Friday, 18 March 2011

Battles of perception - Free Your Mind!

How often to we cage ourselves within prisons in our mind? What's your self-built prison that noone else can see? 
Maybe it's a 'cant do' mentality or 'I'm too fat/old/ugly for that dress' kinda thing. Maybe it's 'my voice doesn't sound like Yolanda Adams' handicap - when really, if you just faced the fear, grabbed hold of the altar and sang your heart out -  people would be blessed with the most amazing voice... don'y curtail your ministry!

I don't know what your prison is - what holds you back in certain areas or hinders you from following a particular dream - but while rummaging through the attic of my mind the other day I came across something very peculiar.

My upbringing was strict and strait-laced. I can't remember my mother hugging me until I graduated from university (hahah). Looking back, I find it amusing the way my younger brother and I would dodge the congregation or nip to the loos when they would have 'Love day' at church; or the pastor would instruct us all to 'turn and greet one another with a brotherly hug' lol, physical contact was so foreign and embarrassing!  Eventually however, we were 'schooled' and by the time our children were born (we each have 3) we had vowed to shower them with affection so they wouldn't be awkward teenagers like we were. (applause)

Imagine my surprise then to find myself withholding public displays of affection from my youngest baby!!!!

I love Paz, she is just the cutest lil thing. As were her brother and sister before her. And honestly, I love them ALL equally, BUT right now she's the baby so (at home) she's the one likely to be sitting on my hip, pulling at my face or getting raspberries blown on her tummy. When the older ones were younger I did the same for them. They have all been MY BABY in turn. So why is it that when we go out I subconsciously tone down on her kisses and cuddles?

Answer: It's the power of perception

A lot has been said (mostly in jest) about Paz's complexion. While our firstborn, the Golden One (pictured below with her grandmother) is dark chocolate personified;  
and God wrapped the little prince in maple syrup and fudge (yummy), 
our final princess looks like she came out the oven too early, with her sandy brown sugar skin and gingerbread hair. 

For months friends and family made jokes about her true paternity (probably the local chinaman) as she is much lighter than either myself or HRH who himself once joked that she might be an albino cos he couldn't see why she was so pale. NO OFFENSE TO ANY SUFFERERS OF ALBINISM. 
I must admit that during the early stages, even I, despite my education, did at one point wonder if those UV lights they kept her under inthe neonatal ICU had bleached her out (Laugh with me here :) ).

In my humble opinion, Paz is cute  - all babies are of course, but I do bristle when someone says :'oh she's so pretty and light-skinned' especially when my 'darker' children are about, especially because it makes it seem as though perhaps she is pretty BECAUSE she is lighter...

When My son was born, certain people accused me of favouring him over the Golden one. 
"Mummy's like their boys you know", 
"you're not like that with her"

That made me mad because I treated the lil prince exactly the same as I treated his sister WHEN SHE WAS HIS AGE, but with them being 12 yrs apart of course I am not going to treat them the same NOW! 

If he topples over at 11 months of course I will cuddle him, and fuss (a little); if she topples over I might not bat an eyelid unless she has sprained her ankle, dislocated her knee or gashed open her thigh (ROFL). She's big enough to get up, dust herself off and move on without needing mummy to kiss it better or wear a 'mr men' plaster!

But those comments have clearly seeded in me because I temper my public displays of affection for baby Paz in fear that I will be told: 
' See you like her the best cos she is red' 

Aaaargh! And going back to the self built prisons: noone has EVER said that to me, EVER! 

It's all in my head!!!!  

Yet, I'm modifying my behaviour and denying my pumpkin her cuddles all based on the fear that I will be perceived to be favouring this child over the others: how dumb is that???? Stupse!

Anyway, now that I've caught myself doing it I can stop it cos it's just silly. 
Even if ppl do think that so what? I know it's not true and it's not my business to battle with other peoples thoughts. My job is To make sure that my children: all 3 of them know and understand that they are loved equally.

They are individuals and I love their individual shades of chocolatey sugary goodness. And that's all that matters.

Free your minds and the rest will follow!

WELCOME TO THE TAPESTRY OF ME.... These are my words and this is my journey, from 'there to hair'! My life, the lessons learned in and through love and loves ones; and my hair affairs.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Homecrafting - Stuff to do at the weekend

Last weekend I had my brother's three daughters over; this is part of our 'reclaim your life from the children' bid. They have three and we have three children; we both find it very difficult to find babysitters for our families and so invariably spend the weekends (and many week nights too!) carting kids from one activity to another (ballet, gymnastics, theatre school, parties...) and having little or no time at all for quality 'couple' time.  Our plan is to routinely babysit eachother's kids - for a night or a weekend so that as couples, both my husband and I; and my brother & his wife, can have some grown up time!!!

So there we were in the house with 6 kids: the 13 yr old and the 7 yr old disappeared with their DSis... leaving us to entertain the 5 yr old twins, the lil prince (who is now 2) and the baby (who will soon be one yay!) 

We visited the park and the playground and watched a movie (not in that order) and when we'd almost run out of things to do I pulled out my glycerin melt and pour base.

Taking the natural cosmetics course last year really helped move me forward in understanding chemistry and the principles of formulating, and once you know how and have the right tools/ingredients it can be EASY as well as FUN. Making soap using a glycerin base is a doddle - your kids can help you and feel like little princes and princesses next time they take a bath/shower with their own soap!

