My Tips To Making Candles At Home…

March 20, 2019
A picture of my flat with a dressing table with candles on it lit.  A beautiful bunch of colourful flowers sits behind them with orange, purple and pink flowers.

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Candles Came Into My Life Late!

For along time in my dault life I rarely had candles in my home because of my upbringing. My dad has sensitivity to perfumes that make his sinuses go haywire! I remember distinctly one night going to bed and my dad trying to locate a perfume smell that had set his nose off. He asked if I had put on deodorant before bed. Ah no, just flowers from the garden Dad!

It was living with friends in the UK and their love of candles that changed me. I saw them not only to create a scent in your home but also to provide an ambiance in a darker, colder climate. My friends had multiple candle holders and without exaggeration, I counted, would light a variety of 27 candles in a room. Gathering together tealight candles to flicker against the fireplace, tall pillars framing bookshelves and a few scented ones to create the nights flavour. The effect was magnificent and really came alive when the weather was cold!

All the items you need for canfle making,  Wax in a purple bowl, wicks, various containers, lots of essential oil and measring cups, wick stickers to keet them at the bottom of the jar and a wick holder.

Candles Are Perfect For Decorating Too.

In my next home I too had a fireplace, though it was faux, and set about placing candles throughout to recreate this romantic home. Shortly after moving into this flat I won a John Lewis voucher. I wasn’t really a John Lewis shopper at the time and really struggled to find something instore to purchase. Today the store is completely different and they have many brands I use! Wandering around at a bit of a loss, I came to the candle section and decided to spend the voucher on pillar candles for the fireplace. They looked fantastic and really helped to create a focal point where the fire place had previously looked neglected.

Picture showing all the items for making in the background.  In the foreground is my hand holding a wick with a a wick sticker cut in half

How I Use Candles Now.

In my current flat I have long ago donated many of my candle holders I had due to the smaller space. Typically, I light a few unscented tea lights and one main smelly candle! My preference is for Diptyque but they are pricey and even more so with their Brexit tax. The pillar candles from my old flat have sat unused for a couple of years. I slowly burnt the very small ones but the large, almost church size ones were taking up room. I decided to make use of this wax, add my favourite scent combination of lemon, lime and clementine and create my own.

A picture showing me pouring essentail oils into the wax.

Where I Got My Supplies.

My pillar cadles were from John Lewis and cutting them down was the most challenging part. I am glad I tackled it over a few nights, slowly hacking away and adding to a bowl I had set aside. You can purchase candle wax ready to melt here. For the scents I did a lot of research as they aren’t cheap. The day before I was to buy them Holland & Barrett did a buy one, get one free offer. Fantastic! I’d ordered this candle wick kit from Amazon and was full steam ahead ready to go.

A picture from a top view showing all the containers filled with wax and then the wick holder and pencils keepign the wicks in place.

How To Make Candles At Home.

Making candles isn’t hard and I won’t labour on the details. Create a Bain Marie to ever so slowly melt the wax. Prep all your containers with wicks ready for pouring. Maybe play some jazz in the background! Take the wax off the heat and add your premeasured essential oils. Start filling up the containers and use the wick holder to centre wayward wicks!

My Tips On Candle Making.

What are your favourite candles? Have you tried making any at home? I’d love to hear about it. PF xo

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Making My Home Smart…

March 18, 2019
PIcture of the tplink plug and its packaging sitting on my kitchen table.

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Everyone seems to be adding smart technology to their homes with Google Home and Alexa’s but that sort of tech really isn’t for me. I am not a fan of a device that can listen to you and am pretty confident in the future these devices will be used against people. Don’t pop me in with tin foil conspiracy theorists but history shows recording people is something we like to do! This doesn’t mean I don’t want to make my home smart and I have been activly researching ways to adapt my flat with smart technology.

Smart Technology Is Great For Older Family Members.

Last year I went to a conference that spoke about families using smart technology to look after frail relatives, allowing the older generation to stay home longer. There is a smart toaster that communicates a message, via an app, sharing if the appliance was used. Great for confirming if your older relative got up in the morning. If they aren’t a toast fan you can get small sensors that are placed in doorways and register that the occupant is up and about.

Picture of tp link adapter plugged into poiwerpoint

The Piece Of Tech That Got Me Into Automating My Home.

Dismissing using Alexa’s and Google Home limits my ability to join the smart tech train. However, reading Young House Love’s blog and their love of all tech, I was introduced to the Kasa Smart WiFi Plug. Adding this plug to a favourite lamp or in my case fairy lights means you can turn them on before you arrive home through an app. You can also link it with an Alexa and Google Home to turn on lights by voice control.

