Saturday, December 6, 2008

Good Evening

Rich in natural skin conditioning plant oils, this heavenly bar just spills with vitamins and antioxidants useful in the fight against fine lines and aging.

Naturally high in gamma-linoleic acid (GLA), cold pressed evening primrose oil works very well in the ease of skin irritations, promoting healthy cell function and hydration of the skin. Valued for its antioxidant content, the seed oil fights damage from oxidation of skin tissue. Evening primrose oil helps with dry or scaly skin, aiding suppleness and moisturizing soothe, offering relief to many skin troubles.

With organic jojoba oil, known for its for extra moisturizing calm, avocado oil chosen for its vitamin rich nourishment, and a wonderfully scented blend of anti-aging essential oils including carrot seed, ylang, and West Indian sandalwood, this bar is spilling with luxury to the extreme.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Simple Carrot Face Mask

For too many months to count now, I've been meaning to add some simple kitchen cupboard beauty treats to the "Home Spa Recipes" section of the Reading Room. Today, I finally got around to going through my folder, and writing up a few of my favorites.

With the weather playing havoc on the face these winter months, I thought I'd kick off with a simple but effective real carrot face mask specially for dry skin.

High in beta-carotene, carrots have wonderful natural antioxidant benefits, known to help with tissue repair, cell regeneration, fine lines, and aging. The vitamin A from carrot juice is reportedly higher than that of any other fruit juice. Honey is gentle to the skin. It attracts and holds on to moisture, making it a natural humectant. Warming the honey first helps to make it easier to work with.

Simple Carrot Face Mask

You will need:
1 or 2 carrots
2 - 4 tablespoons honey

How to:
Cook the carrots in a little water, then mash with a fork and mix in the honey. Apply the paste gently to the face, avoiding the eye area. Leave on for about ten minutes. Wipe away with warm damp face cloth.

Notes: Always test for allergies first. Be sure to throw away any unused mask, as it is not preserved.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Hip Hip Hooray!!!

Every month I get to enjoy giving away a free product with every order. Never a mystery and always full size, the order box freebie for the month of December is the Artisan Sampler Pack. Check out the freebie page to see what else can be free inside your order box this month.

And there's a sale going on at The Manor. 15% off your order, all week long. Just enter the coupon code 3CHEERS at checkout to receive 15% off your order. (Note: Coupon does not apply to Sample Sizes, and all already discounted items, including Mischief Makers, Monthly Specials and Multibuys.)

Finally, to help your Holiday shopping dollar go further during the month of December, all orders will receive free shipping. Any weight, to anywhere nationally by Priority Mail. No coupon needed, our cart will apply the free shipping for you.

I'd say that's a lot to cheer about. Hip Hip Hooray!!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ain't That A Shea

Preparing the skin for the harshness during the drying months ahead is important. Waiting until the dry flakes appear before deciding the skin needs moisturizing attention is never a good thing.

Unrefined shea butter is a very versatile and natural moisturizer, having excellent soothing and anti-aging properties. Shea butter has been used for dry skin by African healers for too many centuries to count. It is high in non-saponifiables and has a unique fatty acid profile. Together, this makes for an incredible ability to moisturize and retain the skin's elasticity.

But the wonder of Shea doesn't stop there. It also helps to protect the skin against damage done by all kinds of weather. It repairs degenerated cells, and its vitamin A content makes it a true friend to excema, dermatitis, and skin blemishes. Many report the natural butter to promote and accelerate wound healing, scars, and stretch marks.

The unrefined butter has a characteristic "nutty" scent to it, that disappears after about twenty minutes on the skin. It is thick, easily melts when rubbed between the palms, and a little goes a long way. Intitially, for the first few minutes it feels a little greasy. Then, almost as fast as it melted between the hands it's gone, leaving behind a soft silkiness of protection that soothes cracks and eases dryness.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Piece of Cake

Almost every day of the year I am making something. If it's not soapy stuff, it's food. When it's not food, it's something crafty. I love to start with basic ingredients, and end up with a masterpiece.

Today is Thanksgiving Day. It's a time for family and a time to be thankful for things in life that we often take for granted. The cake being made today isn't being made by me. This masterpiece is being made by techy guy husband, and his wonderful mother. Both love baking, and neither get the chance to do such a thing together.

All year long techy guy husband does the techy guy stuff for me. My mother-in-law will make the drive through four states at the drop of a hat when I desperately need soapy help. Today is theirs, and I'm enjoying every minute of it. I'm also gonna enjoy the cake too.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanks Giving Week

It's the week of giving thanks, and Manor Hall is giving thanks and more, all week long. It's a thank you to all who shop with me, and a chance to pick up soapy gifts at a special price.

