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I love Nail Varnish.

I’ve always loved nail varnish. When I was very small, I wasn’t allowed to wear it, but there was a lady I used to see from time to time who had her own nail salon. She always had beautiful long, painted nails. I used to admire them, and swore that when I was old enough, and had saved up enough pocket money, I would have a full set of nails just like hers. At that time, I used to bite my nails, as did my mother. I used to look at my mother’s bitten, stubby nails, and knew I didn’t want mine to look like that. This lady told me that if I wanted my nails to be nice when I was grown up, I must stop biting them straight away. So I did. I must have been no more than seven years old.

Fast forward to now

I still love nice nails, and nail varnish. I’m not so keen on the fashion styles such as the coffin and stiletto shapes, or the very square nails that were popular in the 2000s. I prefer oval or almond shapes – classic and stylish. I never did have the false nails I so coveted, though – having stopped biting them so young, they grew nicely, and are naturally a nice shape.

Nail Varnish and eyeshadow
This is the first nail varnish and eye shadow combination.

A while ago I read a thing on’t’interweb about using old eye shadow to change the colour of nail varnish. I had a couple of unimpressive nail varnishes, and an eye shadow that had started crumbling, so I tried it. I broke up the eyeshadow, added it to the nail varnish, and shook it. (And shook it. It took ages to properly mix in.) But it worked! Instead of having a full bottle of nail varnish I didn’t like, and a crumbling, mostly-used eye shadow, I found myself with a nail varnish I really loved! FOR FREE! This was exactly the shade I’d been looking for! I was absolutely delighted, and resolved never to throw away a disappointing nail varnish again.



A few months ago, I bought a nice nude-coloured nail varnish, and was somehow shocked when it was barely visible. (I know, I astonish even myself at times.) I put it in my drawer, and there it stayed.

Having no eye shadow of a suitable colour that could be donated, it occurred to me that the colourant used in eye shadow is mica, the same as what is used in soap. Hey, I make soap. I have mica!


Nude nail varnish with mica
Nude nail varnish with mica

Yesterday, I finally got around to digging it out, and dumping some mica in there. This is the result: (Obvs I should have taken a “before” picture, but what can I say? I’m not one for thinking ahead.) Another totally wearable nail varnish.

I’m guessing you’ve got the odd nail varnish you don’t wear. And even if you don’t have mica, you’ve very likely an old eye shadow that’s past it’s best. If you decide to try this out, come and join us in the Facebook group Relax – it’s Bathtime! and show us your pics. (Oh, and remember to take a “before” pic too!)

Oh, and that lady who inspired my lifelong love of nail varnish? Turns out she’s renowned in her field, and is the author of a book that holds bible-like status among nail techs!

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Pleasantly surprised!

Have you had a look at the Facebook Explore feed yet? Since the recent fb changes, posts from friends and family, and pages you interact with a lot, take priority in your news feed. Posts from businesses and other pages you’ve liked will appear in the Explore feed, so you need to actively go there to see them. As a business, this makes it much less likely that my customers will see my posts – not great.

So, aside from being unhappy about it’s potential effect on my business, I thought that as a personal fb user I would hate the Explore feed. I mean, why would I want to go to a special page to see all the companies who are trying to sell me stuff? But I thought I should take a look, so I know what I’m dealing with.

I’m genuinely surprised to say this, but it’s great! I’ve already lost a couple of hours on there this morning. (Hey, leave me alone, it’s Sunday, I’m allowed to loaf around on the internet.) It’s definitely worth checking out. To find it, go to the left hand side of your page, to Explore / See More / Explore Feed.

As a side note, if you want to continue to see my posts on fb, then regular interaction – liking, sharing, commenting – will mean you keep seeing them, as well as helping me to reach new people. (Thank you!) My facebook page is here:

I also have a group called Relax – It’s Bathtime! which you can find here: This group is for general chat about all things Bath & Body related. Maybe there’s something you really want but can’t find – lemongrass scented bath salts, or whatever, or you’ve found a funny meme that sums up your best friend’s soap addiction, post it in the group. I also use this group to get opinions, conduct market research, and ask for volunteer testers when I’m trialling new recipes or fragrances. I also might conduct the odd giveaway 🙂 So if you’d like to be involved with that, join the group and say hello.


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Just out of the mould…

A fresh batch of Enchanted Isle, scented with basil, sage, and mint, just out of the mould and sliced. Fresh and clean and lovely. I could get fourteen slices out of the loaf, but I like to keep a piece from each batch to see how it holds up over time. The other small piece will either be cut up for samples, given away, or used at home.

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Relax, it’s Bathtime!

Picture the scene… You’re in the bath, it’s steaming hot, water and bubbles up to your chin, a glass of wine nearby. A gorgeously scented candle adds gentle light and soft fragrance. *Sigh* Isn’t it lovely?

Sadly, that is not the reality for many of us. My bath is so small I can’t lie down in it. If the water is up to my chin, that means my legs are out of the water. Plus, the plug is one of those that is operated by a twist handle that is situated really low down in the bath, so you can only fill it to where the handle is. And the boiler is acting up too, so it’s impossible to run a HOT bath. Sitting barely waist deep, shivering in tepid water just doesn’t have the same appeal. I’d rather skip it altogether, than have an unsatisfactory bath.

That said, I used to live in a rented house where there was no shower, so your only option was a bath. I will admit, the novelty did wear off. Except when the cat jumped in there, not realising it was full. Yeah, that was pretty funny 😊

I’d love to hear about your perfect bath time. Do you read? Watch movies? Do you like bubbles, salts, essential oils? If you use bath bombs, do you like the ones that release flower petals into the water? Either comment below, or join my facebook group:

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“Do you use caustic soda?”

“Do you use caustic soda?” is a question I get asked from time to time. Yes, is the answer – it’s the only way to make soap.

“Is there caustic soda in your soap?” is another one. The answer to that one is no.

Although that seems contradictory, both are true.

When you mix an acid and an alkali, a chemical reaction occurs, and a salt is produced. Soap is made my mixing a combination of fats – the acid – with sodium hydroxide, otherwise known as caustic soda, or lye* – the alkali. The process is called saponification, and when it is complete, the alkali is neutralised – there is no caustic chemical left in the product.

Different combinations of acids and alkalis result in different salts:

Olive oil (acid) + sodium hydroxide (alkali) = Sodium Olivate (salt)
Palm oil (acid) + sodium hydroxide (alkali) = Sodium Palmate (salt)
Coconut oil (acid) + sodium hydroxide (alkali) = Sodium Cocoate (salt)

That is why the ingredient labels on my soap list sodium-this and sodium-that, rather than olive oil, coconut oil etc. It’s a legal requirement to list them that way. When olive oil and sodium hydroxide go in, sodium olivate comes out. That’s also the reason why sodium hydroxide, or caustic soda, is not listed on the label – it doesn’t have to be, because it is not present in the finished soap.

“Ah, but you CAN make soap without lye!” is one common response. Whilst it is true that you can buy a pre-made base that you can simply melt down at home, and add whatever colours and fragrances you like, this melt-and-pour base is initially made with lye. It simply has other chemicals added, to enable it to me more easily re-melted.

So, there is really no need to be concerned about lye. You simply can’t make real soap without it.

*To clarify, sodium hydroxide, caustic soda, and lye are all the same thing. Whilst technically, “lye” refers to the liquid made from dissolving the caustic soda in water, the terms are generally used interchangeably.