Saturday, 26 March 2011

Celebrate Spring - 5 things to do with £10

Inspired by the wonderful Learn Vest Daily which is an American blog I like very much I have decided to put together my version of their latest post.

Imagine you are putting away all your heavy, dark winter coats and getting out lighter weight spring jackets and jumpers, you check the pockets and, hey presto, you find a crumpled up £10 note.  So you now have £10 to spend, why not try a couple of these ideas.  Well after such a brutal and cold winter that seems to have really dragged on and on I have decided after a week of balmy sunshine, it is now officially SPRING.  Get a head start and try some of these slightly frivolous ideas - have fun!

1. Catch a breeze
Get yourself some pretty, sheer curtains to freshen up your room, great deal from this supplier, a real bogoff!

2. Paint a spring canvas
Pick up a medium size blank white canvas (ready made), you can get these for around £2.99 in most factory shops, pound shops etc.  Buy yourself 3 little tester pots of emulsion paint from any DIY store in bright, zingy spring colours and get to work.

Using a ruler, draw some faint stripes on the canvas using a pencil
Dont worry too much about how far apart each stripe is, just make
sure that it is straight and that each stripe is an equal distance from the last one.  Using a paint brush, carefully paint each stripe in.  Remember, sometimes the bolder and wider the stripes are the better the finished result.  Take the stripes over the edge and paint the sides of the canvas too.  Allow to dry (you may need to do 2 coats), and hang.

 3. Spice up your kitchen
How long have you had that thyme in your cabinet?

If the answer is, "Since forever," it might be time to restock, since spices can lose their potency after a few years. Luckily enough, you can replace most of your favorites in one ten pound swoop.

4. Try something new
How about learning something new?  There are a huge number of websites out there with fantastic ideas and inspiration, go on give it a go.

My favorite blog spot is Tipnut they are totally wonderful.  You can sign up to their daily updates and they always come up with some fantastic things, cooking ideas, gardening tips, thrifty way of making your money last and some fantastic craft projects all gathered from far and wide.  Wow I would love that job, spending my days researching creative blogs to feature.  The one I want to share with you is from How Stuff Works.  Its a really simple but lovely baby blanket that is a real doddle to knit, even if you have never knitted anything in your life before.

How lovely is this? You can make this really easy blanket in no time
Did you know, knitting has had a real resurgence and is now seen as a very cool thing to be able to do.  How times change. When I was young and silly back in the 70s, it was decidedly uncool to knit. The only acceptable excuse for knitting during that decade was that you were "old" (meaning over forty). If you were a girl who knitted, you were automatically deemed a social misfit. You had no friends who were not absolute nurds, and it was set in stone that no one worth knowing would ever go out with you. You were condemned to woebegone spinsterhood complete with several cats. No one who was anyone dared to flaunt her knitting prowess back then. I exaggerate only slightly.  But now......  a totally different story.  The new  knitting craze seemed to coincide with the dawn of the millennium and suddenly young and trendy women were taking up their needles, starting knitting cafes and 'Bitch & Stitch' groups.  Whether its trendy or not, I don't care, it is very therapeutic and really fun, go on give it a go.


5. Chillax!
 I bet you thought this was going to be about soap?  Well, this is a soap free blog post for a change. Go on, relax, put up your feet and use your newly discovered wealth to buy yourself the nicest bottle of wine that you can find.................

Or in our case a couple of pints of the best beer in the world, from the best pub in the world -

The Bridge Inn, Topsham, Devon 

The beer from The Bridge Inn, Topsham is used to make the famous and now classic Naturally Made Soaps soap bar Bridge Inn Beer Bar

Thanks to everyone there for the help and support Naturally Made Soaps has received over the years - Oh and a few pints too!

There you see, I couldn't help but make one little soap reference in this post, you knew I would didn't you?

How about sharing with us what you would do if you found that elusive £10 that you didn't know you had?

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Georgous new products are almost ready...

I have been so very busy, yes I know, I always say that but it really is true.  The sales side of things is very quiet at the moment, well just starting to pick up at markets, so I have been making the most of the break from wrapping and packing, I've been playing in the lab!

After a long time fiddling around with different ingredients and measurements I have finally come up with, what I think is, the perfect Bubble Bath Crumble.  Its so easy to use, just pick it up, crumble in under running water and hey presto an unbelievably bubbly, sweet smelling bath treat with lovely extra oils and glycering of course.  It makes the bathroom smell fab and there is easily enough in each one for 3 big baths.  Heres a sneak preview.....

This one is scented with Patchouli, Ylang Ylang and Vanilla, very, very sexy!

And this one is a sweet floral mix of Frangipani and Linden Blossom

I still have to play with the colours and scents, it's quite hard to get the colour right when the mixture is dry but Im getting there.  They should be on sale soon.  I will definitely be doing some "give aways" so watch out for more info.

I have also redesigned my Chocolate Orange cupcakes to make them more natural, no more melt and pour now at all!!  I have used dried orange slices instead of the usual melt and pour orange, lemon and lime slices I used to make and I am very happy with the look.  To counter the slight lack of colour I have used Sweet Orange essential oil in the icing with a tiny bit of steeped tumeric and it looks beautiful,  I just hope the colour sticks.  I will let you know of course!!

One last thing I thought you might like to see, the latest pictures of my lovely Lola.  She came and stayed the weekend with me and decided that the best place to read her books was Blues bed!!  sorry the quality isnt great, I took them on the iphone but I did giggle when I found her.........

Do let me know what you think of the new crumbles and if you have any ideas for what to call them I'd love to hear.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011


I am so excited to be able to pass on this great news!  It seems everything has been happening all at once for me.  I know that is often the case but it has left me a little bit breathless and a little bit scared too, if I'm being honest.

Naturally Made Soaps is branching out.....  I already distribute soaps to outlets in France, Germany and Spain and that is going nicely, all the people receiving my soaps in these countries say that they are being received very, very well and, now that I have my fab new workshop set up (see this post), I am ready to take it one step further.

I have been asked many times if I offer opportunities for distribution of my soaps and I have always hesitated, my workshop was too small, I didn't have the curing space and I just felt unsure if I was ready.  

My Wedding work has been going well, I have been lucky enough to receive some great orders from brides wanting my soaps as favors both cupcakes and Soap Bar Minis, the website is ticking along nicely also I have had such fun with Farmers Markets and other direct selling opportunities.  I now feel ready........

Launching the new NMS Portugal range is the beginning of the European expansion.  If you have not had a look yet, click the link and let me know what you think.  I still plan to make my soaps by hand from start to finish and on a small scale to ensure a high quality and a consistently beautiful finish.  Although my products are my own and I am not currently making soaps for anyone else I am very happy to talk to distributors who might be interested in Naturally Made Soaps coming up with custom blends and soaps that suit their own country and culture - just like  NMS Portugal There would be a minimum order quantity for this service though.

I think its probably good to give yourself butterfly's once in a while and push the boundaries - what do you think?  It is all part of my marketing strategy for this year so I'm not doing anything I had not planned for in advance - still, makes the old ticker beat a bit!!