Those of you who know me personally, also know that I am a huge language nerd and that I love notice little things about words. My recent discovery of this kind was the fact that the word “month” is actually a “moon-th”, if you will. That is, it is directly related to the moon, and signifies the amount of time it takes for this celestial body to grow, become full, and then wane. Our ancestors were a lot more attuned to these things, and I’m overcome with a sense of wonder about that time when I notice this heirloom vocabulary still very much in circulation today. It’s still there, just covered with a thin film of oblivious usage.
I’ve been reconnecting with this heritage, still richly present in our everyday words, and paying special attention to moon names, discovering their various names, ranging from traditional to pagan to Native American. This year we have an early Harvest Moon - I say early because it varies and can fall on September OR October, depending on which moon is closer to autumnal equinox. This year it’s on September 23rd, and the closest full moon to it is the Harvest Moon, also a supermoon. It will be observable this coming Monday and Tuesday, September 8th and 9th, in the Northern Hemisphere.
Tradtitionally, the Harvest Moon is called so because it is the time to collect and enjoy the fruits of your labor - both figuratively and literally. This year was the first year we planted things in the garden, and we’ve been enjoying picking fresh zuchinis, tomatoes, peas, beans and berries; while most our pumpkins and squashes are still ripening.
I was born in the fall and I’ve always regarded it as a special time in my life - a time to stop, reflect, meditate, notice the foliage, appreciate the beauty of shorter days, think about another year of my life accomplished. Since starting paying closer attention to the moons, I’ve felt the need to extend that to all those who make it possible for me to enjoy the fruits of my labor in business: I started including a special gratitude coupon in every outgoing parcel, and it’s always inspired by a current moon or the one coming next.
I am filled with the sense of wonder about observing this year’s Harvest Supermoon, in just a few days’ time. In the spirit of giving, I’m offering a special code SUPERMOON for all of you to enjoy - it entitles you to 25% off everything in both shops. Just as the supermoon will wane, so will the code - it’s valid through September 10th.
I’m feeling grateful to all of you who make this journey in making things for my apothecary possible, and sending you vibes of abundance and joy.
s u m m e r i n t h e c i t y
These long summer days are soaked in sunlight. I’ve harvested my Roman chamomile first time this year, and it’s now fully dried, stored away in a mason jar, to be opened later in the year. So many other herbs are also ripe for the picking: the air is sweet and fragrant above my patch of peppermint. I’ll dry it for tea and to use in soap and skincare for Ravenscourt Apothecary one of these days, soon. It delights me to be able to store some of that summer lavishness.
I find it that creativity comes effortlessly during this golden season. A couple of new, gentle soaps were added to our line recently: Gunpowder Green Tea soap, gentle Oats & Rosehips face scrub, and Purity cleanser. You have the choice of choosing the scent - lavender, clary sage or tingly tee tree - and it makes your skin so, so soft. More new products are coming up: that elusive white floral perfume, Annabel Lee, will launch in August, and we’re working on our first completely organic facial serum, to be launched around the same time.
I’m taking a little break and going to be away from the studio on July 26th. Orders placed through the main shop and Etsy will be processed when I return on August 9th. I cannot say how much I appreciate being able to do what I do, and share my passion for simple, botanical goodness - so thank you all so much for your patience. Your orders will be on their way to you as soon as possible.
To sweeten the deal while I am away, here’s a few good things:
- this white stone paper weight with carved botanicals
- this instagram made me go the mountains (maybe a trip to Scotland later this year?)
Anonymous: hello! Can I start first of all by saying, I love your products! I was wondering if you could give me a few *basic* recipes for a few. Not your exact ones, of course. Maybe just the lip balms, soaps, bathing salts, perfumes and body balms? Thank you! And maybe you could post a few DIYs as well, that would be cool! x
Thank you for getting in touch! I’m unable to share my recipes (I’m sure you understand), but I can safely say that I learned everything I needed from the internet.
For soap recipes, you can try creating your own using a Soap Calc, it really boils down to getting your oils and butters right. I normally use a good deal of olive oil, organic shea butter, coconut oil and cocoa butter.
This here is a wonderful lip balm tutorial, it helped me a lot when I got started. They are so fun to make and you know exactly what went into them. Plus hand made lip balms make a nice little gift with a personal touch!
And Sweet Tea Apothecary has written an amazing blog post about how to create your own perfume - down to dilution and percentages, notes and their compatibility and so much more! Check it out, it’s a great resource.
Good luck and most importantly, have fun creating your own little goodies! I’ll try to post more DIYs in the future :)
I happen to be one of those unfortunate souls for whom blossoming fruit trees and flowers in the meadows, while extremely pretty, also mean seasonal allergies. I’ve been absorbing some of the lovely sunshine that spring brings and pondering that, which in turn made me think of just how many people experience allergic reactions simply because we’re constantly exposed to various synthetic substances in laundry detergents, shampoos, perfumes and skincare.
