10 December 2012

My new favourite blend

I have been playing with essential oils again, and I have come up with what I think is a gorgeous blend which will make not only a lovely soap, but a fabulous bath oil.

I do not find blending terribly easy and the successful blends I have manage to create to date have tended to be happy accidents.  Take my Geranium blend for example. This is something created by throwing everything I had into the pot, because when I made my very first batch of soap, I had not considered the weight of essential oils. It worked and is probably my best seller.

I am planning a new range of products including bath oils, and I need four blends. These blends need to be absolutely fabulous and make the bather feel like a film star so I am not rushing. I have had two of them for a while, but the second two have been somewhat elusive.

But.....drum roll please, I think that the third blend is in the bag with the fourth needing a slight tweak. This third blend, is actually the first in the series (not saying more than that at the moment) and I think it is gorgeous.

I have created a blend containing May Chang and Violet Leaf. May Chang is a lovely, light, lemon-sherbet fragrance which seems to float like gossamer on a breeze. Violet Leaf on the other hand, has its feet anchored firmly in the ground. Smelling it neat in the bottle, it is a little overwhelming and you miss its subtleties. It has an intense, dry, green note with, somewhere in the background, a fleeting tiny hint of violet. Use it in this blend and the green notes take a back seat, and you get nodding heads of violets combining beautifully with the soft lemon of the May Chang.

This has quickly become my favourite blend and I can't wait to send it out into the world. Watch this space!


18 November 2012

New Soap Style

I have wanted to try a different style of soap, using only natural colours. This week, I have made two different layered soaps. The first one is a rosey blend of essential oils and the top layer is coloured with pink clay.

The second one has a blend of essential oils including Ylang Ylang, Lavender and Orange with the addition of some more smokey oils to add depth and mystery. The top layer is coloured with turmeric. The line on both is made with cocoa.

I really like the way these have turned out and will be two of a new range of four soaps made with Babassu and Silk forming the backbone of a new product range, including bath oils. I have to decide what to use as colour in the other two soaps and then off they go into the world - once I have decided on packaging. 

04 November 2012

Christmas is coming!

It is the run-up to Christmas and the mad fair season. I have not done a large number of fairs this year but have three in pretty quick succession.

The fair last weekend was a great success with a decent footfall and people prepared to part with their cash. At the end of this month I have another fair at the same venue, and then one a little more local. With luck there will be plenty of people on the look out for Christmas presents.

Next year, I am determined that I will find more shops to take my products and try to grow the business. I am in the process of sorting out some packaging which will stand up to the rigours of being handled by customers. There is a potential plan in the pipeline which I am not going to reveal at the moment.

Presentation is incredibly important, and is what sells a product in the first instance. What brings customers back is the quality of the item they have bought, and whether it does the job. I think that some people underestimate the importance of packaging because it gets thrown away, but not only does it serve a purpose, it can catch the eye. If you have two products side by side on a shelf which do you go for, the one in the ugly packaging? I think not.

And on that note, I am off to redesign some lables.

12 October 2012

Cardamom Facial Scrub

We are proud to announce the launch of the Scent Trail Cardamom Face Scrub.

This gorgeous, oil-based exfoliator leaves the skin feeling cleansed, soft and silky. The ground Cardamom gently gets rid of dead skin cells while the addition of glycerine means that it won't dry your skin.

This is the perfect product for anyone who used the oil cleansing method and for those who don't.

27 September 2012

Playing with Scents Part II

I wrote a few days ago about playing with some of the less common essential oils, so I thought I should also write about the results.

I had an idea in mind of the kind of scent I was looking for. Of course, I ended up with something rather different, but which I think might be perfect.

What I was looking for, was something that was slightly reminiscent of the kind of warm, slightly dusty scent you get in old book shops, but I  was also looking for something light like gossamer floating on the breeze. Determined to use Violet Leaf for its green note and hint of violet fragrance which is so lovely and which I knew would give depth to the blend, I needed to find something which was capable of coping with its tenacity. Violet Leaf is a kind of slap you in the face fragrance that is not of the shrinking variety!

I had a choice of other oils to use, including Cistus and Spikenard which do have a smokiness, but no matter how hard I tried using the tiniest amount of one of these with the Violet Leaf was just too much.

