Life

Today I have spent time on hold with three different companies chasing products I ordered.

So far the only success was TOLL IPEC discovering my castor oil was on board for early delivery, which I think was a bit magic because it didn’t get found until I complained. It still took over a week to fly from Sydney to Hobart, but DETAILS.

My shea butter is however, still missing. The seller’s postal service (it was posted from Senegal) says it reached Melbourne on the 10th June. Aus Post has no record of it and Customs, whom I feared had it, don’t.

Now we wait for the seller to instigate an investigation at her end. In the meantime, if you find 10kg of shea butter on the side of the road somewhere, it’s mine and I need it.

In the middle of all the chaos, I made 5kg of lemon soap with honey for a large pre-order.

There’s nothing scarier than working with large amounts of soap batter when it can decide to misbehave at any moment. Today everything played nicely and it’s now waiting to saponify and harden so I can cut. I had to tweak the recipe a little to make it softer initially, because DA DA DUUUN, I have a new soap cutter and it is amazing.

Isn’t it beautiful?

Frogpondsrock bought it for me as a business opening gift. I am in love.

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In other soap news, I’ve been making a lot, planning a lot, and working a lot.

Green Apple Soap with shea butter.

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And here is a photo of the eucalyptus and spearmint foot soap I mentioned in my last post. I hadn’t cleaned it up after cutting yet in this photo. It’s all put away and curing now, neat and tidy.

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It smells amazing and I can’t wait to try it out.

As a quick heads up, if you’re interested in large amounts of soap for Christmas presents, pre-ordering is your best bet to make sure I have the stock available. Two people have already. Email me to work out the details. If you order over 20 bars, you get wholesale prices.

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The natural evolution of a blog

by Veronica on May 12, 2014

in Life

I’ve been blogging for nearly six years now, starting when my first child was small and sleepless. I’ve watched blogging change, sat here through the rise of the sponsored content, seen the explosion of mummyblogs. I’ve spent hundreds of hours reading blogs, commenting, responding to emails.

I’ve written sponsored posts, attended brand events, excitedly accepted a swag bag full of crap I didn’t need. I’ve laughed and cried over blogging, made friends, made foes, found people I love and people I’d happily punch in the face.

This blog is not the same as it was when I began. It’s not the same as it was when my second child was born, or when my grandmother died of cancer, tearing our family apart, or when my third child was born needing extra attention.

I’ve blogged from hotel rooms, from conferences, from airports. I’ve blogged from hospital wards, from special care, from paediatrics, from chemotherapy wards. I’ve blogged from palliative care and from the waiting rooms of oh so many doctors.

I’ve pissed people off with my honesty. Made them change their views of me. Upset them with my refusal to shut up and be nice.

Six years of my life, documented in snippets, photographs and short stories. Triumphs and failures, excitement and heartbreak.

I haven’t been a mummyblogger in years now. My daughter starting school made me draw back, protecting her from prying eyes. Protecting all of us from prying eyes if I’m being honest. Things got quieter here as time passed. We adjusted to Evelyn’s difficulties and I stopped feeling the need to talk about everything non-stop.

All of this is okay. It’s the natural evolution of blogging. People change, grow up, move along. Six years is a long time in the blogging world which sometimes seems to flit around faster than a dragonfly.

My life is full and suddenly, there isn’t the time for the Internet there once was.

Again, this is okay. I am okay.

I spent two hours today melting down beeswax, straining it, and cooling it in sheets for easy slicing. I’ll add it to soaps and lip balms in the next few months.

The house smells like honey now, warm and inviting. There are soaps curing on top of my closet, all through the linen cupboards and in the bottoms of drawers. Some of my books will be going into storage to make way for soap. Bookshelves are handy places for curing soaps.

Life has changed. We’re busy getting this business off the ground, and when all I can think about it soap, and everything I ever do is soap related, it’s hard to keep a humorous parenting blog running.

