It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I have something of an obsession with scented candles. A rather fancy obsession; limited to those beyond a certain price bracket. Although many things in life do not justify their elevated cost (nail varnish, mascara, certain clothes, all ice lollies, face wash, art, housing), there are certain things that only get better the more nut-wrenchingly expensive they become (plasters, perfume, fabric, white goods, room spray). Even though there is nothing more ephemeral than burning wax, candles fall firmly into the latter lap of luxury. Certain brands manage to permeate the air with soft musk or warm fig scent for the twenty pound mark; but these are rare finds, like the Dior dress in the charity shop 99p bin because all the ladies were away on sorting day. From twenty to forty is the wax vacuum; nothing exists within its expanse. And after that, there is Diptyque. There is also of course Bella Freud (edgy), Jo Malone (Royal Wedding recreationists), Roja (probably for people that know him), Le Labo (for utilitarian apron-wearers who would secretly like to buy their boyfriend a personalised card from Clintons), and then some so expensive their makers could easily be tried for embezzlement. But the one rule for candle buying was ever thus; once you’ve chosen the most divine scent, ensure you like the pot. They make very useful mini vases, pen holders, button jars, or, drumroll… candle holders. And if you’re going to recycle them, which you should, you need them to look as good as they smelled, before all that cash went up in smoke.
Brass vase: Marche aux Puces, Port de Vanves, Ceramic vase: Chris Keenan, Ceramic birds: Tomlinsons, Tablecloth: Mary Magdalen Foundation, Candle pots: Diptyque, Bowl: Cornucopia
We all have days that we’d rather forget, or even completely erase from history. I can think of at least a handful from this year alone, and that’s a conservative* estimate. One of the ways that I sometimes manage to counteract the sheer futility of life is to rearrange a room. Each of us is entitled to our own mechanism that maintains the cogs of our bodies and brains, and mine manifests in interior design. If you have yet to find your equivalent (rock climbing, sex, drinking, cross-dressing, box sets, cat stroking, sleeping, angling etc) then please accept my strong recommendation of following my suit. A good rearranging of a room feels to me as helpful as any therapy session, and often involves far less talking, crying or payment. The best type is the finessing of the first room you will encounter in the morning. Waking up to a new day is hugely ameliorated in times of angst by knowing that you will find some attractive flowers or linen on the breakfast table, or a fresh bar of soap atop your bathroom assortment. I am not proclaiming that a tweak to your bedroom wall or shower curtain can change your life. But a little gentle labour** the night before the morning after, can be a very good start.
*Again, this is not in any way a reference to a recent political decision taken by some of the UK
**Nor is this
Magazines: World of Interiors, House and Garden, Vanity Fair, All furniture courtesy Killichronan House, Mull
There are so many ways to bring the outside in to your home; plants and flowers being the obvious method. There are so many ways this works, and so many ways it fails. The leaf colour, the petal shape, the vessel, the length of display, the decision to give in after weeks of forgetting to water it – all present weighty consideration. As a general rule, there can never be enough flowers in the house, if they are white, pink, lilac, purple, red* – basically any colour bestowed on them by nature, and not the BP garage spray factory. As another general rule, there is a limit to the amount of greenery that makes its way into the comfort of your living/bed/bath room. (Herbs can be disregarded here – they are too small, too pretty and too fragrant to offend.) Too much yucca, cheese or spider and you risk veering into dangerous garden centre territory. Which means living with the ever-present threat that someone might start selling cappuccinos, flapjacks, gnomes and greetings cards in your back yard.
*Red flowers are not my favourite, personally, but you are entitled to a little of your own free will
Green jug: Lovatts Lovatt, Mirror: Nuthall jumble, Desk: Danish Home Stores, L-shaped branch: outside