Sunday, 22 November 2015

northern lights

Where has this year gone? More specifically, the last five (five!) months since my last blog post? Aside form a guest post I did recently for the excellent FrontlistBacklist site, I haven't published a word. I have however, traveled a fair bit (Rhodes, Paris, Berlin a few times & Copenhagen) gardened quite a lot and I've really got stuck in to sorting out all the bits of our flat that weren't quite right. I'm now much happier with the flat (more on that in a later post) and this afternoon I finished up the last big garden job of the year by wrapping the less hardy plants in horticultural fleece for the winter. There are no more trips this year so now it's back to blogging!

My trip to Copenhagen (more details on FrontlistBacklist in the link above) was really inspirational. It was one of the reason I was finally spurred into action sorting out the flat. The Danes live beautifully. They just seem to have everything nailed, from gorgeous interiors to their work/life balance. I recommend reading 'Year Of Living Danishly' & 'How to Be Danish' for more details.

One Danish custom I was particularly taken with, were the candles that burned everywhere. It seemed that every apartment window and every cafe had simple pillar candles burning from early in the day. Apparently the Danes burn more candles than any other nation. On the shortest days in winter in Copenhagen, sunrise is at 8.38 in the morning and there are a mere 7 hours and one minute of daylight until it sets again at 3.39 in the afternoon. Even in the height of summer the sun sets at 9 so light is a big deal in Denmark and anyway, candle light is especially lovely, very flattering and has the ability to completely transform even the most modest of rooms. I'm sat here typing in a room lit with a small lamp and some flickering candles, it's cold and dark outside but the light in here is comforting and the air is lightly scented.

Since getting back from Copenhagen I've become a bit candle obsessed. I was never one for the scented variety but I've learned that you get what you pay for, and if you spend a bit more there are some amazing scents out there and they really make a difference to a room. If you have the cash to treat yourself (or someone else!) to a nice candle, it's money well spent. If your budget is more modest, go with a classic pillar candle for a pound or two, and pop it on a saucer.  

Here's my pick of scented and non scented candles and some of my favourite holders.

1. Scent London Candle by Tom Dixon, £55 from Heals
Capturing the scent of London red bricks, parks and the Thames this isn't just a candle, this is a design icon. When the candle is finished, you're also left with agorgeous copper container, with a marble lid. Worth the money for that and the 60 hours burn time.
2. Le Labo Figue 15 Candle, £47 from Liberty London
A more zesty scent, this one is a perennial blogger favourite and you can even have the label personalized, so it makes for a great gift. If you can bear to give it away that is. Burn time up to 60 hours.
3. Skog candle by Skaninavist, £25 from John Lewis
With notes of spruce, pine and birch this candle evokes the scent of the Boreal forests of Scandinavia. It doesn't overwhelm and smells really natural. Burn time up to 45 hours.
4. Charcoal Pillar Candle, £12 French Connection
A dramatic and unusual on the traditional pillar candle. Use a plain candle base or saucer to make the candle the star of the show.
5. Short Pillar Birch Candle, £15 French Connection
A slice of Scandinavian forest right on your table.
6. L:A Brucket Lavender Mini Candle, £16 from The Conran Shop
A dinky little candle in a cute glass jar, perfect for bathrooms or bedrooms and completely natural, using essential oils for scent. burn time up to 16 hours.
7. Nocto candle holder by Normann Copenhagen, £17.50 from Skandium
A modern, minimal take on the traditional chamber candlestick holder from the iconic Danish design company.
8. Wooden Base Hurricane Lamp, £10.49 from Homebase
I love a good hurricane lamp. They can be very inexpensive and paired with a basic white pillar candle they throw out a lot of light and are protected form draughts.
9. Feu De Bois mini candle by Diptyque, £20 from Liberty London
My personal favourite. This  candle has the wintry scent of wood smoke. I'm completely addicted after a friend bought me one for my birthday this year and we have in in our bedroom. Burn time up to 30 hours.
10. Ers├Ątta candle holder, £5 from Ikea
Simple and inexpensive enough to make a grouping [it comes in 3 sizes priced at 5, 6 & 7 pounds and in black or white] it makes the perfect base for plain or coloured candles.

What better to light your candles with than these smart matched by Hay? £5 from Future & Found.

Although almost every candle I saw in Copenhagen had an open flame and was completely unattended, please do remember to follow basic candle safety:
  • Never leave burning candles unattended.
  •  Always make sure the candle is completely extinguished before you leave the room and use a candle snuffer rather than blowing them out.
  • Keep wicks trimmed quite short.
  • Place on a heat resistant surface, away from sources of ignition like soft furnishings.
  • Keep away from pets and children.
  • Don't move candles while they are burning.
There's really nothing like staying home in the warm and getting hygge with some candles.

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