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So you’ve bought a shampoo bar.. ..That’s Great! I’m hearing it more and more as they are gaining popularity, “Yeah, I bought one but it doesn’t work correctly. I get a waxy finish and I can’t get it out!”

Well I’m here to tell you that of course not all shampoo bars are created equal. That is the nature of all natural products. However, I wouldn’t dish your bar just yet. Let me explain.....

We have been used to using a shampoo that have substances in them called sodium lauryl sulfate or SLS. The reason sodium lauryl sulfate is used in soaps and shampoo is because it is an inexpensive detergent and it makes substances lather. This makes it for a quick, easy convenient way of getting lots of bubbles which incidently the beauty industry has told you is luxury. It is also the way to wash out the product faster.

I’ll try to illustrate this for you....

If I were to take a bar of soap of any kind and drag it across a table top, if would leave in its wake a film of waxy residue. For us to get that off, we need to take a cloth and rub at it and add water to it until it turns into bubbles that wash away with a greater amount of water. Otherwise, we are there with a knife or other scraping utensil scraping it off the table. The same works for our hair. Because most natural soap bars (I can’t speak for all) use SLS-Free, including myself, we as users, have to put the work in.

Here’s how:

Start with soap in your hands with a bit of water to create a lather

Once we have a lather going on, we can transfer that to our head

With both hands and in circles around the hair, keep adding small amounts of water to add to the lather

and just when you are about to give up, keep going! That’s just your self-prescribed time frame for hair washing kicking in! This is YOU (or Uniqi 😏) time, so saveur It!

Once you have a good load of bubbles, massage it through the hair like you would any other shampoo product.

Wash it out

So your hair is going to be squeaky clean, probably cleaner than you’ve ever have had before! You will need to condition it as each hair shaft has now sprouted little spurs due to the positive ions. This is your hair cuticles opening up. To smooth them down you need to apply negative ions which is your conditioner and can be found in some hair driers.

Crazily enough, Apple Cider Vinegar is a natural product that can do this and is the base ingredient for my leave-in spray conditioner. I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical thinking I would be walking around smelling like a chip van, but found as the hair dries or it is dried, the vinegar smell goes away! Happy Days!

Well I hope I have helped you a bit further on your quest for a natural choice towards your hair care products and love that you are trying! It does take a bit more thought and a bit more time but when you think that in the long run it’s for you, your family and even in a small bit, for future generations, I think you’ll agree it’s worth it!

Blessed Be

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OMG! It's a rat!!

I share with my mom the absolute paralysing fear of rats and with her add to that list mice. Me, it's bats. I do not do rats or bats.

I still regard The Secret of Nimh as the real deal. 🥴

"Kids get behind me!"

Mom urgently ushered us into the living room of our double wide mobile home, standing guard at the 'door' between the living room/dining room/study/kitchen armed with the avacado coloured broom.

The broom handle and bristles matched the shag pile carpet in the living room, which also incidentally, matched the bathroom suite - *sigh* you gotta love the 70's for its decor. I hear whispers of a revival?... I digress....

It was a hot summer's day and we had just returned from having coffee at a friend of my mom's where the visit was as much to catch up, as to get out of the heat box.

Then, even though the homestead is situated in 'downtown' Cloverdale - the crossroads of the 2 major roads into the town of Selkirk and the City of Winnipeg, it was still a trustworthy rural mentality of not locking doors and even leaving doors wide open as we had done that day. This let the wind blow through - door through to windows - and cool things down in our metal clad home.

Our unapologetically 70s mustard coloured fridge, which matched the stove, washer and dryer was being defrosted, manually. For those who have only ever seen a self-defrosting fridge, this consisted of a tea towel thrown over the door at the hinge end so the door of the fridge could not close completely. This would have to happen every once in while when things were frosting up or getting frozen in the back.

It was lunchtime and Mom was collecting things from the cupboards to make our lunches.

She turned around to get something from the fridge, opened the door and their he was. Sitting atop of her freshly washed, plucked from the garden carrots in the vegetable crisper, lining the bottom.

"OMG! It's a rat!" she screamed.

Mom slammed the fridge door, which ofcourse couldn't slam because of the tea towel stopper and bounced right back open to reveal a brown furred animal, long black skin textured tail and two beady eyes. The biggest rat she had ever seen.

In actual fact, it was a muskrat, which isn't a rat at all, although still a rodent, it is aquatic and resembles a beaver, really. It's the long skinny tail that takes you to the rat family instead of the beaver who sports the familiar flat tail. We have a marsh nearby, so it was concluded he must have been from there looking for food or water, or both. How he got into the fully enclosed porch, up the steps and in through the door and into the fridge, still remains a mystery.