Through Friday the 28th at midnight, everything that isn't already discounted on the site (Mischief Makers, Multibuys, Monthly Specials and Sample Sizes) is on sale. 20% off on the site, and the usual freebies apply. Just apply the coupon code THANKS20 at checkout to receive your 20% off.

Happy shopping, and happy week of giving thanks, from Manor Hall.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What Happens In Vegas

Just got three great shots of a Honey Me Smooth bar trekking around Las Vegas of all places. I've never been there, but it certainly looks like an amazing place.

The above pic was taken at the Wynn Resort. You can head on over to the Around the World page to see the other ones, taken at Harrah's and Caesars Palace.

For those of you keeping count, Manor Hall soap has now been spotted Around the World in four continents, seven countries, ten states and Puerto Rico. Where are you taking yours?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Soak It All Away

Taking time out for a bath is one of the simplest home spa experiences, and dates back too many centuries to count.

As well as softening the water, the addition of salts to your bath alters the osmotic balance of the water. Because of such, less water is absorbed by the skin, reducing the pruning and wrinkling ususally associated with prolonged fresh water bathing.

Magnesium sulfate, more commonly known as Epsom Salt or Mineral Salt is probably the most studied bathing salt around, and its effect on the muscles and nervous system are many. Absorbed by the skin, its magnesium content has an anti inflammatory effect.

The many natural salts from around the world boast therapeutic qualities, with people traveling to the Dead Sea to relax in its famed buoyant waters while soaking up the high mineral count it is renowned for. The minerals found in the salt from the Dead Sea are also found in the skin but are often depleted, causing dryness and other associated problems. Bathing with Dead Sea salt allows the skin the chance to drink a little of what it may be short on, as it absorbs the various wealth of minerals that form a high percentage of its content.

The addition of salt in bathing also aids buoyancy. This is particularly helpful after a hard days work, when you need to take the weight off your feet. The relaxion eases away stiffness, helps with tension, and improves the way you feel.

Salts open the pores, purify and cleanse. They soften skin, and help with insect bites, minor rashes and skin conditions. Salt also aids exfoliation, helping shed the skin of the dry flakiness that prevents the new skin from absorbing the moisture it needs.

Being able to relax and unwind at the end of the day is conducive to a good night's sleep. Taking time out to step into the comfort and ease of a nice warm salt bath, is a rewarding end to any demanding day.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Patchouli Essential Oil

A plant native to India and Malaysia, Patchouli is known as "puchaput" coming from two hindustan words, 'patch' meaning 'green' and 'ilai' meaning 'leaf'. Its dried leaves were used to repel moths when transporting cashmere shawls to Victorian England, and the smell became a signature of authenticity, without which the shawls wouldn't sell in England.

Distilled from young leaves that are dried and fermented first, patchouli oil is like a fine wine, getting better with age. Its smell is a strong one, very rich, sweet and musky, and is used widely in perfume.

Antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory, patchouli oil is a magnificent tissue regenerator. Helping to stimulate new cell growth, it promotes speedier healing, and aids in the prevention of scars. Patchouli oil also cools down inflammation, insect bites, and fungal infections.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Soft and Smooth

The value of facial exfoliating is often underestimated, and many never consider to include it in their skin care routine.

Old skin cells are shed easily when we are young, but as we age this process slows down, causing dead skin cells to build up on the outer layer of the skin. This is often the cause behind a dull and lifeless complexion.

Exfoliating the face helps to remove the layer of dead skin cells, and as the old is gently buffed away from the outer surface, the new skin cells underneath are exposed revealing a brighter, fresher complexion. This new layer of skin readily accepts moisture, and regular facial exfoliating increases the absorption of your moisturizing skin care routine, which over time can reduce the appearance of the fine lines and wrinkles.

Facial exfoliation is only needed once or twice a week. It increases blood circulation, and will bring a glow to your face. It helps with clogged pores, and breakouts, and also helps maintain the balance of excessive oil. It removes toxins, and stimulates skin cell renewal. The benefits of facial exfoliation are many, and it could be the missing link if your skin care routine is lacking in luster.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Honey, I'm Home

My hands are in water a lot. When I'm soaping, they tend to take the brunt of it all. Yes, I wear rubber gloves, but I take them off whenever they're not needed for protection. I watch the ads for soap on television, but as mild and gentle as they claim their products to be... they're only mild and gentle compared to other detergent bars. A commercial detergent bar just cannot compete with real handmade soap.

With my hands constantly in water, my wrists seem to feel it the most. The skin where the hands meet the lower arms dries out much faster than the rest of me when I'm soaping. I suppose the rubber gloves don't help either. Making my own soap affords me to pick and choose my ingredients according to what I want them to do. When I first started to make soap, I quickly discovered my hands needed a little more protection than just a pair of rubber gloves.

