Sunday, February 27, 2011

Last Days of Mania

This morning I've been cutting more slices of soap for the sampler stacks. I don't know how many I've cut this past month, but suffice it to say, I stopped counting days ago.

The ones I've been preparing today are for the next round of orders that are due for packing early this week. During Manor Mania, they have been the regular order box freebie. They've also been buy one, get one free. They've been even more popular than I'd prepared for.

We're down to the last 48 hours of Manor Mania. I've managed to keep the turnaround time to between 7 and 10 business days. I'll be glad to see a return to my usual 3 to 5 business days. Grab the deals while you can. They'll be gone soon.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Heart Of Chocolate

Much has been written about the benefits of the flavonoids found in dark chocolate. As well as relaxing and opening up the blood vessels, these flavonoids also help prevent the molecules of cholesterol adhering to the walls of the arteries. I'd say that's a great reason to go out and grab that bar of the rich dark chocolatey stuff your diet has been saying no to. In moderation, of course!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sampler Stack Stampede

The 'Buy 1 Get 1" Sampler Stacks are currently out of stock. These small bundles of cute are all made individually, and it will be a few days before I have caught up on them. Yesterday's Skirt! feature has seen a few new soapaholics to the website, and I woke this morning to discover there's been an overnight Sampler Stack stampede!

Expected turnaround time for orders during Manor Mania remains the same at between 7-10 days. I will be using the weekend to stay on schedule, and I'll burn the midnite oil if neccessary.

Thank you everyone for your patience. And a big welcome to Skirt! Magazine readers. Thank you for shopping Manor Hall!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I'm So Skirt!

Skirt!.com is "all about women... their work, play, families, creativity, style, health, and wealth, body and souls". This morning, I did an interview for their She's So Skirt feature, and tonight, the article is already up! It's a really amazing feature... I swear it's made me want to buy my own soap! Go check it out!

The Art Of Spinning Plates

I remember using this photograph for a blog post over a year ago. I don't know how I got through that time back then, but it's what you do... isn't it? You get through.

The pic is reflective of my day so far. In fact, it reflects my whole Holiday weekend right up to this minute. I'm growing as a business and as I do, the demands increase. However, I've been practicing priorities this last twelve months, and it's paying off big time right now.

Are any of the plates falling in the photograph? I think not! Does the lady look like it's a breeze? I think not. But she's capable.

This morning was a real early start. Like, silly early. It's 2.00pm now, and so far today I have:

* Spent forty minutes catching up on business emails.
* Wrapped and labeled 72 soap bars.
* Organized and printed off my worksheets together with corresponding order invoices.
* Got two wholesale orders packed and out the door.
* Managed to eat something on the wing.
* Ordered new supplies from 2 places.
* Short phone call to England in my break.
* Made yet another batch of cleansing grains.
* Made sugar scrubs.
* Cut, wrapped, and tagged 24 sampler stacks.
* Danced a full three minutes to one of my fave songs from years back, when I had the energy of youth to do it. Big mistake, I'm telling you.
* Phoned The Barbara to tell her I'm sorely missing her help. Like, hurry back here, woman!
* Had an interview with a journalist from Skirt! magazine.
* Tweeted, facebooked, and... took a five minute break to get my head together.
* Had another cup of tea. Tetley British Blend please. Milk, no sugar!
* Made this blog post.

And so, cuppa tea all done, I begin again for the next stint in the new workshop. I won't finish til late tonight, but it feels absolutely great. I've a long list of things to get through before today is over. Will I do it? You bet!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Symphony Of Samples

It's Local Evening tonight at the Whole Foods Symphony Store, Westland Ave, Boston. I'll be in the Whole Body department between 5.00pm - 7.00pm with Manor Hall samples to hand out. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Office Space

This is my first blog post written from my new personal office space. All part of the new workshop, it feels absolutely great to work in.

