Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy 1st Birthday Soaperstar!

Monday 1st November, is our 1st Birthday!!!

I cannot believe it's exactly one year since we started, it seems no time at all. I was SO nervous when I launched our website, I wanted everyone to love our products as much as we love them. 

It's been a great year, I couldn't have asked for better and I so want to say a huge big fat THANK YOU to each and everyone of our customers and supporters cos we just couldn't have done it without you!!!

To celebrate our birthday, we giving a 10% discount on all orders placed through our online store between 12:01 am and 12:00 midnight on Monday 1st November! (The 10% will be refunded to your PayPal account and the discount is not applicable to P+P costs). We'll be keeping the current special offers for a whole range of soaps going for the day too!  Two fabulous ways to celebrate our big day with us and a great way to save some money on your Christmas shopping too!

Feel free to leave Happy Birthday messages in the Comments Section below!

Winter Wonderland - Adventures in Soaping

Well, I've not made soap in well over a week and I was having withdrawal symptoms.  Also, hubs and I have had a very tough week this week plus I had a soaping competition entry to make so, when I woke at 8.30 am on Saturday, unlike most sane people in the world who turn over and go back to sleep, I got up and made soap!

The competition's theme is "Winter Wonderland" and I firstly did some research on Facebook and asked everyone what they thought when I said Winter Wonderland.  Out of the tons of answers, there seemed to be two themes - red/gold and spicy and white/blue/silver and fresh, minty fragrances.  Initially I tried the gold and spicy view which was lovely but didn't say Winter Wonderland to me.  Regular readers will have read about my recent Orange Spice cold process soap.  So I decided I'd try my hand at the white/blue/silver look.

I checked online and found a fabulous new fragrance oil I'd not tried before - it was a US one (which I can't use for items for sale due to EU regulations but I can use for personal projects) that I loved the sound of (it's described as having top notes of eucalyptus, spearmint, wild rose and dew fresh ferns leading to snow pines, blue jasmine magnolia and white lilies finishing with a base of white musk, balsam and sandalwood).. no idea how it would perform and despite posts on an US based soap forum, nobody could tell me. A universally untried fragrance, oh I am brave!  You may know that some fragrance oils (and essential oils too) can react with the lye in cold process soap and start the whole saponification reaction (the chemical process where fats are turned into soap due to the reaction with lye) very quickly ... so you can end up with, literally, soap on a stick!

So, I set up everything ... weighed out my lye and water and made that up, with added silk for a luxury touch.  Weighed out my hard butters/oils and melted them and poured the whole lot into the fluid oils.  Mixed my titanium dioxide (a colouring element that helps the soap stay nice and white - some soaps will naturally be shades of cream, yellow or green depending on the base oils used) and keep that close by me.  Put my fragrance oil beside it alongside the bottle of blue cosmetic colour.  One of the most important things about soaping is to have everything ready, to hand for when you need it ... it's a really BAD idea to forget something and have to go running as your soap is beginning to set on your stick blender!

Anyway, I got everything all ready and sorted, nicely prepped. I wanted to do a pale baby blue and white soap and I had imagined maybe a nice delicate swirl or two.  I checked my temperatures were ok, added the fragrance oil to my oils and poured my lye/silk water in.  I mixed a little with a handwhisk and then mixed with the stick blender.  All as usual up til now.  But then, Oh Boy. Can we say the thickest of thick custard in a world of the thickest custard you've ever imagined? The stainless steel bowl I was mixing it all in even felt hot! The soap was setting up quicker than anything I've made to date. 

So, I decided, that it wasn't going to beat me! So I stick blended it until I was sure everything was well mixed (including the titanium dioxide) - now we were at the mega thick custard stage! I then added half of the now white soap batter to a bowl with 2 drops of blue liquid colour and mixed that with a spatula. The white was setting up fast and furious, the now blue soap was doing the same - I had sweat on my brow! So I had to drop portions of blue and then portions of the white soap into the mould and then banged the mould on the work surface about 15 times (I'm sure I woke up everyone in the house at that stage!).  I had to make sure that I got everything in the corners and leave no air pockets.  I then layered the last of the blue and white (really mega thick by now) on top and swirled them as best I could with my spatula.  The last thing I did was generously dust it with sparkling silver mica to represent the crisp ice sparkling in the sunlight.

I fully suspected it wasn't going to work and it would be back to the drawing board for this one.

