J’adore – A Slice of Delight
I first introduced you to A Slice of Delight back in when I interviewed the owner, Hilary, for a French Friday feature and giveaway. Hilary is a francophile who has spent time in France, lives in Berkeley where her kids attend the French school, and is the creative mind behind her own soap business.
She disappeared for a year, all for a good reason. She spent that time volunteering with her entire family in Senegal! Now she's back and sharing a bit of her experience as well as back making her all-natural local soaps which have been a big hit around here!
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(1) You took a little break since we last saw you, what have you been up to, and what motivated you to re-launch A Slice of Delight?
Yes, quite a break. A year ago my family and I created the opportunity to leave Berkeley and live abroad in a French-speaking country for a year. Just so happened while at first, I thought it would be France the compass re-directed us to Senegal, Africa. We took the opportunity to really integrate with the Senegalese culture, the food, the music, the people, and everyday living in Dakar – the capital. And to work on our own French fluency.
Our children continued with their French schooling and my husband and I also had 2 volunteer projects we focused on – me – teaching English to a young Senegalese woman and my husband – managing the refurbishment of 200 small laptops and the network in a small town 4 hours outside of Dakar. We had an incredible life and mind-opening experience. Now we are back on US soil in transition.
While in Senegal I did not continue the business – used my time to write a blog about our year. I'm really not a blogger but gave it my best shot. [Here are a few posts: Je m'appelle Fatou – Counting Sheep – Moussa and Rhissa]
The time now to ‘retire' from blogging and get excited about those soapy creative juices that went dormant for a year. It has helped to know customers and fans have been asking when I was starting up again. That's always a great motivator!
(2) During your year in Senegal you must have spoken French, did it improve your fluency level?
Yes, we spoke A LOT. At first, it was hard to understand the French accent as it is a bit different. But after a month I settled into the accent. My fluency did improve. Not so much with all the various tenses, the French language has as I still got stuck with the basic conjugation for past, present, and future -but enough to communicate. Yet my vocabulary skyrocketed and my confidence to carry a conversation improved immensely. One of the goals we had for going.
(3) Were there other French influences on the country?
The country has a long history and part of that is having been colonized by the French – so the education, when kids are able to get educated is in French. Patisseries and restaurants exist with French influence. Signs are in French, books in French, and movies in French – yet there is still a strong connection between their ethnic African roots and tribal languages and the Muslim religion practiced by 95% of the population.
(4) How did your experiences during your trip to Africa influence your soaps?
Unfortunately at the moment – I've been focusing on soaps that I have the known designs for to quickly build up my inventory and fill up my online Etsy shop as well as be ready for local craft fairs. BUT – I'm always listening to some incredible Senegalese and African music while I craft my soaps that I became exposed to while I was there. I hope soon enough I can let my brain rest and start thinking of some kind of design with the right fragrance that makes me think of Senegal and Africa.
Thanks Hilary, I can't wait to see how your adventures will impact your designs!
I placed my first order earlier this week. Excited to try all 4 soaps I purchased. Lavender, Salt bars, and the Candy confetti.
I love Hilary’s soap! Fav so far is Candy Corn 🙂
the spiced cranberry salt bar looks wonderful!
I loved this interview! What a fabulous life!!!
The Halloween Blackberry probably smells divine!
I think my favorite would be the spiced pumpkin pie, just because it sounds so yummy and I love how it looks, but a VERY close second, being partial to citrus scents, would be the lemon verbena, and then closely followed by the orange coconut citrus.
It’s Vanilla Lavender for me because I love the scent.
I love your interviews, Andi. And these soaps look delicious. What a privilege to leave it all behind for a year and have an adventure. Just wonderful. I wish could do this with my kids. I really do…chuck it all and just have a different kind of life. Some days, I think I’m getting close to this…
Also, want to say, your new design is really growing on me. It has been a pleasant transition – not jolting or shocking like some of them can be. Congrats, again! It’s so well done. I esp. like the red banner “Continue reading…” Easy to see. That’s all for now! jen
@Jen, leaving it all behind for a year (or more) shows such a sense of aventure, you have to be a big risk taker, and I don’t think I am there yet! I am not completely there yet on the blog, want to tweak some things, but I am sure I will get there. Do you think the font is too big?
I like the Christmas Presents soap and Lemon Coconut Citrus
@Andi – thank you again for the opportunity to share my story through your blog and fans. @Jen – it is true – we were very fortunate in that one – my husband and I were on the same page about this in general. And it certainly was affirming when his company said – you can take this sabbatical (no pay) but return with a job. That was probably the biggest risk – asking for the time !! But actually hearing them say ‘yeah – go’. Of course I”m happy to cheer you both on to consider this option down the road and am *always* available to help one understand all the logistics to manage before departing – but *it can be done!* Good Luck @Jen on the giveaway.
I would love to try the Apple Orchard Salt Bar Soap with all the different fragrances!
Soap – Vanilla Lavender – Handmade Natural Glycerin Soap
I like the holiday present sugar cookie soap!
The holiday soaps are adorable!
The candy corn soap is so cute.
I love all the Christmas designs! I especially like the Christmas present in the candy apple scent. Sounds wonderful! I wish I could smell it through the internet. 🙂
I would like the Winter Holiday Soap – All Natural Glycerin – Handmade Soap please! =D
candy cane holiday christmas soap
I have to say I have a passion for lavender. I really like the look of the vanilla lavender and then too the lovely lavender glycerin too!
