Counting down til bedtime

by Veronica on September 18, 2015

in Gotta Laugh

Somewhere between the ages of 12 and 16, I fell into quite a lucrative babysitting business. I think most of us did, at some point or another. I find myself remembering this tonight, as waiting for bedtime right now feels remarkably like waiting for a mother to return home and save me from her children.

The difference is of course, I’m wearing my pajama pants and no bra, which would have been unthinkable at 15 (no bra? I’d be practically NAKED!), despite the rather large size difference between then and now.

Also if someone else’s three year old had been running around without underwear on, it would have been A Problem, and if said three year old had just hypothetically done a backflip on the couch, simultaneously knocking a mostly drunk cup of tea onto a computer keyboard, it might also have been A Problem.

I was probably a better babysitter than I am a mother, but in my defence, I got to hand the kids back then, and mine have spent the last nine years wearing me down to a tiny little nubbin.

I’m reminded of this tonight, because a) I’m hanging on bedtime and b) I’m vaguely unwell, with something reflux-y and nausea related, which my medication may or may not take care of, but in the meantime I would just like to lay down somewhere quiet and alone. Yet here I am, typing away at the computer, because every time I lay down the flippy three year old jumps on me.

Normally I would happily shout HALF TIME CHANGE SIDES, slapping my unsuspecting husband’s hand as I disappeared off to bed, alone, leaving him with bedtime, but tonight he is Very Unwell, with some kind of vague respiratory thing, which is worse than a cold, but not quite man flu. He’s been wandering around rather like a zombie today, in between our binge watching Mad Men, while I thought Very Hard about the work I ought to be doing, and wasn’t, because see above, weird refluxy nausea.

(I can feel my anti-puke meds kicking in, which is nice, even though they’re probably giving me Parkinson’s, but that’s a story for another time.)

I have two very large markets this weekend, and I am excited about both of them. I have a lot of fun at markets, even though my joints don’t like it, but eh, what can you do? They make good painkillers for a reason, and my joints are one of those reasons.

The Barn Market is on Saturday the 19th (tomorrow), between 10am – 3pm, at The Rosny Schoolhouse, and I will be outside in a marquee, so come and say hello.

The Market is on Sunday the 20th, 10am – 3pm, at The Masonic Temple on Sandy Bay RD (I think it’s number 3, but I’m not quite well enough to change tabs and go and look, but it’s across from St David’s Park and you’ll see the signs.) – I’ll be inside with a small half-table set up, so I’m relying on YOU dear Internet to help me sell out. Okay? Okay. Go team.

Bedtime is in 30 minutes for Evelyn, and sometime thereafter for the older two, but they rarely jump on me, so they get a (small) pass.

Tick, tock.

In any case, it’s an early night for everyone, because market days require me to have left the house by something awful like 7.15am (shut up, I am not a morning person).

Anyway. I really had better go and clean up the baby wipes someone has strewed across the living room while I refused to be a human trampoline, and I should probably check that the older two have actually finished eating their dinner.

Countdown is on.



A little bit of everything, really.

by Veronica on September 7, 2015

in Life

Spring has sprung, which of course means everyone here is now unwell with whatever spring cold is going around. Everyone except Evelyn, who is disgustingly well – which I’m incredibly grateful for, because frankly, if I never see the inside of another hospital ward, it will be too soon.

ANYWAY. I digress.

I thought it was going to pass me by – the two older children are off school today with sore throats and ears, but by lunchtime the sinus headache had shown up and there wasn’t enough honey and lemon tea in the house to sooth my poor achey face.

I’m almost grateful that it’s today I’m sick – it will give me a chance to recover before Lazy May Market (13th Sep), which I’m quite looking forward to.

Amy 9th Birthday

In any case, it was a busy weekend. Amy turned nine, and had a sleepover for her birthday. I love children – mine particularly, but I find I am not a calm person once the clock hits 10pm and everyone is still awake. Luckily I have this amazing husband who took over the night shift, and eventually the girls fell asleep for a little while at least.

