Thursday, 24 December 2009


Dear soapchick

I came to the advent fair at the Steiner School this November to buy a birthday
present for my husband, and you recommended this soap.  I never dreamt
that that one split second decision to say yes to a BIBS would be the
beginning of something so big.... The trouble is that I have now fallen
in love - with a bar of soap.  Please will you help by bringing another
one to the late night shopping in Totnes next Tuesday evening.   I'm
worried you may not have any  as it says so on your lovely yummy
website.    Once smitten, nothing else will quite do.  Please do your
best to help.

yours ever hopeful

............. The story continues, how wonderful is that for an endorsement of my soaps?  True to her word Judy came to our stall yesterday, we were really busy but it was sooooo good to hear her feedback - she bought more Beer Inn Beer Bars, gave me permission to use her private email and said that it was the best soap she had ever used.

Go on, try it yourselves, just to let you know, very low stocks available for the next 4 weeks.  Sign up as a facebook friend and get a very special offer until 2nd Jan, buy one, get two soaps free - Happy Christmas and Best Wishes for 2010 - Lots of love, SoapchickXXXXXX

Wednesday, 16 December 2009


I was privaleged to be invited by Dad, along with the rest of my family, to attend the first performance of his quartet inspired by Darwin and commissioned by the Darwin Festival, Cambridge for the 2009 Festival in July.  We had a fantastic time and were so, so proud of him, I am pictured in the centre of this picture of my dad introducing the music and the quartet in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.  I'm wearing white and a blue scarf with Rik next to me in a cream shirt.

Charles Darwin may have had his biggest impact on biology, but he began his scientific career as a geologist. So it’s appropriate that earlier this year, retired geologist John Ramsay, who had long studied the famed biologist’s life, accepted a commission to compose a Darwin-themed string quartet.
Darwin “did some pretty fundamental geological mapping," says Ramsay, drawing a parallel to his own geological career, during which he has drawn maps of the Scottish Highlands, South Africa, and the Swiss Alps. Ramsay says he and Darwin also share a penchant for putting "ideas that spring from other parts of one's life" into their current work. He notes that Darwin applied lessons from Earth's landscape to biology, adapting, for example, Charles Lyell's theory of gradual geological change to living things. Similarly, Ramsay's musical tribute draws on his own geology background. "Knowing Darwin's work, I wrote my quartet first of all on the evolution of the Earth," Ramsay says.
At the beginning of the piece, a disorganized Earth takes shape, with the core, mantle, and crust emerging into distinct musical themes. Life then arrives. Next, Ramsay writes in his concert notes, "the 'wriggly' primitive forms evolve into ... stronger and more continuous themes representing reptile and mammal forms."
Performed by the Fitzwilliam String Quartet, Ramsay’s composition premiered in Cambridge, U.K., during the Darwin Festival (Ramsay pictured above and Quartet playing pictured below) on 7 July 2009. The Darwin Quartet gave its second performance late last month during the triennial Cambridge Music Festival. The two festivals jointly commissioned the piece, and Ramsay hopes the Fitzwilliam Quartet will record the composition next year.
How did a structural geologist who spent his career climbing the academic career ladder at British and Swiss universities end up composing evolution-themed music? National service: After completing his Ph.D. in geology at Imperial College London, recalls Ramsay, "I became a cellist in an Army orchestra" in 1955. For 2 years, he toured Britain and British bases in Germany.
When his tour was over, Ramsay had to decide between pursuing music or geology. "I was hard-put," he says, "but I only started playing cello at 18, ... and that's a bit late for someone becoming a top professional." Instead, he continued with geology research and teaching at Imperial College, moved to the University of Leeds, and eventually settled in Zurich, Switzerland, with joint geology appointments at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) and the University of Zurich. But his other passion has come to the forefront again now that Ramsay has retired. Today, he teaches and composes music in the French hamlet of Cratoule, in a wine-growing region near the Rhône River whose landscape he describes as "wild without being fiercely wild."
His music hobby did not directly influence his geological career, Ramsay says, but a night class on life-drawing he took while in the Army probably did shape his interest in geological maps: "They are scientific records of the rocks on the Earth's surface, but they can be exceedingly beautiful things."
Ramsay says he tried to incorporate Darwin's ideas about the fleeting nature of any individual species into the epilogue of his composition; the music is meant to evoke a barren landscape, devoid of today's multitude of species. "Darwin showed that practically all the organisms that have lived on the Earth had a limited species-life, and practically all of them have died out and been replaced by new ones," Ramsay notes.
And what would Darwin have thought of the composition? "I don't know what he would make of my string quartet, [but] he was very worried toward the end of his life about where things were going," Ramsay says. "My idea is that perhaps the world will finish up like Mars, without life but still with a great deal of beauty."

