Are you ready for another TOOFUFU haul? Well, aren't you brave? You well-adjusted darling. But you'll be happy to know that despite the rather depressing nature of my last haul post, as well as the ultra-depressing reason for this coastal trip to begin with, I've exorcised all my killjoy tendencies and I'm ready to embrace only happiness for the next five hundred or so words. Pinky swear.
So, let's a-go-go. I recently went on a trip to the East Coast of South Africa, to Margate, specifically. In the vein of many other places like it on the six hour trip between Margate and my hometown of East London, Margate is a small, quiet, beach-going town. It gets a lot flak because parts of its aesthetic are really gaudy - a CBD completely devoid of any recognizable franchises (hello, 'Dave's Hardware'), restaurants with signs detailing all manner of strange food combinations ('waffles and pizza', anyone?), run-down stores selling cobra-shaped bongs (no, really), and the general, cringey, out-of-season feel of a town that's economy is contingent on a small set of low-paying summer tourists. Yeah.
That said, Margate is pretty damn beautiful. It sits on a part of the coast peppered with gorgeous beaches, and boasts a metric shit ton of palm trees (my brother and I saw a coconut fall from about 25m, and a man sitting nearby didn't even flinch, like???). The beachfront's got some inexpensive restaurants and decent cocktails, as well as a kick-ass pier complete with fishermen 24/7. It's also really hilly, so there's no feeling of flatness like I find with Western Cape beaches. It makes you feel like you're in Santorini. Kinda.
My favourite part, though, was the incredible thread- and beadwork of the local isiZulu women, who set up market near the beach. My splurges there make up the bulk of this haul, but it also features presents from my parents, and G, on their respective trips to Italy and Germany (I know we sound like total affluent assholes, but believe me, that kind of jet-setting is NOT normal).
Before we move on I HAVE to tell you this really embarrassing thing that happened to me as I was doing my headstand practice on Margate beach early last Friday morning. I had probably given it like, twenty or so tries, without hitherto unseen success. I was even able to straighten my legs above my head for a few seconds at a time. That's big for me. I started to feel really chuffed for myself - a recent breakthrough in energy levels had made my daily practice feel much easier, and now this?! Almost a headstand, eh? WELL, WELL, WELL. But then, just when my ego was at its peak, a woman gently interrupted me to say that she was a yoga teacher, and would I mind not doing that headstand like that ever again, ever?
Turns out I was doing it all wrong. Practicing my handstand, she helped me with a kind of momentum-gaining run-in-and-then-leap into her arms, where she held my legs and repeatedly told me to harden my core. When I was finally upright like this, a crowd that had gathered on the periphery of the beach, WATCHING US, began to applaud. A-P-P-L-A-U-D. When I was back on the ground, the instructor felt my arms and laughed, saying I needed to do more strength training, and then said, 'I can feel you have a bum (which, I presume, meant I had something to work with), but it's not necessarily all muscle.' Kill me dead.
I took a hard look at myself when I got home. I had picked up weight. I certainly did 'have a bum'. I also 'had a tummy', and 'had some batwings'. When did this happen? I realised that perhaps my chronic (vulvodynia) pain medication really did do what I thought it only did to other people. Anyone but me, surely? Then again, I didn't remember having a meal in the last year when I wasn't full-to-bursting, and as a grazer, I had around six meals a day. Was it any suprise that I weighed four kilograms more than I did last time I checked - the heaviest I've ever been?
Probably not. So, I've taken some measures. I don't want anyone to take a body-negative message away from this. I don't think I should be stick-thin or never eat or hate my butt, tummy, or arms. I don't - none of the above. What I do think, though, is that after a year of more or less daily yoga practice, I should be stronger than I am now, and that it's probably time to cut down on binge-eating carbs when my belly is suspiciously starting to look like it houses A LOT of visceral fat. Neither of those two qualms are unreasonable. I just want to be and feel healthy again. I'll write about that more son. Until then, let's get started on this haul post, shall we?
1. 'What the actual hell is this?', you're asking. It's exactly what you think. A Japanese-made porcelain massage tool from Germany. I'm a bit of weirdo when it comes to massage. I need very intense, very pointed pressure, so I buy massage tools when I can - strangely enough, mostly from Japanese markets and stores. This one's from Muji, a Japanese retail franchise with some boss-ass design. Grant got it for me on his trip to Gamescom.