The shelves won't be so empty for long. In fact, come the morning, the wall behind my computer will be filled with invoices waiting to go into the first round of the Manor Mania order boxes.

I have other photos of the workshop to share later, but I just couldn't wait to share this one with you!

Signature Tote Giveaway

Deals by Jason is a really neat blog run by the husband of a Manor Hall faithful. On it, Jason highlights all kinds of deals and steals.

For the last couple of weeks, Jason has been running a special giveaway of a collection of Manor Hall products:

The Signature Tote Bag Collection features three full sized Manor Hall bath and body essentials, along with an eco friendly canvas zipper tote. The Signature Tote Collection includes: Body Wash (9.0 oz bottle), Sugar Body Polish (5 oz jar), Aroma Roll-On (10 ml), 100% cotton tote bag (13 x 11 inches)!

The giveaway ends on February 21st, so click over to Deals By Jason to see how you can enter and have a chance to win. And be sure to check out the rest of his blog where he features all kinds of cool coupons and specials from lots of other companies.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Milk and Honey Hand Bath

If your hands are feeling the dry of the winter, here's a simple beauty treat right from your kitchen cupboard to soften them up.

The lactic acid in the milk loosens the flaky or dead skin cells on the back of your hands, helping hydration. Honey has its own properties of hydrating calm, and is also antimicrobial. Working together on your skin, milk and honey leaves it soft and smooth.

Milk and Honey Hand Bath

You will need:
2 cups of water
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of honey

How to:
Mix all ingredients into a large microwave-safe jug, and microwave until warm (about 20 seconds). Pour into a bowl large enough for your hands, and soak both of them in it for ten minutes. Rinse with warm water, and pat dry with soft towel.

Notes: Make sure not to overheat your liquid in the microwave. Warm it gently.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Honey Of A Rose

I love making the Honey Rose soap. The scent of this really lifts the days in my workshop as it sits curing on the shelves.

It's a warm smell, with the sweet of honey carrying the gentle rose. It's not a bouquet though, It's more special than that. A bit like the difference between being given one single stem, and a whole bunch.

Yes... that's what it is. It's single rose of love to your face. Now, who wouldn't want to receive that!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Whole Foods Manor Mania

You can now find your Manor Hall faves for 20% less than the regular retail price at the Whole Foods Market Symphony Store, on Westland Avenue in Boston, Massachusetts. Just head for the Whole Body Department, and go Manic while the Mania is on!

Lip Skipping Steal

This all natural petroleum-free lip balm, packaged in a traditional handy twist up tube.

Made with calendula infused organic olive oil and organic sunflower oil, this lip balm is ready to take on the harsh of the seasons. Unrefined shea butter helps to complete a trio of chafe-chasing natural knights to keep you pouting pretty no matter the mood of Old Man Weather.

This easy glide lip balm skips over the lips, naturally moisturizing and nourishing while it protects. And protects. And protects.

Manor Mania: Buy 1, Get 1 Free!

Come and get yours while the Mania is on!

Monday, February 14, 2011

And The Winner Is

The winner of the Manor Hall Have It All Giveaway is "sos". Winning comment is number 80 of the eligible comments.

Congratulations "sos"!!! Please email me with your name, address, and zip to claim your $150.00 prize goody box, and will include your requested Ruby Moon aroma roll on.

Thank you to all who entered!


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.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hold On To Your Shopping Carts

It's 2:00pm 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!

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Giveaway Rolls On

Up for grabs today are five of the Aroma Roll On aromatic perfumes, and claiming one for yourself is easy. Come on over to our facebook page. Make sure you "Like" Manor Hall, then use the feedback panel on the "Feedback" page to tell us which Aroma Roll On perfume you want and why. Click "submit" to post to the page. I'll choose the best five posted based on originality of desire.

