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The Christmas Collection...

I’ve made my Christmas cake, have you? I never wait for Stir Up Sunday – the traditional day for Christmas pudding or cake making, because I’m too impatient but also because for so many years I’ve been doing craft fairs around this time. I try for during the October holidays now so that I can let the girls help but this year they renegaded after realising a) there was no chocolate involved and b) they weren’t even going to be making icing later. I got round to making it this weekend, trying a new recipe which has made a light cake (no treacle or molasses) with a little bit of preserved ginger in it – both of which are a first for me. The house smells so gorgeous and festive, full of the amber warmth only sweet, brandied fruit and baking can give to the air.

In the workshop the new Christmas soaps and gift sets have been photographed and wrapped, and if you have subscribed to the newsletter, you’ll be getting first look at them, and a chance to use your 10% off voucher on the lovely gift boxes and stocking fillers.

If you’re not a subscriber, have a think about it, but for now let me tell you what’s in these beauties.

For a small, simple gift for someone you love, for yourself or for your home, these limited-edition Christmas soaps are full of celebratory spirit. Like everything at Christmas time, they have a little bit of sparkle: I’ve used a little gold and silver to add a touch of drama and luxury.

Winter Wreath is a soft green soap with the scent of a crisp, winter forest: cedar wood and Siberian fir. Said to symbolise protection, wisdom and abundance, cedar has a woodsy, earthy smell and a long history of use. It is mentioned in the Bible, was used by the Ancient Egyptians and believed by the Native Americans to promote positivity and spirituality.

Siberian Fir essential oil adds a frost-crunch crispness and aid relaxation.

Winter Solstice is an eye-catching black bar with essential oils of cedarwood, bergamot and rose geranium. This is a grown-up floral soap, with hints of citrus and that earthy cedar aroma blended with the soft warmth of the rose geranium. The combination of activated charcoal and bergamot essential oil make this a cleansing and purifying choice.

Christmas Rose is also a striking floral-scented bar with a hint of festive spice: cardamom, ylang- ylang and rose geranium will add a little bit of the exotic to your Christmas. Cardamom essential oil, with its warming, spicy-sweet scent is said to bring grounding and clarity; from the Garden of Babylon, along the first spice routes and around the world, it is associated with love and marriage rituals, medicine and cooking.

Round out your gift giving with a bar of Gifts of the Magi soap, scented with frankincense and myrrh and decorated with lines of sparkling gold. What could be more traditionally Christmas? Given ceremonial importance since ancient times, frankincense and myrrh essential oils combine in a warm, delicately sweet and earthy way that can add a deep feeling of ritual to your bathroom routine. Besides being good for your skin, these essential oils are said to promote calm reflection and joie de vivre.

They all come wrapped in the iconic Shepherd’s Cottage compostable, locally sourced, eco conscious packaging, made and given with love.

There are so many wonderful ways to bring joy at Christmas time! What Christmas rituals bring you joy?

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