Life

I probably ought to watch less Netflix.

by Veronica on November 3, 2015

in Life

I packed 80 soaps this afternoon while I watched Gilmore Girls, and if I’m lucky, I’ll get to pack another 80 soaps after dinner, as well as making the soap I’ve been putting off because my 3yo has decided she needs to “help” with everything I do. For the record, soap making is not conducive to being “helped” by a 3yo.

Especially not when you’re attempting a pretty swirl with a new fragrance you know is going to thicken fast. What can I say, I like to live dangerously.

Interestingly, Eve likes cooking. Way more than the other two kids ever did. She likes rolling dumplings and icing cakes and helping to peel potatoes. She also likes putting stickers on soap and throwing freshly labelled lip balms into bags, but cooking is her Big Thing. If she can sit on the bench and watch the eggs cook – that is her happy place.

Of course she doesn’t want to eat the eggs, but if I can just cook them over and over, that would be great. Bonus points if we can collect them too – although we need to start being faster than the dogs, who have discovered eggs are as fun as balls, only they’re delicious when you crack them.

Not my favourite.

Not my chicken’s favourite either, because Heidi also likes to chew on them if we’re not careful, but there it is.

Only a quick post today, while I wait for dinner to finish cooking and my children to begin to settle down for the night. I am strung out and stretched thin and bedtime for them, and Netflix for me is a happy hour here. Although I really ought to be working more and watching Netflix less. Details.

Whoever thought that starting a business while also parenting three children would be a good idea? Clearly I am a deluded idiot.

But at least I make really nice soap, so there’s that.

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Two things: Markets, and Not Having More Children

by Veronica on October 31, 2015

in Life

Two things:

1:

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I did a market last night and lip balms were SOHOTRIGHTNOW. One little girl bought a lip balm and then suddenly, I had swarms of girls at the stall, buying and smelling and chattering.

It was so lovely.

It’s really interesting to me how there are giant runs on things during markets. I won’t sell bath salts for three markets, and then suddenly, every bath salt will sell out during the next market. Often customers don’t realise that previous customers have bought the same thing.

It’s a phenomenon. Is it something in the air? Does everyone get infected with the “I MUST HAVE THIS ONE THING” air as they walk into a market? No one knows.

It’s the same with soap smells. Some days, everyone wants sandalwood. The next market, everyone is into the fruity smells. Then we’ll have a run on florals. But when a soap is hot, it’s so hot and I’d better hope I have it in stock.

(Unlike the market where everyone wanted woodsy smells and the new soaps were still curing. whoops.)

Anyway. Lip balms. I need to go restock all of my market lip balms because seriously – I sold so many. Montagu Bay Primary School is going to be awash in my lip balms for a while.

I also won fourth prize in the raffle, so it made it extra worthwhile. A 60 minute massage gift voucher. Very apt, considering my physical state lately.

2:

My smallest child dressed herself this morning, including putting her own shoes on.

Then she used the toilet. Alone. Without my help. Including washing her own hands.

She’s not a baby anymore, and I am so so thankful for that. I can understand other mothers bemoaning the loss of their tiny babies, but I am not one of them. I have a smooshy baby nephew to snuggle, but my own children are growing up, growing into themselves. I feel like I can breathe again and it’s so very nice.

People still ask if I’m planning on having more children.

“But you’re so young! You’ll be desperate for another when you’re in your 30’s.”

Look guys, my husband had a vasectomy. MY HUSBAND. A VASECTOMY. We took permanent steps to remove more children from our future.

“Ah, but you never know what will happen, hey? Right?” wink wink, nudge nudge.

You’re either implying my husband is going to divorce me and I’m going to find a new man and have more children, or what? What exactly are you implying there? That my uterus rules my life and I can’t possibly just decide to not have more children? That not having more children determines my worth?

I don’t even know.

Last time I checked, sperm doesn’t magically fly through the air impregnating random women, so I think I’m pretty safe here in my sub-fertile little bubble.

Thanks though. Nice to know that whether or not I have more children is a burning concern of yours.

Hmmf.

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Enforced time off. Boo, hiss..

by Veronica on October 29, 2015

in Life

Sometimes, I really dislike my body.

For those who have been reading here for quite a while, you’ll know that I have a disabling genetic collagen disorder (Ehlers Danlos Syndrome). The issue with this is, despite physio, despite eating well, despite attempting to sleep 8 hours every night, sometimes I have to push myself a little harder than I should, in order to do something I want to do.

This results in a health crash, which leaves me feeling like death warmed over, barely functioning. When my health is crashing, I count getting dressed and managing to feed myself to be an accomplishment. Having three children means I also have to feed them, which is doubly an accomplishment.

I’m on day three of enforced rest, which is probably going to drive me insane, but there you go. Turns out, when you spend two weeks running a shop in Salamanca (even though I wasn’t down there every day, thanks Mum) it’s a little damaging to already precarious health.

Shop sitting was ultimately quite productive, but exhausting. So exhausting. I finished the time there, knowing I would have nine days off, which weren’t really days off when I sat down and did a stock take, and realised just how much soap I’d actually sold.

(It was a lot of soap. A LOT.)

Nine days off is not many days when you’ve also got to catch up on soap making, packaging, and paperwork, alongside all of the family things I let slide while I was working. So I worked for the first five days of my “time off”, before my health went bottoms up and I had to sit down and stop.

It’s very clear that traditional work would probably actually kill me if I attempted it, so here I am, in business for myself. Or not, because I’m taking time off. Forcing myself to sit down, watch Netflix, catch up on paperwork and things I can do laying down, and letting my body recover.

(Side note: it’s not actually working so well, which is concerning considering I have a Twilight market tomorrow night.)

On the upside, I think, maybe, I should have enough stock to see me through the November markets. Probably. If I’m lucky. The curing shelves are (mostly) full, and other things can be made quickly in large batches when I’m feeling better.

On the downside, December markets are looking shaky, unless I magically feel better on Saturday, and regain all my lost muscle tone and manage to make it through a day without needing anti-emetics to make me stop wanting to throw my guts up.

So classy. So businesslike.

I keep looking at the things I need to restock, and the goat’s milk in the fridge which needs using, and having to remind myself that if I push through right now and do too many things, I’ll send myself out of commission for a month, rather than the three days I’ve made myself sit down and rest.

It’s a balancing act, and it’s hard work sometimes. Juggling the things I want to do, against the things I am physically capable of doing. There’s a disconnect and it’s a struggle to reconcile the two things.

But there you go.

Resting.

Upside: The online shop is now incredibly up to date with soaps, so if you want to buy Christmas Presents, now is a great time.

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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.

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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?

 

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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

 

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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?

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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.

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