Sunday, February 28, 2010

Manor Mania Is On!

Oh yes! It's that time of year again, when mania reigns at the Manor. Big savings on all your favorites right throughout the store. Discounts of twenty, thirty, forty and yes... even fifty percent. Almost every product is on sale, and there's also buy one get ones up for grabs.

Bring yourself on over to the Manor and take a good browse around.

Hold On To Your Shopping Carts

It's noon and the web site changeover has begun. Please be patient. Hopefully it will be completed today and you can enjoy the steals and deals.

Don't you just love Manor Mania!

Manic Mode

It's the last day of the month and we're on a busy weekend. I spent yesterday cutting and wiping off a few hundred mini soaps for the sampler stacks. I swear my hands thought I'd lost my mind! Today I'm wrapping every single one of them, and then it's on to the tie and tag fest as they each get assembled into their little bundles of joy.

It's the first of the new month tomorrow. That means it's the web site changeover, and this month's a big one. Most of the products on the web site will be marked down in price, some up to 50% off. The newsletter goes out Monday night and if you're not signed up, then make sure to sign up here.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Yay! Extra Shea

Unrefined shea butter is a very versatile and natural moisturizer, having excellent soothing and anti-aging properties. 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 eczema, dermatitis, and skin blemishes. Many report the natural butter to promote and accelerate wound healing, scars, and stretch marks.

Shea butter adds a wonderful quality to my hand made soap, feeling very smooth to turn in the hand and yielding a creamy moisturizing lather beyond belief. Before the Holidays I made a special batch of shea butter soap bars, using a higher amount of olive oil and shea butter to help with the rough and tumble of weathered hands. Packaged in pairs in a small carry box, they were very popular.

Intended to be a limited edition, I had a rethink after receiving a few emails asking where the single bars could be found on the website. So here they are by popular request. Two new shea butter luxury soaps, made with heapings of unrefined shea to compliment the "Out and Out Shea" brown line of products. If you love shea butter, you'll be sure to love these. And if you've never tried shea butter in soap, now is the time. You won't be sorry.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Shower Power

Earlier in the month, I told you about the revamped Lemon Poppo Mint soap. Well, it's now available on the website, and it's awesome.

Back in Stock

The following faves are back in stock. More will follow this next few weeks, as each soap reaches its curing date...

Ooh La Lavender & Oatmeal
Lemon Poppo Mint (revamped)
Rainy Day Sunrise
Lavenders Wild
Golden Jojoba & Oatmeal
Ruby Moon

Happy Shopping!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Blast From the Past

This was me, back in July 2004 full of the excitement of embarking on my new venture. I was Susan Mann. I'd been living permanently in America for two whole years, and I was a soapmaker. This was going to be my office. It was going to be my workspace. This was my Manor Hall. In my hand is my hang tag. Oh, I was so proud, but it would be another nine months before I settled on the real identity that would become Manor Hall.

Back home in England, manor houses were grand. They were a picture of great british establishment, standing on land passed down through generations and dating way back to the 1200's. Where knights carried off ladies on the back of their horses, and the Lord and Lady of the manor reigned supreme.

My Manor Hall was originally intended to be a black and white affair. Modelled after the Tudor homes that so grandly stand with huge black beams, interspaced with white facings. I was ordinary folk, but setting up my little soap empire afforded me the opportunity to be the Lady of my own Manor. Being Susan Mann, it also played off my name nicely, and the thought of my grown up children being able to tell all their friends that mother owns a Manor Hall amused me greatly.

So, for a while, my fairy tale Manor Hall Soap Company was black on white...

...until Jason gave me the splash. You can even see it in the corner of the original design. I fell in love with it straight away, and as those first few months of the development stage passed we came up with many designs in search of the right glass slipper for our Cinderella of soap.

Every year since 2004, we've taken a break over the Christmas holidays. We use this to sit and reflect on our past year, and chew the fat over what's to come for the new year ahead. This year things were delayed a little due to him needing major surgery, but that didn't stop us plotting and planning and setting our goals while he was in the hospital.

