Archive for July 30th, 2014

Most people have a small indulgence, something that they splurge on. In other respects they might be careful with their money but, for this one thing, they loosen the purse strings and let themselves go. Some people are into gourmet coffees, others collect Hummel figures or Wedgwood china. Or Lionel trains. Or Cabbage Patch dolls. Or comic books.

I used to collect cookery books but gave that up some years ago. For one thing, any recipe I want is available on the internet. I can also borrow what I want from the local library. Besides, books take up space and, as time went on, I found myself referring to them less and less. When we moved last year, I gave away most of my collection to a friend and it was easier than I thought.

Nowadays, I am into scented bath soaps.

I have always liked scents but I find cologne too strong, too artificial. Aftershave is too aggressive and, besides, the choice is limited. Soaps however are refreshing and I have a feeling of well-being as I lather myself up in the shower. The spray of hot water, the hard soap that dissolves into soft foam and the refreshing scent that envelops me make for a sensual experience and a great start to the day.

It has to be bar soap; the body washes don’t do it for me. Unfortunately, there is not much choice in bar soaps at the local supermarket and it seems to be narrowing even further. There are only Dial, Irish Spring, Zest, Caress and Ivory and some of them are unscented. I used to like Coast but I don’t see it on the shelves any more. Luckily for me , there is a variety of scented soaps available from companies that specialize in bath products, and some of them are available at discount stores.

I started out with Pears translucent soap ( $ 1.29 each) which I got at the local Indian grocery store. It comes in two varieties, both great. The scent is refreshing and distinctive, strong but not overwhelming. From the same source, I was able to get a variety of Indian soaps with unusual scents that took me back to my childhood days Rexona and Hamam and Moti (try the sandalwood). All of them are about the same price. From this starting point, I went further afield in my quest for new soaps.

Currently, I am luxuriating in Rosewater and Olive Oil Shea Butter soap from Greenwich Bay Trading , Raleigh NC. I like everything about them, the shape, the color, the scent, the box they come in. The cakes of soap are a beautiful ivory color, square-shaped with an embossed floral design. The scent is, to me, the smell of clean and, unlike some other soaps, it doesn’t fade away; it remains all the way to the end. I don’t know what Shea butter is but it’s great. The set of four 4.25 oz. cakes comes in a beautiful square box with a floral design and at $7.00 it is well worth it. It’s about twice as expensive as supermarket soap but so what? It will last for about 3 months and it’s certainly affordable.

I have seen several other soaps in the same price range and they come in a variety of scents. There’s lavender, lemon verbena, almond, red currant, eucalyptus-mint and others. I am intrigued by a Vermont company that sells goat milk based soaps with lavender and apple scents ( $ 18 for a set of three) and another that offers a choice of lemon verbena , rose, lilac, honeysuckle or patchouli ( any three for $ 13.50). Caswell Massey offers exotic combinations such as Almond-Aloe ( $6.70 ea), Coriander-Mandarin , Fig-Bamboo, Vetiver and Cardamom( $ 8 ea) , and Gardenia- Jasmine, Orchid-Honeysuckle, and Grapefruit-Green Tea( $ 11 ea). Crabtree and Evelyn has Pomegranate with a burst of citrus and fig leaf( $ 21 for a set of 3).These are all a little pricey and I don’t know that I would be comfortable spending so much for soap. I do know that I would not be buying products from another company that advertises Black peppercorn, Pink pepperpod, eucalyptus, Japanese Orange and Ginger Lily soaps ( $ 30 each). Definitely too rich for my blood.

There are certainly many advantages with soap. It’s a necessity, it only costs a little more than the regular variety and it gets used up, unlike other collectibles which take up increasing amounts of space. It’s a small indulgence but it has many pluses.

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