Candle club

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In A Room of One’s Own Virginia Woolf famously argued that “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” Not to trivialise the important argument in the early days of feminism, but I might hasten to add that the room in question should be a beautifully scented one at that. Nothing lifts the spirits like scent, but when we apply scent to ourselves we rarely smell anything beyond the first spritz or an occasional sniff of the wrist.

Room scent on the other hand is something we can surround ourselves with, to relax us at night or remind us of home when we’re jet-lagged in a hotel room.

One might argue that scented candles are just for cold winter evenings spent huddled on the sofa, or for dinner parties or Mills & Boon-style seduction scenes. Not say I, the candle addict who can’t relax properly of an evening without a heavenly scent burning by my side, some rain or shine. At the moment I’m writing this breathing in the soft floral scent of Etro Vicolo Fiori (57€, Elysée) which is soft, yet addictively sweet with sunny tangerine and a hefty dose of wild rose, it’s wandering down the streets of Milan in the height of summer and very happy-making on a cloudy Sunday morning.

Fornasetti Profumi Giardino Segreto

Fornasetti Profumi Giardino Segreto

Another summery candle by our Italian cousins is Fornasetti’s Giardino Segreto (£99, Selfridges). Anyone aware of these Milanese interior designers will be familiar with their beautiful, whimsical illustrations, many featuring the face operatic soprano Lina Cavalieri. But instead of Cavalieri, the Giardino Segreto candles have cheeky little owls (Italian symbols of good luck) peering out among foliage-strewn marble pillars of a palatial garden. Having never really had my own garden, this crisp, aromatic concoction of bergamot, cypress and vetiver almost make me long to live in the country (which, for a die-hard city girl, is no mean feat).

The romantically inclined among you will no doubt appreciate the latest creation from candle maestros Cire Trudon (who originally made candles for the likes of Marie Antoinette and Napoleon, just to give you an idea of their pedigree). They recently collaborated with designer Giambattista Valli to create Rose Poivrée (£65,, inspired by Marie Antoinette’s love of roses. We have no doubt the famously hedonistic French queen would have enjoyed luxuriating in its rich scents of rose and vanilla with spicy undertones of Madagascan pepper. It’s the perfect candle to pop by the side of your bath, if you’re planning on a self-indulgent Marie Antoinette-esque night in.

Lalique Vetiver

Lalique Vetiver

Lalique’s Vetiver (£52, Selfridges) candle is a somewhat of a peculiar customer. I’d say it was a candle equivalent of that tall, dark stranger fortune tellers are always fond of  “envisaging”. With its sleek black jar, there are no pretty continental gardens here. Instead it takes inspiration from Bali and Indonesia and exudes deep spicy notes of incense and cedar for a intoxicating combination.

From Southeast Asia and the Mediterranean, my last candle takes us back to my native England, where NEOM candles are made. Created by former-journalist Nicola Elliot, the company are proudly 100 per cent natural and don’t use any petrochemicals, paraffin or mineral oil in their formulations. The candles are no less divine, and are designed to be mini-therapeutic treatments’ divided into four catergories – De-stress, Energise, Relax and Happiness.

The brand has recently undergone a redesign, their former rather stark gold and white packaging replaced with delicate abstract watercolours. Their Real Luxury candle (£45, John Lewis) is part of their De-Stress range. For anyone like myself who struggles with getting to sleep, this candle is a godsend.

Etro Vicolo FioriEtro Vicolo Fiori

It’s fun to make a sort of ritual out of lighting it next to your bed at night, switching off your mobile phone and spending 20 minutes just lying beside it and let the gentle blend of lavender, jasmine and Brazilian rosewood work its magic.

by Viola Levy