Saturday, 11 December 2010

Well it's goodbye and Happy Christmas from me!

Oh and Happy New Year too as we wont be back from our Portugal trip until January 13th - one whole month away - BLISS!!

What a build up its been two back to back 7 day weeks with 5 Christmas fairs/markets in the last 7 days - all outside in the freezing cold.

Exmouth Christmas Cracker was a fantastic event, we got there far to early really, 11am and nothing really started until 5pm but then, wow!  we were totally rushed off our feet, thank goodness I had my lovely 'Soap Slave' Dot helping or I would not have coped.  Mince pies and Christmas Spice Cake flew off the stall, I sold all the Christmas Tree Cupcakes and the cake slices all sold out too.
My lovely Soap Slave Dot

Canonteign Falls Christmas Fair - another exhibitor


The beautiful frozen lake

and even more beautiful Black Swans

 It was the first time I had done Canonteign Falls Christmas Food and Craft Fair and it was lovely, very cold but very beautiful surroundings and some very nice people.

Quinta do Cobral
And so now we are Portugal bound, we have our new Royal Blue range cooker, our ESSE, in the van along with all the plumbing stuff and everything else, including both dogs and we are about to bid you all goodbye.  Ryan, my son, is staying on at the house to deal with all the internet orders for soap goodies that are still streaming in, he is a good little packer and will get everything to you in good time, I promise.  We will be working hard so don't think it is a real holiday but just to be away from phones etc. sounds like magic right now.

THANK YOU ALL for being such fantastic followers of my blog and for all of you who are customers too.  I am planning all kinds of new things for 2011, its going to be a fun year I hope.  I wish you and your family and friends the best of Christmasses this year, I know its going to be hard for lots of people and my heart goes out to anyone who has lost a job or home or who has suffered in any way this year.  I really do hope that your New Year brings better things.

My family are always in my heart and especially my beautiful little grandchild Lola, may you carry on growing, laughing and loving, I am going to miss you all so much.  I will bring you back lots of lovely Portuguese goodies though, promise!!  XXXXXX

Lola Christmas 2009

With her gorgeous Mum, My Aimee

One last little thing, I really wanted to share this lovely Blog post with you from 'How about Orange' blogspot.  Its so great, making 5 pointed cut out paper Christmas Stars.  We always made 6 or 8 pointed ones at school and I never liked them so much.  these are really beautiul.
I will leave you with this link, if you have any time before Christmas perhaps you could make some, it would be a really fun thing to do with the kids.
How about Orange 5 point paper star

Tuesday, 30 November 2010


From December 1st all soaps ordered from Naturally Made Soaps Website will be gift wrapped with beautiful lace inspired, silver, grey and black wrapping paper and ribbon absolutely FREE!! 
All you have to do is make your order as normal and click the 'gift wrap' option for each choice, you can even ask us to write your label for you, just tell us what you want it to say.

Naturally Made Soaps can also mail our beautiful, natural, handmade soaps anywhere in the UK, just add a different delivery address to your order.  We really do try to make Christmas gift giving really easy for you.  don't forget we also offer any value Gift Certificates that can either be emailed or printed out and posted.  If you want them posted remember the 21st December is the last day for posting Christmas orders, we will be so busy that it would really be worth your while to get your order in earlier if you can.
Go on, why not grab a beautiful present from the best, natural soap ever......  Once you try it you will never go back to shop bought soap - and that's a promise!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Did you know - 10% from ALL sales of Dirty Dog Soap goes to the RSPCA?

Well it does!  Perhaps I have not made enough noise about it but it is true.

I am very proud of my dog soap DIRTY DOG SOAP it really is fantastic and a great seller.  Dirty Dog is made using natural essential oils of Tea Tree and Citronella.  It smells wonderful with a very refreshing zingy citrus undertone.  The soap is designed to be an easy, fuss free way of washing your mud magnet dogs, treating them to the same caring bubbles as yourself.

The invention of this soap came about because I have two dogs of my own!  They are totally lovely and a huge part of our family life.  Perdita (Perdy for short) is a semi coated, English bred German Shepherd Dog.  She is a really stunning example of how, for me, a German Shepherd should look.  I used to show them, way back in my past, and know how many different styles of this breed there are.  Perdy is a very pretty girl with a good straight back and solid bone structure, she is a true Black and Tan and has the most wonderful facial expression ever.  She is a soft as 'muck' and has a lovely, gentle nature.

Our Beautiful Perdita

Well, Perdy is almost 6 years old now, however, aged 4, she was getting a little bit of the old 'single child' syndrome - in other words a bit clingy and a bit Mummy orientated so we decided to take the plunge and get another dog as a companion for her.

We happened to hear about our second dog 'Blue' by accident, through a mutual friend.  We had never considered a Spaniel at all but once we saw him and the way, as a puppy meeting a very big dog for the first time, he behaved towards Perdy, we were sold immediately!  Blue is an English Working Springer and he is an absolute dream!  Honestly if we could have organised the most perfect dog as a companion to Perdy it would have been him and it was a total chance thing................  sometimes I do believe they work out the best.

