They create ambience, a gentle warmth, lighting the darkest corners. Assault your senses, filling your home with their beautiful aroma. And have the ability to transport you to another place.
They are, in my opinion, the perfect gift.
And with Valentines Day around the corner I thought now would be the perfect time to share some of my all time favourite candles with you. Whether you decide to gift yourself, a partner, loved one or friend, you cannot let Valentines pass you by without lighting a candle or two. I’ll be spending Valentines Day alone this year, since Jamie is working away but you can be sure I’ll be lighting myself a whole load of candles (without Jamie rolling his eyes at the obscene number and asking once again why I need some many) and enjoy a bath and film. This year, I’ll be filling Valentines Day with self love and all my favourite candles.
Today is the last morning under the glow of the Christmas lights for us. The Christmas trees are being removed and the decorations stored away until next Christmas. No more twinkle lights to brighten these dark, gloomy mornings. No more playing games and watching films in their warm glow. Everything feels a little dull once they’ve been removed. Our cottage really comes to life at Christmas so I always feel a little sad saying goodbye to the magic but that doesn’t mean that January has to reflect this and feel like one long, dark month. In fact, there are many things I love about January.
I love the calm that January brings. December is a full on month, I love buying gifts, wrapping by the fire, planning dinner menus, cooking and baking. Entertaining and cooking for everyone, I love it all but come the end i’m ready for some quiet days and January brings time to relax and reflect.
The last couple of days, before we head back to work and school and routine kicks in we’ve just enjoyed days in our PJ’s, watched films, eaten cheese and chocolate and played with William. It’s been quiet, stress free and I’ve enjoyed every single moment.
January is a time we can reflect, set some goals for the year ahead. Time to enjoy with family without the need for everything to be perfect, without planning everything in to ensure it all gets done. Evenings that belong to us, to read a book, take a long bath, enjoy a cosy dinner.
Even after all the sparkle and magic of Christmas, January can be joyful. Embrace the calm and quiet before Spring awakens and take some time to be kind to yourself and enjoy doing things that you love.
Here are some of the ways I add some joy into January.
And if you haven’t given any thought to your Christmas table yet, don’t fret! I have a board full of beautiful, simple ideas to help.
Christmas should be about enjoying time with family, soaking up the magic, drinking, eating and creating memories so keep your jobs list to a minimum and use my three top tips to create a magical Christmas table.
Use a tablecloth or runner to add colour and texture to your christmas table. It’ll make it feel more special and creates an easy foundation to build upon.
Create a centre piece or runner. I love simple greenery, filled with candles and twinkle lights. Ivy and eucalyptus are my favourite, adding a magical touch to your table. Ensure you use different textures and height here. Different types of greenery mixed together, glass and metals, small tea lights and tall candlesticks. It’s up to you how much you want to add and keeping it simple is no less beautiful.
Think about a simple place setting for your guests, napkins, place names, a small sprig of greenery or table favour. All these touches add to a beautiful festive table, elevating it from the ordinary. This year I’ve got a small jar of chutney for the men and small candle for the women and will box and ribbon these for each table place.
Last year it was estimated that Brits would throw away 108 million rolls of christmas wrapping paper…..
And unfortunately most of it isn’t recyclable.
If it contains plastic, foil, glitter, dye, or tape than it cannot be recycled so this christmas I’m going to try and do my little bit by using brown paper to wrap all my christmas presents.
I’ve pulled together an inspiration board of some of my favourite ways to use brown paper to wrap beautiful, eco friendly presents this christmas. I think I’ll be using ribbon and greenery for mine. I always remove and save my ribbon so be sure to do the same before recycling.
I should have hit post on this one a little while ago because we are well into Autumn now, I’ve been lighting the fire and wearing cosy knits for a good few weeks… How is it that we’re almost into November? I don’t know what it is about this time of year but it seems to pick up pace at an alarming rate. It’s my absolute favourite time of year so I need to take a lesson from nature and try and slow down and enjoy some of these days, rather than rushing from one job to the next, ticking everything off my ‘must get finished before Christmas’ list – anyone else have one of those?
