We’re all sick of winter now, thanks

by Veronica on July 20, 2018

in Blogging

It’s been A Month. You know one of those months when you’re just holding on by your fingernails, and you’re already borrowing your springtime spoons in order to get through winter.

A Month.

A number of frustrating things – post-school term exhaustion led to health crashing during the holidays, because I just needed to be able to sleep past 6am for a few weeks straight. One of the children caught headlice. Everyone else was clear, but a metric ton of work is still a metric ton of work, even if you don’t need to triple it. It’s cold and grey and awful and we’re all suffering deeply from SAD.

Our build is progressing slowly, in an “insert maniacal laughter here” kind of way. Turns out, the support feet should have been concreted into the ground LIKE I SAID and they were not, so now we’re waiting for new parts to arrive from the mainland. In the meantime, there is a lovely mud pit for the dogs to bathe in (regularly) and I cannot wait for everything to be finished with a water tank collecting the rain instead of it pooling on the ground.


I saw the pain management clinic again, which has left me exhausted. Not in a bad way – to be honest, it was the most successful specialist appointment I’ve had in a number of years, but I’m still processing and it has been hard. Lots of mental work.

The last time I saw pain management, I had two very small children, I was mired in a quicksand of grief and exhaustion, and my diagnosis was still fairly new. The physiotherapist didn’t understand Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and got very angry with my inability to attend regular tai chi classes, and it all went to hell fairly fast.

This time, we were all on the same page. My local (amazing) physiotherapist and I had already worked out an exercise plan prior to seeing the pain management team, so I didn’t have to see their physio and risk having them misunderstand how the injury/dislocation/pain/recovery cycle works for me.

However I have been diagnosed with Central Sensitising Syndrome, which makes a lot of sense, and we will be working on managing my pain better and not “toughing things out” in order to try and reduce some of the sensory overload being caused by pain/dislocations/exhaustion.

So. There’s that.

It’s day four of Gabapentin now, which I seem to be tolerating much better than my disastrous trial of Lyrica. It’s helping with sleep, and I’m reminding myself that any side effects will ease as I adjust. On the up side, it doesn’t make me immediately sleepy, so a dose at 7pm sets me up fairly well for a normal bedtime.


We’ve got a few days of school holidays left, and while I am very much looking forward to some free hours again, I am dreading the early mornings. I am a much nicer person when I get to sleep until 7.30am every morning, rather than being woken by my alarm at 6.15 every day. Blech.

Everyone is desperate for springtime, and the easing of the cold dark. It hasn’t been as dreadfully icy as last year, but it’s just so bleak here in the middle of winter when it feels like it’s dark all the time. Applying indoor plants to all living spaces is only successful to a point.

But we’re almost a month past the solstice now, I have two hens laying eggs (and nine slacking), and my indoor plants are thriving. I will have fruit trees to plant next week, which always helps with mental health, and it’s almost time for Markets to begin again, which is nice for my financial health.

In the meantime, soap is still available online, and I really need to be making more stock ready for the lead-in to Christmas instead of hiding under a blanket reading books.

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Review for The Ginger People

by Veronica on April 14, 2018

in Sponsored Posts

No payment was received for this post, but products were provided in the interests of honest reviewing.


Back in February I was approached by a PR company for The Ginger People, and let me tell you, no one is more surprised by this than me. I stopped doing a lot of PR work many many years ago, before Evelyn was born and my last little bit of brain power trickled out of my ears.

Nowadays everything is soap, packaging, kittens, and chaos. Reviews are low on my to-do list.

However, ginger is one of my favourite things, seeing as how I eat antiemetics for breakfast, and still spend a lot of time nauseous. I was keen to try some of their travel sickness pills, and ginger syrup sounded like something I could use in soap, so here we are.

Ginger Rescue.

Chewable ginger tablets, meant to help with nausea. We received the original flavour, and the mango flavour, because Amy (now 11) has a lot of EDS related nausea and I was interested to have her try them.

Look, I liked them. They won’t replace a medically prescribed antiemetic if you’re chronically ill, but they were good to take the edge off before the nausea could really take hold.

Amy took mango flavoured tablets to her school camp to help with the hours on a bus, and she says they helped.

There are two tablets in each individually wrapped pouch, and they’re technically chewable, but I found them a bit hard on my teeth, so sucked them instead.

Be warned, the original flavour packs some serious bite, so if you don’t enjoy the ginger burn, or you have chronic reflux, or similar gastric issues, opt for the mango flavour instead. It still tastes good, and it’s much gentler on your mouth.

Gin Gins Super Strength

Tasty chewable ginger lollies, these have the consistency of chewy caramels, and are more like a sweet than a “rescue” tablet.

Again, quite a hit of ginger burn – none of my children enjoyed these – but I found them quite nice. Individually wrapped, they’re perfect for dropping at the bottom of my handbag along with all my other medications.

No, they will not stop an EDS-y/POTSy/Dysautonomia vomiting style crash, but for “normal people” nausea, I imagine they’d be quite useful. I like them of a morning before I’ve had time to register exactly how terrible I’m feeling. Also good when I’m out in public and not dying, but not feeling great either.

Ginger Syrup

Now we get to the good stuff.

