BURNING RATE

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

Brass vase: Marche aux Puces, Port de Vanves, Ceramic vase: Chris Keenan, Ceramic birds: Tomlinsons, Tablecloth: Mary Magdalen Foundation, Candle pots: Diptyque, Bowl: Cornucopia

 

COFFEE?

I’ve always thought of the coffee table as something of a mystery; a table yes, and by its name one that sits adjacent to a sofa, usually in a sitting room, drawing room, lounge – whatever you call it. But coffee? We use the word to signify its location in the home, but I personally prefer to drink coffee in the kitchen in the morning, and at the dining table in the evening. The ‘coffee table’, because of its position, is a potential victim of many a domestic design crime. All manner of ugly objects threaten its smooth, simple patina, whether painted or plain. The roaming remote control, errant nail polishes, clippers and emery boards, TV dinner plates, batteries, chewing gum, sweet wrappers, apple cores, biros, yoghurt pots, or worse still, those items not even destined for the living room, but cast aside incongruously en route to their rightful place; wet tea towels, toothbrushes, hair wax, potato peelers, pedometers*. I like to treat the coffee table as a beautiful platform for some of the most desirous items one owns, and not to overload it. A note book or two, fruit for boredom eating, a candle, a good-looking hand cream and that’s it. Except of course for coffee, which in this instance, at any time of day, we know better as ‘wine’.

*All of these items, and more, can be placed in one of the following three places: a.) in a beautiful flip top box under or near the sofa, b.) back where they belong, c.) in the bin.

 

Table: Mary Magdalene Foundation, Blue fruit bowl: Mason Cash, Notebook: Smythson, Candle: Tom Dixon, Small dish: Jackie Giron, Wine glasses: Ikea, Blanket: Muji, Sofa: Laura Ashley, Rug: Nuthall jumble

Table: Mary Magdalene Foundation, Blue fruit bowl: Mason Cash, Notebook: Smythson, Candle: Tom Dixon, Small dish: Jackie Giron, Wine glasses: Ikea, Blanket: Muji, Sofa: Laura Ashley, Rug: Nuthall jumble

 

 

Winter Fruit

At this chilly time of year, when leaves have turned and threaten to disappear, and leaving the house requires thoughts of layering and fur, it’s good to adorn ceramic bowls with complementary colours. My favourites are figs and pomegranates. Especially against grey or blue. You don’t have to eat them, just look at them. Eventually you’ll have to throw away the figs and replace them, if you haven’t eaten them with ham, but the pomegranates will last as delightful orangey-pink globes for months.
 
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Bowl: Cornercopia, Candle: Eclectic by Tom Dixon, Tablecloth: Ancient French linen from near Dole, Pomegranates: Tony’s Fruit and Vegetables Brixton Road