I like Spiced Pumpkin Pie.
the lime coconut citrus soap looks sooooo good, that’s probably my favorite!
This is such a wonderful interview! <3
I really like Coffee Soap.
I like the Spiced Pumpkin Pie, but they all look so fun!
i like the winter holiday, thank you
I like the China rain salt bar!
i like The Gingerbread Man Soap – All Natural – Fall Holiday Soap Favors
Love anything pumpklin, so Soap – Spiced Pumpkin Pie – Halloween Fall and Thanksgiving
You have some really neat soap designs, I will favorite your page for future gift references!
I love handmade soap! I love the Lemon Verbena!
Love the vanilla-lavender! http://www.etsy.com/listing/67824304/soap-vanilla-lavender-handmade-natural
I love all the soaps! They are so pretty, but I think my favorite would be the Coffee Soap.
My faves are the delicious Salt Bar Soap – Spiced Cranberry & Land of Sweets Confetti Soap for Kids!
Love the colours in these! http://www.etsy.com/listing/62799680/winter-holiday-soap-all-natural-glycerin
bet they smell great!
I love coconut, so the orange coconut sounds rather interesting and different!
I like the Coffee Soap
All your soaps are soooo enticing. I love the holiday soaps the most. So cute!
The Lemon coconut citrus sounds devine!
The Soap – Candy Corn Glycerin Soap – Halloween Fall Harvest sounds great!
The candy corn soap is so cute!
the spiced pumpkin looks like a winner
Would love to try the “Pink Grapefruit Coconut Citrus Soap with Olive Oil and Shea Butter” – super cute looking and scent sounds EPIC!
Sugar cookie soap for sure! Yum!
The vanilla lavender soap sounds wonderful!
Spiced cranberry salt bar sound heavenly!
The lemon sugar candy sounds amazing.. and they are adorable. I bet they would make great gifts or holiday hostess presents!
My fav is: http://www.etsy.com/listing/59308407/pink-grapefruit-coconut-citrus-soap-with
The gingerbread man soap is adorable!
yes, lemon coconut citrus sounds wonderful.
I LOVE your soaps. I have the Lime Coconut one now and really love it’s subtle flavors
My favorite soap: Holiday Present Sugar Cookie Soap
Lemon Coconut Citrus Soap with Olive Oil and Shea Butter
Land of Sweets Confetti Soap! How does it get any funner then that?
the spiced pumpkin pie sounds wonderful! x
Lemon Sugar Candy Holiday Soap – Stocking Stuffer Soap for Kids
I love the Candy Corn Soap and the Gingerbread Man Soap!! Very cute:)
I like the Holiday Present Sugar Cookie Soap
Love the Lemon Coconut Citrus Soap !
I am glad to find this Etsy shop! I always have the hardest time thinking of stocking stuffers for my husband, but I think that the Spellbound Woods for men would be perfect!
I would have to say my favorite would be Apple Orchard Salt Bar Soap…I can only imagine how glorious it must smell! You have some fantastic stuff! 🙂
Candy Corn Glycerin Soap
I like the Christmas Spearmint Soap.
i love the Orange Coconut Citrus Glycerin Soap with Olive Oil and Shea Butter
Ginger Orange All Natural Glycerin Soap with Olive Oil
I like the candy corn soap
I love the Land of Sweets Confetti Soap for Kids – Jelly Bean, Lemon Drop and Cotton Candy scented
The Spiced Pumpkin Pie sounds lovely
China Rain Salt Bar Soap with Olive Oil and Shea Butter
Soap – China Rain Salt Bar Soap with Olive Oil and Shea Butter
We had Senagalese friends, and boy do I love that dish where you have a huge shared platter of rice and there’s a sweet-ish sort of chicken with raisins maybe? And you eat with your hands. yum!
vanilla lavendar or lemon verbena
id love Soap – Vanilla Lavender – Handmade Natural Glycerin Soap
I like Lovely Lavender Glycerin Soap with Essential Oil.
janetfaye (at) gmail (dot) com
Lovely Lavender Glycerin Soap with Essential Oil
I like the Vanilla Lavender – Handmade Natural Glycerin Soap
I like the Spiced Cranberry.
I would love to try the Ancient Sedona soap. They all look wonderful!
The candy corn soap.
Any of the Christmas soaps look AMAZING!!! The spiced cranberry also sounds divine!
what a great giveaway!!!! my favorite is….. the confetti!!!
The round orange citrus looks like it smells amazing1
My favorite is Holiday Present Sugar Cookie Soap. There were several more I liked but this was the one I liked the most.
Soap – Vanilla Lavender – Handmade Natural Glycerin Soap is my favorite
I love them all, especially the Christmas Present – Handcrafted Glycerin Soap – Peppermint!
Thanks for the giveaway
I love the Winter Holiday Soap. There’s so many beautiful sopas to choose from. Thank you for the wonderful giveaway! 🙂
I like land of sweets confetti soap
The coffee soap.
Orange coconut citrus sounds refreshing right about now…
wow those soaps are beautiful
The soaps are so pretty and they come in so many scents! I love the pumpkin spice 🙂
I am also a soapmaker. Nothing like creating a new scent or soap from an experience or movie or inspiration of a person
I thought that was delicious jello, not soap.
At first glance, it looked like Jello dessert! That’s so awesome that it’s soap! I know our family would have loads of fun washing our hands with it!
Ive never seen soap so colorful. I thought it was a dessert at first haha. I must have some!!
Your etsy shop is lovely! The soap almost looks tasty.
I like the modern art quality of the christmas tree soap.
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