Light it up! 42 cool indie candle brands
The arrival of autumn means darker evenings snuggled indoors by candlelight. Looking for a new scent? Try one of these gorgeous candle indie brands from across the Muddy counties.
BEDFORDSHIRE BERKSHIRE BUCKINGHAMSHIRE CAMBRIDGESHIRE CORNWALL DEVON ESSEX DORSET GLOUCESTERSHIRE HAMPSHIRE HERTFORDSHIRE ISLE OF WIGHT KENT LEICESTERSHIRE NORFOLK NORTHAMPTONSHIRE OXFORDSHIRE RUTLAND SUFFOLK SOMERSET SURREY SUSSEX WARWICKSHIRE WILTSHIRE WORCESTERSHIRE
Wax wizard and mum-of-three Polly Oswald’s stand-out candle range is inspired by the classic scents of the Cotswolds. All hand-poured in a little workshop at the end of her garden, they’re made with 100% UK-sourced ingredients – from the soy and mineral wax to the wicks, fragrances and super-cool packaging. And the combos are delicious, a range of 22 gorgeous fragrances, from Bluebell and Cassis & Rose, to Sorrel & Lemon Thyme and Orange Blossom (£20). You can even whip up your own one with one of their Candle Making Kits or enjoy some luxury on the go with their candle travel tins. And … we have a Cotswold Candle Co Mini Gift Box to giveaway to one lucky candle lover over on Muddy Glos & Worcs.
ANI Skincare, Cirencester
If you want to support a small, artisan candle-maker then the dreamy candles made by Joanna Walker in the heart of Cirencester are perfect. The stone sculptor turned skincare evangelist has a range of gorgeous candles for every season. Get the hot choc bubbling and curl up next to a roaring fire with ‘Autumn’ a warm, evocative and woody scent, apparently evoking the last heady days of harvest (oo!). Moss oak, benzoin and juniper wrap round you like the last warm shiny day of the year. Paraben and palm oil-free they are made with the finest, sustainable soy vegetable wax. You’ll get 30 hours of zen-inducing burn time with a blend of pure essential oils, carefully combined to create balance and cleanse the air. £30.
You might not be able to travel at the mo, so let these evocative fragrances – wild mint and lime, jasmine and neroli, lemon verbena, grapefruit and blackcurrant and more – whisk you away instead, to an evening sipping limoncello on the Amalfi coast or a lazy holiday in the Greek islands. Or just get in you in the mood for Christmas. Created by Cathy Biggs just outside Bath, these hand-poured, sustainable plant wax candles are available in one, two and three wick sizes, lasting up to 65 hours or more. £7.50 – £36. Subscription service £45.
Eco-friendly, renewable, hand-poured natural soy wax candles made with essential oils that will fill your home with a beautiful, long-lasting scent. We love the sound of linen and white gardenia, leather and vetiver, and burnished amber, with detailed fragrance notes for each candle. The name? From Ostara, the Goddess of Spring, symbolising a new beginning for Nikki, the brains behind the brand, when she up the business in 2017 in Yeovil after the last of her kids had flown the nest. Candles £35–£39.
Amalia Pothecary, James Osborn and their team pour, pack and despatch thousands of candles every month from their studio/shop in Shaftesbury. Using 100% soy wax flakes, every single jar candle, wax melt and reclaimed candle is made by hand from start to finish. Shop by floral, woody, citrus and fresh scents, with around 60 different products. Opt for their curated subscription boxes and you can work your way through all of them (and get lots of other little goodies). Their gorgeous shop’s worth a visit, too. Subscription boxes £8–£98. Candles & melts £3.50 – £28.
Sweetie Darling? Not a candy but a candle (smelling of berries, raspberries, vanilla, freesia) – a small batch soy candle, 100% cruelty free, free from parabens, silicone, PEG and phthalate and vegan friendly. The small range of candles are hand-poured by Fi near Wimborne, into recyclable containers, and all their packaging – even the labels and tape – is fully recyclable or biodegradable. Candles £10 – £21.
If you love pure botanicals than these beauties crafted in the pretty town of Broadway will be just the ticket. The eco-vibe is strong with a no-chemical promise. Made from soy wax that is renewable and sustainable, pure essential oils and lead-free cotton wicks or wooden wicks, they’re all 100% pure and not tested on animals. No wishy-washy vanilla scents here either – they’re packed with a power-punch of fragrance. With scents inspired by nature and the seasons candle-maker and owner Sally Anne’s candles are vegan-friendly. And if you want to offset your coffee table carbon emissions you can do that to, they even have a cool refill service, just buy one and send it back for a refill for a zero-waste chill out session. £11 – £29.
Haeckels is a small and stylish day spa and treatment rooms in Margate. Foraging from the surrounding coastline they use seaweed and locally sourced products to create their own range of natural skin care and wild fragrances, which are also now stocked in Selfridges and Liberty. Their body and beauty range includes locally-inspired candles, like Botany Bay, or this one pictured here, Dreamland, named after Kent’s nostalgic amusement park. £55.