Anyway Perdy and Blue are now inseparable, they are the best of friends, sleeping in the same bed and playing together all the time.  They both do love swimming and mud though!  So I needed to come up with a soap that worked.

Dirty Dog is designed to be so much easier than fiddly bottles of shampoo, just wet the fir, rub the bar all over, lather it up and rinse away for the best smelling soft fir ever.  Because this is one of my Totally Natural range it is fine to use in the waterways, take it to the river, get the dogs wet, rub the bar all over and throw in the stick to rinse them off, how easy is that?

Tea Tree is a natural antiseptic, its also great for itchy skin, Citronella is renowned for its insect repelling qualities (and fleas don't like it either) while also combatting oily, smelly dog coats.  Boy do our little lovelies need it sometimes.....................

Our 'beautiful' muddy Perdy with Blue in the background - getting 'stuck in!'

Not only is Dirty Dog such a great product, smelling lovely and really working to keep your dogs clean and sweety scented by buying it DIRTY DOG SOAP customers are also supporting the great work of the RSPCA as Naturally Made Soaps are donating 10% from the sale of every bar.  You can help by ordering from my website, just click on the link at the top of this blog, or the links within it.

Dirty Dog bars also make a fantastic Christmas present - PLEASE NOTE Dirty Dog Soap is also suitable for using yourself for a refreshing, uplifting shower and it is great to take away on holiday with you where you know midges and mossies are a problem - they HATE Citronella.

So far Naturally Made Soaps has donated over £150 to the RSPCA  Please help us to help - click on the link to find out how much each penny you give goes to help abandoned dogs and other animals in the UK.

Thank you to everyone who has already bought a bar of Dirty Dog.

Friday, 19 November 2010


Thanks to Learn Vest for this blog idea.  Learn Vest is a fantastic blog  set up especially to provide unbiased financial information to all women so that they can make the best financial decisions possible.

A quote from their site. 

Why Women? Why Now?

Women have come a long way financially over the last three decades. Women today make up half of the professional work force and are found to buy or influence 80% of all consumer purchases in the United States yet they continue to lag behind men when it comes to managing their personal finances.  According to a 2006 Prudential financial poll,  80% of women say that they plan to depend on Social Security to support them in their golden years and 38% of women 30-55 years old are worried they will live at or near the poverty level because they cannot adequately save for retirement.  So even today–despite coming so far in many ways–too many women are still ignoring their finances.  LearnVest provides a solution that is relevant and timely – it is something women need.

OK it is an American site but I think that a lot of what they say is good and useful, they have a great set of budgeting tools which I love, especially the Checklist page which helps you to cross off your financial to-do lists, the checklist walks you through your financial problems step-by-step!  Don't we all hate money issues?  I know I do, I put off everything for as long as I can then get so stressed out when I have to do my tax return, pay bills, do financial calculations etc.  This does help.  Anyway, back to the title of this blog............. (Im good at rambling!)

I actually didn't mean a Christmas gift for your boss - literally, Its hard enough sometimes to find the right gift for our own Dad or friends for that matter.  So when it comes to workmates, perhaps that is expecting to navigate the murky waters of gifts just too deeply.  A gift can be the best way to say thank you for the hard work someone has done, but in other cases is may feel inappropriate.  You don't want to make people feel uncomfortable or as though they need to give you a gift in return.  Even Secret Santa gift exchanges in the office can lead to treacherous waters.  If gift giving is standard in your workplace (say through Secret Santa) then get everyone to set a price range, once you all feel there is a guideline there is no need to feel pressured to spend more.  Now I expect you are all thinking, she is going to suggest soap as the best thing? (well it does work well for Secret Santa) and yes I will give you a few pointers although that is not the only thing.  I have posted the etiquette guide from Learn Vest slightly changed to suit the English!

BOSS - not necessary, if you are friends it's perfectly fine to give a gift, just remember that they probably make at least twice your salary (in my case about 6 times) and they don't expect you to outdo or even match their extravagance  - so how about My Bridge Inn Beer Bar  or Vintage Rose 
BOSS BUDGET - £0 - £10 
WHAT? - Well obviously the above Naturally Made Soaps but the advice says...  Choose something that show's you have noticed her likes and tastes (I love the fact that this post  just assumes your boss is a female!!!!). So try an annual subscription to a foodie magazine, or a new iphone case, or, if you are at a loss, try a book with a hand-written note on the inside flap 

CO-WORKER - Giving a gift to a co-worker who is also a friend is appropriate, but if you are buying her a gift for the first time, don't go overboard 
CO-WORKER BUDGET -£0 - £7.50
WHAT? - Keep it light, so if your co-worker didn't get you a gift she won't feel awkward.  Beautiful Goats Milk and Ylang Ylang soap would be my choice but their suggestions are Homemade pastries, a desk calendar for the New Year (how exciting :-() or a £5 bottle of wine are simple and thoughtful.  I know what I would want!