Sometimes people see it as unusual that I choose to go fragrance free in most of my soap line. After all, I also make perfumes! It’s true that most of my soaps are completely unscented. There are two reasons why I don’t add fragrance: first being the obvious consideration for people with sensitive skin who want to eliminate the risk of a rash or an allergic reaction developing. I make soap with healing ingredients - those clays, teas, cocoa and shea butter are there to work their magic and restore your skin to its optimal health, and I don’t want anything to get in the way. The second reason is less obvious: being a natural botanical perfumer, I notice scents a lot, and try to maintain a certain degree of purity when it comes to them. Since starting Ravenscourt Apothecary and my line of natural botanical fragrances, I’ve gotten a lot more aware of scents that surround me - e.g. washing my hands with synthetically fragranced liquid soap when I’m not at home will probably make me crinkle my nose these days - so I tend to go fragrance free when it comes to anything else I use on my body.
I see it as a good way to nurture and hone that awareness, and going fragrance free in everything other than perfume itself helps me develop it. Try it for yourself, and you’ll notice more nuances in natural scents that you come in contact with.
In the picture: one of my best-selling, skin-loving, fragrance free soaps, Avocado&Charcoal, soon to be back in stock and available for purchase!
Last week showered my little botanical apothecary with many kind words, wonderful comments and, of course, orders that came with my interview. I am so grateful to have received that much attention from the readers - it was a pleasure to appear on the front page of Etsy and tell my story.
The weekend has finally rolled in and I am caught up on packing all your lovely packages. They are all on their way, crossing oceans and continents, before landing in your hands. When I pause to think about it, it always astonishes me that all the parts of the world we live in today are within reach. The thought of my handcrafted soap and botanical fragrances being used in Japan, New Zealand or Norway - to name a few - humbles me. It inspires me to create new things that could take someone’s breath away, even if they are on the other side of the world.
I just wanted to take a moment and say that your continued support and interest in Ravenscourt Apothecary’s natural skincare and literary scents has been really heart-warming and made this journey extremely rewarding.
Wishing you all a wonderful peaceful weekend!
Some really good news for those of you who enjoy your teas! Ravenscourt Apothecary has just launched a new line of natural botanical fragrances that will surely sweep tea lovers off their feet.
It took me several months of preparing the tea infusions and experimenting with essential oils, and the result is finally here, ready to be shared with you.
“Lapsang" tea elixir is a smoky fragrance featuring the notes of sandalwood, patchouli, rosewood and black pepper.
“Earl Grey" is all about the grassy, spicy and woodsy notes of cedarwood, clary sage, bergamot and eucalyptus.
Both are ambiguous scents that can be worn by both men and women. You can think of them as your “tea for two” scents.
In my family, we tend to really love our teas, and these two tea elixirs were created to celebrate that love as well as transform the tea flavors into wearable scents.
I hope that you’re enjoying spring and if you’re craving something new and unusual for your senses - well, this may be your cuppa.
TO BEE OR NOT TO BEE?
The last couple of weeks here in London showed us some much needed sunshine – my blue and white hyacinths are shooting up in the garden, and I even saw the first bee of the year in the park the other day. I love bees, and last year was not kind on them. In fact, 2013 was one of the worst years for bees in recent history: the cold, wet, hard winter and spring in Europe and the use of pesticides in the US made their numbers drop at an alarming rate. I did what I could to help - donated to bee charities and planted wildflowers in my garden. Which may not seem like much when done by a single person, but there’s strength in numbers. If combines, those efforts can really make a difference.
When it comes to natural skincare I make for Ravenscourt Apothecary, I always try to make the most ethical, green choices. You probably noticed that while the soap, fragrances and bathing salts are 100% vegan, our lip balms and salves do contain beeswax. When first creating them, I did consider the alternatives – both candelilla and carnauba waxes can be used instead. Those two are obtained from plants: candelilla wax comes from a small shrub native to Mexico and southwest of the US, and carnauba wax is derived from the leaves of a palm tree native to Brazil.
While they both make a great alternative to beeswax, I also made a conscious choice: to run my business in the most ecologically sound and sensible way possible. When deciding on the ingredients for my lip balms and salves, I had to consider the carbon footprint: having them shipped from across the globe did not seem like the most eco friendly option. So local, humanely harvested beeswax it was: luckily enough, I was able to find a couple of great suppliers who keep their bees in a responsible, sustainable way, giving them a break in the winter. My favorite is the London Bee Company. I also continue to give back to the bees by regularly donating a portion of the proceeds to bee charities – like the Bee Cause.
That said, I am always on the lookout for options, and it appears that olive wax can also be a great alternative to beeswax, and is completely vegan, to boot. I’ll report back once I’ve made a couple test batches!
Wishing everybody a wonderful spring and please bee friendly to every little creature around you.
We’re flattered to have our Moroccan Rose bathing salts appear in this beautiful "Be My ‘Etsy’ Valentine’ collection by America Grace blog. Speaking of Valentine’s Day, Ravenscourt Apothecary is giving away one set of our Rose Collection (Moroccan Rose bathing salts is included in it!!!). Enter to participate on our Facebook Page.