Thursday, 21 April 2016

Little things - and a dilemma



Firstly, thank you for all your messages of good luck both here and on Instagram: Joe was offered a place at our little village school early on Saturday morning. I hadn't even checked my emails when a friend got in touch to ask whether he'd got in or not. 

I was very relieved.



We've had a fairly quiet few days. Walking in the woods and picking nettles and wild garlic. Joe was really excited about it. He held the bag open, I collected the nettles in my pink rubber gloves.



Then we came home and made a big pan of soup (with the addition of more herbs and vegetables) and he ate it very enthusiastically. Apparently we've to go back again for more foraging. I may try making nettle bread, as kindly suggested by Christina.


Meet the new neighbours. We have, at the last count, five of these little lambs. They came nosing through the garden gate this evening before galloping off again at high speed. There will be a lot more of them yet. Watching them leap up in the air and career about is so entertaining, and their high-pitched bleating... sigh.


We're progressing with the garden and found a very healthy dicentra had suddenly sprung up along the path by the side of the house. So we moved it out to the back. I'm all for using what we've already got, and I do like cottage garden plants and wildflowers too.


We've had more snow, all mixed up with mild sunny days and dark cloudy ones. And now it's warm and bright and almost June-like. It's all a bit Forrest Gump. You never know what you're gonna get. Makes for an interesting (and challenging) Easter break/half term/whatever this fortnight is.



I've had yet another heavy cold. It seems to be one thing after another; I get well for a short while then something else comes along. And now Joe has it too - although he doesn't seem to be suffering. Yet. He did, however, take himself off to bed on Monday afternoon for a nap. That hasn't happened in almost a year.

I put my feet up and read a book, marvelling at my good fortune. Does that make me a Bad Mother? Or just an honest one?


I've been keeping things ticking over on the work front but realistically until Joe goes back to preschool next week I can't get a whole lot done. Monday morning I'll be collecting plants ready for printmaking.


We had a trip to the garden centre on Sunday. There were lots of beautiful plants to covet, like these velvety anemones and spidery orchids. But we were sensible and made just a few purchases: English bluebells and - finally - a Ribes (flowering currant). 


And now I'm off downstairs for a bit of relaxation and to further ponder the question: To go grey or to continue colouring? It's been bothering me a lot lately. I've been dyeing my hair for years. Being a dark brunette means all those little silver hairs are so very noticeable.

But colouring it (at home) is such a bind. I hate doing it. More importantly, I try to eat well and avoid harsh chemicals in cleaning products. I use natural beauty products, too - so why am I tipping a box of dye on my scalp every four weeks or so? To look 'young'? Am I scared of looking as though I've 'let myself go'?


The past week I've been reading about women who've let their hair grow out. Some of them look fantastic: not washed-out (or washed-up). I'm aware of the current trend for 'granny hair', where cool girls actually colour their locks in shades of grey or Mrs Slocombe-inspired pastels. I'm not making a fashion statement. Apparently it takes around a year to grow coloured hair out completely. It can be difficult and it can make you feel incredibly self-conscious. But I'm seriously considering it.

Google 'Sarah Harris' and you'll understand why I'm asking myself whether I should bin the dye and buy some good shampoo instead.

Maybe, just maybe, I'll do it.

34 comments:

  1. Sarah,
    Your dilemma is so timely for me! I hadn't colored my hair in over 5 years, letting all the white and grey happily reside. Then for some reason, I colored it last weekend and it is awful. I just hate it. Its too dark and yes, the whites are showing through already (in fact they showed up again less than 48 hours after coloring!) So this weekend I am stripping it (thank God for "Color Oops!" which does that job without bleach) and crossing my fingers it will be back to my normal white/grey/brown.
    I didn't realise how attached I was to my white hair. Every time I look in the mirror I feel this awful dismay for that is not me. To me, coloring my hair feels so inauthentic. And I am not that kind of person. (That is not to say others who color their hair are inauthentic - although technically, they are - it's just to say how it feels for me.)
    Not sure if that is helpful to you or not; it's just my story. Good luck with your decision!
    Sincerely,
    Dana
    @nieveandestrellas

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    1. Hi Dana - I've made the decision already I think, having told my friends about it! And as the silver appears around my hairline I'm quietly cheering it on. Just wish I hadn't stocked up on dye a few weeks ago and binned the receipt!

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  2. I'm a brunette and am slowly going grey - only a few random hairs at the moment but i have to admit I can't abide the thought of dyeing my hair. I'm going to take a stand against the idea that unless women look young they don't have anything to offer and go grey gracefully. Whatever decision you make will be the right one for you and good luck with your dilemma. :-)

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    1. Thank you! And my decision's made - I'm going for it!

