The natural world, and the tiny part of it that is my garden, is my creative space and is really important to me. All of my creative ideas come from plants, flowers, birds, and poetry. In particular the poetry of John Clare, who was born in Helpston, Northamptonshire in 1793, where he was known as the ‘Northamptonshire peasant poet’. A nature poet, John Clare’s themes are his day-to-day experiences in his small village and the common ground and farmer’s land surrounding it. Rambling, as those of us in the countryside as children were free to do, his poems mostly look back on the idyllic childhood he remembers  (and laments the loss of), before enclosures and adulthood.

John Clare gives such a rich and evocative picture of an 18th early 17th-century village. His records of the wildlife and flora and fauna are detailed, informative, and described with love.

Inspired by John Clare’s poems, I have named my soaps after excerpts from his poems. My designs and colours are evocative of his beautiful descriptions of nature.

Artisan_ Soap_ Rosey_ Cheeks_ What's_ In_ The_ Name?_

Gathering Inspiration


I start off by deciding which clays or essential oil combinations I would like to use.

For ‘Rosey Cheeks’ I chose pink clay and the essential oils of rose geranium and patchouli, which gives the soap bar a musky scent with a sweet floral lift. Reading through my John Clare book what could be better for a name than this..


Ah lovely Ema mingling with the rest

Thy beauties blooming in low life unseen

Thy rosey cheeks thy sweetly swelling breast

But ill it suits thee in the stubs to glean…

Taken from the poem ‘The Harvest Morning,’ the mystery of my wrong spelling of Rosey cheeks is solved. John Clare fought hard against his editor’s corrections of his spelling and grammar. Having been given the title ‘The Northamptonshire peasant poet’, he wanted to keep his manuscripts in their original written form mainly to maintain his identity. A few quirky spellings survive and rosey cheeks is one of them.

Essential Oils Chosen for Rosey Cheeks- Rose Geranium



 Rose Geranium also known as Pelargonium Graveolens, was originally native to South Africa- but is now cultivated all over the world for its medicinal and ornamental properties.



Rose_ Geranium_ Used_ for_ essential_oil

 This is one of the rose geraniums I grow in my garden. Unfortunately, the volume of leaves used in the process of steam distillation is beyond me!

Rose Geranium essential oil is used in aromatherapy to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and uplift mood. The oil is believed to have antibacterial and antifungal properties, making it useful for skin conditions like acne, eczema, and fungal infections. A beautiful, pretty pink, but full of powerful qualities.

Essential Oils Chosen for Rosey Cheeks – Patchouli


Patchouli is part of the mint family, Lamiaceae, and originates in the tropical regions of Asia. Patchouli is often used in skincare because of its moisturising and regenerative properties. used in aromatherapy for calming and grounding it may also help with dry skin, dermatitis, and acne.

All of these ingredients combine to create a nutrient-rich, moisturising soap, rose-scented, delicate but hard-working! Rosey cheeks conjures up that young, fresh maid, gleaning in the stubble at a harvest time more than two hundred years ago. A real person who existed then with no notion that she would be written about by John Clare and named for a bar of soap and written about by me in a blog on the world wide web…



If you would like to experience my  sweetly scented Rosey Cheeks, click here


  1. Ita Hicks

    Love this its so personal, human and a tad eccentric 💚

    • Nicolesmallgarden

      Thanks for reading Ita! Glad my authentic voice came through, definitely no AI here!


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