 His quartet was performed this year by the Fitzwilliam Quartet themselves and is about to be made into a recording.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

THE Christmas parties Totnes throws are so good even the weather can't dampen the festive spirits.
Despite the early evening wind and rain the market town was packed with stalls, musicians and hundreds of party goers out to enjoy the first of three Totnes late night shopping extravaganzas.
By 7pm the rain had stopped and the party really got under way as throngs of people crowded up and down the main street, spilling over on to The Plains and into The Rotherfold.
Drummers drummed, bands played, youngsters from Berry Pomeroy Primary School sang carols and at least one busking crooner gave voice at various venues up and down the town centre.
Meanwhile, visitors were tucking into anything from burgers to Thai takeaways and mulled wine.
Totnes town clerk David Edwards, who is part of the late night shopping organisation, said: "It was the best first late night shopping Tuesday that we have had for several years.
"The number of people in the town was amazing. The main street was pulsating with people."
His comments were echoed by traders as Caroline Arscott, from Hi Ho Silver in High Street.
She said: "It was a fantastic evening. It was wet and windy early on but after 6.30pm people started to come out and have a really good time.
"People were very happy and we were very pleased with the way business went."
Tom Welch, who works at Julian Graves in Fore Street, said: "It was a very good atmosphere. It was perhaps not as busy as it has been in the past but there were lots of people here. It's always worth opening on late night shopping and it was a good night."
Pet and Garden Centre boss Mike Sealey, said: "It was one of the best first late night Tuesdays that we have had.
"It dried up and there was a great atmosphere. Everyone was here to enjoy themselves."
He said that people were putting the Totnes late night shopping events in their diaries and some were coming from miles around to enjoy it.
The main street was closed to traffic and the evening shopping event included a town market as well as stalls lining the High Street, Fore Street, The Plains and The Rotherfold.

Its all set to be repeated again tonight and next Tuesday night (15th & 22nd December) and NATURALLY MADE SOAPS will be there.  I am bringing out my fantastic new Limited Edition Range, Flower Power, made especially for Totnes and next week, the last of the Christmas Festival evenings, I will be bringing something really special, whole Christmas Spice Cake Soaps to be cut up in front of your eyes!  We will, of course, be bringing the usual soap delights, Snowballs in a Snowdrift, Mini Mince Pies and my famous White Chocolate and Strawberry Gateaux, to name a few.  So come and see Rik and I, our stall is bright orange and right opposite the Civic Hall Square, its going to be a great night tonight!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009


Hi everyone, I just wanted to let you know that my White Chocolate and Strawberry Gateaux soap, see the picture above, is being featured in the Western Morning News Christmas Gift Guide on Friday 27th November, so be sure to rush out and get your copy!  Dont forget to tell your friends too.

Sunday, 22 November 2009


Whew!!!  What a weekend, I'm so tired I cant tell you that much except to say it went really, really well.  Sold out of a couple of ranges!  Lots of interest, lots of people loving the soaps and lots of sales.....  Guess what I'm going to be doing for the next few days?

Tuesday, 17 November 2009


Well if you did of course?  This question came to me from Indy News an American site for Independent Cosmetic Businesses that I subscribe to and I thought it was well worth sharing.

Most Indie Business owners don't start a business with the idea that they'll, well, start a business!

Mostly, we find something we love to do and we starting doing it with a passion. Soon, we find that we can't stop ourselves. Whether it's making soap, jewelry or baby blankets, our new hobby absorbs us fully.

Then, we give the products we make away as gifts. It's easy enough since by the time we start unloading everything, our houses are overrun with supplies and something has to give.

Then, the people we give stuff to come back and ask to buy some. After a few months, it dawns on us that we just might have a budding business!

So we coast along for a while in what I call "No Man's Business Land." We are a cross between a hobbyist and a business owner.

We are a hobusiness owner, and we know we've come to a fork in the road.

What to do?

Take it to the next level and start a real business where we have to be profitable, market ourselves, embrace state and federal regulations and more?

Or stay at the hobbyist level where we make things for fun, don't have to worry about insurance or following federal and state regulations and just have a good time?

Id love to hear what you think..........

Question: If you are a business owner, how did you make the move from "hobusiness owner" to real, full-fledged business owner? Are you in the process of deciding? What are you considering?

