Monday, 22 December 2008

SEASON'S GREETINGS

Afrihyia pa
Buon Natale
C Pождеством Xристовом
Feliz Navidad
Glædelig jul
Joyeux Noël
Krismas Njema Na Heri Za Mwaka Mpya
Nadolig llawen
Nollaig chridheil
selamat hari natal
สุขสันต์วันคริสตร์มาส

Friday, 19 December 2008

FANCY AN APPLE CRUMBLE WITH SOME ZING?

You can exclude or increase the ginger powder if you wish to. I would have used fresh ginger but had to consider my two rascals.
INGREDIENTS:

4 medium sized golden delicious apples

Juice of 1 navel orange - I prefer this as I find the taste just right

300g plain flour

5g ginger powder

160g light brown soft sugar

225g + 15g extra unsalted butter

50g flaked almonds

50g ground almonds

IN THE MIX:
Preheat your oven to gas mark 6.
Peel, core and dice the apples. Toss in the orange juice (make sure each piece is coated in the juice). Cook on low heat uncovered. You can cook it covered for the last 2 minutes to make it slightly softer.
Add the powdered ginger to the flour and mix well. Rub in the 225g butter till your hands almost fall off - well it felt like that!
Stir in the 50g flaked almonds and set aside.
Add the 50g ground almonds to the apple/orange mixture coating each piece. Gently stir in the 15g butter and set aside.
Distribute your apple/orange/almond mixture evenly into 2 (215mmØ x 24mm deep) flan cases and sprinkle your flour mix on top. Gently press down and bake for 35 minutes (or until golden brown).
Leave to cool slightly and serve with cold vanilla custard.
Enjoy
Akua *I am not good at writing out recipes -I just love baking*

Thursday, 18 December 2008

HAIR PAMPERING TIME

I love concocting and abide by almost the same principles for cooking & skincare.
My hair needed serious pampering tonight so I gathered whatever I had at home to treat it and here is what I did. Some of the ingredients are from my garden to show you how fresh the ingredients are.
Please read through:
INGREDIENTS:
FOR THE TEA
475g freshly boiled water 35g apple cider vinegar (acv) 15g fresh bay leaves from my garden
2g fresh rosemary sprigs from my garden
FOR THE “MAYONNAISE”
52g banana (without the skin)
14g egg yolk
12g fresh root ginger (without the skin)
9g moringa seed powder (or moringa leaf powder)
6g fresh garlic (without the skin)
1. Bruise the bay leaves and rosemary sprigs to release the aroma and put in a glass jug (this helps to retain the heat).
2. Pour the acv over the herbs.
3. Add the freshly boiled water and stir to incorporate. Cover the mixture with a cling film and set aside.
4. Wash your hair with authentic African black soap. Towel dry but leave the hair wrapped up whilst you mix up your “mayonnaise”.
5. Blend all the ingredients for the mayonnaise till smooth. Massage your scalp before applying the mixture – do not comb through. This mixture was thick enough for my rather thick Afro hair. Make sure you cover every strand.
6. Wear a shower cap and keep your hair warm preferably under a hooded hair dryer for 30 minutes. This method can be quite dehydrating so make sure you give yourself 3 x 10minutes intervals – drinking enough water in between.
7. Rinse your hair thoroughly with warm water. Strain the “tea” and use as the final rinse.
As it is too late now, I have decided to leave the hair to dry naturally and oil it in the morning.

Monday, 15 December 2008

A BICYCLE FOR A SPECIAL GIRL

A big thank you to Tomcat Trikes in Gloucester for this amazing bicycle for my 10 year old Queen.
Tomcat build amazing bicycles for special needs' people and the service is superb. After waiting more than 5 months to have the bicycle built, we were all happy to wake up early on Saturday morning and drive down to Gloucester where we met Bob and John. Their hands-on approach is one of their many fantastic services they offer. We are now looking forward to riding as a family.

Friday, 5 December 2008

THE FRIDAY NIGHT PROJECT

What have I let myself in for? There was a time when I was learning about SAP values and ingredient properties. Now, I am learning all about beads and wire gauges. I am finding myself winding down every day with more beaded earrings and bracelets. My favourite is the necklace but I seem to forget buying enough for the whole set - at least, I am still learning.
This is my Friday night project - yes, all handmade after the rascals were put in bed tonight.