So, a purpose made bar was the order of the day. Of all the ingredients on my shelf to choose from, there were two that I wanted to build a working-hands bar around. Honey, and almonds. I often used both together as a paste... it's great on the face, and on the hands. Actually, it's great as a gentle exfoliating scrub for the whole body too. I'd warm the sweet almond oil with the honey, and add a heaping of almond meal. It's probably one of the best home made beauty recipes around. It's basic, it's simple, and it offers one of the richest moisturizing treats you can give your skin.

Honey is a humectant. It grabs hold of the moisture from the air, and keeps hold of it. It forms a barrier on the skin, and protects it. It's also anti microbial, so it does the duty with the nasties too.

As for almonds? Oh... boy. When ground fine the almond fruit doesn't half yield some wonderful skin softening properties. Sweet almond oil is very similar to our own skin's natural oil. It's gentle, and helps with the relief of dry itchy or sore skin. It boasts naturally occurring vitamins, including the valuable anti-oxidant Vitamin E. It's a light oil, readily absorbed without greasy after-feel, and it is often the oil of choice for use with skin that needs a gentle touch.

Almond meal is what remains after the pressing of the almonds used to yield the sweet almond oil. As with sweet almond oil, the meal is very gentle and anti irritating to the skin. Dry, dead and flaking skin cells form a hard barrier on the skin, which prevents it from absorbing much needed moisture. Almond meal is moist with the oil from the pressing and gently exfoliates these cells.

And so the trusty little block of "Honey Me Smooth" was born. It's my soapmaking bar. A bar for hard working hands. It stands watch over my hands, smoothing any dry that might be flaking around. It's one of the few bars that doesn't have any essential oils in it. They weren't needed. The simplicity of the ingredients alone were enough for what I wanted. I wanted to be able to wash my hands often and not have my skin take a pounding.

"Honey Me Smooth" is great for winter itch. It's also a dream on the scaly skin we get on forearms, shins, and thighs... and it's an absolute warrior on chafe. There's not many jobs out there that beat soapmaking for repetitive wear and tear on the skin. And there's not many soap bars that take on the duty like "Honey Me Smooth" does. It was made for hands that take a beating. Those hands were mine. And for me, this bar is just what they need.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

October Freebie And Sale

Every month I get to enjoy giving away a free bar of soap with every order. Never a mystery and always full size, the order box freebie for the month of October is a bar of Minty Minty. Check out the freebie page to see what else can be free inside your order box this month.

There's only 36 hours of the SHEZZY20 discount coupon sale left to go. Enter SHEZZY20 into the coupon code box at our secure checkout and receive 20% off your order. Sale ends Sunday October 5th at midnight.

Happy shopping!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Clary Sage Essential Oil

In the middle ages, clary sage was known as "Oculus Christi". Translating as "Eye of Christ", it was a highly revered medicine. A southern European native, the stout biennial herb is flowered blue and white and grows to a height of three feet.

Distilled from the flower tops and leaves, the oil is very relaxing. Its smell is distinctly herby and sweet.

Antiseptic, antibacterial, and astringent, clary sage is helpful with acne and breakouts. It balances sebum, the skin's natural oil, helping to clear oily complexion. Clary sage is also cooling on pained muscles, and calming on stressed emotions.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

It's Almost...

I'm often asked which of my soap bars is my own personal favorite. The answer to that one is easy. It's Almost Sunset. I love the way it lathers, the way it smells, and the way it leaves my skin feeling silky soft. When I first made this soap, my aim was to create a bar rich in moisturizing oils, that rinsed clean yet also left me feeling like I'd just lotioned. I also wanted a scent that wouldn't be forgotten, and would keep me coming back for more.

The added organic jojoba oil gives this bar the kiss that skin needs. It was one of the plant oils that I just had to buy when I first started my ingredients shelf. It has remained a staple, and never fails to add a luxurious feel to the many recipes I use it in. It's a gentle oil, rich in natural vitamin E. Jojoba oil is highly moisturizing and penetrates the skin with ease. It's the reason my Almost Sunset bar feels so incredibly wonderful. The lather is rich and creamy, gliding over the skin to deliver the natural glycerin that my hand made soap proudly boasts.

The Almost Sunset scent is a complex one. I use nine different essential oils, and spent weeks marrying them so they would play off each other perfectly. Right from the start I knew in my mind exactly what smell I wanted, and refused to settle for anything less. It had to hit strong, but with a velvet glove. I wanted something that would cause an instant reaction to the senses... followed by a lingering hue and ending with a soft whisper of "What was that?"

I got what I wanted with my Almost Sunset scent blend. But what I hadn't bargained for was the feeling the scent stirred inside me. It took me right back to one sunset filled evening on the beach in Cape May, New Jersey. It's the one night I will always remember. A night I never wanted to end. An evening that started with the anticipation of sunset. Almost Sunset. The bar named itself.

