Lucy's Soap Kitchen Natural Skincare Blog

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  1. Soap is a temperamental thing, something I am usually reminded of at the worst possible times - right in the thick of it! This batch was supposed be a summery yellow and cream swirl but in the end this is what I had...................Can you see the oily patches on top? Never a good sign.......

    blog -oil patches on soap 

    Some soapmakers throw their bad batches away but there is a lot of good stuff in there, ingredients and cost wise, even if it looks brown and oily at the moment. (Plus I hate waste of any kind, it actually makes me feel sad). So how can I make useable soap that people will happily exchange their money for?? The answer....REBATCHING. Basically it means melting it all down again so you can make needed adjustments. Most of the time you will be able to do this and save the batch. In my early soap days I rebatched ALOT. 

    blog - soap grated down ready for melting 

    This is my soap in a slow cooker. I find this the easiest way to rebatch. I have grated it all down so it melts quicker and more evenly. After 3 hours it looked like this...

    blog - soap melted down in crock pot

    I have mashed this until my skinny arms and wrists protested "no more I'm dropping off". Rebatched soap will always have a rustic look. It will loose the clean smooth appearance of a cold process soap and this was as good as I knew I could get it. After letting it cool a little I poured it into my mould. You can see how lumpy and 'rustic' it looks.  

    blog -rebatched soap in base of mould

    Meanwhile I had prepared a new batch of coconut milk soap that I could pour on top of this to give me a layered effect. Once the top layer was poured and stiffened enough I added some soap lovehearts that I had cut out of another batch.

    blog - finished soap with heart embeds

    I insulated the mould for 24 hours with a blanket (although if I was to repeat this procedure again I wouldn't insulate this soap). Steven took the mould sides off for me, it needed to harden a little more but 24 hours later was the moment of truth............the exciting bit- the first cut.....................and here we are..........This is "Tropical Love" with Mango (although it has lost alot of its original mango smell in the rebatching) Coconut Milk and Lime. I love the look of it especially knowing what I had orignally.

    blog - successful rebatched soap

    In my soap kitchen there is never any waste and I love that. Somtimes I have grated my 'unsaleables' to make laundry soap. I always save and rebatch the soap shavings which add up to lots and lots of mis-shapen flowers over the year that get distributed amongst family and friends.

    So that my friends is a soap lesson I have learned over time. If it goes wrong don't panic. There is very little that can't be fixed even if it means you keep youself in soap for the next few years :) xx

  2. Thursday mornings have recently seen me racing to 'The Hive' in Carrick on Shannon to enjoy the 'Social Media Marketing' course facilitated by Leitrim Local Enterprise Office. Last week I arrived (only) 10 mins late carrying a peppa pig plate with my breakfast of bread & jam. After making my way to the back and sitting at a desk, I looked down to see the right leg of my jeans was in fact rolled hafway to my knee. Realising there was no chance now of being taken seriously as a local business woman, I sighed, pulled out my fine tipped pencil and started taking notes. For all of you who won't get chance to attend such a course (I highly recommend it) I have whittled down the blogging info to give you some handy tips I plan to put into practice myself.

    1. Start your blog

    Johnny Beirne (instructing the course and C.E.O of Digital Business Institute) gave a great illustration. A website is like having a 'high street' shop. If footfall in the high street is down you need to take a 'pop up' shop to where the footfall is & give people a reason to go back to the main shop. Social media and in particular a blog is the pop up shop- its where people are and can help increase the numbers to your website. Schedule time each week to do it. Keep a notebook handy to write down subjects when you think about them. (music to my ears- i lurve notebooks).

    2. Keep it regular

    Blogs are so effective as they are very google search friendly. But google loves fresh information so keep your blog regular, weekly if possible.

    3. A key blog title

    Google will pick up the blog title. Look at mine for this post. I could have called it many things ("Tell me why I don't like mornings...?" "Exactly how did my jeans end up like that?") but when anyone googles blogging (and many people are setting up blogs) my chances of google picking up this post and therefore directing people to my website are increased. Use key search words for your blog title

    4. Be Local

    Every so often mention local things in your blog title. Then when people do a search for anything in your area up you'll pop up to give them a little wave and a "Hello, I'm here".

    5. Link Love

    Johnny talks about 'Link Love'. Your blog set up will give you the ability to create a link that people can click on and be directed to someone/something you are talking about. Google loves this and again you will whizz up the search results. If they give you link love back well then everyone is very happy and loved up. I will now attempt some link love to Johnny Beirne (some very handy tutorials here).

    So 5 things I found very useful to know as a complete new girl to this, hope you find it useful too!

    Love Lucy x

    p.s I really have no idea how I didn't notice my jeans were like that........worrying isn't it ................

  3. Well before launching into all things blog I thought it would be a good idea to start at the beginning and let you know a little about me...........so here goes.

    My name is Lucinda but most people call me Lucy, they seem to find it easier to say and remember. I am hurtling far too quickly towards 36. My father's family are from Northern Ireland but I was born in England. I have never lost my accent which wasn't for want of trying - especially during my last school years in Enniskillen! I settled here in rural Leitrim after marrying Steven 6 and a bit years ago. We have a little girl of 4 and an even littler girl of 5 months. I love where we live on our half acre. Through circumstances I have moved around ALOT in the past and I DON'T want to move anymore. Feet firmly planted in my boggy (currently slightly overgrown but very productive) veg patch. I find I need a calmer, quieter life and by choice try to live as sustainably as possible. I'm not perfect in this but I do think about my choices and try to get the balance. I enjoy making my soap and this is expanding slowly into other things - usually dependant on what I or my family needs next (yup-anti wrinkle eye serum already in progress.....) I don't ever plan world domination with my products. Is that ok to admit?? I want it to be a sustainable and viable business but I want it to stay something that enhances my life and doesn't take over or take me away from the more important things.   

    I have a huge amount of things I would love to blog and muse about- hopefully making it interesting and a little bit funny (possibly dependant on if I've had wine or not) along the way. My beautiful 'creative ideas' notebook is being scribbled in furiously at the moment. If there is anything you especially want to ask me or see here leave me a comment and I'll do my best....

    x

  4. A few months ago I was unexpectedly surprised. I found out my husband was a blogger! Not only that but he was the author of two blogs. Two blogs? How could this be? I was our families 'obvious' blogging candidate-not him! I've spent  a significant part of my life 'blogging'...... in my head. A running mental (sometimes verbal!) commentary and obseravtions to myself on all the goings on in my little world. (Hubby says he knows when I'm having an internal conversation from the frowns and movements of my face - slightly worrying). I have my finger in quite a few pies, know a little about all these pies and am always interested to learn more about most things (except car insurance)................so everybody else is blogging (including my husband) why can't I?????