Monday, 16 November 2009


One of the most popular soaps in the range is the suitably names Dirty Dog soap made with natural oils and including Tea tree and Citronella essential oils.  It smells wonderful, very refreshing with a zingy citrus undertone.  The soap is designed to be an easy, fuss free way of washing your mud magnet dogs, treating them to the same caring bubbles as yourself.  Much easier to use than fiddly bottles of shampoo, just wet the fir, rub the bar all over, lather it up and rinse away for soft, silky fur.  Tea tree is a natural antiseptic, its also great for itchy skin, citronella is renowned for its insect repelling qualities while also combating oily, smelly dog coats.  Dirty Dog soap is also suitable for using yourself for a refreshing, uplifting shower and is great to take away on holiday where you know midges and mossies are a problem, they HATE citronella.

By buying Dirty Dog soap you will also be able to support the great work of the RSPCA as Naturally Made Soaps is donating 10% from the sale of every bar.  You can help by ordering from the Naturally Made Soaps website - click on the link to the right of this article.

Dirty Dog bars are only £3.00 each and make a fantastic gift for Christmas.  Go on, give it a go, let me know what you think of it.  By the way, the illustration above is from the label, drawn by me and is a picture of 'Blue' Naturally Made Soaps own mud magnet!

In September and October I sold 37 bars of Dirty Dog which means I have raised £11.10, Ive topped this up to £15 and a cheque is on its way to the Exeter branch of the RSPCA.  Not an enormous amount but I'm hopeful this will be the start of something bigger.   thanks to all those of you who have bought a bar.  I will let you know about the next donation, watch this space........

Saturday, 14 November 2009


I attended a fundraising day for FORCE the Cancer Charity at Bicton College today, what a fantastic time I had, mingling and meeting some truly lovely women, networking, selling, chatting and generally enjoying the day. It was a day of pampering, pleasure, learning, shopping and fun. There were lots of opportunities to learn more about ways of taking care of our health, our appearance and our stress levels by talking to experts, booking into therapy sessions and taking one of the four mini-workshops. The event was organised by three local women who believe in supporting other women. All the retailers were female-led businesses and were selected to make sure everyone there would be able to do a little Christmas shopping in between the pampering and learning. A well known lifecoach and motivational speaker, Talane Miedener, was there and talked about ... "Ending Emotional Eating: How to Stop Self-Sabotage by Satisfying your Personal and Emotional Needs" - before lunch of course! She was really inspiring.

To find out more about the group who organised the event and to see photos from the day go to
FORCE is an established cancer charity based in Exeter. Their work finances improvements in patient care through research, the purchase of advanced equipment and their new Information and Support Centre located in the grounds of the RD&E Hospital.

I also met a lovely lady today, we were sitting together for the seminar and chatted a lot. one year ago she was a vibrant, happy lady with shoulder length blond hair, everything going for her. She was waiting for a knee replacement operation but doing so patiently, until the worst news possible. She found out she had cancer. She had lots of chemo and radiation treatment, lost all her hair, is still taking strong drugs but has beaten it, and was so thankful to FORCE, she said they were simply wonderful, helping her all the way with lots of support and advice. For that alone, for she was a really lovely person, I was so happy to be there, supporting FORCE.

Cancer brings about change in people's lives. Hearing that you or someone close to you has cancer can be a distressing experience. A diagnosis is often accompanied by a range of different emotions which can prove challenging to face alone.
When you visit the Centre you will find a relaxed and comfortable environment where you can seek information and discuss your needs with our experienced staff. You can meet other Centre users as well as talk with our trained volunteers. You do not need a referral, which means you can call in when it's convenient to you. All services within the Centre are funded by FORCE, so there is no charge to you.

Friday, 13 November 2009



1. Shea Butter, also known as karite butter, is a cream-colored fatty substance made from the nuts of karite nut trees (also called Mangifolia trees) that grow in the savannah regions of West and Central Africa.

2. Shea tress are not cultivated, they only grow in the wild.

3. The shea tree produces its first fruit (which resemble large plums) when it is about 20 years old and reaches its full production when the tree is about 45 years old. It produces nuts for up to 200 years after reaching maturity.

4. The natural fat extracted from the seed of the shea tree by crushing and boiling.

5. In most parts of West Africa, destruction of the shea tree is prohibited because this little nut provides a valuable source of food, medicine, and income for the population.

6. An acclaimed natural butter, Shea butter is widely used in high-end cosmetics and beauty products as a moisturizer and emollient.

7. Shea butter is sometimes referred to as “women’s gold” in Africa, because so many women are employed in the production of shea butter.