Whenever this soap bar sits on my table, it draws people in. They pick it up, smell it... and for some inexplicable reason they too are taken back to a time they remember. And for many, it's a time they never wanted to end. Sometimes, the memories flow openly and talk at my table is lively with personal stories.

I don't know what my favorite thing is about my favorite bar. Maybe it's the way the jojoba oil kisses the skin. Maybe it's the soft whisper that drowns out the initial shout of scent. And maybe, just maybe there's a little bit more to this bewitching bar than meets the skin.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Back From Vacation

I'm happy to say that I'm back, and the Manor is open once again. All orders that were placed during the last two weeks will be shipping this week. Thank you to everyone for your patience. Please log in and check your account for updated status on your order box as it happens.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Festival Weekend

We've just had a great Mattoon Street Festival weekend. Saturday was pretty much washed out by Hurricane Hanna and kept a lot of people away. Today was a beautiful day, 75 degrees and dry, and the Festival buzzed.

I'd like to thank everyone who stopped by the table to say hello. I have two more days of packing order boxes and then I can start my two week vacation.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

September Special

There's a sale going on at The Manor. 15% off your order, all week long. Just enter the coupon code AUTUMN15 at checkout to receive 15% off your order.

And during this week, with each bar of our latest wild child, "Choccy Orange Kerfuffle" comes a free sample of our chocolate face mask. Get yours now. What's not to love! Offer ends midnight Friday, September 5th.

Remember, shipping is still just five dollars, to anywhere in the U.S. Happy shopping!

This Month's Freebie

Every month I get to enjoy giving away a free bar of soap with every order. Never a mystery and always full size, the order box freebie for the month of September is a bar of Orange Tree Blast. Check out the freebie page to see what else can be free inside your order box this month.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Mmmm... Chocolate...

The change of the season is happening again. I never tire of watching the seasons come and go. Each one offering something new to replace the colors and smells of the season past. As summer begins to fade into fall, we welcome warm familiar tones and scents, while looking toward preparing our skin in readiness for the cool and bluster of the months ahead.

Cocoa butter is an ingredient new to the Manor. Pressed from the cocoa bean, it carries a wonderful chocolate aroma. But aside from its heavenly natural scent, it also holds excellent benefits for the skin, and has been used through the centuries as an effective moisturizer helping to keep the skin soft and supple. Cocoa butter melts into the skin with ease, creating a natural barrier between the skin and the harsher elements associated with our weather. Rich in antioxidants, cocoa butter helps retain moisture and offers emollience to dry or chafed skin.

There's a new wild child running the halls of the Manor. Set against a backdrop of sweet orange essential oil, and stirred through with moisturizing cocoa butter and rich cocoa bean powder, "Choccy Orange Kerfuffle" is an indulgent heavenly delight. It's a little chocolate commotion with a big feeling of lotion. On the website and available to chocoholics near and far. Get yours now, and prepare to feel the melt.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Mattoon Street Arts Festival '08

Labor Day is nearly upon us, and the weekend after Labor Day always means the Mattoon Street Arts Festival.

The Festival, celebrating its 36th year, is Springfield's signature festival, and one of New England's longest running arts and crafts fairs. With over 90 exhibitors displaying and selling handmade arts and artisan crafts on a wonderfully historic tree-lined urban street over two weekend days, it is as unique as the artists and craftspeople that participate in it year in and year out. Herringbone brick sidewalks, stately London Plane shade trees, and cast iron ornamental street lights all contribute to the charm of this designated historic district.

Next weekend will be my fourth appearance at the Festival, and although it is a lot of hard work preparing for it, I am looking forward to it. It's a chance for me to meet my local customers and for you all to come by and say hello. The third year was great because it was the first time people were coming up to me and saying that they look for me there "every year".

Mattoon Street Arts Festival, Mattoon Street, Springfield Massachusetts. September 6th and 7th, 10:00-5:00. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Beauty Counter Contest

Want to win some free Manor Hall soap? Head over to The Beauty Counter and enter their contest. The Beauty Counter is a beauty product review blog which covers everything from makeup to shower stuff.

Hil'Lesha, who runs The Beauty Counter, just wrote up a great review on there of a few different Manor Hall products. And now she's doing a contest giveaway of one of our Three Bar Gift Totes. Entering is easy. All you have to do is click this link, read the post carefully, and just mention your favorite Manor Hall product, name and email in the competition entry box. That's it!

Please remember this competition is happening on The Beauty Counter and not the Manor Hall Soap Blog. Commenting on this post right here will not enter you into the competition. You must go there in order to enter. The giveaway ends September 7th.

Good luck!!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Rinse and Shine

The outer layer of each strand of hair is made up of small cuticle scales. They overlap for protection of the hair shaft, laying flat and reflecting the light to give shine.