ASSISTANT - Your assistant, whether personal or shared by the office, probably deserves the biggest thank you for his or her hard work in helping to keep your day-to-day straight 
WHAT? - Cash is king, An American Express gift card or gift certificate (or better still a Naturally Made Soaps Gift Certificate - available soon)  is a nice way to say thanks.  An arrangement of her favorite flowers also makes a nice touch. But best of all, give the fab smelling, unisex soap - SNOWBERRY

INTERN - (Difficult for us English, usually means Work Experience or Student placement) As long as the intern did you proud and made your life easier, she/he deserves a small thank you at Christmas..... especially if they were unpaid (as most people volunteering for a Local Authority or other public services are) 
INTERN BUDGET - £5 - £7.50
WHAT? - Consider taking him/her out for a nice lunch as a gift - could be expensive, or check out some professional gift like a chic business card holder or a book that helped you get started in your career (hmmmmm - not so sure about this one).  If it their last day, type up and surprise him/her with a recommendation letter before he/she thinks to ask - I dont really think that is a Christmas present? - surely that is what any good boss/manager would do anyway   So how about giving them something that will really remind them of Christmas and all it stands for?  Christmas Spice Cake

Look out for the new Naturally Made Soaps gift vouchers, you bloggers will be the first to hear about it of course.

Monday, 8 November 2010

♥ Natrually Made Soaps Review ♥


A little while ago I was contacted by a very interesting and talented young lady Eden Humphreys.  Eden runs her own video beauty blog site using Youtube and it is really fun.  I fell in love with Eden when she contacted me giving me a link to her site, she is so honest and real and pretty damn good considering how young she is at 15 going on 16.  Eden has almost 1000 subscribers to her beauty site and finally started to make her own videos a year ago.  When you watch her videos you might be forgiven for thinking she is from America but she actually lives in Manchester, England where she was born.  She lived and grew up in Toronto Canada until she was 5 and never fully got rid of her accent - I don't think she ever should either, its a charming mix of USA/Canadian/English.

Eden asked me if I would provide her with a few of my soaps so she could do a review video and I was very happy to help.  I asked if, in return, she would complete a short interview.  She agreed and this is the interview:

Where did you get the idea of running your own makeup channel?

Many other girls make beauty videos but I didn't just want to be one of the crowd, I really want to help girls be confident and not be scared to try something new

What do you love most about doing it?

I love meeting new people (Virtually!) from all over the world.  I now have friends in Germany and the USA!

What is your aim for next year?

Next year I hope to be a youtube partner, which is where you can have longer videos and get a small fee for making videos and have many more subscribers and to have learned more things about the beauty community.

Where do you ultimately see yourself ending up?

I honestly can't say at the minute, I hope to go to university but that's all I can tell you right now, stay tuned to my video and see what happens in my live I guess that is all I can say!

What tips would you give to any other 15/16 year old's wanting to do something similar?

I'd say do it!  it's fantastic but understand that you won't get thousands of subscribers over night, it takes time! just be yourself and don't be afraid to do something different

What do you like doing best in your free time?

Making videos (obviously), playing guitar and most of all shopping!

Thank you so much Eden for your honest answers and making such a great video about Naturally Made Soaps.
So now for the video, please do find the time to click on this link and watch the video, its great and if you like it go to her site Sunset Beauty 15 and subscribe.  Also take some time to have a look at some other videos of hers.  I am also posting the video as a separate blog if you have difficulties with the link. 

Please do send me a comment and let me know what you think.

Friday, 29 October 2010


Origin - Latin patientia  the ability to accept delay, trouble or suffering without becoming angry or upsed.

OK Im not sure that reason two or three above apply here but THANK YOU ALL for being so patient waiting for the news of my new Christmas soaps.

They are here!!!

I am so excited to bring this, my best selling Christmas soap, back this year. Its re-vamped and soooo much better.  This soap bar is Christmas luxury at its best, warm and spicy scents of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and mixed spice (I have also added a hint of sandalwood for extra warmth).  Let this lovely essential oil blend take you to the first time you take the Christmas Cake out of the oven and the whole house smells great. Made with whole fresh goats milk this bar is a creamy, bubbly delight. Imagine yourself relaxing in a hot bath with the spicy, scented steam rising around you as you sip your hot toddy, go on, you deserve it!! 

The top is decorated with dried  oranges, anise and cinnamon scented soap curls.  Also it's swirled with a rich bronze mica.  Its a feast both for the eyes and the skin.

 A real winter winner!


OK....   I really love this soap - it sold like crazy on its first public outing today at Budleigh Farmers Market - everyone loved the scent, I wish you could smell it right now.

