Handmade Soap Colours

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  1. Soap on a rope on a pile of towels

    When it comes to Handmade Soap you really need a great soap dish (see my breakdown of the best options) OR Soap on a rope.  I am a child of the 80's and Soap on a rope was the retro gift you got your Dad or Grandad from M&S and it was usually a moulded round or oval soap with the rope embedded into it.  Imperial Leather or Cussons were also regular features in the Soap on a Rope Era. 

    They may seem like a bit of a throw back but there was definitely method in hanging your soap from the tap in the shower.  Handmade soap needs air round it between uses to dry it out and stop it absorbing water and turning into liquid soap.  Popping it on a rope means the soap lasts longer and you have a handy rope to stop you dropping the soap on your toes in the shower.  It is also really handy for washing the kids or the dog as you can keep it on your wrist and not drop it in the water and have to play hunt the slippery soap!

    We have made soap on a rope for many years now and it is one of my favourite ways to prolong the life of the soap.  Why not give it a try with our great value soap on a rope bundles

  2. Sugar Scrub Recipe

    To start our Blog off here is a lovely free Sugar Scrub recipe on my Studio Blog

    Welcome to my Sunday musings!

    Happy Sunday….and today it is actually sunny which makes such a difference.  I don't know about you but the sunshine seems to make all things better.  The tough economic climate in which I see so many amazing small businesses & families like ours struggling on a daily basis,  the tough environmental climate in which I battle to rationalise my role as a consumer business and my desire to save the planet and challenge the worlds financial equalities whilst also being a child of the 80's that loves to shop and enjoys lifes little luxuries.  These days my idea of luxury is a bath and some skincare,  some time in my garden on my new Yoga platform (made from pallets) and peace and quiet. 

    The Newsletter has always been a dream of mine, to produce something that people stop and read for a few minutes each week and not the vehicle it has become which is to simply announce sales or discounts.  While those are useful it doesn't give me much satisfaction.  I would love to know what you want from a newsletter? I want to share recipes that allow you to make your own little bit of eco luxury or save some pennies as well as some plastic waste (like this weeks sugar scrub recipe). I also want to share details of workshops that we offer via my studio Rowan Tree Studio

    Some feedback would be amazing if you have some time.

    In the meantime for anyone still reading I thought some informaton on us and what we do would be helpful if you didn't already know.

    We are a small family run business with an amazing team that makes Soap, Candles, Skincare and so much more from our HQ at the old Clovelly School.  We have a cute shop in Clovelly Village, sell online and wholesale as well as creating private label soaps and skincare and developing products for other amazing small brands.

    My other passion is teaching people how to make soaps, candles and skincare as well as Sewing and Patchwork and other fibre arts from Our Studio in Higher Clovelly. 

    Well after that long post I am heading off for a late brunch of gluten free pancakes and making a lot of bath bombs!

    Makes Lots!

    400g Self Raising Gluten Free Flour

    2 Tsp Baking Powder

    1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

    2 Ripe Bananas

    2 Tsb Vanilla

    2 Tbs Melted butter or dairy free alternative

    2 Large eggs 

    475ml Almond or normal milk (I am milk intolerant)


    1) Put all dry ingredients in a bowl and combine

    2) Melt butter in the pan you will be using

    3) Combine Banana, Vanila eggs and melted butter

    4)  Add Milk and whisk

    5) Combine with the dry ingredients and whisk well

    Fry in a small amount of oil or butter


    Gluten Free Pancake Recipe

  3. Winter brings many challenges to our skin that can make it dry, flaky and dull. Central heating, cold air and wind combine to dehydrate our skin and make it feel much dryer than usual.  This can exacerbate existing skin issues like Rosacea, Excema and hormonal acne.

    I am no stranger to the Winter Skin blues which you may think is odd for someone with their own skincare company.  After a busy run up to Christmas my skincare regime if I ever really have one is pretty non existant and January tends to be when I realise how badly I have neglected my skin and general health.

    With the start of a New Year where we hope to talk to you all more and give you more knowledge about natural skincare, soap and natural cleaning, now felt like the perfect time to talk about how best to combat winter skin.

    Here are my top tips for fighting winter skin:

    1)  HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE!: This is one we all know but often neglect.  Water is the skins friend and drinking enough water helps in all areas of health.  Caffeine, Alcohol and Foods high is salt draw moisture from the skin.  If you are taking part in Dry January why not try something a little different as a special weekend drink.  Here in Clovelly we have the owner of Raw Water Kefir company PIQI and her naturally sparkling Kefir is the perfect gut and skin treat in January. 


