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10 Favourite Foods

When I woke on Saturday 1st October, the idea for this blogfest of daily posting came from some fellow bloggers who had all committed to participate in Blogtober 2016 as organised by Mandi at Hex Mum +1

I very much wanted to do my own thing though. I needed to get used to blogging again after a few months away from the keyboard, and I also wanted to find out whether I would/could be inspired to find something to write about every day.

Having got halfway through the month it seems that inspiration isn’t an issue at all, but lack of time is.  I have ideas for many posts, but many of them will take more time than I usually have to do justice to the topic.

So today I’m going to rattle off a fairly quick one, and for this I’m referring back to Mandi’s original list of themes:

Blogtober 2016
        Blogtober 2016

October 19th – 10 Favourite Foods.

I love food. I was a terribly picky, fussy child, but as an adult there’s very little I won’t eat.  Unfortunately, while I’m eating my way through the foods of the world (except for tripe, and goat’s cheese, bleugh!) my children are channelling my youthful aversion to anything remotely interesting.  Karma…

So, in the interests of sharing a little more of me, I give you 10 of my favourite foods, in no particular order (note, I don’t say my 10 favourite foods – there are far too many favourites for that kind of narrow mindedness :-D)

  1. Cheese.  Yep, despite considering goat’s cheese to be an abomination, I LOVE all other types of cheese, especially Camembert and Stilton. A good mature cheddar is a thing of wonder too.
  2. Chocolate Mousse.  Not just any chocolate mousse mind. It has to be a dense, rich, dark chocolate mousse. The more like a ganache the better…
  3. Smoked Salmon.
  4. Great bread dipped in extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar
  5. Moules Marinière
  6. Steak (rare) and chips
  7. Crispy, oven baked jacket potato with (real) butter and cheese
  8. My mum’s raspberry trifle. Oh my word I salivate just thinking about it. I guess I should share the recipe here sometime.
  9. Pizza.  Not necessarily a fancy pants pizza, just one made by my husband with plenty of mozzarella, pepperoni, onions, peppers and mushrooms. Yum!
  10. Chicken fajitas, nice and spicy with lots of guacamole and sour cream.  A traditional Saturday Night In dish in our house.

I’m not sure whether there’s anything  more you can read between the lines here, but there you go, you now know a little more about this Soapmaker.

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I rarely make novelty soaps, but I spotted a great dinosaur mould and thought the kids – my kids that is – might like some dinosaur shaped soap.  They were a HUGE hit so I’ve made a few more batches to sell as stocking fillers at the Christmas fairs. Made with exactly the same base recipe that I use for my regular bars, some are scented with a Christmas Tree FO and others with a Jelly Beans FO which is always popular with children.

Hopefully they’ll go down as well with my customers as they did with my children:


This was Day 16 of Blogtober – hanging on in there  😀

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Soap Wrapping – Blogtober Day 8

One week of Blogtober successfully completed – woop!  Today is day 8, the first day of a new blogging week as far as this challenge goes, and the first day I’ve come down in the morning and had nothing prepared to post.  This is primarily because I’ve been spending the last couple of days wrapping and labelling every chance I get for a couple of large orders going out soon, so it makes sense to show you my soap packaging.

These are the full sized bars, wrapped and labelled.  I place each bar into an individual cellophane bag with the ingredient label tied on with natural raffia.

Full Size wrapped bars
            Full Size wrapped bars

Behind each soap I place an insert with all other mandatory information – contact details, weight of bar, batch number and best before date:

Insert Card
                         Insert Card

I also offer guest sized bars, which are one third of the size of regular bars. These have proved popular with guest houses and holiday rental properties, but I don’t sell them individually – they’re far too much work:

Guest Bars
                     Guest Bars

Have a great Saturday, whatever you have planned. Back tomorrow 🙂

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October Goals – Blogtober Day 2

I’m pretty sure  I should be doing this every month – having a list of goals would probably lend focus to my work wouldn’t it?  October is going to pretty busy even without this daily blogging malarkey, but this is what I’m hoping to achieve by October 31st.

  1. Get my website up and running.  This has been a goal for so long, it’s become a bit of a joke, but I know what needs to be done now and I want the website live, even if it’s not perfect to begin with.
  2. Finish organising, and successfully hold a craft fair in my village.  This is a biggie – not something I’ve done before and it’s a bit of a learning curve.
  3. Prepare a wholesale linesheet.  I’ve managed so far without a formal linesheet, but wholesale enquiries are increasing, and it’s no longer good enough to be directing interested parties to my Facebook page to see photographs (especially given that I don’t even have a website yet).
  4. Prepare a stock of bath bombs. I’ve finally perfected my recipe, and applied for my assessment so that I can sell them.  I’m hoping the paperwork will come through so that I can start making them in readiness for the festive season.
  5. Post at least 31 blog posts – eeeek!!

So much to do, so much to learn!

Thank you for reading – I’m off now to make as start on that lot up there ⇑⇑⇑

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Blogtober Blogging Challenge, Day 1

When I woke up this morning, I reached for my phone (and my glasses – not sure when exactly THAT became a prerequisite for reading my phone screen but it’s now automatic – arghhh) and checked my Twitter feed. At 6.30am I had no idea that such a thing as Blogtober even existed but by 6.45, I was doing it.

The Blogtober Challenge is all about blogging every day, for a month.  You may know that I recently committed to update the blog more often but I’m still struggling to do so, mostly due to time constraints. So how on earth I think I’m going to do this, I’m not really sure, but hey that’s what a challenge is all about eh?!

