Chapter One: Washing Powder


The Idea

Clothes washing has come along so far since the days of doing it by hand with a washboard and mangle and for that I am forever grateful, but looking at the pile of empty plastic bottles which inevitably will end up in landfill my conscience was well and truly punctured, not just pricked. I have toyed with the idea of making my own washing powder for a number of years but have never got round to actually doing it, but it has been increasingly been playing on my mind.

The Push

Since we have given up running our B&B this has given us more time to spend with the family, and this means getting out and about more. I was luckily enough to have already done a course down at River Cottage HQ and have been raving about it for the last few years. So this past May bank Holiday I took my husband and two children to the River Cottage Spring Fair where the children discovered pottery and how to build a shelter, my husband discovered that actually to was quite nice sitting down and not rushing around and I discovered the amazing Rebecca Sullivan and her book The Art of the Natural Home. Sadly we weren’t in time to see her demonstration but I bought the book and have opened up a wonderful array of homemade natural products ranging from food to cleaning products. It also helps that we did go to the same college although many years apart. Delighted to find a recipe for washing powder Amazon was the next stop for the ingredients.

How to …..



  • 100-150g bar of soap (castile or Dr. Bronner’s)
  • 250g borax, I used Borax substitute
  • 250g washing ┬ásoda crystals
  • 5 drops of lemon or orange essential oil, I used rosemary as that is what I had but lemon acts as a degreaser and bleaching agent

Chop the soap into small pieces and put in a blender/food processor along with the other ingredients and blend until smooth. The amount suggested to use is 1-3 tablespoons.

I would like to say that on googling there are a myriad of washing powder recipes for you to choose one, this was just the one I liked.

The Verdict

We have been using the powder for a while and 98% of the time is her been really pleased with it. There has been some residue left when I did a woolly wash so will probably use liquid for that, maybe I can make my own, and there was one heavily stained load that I again used the shop bought liquid. My son has reactions to a lot of the shop bought washing powders and liquids and has had no reaction to this whatsoever. So this is a keeper.

This is who i get to spend time with now

Next week: watermint vodka



Well if you are going to start anything a good place to start is always at the beginning. The last blog, such a long time ago, was very rambling so many apologies and lets start again. I am not the greatest writer but I enjoy it so hopefully that should improve in time.

So, some background. I am 47 years old and I live in Dorset with my husband, two children, a dog, various sheep and Bob & Brenda our orphan lambs. Yes, I really did walk out of a job two years ago with nothing to go to, it was a hard decision but a right one for me, although possibly selfish but i can honestly say I have never looked back. Life can be chaotic and thank god for a diary but everything seems so much better when you don’t leave in the dark and come home in the dark. And then last year our world was turned upside down when my husband was diagnosed with cancer. We had to give up our B&B business and learn to live our lives round the many scans, blood tests and chemotherapy until last month he had his first operation. We still have a way to go but we are getting there.

And in amongst all of this I decided that it would be great to start something completely different and learn how to make candles and soap and sell them. To this day I have absolutely no idea what possessed me to go down this road but here I am, two years on with a small and slowly growing business, selling said candles and soaps and also reed diffusers and refills. and its great, I love it, I never knew I had this in me. I was seriously the most uncrafty girl in my school, my art teacher despaired of me but I gave everything a good bash including pottery and spinning. Maybe in 2015 I went through a midlife crisis, but whatever it was I have had a new lease of life.

And so to the blog, I really wanted to get out there what I do, everyone says you must have a blog, but how boring would it be to just read about that week in week out. I could liven it up by the occasional notification on when one of our sheep had given birth, which appears to be quite random at the moment, but again, wouldn’t liven it up plenty and then I had a thought; Made at Burngate farm doesn’t need to just be about candles and soap and reed diffusers, now I have some time on my hands there is a myriad of things that I want to make and so I have given myself a challenge, to make, however successful or unsuccessful that may be, something new every week. Any ideas please feel free if not I am happy compiling of list of what I have always wanted to try and make. I can happily not include meringues on this list as I did overcome my fear of making them a couple of years ago, but there is still plenty of scope.

In the meantime here is a picture of Bob the orphan lamb who decided that Alfie the dog’s bed by the wood burning stove was the perfect place to sleep.IMG_0857

Next week: washing powder

Made at Burngate Farm


Who am I?

Now there is the question.

I was lost last year, mother, wife, and employee but not anything for me. Last August in a fit of insanity for some but clarity for me I handed in my notice at work with no job to go to to go and find me. The question is eight months down the line have I found myself?

And the answer is: I am getting there. Things are on the move in the right direction and I am hoping this blog will help me to not hold stuff in, to explore my world, inspire others, pass on “stuff” that people may enjoy and not enjoy. You may like it or not but this is my outlet, a continuation of my creative outlet that I am beginning to explore and enjoy.