My hair through the ages

This post was inspired by Jane at Is That You Darling, who recently shared some of her past hairstyles on her blog. Unfortunately, a lot of my old photos are in England so I can’t go back quite as far as Jane (no baby photos here), but I’ll do my best.

I was born with black hair (as was my sister), but it wasn’t long before it became clear that I was going to be a red head. By the time I got to about 10, I hated my hair colour, mostly because the other kids called me gingernut – even though my hair colour was technically too dark to be properly ginger! My mum always referred to it as “the colour of autumn leaves” because if you looked closely, it had bits of blonde and brown in it, as well as the red.

This first photo was taken when I was about 3 or 4. I do apologise for the quality of the photo (and most of the ones from when I was a kid). I have no scanner, so I had to take photographs of photographs…

B and Cindy

The dog in the photo with me is Cindy. She belonged to my grandma and I was devastated when she died. In this photo she’s probably about 5 years old.

The next photo shows me aged 7. I’m sure on the age this time because that was the age you had to be to join the Brownies! I was so proud of my uniform.

Brownies

Now for a few “special occasion” photos. One was taken at my cousin’s christening in 1991, which would make me seven (it was before my birthday). I’m including it despite my looking less than impressed because it gives you an idea of how different my hair can look depending on the light.  The other picture is from an official family photo session (was anyone else dragged to those every few years?!) – my brother and sister are actually in the photo with me, but I’ve cropped them out seeing as I don’t have their permission to post them all over the Internet. You can see my brother’s arm still, though. Judging by how little my brother is, the photo must have been taken in late 1991 or early 1992, making it less than a year after the other photo and me 8 years old.

In the christening photo, the light makes my hair look almost blonde. The other one shows my actual natural hair colour. See, I told you I was a redhead! Also, note the crimped hair in the second photo. That was the 80s/early 90s for you… the minute there was a special occasion, the crimpers came out!

Once I got older and was given permission to start doing what I wanted with my hair, I started dying it various colours to get rid of the red. Ironically, as I got older, my hair’s natural redness began to fade to a more brownish colour, at which point I started dying it shades of red that are much more intense than my natural colour ever was. In between, I’ve experimented with plums, browns and even blue (it went green… not exactly the look I was aiming for!). Meanwhile, my natural is still red, but you can only tell in the right light, so most people assume I’m naturally a boring mousy-brown. Here’s a photo that was taken after my hair started to darken:

Shirl

I’m not certain of my exact age in the above photo, but I can’t have been older than about 11 because the woman in the photo with me is my step mum and she died only a few months after I turned 12. Look how thick my hair is! That was the reason my mum went and got it cut really short at some point. I then moved to a new school at 13 and spent months being asked “Oi, are you meant to be a boy or a girl?” Needless to say, I soon grew my hair out and have never dared go any shorter than chin-length since! I can’t show you any photos of the short hair phase because (thankfully) I don’t have any here…

How about some more recent photos?

Both of the above photos show my natural hair colour at roughly the same time. The difference is, one was taken outdoors with the sun shining on it and the other is indoors away from the light. Notice how one looks plain brown while on the other one the ends at least seem to have a hint of red?

Above are some more of the various colours and styles that have graced my hair over the years, from left to right:
1. Dressed up as a goth, aged 17, for a sixth form Halloween social. The black dye was temporary.
2. Me at uni in 2003 after an attempt to lighten my hair (I later did it again and ended up an orangey-blonde colour)
3. Year abroad, either the end of 2003 or the beginning of 2004. Natural colour and far too long! I acheived those waves by putting my hair in two plaits over night.
4. Year abroad, June or July 2004. By this time I’d had my hair cut and dyed it dark red.
5. Austria, December 2005. Back to my natural colour. I’m including this because I cut my hair myself! And yes, it’s a selfy!
6. A different shade of red, 2012

And finally, the most recent photo I have of myself. This one was taken at the Weinfest on Saturday. Considering I still had toothache here, it’s actually not a bad photo 😉 (This time it’s my friend who’s cropped off, not a sibling).

2013

Phew… I think that’s more photos of me than I’ve posted on my entire blog until now! I do hope no dodgy people are going to track me down because of it…

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Treating myself

I recently saw a pair of black boots with hearts on them on another blog – Lou’s Labyrinth to be precise – and being a sucker for hearts I decided to find out whether that brand (T.U.K) was available in Germany. I wasn’t planning on actually buying a pair – just looking. But when I discovered they were also available in red I was no longer able to resist – hearts and my favourite colour! It had to be done! Plus Amazon had them on sale for a mere 44 euros, rather than their usual 80-something. Obviously, it was destiny.

