Thursday, 25 December 2008

Merry Christmas!

I'm spending my first christmas away from my family this year. Instead, I'm here in Australia spending it with Dan's family which is all well and good but I still can't help feeling I should be somewhere else.

Anyway, I came online quickly to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! I hope that everyone will have a wonderfully joyous celebration today ;)

I leave you with a picture that my dad sent me of my grandfather and my sister titled "Mandy and the Christmas Gnome".


I laughed out loud. He's the cutest grandfather in the world!

See you all very soon!

Monday, 15 December 2008

Make Your Own Solid Body Butter

My most popular blog post of all was the Make Your Own Bath Bomb post way back in November of last year. I have yet to post anymore tutorials like that and decided it was certainly time to bring back a "make your own..." tutorial.

This tutorial teaches you how to make your own exfoliating, solid body butter much like another most wanted Lush product called Buffy.


Fair Trade Cocoa Butter (Theobroma cacao), Shea Butter (Butyrospermum parkii), Ground Rice (Oryza sativa), Ground Almonds (Prunus dulcis), Ground Aduki Beans (Phaseolus), Perfume, Lavender Oil (Lavandula hybrida), Lemon Oil (Citrus limonum), *Citral, *Limonene, *Linalool.

Scrub-a-dub-dub, get this body butter in the tub (or shower) and buff away the day's worries. Stress disappears as our lavender-scented body butter melts into your skin, making it way beyond silky. Ground rice, almonds and aduki beans exfoliate to velvety perfection as the natural butters provide maximum miniaturization. So put down your loofah, grab your Buffy, and smooth your cares away.

Buffy (Lush replica)

Makes: Two 100g bars
Difficulty: Easy

78 g refined cocoa butter (39%)
78 g refined shea butter (39%)
14 g ground rice (7%)
14 g ground almonds (7%)
12 g ground adzuki or red beans (6%)
*4 g fragrance/essential oils (2%)
mould for individual 100 g rectangular shaped bars

1. Melt the butters gently over a double boiler or in short 10-15 second bursts in the microwave.
2. Add in ground exfoliants and stir well.
3. When the mixture is warm to the touch, around 45C/115F, add in your fragrance/essential oils.
4. Allow to cool in the fridge until the mixture becomes opaque and has thickened slightly. This helps keep the exfoliants suspended in the mixture instead of sinking to the bottom when placed in the mould. Stir well.
5. Spoon the mixture into your mould and bang it down gently on the counter to get an even surface and release trapped air bubbles.
6. Put the mould back into the fridge and wait. Check back after 20 minutes and it should have hardened nicely. Pop it out of the mould and enjoy!

*the amount of each essential oil to add really depends on what you like. Lush uses lavender and lemon oil; play around with them to come up with a blend that you are happy with.

The recipe uses 80% butters (including fragrance/essential oils) and 20% exfoliants. You may adjust the percentages of butters and exfoliants to come up with a scrubbier bar or one that is less scrubby. However, I recommend not reducing the percentage of your butters to any less than 70% or it might not hold together very well. 70% butters and 30% exfoliants makes for a very scrubby bar!

This makes a very hard bar and the high content of cocoa butter will ensure your bar doesn't melt at room temperature.You should still store it in a cool, dry place when not in use especially on hot days or if you live in a tropical country. You may have difficulty rubbing it into your skin but the bar is designed to be used in a hot shower and should melt nicely.


A picture of the solid body butters I made. I used 70% unrefined butters, 30% exfoliants and omitted the use of fragrance or essential oils. You can tell it's a bit more speckly :)

The above recipe is NOT the actual Lush recipe (I wish!) but a result of experimentation by me. If you choose to republish the recipe on your site or through any other medium, a heads-up and credit back to my original recipe would be greatly appreciated!

That being said, I hope you have enjoyed the recipe and stay tuned for more Lush "Make Your Own" recipes!

Tip: If you don't have adzuki beans you can use ground coffee beans instead. Caffeine applied topically is apparently supposed to help with cellulite.

Ingredients, description and picture of Lush's Buffy were taken from Lush USA.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Shiricki at Kyaaa

I was searching the web late last night for photoshop brushes and I stumbled across Shiricki's website. She had some beautiful brushes up for free download because she felt bad about having to charge for them before (isn't she sweet?). From her site, I gathered that Shiricki is one of those rare, talented people who are just brimming with creativity all the time.

Anyway, I found out that she also makes soap which she sells on this website. And wow, what soap! Here are some pictures below taken from her site of the soaps she has made.

