Autumn is upon us again, it’s pumpkin spiced latte time of year.
As the evenings draw in and the days shorten, we naturally want to light up those scented candles, close the curtains and snuggle up in front of the telly with a warm blanket and a tub of roses. It’s hibernation season, only we humans aren’t allowed to sleep the winter away of course. We are transitioning, the leaves are turning gorgeous shades of brown and gold in readiness to fall to the ground, just waiting to be walked over for that lovely autumnal crunch.
I adore this time of year when we start the X Factor countdown to Christmas.
It just makes me want to fill my home with flickering tea lights and adorn my dressers with strings of dainty fairy lights. It’s time to stock up on my Autumn favourites and make my home lovely and cosy for the coming season.
Like most people, I always used to buy a big bag of cheap tea lights and wintery scented candles from the Range or Wilkos, fill up my tea light jar which sits on our dresser and they would go on forever. However, a few winters ago I became aware of the harm these cheap tea lights and scented candles were doing to the environment in my home. Not to mention the health of myself and my family, but also our two dogs who were also being subjected to toxins puffed out by these chemical laden candles.
Choose pure over paraffin
Much the same as artificial air fresheners, reeds, plugins or any kind of artificially scented product we may use to keep our homes smelling sweet; how much thought have we actually put into the toxins we are introducing into our environment. Probably none, and I was as guilty as anyone else assuming it must be safe or they wouldn’t be available to buy, would they?
Artificial fragrances commonly used are produced in a lab and contain petrochemicals which are linked to increased cancer risk, birth defects and allergies.
I’ve known about the dangers of artificial air-fresheners for many years and always avoid them like the plague, but what about scented candles, surely they would be fine? Unfortunately not.
Research shows that at least 75 per cent of products which listed ‘fragrance’ as the main ingredient contained harmful phthalates.
These nasty chemicals have been directly linked to hormone disruption, cancer, reduced sperm count and even possible fetal exposure to autism. I find it quite shocking that we are being exposed to unnecessary health risks by doing something as seemingly harmless as lighting a candle.
When paraffin is used as a base product it’s very harmful. As the tea light or candles burn they give off microscopic soot particles which can’t be seen but get into our lungs and is hazardous to our health. If you burn this kind of candle in the same place you may see a sooty area start to develop on the ceiling above, or on the surrounding surfaces.
I didn’t want to give up my cosy evenings or mealtimes with a tea light on the table so I looked around for healthier options.
I started off with eco wax tea lights which are a soy-based wax and I used those for at least one winter season. I’ve since left them behind as they are not always 100% chemical free. Some may have palm oil added which means they are not a ‘pure’ candle. Something else you might not think of – mass-produced candles may have wicks containing lead or tin so you’re getting a double whammy of toxic waste to breathe. Healthy wicks are made from cotton or hemp.
“Bee” good To your home
Finally, I discovered beeswax. These are the bee’s knees when it comes to the ultimate environmentally friendly tea light or candle. They give off a soft honey scent and burn with a low, warm-coloured flame. They also do something remarkable when lit, they emit negative ions which gobble up the positive ions found in dust, mould spores or general pollutants and allergens found naturally in our homes. They may also help to reduce asthma symptoms due to their air cleaning quality. This makes for a much safer and healthier environment for your home. Occasionally I find a batch of tea lights may crackle a little whilst burning but I like it, it’s almost therapeutic to hear.
I adore beeswax candles, ok I’m slightly obsessed with them and wouldn’t use anything else now. They’re a little more costly at around £13.00 for 30 tea lights, but to me, it’s worth it to safeguard our health. Buy yours on eBay here.
Copper Wire Fairy Lights
Another love of mine is battery-powered copper wire fairy lights. I buy them in Primark for a few pounds each. So dainty and delicate. The wire is pliable and you can wrap them around almost anything. They are a definite must-have in my home when the nights draw in.
One other thing I like to do it push them into a pretty jar and use it as a lamp, this just adds something a little different to the room.
I use this idea in my daughter’s bathroom so that she has a soft glow in the corner if she needs to get up in the night. We love to save up small jam jars and decorate them with glass paint in seasonal themes for quirky tea light holders. Wind some craft wire around the top and form into a handle. It’s a lovely mummy and Lily thing to do! You can buy glass paints and other crafty bits from the Range and they are fairly inexpensive.
Pure Essential Oils
I don’t want to give up on some natural, seasonal fragrance around my home so I like to use 100% pure natural essential oils. I generally only use them throughout the autumn/winter season as I just love the Christmas scent, spiced orange/apple and cinnamon are my favourites. I like to sprinkle a few drops where they won’t damage the surface.
When the decorations are out, I sprinkle some oil onto the Christmas tree and on wooden decs’ the wood absorbs the fragrance and lasts longer.
Occasionally I add a few drops around a tea light in its holder so as it warms, the fragrance is diffused into the air. Pure oils are easier to come by but always make sure they are 100% pure natural oil.
I have been known to use soy wax melts but again I’m dubious of these. I choose pure eco wax melts; naturally fragranced with essential oils and only use them sparingly. They can be quite strong and I’m pretty certain our dogs aren’t keen. Scented melts are readily available but can contain a mix of chemicals as mentioned earlier so watch out for those too.
If you love to visit Christmas fayres and markets you can often find a little eco wax candle stall but be sure to grill the seller on the ingredients used.
What are your Autumn favourites for the home? Hope you enjoy a healthily fragranced autumn/winter season. Christmas is around the corner, why not find out what’s on my wish list.