However...... I got up early on Sunday morning too and decided to cut it and see.  And what did I find? One beauty of a soap! And one that, I think, says Winter Wonderland to me far more than some wispy swirls do.. I wanted something reminiscent of the cold, fresh air the hits your lungs when you walk out on a snowy Winter’s day and I think this one achieves that nicely – it smells so much of clean, fresh air, and it is almost icy.  I think the blue/white pattern is reminiscent of a glacier in wintertime.

Personally, Winter Wonderland says snow topped moutains, that crisp crunchy sound of the new snow underfoot and the wonderful scent of fresh air, pines and, ultimately, a clean cool peacefulness.

So, for your visual pleasure, I present my Winter Wonderland:

The blue swirl looks like a ski slope!

I just love the silver mica glistening against the blue and white top - so reminds me of Winter

This is the soap straight out of the mould - a few air bubbles from the speed of trying to get it into the mould!

The competition is being sponsored by and details of the competition can be found at

Voting begins on 16 November and I'll be doing a new blog post then to ask you all to vote for my soap, if you don't mind that is!

I'd really really love to win this - not because of the prize but because I've only been making cold process soap for less than two months but researching it for far far longer and I'd adore it if my soap, the one I worked long and hard to make and which I had to beat into submission and won, actually won! It'd be such a lovely recognition for me!

Thanks for reading ... as ever, if you'd like to comment, please feel free. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What Women Know

Last night, I was proud to attend the launch event for a new book called What Women Know.  This was the brainchild of two writers, Michelle Jackson and Juliet Bressan - they set up a Facebook page and posed various questions to their fans to research women's views on a huge variety of subjects.  I was proud and happy to be a member of this group and I happily gave my views.  I was delighted when I was contacted and asked if some of my quotes could be used in the final book! I'm really happy to say that they used four of my quotes in the end - two attributed to me as Celine and two as Honey (my regular internet AKA name!). 

One of these quotes related to Beauty Truths & Beauty Myths.  As I make bath and body products, I couldn't not post something! I thought I'd share my post with you ...

"I think the cosmetic surgery industry plays on our innate fears of our own physical and mental view of ourselves and manipulates them so that we think we're not good enough... it makes us judge ourselves against some supposed societal views of the norm that are damaging emotionally, physically and metnally.  Whislt there is always the case for plastic surgery for those who actualy require it (burns victims, etc), I don't believe that this cynical marketing used by cosmetic surgery firms should have a place outside of medical requirements.

It is a total myth that more expensive cosmetics will be better for you - and I should know, as I make my own! My other life is making handcrafted soap and body buttters but I also make my own facial moisturisers, shampoo and cleansing oils - and my skin has never been better! I wash my face every day with the soap I make and cleanse every night with my cleansing oil and use my own moisturiser daily.  Last week four people said, "How the hell do you look younger today?".  I was chuffed! I think treating your skin well and with care will not only make it feel good, but you'll feel good about yourself too and people will notice and comment and you'll feel great.  There's a lot to be said about loving yourself enough to treat yourself well but that does not have to mean expensive lotions and potions!
Celine, 42, cosmetics manufacuter, County Dublin"

I really wanted to share this book and this quote with you as it's so applicable to the work I do with Soaperstar.  The book is an amazing read and I totally recommend it to any woman ... it's great to see that so many of us think so alike and that none of us are alone in our views. 

If you'd like to join the What Women Know Facebook page, click here - if you'd like to buy a copy of the book, click here - and if you'd like to purchase any of our Soaperstar products, click here for our online store.  You can join our Soaperstar Facebook page here

Congrats to Michelle and Juliet who've proven that women know they are powerful, beautiful people who have so much to say!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Christmas... it's not as far away as you think!

Ok, did that scare you?! Sorry! Christmas is less than 11 weeks, not that long away... if you want to get a headstart on your Christmas shopping, do it in the comfort of your own home and grab yourself a bargain. 

We are offering a whole range of our fantastic luxury goatsmilk and glycerine soaps at a discounted price - check out for details.  Shop from your own armchair and treat yourself and your family (or, in the case of some of our customers, just themselves because they don't want to give away the soaps when they buy them) to some luxury handmade soaps!

Check out our fab Sheer Luxury Body Butters plus our new released Sheer Luxury Lip Butters which are recieving rave reviews from all our customers!

Go on, treat yourself today! Avoid the hassle of Christmas shopping and take advantage of our special offer now at

Monday, October 18, 2010

Orange Spice - more cold process experiments!

Yet another cold process soap experiment - this used possibly the simplest recipe yet but with fabulous skin loving oils such as a Sweet Almond Oil and Olive Oil.  It also has my favourite pure silk as this gives such a incredible feel to the final soap and it's sooooooo luxurious too! This could be one of my final "loving it" recipes!