Heidi the puppy is 10 months old now, and spent the entire party poking people with her poky poky nose and being Incredibly Excited about the idea of CHILDREN ALL THROUGH HER HOUSE OMG and it was all I could do to not sit on her, in an effort to make her Just Stay Still FORTHELOVEOFGODDOG.

By the time everyone had been collected by their parents the next morning, I had spent a good hour throwing the ball in an attempt to wear off some of her OMG CHILDREN CHILDREN energy, and she had finally calmed down. Just in time for there to be no children to lick, poke, trip, or annoy.

Puppies always seem like a great idea, but goodness, I can see how so many 8-10 month old dogs end up at the dog’s home. Luckily for us, Heidi’s basic training and manners are great, we put in the time and effort when she was tiny, and while she is 30kg of EXCITEMENT and LOVE and HAPPINESS who frequently wags drinks off the coffee table with her exuberant tail, she is basically, at her core, a good dog.

Heidi 10 months old

This time last year, I was starting to worry a little bit because my fruit trees were blossoming nicely, but there wasn’t a bee in sight. Nor did we manage any fruit from the trees which needed pollinating, such was the bee lack. I still got pumpkins and zucchinis, but only because I pollinated them myself.

You can imagine how incredibly relieved I was to see my fruit trees dripping in bees this season.



So many bees that a few have mistaken me for flowers and tried to land on my face. Not sure why – maybe it’s all the soap I smell like.

Speaking of soap! God. BUSY. It’s so nice. I really can’t complain about being busy, even if I do have a sore throat, and still work to do.

I’ve just made and poured 6kg of dog shampoo bars, which will be ready by the middle of October, and I’m packing soap today (probably) – Green Apple and Shea Butter is ready to come off the curing shelves, as is our Honey Ginger soap.

But then there was this:

Rainbow Soap

Which I am rather delighted with. The bulk of this batch is for a wholesale order, but oh, it’s pretty and I am pleased with it.

Anyway Internet. How are you?



It’s 9.21pm and everyone in my house is asleep, except for me. This is unusual enough that here I am, remarking upon it to you. It’s almost a decent hour and I have some alone time to write.

Of course, the kitchen needs cleaning before I sleep, and there’s another load of laundry which needs doing. The wood needs fire, and I need to tweak a lotion recipe. Not to mention the 500 odd soaps I need to make to even have a chance of keeping up with the Christmas rush.

That said, life is good. Well, good-ish. The lead in to Spring always messes with my mental health as I desperately wait for the trees to wake up and the sunshine to hold more than a little warmth. It’s this time of year I start craving long hot days and coconut oil I don’t have to hack out of the bucket with a chisel and brute strength.

Evelyn is growing up, which is both a huge relief and bittersweet. I have enjoyed her babyhood, but I’m ready to be done with little kids (barring of course, my nephew, who is sweet, adorable, and not keeping me awake all night). Eve turned three, we threw out all the bottles in the house, bought her a packet of knickers, and off she’s gone, jumping from toddler to little girl in a matter of days.

Business is good. I’m busy, sometimes crazily so, other times, just enough to make me wonder what I used to do with all my spare time. I’m careful with my health, napping when I can and handing most of the housework over to Nathan, who continues to manage the household beautifully.

It’s nearly Veronica Foale Essentials first birthday, and if you’re in the market for soap, use coupon code HAPPYBIRTHDAY2015 at checkout to get 15% off.

I always feel a little odd sliding in those little nuggets of marketing, but it is what it is, and I really do want you to buy my soap, because it’s lovely and everyone should indulge in good quality skincare.

I almost cannot believe that it’s been a whole year already, but there you go. Time flies when you’re having fun. I spent the day yesterday packaging 200 soaps ready for September markets, and there’s now room on my curing shelves to frantically make more soap. Christmas is coming and we’re almost ready for it all.

But in the middle of all this – and don’t get my wrong, I am happy, incredibly so – I miss writing. I miss fiction. I miss rolling the words through my fingers, spinning a story. I miss the instant gratification of a good piece of writing. I miss the quiet adoration of blog fans. It seems a little strange, but writing feeds my desire to perform in the public eye in a way that soap making doesn’t.

