5 Good Things – scented candles

We love a scented candle here at Nicholas and White and although I tend to burn them pretty much all year round, they come into their own once the air starts feeling that little bit Autumnal.  I never save them for ‘best’ anymore either, yes they’re relatively expensive and considered a treat but if you keep them unlit for years they gather dust and the scent goes so you’ve wasted money.  Light them often and enjoy the scent to lift your mood, relax you or energise you.

Here’s a list of our favourites…(in no particular order!) Plus, they are all British companies too – yay!

Sugden and Daughters – £19.50.  Burn time approx 30 hours

Sugden Candle

It’s hard to choose a fragrance from these beauties but if pushed, I’d say French Chateau – you can buy them here and they have just introduced reed diffusers too.

Neal’s Yard – £29.00.  Burn time approx 45 hours

NYR candle

With three fragrances to choose from depending on your mood.  I love the Balancing candle and they also come in a room spray or reed diffuser.  Available here or from your local NYR consultant

True Grace – £25.00.  Burn time approx 40 hours

True Grace Candle

Another British brand, there again, are lots to choose from but a firm favourite with both myself and Mrs N is the Green Tea & Citrus.  They have a shiny new website too, have a look here

Urban Apothecary – £35.00.  Burn time approx 30 hours

Urban candle

Anything that is inspired by tea is great in my book and how lovely are these tea-cup candles?  The website is all lovely too.

Cowshed – £30.00.  Burn time approx 60 hours

Cowshed Candle

These delicious fragrances are split up into moods so whether you’re feeling lazy, knackered, grumpy or gorgeous, there is something for you!  Made from natural wax with no nasties they last for aaaages too..

So, there’s a few to get you started.  Are you a fan of a scented candle?  Which is your favourite?  Let us know in the comments!

Mrs W xx

Our 9 Best Back to School Picks

Yes, yes, I know – we’re only a few days into August but September will soon roll round and those slightly too big school jumpers and stiff new shoes will soon be out of the wardrobes and on our little darlings.

We’ve been looking at those items that somehow are *needed* each new school year,  pencil cases, bags and lunch boxes.  Just click on the picture to be taken through to the site.

Feldman pencil case

Feldman Pencil Case £5.00 from Blott

Waldo Pancake

Waldo Pancake Kevin Pencil Case £6.50 from John Lewis

abc pencil case

Boutique Green Pencil Case £6.00 from M&S

 

girls herschel

Herschel Settlement Kids Backpack £40.00 from Alphabet Street

 

Navy Satchel

Navy Leather Satchel £43 from Zatchels

 

tartan backpack

Mi-Pac Mini Backpack £24.99 from John Lewis

Pow Lunch Box

POW Lunch Box £10 from John Lewis

Beatbox Lunch Box

Beatbox Lunch Box £6.50 from Paperchase

Gauch Glam Lunch Box

Gaucho Glam Lunch Box £9 from Paperchase

Obviously this is not the be all and end all, there are LOADS of lovely things in the shops right now and fairly reasonably priced too.

Of course, the thing we get most excited about here at Nicholas and White is the joy of a new school calendar!  There’ll be a post to follow soon about getting organised and ready for Back To School.

Hope you’re enjoying summer!

Mrs W xx

Sugden and Daughters

We are extremely lucky to have some brilliant shops near to Nicholas and White HQ, one of which is the fabulous Sugden and Daughters Barn shop at Yardley Hastings. Sugden and Daughters is very much a family affair, run by Louisa and Mark Sugden, with many of the beautiful objects they sell having been designed, handmade and crafted by the husband and wife team for our pleasure. With the tagline ‘fabulous things for individual living’, they are passionate about upcycling, repurposing, with a strong belief that good design and quality will always be ‘on trend’. Many of the treasures they sell have a history to them and part of the appeal (for N&W anyway) is that history. Louisa and Mark are also stockists of fabulous fabrics by the likes of St Judes and Cloth & Clover, paints by Little Greene and Grand Illusions Vintage Paint and wallpapers by Astrid & Rudolf – you can bedeck your whole home in the leafy surrounds of Northamptonshire then nip over the yard to the Red Lion pub for lunch!