Rather like louvre blinds, these cuticles open when the hair is washed. When this layer of protective scales is damaged, the cuticles don't close properly, causing an uneven sheath. The hair looks course, tangles frequently and breaks with ease. Instead of reflecting the light, the hair absorbs it taking on a dull and lifeless appearance.

The residue left behind from many of today's hair products builds up on the hair shaft. This residue coats the strands, and impedes the cuticle's ability to lay flat. Rinsing the hair with cider vinegar helps to condition the scalp, removes residual build up, and promotes closing of the cuticle layer. Tangles are fewer because the strands of hair are smooth, and natural shine is restored.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Beauty in a Bottle

Olive oil is a wonderful friend to many home beauty treatments. Used alone, or with other kitchen cupboard staples, olive oil is a favorite among natural beauty enthusiasts.

Nails and Cuticles: A twenty minute soak in a small cup of olive oil does wonders for brittle nails and rough cuticles. Add a little sugar when you're done soaking for a moisturizing hand massage.

Hands: If your hands are feeling the rough of the season, massage in a little olive oil before bed and slip on some cotton gloves.

Bath: Add a drizzle of olive oil to your bath water for an all over moisturizing treat. A few drops of lavender essential oil makes for a nice soothing calm.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Peppermint Essential Oil

The use of peppermint oil dates back through many centuries. Found in the tombs of Egypt as early as 1000BC, it is also documented in early Greece and Rome, where it was used primarily to aid digestion. A perennial herb native to the Mediterranean, it grows to around three feet tall.

Distilled from the whole plant, peppermint oil is very cooling and refreshing. Its smell is very fresh, very sharp, and very menthol.

Antiseptic, analgesic, and decongestant, peppemint oil is excellent for refreshing the spirit, and also for stimulating the mind. It helps with headaches, nausea, and nervous stress. Peppermint oil is also good for respiratory ease, being effective with coughs, colds, and sinuses.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

New England's Beauty

New England has some beautiful places. One of them is Hogback Mountain in Vermont, where you can stand in one place on a clear day and admire the terrain of four states - Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and New York.

Pictured above is a bar of Rainy Day Sunrise, perched on beautiful Hogback Mountain in Marlboro. The latest addition to the Manor Hall Around the World page.

Next time you're going out for the day, take a wrapped Manor Hall soap bar with you. Click a pic somewhere nice and send it to us in an email. If we use it on our page, we'll send a voucher your way to spend on the web site.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Harvest Bar Fest

One of the great things about making natural products with real plant-based aromas is the encouragement for growth that Mother Nature constantly provides. Whether it's that special night you always remember, or the refreshment of a just drenched morning, She'll never leave you short of inspiration.

August is harvest time. Harvest time is that sweet apex of Summer's fade swirled with the promise of a crisp, yet fruitful Fall. Hmm... did I say swirled? Yep... do believe I did. Swirled. Suppose I can never resist the temptation to swirl up a good batch of soap.
Born in August of 2006 and curing now, Hardy Har Harvest is my way of bringing a little slice of nature to you. Just as the days of Autumn are unique and unpredictable, so is the swirl you will find in each individual bar. But the smooth texture and snuggly scent is as reliable as the change of seasons. Please enjoy.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Grab and Go Special

There's a sale going on at The Manor. 15% off your order, all week long. Just enter the coupon code GRABNGO at checkout to receive 15% off your order.

This month's order box freebie is a bar of soothing Ooh La Lavender and Oatmeal. Check out the freebie page to see what else can be free inside your order box this month.

And shipping is still just five dollars, to anywhere in the U.S. Happy shopping!

Friday, August 1, 2008

This Month's Freebie

Every month I get to enjoy giving away a free bar of soap with every order. Never a mystery and always full size, the order box freebie for the month of August is a bar of Ooh La Lavender & Oatmeal. Check out the freebie page to see what else can be free inside your order box this month.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Olive Oil

The olive tree has a commanding tenacity. No matter how harsh the winter, or burning dry the summer, it still grows strong and upright in stoic resolution to bring us a fruit renowned for its nourishment and salve. A very emollient oil, it has been used for thousands of years on the skin to calm, to cleanse and to moisturize.

The olive is very high in polyphenols. These are a broad class of antioxidants that include flavonoids and catechins, common also to red wine, chocolate, grape juice and tea. Antioxidants are useful in the aging process... they help slow it down.

But antioxidants also hold other qualities of importance to us. The phenols found in olive oil have an antifungal and antibacterial action. Phenols also prevent "Oxidative Stress", a highly oxidized environment within cells where there is an overflow of free radicals and a lack of antioxidant support. Oxidative Stress always leads to inflammation, a common aggravator in dermatitis and other similar skin conditions.

