(You’re Da) Fizz Bomb!

It’s Emma’s party in a couple of days and I wanted to get bath bombs or fizz bombs as gifts for all the guests. Until I priced them…

So I decided I’d try make them myself. They turned out well, as in they actually fizz, and quite a few people have asked for the “how to”, so I took it as an opportunity to post something after a lengthy hiatus.

To make, you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 corn starch
  • 1/4 Epsom salts
  • 1/4 cream of tartar
  • 1 and a half teaspoons of water
  • 1/4 teaspoon essential oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon coconut oil
  • Food coloring
  • Mold
  • Glitter (optional)
  • Start off by putting all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl
  • Give them a whisk until it’s lump free
  • Mix all the wet ingredients into a jug (works better if it has a spout)

Now this is the tricky bit and it took me a little bit of a time and a few bloopers to get it right…

  • Slowly (and I mean slowly) pour in the mixture while whisking

Pressure point – if you pour it in too quickly it’s going to activate and fizz up in the bowl

  • When you squeeze the mixture it should stick together like wettish sand (but not too wet)
  • If you need to, you can add a little more water, but not too much
  • Now it’s time to add the coloring. I used a gel type. If you use a liquid one remember it can also activate the mixture if you use too much

Pressure point – make sure the lid is on properly when you give the food coloring a shake (gel or other).

I can tell you from experience food coloring travels quite a distance

  • Slowly whisk in the coloring. Always put in too little, rather than too much. Keep adding until you get the colour you like
  • Use a tablespoon to scoop the now ready mixture into a mold (I used a heart shape cookie tray I found at wespack)
  • Press it down so it’s packed together. I started off using my fingers, but my OCD kicked in and I used a teaspoon to get it as flat as possible

Pressure point – don’t feel the need to fill the mold all the way to the top. Halfway is fine

  • Place in freezer for 2 hours or more and tadaaaaaa…

Your very own fizz bombs!

Not only are they fun, the coconut oil and Epsom salts mean they’re good for your skin too. And the essential oil gives it a nice smell.

Also, as you get more confident you can add different oils for different ‘treatments’

Trust me, it took a few badly made bombs before I got it right. The coconut oil is what I think made these work so well. Once it dries in the freezer, it’s what keeps the bombs from falling apart!

Try and avoid the recipes with citric acid and any that call for kool aid.

Extra tips – I bought the ingredients from Checkers and scored on the little plant promotion

The Epsom salts can be used to make your plants grow too!

For the glitter, I found some ‘makeup type’ glitter at Dischem…

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Ethnic Hair: It’s a Hairy Affair

Related image
The salon I take Emma to doesn’t do any kind of extensions, straightening, etc. There are no blow-outs and no combs are used, except to make lines. Emma’s hair had come out of its style and was tied in three ponytails / pom-poms but because I’m so nervous about it knotting we decided to get it done yesterday.
 
She wanted a bob with braids, which meant we couldn’t go to her regular spot and the other places we go were booked. I found a place online that had a price list of R300 for kids braids. Knowing I wasn’t “taking have my own hair with” I figured in total it would be about R450 – R500 max.
 
Off we went. I showed the stylist a picture of what Emma had chosen and then she went to have her hair washed. I said to the shampooist that she mustn’t use a comb or brush, that if she needs to detangle she must use her fingers and when I saw they use normal towels I asked her not to rub Emma’s hair dry. I realized most of what I was saying was falling on deaf ears when she asked if we were doing a blow-out!
 
As an aside, Emma (and yes, she might milk it a little) has a super sensitive scalp, where even people’s long (artificial) nails (that are filed into points, of which they all seem to have) scratch and hurt. 
 