I ended up with two potential candidates, and have been sniffing them off and on for the last few days. Having allowed them to mature a little, I have opted for a blend with Violet Leaf and May Chang. The lightness of the May Chang hovers above the base of green, dry Violet Leaf and it makes for a rather nice blend if I do say so.

I have one more blend to sort out, and I can launch this new range of soaps on the poor unsuspecting public, so watch out. You have been warned.

23 September 2012

Playing with Scent

I have had a few of the more interesting essential oils for a while but have not got around to playing with them. Tonight, I bit the bullet and started to work on a blend for a new soap range. I want something that has a slightly dusty/smokey base with a lightness at the top and as this is supposed to be representative of a particular place (to be revealed at a later date) I wanted to add a touch of Violet Leaf.

I love Violet Leaf, but fully acknowledge that it is not to everyone's taste. It can be completely overpowering, and luckily, because it is horribly expensive, you don't need much. I have used the aforesaid Violet Leaf, May Chang, Pettigrain and Vetivert, and have ended up with a rather heady blend which needs to be lightened up a little. At the moment, the Violet Leaf reaches out and slaps you around the face. Next, you get a hit of Vetivert with its green, smokey yet sweet undertones. Then, very faintly you smell the May Chang which is a beautiful, soft lemon sherbety kind of fragrance 
which I think I need increase. I may try a couple of slightly different blends tomorrow, one with just Vetivert and one with just Violet Leaf. It may be that the two together are just a bit much. I think that this will be a long road, but the fun is in the trying!

Once this blend has been finalised, I have one more which I need to work on and then the new soap range can be launched. They will have silk and babassu oil in and will be the height of affordable luxury.


17 August 2012

New Soap Packaging

Now I have my shiny new logo, I thought that it was about time to look at new soap packaging. The lovely Hel at Uppercutz made some boxes for me for my four key fragrances. I love the end result. They look professional and neat and would look good at fair or on the shelves in shops.

11 August 2012


Whisper this, but it would appear that we may be getting a summer. For the last couple of days, we have had warm temperatures and brilliant sunshine, although today, the sun did disappear leaving a sultry afternoon. The humidity is a little high, and last night one of the cats decided it would be fun to sleep draped over me. Warm temperatures, and a furry scarf just do not mix but try telling him that.

I have a week off and some new essential oils to play with. I have a specific "project" in mind and it is going to be fun trying to get a blend that is suitable for it.

So far, except for my Geranium blend which was a happy accident, I have stuck to very simple blends of no more than three essential oils, but this one may have to be a little more complex and I have no idea where to start. I will have to do a bit of reading of all the perfume blending information I have. What I want to end up with is a blend of essential oils which gives me something redolent of dusty rooms filled with maps and books, it also needs to have a lightness to it, which may come from Pettigrain or May Chang but we shall see.

05 July 2012

Fairs, fairs and fairs

I have three fairs in fairly rapid succession, starting on 21 July. So, I have been busy making salt scrubs. These are fragranced with Lavender essential oil, and I am going to be making some with May Chang, which is an absolute favourite.

I have had to change the packaging for the scrubs and I am happy with the label re-design. It is amazing the difference a proper logo makes.

17 June 2012

Luxurious Bathing

I have been making fizzing bath melts for my own use for a little while, and have recently got my Safety Assessment for them, so they will be on the website shortly.

These are fragranced with a rosey blend of essential oils, made with lots of shea butter and avocado oil, hand rolled and finished with fragrant rose petals. Pop one or two in the bath and soak away the stresses of the day. Pure luxury.

14 June 2012

New logo

A comment to a previous blog entry has reminded me that I never did show you all my new logo. So here it is, drum roll please!

09 June 2012

Handmade Dog Shampoo

Finally, albeit with temporary labels, the Scent Trail Handmade Dog Shampoo has been launched. Made with fur loving olive oil, castor oil and a little coconut for cleansing and with added panthenol, fragranced with a touch of Lavender essential oil (said to repel ticks and fleas) this should make your furry friend feel like they are ready for the catwalk.

A percentage of the profits goes to Nowzad Dogs.

Made without parabens or SLS and with no nasty additives.