New for 2010 a totally gorgeous soap. The snowberries are pure white with a touch of glitter surrounded by creamy smooth goats milk soap. Some are outlined with black, some are pure white, its a randomly beautiful mix. This soap has a crisp, cool mix of scents reminiscent of a winters day walk - you know the ones, lovely crunchy frost, the smell of fresh forests and cold earth. The main scent comes from pine and eucalyptus essential oils with spruce and menthol and a tiny bit of lavender and cedarwood. It's divine, my favorite winter mixture by far. Very, very different from the spicy richness of Christmas Spice Cake. This is truly a bathing experience, soooo bubbly and soft, and will be loved by both men and women alike. I am very proud of this soap!!

Crisp, clean winter freshness


Now I was going to call these little lovelies Christmas Wishes but I felt that sounded a bit naff, why not call them what they look like?

This is such a pretty cupcake, new for 2010.

With a dark pink base and duo shaded green icing these little cupcakes look so good. Topped off with a frosted silver soap star they will really make you think of Christmas. Lightly sprinkled with green sparkles and larger star sparkles, they really catch the light and the eye. Fantastic stocking fillers and they even smell like a Christmas tree as they are scented with pine essential oil.  Also, this lovely cupcake has a mini version too.  If you want to put smiles on faces this Christmas then this soap is a sure fire winner every time!

Cupcake heaven with with a magical silver frosted soap star on the top, the best thing is that it smells exactly like a Christmas tree cut freshly from the forest.

And finally.........................

Back by popular demand......................

Real soap mince pies exactly the same as Mum makes them! - Well this Mum anyway.  Soap scented with apple, orange, cinnamon and spice, smells exactly like the real thing.  Lovely bubbles for kids (and grownups too) this Christmas time treat makes the perfect stocking filler, just make sure they don't eat them! 
When people see these soaps they are totally flummoxed and I love it - then they realise they are soap and the smiles and laughs are worth all the hassle making them.  The new recipe, (handmade, natural cold process soap, no palm oil, no SLS, no parabens and no Melt and Pour) for this year is going down really well, they smell divine and look so lifelike, more photos to come.

We are going away to Portugal for Christmas - YIPEEEEEE!!- cant wait, probably a bad business move but I can't stop myself.  We have never been there for The festive season and are so looking forward to it.  What this means is, if you would like to make a very large order of soaps you will need to get the order in to me before Sunay 28th November to ensure delivery by Mid December.  Otherwise just order as normal via the website Naturally Made Soaps and as long as you order before Friday 17th December we should be able to get your soaps to you before Christmas.  If there are any problems we will get in touch.

We are taking over our new, beautiful Royal Blue ESSE solid fuel cooker (the same as the ones used on River Cottage) to get it plumbed into our already fixed underfloor heating system/solar system.  So, if it makes you feel any better, its a very hard working holiday, as usual!!  (tiling and grouting, clearing land, plumbing, etc)
We will be back in England on Wednesday January 12th although you will still be able to contact me via emailblog and (I hope) twitter

So I should get to blog before we go but keep looking at the NEWS section of my website to see where Naturally Made Soaps are appearing next, come along and catch up with me, it would be great to see you XXX

PS Please let me know what you think of my new soaps, I'd love to get some feedback, it all helps

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Devon Cream Tea offer SOLD OUT and now over.....

Thanks so much to all of you who helped clear the decks for my Christmas soaps.  I really love creating new ideas however, I hold up my hands and admit to revamping some old stuff.  Firstly, my very special Mince Pies....  Ive still not got a photo of these yet as they are in the making, but almost ready for sale and photos.  Can you believe soaps that look and smell exactly like the real thing?  Well they are on the way.  These were my biggest Christmas sellers last year, they are so cute and smell fab too.

But really, I have to admit to re-designing my absolute favourite soap ever.....  Christmas Spice Cake, here is the first picture....

Spice luxury

Its soooo lovely.  I always loved this soap, last year it was my best selling bar soap.  I have redesigned it, and I am very, very happy with the result.   it has the most wonderful spicy smell, clove, cinnamon, sweet orange and sandalwood, it is packed full of the best oils and scents ever.  No Palm oil - of course, but Coconut oil, masses of olive oil, Shea butter and cocoa butter making it the best Christmas treat ever.  Just you wait until you see the whole bar, its big, creamy and bronzed on top, studded with real Portuguese dried oranges and star anise as well as curls of chocolate cardamom soap and glace cherry balls.

New 'Snowberry' soap as well as Chritmas Wishes cupcakes, both large and small,

COMING SOON...............  Keep watching, on sale in about a week

Monday, 18 October 2010


Ok, I know, its a bit silly but Christmas is coming and summer is gone!  come on lets face it we know it has :-(

But I have the best little pick-u-up...........  Fancy a tiny bit of summer?  Nice fragrance, lovely holiday feeling?  My Christmas soaps are starting to take over the curing racks and I still don't have a new workshop so it can only get worse, its a BIG HUGE clear out, starting now.  I need to let my lovely summer cream tea cupcakes go...

Devon Cream Tea - Strawbery Jam

Devon Cream Tea - Blackberry Jelly

So if you are interested in getting these lovely babies for half price - thats 50% off guys!!
ie. cost price click on the facebook link on this site and follow the instructions.  I don't have very many left so go for it.

