Tag Archive: recipe

Beer Soap and Hercules

We went to see Hercules today at the cinema. It was a really entertaining film, full of battles and heart and people doing heroic things, as you may expect. I’d see it again. Maybe not tomorrow but sometime in the future…

The truth is, that having been busy at work all week, all I really wanted to do this weekend was hug my  family and make soap. Or research soap, or look at soap making forums. Or read the history of soapmaking. Obsessed? Yes, a little but it’s incredibly relaxing.

I read about the conditioning effects of beer on hair and skin and immediately wanted to have a go at it. I mean, come on….beer soap! How could I not? People make all sorts of beer soap, ranging from the palest ales to the darkest stouts. Some people add beer fragrances or citrus oils, or honey. Since I’m not using anything lab made, apart from the lye necessary to the soapmaking process, there’d be no beer fragrances but after looking endlessly at recipes, I thought I knew what I wanted to put in it. The basic recipe is a combination of three recipes, tweaked for conditioning properties, hardness of bar, lather etc and put through a lye calculator to make sure it would work well. (and be safe!)

When that was done, I gathered my ingredients, pulled

on my trusty latex gloves, set out oils, my beer/lye solution and got to work.

Into my oils, I poured the beer/lye mixture, then added my warmed honey, activated charcoal, grated orange zest. Then in went my essential oils (Orange and patchouli). I was humming along happily, mixing, smelling the strong stout and the essential oils, when I suddenly realised I’d forgotten to melt the beeswax! I rushed around like a loon, slicing wax off my big block and melting it in the microwave, adding, mixing, trying to get it done before the soap set…..and then sighed with relief when I managed to get it into the mould before it thickened too much.

All this before the movie, such excitement! 🙂

Then I made a second loaf because, well, there was beer left…

Beer Soap. The orange zest makes it look like it has bubbles, which is an unexpected bonus.

Beer Soap. The orange zest makes it look like it has bubbles, which is an unexpected bonus.

Stamped with the only stamp I have so far. I might have to make one that says 'Beer Soap' :-)

Stamped with the only stamp I have so far. I might have to make one that says ‘Beer Soap’ 🙂








Looking at Dresses

I found myself on Ebay tonight, looking at women’s clothing, specifically dresses. I say ‘found myself’, as though I somehow woke up and just happened to be there… In fact, I’d been looking at wedding dresses that one of the 12WBT ladies had posted on Facebook and it started me thinking. Hence the Ebay visit.

It’s been so long since I’ve actually chosen clothes, rather than just finding something that fits and doesn’t look too horrible, or at least doesn’t make me want to stay inside for the rest of my life, that I’m not really sure now, what I’ll want to wear when I’m smaller.

I’ll want them to be comfortable I think and pretty or elegant or funky…. Then I started thinking about the difference between what was appropriate when I was twenty and lithe and tanned as opposed to what might be appropriate now. Is it, should it even be in question?

I think I lean towards bohemian, loose, arty sorts of things, maybe dressed up with bangles and dangly earrings but is that because those are the sorts of things I wore when I was fit and toned and felt good in, in my twenties? Maybe now I’ll enjoy a different sort of look, still yet to be discovered.


A photo I found on Google…

I know I’ll want a pair of great jeans that I can dress up or down and feel fantastic in but beyond that….it’s a mystery.

There’s a long way to go yet, before I need to think too hard about it and even when I get there, I’ll be able to have a huge amount of fun finding my new style. Today my sister and I tried out different styles of make-up and she braided my hair. It’s been a long time since I cared enough to bother doing anything more than washing my hair and throwing it into a ponytail, or putting on more than a bit of eyeliner, a light foundation and some lipgloss.

It was fun, light, laughing and just a little bit startling to realise how long I’ve been doing the same thing over and over, without thinking.

The weekend passed in a no-exercise sort of way and I was glad to get out there and walk 6km today, though we’d meant to go to a yoga class…..I got the day wrong….still, it was a good walk and a great way to get going again.

I think I’m doing okay, I haven’t been counting the calories this week at all but I also haven’t been bingeing on yuck food either.

Oh! While I think of it, I made a most fantastic dinner the other night! There aren’t any photos but it was so good, I’m going to describe it anyway 🙂

I cut a piece of pumpkin into thick chunks and sprayed it with olive oil, then shook some garlic salt onto it and put it into the oven to bake.

While it was cooking, I made a sauce out of tinned tomatoes, herbs, tomato paste, chilli, garlic, celery, mushrooms, chicken stock, half a tsp of sugar, a little salt. I let that reduce while I finely chopped cauliflower for cauliflower rice.

When it was all cooked, I served the sauce on a plate, over the ‘rice’ and piled the chunks of caramelised, aromatic pumpkin next to it, scattered with thai basil. It was amazing. I was eating alone and kept making incredulous ‘Yum’ noises with every mouthful 🙂

For a quick and easy meal, full of taste and healthiness, try it out. Really. It was awesome!!

Pancake Lunch

Still in the comfort food theme, I made pancakes for lunch but not full-fat, flour-filled pancakes. Oh no. These were soft, moist, sweet and oh so good.

Simplest pancakes I’ve ever made.


  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tblspn honey
  • mint (optional)

Mash the banana, add egg and cinnamon. Mix.

Melt coconut oil in pan, pour mix in to make approximately 3 pancakes and wait until cooked on one side (try lifting after a minute or so) then flip and cook on other side.

Arrange on plate, drizzle honey and tear mint if using. I used a type I grow called chocolate mint, which is awesome if you can get it.

See? Easy peasy and perfect when only something sweet and comforting will do.

It comes to approximately 320 Calories.

Fresh, colourful foods. Foods that feel good to make and even better to eat. Foods full of all the good, vitamin enriched, healthy, life-giving things. Crunchy, alive wonderful and……

The more I think about it, the more I wonder why on earth I eat anything but this stuff? Certainly not the wheat-laden, sugar-heavy, dairy-rich foods I’ve habitually fed myself….and that’s just it I think. It’s habit as much as anything. Doing what seems to be easy. Grabbing whatever’s closest instead of really thinking about it.

Sometimes I actually crave salads and hot chilli soups and have eaten meat and veg instead, followed by….well, let’s draw a veil over that shall we? 

Sometimes in fact, I find myself fondly remembering ‘salads-I-have-eaten’ and have to shake myself from my reverie in order to eat those cheese and crackers on my plate.

One of my favourite salads was eaten on Murano, Venice while we were travelling, pre-children. In a pizza place, we were served a simple chopped salad of the crunchiest, deliciousest (yes I know it isn’t a word but say it out loud and you’ll see why I kept it) salad veg, dressed with vinegar and olive oil

Today, to go with our Baked Barramundi in Tomato Sauce, I made my version of it and it was everything I remembered.

1 Salad bowl

mid-chopping chopped salad

Now if anyone can help me with a recipe for a salad that includes grated carrots and fresh beetroot, sultanas and….other yummy things I can’t remember….I’d be really grateful. I had it at a Mind Body Spirit Festival in London and it’s lingered in the corners of my taste buds’ memory ever since. 

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