What on Earth have you been doing?

Drinking tea and eating crumpets!

It might look like it, but it has not been a quiet time here at Shanghai Lil & The Scarlet Fez! I am not the most organized person, so all of my ideas and plans always take a lot longer to come to fruition than those of...EVERYONE else!

So what have I been doing? I've been re-formulating our lipbalms, organising new signage, (by the talented Magic Jelly, of course!) tweaking some of our recipes and making a ton of soap. We have some big markets coming up in August, which I'm really looking forward to. I miss the face to face contact with customers and those chances to show people our products up close. There will be more on the above over the next month or two.

We have introduced a couple of new retailers too. Welcome to the lovely folk at The V-Spot (an online vegan beauty and fashion retailer) and Style House Designs in Aldgate. 

But of course, I have ensured that I have time to relax and think. While doing all this relaxing and thinking, I've been drinking Prince of Wales tea from Leaf Tea, a small (and cute) supplier in Geelong. I haven't had Prince of Wales for ages - I used to drink it a lot in the 80s, before everyone was born. Also purchased in Geelong, a copy of Chandler Burr's 'The Emperor of Scent'. I haven't had a chance to start that yet, but I'm looking forward to getting into it. 

We are also in the midst of some major renovations at chez Shanghai and you'll be shocked to hear that this is stressful! But boohoo me, once it's over, I'll have plenty of space for my supplies and products! Also, more room for tea paraphernalia, books and things.

So, big things are coming for us at Shanghai Lil & The Scarlet Fez, and we're getting ready for it, fueled by tea!


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. 

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 Facebook.com/ScarletFez;

3. visit me at a market and ask me!

Rosehip and Pomegranate Face Serum

A New Product

The last couple of weeks have been very busy as Shanghai Lil & The Scarlet Fez prepared for a market and the release of a range of new skin-care products.  

I have had an excellent cleansing face soap out for some time now - the unscented Pink Moon Face Soap.  Then, the Rose and Cucumber Face Mist, a soothing and fresh toner for the face.  Rosehip and Pomegranate Face Serum completes the range.   This oil is made from organic rosehip oil and is blended with pomegranate oil, camellia oil, meadowfoam seed oil, olive squalene and vitamin E.  

You only need 3 or 4 drops of Rosehip and Pomegranate Face Serum, gently massaged over your face and neck after toning.   It is a relatively 'dry' oil, so will sink in quickly and is, therefore, suitable for use under make-up.  It suits normal to dry skin.   What I like about the serum is that it is made with only the ingredients I want to use on my skin, no padding, extending or emulsifying with water.  Just simple oils with all of their nutrients and benefits in a small bottle.  Good things come in small packages, right?  (I sound like Mary Ann Singleton from Tales of the City!)

I have made up a small face-care kit with all three of the above products, which are available from my stall at any market I will be at.  You can also buy each separately, of course!  Sign up to my newsletter (the button is in the sidebar) for up-to-date news of where I will be, special offers and new products.

New Product Launch

Rose and Cucumber Face Mist

I have been working for the last few months on a couple of new products, the first of which I am proud to say is released today!  

Rose and Cucumber Face Mist is an excellent toner and can also be used on the face just to refresh the skin.  Made from gentle rose water and soothing cucumber water, this face mist is blended with hydrolised oats.  One of my favourite ingredients, hydrolised oats instantly sooth the skin, making it look and feel soft.  

You will note, of course, that this product is completely natural, vegan and is not tested on animals.  The labels have been beautifully designed by Karena at Magic Jelly.

Rose and Cucumber Face Mist is the perfect accompaniment to Pink Moon conditioning face soap and will shortly be joined by another new product, a face serum.  More on that later.  

If you are interested in trying Shanghai Lil & The Scarlet Fez's Rose and Cucumber Face Mist, come and say hello this Saturday at That Dapper Market at Bowden. 

The New Melancholy

Autumn, Aspire and Annuals

I know it is stating the obvious, but autumn is here.  It seems to be a bit early, the leaves are well under way to their new colours, there are dahlias out, it smells smokey at night, it's cooler and now, daylight savings is over.  As much as I really don't like (I'm being mild here) the very hot weather, it is sad to see the summer go.  Sad in a melancholy way.  

But I love the small rituals of a change of season.  The decision to pack away the linen and pastel coloured argyle socks, switching from rose scented tea to chai, dusting off the Balmoral boots, raking leaves, ordering violets and looking through bulb catalogues, moving from citrus and herbal scents to woods and resins.   They are small and personal things - I'm certainly not a 'no white shoes after labor day' type of person - but each one is a rediscovery of things forgotten (if only for 6 months), and an anticipation of cool days ahead, rugged up and cosy.

Here's a flower.  A dahlia from our garden, no less, and I see we aren't the only ones keen to have a piece of this:

I was very proud during the week to have picked up a copy of Aspire Magazine, a free publication circulated at various venues around Adelaide, because I am in it!   Well, it wasn't about me in my gracious living room (a la "Hello" magazine), but there was a small article about Shanghai Lil & The Scarlet Fez soaps!  I was very happy about it and I'm chuffed to be in this new, very smart, magazine.   Here's the article, but I recommend reading the whole magazine, of course!

And finally, I am at the Wattle Street market in Fullarton on 12 April 2014, and Pop up at Prospect (Prospect Road) on 26 April 2014.   Come by and say hello and smell the soaps, bath salts, room sprays and perfumes I have on offer!


Upcoming Event

I am happy to report that Shanghai Lil and The Scarlet Fez will be at the next That Dapper Market on Saturday, 29th March 2014.  Here is the flyer for the event:

We had such a good time last time and met a lot of lovely people and got to help them make a selection from the 19 different varieties of soap we had for sale there!   

This time around, there won't be so many varieties, but there will still be plenty to choose from.  I think I will group them into "floral", "aromatic" and "gourmet" to make things easier for people.  

Also, I hope to have bath salts and room sprays there too.   And...fingers crossed...new perfumes!   

So, there will plenty to see, smell and buy!   Here is a shot of the stall from last year (this year, it will be bigger!):

I am lining up some other market gigs too, so I will keep you informed both here and on facebook.

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!