Keep clicking here tho............  New Christmas soaps nearly ready for pictures and they are so lovely I cant wait to share them XXXX

Thursday, 30 September 2010


I have been doing a lot of thinking and quite a lot of research lately because of Dove Soap.

I'm sure I'm not the only soap maker who has people come to their stall/shop and pick up soaps, sniff and feel them, enjoy the scents etc. then look sadly at you and say "Oh I'm so sorry, I can't use anything else on my skin but Dove, Id love to buy your soaps but I'm really scared to change"

GGGGRRRRR..***&&$$%@@** !!!!  I used to get a bit upset and spend ages talking to the customer but now I just sigh and say "when you buy your next bar just check the ingredients"

Its not just Dove of course, I am talking generally too but as market leader and a brand that undoubtedly uses very clever marketing to promote its product as natural, full of moisturiser and gentle Dove is the UK’s top Bar Soap with an amazing 23% of the population having bought a Dove product in 2008. And it doesn’t end there: 10 million women use Dove every week in the UK.
I know I'm not the first and I'm sure I wont be the last to make this comparison but really guys, natural soap using the finest ingredients verses a commercially made soap bar, however popular - surely there is no comparison?  or is there?...........

I use the term 'soap' very loosely here, Dove, Imperial Leather, Lever Bro's and most commercial 'soaps' are actually (and legally) considered detergents or Syndet bars and are simply referred to as soap due to their cleansing capacities.  Syndet is an acronym for Synthetic Detergent bar.  Some commercial 'soap' bars can't even legally be called soap  rather they are labeled 'cleansing bar' because they are almost totally synthetic, scented with synthetic fragrances and contain a huge amount of preservatives.

The reason for the fragrance and preservatives used (even in those soaps calling themselves 'unscented' or 'fragrance free') is that they are often used to mask other offensive-smelling ingredients, usually cheap and animal derived.  There are no legal definitions for the terms scents and fragrances so the cosmetic industry can use these and still label their products as if they are free from them.  The foul smelling ingredients used are usually animal fats such as the innocuous sounding 'sodium tallowate' which is actually a hard fat rendered down from parts of the bodies of cows, sheep or horses, also used in foodstuffs or to make candles, leather dressing, soap and lubricants for industry.  Now I know we can all get dirty and all need soap to get us clean but I really don't think many of us need an industrially manufactured, synthetic detergent full of potentially harmful chemicals to clean our skin - we may as well run naked through the car wash!!  (actually that could be fun I guess - but definitely not good for our skin)

Fancy doing this to your face every day?

So what about the claim that Dove contains "1/4 Moisture Lotion" in every bar?  I read some very interesting information in my trawling around and it was uncomfortable stuff.  In 1990 Lever Bro's introduced the innovative product Lever 2000 - an "all-in-one deodorant and moisturising soap for the whole family", then Lever also introduced a liquid Dove and an "all free clear" which contains no perfumes or dyes.  If you look closely at the ingredients it seems that the Lever 2000 bar could also make the same claim as Doves "1/4 Moisture Lotion" bar.

As we soap makers know, lotions are made from Water, oils and emulsifiers.  Emulsifiers are often surfactants or even types of soap themselves.  This is because normally water and oils don't mix, they need help to do it.  The emulsifier or surfactant molecules basically attract water on one end and oil on the other thereby allowing water and oil to be mixed and could be the reason for the claim to have lotion or cream added.  The oils and water that comprise the main part of a lotion would simply just mix with the oils and water in the soap created in the pot and become just another part of the soap formula.  Even if you physically opened up a jar of lotion or cold cream and dumped it into your soap the lotion or cream would simply break down into their basic components and join their other oil and water mates in the pot!!

Looking at the ingredients listed you have to wonder if the wonderful "Moisture Lotion" part is actually the beef fat as Sodium Tallowate, mentioned above, is the leading ingredient in the bar.  Its interesting to try and find the quality lotion ingredient mentioned in the advertising claims that Dove make - See if you can......

LEVER 2000                                                        DOVE
Sodium tallowate, sodium cocoyl isehionate,       sodium cocoyl isethionate, stearic acid,
Sodium cocoate, water, socium isethionate,        cocnut acid, sodium tallowate, water,
stearic acid, coconut fatty acid, fragrance            sodium isethionate, sodium stearate,
titanium dioxide, sodium chloride, disodium         cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium cocoate,
phosphatem tetrasodium EDTA, trisodium           palm kernelate, fragrance, sodium chloride,
etidronate, BHT, FD&C blue no.1, D&C red         terasodium EDTA, trisodium etidronate,
no. 33                                                                   BHT, titanium dioxide and sodium dodecyl
                                                                             benzene sulfonate

sodium tallowate                                                  sodium tallowate
sodiu cocoyl isethionate                                      sodium cocoyl isethionate
sodium cocoate                                                   sodium cocoate (or palm kernelate)
water                                                                   water
sodium isethionate                                              sodium isethionate
searic acid                                                           stearic acid
coconut fatty acid                                                coconut acid (the same as coconut fatty
titanium dioxide                                                   titanium dioxide
fragrance                                                             fragrance
sodium chloride                                                   sodium chloride
tetrasodium ETDA                                               tetrasodium EDTA
trisodium etidronate                                             trisodium etidronate
BHT                                                                     BHT

FD&C blue no, 1 (for colour)                   sodiun stearate (a soapy salt left after
D&C red no. 33 (for colour)                     the glycerin is removed)
                                                                            cocamidoropyl betaine (foaming agent)
                                                                            sodium dodecyl benzene sulfonate
                                                                           (synthetic detergent used for many
                                                                            household and industrial cleaners)  

Where is the lotion?

