It's been a wet few weeks and, so far, I think it's safe to say that summer feels like it's been a bit of a washout. On the other hand, I've decided to go dry. As in stop drinking alcohol. Just for a month. Just to see if I can.
Actually, I know I can. I've done it before, from time to time. And while I'm not fanatical about this sort of stuff - I don't believe in so-called 'detox' regimes - I do think it's a good idea to give your body a break now and then.
In a way it's more of a mindfulness exercise.
How easy is it to get home from a hard day at work, open the fridge and pour yourself a glass of wine (or JD as is the case here), justifying it as a 'reward' for the last eight hours' grind. Or as a way to draw a line under the day, delineating 'work' time from 'leisure' time, as if you can only make the distinction if you've got a drink in your hand.
And more than this, how many of us check our phone while eating breakfast or answer emails at the same time as wolfing down lunch? I know I do quite often. And then I look down at my empty plate and realise I didn't really taste what I've just eaten, let alone taken the time to savour it.
That's no way to eat, or drink.
Yes, we all feel rushed and under pressure to fit so much into our days, and sometimes mealtimes bear the brunt of this need to maximise our time, but simply shovelling food into our mouths just to fuel our bodies - or getting into the habit of pouring alcohol down our throats because 'we deserve it' - isn't the way to do it.
I'm taking a month off alcohol because I want to be a bit more mindful about how I'm actually treating my body. I'm prepared for it to be tough at times and there's no denying that having a few drinks oils the wheels of lots of social occasions.
For example, me and Mr Soak Yourself love to go camping. We don't care about the weather; we just load up the camper van with the dogs, some provisions, plenty of warm clothes, and off we pootle in our ‘Ginger Ninja’ to whatever festival or campsite takes our fancy that weekend. We usually go with a bunch of friends as well and, I'm not going to lie, I'm going to miss having a few drinks while we are all sitting round the campfire chatting and cooking.
What I'm not going to miss is the furry tongue in the morning, the feeling that my temples are being held in some kind of clamp, that I won't be able to get going until I've had four cups of tea in quick succession, and that I'm not quite feeling as mentally 'sharp' as I should.
I’m looking forward to the possibility of losing a few pounds along the way, and also the money I will be saving. As a friend pointed out, the money I save in July will pay for a wedding outfit I need in September.
So here we go, dry July is starting today. Fingers crossed the weather takes note and joins me in my endeavour.
We would be delighted if our customers could take a few moments out to vote for us in the Muddy Stilettos Awards 2016.
We constantly work hard to bring you a very high quality, luxury product which we make with love and care.
We feel that the category 'Best Local Producer (non-food)' is the most appropriate for us, but will leave that decision to you.
Click here to be taken through to the nomination page.
Many thanks lovely people!
Over the years I have made a lot of promises to myself. Promises to loose weight, be more active, eat healthier, get up earlier – you name it, I’ve promised it.
Included in that long list, is the promise to remove all chemicals and toxins from our home. Last week we moved house again, and I’ve taken the opportunity to make a few changes.
Cleaning a property before you move in is no pleasant task. In fact, I loathe cleaning and would pay someone to clean my house over just about anything else.
I would give up chocolate and Sunday lie-ins if it meant I could have a full-time cleaner. To me, cleaning is such a thankless task, and no sooner have I cleaned, the dirt and dust comes back, as if to mock me!
Of course it doesn’t help having two hairy monsters (aka dogs), and a husband who grew up on a farm. He just does not see dirt, and yes, he leaves the doors open!
I love my house to be spotless; I just don’t like doing it myself. I’m not particularly a germophobe, but I like clean & tidy. Bleach used to be my cleaning tool of choice. Let’s face it, bleach obliterates germs, and remove all manner of stains.
(Coffee stains are my arch-enemy as my husband’s morning routine consists of spilling it all over the place whilst pouring a cup!)
But, bleach and all its cousins are bad for us, and bad for the environment.
In my quest to become chemical free at home, I have developed my own concoctions which I know I can use freely and not have to worry about the toxicity of the product, or how it is harming me and my hairy ones (husband included).
We also now live in a place which has a sceptic tank, and chemicals are a big no-no.
So, my first change is to clean with a happy face and a spring in my step. Or is that a spring on my face and a happy step. Not sure. I’m still learning.
Here’s the recipe for my general-purpose magic cleaning liquid. I hope you try it.
1 teaspoon of baking soda, 2 tablespoon of vinegar, 20 drops of lavender essential oil, 20 drops of orange essential oil, 5 drops of rosemary, 1 cup of warm water. Mix in spray bottle and use to clean your kitchen.
For a bathroom version, use 20 drops of tea tree essential oil and 20 drops of peppermint essential oil.
Happy, healthy cleaning.