Emma sat in the chair and again I explained that the stylist mustn’t use a comb, mustn’t twist too hard and to detangle, must use her fingers. She gave me “the” look but didn’t say anything. As soon as she started, the tears from Emma did too. At our local salon there’s a stylist that Emma loves and even her standing close by calms Emma down…needless to say she wasn’t with us yesterday. 
The owner, or at least I think that’s who he is, came over to see if Emma was ok and then he called me aside. He wanted to give me some advice. Which was I needed to leave the salon and come back later when it was done. Me being there was upsetting Emma and he knows from past experience that me leaving will calm her down.
My response was that this was the first time at this salon and no, I wouldn’t be leaving my daughter alone. I explained (maybe a little too self-righteously) that me leaving her when she’s distressed sends a very clear message that I’m not there for her when she needs me the most. It’s telling her me, one of the few people she can trust with her life isn’t there for her regardless of the situation. So, no I would speak to her and see if I could calm her down in my way. I whispered to Emma that if it was hurting she needed to tell the stylist exactly when, where and how, so she could do it gentler, softer, less pointy-nailish. And it seemed to work.
After three hours we were still there. Emma was getting fidgety. The stylist was getting annoyed and the owner felt it necessary to share some pearls of wisdom with me.
He pulled me aside again and explained:
Black hair is very different to caucasian hair (I’m not sure if he thinks I pulled a random child off the street and took her to a salon for the very first time.) Black hair needs to be treated (which we do) and it needs to be blown-out regularly (which we don’t do). He also said that until, with my caucasian hair, I can prove him and his stylists wrong about the correct way to treat and manage black hair, I shouldn’t be telling them what to do all the time.
Sadly, my first reaction is never one of direct anger. Instead, I immediately look at myself to see what and I’ve done wrong, where I could have done better and how I’ve gotten this hair thing so so wrong for Emma. I messaged Mark. I messaged my friend. I gave myself a figurative whipping.
When we finally finished I went to pay and was hit with a bill of three times the amount I thought it would be. They apparently used two packs of extensions, which is why it was so much more. Perhaps I was charged more because my daughter wasn’t the easiest of clients. Perhaps with my caucasian hair, I have no idea what’s involved with the hairstyle or with the pricing system.
Trust me I’m no hair guru but I do know that Emma’s hair is very curly and that brushing or blow drying it would hurt like a mofo. I also know (and this is from my own common sense, reading and investigating as much as possible) that chemical relaxers are incredibly bad – not only for hair but for a person’s health. Yet, I watched client after client yesterday have these chemicals applied to their hair (male and female, young and middle-aged). Our local spot, for example, will not use any product a client brings in unless it’s prescribed and for medicinal purposes. They don’t do blow-outs and I’ve seen customers been turned away because they’re asking for something the salon, its owner, and staff, don’t believe is good for their natural hair.
I would love your input on this experience. For one, would you have left the salon? How would you have reacted to the owner’s speech on black hair and me not knowing what I’m doing?  What would you have done when you got the bill? Do you agree with the natural salon’s outlook and their no-compromise approach to looking after natural hair?

Heaven’s So Much Further Than You Think

We’ve been away, which you wouldn’t have guessed because there isn’t too much evidence of it. There aren’t too many Instagram posts or Facebook updates and I haven’t tweeted, which begs the question, if there’s no social media evidence of it did it in fact happen?

But I digress. While we were away Emma and I took a walk along the beach to collect shells. It’s something I love doing, and Emma loved doing it with her granny. So there we were, the two of us, chatting and looking, looking and chatting.

I asked if she remembered how she and her granny would look for shells and hermit crabs, and she asked me which granny. “Dad’s mom. Knysna granny!” I said. Reminding her we hadn’t taken any holidays with my mom.

“Oh ja,” she says. “Remember we were supposed to visit granny [my mom] and swim in her pool and have a picnic?”

“Yip!”

“But we never did ‘cos you said the traffic is always too busy or that it’s too far to go for just a swim…”

“Yip!”

“But now she’s in heaven going to her house would have been a lot closer, hey mom?”

“Yip!”

 

 

Fakebook and Fake Friends

I'm not sure if you've noticed it or if it's just me but social media platforms, like Fakebook, seem to have led to fake friends and friendships.

I suppose that's a little unfair because some people have become really good friends, despite us never having met and it's tricky when you're a 'part' of someone's life albeit virtually – you kind of feel as though your bound by something, even if it is just gigs gigs or fiber.

I remember growing up and best friends were exactly that. Throughout school, into adulthood and if you were really lucky, through marriage, divorce, babies and everything else life throws at you.

Maybe you hung onto friends because you interacted face to face. Fights or disagreements were had in real time, as was making up and if the damage was irreparable you went your separate ways…but you knew where you stood.

Nowadays in our social worlds we unfollow, unfriend or block people when we no longer want them in our lives. There is no explanation, no reason and if there is, chances are you're not actually told. Instead other FB friends are told which leads to them no longer taking to you either.

I've even noticed it with Emma's friendships. At first I thought it was just me but today Mark also mentioned it so I know it's not. In her year and a half at her new school she's had a handful of steady friends but her 'besties' have come and gone! One day they're all over each other, then there's a play date and BOOM next time they see each other Emma is completely ignored. Like completely! The best friend from the week before doesn't even acknowledge her…or Mark and I, the same people they nagged non-stop for a month for the play date.