One last and very significant problem with Dove and other mass produced 'soap' bars is that most, if not all (and I have yet to find one myself) use palm oil in their manufacture because its cheap and easy to come by and Unilever, which produces Dove, test on animals.

Using palm oil at the rate they do supports terrible environmental havoc, in maintaining their incredible demand for palm oil they (and many others) are destroying the rain forests at a frightening rate and are responsible for the slaughter of hundreds and hundreds of Orangutans and their wonderful and diverse habitats.

This is why I no longer use any palm oil in my soaps - You can find "ethically sourced palm oil" but there is no real way of making absolutely sure that it comes from a sustainable source that is not destroying rain forest habitat - my solution, just don't use it! Check out my full explanation about Naturally Made Soaps decision to stop using palm oil altogether here   I really think my soaps are just as good as always - no customer has made any comment about the change apart from - Well done we love your soap.. So until I can be absolutely sure there is a way of ensuring my ethically sourced, sustainable palm oil REALLY comes from a sound, healthy and trustworthy source I'm sticking to the NO PALM regime - and I see no reason to change now.

So for those of you who have customers who need a non scientific explanation about how great your naturally made soaps and beauty products are verses commercially produced soaps and cosmetics you can now show them YOUR ingredients list and how it stands head & shoulders above the commercial soap ingredient lists!!

Sorry for the rant, I really did not mean this blog to be so long but it is something very close to my heart and its why I wanted to make my own Naturally Made Soaps!!  I hope you forgive me for going on a bit............  Id really love to know what you think

Thanks to the Indie Blog, Caring,,,, Greenpeace and Unilever themselves for the information used in this post.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Friends - Friends old, friends new, friends borrowed and Cupcakes!!

A bit of a cryptic title I realise........  Let me explain

Years ago, a lot longer than I care to remember, I was employed as a nanny to look after an 8 month old girl as her mum was running a very busy, stressful cafe business in Totnes, Devon.  Sounds simple - however I was 19/20 years old, did not really know what I was doing and just winged it, like you do when you are young and desperately needed a job!!

Funny thing was that within a week I was smitten, Melody was a lovely child, happy, smiling and really fun.  She was not walking, still on bottles and a nap during the day but I coped.  I gradually got more and more into the role, began to love her mum as much as her and before I knew it I had a life long friend, I have probably known and trusted her mum Gill as a dear friend longer than anyone I know.  The three of us did a lot together including going on a very memorable holiday to Morocco - Mels was not walking, had two mums running around after her, a pool, scrambled eggs for breakfast and sun - what more could a little girl want?

Gill and I had quite a lot more to contend with, let me tell you.  Two women alone in Morocco on a package holiday in a dodgy Tangiers hotel on our own......  say no more!

Well we survived.  I used to take Mels swimming to the local pool in Totnes almost every day, swimming was my thing, I loved it and I was determined she would love it too.  She was great, I got so sick of people telling me how my baby looked just like me that I stopped bothering to tell them that she wasnt mine, she did look like me, dark hair, tall, etc. I sometimes forgot she wasnt mine!!  (sorry Gill) we had such fun together.  I even  photographed her on the Dartington Hall donkey (if you know Dartington Gardens, Totnes, Devon you will know exactly where I mean).  Every child born in the area just HAS to have their photo taken on the donkey.  I have one of myself, aged the same as Mels (about 10 months) and have one of both my own children too (we still have to get a picture of Lola on it).  Here she is:

Mels on the donkey with Ish

Time moved on and so did we all, Gill eventually did not need a nanny any more but we still stayed friends.  Our friendship grew and changed over time, one of those strange things where two women share stories, loves, battles and bottles of wine late into the night, secrets never to be repeated, horrid times, hard times, laughs, fun and unimaginable joy.  I lived with her for a while when I split up from a long term relationship, we tried out different kinds of life when she and her husband split, had a household full of women at one point - what fun that was!, parties, different guys, lots of music and dancing.

Gill then settled with Steve, husband, lover and father to her two subsequent kids.  As all relationships change so did ours, we had our kids, drifted apart, but came together again when we needed to.  She saved me when I suffered an awful divorce and I hope I was there for her when she needed me over the years (though not as often as I - and probably she - would like).  Anyway we are still friends - still love each other - still enjoy making and creating and bouncing ideas off each other when we can make time to do it. 