Hand poured in Royal Tunbridge Wells with a unique blend of sustainable natural waxes and pure essential oils for a fine fragrance (no paraffin, parabens or any unwanted chemicals here). The Dressing Roomcandle, pictured, was the first in the range and created with essential oils of Lavender, Peppermint and Geranium, producing a dreamy soft scent. From £28.
Twinings Home Fragrance, Rugby
Black Pomegranate is currently the best-selling fragrance at Warwickshire independent Twinings Home Fragrance, founded by mum-of-two Carrie-Anne Twining in May 2015 in Rugby when she was on maternity leave. A beautiful range of handmade, home fragrance products includes candles, wax melts, new reed diffusers and accessories. Autumn Crumble with its rhubarb top notes is back for a limited edition run. Other fragrances include Pink Fizz and Pomelo, Lemongrass & Ginger, Sweet Fig and Lime Basil Mandarin. Clients love the quality of fragrances and excellent customer service. You can buy products online, with shipping available across the UK or via a free Covid Secure collection point in Rugby, implemented during lockdown.
Make way, super-luxe candles coming through. Humos is a natural perfumer based in Caversham, Berkshire, that oozes decadence. All the scented candles here are crafted by hand in small batches, using the very best essential oils with an emphasis on boosting healing and relaxation. Humos scent designer Gabriel De Caravalho has created 24 fragrances available in concrete, glass, crystal and custom canisters. Simply choose your wick, scent and container (there are 10 to choose from) to match your style. We’re loving the black diamond cut, gold lined pot that will light up your home like Studio 54 in slo-mo.
Luxury candles (made in Berkshire) with a fragrance inspired by great books. There are four libraries to peruse: Classics, Natural World, Modern and The Magical Lands. RIght now we’re all disappearing down a rabbit hole to escape the gloom, so Wonderland from Literati & Light’s Magical Lands Collection is just about perfect. This 240g hand-poured sustaunabk-sourced soy and beeswax candle throws off frragant waft of rose, black tea, strawberry and vanilla – all those brilliantly bonkers Mad Hatter Tea Party vibes. We can’t fault the quality, 50hr burn time. A real treat. Narni and Rivendell are also available in this collection.
These hand poured soy candles are made by Joelle in her Girton workshop and are kosher, vegan and non-toxic. Joelle can make to order and encourages people to bring back their empty vessels or their own containers to be repoured, as part of her recycling effort. New for 2020 are three Christmas scents – Rosemary & Bay, Mandarin & Plum and Eucalyptus & Clove, which are the perfect size for padding out a stocking. Prices start at a very reasonable £8.
NV stands for Nicola and Victoria the candlemakers and sisters behind this brand, which is based in Newton, Cambridgeshire. You can feel good about burning one of these candles because they use eco-soy wax, which is renewable, sustainable, biodegradable and environmentally friendly, made using soy beans from family run farms. They also use natural cotton wicks, which burn cleanly all the way to the bottom without creating one of those annoying wells you get in other candles. Scents include: Berries & Bay; Bergamot & Myrrh; Rosewood & Patchouli; and Jasmine & Vetiver.
The Suffolk Candle Co is based in Saxmundham and makes soy fragranced candles using British fragrance oils in glass and tin, plus diffusers and room sprays. Candles come in both white and black glass depending on whiter you’re creating a fresh or moody vibe and there are fragrance collections including Cottage Garden, Fireside, Flora and Forest.
Arya Candles is based in Woodbridge and owners Lina and Jenny are very proud of their eco credentials. We’re not just talking about the ingredients they use to make the candles, but every sale helps benefit women from war-torn countries. The ingredients though, of course, are ethical too. There are no added waxes, chemicals, additives, or synthetic oils in any of the products and the candles are vegan. There are five different botanical candles to choose from including a summery scent – Grapefruit, Lime and Basil and a more wintry option – Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Orange.
To celebrate being 3 years-old this winter, Exmouth-based Beach House Botanics, one-woman band Lynn, has doubled her range to 10 fragrances, with five fresh scents and botanical drawings on the labels. Muddy’s fave is the spicy Pine Needle and Sandalwood, perfect for cosy nights in with the curtains drawn. Lynn, whose day job is hospice nurse, says she pours not only sustainable soy wax but her heart and soul into every candle. Maybe that’s why they smell soooogood, although it could be she uses vegan-friendly 100% therapeutic grade essential oils, the best choice for anyone who gets headaches from more run-of-the-mill scented candles.
The Recycled Candle Company, Exeter
Find vanilla scents a bit, erm, vanilla? Get your schnozz around Blonde Tobacco & Honey, a sweet-smoky blend of bitter Manuka honey and mossy earthiness of semi-roasted tobacco. Created by Richard and Sargon, founders of the only recycled candle company in the UK, this is the pair’s newest burn on the block. One of eight more’ishly scented candles, it’s the perfect waft for an autumn evening, made all the sweeter for knowing you’ve saved a half-used candle (the sort the hospitality industry throw tonnes away every year) from going to landfill. Check them out online or join one of their workshops at their store on Exeter’s Gandy Street.
