24 Hours: Amanda Saurin of AS.APThere is something indescribably soul satisfying about peeking into another’s life. These glimpses provide an endless source of inspiration, wisdom, and energy! So let’s do it. Let’s spend “24 Hours” with those fascinating individuals that create, motivate, and live life on their own terms. Enjoy!
I’d like to say that I rise, dig up carrots, harvest spinach, whip up a smoothie, do an hour of yoga, and jog to work. Alas, this is not so. My day, along with millions of other women starts with my children. My youngest son is an apprentice Silversmith and he is up at 5am to travel to London. In a slightly bleary eyed state, I make my way to the kitchen, squeeze half a lemon into a breakfast cup and fill it with warm water. This is one ritual I really value – lemon water kick starts the body, flushes out toxins, balances pH levels, and gives me a healthy dose of vitamin C. It is also fantastic for the skin.
Once Oscar is off to the train, I have an hour of time to myself. I love the very early morning, it is one of my best thinking times. The house is quiet, the dawn is slowly bringing light to the day, the birds start their contented chorus and there is the promise of the day ahead. It is a time of optimism.
My morning cleansing ritual is so simple – for myself I make beautiful, cold process olive oil soap and it is my delight to slowly turn the bar in my hands under warm running water until I have the perfect lather. It is so creamy on my skin, the natural glycerine adding the perfect amount of moisture. It makes me sad that bars of soap have almost entirely been replaced by caustic liquid soap. It is like the difference between night and day.
A breakfast of sour dough toast, usually the prune and hazelnut one from the bakery down the road with a large cup of freshly ground coffee gets me out of the door and off to the workshop. I shout farewells to the other children and husband, grab the dog, meet my daughter Bell, then pick up my colleague Julie and we travel the short journey together chattering about the plan for the day. If I see something exciting en route, we stop, I leap out and grab it – this is frivolous, but irresistible foraging.
The workshop is on an 80 acre organic vegetable farm and the barn where I work is usually cold on arrival, this is good for the plants but less good for us. Heaters and kettle go on, biscuits are put on a plate, music plugged in and we start, often with a salsa, occasionally with a song, but more often with a biscuit.
At this time of year we are propagating, busy watching for mice in the poly-tunnel, fighting a battle with the rabbits, watching in awe as the weeds fly up through the soil and rejoicing in the coming of Spring. The warm beds in the poly-tunnel have seeds popping up and very soon it will be time to pot them on and then transfer them into their permanent beds. The violet leaves outside are well up and the promise of their sweet scent is thrilling.
Inside the barn, we will clean and sterilise jars, make up orders of creams, candles, soaps, colognes, balms, and aromatic waters and revel in the scent. It is heady and delicious. I believe firmly that fresh is best and so we barely hold any stock. We try to make up every order full of vitality, positive energy, and love. It seems like a cliché but it is not – how you as the maker feel is so important to the finished product. As a therapist for many years, I have seen, so many times, that people get well when they are heard… really listened to, through that you can find the root cause of the problem and treat it. With products, knowing that they are made with care, attention to detail and integrity, I feel somehow imbues each little pot with a special energy – we listen to the plants and think of our clients.
On the farm, as summer comes, lunch comprises cruising up and down the other poly-tunnels eating tomatoes from the vine and basil from the beds. Just now it’s a little less enticing to crunch on root vegetables and so we usually cobble something together and get on.
The day currently ends on a very loud rendition of ‘run like the wind’, which to anyone under 45 will be an unfamiliar tune (lucky you, keep it that way). Apart from Will who helps with the gardening and Bell who is 24, we are a team of older women. I’m really proud of this. There is a view that beauty is the domain of the younger woman but this is not so. As older women, we can draw on a wealth of knowledge, experience and wisdom. We are not driven by money but rather by the absolute desire to do the right thing, to choose a more difficult but ultimately more sustainable course. We wear our well-moisturised smile lines with pride!
Before leaving for home, I check the plants and make sure anything drying is turned over, anything macerating is given a good shake, and anything enfleuraging is quickly examined to decide when the next lot of flowers need to be added. If I have any tinctures on the go, those are also given a hearty shake. In the late Spring distilling starts which is hectic but exciting – we are a few weeks off that at the moment.
Once home, I make a cup of tea and eat a snack – I love seeds, nuts and dried fruit, which I always have on hand. I spend an hour or two with the kids catching up on their day, then it’s on to making dinner – usually I cook, but sometimes the kids or my partner will make something. I use organic veg from the farm; it is fresh, vital, and delicious.
The day isn’t quite done until the admin is dealt with so most evenings I spend a fair bit of time sending emails, ordering bits and bobs and working out a timetable for orders. Running a business is time consuming and very hard work but I wouldn’t think of doing anything other than what I do – the pleasure of the plants, the making, the research and development, the wonderful women (and Will) who make it all happen are a rare and precious thing.
Just before midnight I cleanse my skin. I use the AS.AP Cleansing oil and cloth – there is something infinitely comforting about the scent and sensation. The slow, gentle rhythm of smoothing it onto my face and neck and then the rinsing it off seems to remove the physical and emotional vestiges of the day’s work and prepares me for sleep.
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