To cut a long story short, and the whole point of this blog - my lovely first baby is now 28 and getting married! I spent yesterday down in Totnes with them all, Gill and my first baby Melody, my real first baby Aimee and her first baby (my lovely granddaughter Lola) - Are you confused yet? all having a wonderful day, making cupcakes for the wedding cake!!  How totally fabulous is that?

There are a very few times in life when you get a brief, clear and warm realisation why we are here on this planet, why we do what we do and why we keep hold of those who are so dear to us despite changing lives, changing times, moving house and the rest of it.

So here I send my best wishes to my very first baby Melody, her husband to be Sam, her kids, the whole family and most of all MY FRIENDS.  Thank you all for being there when I needed you, I hope I can do the same whenever you need it and I hope our families can carry on the bond.  I am so looking forward to being with you all on your special day this Saturday.

And most of all thanks to you Mels, putting up with me practicing being a mum on you!!

Me and Melody XX
Remember your friends - they are always there for you and always special.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

My day job

So what do I do when I'm not making soap, designing soap, selling soap, all the other things that go with running your own business, keeping chickens, walking dogs, looking after my lovely granddaughter Lola, running a house, re building a ruined farmhouse in Portugal and generally running about like a headless chicken?   You might well ask...

I'm an Arts Development Officer for our local government authority East Devon District Council.  For how much longer?  That's another story.  With all the government cuts we are a dying breed unfortunately. I used to work full time but had my hours cut to 3 days a week, then 2 and it's just not possible to do the same job in only two days, nor is it possible to live on the salary.  That's one of the reasons I decided to create Naturally Made Soaps last year so perhaps it's not such a bad thing after all.

Elmfield House Honiton - Thelma Hulbert Gallery, my office is ground floor on the right, desk in the window

I am based in the most beautiful Grade ll listed Georgian building Elmfield House in Honiton, East Devon.  The house was the last home of the artist Thelma Hulbert, hence the gallery name.  We have just undergone a major transformation thanks to the support of Arts Council England and the District  Council. Our gallery now occupies the whole of the building with a stunning new ground floor gallery space that was formerly Thelma's studio so it's very apt. We also proudly boast a dedicated learning room, a project room and a shop with refreshment area.  We have also been able to retain a room dedicated to showing the work of Thelma Hulbert.  Thelma's work has largely been overlooked by the British Arts establishment. She was a teacher at the Camden School for Girls but, following a successful exhibition of her work at Whitechapel in 1962, she was persuaded to give up her teaching job.  Thelma was a contemporary of Victor Passmore and Barbara Hepworth to name a few and although these artists became far more famous Thelma produced some striking and well loved painting.  She moved to Honiton late in her life and continued painting until her death in 1995.

Our lovely new gallery space

I am based at the gallery and do feel very fortunate to work in such a lovely environment.  I work with a great team of people and, though it can be very stressful managing artistic staff and having overall responsibility for the gallery and arts provision in the area, it is a great job.

I now face the difficult decision of deciding when it will be right to give up the day job and concentrate fully on soap. It's a tough one and I know I'm not the only person with this difficult dilemma.  Do I give up my income that pays my housekeeping bills allowing Naturally Made Soaps to grow and expand or do I give it up, thereby freeing up much needed time?  I really do need the time too, an extra two days would be bliss.   Anyone out there had to make this move?  I'd love to hear how you fared and what you learnt.

Monday, 6 September 2010

New images and a brigher feel to the website

Hi everyone, it's is your hopeless blogger Soapchick here!
I really have been meaning to update my site more often and I really promise that I will more often in the future.

Firstly can I say a huge big thank you to all my new followers, it is so nice to know that what I write doesn't just disappear into the ether, never to be read or noticed and I really do appreciate all your lovely comments too.  After a long hard day, and there have been lots of them lately, there is nothing nicer than logging on to see if anyone has made a comment and I get so excited when I see I have a new one, sad but true.  Im not sure why I dont have more followers, I need to nag people on my facebook page I think, oh and twitter.  By the way, if you have a little time on your hands do go and look at some of the other blogs and websites Ive listed down the right hand side of this blog, they are fabulous and will really give you some great ideas and inspiration - not just soap either.

Thanks also to the new blog followers from the Soaps-n-lotions forum, its a good place, very nice helpful people and a wealth of fantastic soaping information.  In fact, I always think there is too much, I could spend ages just flicking through the stuff especially the pictures of other peoples soaps, the trouble is if I did I would never get anything done,  I just love soap porn, don't you?  Anyway thanks to Topcat and Lindy for taking a trip to my blog and following me, thanks guys!
If anyone is interested in taking a look at the forum and my last post - an introduction as I have not posted for so long I thought I had better start again!, go to

So where am I?  Life is very full on, Ive just completed two really big wholesale orders one for Germany and one in the Isle of Wight so Im feeling a bit smug about that, Ive dreamed up a few different colour combinations for new wedding favors which look cute and Im really getting down to Christmas soap designing.  Yes I know, go on moan!! I feel the same way but honestly Im really not wishing the dark days of winter upon us its just that the time it takes to get a design into some kind of production, work out new labels, take photos, do the marketing and allow enough time for the soaps to cure, before I know it November is upon me and then I start to panic.  Im trying hard to get in early this year so it wont be so hectic - wishful thinking I know.