I present ... Orange Spice! Ok, I will admit that this is how it was supposed to look.  I wanted soomething along the lines of Winter Wonderland.  Like any good soaper, I decided to do some research and asked what does Winter Wonderland to you... mostly I got the answer blue/silver/white or red/green/gold.  So I thought.. hey, lets mix it up and go with white and gold. 

Now, what fragrance would go with this? I took the suggestions of spice and warmth and made this with two blends - one of Sweet Orange and May Chang essential oils added to a second blend of Ginger and Cinnamon fragrance oils.  This have given me a sweet orangey warm spicy fragrance - totally perfect to match the wonderful golden shimmery orange colour. 

Ok, some pics .. I'll talk you through them.

Here is the soap in the mould still.  You can see the I gently swirled the top layer - then I dusted it with gold cosmetic glitter plus shimmer mica plus gold mica, this is a heavy metal soap baby!

Out of the mould but not yet cut - you can see that the base is a creamy white colour (actually slightly more yellow than the photo shows; this is because of the golden olive oil I used)

Some cuts slices - you can see the depth of colour in the topping, this comes from the mix of silver and gold mica with extra silver and gold plus gold glitter on top (if any of you saw my post on Facebook that I was covered in glitter, you'll understand it now!)  I love the sheen of this, I could look at this picture all day.

Ok two cut pics, face on - you can see the gentle swirl I tried.  I like this but I know I didn't colour enough soap in the golden colour to make a full swirl.  Next time, colour more! I love the smiley on the left hand soap - so cute!

On these two pictures, you can see the glittery, sheeny topping with the gentle swirl - I am loving this soap so much. 

I have to say that the soap smells so good - is it a Winter Wonderland? Nope, it definitely isn't but you know what, it's totally Awesome Autumn! I adore the pumpkiny colour and the sweet spicy citrus fragrance is just divine and totally matches the colours of the soap.

So, welcome to Autumn - next try will be Winter Wonderland! Please feel free to leave a comment. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New Logo!

You might have noticed I've been changing the design of the blog a little lately - this is to make way for our new logo, which we launched today!

There are two new versions - with our tagline as above, and without, shown below - this will give us more choice to use the logo in different places.

Really hope you like the new logo - we felt it was a far more contemporary look for the brand.  All comments are welcome! We'll be redesigning our packaging to reflect the change too - which means more pics to come in the following weeks!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Vanilla Anise

Yet another adventure in cold process soapmaking.  This one is Vanilla Anise which is described as a blend of rare vanilla orchid blossom with the spicy accent of anise and the warmth of vetiver, amber and clove, creating an unexpected, modern vanilla story. To my nose, the aniseed comes out first and foremost, which is a very good thing as far as I'm concerned, as I love, love, LOVE it!

This soap is made with Sweet Almond Oil, Cocoa Butter and Shea Butter with added pure tussah silk.. a totally divine combination! It is coloured using titanium dioxide for the base to whiten it (for the vanilla aspect) and Blackstar Blue mica to give it a dark, midnight feel to match the aniseed fragrance. 

In the mould, full of lovely swirlies!

First cut - cut too early, not quite ready (but how beautiful is that top?!!)

 Lovely swirls but not cut on it's side so the dark colour is dragging through the white
This one has a tinch of titanium dioxide not quite fully mixed in

Ohhh this one is just beautiful - cut on the side and just lovely

A group shot!

Hope you liked these pictures, I really enjoyed making this - it should be cured by mid to late November and I cannot wait to try it out; really hoping the fragrance will have stayed because the whole curing room smells of it now and it's divine!!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Bathing Luxuries

I've been working on adding various new products to the range - a scrub (various experiments with using salts or sugar or a combo of both, for me the sugar is winning so far).  I'm nearing conclusion on that and I'm loving what I'm made so far - a great blend of creaminess and scrubbiness with a wash off ability that means you don't feel like a greasy mass but there's just a enough of the fabulous oils left on your skin to make it feel super soft - and silky of course because you've just exfoliated all that horrid dry skin off.  But, I have to admit, I don't have pictures of these.  Yes, sorry, I know... I should know better - what is a blog without pics right?!  Soon, soon my pretties!