8. Shea butter is a particularly effective moisturizer because contains so many fatty acids, which are needed to retain skin moisture and elasticity.

9. Shea butter’s soft, butter-like texture melts readily into the skin without an oily residue.

10. Shea butter is also used in cooking and can be used as a substitute for cocoa butter.

Almost every one of my soap recipes uses Shea butter, I love it.
Let me know what your favourite Shea recipe is.

Monday, 2 November 2009

New website, new blog, new day... need more energy!

Today was a big and very long day. Ive been having problems with my shopping cart on my website, its supposed to link up to Royal Mails live site and calculate shipping costs of my soaps based on weight. Well it doesn't! Ive tried everything including two 40 minute calls (Free I hasten to add) to America to the tech support department at Volusion my web hosts. They are still unsure too. So I decided to do it myself and have created new custom shipping options based on weights and Royal Mail prices lifted from their website. It works!! Well at least it seems to so, I'm going to run a test tonight and then I might just get some orders!

Ive had so much positive feedback its been great, sent out a press release announcing the new site to various publications, local and National and the Western Morning News got back to me immediately. Their Features Editor emailed me to say she loved my soaps and could I send a couple of good quality photos of my White Chocolate and Strawberry Gateaux soap which, thanks to Nigels fantastic photos, I can. Shes going to add them to their Westcountry Made Christmas Gifts Guide, brilliant news. Also..... yes there is more, she wants to do a feature on my and Naturally Made Soaps! how good it that? I'm very pleased.

I have also spent the entire day working on my SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and linking to as many like minded sites and blogs as I can, Ive also joined a huge number of sites that comment on web links like stumbleupon, Digg, BuzzUp, bebo and - the idea is that you highlight a website you like ( of course!) and wait to get feedback from others who go to see it too. A good idea in theory but thinking about the number of sites there are out there Im not sure it will get me far, but hey, got to try everything. Ive also been adding links to this blog - I hope you have noticed - to some of my favorite sites and blogs. Do go and have a look at some of them if you have the time.

So now my eyes are square and out on stalks and its only 9.30pm, got to go to bed now as Im at East Devon all day tomorrow and got lots to do!! Have a great week everyone and thanks for your support.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

The first picture of the new sales person working on Naturally Made Soaps market stall, this one at Budleigh Salterton, (the last Friday of every month 9am - 1pm)
Can you believe it? Little Lola and Aimee taking charge! She was so good and caused quite a stir, talk about an added attraction.

European Directory of Soap & Cosmetics Makers

I have just joined the European Directory of Soap & Cosmetics Makers, a great organisation for both buyers and sellers. I hope it will help me to promote my site and get more visitors. Any other ideas you have, do let me know!

For Buyers


Anyone with their own shop, market stall, or website knows the value of selling high-quality, artisan-made soaps and cosmetics. With the European Directory of Soap and Cosmetics Makers, sourcing exquisite hand-made products for your business is simple.

Likewise, beauty editors and bloggers will find it easy to bring their readers the very latest and best in handmade beauty, cosmetics, candles, and bath and body products, thanks to the Directory's country-by-country or category-by-category listings.

Those listings form an unparalleled Directory of artisans from across Europe, covering a broad range of products including natural soaps and cosmetics, handcrafted candles, artisan soaps, organic bath and body products and handmade personal care items.

For Sellers


Joining the European Directory of Soap and Cosmetics Makers brings clear benefits for your business.

Europe's leading Directory of handmade soaps, candles, cosmetics, and personal care products can bring your products to buyers, businesses, and customers across Europe and beyond.

With basic and premium listings on offer, your work will be on display to gift shops, boutiques, museum shops, stationary stores, interior design shops, and retail buyers. You'll also be on show for fashion editors, spas, B&Bs and hotels, whole foods shops, and beauty bloggers.

Our basic listing puts you into the Directory at no cost, complete with a web link, email link, a company description, and one photograph or image to represent your business or products.

Taking a premium listing at a cost of just £15 per year gives you an even better chance to promote your work, and offers you a place in the Directory with a web link, email link, a company description, and three photographs or images.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

How lovely is this, Lolas first bath and with me!! lots of firsts seem to be happening lately, I am so happy to have both Aimee and Lola staying with us at the moment its a real joy. Even Rik, "Grumpy Grandad", says she is his kind of baby, she never cries, sleeps perfectly and is such fun to have around.
I'm off to Budleigh Farmers Market tomorrow, second time Ive done it, but this time Ive got Aimee for her selling powers and Lola as support, I cant go wrong!!
Will let you all know how I do.....

