Soap making


Some time ago I bought a soap making kit. I vaguely remember that I bought it to use when I was on maternity leave but never got round to using it. I randomly found it yesterday and decided to have a go.  At first I worried that I got it for when I was pregnant with Eloise but thankfully found a receipt inside that showed it was from when I had Samuel (hey, only 3 years ago).  I bought the kit from and they do a range of kits for various soap and skincare products.

For a long time I’d worried about having enough moulds. The kit only came with two moulds and I didn’t know what else to use. I read somewhere recently that silicone cake moulds work well and I have plenty of those.


The soap comes as a large block that you have to chop into cubes and then melt on the hob. You can also melt it in the microwave but I went for using the cooker.


It melts down fairly quickly and you have to keep stirring it, not letting it boil.


Once it has all melted down you add a few drops of colouring and essential oil for scent and then pour into the mould. I decided to go for a layered look, adding a bit of red colouring to the first layer. You have to let it set completely before adding another layer. I’m too impatient for that so put them in the fridge to speed up the setting process.


As well as the colouring and scent, the kit comes with a few extra bits to add into the soap to give it texture. I decided to leave the colour out of the second layer but added in some rose petals.



And so the final result….. not perfect but not a bad first attempt. I like the fact that you can make lots of different combinations with colours, scents and added texture to make different kinds of soap. I’m sure there is a world of soap making out there on internet that I haven’t found yet. It was very quick and simple to do. I’m also ashamed to say I started to think about Christmas presents. I am assuming that they keep well so could make some well in advance of Christmas without leaving it to my usual December panic.  Definitely something to try again soon.



End of term present

At Christmas I had fully intended making a present for Eloise’s teacher. Things were just too busy and in the end I forgot, didn’t have time etc. (you know, the usual excuses).  I wanted to make a present for the end of the year so this weekend Eloise and I got to work on a little project.

I had spent a lot of time researching on pinterest – entirely necessary of course. There were lots of ideas, some good and some a little too cheesy but I found one that I really liked thanks to eighteen25 and this is our interpretation of it


We took one simple craft box with lots of compartments. We couldn’t find the one I wanted in Hobbycraft so ended up buying myself a new box and donating one of my boxes. I covered it with some coordinating scrapbook papers and Eloise personalised it by drawing a picture of Miss Mitchell (and her chair?!)


We went to Staples and bought lots of small stationery bits and topped up the empty boxes with some lip balm, perfume and sweets. There was plenty to chose from in Staples – I could have spent a lot of money but really that would be fuelling my stationery obsession rather than focusing on the job in hand. I was also overcome with the Martha Stewart range in there. Gorgeous journals and notebooks. Eloise did not understand my excitement.



So very simple to put together – I hope she likes it. I’m hoping its a bit different from the usual offerings of chocolate, wine and candles. If I did this again I would buy the contents over a longer period of time – keep a look out and buy usual bits and pieces as I saw them. Also would be rummaging and buying random things in the sales! Any excuse to go to Paperchase….

The summer starts here

I finished and submitted my final fellowship essay yesterday. It was a huge relief to hand it in and be done with the academic side of it. I have a strange guilt over it – I feel sorry for the poor person that has to spend August reading my riveting 8,000 words.

I now feel I can relax a bit and enjoy the next few weeks. I’d been thrown into a panic every time I saw an Olympic countdown clock as it just reminded me that the essay was due in before then.

Eloise finishes school on Friday and then I have two weeks annual leave. We have lots planned for the summer – no major holidays just lots of things here and there. Next week we’re all off to the caravan for a week, we’re also going to Lincoln for a couple of days and we also have Olympic and Paralympic tickets.  August is going to be very busy but I’m hoping it’ll keep the kids occupied and the sun will eventually shine (highly unlikely I know).

Work continues to be manic but I can see progress happening. I’m also receiving good support from my manager who is reassuring me over the things that I am doing and also helping me to prioritise. I have a few fairly major projects ongoing  and all feel important and urgent and it’s been difficult to decide what needs my attention first.  Getting my essay finished early has helped – I still have a study day booked for this week so will be trying to catch up on everything and get through the pile of work.

My plans to increase my resilience feel like they are working. I wrote a section in my essay about how I felt I had benefited from but it is impossible to quantify or prove. It’s working for me. I remain under pressure but feel I am coping well. The fellowship has meant that I have spent 9 months with a huge workload – both from the programme itself and from changes with my job.  I’ve emerged the other side feeling more confident and able to handle an uncertain and ever-changing workplace.

I’m still going to the gym twice a week. Sadly I do not (yet) have the body of Jessica Ennis but I have lost 7lb and I’m feeling focused and positive about losing weight. I would love to keep this momentum going over the holidays and eventually get my weight back down to where it was 2 years ago.