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  3. Foraging is fun. We had wild garlic risotto the other day but I still haven't made the nettle bread I suggested you make (thanks for the mention). I am happy for you that Joe got a place in the local village school.

    Your musing about your hair have struck a cord with me. I have a friend who is vehemently campaigning for every woman to go grey and be true to herself. It annoys my so much, that fervour and the pressure of going grey. I like my hair dark brown and I colour it because I like it, not because I am avoiding who I am (old, grey and tired). I know you are not saying that at all, you just got me thinking. I like to express myself in many ways, hair colour being just one of those. There are quite gentle hair dyes now, at a price and not as permanent as the harsher varieties but maybe suitable for the growing out period, if you decide to grow your colour out.

    Wishing you a peaceful weekend with plenty of you time. I hope you get lots of opportunities to put your feet up! A well rested happy mother is a good mother. xx

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    1. True! We've had quite a good weekend, but of course the rain has now returned.
      I completely agree with you on the whole hair colouring thing - I can't abide people ramming their opinions down my throat, whether it's to do with parenting or going vegan or who to vote for. Each to their own. It's having the choice that matters.
      For me personally, I'm just tired of the whole faff that goes with colouring my hair. And having an increasingly irritated scalp. But maybe once it grows out (it's that process which bothers me the most, not the end result) I'll end up dipping the ends in some crazy colour :) x

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  4. Glad that Joe got into the local school! As for the hair dye thing, oh yes, I totally get it. I haven't ever dyed my hair, but the greys are showing - you will see in my post tomorrow as it happens - and I have been in a dilemma myself about colouring the grey or not. If I start then I have to keep going, whereas if I don't start should I, have I let myself go. What do I do! It is a tough one isn't it. I am sure you will figure it out. As for me, for now I am just leaving it as it is! xx

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    1. Good approach! I don't think grey hair signifies 'letting myself go', it's just the growing-out stage with ever-lengthening roots that bothers me. And (knowing myself too well) feeling the need to explain myself to everyone. x

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  5. I'm blonde so my grey isn't as noticible...my straight hair has however gone wavy, I rather like it! Try it, you can always dye it again ;) xxx

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  6. I have no quarrel with anyone who chooses to color her hair. It's personal taste.
    For myself, I've always loved grey hair. I associated it with the older women I knew when I was little. It always seemed like a badge of wisdom and strength and gentleness. So now that I've acquired my own nearly-white top, I'm quite comfortable with it. At 86 I think the grey-white is kind to my wrinkly face.
    And there needs to be no sense of letting oneself go. I have a good cut, one that is short and easy to care for; a cut that's a little playful and not at all structured.
    Like me.

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  7. I've never dyed my hair but some greys are appearing now that make me wonder if I will one day. But hearing how long it takes to grow out make me think I won't. Like you I like to avoid chemicals where possible. So good to hear that Joe has got into the village school, it will be lovely for him to be at a small school near home. And well done for putting your feet up while he had his nap, it is very well deserved! Hope you will all be hale and hearty very soon. Germs have been circulating here as well and lingering rather. Wishing you and yours a good weekend. CJ xx

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    1. You too! As for the hair: henna is supposed to be good (providing you choose the right one). But having read the Lush catalogue and learned that you need to leave it for several hours before rinsing out... I've been colouring for so long, I just can't face the hassle any more. I'm just too lazy these days! x

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  8. mine turned salt and pepper early on, and I like it as it comes.

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  9. When I was a teen I tried to dye my hair [unsuccessfully] with bleach. Then when in the work place as an adult I tried using a hair rinse that said it would not turn my hair orange, but it seemed to take forever to get the not orange out of my hair! Now the gray and white hairs have majority rule and I am rather excited that I have made it to the age of 65...no matter what color my hair is! Cheering you on as you sort the matter out for yourself, Sarah.

    Great that Joe made it into the school you hoped for! Thanks for sharing all the photos and especially the one of the spunky sweet lambs! xx

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    1. And thank you for reading and commenting! The lambs are so cute, I'm lingering by the windows every time I go into the kitchen or bathroom... x

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  10. Go for it, I did and don't regret it. Hated the chemicals. Expensive salon bills too. I had highlights and lowlights put in for a while which really helped to disguise the growth, not perfect but once you get past a particular point it's plain sailing after that. I get complemented on 'my' colour. Took me two years, to completely grow it out and that was on a bob with six weekly hair cuts. Have you listened to Mary Beard on Radio 4? She did a piece on grey hair, very interesting. Good luck.

