow, so my sister and I went for a dip. It was nice to have my sister to myself for a bit, without her boyfriend there, and we chatted for ages, half submerged in the cool water until the sun got too strong for us.

Top: Two male giraffes fighting. Yes really. Next: Scenery. I was trying hard to get a picture of the lightning, and that one lame shot is all I managed. Photographing lightning with a basic point and shoot, whilst in a moving vehicle, is not easy OK? Bottom: Cheetah run with storm brewing in the background.

Then we went out for another game drive. It had suddenly gotten colder and clouds were building in the sky. A storm was coming. We got our game drive in – the ominous weather making it all the more beautiful to drive around as, eventually, we could see lightning beginning to strike down in the distance over the Karoo mountains. We had just settled to watch the Cheetah run again when it began to rain. They cut the run short and got us back into the car and the ranger drove pell-mell as the rain came slashing down towards us, we couldn’t see a thing, it hurt as it cut into our skin. I was laughing, remembering Malaysia, how it rained like that there. We had called it “End of the World Rain”, because it came so suddenly, drowned everything so completely, and how the power and internet would often go down at the same time. We got back to the reserve and ran to our rooms, taking off our shoes at some point to splash through the streams of water that had covered all the paths. I dried off, put on some fresh clothes and then went to sit out on the covered veranda outside our room, to watch the lightning cutting through the night sky and breathe in the fresh, wet smell of summer rain. When I was a child and we were still living in South Africa we used to do that – my father and I – we would sit out on our veranda and watch the storms together. I used to love it. I loved it then too, was grinning wildly, remembering being a child, loving how wild it was, loving the smell. I was still damp but it didn’t matter, it didn’t matter at all. It wasn’t that cold, just a slight chill, and I was protected in the veranda where I sat. It was perfect.

The next day we woke up early again for our last game drive, then left Inverdoorn to go to Njalo Njalo.

Overall, it was a good experience. The service during mealtimes could sometimes be a bit hit and miss, but the rangers were all excellent, as was the cheetah experience. The rooms were lovely – big and spacious and comfortable (the bathroom was also HUGE with a rainfall shower YES) the food was delicious, particularly the breakfast, though I was surprised by how little game meat they had on offer – I was looking forward to trying something crazy. Oh well. The game drives were all nice although before we went we were told not to spend longer than we did there, which I do agree with, as the place is actually quite small, so once you’ve been on a few drives, you’ve kind of seen everything. I think we spent the right amount of time there. I was really glad that it rained when we were there too – that was fun.

“The things I want to remember I can’t, and the things I try so hard to forget just keep coming.”

– Into the Water, Paula Hawkins

This book was ridiculous, over the top and thoroughly gripping. But seriously, as someone who grew up in a village in the English countryside I just don’t get this depiction of English villages as small, insular, weird and frankly backwards places. Really, in this day and age? It’s not like that at all. It’s a stereotype that needs to die.