My flat is incredibly dark in winter and often I have multiple bags, mail and parcels with me as I enter. I know most of my readers can relate if you live in a big city, you want to get inside and lock the door quickly! Lack of lighting always meant I was fumbling longer then I was comfortable at the door. Initially I used a traditional timer from Ikea, but my days aren’t scheduled exactly and I was often returning home to darkness.

Picture of tp link plug with fairy light plug plugged into it

Setting Up The Kasa Smart Wifi Plug.

Once the Kasa Smart Wifi Plug arrived I set aside 10 minutes to activate it. I’d already downloaded the app in anticipation! The process took less than 3 minutes to link the device to the app and my wifi. Plugged in the wall I added my fairy lights and then stood there for longer then I care to admit turning them on and off via my phone! Done or so I thought!

Turns out it takes a bit of prethought for me to activate them via the app when I’m on the train home! Sometimes I stand outside my flat doing it! The app recently updated and now has the ability to set up schedules which works for my days with a set routine.

The function I use the most is the timer. Once I turn on my fairy lights I set them to turn off after an hour. This allows me to wander around the flat with some light putting my bag away and turning on other lights. If I’m home quite late I can just use the fairy lights to get ready for bed without having to turn on a burning overhead light. I am not a fan of overhead lights, so harsh!

Picture of my mobile phone with app open.  It is showing that I have my fairy lights scheduled.

Now I Want Everything To Be Smart!

I’m still not one to use smart technology that can record my conversations, but I am on board with ease and cost savings automation can bring.  There are a few more lights in my home that I would love to add automation to.  Then I could have one schedule that would have my home lights on for when I returned.  Lovely! 

I’ve also started investigating upgrading my heating system so that I can turn it on before I come home.  This would be especially fantastic after multiple days away as my flat freezes quite quickly.  Finally, the dream purchase would be an automated vacuum.  I love the idea of having my floors swept every day when I am not around.  My ultimate would be that all my electrical outlets are smart wired and connected to an app. This just makes so much sense but I can’t find anyone who has built that technology yet. Until then automated fairy lights are a fantastic treat! 

What have you automated in your home or plan to do?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments.  PF xo

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Cosy Indoor Outdoor Places in London…

March 4, 2019

London can be a fantastic place to visit but at this time of year the weather can be against you. Looking for lovely, cosy indoor places that still have access to outdoor light and a sense of space? I’ve often found rainy days in London make me want to hibernate but with a renewed sense of energy I discovered these places to share with you. Many of these locations have multiple rooms or stores to visit so you spend your entire day rainy day here.

Perfect for a group get together.

Picture of the entrance to the Victoria Market Halls with people walking back and forth past it.
Picture of the sandwich board outside the Hall Victoria saying now open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and drink
Picture of the inside of the Victoria Market Halls with glass roof and lots of people eating and drinking.

Victoria Market Halls. Perfect for a group catch up with friends the Victoria Market Halls stretch across two floors with a glass roof over the main stairwell. I’ve been here a couple of times with friends and it’s the perfect spot for a gathering of friends with different budgets. Once you secure a table everyone can pop to their preferred street food joint and order what they like. There is no pressure to have a drink and you can mix and match your food. Whilst it is quite busy after work during the day this is a great place to bring the laptop and work on your business or catch up with your friend who’s just become a parent!

A location that no one knows about.

Picture of the Wallace Museam glass roof and beautiful pastal pink brick walls with white trim.
Picture of the restaurant set up at the Wallace Museam.  Set as a fine dining area.
Picture of resturant at the Wallace Museam with the gold bar area and people having coffee.

The Wallace Collection. One of the Wallace families’ homes, Hertford House, displays the art collection that was brought together by four generations. Free to enter, each room has bright flocked wallpaper covered in a significant number of artworks. Some of the rooms have two or three of the same painting with slight variation by the artist. An old version of art prints! In the middle of the building is the glamourous, glass roofed restaurant. There are full size trees and the ceiling is over three stories high. I visited with a friend on a rainy day. We dropped our things into the cloak room to wander around all the rooms. Once we were peckish we had some lunch under the roof as we listened to the rain. The best bit was The Wallace Collection isn’t well known and a little bit of a walk from Baker Street Station which means it is quite empty and it is likely you will have the place to yourself.

Art for everybody.

Picture of the interior of the V&A museam gallary with glass roof.
Another V&A gallary filled with art work and statues and a glass roof.

Victoria and Albert Museam. My absolute favourite museum in London with over 140 rooms to explore. As you weave through the large Victorian building light streams in from various large windows and glass roofs. I have yet to see every room in the museum despite visiting regularly and you could easily lose a day here! There are also two cafes offering warm drinks, scones and cakes and more substantial foods. If you choose to become a member there is another cafe just for you under a glass top. The best bit about the museum is that you can access it from a tunnel connected to the underground so any bad weather can be avoided!

What are you favourite places to visit on a rainy day in London or your home town? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. PF xo

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