When I've not been busy on the blog, the book or indeed preparing for Christmas, I've been having a really good Twitter. Not just twittering to myself, but twittering to others over at www.twitter.com, where everyone else is having their fair share of tweets too. And it's fab, you get to meet all sorts of new peeps or tweeps as twittering people are called.
And one of those gorgeous tweeps is the lovely Allyson Proudfoot, who runs the Bellingham Soap Company, making luxury soap and skincare products under the brand Working with Nature. If the name sounds familiar, it's because as well as having an online shop, Allyson distributes to a whole range of stockists across the UK, including National Trust gift shops.
Well I couldn't resist ordering myself a treat (or indeed a tweet) for Christmas and it arrived today. So while I'm off to indulge in a Fabulous Frankincense Fizz Bath, I have the pleasure in handing you over to Allyson for her to tell you more about her work.
How long have you been making soap and what inspired you in the first place?
"I've been making soap for 11 years, started selling at my local farmers market in 1999. I started because I needed something to do with my surplus goats milk and then began making creams and balms about 4 years ago, as a natural progression!"
What's your favourite product?
"I don't really have a fave product, I like them all. If I don't like something I don't make it again even if it is popular...like glycerin soap, I could sell cart loads but it is just melted down factory base and even the so called organic stuff doesn't fit in with what I believe in. If I was pushed I would have to say that I love my Patchouli soap."
What kind of packaging do you use?
"I only use biodegradable packaging, natural cellophane, jute bags and fairly traded saa paper. I band my soaps with Ellie Poo paper as it helps to conserve the habitat of elephants in Sri Lanka.
I use recycled packaging to send out my orders, I usually use recycled brown paper and corrugated cardboard but I also re-use what is sent to me, if it is a plastic sack or bubble wrap then I got it from someone else! I use cellulose sticky tape too!"
What would be your top tip for any other small business wishing to reduce its waste?
"My top tip would be think about waste in the first stages of designing a product, and save every thing you can in case you can re-use it later, shred your waste paper and use it as packing."
Huge thanks to Allyson for joining in with The Rubbish Diet. I can truly vouch that the packaging is just what she promotes through her work. It arrived this morning, all gorgeous and eco-friendly, with a few reused bits too. To find out more about her wonderful products, pop over to www.bellinghamsoapcompany.co.uk.
If you want to follow our tweets, log onto www.twitter.com/therubbishdiet
and www.twitter.com/workingnature, where you'll find a whole load of tweeters at it too, with many friends you'll recognise and a whole load of new ones to connect with.