Articles

Autumn is coming, and we’ve got you covered!

Autumn is coming, and we’ve got you covered!
After a hot and long summer, autumn somehow sneaked up on us with its low temperatures and shorter days. There’s still a bit of Indian summer here in Folkestone but more often than not we have to wear thick jumpers and coats. At Foras, we love nature, so we also love all the seasons with their quirks and peculiarities. Continue reading

The weird and wonderful sense of smell

The weird and wonderful sense of smell

Did you know that rodents have a perception called smound which is a mix of smell and sound information? You guessed that right, today’s topic is the sense of smell!

 

The sense of smell is strongly wired to our feelings and memories. Not only are we able to smell certain emotions, like fear and happiness, but also smells make us react emotionally which helps us empathise with others. Smell, unlike taste, sound and sight, gives us an emotional reaction before we can identify the scent. It has been proved that we can remember smells for much longer that feelings or products of other senses. Certain smells make us happy - these aren’t universal as what lifts our mood is linked to what we find pleasant. It turns out that shopping can give you happiness - as long as you shop for perfume!

 

There’s many interesting facts about the sense of smell. Human smell is like fingerprints - no two people smell the same (except identical twins). Apart from that, humans can identify blood relatives by smell, for instance, mothers can identify their biological offspring, but not stepchildren. Different people have a different sensitivity to odours, which is caused by genetic differences, it also goes well beyond the general susceptibility as we can be more prone than others just to certain smells. How many smells do you think we can identify? If you said one trillion unique odors, then you’re correct. A recent research project confirmed this number - isn’t the sense of smell amazing? It far outperforms other senses in terms of the number of stimuli it can differentiate. Smell is also the oldest sense - even single cell organisms have receptors that help identify the chemical composition of the surroundings.

 

Over 75% of emotions we feel, such as happiness, can be triggered by smells. Our perfumes and home scents will transport you to happy places. We’ve been told by many well-traveled visitors that our ‘Rosemary Benzoin’ perfume smells just like Morocco! ‘Summer Vine’ will take you to a greenhouse in summer with its notes of tomato leaf and sweet pea - isn’t that a happy place to be? ‘Mushroom Forest’ smells like a walk in mossy woods while ‘Bitter Citrus’ evokes southern Italy with its smell of blossom. If you want your home to smell heavenly, you should get our oils that you can use with diffusers and oil burners. ‘Eleanor’ has been created with inspiration from our store manager Michał, who loves the smell of sweet fig and mangoes. Our brand creator and perfumer Alex balanced them with grapefruit and black pepper to create a truly yummy and unique mix. ‘Eady’, with eucalyptus, basil and petitgrain, is an uplifting and cleansing fresh oil blend that will make you feel refreshed and renewed. We didn’t forget about candle lovers for whom we prepared interesting products too - Good Candles’ ‘Reading Books’ smells like a coffee shop in New York! With Foras’ smells you can now travel the world!

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We had a party (and a performance)!

We had a party (and a performance)!

The Foras shop is almost one year old and we decided to throw a little party to celebrate it, and to celebrate all things summer. We also wanted to join other businesses and art places in the Last Friday events. Last Fridays of the month are a very special time in Folkestone: the galleries open till late, there are exhibition openings, performances and parties. If you don’t live in Folkestone and want to visit for a weekend, make sure you include the last Friday of the month in your holiday plans!

The shop was packed and everyone was enjoying their drinks and sniffing our perfumes. We also prepared something special: an olfactory poetry performance, a journey through scent and text. Imagine closing your eyes, smelling our unique fragrances and listening to poetry inspired by them. Our guests loved the performance as they said that it allowed them to experience the scents more fully. The poetry has been written by our store manager Michał Kamil Piotrowski, who’s a tech and visual poet, but who also writes textual poetry from time to time. He created seven poems, each inspired by one of the perfumes, each one transporting the visitor to a different place, from an old apothecary in Catania, to a pixie ring in a mossy forest.

We are pleased to report that our guests loved the fragrances. You will be happy to know that all our fragrances are unisex, so you can choose from all seven perfumes regardless of your gender. They are also made locally and the packaging is plastic free. Please read more about them in the ‘Fragrant Stories’ section of our website.

We are planning another party after summer so make sure you follow us on Instagram - we will announce the event there! See you soon!

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Summer is here!

Summer is here!

