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Category: General
Posted by: nicky
Thanks to people like Kirstie Allsop there is a huge revival in homemade crafts and there is a large number of people worldwide who have a love of craft as their hobby; be it quilting, machine embroidery or felting.

I have discovered soap making and at the moment am addicted. Look out for little homemade soap packages in our bedrooms with an option to buy to take home.

I have also discovered that the beautiful Cockington Manor in Torquay offers a soap making workshop and working with them have put together a two night bed and breakfast package which includes learning this new skill here in Devon at the Cockington Manor.

The price per person based on a two night stay bed and breakfast and attendance of a craft workshop will be from 85 depending on season. There would also be an option for an evening meal. The maximum number of people for attendance would be 12 so get like minded friends or family together and have a fun break learning a new skill. Contact me for info on available courses, prices and dates. email stay@buckinghamlodge.co.uk or tel 01803 293538

regards
Nicola
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Category: General
Posted by: nicky
Right so now the marmalade is made my thoughts have turned to another craft which would be lovely to provide for our guests whilst staying at our bed and breakfast in Torquay, Devon. Soap making. Little did I realise how in depth this subject would be and how many hours I would spend trawling the internet for ingredients, suppliers, instructions, soap making courses, and legalities. The legal issue was one that really surprised me. According to EU law to sell soap in an EU member country you must be assessed by a suitably qualified professional person which can be quite expensive - approx 150 per cosmetic item. So if you fancy making, say, bath bombs or crystals as well as soap you would need to be assessed for each item.

Anyway the soap I am making is totally chemical free and totally natural and will have lovely natural properties such as dried flowers and aromatherapy oils in them.

I have decided to have a go at the melt and pour way of soap making which is an easier method to begin with as you buy the base soap which has glycerin in it, melt in a microwave or bain marie then add your essential oils, dried flowers, honey or even oatmeal! I have even heard of a soap with sand in it for exfoliating, well I am in the right place to gather that if necessary although the Torquay council might object to me taking too much sand from Torre Abbey beach!

I'm impatient to get going - most of the my ingredients have arrived but Royal Mail have really let me down on my essential oils which I ordered from a company in Plymouth - a total of 45 miles away. So far, a week later, there is still no sign of them, might have been better to jump in the car and got them myself.

Maybe tomorrow will be the day........ I'll keep you updated on how the venture turns out! Oh and if anyone has any experience, hints or tips on soap making, please share by emailing me.
Category: General
Posted by: nicky
Here at the Buckingham Lodge we are always looking for ways to improve our guest's experience whilst staying inTorquay whether its offering a breakfast to suit particular dietary requirements, picking up a guest from the railway station or just providing a welcome cup of tea on arrival. Its the little things. So this week I decided to make some homemade marmalade to serve with our scrummy breakfasts, something I had never attempted before. The recipe was simple enough, the most difficult part was sourcing some Seville oranges which are only available during January and are ideal for making marmalade due to their high pectin level, which is a must if you want the marmalade to set!

The process is very simple and ingredients are minimal, as mentioned before you need oranges, lemons, sugar and water but the traditional process is quite labour intensive. Having squeezed 3kg of oranges I then needed to cut the orange peel very thinly by hand which took forever, I did attempt using the magimix but was not very successful ending up with chunky bits which was not the objective. Then the liquid has to boil for 2 hours before it can be decanted into sterilised jars. As I say, not a fast process and one that is quite sticky but a thoroughly enjoyable and productive afternoon. Go on give it a try!

So when guests next come, there will be home-made marmalade on the table....... just need to get to grips with the breadmaker now.