Thursday, 28 August 2014

I'm Looking for Christmas Cracker Gift Ideas

Summer is gradually coming to an end and now is the time to think about Christmas.

Oh no!  Only four months.... 

Maybe you craft and are looking for a little something to include with your home or travel creations.  

Perhaps you are making crackers to sell or with the kids and are searching for a small gift to nestle inside.

Or to keep the costs down this year, handmade presents to add to your own gift bags?

Handmade gifts are special ... especially if British!

Last year we were in Style at Home with our lip balms being the perfect Christmas cracker gift.

And our suggestion this year? Read on...

Soap n Things - Christmas crackers gift idea that are natural

Each little rose weighs approx 25g and made by the cold process method so cures for four weeks before ready to send off to you ... so vintage!

Did your Grandma make soap?
She would have made it the old fashioned way.

Soap n Things - under £10 gift ideas

Our soaps are authentic, moisturising, nourishing and made with fresh goats milk and pure plant oils.

Natural skincare is the best.

Soap n Things - making your own Christmas presents

Our shampoo is natural too and helps your hair is so many ways .... like not stripping it of its natural oils.

Every product made by us in rural Norfolk is handmade - nothing we make is machine made.

We comply with EU and UK legislation and have a full cosmetic licence.  We even include ingredients in Latin on our product wraps ... so that means we comply with the INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients).  Before being allowed to sell our authentic soaps, we had to submit our recipes for testing by a certified cosmetic chemist.  We passed!

And we do not do this either:

Feel free to get in touch.   
Prices start from £6 for 15 plus £3.20 carriage.
Pay by paypal.
Or we can drop off at in store (Wisbech) 
Don't forget ... once paid we need a minimum of four weeks to make so allow five.

Friday, 22 August 2014

About Natural Ingredients and Products Handmade by Soap n Things.

We are currently updating our blog with useful information.

At the moment I am making changes to the Ingredients page.

Our products have huge benefits for us and our pets!

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Make Your Own Household Flea Spray

Chemical household sprays and carpet powders have received bad press due to fatal occurrences with some animals (cats, to be precise)

We use a Neem Oil spray and recommend.

We advise you to also use a natural flea balm for kitty and pooch.
Grumpy Joe makes a safe balm to kill fleas and keep them away.
But fleas can jump off your pet and nest and hatch in carpets and bedding.
So the Neem Oil spray will help kill at source. 

The spray is safe for you too.  So if gardening and prefer not to be bitten, try it.

What do I do?

Buy a spray bottle.

We've not used the store below but gives you an idea and the prices aren't bad.

Buy a bottle of Neem Oil.
Fresh Skin UK we highly recommend.
You can buy 100ml or a litre.

Make your own household flea killer spray by Grumpy Joes pet Emporium
Organic Neem Oil from Fresh Skin UK
Pour some Neem Oil into a jug of hot water and mix.
Use equal parts.
Allow to cool before adding to the spray bottle.
Shake (it will separate)
Test on fabric first.
If ok, then spray carpets and sofa, anywhere kitty and pooch lay.
Spray on their bedding then wash to freshen.

Should you wish to buy our flea balms pop over to the Home page and click on any of the shops, such as Ebay.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Coconut Oil for Black Afro Caribbean Hair - Vegan and All So Natural!

We simply had to show off our coconut oil shampoo.

It's a shampoo that will help cleanse, nourish and moisturise hair...and naturally.

No horrid foaming chemicals either.  We include castor oil and that does just the job.

Loaves available too!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Long Sutton Barns, Lincolnshire - and us!

We are now at Long Sutton Barns, PE12 9AQ.

Lots of high quality products here.

Stuff for the kids to do.

Craft Fayres ... oh, booking being taken for November 1 & 2 and December 6 & 7.

Events outside such as a Border Collie event.  Ideal outside space for your own event!

Spinning and wood crafts

My nephew helped me set up our  beautifully painted (and lined with wallpaper backing), shabby chic 6 shelf  bookcase and so many people were in and out...

On display are lots of lovely creamy soaps, buttery nail care, gardener's soap and something for men and teenagers, our foaming shampoo and not forgetting our natural pet care...