Olive oil is a great humectant. Attracting external moisture to the skin, it still allows normal function to take place such as shedding, sweating and sebum release. Olive oil doesn't clog pores, It is gentle, and hypoallergenic.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Closer Still

When shaving, always make sure to go with the grain as a first pass. Then take the time to re-apply your product and shave a second pass going against the grain. Not only does this help prevent ingrown hair, but also makes for the closest of shaves leaving behind the smoothest of skin.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Organic Body Wash

There's nothing nicer after a humid, hot summer's day than to step into the shower and load up a scrubbie with wonderful moisturizing bubbles spilling with soothing lavender oil.

Our all natural body wash gel is made from organic oils of coconut, olive and jojoba, and is free of synthetics and artificial surfactants. With added organic aloe vera for its skin moisturizing kindness, this body wash feels silky soft without drying out your skin.

With pure oil of lavender for soothing calm, and lemon oil for tang and zing, this relaxing yet stirring scent twists nicely with a kick of other essential oils including ylang.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sweet Orange Essential Oil

Thought to originate from southern China, the sweet orange grows on an evergreen tree known for its dark leaves and white flowers. Brought to Europe in the 15th century by Portuguese traders, the sweet orange certainly passed the taste test where popularity was concerned, causing the bitter orange of Persia to take a sideways step.

Sweet orange oil is cold pressed from the peel, and it is the "limonene" content that gives its aroma the clean fresh tang. Yellow to orange in color, sweet orange oil is thin in consistency.

Antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, sedative and tonic, sweet orange oil creates a feeling of warmth and light of mood. It is a safe non-irritating oil, but it can increase sensitivity to UV in prolonged sunlight. Known to help with colds and flu by stimulating the lymphatic system, sweet orange oil has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Hitchin' a Ride

Another day, another photo of a Manor Hall natural soap bar in New York City. This one was taken underground inside New York's world famous subway system. I just found out there's 722 miles of track in that system. I don't think Hardy Har Harvest made it along all of them, though.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Keep It Soft

The skin loses natural moisture every time you shower. Help make up for this by making sure to moisturize while the skin is still damp. This gives a boost of hydration, helping to seal in the moisture for the softer skin you're wanting.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Ready, Pedi, Go.

Feet walk thousands of steps a day. They are squashed into shoes, bumped into table legs, and stubbed against curbs and sidewalks. They swell, they sweat, they throb. Yet despite what they shout out to us, we tend to ignore it all until there's nothing left to do but hide them away.

The soles of your feet don't have any of their own oil glands to soften them, which is why feet and heels so often become dry and cracked. Caring for your feet isn't difficult, and needn't take much time out of any busy schedule. A foot makeover is one of the simplest and effective beauty transformations you can do for yourself, with little other than a bowl of warm water, a pumice stone, and fifteen minutes.

* Soaking the feet for ten minutes will soften, soothe, and relax. Adding an aromatic foot wash or salts to the water will deodorize and freshen, and a drizzle of olive oil kicks it up a treat. Soaking also softens the nails, making cutting so much easier. Always make sure to clip the nails straight and across, as rounding the corners can cause ingrown nails.

* Use a pumice stone to reduce the hard skin, making sure not to employ the "once and for all" attack method. Hard skin is better conquered with a gentle and regular approach. Smooth skin off with an exfoliating paste product. This helps reveal the new layer of skin, delivering hydration while sealing the moisture in. A salt polishing paste also infuses the skin with natural nutrients and minerals, and can also be used with a light brushing over the toes for nails and cuticles.

* Finish off with a slathering massage of moisturizing creme, natural shea butter, or favorite balm. Massage increases the circulation, relaxes muscles, and also relieves the aches and pains of the day.

Pretty soft and silky smooth. Perfectly pampered feet, all refreshed and ready to skip through the distance of your next working day.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy Fourth!

There's a sale going on at The Manor. We're celebrating the Fourth with a "fourth" off your order. That's 25%. Just enter the coupon code JULYFOUR at checkout to receive 25% off your order.

This month's order box freebie is a bar of Honey Me Smooth. Check out the freebie page to see what else can be free inside your order box this month.

And shipping is still just five dollars, to anywhere in the U.S. Happy Fourth of July!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Summer Scrub Down Contest

If you like the idea of winning free Manor Hall goodies, take yourself on over to the Tree Hugging Family site. Tree Hugging Family is a cool green lifestyle blog for the whole family. Jennifer and Peggy over there are running a great contest giveaway of four Manor Hall gift packs. And entering is easy. All you have to do is click this link, read the post carefully, and just mention your favorite Manor Hall product in the post's comments field. That's it!

Please note: This competition is happening on Tree Hugging Family and not the Manor Hall Soap Blog. Commenting on this post right here will not enter you into the competition. You must go there in order to enter.

Good luck!!!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Stop the Junk

I've just put a smile on my face that will probably last all weekend long.

