Summer Holidays

Happy New Year, readers!

So, what have I been doing? Well, not a lot really, just rolling around and blissfully losing track of time! Which is just what I wanted. We were away over Christmas in sunny Queensland (in some lovely rainforest, see below), but more recently, I went for a little trip locally to the beaches down south.

I’ve always been fond of Kingston Park, a north-facing beach (unusual for Adelaide), though it is sadly losing its appeal with some pretty ugly oversized lumps being constructed. Fortunately, they’re unlikely to touch one of my favourite places to visit there, a terraced group of apartments, probably from the late 1950s or 1960s. Just looking at them makes me hum “I Found My Love In Portofino”! So breezy, look at them:

I think Sophia Loren lived here once. No.

I think Sophia Loren lived here once. No.

Apart from that, I have been relaxing at home, watching the sun rise and sun set with our feline master, Chickpea:

The future is MINE

The future is MINE

But, the holidays are nearly over and I have started to prepare for the year. I have nearly run out of all soap in our store, so I’ve started in earnest, today making a batch of Pink Moon Face Soap. This won’t be available for four weeks. I have a lot of plans for this year, I have some new products to come out and I can’t wait to tell you about them!

I hope 2019 is a good one for you, all the best for you and yours!


I’m at home with palms.

I’m at home with palms.

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!

19th Century Papier Mache Mushrooms

The Museum of Economic Botany, Adelaide Botanic Gardens

I don't know why, but I often feel drawn to Victorian things in the days following Christmas.  I think it must be a desire to be grounded in that quiet, solid world of elaborate design, earnest pursuits and brown things after the brash, noisy rush of Christmas.

Boxing Day, I like to pore over (or is that paw over - I do both) my small collection of 19th century gardening books, read a little Tennyson and go through my collection of cabinet cards and cdv photographs. 

So, today, I was pleased to make a visit to town with my partner and we wandered through the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, including the wonderfully stern Museum of Economic Botany.

Within this small museum, there is housed an amazing collection of 19th century papier mache mushrooms, apples, pears and plums, made by Heinrich Arnoldi & Co, Gotha, Germany.   They live in lovely Victorian cabinetry with their original labels.  They were a joy to see!

Christmas Jelly!

Time to get nostalgic

We had a lovely time visiting my parents last night.  We brought food to share and exchanged cards and gifts and while it was a lot quieter than my childhood Christmases, it all felt festive and cheerful.  

While helping pack the special crockery and glasses away, I noticed in the corner of a lowly cupboard a couple of glass jelly moulds.  Glass jelly moulds are always beautiful of course; their weight and the glistening curves, but this pair brought back memories of my grandmother and her small flat filled with bits and pieces of her life in London that so fascinated me as a child.  

I commented on the glass jelly moulds and my mother reminded me that they were her mother's and she believed they came from her mother's mother.  She then gave them to me, a gift I happily accepted because the moulds are both beautiful and full of unseen memories for me.  I know I'm getting a bit of a reputation as a grifter, but I insist this is unfair!   (Only the night before I was at a party marveling at the bowl of pitted cherries, when the gracious host insisted I take her cherry pitter - which I did, it would have been churlish not to!).

Well, here are the jelly moulds in all their sparkling, chunky, Victorian, crystalline beauty!

Merry Christmas, all, and thank you for your interest in Shanghai Lil and The Scarlet Fez!!

That Dapper Market

Dear Diary, today is my first market...

Yes!  Finally Shanghai Lil and The Scarlet Fez will be appearing at That Dapper Market today from 3pm to 9pm.   No, there won't be singing and dancing but there will be plenty of soap - SIXTEEN varieties, no less, plus some beautiful bath salts and room sprays.  Come down and have a look, it's a great little market with plenty of atmosphere and a good mix of vintage, hand-crafted, food (especially vegan!), music and fun!

