Monday, 3 April 2017

Getting Back my Grey

I have finally found a lovely hairdresser.  She totally understands my hair and my emotional screw-ups.

After trying to rescue my hair, it started to really break up so I went for a drastic chop.

Lucky I'm not bald...

I am still angry with myself that I dyed my hair, but I'm so happy that I have found a sympathetic snipper that thinks silver hair is lovely.  

My biggest challenge is a) the people that thought I'd finally 'seen sense' and dyed my awful silver out back to a 'normal' colour again and b) the boredom of growing out knackered, bleached straw to get my lovely, natural hair back.

I don't do well with  boredom.

But at least I've found a hair-dresser that gets it. 

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

How Fury Ruined my Har

If you read my last blog, you'll know I went through a great trauma last summer.  My darling bonkers mum selfishly threw herself downstairs (bloody attention seeker) and ended up a near vegetable for a few weeks.

I'd left my family in France and flew by myself to London.  I stayed by her bedside for three days preying she wouldn't die then I had to leave her and fly back to spend one last night in France before the long drive back home.  I didn't want to leave her, yet I desperately wanted to be with my husband and children, to get some normalcy back in my life.

The following weeks were so strange.  Me and my sister and my dad were thrown together for the first time in 20 years.  We were muddling along, trying to be kind with each other, but each of us under tremendous strain, not knowing if my mum would survive.  Stress, rage, guilt, frustration and travelling up to central London every other day didn't exactly help.  I came to loathe London.  It stank in the summer heat and in my altered state of sensory and emotional overload, London felt like a frightening place: filthy, noisy, dangerous, crowded.

The fourth week of her being in Intensive Care something flipped.  I was incredibly angry.  Furious.  Rageful.  But when you have young children who love their grandparent and are already wetting the bed and making up imaginary friends 'dying of a broken leg', what do you do?  Having a breakdown wasn't an option.

So, on a whim, I resorted to something I now realise was an old strategy from my teen years. Something I'd do when it all got too much.

I dyed my hair.

Rage hair
I think I subconsciously wanted to create some sort of message to the outside world.


The first immediate result was a fierce falling out with my dear 86 year old dad on Victoria Station, unearthing an argument pattern he and I haven't indulged in since I was at school.  It went like this.

Me:      I dyed my hair.
Dad:     So I see. [Rolls eyes].  It looks alright actually.
Me:      It'll wash out, but I'm just in the mood to experiment right now.  Doing all the reds.
Dad:     [Huffs] Why?! Your mum HATES all the reds!!
Me:      [At volume] She DOES NOT hate all the reds!  YOU hate all the reds!
Dad:     [Nostrils flaring]  She's ALWAYS hated you dying your hair!  You've ruined it!
Me:      [Hyperventilating] No Dad.  It's YOU that's always hated me dying my hair.  Well guess
            what?!  I'm 40 bloody 6 and you don't get to be the boss of me now! [Stomps off to get the
            train leaving furious elderly arthritic father to limp after.]

Yep, good work.  Like he really needed that when his wife of 50 year is in and out of a coma, having brain surgery and a drain for a collapsed lung.  But it did sort of release a lot of pent up tension for the both of us.  And he was right - I had ruined it.

I got bored with it almost immediately and tried to wash it out.  It faded but left a wishy-washy peach colour that wouldn't budge.  So I made mistake number two.  I used a chemical stripper on my hair.

It went lime green.  I wept.

The only thing I could do was cover it up, so I bought a horrible brown (brown!) semi permanent dye.  It was heart breaking.

Mud brown
I hated it, so I took more drastic action.  I bleached it.  Big. Mistake.  Although it initially looked more like my lovely silver hair, it soon became so dry it was like candy floss, then it started breaking off.

At least it wasn't brown
Now I'm back to square one.  My grey is slowly growing back.  I've had to have my hair chopped into a long bob and unless it doesn't start breaking again, I'll keep it that length until my silver has grown back.  Oh, how I miss it so!

But I've learnt a lesson.  Like an addict, two years clean, I fell off the wagon, lured into thinking that my old dying ways weren't that toxic, but of course, they are.  

I have help at hand though - all these years on from first ditching the dye, there are products to help you dye your hair silver and blend in the growth coming through.  See this Good advice from Schwarzkopf.  

I've used a couple of products I'm really happy with.  

Good range of shades
This was the first product I applied to my bleached hair and I immediately felt 'more myself'.  I was a little concerned at the chemical content, however, so I looked elsewhere.

Washes out 
This is an excellent product and completely brightens my hair.  I apply it once a week for about 45 minutes and it seems gentle and non drying.

As my natural colour is coming through, I remembered that I have a much darker streak at the front and underneath at the back.  I wanted to continue using the Bblonde but tint the bleached hair with a darker grey.  I found this:

Good range of colours
I use this just on the area at the front of my hair to blend in my steely grey streak.  It's like a creme conditioner and not drying in the least.

I have also finally found a lovely hair dresser who totally got what I'd done and how much I regret it.  She's going to 'go on the journey' with me, which is exciting in itself.

But this story doesn't have a bad ending.

My darling mum has made a miraculous full recovering!  In only a few months, she was back at home and getting stronger and stronger.  She's now back at her choir, flower arranging, helping readers at the local school and has taken up pilates!  How bonkers is that?!

Although I'm annoyed at myself for ruining my hair, every time I look at it, all I can think is SHE DIDN'T DIE.  And that helps to remind me - it is, at the end of the day, just hair...

Death - you can DO ONE!

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

I ruined my hair - but I had a reason.

Confession: I ruined my precious silver hair in one impulsive moment, and you'll get it.  At least I hope you will.

I took my family plus my eldest son's girlfriend on holiday to Brittany in France last summer.

It was a six hour drive to Dinard, but we made light work of it and had a laugh in the VW we hired.

We headed straight to the beach the next morning.  These are photos from that morning in France - before it all went to crap.

I was sitting in my deckchair, toes dug into the warm sand, watching my two youngest sons digging a sandcastle, when I saw my eldest son's girlfriend running towards me up the beach with my mobile phone.

Turns out my mum had fallen head first down her steep stairs and sustained such a massive head injury she was being sent to Intensive Care at King's College Hospital, London.

People, ie, me, react in funny ways to this sort of news.  I wasn't immediately upset, but I was a bit cross - how dare she do this on my first day of my holiday??  We'd driven SIX HOURS to get there.  Until I really realised she might actually die.  First reality check: my Dad saying in his sweet scottish accent 'She won't wake up, Al'.  Second reality check: my husband Marc telling me 'Nurses say you need to get there fast, or you might not see her again'.

I couldn't get a flight until the next afternoon, so we took the family to St. Malo.  It's beautiful, but I'm not sure I'll ever go there again.  I wasn't in a rational state, although I thought I was..  Sometimes a photo speaks louder than words.  This was taken that day by my son's girlfriend, Georgia.  Sneaky pixie took it when I wasn't looking.

G suggested she took these pics of us together.  It was a bit of a disaster, but they made me laugh so much.  Each of those boys, unbeknown to me were in shock at their Grandma's terrible violent accident.

I'm not sure how I managed to get through that night before I flew back.  Local wine helped.  I'm not ashamed to say I prayed, alot.  Somehow, even though she wasn't conscious, I knew she was alive and that kept me going.

It get's worse.  I dyed my hair.  In my defense - I thought she would die!

And she didn't though, but my hair has died a thousand deaths since.