My new Wedding header
Mini wedding favors 1 (Scent - Lavender eo)

Mini Wedding favors 2 (scents - Strawberry and Vanilla Bean)
I'm pleased with these little lovelies, Ive used my new leaf cutter and I'm very happy with the results, especially how the leaves now have a slight curve in them which looks so much more lifelike, and that is what I am always striving to do.  I'm planning to try some new cutters to get away from the daisy flower look so watch this space.

Anyway, I have also been trying to refresh my website a bit, some of you may have noticed if you have visited lately.  Ive re-taken lots of new photos and added extra ones to the product descriptions.  Its funny how over time the soaps morph into different looking things and unless you go back and look you just don't notice.  I now make my White Chocolate and Strawberry Gateaux in a totally different way from how I did in the beginning so keeping everything updated is a long and constant process.  I used to use Melt &Pour soap for the curls and hearts but I am really trying to get right away from M&P, I hate the way it weeps everywhere and I really don't like the ingredients either so, as I am getting better at manipulating Cold Process soap now Im trying to replace the M&P additions wherever I can and the Gateaux is a perfect example, it now contains only great qualiy CP soap - YIPEE!

Old original White Choc & Strawb Gateaux

The New White Choc & Strawb Gateaux
Actually now I come to look at it, I really like the top one too.  Its just such a shame that M&P soap is a pain and drips everywhere.  Living in Devon its always damp and rains rather a lot (that's why its so green) and any soap with M&P in is just impossible to sell in an outdoor situation unless its tightly wrapped in cling film.  As this soap is packed with cocoa and shea butter I really like people to be able to pick the soap up, feel it and smell it, all the senses need to be used not just one, with cling film covering it that is not possible and it really frustrates me.  Perhaps the time has come to see if I can make my own clear soap from scratch?  What do you think? 
Do you like the original or the new one better?
Id love to hear your opinions.
Speak to you all soon - sooner that last time I promise!!

Sunday, 8 August 2010

PHEW- What a week, finally over

Yes it has really been crazy this week.......................

Honiton Agricultural Show on Thursday - my first really big show, in the craft tent with my two wonderful helpers Nigel (From the Bridge Inn and my fantastic photographer) and Dot my friend from Poland,  both were so great, I could not have done it without them.  After 12 hours Dot and I dismantled the stall and hotfooted it to Taunton to set up in the New Riverside Craft Tents for the best and biggest flower show in the South West.  We had to get out of Honiton show and up to Taunton, then set up before 9pm when they closed the show site......

We did it!  then back home to sleep.  Taunton on Friday was great, I had my new soap slave working with me - my lovely, ever supportive boyfriend Rik
       My Lovely Soap Slave!                                     

 The stall looked great except for the backgound tent - I didn't know it would be an ugly marquee, but when it rained the second day I was very pleased to have it!!

The cupcakes, soapcake and new range of Kiss Me and Jasmine sold really well but the best was 'Dirty Dog' it really flew off the stall.  I met so many lovely people and had a really brilliant two days at this show - this is just one comment I came home to via email:-

Happy to have met you and your lovely assistant today at the Taunton Flower Show.
Your website looks great! I have bookmarked it for future purchases.
In the meantime, we had a laugh giving a 'piece a cake' as a present!
Wishing you all the best,
Ron (chap in the wheelchair) and Maggie (his carer)
How lovely is that?  It makes it all worthwhile for me.
Today I was at Sandy Bay just outside Exmouth.  Its a huge caravan park but they are very happy for local Farmers Market traders to come along every Sunday and I do really well there.  Everyone is so happy, they are on holiday and really pleased to be in such a beautiful part of the world.  I had my good friend Lindsay helping on the stall and there were lots of my Farmers Market colleagues there too, we had a really great and fun day - its such a nice place, I have to thank Brian and the management at the park for organising it.  I really have to add a special word for the entertainments team at the park who spent quite a while mixing up a horrid concoction (they called it gunk) full of soup, custard, mushy peas and lots of other stuff, then they gunked the guy from their team who had made the least money for their children's charity and the half marathon they are running.  they are such an enthusiastic lot, make Butlins Red Coats look like amateurs!!

Then - maybe best of all - Rik came back from flying (to a Belgium fly in) and we went to the Bridge Inn - probably the best pub in the world, my beer for the Bridge Inn Beer Bar comes from here, along with my Honiton Show helper and photographer Nigel, I already knew that they had tapped one of our favourite beers - Firebox, then the evening just got better - the light was beautiful and I took a couple of pics to show you all why we love this place so much


Now that's why I live in Devon!!