For years I've been fed up of the junk mail I have to sift through almost every time the postman delivers. Today I took some action with a little click of the mouse. It was truly exhilarating... not to mention empowering.

Try it, and see if you don't chuckle as you click away (some of) the junk: National Do Not Mail List

Friday, June 20, 2008

Love Those Locks

The heat of the summer sun always plays havoc with hair. Help keep your lovely locks from over-drying by massaging your shampoo into the scalp, and letting the water rinse the lather through and over the rest of the hair.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Facial Cleansing with Oil

Clear skin is something we all strive to attain. Blemishes, pimples, and blackheads etc, all knock the confidence in the best of us when they appear. Many skin care products on the market today leave the skin stripped of its natural oil. In response to this, the body signals production of more oil. It's an over compensation and is very often the reason behind clear skin troubles.

When the problem seems to be oily skin, the last thing you'd consider bringing into the equation is more oil. But, when considering your cleansing routine, it's useful to know that oil dissolves oil. As it soaks into the skin, it is carried deep into the pores, drawing dust and grime to the surface where it can be wiped away cleanly. The essential fatty acids found in plant oils also help to restore the balance of the skin's natural moisture.

For many, cleansing this way is found to be more preferable and effective than using alcohols and synthetics to strip the skin of oil. Regular cleansing with natural oil is helpful with fine lines, delivering a welcome moisturization. It leaves the skin feeling incredibly soft, offering a natural healthy radiance.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Tea Tree Essential Oil

Australian Aborigines have used tea tree oil for hundreds of years. It was given its name by Captain Cook back in the 18th century when he first visited Australia. The tree, or shrub, has leaves that are like the needles of the cypress, and the aborigines would crush these to inhale, or soak them for an infusion.

Distilled from the leaves and twigs, tea tree oil has many beneficial properties. It is one of the few essential oils that can be used on the skin without dilution. Its smell is clean, medicinal, and particularly distinct.

Antiseptic, antifungal and antiviral, tea tree oil is very efficient with acne, blackheads, pimples etc. It is also very useful in cases of athletes foot, ringworm, and other similar fungal conditions. Tea tree oil is also a great deodorizer, clearing air, and disinfecting impurities.

Monday, June 2, 2008

This Month's Freebie

Every month I get to enjoy giving away a free bar of soap with every order, and this month is a special one. Never a mystery and always full size, the order box freebie for the month of June is a bar of Almost Sunset. Check out the freebie page to see what else can be free inside your order box this month.

The monthly newsletter goes out tonight, and the newsletter crowd are eagerly awaiting their coupon code. Sign up for the newsletter here to get your coupon code.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Sweet Almond Oil

Almonds have a history of cultivation that dates back to way before they were even given a name, and by 4,000BC they were being used in practically every ancient civilization. The almond was given the name "sweet almond" after the 1768 botanical classification separating them from peaches and apricots.

Yielded from the pressing of the almond, sweet almond oil has many benefits for the skin. Similar to sebum, our skin's own natural oil, it is a very gentle oil, helping with the relief of dry, itchy or sore skin. As well as being high in minerals and protein, it also boasts naturally occurring vitamins including the valuable anti-oxidant Vitamin E.

Sweet almond oil is considered to be anti-imflammatory, and is very emollient. A light oil, readily absorbed without greasy after-feel, it is often the oil of choice for use with skin troubles such as eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

It's the Little Things

New to the web site are sample sizes of our soap bars. Available now in stacks of four, all individually sleeved and tied together topped off with a tag. There's also a set of four from the complexion bar collection. This is a great way to try Manor Hall natural olive oil soap. Take a look now on our sampler stacks page and try a little something.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Joys of Spring

Three days ago I saw a robin wandering around the garden. It was going about its own business, picking up bits of grass and flying off when its beak was full. Then it would return, gather another beak full, and fly off again. Turns out, it was making its nest on the side of the house. This morning, I went outside and saw the nest perched on one of the downspouts. The photograph is about fifteen minutes old. Looks like I'm gonna get to see and hear baby robins in the near future. I feel so lucky.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Sulfate Free Liquid Soap

Added today are two new flavors for the sink side in our sulfate free liquid hand soap. Moisture rich olive oil, coconut oil and glycerin combine to leave your hands soft and cared for.

The new flavors (pictured above) are Pink Grapefruit Petals and Spearmint Lime. Check them out along with the rest of our sulfate free liquid soaps.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

It's Better at Fenway

Congratulations to Jon Lester, 24 year old pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. Last night, Lester became only the ninth Red Sox pitcher to throw a no-hitter at Fenway Park since it opened in 1912.

