Sunday, 2 April 2017

Morning, all. I keep saying I'm going to give an update on Common Brimstone, and then I keep discovering another week has gone by without me doing it. So! Here we go. A definite, actual, real-live update on the shop to cover a few questions that have been coming up.

First of all, yes, I am absolutely going to re-open again.

Second of all, no, I'm not quite sure when.

The main reason for this is that two of my key UK suppliers (one for fragrance oils and one for essential oils) are either indefinitely closed or moving overseas. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the "indefinitely closed" fragrance oil supplier reopens, because some of the FOs I get from them aren't available elsewhere in the UK, and it's not always cost-effective to order from overseas. With the EO supplier, I get a lot of my more weird and wonderful oils from them, like ruby gromwell, and again, it may no longer be cost-effective to use them once they've relocated.

I don't want to put off reopening forever, but I'm at least waiting to get a better idea of the shipping costs involved in continuing to use the EO supplier. It may be that it's not practical without raising my own prices, which I'm reluctant to do. If I have to drop both suppliers, it means some perfumes will have to be phased out of my catalogue (nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!).

The secondary reason I've extended my "winter break" (which I guess is now just a break), is that I've been writing like a mad woman. I write under my own name and a pen name, and have a long list of unfinished projects under both. I resolved to get some of them finished and (hopefully) published this year, so everything else (like leaving the house and seeing daylight) has taken a bit of a backseat to this. Keeping the balance right between filling perfume orders, creating new perfumes, writing, and my day job, was near impossible last year, and I ended up pretty burnt out by the end of 2016. It's been nice to slow down a bit and concentrate on the writing.

That said, I really miss making perfumes, and I have so many plans for new ones! So never fear, Common Brimstone is not going away. I'm not going to put a firm date on reopening for the above reasons, but I expect/hope to be back in business within the next three months. By then, either I will know what's happening with the FO/EO suppliers, or I will be impatient with waiting and will make alternative plans anyway.

I am going to be working on new scents in the meantime (April is a good month for creative stuff, because there are so many bank holidays to give me extra creative time!), and I'll be talking about those, of course! So stick with me - I am plotting a grand return ;)

Christmas is Coming Early!

Friday, 28 October 2016

Image courtesy of OZphotography at FreeDigital Photos.net
Normally I would severely object to anyone talking about Christmas before we've even had Bonfire Night, but I'm making an exception this year.

So! Here's the important bit: Between Monday October 31st and Sunday November 6th, I'll be offering 10% off all full-sized perfume oils and solid perfumes (including Raw Brimstone perfumes).

On Monday 7th November, Common Brimstone will be closing for an extended winter break. So you've got just over a week to get your orders in before I shut until 2017!

The less important bit is the reason I'll be closing so early in the year, which is basically so I can write two books and edit three more (hopefully before the end of the year, but probably not...). That isn't really of interest to you guys, but I usually like to stay open as long as I reasonably can in the run-up to Christmas. This year, however, I need to focus on the writing. Closing early and for a longer period than usual will also give me time to make a ton of new perfumes for 2017, so it's not all bad news!

So, the short version of all this is: Sale! From Monday! 10% off full-sized perfume oils and solids! Enjoy!

Save Our Snake Sale!

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

I've never done this before and it feels a bit weird, but here we go!

Starting tomorrow, Thursday 11th May, and running until next Wednesday 18th May, I'll be offering 15% off all full-sized perfumes (5ml and 10ml). That's the regular catalogue, the Full Moon Fragrances, and the Raw Brimstone line.

The reason is that our very lovely and very stupid king snake, Remic, has just had an operation to remove a mystery lump from his pancreas and, well, the bill is huge. On top of the regular fees for the investigation, ultrasounds, x-rays, operation, and his boarding fee (he's been at the vet's since Monday, bless him), there's an additional cost to have the lump examined to see what it actually is and what caused it, which would go a long way to determining whether it's likely to be a reoccurring condition.

Simply put, I want to give my pet the best possible care and future, and that means raising a little cash, fast. I hate putting my hands out and asking for money, but I feel like with this sale, we all win - you get a week-long chance to buy discounted perfumes, and my snake gets the care he deserves. I know snakes aren't as appealing as puppies and kittens, but look at him!

He does his best.

So I'm hoping that any of you who were pondering making a purchase this month will do so, or will spread the word over the next few days. Word of mouth is invaluable to my little shop at the best of times, and this week has not been the best of times!

Thank you!

Birthday Giveaway Time!

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

It's a bit belated - I had planned to set this all up at the start of February, but between my dead laptop and my hacked bank account, I just never really got organised. But! It's still February, so it's still Common Brimstone's third birthday month, so there's still time to celebrate!

This year I'm giving away a 10ml bottle of the limited edition Unbirthday Cake '16 (coffee cake, amaretto, almond rum, and brown sugar), plus any two 5ml bottles or solids of your choice from the catalogue.

You can enter via Rafflecopter, starting tomorrow, and the closing date is 3rd March. Hopefully you'll all join me in celebrating another amazing year of perfumes, because of course I couldn't do it without you all!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Christmas Shipping Cut-Offs

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Sorry I couldn't think of a more poetic title...And sorry I'm talking about Christmas in early November! But if last year is anything to go by (and this year, for that matter!), things are going to get very busy between now and December, so I think I should pass out some pertinent information now.

Last Recommended Postage Dates

All my international orders are sent by International Standard Airmail. The current recommended last shipping dates for overseas orders are as follows:

  • Friday 4 December - Africa, Middle East 
  • Monday 7 December - Asia, Cyprus, Far East, Japan, Eastern Europe (ex. Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia 
  • Tuesday 8 December - Caribbean, Central & South America 
  • Thursday 10 December - Greece, Australia, New Zealand 
  • Monday 14 December - Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Poland 
  • Tuesday 15 December - Canada, Finland, Sweden, USA 
  • Wednesday 16 December - Austria, Iceland, Ireland, Portugal, Spain 
  • Thursday 17 - December France 
  • Friday 18 December - Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Switzerland
These are just recommendations, and please keep in mind that I cannot guarantee delivery dates, only shipping dates.