That's all there is to it. What are you waiting for? Party on!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Mighty Oat

The use of oatmeal in skin care has a long history dating right back to the ancient Egyptians. The Romans and Greeks recorded how bathing with oats helped with healing skin troubles. The tiny oat has had a long journey through the centuries as a natural skin healer, and in 1989 after years and years of well documented and respected studies, oatmeal was finally recognized by the FDA as a safe and effective over the counter skin protectant.

The high concentration of starches and beta glucan in oats are what give oatmeal the ability to hold onto moisture, and protect the skin. Oatmeal also boasts anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities, which come from the presence of its different kinds of phenols.

The avenacins found in oatmeal, have potent anti-fungal activity as well as having a soap-like cleansing quality. When finely milled, the tiny oat particles adhere to the skin, smoothing and removing dry skin build up. When introduced to water, the ground oat powder forms a viscous barrier which is important protection from outside irritants. These different moisturizing properties found in oats all contribute toward maintaining the integrity of the skin's barrier, preventing water loss, and alleviating itch.

Among the many sugars, vitamins and minerals to be found in natural oats, is vitamin E, a valuable antioxidant. Oxidative stress is implicated in many skin complaints, and different inflammatory conditions can be helped with the protection offered by antioxidants.

Oatmeal is a natural product, and is helpful with a long list of skin troubles, including: dry skin, prickly heat, hives, sunburn, chickenpox, poison ivy, oak and sumac, insect bites, winter itch, atopic dermatitis, and allergic or irritant contact dermatitis.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Classic Grab

Five of our Classic soap bars up for grabs over the next 24 hours, and grabbing one is easy!

Come on over to our facebook page. Make sure you "Like" Manor Hall, then use the feedback panel on the "Feedback" page to tell us which soap bar you want and why. Click "submit" to post to the page. I'll choose the best five posted based on originality of desire.

That's all there is to it. What are you waiting for? Party on!

UPDATE: Today's classic soap bars that were up for grabs have been claimed. Congratulations to Jazmin, Jackie, Alex and Barb!

Lipskippers For Grabs

The website changeover will be happening this weekend. It's February, and yes... it's that time of year again where Mania rules at the Manor.

To keep in the mood while you wait for your shopping carts, we're having a Manor Hall Ball on our facebook page. Today there are five Lipskippers lip balm up for grabs. If you want to grab yourself one, come on over. Make sure you "Like" Manor Hall, then use the snazzy new"Feedback" panel on the "Feedback" page to tell us why you want your Lipskippers Lip Balm.

That's all there is to it. What are you waiting for? Party on!

UPDATE: Today's five Lipskippers lip balm that were up for grabs have been claimed. Congratulations to Carolyn, Leslie, Elizabeth, Carla and Kimberly!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Come Say Hello

We now have a Feedback tab on our Facebook page. I think it's a nice little app. Please come over and say hello.

Hair With Flair

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, February 4, 2011

Tanya Says

In the Manor Hall Have It All giveaway, Tanya said:

"Manor Hall is the best! I no longer use any other soap - I enjoy their strong scents and sudsy soap so much! Hard to pick a favorite but the Autumn and the Almost Sunset are in the top running. Hope I win because my last bar is almost ready for a replacement!!!! "

Tanya has entered the "Manor Hall Have It All" giveaway. She's wanting the Autumn Art House Soap in her prize box.

Join the giveaway fun here and tell us what product you'd like in your $150 goody box giveaway.

My Honey Is 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 considered to be anti-inflammatory, and is very emollient. It's a light oil, readily absorbed without greasy after-feel, and it is often the oil of choice for use with skin troubles such as eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis.

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 "Honey Me Smooth" was born. It's my soapmaking bar. A bar for hard working hands. It protects my hands, and smooths 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 sore hands. Those hands were mine. And for me, this bar is just what they need.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Simply Carrots Face Mask

With the weather playing havoc on the face these winter months, I thought I'd head to the kitchen cupboard again and bring you a simple but effective real carrot face mask, especially 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.

Simply Carrots 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.