The Common Muskrat -The muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) is a medium-sized semiaquatic rodent native to North America and an introduced species in parts of Europe, Asia, and South America. The muskrat is found in wetlands over a wide range of climates and habitats. It has important effects on the ecology of wetlands,[2] and is a resource of food and fur for humans. - Wikipedia
Wait! Food FOR humans? 🤢

Mom grabbed the broom and stalked towards the fridge. She bravely tore the towel from its job as the wedge and properly slammed and trapped the rodent in the cool box.

He, who was holding court on a pile of carrots.

The rest is a blur if I'm honest. There was a hysterical telephone call into Dad's work...actually two, after the wait for Dad to come home was deemed too long and when Mom phoned again, the receptionist said, "oh! It's YOU, Pam!".

"I'm sure it's just a rat," Dad mused once the phone had been handed to him.

"Tom, if the rats are that big, we are moving!" Mom countered. "Get home, now!"

There was an opportunistic photo of my mom perched on the desk taken by my father before he dealt with the beast. And then the cursing of my mother as she cleaned the fridge of all the nastiness that she scared out of the poor thing all over the fridge and food.

Mom the Warrior

Here on Mothering Sunday I'm giggling remembering both my mom's warrior stance and fierce protection over us in that doorway, broom-sword aloft, and then her vulnerability once someone else was there to take over. And that is how motherhood should be. That a woman's strength is demonstrated in so many different ways.

It is she, as my role model, that I look to be strong, if not optimistic, in tough times, for my kids to show them that everything is 'workoutable'. That we just need to take a beat, and work the problem, not to be a victim.

But also, to show that vulnerability is ok and that asking for help is not weakness, it is about creating a team of collective skills to get things done. That being part of a solution using your skill strengths is just as strong. That we don't need to lead all the time to count.

I have done my utmost to create independent women and hope that I am somewhat of a help that way towards the grandkids. I am equally proud that they know and feel they can come to me for advice, not necessarily the answer, or the answer they want to hear, but someone to engage with, work the problem and find a solution, even if it's temporary (a word a loath, but sometimes is necessary)

So thanks Mom! And I know you've taken some ribbing over Mr Fat Rat, the Muskrat over the years. Know this.... all the strength I can and have ever demonstrated over my lifetime has been because you and Dad have shown me how to work through it, to trust my instincts, and that there is a lesson in everything: win, lose or draw.

Happy Mother's Day.

Love You.

Nik x

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Updated: Mar 22, 2023

"She doesn't need that"

The flicker from surprise to disgust to pity was almost indecernable in our host's eyes, partially hidden by the over crinkling of her cheeks of a now plastered on smile.

I saw it though, or maybe I just felt it, which added more to my acute embarrassment.

As I slowly retracted my outstretched fingers from the plate of party nibbles, I gave her a fleeting look of 'I'm alright. Move on.' And then casted my eyes away from her pitying gaze and then down to the floor.

My then boyfriend had, in 4 words, completely shut me down and in front of an audience of ladies-who-lunch at an exclusive jewellery party.

It was one of those tumbleweed moments where no one knew what to say or if they should say anything as it would rock the mood of the party and that would be rude.

I'm not sure if it was a form of apology or he just wanted to flash the cash, but it was expected that I be grateful for the very pretty earrings he had chosen and bought me.

As we walked back to the car, I decided to make a stand, knowing it would create a spiralling argument, where I would be held hostage by his silent treatment and no affection for a couple of days at least.

"Why did you do that? You embarrassed me in front of everyone," I whispered, my other voice screaming, 'What are you doing?! Just shut up and let it go!'

"You didn't need it. I can see you're gaining weight again," he responded matter of factly as he started the car.

And so it went back and forth until I finally let the truth of the matter fly, "so gaining 5lbs is a reason to kick me out the door?"

Again, matter of factly, "Yes."

It's a time in my life that I call the Dark Ages. However, even though I felt I had no control over my life, I met some of the most important people in my life, then.

I'm doing a lot of unpacking lately, and this time in my past keeps spewing up as a pivotal point.

I was on top of the world before I met him. I was finally a full time university student which I was loving, the Olympics and that stress was behind me, I had the freedom of time to do what I wanted and when I wanted.

I guess he found that attractive.

He came after me in actual fact. I had no real interest in getting involved with anyone. I was wined, dined, given pretty gifts and looked after and for a financially struggling student, I'll admit, that was attractive.

