2 May 2012

Maytime at Present Perfect

Hello and welcome to Maytime!

Competition Winner
The lucky winner of our 5th Birthday/National Stationery Day competition was Helen McDonald, seen here collecting her prize on 1 May. We received 33 entries in total, 30 of which had all the correct answers, and Helen's name was the first one drawn out of the hat (well plastic bag really!) by a very obliging customer on 25 April. Five runners-up were also drawn and they were: J Chalmers, C Green, T McQuillan, M Malcolm and D Milne. Helen was thrilled with her prize and was looking forward to learning more about Charles Dickens from Claire Tomalin's acclaimed biography as well as viewing the DVD collection and using her new Autograph pen and the stationery items. Congratulations to her and the runners-up and a big Thank You to everyone who entered. (The answers are set out at the foot of this newsletter.)

WoodWick 'Escape' Offer
Buy a 9.5oz candle in the WoodWick Escape range and Save £5 on a second candle of similar size from any of the other WoodWick ranges. Escape has fourteen fabulous fragrances and with even more in the Classic, Gallerie, Trilogy and Wood Essence ranges you'll be spoilt for choice! Of course, they all have the famous wooden wick that crackles gently as it burns. (Offer subject to availability.) See lower down for our second May offer.
Supplier Spotlight on Planet Soap
Just in time for Easter we received a supply of wonderful handmade soaps from Jill Flye, the lady behind Planet Soap. We wanted to tell you more about Jill and her products so we asked her a whole lot of questions! After many years in 9-5 office work, Jill started Planet Soap two years ago after a little experimenting making soap gifts for family and friends. Her home-based business is in Winchburgh, near Edinburgh.

Says Jill: "I have always loved essential oils and been interested in aromatherapy, but the main Eureka moment was when a young intern described to me how he had once made soap, and sold it to raise money for charity. Something clicked into place. It may sound odd, but I knew pretty much there and then that I wanted to make essential oil soaps for a living. As soon as I had the opportunity I started experimenting. Soon after that I enrolled myself onto an intensive course on cold process soap-making. I set up Planet Soap a couple of months later, selling at craft fairs and online, and became a full time soap-maker just over a year after that.

I make my soaps in 1 kilo 'loaves'. In soapmaking the kilos refer to the weight of the oils. A 'one kilo loaf' in fact makes a minimum of 11 or 12 100g bars, as other ingredients such as water and botanicals are added. 'Batch' refers to a particular pot/mix of soap. It is a required way of recording exactly what has gone into any bar of soap, so only one variety of soap can be made per batch. As I have such a wide range of soaps, and as I make them by hand in my home workshop, my batches are still relatively small - betweeen 2 kilos and 6 kilos. I will make several batches - up to 20 kilo loaves - in a typical soapmaking session.

The soap is pretty much 'cured' - ie converted from fatty acids and alkalis into gentle soap - in about 24 to 48 hours, but it then needs to dry out and firm up quite a bit before being wrapped. After about three weeks drying out naturally on wooden shelves, it becomes a good, firm bar of soap, ready to be wrapped and sold.

Soapmaking is my number one passion. I like to use natural moisturizers with essential oils, and I do sometimes dream about getting a co-ordinated range of soaps and moisturizers together. However if I ever get a bit of time when I could be learning about making moisturizers, I find myself coming up with a new soap instead. In the interests of being environmentally friendly, and skin-friendly, I keep to high quality natural plant-based ingredients. No parabens, animal fats or other added nasties. I only use essential oils for fragrance and where I use colour it comes from roots, seeds and leaves."

Having tried several bars ourselves we can certainly vouch for the quality and fragrance of Planet Soap. Many customers ask what the lovely perfume is as they enter the shop and discover that it's our selection of Planet Soap. Lemongrass & Lime, is a personal favourite but the selection also includes Clary Sage & Cedarwood, Peppermint & Parsley, Patchouli & Sweet Orange, Rosy Geranium, Cedarwood, Sandalwood & Orange, Citrus and the unperfumed Nettle. Which will you choose?

Berkeley Square Cosmetics Co. Offer
Receive a free gift of soap or hand cream when you spend £10 or more on any items from the BSQ 1920s range. The super stylish packaging and great fragrances have an instant appeal. The selections include bath & shower cream, body lotion, eau de toilette/parfum, hand cream and soap, perfumed with Lime & Clarysage, Fig & Cherry, White Tea or the limited edition Black Cassis. Excellent prices make these Berkeley Square toiletries an everyday indulgence. Give yourself a treat! (Offer subject to availability.)

New stock is arriving regularly so we hope to see you soon.

Competition Answers
In order, the book titles and authors names we were looking for were:
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (or Notre-Dame de Paris) by Victor Hugo
Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence
A Passage to India by E.M. Forster