I call this :'Mango & Shea Butter' Glycerine Soap

You'll need: A decent set of scales, some Shea butter, mango butter (if you can't get this, leave it out and use all shea butter instead), glycerine soap base (any good supplier will stock this, you can request that it is SLS free and/or specifically vegetable glycerine based if you like). If you're doing this for the kids, you may wish to use some water based colours and of course some fragrance. You could use essential oils for fragrance but many E.Os are NOT safe for use on children so I'd rather use an allergen free fragrance or an aroma flavour instead. Oh yeah - you  need a soap mould too, but you can always improvise, come on it's for fun! :)  

This recipe gives you approx 50g of soap for 5 children (I decided the baby was too young to use or help make this, so we did it while she slept).

We also added some dried flower petals simply because the kids wanted to throw them in but I'm not going to include that in this recipe because they all floated to the top of the soap moulds and therefore the soap had petals on one side only. If you want to add petals (or exfoliants like oatmeal or poppy seeds) you'll need to get a 'suspension base' which will allow you to 'suspend' things in it.

If you want your soap to be more 'bubbly' then you can add up to 5% cocamidopropyl betaine (CAPB) to your mix (if you have it lol).

Some Science on CAPB
CAPB can have a different charge depending on its PH value (amphoteric): In alkaline solution (over pH 8) it behaves as an anionic surfactant with good foaming and detergency properties. In acidic solution (under pH 6), it behaves as a cationic surfactant that is substantive to our hair and skin that can increase mildness. So in layman terms it will either increase mildness and do nice things to our hair and skin or it will help clean and give us bubbles depending on how we use it! In shampoos, it behaves as a humectant and a light conditioner. In body washes, it behaves as a humectant and offers some moisturizing to my skin. In bubble baths, it offers good flash foam and stabilization to the bubbles. In very mild or baby type cleansers, CAPB might be used as the primary surfactant with something like decyl glucoside (non-ionic) for a very very mild cleanser without a lot of foaming, a nice feeling of moisturizing, and some conditioning. Ok - science over.

SIMPLE RECIPE (for 100ml/g of soap)

  • 90ml/g of glycerine soap base
  • 10ml/g of shea butter
  • 1 ml fragrance oil

INGREDIENTS (in grams because I measure everything but you can convert to ml)

  • 250g glycerine soap base (this comes in clear or opaque blocks which you cut down to size)
  • 28g shea butter (or 18g shea butter and 10g mango butter)
  • 14g of CAPB (OPTIONAL)
  • 2g of allergen free mango aroma (as a rule of thumb you shouldn't exceed 1%)
  • 2-6 drops of allergen free or hypoallergenic water based colour  (I let the kids choose their colours and splash them in as they wanted, hence why we have such vibrant colours lol - you may want to use something like 1-2 drops because the colours are very strong!)
  • pinches of dried rose and chamomile petals (just because the kids saw the bags I had for something else and thought it would be fun) -- OPTIONAL

  1. melt the glycerin soap base in a saucepan or if you are particlar like me - use a pyrex jug or beaker (that you will always use for homecrafting) and a baine marie or double boiler. (Ikea had some pretty decent ones for about a fiver).  The older kids were quite happy to do this and had fun making sure it was stirred and fully melted.
  2. Once the glycerin has melted, remove from the heat and add your butters. Stir them in gently - don't whip them as we don't really want bubbles in the mixture.
  3. Add the drops of colour. The kids all wanted different colours so I separated the melted mixture into vats: one ofor the red, one for the blue (lil prince of course) and one for the yellow. Strangely noone wanted to try mixing the colours to make orange or purple or green! If I had been doing this for me, I would have made this orange or stuck with the yellow.
  4. If you want to increase the foaming ability of your soap - now is where you add the CAPB (and any flowers, exfoliants etc)
  5. Blend together with a teaspoon (or glass stirring rod if you have those heheheh) and bear in mind steps 3 and 4 should be done speedily as your soap will start to harden the minute you remove it from the heat, so don't faff about: plan ahead and be organised :)
  6. Allow mixture to cool until its the consistency of a thick soup (NOT TOO HARD), this is because the fragrance (or E.O) have to be added at temps at or below 45C... however, if you wait too long it will cool and go hard in whatever container you've got them in (eg your pyrex jug) and thats no good for you lol. 
  7. Stir in your fragrance oil and pour into your moulds.
  8. Allow to cool and harden. You can put them in the freezer or leave them for a couple of hours - your choice,
  9. Once they've set you can tip them out and wrap them in cellophane bags or cling film. (The cling film will stop them 'sweating' in warmer climes).
That's it - you're done! Here's what we made earlier.... 

If you're really into this, you can immerse a piece of cut loofah for a cool looking exfoliating bar:
(I'd probably not want mine to be blue though...)
and if you want to get all super crafty with this, you can make these goldfish hehehe

you can just calm it right down and go the natural route (or what I like to call - the as natural as possible route) and leave out the CAPB, go light on the colour (or leave it out too), add an exotic oil (like babassu), use essential oils for fragrance (and their relative properties) and tie it with a rootsy looking cord like this:
nice eh? Your turn.

Since I don't currently have any exciting hair news, and this blog is supposed to be about life and love too - I think I'll share more of this side of me this year. Well, I'll try it and see how it goes :)

WELCOME TO THE TAPESTRY OF ME.... These are my words and this is my journey, from 'there to hair'! My life, the lessons learned in and through love and loves ones; and my hair affairs.


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