Is there anything more middle class than the scented candle? A once essential basic, for the purpose of escaping from medieval castles and being able to look one's family square in the eye past 4pm in the winter time, now merely an accessory to a Farrow and Ball hued living room, carefully placed (label side forward) for a sexy little orange glow and a light scent of frangipane as you crank up the Miles Davis and crack open the Rioja.
Who am I kidding, this piss taking aside, I can't help but LOVE scented candles (and Miles of course- be still my heart). A good candle can transform even the most decrepit of spaces after a few hours of slow, sensory burn, and those pretty left over jars are great to repurpose for make up brushes. Ever the coquette, I've flirted with multiple brands over the years. My personal faves include this and this, before finally declaring my undying love and devotion to this guy, which I bought on our honeymoon and have lit for about 20 blissful but all too limited minutes every Friday night ever since, because a) as with all scented candles it was preposterously expensive b) I'd have to go back to bloody Valladolid (gorgeous, under visited, eat here) to get another one.
But, as mentioned, these babies, despite being the perfect gift for anyone who is not a heterosexual man (flash forward to the time I discovered Isaac had lit up my Diptyque by the kitchen sink during the Hurricane Sandy black out-cue hysteria and protestations of "but it's a candle, isn't it?) do not come cheap. Which is why I'm here to tell you about three little things that I do instead, and that will make your home smell lovely without giving any more cash to those greedy chaps at Bergdorfs.
1) Use an oil burner
Buy an inexpensive oil burner. Like this one. Or this one. Light a tea light. Add a few drops of essential oil and about a teaspoon of water into the saucer. Et voila. Easy as pie, cheap as chips, and just as (perhaps even more so) effective than a scented candle. Burners are also lovely because you can get creative with your oils. Lavender to promote sleep, cedar wood to feel refreshed, patchouli when you want to feel a little sexy, a good four thieves blend (I like this one) for when you're down in the dumps. Just be careful to watch it out of the corner of your eye and not let all the water/oil evaporate to keep your burner from getting scorched.
2) Pinon Pine
Pinon Pine, an ancient tree that grows like a weed in the southwestern United States and Mexico makes the most amazing incense. And hooray, Pinon pine incense cones, largely due to the fact that there's such a prolific number of these wonderful and magical trees, are super inexpensive and they smell amazing. To me they smell like a campfire in the desert- a cleansing, woodsy kind-of scent and whenever I burn one of these and someone comes to my home, they, without fail, ask what it is. This clutter-phobe also loves the way that the holder (which usually always comes with your box of incense) is the size of a thumb and takes up no room whatsoever, so this is a cute and perfect gift for apartment dwellers. I use this brand primarily, though there are tonnes of options out there.
3) Put a cotton ball with essential oil in your vacuum cleaner
Yeah, just that. Take a cotton ball and shake a few drops of essential oil over it. Place it in the canister of your bagless vacuum cleaner. Rev that vacuum up. It will fill your home with scent and makes cleaning a whole lot less of a drag.
Do you have a cheap and effective home fragrance solution? Please comment below. I'd love to hear your tips.