See you there!

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

10 Question Survey: What is Your Opinion of Natural Pet Remedies?

Survey Monkey

We'd love it if you could spare 5 minutes to take our survey about Grumpy Joe's Pet Emporium's natural remedies for Cat, Dog and Equine.

Only 10 lovely furball questions!

Just click away here...

And purrs from Grumps...

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Pretty Rose-shaped Soaps

Another excellent point in Craftseller is to give a free gift as everyone loves a little something extra.

We happily add a natural rose soap.  
(subject to availability)

Soap n Things. natural soap for gust house. norfolk made soap

Ingredients can change the colour.  For example, adding neem oil gives the soap a darker shade. Neem oil is beneficial for skin complaints too.

We also have these as samples in store so as people can pick up and look at before buying a bar.  

Soap n things. pure soap with olive oil. Favours. Event planner Norfolk

Our blend of olive oil, goats milk and coconut oil gives the soap a lighter shade.
And it's full of ingredients that ensure skin is moisturised.

Our current shampoo has neem oil too.  Neem oil is said to help thinning hair, and with coconut oil, by massage into the scalp and leaving for 5 to 10 mins, hair follicles will absorb the nutrients whilst stimulating blood flow.

How can you use our 25g rose soap or shampoo?

  • Event organiser or party organiser.  (someone local noticed them at the till point and is considering these as corporate gifts.  Lucky us that she visited the shop that day.)

  • Our roses make a lovely natural wedding favour.  And it beats almond sweeties. It's cost-effective too.

  • What about a guest house or holiday cottage?  Imagine British handmade soaps and shampoo ... and natural too. Bet the Americans would love this too.

  • Nestled inside an organza bag with a sew little tag would make a lovely Christmas cracker gift.  
  • Will the kids made gift bags or made boxes pretty for Gran and Grandad  this year?  Our soaps would make a wonderful addition, especially as pure soaps would have been similar to those used when they were a nipper!

Are they expensive?

All of these can be handmade in batches of fifteen but samples are available.
A single 15g soap or shampoo is  £1.80 with free postage.
15 No. 25g Goats milk soap would £5.80 (@ June 2014)
100 No. 25g Goats milk soap would be £22.80 (@ June 2014)

Shampoo and goats milk soap with neem oil would be a little more.

Unwrap a 'Chocolate Bar' and Enjoy a Luxurious Skin Softening Bath

Let's face it, the weather has not been its best - until lately, that is.

But I'm still having baths!

And rather than lathering myself in body lotion, I relax in a tub of hot water and let the butters and oil work their magic on my skin.

We discovered these go down a treat as small gifts, especially at Christmas.

Mummy would love them ... especially with a tag and hand stamped bag by the children.

Our 45g bars are wrapped in foil.

And the wraps are designed according to the occasion.

Soap n Things (bath bomb creations) natural skincare melts
With our new name
Christine at the Healing House had young girls test these and were very popular!
So as seen above we updated the wrap to appeal to teenagers.

Soap n Things - moisturising and natural skincare for men.
For men who look after there skin

Soap n Things. Teenager body moisturiser
An assortment of scent is available

Soap n Things: recommends Serif Page Plus for designing
Our first wrap
Men out there: You know, you can dip the entire bar into hot water and  use as sensual massage skincare!

Your lady would love natural skin care

Soap n Things: mothers day gift, birthday gift, christmas gift from children to mum
A gift for Mum

Soap n Things: making gifts with the children. How to make... with the kids.
Kids can make there own tag and tie around the bar

Soap n Things: Things to do with the kids. Paper bags. Natural skincare gifts for mum
Personalised hand stamping from the kids

The bath bar bares all!

Soap n Things: unusual bath melt.
Made with a chocolate mould
Like all businesses, you find out where and when things sell the best.
There are not an online seller but I think due to the carriage costs.
Although hubby assures me we can send large letter as long as protected.
Me? Happier to sell in store.

Where do your gifts sell the best?

So - if looking for top up gifts this Christmas ... look no further...