The Barn entrance

The Barn entrance

Let’s start with an easy quartet of quick fire questions:
Your favourite quote? ‘There are two ways to be rich; Earn more or want less’ (unknown). I have no idea who said this but I read it somewhere years ago and it really changed the way I look at life. I have had it scribbled on a chalkboard in my kitchen ever since. It had a major influence on us when we were deciding to start Sugden and Daughters. The quote has made such an impression on my life that we have recently worked with a printmaker and had it produced as a print for our shop, printed on a 1940’s printing press.

Ultimate relaxation? Hmm, this is a difficult one. I’m not sure ultimate relaxation actually features in my life. The last time I recall feeling so relaxed was when Mark & I had two nights in Byfords, a luxury B&B in Holt; Egyptian cotton sheets on a Kingsize bed, Bang and Olufsen sound system streaming into the ensuite, candles, wine and a decor that Sugden and Daughters very much approved of. The weather was cold and miserable outside so we stayed in our room most of the time. We slept for England and in between sleeps I indulged in luxurious candlelit baths.

Books or magazines? Interior & Lifestyle magazines. I love reading but rarely get the time to sink into a good book which is a shame. Magazines allow me to keep up to date with interior trends & indulge my passion for design and interior design.

Most memorable meal? Mark & I love food and eating out and we have dined in some amazing places but the most memorable meal is eating fish and chips in Suffolk. We had a rare child free afternoon so we drove to Walberswick and caught the rowing boat ferry over to Southwold. We bought fish and chips from a hut nestled amongst the fishing huts and sat outside in the fresh air looking at boats go by. It was one of those happy moments when I realised how happy & content I was with my life. I love simple pleasures!

Barn Interior

Barn Interior

Sugden and Daughters have been trading for almost two years now, how do you manage to juggle design, crafting and business commitments with those of being a wife and mum? Are you an expert delegator or are you just super organised? Another tricky one to answer. There’s no one to delegate to so it can’t be that. I suppose I am pretty organised. Very early on I realised that I can’t do everything so I have had to let some unimportant things slip. Friends & family are very important to me so no matter how busy I am I always make time for them. If my housework suffers so be it.

Could you give us a little insight into the why and how of you launching Sugden and Daughters? Pre children I was a career girl but post children my priorities shifted. Living life seemed so much more important that being on the career hamster wheel. I felt a strong desire to break free from the corporate world & thankfully I have a very supportive husband. Following a back operation and weeks off work I dreaded the thought of going back into an office so I walked away from my career. Mark was in his final year at college & we suddenly had no income. Sugden and Daughters was literally born overnight. It sounds irresponsible now but having a passion for decorative antiques and interiors already we felt confident it would work with hardwork and determination.

Is there anything you would maybe do differently now with hindsight (without giving all your secrets away of course!) or advice you would give yourselves now if you were just starting out? Actually, no.

What top tips do you have for harmonious living or possibly more importantly, anything that should be avoided at all cost when working together for yourselves? Thankfully Mark & I work really well together. We have naturally fallen into different roles within the business and where we have a skills shortfall we work through it together. Probably the top tip is to talk to each other. We talk all the time so nothing gets bottled up or forgotten about.

You stock a lovely wide range of products, where does your inspiration come from when you are upcycling or repurposing items? Mark & I are both creative thinkers so we just throw ideas around. Both my dad and granddad were upcyclers long before it became a buzz word. I suppose they are my ultimate inspiration. I think my granddad was the original Womble.