It is work experience week for us this week, and despite the fact that it is steaming hot outside, and all we want to do is pop over the road to the pub garden, we are being disciplined and offering the best week of work experience we can.
Visiting us is Measha, a 15 year old young lady from Gloucester. Art and Media are the subjects of interest to Measha, so we thought we could utilise these interests and ask Measha to help us to design labels for some SOAK Yourself products we have in the pipeline.
Of course it is traditional that we have to give Measha some filing, but we might wait until Thursday for that! Tea making is out of the question as no one at Measha's house drinks tea or coffee, so therefore she cannot make a cuppa. I'm not kidding. You should have seen my face when I found out that I would have to carry on making my own tea all week!
Production is the busiest part of our business, and of course we have a lot which Measha can do for us, but it is important for us that everything in production is carried out to a meticulously high quality. This is a great way to teach attention to detail.
Free samples are the biggest bonus working for SOAK Yourself, and we have already decided on a little stash of Measha's favourite soaps for her to take home.
Work experience should be a beneficial experience for both parties, and being able to offer a placement pleases us. Thinking about and planning for the future can be daunting, and very few of us know what we want to do when we are young. Even if we do grow up wanting to passionately be a photographer/doctor/rock star, life has it's own ideas about what is in store for us. So, the best you can do is be prepared, be adaptable, and be resourceful. If you can learn to cope, survive and thrive in any situation, life will be such a lot sweeter.
Enjoy your week with us, Measha
We would like to extend a very warm welcome to our new SOAK Yourself stockists.
It is such a thrill each time we deliver the first order to a new stockist. Each retailer is different, and each retailer's customer base is different. We love meeting retailers, and totally enjoy their delight when they discover our products.
'From' in Thame, Oxfordshire is a hugely stylish gift shop which only stocks items make within a 20 mile radius of Thame, making them a truly local retailer.
All About Rose' is a modern home and gift shop based in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire. Offering a wide range of wall art, home decor, scents and unique gifts.
'Regency Hampers', established in 2001, and with a growing reputation for excellence, Regency Hampers is your one-stop online emporium for deluxe food hampers and premium gifts to suit any sentiment. As one of the UK's leading providers of food and wine gifts, Regency aim to be the last word in luxury and the first choice of the connoisseur.
'Craft Coop' As a social enterprise business, Craft Coop is pleased to be giving over 150 local craftspeople the opportunity to trade in a High Street shop, and to bring vitality to the Town Centre by transforming otherwise empty units into fabulous craft shops full of unique, locally created products. Currently located in Marlow and Maidenhead.
'Blossom & Grey' stock a range of gifts to complement their tea rooms and florist, and is a delightful place to visit in Chesham Bois, near Aylesbury.
'Estilo Boutique' in Henley-on-Thames have taken a leap of faith as they previously did not stock a bath & body range.
'SML Diet' have chosen SOAK Yourself as the supplier of all staff gifts and incentives.
'The Fruit Basket' offer our range of handmade, natural soaps in their quaint log cabin, situated in Booker, High Wycombe.
We are so excited to partner with Red Letter Days, offering an exclusive subscription to SOAK Yourself Bath Ritual Recipe Kits.
Red Letter Days is a UK company which pioneered the concept of giving experience day vouchers as gifts and corporate rewards.
Being an experience in itself, SOAK Yourself complements Red Letter Days' gift voucher offerings perfectly.
Red Letter Days was originally founded by former Dragons' Den entrepreneur Rachel Elnaugh, and is now owned by Dragons, Theo Paphitis and Peter Jones. We are waiting in the wings (probably behind a long line) to meet Theo & Peter!
Available as an exclusive subscription, you can now treat someone special to three or six months of our Bath Ritual Recipe Kits.
Imagine receiving a soak a month? Bliss!
We are excited to announce that we are having an open evening on Tuesday 19th May where we will be launching new products as well as our new workshop space.
We have received so many requests from local ladies regarding beauty and even craft workshops, that we decided to use our space more effectively to give customers what they want.
Our workshop room is also our manufacturing room, but we are re-working it so that we can utilise it for both purposes. We are installing a new (second hand) kitchen, repainting and generally making it into a space you would like to spend with friends, enjoying a workshop and a glass of wine.
Of course we will also host workshops without wine, for teens and even kiddies, it just depends on what we have booked in. It's all very exciting, and I would love to let you know right now what all the workshops are, but that would just ruin the surprise!
You can book in for workshops individually, or book a private gathering, tailored to what you and your friends would like to experience. We are really excited about this.
Please come and join us between 6pm and 8pm on the 19th May for a complimentary glass of fizz as well as a discount on the night, and be the first to see and try our new products.