My little soap company has grown every year since it began, and although this year has started a little late for us, new growth is planned. The office is having a much needed makeover, and the new flatpack furniture we bought back in November from IKEA, will finally be opened. But first comes the painting. The room in the photo above, once more finds itself empty. The computer and other office essentials have been moved temporarily into the shipping and stock room, so as not to interrupt the flow of day to day soapy business. By the weekend, I should be doing the happy dance once again.

It's strange how things sometimes come full circle. There I was back in 2004 with a black on white vision for my Tudor styled soap company. That soon gave way to a splash of color, and here I am all these years later looking around that empty room again where it all began. I'm painting a nice modern neutral, and guess what I'm filling it with? Yes, I'm filling it with a chic look of black furniture. And you just know that it'll be accessorized with... a splash of color. All from IKEA of course. For although I may dream of being titled English gentry... I'm just ordinary folk. And ordinary folk can't afford Chippendale stuff.

P.S. - Chippendale is antique English furniture dating back to the mid-18th century. My husband just read this and told me what "Chippendales" is in America. :D

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Not a Mirage

This is Sahara.

Organic olive oil, golden jojoba, and red sandalwood powder... infused with a warm scented blend of cedarwood, lavender and patchouli, softened with fragrant gardenia. A velvet rich soap capturing the warm sensuality of a desert breeze.

Another new bar from The Manor. Coming soon...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

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.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Snow Place Like Home

Having spent the weekend in the workshop to stay on top of the Presidents Day sale orders, I'd finished today by 12:45pm. In the workshop, that is. Springfield has had snow overnight, and while Jason was left printing shipping labels, I took myself off outside to clear the paths and the driveway.

I love the snow. It's still a novelty to me after all these years in America. I never tire of it. We don't get snow like this back in England. Our climate is a damp one and when it does snow, we tend to get two inches of the stuff (although this year there's been a few exceptions) and all the roadways grind to a halt.

Having finished shoveling our driveway, I cleared the mailbox of snow for the mail van, and like a child, I put the shovel to the cleared concrete and started speeding up the path. Big mistake that was. I dunno what happened to my right leg, but it skidded up in the air in front of me in tandem with the left leg. I came back down to earth, backside first, in full view of the neighbor across the street.

I hate it when you fall and there's other people around. When you're on the ground, you feel like the biggest pratt in the world. Whether you're hurt or not, your instinct is to get up as quickly and gracefully as possible, like nothing happened. I messed that one up, too. In my haste to get up, my foot slipped and I went back down again. I got up a little slower the second time. Dusted the snow off my clothes, and looked across. My neighbor spared my blushes and kept his head down like he hadn't seen anything. But I'm certain he did.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Body Lotion - Bounce Back

With an uplifting aromatherapy mood-boosting blend of cedarwood and pink grapefruit essential oils, it's bounce back time, and much needed spark is a pick-me-up at the end of your downtrodden day.

This wonderful creamy rich body lotion is formulated with moisturizing oils of organic coconut and jojoba, blended with soothing organic aloe, and enriched with organic extracts of oat and white tea. It is a decadent luxury for your skin. Scented with a balanced synergy blend of pure cedarwood and pink grapefruit essential oils, and awakened with phthalate-free fragrance, this nourishing and hydrating body lotion is like no other.

pink grapefruit essential oil: mood brightener, uplifting, revives spirit
organic aloe juice: calming and soothing on the skin
jojoba oil: hypoallergenic and skin softening
oat extract: helps with moisture loss and the integrity of the skin's barrier
white tea extract: rich in polyphenols, anti aging help for skin

How to use: Moisturizing your skin is important whatever your skin type. Use after bath or shower, while skin is still damp. Use gentle massaging movements, paying particular attention to the areas of your body that may be more prone to dryness than others.

87% organic content. Paraben free and phthalate free. Use coupon PRESIDENT20 at checkout and save 20% on this and the rest of your order. Through Monday night at midnight!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Presidents Day Sale

It's Presidents Day Weekend and there's a big sale going on at the Manor. 20% off your order, all weekend long. Just enter the coupon code PRESIDENT20 at checkout to receive 20% off your order. (Note: Coupon does not apply to the Mischief Makers, which are already discounted.)

Now is the ideal time to try our new Moisturizing Body Lotion and Foaming Bath and Body Wash. Or maybe one of our new Nourishing Face Creme or Aroma Roll-Ons. With a 20% discount, you can't go wrong.