All my UK orders are sent by Royal Mail First Class, and the current recommended last shipping date for UK orders is:

  • Monday 21 December - 1st Class and Royal Mail Signed For® 

Please keep in mind that my production times prior to shipping are 5-7 days for oils and 1-2 weeks for solids. I work a full-time 9-5 job at a hospital and I have two books due to be published between now and the end of the year, because apparently I just can't handle having free time O_o All of which is a roundabout way of saying that I get very busy.

Now, last year I got completely overwhelmed with orders, and unfortunately some did go out a bit later than scheduled. I do my best, but I am just one woman (and my cat is no help at all). This year, in order to try to avoid late shipments and preserve my own sanity, I'm going to close the shop on Friday 11th December and re-open in January. This should help ensure that all international orders are sent out in plenty of time for their respective cut-off dates. It will also give me plenty of time to work on new scents for 2016 over the Christmas break.

I know this doesn't give people much time to think about shopping for presents, but I think it's the best way to keep my order queue under control and get everything posted in a timely fashion. If you need your order by a particular date, please contact me and we'll get it sorted.

Shy Saliana will remain open, as I will naturally have fewer orders coming in there, but my current processing time for Shy Saliana is 1-2 weeks, just in case you were thinking of shopping there.

Whether the shop is open or closed, I am always accessible! You can reach me via Etsy's convo system or on the Facebook page. So if you have questions or problems, or you just want to say hello, don't hesitate to get in touch! If I don't reply, it's because I'm asleep :)

"When witches go riding, and black cats are seen, the moon laughs and whispers, ‘tis near Halloween."

Friday, 11 September 2015

*sweeps the cobwebs off the blog*

Yes, it has been a while. My excuse is that 2015 has been incredibly busy for me, not just with Common Brimstone, but with my day job (I got a promotion), my writing (five books published so far, one still on submission, so keep your fingers crossed for me!), and my ongoing quest to open Shy Saliana (it is going to happen, dammit!). Phew. I'm actually still a little incredulous to find it is now September.

But it definitely is, and that means October is just around the corner, and that means it's time to think about Halloween! If you've been with me for a while now, you know that for the past two years, I've released limited edition scents and donated the profits to the British Heart Foundation, in memory of my dad, who passed away in October 2012. And this year will be no different!

I had several ideas for possible themes this year, and if you take a look at my Halloween Pinterest board, you can probably get a feel for what future themes might be, but after reading some fantastic articles on the subject, I decided to go with Victorian Spiritualism for this year's set. Spiritualism developed and reached its peak growth in membership from the 1840s to the 1920s, and had many famous supporters such as Arthur Conan Doyle, Mary Todd Lincoln, and Nobel laureate, Pierre Curie. It had some equally famous detractors, including Harry Houdini.

The basic principles of the Spiritualist movement were a belief in the afterlife and a belief in spirit communication, with spirit mediums being able to contact the dead. I have a huge weakness for all things paranormal, occult, and generally spooky, so I've always been fascinated by Spiritualism. Translating some of the themes and ideas into perfumes has been fun, but definitely tricky! Hopefully though, I've created five scents that conjure the mood just right...

So what are these scents, you ask? Well, I'm going to keep the actual notes a surprise for now, but here's a quick sneak preview...

Buried Alive - I admit I'm playing a bit fast and loose with the theme here, but being buried alive was a huge fear during this time period. Waiting mortuaries and safety coffins were all the rage in case of premature burial! This scent combines soft earth and funeral flowers.

Ectoplasm - A substance said to formed by mediums during their trances (and often faked with cheesecloth and potato starch, among other things), ectoplasm was said to enable spirits to interact with the world of the living. This scent starts out shockingly sharp and bright, then pales away to a softer, more delicate finish.

Medium - The medium is the intermediary between the living and the dead, able to listen to and relay messages from spirits, or that they can allow a spirit to control their body and speak through it directly or by using automatic writing or drawing. This scent is a shimmering, otherworldly blend, perfect for opening your senses to the spirit world.

Mesmerism - A theory developed by Franz Mesmer, mesmerism is also called animal magnetism, but today we probably associate it more closely with hypnotism. For our purposes...you are getting very sleepy with a resinous and soporific blend that's bound to enchant.

Seance - Of course! We have a medium, we have ectoplasm, so there must have been a seance. A smoky and compelling scent, I have to say that if I was going to pick a favourite from this set, Seance would be it.

So...How do they sound? Good, I hope! My plan is to have them listed this weekend (probably Sunday), and they will then be available until the end of October. Happy (early) Halloween!

Nepal Earthquake - Charity One Day Sale

Friday, 15 May 2015

I'm sure you've all heard about the two recent, devastating earthquakes that have hit Nepal. There are a lot of people who need a lot of help, and I want to do my part.

Firstly, if you are able to donate, there are several places to consider:

World Vision
Red Cross

There are more suggestions in this article too.

Secondly, I'm going to be running a one-day sale on Sunday 17th May, with all proceeds going to World Vision. I'll be offering 10% off all perfume oils (5ml and 10ml sizes). I wanted to do something like this in May anyway, as I'm probably going to take some time away in June and thought it would be a good way to say bon voyage to you all briefly, and if I can combine that with raising money for charity, well, that seems ideal.

So. Sunday 17th May. One day sale. 10% off all perfume oils, with all proceeds going to World Vision for their Nepal projects. Be there!