Lesley & Ray

Friday, 20 June 2014

Chemical Flea Collars being Removed From Sale

Daily Mail reports that Bob Martin are removing the following product from sale.


Say no to chemical products for our pets.

Earlier this month I published a post about Bob Martin's carpet shake n vac and the death of an innocent kitty.   I threw our Shake n Vac away but read the warnings again beforehand - This product that does not warn that animals can die.   

I wrote to Bob Martin and they replied:

"Hi Lesley, we want to reassure you that our products are safe to use if applied correctly, however in some rare cases animals may experience side effects – which is something all manufacturers of these types of products and medicines face. We’re aware of the incidence you have sent over, and we are investigating this fully. We have spoken to the family involved and will be conducting tests on the product they used, as well as speaking to the cat’s vet. We were distressed to read about this incident and are taking our investigation very seriously.

With this product, the Home Flea Kill Powder, it is essential this product is not applied directly to animals and that unprotected persons and animals should be kept away from treated areas until any product residue has been removed – this means very thorough vacuuming and being very careful about using this product on pet bedding. The animals should not ingest any of the product.
Every licensed flea product that we sell, including the Home Flea Kill powder, has been tested, regulated and approved to the strict standards of the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (in the case of medicines) or the HSE (as in this case with Home Flea Kill powder). All medicines undergo stringent scientific tests just like human medications and must pass these tests in order to be sold. In rare cases, as with all medications, side effects can happen. All possible serious adverse reactions (SARs) are reported to the authorities. Any vet that attends an animal that has suffered a SAR from a medicine is obliged to report the event to the regulator for an investigation to take place. Similarly, as Approval Notice Holders, we have a legal obligation to record and report adverse events with biocides to the HSE. We work closely with pet owners, vets and the authorities to investigate any occurrence that is brought to our attention. Every licensed flea product that we sell, including the Home Flea Kill powder, has been tested, regulated and approved to the strict standards. If your pets are experiencing a reaction, please contact your vet immediately.
  • Our team would be happy to speak to you directly to explain more about this. You can either send us your contact details or call our customer service line: 08447 480 108 "

Part of the message would not paste but basically says everything gets tested. The thing is, we read, we trust. It has not worked.

Grumpy Joe's Pet Emporium - natural flea and skin treatments
My furball -- the real life Grumpy Joe.

We are anti chemicals for our pets and handmake and sell Natural Cat Flea Balm, Natural Dog Flea Balm and Vegan Soothing Balm, as well as old-fashioned Dog Shampoo. We warn owners that the dog flea balm contains essential oils and should not be used on cats. We highlight it in our listing and when someone orders, I confirm again. You have to, or it causes heartache. Naturally a customer must listen and work but those warnings too.

We offer a mix 'n' match of 3 balms with free postage.

What do you use or prefer?

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Craftseller Magazine : a 'Must' Magazine for the Crafting Business

Lots of people begin crafting as a hobby ... then take the leap and transform it into a business.

We are artisans, elite in our craft.

Don't you think?

Takes a while to gain the confidence.

And to master the rights and change the wrongs.

To even learn to make photos look professional.

To create tip top literature to promote your business.

To learn where to reduce costs and do-it-alone (online shops, a blog, designing and printing business cards, are craft fayres paying)

To understand that it is bloody hard if you have a family, work full time and have a crafting business alone.

One way to learn is to read Craftseller

Craftseller - for the professional crafter

You can try 5 issues for £5 ... we now subscribe.

What does Craftseller contain, you ask?

  • Blog about those who sell but are full time Mum's, house to run and who craft and sell.
  • Success comparisons between craft fayres, online selling, website. 
  • Fantastic competitions.
  • Making News: a chance for you to show off
  • Suggestions for making a variety of items (July issue features cufflinks, sweet kids hats, herb plants and box, trendy crochet cover-up, food), all with material you need, costs, instructions and selling price)
  • Expert advice.
  • The big craft fayres
  • Free pretty papers.
  • Craft courses.
  • Up-cycled crafts.
Make it...

