Friday, July 30, 2010

Doctor No..!!!

Yesterday afternoon, I took time out for my well woman medical. I'd done the bloods and urine last week. I'm not exactly "young" anymore, and I believe in trying to be pro-active about these kinda things.

Ears, nose, throat, bosoms, tummy, lungs, reflexes, women's bits, heart, ECG, and even a scratchy tickly thing up the sole of my foot that made my toes scrunch. I got the all clear. I'm in great health so far. Mammogram and Colonoscopy to follow. (Hmm... that last one just made me shift in this seat some!)

Then came the bloodwork results. Kidney stones seem to be okay now. Liver fine and dandy. But hang on... what's this? My cholesterol is borderline. You're kidding me, right? Like... whaddya mean I have to cut down on cream cakes, cheese, and butter??? And no... dear Lord, no... NOT MY CHOCOLATE TOO!!!

I love my cakies. I love my European chocolate. I love my cheese, and as the English say... my best butter too. It's not like I'm even overweight. I do know better though, and I am so cross with myself. Wanna see how fast I can get my cholesterol to a happier place? The fridge has been emptied, and the supermarket shelves have been raided for more sensible eating. My weights are dusted off, the new bicycle is being bought this weekend, and I'm in the swimming pool from Monday for what will be a regular mile long swim.

Dunno about you, but I don't mess about. I have a grandchild I need to be seeing grow up. A beautiful baby girl, just turned 1 year old. Is it time for your well woman check up?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Soap on a Hope

Well... July is on its way out. I'm a week into my seventh year. It's true you know... time really does fly. So, I've had a day of making products and filling the order boxes, and Jason has done the shipping lables for the evening. I'm whacked.

Those little Pamper Packs have really gotten to me. Like in a warm and fuzzy way, I mean. I'll post a pic of them once folk have recieved them. I love surprises myself, so I'll honor the intrigue and make a seperate post in a week or so, once everyone has opened their order boxes.

Years and years ago, I used to buy bath and body mail order from a company. I wanna say it was Yves Rocher... but I'm really not sure I've gotten that right. I'm going right back to the late 1980's here. Anyway, what I loved about ordering from them was the plotting and planning with their catalogue. I'd sit and read through it, and every single night after the kids were in bed, I'd grab my cuppa and open it again. I changed my mind almost each page turn. As the deadline for the orders came, I'd write out my order, and then pop the envelope in the post box. Then came the wait. It was a love/hate relationship as I counted the days down. Oh, how I would have jumped at the opportunity of the internet in those days. To be able to just go online and log into my account to check on the order status. My word... that would have been heaven and then some.

Then... the order box would arrive. And the best part of it all were the surprises inside. Mainly small samplings of stuff I'd never be able to afford to buy, but it gave me a night of pampering as I tried different things. I'd try the perfume vials, maybe a little bit of lotion, and a night cream I so desperately would have loved a lot of. And the icing on the cake? A new catalogue for the next month!

When I was planning my little soapy empire, I so wanted to create the same feeling for my order boxes. I wanted to give freebies right from the start, but I was someone who really did start with a bottle of olive oil bought at Wholefoods. The freebies would have to wait till I could afford to do it. And as my little website went live, I sat all night at the computer just looking at it... loving it... clicking and reading... and dreaming a little about how it might one day all be for my little Manor Hall.

Where would I be in a year? Would I make it to two years? I never even went as far as five years in my head. Who'd've thought.

I'm sharing with you tonight, the Home page as we went live on December 5th, 2005. Jason had spent months and months developing the site to give me the look I wanted. I still love it. I know time doesn't stand still, and I know that you have to move with the times. But, I've a real soft spot for those early days.

Thank you. Thank you to everyone who has ever ordered from me, who has ever emailed or asked a question, sent me a testimonial, told their friends, given my soap as gifts, written a personal note of gratitude, or even visited one of my soapy tables at a show... thank you all for making this possible.

Coffee Break

So... I'm sitting here with my cuppa (2 Tetley tea bags, bit of milk, no sugar please), and I'm feeling good as noon approaches. I'm onto the last run of packing with the birthday week order boxes today. I should have all of them out the door and into the USPS mail truck by Friday. Yay!

You know what? I'm gonna do these little Pampering Packs again - and soon. They are so beautifully cute, I just wanna keep them all for myself! It suddenly struck me this morning as I'm popping them into every order box, that I can theme them in many different ways. Like... pedicure, manicure, bath&shower, exfoliating etc. My head is full of it right now. Mom-in-law Barbara, arrives in a week. We are so gonna brainstorm about it.

