Candle of the Month: August – Yankee Beach Flowers and Bermuda Beach

Before I get started on Autumn scents for this year, I thought what better way to have my home smell summery than some Beach themed scents!

I had the Yankee Candle Beach Flowers tart in my stash for a little while, and decided to make some use of it. And then I also spotted the Yankee Candle Simply Home tart in Bermuda Beach on visit to an Asda store. Not wanting to pass up the chance of a bargain £1 Yankee scent, I sniffed my way through the selection on offer, and purchased the Bermuda Beach, partly because it smelled the nicest, partly because I wanted to compare it to the Beach Flowers. Both votives and wax tarts are just £1 in Asda’s Simply Home Yankee Candle range, however there was no votive on offer in this particular scent. I’ve had several votives in the past from there, with mixed reviews.

As a cheaper range, I had always thought they were slightly less good quality, with not as much fragrance. I’ve had a few Christmas scents in the past that I wasn’t wowed with, and so have not yet purchased a larger size to test the difference in those.

However, I’ve got to admit, with this particular pink wax tart, I was more than pleasantly surprised. It is similar to Beach Flowers, but I found the scent a lot more intense, and it seemed to last longer too. I’ve burned them both for over 8 hours, but I’m still finding a nice, muted scent from them, so will probably burn them once more each before I toss them.

Also, aside from the obvious difference in the style of the front label, they’re almost identical. The labels on the back are the same, and both tarts were stamped with the Yankee Candle Co indentation you see on the wax tarts themselves.

The official notes are as follows:
“Beach Flowers is a lovely scent of tuberose, lily and hyacinth blossoms with soft watery notes to add an element of fresh in a beautiful soft purple colour.”

And for Bermuda Beach:
“This succulent mix of citrus, flowers and vanilla will leave your home basking in nothing less than luxury.”

Bermuda Beach is often compared online to Pink Sands, the scent described as:
“Pink Sands creates an exotic island escape through a beautiful mix of bright citrus, sweet florals and spicy vanilla.”

So you can see the similarity in the description, not to mention the soft pink colour. I haven’t purchased Pinks Sands before, so I can’t honestly compare, but it sounds like it should be similar. However, there are definitely both similarities and contrasts between the two scents I’ve been enjoying this month. They both evoke a warm, sunny floral scent that’s very pretty, but also comforting. Bermuda Beach is much sweeter however, I guess because of the creamy notes of the vanilla, whereas Beach Flowers is certainly more floral and the aquatic note is quite clear, which Bermuda Beach lacks.

My fiance much preferred Bermuda Beach, that is to say, without being asked, he actually commented to ask what scent was burning as he thought it was quite nice. I think I prefer it too. It was certainly the stronger of the two scents, which I was surprised about, especially with it being from the cheaper Simply Home range.

It has definitely given me assurance to buy from the range again, should I happen to find myself in store. I’ll try a few more out sometime and let you know my opinion.

If you’ve got any experience with the Simply Home range from Yankee, I’d love to know. Especially with the larger jars. It would be great to know if they still burn evening across the jar etc. Please comment below and let me know!

For now, with love,
Ellen

One Box Challenge 2016 – Jewellery Declutter

If you’re a tidy sort of person, and you love YouTube, you’ve probably heard of Rachael from Sweet and Simple Home, and her One Box Challenge. As the name suggests, the idea is to take one box, and declutter until it’s full.

Needing some motivation to start the journey of decluttering our house, in particular what is supposed to be my Writing (and sewing) Room, but has fast become my Junk Room, I turned to YouTube. I find home maintenance, improvement, decorating and cleaning videos really motivating, and it wasn’t long until I stumbled upon the One Box Challenge.

I don’t have a YouTube channel to take part that way, but I will be posting my pics on my Instagram page @athomewithellen, and of course, going into detail here.

Now, I still haven’t finished sorting through the room, despite already filling two boxes of charity donations, a bag and a half of trash, and a giant cardboard box full of all the smaller cardboard boxes I’d been hoarding for… what reason? I want to wait until I’ve done the full room declutter (there’s lots I need to let go of) before I reveal my boxes, but in the meantime, I have a smaller box to share.

Over the years, the last fifteen probably, I’ve amassed a large amount of costume jewellery that at the time I’d loved, but had gradually became too young, too out of fashion, no longer my personal taste, and sometimes just broken. But for whatever reason it’s never made it’s way out of my house. Well, it will have soon!

I sorted through, and only kept my fine jewellery, and a couple of costume pieces I really adore, and the rest had to go. I mean, I already added to jewellery box to the donation pile, so I had no where to keep it now anyway. Great idea! I bundled it all together as a mixed lot auction for eBay, and can’t wait to pack it up and send it off to a new home.

The great bit is that when I weighed it to calculate the postage costs, it weighs OVER A KILO! There’s nearly two and a half pounds of “junk” cleared out just like that! Such good motivation, even if the size of the box is tiny compared to everything else I have ready to pass on.

If you need some inspiration to get decluttering, I definitely recommend checking out Rachael’s channel and playlists, as well as the countless other fantastic YouTuber’s out there. For cleaning inspiration and tips, I love Jen, at How Jen Does It, I’d definitely recommend checking her out too.

But, back to tidying and decluttering for me!

If you have any motivation tips, please share  them down below in the comments!

For now, with love,
Ellen

Top Picks under £10: August

I can’t believe it’s August already! This year is flying by. The wedding planning is in full swing, and as we’re getting married in August next year, it’s been really nice to embrace this time of year and embrace it whilst we’re planning, taking the weather and everything else into account.

In terms of décor however, most companies are already heading for Autumn. As with nearly all retailers, there’s a tendency to sell for the coming season, rather than the current one. I can see why, but sometimes think it’s a shame we’re not embracing the here and now, and always planning for what’s coming next rather than enjoying the present moment.