So it’s fair to say there will be more soap stories here than child stories. Maybe a good thing; soaps can’t complain they’ve been embarassed at school, and if someone calls a soap ugly, no one cries. Except maybe me because they’re my baaaaaybeees.

Blogs change. People change.

I don’t want the same thing from this blog as I wanted two years ago.

Blogging in Australia has changed. The explosion of blogs has meant the very small tight knit and sometimes stifling community has branched out and gotten bigger. There’s more room to breathe now, although it’s harder to attract traffic when you can’t find the time to comment on the blogs you like.

Things are different, and that’s normal. It’s not a bad thing. To be honest, I got sick of saying the same things over and over about the same topics. Ethics, criticism, blogging. It’s all white noise and people are going to meltdown over things no matter what I say.

This space is changing and I am okay with that.

Beeswax.

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Sexpo Hobart: A startlingly straight affair

by Veronica on April 6, 2014

in Life

The music was pumping, the bass line hitting straight to my gut as we walked through the doors. Resisting the urge to giggle like a little girl, we moved slowly through the packed crowd staring avidly at the stage. A boy who looked to be bitterly regretting his choice of skinny jeans that morning lay on the stage while a dancer clad in a sparkly g-string and bra combo mimed giving his crotch CPR.

It looked uncomfortable, but the crowd lapped it up and the dancer took their adoration and played it for all it was worth.

Next thing you know there’s boobs out everywhere and all I could think was “she needs a bigger bra. That one’s left marks all over her.”

It was Sexpo Hobart and Frogpondsrock and I were there to show our support after the ranty conservatives had taken up all the media space talking about what a disgrace it was.

To borrow a line from my friend: “How DARE consenting adults enjoy themselves. FOR SHAME.”

He was being sarcastic. The conservatives were not.

The stage show continued and we watched for a bit, right up until she began pornstaresque masturbation on stage and the drooling from the men around us became untenable.

We cut through the crowd obviously enjoying the show. I threw a glance back over my shoulder and saw the dancer had been joined on stage by a couple of her friends who were helping her pull aside her g-string.

A quick look around the exhibitors and there were a lot of sex toys on display. Showbags gave patrons unwilling to showcase their preferences to passersby a chance to buy a “cheeky” gift, while pretending it was all for novelty value. I had a good look inside the bags, but for $60, I want more for my money than one vibrator and a selection of gag toys and fluffy handcuffs.

Bored boys stood around in loincloths, waiting for their stage time to roll around, while the topless dancers took photos with horny yet uncomfortable young men. Pricasso painted surprisingly good portraits with his penis, although I did spend a bit of time wondering if he’s well calloused, or if his penis gets sore.

Three circuits later and I was feeling jaded. Lots of toys being promoted which I’ve heard on the grapevine aren’t exactly user friendly, and lots of plastic junk I wouldn’t put anywhere near my vagina, no matter how desperate I was.

There were some toys I thought reasonably priced and nicely ergonomic. So I bought one. I also stocked up on lube – the good kind, not the shitty KY jelly we all start out fucking with until we realise it’s a giant pain in the tacky arse.

But it didn’t take me long after I left to work out what my problem with Sexpo had been.

For a convention promoting safe sex, open sex, consenting sex, it was surprisingly straight. One small stall held the typical gimp style kink gear, but kink and fetish weren’t readily visible.

Also, for all the vibrators, the dildos, the bullets, the giant fisting hands, I only saw one anal toy and it was a serious fetish toy, not something for general use. And maybe I missed it. Maybe there was a stall filled with anal beads and butt plugs and I just didn’t see it amongst the crowds. Maybe there was a huge gay presence and I didn’t notice because I’m straight and wasn’t looking.

Maybe all of those things.

But I can’t shake the feeling Sexpo could have been something more and it wasn’t.

It felt like a convention to encourage people to experiment, but only with vaginas. For women to buy a vibrator. For young single men to get up close with a sexy dancer they weren’t allowed to touch.