Sorry about this image - I know - I should have rotated it :)

I keep promising myself to stop making the pieces and start selling but all in good time.
Akua
AshantiGirl.com

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

I AM A VERY PROUD TEACHER

My recent rather hectic trip to Ghana included a soapmaking class for members of the shea co-op. This is the same co-op I have used for more than 3 years - supplying me with pure unrefined sheabutter and unrefined neem oil. It is great to support this co-op who are not affiliated to any UK based companies.
I am not a good teacher but I enjoy making natural soaps. Bearing this in mind, I was happy to put few days aside for a soapmaking class under the rather hot Ghanaian sunshine.
I am proud to say that the "students" listened and yesterday, I was sent some pictures of their recent soap batches using unrefined shea butter - naturally. I am so proud to support this co-op and will continue to do so.
Ayekoo.

Monday, 1 December 2008

RED RIBBON

Support World AIDS Day

Thank you to all those who purchase our marula oil, 10% from the sale of each bottle is donated towards the support of a child orphaned thanks to the highest HIV/AIDS rate in the world.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

BEADS AND MORE BEADS

I have always loved beads but my recent business venture has proved that I AM ADDICTED TO BEADS. There is always the usual groan at home when my desk lamp is switched on and my head is down trying to design yet another piece. Buying the beads is not as difficult as trying to design. Anyway, I finally got my camera and in my haste to try my new toy, took some pictures of the AshantiGirl collection for your viewing pleasure - enjoy :
Akua
AshantiGirl.com

Sunday, 16 November 2008

HANDMADE NATURAL SOAP

One can't have enough bars of handmade natural soap in the house. Just think of moisturising olive oil, aromatic coffee, detoxifying rhassoul, soothing unrefined sheabutter and sinfully nutty sesame oil - just for your skin!!!
Well, at Cioccolatina, we try not to disappoint and have added all the above lovely yummy ingredients in these bars of natural soaps.
Go on, treat yourself or a loved one and feel the difference.

Nutty Spice

Coffee soap

Rhassoul shampoo bar

Thursday, 13 November 2008

THE COLOUR BLUE

Latest beaded jewellery I made today for the AshantiGirl range.
I will be updating the range over the weekend when I hopefully take delivery of a new better camera!!

Friday, 7 November 2008

POPPING UP FOR SOME FRESH AIR

I have not been updating my blog for sometime as it has been sooo busy at Sheabutter Cottage. However, in between packing off orders, I have also been embarking on a new business venture. Here is my latest "baby". Just finished this bracelet with sterling silver and semi precious stones as part of the AshantiGirl range which will soon be available online ;)
Akua - AshantiGirl

Friday, 31 October 2008

FRIENDSHIP AWARD

Thanks to Corrie for my friendship award which I duly accept.

Here are the lucky 8

http://holyandwholesome.blogspot.com/

http://www.veganblog.it/

http://gassnercustomsoaps.blogspot.com/

http://libreriacreativa.blogspot.com/

http://shearadiance.typepad.com/shea_radiance/

http://www.mwatum.blogspot.com/

http://soappixie.blogspot.com/

http://beautifulbrownbabies.blogspot.com/

The rules for acceptance of the award are as follows: Pick 8 blogs that you consider deserving of this award based on their creativity, design, interesting material and also for contributing to the blogging community, no matter what language. Congratulations and please pass the award to others who are deserving. Share the friendship........x

Thursday, 30 October 2008

FEED YOUR SKIN AND POCKET THE CHANGE!!!

The weather is changing, it is cold and the temperature at the time of writing this blog is 6°C. I have my cardigan on but most of us will be warming up to the heating in the house. This can play havoc on the skin so why not treat yourself to our reduced bottles of Sacha Inchi body oil.

REDUCED TO CLEAR ~ BBD 04.DEC.2008

A nourishing oil with omega rich Peruvian sacha inchi, exotic tahitian monoi, marula and vitamin rich argan oil. Scented with an exquisite blend of neroli, rose and ylang ylang essential oils.

