Friday, 30 December 2011

Helloooooo......Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for 2012!!

It's been such a busy few months here at Oakwood Soaperie, my head has only just stopped spinning!!!
I thought I'd give you a little snippet of what I've been up  to to keep you going.
We have been busy little bees with a tonne of local Craft and Christmas markets, so much so, we have almost totally sold out of Everything!!! I have many pictures to post very this space :)
Fear not, I have plans afoot and come the New Year will be re-making my range of luxurious soaps and bath goodies...there may be more new stuff too, so many new ideas for lovely pampering products just for you...yes YOU :)

I am also busy creating my longed for beloved WEBSITE...YAY!!!! sooo much typing and input...I want it to be a special  place to hang out and read about what goes in (and what is kept out) of my handmade natural products, so that lovely...know all the reasons why I do what I do and why you need to try (and be converted) to my handmade soaps and bath goodies.

I am also planning a much needed re-fit of my home is long overdue. I will post pics of it's progress over the next few weeks so you can see the transformation before your very eyes!!!

Wish me luck...I have a long list of 'To Do...'s but will try and let you know how things are going as much as possible.

Wishing you all the best for the new Year xxx


Monday, 3 October 2011

Autumn has landed!!

Gibside Farmers and Craft Market 1.10.11
        Well here we are in October...I can hardly believe it!!
It's been a little while so I though i'd let you all know what I've been up to lately...apart from making masses of Christmas goodies which will very soon be listed in my Folksy and WowThankyou shops (watch this space), I have been back to Gibside's farmers and craft market (near Rowland's Gill - Tyne and Wear)...I thought you might like to see.

        This time I brought with me some special one off Autumnal goodies, including Brambleberry Swirl soap and a bushel of Apple Bubble bars.

Brambleberry Swirl soap & Apple Bubble Bars

        A bit premature maybe but I also had my new Halloween goodies too, Pumpkin Spice soap and some wee Caspar Bubble bars (very limited numbers left, once they are gone, they are gone - exclusively to Gibside Market!!). Brambleberry and Turkish rose Madder soaps were the hit of the day, selling almost half of my stock of each (hurrah!!). These will be coming back next time (October 15th) as well, with some extra Halloween flourishes...there may be spooky bunting, maybe even the odd lighting up pumpkin or'll have to pop along and see...

Pumpkin Spice soap & Caspar Bubble Bars.

        I took the opportunity to take a couple of pictures of the beautiful setting as well, beginning to look lovely and autumnal with the Horse Chestnut trees and season veg barrows.

Hopefully the weather will hold for next time...

Take care all, wrap up warm ;o)

TTFN xxx

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Peppermint Canes and Brambleberry scrumping...

      Today I have been mostly making some more seasonal goodies. In particular some gorgeous soaps that I'm fair delighted with...let me introduce...

Peppermint Cane Handmade soap


'Peppermint Cane' is made with Pure plant oils of Oilve, Sunflower and coconut, enriched with gorgeous naturally chocolate fragranced Cocoa butter. It is fragranced with Peppermint and Vanilla. Vanilla has a tendancy to darken soap so to counteract this I have added Titanium Dioxide (a naturally occurring mineral whitener - used frequently in cosmetics to lighten products) fingers crossed it stays looking like this over it's 4 week cure. With a splosh or red soap colourant and a pinch or several or cosmetic grade glitter and a bit of chopstick work, here we have it.

And also, new to the stage...'Brambleberry Swirl' . 
This is made with the same base oils and butters but with the addittion of Oat Milk at trace for skin smoothnness and a silky feel to the bar. It is fragranced with a blend of oils described as 'a luscious fruity-wood fragrance with top notes of bergamot and rose and basil leaves. Sweet, rich blackberries, dry leaves, and an amber-cinnamon blend. These are lifted by breezy ozonic accents and cool lavandin, combined with smooth woods, moss and musk.'
Within the two colour swirl, I have added some poppy seeds for a bit of gentle scrub and because they resemble blackberry pips :o)

BrambleBerry Swirl handmade soap
I can't wait to cut these two beauties, hoefully they will be swirled inside too, fingers crossed.

