Do you need an alarm clock to get up in the morning? Or are you one of those people that wakes up at the same time every day, eager and ready to start a new day? I can tell you I definitely need the alarm clock, especially at the moment. During lockdown I’ve been stealing an extra half hour in bed too and I’ve really enjoyed it!
Last week I read an interesting fact that candles were not only a source of light, but historically were used for alarm clocks too. A nail was pushed into the candle for the desired length of time. When the candle melted down to that point, the nail would fall into the metal holder. The clanging noise would alert the sleeper it was time to rise. I think I’ll stick to my clock.
Here at Apold Apothecary HQ we’ve been busy recently. We are excited to reveal we are working with a florist Blooms for You, based in Leicester. They have a beautiful shop, stocking lovely homeware products too. They are stocking our soaps and candles with their own logo on the candle tins. I’m lucky to have a garden with a wide variety of flowers and plants and I enjoy using them in my product photography, so I was super pleased when the florists approached me.
Things now seem to be easing a little during lockdown and it’s great to be able to see more friends and family. Unfortunately, this year in August, we won’t be able to travel back to Apold, Transylvania. As a rule we fly, but this year we had planned a big European road trip through France, Germany, Austria, Hungary and Romania. We were due to meet friends in Romania and also attend a large celebratory gathering. Then on the return journey we were staying with family in Bavaria. Sadly all our plans are now postponed until next year!
Because during this year I had made the business my full time job, lots of other plans have been put on hold too. But the main thing is staying safe and well and maybe next year will be a super busy productive year.
Along with some busy spells so far this year, I’ve really enjoyed living a slower pace of life. I’ve enjoyed sitting in the sun, with a coffee and listening to the birds. It’s also been a time to reflect , to look back on what I did last year and see how I can make improvements!
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4/6/2020 0 Comments
This quote is taken from my favourite play ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.
Last year I watched a performance in the walled garden at Arley Hall, sharing a picnic with friends. I love the month of June! It’s my birthday month, so after a few months of not being able to be very productive, I feel I have come alive again! Usually I have a garden party at home, with lots of friends and family, but sadly that won’t be happening this year.
I hope this post finds you all well and safe. It has certainly been a strange few months for us all during lockdown. I think we’ve all had our ups and downs and struggled to remain positive. Myself I’ve had a health issue that has slowed me down completely and I’m hoping to soon feel better.
So I made the decision to close my Etsy shop for a few months and thankfully, through Cheshire Quality in Knutsford, (who stock my full range), I continued with a steady flow of sales via their online shop. However my shop has just re-opened with a great offer if you take a look!
In the last couple of weeks I have started to make products again, introducing three new candles to the range:
This really is a gorgeous summer candle with notes of fresh hay, tobacco leaf, honey, iris, amber, incense and musk. I’ve been burning this one non-stop
Ginger Green Tea
This is a clean and invigorating fragrance with notes of green tea and spicy ginger, with added citrus notes on a base of sandalwood and amber. I chose this thinking it was another great summery candle!
Sandalwood & Black Pepper
This is a very bold scent with notes of leather, tobacco, amber musk, spicy black tea and pepper. I actually made a small batch of this last year and it was a firm favourite with my male customers.
Last June we couldn’t make our ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ candle fast enough! It’s another lovely summer candle and at last July’s Stockton Heath two day festival it completely sold out.
Sadly our usual events have been cancelled and I’ve really missed the interaction with customers. Plans that I had made for this year have been put on hold, but hopefully we might get to some events in the next few months.
But out of all the doom and gloom, through instagram, I was contacted by a company to take part in a really exciting project. The work for this is almost completed and very soon I’ll be able to reveal what it is! I’ll be back shortly with another post and in the meantime stay safe!
The offer on my Etsy shop is free postage on orders of £25 or more for the month of June…….happy shopping!
The number of people switching back to using the humble bar of soap, over the past few years, has definitely increased. Influencing this has been the move away from single use plastic bottles and containers in the bathroom.
It’s not always an easy move to make! I really think once it’s done, there’s no going back, but, whilst you are loving your soapy suds, you need to know how to look after your bar of soap.
Correct storage of the soap is really important so that you get the most out of it. Customers often ask me how long their bar will last. I can’t answer that question as it depends how often and how vigorously it is used! Also correct storage is so important:
No drainage = soggy soap
Soap cares for our skin, so return the favour.
It’s that time of year again, with Christmas fast approaching, when we all ask the same question:
‘Where has the year gone?’
I can’t believe we are almost into December, that magical time of year!
