24 July 2011


Off to Botany Bay next Thursday morning to set up my new retail space. I am rather excited about the possibilities it offers. I have been in a bit of a flap about how I am going to display the soapies etc., and desperately wanted to get some wine boxes. Unfortunately, they are like hens teeth and although I can find some new ones, I can't get anything older.

I have been faffing with the Body Veil labels for some time, and the retail space has given me a kick up the bottom. Thereis something about a looming deadline which makes everything fall into place. Finally, I decided to invert the labels and instead of having coloured text and twiddly bits on a white background, I now have pretty coloured labels which I am rather pleased with.

It has been a lovely sunny weekend, although a little breezy, and the cats have spent most of the last two days in the garden chasing bugs and playing with empty snail shells. They love to be outside lolling in the sunshine and chattering at the birds which annoy them by flying overhead. I am coming back as a cat next time!

17 July 2011

Versatile Blogger Award

I have been given a Virtual Blogger Award by the lovely Celine at I Am Handmade ( Thank you Celine.

7 random facts about me.

1. I have been vegetarian for 20 years.

2. I live with 5 cats.

3. I hate ants (get the shivers just thinking about them).

4. I drink coffee not tea.

5. I have a very sweet tooth.

6. I don't read non-fiction.

7. I hate housework.

Seven bloggers of note who deserve the Versatile Blogger Award are:

A blog with news and snippets about the Fresholi Forum.

Blog written by Akua Wood, a lovely lady who trades ethically and supports communities in Ghana.

Inspirational Australian soapmaker who writes with great wit.

A beautifully written blog about the day to day struggles of a disabled mother with an autistic son.

Farming, soap and more.

Rachel is a canny business woman and creates beautiful body products for adults and for children.

A young and up and coming journalist, with a blog which makes a good read.

16 July 2011

Signed on the dotted line

Yesterday, I bit the bullet and rented some retail space at Botany Bay, Chorley. The craft fairs I have been doing over the last 12 months have been a complete waste of time and money, so I have had a bit of a re-think.

Botany Bay is a converted mill which is now a huge shopping emporium on the banks of a canal. The canal was busy with geese (see above) and barges and if it was not for the hum of traffic from the M61, it would have been a lovely, peaceful setting. I have a couple of weeks, maximum, to get things sorted out before I need to set up, although if I do manage to get it done earlier so much the better. The only difficulty is that the setting up has to be done during the week, out of hours, although re-stocking can be done at weekends. There are set times in which you can set up, so the question is how I do it when I am working full time?

I have had a week off from the day job and have not had many animals this week, so I have been able to re-charge the batteries, although I have found it very difficult to relax completely.

I also went on a bit of a shopping spree with Mum. We both had some gold bits and pieces which we did not wear, and which just sat in a drawer never seeing the light of day, so I took them to a jewellers and sold them. With the proceeds, I bought some lovely little earrings to replace the ones I recently lost, and which Dad bought me a long time ago.

My little kittens will be one year old tomorrow. I can't believe how quickly the year has flown. Fidget of course still has some growing up to do, although I don't think he will ever learn to behave. It is such a good job that Echo is an absolute angel, so much so that you hardly know she is in the house. Almost.

11 July 2011

It's tough out there

Do you ever get  days when you are not sure what you are doing? When you feel like you are struggling uphill in a gale force wind, through treacle? Well, that is what things are like for me at the moment.

Working full time, visiting animals before and after work and at lunch times, and trying to work on the soap business just do not fit into 24 hour days. I did another horribly unsuccessful craft fair last weekend, another four hours I will never get back, and spent most of the time writing lists of things I need to do, so at least it was not a completely wasted experience. I am struggling to keep all the balls in the air. It would not be so bad if I thought I was getting somewhere but I don't.

Almost daily, it seems like soapy people are giving up or are considering giving up, which is such a shame. They are wonderful, creative people who are finding things too difficult to carry on. I really do not think that crafts are valued in this country. There seems to be a general lack of understanding of what goes into handmade products, and customers do seem to want something for nothing. There is no acknowledgement of the amount of time spent researching ingredients, the incredibly steep learning curve, getting to grips with the relevant legislation and everything else involved in getting a product to market, including the costs. It is not simply a case of getting up one day, making a products and selling it, although I have come across some who seem to think so.

Despite the gloom, there are those who are successful and who can serve as inspiration for the rest of us. The ingredient for that success seems to be passion, a passion that is not quelled by the hoops that one has to jump through. These people show that with hard work and application it is possible to build a business that not only is enjoyable but a success too.

02 July 2011

Photo of Fidget because I could not think of anything else!

As of this morning, I am the proud owner of a shiny new dishwasher. Yes, I know that they are not strictly necessary and that I can live without, but boy do they make life easier. I can finally find my sink again, and of course I am helping to save the planet (research shows they use less energy than washing by hand. No I don't understand either). At any rate, I no longer have to wash dishes by hand which, for someone who lives on their own, took a hell of a lot longer than you would think.

This week I have been back at the house with the outdoor dogs. You may remember I had an incident, a couple of months ago, when I had to resort to climbing a fence to get at a dog, and give road kill to ferrets. Well, no fence climbing this time, but I have had to give chicks to ferret kits. I really do not do dead things, and to have to get frozen chicks out of the freezer, leave them in a dish to defrost and then take them out to the ferrets does not fill me with joy. The things I do for money sometimes!

This is the first weekend when I have been able to make the most of the sunshine. I went out this morning and again this evening, but in between I have been able to sit out and read. I need to sort out some other seating, something that I can really laze on, although I know full well that I won't get anywhere near it.

I am reviewing what I am going to do to push Scent Trail. The realisation dawned a while ago that the Craft Fairs I have been doing are not the way forward, and I am lucky if I make back the cost of the table. I am doing one next weekend, but I think it will be my last for a while. I was speaking to a local artist and book illustrator I was at school with yesterday, and she is going to give me a list of larger Fairs which she thinks will be good for me to attend. They will be more expensive to do, but if I add up what I have spent so far on what have proved to be complete wastes of time I would be horrified. Plus think what else I could have done with the hours I have spent sitting twiddling my thumbs.

If I stand any hope of leaving the day job/hampster wheel, I have to start earning money from soap. Hopefully soon I will expand the range with the liquid soap, and following some, research shampoo. I have an issue with the colour of my liquid soap though. A couple of people have said that the colour is off-putting (how dare they), I think because they are used to seeing pretty pink or purple soaps in the supermarkets. I was going to use some lovely clear bottles, but I think I will have to look into the opaque variety. Bum!