SACHA INCHI OIL: Sacha Inchi oil is a suitable ingredient for sensitive skin and for very dry skin that is subject to conditions such as eczema, due to its rich composition of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. Several independent studies have shown that these fatty acids are used by the body to produce hormone-like substances, called prostaglandins, which regulate the inflammatory response of the skin to even severe conditions of dryness and redness, to include eczema and skin rashes. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are also powerful anti-oxidants, and as such they play an important role in the protection of skin from oxidative ageing. The nourishing properties of this oil increases the shine and softness of hair, making it an ideal natural conditioning agent.

BUY NOW

Sunday, 26 October 2008

GARLIC SHAMPOO BAR?

The mere mention of garlic conjures up images of dracula and vampires. So imagine the reaction I got when I had a discussion with some friends on the topic of Cioccolatina garlic shampoo bar.
Garlic contains selenium which when taken internally, helps to prevent blood clots. Selenium is also useful in the fight against dandruff. Another natural component found in garlic is allicin. Allicin is a great anti bacteria component which is also attributed to the strong garlic scent. Sulphur is also present in garlic. This helps to nourish hair, finger nails and skin.

For a simple tea, I crush equal amounts of fresh garlic and ginger, pour hot water over it, cover for 5-10 minutes and drink (without straining). This helps to soothe any sore throat.

Another natural alternative to cough mixture is equal amounts of crushed fresh garlic with honey. This should be prepared as and when needed.

So next time you go shopping, pick a bulb of garlic for your kitchen cabinet.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

MY NEW HOBBY

It is amazing what you can achieve with some colourful beads, twine and some "closures". I found myself threading this bracelet on my recent visit to Ghana. Beading apparently "runs" through the family as my grandmother of blessed memory was very good at it.
I have been known to stay up late in finishing a dress to wear the following morning so did not want to disappoint and was keen on wearing this bracelet within 25 minutes of starting.
I admit that there are 2 minor mistakes with my bracelet - but at least, I made it and I am proud to wear it.
Is this the sign of things to come? cough

Sorry about the poor picture quality. Need a new camera as a birthday present in 2 weeks' time - hint hint.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

GREETINGS FROM GHANA

It was a jam packed few weeks in my beloved country Ghana. Situated 5°C above the equator, it is home to most of my suppliers as well as the orphanage supported by our helping hand programme.
I had forgotten how hot the temperature was but it was good to be back home for sometime.
I visited our authentic African Black soap suppliers for both bar and the liquid version. It was great to chat with them but I was upset to notice that the factory producing our bars of soap was slightly damaged in a recent fire.
I was able to organise a 2-day soapmaking class for some members of the shea co-op based in Northern Ghana. There was so much excitement when we unmoulded our first log of shea soap - more to follow later.
The highlight of my visit was getting myself through the chaotic traffic to a destination outside Accra. I was met by kids of the orphanage we support and was able to donate clothes, refreshments, toys & stationery. I had a fab time interacting with these kids who ranged between 6 and 16 years of age.
A big thank you to all our customers who make it possible to put a smile on the faces of these kids.

Akua Wood - http://www.sheabuttercottage.co.uk

Empowering women, empowering men, celebrating the leaders of tomorrow

Sunday, 5 October 2008

SEE YOU SOON ♥♥♥

à bientôt
أراك قريبا
Auf Wiedersehen
arrivederci
hejdå
I have the passport, whipped shea, sunglasses, slippers and journal.

I also have toys amongst other things for the kids and would like to thank all our Sheabutter Cottage customers who continue to support our helping hand programme - the kids would be very pleased.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

AVAILABLE SOON

My arms are now resting from all the soapmaking over the last few months. I wonder what they would have said if they had the voice. I love making natural soap - when I find the time to do it. Anyway, here are the fruits of my labour and will soon be available at Cioccolatina

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Saturday, 27 September 2008

A DAY IN THE SUN

There was a huge sigh of relief when I announced that I was not making any more handmade natural soap today.
The sun was shining so we drove down the road and found ourselves 13 miles away in Taplow. Taplow is home to The Thames Valley Adventure Playground. We have been visiting this wonderful place for the last 5+ years and had a fab day.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

WONDERING WHAT I HAVE BEEN UP TO??

..... I have been a bit busy with work. I managed to add new products to the Cioccolatina natural toiletries' range. and here is a collection of recent soaps - some will be available soon