The first ten years of my life were like most other kids. I grew up in a happy home on a big ¼ acre block in the suburbs of Perth, Western Australia with my Mum, Dad, sister, our cat, chickens and a duck. We had a huge lemon tree, a vegetable garden and an above ground swimming pool. My sister and I would spend endless Summers playing in the pool and dress ups in the back yard. We lived opposite a huge park with grass and trees as far as the eye could see! The neighbourhood kids were all friends (mostly) and we played tennis on the streets and rode our bikes. As long as our mums knew whose house we were playing at, all was ok.
At age ten I was diagnosed with Asthma and I spent a good portion of my 6th year of school at home on a nebuliser under the watchful eye of my mum and my friends, who would come over after school to visit me. It is also when I really began to swim for my health, not just to learn. I attended asthma swim classes at the local indoor heated pool and gained strength through swimming. To this day, you will still find me in the water, whether that is at the stunning Fremantle Leisure Centre Outdoor Pool or at any one of our beautiful beaches along the Perth coastline. My love for swimming will never fade and it gives me health and vitality that nothing else comes close to. I love swimming so much I have also been a swim coach for over 30 years.
So, life went on and as I grew into my late teenage years I began to look more closely at what I was eating, what products I was using and how it affected my asthma and my overall health. This was in the late 1980’s before it was ever the “in” thing to be environmentally conscious or aware of the toxicity of commercial products for ourselves and our planet. This was really the beginning for me. I had left school and uni, I had a car, a job and therefore I had cash! It was the start of my own personal research into how I can be that one individual to make small changes that may just have a big impact.
A few years later, I had a small craft business making “Spirit of the Earth Smudge Sticks”. I sourced the plants for my smudge sticks ethically and mindfully and I had my products in stores across Australia. Until Government Law restricted access to my beloved Saltbush even more and as we were on the brink of exporting to Asia, we were forced to shut down operations. It was during this time I came across a local Soap Maker named Corrynne. She had a small batch, artisan soap making business operating out of Fremantle and the Markets. I adored the natural ingredients in her soaps and at every opportunity, I had them well stocked in my bathroom at home.
By this stage, I was continuing to battle with my Asthma, with no relief from the Cortisone medication the doctor continually prescribed. I had adjusted my diet many times….Gluten Free, Vegetarian, Vegan, Dairy Free….you name it, I tried it. I had also begun to eliminate almost all chemicals from my home in an effort to reduce symptoms.
It would take many more years for my body to respond to a way of eating that suited me and a way of living that reduced my symptoms significantly.
Fast forward ten years ago and I almost had control of my asthma. But the wheel of fate had one last nasty turn in the form of excema. I had never suffered from excema like my poor sister. But when I met my now husband, Alex, I broke out all over my body and to this day, need to carefully manage my food and product exposure to keep it under control.
A few years ago, while continuing my swimming coaching career at a small, local swimming club, I was looking for a hobby to keep me occupied between the early morning starts and the evening coaching shift. I tried my hand at a few different things like candle making, sewing and other crafty pursuits. One day, while looking at yoghurt makers on an online store that was Ecologically friendly, I came across a Soap Making Kit. I purchased it there and then, thinking that maybe I can make beautiful natural soap so I didn’t have to spend so much money on Corrynne’s gorgeous creations, that after 20 years I was still using!
After all, I knew whatever I did, it needed to be kind to my skin and kind to the earth.
I made my first batch of soap over the Easter of 2017. It turned out better than I expected and I even took a video of me unmoulding my first ever batch of Rose Geranium Soap. From that day, I was hooked. I did every bit of research I could. Learning all the ins and outs of soap making, particularly Cold Process Soap Making, which is what I had made. I decided that I would make soap for my family and friends. A few months later, people wanted to buy my soap and Christmas sales kept me busy and allowed me to buy more equipment, more ingredients and expand my little hobby and turn it into a business.
Today, I continue to coach swimming and I am happily making soap and other products that are kind to my skin and kind to the earth. A lifelong reason to do what I do.
And thankfully, I am almost always symptom-free with my asthma. The excema? Well….that’s another battle.