It felt startlingly straight.

I’m glad I went and saw, like the eternally curious writer I am. I’m glad I got to watch how people move in space like that (without making eye contact and with lots of nervous giggling, if you’re curious).

I’m glad I supported what Sexpo is, with an open mind.

But honestly, I’d have liked to see it being more supportive of different lifestyles, of different choices, and of different people.

Maybe next time.

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The problem with soap making

by Veronica on March 26, 2014

in Life,Soapmaking

There are a lot of problems with taking up soap making as a hobby.

First: So many soaps. So little time.

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Lemon soap – pre gel phase. It went an interesting translucent green colour after gelling.

[Gelling is when a soap heats up through the magic of science. The process of saponification speeds up, changing the oil water emulsion into soap a little faster. You can avoid gel and many soapmakers do, but it takes longer for your oils to saponify and let's face it, I'm impatient.]

The thing with gelling, is it can make a previously pretty soap an ugly colour for a bit.

Like this, which is the yellow soap post-gel:

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Luckily I have a soap I made previously which was this same colour, but since curing has gone yellow again.

SCIENCE.

Also, water evaporation.

This one is my favourite to handle and smell at the moment. It’s a honey chai soap, coloured with red oxide.

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The other problem with soaps is finding somewhere to cure them all. They’re in Evelyn’s bedroom at the moment, because she has the in-built cupboards.

This means that mostly Eve’s room smells awesome. But at the moment, the current curing smells of lemon mixed with apple mint are a bit headache inducing.

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The apple mint soap smells amazing, but it’s also really strong because it’s so new. In another week, it should have mellowed a little. In the meantime, I’m keeping her door closed.

She however, adores the smells. Requesting to smell all the soaps every day and sighing happily. Clearly she’s not really my baby and hasn’t inherited my sensitivity to smell.

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The final problem with soap making is it’s actually a bit of an expensive hobby. Between moulds (I’m using a lunchbox, and since I went to the hardware store yesterday, a length of PVC pipe cut in thirds, but I lust over a custom built wooden loaf mould), and fragrances, and colourings, and additives, it all adds up.

Thankfully, there’s a large cross over between ceramic ingredients and soap making supplies, so I’ve managed to just raid Mum’s studio a few times for added colours. Thanks Mum.

But seriously, it can be expensive. Especially in the beginning where you can’t sell anything yet because you don’t know how your recipes will hold up with regular use.

Also, there’s a fair amount of governmental red tape to jump through if and when I decide I do want to sell soaps. I have to register with NICNAS as a chemical manufacturer, which is technically correct, but makes it sound like I’m cooking up meth in my bathroom, not soaps. As well as product liability insurance.

It’s a fun hobby though, and I’m thoroughly enjoying myself.

I made a red and yellow swirled soap today which I am praying both works (it should totally work) and comes out of it’s mould (first use of the PVC pipe and I’m TERRIFIED). No photos yet, it’s been put to bed to insulate until tomorrow.

But fingers crossed, right?

Also, how adorable is that photo of Nat and the two younger kids?

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Does solar save you money?

by Veronica on March 25, 2014

in Life

I’m asking here. We got solar just before summer and so far, while it’s made a bit of a difference, it’s not a huge difference.

Firstly, we bought our solar panels on a payment plan. This was probably our first big mistake, but not having a large sum of money tucked away, it was our only option. With the maths we were provided, it all looked amazing on paper. (It always does, right?) What we were repaying each fortnight was equal to what we’d been spending on Pay As You Go power, so we weren’t going to be any worse off.

Our first power bill after having the panels installed therefore, was a bit of a shock. We’d expected a small bill, but $300 for 50 days?

I think my jaw fell open and stayed there for days.

We enquired some more. Why weren’t we covering as much power as we thought we would? What was going on?

Had we made a giant mistake?

Read the rest at Money Circle.

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