In October 2015 I was just starting to realise that I was reacting to chemicals in things like laundry powder, personal care items and washing products (the story of how I found out is quite long but funny and since everyone seems to ask me about this, I think it’s worthy of a separate blog post – stay tuned!).
Discovering Soap Café
As I was looking through options on foreign websites, my mother suggested that perhaps I could buy soap from Soap Café in Sliema. I must say I was far from convinced. I thought it might be better to order online and stick to the products that were tried and tested by other people suffering from multiple chemical sensitivity. But luckily I decided it was worth a try.
So I called Soap Café and had my first conversation with Charlene, the owner. What I thought would just be a short call to ask about soap turned into a very long call. Charlene listened patiently as I explained my situation and then she suggested products which might be useful. Forty-five minutes later, I realised that I could buy most of the products I would need, including soap, other personal care items, washing products, laundry powder and even make-up and safe perfume from Soap Café. Some items could even be custom-made just for me.
Charlene might not have realised this but that phone call changed everything for me. I went from being overwhelmed, anxious and tired of trying to find safe alternatives to being hopeful that the things I needed were actually right under my nose in a shop in Sliema with a very kind and helpful owner. (Probably more accurate to say that the shop is right under my mother’s nose, as she is the one who lovingly collects anything I order from Soap Café).
Although I am now a very regular Soap Café customer, Charlene couldn’t have had the slightest clue that this would happen the first time she spoke to me. So it probably didn’t make much business sense to speak to me for 45 minutes that first day. But she did. And from the way she spoke to me, I don’t believe she was even thinking about business. I believe she did it out of the goodness of her heart.
Charlene’s heart of gold
And as time has passed I have come to realise what a heart of gold Charlene has. Not only in the way she deals with my (at times very complicated) requests – nothing is too complicated for Charlene – but also in the beautiful way that she has embraced her difficult journey after being diagnosed with breast cancer at the end of 2015. She is one of the most inspirational people I have ever met. (More information about her journey here).
The gem that is Soap Café
I have also come to realise what a gem Soap Café is. Anyone who has tried their products loves them (and when I was ill I asked quite a few people to use them to limit my exposure to the normal chemical-filled products).
I would highly recommend that you visit the Soap Café shop in Sliema to see for yourself or check out their website. Chemical sensitivities aside, using natural products is better for you, for your family and for the environment too.
Being touched by an angel
So back in October when things were quite hard (and I must admit I was feeling pretty low), speaking to Charlene for the first time and realising how adamant she was to ensure I got the best and safest products was more of a relief than I can possibly describe. Her kind support made a very overwhelming patch in my life infinitely easier.
Her kindness also reminded me how important it is to be kind to others as you can never know what they might be going through.
Question: Has a stranger’s kindness ever changed your life? Let me know by leaving a comment below.