Candle of the Month: July – Price’s Lime & Basil

If you’re in the UK like me, you’ll know Summer (in terms of the weather) finally arrived mid-July. There’s been some glorious sunshiney days and hot nights and that’s making me so happy! I like most kinds of weather, but it is fun to be able to sleep without the duvet and run around in the middle of the day in shorts. Yes, it’s not so much fun at work but at least you enjoy it the rest of the day. Well, I do.

Summer is definitely the season I burn the least candles, however. It’s just so light and bright and warm, you don’t always think ‘ooh, candle!’. But I do love them, so I have been burning one in particular, which makes it my candle of the month.

This bright lime green number was by Price’s Candles, in the scent ‘Lime & Basil’. Firstly, it burned BEAUTIFULLY. I would burn it for several hours at a time, and it is a small tumbler, but it always pooled right to the sides, and  had such a wonderfully even burn. There was absolutely no waste whatsoever.  I took this photo before I burned it for the last time, and you can see how even the wax is, and how clean the sides of the tumbler are.

The scent is unusual. I liked it, and I  went on and burned the whole candle, but I wouldn’t want another straight away. It’s quite heavy on the basil, and very ‘green’ because of it. The lime is lovely, and it needs the citrussy kick, and whilst I do like green scents, if it’s too strong, I can find them a little overwhelming. This is borderline. My partner didn’t like it at all unfortunately. He said it had a very ‘Citronella’ scent to it, and it does a little, but I don’t think it’s as zingy as that. I really enjoy citronella, so that would have been fine by me, but this is (as I keep saying) more green than that.

It was still lovely though – I wouldn’t have burned the whole thing if it wasn’t. I purchased this from TK Maxx, and unfortunately, I can’t find a link for it anywhere. I’m guessing it’s from a discontinued line, but I’ve had newer scents from Price’s, and they always burn well.

I reviewed another candle from them in my March COTM post if you want to check that out.

I’ll be back soon with an update on the kitchen and the tile painting, so check back soon for that.

If you have any candle recommendations, please let me know in the comments! What’s your favourite scent of the moment?

For now, with love,
Ellen

Kitchen Tile Paint – Stage 2

If you read my previous post, Kitchen Tile Paint – Stage 1, you’ll know my first job was to scrub scrub scrub. I scoured and scraped, washed, bleached and rinsed. And finally the tiles were squeaky clean. Next job, grouting.

I’m not sure why the original tiles weren’t originally grouted, perhaps it was the fashion then, perhaps the homeowners just decided not to do it (the tiling was very much a DIY job, if the unevenness is anything to go by!). But for a good smooth paint finish with no nasty dark lines in between, I had to grout. And this was a little more difficult than it would have been with professionally laid tiles.

Because the tiles were only roughly straight, and at varying thicknesses next to each other, across the whole wall, no two grouting gaps were alike. They varied hugely in width and depth. With a bit of trial and not too much error, either a damp cloth or finger was enough to smooth some grout into the gaps. I just ran my finger between it, wiped off any excess with another damp cloth and called it satisfactory. It looked perfectly fine.

What was impressive, was how much of a difference it made to the wall! When you look at the photos side by side I certainly think the tiles look better grouted. I also filled in a couple of holes from where the old extractor fan had been, and was nearly done. I just had to let the grout dry overnight, and give the tiles one last thorough clean and rinse and I was ready to paint.

Coming up will be Stage 3, the painting, so stay tuned for that one, and some almost final pictures. (I still have the ceiling and non-tiled wall to paint).

For now, with love,
Ellen

Kitchen Tile Paint – Stage 1

When we purchased our house last year, we always knew how much potential it has. And how beautiful it will be once we’ve worked on and updated it. Because at present, it is very, very outdated.

The upstairs rooms will just need some basic decorating, while the living area and extension are getting some more in-depth treatment. We’re focussing on this area first as it’s very labour intensive, and being the room we use the most, the most important to us.

Obviously, we use the kitchen every single day too (I always cook at home, every evening) however, it needs to be completely ripped out and replaced. This is expense we simply cannot afford at present, whilst we’re also saving for our wedding next year.

We made some basic adjustments. My darling fiance removed most of the kitchen units and rearranged them to make space for a tall fridge freezer, our washing machine etc. It’s functional, and usable, and the idea was that we would keep it as is until after the wedding when we can start to think about replacing it.

However, we’ve lived here about eight months now, and I’m just not sure I can bear the gaudy seventies coloured brown and patterned tiles any longer. In fact, I know I can’t.