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    1. Hello! No, I haven't been listening to the radio for ages to be honest... but I'm just going to go for it. I colour my own hair these days so don't even get the escape of sitting in a salon chair with a magazine. I'll just bite the bullet and let it grow. It'll be interesting to see how much grey I do actually have. I suspect it isn't really that much and I think I'd prefer full-on silver. In for a penny, in for a pound!

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  11. It must be a relief that Joe has a place in your village school – that's great. As for hair colour... It's a personal decision. I think you should go with your gut feeling and not give two hoots about what anyone else/society thinks. I'd say I'm a feminist but I dye my hair. I do it for myself, not for my husband (he doesn't care) or anyone else. Whatever you decide, do it for you. Sam x

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    1. Yes, my other half is happy as long as I am. I think it'll be strange saying goodbye to my brunette self as that's been part of my identity for so long, ever since I was a baby really! x

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  12. I am probably biased Sarah, but I haven't coloured my hair for about five years now and don't regret the decision. I progressed from home colouring to getting professionally done when I could no longer do a good job, but it took so long and cost so much and I always worried about the chemicals etc. It was a liberating decision. I read a really good article lately that said it's not "letting yourself go" but letting go of of yet another one of the trappings we have as women. Good news about Joe's school!

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    1. That's a good way of looking at it - and I'm actually quite excited about it, having decided to stop colouring after all :)

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  13. I wonder when the day will come when women won't care what they look like? I don't think there will truly be gender equality until that day. I wish there were as many grey haired women on tv as there are men.

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    1. There are very few. And they seem to be blonde-grey, if you know what I mean.

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  14. I'm much older than you but dyed my hair for years. Then I had highlights put in and then more highlights then went blonde so the grey wasn't so noticable and then I was totally gray. But my hair came out silver and it took a year to get used to it but I'm so glad that I did it. I am always getting complements on my hair. It's a hard decision but for me it was right. I was dying my hair every two weeks because my hair grows out so fast.

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    1. I'm the same! I go to all that effort and within a week I realise I've either missed a bit or there's a sneaky silver hair appearing!

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  15. Go for it! I have stopped dying for past 2 months and my hair already feels so much healthier. I was dark like you but feel nature knows when the change is needed! Good news re school for Joe

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  16. Love your photos -especially that anemone. You can buy corms very cheaply so it may be worth hunting down some anemone corms which I think may be Anemone Meron 'Bordeaux'. To dye or not to dye... I'm in my mid-50s and never have because I like the natural colour of my hair (thousands of shades of British mouse which lightens naturally in the summer) and also because I've never liked the idea of pouring chemicals on my hair and down the plug hole. Also I don't think I've ever seen a woman or man with dyed hair which truly flatters their skin tone. My daughter is 20 and is the most beautiful brunette (Irish ancestry on her father's side) and she already has silver threads (about six in fact!) running through her hair which I think look lovely. Can't wait to see more of your print-making Sarah. Will you be selling, apart from at fairs, at some point?

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    1. Hi Sarah - thanks for the anemone advice! And yes, I'm currently working on photographing my prints for a Folksy shop which will be accessible via the blog.
      I'm also going to be taking some of them up to the Lake District to sell through a gallery (and will post on that as soon as I've been up there!) Finally, I'm approaching a local shop to see if they'd be interested. I'll keep you posted :)

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  17. hurray for school places and gardening and foraging. I'm not very grey yet and I've never dyed my hair, partly because I hate the idea of the chemicals and partly because I hate the idea of hairdressers......

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    1. Apparently the darker you colour, the worse the chemicals. My grey seems to be mainly around my hairline so maybe I'll end up with some sort of halo effect!

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  18. I don't really want to dye my hair for the same reasons as you (chemicals etc). Perhaps you could go without dye for a few months and see what you think — if you don't like you can always go back to dyeing again. Or how about henna? Must look into nettle bread, I'm intrigued!

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  19. Wear those gray hairs with pride, you have earned them. Besides, you can have a significant other name them....as their behavior created that one, the new one right there, due to their hissy fit, bad decision, what ever applies.

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  20. I got tired of the faff and the expense about four years ago. I wish I'd never started and certainly wish I had stopped sooner. The colour got progressively ashier. Like nicotine in fact. My hair was very dark originally so the compromise colour really didn't work with my complexion or eyes. I like the colour now and the condition is much improved.

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  21. I'm just putting together a post chronicling my own greying, accomplished with some initial trepidation over the past seven or eight months. I'm still having highlights put in, but they only need refreshing every three or four months or so, and even if I don't find time to get them done, the roots all blend together with the full-length grey hairs, so I don't worry about them anymore. So far, I'm very happy with the switch, and I can't see myself going back to constant colouring. Such an individual decision, though, so many contexts and preferences. . .

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