Tag Archive: life enhancing


It’s been a big week. A good week, filled with satisfying work, family, research and making soaps. So this morning was my ‘sleep until you wake’ morning. A morning where I could laze to my heart’s content, coming to the surface of consciousness and then sinking again, without regret, into the sweetness of well-earned sleep. With Andy and Sam leaving early to go to a football game, the penultimate one of the season, that left me and Zac at home to sleep to our heart’s content. Because Zacky is like a dormouse in the morning; soft and snuffly and snuggly and disinclined to leave his duvet. Perfect.

Yet, when they said goodbye at seven o’clock this morning, I didn’t pull the covers back up and nestle back into my warm bed. I got up and went to unmould my beautiful soaps. It feels like Christmas morning, to see what wonders the hours have wrought on them. I have to look at them, smell them, run fingertips along edges, and admire them. If I like them enough, and I do, I take photos.

Last night, I made two 1kg loaves, one using Calendula infused grapeseed oil and essential oils of Cedarwood and Orange, and the other, a gentle Lavender, with a whisper of Marjoram. They smell beautiful, their scents are natural and grounding and lovely, yet delicate and gentle. I totally love them both.

 

 

Lavender and Calendula Loaves

Lavender and Calendula Loaves

Calendula with Cedarwood and Orange

Calendula with Cedarwood and Orange

Lavender

Lavender

 

Happy Saturday everyone 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Eating Sleeping Breathing Soap

This is what happened when I learned to cook. I remember it. I was 19 years old and sharing a flat with my childhood friend. One day, on my day off, a chef I worked with came over and I cooked him baked beans on toast for lunch. On a day soon after that, he taught me how to make mushroom sauce for steak. I liked it but I decided that for my own taste, I wanted to tweak the recipe and so, the next time I cooked, that’s what I did. So began a lifetime of making food according to what I think tastes good, rather that following someone else’s recipes.

There were some disasters along the way but overall, the enthusiasm and feelings of creativity have meant that there have been more successes than failures. And I love it. It’s relaxing, therapeutic, colourful and calming. It’s also exciting and thrilling to take beautiful, fresh foods and assemble them into a cohesive, tastebud-tingling meal.

Speaking of food. At my dreaded weigh in last week, I had indeed put on rather than lost but it was less than I’d been afraid of. 1.5kg over a period of three weeks. There’s more to say about that but I’m not sure what it is yet, so I’ll come back to it.

The same sort of ‘awakening’ as happened with cooking has happened with soap making. It’s such a simply fulfilling, nurturing, creative thing to do. It speaks to nourishment of a different kind and at the end of it, there’s no danger of me eating the result 🙂

I’ve been experimenting with natural colours and scents, shapes, sizes, recipes. I’ve included local honey and beeswax in some. Avocado oil or Macadamia oil in others. I’ve learned how to use a lye calculator and which oils will create which properties in my soaps. I’m just at the beginning of learning but I have three new recipes so far and each batch of those has different additions. Sometimes tea leaves, or cocoa, or indigo or salts, sometimes infused oils or clays. I have new box of beautiful essential oils and lots of silicone molds. I write a journal, detailing each soap; the recipe, what I added, how it turned out…and when it’s cured, I’ll go back to each and document the way they feel on my skin and on the skins of my family and the few friends I’ve given some to.

The corner of my kitchen, furthest from the space where I make food, is filled with ingredients for soap. Jars of oils being infused with calendula, rosemary, turmeric, thyme and other things, sit on my window sill, warmed during the day, by the gentle sunlight refracting from the glass. pots of clay, paper bags filled with dried flowers. In my study there are drying racks filled with beautiful bars of mildly scented soap and the haul from the second hand shops I visited today. It all feels so grounding.

I’m barely using moisturiser any more, despite it being winter. My skin is loving these moisture-rich soaps.

I hadn’t realised that commercial soap makers take the glycerin from their soap and sell it to cosmetics manufacturers. Essentially, this means that we wash our skin with detergent and then add the moisturisers later. That’s crazy! There’s something so….earthy and authentic and just….good about using something that only contains ingredients that I recognise.

As when I was learning to cook, there have been a few mishaps. Like the most recent salt soap, coloured a soft green with a teaspoon of indigo powder and swirled with clay. It should have been gorgeous and it is…but I left it too long before I cut it and it crumbled into pieces when I tried. The next few days will be ultra busy at work but as soon as I have the chance, I’m going to try that recipe again and make it work this time. 🙂

 

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The Weigh-In 2

So it’s that time of the week again, the time when I get to see what the scales say and although I’m happy, walking and eating well, blogging and becoming healthier, I was intensely curious to see what they’d say.

Result? 1.1kg lighter, bringing the total, since the 1st of this month, to a loss of 5.3kg. Not bad going.

I think the motto for this week is ‘Hold Fast’. I know I’m moving in the right direction, that I’m building muscle where before there was much less. I just have to hold my course and wait to see the results rolling in.

Almost raining, grey day, waves reaching the shore and almost wetting our feet (again). The sand shifting under my feet so that I puff and pant, trying to keep talking. The way back is easier this time and our laughter comes in short bursts, whipped away to sea almost as soon as it leaves our mouths.

Home then, buying grapes on the way and picking, washing, bagging.

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Then, exercise done, lunch and a visit with my awesome friend….Yay 🙂

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