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My Treasure Trove of memories

How Castell Apothecary comes about...

I started producing wellbeing products a while ago and I'm often asked how I got into this line of business. At the time, I didn't see it happening, but it was something I naturally fell into through my love of natural products and fragrances.

Now looking back, I see that it was always there, imbedded in the back of my mind. Since childhood I've been fascinated with natural wellbeing, aromatherapy and using flowers and herbs as beauty treatments.

As a child I remember my dad was always experiementing and had many hobbies, one of which was soap! To make soap you need a strong alkaline solution (Caustic Soda / Sodium Hydroxide) and a fat or oil mixture. These go through a process called saponification which makes soap! My dad would send me to the kitchen and to our next door neighbours to collect wood burning ash as caustic soda wasn't readily available then and everyone used wood to fire their stoves. I remembered running back with my face and arms covered in grey ash :). This memory stayed with me and after my son was born I decided to start my own soap business, my dad thought it was quite amusing. But he would buy and collect various interesting natural ingredients for me while on his outings and travels.

My Childhood family home, "New Year" drawn by one of my older brothers when we first arrived in the Wales.  

 

One of the last ingredients dad brought back, a natural yellow colour dye flower pods

One of my earliest memory was spending time with my grandmother, she used to make all her own beauty products, banana or freshly grated coconut hair oils. She would grate, squeeze and cook the coconut to release the coconut oil and separate the cream for cooking, after the process was finished she would give me the caramalised coconut to eat, it was my reward!  I remember the fragrances specific to each stage, starting as fresh, creamy coconutty and warm to a really sweet and cosy scent. Sometimes her friends visiting the village would give her ylang ylang flowers or gardinia from their land and she would soak these in the coconut oil. It was fascinating to watch. She would apply the oil to her hair every morning.

View across one of the Mekong river outlets from the back of our house

The area is famous for its coconut trees and of course coconut toffee, sugarcane, bananas and fruits

 And then I fell in love with aromatherapy when my best friend from school gave me my first aromatherapy kit from Tissarand for my birthday. it was then that I discovered the power of Aromatherapy - and that was it I was hooked!

For me Castell Apothecary is a product of happy moments and memories from my childhood.

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