Getting to Know… Sof McVeigh

Sof McVeighSof McVeigh is a homeopath with a background as a designer. A few years ago, she combined these talents and set up The Homemade Company, which offers a range of natural health and beauty products that are enjoyable to both make and use. With fans such as Kirstie Allsopp and The Guardian’s beauty editor, Sali Hughes, The Homemade Company has been hugely successful.

We asked Sof about creating your own health and beauty projects and her recent book, Treat Yourself Natural

Sof McVeighWhen did you start creating your own natural health and beauty products?
“I’ve always loved making things – I love DIY and all sorts of craft – so for me it was an easy progression to move to making things derived from nature. I started exploring the benefits of natural health 12 years ago, and I’ve been focusing on balms and all sorts of lotions and potions for the last 6 years.”

Why did you launch your website,
“When my daughter was about 7 she became mad about lip balms, so one day we bought a kit to make them. But it was a disaster – it was full of chemicals and brightly coloured dye that ended up staining the carpet! So I thought with my design background and my knowledge of natural health I must be able to do better. Once I realised just how easy it was to make great natural lip balms, I wanted to share that with everyone, so ‘The Homemade Company’ was born.”

How do you go about creating a new project?
“I get inspiration from nature — I look at what’s out there for the picking. Then if I am not sure what it is I do some research. I am led by the seasons so as it’s now Autumn, I’ve been busy making all sorts of berry syrups, experimenting with combinations of different berries and hips.”

Do you prefer making health or beauty products?
“If a product is good, it can be for BOTH health and beauty. Like a great body balm, is a beauty product in the sense it can makes your skin more beautiful, through its nourishing cocoa butter, then depending on which oils you add to it, it can have more specific ‘health’ properties. For example, if you add Borage oil to your balm, which has a high amount of Omegas in, so it can help with swollen joints.”

What are your favourite natural ingredients to work with?
“I love making anything that smells great, so working with ingredients like beeswax, that smells of rich sweet honey, or good quality cocoa butter that can smell of creamy chocolate, is always fun. Then of course there are all the flowers you can use, like lavender or rose, which on a warm summer day fill any room with a scent that says ‘ all is well in the world’!”

Sof McVeighDo you have favourite projects from your book Treat Yourself Natural?
“Yes — I have a few! Making Marigold Oil from the cheerful bright orange flowers in early summer is very easy and it has incredible benefits for your skin. I also love making crystallised rose petals, as they add such a pretty and special touch to any summer tea. For this time of year, making Hedgerow Spirit is wonderful as it gets you out picking berries and then you can think ahead as it makes a brilliant Christmas present.”

What would you say to someone who would rather go and buy their health and beauty products from a pharmacy because they believe it is too time consuming or difficult to make their own at home?
“Of course there are many things you can’t make, but you’d be surprised by just how many great products you can make which are not difficult or time consuming. Build your confidence by starting with something easy like Lavender Bath Salts, which also make pretty presents, and work up to a balm or oil for your nails, with different ingredients in.”

What are you working on at the moment?
“Right now I’m working on craft ideas to encourage children to spend time away from their computers. To get outside and to get making things is wonderfully creative and great fun. Watch this space for more on that soon!”

Get your copy of Treat Yourself Natural now for fantastic recipes and ideas for making your own health and beauty products! Visit Sof’s website The Homemade Company to find out more, and keep up to date with Sof McVeigh’s Twitter and Facebook pages.

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