♥ ♥

I placed the order on 13 February, exactly 6 months before my 30th birthday, telling myself it was necessary retail therapy to get over the shock of the big day being so close. They were dispatched almost immediately and arrived the next day – Valentine’s Day! It couldn’t have worked out more perfectly if I’d planned it that way.

♥ ♥

The neighbour who’d taken the parcel for me wasn’t home when I got in from work, but as soon as she got back she brought it round to me. I could hardly wait to get into the box!

ParcelEven the shoe box had hearts on – a sure sign it was meant to be a Valentine’s gift to myself 😉

Shoebox with heartsI think I might actually keep the shoe box to store things in. It’s too pretty to throw away!
Taking off the lid, I got my first glance of the boots.

Red bootOh my! Prettiness!
Out of the box, they looked even nicer:

New bootsHere, have a side view:

Boot - side viewThe next stage, of course, was to try them on. I’d never bought shoes from the Internet before and I was a bit worried about whether they would fit – quite often I’ll try something in “my” size on in a shop, only to find that in that particular style I’m actually a size bigger or smaller.

T.U.K bootsA perfect fit. Hooray! 50 euros well spent 🙂

♥ ♥

The dangers of Autumn

Until today I hadn’t realised how fast Autumn is progressing. I had noticed that the leaves on the trees outside my building have changed colour but a lot of them are still green and most of them are still on the trees, so it came as a bit of a shock to me this morning to find one of the paths I walk along to get to work absolutely covered in leaves. I swear they were all still on the trees on Friday! It looked very pretty, all red and yellow and orange, with the occasional crispy brown leaf thrown in for good measure. One of the things I really love about Autumn is the colours – especially when it’s a nice day and the sun shines off them making them glow. But pretty or not, those red and yellow and orange leaves are bloody slippy! I managed to get to the end of the leaf covered path without losing my footing, but later I wasn’t so lucky. Crossing the (luckily not very busy) road outside a school my boot landed on a stray leaf causing me to go skidding across the zebra crossing, almost crashing into a small girl. Somehow I managed to stay on my feet and walk the rest of the way across the road in a semi-dignified way (almost falling in front of a bunch of school kids is sooo embarrassing!). I must have done something to my ankle in the process though cos now it bloody hurts.

Beware of Autumn leaves people – they may look pretty but really they’re just danger in disguise!

The A to Z of me

Somone sent me this as an email. You’re supposed to complete the sentences that apply to you then send it back to whoever you received it from plus a bunch of people you think should do it too. Instead of emailing it I thought it would be a fun thing to blog about, so I’m going to do it here. I also think it would be great if my blogging friends did it too, so I hereby tag Katyboo, Welsh Girl and Hails over at Coffee Helps. Only if you want to of course. If anyone else reading this would like to do it too please feel free – just leave me a comment with a link to your post so I can pop over and have a read.

Did I by any chance just make my very first meme?
OK, here it is.

The A-Z of Me

A is for Ann. That’s my middle name.

B is for books. I like those a lot. In fact, I’m slightly obsessed with them. I would hate to live in a world eithout books. B is also for blogging, which I feel deserves a mention as it seems to be developing into my new obsession.

C is for Canada, somewhere I have never been but would like to go. Visit Canada is on my list of things to do before I die.

D is for dolphin. My favourite animal. I swam with dolphins at Zoo Marine in Portugal. It was a present from my mum and sister for my 24th birthday. D is also for dog. I am definitely a dog person. Cats are mostly either evil or stupid. Sometimes both.

E is for exercise, something I really need to start doing more of. The ten minute walk to the tram stop just isn’t enough…

F is for friends and family. My friends are the most important thing in my life. I don’t have many and find it hard to make new ones, which makes me appreciate the ones I do have even more. It’s just a shame most of them live so far away. My family come a close second in the important things stakes. We don’t always get along but when i need them I know they’ll be there for me.

G is for Germany, the country I’ve lived in for the last two years. I first came over at the end of 2003 for my compulsory year abroad. Jan and I got together in February 2004 then six months later I had to retrun to England. After spending a year there completing my degree followed by a year as a language assistant in Austria I decided it would be nice to actually live in the same country as my boyfriend again. It also didn’t hurt that I actually like Germany and still had a few friends here.

