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

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?!

Get Some Space!

‘Spring Clean’: a phrase to strike fear into your heart or do you actively embrace it? Here at Nicholas and White, the camp is divided, we are sure the regular readers amongst you can easily work out who falls into which camp. As the lighter days approach, and the occasional sunny day appears, Mrs N suggests you embrace the blitzing as a seasonal ritual rather than seeing it as a hideous chore (for those of you who don’t know her personally, Mrs N has a tendency when her head is whirring or she’s stressed to do one of two things: cook or clean…or if it’s a really bad day, both!).

Image from here

Image from here

To get you in the mood and share the positive Spring vibe (it is after all the season of fresh growth and the promise of brighter days) here are some tips to start you off, grab yourself a brew and have a read…

  • Crank up your music – it’s a great motivator and mood lifter.
  • Get some washing out on the line – saves cluttering up your radiators indoors and there’s no more uplifing sight than sheets flapping in the breeze
  • Open the windows, let the fresh air in – yes, it’s a bit chilly, but you need to let the stuffiness out. We’re also fans of essential oils here, a few drops in some water over a tea light burner/ electric burner or an essential oil infused candle will not only make the room smell fresh, it will also invigorate and uplift your senses too (no, really, it works!). Lemongrass, eucalyptus, clove and orange are favourites here.
  • Clear the physical clutter, allowing you to focus on the things you actually need and those which make you happy: beautiful surfaces can’t be seen under a layer of papers/ stacks of DVDs/ magazines etc. Talking of mags, if you can bear to part with the old issues, we have taken to sharing the love and donating them to the local GP surgery and sometimes the local women’s refuge will happily take them.
  • If something is bothering you, remove it or move it and put it away straight away, otherwise every time you see it it will irritate: don’t put off moving it until tomorrow. Try to adopt the ‘Toothbrush principle’ – you never lose your toothbrush because you always put it back in its rightful place after every use, simple really.
  • The wardrobe: as a general rule, if you haven’t worn it in the last 12-18 months, donate it…unless it’s really shabby, in which case, recycle it. Obviously there are exceptions to this rule, eg snow sports gear, good coats, these things should be packed away in put in the loft if you have one or under the bed. Use vacuum bags to condense and protect your stuff from moths/ damp – you can get these everywhere now, even Ikea are selling them: there’s no excuse! A couple of drops of clove oil or cedar oil on a stick of chalk in the wardrobe is great for warding off moths and keeping it smelling fresh.
  • Take your ‘donate’ bag to the charity shop straight away, don’t let it hang around cluttering up the place…or tempting you to remove things from the bag!
  • Pack away the clean winter woollies and throws, again vac bags are great for this, likewise good for winter weight duvets once the weather warms up a bit more. Whilst the bed is stripped, give your mattress a good hoover too.
  • Tackle the tatty tees, we all have misshapen ones, free up space in your drawers by ditching in the recycling bag or use as cleaning cloths. Bin any undies or socks too that no longer cut the mustard.
  • In general terms, nothing beats old fashioned elbow grease in the cleaning department. Personally at N&W we’re not big fans of chemical cleaners preferring products such as Method and Ecover, however, we are the first to admit that sometimes a squirt of bleach is definitely needed to get the job done!
  • Perhaps most importantly, don’t try to do too much at once, it can be overwhelming and panic inducing if you empty all your drawers and cupboards at once but by the same token, don’t let procrastination paralyse you! Make a plan, work systematically, get your partner or the kids to help do a bit too. We all work hard to make our homes welcoming safe havens from the outside world, sometimes we all get a bit behind schedule but it’s not irretrievable, just needs a bit of planning and positivity, little and often and it will all be dandy in no time; after all, who doesn’t love a clean, fresh smelling home after weeks of winter hibernation?

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…

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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…

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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?