To say I’ve been incredibly busy for the last few months is a huge understatement. The main priority has been putting together the Christmas candle collection. There are so many lovely fragrances to choose from and narrowing the selection down was difficult. After asking family, friends and customers to ‘sniff’ a range of candles, the 2019 collection went into production!
During September, October and November I’ve been busy with stalls at new venues and also returned to some favourites. Attending the two day Arley Hall Christmas Shopping Spectacular was one of the hi lights of the year so far. Apold Apothecary had record sales, I made a whole host of new friends and had the chance to support the Joshua Tree, a local charity supporting families in Cheshire and the North West affected by childhood cancer. The icing on the cake was winning the best-dressed festive stall competition. I have to admit I tend to get a little competitive and drying orange slices for a garland became very time consuming!
November has been a really exciting month, not only for my business, but we celebrated my son’s wedding too. Guess what the wedding favours were? Yes…soap!
My son, in his speech, thanked me and asked everyone to take a look at my Etsy shop. Never miss a sales opportunity!
In October I joined a group of artisan makers the ‘Warrington Creatives’, established to showcase the talent of local artists. The group has a permanent residence, The Hive, at Dunham Massey with a shop and studio space for a variety of workshops. It’s a great opportunity for everyone to promote their work.
All in all a busy time has been had by Apold Apothecary, so much so that my daughter has now come on board for help and advice! Hannah is a talented designer, also running her own business 'Wagner-Birtwistle'. She will help the business move forward and provide a wealth of experience on the design and social media side of things. Lucky me…….watch this space!!!
There's still time to order our soaps and candles before Christmas! You can either shop our range on Etsy or visit our 'Local Events' page to see which markets we will be attending next.
We are so excited to announce our Etsy shop is now open! We are also running a special offer of 15% off all our products from now until next Wednesday 6th November. Just click the 'Shop' page above and you will be directed straight there. We will also be adding all of our Christmas candles next week so keep a look out...
It all feels like a dream now…. it’s just over a month since my trip back to my second home. The eleven day stay was sadly over all too quickly. We had a wonderful time catching up with friends and eating and drinking far too much!
Instead of driving straight to our destination of Sighisoara, we spent a night in Alba Lulia, an incredibly interesting place and it was here that the union of Transylvania with Romania was pronounced on December 1st, 1918. It was a fleeting visit, but I’m glad we stopped off and wandered around for several hours. There was also a brilliant ice cream café!
Arriving in Sighisoara, at our usual hotel, Alte Post, we were made really welcome. It’s a wonderful little rustic hotel, serving delicious Romanian food. Having a sweet tooth, most nights, I couldn’t resist the ‘Papanasi’, doughnuts filled with soft cheese, smothered in sour cream and sour cherries. Yes, I put weight on, but how can you resist?!!
One of the hi lights of our trip, was a visit to Sally and Jim Turnbull at their home and business in Saschiz, just a short drive from Sighisoara. Their business, ‘Pivnita Bunicii’, translates as Grandma’s Cellar and they make and sell an appetising range of jams, chutneys, cordials and now, Kaspers Elderflower gin. I’m quite partial to a gin and came away with a small bottle to sample. The elderflower harvest was well underway and it was interesting to learn the process of turning the flowers into cordial.
Another fun morning was spent with Stephen McGrath, a freelance journalist living in a village in Transylvania. With his family, Stephen is busy restoring a Saxon village house to its former glory. Husband Brian came in useful and helped to move the huge old oven from the house into the barn.
We always have a few special days with our dear friend Johannes, a Lutheran priest and apparently, I’m now his new sister! He invited us to a special church service in the village of Pruden on Whit Monday. Refreshments in the garden followed. We spent a scorching hot day with approximately eighty guests, in a stunning setting, eating and drinking. Platters of cake weighed down the tables, along with homemade lemonade, wine and coffee.
As usual, every day turned into an adventure and a memorable occasion and we can’t wait to return!
It’s almost June and I’m getting really excited…..I’m going back to Transylvnia! Yes, I know it sounds like something from The Rocky Horror Show (acually one of my favourite shows, I’ve seen it eleven times)
I’m going back for several reasons; it’s a business trip (so I’ll be loaded down with soap) and to catch up with friends, both old and new that I have come into contact with through instagram. It will be a very busy week and a half and we’ll be staying in my favourite town Sighisoara, which is incredibly beautiful and steeped in so much history. Last month I was contacted by a newspaper publication in Sibui (a town not too far away from where we stay) who ran a story on my business and my link to Transylvania. They ran an email interview and requested a few photos of my products, so I was really pleased about that!
