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Talking About Women in the Labour Force, Bella NTV7 on 1st May, 11am

Just went in for a pre-recording for Bella NTV7’s show that will air tomorrow morning on Labour Day. I walked into the studio not knowing what to expect (save for the questions that were emailed to me the day before), so I was floored when I found myself chatting with Sumitra of the Women’s Aid Organization, and Betty Yeoh of the All Women’s Action Society (AWAM), with Elaine Daly hosting the show. Starstruck. :”)

Catch the conversation we had about women in the work force, what seems to be holding us back from climbing the corporate ladder (I admit I am a bit out of touch with that!), and what can be done to increase the level of involvement of women in the workplace.

I think we all had fun! If you manage to catch the programme and have your own thoughts about women in the labour force, do share your views here. I’d love to know what you think.

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How Well Does Spirulina’s Colour Hold Up in Cold Process Soap?

I’m so happy to be able to write a little blurb about experiments in the studio again! I wish I had more time to do this amidst all the changes at work, but I’m happy for the occasional opportunity all the same. 🙂

So how does spirulina fare as a stable, all-natural colourant in CP soap? I reckon it does pretty well, all things considered. 🙂 Here’s what it looked like when I first sliced our Fiddler’s Green soap:

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The powder itself looked a dark, deep blue-green which turned into this lovely fresh colour the day after I poured the soap into the mold.

Then 3 weeks later, this is what the colour looked like:

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Not exactly stable, but still produces a good strong green. It lost most of its blue component, to take on a more mature, olive green kind of shade. Interestingly, the powder that is in the swirl on the surface of the soap seems to have stayed quite prominent:

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I was hoping that it would retain its strong blue-tinged green, but I’m still happy with the results all the same. For the lowest layer of colour which was at its most concentrated, I used 25g of spirulina powder in about 2.6kg of raw soap (yes, that works out to be one rather expensive load of colourant for a bar of soap!)

It will be interesting to see what the colour looks like 6 months down the road. 🙂 Will try to remember to post pics when I can.

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Kicking Back A Bit…

It’s been almost 3 weeks since our family helper went home for a well deserved break, and to spend time with her family. The change of pace and routine wasn’t entirely unexpected (we’ve done this for several years now) – but I must admit that it’s nice to have a bit of a forced break from work myself and focus more on the kids’ daily needs.

Gearing up for a frenetic week starting Monday. In the meantime I’m slowing down (a lot!) so I don’t inadvertently rush the family through their days just so I can get work done. Some days I feel so frazzled, grumpy and worn out. On others, indescribably psyched and happy. I look forward to a bit more balance once I can get some decent nights’ sleep again.

There will always be work – but children will only be young once.

Lionel and me

(My younger brother and me, when he was 3 or 4, I think…)

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Shampoo Bar and Hair Care Tips

woman combing hair

I’ve had many customers ask about the efficacy of shampoo bars in general, and plenty also voiced their concerns about soap being ‘too harsh’ on hair and the scalp. So I’d like to share with you some little tips and pointers to help you get the most out of switching to all-natural soap for your hair, and to hopefully restore it to its original, healthy condition over time. These are mostly drawn from my personal experiences, and anecdotal evidence from friends and family.

Note: my hair is thick, frizzy at the front, wavy/curly at the sides and back, and has the tendency to be dry.

Dripping wet hair is prone to tangling.

No matter what product you use to wash your hair, if you try combing through it while it’s still dripping wet, you’d be tugging at your poor scalp unnecessarily (especially if you have long, thick hair). To reduce tangling, just do your best to towel dry your hair so that it isn’t still dripping with water before combing it out.

Make your own (really amazing) hair conditioner.

Some customers love our shampoo bar right from the start. Some others felt that their hair felt ‘sticky’ after using it. I usually ask them to make their own hair conditioner to use after shampooing, and this usually resolves the issue.

Dilute 1 part apple cider vinegar in 3 parts water. After shampooing your hair and rinsing off all the suds, carefully pour this diluted vinegar solution through all sections of your hair. Rinse off with warm water. I guarantee you that you’ll be very pleased with the results!

The science behind hair conditioners is quite fascinating. Read the Wikipedia article for a brief primer. My personal stance is that if you were to focus on being generally healthy, it will show up in your skin and hair too. So the kind of hair conditioner I vouch for just plays the simple role of an “acidifier that strengthens the hydrogen bonds between the hair’s keratin molecules”.

Reverse your hair washing-conditioning process.

If you are concerned about the scent of apple cider vinegar in your hair being too strong, you can quite simply ‘condition’ your hair first, and then only shampoo it. I’ve tried it and my hair is just as bouncy and tangle-free as when I do the shampoo first – condition after. The added bonus is that I don’t smell so much like a salad when I’m done showering.

I strongly discourage adding essential oils to a vinegar rinse in order to mask the smell, mostly because essential oils can’t be diluted in water, and you really don’t want to be pouring undiluted oil so close to your eyes anyway.

Tame frizz and accentuate curls by smoothing excess skin moisturizer over it.

I usually warm up 2-3 drops of one of our Skin Treats oils in my palms, then smooth them over my frizzy baby hair. They disappear in an instant, neatly slicked back without looking a tad greasy. You can do the same with pretty much any moisturizer actually. Ones with beeswax may offer a more rigid hold on the hair, or make it look a little more weighed down. Emulsions seem to work well too. Personally I find that lightweight oil formulations work best with my hair.

So there you have it, my thoughts on how to coax your hair into looking its best without resorting to overly complex hair care products or regimens. I’d love to hear what your favourite hair care routines or tips are too! Please share them with us in the comments below.