Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Wild harvesting waterlilies for Mother's Day 2017

The past two years I had very little free time to blog as we travelled the globe in search of beautiful 
things to add to our range and opened about ten new RAIN stores including international branches 
in Kinsale and Winthrop, Ireland.

This is all about to change so hold onto your hat as we kick off our new regular blog posts with the 
birth of a new range, just in time for Mother's Day.

The cape waterlily blooms at the height of summer, when it is jolly hot  and one does not mind getting 
wet wading out into the dams to pick the blooms. 

Rural waterways come to life with the elegant blue blooms which emit a sublime aquatic floral essence 
- only discernible before the heat of the day vapor rises it.

This highly elusive fragrance can only be captured through the ancient perfumery technique of 
enfleurage - a labour of love.

Fresh blooms need to be harvested daily ( yes every day ) ...and placed upside down into a fatty 
medium. This is then covered and sealed  to create a kind of a womb - like environment  in which 
all the perfume vapors are captured and trapped in the fat. 

Animal fat was used in ancient French perfumery ... but we use vegetable butters to marry with 

The blooms are then left for twenty four hours in the butter at room temperature , after which 
they are discarded and a fresh round of blooms placed into the same butter. 

Yes - that means going back into the dam and fetching more blooms - every day ! 

After roughly twenty repetitions of this process , the butter is then  sufficiently impregnated with 
floral essence to enable the blending of a perfume .

The butter is then washed in alcohol to transpose the floral essence into the solvent - from whence 
a perfume is born.

 Our Mother's Day 2017 range has been based on this Waterlily fragrance.

The laborious process of daily harvesting and infusing , seemed somehow symbolic of the pregnancy 
process -  a journey of time and energy to birth a brand new creation.

We think moms will love this clean aquatic floral in our limited edition Mother's Day Range. And we 
have a gorgeous Free Gift With Purchase scarf for you to reward you for your purchase if you buy for 
mom for R650.00.

It is a match made in heaven. But hurry, this is a once off limited edition offer ending on Mother's Day.

Follow us on social media for more Mothers Day promotions this month

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Summer is served


Imprinted in my memory bank from a glorious childhood, are the sounds, tastes  and smells of summer.

If anyone happens to open a bottle of suntan lotion - even in a grey European winter - it instantly transports me to summer. To sea sand, sunshine , seagulls..... oh and soft serve icecream on a wafer cone.

I so love the variety of sleep one can achieve lying on a beach under a sun umbrella on a glorious summer's day.It usually comes after reading some pages of an evocative novel - that sleep that is shallow but restorative - more like a doze - gentle with a muffled background soundtrack of waves breaking, children laughing and muffled conversation. It is just too decadently lazy and comforting. 

The only real downside is sunburn. I am particularly prone to skin damage - being extremely fair skinned.  If, after taking all the precautions against burning, the inevitable happens - here are some tips in managing sunburn aftercare :

- cool your skin as fast as possible with yoghurt, aloe leaf juice  or cucumber slices - it helps relieve the burning and stinging
- run a cool bath to soak in ,but add a few tablespoons of cornstarch (Maizena ), and baking soda to your bath water for further soothing
- take a pain killer to help ease the pain - aspirin or ibuprofen ( something with anti inflammatory properties )

And most importantly of all - MOISTURISE intensively

- rehydrate the skin with shea butter based products to avoid or reduce peeling  our Bee Range Sunburn Salve  is ideal for this containing the following actives :

* shea butter for skin softening, contains vit a, e
* beeswax for locking moisture in , anti-microbial, wound healing properties
* carrot oil to help stimulate and rejuvenate skin cells
* rosehip oil which  contains retinol and vit c to help repair skin tissue
* marula oil to help  reverse sun damage &boost cellular activity
* evening primrose oil containing  omega 6 and anti-inflammatory
* st john's wort for wound healing properties
* cape chestnut oil which is high in essential fatty acids & antioxidant
* aloe ferox to  stimulate cell renewaland to help soothe
* sweet orange oil which increases blood flow to skin surface
* lime oil as an antibacterial &  antiseptic
* neroli oil also an  antibacterial &  antiseptic & to help  soothe

 wishing you a happy summer 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Our Green Moral Contract - biodegradable

Rain Artisan and Olive Oil soaps   are formulated to be fully biodegradable as they are 100% natural with no artificial chemicals or additives. Ideal for hiking and camping trips.


any soap that is used directly in a rock pool or stream , alters the surface tension of the water and the little water spiders and bugs can no longer use the rock pool.
So when washing , do NOT wash directly in a rock pool or stream - instead follow the good advice below

“The correct way for camping and hiking is to use your biodegradable soap/shampoo , collect water in a container, do your washing in the container and pour the water out at least 30m away from any river in a spot from where the soap residue will not be washed into the river by the first rain.

