Squeaky clean

A bit of a belated post, really I should have put this up before Christmas. Unfortunately I couldn’t as it’s actually a gift idea which needed to be secret.

Making people presents can be a bit hit and miss…..some are well….more desirable than others……Despite that I decided to make soaps and inflict them on my unsuspecting family as a Christmas gift. I actually think they turned out quite well, plus it was really easy to do. Hence I am documenting it here.

I bought the elements from a specialist site but you could easily assemble your ingredients separately.

The basic soap.

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Dye and fragrance

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Ingredients

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I made two types – rose and lavender.

The process is very easy. First you chop and gently melt the soap using a bain marie.

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Then allow it to cool slightly before mixing in the dye and ingredients. I found that it was best to add quite small amounts as it was easy to overdo it.

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Then you gently pour them into moulds. I did buy some specialist moulds but I also tried some cup cake moulds I already had and they were far better. A couple went wrong, for example not filling the mould enough or adding too many ingredients which all just settled at the bottom. Those I gently re-melted, amended the mixtures and allowed to set again.

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I let them set overnight before popping them out.

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Then I wrapped them in some festive paper and basically that’s it. Very very easy.

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Festive spirit

It’s nearly Christmas and so the house has got into the mood as well….

With a tree.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn a spot on the first floor framed by the doorway so you see it when going up and downstairs. Plus looks really good from the street.

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A wreath. I bought a basic one from the garden centre, as did my mum and we both added extra holly and red berries from her garden.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASome glittery reindeer I found in the loft – which I am pretty sure I bought in Poundland. Love them!

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Nativity scene.

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A bit of colour in the hall…

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and in the kitchen.

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Plus a few extra random baubles and we’re done.

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Some Christmas sparkle

Whilst we have a house which isn’t even halfway finished we’ve still tried to give it a bit of seasonal cheer. Even if in some cases it’s a bit depressing….

But some of the other rooms are not so dismal. The sitting room being an almost completely finished room is looking quite festive and is the room we have chosen to put our tree up in. I’ve invested in a few new decorations. Here are a couple of my favourites from Anthropologie.

And some I made myself last year from salt dough. I’m actually surprised they’ve lasted so well. Kirstie did something similar on her show, here are some instructions she has helpfully provided. They are very very easy to make and I like the slightly haphazard look.

And on the mantlepiece….

And downstairs I haven’t done too much with, but tried to make it a little festive. These lights came with the house and are not my thing but are in my view greatly improved by being nicely obscured.

And I have also picked up a few more new bits and bobs from the local profusion of pound/discount shops – it is possible to spot some good things if you can try to screen out all the surrounding rubbish. Here are a couple of the better ones.

Some glittery deer. Very kitsch but then so is Christmas in general.

And some little trees which I think I will use as table decorations.

And finally we’ve got our first wreath for the front door. A front door we’ve actually painted, added new numbers too and bought a knocker for (for a while we had no doorbell and no knocker and therefore no way of knowing if anyone was waiting to come in). Here it is before, although in this one we have already added a new outdoor light.

And here’s the new door knocker we bought up close.

And a very seasonal shot from the weekend with some timely and photogenic snow. The paint we have used is Farrow and Ball Down Pipe and we’re also planning to use this on the windows as well – when we get around to it.