Obviously we will be making trips into the nearby village of Apold, the place that holds so many happy memories for me.
Meanwhile in Warrington, I have been very busy working on my soaps and new candle fragrances. I have extended the candle range to twelve fragrances now and I’ve had some really encouraging feedback from my customers. I had a request to fill a vintage, Wedgewood, Peter Rabbit cup for someone who will give birth to a little girl in June. It has made a lovely gift and obviously, when the candle has finished burning, the cup can be washed in hot soapy water and used for drinking. I have also filled a couple of Peter Rabbit egg cups and they make gorgeous little baby shower or christening gifts for children.
Recently I’ve been thinking about the best way to relax…something I’m not very good at. I enjoy curling up on the sofa with a good book, when I get the opportunity. Since setting up Apold Apothecary (as it’s not my only job) I’ve struggled trying to take time for ‘me’. But almost halfway through the year, I’ve decided that a little bit of relaxation will become a necessity. So I’ve made a list of ‘half way through the year’ resolutions and will do my best to stick to them (as it’s never too late)
On that note, I will strike a match, light a candle and put the kettle on.
In June I’ll be posting lots of new photos taken of my trip away!
The year is flying by and I can’t believe we are almost into May! I love this month with lighter nights, sunny, warmer weather and plants and flowers starting to flourish in the garden.
Since I last wrote a post, I’ve been so busy I can’t even remember one half of what I’ve been doing! Weekends have been taken up trying out some of the Makers Markets and fortunately the weather has been kind to me. Soap, like me, enjoys dry weather and doesn’t appreciate having to turn out in wet conditions! I always enjoy meeting new customers, mostly because I enjoy chatting about the products on my stall and well, basically I just like talking. It has been really encouraging to see the same faces return for more soap or another candle. It makes all the hard work worthwhile. A couple of weeks ago I was invited to take my products to a local church for a ‘Clean Up My Community, People Vs Plastic & Pollution’ event. It was an incredibly interesting day and to meet everyone else with the same ideas, about more sustainable living, was really inspiring.
We’ve literally just put (I make my husband help me, my daughter & I’d rope in my 10 month old grandson if he didn’t destroy everything….anyone with two hands will do) a large order of soap table gifts together for a wedding anniversary celebration for a couple who live locally. The rest of the week will be taken up getting ready for two more markets and hopefully we’ll get a couple of day’s rest over the Easter period.
I must just tell you about this…..last week I needed to hand wash a cashmere sweater, but I’d run out of the mild liquid wash I normally buy. Being impatient, I didn’t want to wait till the following morning, so I hand grated a bar of my unfragranced natural soap. With a hand whisk, I swished the soap flakes in a bowl of warm water to make suds and proceeded to wash the jumper. Result…..a beautifully soft and clean sweater and I no longer need to buy the liquid wash!
I’ll be taking a short holiday just after Easter, with my cousin and I hope to return totally refreshed and ready for my next event, Harford Spring Craft Fayre in Alderley Edge, Cheshire, on May 4th. I’m really excited to be taking part in this event and maybe I’ll see you there!
One of the highlights of our summer trips to Romania was an outing to a local market, in a nearby town. I remember it was always an exciting morning excursion.
The sights and the smells were intoxicating. Row upon row of organic vegetables, tomatoes, peppers, gerkins, onions and corn on the cob to name a few, were so fresh you could smell the earth from where they’d been plucked.
The noise was almost deafening as vendors shouted out prices, competing with the man or woman on the next stall. Chickens clucked, piglets grunted and bad tempered geese hissed.
I was always drawn to the basket weavers. I would stand in awe watching nimble fingers work their magic, deftly working long reeds and branches into works of art and attractive sellable items. The Roma were known and admired for this particular skill and earned a living from making baskets. Their work was highly respected and many relied on their services to both store and transport goods. I always came away with a small basket or two! My aunts usually bought a wicker carpet beater, the ideal gadget for knocking the dust out of carpet runners and rugs. I also witnessed it being used on naughty children too!
The market was always crowded, with people in a hurry, pushing and shoving and mixed with intense heat and the noise levels, the whole experience could leave you feeling a little dizzy.
When I was young, someone always had a firm grip on my hand. As the years went by, I’d wander around with friends and we’d usually make our way to an ice cream seller for a cooling treat.
The photo here shows my mother and father filling their basket with huge, fresh ripe tomatoes. I’m almost certain that when they landed back in Apold, they would have been made into a rich sauce to smother minced pork-stuffed peppers…..and that was my father’s favourite meal!