by Emma Gilboy 1 Comment

Emma Gilboy


So the time has come to dust off the jar of Gilboy's Leather Balsam which has been in the cupboard for many months.
"Bring me back some of that shoe polish," I kept saying to Simon.
"It's not polish, it's a balsam," would come the correction. I refrained from asking what the difference was. For many months Simon has been excitedly coming home and telling me about the new product he has been creating and how he had finally worked out that he needed to add more lanolin in order to perfect a balsam made from the highest quality of ingredients, the purest of components and that it would revolutionise the way that people cared for their leather.

ironing underpants
scissors and daffodils

So, having put our daughter to bed, I looked at the scratched, dirty and dull array of boots and shoes sat sadly in our hallway and decided that the time had come to break out the balsam. Now I am pretty houseproud, at times verging on the edge of OCD. I can openly admit to ironing underpants, I have been known to edge the front lawn with a pair of kitchen scissors and I am one of those annoying people who gives the dishes 'just a quick rinse' before they go into the dishwasher. However, shoe polishing is not my thing. All I've managed over the last couple of years, since leaving professional work, is to give our shoes a cursory wipe. Applying leather balsam to an array of Gilboy footwear was not something I was looking forward to.

Well, let me tell you. I am now a changed woman!

Within seconds of applying the leather balsam to my boots I found that I was actually enjoying the experience. Smearing on this luxuriant substance was becoming highly pleasurable. This sensory satisfaction was up with licking the bowl clean after making a cake (or if you possess a Y chromosome, watching Nigella lick any food item from any kitchen utensil). As I moved on to cleaning my daughter's tiny boots that she wears to nursery, a new sensation started to seep in. As well as finding enjoyment in completing my parental duties, I started to detect a slight smugness. Hmm this was new! Yes I would be the parent who evidently loved their child so much that she slaved for hours over her offspring's footwear to achieve a military grade gleam. Obviously, on later reflection I realised that everyone is far too engrossed in their own children and lives to start measuring their parental efficacy by shoe shine. However, at the time of applying the balsam I was 'in the zone.' I was enjoying the Gilboy's Leather Balsam experience in body and mind.

leather schools shoes polished with Gilboys leather Balsam
A 'military grade gleam' on my daughter's leather school shoes


All I needed was one application of balsam onto my sponge and I could cover one whole ankle boot and transform it from a sorry looking piece of footwear into the nourished and glowing boot that it was destined to be. Simon was right. This isn't a polish. Its a balsam!
A polish needs constant reapplication onto your cloth. This balsam is rich and dense. It soaks into the sponge and glides over the shoe leather with easy strokes.
A polish needs buffing to achieve a satisfying finish. This balsam satisfies from the moment you swirl it onto your sponge. You can feel it being absorbed into the leather and conditioning it instantly. Within seconds my boots were radiant and glowing.
The following evening, Simon and I were heading out and he noticed that I had applied the balsam to my boots. I told him excitedly about what a pleasant experience this had been and how happy I was with the results. At which point he proceeded to take off his shoe and casually buff the toe of my boot with his sock. The shine was instant. Oh what new joy was this? I had been so happy with the result of simply applying the balsam that I hadn't even considered that the effect could be improved by a small amount of buffing.

So, for my gift to Mr Gilboy this Valentine's Day I have decided to write Simon this blog; a testament to his passion, dedication and hard work. Apparently blogs are good for sales and Simon should be writing one each week. However, in between talking to customers, getting excited about new products, drinking beer, running in order to offset the calorific effects of beer, looking after our daughter and being event director for our local Parkrun, blogs are quite a long way down his 'to do' list. Simon is a talker rather than a blogger. He will speak with depth of knowledge and true passion about furniture, beeswax polish and now his leather balsam. I'll be honest at times I find his evangelical enthusiasm for his beeswax based products a little exhausting. I struggle to maintain suitably enthusiastic responses after the first hour of listening to prolonged updates on the development of new products. However, I admire Simon for his knowledge and total immersion in what he does; his determination to make his products the very best on the market and to give his customers a little glow inside when they realise how much love and personalised care has gone into the development and packaging of every sale.
And after experiencing the satisfaction derived from using Gilboy's Leather Balsam, I can confirm that the passion and love for his products is completely justified.

Gilboys beeswax balsam for waterproofing leather shoes

Emma Gilboy
Emma Gilboy


1 Response


August 27, 2020

Back in lockdown again, I was wondering what to watch on Netflix in the evenings; wasn’t inspired so decided to renovate a little wooden fireside chair that was my mother’s. Googled how to start the process and came across Gilboys .. Now totally hooked. I have watched all of the videos today and rang up for advice this afternoon! Actually got to speak to Simon who reassured me that oiling it instead of waxing it wasn’t a problem….(I’d rushed ahead and got carried away)
The chair is stripped and oiled now and awaiting (impatiently ) for the next coat tomorrow. I’ve got quite fired up (no pun intended) by this project.
This little chair isn’t even attractive – it’s just one of those things that for many reasons I can’t part with; My mother’s sister died very young and recently I cam across a photo of the two of them sitting in the chair….I feel as if I am helping to preserve the memory of my mother and her sister, and that all the little dings and knocks are part of it’s history and the many stories they read together sitting in that chair. Thank you. Paula x

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Waxing Lyrical

Gift Ideas for Christmas
Gift Ideas for Christmas

by Emma Gilboy

Well, it’s October half-term and the time has come for the new me to start buying Christmas presents. For the me of 2017 this would have been unheard of. Christmas present buying was relegated to week 2 of December after ‘School Christmas’ had taken place. 

Read More

How To Restore Nathan Teak Furniture (Step-by-Step Guide)
How To Restore Nathan Teak Furniture (Step-by-Step Guide)

by Simon Gilboy

Step-by-Step How-To Guide for restoring the worn-out finish on teak furniture. In this guide, I restore a set of Nathan nested tables.

Read More

buckfast abbey honey bees
Be more 'Queen Bee' this Mothering Sunday

by Emma Gilboy

The more Simon tells me, the more intrigued I am to find out more about these intelligent, efficient and productive creatures. It seems to me that there may be some practical applications to my own life. So begins my research and I soon discover that there are three types of honey bee...

Read More