    2) NUTRITION: Food is also key in improving our skin from the inside out and what perfect time than January to eat some healthy skin loving food.  

    • Good fats like Salmon, Avocado, Chia Seeds & Nuts
    • Eat the Rainbow including food high in Beta Carotene like Carrots, Sweet Potato and Bell Peppers.
    • B7 or Biotin is needed for the metabolism of fatty acids and protects cells from damage and water loss, helping to keep your skin moist and plump. This can be found in Egg Yolks, Oats, Salmon and Hemp seeds.
    • Zinc deficiency can cause dry and cracked skin - Eat Rye/Wheat sprouts, Pumpkin and Sunflower Seeds to get more Zinc.
    • Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables to add water to your diet

    3) CLEANSE:  Skin cleansing is a hot topic in skincare and many people shy away from soap on the face.  Personally as a soap maker it is the product I turn to for my whole body from Hair to Toes.  I have combination skin so my go to soap for the face is our Honey & Oat Facial Soap (also great for hair and body).  Honey is a humectant which means it draws moisture from the air to your skin and the glycerin in our soaps asks in the same way.  This combined with oats that have been used for centuries on the skin make a wonderful gentle exfoliating soap that does not dry the skin.   If you have oily skin then our Patchouli & Orange Charcoal facial soap is ideal.

    clovelly soap co-09

    Oil cleansing is a great alternative to soap if you want to remove dirt and makeup gently.  I am a huge fan of products that serve many purposes and our Hair, Face and Body oil can be used as a skin cleanser, Hair Conditioner, Body Oil & Facial oil.   A little goes a long way and a bottle lasts for months which makes it one of my favourite budget skin products.

    5) MOISTURISE: Winter is the time to up the moisturising game and use something richer and in particular a night product that you can put on and sleep with.  Our Skin Balms are rich and nourishing and as the main ingredient is MeadowFoam Seed oil they sink into the skin not leaving it greasy.

    6) EXFOLIATE: When skin is dry and flaky there is a tempation to exfoliate to remove the dead and dry skin, in the winter this can cause more damage if you use a harsh exfoliant.  Oats make a great gentle exfoliant and if you have any dried beans in the cupboard you can grind them finely and use as a gentle natural scrub.

    7) TONE:  After you have cleansed, it is time to use a natural toner to wet the skin and close the pores before adding your chosen moisturiser.  Our new Organic Floral Water Toners can be used after washing and through the day to combat dry air.

    I hope this has given  you some ideas for ways to manage dry winter skin and to help you on the path to great skin we have a Winter Skin Sale until the end of January with 20% off a huge range of skin pampering products.



    Living on this amazing coast means we have access to foraged ingredients with fantastic properties like Seaweed.   This time of year I love to wander along the beach at Clovelly or Bucks Mills and collect Kelp and Bladderwrack for our massively popular Seaweed soaps.  Kelp is in long flat strips often on a stalk and sometimes dried for cattle as a nutrient filled winter snack.  In terms of cosmetics it is high in antioxidents and anti-inflammatory as well as being high in minerals like Iodine which are great for the skin.  We only use a small amount in soap but it can be used as a face mask as well to really get the skin benefits

    We air dry the seaweed and then oven dry on low to really remove the moisture, seaweed is a humectant that draws moisture from the air so it needs to be well dried before it can be used in skincare.  Once dry we break it up and pop in a coffee grinder to make a find exfoliating powder to use is soaps.

    If you wanted to get the amazing skin benefits in a more direct way you can make powdered seaweed into a quick face mask:

    • 2 Teaspoons of seaweed powder
    • 2 teaspoons of  Pink, Green or White Clay
    • 1 teaspoon of an oil of your choice like Castor oil, Almond oil or Olive oil
    • 2 teaspoons of distilled water
    • 1 Teaspoon of Honey
    • 6 drops of essential oils of your choice - We love 3 drops each of Rosemary & Lavender

    Stir the dry ingredients together with a non metalic utensil (clay reacts with metal)

    Add water and stir until lump free, add the oil, honey & essential oils to make a smooth paste and if needed add a bit more oil.

    To use add a a thin layer to damp face and neck with a brush avoiding  your eye area, leave for 15-20 minutes and then remove with a damp cloth and add a rose water spritz and a moisturiser of choice

    If irritation occurs discontinue use

    Enjoy the amazing benefits of natures bounty and take a walk on a beach


  5. I have been making Handmade Cold Process soap since I was given a book my Tatyana Hill back in 2004 when I started developing allergies to skincare and other household products.

