26 June 2011


Summer has arrived, although looking at the forecast it will last only a couple of days. It is not sunny, but it is lovely and warm and I am sitting in my back garden (well concreted back yard) enjoying the fresh air. Above the sound of the radio, there is the tinkering of a hammer as someone gets down to DIY and the cats are enjoying chasing flying things too small for me to see, and pouncing on each other.

I really do need to do something with the garden and wish I had soil in which to plant things. I am not particularly green fingered, but I have a few pots on the walls of pretty, pink hanging pelargoniums which reminds me of blissful holidays in France, and others containing lovely violas, one of my favourite flowers. By my back door is a climbing rose, which this year has given me some gorgeous, fragrant blooms, but I noticed yesterday parts of the plant are beginning to die. I am hoping it is because my naughty little ginger thing has been chewing it and that it is not suffering some terminal illness. The wooden planter it is in is a sorry state, and beginning to fall apart, so I need to think about how on earth I re-pot it.

I have neglected the garden this year, but then I have hardly spent any time in it. The cats on the other hand need no excuse to venture out which gives me a bit of peace. The tiny shed needs some repairs, and I wonder whether getting rid of it would be better. My outside space is so small, and the shed hardly used and it seems silly to keep it. I could have another seat there, or some lovely large pots of something. It would be easier keeping it where it is rather than having to break it apart and transport it somewhere, but I really do think that getting rid is what I am going to do.

I also need to do something with the house, which is driving me to distraction. Since the installation of the wood burner the lounge needs decorating. In view of the fact that it took me a good year to find the colour I wanted for the walls, I am dreading it. I look at magazines for ideas and they seem full of beautiful rooms decorated in various shades of neutral. Now, I love that cool sophisticated look, but I usually get bored of it in a couple of weeks. I have a strong need to be surrounded by colour. I have been sitting there imagining what it would look like, and in my minds eye it will look lovely, but in reality I am just not sure.

I desperately need to find something to store my curing and cured soap, so that I can reclaim the kitchen and dining room where it is currently scattered. There is a space at the top of the stairs which would be perfect, I just need to find something that will fit there while allowing air to circulate around the soap.

All the above and about threepence halfpenny to spend on it.

17 June 2011


Last weekend, I made my first shampoo. It is a little like liquid soap - but different. Rashly, I made rather a large batch, half of which was fragranced with lavender and half with mandarin. As you can see the mandarin (on the left) went rather cloudy with the addition of the essential oil, although they have since cleared.

This recipe is olive, coconut and castor oils. I have been using it for the week and I am rather pleased with the result, although it may need a bit of a tweak! I am now researching what I can put in it, seaweed for example, to enrich it further. I have bought of couple of books, and will spend the weekend buried in them researching essential oil blends and shampoo additions, so hopefully I can work out what to do next.

I am really enjoying myself at the moment. Playing experimenting is the best part of all of this and a great release after a long week at work.

07 June 2011

Hot and Cold

Scottish Power have announced a massive increase in the cost of gas and electricity (19% gas, and 10% electricity). How can they justify this when they put up prices at the end of last year?

For those of us on low incomes this increase is a major blow, especially when it is already a struggle. Unfortunately, everyone else will follow suit because they do not seem to be able to operate independently, which makes me think that there is a price cartell in operation.

When is it going to end? Everything is going up in price while salaries are static. I earn a third of what I did 10 years ago, but my bills have more than doubled. On the face of it, it is a crazy time to be in business, although the pet sitting is doing quite well this year - thankfully. I am hoping that at some point the day job, the petsitting and the soapy stuff together will mean that the finances ease a little.

And talking of soapy stuff, I have two fairs on Saturday, which as usual I am not exactly ready for. Most of the body butter was made on the last back holiday, and I am waiting for some boxes for a new gift pack which will also be suitable for travelling. It will have a half size soap, an organic muslin face cloth, an unfragranced body butter and as a little extra a nice little book. There will also be something a little new for the bath salts. Watch this space!