I have also been making up a few new seasonal bubble bars and melts, these ones are for an order, but they will be available from my Folksy and WowThankyou shops nearer Christmas too. Here's a sneaky peek...

More on these Christmassy goodies later, keep checking back for updates and more info.

Take Care

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Seasonal Spendour...

Apple of Temptation Bubble Bar
Japanese Plum Bubble Bar
Today has been dedicated to seasonal products here at Oakwood between batches of my hubble bubble bars being made up for a lovely order I received the other day...namely new "Japanese Plum" and "Apple of Temptation"...I have been stirring my soap cauldron.

Pumpkin Spice Halloween Soap

May I introduce to you, all new and Haloweenified (yes that is a word...I've not just made it up!) Pumpkin Spice handmade soap...It is made with Olive, Sunflower and coconut oils, cocoa butter, carrot tissue oil (for colour and it helps reduce scarring and is very high in Vitamin A) and black mica. The fragrance is a blend of creamy fruit and spice with a hint of cinnamon. It should be nicely cured by the end of September...just in time for All Hallows Eve...

I have also been concocting a new creamed soap for the winter time. Whilst the soap was still liquid, I whipped it up until it resembled whipped cream. It will make for a moussey bar with a very different texture to the usual cold process soaps I make...I fancied something new...This one is aqua coloured underneath with a layer of sea green mica through the middle and white whipped topping...It is fragranced with a blend of pine, eucalyptus and mint. Because she resembles a lovely snowdrift, the kind I could't help jumping in when I was little - (not to mention just last year), I am calling her "Snow Day" I can't wait until she is cut up...I'm thinking extra chunky bars this time. What do you think?

Well, I'd better be off, there tea to get going, and baths to be had...TTFNxx

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Time for a spot of indulgence...

         Well, it's full steam ahead here at Oakwood Soaperie. I have been developing some all new recipies and re-vamping some not so new ones. As you may know I was revising the recipie for 'Buttered Rose soap' recently. I must say, I am delighted with the results so far.

Buttered rose - before...pale and interestingly floral

and now - Kapow!!  - in a new guise... 

        I have been experimenting with a new ingredient for me...Madder root. this is traditionally used in dyeing fabric and wool but works very well in soaps too. Instead of infusing in the base oils, it goes straight in with the lye solution and turns it a vivid berry red...

Dried and ground madder root in lye solution.

          Once this has cooled, it gets filtered and mixed into the oils as normal. I had initially intended to make the red only as a swirl through the soap but loved the colour so much went for the whole bar.
I have also added a silkening ingredient in the form of Hydrolised Oats, a vegan alternative to tussah silk fibres, this should give the soap a gloriously soft feel and silky lather - I hope.
          I have also tweaked the essential oils too making them a slightly stronger and more exotic blend of Rose Geranium, Benzoin, Cardamom and black pepper, this mix is wonderfully aromatic, floral and spicey and a bit turkish workshop smells divine. The change was such a big one I've also had to think up a new, here we have, introducing her on her debut...

Turkish Rose Madder...I think I'm in love.

           After the success of this one, I also had a think about some new bath melts now that autumn is just around the corner. I have 2 new ones specially made for when the night start to draw in...Beddy Byes and Aahhh....
            Beddy Byes bath melt is specifically designed to pack in as many pampering and sleep inducing ingredients as possible, as well as being an indulgent treatment. It is crammed with cocoa and shea butter to moisturise and lock in the goodness (also one less step before you can collapse into bed), fragranced with calming and relaxing oils of Lavender, Sweet Orange and Tangerine to comfort and soothe. There is also a scoop of tapioca starch in there as this helps soften the water and give a silky feel to it and you. These just go straight into the bath where they melt and realease their magic.