H is for homeless. I have no real home any more. Here I have a room in a student residence. In England I have a room at my dad’s place. Nowhere do I have a real home to call my own.

I is for icecream. I like icecream, especially posh icecream or the kind that comes in interesting flavours, such as those made by Häagen Dazs or Ben & Jerry’s. I is also for igloo. Wouldn’t it be cool to go inside a real one, built by actual eskimos?

J is for Jan, aka “the boyfriend”. We’ve been together 4 and a half years now and I can’t quite belive he’s managed to put up with me for so long. Mind you, for 2 years it was long distance so really we’ve only been in a regular relationship for 2 and a half years. Not actually living together probably helps too.

K is for kitchen. I love to cook, but not for myself. It’s much more fun when someone else is going to be tasting the result. I also love baking but unfortunately don’t often find the time for it.

L is for languages. I currently a speaktwo – English, as my native language, and German. I would like to learn a lot more, including Spanish, Ukranian and Italian.

M is for mother. I hope to be one some day. Ideally I would like three kids, but that’s looking less and less likely as the years go by.

N is for names. I’m fascinated by names – the meanings behind them, the fact that a name that’s definitely female in one country may be male in another. It’s all very interesting… honest!

O is for orangutan, just because they’re cool. When I was little I thought the word was “orangutang”.

P is for potatoes, my favourite food. I could live on potatoes. Baked, roast, fried… anything goes. Except boiled – boiled potatoes are just boring! Mashed potatoes on the other hand are the ultimate comfort food and fantastic on a cold, miserable day.

Q is for quiz. I used to go to pub quizzes with my dad. Occasionally my team even worn. I like the pub quiz at Flynn’s here in Karlsruhe – you can win a special prize for putting down an answer that they think is funny or clever. Usually the special prize (a bag full of crisps, sweets and maybe a random alcopop) is better than the real prize (whiskey, which I hate).

R is for red, my favourite colour. I wore a red dress at my 21st birthday party. It cost me 150 pounds, the most money I have ever spent on one item of clothing.

S is for Shirley, my future daughter’s middle name. My step mum was called Shirley. She died when I was 12. My first daughter is having Shirley as a middle name in her honour. Any man that can’t understand that isn’t worthy of being the father of my children.
S is also for siblings, of which I have three. A sister, who is two and half years younger than I am, and two half brothers one from each side of the family. The brother on my mum’s side is almost 18 (how did that happen? He was just a kid a few years ago!). The brother on my dad’s side has just turned two.

T is for translator, what I will hopefully be in a few years time. Right now I’m a trainee translator. The ideal job for me would be translating children’s books, but there’s not much money in it so it would have to be on the side.
T is also for travel. There are so many places to see, so many cultures to learn about. Why stay in one place all your life?

U is for university. I’m currently studying part time for my Master’s in Translation, via distance learning. U also happens to be for the name of my university, UWE, the University of the West of England.

V is for variety, the spice of life. The old saying is definitely true for me – I would get so bored if I was forced to do the same thing all the time!

W is for writing. For a long time I wanted to be an author. I still haven’t entirely given up on that dream, although now I don’t think I have the talent. I did do an OU fiction writing course last year though so you never know.

X is for x-ray, because it almost always is. I’ve never had one though – no broken bones here!

Y is for yellow flowers, something else I like. My favourite is daffodils, but I also love sun flowers. Yellow roses are pretty too.

Z is for zzz, as in sleep. I’m good at sleeping and tend to get irritable when I don’t get enough. Sometimes, when I’m really tired, I’ll just cry for no reason.

OK, that’s me done. Now it’s your turn…

Ouch

I’m tired this morning. This is because I didn’t get much sleep last night. And the reason for my trouble sleeping? Sunburn! I couldn’t lie on my back… it hurt! Luckily the right hand side of my body is somehow less burned/painful, so I was at least able to lie on that. But then my left shoulder objected to having the quilt over it, which meant I woke up at 3 o’clock in the morning with the top half of my body freezing. I did try to put after sun on last night, but it didn’t seem to help much. And anyway, there’s not much of my back I can reach on my own. Thankfully Jan is staying over tonight so he can coat my back in after sun properly.

In the meantime, here’s a photo of my left shoulder:

Ouch!
Ouch!

I’d really appreciate it if everyone could say ‘awwww’ now.