Now, I'm the kind of girl who throws herself whole-heartedly into a project, so became somewhat obsessed with researching the best candles. Suitably briefed, I toddled off to town for some intensive olfacting.
Candles put to the test
Diptyque Baies £20 - 30 hours burn time. I was rather intimidated by this fashionista brand, which is all Karl Lagerfeld this, Anna Wintour that. I decided however, that it would be remiss of me to miss this out in my round-up, so bought a mini Baies candle - Rose and Blackcurrant leaves. Is it nice? Yes. Is it worth all the hype? Not in my opinion. 7.5/10
Jo Malone Wood Sage and Sea Salt £42 - 45 hours burn time. Jo Malone is the name in candles, so I braced the Edinburgh howling wind and rain yesterday to procure a candle for this review. I'm so good to you guys!! It comes in a fancy-smancy box, all ribboned up and I like that the candle has a nice shiny lid. The fragrance is a nice, cosy evening smell which is airing on the masculine side. 8.5/10
Ecoya Vanilla Bean / Coconut and Elderflower £15 - 18 hours burn time. I bought my pal Christine the Vanilla Bean candle and her feedback was good, but not quite as good as Jo Malone. I received the Coconut and Elderflower one from Lorna, this time for Christmas. The dinky size ensured a lovely even burn and the pretty pot as now been happily re-purposed. I think my only criticism of this luxury Australian brand is that all the of fragrances air a little too much on the sweet side for me. 7.5/10
Molton Brown Mulberry & Thyme £36 about 60 hours burn time. I admit that I bought the range mainly due to its pretty glacier green colour that matches our bedroom. Luckily, I'm a big fan of crisp and fresh citrus smells, so I enjoy the candle very much. I also plan to use the glass jar for my make-up brushes once the candle has run out. 8.5/10
Orla Kiely Basil and Mint £20 up to 50 hours burn time. I love Orla Kiely's retro patterns and this candle is very cute with the iconic stem print. It comes with a little beer mat type coaster for heat protection. The fragrance is nice ,however the candle tunnels quite badly, so I need to use a tin foil collar to remedy. 7/10
Fired Earth Peppermint Tea and Thyme £20 - 55 hours burn time. I bought this candle in smaller 35 hour tin from Waitrose, but the internet denies all knowledge of this product's existence! Not particularly impressed with this one, as it didn't throw the scent and I had to work hard to stop it tunnelling 4/10
House of Fraser Linea Candles £15 - 50 hours burning time. I got loads of these in the 70% off sale, gifting some to Christine for 'candle homework'. We were both hugely disappointed. There are designed as dupes of Jo Malone, but they tunnel badly and have barely any smell at all. Only plus is that I use the lids on other candles 1/10
True Grace Vine Tomato £16 - 40 hours burn time. My foodie friend Linh bought me this candle many years ago. It languished unused until I dusted it down following my candle renaissance. Somewhat incongruously, the scent exactly matches the fuzzy green vine of a tomato plant so it's great for the kitchen. It appears that this is the marmite of candles, my pals either love or hate it. 8/10
St Eval Bay and Rosemary £9 - 45 hours burn time. I love the smell of rosemary in cooking so opted for this candle without testing from eBay after hearing great things about the Cornish brand. I'm not so keen on the smell, but Robbie liked it, well as much as he likes any candle. I wish more places sold this brand, as I'd like to test their other candles and hopefully find one that I like better. 5/10
H&M Birchwood £7.99 - 40 hours burn time. I didn't expect this candle to be particular great, but I have a weakness for shiny copper things for our spare room (see my Blushing Over Copper post). The fragrance reminded me of my favourite shower gel Silver Birch, which I think is technically for guys, by Molton Brown. Sadly, my low expectations were proven correct, it was an absolutely terrible burn and scent didn't throw or last at all. 3/10
Top tips for candle care
Before every burn, trim the wick to about half a centimetre to stop it from smoking.
If you snuff or blow the candle out it will smoke. Instead, I take a long metal skewer that I got in a set from the pound shop and dunk the lit wick into the liquid wax. This method causes no smoke and also primes the wick with wax ready for the next time you trim and light it.
To prevent tunnelling, or to remedy it, I'm a big fan of the tin foil fix.
A long lighter, also procured from Poundland, is great to stop your fingers getting burnt.
More tips for the super keen here.
I popped a little chunk of this WoodWick mini melt into an empty metal cup from a tea light and sat it near our new bio ethanol fire. The heat from the fire melted the wax and gave a lovely smell of burning logs. The mini melt cost just £1.89 and it will fill a few tea light cups, so I count this as a super bargain!