The Scented Gauntlet

A friendly challenge!

One of our loyal customers visited us last weekend at our Red Umbrella market stall and laid down the scented gauntlet.  We often have chats about a range of things, and one subject we talk about a lot, naturally, is scent.  Our friend brought in a gift for us; a sachet of dried herbs and flowers. 

Our friend explained that every year she dries a selection of herbs and flowers, in this case lemon verbena, deep red rose, mock orange and mint and she has generously given away a portion of her precious stash to us. But it has come with a challenge - to create a scent reminiscent of this dried blend.

Now, I should point out that I'm usually quite quiet and modest as a person, but the need to speak out sometimes unexpectedly drives me to levels of bravado seen only in the foolhardy!  I accepted the challenge almost dismissively - 'why yes, of course I can make that' and so on. A grotesque sight, I'm sure!

But we spent a little time discussing possible essential oils to use - it seems straightforward, but our loyal customer may be trying to catch me out with a scented wildcard - and so I will make a blend, a cologne perhaps, based on our lovely gift and see if it meets with approval.

The blend itself is very aromatic. The sweetness of the lemon verbena with a touch of rose is countered with the fresh green herbal notes of the mint. The mint itself is, as they say on those never-ending cooking shows, the star, and is a lot more subtle than you might think (I wonder whether minted peas have poisoned people's minds against mint generally...).  It is green and soft, not hot and cold like peppermint, a lovely accompaniment to the floral notes.  Overall, it has a fizzing, sherberty type of scent, which I love.  I may have created a rod for my own back with this, but I can't lose face, I will make something wonderful!  Oh, no, the bravado's back...

Port Festival

Saturday 10 October and Sunday 11 October

We will be at the huge Port Festival next weekend on Divett Street (between Lipson and Commercial) between 10am and 6pm both days.  We will have our full range of cold process soaps, perfumes, skincare, lip balms and room sprays.

Karena from Magic Jelly will also be there with her range of beautiful art, illustration, greeting cards and gifts. 

All Natural, Vegan Lip Balms


As the maker at Shanghai Lil & The Scarlet Fez, I pride myself on a number of key attributes at the heart of our range and believe that our products should always be:

  • all natural - that is, made from natural ingredients such as plant-based oils (I choose not to use synthetic ingredients and I never use petroleum based ingredients of course!)
  • vegan - no goat's milk, honey, beeswax or other animal ingredients, and not tested on animals (neither the ingredients or the final product)
  • ethical - this is a broad one but, as an example, I don't use palm oil (if Greenpeace isn't satisfied the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil is working, then I prefer to avoid using palm oil)
  • hand-crafted - that is, I research and develop each one of our products from scratch and I don't use pre-made mixes. It makes my progress slow, but I know what goes into each product and in what proportions.  It is what makes our products unique
  • South Australian - that's right, made right here in sunny Adelaide
  • beautiful - using products with the above attributes can be one of those small pleasures of life. Knowing you have a product which is made from natural ingredients, which is good for your skin and on top of that is packaged beautifully is a small treat.

This leads me to announce, with great pleasure, the release of our range of all natural, vegan lip balms! Some time in the making, I can now show you what they look like, the flavours (natural and organic flavours!) and, as you can see, the wonderful packaging!

I have been working closely with Karena from Magic Jelly, a local artist illustrator and friend of 32 years (!), on the labels for the range of lip balms.  Karena's talent for creating beautiful, nostalgic and original designs has, since the beginning of Shanghai Lil & The Scarlet Fez, been the guiding light for our brand. With this range of lip balms, Karena has done it again and created the exact feel I wanted and more - a swoonworthy mix of old world charm and smart modernity. And look at those colours!  Thank you, again, Karena!

So, the lip balms come in 8 flavours which I have carefully blended to give you a unique and appealing experience:

  • Raspberry Royale - black raspberry and violet
  • Caramelised Fig - fig and caramel
  • French Pear - pear and vanilla
  • Candied Violets - violet and vanilla
  • Persian Rose - rose and pomegranate
  • Raspberry Mousse - black raspberry and white chocolate
  • Jersey Caramel - caramel and cream
  • Rose Creme - rose and white chocolate

Each lip balm is made from a luscious blend of oils and butters including cocoa butter, apricot kernel oil, coconut oil, raspberry seed oil (which offers some sun protection) and jojoba. They are lightly sweetened with a natural, plant-based sweetener and flavoured with a hand-mixed blend of natural, organic flavours. You will be hard pressed to find a more natural lip balm on the market!

I will have the lip balms listed in the shop over the next week or so. Shanghai Lil & The Scarlet Fez will also be at the Pure Veg Food and Wine Fair on Saturday, 12 September and the Playhouse Lane Market on Saturday, 19 September.  The lip balms are available for $8.50.

Post Market Post

The Human Snail

Here is a picture of me working at my blog:


Well, it's not really, it's a snail, photographed by an amateur photographer in the 1930s.  A recent addition to my collection of snaps.  I have been working quite hard recently, in preparation for two markets over the weekend just gone.  The fall-out of this is I have been slow to post to my blog! 

One of the products I launched over the weekend is the gift pack.  Not just any gift pack, but a party in a box:

Karena from Magic Jelly prepared the beautiful labels and patterns, of course, and each gift box is different, containing a variety of Shanghai Lil & The Scarlet Fez products.  Some even have Magic Jelly buttons, coasters or mirrors!   They were well received over the weekend and I plan to have more ready for the next round of markets before Christmas. I hope to be able to offer some via the online shop too, so more on that later. 

I have had a couple of enquiries from people asking where I will be next.  There are a couple of simple ways to find out:

1. sign up to my monthly newsletter - I will tell you about the markets for the following month, any special offers and any other news relating the Shanghai Lil & The Scarlet Fez;

2. follow me on;

3. visit me at a market and ask me!