And to help your shopping dollar go further during the month of February, all orders will receive $6.00 shipping. Any weight, to anywhere nationally by Priority Mail. No coupon needed, our cart will apply the $6.00 shipping for you.

Ends Monday the 15th at midnight. What a way to celebrate Presidents Day!

February 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 February is a Complexion Bar. Check out the freebie page to see what else can be free inside your order box this month.

We're Open

I'm happy to say that we're back, and the Manor is open once again. Thank you to everyone for your well-wishes and support during Jason's surgery. The web site has been updated. The newsletter has gone out. It's good to have him back.

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Little Less Mellow Yellow

I've enjoyed this last week of soapmaking. Having the web site closed while Jason's been recovering has afforded me the time to play a little more.

I mentioned back in September that I would be kicking up some of my classic staples. Now it's Lemon Poppo Mint's turn. I've added some tangy May Chang essential oil to the Lemon and Peppermint blend and swirled the bar with some green nettle leaf.

It smells heavenly and I think it looks awesome.

Update on My Hero

"It's President's Day Weekend at the end of the week," said husband techy guy, while printing off a few soap labels for me yesterday.

"I know..." says me. "I wish you were driving, then we could go out." I carried on wrapping the bars, and piling them up on my workbench. I've been in America for the best part of ten years, and I still can't get enough of our days out. I do adore New England. It reminds me of back home in so many ways, and I never tire of visiting the many picturesque towns and villages it holds.

"So, how would you like it if I took you somewhere good on Thursday?" And he walked through, handing me a few sheets of Ooh La Lavender.

"Don't be silly," I said with loads of love in my heart for him. "It's gonna be another ten days at least before you can get back behind the wheel again."

"Oh, I wasn't thinking of driving anywhere. I was thinking more of taking you somewhere." and he looked over at me with a big grin on his face. "Like... into everyone's email box with a Presidents Day Weekend newsletter."

I love my husband!

Yes... Jason is up and about. He's printing, though for much shorter stints than I am used to. His staples were removed last Thursday, and he's been managing to sit for a short while in the computer chair. He's eating well, still a little sore, and he's definitely bored.

Looks like he's really on the mend. I may be opening on Thursday. How can you not love this man!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

State of Grace

Meet Grace.

Rich olive oil, sunflower butter, and mowrah butter... all stirred in with a heavenly scented blend of rose geranium, ylang ylang, and patchouli kissed with fragrant jasmine and sun ripened raspberry. A wonderfully moisturizing layered silken soap, drizzled with pretty ribbons of pink.

She's the newest bar at The Manor. Coming soon...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Little Waft of Calm

Soap making is therapy - and then some!

Part of Jason's recovery at home is having to sleep apart. I am terrified of bumping into his sore tummy while we're both asleep... so he's in the bed, and I'm on the couch. Not that I'm grumbling too much. It means I have the company of telly all night long.

This morning I woke to a silent room. The TiVo DVR was downloading something or other from the base unit up in the sky. I think that's how it all works. It receives messages from a satellite, and updates almost weekly with new bells and whistles. I daresay Jason will enjoy himself with the remote when he's up and about, checking all the new at his fingertips. Me? I wasn't so thrilled.

Half asleep, I took a look at the clock... 4.10am. Now, don't know about you, but I'm one of those who wakes early. No alarm needed... usually around 5.00am. Needless to say, I was awake and cursing technology. I mean, in this day and age of satellite thingies, wouldn't you think they'd find some way of talking to your DVR that didn't involve putting your television to sleep for half an hour?

So, my morning cup of Tetley British Classic Blend in hand, I padded down the stairs and headed for my workshop. Ahhhh, my old friend. By 4.40am I'd opened the various pails of oils, and an hour and half later, I'd gotten sixty pounds all weighed out into my pans, ready for some serious soaping.

On the menu today is:

Oooh La Lavender and Oatmeal
She She Shea and Lavender
Lavenders Wild
Golden Jojoba and Oatmeal

It feels so good to be back in the saddle. I'm hoping the smell of Lavender wafting through into the house will help soothe Jason's pain a little. If nothing else, it'll certainly help relax him for the day.