If anyone asks me, I describe him as someone with a good streak, as at times, he could be caring....nah that's too generous.....uhm... let's say concerned for others. And I'd believe there was hope. I would, that is, until out of nowhere I'd get berated for smiling at the bartender or waiter while he ordered and then for looking at the wall or the floor because according to him, I was obviously now trying to avoid looking at anyone, including him.

The end was evident when he decided I didn't smile enough any more, that I was obviously unhappy and that I should just go home to Winnipeg.

"No one wants you here, anyways" was his concluding argument.

The truth of the matter was I had completely lost who I was. It was like waking up out of a trance. Suddenly, I felt frightened, trapped and humiliated that I had somehow let it happen.

So why do I bring him up? This guy... huh... you know what? I don't even have one photo together with him, now that I think about it. Neil's been photographed with him more.


But not really....synchronicity in play.

I drove my daughter and her beau to the airport this morning, listening to a Mel Robbins podcast talking about pivotal moments that shape our life's trajectory. So to the hum of their collective soft snoring and the surrounding blanket blackness that is 3:30am in early March, I started to delve.

I believe that I'm currently suffering from overwhelm, or, what I call the Curse of the Competent and it's in direct retaliation of the feelings of the Dark Ages.

There's a saying I absolutely loath:

'Want something done? Give it to a busy woman.'

Hands up, I'm a fixer and I do love solving problems but if I'm not careful, suddenly it's easier for everyone to dump their stuff on me to fix, solve, organise, or complete. And then I feel if I don't or can't, then the failure is mine, not theirs and that chips away at my confidence just as much as an emotional abuser, only this time it's me.

If you're like me, we do it to please, you do it to help, you tell yourself it makes you needed and important, gives you purpose.

What it is though, is going to the other side of the scale, showing that person who broke you in the past that people do need you, want to be around you, the more the better.

But then you get battered by your lack of boundaries and deep fear of being rejected again.

My need to have control over a situation, my emotions, and my life is me trying to find that balance . People say I'm loud, but it's only because, at one time in my life, I was muted. Honestly, if you want to see me rocket just turn to me, put your finger to your lips and say. 'Shhhhh!'

Why this need to control everything and not delegate? Do I have this need to be a martyr?

Back then, I had finally had enough of being told where to be, what to wear, what to eat, when to smile, where to look, how to look, how to train, both by him and my sport. I needed to take back control. And then I plunked myself smack into middle-class Britain. Again the irony. 🙄

When I went to the Sydney Olympic Games with the Toronto 2008 Bid Committee, I decided it all had to change. I would be away for 3 weeks working there and that change of environment would help me to start over.

A pivotal moment found me, lying on my bed there in Sydney, looking up at the ceiling, having just received an email from a new guy I had been seeing, but broke it off before leaving for Sydney. He was trying to gaslight me into submission. I knew I had to break this pattern. It was making me ill.

I closed my eyes and whole-heartedly said out loud, "Ok Universe... I am yours. I trust in your plans for me. I'm obviously not doing it right, so please lead me."

I met Neil the very next day.

And although we have had some turbulence in the beginning, it has always been evident that we were put together for a reason. (Literally in the cards, but that's another blog for another day.)

We're just better, together.

Total acceptance of each other, flaws and all, and support each other through every crazy idea or trying time. We take on our life and businesses together, back to back.

And for this, I actually have to thank the Dark Ages.

It gave me a tribe of incredible people, a second family who took me in, built me up and surrounded me with the caring space and love I was lacking. I am so grateful for them especially seeing how a 1 month refuge turned into 3 years!

Mr Not-So-Nice helped me create my negotiable & non-negotiable list for a future life partner. So thank you sincerely for that. I hope you still have your hair. I know that was important to you.

And being in Toronto afforded me the opportunity to be part of Toronto 2008 and its Sydney Information Task Force, leading me to the love of my life.

So, I really can't be upset by it any more as without that experience, I might not have what I have now. I have forgotten my own motto: no regrets, just bad experiences with lessons to be learned.

Part of the overwhelm is the residue of saying 'No' more lately, and with that, some rejection or disappointment. I have lost friendships and familial ties for standing up for myself, or holding people accountable for their actions &/or words. However, the boundaries will also cultivate the respect of my time and my abilities with the new relationships I will be building.

They say it's darkest before the dawn, and I do believe and truly feel something good and big is coming my way, again. I have forgotten to trust in the Universe and my gut in times of uncertainty.

I leave it to you, Universe. I trust in your plan for me.

Bring it on.

Let's get ready to pivot.

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