Are we influencing the way our children interact and view friendships. Are we teaching them that friends and friendships have very little value and are completely disposable?

It's gotten to the point where I'm wondering if there's something wrong with Emma or if there's something wrong with us as a family. Over time I've come to understand that friends come and go but it's not how I want Emma and Ben to think.

Have you experienced the same with your children?

What makes a good parent?

This time last year I was lying on my bed with a heavy blanket of misery over me. It was my mom's memorial service and it had been a day of keeping a brave face, mingling with people I hadn't seen in years, and that I haven't seen since and trying to keep my shit together.

By all accounts I had done well as I went over the day's events. I had spoken at the service and had kept it as formal as possible in order not to break down (one of my biggest regrets ever), I had spoken to and with more people in those 2 hours than I had in an entire month and I had survived some really ugly whatsapp messages from a rather nasty person. I had survived and could pat myself on the back.

A year later apparently that's not the case at all. Since my mom died our family hasn't been particularly close. Not that it ever was but I somehow thought that an event of this magnitude would bring us all together. Well, it didn't. It hasn't. In fact, it seems to have pulled a plaster off of a sore festering wound.

I met up a few weeks back with my brother to try and work things out. We didn't. In fact he said so many things that cut through me then and are still swirling around in my head at the moment. I doubt he'll see this. He told me he had unfriended me on Facebook because he couldn't handle the way I portrayed myself – this caring loving daughter and excellent mother who did no wrong. He also told me he hated the way I put everything out there, for everyone to read…

He raised a lot of things. From me being a shitty sister to being the worst daughter on the planet. He lay into me with an onslaught of words that left me speechless. And thinking. Thinking a lot about myself. My roles. And yup, I probably do suck. Did suck. Will always suck.

But the part where he told me how disrespectful I had allowed Ben to be at my mom's memorial service still hurts. He told me Ben's behavior was shocking but what was unforgivable was my reaction. Or rather lack thereof. To put it into context, the service was at the jhb country club. A small group of us gathered and when we had all left the seated area to go have tea and cake Ben got hold of the mic, which was still on. Next thing we hear "yo yo yo! One two three! One two three!"

I did nothing. I laughed and said my mom was probably giggling too. Apparently it was unacceptable and I should have stepped in. But I was too tired. I didn't think it was the worst thing ever. Apparently I was wrong.

A little later we could hear laughs and giggles and when we looked up ahead we saw Ben and Emma had managed to talk themselves into a golf cart ride and were careening over the slopes with one of the staff. That too was inappropriate and my lack of discipline and inability to control my children had left everyone upset and disgusted.

This has been swirling around in my head. And I am so torn. Did I really disrespect my mom by not controlling my child? Am I truly a bad mother with very little control over them? I sit and wonder if it were happen again tomorrow would I do it differently? To be honest I don't think so. Emma and Ben are kids. They were kids in an adult situation. I let them be because I didn't have the energy to scream and shout at them. But even if I did I don't think I would have done it differently.

But no matter how hard I try I can't get those words out of my head. That I had disrespected my mom. That I had disrespected her memory. That I am an awful mother and I have children who are rude and badly behaved.

Losing a mom is like a donut

I don't know if I talk too much about my and Mark's mom, who are both angel grannies but when I fetched Ben from school on Wednesday his teacher mentioned he had been talking about his granny who had died, and he seemed quite upset about it.

When we got in the car I asked him if he misses granny to which he answered yes, and then he asked if I wanted to play "I spy"?

To be honest I'd rather talk about death than playing "I spy" with a phonetically challenged child who has us guessing things like:

I spy 'in' my little eye something beginning with an "a"!

And we try everything; apple ant umbrella ape apeman alien aerial…

Only to be told it's 'a' for 'eina'!

Back to death. We stop and fetch Emma and in the car we hear a song that my mom loved. "Ah this was granny's favorite song!" I say.

"Yup" says Emma "and granny Dawn liked "I can see clearly now".

Out of the blue. Emma asks me what missing my mom feels like? "I feel empty, like there's a big hole in my tummy."

"Like a donut?" says Ben.

"Exactly like a donut Ben. Exactly like that!"

After a little while Emma says "Well if granny is an angel and she's all around us
maybe she's the icing and sprinkles on it."

In loving memory of Sally Louise
Always the icing and sprinkles on my donut xxx

Spec Savers Saved Us

I haven't been given anything to write this post but it's something I definitely want to share with you.

Things are a little tough at the moment financially, which is probably the case for a lot of people but Emma's needed to have her eyes tested for a while but it just hasn't been doable.