Of course, I expect everything to find a balance in the next two years, as Eve gets older and stops clinging to my legs quite so much.

Patchouli and Musk Soap



Finally, take a moment to look at how big these children of mine have gotten. LOOK AT THEM.

Amy turns 9 in another 12 days. Can you even believe that, Internet?

2015-07-27 10.13.01

I’m going to try and write more often, but we’ll see how that goes as the market schedule increases and the Christmas crazy begins.


This post is sponsored


At 8am when I woke up this morning, it was a balmy minus five degrees outside. And by balmy I mean not, and by minus five degrees, I mean I could probably get frostbite if I went outside right now.

And yet, until I got out of bed to run taps and put wood on fires, I was not cold.

This is a revelation, considering for as long as I can remember, I’ve spent most nights during winter cold in one way or another. No matter the blankets I piled atop myself, there would be some part of me which would not warm up without numerous hot water bottles and lots of shivering.

You see, Pooq dene Piumini Danesi, a luxury Italian bedding shop, sent me a Classic Duvet, which may possibly be the nicest thing I have ever ever slept under.


Not my bed, or my photo.

Tasmanian winters are cold, and I had resigned myself to just having to wait them out. Despite having the fire going non-stop and piling on all the blankets we owned, knowing it would be cold overnight was just a part of life.

I do feel a bit guilty – originally I had thought to give the duvet to Amy, who also gets cold overnight, but she spent a lot of time whining about how she likes HEAVY BLANKETS and it’s possible the quilt was immediately put onto my bed instead and I didn’t let her try it.

Made in Denmark and arriving with its own certification of authenticity, I almost felt like we should hold a welcoming party for this duvet.

The first night I slept under it, I felt like I ought to be cold. Light as air, it didn’t feel heavy enough. But oh, it was warm! SO WARM.

And I was not cold. Not even a little bit. Even when I had to get out of bed to change Evelyn’s wet bed, freezing in the midwinter night, I didn’t take an hour to defrost again.

I can honestly say, it has been the nicest two weeks of sleep testing ever.

Bonus points: I also got a handy new duvet cover to put on it. Pretty blue and silky soft, I have been watching Evelyn like a hawk, because she has a tendency to draw on everything and really, I’d like to avoid having to wash sharpie out of this.


I will also admit, I like the Danish connection. My grandmother’s family were from Denmark originally, arriving in Tasmania in the late 1800’s. So I’d like to say I feel a Danish connection. Plus, the Danish princess is a Tasmanian girl from Kingston, so surely that counts for something.

From the company:

Our patented products PIUMINI DANESI® pooq dene® have been produced  in the same factory at Lunderskov in Denmark for nearly 40 years.

The quality of our products steadily increased, year after year, due to the ever more demanding requirements from our high class Italian clients. Italy is well known as a famous textile country – world famous for its “Made in Italy” products. Our products have been developed and made in Denmark – but always for quality conscious Italian clients.

For instance, even today the Danes sleep with 2 single duvets on the matrimonial bed without worrying a lot about breathability and aesthetics – while the Italian customer wants an efficient product and an elegant appearance. An Italian couple want to cover their bed with a double duvet and would never dream of using 2 single duvets on their bed.

I have to admire the Danes – Nathan and I switched to sleeping under separate duvets a few years back, and it was probably the best thing I could have done for my marriage. We no longer fight over the blankets, he doesn’t kick all my covers off, and I don’t have to spend all night wrenching everything back off him.

Clearly the Danish people know what they’re doing when it comes to sleep.

My only regret here is that I don’t make enough money from the soap business to buy everyone in my house one of these duvets. I know Amy likes heavy blankets, but I think once she slept under one of these, she would change her mind. But I’m a terrible mother, because I’m not giving her mine. (I’m a much better mother when I don’t freeze all night)

You can check out all the duvets available for sale here at their website, or find them on Facebook here.

I know they’re expensive, but they’re an investment. The workmanship is so quality, short of being destroyed by scissors or fire, I can’t see the quilts needing replacing, ever.