12 May 2012

Change of Seasons

Well, the sun is finally shining and perhaps Spring is on its way. Winter has seemed longer than normal this year and I will certainly be glad when temperatures rise. There is a cold wind keeping temperatures down, and I have to wear something wooly but bright sun and blue skies do raise the spirits.

I have just decided to do a Countryside Fair towards the end of July. It is the first time I have done a fair like this, and I don't really know what to expect. It is a two day event, but I am only going to attend on the Saturday. If it is successful, then I may do the whole weekend next year. They apparently have a large number of people attending over the weekend, so I had better get soaping!

Labels are taking up a great deal of my time at the moment, or rather lack of them. The company I have been getting them from has raised their prices considerably and because I may change the artwork shortly, I only want a small run. Finding a company which does short runs of labels which will stand up to oil and water is well nigh impossible. I want something which looks professional not something that looks like I have knocked it up in the garden shed.

I finally had my oven fixed last week, and it has not been out of action since! I have made bread - twice, used it to insulate my CP soap, and pigged out on a lovely veggie lasagne. I don't know how I managed without it for so long.

04 May 2012

A Plea

I don't usually do this, but the situation is desperate.

Nowzad is a small British charity helping service personnel in Afghanistan bring home cats and dogs they have adopted while on duty in the country. These animals have had a really bad start in life, many of the male dogs have their tails and ears chopped off, without anaesthetic, so that they can be used as fighting dogs. Yet despite what they have been through these dogs prove to be fantastic pets, if not without their issues.

It is hard for most of us to imagine what it is like to live and work in a war zone, to go out on patrol not knowing if you will make it back to base in one piece. The stress must be unbearable, but what helps these men and woman cope with that stress is knowing that there will be a furry bundle waiting for them when they get back. Caring for that dog or cat helps to alleviate the stress, and gives some sense of normality.

Nowzad runs the only animal rescue centre in Afghanistan, and it is in serious need of help. They were recently given three months to vacate the land the shelter is on, and have now been told that they can't build on the land that was to be a temporary home. There is currently a desperate fund raising drive to get the money to buy land on which to build a permanent shelter. If these funds are not found, the shelter will have to close, and these animals will have no-one to help them, and will have to be left behind when the service personnel go home.
I am about to launch a dog shampoo with a percentage of the profits going to Nowzad. The charity has some fantastic supporters who are doing what they can, but more is needed. If you able, please donate to the shelter appeal at

26 April 2012

A bit of a Tease!

It has been a while since I last posted because I have been busy formulating new products and panicking about packaging.

Packaging is the bane of my existence. It is either completely out of my price range, or just not quite right. At least I have time next week to surf the internet to try to find what I want.

We will shortly be announcing some exciting news, at least I think it is exciting. There will be two new products hitting the website and one of them is particularly exciting for reasons you probably can't guess.

Bit of a tease aren't I, but you will just have to wait to find out what is going on.

01 April 2012

Cocoa Butter

I decided that I would try something different, so I bought both dark and light cocoa butter to add to soap. The plan was to make two batches, one with the light cocoa and one with the dark, then have a pale layer on the darker soap and a dark layer on the pale soap.

This is not quite how I intended it to look like and the jury is still out. I fragranced it with sweet orange and patchouli, the first time I have used this combination. The soap will be available to pre-order on the website shortly.

12 March 2012

The Benefits of Networking

Last Friday, I received a surprise order from a gift shop/gallery which is opening at the end of this week. Typically, it comes at a time when I have not been making much soap and, although I have enough stock to fulfil this order, I will have to get my act together and get out the cauldron. Sometimes, it is just this kind of thing which makes my mojo come out of hiding and I can get my act together.

The order came as a result of my contacting a local shop, which opened last year, to see if they wanted to stock any soap. At the time, she was not in a position to take on any more products, but obviously kept my details and kindly passed them on.

It is a reminder that when you attend a craft fair, or approach a shop, you may not reap immediate rewards. Even if you do not get anywhere at the time, it does not mean that something will not come of it at some point, and usually when you least expect it.

08 March 2012

New Look

I am in the process of having a new logo designed. Actually, it will be my first logo and I am very excited at the prospect. The problem for the poor designer, is translating what I want (or rather translating my ramblings, because I don't actually know what I want). I am sure that by the end of a process, I will have driven her completely mad.