Then I saw a post on FB from a friend, mentioning the Spec Savers Kids Right to See initiative. Free eye tests and specs for children aged between 6 and 12! No way!

I asked whether it was legit? It couldn't be! My first thought, like The Trump, is that it's fake news. Then I thought there are probably 101 ridiculous terms and conditions. But low and behold. It's for real!

Today I took Emma for her test and she needs reading glasses. She chose a pair; of course, they're blue, her favorite color. And she looks so darn cute!

If you, or if you know of anyone, with kids that might need to have their eyes tested, take advantage of this initiative. It's been going since 2008 and has helped over 193 243 193 244 children.

Head in the Sand syndrome 

Yesterday I messaged a well known speakers company who represent a host of professionals, personalities and *shudder* celebrities. My question was a simple one:
Do you ever have any requests for speakers on sexual abuse, surviving it, the impact it has on one’s life. She came back promptly and politely, and me posting her response isn’t to name and shame or humiliate but to get your opinion on this 
“Hi Melinda. Thanks for your message. Unfortunately not, in my experience. I think our society is still severely suffering from ostrich syndrome about this issue 😢”

How? 
How in this day and age where sexual abuse is rife, with one in three women experiencing it are we able to keep our heads in the sand? How do we pretend that an issue that affects millions and millions of people doesn’t exist because we have ‘ostrich syndrome’ 

How many of you would like a safe place to tell your story, feel loved and understood with no judgement? Would you pay for a workshop or a talk where you’re able to network and find kindred souls brought together to heal and be healed?  
I am looking forward to your input and comments xxx

If I die…

Can you remember when you were younger and you would say “if I die”, as if you were immortal, untouchable. The idea of living to thirty was an achievement in itself because that seemed so old! 

And then you got older and the semantics changed. It was no longer “if I die” but rather “when I die”‘ 

It’s almost a year that my mom left me, alone and feeling lost. 

Any loss is terrible. I cannot begin to comprehend the loss of a child or a life partner but I can tell you that losing a mom has left me broken. There is no bond like a mother and a child. None. And when she left I lost a part of my identity, a sense of who I am. 

My mom knew everything about me. And even though I never thought she understood me and my complex ways she did. The hundreds and thousands of broken and damaged pieces that made me who I was. She knew all my secrets. She knew my first marriage was a mistake. She even told me so. And 4 years later when I met her for a coffee to tell her I was getting divorced there wasn’t a “I told you so!”

My mom loved me with all my perfections and flaws. She didn’t see a broken person. She saw a beautiful mosaic with all the potential in the world. And then she left. Suddenly and without a goodbye. 

And now my dad is is in hospital. He’s been there for almost 3 weeks now. And what initially looked like a quick visit to sort out some renal issues has now turned into a far worse situation. He doesn’t know I’m there half the time. He calls me Sally (my mom’s name). He sobs a lot of the time. And it’s probably for 100 things, like missing my mom, maybe been in a lot of pain, maybe for some regrets along the way, perhaps because he thinks he could have done better. 

I never felt like anything I did was good enough for him. One night, a school night I went out drinking (yes I was that teen) and when my mom fetched me from my accomplice’s house I was blotto. My mom screamed and shouted at me the entire way home, and when we stopped at robots or stop signs she would take it as an opportunity to ‘smack some sense into me’. It hurt but I didn’t kill me. 

I got home, went to my room, out of reach of my mom and my dad walked in. I was expecting a lecture and a good talking to but all he said as he pulled the blinds down and drew the curtains was “I have never been so disappointed in my life”. From that moment on my sole purpose was to win my dad’s approval  back. And I don’t think I ever did. I got divorced (a taboo), I adopted (more of a taboo) and I adopted two black babies (the tabooist of all taboos).

Life is precious. Life is fleeting and we’re all of a dieable age. And this has put so many things into perspective. When my dad dies I will be an orphan. I will truly be alone and I don’t know how I’m going to live with that. 
It’s also put other things into perspective – don’t hold onto grudges. Don’t forgive but not forget – do both. Tell someone what they mean to you. Be real at all times. Be kind to anyone, a stranger, a friend, anyone who looks like they need a bit of kindness. Be humble. Be modest. Strive for what makes you happy and love your life with purpose. 

