Candle of the Month: October – WoodWick’s Autumn

A little later than expected (no thanks to illness, bleurgh!) but today is Halloween, and I’m getting my Candle of the Month post in just in time.

I was out browsing Autumn scented candles and wax melts after a disappointing purchase (post to follow) when I came across the WoodWick stand in one of my favourite shops to buy candles from. I’ve known about WoodWick candles for years, and yet for some reason, never tried them out. The small display I was looking at on this particular day had a very seasonal trend to it – almost everything was of a cozy, Autumnal scent, and I decided to ease myself into the brand, I’d pick up a couple of mini hourglass wax melts.

I couldn’t resist Pear Cider, as there just aren’t enough pear scented candles around, and this one also has notes of ginger, clove and vanilla – it smells delicious. And of course, I had to pick up the appropriately named Autumn. It was, after all, exactly what I’d come to buy – an Autumn scented candle.
On cold sniff, I couldn’t quite put my finger on the notes. It one hundred percent smells like the season, but I couldn’t pinpoint it. There are juicy, almost overripe apples, and something that made me think of golden crunchy leaves. It isn’t as sweet as I usually find with these fragrances.

To learn that the notes are: “Fresh apples and spices, infused with juicy currant and cranberries for a sweet and tart sensation” made a lot of sense. Although there is some sweetness from the apple, there’s also that tartness, which the berries add. I wouldn’t have guessed currant and cranberry at all, but as I sit here with it melting, I do get a strong clove scent, which is wonderful.

Overall, I am fantastically impressed. The throw is fantastic, and the scent more complex than a lot of Autumn home fragrances.

I will definitely purchase from WoodWick in the future, and look forward to trying some candles from them. If you’d like the try this scent, it’s available in the UK in an array of sizes from woodwickcandleshop.co.uk. I can’t recommend it enough.

For a candle that didn’t quite live up to it’s promise, stay tuned for a final Autumn candle post coming tomorrow, and then I will have that upcycled cushion cover tutorial I promised you up on Sunday.

For now, with love,
Ellen

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Recipe: Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Mmm, the taste of Autumn! With Halloween right around the corner, it’s time to make tasty Autumn treats, and I can’t recommend this cake enough. It’s an Autumn take on carrot cake and this is my slight variation of the BBC Good Food Recipe here. Mine is smaller, with more citrus and spice, and a much more accurate cooking time.

Ingredients:

150g Self-Raising Flour
150g Light Muscovado Sugar
1tsp Cinnamon
1tsp Ground Ginger
½tsp Ground Nutmeg
1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
90g Currants or Sultanas (I used currants)
Pinch of Salt
2 Eggs, Beaten
100g Butter or Baking Spread, melted
Zest of 1 Orange
Juice of ½ Orange
250g Grated Pumpkin Flesh

100g Soft Cream Cheese
45g Unsalted Butter, Softened
85g Icing Sugar
Juice of ½ Orange

1. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Grease and line an 8 inch round cake tin. I used a loose bottomed tin, but it isn’t necessary.

2. In a large bowl, lightly mix the flour, sugar, spices, bicarb, currants and salt.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the beaten eggs and melted butter well. Add the orange juice and zest and beat again.

imag32454. Tip your egg and butter mixture into your dry ingredients, lightly beat. Add the grated pumpkin and beat again until well mixed. The mixture should be fairly loose. Tip into your baking tin and cook for approximately 45-50 minutes. After 40 minutes, check the cake by inserting a skewer into the middle. If it doesn’t come out clean, check again in 5 minutes. Despite being half the size, my cake took much longer to cook than as described in the BBC recipe, and it’s reviews also reflect this.

5. Once cooked, allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, before turning out and leaving to cool on a baking rack.

6. Meanwhile, beat together the cream cheese and icing sugar, adding a teaspoon of orange juice at a time until you reach a nice smooth, spreading consistency. Place in the fridge until your cake is cool.

imag32557. Frost your cake with the cream cheese mixture, cut yourself a big slice and enjoy. The cake will keep in the fridge for a couple of days, but is best eaten at room temperature, so leave your future slices to warm up a little from the fridge.

This is a very moist cake, with a (not at all unpleasant) almost gooey texture. I think the water content of the pumpkin creates this, but it keeps well, and tastes divine. Equally lovely with a cup of hot coffee as with warm spiced apple cider.

imag3257If you like carrot cake, I definitely would recommend you try this out – I know I’ll be baking another one soon!

For now, with love,
Ellen

Top Picks under £10: October

Are you simply loving Autumn? It was tempting to go all out black and orange Hallowe’en themed for my October Top Picks under £10, but I managed to resist. As soon as October hits, I’m all about Hallowe’en, and whilst I might not decorate as such for it, I do thoroughly enjoy the festivities, and have been known to create unnecessarily elaborate costumes in years previous.

