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 FatouCounting SheepMoussa 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!

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  1. I placed my first order earlier this week. Excited to try all 4 soaps I purchased. Lavender, Salt bars, and the Candy confetti.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

    1. @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?

  4. @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.

  5. I would love to try the Apple Orchard Salt Bar Soap with all the different fragrances!

  6. 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. 🙂

  7. I would like the Winter Holiday Soap – All Natural Glycerin – Handmade Soap please! =D

  8. 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!

  9. You have some really neat soap designs, I will favorite your page for future gift references!

  10. I love all the soaps! They are so pretty, but I think my favorite would be the Coffee Soap.

  11. My faves are the delicious Salt Bar Soap – Spiced Cranberry & Land of Sweets Confetti Soap for Kids!

  12. Would love to try the “Pink Grapefruit Coconut Citrus Soap with Olive Oil and Shea Butter” – super cute looking and scent sounds EPIC!

  13. 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!

  14. 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! 🙂

  15. I love the Land of Sweets Confetti Soap for Kids – Jelly Bean, Lemon Drop and Cotton Candy scented

  16. 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!

  17. My favorite is Holiday Present Sugar Cookie Soap. There were several more I liked but this was the one I liked the most.

  18. I love them all, especially the Christmas Present – Handcrafted Glycerin Soap – Peppermint!
    Thanks for the giveaway

  19. I love the Winter Holiday Soap. There’s so many beautiful sopas to choose from. Thank you for the wonderful giveaway! 🙂

  20. I am also a soapmaker. Nothing like creating a new scent or soap from an experience or movie or inspiration of a person

  21. 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!

  22. Ive never seen soap so colorful. I thought it was a dessert at first haha. I must have some!!

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