The Week in Soap: 15th Jan ’17

It’s been another fairly quiet week in the soapmaking cave this week.  I cut the bars that I made last Sunday, and I made another three batches, one of which was the Castile that I’ve been promising myself that I’ll make for many months. (It would seem that this monthly goals malarkey is working!) I also did a full stock check and tidied up the soap store. I haven’t yet found a fool-proof stock control method, and I don’t always keep proper track of what’s been sold (*red face*) but I’m back on track now and have a good handle on what needs making next.

Of last Sunday’s three batches I only photographed two immediately after cutting. I didn’t bother with the Clarity that got a little too thick to make pretty drops – still great soap but not worth sharing lol.  First up is the soap made with a new-to-me fragrance oil called ‘Flora’.  It still doesn’t have a name, though I’m leaning towards Daisy or something…  Despite the fast acceleration it’s not as ‘ploppy’ (apologies, but it’s as descriptive a word as I can come up with for this effect :-D) as I expected it to be – this is a good thing!

Spring soap

Spring soap – ‘Daisy’ perhaps?

And the First Kiss:

First Kiss

First Kiss

Due to the high levels of vanillin in the fragrance oil the white drops will discolour to tan, and the brown drops will discolour to dark brown, but the pink should stay pink as I didn’t add any fragrance to that portion.  I’ll post it again in a few weeks time to show you the full effect.

On Thursday evening I made another three batches, Boho Baby, the aforementioned Castile, and Delicious:

Boho Baby, Castile & Boho Baby

Boho Baby, Castile & Boho Baby

And  a close up of Delicious, because I love it so much – this FO always behaves itself so well…

Delicious in the mould

Delicious in the mould

Oh and guess what?! Halfway through the month and I’ve already run 50km – I’m rocking those goals!!

Thanks for reading – back soon!

 

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Personal Goals 2016 Revisited

Back in January I wrote this post about how I don’t really ‘do’ resolutions, and instead had a couple of simple (ha!) goals for 2016.  I naïvely thought that posting them here, with the odd update throughout the year, would keep me accountable. Unfortunately I was wrong.  Not only have I not written a single update this year, I haven’t remotely succeeded in completing either goal.

Goal one was to run 1000km by the end of December.  Ok, so the year’s not over yet but, as I’ve only run just over 200km so far (and only 10k during November to date), I think it’s fair to say that this goal is not going to be achieved. The reasons are legion, but when I’m motivated and I have the time, running is the best exercise for me, so I’ll definitely be running (more?!) in 2017

Goal two was to read 12 novels during 2016.  I started with Life after Life by Kate Atkinson. I didn’t finish it. I’m sorry Kate, it wasn’t because I disliked it, nope, not at all. I just found that I was reading a page, maybe two at the most, per night, before my eyes refused to stay open any longer, and somehow it became a chore rather than a pleasure. I gave it up in the hope of finding something (apologies again Kate!) more engaging, but it wasn’t to be. Whatever I tried to read, I had the same problem. Every. Single. Night.  I started The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, a book I’d look forward to reading for a long time as her ‘The Secret History‘ is utterly compelling, and I loved her ‘The Little Friend‘ almost as much.  Once again I gave up as, by the time I got to bed and tried to read, my brain and body started to shut down and I couldn’t keep my eyes open.  I’ve always been a reader, and in my head I’m still a reader. I suspect that, in order to read as much as I’d like, I need not to be parenting a sleep-shy pre-schooler while trying to build a business.  Sleep comes first 😀

Don’t be surprised if I have similar (if less optimistic :-D) goals for 2017, but this time, like my recent commitment to post at least twice a week, I’ll commit to updating once a month on my personal goals. Will it make a difference do you think?

 

 

 

Free time? What’s that?

Last month I posted this photo on my Instagram page:

Lovely Language Literature :)

Lovely Language Literature 🙂

It’s a selection of books I’d bought with some Amazon vouchers I’d received for my birthday back in July.  At various points in the subsequent comments I mentioned that my degree is in Linguistics, and as well as being fluent in a second language (Welsh), I have also studied French, German, Spanish and Russian.  Ever since my teenage years I’ve had a passion for anything to do with language in general, and to this day I have a special interest in the history of language and how different language interrelate.

I was fascinated by the comments this post elicited from other soapmakers – so many are bi- or even multi-lingual, and/or have an interest in history, as well as a huge variety of other interests and hobbies.  Soap, soapmaking and soapy social media have a tendency to dominate my life and I forget to take a break and do something completely different.  Truth be told I struggle to find the time to stop and do something different.  Having a business that is also one’s hobby is not the best combination for a good work/life balance it would appear. In the last six weeks I’ve managed to read just the first 35 pages of one of those books, despite finding it deeply absorbing (I usually manage 1.5 – 2 pages in bed before nodding off, no matter how hard I fight it).

So, go on, tell me what you do in your free time. What are your interests, your passions, and how do you find the time to indulge them?

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)

 

 

2016 Personal Goals

I don’t do resolutions.  Haven’t done for years. I can’t be bothered with airy fairy statements like ‘I resolve to get fit’ or ‘I resolve to learn a new language’ blah blah blah, which never seem to come to anything (for me, anyway)

I do, however, like the idea of having specific, measurable goals, and while I’ll cover my Business goals for 2016 in another post very soon, I wanted to share with you my two personal goals for this year.  (Not least because I’m hoping that having to update here will make me more accountable!)

My first goal is to run 1,000km during 2016.  Before having children I used to be a regular runner, but that was over six years ago, and I’ve been feeling recently that I want to regain my previous fitness levels. On paper, 1,000km seems a lot (especially as I ran a total of 93.5km last year!) but I really think it’s doable –  it equates to 19.2km a week, or 83.3km a month. This week I’ve run 14.5km over four days (rest days on Wed & today – Sat) and I’m planning on going again tomorrow, so I’m on track:

4-10 January

4-10 January

and the distance I run per week should increase as I get fitter. That’s the plan anyway!

My second goal is far more sedentary – I plan to read 12 novels.  Compared to how much I used to read, it seems a paltry number, nevertheless it will probably be a harder goal to achieve than my running one (I had the same goal last year and I read 4 (4!!) novels all year) But my evenings are almost always spent working – be it soapmaking, wrapping/labelling soap, paperwork, marketing etc etc etc. Add to that two young children, exercise time (see above!)  and a part-time day job (with related compulsory coursework/study) and time for reading suddenly becomes rather hard to find. I hope to squeeze in half an hour reading at bedtime before my eyelids start to droop!

Number 1, and currently on my bedside table is Life after Life by Kate Atkinson:Life After Life - Kate Atkinson

Anyway, that’s it for now. Once again it’s approaching midnight and I’m nowhere near bed. Oh for more hours in the day lol!

Wish me luck, and let me know what your goals and/or resolutions are for 2016 🙂