Red is a fairly popular colour in modern kitchens, and some would probably even like the eccentric and vintage styling of our kitchen, but it’s really not to my personal tastes. I much prefer cool tones, white and blue especially. And my least favourite decorating colours happen to be red, brown, orange and yellow. Which are in abundance in this kitchen. I just can’t do it anymore! I have no option with the tomato-red worktop, that will have to stay, and painting it does not seem an option when it needs to be wiped clean on a several-times-a-day basis, so the plan is to neutralise everything else as much as possible. Yes, that may make the red work surface stand out, but it will still be better than it’s current state. And of course, also feel cleaner and fresher.

So with a quick Google, I read a few reviews and blog posts about ceramic tile paint, and my mind was made up. I’m going to paint the tiles white, re-paint the ceiling and the painted wall white again with regular emulsion, and possibly even paint the cupboard doors too, depending on how I’m feeling at that stage.

I don’t have a great base to work with – the tiles are authentically 1970s, and with them came along a lot of dirt, a lack of grouting, and a couple are damaged here and there. The first step is to thoroughly clean them. Really thoroughly. (I did, and have done so between buying the house and now, but I need to be even more thorough this time!) Then, I’ll attempt to re-grout. Because they’re not nice and level, this won’t be an easy or straightforward job, but it will still make the finished look more presentable than if I don’t grout.

So at the moment I’m just going to have a really good clean, and then I’ll get on with the grouting process and update you. I’m really excited to start painting them, but know how important the first steps are to ensure a good, long lasting finish.

I chose the Wilko brand tile paint based on the reviews, and the past experiences I’ve had with other Wilko’s paint and decorating products. It is reasonably priced at £13.95 for 750ml, which with 6m² coverage will be enough if only a single coat is required. If not, a second can will be necessary, but I’ll purchase that if and when I need it. I can’t wait to tone down the look of this room!

I’ll keep you updated with the project. In the meantime, if you have any experience with tile paint, or are planning on using it, please share in the comments below.

For now, with love,
Ellen

Top Picks under £10: July

7_july_mood_boardFollowing on from my last post, here’s the Moroccan inspired bargains I’d promised. To be honest, there were lots of options online that fit into budget – for example, I’d already included an orange silk effect cushion from Wilko’s before switching it out for the Ikea one, as I wanted to include the paints from Wilko too.
There’s also a lot of options when it comes to lanterns at this time of year. There’s even a couple of different designs in Poundland if you want to make a very affordable, non-committed nod to the trend. Hot pinks and purples are usually available year round too, so you’ll have no trouble sourcing cushions covers, vases, and other decorative accessories. If this is a style you love, and you have money to spend, go all out – velvet boudoir chairs, leather poufs and luxurious rugs and chandeliers will add the luxury that this style oozes.

But if you’re like me, and you love a bargain, keep reading for my best buys at ten pounds and under.

1. Wilko Statement Matt Emulsion Paint Vamp 1.25 – Wilko – £9.00
If you’re loving this trend, go all out and give yourself some colourful walls. Whether it’s one in every shade, or just a single focal wall, this rich purple tone is simply divine.

2. Metal Lantern – H&M– £7.99
This small cut-out patterned metal lantern adds just enough contrast to all the soft velvets and silks that the trend commands.

3. Pink Patchwork Tassel Cushion – Primark– £7.00
You’d be forgiven for thinking this actually costed four times the price. Hot pink, check. Patchwork, check. Tapestry details, check. Tassels, check. What more could you need?!

4. HENRIKA Cushion Cover, Orange – Ikea– £5.00
I love the stripes on this. With other items, this could look very different. With some pinks, purples and golds, it looks opulent and just right for that eastern vibe.

5. Moroccan Argan Oil Small Jar – Yankee– £8.54
Set the mood with this exotic aroma of patchouli and sandalwood with Argan oil. And on the plus side, the colour of the wax is simply beautiful!

6. Wilko Matt Emulsion 2.5L, Warm Days – Wilko– £10.00
As I described in my Moroccan inspiration post, the Moroccan style suits summer time so well, so what better than the aptly named ‘Warm Days’ a sunny, gold orange emulsion.

7. Pink Bubble Jar Candle – Primark– £4.00
This is another one that just looks right. I’ve had a few scented candles from Primark and been pleasantly surprised. But it’s the containers that make them such bargains. Once you’ve burned the wax, you have a pretty jar you can clean out and use for anything from pens and pencils, makeup brushes, craft supplies or even your toothbrush. This pink glass jar candle is no exception.

8. Eastern Lantern – Wilko– £10.00 reduced from £15.00
Just fitting into the budget here, a beautiful,  colorful lantern. TK Maxx is also an excellent place to purchase these lanterns – they have them in an array of beautiful colours, and multi coloured ones too if you prefer. But if you prefer to buy online, this Wilko one fits the bill nicely.

9. Chartwell Plain Hot Pink Pillow Case, Pack of 2 – B&Q– £5.00
And lastly, something for the bedroom. The colour of these pillow cases is gorgeous, and if you don’t want to replace your whole bedding, adding a vibrant sheet & pillowcases, or bedspread and cushions o can update your existing linens.