Strawberries Soap

Jellyfish Soap

She calls her felt soaps, cozy soaps because you can cuddle them in the shower. I know, it's the cutest thing! I feel like getting one just because they are so cute I can actually imagine myself hugging them in the shower.

These are my favourite. Her soap chocolates are absolutely gorgeous. They look incredibly hard to make and I am suitably impressed!

They aren't just good looking, here's a list for the ingredients she uses for one of her soaps.

"olive oil, coconut oil, cream, strawberries, blue poppy seeds, strawberry perfume-oil, beetroot juice, NaOH "

Yum, yum! It sounds like it would be absolutely divine on its own even without the felt. The felt obviously makes them that much more desirable!

Thank you, Shiricki for letting me share your amazing soaps with my blog friends and readers. It was truly a pleasure!

Sunday, 7 December 2008

My Top 10

I've listed below a list of my Top 10 favourite and staple ingredients that I have to have stocked in my soap pantry. I'm sure some of these must be your favourites too!

10. Almond Meal

picture from Dane International Commodities Inc.

Some almond meal mixed with a dash of the liquid of your choice make for an excellent facial cleanser and scrub suited for the delicate skin of your face. There is really no need for a moisturiser after cleansing unless you have really dry skin as the almonds are loaded with its natural oil. If you don't have almond meal you can make your own by blanching the almonds in hot water and then grinding them in a blender.

9. Coconut Oil


This is THE oil for soapmaking and I just can't do without! It gives soap its bubbly lather which we all love! I also have around extra virgin coconut oil for its delicious, natural scent! It can be used in lotions, body butters, scrubs and it works wonders in a hot oil treatment for hair.

8. Olive Oil


Again, this oil performs divinely in soap and is essential if you enjoy making 100% olive oil soaps. I use regular olive oil for soaps as extra virgin olive oils are expensive. However, I believe they work just as well in soap. I do have my regular supply of extra virgin olive oil as well! Only, I use them in recipes which don't call for heat for fear of damaging any of its wonderful properties.

7. Unrefined Beeswax


This lovely wax has such a sweet smell of honey that it is my favourite wax to use in any recipes that call for wax. Coupled with regular honey, beeswax helps the scent to stick when I make my OMH soaps. It also feels beautiful and smooth when applied to lips in the form of a lip balm.

6. Vanilla Beans


There is absolutely nothing I don't like about vanilla beans. Even if I try to hate it, I just cannot. Vanilla is the smell most loved by everyone and imparts such a comforting warmth and smoothness when added to your products. It goes with just about every scent! I infuse oils with it, put it in my sugar jar, grind it and add it to scrubs as well as soak it in vodka to make vanilla extract.

5. Unrefined Cocoa Butter


Chocolate! That's what my cocoa butter always smells like. I know of a delightful supplier who sells the yummiest cocoa butter and have blogged about them before here. These huge chunks of fair trade cocoa butter are an absolute must in my massage bars. The chocolate-y smell is to die for! If you use enough of it in soaps, the scent will come through as the soap mellows over time.

4. Unrefined Shea Butter


Shea butter is so popular especially in its whipped form for an easy and nourishing moisturiser. I don't have a problem with its smell but it is quite strong and will be prominent in your finished product. This butter is said to have natural, healing properties and soaks in to the skin quite nicely!

3. Honey


Delicious, runny, golden honey; what will I do without you? I love the feel of a jar of warm honey in my hands. As it can be difficult to work with when it's cold, I normally warm it for a few seconds in the microwave. I use this in just about everything. When I'm lazy, I warm up a small bit of honey in a bowl of hot water and apply it to my face for a quick and easy face mask!

2. Full Cream Milk


Goat's milk, cow's milk, soy milk, almond milk, I love them all! If I can find a way to use them in my recipes I will. Fresh full fat milk as the liquid in your face scrubs, masks or cleansers feels delightful on dry, sensitive skin. In powdered form, it can be added to bath bombs or bath milks. One or two cups of full fat goat's milk powder in a bath can transform it in to something so indulgent and luxurious!

1. Oats


Oats! How I love thee, let me count the ways. No, forget it, there are just TOO many ways. I use them in EVERYTHING! I keep regular oats, fine oatmeal and hydrolyzed oat protein. They are often used in my soaps, scrubs, bath bombs, bath milks, shampoo, conditioner, lotions and anything else I can think of. They just feel so soothing on the skin and have such a yummy smell I can't help but be in love. Oats, my number one favourite ingredient!

Do you have a Top 10 list of your favourite ingredients? If you do, I'd like to hear about it or better yet, why don't you blog about it? I'd be thrilled to know if anyone else shares the same infatuation that I have with my Top 10 list :)