savon de marseille

Next to my own homemade soap, the soap I love best, the most beautiful, traditionally made, natural soap has to be Savon de Marseille.

savon de marseille

They call it legendary, and as the savonneries in Marseilles have been making their gorgeous cubes of olive oil soap since the 1300’s, I have to agree.

savon de marseille © elisa rathje 2012

I adore the patina that develops over the stamped sides, and I love the simplicity of the soap. It is so pure, you could brush your teeth with the stuff. The blocks are just gorgeous, and last a long time, so I keep one by the bathtub, between the epsom salts and the traditional razor. On such a cold, wet day as this one, I’d rather like to get into a hot bath and stay there.

bath salts

Sweet girls of ours are very ill with the flu. I rarely see them sleep so much, it is awfully quiet around here. I was very pleased to receive a delivery of epsom salts today, this is just what they need. My understanding is that epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) draw out toxins from the body. I always feel infinitely better for a long soak in this kind of bath salt, with some kind of essential oil to relieve whatever is ailing me. I will use lavender tonight to bathe the children and help them breath clearly and settle easily to sleep. When I was awfully sick with a chest infection I used epsom with tea tree (in small amounts, mix it in well to dilute or you might burn yourself!), lavender and peppermint to clear my breathing. The salts don’t dry out your skin but leave it soft and smooth. On a cold, dark rainy evening, I think it is just the thing.


I keep the bath salts in a jar by the old tub, with a scoop left inside. Towels warm on the radiator beside, and my old fashioned razor, olive oil soap, a natural sponge, a loofah, and a beeswax candle are within reach. I like to bring in a little stool for my writing book and fountain pen to sit upon, and then this is my idea of heaven.