And did I mention that August is "that time of year again"? That'll be sure to please the Maniacs among you. And if that puzzles you... then you'll just have to wait until the website changeover this weekend. Oh, yes! It's the newsletter on Monday night. Get those shopping carts to the ready. I promise... you're gonna be mad 4 it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Music To Soap By - Jason Mraz

It's a beautiful day here in Springfield. I'm busy packing boxes from the birthday celebration week. This wonderful song is filling the workshop, and it is so summer. I dream of being far away on white sandy beaches with plenty sea and sun. How about you?

The plane's engines stop after the first six seconds. Enjoy... while trying to keep your shoulders still. I dare you!

Jason Mraz, 2008 - I'm Yours

Saturday, July 24, 2010

On the Way

I've been playing with cocoa butter this last few months. I love playing with new ingredients. I know... cocoa butter isn't new. I do use cocoa butter in a few recipes, but I've never really used it in a starring role.

Cocoa butter, is one of the harder butters. It's the creamy colored fat that is extracted from the from the cocoa seeds, or beans, as they are more commonly known. I'd describe it as a brittle butter, certainly when compared to the lovely creamy consistency that shea butter is. Cocoa butter still melts into the skin, but it keeps its form longer than a softer butter. When used with softer butters and oils it helps keep the end product firmer, depending on the percentage used in the recipe.

I has a wonderful natural scent, is readily absorbed, and has some amazing effects on the skin. I've been test running it on family and friends through the spring and summer in a body butter, and also in something a little firmer and little unique that is really bringing in some good results from my testers.

Cocoa butter products will be coming for the fall. It'll be the just the right time for that after-summer thirst your skin craves. Watch this space!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Happy Birthday Manor Hall!

On July 22nd, Manor Hall will be six years old. Yayyy!!! So all week long, just type in the following coupon code at checkout and you will receive 22% off of your order:


The coupon applies to everything except the deeply discounted Mischief Makers. Be sure to type the code in or you will not receive your 22% discount. Offer ends Friday the 23rd at midnight.

And to celebrate six years of soap with you, I'm giving a sixth soap bar free with any five you buy. Choose any five soap bars, and I'll throw in a sixth one free.

Plus... Every order during birthday week will include a free Manor Hall pamper pack from me to you. The pamper pack will include a mini-face creme (oooooh), a travel toner, and maybe even a surprise or two!

So help wish Manor Hall a happy birthday this week and indulge yourself in some special goodies.

Thank you to all my loyal customers who have made getting to Birthday #6 possible! I really cannot thank you all enough! Thank you!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Home From Home

July is birthday month for me here at The Manor. Not my own personal birthday, but the birthday of Manor Hall Soap Company. On the 22nd of this month, Manor Hall Soap Company will be 6 years old. I can't believe how far I've come.

Over the next few weeks, I'm gonna be posting my journey so far. I'll be sharing photographs, old labels, prototypes, stuff that made it and stuff that didn't.

2005 was a very long year. We'd bought the domain name and Jason had spent months planning and plotting the web site. We knew what we wanted it to look like, we just had to bring it to life. Today's photograph kicks it off with what I think is very fitting. It was what you saw when you visited for the months that Jason was building the web site.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Priorities and Focus

Sitting here right now, it's been a long day. How do I know it's been a long day? Ask my feet... they are tingling.

On the bright side though, Jason has a new toy. I am cock-a-hoop!

[to be continued...]

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Paraben Free Face Creme

This nourishing face creme is a rich blending of organic olive oil and organic aloe juice. It feels absolutely wonderful on your skin, gliding on with a velvet touch and absorbing with ease. Formulated to deliver deep moisture and nourishing hydration, it lends a helping hand to the suppleness of your skin, leaving behind an incredible feeling of softness.

Moisturising your skin is important whatever your skin type. Use day and night after cleansing and toning, with upward sweeps to the face and neck. When delivering care to your skin, always use a gentle touch on the face, with circular and upward movement.

88% organic, and paraben free.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

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.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Holiday Weekend...

Our office is currently closed for the Independence Day Holiday Weekend and will reopen on Tuesday, July 6th. You can still place an order through the web site during this time. All Fourth of July sale orders will begin shipping on Tuesday when we reopen. Our estimated shipping time remains at 3-5 business days from when orders are placed. Happy Holiday Weekend!

Of course, the office may be closed, but I'm still going to be working for most of it. Some of it will be fun, as we thrash out new Fall scents and products.