As far as I can tell, many, if not most, bloggers out there are following a set list of prompts for each day of October,  but I didn’t want to be quite so constrained, so I’ve created my own list of potential blog post topics. So as well as the usual soapy stuff I’ll also be writing about more personal topics and day-to-day life. They may not be long posts (in fact, they’re very unlikely to be!)  but If nothing else, you’ll get to know a little more about the person behind The Soap Mine!

If there’s anything particular from this list of topics that you’d absolutely like me to write about, please let me know in the comments below and I’ll be happy to oblige.

  • Goals for October
  • Soapy (and related) stuff
  • My (non-soapy) daytime job
  • How/why I started making soap
  • Where I live
  • World Smile Day – things that make me smile
  • Weekly wrap-ups
  • If I could go anywhere in the world…
  • A day in my life
  • Instagram tips
  • Favourite IGers
  • Recently read, currently reading, want to read…
  • Favourite recipes
  • Book reviews
  • Pet peeves
  • My garden
  • Other crafts
  • My pinterest obsession

Anyone else committed to doing this or done it before?  Please do share any tips, ideas or advice you may have (and leave a link so that I can follow you too)



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Wait, March??

Um… Ooops! It would appear that it’s been five months since I last posted here.  I knew it had been a while, but FIVE MONTHS??  In fairness I have been incredibly busy, and posting on the blog was one of things that I kept putting off until I had more time. Well, now I have more time. Today my youngest child started school. Only two hours a day this year, but that still gives me 10 WHOLE HOURS a week to ‘get stuff done’, and high on my list of priorities is to resurrect this blog and start posting much more often.

Since my last post I’ve standardised all of my range, including the seasonal bars.  I may post more about these in the future, but here’s a quick peek:

Love Spell:

Love Spell

Cherry Blossom (Spring Special):

Cherry Blossom

Afternoon at the Races (Summer Special – Strawberries & Champagne fragrance):

Afternoon at the Races

Criccieth Beach (Summer Special – Rockpool fragrance):

Criccieth Beach

And, as there’s always an exception (or two) to the rule, there were also a couple of anomalies – one confetti bar which I made to use up all the bits of soap that I get when I bevel the bars, and one that seized badly when I added the fragrance so I had to simply do what I could with it to get it into the mould, and actually, it turned out ok:

Confetti Soap (Lemon Verbena fragrance):

Lemon Verbena Confetti

Black Rock Sands (Beachy fragrance):

Black Rock Sands

What else?

Well, I’ve gained two more wholesale accounts, bringing the total of retail outlets stocking my soap up to ten, and started supplying one-third sized bars to two businesses offering  guest accommodation.  Much of my time has been spent making, wrapping and labelling soap to keep up with demand. Generally this means working once the kids are in beds, so lots of late night soaping for me!

Every Thursday evening during the holiday season (April – Oct) I’ve been giving a soapmaking presentation to visitors staying in local Holiday Fellowship accommodation.  I LOVE being able to share the process, and it’s always really well received – so much so that I’ve already been asked to go back next year 😀

During May and June I participated in a European soap swap with 20 other soapmakers from all over Europe.  It involved making an all natural soap, without artificial colours or fragrances, and I was waaay out of my comfort zone.  I’ll share more in another post.

We enjoyed a lot of fantastic family time over the school holidays, with long weekends camping, trips to the beach, geocaching and scavenger hunts (despite the weather not always playing ball – I’m fully expecting an Indian summer now that the kids have gone back to school!).

Plans for the near future include getting my bathbomb assessments organised in time for Christmas, making a facial bar, and experimenting further with sugar scrubs and lip balms before I decide on final recipes. Oh, and launch the website, but you’ve heard that one before 😉

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2015 in review


I’m finding it hard to believe that it’s been a whole year since I last shared one of these.  It’s been a busy year, and I’ve posted less often than I’d hoped I would, nevertheless, I managed 50% more posts in 2015 than in 2014 – onwards and upwards 😀

In 2016 I aim to post yet more often. The more observant among you may have noticed a change to the blog tagline to ‘A Soaping Life’.  I want to broaden the range of posts, just a little, to give me the opportunity to post more than simply what soaps I’ve made that day and/or week. I’m not sure exactly yet what direction this will take me, but I’m looking forward to exploring my options.

Lastly, I’m really grateful to those of you who take the time to read and comment on my posts – thank you!  I didn’t do enough during 2015 to find the time to reciprocate, but I will endeavour to try harder in 2016!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys kindly prepared a 2014 annual report for my blog, and it made for quite an interesting read (for me anyway :-D)

I was quite surprised at how few posts I’d written last year, though moving out of our home, into temporary accommodation for 6 months, and then into our new place did place restrictions on the amount of time I had to soap, and hence write about it, so it figures.  I’m planning on posting a lot more often in 2015!

Despite the low number of posts during 2014, I’m really pleased to have had over 8,000 views, though not at all surprised at where the most traffic came from.  Very nice to see a summary of the most prolific commenters too (thank you so much ladies :-D). I love getting feedback, and it’s another of my blogging goals this year to stop by, say hi, and generally comment on other people’s blogs even more often than I already do.  If I’ve not already discovered your blog, please feel free to leave a link in the comments below and I’ll check you out!

Thanks for reading – back soon 😀

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 8,300 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.