Barn Interior

Barn Interior

One of the many things we love about your barn is that although you are constantly changing the stock, you always seem to have something that catches the eye (fans of ‘Show All Sunday’ here!) whether that be a gorgeous scented candle (the Black Rose and Frankincense is just divine, though am partial too to the Lavender and Geranium and..!) or a handmade soap, notelets, coffee pot lamps, mugs, fabrics… you have a real knack for not only finding great pieces, but also unusual ones: how do you manage not to buy EVERYTHING for your own home?! We are not currently in our ‘forever home’ so not keeping things is easy. Everything we sell is a step nearer to moving house. I think when we’re in forever home it will be a different story but for now we have a rule; everything is for sale. We occasionally caretake pieces that we can’t bear to part with straight away. It’s turned into a bit of a joke where Mark sells the things I covet and vice versa.

Alongside stocking Little Greene Paint and Grand Illusions Vintage Paint, you are now branching into paint courses, is an upcycling course on the cards for the future? Good thought. We hadn’t thought of that one. If there is a demand we’d certainly do it.

Finally, what’s next for Sugden and Daughters? We are opening another barn shop in September. We’re sticking to the theme of a barn next to a pub. Location number 2 is at The White Horse, Old, Northamptonshire. We’ve also started importing antique French & Indian furniture. Mark is also looking for a workshop premises so that he can concentrate on making country industrial style furniture. There’s no rest for the wicked!

Sugden & Daughters can be found at – 89 High Street, Yardley Hastings, Northants NN7 1ER or online at www.sugdenanddaughters.co.uk.
Also found at Kempton Antiques fair – see Twitter & Facebook for dates

Soft Furnishings

Soft Furnishings

Tempting eh?!

Tempting eh?!

Spread The Love

I was sitting in the hairdressers the other week, leafing through magazines (and drinking a hot cup of tea with no interruptions – I LOVE going to the hairdressers, but I digress…) and I came across a small article tucked away on one of the pages which was talking about things that restore our faith in human kindness.

It got me pondering about the current thing for Random Acts of Kindness – which is lovely, but why not start nearer to home and treat everyone with kindness.  Family, friends, colleagues, and heck, why not even yourself!  I don’t want to be preachy about this because that’s not the kind of person I am, but couldn’t we all do with a bit more kindness in our lives?  I know (& Mrs N will agree with me here) that I’m not particularly kind to myself, I’m the first to put myself down and that’s not ideal is it?

So, here are the sites that were mentioned in the article (in Red magazine btw) and it’s such a lovely idea isn’t it, leaving a small piece of either art or poetry for people to find?  Lets face it, we’re all pretty darn awesome and it’s time we told each other…

Thismustbeforyou.wordpress.com
Onemillionlovelyletters.com
Passonapoem.com

It’s a crazy scary world we live in – let’s be nice to each other, and ourselves.

Have you ever done a Random Act of Kindness or been the recipient of one?  We’d love to hear from you.

P.S  I have this lovely notepad with a little tear-off section at the bottom with quotes and small poems.  I am making it my mission to leave these lovely words in random places for people to find and hopefully it’ll brighten up someone’s day as lets face it, it’s a tough old life we lead isn’t it, and we’re the lucky ones…

Mrs W goes to the Vintage Fair

This Sunday, Mrs W took herself off to a vintage fair in Yardley Hastings run by our lovely friend Sally of One Fat Hen.

It was a beautiful morning and dressed in her favourite Poppy dress and cons, Mrs W fitted right in.

Mrs W's clean dress and not so clean cons

Mrs W’s clean dress and not so clean cons

She was greeted by 2 beautiful bay window VW campers in the yard outside with people selling their handmade goodies.

What better place to shop than out of a bay?

What better place to shop than out of a bay?

All the stallholders were friendly and willing to chat – it was a really nice atmosphere.

The fair was busy inside with an array of vintage and upcycled goods for sale including these 2 finds that Mrs W may have treated her-self to…

IMG_4503IMG_4502 IMG_4500

A nice cup of tea and a slice of cake after the browsing and Mrs W headed home.  She stopped in at Sugden & Daughters (also in Yardley Hastings) on the way though and came out with these little beauties…

IMG_4499 IMG_4498

There’s an advent candle waiting to go into the enamel holder…

Do you like to shop for vintage things?  Mrs W loves the thrill of finding just the perfect thing – it fits in with her slightly haphazard house and mind!  Or are you more of an organised shopper who knows exactly what they want or need?  We’d love to hear from you – what’s your best find at a vintage fair?