Beddy Byes Bath Melt
        Aahhhh..... bath melt is named after the noise we all make on climbing into a well deserved bath. It is a little nugget of pure pampering wonder. The main ingredients again are cocoa and shea butter with a touch of bicarb for a gentle fizz and to help disperse the butters as well as a water softener. The essential oils are the same blend I have included in my Ylang, Sweet Orange and Patchouli Sugar Shower Scrubs. I love this combination and the fragrance lingers on your skin really well. I'm undecided as to whether I should paint the tops with gold mica for extra luxury...what do you think?

Aahhh...bath melt

Once you're in the bath you will have trouble getting back out - I speak from experience, this one is a keeper, I'm loving it.

Well, I have a tonne of soap to get wrapped, I'd better be off, I couldn't resist sharing these little lovelies with you...TTFN xx

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Ohh, new stuff....

Well, another busy day at Oakwood Towers...I've been waiting in for my deliveries of new supplies...still one more to come, shouldn't be long now.

To keep myself entertained I have been coming up with some new products and re-vising some of my older receipes to give them a new lease of energy for the run up to Christmas. I'll get to the new ones in a bit but first to the revamped ones.
I have been working on including some luxurious ingredients into my Natural soap range to make them even lovelier. The first one for a re-vamp is SOS Facial bar.

SOS facial cleansing bar with Bentonite clay     
It is made with 2/3 pure olive oil, shea butter and coconut oil and enriched with Avocado and Jojoba.. It also contains Bentonite clay and this is deep cleansing whilst being gentle on the skin. There are essential oils in there to to help sort out any spots or oily areas, these include Lemon, Lavender and Tea tree.

I decided however that this little bar was far too unassuming for it's effectiveness so I have made it more dramatic by adding another combination skin saviour - activated charcoal powder. This gives it a beautiful black colour as well as helping draw out excess oils from the skin, as well as providing a bit of scrub. I mixed it into half of the soap while it was liquid, then poured them into the mould in layers and swirled the black and white liquid soap together. I always love texturised tops to handmade soap so I had to do that too. The end result is below. I will cut this in a couple of days, I'm hoping it will be lovely and swirly black and white inside. I'll cut it into chunky blocks as before, fingers crossed it looks good. This will be fully cured around the 10th September.

SOS # 2 - just poured and glossy.

Next for the re-vamp will be Buttered Rose:

Buttered Rose
I'm really pleased to have at last found UK supplier who sells Madder Root, a dried plant root used to give colour to natural wool as well as soaps. I have been dying to get my mits on some for ages. The plan is to infuse some of my oils with the madder root and then use them to give a gorgeous natural red swirl through the middle of this bar. I am also changing the essential oils a bit as well, so the new version will be creamy and red swirl fragranced with rose geranium, black pepper and cardamom. Reminiscent of Turkish delight I'm hoping :o) Watch this space for further updates...

I have also been concocting some all new bubble bars. These have done so well since I brought out a selection earlier this year, I've decided to add to the range.

First of all we have Japanese Plum - A plum coloured bar with handpainted flowers on the top for prettiess. The fragrance is decribed as "A warm spicy Oriental accord with top notes of fresh lemon and tangerine, leading to a spiced heart of clove, cinnamon, ripe plum and tuberose resting on a base of rich incense, patchouli, soft moss, amber, caramelised sugar and vanilla" It is trully lovely, a girl could become addicted!!

I have added lashings of Rice Bran oil to moisturise and the majority of the foaming ingredients are naturally derived and made from Coconuts.

Japanese Plum Bubble Bars  

Secondly...Mystic Bubble Bar. A turquoisey blue with sea green mica for a bit of mysterious sparkle. Fragranced with a blend described as "A sumptuous blend of pomegranate, raspberry, and plum underpinned with spicy pink pepper, and grounded in a base of patchouli and frankincense."

I have added a good gloop of coconut oil for moisture to this one - just crumble under running water, lie back and relaaaaax...
Mystic Bubble Bar

Well that's all for now, keep checking back for updates on the new versions. They will all be for sale in my Folksy and Wowthankyou shops very soon...TTFN xxx

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Today's Makes

Well today I've been taking the opportunity to catch up on making for a bit. I have a string of regular craft fairs coming up and some things needed a top up. I thought you might like to see what I've been up to...