The sun is shining, but maybe only for a week or two! We are in England after all. So, hurry! Grab your beach bag, something good to read, a fresh cup of coffee and your Summer Vine perfume. Watch the world go by and build a sandcastle or two down at Sunny Sands or find yourself a peaceful spot in the shade of the coastal park before heading to Mermaid Beach for a paddle. Scramble up onto the rocks and watch the waves crash in. Breath in the ocean air. Long summer days stretching into golden summer nights.

Summer is the perfect time to sit and do nothing. So grab a coffee from our shop, sit on the bench and relax. Don't think about anything, just look. What do you feel? Summer is great for other relaxing activities too, such as reading. If you love nature, we recommend 'The wild places' by Robert Macfarlane but we have plenty of other books for you to choose from. When you don't feel like sitting on the beach anymore, come to our shop and have a sniff of our lovely unisex fragrances (we have seven of them and are soon launching the eighth one!) - we are at 11 Church Street in Folkestone. We will be happy to give you a tour!

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The smell of summer

The smell of summer

It’s summer - time to go to the beach, have ice cream and relax! We would suggest it’s also time to buy a summery fragrance, and we have three fragrances inspired by the sun, good weather and good times: Fig Ozone, Bitter Citrus and Summer Vine. They all go in very different directions and they will all take you to different places!

Do you like fresh figs? Imagine you are in Spain where figs grow, and you’re having a walk on the seaside - that’s what Fig Ozone smells like! The perfume isn’t very sweet, as we used fig leaf rather than sweet fig, and added subtle notes of fresh air and ocean water. We mixed it with gentle fruit notes to make it more summery; it’s our freshest perfume. It’s our lightest perfume too.

Bitter Citrus will transport you to an old apothecary in Southern Italy. It has an appealing slight medicinal scent. It’s very unusual and unique - it’s very rich and deep, which is unusual for citrus-based perfumes, as they are usually very light. We blended five citrus oils (such as petitgrain and blossom) to create a full fresh experience, we also added vetiver. Coriander, black pepper and amber are what makes the perfume distinctive - they give it a slightly woody and deep base.

Now think of a hot afternoon in a garden. The delicate scent of tomato leaf, tomato vines and sweet pea from the greenhouse reaches your nostrils. It’s a perfect day - warm and sunny. You sit on a bench in the shadow, you can clearly smell the dusty wood. The air is fresh. We managed to turn this beautiful moment into a perfume. Summer Vine has notes of tomato, sweet pea, dusty wood, bitter orange and fresh air.

We love unusual notes, so in our summery fragrances you can find tomato, fresh air and ocean water. Designing fragrances with unusual notes is one thing that makes our artisan perfumes special. Nature is important to us so we don’t use any plastic in our packaging. We also believe that people should be allowed to wear any perfume they like, so we made all of our fragrances unisex.

We have seven fragrances - if you like deeper scents, make sure you try Rosemary Benzoin and Mushroom Forest. Oxidised Rose will tickle your fancy if you like modern and floral fragrances and Elemental Musk is perfect for anyone who likes woody perfumes (we’ve added some bergamot in there too!). So what are you waiting for? Come to our Folkestone shop and have a sniff! We are open on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays (10-4) and Sundays (12-4) and will be very happy to give you a tour!

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Our walks in the beautiful Folkestone: The Bayle

Our walks in the beautiful Folkestone: The Bayle

We love discovering interesting meanders from our beautiful shop in Church Street. If you are a visitor or a local there are always new things to see. After delighting your senses with our scrumptious fragrances and sipping a cup of delicious Curve coffee, turn left out of our door and meander up one of the oldest streets in Folkestone.

Heading past St Eanswythe’s school curve around the bend to enter The Bayle. This was the site for an ancient castle, a Bailey situated at the brow of the hill. This beautiful square of pastel painted houses are a mix of tall Georgian and quaint cottages. If you are in the mood for some yummy pub grub, a glass of wine or pint. You can call into The British Lion, one of the oldest pubs in Folkestone with a bijou patio garden at the rear. A stone lion guards the entrance, the place where the soldiers would quench their thirst after a long day in the battery. Crossing over the road at the end of the row of houses is the delightful Bayle Pond. This pond was much larger in Victorian times and is the point that St Eanswythe made water run up the hill to her nunnery in the 7th century. The garden here with the sunken pond is a haven for wildlife. It also the home to two Triennial pieces, a Tracey Emin cast mitten and a Patrick Corillon, waterway 5. There are four wooden benches to sit a while and take in the birdsong. Tall, well established trees house wood pigeons, robins, magpies, chaffinches, blue tits and jays. Irises, water lilies, pansies, hyacinths, daisies abound in this little haven.