One of the problems I have at the moment, is a completely incoherent look across my products. The packaging is fine, but then I go and play with picture elements and all my product labels look different. This is not the way to go, and seeing the products standing together on a shelf all looking different looks messy, and I am hoping that once the logo is completed, I can co-ordinate the look of the labels and the website.

Watch this space!

02 March 2012

Ageing Disgracefully Part 2

The cream I made the other week is a bit like milk and was not what I would call a success. So tonight, using exactly the same recipe I made another. I followed some excellent instructions on a forum I am a member of and the results are fabulous, although I say so myself.

This cream is light, and absorbs beautifully and my skin feels wonderfully soft. This is definately a success although depending on how it sets up, it may need a tweak in terms of how thick it becomes. My godmother is visiting for the weekend, so I will take some to her and to my Mum so they can guinea pig it for me.

25 February 2012

Ageing Disgracefully

Ever have one of those days when you look in the mirror and wonder when all the wrinkles appeared and how they got so deep without you noticing? Well, that happened a short while ago so I thought that I would do something about it.

I am the first to admit to being sceptical when it comes to claims made about the properties of various ingredients, but I thought that I would give them a go. After some research, I chose a variety of oils and other goodies to have a play with.

Yesterday, I made an eye gel which I put Argan oil, and Cucumber oil in and another to which I also added a botanical fusion which may have anti-ageing properties. Today, I made a face cream (which turned out to be a lotion) which has Argan oil, Ginseng extract and Lupine Peptides.

Argan Oil promotes skin regeneration, Siberian Ginseng is said to have skin tightening properties but it is Lupine Peptides which are particularly interesting. They were used in a well-know anti-ageing product which had people queueing around the block.

I love playing with new ingredients, and formulating new products. I would have liked the lotion to be a cream, so once I know how it sets up, I may have to tweak it a little. The best bit of all this of course it trying out the products. If the claims about these ingredients are correct in a month or two I will look ten years younger and I will report back.

16 February 2012

More no go than mojo

My soaping mojo seems to have packed its bags and wandered off for a holiday. It could just be the time of year, I never have much enthusiasm for anything in the winter except staying in front of the fire, but this year it seems to be worse than normal. At least the days are lengthening and I feel much less of a vampire than I did a month ago. There is nothing quite so depressing as going to work and coming home in the dark.

I have a list of new products I want to have a go at, and my notebooks are full of carefully researched ingredients to use in them and that is about as far as I seem to get. I just do not seem to be able to get going.

So, if anyone out there happens to find my mojo in a corner somewhere, please send it back.

01 January 2012

New Year

Happy New Year!

It is that time of year when people make resolutions and then break them half way through January. I decided long ago not to bother with them, and then they can't be broken. I suppose that the usual ones are in the get fit, stop smoking and lose weight category. Well, I don't do getting fit, have never smoked and as for trying to lose weight, I have given up on that. That is not to say that if I do drop a few pounds, I am not happy about it and wail and gnash teeth if I put some on (which I have done in the last week).

It is a dull, grey day although pretty mild. I was out early with a dog this morning, and ended up slipping into a deep puddle. I spent most of the walk with a decided soggy bum, so crawled back into pyjamas when I got in. We are out to lunch later to "celebrate" my birthday. I think as you get older and stop counting, you are all celebrated out, although I don't mind getting a few presents of course, and it is nice to have someone cook and wash up for you.

I am starting the new year with a newly decorated lounge. Well almost. There are a couple of bits which need finishing off and then it is done, but I have a nasty feeling there may not be enough paint. It is very different to the way it was, and I am very happy with it. I have installed a fish tank into what, according to the principles of Feng Shui, is my wealth area so it will be interesting to see if it works. I need all the help I can get with my finances, and it is keeping the cats amused. They are frequently to be seen with their noses pressed against the glass and the fish don't seem to mind the attention.

So, with 2011 over, and 2012 here what is in store? If you listen to the prophets of doom the economy is heading downhill again. This will make life much harder for those of us with small businesses. Trying to persuade people to part with their hard earned cash is difficult when times are good, when times are bad it is so much harder. Building a business in lean times is certainly a challenge, but it is a challenge which has to be met head on. Sitting and expecting customers to come to you, just does not work. So in the next few weeks, I will be sitting down and trying to come up with a plan to move the business forward.