So, today I have made...
Orange Blossom Bubble bars.   

Honey Buns soap with real Northumbrian Honey, coloured with tumeric.

Peppermint & Poppyseed, freshly poured and glossy.

Lavender & Clary Sage, coloured with Alkanet Root

Spiced Cinnamon Fig, coloured with cinnamon and cocoa powder, with poppy seeds for texture.

The soaps should all be fully cured and ready by the end of August, when they will be wrapped and labelled up ready for re-homing.


Friday, 22 July 2011


        I have just recently completed a 'Featured Seller' interview for WowThankyou which is now being hosted on their home page for the next few weeks.
        Why not pop over and have a read. Put the kettle on, grab some biccies and settle down for some good old window (s) shopping. (click on the link to view full interview)

Monday, 18 July 2011

I Do...or rather... I did

       Well, long time no posting, so I thought you may like to see some of the things I made in the earlier days of 'Oakwood Soaperie'
       My first large order (before I'd even set up my Folksy and WowThankyou shops, before any craft stalls or events, was from a lovely couple Amy and Adam. They got married at the beautiful Ellingham Hall  in north Northumberland last year and kindly asked me to make their wedding favours. Amy's flowers were all deep reds and she loved the smell of roses so commissioned me to make rose fragranced bath bombs. There were to be 60 in total, plus 5 lage gift boxes full of goodies like my cocoa butter bath melts,  Honey soap, and Solid Cocoa Butter body bars  and my heart skipped a beat...oh god! the responsibility!!

      Once I'd got a production line set up and all my ingredients ordered ready I set to work weighing, mixing and molding. Amy had these lovely little bird cage favour boxes, fortunately the bombs fitted perfectly, phew!

      Here are some pictures of the happy day, kindly provided by Amy. Hopefully I made the grade :oD

Rose Bath Bomb for the ladies.

Minty bath bombs for the Gents

Ooh, bubbly!! You can just see Amy's lovely fan place markers too.

Tables all set out for the wedding breakfast.

The Groom's speech...(+ lovely gift box presentation)

Bride's mum...she looks so happy :o)

The happy couple looking gorgeous...
Gift box contents...

All wrapped up, ready to go...          

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

A wee little sneak away...

      It feels like such a long time since my last blog posting, I thought I'd better let you know what I've been up to at Oakwood Towers. Apart from being reeeealy busy making and wrapping like there was no tomorrow, we've squeezed in a week's holiday and what a lovely week away in Scotland we've had :O)

The Clockhouse - Nr Earlston
The rain rained, the sun shone, the wind blew...and the midges bit!! but all was well as we were staying in a little bolthole in the woods near Earlston - just south of Lauder in the Borders. Our lovely cottage was just perfect and nicely tucked away under a lush canopy of trees full of birds and squirrels and right next to the river Leader - running just behind us. We were in the grounds of an estate with a verrrry nice main house, equestrian centre and a couple of other felt really special to come down the sweeping drive past the lovely Palomino's every evening and pull up by the huge garage doors.

The view of the big house from  the Leader Path - V posh!!
There were some fantastic walks going straight from the front door, one of our favourites (apart from the 2 mile round trip through the woods to the local pub and chippy...) was the walk up 'Black Hill' which we could see from out living room window :O)

'Black Hill'

It was quite a hard trek up as it was a lot steeper than it looks. We noticed on the way up that the sheep and lambs were all a sort of salmon pink colour...weird, we thought...until we found a patch of bare land and saw that the soil was a really rich ochre red colour, probably due to mineral deposits...even the lovely Palomino horses were the same colour from rolling around in it...I named one little troublesome chap 'Pinky' whose rosey hue let one into a false sense of security...