Gift Buying for Her

A selection

Eeek, what happened?  It's December already?!  No, I'm not ready either, but no need to worry, I've got some ideas for gifts for those occasions when you just want a small token to give to a lovely lady! 

Top Row
Love Lies Bleeding - a lush rosey scent
Lemon Meringue - mouth watering lemony scent
Riviera Escapade - citrus and lavender blend

Middle Row
South Pacific - exotic ylang ylang and may chang
Madame X - a spicy rose scent
When in Rome - bracing basil and spearmint

Bottom Row
Spring Sherbert - a fizzing lavender and lemongrass scent
Spearmint Julep - fresh as a daisy spearmint
Odalisque - romantic rose geranium and may chang

All of these soaps, and more, are currently available through the Shanghai Lil and The Scarlet Fez shop now.  Or, if you can wait, I will be at That Dapper Market on 14th December from 3pm onwards.  Each soap is $7.50 and is beautifully packaged ready for gift-giving.  And of course, all Shanghai Lil and The Scarlet Fez soaps are vegan, all natural and hand-crafted in South Australia!  I do not use palm oil.

So, if you want to see your friends and family dance with glee, give them a Shanghai Lil and the Scarlet Fez soap and sit back and watch:

Photo from Shanghai Lil and The Scarlet Fez collection.

Party Season

Tokens of appreciation

It's a busy time of year for most people and there are usually plenty of events to attend in the lead up to Christmas.  Work functions, barbeques, family reunions (eek!) and, if you're brave, you throw your own party!

Attending this whirl of activity can get expensive, new clothes, the food, the wine but it is often the gift that causes the most anxiety.  A small token of appreciation is an appropriate way to thank your host and wish them all the best for the season, but it's picking out something a little different and a little easier on the waistline, that can be a challenge for some.  

Here at Shanghai Lil and The Scarlet Fez, you have a vast range of all natural, vegan soaps, hand-crafted right here in Adelaide, to select from if you are looking for an inexpensive gift.  Take a look here:

There are 19 soaps to choose from!  Each soap comes packaged in a lovely box, ready to gift, and only $7.50 per bar!  This is good value when you consider the luxurious oils used to make the soaps, designed to cleanse your skin without making you as dry as a biscuit.  Each bar is scented with essential oils - oils extracted from flowers, leaves and fruits - which provide you with an authentic, natural sensory experience without being bowled over by tenacious synthetic fragrances.

Visit the shop by clicking the button above.  Have fun and let me know if you have any queries.

Gift Buying For Him

A selection 

It's coming up to that time of year again and the (sometimes) painful task of buying gifts is here!  I have noticed over the years that the people who are the least frazzled by gift buying seem to follow a few simple rules:

1. buy early;
2. buy thoughtful; and
3. buy small.

I think buying for men is particularly difficult for some people, but here at Shanghai Lil and The Scarlet Fez, I have a few solutions for you:

Top Row
The Emperor's Chai  delicious cardamom
Mister X...               green and earthy vetiver
Lemon Meringue       lemony may chang

Middle Row
Smokey Joe             sophisticated smokey cade
Evening Star            aromatic star anise and basil
A Siberian Wood      a dry wood

Bottom Row
Spearmint Julep       fresh spearmint
St Clement's             zesty sweet orange and may chang
The Fez No. 1          the gin and tonic of soap, lemongrass, may chang, juniperberry and

Each soap is available from the Shanghai Lil and the Scarlet Fez shop for $7.50, plus postage.  Each soap is hand crafted from all natural ingredients, vegan and without palm oil.  Packaged and labelled in a range of beautiful boxes, these soaps make a thoughtful (relaxed gift-buying person's number 2 rule) and small (relaxed gift-buying person's number 3 rule) gift for men.   Buy now and I can help you with relaxed gift-buying person's number 1 rule too!

My further advice is, if you have to buy a gift for a fellow like curly-locks below, I'd suggest Smokey Joe.  He looks the type.

Photo from Shanghai Lil and The Scarlet Fez collection.