The rule is: allow nothing to get into the water which you are not prepared to drink yourself.  Such substance can destroy all live in a mountain stream; in addition, rivers are often farmers’ only source of drinking water”.  

Page 26 The SA Mountain Leadership Guide – a handbook for leaders of hiking and Mountaineering parties by Mountain Club of South Africa.

Soap for the Museum

Whilst  cleaning out cupboards and offices lately to make space for more desks and more 
people, I found a box containing my very first soaps I made in 1999. 
Fifteen years ago and guess what .............they are still perfect 

We have got a little more sophisticated over the years , but that same quality stands. 

Using only the very best raw materials we can lay our hands on  - to nourish and feed your skin

Sunday, October 12, 2014

BUYING FOR RAIN - Components for slippers

I knew NOTHING about shoemaking. But I was intriqued and inspired to try it out.
One day , while on a fabric buying trip in Bangkok , I found myself in a shoemaking district with shop upon shop of intriquing stuff for making shoes.
BUT - no one speaks English !
 In fact , tourists never venture here, so one is generally stared at with amusement and curiosity. When you try to ask for help, the Thais just giggle and shake their heads.

And then , out of the mainstream , while wandering off looking for transport - I found CHAI. Yes his name is CHAI - tea .And , like a good cup of hot tea , he came to my rescue .
as you can see from his shirt - he really is batman or my superhero because he not only speaks comprehensible English, but he sat with me and guided me step by step - with drawings  - on the art of shoemaking . 

Telling me about the dye cuts I need and the materials and glues I must use , and what slopes are for. 

He  now cuts and supplies all the parts for our Rain slippers which we  manufacture back home in our Rain factory in Swellendam.

This is Chai's  very full store, where he and  I sit on rubber mats in front of the cooling fan to discuss my needs each time I visit.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

BUYING FOR RAIN - Rope Hunting in India

Oh I do so love India- the land of opposites and extremes
Beauty and decay, bedlam and peace, filth and fragrance
I am privileged enough to be able to travel to India to buy textiles and yarns for the Rain factory. 
Sadly none of which is manufactured in South Africa and must be brought from a far away land

This rope shop is one of my very favourite haunts. discovered quite by accident while making way for someone to pass me in a tiny Old Delhi alleyway, I stumbled into this Alladins Cave of ropes, strings, twines, wools, yarns.

It is a beguiling store - luring you further and further into it's cavernous depths as you discover little staircases leading up and up , and little passages leading you into further chambers filled with disorderly chaos with every imaginable type of rope and string.

A myriad of tiny rooms are packed floor to ceiling with every conceivable sort of yarn, twine and rope, and  of course there is the fetid odour of rats living side by side with the stock.

The owner is Tarun - the stout gentleman in the picture and alongside him is Prabu - my porter , who can only speak Hindi , but who carries my wares, shields me from rabid beggars, hails the rickshaws and who makes sure I don't get lost in the mayhem

After weighing every bundle and haggling over the prices , the goods are then loaded onto the local rickshaws to be transported .

I retreat to my clean cool calm accommodation with dear friend Bianca -  away from the craziness that is India 

At Rain , we use these ropes to make  window displays, bee skeps, bath mats and the various jutes and strings get crocheted and knitted into shower mitts, back scrubbers, wash gloves and tissue box covers.
Intensively handmade products with beautiful all nature fibres 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

In Sync with the Seasons

Living in harmony with Nature -
that is our credo at Rain

When nature whispers - we listen, when she floods the air with her volatile aromas, we rush to capture them. 
Our jasmine is in full bloom - filling the evening with a sweet floral melody - one which we want to capture for our perfumes. 

We are hard at work each evening , picking the delicate open flowers in order to lay them in palm butter , to perform the ancient french perfumery technique of enfleurage - used to capture the essence of flowers

This is a time consuming task and the flowers need to be replaced every single day for at least 8-12 days. One has to be very sure of a good supply of flowers before beginning 

The Yesterday ,Today and Tomorrow is also blooming at just the same time. this bush is extremely generous with its glorious fragrance and abundant flowers 

The flowers start off deep purple today, then turn lilac tomorrow and are white by the next day

The Palm Butter gently coaxes the aromas from the flowers over time . It is a lesson in patience , respecting time and nature as it gently yields its perfume to the fat medium. 

After loading the fat for as many days as you are able to repeat the process without the fat growing nasty moulds, the fat is scraped into jars to be washed for three weeks with natural sugar cane alcohol.
This washing process entails daily shaking of the bottle to transfer  the fragrance molecules from the fat to the alcohol.
After more than 6 weeks, of daily interaction , this will be ready for use.
No wonder natural perfumes are costly and precious.