Used to be that hunkering down meant stocking up on candles and canned food in preparation for the winter months ahead. This year, hunkering down means doubling down on those candles, canning, and COVID-19 common sense because, who knows, we may be stuck indoors until 2022.
So with that in mind, candles are a hermit’s best friend. A flickering flame not only encourages a sense of peace and calm, but the right scent can offer soothing health and wellness benefits, too. Here are four candles to stockpile now.
If you think Vancouver-based Homecoming Candles befits your pantry cupboard, you’ve clearly got the point. Its homespun, unpretentious approach is courtesy of founder Suraiya Nanji, whose travels along the West Coast inspired her jarred candles’ batch-made, laid-back ethos. But these “elevated essentials for homebodies” aren’t meant to languish at the back of cupboards; they’re about celebrating our homes, where life’s best moments can happen—the quiet moments, the restful ones—of which we’re sure to have many this winter.
The entire range is made from clean-burning natural soy wax, lead- and zinc-free cotton wicks, as well as a blend of essential and phthalate-free fragrance oils. Scents include Peppermint + Eucalyptus (for mental clarity and improved focus); Cardamom + Star Anise (star anise can help ease colds and flus); and Firewood + Saffron—the perfect accompaniment to cozy up to.
Homecoming Candles are available at select retailers across Vancouver and Homecomingcandles.com
Ulili Moroccan Scents
This winter I’m dreaming of far-off places—places that take me away from the rainy reality that is a Vancouver winter. Like Morocco, which I was lucky enough to once visit as my husband’s sidekick on a work trip.
Aside from the kaleidoscopic sights, smells, and sounds, one of my favourite takeaways was haggling in the souk. I was on a quest for a handira, a traditional Moroccan wedding blanket, metal-sequined and fringed, woven by Berber women out of sheep’s wool, cotton, and linen. Said husband begged me to not buy the festooned thing—for him, its shiny mouzouns and fluffy fringes a reminder of too many Anthropologie purchases (“Why do so many women love Anthropologie? Their clothes are like glorified housecoats.” To which I would always reply, “Exactly!”).
I ultimately won and lugged that heavy blanket home, but in hindsight I could have just bought one of Ulili’s Moroccan Scents Classic Candles for an equally authentic experience.
Made with natural vegetable wax and beeswax harvested in the foothills of the Anti-Atlas Mountains in southern Morocco, Ulili’s scent is crafted with the highest-quality essential oils and ingredients.
These little ceramic vessels (which undergo multiple oven firings for lacquer and screen-printing) feature charming characters illustrated by artist Zineb Benjelloun, while the paraffin-free candles are Morocco at a whiff.
Tazarine, for example—fig tree in the Berber language—is a fresh, elegant floral scent that evokes a summer breeze, fig trees, and fields of wheat ready for harvest. Its seductive, exotic scent reminds me of this rich, sensual place without any luggage—or marital—issues.
Ulili Moroccan Scents are available exclusively in Vancouver at Shopkalosophie.com
Obakki Totem Candle Set
Sustainability, traceability, and ethical production are at the heart of Obakki, a purpose-led lifestyle brand founded by local Treana Peake. Partnering with artisans around the world, the organization is committed to creating meaningful change at the community level.
In Japan, the Totem candle set is made by a family-run business in Ishikawa that has been creating traditional Japanese candles since 1892. Each of the five sculptural shapes echoes the plants that grow in this region.
Derived from plant-based raw materials, these five skillfully designed pieces are made from sumac wax harvested from the fruit of the Japanese Hazenoki tree and feature unique hollow wicks, made from a recipe that dates back to the 16th century, that produce a bright, tall flame.
The only downside to these artful pieces is that they’re so sleek, I’m loath to use them. But these days, it’s all about seizing the moment—in a safe and socially distanced way.
The Totem candle set is available at Obakki.com
Hollow Tree Candles
It’s no surprise that a former tree planter would think to launch Hollow Tree, a Whistler-based candle company aimed at celebrating the beauty of the Pacific Northwest’s majestic trees.
As such, Hollow Tree founder Tobias Douglas unveils new scents for this fall that include Juniper Moss with notes of juniper, oud, and bergamot; Mountain Heather with a blend of alpine B.C.–inspired notes of baie rose, myrrh, and amber; and a Christmas scent called Log & Hearth that sends up cozy holiday vibes with its notes of balsam, clove, and cedar (look for new four-ounce travel tins this season, too).
Each hand-poured coconut wax candle sits in a nine-ounce ceramic jar and comes with a 60-hour burn time—perfect for the long road ahead.
Hollow Tree candles are available at select retailers across Vancouver and Hollowtree.ca
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