For something a little longer lasting, however, I have gone with a woodland theme. It’s the perfect time of year to be introducing rustic, natural touches, and can so easily be an ongoing theme then for the Winter months. I’m a huge animal fan – so much so, I nearly didn’t include the faux horn decoration in my top picks, as I prefer my animals more alive looking, but for the price point and style, it was worth noting, as it is such a popular trend. And of course, it’s fake.

So create your own woodland cabin or country lodge vibe, with animal themes, natural wood, cozy knits and faux fur. I can almost smell the campfire now!

1. Faux Fur Oblong Cushion – Primark – £7.00
Faux fur has definitely become a thing in it’s own right. I don’t even really sense the connotation to it being a real fur substitute, it’s just become a fabulously textured, autumn/winter looking fabric to use. This cushion from Primark is excellent, a great price, and in a lovely tone for this time of year.

2. Ebony and Oak Small Jar – Yankee Candle – £8.54
Available from many retailers, and online at yankee.co.uk, this is one of the 2016 Autumn fragrances. The notes read: Woody oak, pine and ebony make an elegant forest fragrance with subtle touches of eucalyptus and patchouli. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea (what is?) but it’s great to create that outdoors aroma.

3. Woodland Creatures Framed Art – The Range – £2.99 reduced from £4.99
This cute framed piece comes in a couple of varieties – an owl and a hare – and is such an affordable piece to add a little woodland vibe to your decor. I dare say it’s probably also very easy to recreate something very similar, with a wooden frame, some kraft paper and some decoupage images.

4. Standing Brown Bear – Wilko – £6.00
What’s not to love about this quirky little ornament? If you’re not shy about your themes, go all out with this little guy. He’s a good size for the price at approx. 23cm long, and I think he’s just adorable!

5. Stag Wall Art – George – £8.00
This large, square, canvas print will also add some colour and impact. It’s the perfect Autumn image and will add a touch of warmth in a neutral room.

6. Printed Cushion Cover – H&M – £6.99
Oh look, another cushion cover from H&M! I seem to add one of these every month, but I can’t help myself. I don’t usually go for prints on cushions – I prefer plain textures, or patterns, but again, something about the bear, and the season, just appealed.

7. Wood Effect Photo Frame – Dunelm – £3.99 – £6.99
Yes, you probably can find real wood frames within budget, and you could certainly thrift them, but I liked the tone of this wood effect frame from Dunelm. It’s called grey, but it has that lovely rustic feel to it. But of course, you could always stain/paint your existing wooden frames to create a similar finish.

8. Antelope Horns Wall Art – George – £9.00 reduced from £15.00
This resin piece resembles antelope horns, though isn’t too realistic. It adds that touch of woodland décor, but hopefully won’t scare away the children! It has great reviews online, and will no doubt sell out quickly.

9. Dompen Basket – IKEA – £7.00
This 32cm x 32cm square basket from Ikea is lovely. The texture, the colour, the size – it’s the perfect storage basket. It’s designed to fit their storage units, but of course be used in or on the wardrobe, on a sideboard or next to the sofa for magazines etc. The material is actual coconut palm leaf, but in this wonderful brown colour it just looks very outdoorsy and woody.

So there are my Top Picks for October. Do you love to bring the outdoors in for Autumn? If so, let me know your ideas and share your décor tips for everyone in the comments below!

For now, with love,
Ellen

Candle of the Month: September – Yankee Candle Farmer’s Market

Ahh, the smell of Autumn! I’m not surprised I have another Yankee candle as my Candle of the Month. A few of their scents I return to time and time again, and inevitably, they become my favorite for the month or season.

I believe this is a discontinued scent – at least here in the UK. I first remember smelling this around six or seven years ago, when I purchased a sampler at a similar time of year. Ahhh, it’s heavenly. Farmer’s Market is such an apt name. The peach note is very strong, and very realistic. But there’s also plums and berries, and though not listed as a note, I don’t just get a sweet fruity flavour, but also a little vegetable of some description. There’s also a little spice, definitely cinnamon, that’s reminiscent of carrot cake for me. I think it’s the combination of fruit and carrot and brown sugar and spices that makes me think of this candle.
I managed to purchase this large jar from QVC last year in a duo with Apple Cider. This is definitely my favourite of the two, and the reason I purchased them. Now I only have the smallest amount left, I’m wishing I’d purchased two lots!

It is still available in the US, with the new label, in all sizes. I hope it comes back here again too. Autumn is the perfect season for scented candles. I think so many of the smells associated with this time of year translate so well in candle format, and of course a flickering flame just makes you feel cozy now that the nights are definitely colder.