But.. I do have pics of my latest experiements in bathing glory - creamers! Creamers are basically like little bath bombs but with butters used instead so they're extra moisturising.  Some people like bombs just to fizz and that's it, others like a product that helps moisturise the skin either very lightly or a lot.  Creamers, made with the right blend of ingredients, should make you feel like your skin is drinking up the buttery goodness of Shea Butter and Sweet Almond Oil but also so you don't feel too greasy afterwards.  They fizz gently and release the fragrance into the air (and your bath) as they fizz.  I've used Calendula petals with these as they're just so lovely - imagine, a fragrant scented bath, with floating floral petals that will envelope your skin with the goodness of shea and sweet almond oil... yep, they are that good!!

So for a picture:

These are testers for now - the formulation needs a little tweaking but it's almost so right - I used one last night, so lovely, my skin felt amazing afterwards. 

Now I'm on the hunt for different types of flower petals and looking to see what else I can use with them.... any ideas, please feel free to comment.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Meningitis - be aware!

Meningitis can be a devastating disease and can kill in hours - but, if caught in time, it can be treated very successfully.  The key is being aware - knowing the symptoms and acting quickly.  I've had meningitis five times in total; very unusual most definitely, but have recovered completely every single time.  I am here today because the symptoms were known, recognised and treated quickly. 

Meningitis is the inflammation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord. It can appear out of nowhere, when you least expect it.  The initial symptoms can appear to be flu like - headache and aches.  Any sensitivity to light/vomiting or the appearance of a stiff neck MUST be investigated and soon. 

The Meningitis Research Foundation works to support research into the illness and develop medication to help prevent it.  Their website has a Book of Experience - the stories of people who've suffered from the illness.  My story is there.  A proud survivor - never a victim.

Key symptoms are:
  • Fever / vomiting
  • Severe headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Dislike of bright lights
  • Very sleepy / vacant / difficult to wake
  • Confused / delirious
  • Rash
  • Seizures
I suffered from all of these bar the rash and seizures - the last time I had it, in the space of 20 minutes I went from suffering from a headache to being barely conscious.  Fortunately, by the time this happened, I was already in hospital (I knew that, the second I had a headache with vomiting, it's time to get to the hospital, as quickly as I could). 

Make sure you learn the symptoms, keep an eye out for them - if you suspect someone you know is showing symptoms, get them to the hospital immediately.  It's better to look like you've over-reacted than not.  This is a life and death situation - looking like an idiot will be the least of your problems!

Be aware, learn the symptoms, get treatment immediately - it's key to survival. 

If you'd like to support the Meningitis Research Foundation, check out their website - they could always take more help! They have some great Christmas cards or you can donate online, by post, or by phone .. check out all the ways you can donate here

Monday, October 4, 2010

Mintilla (aka Sweet Mint)

I promised you cut pics! And I deliver! But I decided a nicer name for this soap was Sweet Mint - my husband said Mintilla sounded a little too much like a Japanese Mint flavoured monster (Mintilla - Godzilla - get it?!).

So, for your soapy visual delectation, cut pictures of Sweet Mint:

Just straight out of the mould

Cut Picture No. 1 - cool white and minty green - perfect Mint & Vanilla colours

Cut Picture No. 2 - I love the swirls but the crumbly-bum annoyed me (yes, I'm very picky!)

I love this - so white and minty coloured - perfect colours for the fragrance blend


I love this fragrance and it'll be interesting to see how it lasts during cure.  The recipe was mostly hard butters/oils which is why it set up so quickly (nearly ended up with soap in a bowl!) and why I got the crumbly-bum on the end of the slices - no matter, I know how to remedy that. 

Hope you like the cut pictures - really loved making this soap and the fragrance is just beautiful!

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Just showing you photos of my new, experimental, cold process soap - I say experimental because I'm trying out different recipes, fragrance combinations etc to see what one I like the best. 

Mintilla is a fantastic blend of Peppermint & Spearmint essential oils softened with a tinch of Vanilla - this helps sweeten the mints beautitfully.  I found this fragrance purely by tidying up - I had a peppermint foot scrub and vanilla body butter, just bits of each so I threw them all together and boy, it was fabulous! I've been meaning to make something that smells just like this for an age.

This soap has Cocoa Butter, Shea Butter and Sweet Almond Oil and, for extra luxury and cos I just love the idea of it, added pure silk (yep, real honest to God silk ... luxury I tells ya!).  It's coloured with a tinch of Apple Green POP mica (specially imported from the States - and I've put more on order) which I mixed with a little of the raw soap to give it that minty green, soft pastel colour. 

I decided to swirl in lines this time .. the plan is that, when I come to cut it, each slice will have its very own swirls.

I'll post up pics when this is cut - it'll be tomorrow or Monday at least - currently sitting in it's mould in the fridge!

Thanks for looking - please feel free to leave me a comment if you like it!
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