Friday 26 November 2010

Headline The Telegraph

Hi gang!
Last Saturday we were featured in The Saturday Telegraph newspaper and have since been absolutely inundated with orders, which has enabled me to breathe a huge sigh of instant relief.
Those who know me well know that Matt and I have been under tremendous strain with money and have been holding out for a miracle that will enable us to continue with our little cottage industry.
This may only be short term...who knows...?
But it has enabled me to spend some well-earned cash on a shed load of ingredients so that I can get on with new introductions for 2011. I'm so excited!
If you missed the article on our Facebook page, please click here to be directed to the website 'In The Press' area. If you click 'The Telegraph' you can read it as a pdf.
If you click view you can change the page display to 'two up' so you can read it as it was displayed in the paper.
If any of our new customers are reading....thank you all sincerely from the bottom of my heart for ordering! It means an awful lot.
I've been tweeting and facebooking about it I'm really sorry if I've bored some of my soapy friends...but really, I can't believe the response we had. It's truly incredible and makes me feel very, very happy to know that people really like the soaps as much as I love to create them all.
Next up....there will be a trip back to the archives....SNOWDRIFT soap is making a come back shortly. Those of you who tried it and loved it will be over the moon!
Keep 'em peeled!

Sunday 24 October 2010

Midnight Marauder....

Midnight Marauder was named by my nephew Ethan who is 10.
Inspiration for this ere soap was good old Harry Potter....and Peter Pettigrew.
Sprinkles of brown sugar & dried orange peel are scattered in zig zag lines over the top.
Footsteps run across each soap.
The scent is a combo of warm spices with citrus and sugar.
Lots of essential oils blended with a few choice fragrances.
Made with molasses and dark brown un-refined cocoa butter with a bit of yellow oxide for the flashing.
I was going to incorporate some red to mimic the colours of Harry's preppy scarf but then decided to leave it and keep it looking something you may find in a shop in Diagon Alley.
Coming out for sale in a week or so. I'll keep you posted.
Hope you are all well.

Monday 1 March 2010

new batches of regulars

Just cut this morning. I tweeted about this soap seizing on me yesterday. It decided to go on me just as I needed to do my dots. I only just managed to save it, but it didn't come out as good as it normally does. Never mind, at least it wasn't a total disaster.
Because my soap batter thickened too quickly, I had to layer instead of the usual random pours.
I actually quite like the layering. It came out good. Not too perfect.

Herbaceous cut up on Sunday. This soap has such a good scent...even if I do say so myself.
It's a blend of Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, Marjoram and Litsea Cubeba (may chang).
A very refreshing herbal scent with a lemon top note. One of my ultimate favourites.
The colour was created after looking at my trusy Farrow & Ball paint chart...again!
Such a good way to think up colours. This duck egg blue was created with TD, ultramarine blue & chromium green oxide.
A good seller at Capability in Cheltenham. If you're ever in the area, you must visit this little treasure trove. It's a really well thought out shop for gardeners. Michele also does garden design.
I'm so pleased she agreed to take my soap last year. She's done really well for me!

Arabica in it's packaging. Now available to buy online here.
I didn't plan on this soap being as scrubby as it is, but I've been using it for the past 3 days in my bath, and it's the DON for exfoliating the whole body.
I like my scrubby bars ultra scrubby, it does what it's supposed to. This does a good job, and smells ultra nice. Sweet orange with earthy base notes. I love this and will keep making it as I think folks will love it.

Remember that tutorial I did for Jo's blog? This is the finished, cut up soap we made.
How did yours turn out? I know a few of you had a go as you've been telling do show us.
Leave a comment with your link on this post if you like. Thanks!

Final pic...Herbaceous logs. I love my batches cut into logs. Just a shame to cut 'em all up.
If only I could bathe with a whole log. I might try one day!

Wednesday 24 February 2010

harvest moon...already?

nice balls. nice peaks. A newbie. I dunno why but I had this 'orange' thing going on in my head for a few days, so I thought before I have to re-produce all of my regular range of soap, I'll get this one outta my system. It kept eating away at me. Sometimes, the need to create a new one gets to you. It can sometimes be a chore when making the same soaps over and over....for me anyway...anyone else? So...a bit of pad 'n pen action brought me to an essential oil combo of Sweet Orange, Clove Bud, Patchouli & Ginger. As I write, I'm thinking there's another oil that I added, but I can't remember right now if there is or not! Will have to check my notes...but I can't remember where I put those either. Never mind. They'll turn up. Now, I'm not a fan of ginger when smelling it straight outta the me it smells somewhat 'doggie'....or rather like 'doggie biscuits', but when added into a blend in very small quantities I find it very, very pleasant. Even when cutting, this soap smelled divine and after a few days curing the scent has changed a little more into a 'fresh linen'-like scent. Very nice, especially when created naturally. I didn't have a name until I cut it. When I sliced the batch open, the balls looked like moons and the colour looked like harvest hay. So, there was my little soap making up it's own name all by itself. I bring you 'Harvest Moon'. Funny, I used to sell an Echinacea plant called just that too....but it died every time I tried to grow it. Hopefully, this soap will live long...and prosper.

Sunday 10 January 2010

from soil 'n trees 'n leaves to soap molds...

I have a stack of soap to make at the mo, so what better time to show you how I make 'Potters Bar'...?
I have made a conscious decision to discontinue my organic range of soap and haul 'em on over to the botanical range, which after looking at figures from last year was the most popular range and the one most talked about. Nothing like looking at the details to see which bit of your mini business you are getting right. Yes, that means there will be no more fragrant range or organic range, but there will be lots of new soaps made with 100% natural ingredients all scented with essential oils to be getting stuck into instead. So as it stands, I shall have a botanical soap range along with some more new products including the egg bombs from my last post.
Another reason for quitting the organic is the rising cost of organic essential oils and organic palm oil. I'm all for fair trade, and for sourcing products sustainably but for now the organics must wait....until the price drops!
Right, now that I've told's how botanical Potters Bar soap is made along with a rundown of the ingredients used to produce it.

well obviously that's me.. in my new apron that mummy bought for me for xmas...nice huh!

caustic soda mixed with mineral water (yes there is a little residue from the caustic floating on the happens sometimes).

essential oils..left to right: fennel (foeniculum vulgare), lemon (citrus limon), lavender (lavandula angustifolia), eucalyptus (eucalyptus globulus). In each batch of 10lb soap, I add a minimum of 60ml (about 16 teaspoons).

coconut oil and palm oil ready for melting on the hob.

olive oil & sunflower oil mixed - into which I shall pour the melted coconut & palm.

pure, unrefined organic cocoa butter

organic soya oil for mixing titanium dioxide and any other colour i may be using.

wheatbran - for exfoliating gardeners or potters hands...or for breakfast

soya oil with titanium dioxide on the right and the same on the left but with 1/2 tsp of chromium green oxide added to give the pale green colour (love that)

heavily traced soap...with the green mix added to the left batch and the white TD added to the right batch

let the layering begin...already poured some of the white into the mold and now using a spatula to gently place on top of the white before patting down a little ready for the next layer.
You need to have really thickly traced soap to do this...well I find it helps. Also, when working with essential oils the mix doesn't tend to seize like it can when using fragrance oils

the finished batch sprinkled with lavender flowers and soap shreds
That's it!
Want some? you'll have to wait til it's about a month!

my reward! oh...just noticed the knife...that's not a good advert. Matt is still alive....honest!