My friends and family always tell me that I'm notoriously difficult to buy gifts for, which I adamantly refute. Sure, I'm quite particular about what I bring into my home, the items I add to my wardrobe and the products I allow into my beauty bag, but give me a pair of gold-toned, not-too-big, not-too-small hoop earrings; a nude eye shadow palette (matte pigments only, please); a puff-sleeve dress in off-white; or perhaps a scallop-edged plate, and I'm a happy, happy lady.
Okay, so after rattling off what turns out to be a very precise wish list, perhaps I am difficult to buy for. I always tell my nearest and dearest not to worry about presents—I'd much rather spend time with loved ones, anyway. Often this falls on deaf ears, but, as it turns out, having a reputation of being picky has had one positive side effect. Now, whenever an occasion that calls for a gift comes around, my nearest and dearest default to one foolproof purchase: a candle.
It's fair to say I'm borderline obsessed with candles. I have them on my dining table, in clusters on my coffee table, adorning the length of my living room mantle, on either side of my bed, and on any windowsill wide enough to house one. I love candles of all shapes and sizes with any scent or smell. As such, I get very excited when I happen upon a new candle brand, which is where my ramblings come to fruition.
Below, you'll find an edit of my favourite independent candle brands. From the brightly coloured tapers that are currently dominating Instagram to amber glass–housed soy formulas that never fail to make you feel cosy, these are the independent candle brands I'm currently burning in my home and that I know you're going to love just as much as I do.
As an events manager, Tony Jack has created gorgeous tablescapes for countless cool brands and clients, with candles often serving as the focal point. However, never quite feeling like he had the right shade, during lockdown, he decided to make his own. Fairholme's bright taper offering is changing the British candle scene. Made from a luxury blend of bees and soy wax, the candles are inspired by Jack's closest female friends and family.
Photo:SUN.DAY of London
What could be more appealing than a candle crafted by a fine artist? Natasha Garbawi founded Sun.Day of London, which uses only the highest-quality aromatherapy-grade essential oils, a signature sustainable wax blend and pure cotton wicks to create its candles. Try one, and I guarantee you'll want to collect them all.
Husband and wife Jonathan and Cassandra Hall founded La Montaña after moving to a remote mountain village in Spain, where they became captivated by the crisp, fresh smell of the morning air. So much so, it inspired the brand's signature scent. Each candle is hand-poured by skilled artisans and housed in a printed ceramic vessel modelled after vintage '30s travel posters—a beautiful addition to any coffee table.
Cedar wanted to create no-fuss candles with natural formulas that reset the balance of our busy lives. Every candle is hand-poured in Cedar's studio in Manchester, using 100% natural wax, combined with the highest-quality fragrances and essential oils, all of which are paraben-free. Depending on your interiors, choose between its amber glass– or ceramic-housed candles, both of which boast long-lasting burn times.
EYM's candles have become a firm favourite amongst the Instagram set thanks to its minimal but impactful packaging. That said, the candles perform beyond aesthetics; using botanical-based perfumes and all-natural formulas, these candles are as pure as candles come. With a smooth and lasting burn, these wicks tick every box.
Photo:Our Lovely Goods by Otago Street Collective
Born to a husband-and-wife team, Our Lovely Goods is a Scottish business based in my hometown of Aberdeen which specialises in natural skincare and homeware—though, its candles are particularly divine. With scents spanning from coast to forest, they're delicate and warming and will help transport you to calmer pastures from the comfort of your living room.
Those with a love of vintage and high-end interiors will likely have already fallen for the charms of Edition 94, a homeware store specialising in unique finds, ornate tableware and, of course, candles. While its shelves—both digital and in its brick-and-mortar Kensington space—feature a trove of treasures, Edition 94's spiral candles are proving to be its signature. Created using cast replicas from Poland from the 1980s, these candles will enhance any dining experience.
Crafted with wanderlust in mind, these candles have proven increasingly popular of late. From vessels that glow when lighted to the transportive scents, this Manhattan-based brand will not disappoint.
When it comes to Bella Freud, perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is the brand's iconic and celebrity-loved 1970 jumper. But did you know Bella Freud has loaned her achingly cool touch to homeware, too? Chances are you'll have seen her candles decorating the tables, mantels and sills in the homes of fashion girls via Instagram. With the brand's trademark slogans and hand-drawn illustrations, it's almost impossible to choose just one. I've treated myself to three Bella Freud candles in the past, and now use the gorgeous holders for makeup brushes and to store trinkets.