Lincoln Street, the non-assuming suburban street tucked away in the Northern suburbs of Brisbane. Here you can find a row of shops that represent a little piece of multi culturalism. I can assure you that you will never be hungry in these neck of the woods.

Hangi is available from the New Zealand Fish and Chip shop along with paua, deep fried mars bars, tiramisu, and of course fish and chips. Hand on heart I can confirm it’s the best hangi in town this side of the ditch.

Next door we visit Fiji. Well we visit the appropriately named store Fiji Shop where you can get all your necessities. The essentials like taro, cassava, bales of rice, coconut milk, spam, water crest, taro leaves, green bananas, fried banana chips, taro chips, family size corned beef tins, mats, roti, and more taro.

Did I mention taro?

Further up we find the Indian Grocer here you can get the latest and most stunning saris and all the trimmings you need to prepare an epic meal, tamarind, mustard seeds, red chilli, coconut oil, gingelly oil, ghee, and spices galore.

Next to the Indian Grocer you will find a Samoan Speciality Store Pinati’s. Here you can source beautiful material and Puletasis. Plus there’s food. More glorious food. If you’re in the area pop in on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday for their generous supper plates.

Nestled amongst the hustle and bustle of this cultural market place is a sanctuary, a haven, a slice of paradise here we have the home of Malu Nails and Beauty.

Malu in the Samoan language is a female specific tattoo of extreme cultural significance covering the legs from just below the knees to the upper thighs just below the buttocks. The Malu is typically more fine and delicate in design compared to the pe’a, the equivalent tattoo for males. In the late 19th century and early 20th century it was common that the Malu was reserved for only the Chief’s daughter.

Let me introduce you to a modern day Chiefly woman and owner of Malu Nails and Beauty Mellissa “Mel” Baldock- Ikitoelagi. Mel stands tall and proud almost regal like royalty. Fa’amatai is the chiefly system of Samoa and Mel is a direct descendant of a line of Samoan chiefs. Daughter of a Samoan mother and English father Mel decided to name her business after the significant marks she has tattooed on her legs. It is a constant reminder of her culture but also an opportunity for her to share her culture with those that ask the common question “What does Malu mean?”

When you enter Malu you are instantly greeted with Polynesian Hospitality. Mel’s welcoming smile and the aroma of frangipani infused coconut oil is just the beginning of the blissful experience when one enters Malu’s doors. Regulars become Aiga (or family) and it’s plain to see why she has such a huge client base because her smile, her presence, and her work is amazing!

Two words to describe Mel’s work. Healing hands. For me personally Malu is my therapy. An hour on her massage table can get rid of weeks and months of stress and anxiety as she kneads through every single knot. As I lay there face down and covered in a sweet concoction of coconut oil her healing hands un do all the hurt that the world provoked. The sweet balm massaged into my tissue hydrating my skin but at the same time healing matters of the heart. Her healing hands find each trigger point in my tired feet in my sore legs, my tight shoulders, my stiff neck and my hard back. It’s as though she knows my body’s story she can sense the physical pain and knows that stems from a pain deeper than early mornings and a hectic lifestyle. As she rubs the concoction through my hair and gently tugs my mop of curly mass and massages my head it’s almost as though my mind is being cleared and my burdens are banished. Healing hands I tell you. Healing hands.

Her talents are not limited to massages and beauty treatments. Her nail work is phenomenal. She adds her own unique twist to the nail industry. She has a massive following on social media platforms. Trained in Australia and the United Kingdom and having worked the London scene has set Mel apart from your usual Nail Salons in the shopping malls. You know the classic shopping mall nail salon drill get in and out quick smart. Before you know it, you’ve had a quick paint, a half-arsed massage and wham bam your chair and foot spa is being sprayed down with disinfectant – with you still in the chair.

At Malu you are treated like a queen and or a king! Each client is pampered beyond expectation. And each client gets their very own unique design. She can whip up anything you want. Her pacific nail art is just that … art! Amazing art! Mind blowing intricate designs that are one of a kind!

The atmosphere in her salon not only invites you but it keeps you wanting more and makes it difficult to leave. I’m not sure what it is exactly that mesmerizes and captivates one to want to set up camp and be a permanent fixture at Malu.

I think it is a combination of feeling welcomed, the hypnotizing scent of coconut oil, frangipani and nail lacquer, the soulful rhythm and blues playing in the background, the décor of classy boutique meets the Pacific but above all I think the real reason is the woman who runs this fine establishment.

My Father’s Daughter recognizes strong empowering women and Mel Baldock- Ikitoelagi certainly ticks all the boxes. She is a pillar in the community and is actively playing a pivotal role in motivating and empowering other women in business. She is more than a beauty therapist she has a genuine heart to serve others and has been a positive role model and voice for women in small business.

My Fathers Daughter would like to pay homage to this remarkable woman. On behalf of the other Malu client base and Aiga thank you Mel for the star class treatments, thank you for being a problem solver, a counsellor, thanks for the great cups of coffee and welcoming me and others like me into your sanctuary.