None of the photos used were mine. I had plans to take lovely staged photos, until I remembered I live in the middle of a “renovators delight” and my bedroom walls need relining and painting, because there’s still texta on the walls from three years ago.

It’s very clear I am not a home living blogger, with all the fancy white walls and pretty bedrooms.

What I am however, is a very warm, very well rested soapmaker.


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My mother hates this photo, so now I'm taunting her with it.

My mother hates this photo of me (although she agrees Evelyn is adorable), so now I’m taunting her with it.

I took two of my slow release painkillers this morning, instead of staggering them morning and late afternoon. Normally I skip my late afternoon dose because they make it hard to sleep, but oh, the pain today, and the exhaustion. My ribs are sliding around under my skin like they’ve forgotten what they’re meant to be doing, and my knees ache and the bones slip slide slither around, not quite dislocating, but not feeling right either.

So I took two painkillers at once, hoping it would help – praying it would give me enough pain free time I could be motivated to do something, anything.

All of this would have been fine of course, but I’ve had some weird vague nausea, so maybe I didn’t eat as much as I should have today, which is probably why I felt my painkillers hit about 30 minutes after I finished eating dinner, approximately 10 hours after they were meant to start working.

This is why I’ve just finished hanging extra cold-defying blankets over all the windows (it’s meant to freeze overnight) and making a chocolate ripple cake with nutella cream, and maybe I’m about to go and cut the soap I made today. I’m maybe a little bit manic. However I am still in pain, so I’m not really sure what has been achieved.

Speaking of soap: the recipe today, ooooooh boy. I don’t quite remember it being this tricky last time I made it, but there I was, bashing down moulds and trying to poke all the air bubbles out as the soap set in front of my eyes. I tried to smooth it out, but there’s only so many abominations glitter can cover.

Cinnamon Vanilla soap

You can see the rapidly gelling centre (that’s the dark bit) and the weirdly textured top.

Luckily, the recipe is solid – one I’ve used a hundred times before – and the soap smells AMAZING (cinnamon vanilla), so provided it hasn’t separated in the centre, it should be presentable enough once I get it cut.

Soy wax I ordered arrived today. I seem to remember buying it with candles in mind, but I don’t seem to have bought any wicks, so maybe I was thinking of soap? I don’t know. I’m beginning to suspect our family’s tendency towards ADD did not actually skip me.

Anyway. Soy wax is beautiful because it’s actually 87% stearic acid, which means DUN DUN DAAAA, I can experiment with some beautiful high stearic shaving soaps, and maybe a cream soap or two. I steered well clear of pure stearic acid because it is, of course, derived from palm oil and I can’t very well be a palm oil free business if I sneak it in labelled differently.

Three new fragrance oils also showed up with the wax – again, I forgot the fragrance I intended to buy (French Pear – almost entirely sold out in three markets) and ended up with Grapefruit Lime (also sold out within a few markets, although I have some of the previous batch packaged in plastic still which is available online), Lavender Cucumber, which I must admit is my absolute favourite, and I can’t wait to make a few batches and debut it at markets, because the name sounds off putting, but it has to be the best scent. Sweet and slightly spicy, with cucumber notes and I don’t know, it’s just beautiful.

I also ordered 500ml of Cucumber Water, which is also divine, although strangely it arrived in 5 x 100ml bottles instead of one large one, which I’m sure cuts someone’s profit margins down somewhere along the line.

There’s a week until the anniversary of Nan’s death and I am alternately perfectly okay, and perfectly not okay, in equal measure. The weather is cold, our wood is running low (regular wood supplier has rather inconveniently taken himself off for a holiday in NSW, not that I can blame him) and I still don’t know if my attempts to repair the cracked fireplace has worked or not, as we can’t light the fire for another 24 hours. So, there’s that.

Death makes me scatty. Sadness makes me scatty. Painkillers which don’t kick in for too many hours make me scatty.

In any case, I made some soap, cooked a curry, and have managed to keep all my children fed, warm, clothed (sort of, Evelyn is a nudist in the making) and mostly entertained.

I’m going to call that a win for the next week.

Come on Spring.

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