2. This is the Sugar Daddy-O LUSH Conditioner for blonde hair. My parents got this from me in Italy. How sweet? It's a bit weird using a bar as a conditioner, and it sadly doesn't seem work exceptionally well. LUSH also don't to shy away from alcohol or sulfates, making this a no-poo no-no. Bummer. Will give it good try and report back with an 'empties' post.
3. Would you just look at this amazing backpack? It's completely covered in embroidery. It's not strong enough to hold too much but it's great to use for essentials on a day out and about. If you ever get a chance to go to Margate, please make an effort to grab these hand-made, (almost ashamedly) inexpensive bags.
5. Another embroided bag from the market haul, plus a DIY pom pom addition. I've since added five more. It looks super festive.
6. My parents also got me this Outback Mate LUSH Soap, and it's the damn BEST! It makes our whole bathroom smell ah-mazing. Eucalyptus, peppermint, and lemongrass oils. Yaaas!
7. Another massage tool from Muji. Isn't it so cute?
1. My mom is more obsessed with books than I am. She's got a proper library back home, and I always grew up knowing that come what may, there was always money for books if I wanted it. After a night spent chatting following our arrival back in East London, my mom gave me some books she thought I would like. We stood before the many shelves and she pulled out one here and there, telling me a little about each, and always (always) finding time to ask, 'You really haven't read this? But, how?' The books under number one are all feminist interests. Pop me a comment if you've read any of them.
2. A book on philosophy. I really, really miss my philosophy lectures. I think people who haven't done it have the idea that it's this super vague field, and that it doesn't deserve much respect or attention. But truly, nothing else I studied was more rigorous and unbending in its loyalty to reason, and I'm a much better person for three beautiful years of it.
1. My mom is such a babe. Look at all the Body Shop treats she got me! I've been umming and ahing about whether or not to switch from Inthusiasm. I love their products - they give great coverage, they provide loads of different skin shades, and their products often vegan, always natural, and always cruelty-free. That said, their powders always break and then I have to be super careful when opening them to make sure I only lose one tenth and not a whole half of powder with each use. Annoying for sure. I know it happens with other lines too, but Inthusiasm products act like little time-bombs. Hope The Body Shop works as well with less spillage.
So, number one is the Instamatte, a 'multi-tasking, mattifying makeup compact that will keep the skin looking and feel fresh and naturally matte all day', or so the website says. It's no secret that my skin spends most of its day as an oil rig. Interested to see if this can stop that 2pm shine - especially seeing that it's a gel.
2. You guys, I'm having a thing for highlighter. This one is The Body Shop's Honey Bronze Highlighting Dome. Look out for a strobing 101 coming your way super soon.
P.s. There's no actual honey in here so it's totally vegan.
3. The Body Shop's Fresh Nude Foundation, and the first foundation I've used with an SPF for a long time. I know, I know, I know. But I'm working on it, okay? I'm going to wear sunscreen way more often, I swear.
This foundation has a small amount of rosewater and aloe vera in it, so I guess they were going for some moisturizing elements. Will report on how that works out.
4. My Passion Fruit LUSH Lip Balm from Italy (thanks, mom and dad!). I've used this one before and found the smell a little strong and the effect on dry lips a little questionable. But it is vegan! Yay!
5. This is the All-in-One Face Base from Body Shop. The reviews look great, and I love that it can be used both wet and dry. I'll be using it lightly as a finishing powder for my Fresh Nude, and a bit heavier for good skin days when I don't need to apply foundation first.
6. Grant got me this red baby from Germany. This cutie is an Evolution of Smooth organic Smooth Sphere Lip Balm, made in the US of A. Grant knows I'd love it beacsuse a) summer, b) I think lip balm is handbag must-have, and c) because my aunt gave me one a while back and I've used it in such a way as to form a nipple-like bulb inside, and it always makes me giggle. Love you, G.
I'm a really lucky woman, fam. Let me know what you thought of the post. I'm a bit conflicted about hauls, but I thought that seeing as they were mostly gifts, made local, or vegan, I could let loose a little.
See ya in the next post, kids!