I’ve never wanted fame but I am that point where I keep thinking this can’t be all there is to life. I need to leave a legacy behind. I need to leave a piece of me behind. I am now on a mission to figure out how what that purpose is…I hope you find yours xxx

Trust your own way with Baby Dove

*for disclosure purposes I was flown to the Baby Dove launch to be a part of the panel and was paid a small fee*

**for further disclosure I would have done it for free for two reasons. One, the first night away from home on my own in a very very long time and two, because I have only used Dove soap on Emma as she really battles with UTIs and eczema**

When the mail arrived asking if I would like to be a part of a panel of moms for the launch of Baby Dove, Unilever’s new range of skin care for babies, I was over the moon excited. Yay! People finally respected me as an ‘expert’ mom I thought to myself. 


On reading further my ego deflated a little like my left boob – the panel was more about how there is no such thing as ‘the perfect mom’ only ordinary moms doing their best and trusting their own way. Not so yay anymore – I’d been caught out as an imposter, as a not-so-perfect mom, and now I was being asked to talk about all my failures in front of a group of media, influencers, mom bloggers and other important people.

How wrong was I? I had the most amazing time. In fact, maybe one of my best EVER!  I met amazing moms and inspiring career women. I met a young 24 year old (who happened to be black) who works as part of the the R&D team at Unilever. She was an intergral part of this new range and when I looked at her I just saw all the possibilities that lie ahead for Emma. 
I also met one of only two paediatric dermatologists in SA, Dr. Hlela, who has more dregrees than I have issues, and again I was excited for Emma’s future while feeling a little underachieved myself. But this wasn’t about me.


The day before the actual launch we had a dry run, which turned out to be little wet, with a few tears shed as we discussed miscarriages, our (perceived) failures as moms and how it’s so easy to feel judged or be judging of each other. 

There were also loads of laughs and in the evening Mark phoned so Ben and Emma could say goodnight. I told them I was a little nervous and Ben said I should just be myself (‘because who else are you going to be’ which is what he tells me when I say the same thing to him). He also wanted to know if it was snowing and what the time difference is between Joburg and Cape Town. 

The day arrived and there I was. As a mom. On a panel with other moms. One of the questions during the discussion was “how as a mother, with all the advice from others (well meant or not) do we trust our own way?” My answer was that as a mom, who literally had a stork deliver our babies, there was no time for reading and Google. I wasn’t pregnant so no one felt inclined to rub my tummy while passing on advice like a baby/parent whisperer. 

With Emma I literally got to change her nappy once while she was still at the shelter and was given a quick run through on how to bath her. That was it. The rest was on a wing and a pile of Xanor. 

But flying home that night I sat on the plane thinking what ‘trusting your way’ really meant. And I realized it meant so much, even before becoming a mom. When I came to terms with the fact that I wasn’t going to be the mom of my own destiny I had to trust my way of becoming one through adoption. There weren’t any cheerleaders in my corner. Even my mom, hopefully her soul is resting in peace, couldn’t quite come to terms with it. When I told her I had found my baby she couldn’t hide her disappointment and asked me whether adoption didn’t feel like 2nd surprise? Other family members asked if we would consider surrogacy and IVF. Even Mark, from a much more pragmatic point of view, asked the real questions I didn’t/hadn’t/wouldn’t consider – could I love someone else’s baby? Could I really love a baby of another color? But Emma, from the moment I saw her, was mine. And there was no way of changing my mind. 

I had to trust that my way was going to lead to unhappiness within my very own family; it was going to rock boat socially and politically but I didn’t care. As a woman I had to trust that this was the only way I was ever going to have my own children. When Ben arrived there was no second guessing or doubt. Again I trusted my way and look where we are today. A funny and strange little family making our way in the world.

Thank you to Unilever and Dove for allowing me to share my story. Thank you to the other amazing women on the panel, and in the group, who opened up to a room full of strangers. As other women told their stories heads nodded in agreement, a few tears were shed where common experiences were shared and relived. We all realised we’re on this journey together and while we’re all struggling each and every day, our way, our instinct, is what gets us through. 

PS I was given the most amazing hamper of Baby Dove products to use and review but when I was checking in to fly home the lady behind the desk asks if I was expecting (I’m assuming because of the box of goodies and NOT my untoned belly). I replied that no, I wasn’t, and asked if she had little ones. “Yes, I’ve got a 3-year old and a 10 month old” and so I asked her if she would like the hamper. 

I will be buying the new range of Dove, for all of us, especially for Emma, and I’ll definitely be buying their baby wipes, regardless of free products or not.

I’m also hoping to do a giveaway soon and go into the far more technical side of range, share the necessary links and Facebook details. It’s definitely a skincare range you want to consider for your precious bundle…

How have you, as a parent, had to trust your own way? Would love to hear from you xxx