Sunday, May 22, 2011

African Bliss - a mens soap (a post by Rae)

Dino having some fun with the reflections while waiting for oils to cool
 For some time now, Dino has been nagging me to add a mens soap to our range as we have quite a few male customers that are enjoying using our soap and are conscious of what they put on their skin. We thought it would be a good idea to come up with a soap that has a strong, earthy colour as well as a spicy masculine smell.

oily reflection
 We experimented with coffee to give it a nice dark brown colour, eventually coming up with a shade that we felt was right. My husband, Dino was really keen to dabble in the blending of the essential oils for the new soap and came up with a blend of cinnamon and a variety of African indigenous oils, as he is a keen lover of hiking and nature and constantly brings home little bits of plant sprigs for me to smell.
Working with cinnamon is not always an easy oil to work with and can cause your soap to sieze up rather quickly, as you can see in the above photo. Here we had to quickly pour the mixture (you can see it has a lumpy, grainy texture ) in the hope of saving it, but although we still used it ourselves, visually it was not perfect and after fiddling with the ratio's of the various essential oils, we succeeded! Beeswax was another ingredient we used in this soap and personally I adore any soap containing beeswax as it seems to give an incredibly smooth fine finish and a really creamy lather and it also lasts just a little bit longer than other soaps. As a result, we have a beautiful bar of soap with a fantastic fine, rich lather that leaves a lingering, spicy fresh smell on your body that any woman would find hard to resist and judging by the feedback we've had, it seems that woman love using this soap for themselves as well!
Next, we had to choose a colour for our label that would compliment our soap range and the colour of the soap, be masculine and also remind a person of Africa. We therefore decided to use a colour found in African art and fabric, the ocean and the sky and the result is the above!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Happy Birthday...

My birthday was on the 19th  of March which also coincided with the full moon that was coined "the supermoon", due to the fact that it was the closest it had been to planet earth in two decades, a mere 356,575 km. This to me still seems like a hell of a long distance but nonetheless, for the boffs, it was still something to rave about and for the astrologers, doom prophets and the like, it was also something to rave about but for us, it was just another stunning full moon.

On this special day, I was woken up by my wife with a cup of coffee and prezzies to open. Eventually, my youngest daughter, (pictured above) at the tender age of 14 and who has entered into the teenage years with the total sweet abandonment of a true teenager, woke up to give me my presents and beautiful homemade birthday card. This was followed by a lovely breakfast made by my wife, set outside under the Jacaranda tree. Enormous breakfasts like these are always reserved for special occasions and therefore always enjoyed.
Incidentally, our usual breakfast, depending on the season, is either strawberries, apricots, peaches, bananas and homemade yoghurt and honey, all from our veggie garden/orchard, or we have a "milkshake" made up of bananas, milk, honey, cinnamon and a calcium magnesium supplement. As winter sets in and it gets colder, we have a lovely warming bowl of jungle oats and cinnamon.
It seems that in small rural communities like we live in, the mention of a birthday in passing conversation, days or even months in advance, does not get forgotten and for the rest of  the day I received visitors from our surrounding farm community, bearing gifts such as homemade boerewors, droewors, homemade lemonade, cake, etc. All in all, it was a fantastic day which ended with a brilliant full "supermoon". 
It was a day that I was truly grateful to experience and I did not mind at all that I was turning another year older...