Small Business Saturday

Small Biz Sat

This Saturday is the first Small Business Saturday to be held in the UK.

It’s basically encouraging us good people in the UK to support small businesses which both Mrs W & Mrs N think is an excellent idea.

Where else but a small business can you get a personal shopping experience every time you go in?  This appeals in particular to Mrs W as she’s not the world’s best shopper by her own admission.  What she appreciates the most from a small business is the fact that she can go in and tell them who she needs to buy for and what the budget is.  The advice given is tailor made and often works out to be under budget too.  It’s also a good feeling to be rewarding the actual person behind the business when you shop there.

Here’s a very small, small business roundup.  It’s a subject that we both feel passionately about and we don’t want to preach at you because we’re not like that!  Having said that, please support small business wherever possible as they really are the backbone of our country.

The Nest at No 9 a winning combination of vintage pieces and new cutting edge design.  Something for every budget and great service.

Happy Days Toyshop  – a family run traditional toyshop with well crafted toys and really helpful advice

The House Gallery is a great showcase for British Art and Craft and many of the artists and makers are local.

Maison Verte beautiful interiors and a coffee shop – the perfect combination.

Alicia’s offers expert advice and fitting of lingerie and swimwear, with some lovely accessories too.

Although not local (well, it possibly might be) on-line market-places like Etsy, Folksy and Not on the High Street are great ways to support a small business.

Image via Pinterest

Image via Pinterest

I’ll bet if you asked around the playground at pick-up time or in the pub after work on a friday, you’d find a small business owner in some form or another.  It’s worth remembering that when you give over your hard earned money to a small business owner, there is the distinct possibility that your money won’t go on a third holiday home for the CEO, it will most likely pay for ballet lessons or a new rugby kit for their kids or just make it easier for them to pay the mortgage.

Are you a keen supporter of small business in your local area?  Do you try to shop local where possible too? We’d welcome your views on this!

Gangster Wrapping

Christmas tree 2

It’s that time of year when there’s a LOT of paper about, that, come the big day, will be ripped off without a second thought and with a bit of luck will end up in a recycling bag but will most likely go to landfill. It’s not great for the environment and it’s not great for your pocket either – nice wrapping paper isn’t cheap, and let’s be honest, the cheap stuff isn’t nice…
Mrs W has been thinking creative thoughts and has come up with some alternatives…

  • Lets start super cheap – newspaper.  I’m not talking about a red top here but maybe a couple of sheets of pretty pink Financial Times with a ribbon.. Or if you or a friend travel a lot, foreign newspaper would be lovely – I like the idea of Chinese or Japanese news adorning my gifts…
  • This leads on to comics or magazines.  Pick a mag that they like or theme it to the gift.
  • Old maps and atlas pages.  Again, could link to a place with special meaning or just a comedy name!  You could even use a tube or metro map.
  • Sheet music or old books.  Charity shops are stuffed full of stuff that can be used.  Save yourself some pennies, get creative and give to a good cause all at the same time – winner!
  • Another great charity shop find is square silk scarves or indeed a square of any fabric.  The Japanese have an art form called Furoshiki – I found this handy how-to from the Ministry of the Environment.  The beauty of this is that the wrapping can be part of the gift.
  • You can also make gift tags from maps or cut out from envelopes with pretty stamps on the corner.  An old magazine page cut into strips can become a pretty bow for the top.  I’ve even seen old photographic film used as a bow.

You can then get creative on the adornments – re-use ribbons you have,  simple string or twine, then add fresh sprigs of herbs, lavender and rosemary would work really well.  Old buttons or cheap brooches from a charity shop, the only restriction is your imagination!

Mrs W has made a handy Pinterest board if that’s your thing… Click through the links, there’s some brilliant ideas.  You can follow us by clicking the handy button up at the top on the left…

What’s been the best wrapping that you’ve done or have received?  Or, tell us the worst wrapping crime…