Lester had a year off from baseball to undergo treatment for non-hodgkins lymphoma, and now has come all the way back. In tribute to this feat at Fenway, above is the latest addition to Manor Hall's Around the World, a picture of Butter Me Better cheering the team on this Spring at Fenway Park.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Our Ingredients

Another day, another section of the web site. The Ingredients page is now up, and on there is a handy list of many of the ingredients I use and the qualities I use them for.

There's also a neat little feature that's been added to the product pages. Just hover the mouse over a purple colored ingredient in the ingredients list (shown above) and a little informational box will pop up telling you about it. How cool is that?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Reading Room

I had a very enjoyable day today. We finally got the Reading Room active on the web site, although it's still a work in progress, which will no doubt continue tomorrow. Still to come is the Ingredients section of the site, but... one thing at a time.

Meanwhile, you can check out the Reading Room here, if you fancy a short read or two.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Rose Geranium Essential Oil

Geranium plants were introduced to Europe in the 17th century from South Africa, Egypt and Morocco. There are over 700 varieties, though only about ten are used for the oil because of low yield. Rose geranium is a perennial shrub often used in hedgerows, it stands about three feet tall.

Distilled from the leaves and stalks, its scent is very floral and sweet, closely resembling that of a rose.

Antiseptic, astringent and deodorizing, rose geranium helps to tone and cleanse the skin. Also aiding the in the balance of sebum secretion, the skin's natural oil, it is helpful with acne, inflammation, and similar skin troubles. Rose geranium is uplifting to the spirits, helping to relieve anxiety and stress.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Ooh La San Antone

Add another state to the Around the World showcase. Up above sits a bar of Ooh La Lavender & Oatmeal, overlooking the hills of San Antonio, Texas. "Hill Country", they call it.

Next time you're going out for the day, take a wrapped Manor Hall soap bar with you. Click a pic somewhere nice and send it to us in an email. If we use it on our page, we'll send a voucher your way to spend on our web site.

Including Texas, that's now four continents, seven countries, nine states and Puerto Rico. Where are you taking yours?

Thursday, May 8, 2008


The bright orange petals of the calendula plant have been used for many centuries in herbal preparations. Medieval monks used it to treat insect and snake bites. During the American Civil War, the flowers were used in numbers by doctors in their treatment of open wounds. Its use as a very able antiseptic helped to stem bleeding, aided in the prevention of infection, and quickened the healing process.

Its flowers are still used today by herbalists for varied health benefits. The natural chemicals found in calendula help with healing by increasing the flow of blood to the wounded area, and also by advancing the production of collagen proteins.

The high amount of flavonoids found in the plant, are believed to be the reason behind its anti inflammatory capabilities. Flavonoids are natural chemicals, and act as anti-oxidants to protect from damage caused by oxygen free radicals.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Website Open

The website opened tonight as scheduled and the newsletter went out shortly after that. The new cart appears to be working perfectly. I must admit, I've had butterflies all afternoon about re-opening. It's a great feeling and takes me right back to three years ago when I first opened the doors.

Thanks to everyone again for your patience while we were closed. The popular five dollar priority shipping continues throughout May for all orders, to anywhere in the U.S. And the special coupon in the newsletter runs until this Friday. If you're not signed up for the newsletter, sign up here to get yours.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Face Food

Just uploaded to the site, and fresh from the Manor, four all new bars for your face. Each of them is chock full of wonderful nourishing ingredients to feed your skin. The four varieties are Evening Primrose, Camelina & Aloe, Carrot & Fennel Seed and Honey & Rose. Check them all out here.

This Month's Freebie

Every month I get to enjoy giving away a free bar of soap with every order. Never a mystery and always full size, the order box freebie for the month of May is a bar of Lemon Poppo Mint. Check out the freebie page to see what else can be free inside your order box this month.

The monthly newsletter goes out on Monday evening, and the newsletter crowd are anxiously waiting for their special re-opening coupon code. Sign up for the newsletter here to get your coupon code.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Making Natural Soap

The new site is up, but the shopping cart buttons are still disabled while we run final checks and make new additions.

We've made a new addition tonight and I am just bursting with it. If ever you've wanted to know how a bar of Manor Hall Soap is made, you can click the link, or head on over to the Manor and check out Making Natural Soap on the blue sidebar.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Lemon Essential Oil

The origin of the lemon isn't quite certain, but Oriental writings make mention of them being cultivated as far back as 4,000 years ago. It was brought to the New World in the late fifteenth century by Christopher Columbus, and now a quarter of the world's lemons are grown in America.

Because the heat needed for steam distillation would kill its fresh aroma, essential oil of lemon is cold pressed from the peel. It is the "limonene" in the lemon oil that gives its aroma the clean, fresh, sharpness and tang.

Antiseptic, antibacterial, and astringent, lemon essential oil is ideal for facial cleansing, but should never be used undiluted. It also brightens dull, jaded skin. Known to help with concentration and clearing of thought, this citrus oil can be a good lift to the spirits.