How about you, are you embracing Autumn? Do you love this time of year? I love watching as nature changes, seeing the leaves change to brilliant shades of crimson and golden tones. Changing my wardrobe and filling it with big cosy knits and socks. Where comfort becomes fashionable! Taking long Sunday walks and coming back to the comfort of home and a delicious dinner and fire burning. I don’t even mind the darker evenings, after being busy all summer and making the most of the long evenings and too many late nights, I enjoy being forced inside to settle down earlier, an early bath for everyone, sinking into the bubbles and washing away the cold and dirt, lighting the candles and cooking with candle light, my favourite autumn playlist on repeat and reading a book or watching a film before an early bed.
I find that small changes to your home and little rituals like lighting a candle or enjoying a favourite family meal together helps create a magical Autumn and a time of year that everyone can embrace and enjoy. So here are my top tips to updating your home for Autumn and enjoying everything it has to offer, in the comfort of your own home.
Create a warm welcome
Get the hallway/boot room/entrance ready for Autumn. Make space to hang your coats and store your wellies and don’t forget to keep room for guests to hang coats and kick off their shoes too. The entrance to your home needs to work hard during these months so I like to keep it as functional as I can. A welcome mat to keep the floor clean. Wicker storage boxes holding hats and scarfs. A beautiful leather umbrella stand by the door. A basket of logs ready for the fire. Everything you need for a stylish and functional welcome during these wet and muddy days.
Take inspiration from nature and update your colour palette. Autumn doesn’t have to mean bold orange and red colours, I’m not a lover of either but think deeper, moodier colours. Tones which will add depth and warmth into a room. Burnt golds, berry red, dark green, deep dark navy and touches of black. Whether you paint a wall(s), or change the accessories and furnishings, it’ll all help bring in the season and create a cosy, comfortable space. For quick fixes you could update cushions and blankets, introduce new artwork or create vignettes with the new deeper, darker tones in mind.
The more the better at this time of year. Layer up different textures and colours to add interest and warmth for nights snuggled up at home. Sumptuous velvets, soft sheepskin, wool, leather, wicker and wood. Quick and easy ways to add more texture is to switch your cushions for an Autumn inspired range. Layer the sofa with different sizes, textures and a warm colour palette to sink into at the end of the day. Invest in a new blanket that you can curl up in. Sheepskin rugs by the bed to keep those toes warm… and these rules apply for each room in the home. Think about how you can update the textures and add soft furnishings to each of the rooms. Layering up blankets on the bed for cold nights. Laying a rug under the dining table… or by the oven where you cook! Wicker baskets filled with wood or extra blankets work in any room. Switch up your vases and pots for different textures and colours.
Faux & dried Flowers
Nature offers up plenty of foliage and flowers to be dried for display at this time of year and the best thing, it’s all free, helps encourage your creativity and is seasonal. Add flowers to vases, create tablescapes and hang an Autumn door wreath. And if you need a little helping hand or you can’t find what you’re looking for out in nature, then you can find some of my favourite faux flower companies listed here along with a ton of inspiration.
Soft, gentle and warm. Autumn would not be Autumn without filling your home with soft, flickering candles. They create a cosy, welcoming home, casting light into dark corners, dancing in the shadows, filling your home with your favourite seasonal scents. My favourites have to be apple, gingerbread and spiced scents… I’m holding out on gingerbread a little longer because for me that’s Christmas! So I’m burning all all the spiced apple scents right now, reminding me of those Sunday afternoons cooking homemade apple crumble.
Create Autumn Vignettes
Update your sideboards and tables with Autumn vignettes. A vignette is a grouping of objects which create an interesting focal point. Vignettes are most successful when used in odd numbers and with varying heights, including wall art or mirrors. Update your displays with foraged items you find out walking, pine cones and conkers, add candles and seasonal books, dry orange slices and flowers to create a perfectly seasonal display.
I hope these tips help you create a cosy Autumn home, I’d love to know what else you do to welcome Autumn.