A shedload of opportunities

One for the guys out there next weekend, when June and Rachel will be talking about men and sheds – or, to be more precise, about men IN sheds…

For many chaps (Rachel’s husband Dean included!), a shed at the bottom of the garden is a favourite place to escape to for a bit of peace and quiet. But did you know that more than 11,000 men across the UK head to a shed for precisely the opposite reason?

Like John Nelson and Dez Williams, who’ll be joining the Girls Around Town on Sunday, they’re all Men in Sheds, a nationwide group supported by the UK Men’s Sheds Organisation, which was founded in 2013 to help raise awareness of the social and health benefits of Men’s Sheds in reducing isolation and loneliness and in empowering local communities.

Over the last five years, the number of sheds up and running has grown from around 30 to more than 460, with another 133 currently in development. And for those 11,000-plus Shedders, they’re places where they can share experiences, knowledge and skills while making friends for life with others who share interests and a common purpose.

It gives me a reason to get up in the morning… I feel a sense of worth and love the way all of the men work together

Tune in or listen online between 10am and 12 noon to hear John and Dez explain why they joined the Collingham Shed, what they and their fellow members get up to there and, above all, the difference being Shedders has made to their lives.

And, if you’re a man without a shed, to find out how to join them or track down a Shed near you…

Soap with a conscience

You probably think long and hard about what’s in all the skin care and beauty products you use, right?

But how much thought do you give to something as simple as that bar of soap sitting in the bathroom or by the kitchen sink?

Not a lot, at a guess – after all, it’s no sooner on your hands or body than you’re rinsing it off again…

But not all soaps are created equal and if you want to find out why, you need to tune in or listen online this weekend, when June and Rachel take a look behind the scenes of Soapology with their guest Louise Grosse.

Based in Farndon, Louise creates handcrafted, artisan soaps using only 100 per cent natural ingredients. Made in small, quality-controlled batches, each bar is unique, with essential oils chosen and blended carefully for their therapeutic benefits.

With natural colourants in swirls, layers or solid colours, the soaps she makes aren’t just great for your skin – they look like little works of art when not in use too. And who could resist soaps with names such as MojitoPerfect GentlemanSudweiserHello Yellow and Sham-Pooch (yes, there’s even one especially for your four-legged friends!)?

What’s more, these ‘soaps with a conscience’ are eco-friendly as well. “None of our soaps contain palm oil, a decision we made because we are uncomfortable with contributing to deforestation of the natural habitat of orangutans and other wildlife who call the forests of Indonesia their home,” says Louise. “After a lot of hard work and many trial batches, we believe we have created a recipe that is superior to others that do contain palm oil.”

Join the Girls Around Town between 10am and 12 noon on Sunday to hear Louise explain how she taught herself the traditional cold process method of soap making known as saponification and how you can even try your hand at making your own soap on one of her Soapology Studio workshops.