So there you have a small selection of some of the fantastic items on offer at the moment for the Summer months. You can’t guarantee the weather, but you can guarantee yourself a great looking home. Add some colour, light a good-mood scent and imagine yourself somewhere warm. And if you do get the weather, get outside and start partying!

For now, with love,
Ellen

 

Save

Save

Moroccan Inspired Décor

Whenever I think of Summer, I think of long, light days, warmer temperatures and the sumptuousness of balmy August evenings.

This time of year, I always see an influx of Moroccan and Middle Eastern inspired décor. The jewel tones of hot pinks, rich purples, vibrant oranges and teals, with gold and copper metallic elements seem luxurious and opulent. There’s always a great variety also, of texture. Soft, velvets and smooth, divine silks, glass and ceramics. It’s a real melange of shapes and textures, but within the same warm colour palette. Of course, Moroccan décor can also be clean and crisp in white and blues, but it’s usually the jewel tones I think of come Summer.

It goes hand in hand with those warm, late evenings, of entertaining in the garden. Citronella candles and tea lights in pretty fuchsia coloured lanterns. Or paper lanterns scattered around the gazebo, and huge, bright coloured floor cushions and throws. It’s a style that looks just right for summer entertaining.

It’s entirely up to you how you do it as well. You can have a hint, say of hot pink and orange, and team it with some contrasting silver elements – candle holders, photo frames, lanterns and mirrors. Or you can go all out and have a real mixture of everything. Silk and wool throws, leather patchwork poufs, tapestries and velvet cushions would make for a very luxurious boudoir.

I say often on here, how I love clean, crisp white. And I do. In my own home, I prefer the absence of colour. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love it – I can certainly appreciate it elsewhere, and admire people who love it in their homes. And I think it’s why it works especially well in Summer, whether just for the garden, or as a mid-year trend, it’s a Summer fling that will have you feeling like you’re on holiday in your own home.

Stay tuned for the next post, as my Top Picks under £10 is coming up, and I’ll be showing you some of the best bargains to help you re-create the Moroccan trend on a budget.

For now, with love,

Ellen

Save

Candle of the Month: June – Wax Lyrical Vanilla & Tonka

 

I best start this post with two apologies: One, that this post is a couple weeks overdue and the blog has been a little neglected as of late, and Two, that this utterly divine candle I’m going to tell you about has been discontinued for quite some time. And that should definitely sadden you. It saddens me! It has to be my ultimate, most favourite candle, most gorgeous scent I’ve ever smelled.

You may recognise the empty glass jar from my main website photo. Sitting alongside the Ralph Lauren lamp is this almost used up candle. In June, I used the last little bit. But only because I managed to buy a tin version from eBay.

It has such a strong fragrance that even when it’s not being burned you get the occasional waft of the beautiful aroma whispering across the room should you leave a window open. And I can’t even express why I love it so much. It’s warm and soft and vanilla-y, but it’s not sweet and cloying like some vanilla scents. It’s certainly not a foody, cakey vanilla scent. It’s altogether more grown up than that. There’s a hint of musk and possibly a floral that just compliments the vanilla and tonka beautifully. It’s reasonably complex for a candle fragrance, and I have a feeling it reminds me of a holiday, though I couldn’t tell you when or where. It’s just something seems vaguely familiar.

I love scents (of all kinds, perfumes, home fragrance, oils, foods, etc.) for the sensations and feelings and memories they can evoke. And for whatever reason, this candle has such an effect on me. I absolutely love it. And so of course, I’m devastated it’s no longer available.

I was in two minds whether to use the candle up or not, but I have so many, and it was so nearly empty anyway, that once I’d purchased and received the smaller tin version, I decided I was ok with letting this one go. After using it all up, of course.

As with all wax lyrical candles I’ve purchased before, it burned beautifully evenly, and for strength of fragrance, and length of burn time, I’d certainly recommend them. I may however, not burn the tin version for quite some time. It’s so relaxing just to open the tin, inhale the scent and replace the lid, that I’m not sure I’d want to use this up just yet.

Luckily, I have a huge stash of candles to be working through. However, Wax Lyrical does have a ‘Vanilla Flower’ candle in their Made in England range, which is described as “The sweet fragrance vanilla & butter, sits on a base of musk & dry fruits to really round out the fragrance.” I’m hoping it’s reminiscent of the discontinued Vanilla & Tonka, so when I decide I’ve used up enough of my candles and I’m ready to make an online purchase, I may investigate the similarities of this one.

The Vanilla Flower range is available here on Wax Lyrical’s own website. They do a few ranges, and some stunning scents, so I wholeheartedly recommend you check them out.

The next post will be coming very soon, so stay tuned, and I will try and get this blog back on track! Thanks for your patience.

For now, with love,

Ellen