Soap n Things and Grumpy Joe's Pet Emporium is learning ... our business has changed greatly in the last 12 months.  So far we have identified:

  • What works and what doesn't with products. (bath bombs online but in a shop at Christmas they sell).
  • Learning to create better photos (still learning but they are better!).
  • 45g bath melts are a Christmas product. 
  • Professional looking product wraps. Thanks to the Healing House we learnt that teenagers like our bath melts so we updated the wrap to show a young person on the wrap.
  • Investing in a decent printer (and finding card with the correct grain to go through it!)
  • Buying Serif Page Plus to create wraps, business cards, flyers. Look on Amazon. Ours cost £10.
  • Push yourself on social media (has helped businesses find us and we have been approached to become stockists)
  • That January to April is our quiet time (and it happens to all businesses). May to October becomes busy.  November and December is hectic - hard with a day job.
  • In a store? Get everything ready in plenty of time. Have a Christmas cut off that you are willing to make and drop off more stock.  Get the bulk in store in plenty of time.  If additional stock is asked for a week before Christmas, decide whether it will sell.
  • Men make last minute Christmas gift dashes - our gift bags with skincare sold like hot cakes.  Our tags has saucy messages. 
  • Change stock - this year the gift bags will differ.  Keep up with a new range. 
  • Understand a product sometimes take a while to kick off. Give it time. Also it may be a seasonal seller.
  • Customer service - keep it hot.   Polite messages and using the customer's name, thanking them for their online purchase.
  • There'll always be a customer unhappy despite everything you do - just be as polite as possible and try to solve the issue.
  • Everyone loves a free gift ... it also gives a customer the opportunity to try a new product.
  • Keep costs down with a website. Try online stores eBay, Etsy, Folksy and add the store to your blog home page.
  • Just really work on keeping costs down.
  • Keep paperwork update - a day a month.  Don't forget you have tax to pay!
  • Think professional.
  • Don't forget to follow any regulations with your products, apply batch numbers, ingredients if applicable.  
  • Have a break.  We completely close at Christmas through to the New Year. The online shops stay open and we despatch the odd order. Everything else stops...

We'd love to hear about your experiences... 

Find us at a June Event - Tydd st Mary, Cambs

So many fantastic stalls, food and fun!

Look out for the double marquee for The Cats Pyjamas and you'll find..
 Soap n things with Grumpy Joe's Pet Emporium.

Visit us at an event: Soap n things & Grumpy Joe's Pet Emporium (bath bomb creations) are at Five Bells in Tydd St Mary on 21 June 2014. Free festival

We'd love to see you at this FREE Summer event.

Don't forget ... look out for the Cat's Pyjamas Emporium marquee 

Not only is the store coming to the Five Bells, but the festival will have lots of fun for all ages.

Licenced bar too!

KLFM radio is there!

Come along....

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Rainbow Solstice Festival - 21st June at Tydd St Mary

Just a reminder about a BIG event of family fun, entertainment, artisans, food and licenced bar.

21st June.

Will you be there?

Soap n Things with Grumpy Joe's Pet Emporium will be with the store The Cats Pyjamas...

A selection of what is on offer...

Husky's Vintage Ices
 I love things vintage ... just look at the car!

Linda's hats

Martin Clarkson wooden wonders

Ria Woods

Nom Dining

£3 wristband - come back as many times as you wish!

Am wishing I was a child!

This is just a small selection of the 60 plus stalls, kids fun, music, dining that is on offer at The Rainbow Solstice Festival ... We have a stall and I am soooo excited but I think next year I'll be a visitor!  

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Does Your Cat or Dog Already have Fleas?

Does Your Cat or Dog already have fleas?

Apply twice a day.
As well as the neck, apply beneath the neck and base of tail.

Additional treatment.

95% of fleas will nest in carpets.

They will jump back on to your pet so carpet fleas need to go!.

It is advisable to treat your home too (eg carpets) to kill fleas nesting.

Use a safe and pet friendly carpet remedy.

If using our flea remedy the fleas will die but you need to kill them in carpets too.

Kitty and doggy will hate the itching fleas as they nibble into skin.

Please be advised to research into chemical based carpet household treatments that contain active ingredients.

Some treatments are toxic to cats and dogs.

Our flea balms are safe and natural.