Candles, candles, candles!
At Ashbridge and Brown we’re all about embracing each new season as it rolls round. We take a lot of time and care in hand-sourcing and carefully curating the items we sell in the shop and online and particularly enjoy coming up with creative ways to display them to you in the shop and in our shop windows and ones which reflect the season and time of year.
If summer is all about revelling in the longer days, warmer temperatures and fresh food then autumn is all about starting to think about less light, a little dip in the temperature and much heartier, warmer and nourishing foods. Most of us can get on board with digging out our favourite jumpers and hopping into our slippers as soon as we get through the door and let’s face it, nobody turns their nose up at a hearty stew or an excuse to make crumble and custard now the days are cooler. But one thing most of us really struggle with come this time of year is the lack of light: The shorter days and generally feeling less warmth from the sun when it does appear. Especially up here in Cumbria!
Whilst we can’t promise you an autumn filled with precious golden sunshine or a winter that is dry, crisp and bright; we can tell you that one of the things that really helps us feel a little bit better during the darker months, is candles! If you’re lucky enough to have an open fire or log burner at home you don’t need us to tell you the power that a roaring fire can bring not just in heat but also in improving your wellbeing on a dark, damp day. And candles can have much the same effect.
Did you know that the humble candle has been used to illuminate celebrations for more than five thousand years but that actually its origin in unknown. We think the earliest candle was Egyptian, just because they were known to have crafted torches by soaking reeds in melted animal fat. It’s more likely though that we’ve got the Romans to thank for the candle. Whilst the Egyptians did use a sort of wicked candle all of the way back in 3000 BC, it was the Romans that are credited with developing it before that time. They were known to have dipped rolled up papyrus paper in melted beeswax and used these candles to light their homes, help travellers see at night and also in religious ceremonies.
Candles have come a long, long way since they were first created so many years ago. These days their use is far less essential and much more focussed on traditional celebrations and occasions or for helping improve well being and mental health during the darker months.
We take time to pick and choose a lovely selection of candles for the shop that tick both of those boxes. Our cheerful ST EVAL DINNER CANDLE box is just the ticket for finishing off a fancy table or special Sunday roast on a gloomy, damp day. They’re hand-drawn using traditional candle making methods from a lovely brand in Cornwall. The vats used to melt their mineral and vegetable waxes are powered by wind turbines and they come in boxes of six in a variety of cheerful rainbow colours. This lovely company also produce a beautiful VICTORIAN HERB POT CANDLE which are lovingly poured into terracotta pots and are scented using natural herbs and plants. These would be lovely to dot around the kitchen when it’s no longer the weather for flinging open doors and windows any longer!
Scented candles have always been a firm favourite of ours and whilst we stock a lovely selection of them in the shop, we are particularly fond of ones scented with essential oils. Essential oils are concentrated extractions from plants. During a process called ‘distillation’ the ‘essence’ of the plant is turned into a liquid and can be used for many medicinal and recreational benefits. There are hundreds of essential oils with hundreds of benefits for both physical and mental needs and an essential oil candle is a beautiful way to enjoy their benefits. Not only are you able to enjoy the soft warm glow that lighting a candle can bring during the longer-feeling, darker months; but you can also appreciate the essential oils in a unique way.
We love Bous candles for their delicate and effective use of essential oil blends and scent combinations. They’re made down the road from us in Cockermouth and each scent is inspired by founder Kates’ travels and the Cumbrian landscape she calls home. If we had to pick we might opt for BOUS ORANGE AND CORIANDER CANDLE. Each one is eco-friendly and made from soy wax housed in a beautiful little re-usable paint tin pot. The scent itself is citrus-y and perfect for the darker days. The orange and coriander blend helps lift the spirit whilst providing a calming influence too. It brings a gentle peace and happiness to the mind and the coriander has a sweet and warming fragrance which is uplifting on those shorter days.
As it so happens (and completely by fluke!) according to The National Candle Association, September is also officially World Candle Month. It was created to shine a light (!!!) on the many ways candles can enrich our lives. Who knew?!
Do you burn candles all year round? Or do you save them for the colder, darker months and if so which are your favourites? When was the last time that you had a candle-lit dinner?! If you’ve never really been into candles then maybe this autumn and winter you should give them a go and let us know how you get on.