Orchids on top of Black Hill

Once we made it to the top, the veiws were amazing, full 360 degrees. Right at the top we found some beautiful orchids and wild thyme...we sat for quite a while listening to syklarks and watching buzzards and a red kite hunting and soaring. We cloud watched for a bit until we got too cold - the wind was ferocious up there but it was well worth the climb. We could almost pick out our wee cottage amidst the trees...can you spot it?
Westerly view from Black Hill

   Once we came back down via the 'Earlston Path' we still had some oomph in our legs so decided to take a stroll along the 'Leader Path' which winds it's way behind our cottage for a few kilometers, a much more gentle stroll to wind down we thought...The path took us past a magnificent viewpoint of the big house - see above, and also of Black Hill. We had a little rest on this lovely handcarved badger bench to take in the scenery.

Who's looking at you kid??     

     The path wound around through meadows, little open spaces and river pools - so tempting for a dip...but WAY too cold...After what seemed like ages we came out of the woods and onto an old stone bridge with a magnificent view of the old viaduct spanning the river Tweed (I think...)

We stopped here for a bit and ate some slightly squashed cupcakes - incase you're wondering...oreo cookie and bannoffee...yumm - in separate cupcakes of course...silly. We were pretty frazzled by this stage and needed the sugar rush to help us home you understand :oD. It was gloriously warm and sunny here and the swallows were out in full force picking off the little biteys as they swooped and dived around us.

     We did eventually make it back but by this time must have walked about 15 miles...well it felt like legs are still recovering.

      The next day we wanted something a bit more gentle ( as the thighs were still burning) so went up the road to Thirslane Castle , a magnificent 13th Century pile where there happened to be a vintage car rally. I'm not usually excited by cars, but there was such a vast variety of fantastic vintage  beauties on show, I may be converted. My favourite was this fabulous old Morgan ...with picnic basket ready packed...and secret stow-away on board. I could see hubby and I donning sunglasses and a silk scarf around the hair (I don't think he'd go for the scarf idea, but was quite keen on the picnic) and vrooming around the countryside in this little beaut.

D'you think they'll find me???

    After much oggling and exploring we returned home exhausted and ready for tea...this is where we decided cooking was far too much of a bother so strolled along to the village pub for a swift 'arf of ale and a steaming bag of fish supper for two, picking up a bottle of something boozy on the way home we just made it indoors before we collaped, needless to say even the 4 o'clock dawn chorus didn't wake us up...
    While we were in the vicinity we thougt we'd also pay a visit to Floors Castle near Peebles. The oldest privately inhabited castle in the borders. It had some magnificent gardens and grounds which we spent most of the day exploring. We also had a good root around the castle itself, stunning.

Queen Victoria's 'House' built in the gardens especially for one of her visits.
Bread roll baked in a flower pot...must try this at home.

  For lunch we stopping in at their Walled Garden Cafe - just as it says on the tin - was in the walled garden, where we had the most spectacular ploughmans lunch...I wish I'd taken a pic but was too hungry. Needless to say ther was soo much delicious local cheese we could not eat it all...shhhh don't tell anyone...we stashed it in my bag and snaffled it later with some oatcakes and a cup of tea :O)

      All in all we had a lovely, relaxing and much needed break away - even celebrating our 6 yr wedding anniversary :O) during our stay. We will be going back sometime soon as there was so much to explore we hardly scratched ther surface, the country side was glorious and the cottage perfect for us... absolutely lovely.

Jaunty angle + mangle

Spying on the hubby :o)

Little den the family before us built behind the cottage.

      My mum was cat sitting for us while we were away - THANK YOU MUM (hope you enjoyed the goodies we brought back xx) and did a sterling job...unfortunately someone...who will remain nameless had the most huge huff on when we got back...just look at that face...and proceeded to sulk for about - well 10 minutes, then meow at me for the next two days...I guess I'm in the bad books now...

How could you leave me???

I just can't look at you  ... >^-^<  

We found our little cottage through 'Unique Cottages' who we have used before, I'd highly recommend them for a scottish break, they specialise in individual (or unique;op) special places to stay for a very reasonable rate throughout Scotland, check em out below if you are interested.

 Unique Cottages - Scotland

Anyway must be off, I'm all unpacked from hols, packed up for my next fair on Saturday and there is weeding to be done, so I'll be off...TTFN xx