Looking forward to seeing you. Jackie xx
Epsom salts are packed full of magnesium and sulphates – minerals that are essential to human health and wellbeing. They’ve been used for hundreds of years to treat a variety of ailments including stress, cramps, poor circulation, pain relief, and much more. However, as well as the health benefits, Epsom salts also have some amazing beauty benefits! Grab yourself a tub and try some of these beauty hacks...
- Add volume to hair: Mix equal parts Epsom salt with your regular conditioner and apply to your hair. Leave for around 20 minutes before rinsing off. The minerals in the salt help to rid your hair of the excess oils that can weigh it down and leave it looking flat and dull. Repeat the treatment weekly for bouncy, shiny hair!
- Soften your lips: If your lips are feeling dry, don’t reach for the lip balm; instead treat them to a salt scrub. Combine a couple of tablespoons of Epsom salt with one tablespoon of Vaseline and apply the solution to your lips. Gently rub it in to remove dead, dry skin and rinse off to reveal softer, fuller looking lips.
- Soften your skin: If your skin is dry and rough then bathing in Epsom salts can help. Run a warm bath and simply add a couple of cups of salts as well as your usually bath products. Bathe for around 20 minutes or so to give the nutrients in the water time to absorb into your skin. Rinse the salt off your skin, pat yourself dry then apply a moisturiser to lock in the salty goodness and make your skin super soft.
- Give yourself a pedicure: Start by mixing half a cup of Epsom salts with soapy water and soaking your feet for around five to ten minutes. Pat your feet dry before trimming and filing your nails, and removing any old nail polish. Soaking your feet should have softened any hard skin on your heels so now is the time to remove it with a pumice stone. Soak your feet again for another five minutes before patting dry and applying a moisturiser for super soft tootsies.
- Give yourself a facial: Epsom salts have a natural exfoliating property which helps to open pores up and give your face a deep clean. Add half a teaspoon of salts to your usual facial cleansing cream and gently massage into the skin for a minute before rinsing with cool water. Pat your face dry and apply your usual moisturiser; repeat the treatment once a week. X
Cellulite – the bane of many a woman’s life. Most of us will experience that orange-peel effect at some point in our lives; but what exactly is cellulite, and what can we do about it?
What is cellulite?
You may have heard tales of trapped toxins and poor circulation being responsible for your dimply thighs; but cellulite is actually just fat. It just looks a bit different because of the way in which it is arranged underneath the skin.
We all have strands of connective tissue that work to separate fat cells into compartments and connect the fat to the skin. Men have fibres that run horizontally, forming a criss-cross pattern which prevents dimpling. Women have fibres that form a honeycomb-shaped pattern, leading to excess fat bulging out like the stuffing in a mattress.
How can we banish or minimise cellulite?
There’s no easy way to get rid of cellulite, and certainly no overnight fix. Getting rid of your cellulite involves a combination of factors over an extended period of time. However, if you stick with it, you WILL see results!
- Exercise more: If you have a sedentary desk job where you spend most of your time sitting then you’re more likely to suffer from cellulite as the blood flow to the thighs and bottom is restricted. Go for a walk on your lunch break, join the gym near your office, or do some yoga when you get home. Anything that gets you moving and gets your blood flowing will help to minimise the appearance of cellulite.
- You are what you eat: Eating a healthy diet full of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins will help to flush out toxins and ensure that you’re getting a wide variety of nutrients and minerals that your body needs to get rid of cellulite and keep your skin looking great. Drink plenty of water and green tea too to stay well hydrated. Try to eliminate foods high in saturated fat from your diet, such as cakes, fast food, and fried foods as these make cellulite worse.
- Dry body brush daily: Invest in a natural bristled skin brush and use it every day before you shower. Starting from your ankles and working upwards, brush your entire body using firm circular strokes. Always work in the direction of the heart as this is where the lymph, the fluid that transports substances around the body, needs to flow to.
- Make a coffee scrub: Drinking too much caffeine isn’t great for cellulite, but you can make your used coffee grounds work for you in other ways. Save your used grounds at the weekend and use them as a weekly scrub. After dry body brushing, get into the shower and apply the grounds to your problem areas, massaging them in gently for a few minutes before rinsing off.
There’s been some coverage in the news regarding Micro-beads and the damage that they do. We want to reassure you that SOAK Yourself products do not contain these potentially harmful beads.
There are a number of cosmetic products such as shower gels, facial scrubs and toothpastes, that contain these tiny plastic beads, to make them more abrasive. Microbeads are often so small that they can’t be picked up by filters at a sewage plant and end up out in the ocean where they become coated in toxins.
Aquatic organisms mistake them as food and in turn bring the toxins into the food chain.
At SOAK Yourself, we use natural ingredients such as oatmeal, salt and seeds as exfoliants.
You can read further about this problem at http://beatthemicrobead.org/