Saturday, 24 October 2009

The original Dirty Dog doing his stuff!! hes a total nutter, get him wet and he rolls in/on anything. This is Blue our English Working Springer Spaniel. Mad boy!!

Just labeled up my new soaps, all in the Limited Edition section of my website, i.e. once these batches have gone, thats it! no more, I move on to something else, and I already have lots of ideas up my sleeve. these soaps will go out on the markets mid November, although they are available now on the website.

Hazy Daisy, very earthy and floral, Patchouli and Lavender, topped with glitter soap daisies!! Purple haze is a rose and patchouli scent.

Both really lovely and sooo ready for Totnes Christmas Festival, I cant wait!!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Phew, been so busy tonight just wrapped masses of bars of Christmas soap. I am wondering it it is really worth it, time wise, to wrap each one with a hand tied bow, it looks lovely but takes an age. I did Exmouth Farmers Market last Wednesday (my best ever) and the Christmas Spice Cake simply flew off the stall, I sold almost every bar I took, and that was a whole batch!! Im going to be very busy making enough for the markets Ive got coming up - see my News section on the website - Ohhh err I just hope I have enough!! Got to do a huge make this weekend.
My wonderful boyfriend Rik has made me a fantastic mold, its twice the size I have previously been using (made by me). This one is made from really strong ply double skin for extra strength and insulation. It takes a huge batch of soap, enough for 48 bars, and has very clever clips on each of one of the long sides making is so easy to get the teflon lined soap bar out. Its so brilliant that I have ordered two more. that will increase my capacity by 3 times. I have a lot of making to do.

the above pictures are back to front! First one shows the soap out and liner pulled off, second one is the side of my new mould clipped off and liner slid out, and the last one shows my new mold with English Rose in. Ready for taking out and cutting. I am soooo pleased with them!
thanks Rik XXX ;-) XXX

Monday, 19 October 2009

Naturally Made Soaps new website is now live!

Please go to

Let me know what you think?

Im very excited about it.

Friday, 16 October 2009


Baby Lola is here!! shes absolutely adorable, born on Tuesday 13th at 7.59pm weighing in at 7lb 11.5oz, we thought she had black hair to start with but its already looking pretty blonde, like her daddy. Here is a picture of Lola with her adoring Uncle Ryan at less than 24 hours old. She made us wait (4 days in hospital) but is so worth it. Her Mum, Aimee is doing well too.
I am the proudest Grandparent ever!

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Ive got so many fantastic soaps for you to try,

Its 12.25am and I am going in to hospital tomorrow to meet my grandaughter, its a life changing moment.

I will keep you all updated.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Well just been listening to a fantastic Bluegrass/country song that the kids and I love big time

The Cox Family - When God Dips His Pen Of Love In My Heart

I'm not at all religious but I don't think you have to be to get this, neither me and the kids are religious or church goers, but, this always does something HUGE to us!!! whats that about then? I guess I must be feeling very soppy or something but you just have to listen to the fantastic harmony, the voices are fab -

I want Baby Lola to come out lovin' good bluegrass and the blues, I know she will, if me and her Mum have anything to do about it!!..

Well, Im still here!! no sign of baby Lola yet, she is really making us wait! Anyway, tomorrow I go in at 8.30am with Aimee so she can be induced, so by tomorrow night, with any luck, I will be a Nanny! Yipee. On another note, I thought you might like to know, our most favorite pub in the whole wide world, the one my Beer Bar is named after - The Bridge Inn at Topsham, has an exciting event coming up

She's coming back! Kim Richey Saturday 24th October at 8pm Tickets £9 in advance from The Bridge 01392 873862

link to the Bridge Inn -

Thursday, 8 October 2009

This is the image I drew for my Baby Lolas Bar soap labels, Yes, my grandaughter already has a designer soap in her name and she is not even here yet! Its also the heading for my FAQs page on the new website. Very soon I will be letting you all know how you can go and have a look. But for now its off to Tesco to get all the snacks, water, cooling face spray, magazines etc. I will need for my time in hospital as Aimees birthing partner. I am actually going to be there to see her first breath, I really feel so privileged and special.

I will keep you all posted, lets hope I have a real photo of Lola to post soon.

Well I really cant believe it, Ive finally cracked my new website, just a few tweaks left and it will be ready for publishing and testing - how good it that?
What a day, Im about to become a Gradmother (well Nanny actually) for the very first time, my daughter is in the early stages of labour and I cant wait!!! Im soooooo excited.