On our visit here in April we spied some beautiful Green Alkanet, Pentaglottis Sempervirens, its vivid periwinkle blue flowers and abundant green stems are originally from South West Europe. It makes a purple/red dye. It’s used to add colour to wine and alcoholic tinctures. It cures inflammation, burns, ulcers, leprosy and skin wounds. A reminder that an apothecary exists in our own back gardens. Next time on our meanders we will be discovering St Eanswythe and St Mary’s church, moments away from our scentsational shop.

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From mind to bottle or how we make our fragrances

From mind to bottle or how we make our fragrances

Today we want to take you on a fragrance making journey. We will tell you how an idea is turned into a perfume.

 

When it comes to designing a perfume, one has to start with an inspiration. It can be anything - a special person, an event, a place. Alex Verier, our perfumer, developed six of our fragrances over past four years with a particular occasion or person in mind; our perfumes are all very special to us as each one carries a story.

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Time for coffee!

Time for coffee!
Did we mention that we are serving coffee now? On this occasion, we have decided to write a blog post about coffee. We are really serious about it - we want to deliver the best possible quality and taste. That’s why we partnered with Curve Coffee Roasters from Margate - they treat coffee seriously too. Continue reading

What to see and do in Folkestone

What to see and do in Folkestone

Folkestone. A seaside town full of art, good cuisine and amazing shopping experiences. It is in fact so rich in experiences that one might get lost and confused, so we prepared a handy “the best of Folkestone” list. Happy visiting!


ART IN FOLKESTONE

Folkestone is proud to have a large collection or art called Folkestone Artworks - the UK’s biggest urban outdoor exhibition of contemporary art. Folkestone Artworks was created in 2008 alongside the first Folkestone Triennial, the festival of outdoor art. Now Folkestone has over 70 artworks in the permanent collection. You can download a map of the artworks from https://www.creativefolkestone.org.uk/folkestoneartworks/maps-and-routes
So have a walk, relax, look around and breathe the art in.

Our favourite artworks are:

Spencer Finch - “The Colour Of Water”
In 2010, Spencer Finch observed the colours of the sea in Folkestone and prepared a palette of 100 colours. He then created a large colour wheel that helps determine and describe the colour of the water. The viewer is invited to look through the aperture and match the colour of the water to one of the artist’s suggestions. You can find this artwork at the Promenade lower path between the end of Clifton Crescent and The Grand.

Antony Gormley - “Another Time”
“Another Time” is a series of cast-iron sculptures of people spread around the world, and Folkestone has two of them. Gormley’s artwork analyses the relationship between humans, nature, and the universe. The sculpture is located at the loading platform on Folkestone’s Harbour Arm.

Lubaina Himid - “Jelly Mould Pavilion”
Lubaina Himid’s sculptural pavilion resembles a ceramic jelly mould. The artist has been collecting them for many years. The artwork celebrates and memorialises the people from African Diaspora and their contribution to our culture. The artist believes that an honest conversation and an exchange of experiences help to heal the trauma. Himid’s pavilion gives space for dialogue. It is placed on the Folkestone Boardwalk.


FOOD AND DRINKS

The Bao Baron
The restaurant serves freshly made Pan-Asian street food. They specialise in bao buns and ramen and only use local suppliers. Their menu changes often as they use seasonal Kentish produce. What doesn’t change is inclusivity: there’s always a good selection of vegan and gluten-free options. They are a family-run business. You can find them at 19 Guildhall Street.

The Folkestone Wine Company
The Folkestone Wine Company is a family-run business that stresses the importance of delicious food and good music. They also have countless types of wine so they are a perfect place for both wine connoisseurs and people who want to learn more about this marvelous drink. They are our neighbors on Church Street.

Pickup Pintxos
Pick Up Pintxos offers cuisine inspired by the Basque Country. Their cooking is both traditional and experimental. They use high-quality ingredients from Spain and also from Kent. They are definitely the number one place to go if you love Spanish cuisine and the tapas culture. You can find them at the bottom of The Old High Street.

The Potting Shed
One of the not-so-well-known secrets of Folkestone. Tucked at the end of an antique furniture shop of the same name, The Potting Shed bar is a speakeasy that transports you to the Prohibition era with its decor and menu. On booking, you will be provided with a password you need to enter the bar. They only use the finest ingredients inspired by Prohibition. Find them on 34 Rendezvous Street.