I had been using this to add light ginger flavour to marinades, roasts, anything that could tolerate the “syrup” portion of the product. Because yes, this is syrup and it’s very sweet (mostly cane sugar). I had vague visions of adding some to soap, but then I worried about ginger on mucus membranes, and I figured … maybe not.

Then I got The Cold From Hell (which might have actually been flu) and in the last week, I have drunk half a bottle of this syrup added to Lemon and Honey drinks, and it is the absolute bomb. It is so so good.

My throat felt better and it had enough bite to add a lovely element to lemon honey drinks..

Downsides: the lid of the bottle dripped whenever I used it, no matter what I did, which made the bottle sticky.

Really that’s my only complaint.

I also received pickled ginger for use with sushi, but I haven’t had the spoons/energy to make sushi in the last month, so the jar remains unopened. Based on the quality of the other products, I doubt I’ll have any complaints about it.

So there it is.

The ginger syrup I will continue to buy with my own money, because it is an excellent product to have in your arsenal of cold fighting products, but I imagine it would also be delicious with pancakes, or scones and cream.

Products were provided in order to write this review. No money changed hands.


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I caved today and bought Facebook ads for my business. It’s one of those things – you work so hard to grow organic reach and engagement, and then everything tanks and you’ve got not option but to pay for advertising. It is what it is however, and paying Facebook to actually show my page to people probably isn’t akin to dancing with the devil, no matter how it feels like it.

Online sales have been slow for the last month. I know you’re not meant to admit things like this as a business owner, but there is it. October was a slow sales month in terms of online business, although the in-person business was quite brisk – between the Pop Up Shop and various markets, we did okay. Obviously nothing is making a profit yet, but the business is growing quite steadily, wholesale orders are increasing, and the feedback I’m receiving in person has been amazing, and quite gratifying.

It’s hard to make a profit in soapmaking I suspect. So much of what creates good soap actually takes a lot of money. Between the top quality oils and butters, the hand cut packaging, the time and effort, our profit margins are slim. And as the quantity of soap we sell increases, so does the quantity we make, in order to keep up.

If you’d told me 12 months ago that I would regularly be buying 20 litres of oils at a time, and spending more money than I care to think about on top quality essential oils and things like cocoa and shea butter, I might have looked a little shocked. But there it is.

Of course I could make soap with cheaper oils, but it wouldn’t be as nice, so I don’t.

The other side of selling online is keeping up with things like SEO, and promotion – but not too much promotion. Twitter and Facebook are great, but there’s a fine line in people’s minds between you sharing your journey and things they love, and pushing yourself upon them. One gains engaged interested followers, and the other makes them dump you like hot coals.

So, facebook ads. Obviously the goal is for Facebook to show my page to more people, thus increasing views and engagement, and maybe contributing to sales.

In the meantime, we’ll keep trundling along. The feedback I’m getting from markets has been great. I have lots of return customers, lots of people popping by to let me know they bought soap last time and they’re loving it, lots of people telling me my soap is the first thing they’ve found which doesn’t make their skin feel itchy and tight.

It’s gratifying to know that in a small way, I am making a difference in people’s lives. That something I’ve created, pulled together from scratch, makes someone happy in a small way. That the smells I blend, that the balms I make, that they help people.

It’s really really nice.

Even if I do have to pay facebook to keep it happening.


Today’s soap: Orange Blossom and Calendula Soap, with shea butter and coconut milk.

Orange Blossom and Calendula

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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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I received this in the mail today, which is kind of cool, on the surface.

Jamie's Garden


It’s filled with notes, recipes and spots for stickers, perfect for a slightly older child, or a strong reader. I think Amy will like it, but struggle to read it at the moment.

It also came with a terracotta pot which Eve promptly smashed. Toddlers. Don’t trust them. Luckily Kim Foale Ceramics has made me some pots which hold up to toddlers and actual growing things much better than crappy terracotta.


The seeds it came with. Tomato. In May. For Tasmania. Even watercress, or mustard would have been a more sensible choice. Or spring onions. Or parsley. Anything you can grow inside on a window ledge really, which isn’t tomatoes. Especially Grosse Lisse Tomatoes, which hate Tasmania.

Even more downside-y – my kid is allergic to tomatoes. I’m not picking at the company, but yeah, I kind of am. No tomatoes for us. Poor choice.

Also had a stuffed toy and a toy spade, which Eve commandeered immediately.

It’s a promotion for Woolworths, obviously, and while I think I like it better than the animal cards, or whatever the last thing was, I find the notion of providing collectable things for children in order to get kids to bug parents about shopping at Woolies, slightly less than ethical.

It causes people to go insane, and we have enough one-upmanship happening with kids as it is, without adding collectable swappable things to the mix.

Am I convinced?

I don’t think so. I like the theme of healthy eating they’ve got happening, but the execution needs work, especially as Woolworths is more invested in selling junk at low prices than providing healthy affordable options.

Unless of course you want to eat rice and beans, which hey, we might all have to in this current climate.

Now if Woolworths had sent better seeds, or better pots, or actual suggestions on growing a garden, coupled with a promise to drop prices on the food I want to eat, I might be more sympathetic. As it is, it feels like a cheap ploy to pretend to be interested in healthy food while promoting coke, chips and junk as the affordable options.

This post is kind of sponsored. I got stuff, and even though I didn’t have to write about it, I had ALL THE FEELS, so I guess I’m still promoting their new campaign and giving it space, even though it didn’t win me over.

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