    This book was visually spectacular and gave me a lot of inspiration in my early tries but I never quite got the results I expected.   There are different types of soap and for many people the hard smooth shiny bars from Imperial Leather or Cussons where all we knew of soap.  Commercial soap is made in huge vats using the continuous method which essentially means ingredients are added to the vat and sometimes by products of the chemical reaction are removed because they are more valuable.  A good example of this is Glycerin which is a product of the reaction between the oils and the sodium hydroxide (commonly known as Caustic Soda) glycerin is a naturally moisturising ingredient used in other cosmetics and is highly prized.   Extracting this can mean the soap is less moisturising which can give rise to the common refrain I hear in the shop that people cannot use bar soap because it dries their skin out.   

    Handmade Cold Process Soap is a very different beast and I have spent years educating people on the vast difference in how works and what is does to your skin.  As you can imagine I am a passionate convert and nothing but my own soap has been on my skin or my families skin since 2004!   Handmade soap is made in small batches in a pan by melting the oils, adding water and caustic soda and blending until it thickens before adding essential oils, clays, herbs and other natural ingredients designed to enhance the soap.  Sometimes additional oils are added to make the soap more moisturising and sometimes you can add milk instead of water which has natural benefits.

    Making Process1

    I have always loved passing on my knowledge and have taught many people over the years how to make soap that can be tailored to each person using it and is a simple a cost effective way of saving money and plastic by making a large batch once or twice a year to last your family for washing, shampoo, cleaning and gifting throughout the year.      I am starting to teach soap, skincare and candle making again and am hoping to take my workshops on the road to a community hall or space near you in the next few months.  If you want to learn a usefull skill using your own herbs, goats milk and other natural ingredients please get in touch  for availability.   


    Thanks Sarah

  6. When it comes to handmade soap one of the biggest issues we find from our customers is the soap not drying our properly and becoming soft and squidgy and frankly not lasting as long as it should.  To give you small amount of technical information soap is made from a magical combination of Oils, Water and Sodium Hydroxide in a mysterious process called Saponification!


    Making Process1

    This process turns simple ingredients into Soap and Glycerin which is an amazing skin product that moisturises whilst drawing moisture to it.  Glycerin carries on attracting moisture so when a bar of soap is sat in a pretty but inpractical soap dish with no ridges and no drainage it soon sucks up water and turns to a fragrant but mushy mess (hardly cost effective!)

    A few tweaks to your sink apparel can solve this problem and ensure long lasting soap.  If you love a pretty china or pottery soap dish then a quick solution is a slice of Loofah on top to place the soap dish raising it up from the water and ensuring good air circulation.  Not to mention a fabulous soap impregnated scouring pad to clean the sink with.


    One of our best selling soap dishes is a wooden Hemu soap dish with wide slats and raised sides to keep the soap away from water and drain it well between uses

    Hemu Soap Dish

    If you fancy a bit of 80's Nostalgia then a fantastic new (see reworked for the 21st Century) product is our magnetic soap holder which is ones of my absolute favourites and guaranteed to ensure long lasting soap.  Simply pop the bottle top shaped metal part into a bar of soap and stick the sucker on the tiles or the side of the sink ensuring super dry soap all the time



    And last but by no means least Soap on A rope, the 80's Classic (can you tell I am a child of the 80's?) hangs in the shower allowing air to circulate round the bar ensuring is stays dry between uses and has a handy strap to hold onto preventing soap slipping in to the bath!

    Low Res-335

    So don't fret if you have wet soap, help is here for all budgets and if you fancy a go at The Good Life you can grow your own Loofah so you never run out of soap dishes or kitchen scourers ever again!

    Take Care Sarah

  7. The Clovelly Soap Company was my dream for the last 14 years and I have slowly worked towards being where we are now. I managed on my own making small batches of soap for years and selling at craft fairs and a few local shops in London.


    Once we had moved to Clovelly the decision to really grow the business had to be a joint one with my husband Casie who was integral to the explansion plan. He took over making the soap about 3 years ago when the pans just became too heavy for me and I wanted to concentrate on our brand, working on sales and designing ranges.




    Now we work together to run our lovely little shop in the pictureque & unique tourist village of Clovelly where we live, send out orders to our lovely stockists and design ranges, products and packaging for one off promotional soaps, corporate gifts, wedding favours and guest soaps. It is a juggle with family life but we wouldn't have it any other way. Making Soap and Candles looking out of our studio window is bliss and being able to sneak off to surf or garden or just hang out with the kids make this the best job in the world.