PEK - Planet Earth Kitchen
PEK’s motto is “vegan for the planet”. Their plant-based menu has many gluten-free items and in their meals you will only find unrefined sugars and sea salt. Their dishes are healthy, cruelty-free, and good for the planet - what more do you want? Find them on 10 Rendevous Street.


SHOPPING

Not For Humans Pet Boutique
The shop features a large selection of products for pets, handmade by local people. They also sell designer dog coats, leads and collars, dog walking utility bags, and, surprisingly, products for the house. The humans who run the store are absolutely lovely too. So come in and give a scratch to the owner’s pet, Spanish Water Dog Brenda. The shop, like many others, forms part of the Folkestone Creative Quarter. Find them at 53 The Old High Street.


Richardson & Richardson - acrylic jewellery
The team, composed of mother and daughter, design and make all the products themselves (with the little help of the laser cutter called Bertha). They make their designs based on their many interests such as science, space, nature, and the geek culture. Their jewellery is beautiful and fun and they make bespoke designs too. Find them on top of The Old High Street.


Moo Like a Monkey
Moo Like a Monkey is a children’s shop full of well-designed products. Their range is truly incredible with wooden eco-friendly toys, books, and Scandinavian and British-made clothes. In the shop, adults can relax and browse while the kids play with many toys provided. They are placed on 65 The Old High Street.

Foras
Last, but not least, we suggest you come to our store at 11 Church Street. We make our own fragrances and we currently have seven different perfumes, all designed with a particular person or occasion in mind. They are all locally made in Kent and unisex, and we don’t use plastic so they are all eco-friendly too. We are a lifestyle store as well, offering a range of beautiful products for the house, candles, and books. We believe in helping and promoting local designers too. We also serve delicious coffee roasted in Margate for only £2! Come and visit us today!

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Why shop local this spring

Why shop local this spring

We all know that small independent shops are cute and cozy but there are many more advantages to shopping local. We gathered the eight biggest reasons to support local shops.

 

1. You help the local economy.

The British economy suffered a lot because of COVID-19 and by shopping local, you help restore the British economy as well as the local economy of Kent. Did you know that Folkestone’s old town centre boosts with over 200 independent shops? We are one of them. By buying in our shop you directly support Kentish entrepreneurs and workers. We collaborate with multiple local businesses such as Shoreline Ceramics from Ramsgate and Curve Coffee Roasters from Margate.

 

2. It’s better for the planet.

Shopping locally helps reduce the carbon footprint from transport. Over 60% of our products are locally sourced, including our fragrances made in Kent. Many local shops also choose to be greener than big chains that use plenty of plastic. Our packaging is plastic-free and we also only use paper bags.

 

3. You get a better shopping experience.

There’s no space for a nice chat when you shop online, is there? That’s why shopping face to face is better. At Foras, we never rush you and there’s always time for a nice conversation too. Our clients are really important to us and we treat them like guests rather than just customers. It’s important to us to be part of the community and to create one for our guests.

 

4. They have a great choice of products.

Local shops offer a lot of products made by local manufacturers and artists that aren’t available online - from artisan coffee to zazzy jewelry. We are proud to be working with amazing designers such as Molly Pickle whose cards, notebooks, prints, and tea towels or our bestsellers. So come and grab a crab notebook or a squirrel card!

 

5. Shopping local helps to save jobs and create more new jobs.

Independent shops provide a big number of jobs to local communities. As we manufacture our own fragrances, soaps, candles, and incense, our shop employs five people in total - that’s five jobs for local people. Multiply that by the number of independent businesses in Folkestone and you’ll see how many jobs you help create by shopping local!

 

6. It helps shape the identity of the area.

Folkestone has recently been included in Lonely Planet’s World’s Best Regions to Visit in 2022 and it’s in part thanks to its independent quirky shops. Folkestone’s Creative Quarter has also been described by Inside Kent as one of Kent’s best independent shopping areas. We are proud to be part of Folkestone’s shopping hotspot and to help shape the identity of Folkestone.

 

7. You will find great quality products.

Local shops don’t always have the budget to compete with the big brands in terms of advertising, so they focus on quality instead. Independent shops make sure that the products they sell are of great quality because they want the customer to come back, and we are not an exception. We strive to only sell products of amazing quality, be it candles or perfumes.

 

8. Shopping local saves you money.

Big supermarkets convinced us that local shops are always expensive but the research suggests that’s not true. Many of the local shops are cheaper than the big chains - our shop included. Our quality products start at £3 for a bamboo brush - beat that, big chains!

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