However, as your décor hangs around longer than a couple of weeks, transitional themes can really tide you over a season or two. Whilst late Summer could easily be full of nautical prints or those cozy warm shades like in July’s Top Picks, if you’re getting ready for Autumn too, cooler colours and more textures really start to work.

I’ve gone for a slightly 70s colour theme with rich teal and gold. Teal and slate blues have always reminded me of Autumn, perhaps it’s the colour of the sky before sunset? I’ve added in some velvet and velour for that sumptuous touch, which is always perfect for when the evenings begin to get a little cooler too.

1. Gold Laser Cut Tealight Holder – Marks and Spencer – £5.00
This cute little tealight holder has such a gorgeous laser cut design. It’s small, but fancy. I think it’s great.

2. Stoneware Soap Dispenser – H&M – £7.99
I really love the cool feel of this petrol toned stoneware pump bottle. Perfect for the bathroom or kitchen, the colour is simply gorgeous, and it’s functional too.

3. George Home Painterly Bee Cushion 43x43cm – George – £8.00
I’ve been seeing bee motifs a lot recently – which is great, I love them. And they definitely say ‘Summer!’ whilst the colour tones of the cushion will certainly see you through Autumn and Winter. I adore it.

4. 2 Teal Basket Weave Cushions – Primark – £6.00
You can’t beat Primark prices. Two cushions for £6.00, and they are in the softest finish. Perfect!

5. Bowtique Bee Ribbon – Dunelm – £3.15
An unusual choice on here, but Dunelm has a beautiful bee print fabric, and this utterly gorgeous ribbon. It comes in a five metre length and would be perfect for adding that little extra something to cushion covers, around the bottom edge of a plain lampshade etc. Sometimes small details can have a huge impact.

6. Jacquard-Weave Towel – H&M – £6.99
This perfect guest-size towel is ideal as a hand towel, or even in kitchen. I think the pattern and colour looks so luxurious.

7. George Home Small Bee Box – George – £8.00
Another from the range at George, this lovely little trinket box is so sweet, and would look great alongside the cushion in any living room or bedroom.

8. White Tea and Violet Glass Votive Candle – Primark – £2.00
I adore this little square candles in their glass holders from Primark. Not only do they smell lovely and burn surprisingly well for their incredibly low price, the containers are so useful afterwards.

9. Sequin Cushion (40cm x 30cm) – Matalan – £10.00
Lastly, we have another cushion, this time from Matalan. Whilst sequins aren’t the comfiest of finish to snuggle up again, this is the perfect dressing pillow. Add to the middle of your sofa or bed and it adds that bit of texture and shimmer that can otherwise be missing. It’s also a perfect compliment to those soft squishy velvet numbers.

And there you have my Top Picks at £10 and Under for August. Of course there’ll be a September bunch about four weeks from now, but plenty more in between, including some pictures of our finished temporary kitchen look.

If you have favorite seasonal shades, please share them below in the comments. I’d love to know what everyone else will be decorating with this Autumn.

For now, with love,
Ellen

Kitchen Tile Paint – Stage 3

Following on from Stage 2, as promised, I’m back with some images and details now that my tiles are white!

I had prepped, prepped and prepped again, and was so ready to be painting over the jazzy tiles, that I could barely wait to get the dust sheets taped down and get started. Because of the texture in some of the tiles, I was unsure how a paint roller would cope, and had anticipated perhaps having to do the whole job with a brush.

I started with a narrow edging brush anyway, and worked my way around all the edges. Like a gloss paint, as long as you work quickly and smoothly, the paint did level surprisingly well. I was also impressed with how well it was covering.

It did say on the paint can that depending on the colour of your existing tiles, one may or may not suffice. Now, some of mine were deep brown, so I didn’t expect them to cover in one coat, but I was really impressed with how well it did cover. Yes, it would definitely need a second coat, but I knew it wouldn’t need more than that.

IMAG2780As I had purchased a small gloss paint roller (foam) and tray for the job, I thought I may as well give it a go, and was also pleasantly surprised by the time I’d finished. To begin with, I did have a few moments of panicking whether or not I’d done the right thing. It hadn’t covered perfectly, and it took a few moments to self level, and I was awfully worried I’d just made a big mess. But at that point, I’d already gone too far to go back, so just kept rolling the paint on.

By the time I’d done the main tiled wall, it had levelled a lot, I’d lightly touched up some patchy areas, and the overwhelming feeling was that the kitchen was already feeling brighter.

As expected, the single can of paint wasn’t going to do a second coat, so I had to wait a few days until I could purchase another before I could continue, but second time round I was feeling much more confident. I did have to continue using the brush a little here and there to get into some of those awkward angles caused by the un-level tiles, but overall I think it’s a huge improvement.

You’ll notice in the picture as well just how WHITE it is. It’s a lovely and bright fresh white. And certainly showed up how grubby the painted wall and ceiling were! Good job I knew I had those to scrub and paint too.

I’m getting there now with this little project being finished. The wall has had a couple of coats of paint and looks great, the ceiling has had a couple and doesn’t. It’s just so badly stained, it’s being a bit of a pain. I’m going to buy some more specialist paint and give that a go, as a single coat and one regular emulsion coat didn’t suffice. Then I just have the top of the windowsill to sand and gloss, and a new blind to purchase and put up and I’ll be done!

It’s so far, so good, and as a temporary measure until we re-do the kitchen (and have that icky ceiling fixed) it’s great. So much nicer to walk into this bright white room everyday when I’m making my morning coffee!

I’ll show you some finished pictures once the ceiling and everything else is done.

Have you been decorating recently? Thinking about starting a project? Please share in the comments below, I’d love to hear how it’s going!

For now, with love,
Ellen