It burned reasonably well. I had to keep the wick trimmed, and once it got down to the last quarter or so, I did have a poor (probably insufficient length) burn, and ended up scraping away a little excess wax for my tart burner, but after that it burned very well again, pooling right to the sides in a little over three hours.

There’s not much else I can say about it. I absolutely love it. I will get more in future.

For now, with love,
Ellen

10 Tips on Decorating for Autumn

Image from http://www.countryliving.com/home-design/decorating-ideas/advice
Image from http://www.countryliving.com/home-design/decorating-ideas/advice

We’re officially into Autumn now, and so far it’s lovely. The temperature here in the UK hasn’t really dropped, but there’s a cooler breeze in the air, and the leaves are crunching underfoot. It’s a real ‘change of season’ vibe out and about, and so it only makes sense to have a change of season with your décor, right?

I’ve always been a big fan of neutrals for big items at home. Your sofa, curtains, rugs etc. It might not work for everyone, but if you’re someone who likes to decorate for the seasons, then neutrals in your big pieces is the way to go.  That way you can swap out summer linens for winter knits, bright and breezy blues for rusts and reds. Here are my top ten tips to up the Autumn in your home:

1. What colour instantly comes to mind when you think of Autumn? For most of us, it’s orange. Add a little September into your interiors with pops of colour, be it in the form of a new piece of artwork, a vase or two, or your soft furnishings.

2. Swap out your cushions. This has to be the quickest and easiest way to get some colour in, and change things up. Deep pumpkin orange is the perfect shade, and works beautifully if your neutrals are more beige-y warm tones. If you’re more of a cooler, grey or white neutral fan, then bright orange-orange is a fantastic match. And don’t be afraid to have fun with prints. One or two token ‘seasonal’ items such as pumpkin prints and plaids can really set the mood.

3. You shouldn’t stop at colour either. Texture is a big scene setter in décor. By switching out linens and cottons for knits and flannel, just in the same way you will with your wardrobe is really going to give that cozy feeling. I know I compare clothing and home interiors a lot, but it’s because it sets the right mood. If you love throwing on cable knit sweaters come this time of year, then you will also love snuggling up to a cable knit throw on your sofa.

4. Pumpkins. Of course. Be they real (lovely for table decorations, especially the tiny little mini ones) or not, there’s a huge selection out there. You don’t have to stop at pumpkins either, there are lots of fantastic, pretty gourds out there, that make wonderful decorations and just shout out that Autumn has arrived. And you can always go down the ceramic / wooden route and have décor items that you can bring out year after year.

5. Plaid is a very Autumnal pattern, don’t you think? If I think of a soft, warm flannel shirt, I’m thinking of this time of year. I’d love a rocking chair, and there’s just something about the image of a plaid blanket over a rocking chair that just screams cozy. And makes me think of warm mulled toddys. Ahhh.

6. DIY art work is also a great way to add some seasonal trend to your home. Whether you prefer to paint, outline, or decoupage, framing up a piece of your own art is a creative and affordable way to dress your home for the season. Think of woodland animals like foxes and squirrels, or pine cones and mushrooms for some great ideas.

7. Pimp your dining table. Yes, I really did just use that phrase. But adding checked napkins, cute acorn napkin rings, and fabulous fruit and floral centerpieces will bring a whole lot of warmth and season to the table, so much so, you probably won’t need anything else Autumnal in the dining room.

8. Adding natural elements will also bring the outdoors in. As I already mentioned with the pumpkins, what better way to celebrate this time of harvest than with a few natural items. But you can also switch out your floral displays for tall, twiggy branches, and add another twist of the outdoors.

9. A wreath is also a great idea. Be it on your front door, or inside, there are so many to choose from these days and countless tutorials online to make your own. In the UK, it’s very common to see wreaths at Christmas, but not so much in Autumn, which is such a shame, as with vibrant orange and gold accents, acorns and pinecones aplenty, they can be so damn pretty!

10. Last, but definitely not least, you want your home to smell like Autumn. If you don’t have time to bake pumpkin pie all day every day, grab yourself one of the hundreds of cozy, autumn scented candles out there. Almost every brand releases them this time of year, and you have such a huge selection to choose from. Whether you’re a typical spiced pumpkin fan, a creamy sugary spiced cookie person, Autumn leaves, cozy cashmere, brisk autumn air, spiced cider, whatever takes your fancy – there is an Autumn candle out there. Don’t think they’re all gourmand scents, there’s the fresh, and cozy scents as well.

So enjoy decorating your home and set the scene so that your indoors is resembling the outdoors. I’d love to know whether you like wreaths for Autumn wherever in the world you are, and also what your favorite Fall candle is, so please comment down below and let me know!

For now, with love,
Ellen

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