Just a handful of good things have come out of 2020 – and one of them is new Hampshire luxury candle brand, L’Isodore. Made with cotton wicks, these soy wax candles produce a strong scent and create a nice clean burn (no smoky walls, thank you). Take a whiff of the Sage & Sea Salt scent for a reminder of summer breeze, or for Christmas we’ve got the earthy tones of Black Fig & Vetiver on our wish list (both £19.95). Speaking of gifts, if you suffer from candle addiction (like us), then sign up to The Candle Club and the postman will bring you a new candle each month.
Deeply-scented candles are like the holy grail of the wax world, and we’ve found it with Hants-based Willow & Tea London (don’t let the name fool you!). They make their candles with beautifully silky soya flakes and high-quality natural oils for a strong fragrance, and pair their scents for their mood-boosting properties – ylang ylang, for example, induces calm, soothing feelings (and we could all use more of those). They’ve just launched their luxury double-wick collection (£58). Our personal favourite is the Lemongrass and Persian Lime, with a hint of Vanilla Bean. Sounds so good, you could practically eat it.
ISLE OF WIGHT
What name better evokes the cosiness of a candle than ChilliWinter? This Isle of Wight establishment has been making pure plant-based candles since 2017 from their workshop in Cowes. Their chic new Aromatherapy Collection is created in partnership with Hospice UK, so £3.75 from each candle sold is donated to charity – talk about a feel-good buy. We love the Calm scent (from £19.50), which is formulated with lavender, clary sage, chamomile, geranium and bergamot.
You’ve got to admire Avanti Candles. The brand has been set up by Neil who has worked in the health industry for a few years now and is fully aware of how damaging some candles can be to your health. All the candles are hand poured at home by Neil and made with natural soy wax which is vegan-friendly and kind to the environment. The minimal design with the stand-out black label means means they’ll pretty much fit in anywhere in your house. We’re loving the orange and pomelo one – it comes with a unique take on a musky citrus scent and is aromatic with just about the right amount of subtle zest.
With far-flung travel plans on hold for the time-being, these luxe candles will transport you to your fave destination in no time. From the streets of Sicily and Paris, to the scent of toasted marshmallows as they’re roasted over a crackling fire in the Rockies, these hand-poured vegan soy candles are exclusively made and designed for Rutland-based gift shop, Paper Plane Design. Enjoy the scent as it wafts through your home and let it whisk you away to a place far, far from home.
Searching for peace and inner joy? Er always! Then you’ll be wanting one of the lovely scents supplied by Oxfordshire-based ila Spa. Made with 100% natural ingredients, including eco-soya wax and beeswax the candles (take your pick from Jasmine Flowers, Tuberose or Orange Blossom) have a burn time of 50 hours.
Run by two sisters Lucy and Alice in the Oxfordshire countryside, the aim of Hunters Moon is to encourage us all to take a moment for ourselves everyday. In fact, so ardent are they in their mission to ensure we enjoy and burn the candles in our homes, they’ve introduced a subscription service so you are presented with a brand new candle every month. There are over 10 fragrances to choose from, all beautiful packaged in apothecary-style jars and made from plant-based wax. From £16.
Hand-poured into high quality Amber glasses these beeswax and soy candles, made in the pretty village of Ducklington, have a cool rustic feel. There are some seriously delicious scents on offer from Sticky Toffee Pudding and Milk & Honey to Figgy Pudding and brand new Marmalade. There’s also a collection inspired the vintage collection of bicycles found outside quirky local pub The Rusty Bicycle. Muddy loves.
PANDA Botanicals set out in 2017 to create eco-friendly, luxury candles with a low carbon footprint. Each candle is hand-poured using a mix of soy wax and rapeseed oil, meaning no yucky paraffin. They’re vegan and cruelty free and come in recyclable containers, plus each scent evokes a different travel destination (Moroccan Fresh Mint Tea, Persian Rose and Sandalwood, Norwegian Mist and Forest Pine, Thai Bamboo and Coconut…) making them perfect gifts for globetrotters and 10% of all profits go to eco charities.
What to do if you’re a trained perfumer with a candle obsession? Start a business making scented candles, of course. Hopping Hare‘s highly scented candles are made sustainably using bee-friendly rapeseed oil with essential oil blends and seek to evoke memories and mood, with each scent carefully crafted by owner Claire Hopper to uplift, calm, relax and energise. We are obsessed with the Rare Pear and Tonka Bean fragrance and the exotic Rose and Oud to transport us to warmer climes.
Every Cornish season has scents which are highly evocative, transporting you straight to the coast or countryside. For 25 years, St. Eval have been creating nature-inspired candles and fragrances from their eco-farm on the coast of North Cornwall, capturing these scents using traditional methods and sustainable production to craft beautiful candles. Gorgeously presented in rustic and earthy sand finished pots in natural and neutral tones, they look as good in your home as the candles smell.
Coppertop Candles, Reigate
Simple, stylish, sophisticated and handmade in Surrey. This emerging brand of artisan soy-wax candles is one to watch. They’re luxury candles created by best friends Ceri and Alice in a small studio in Reigate who blend their own top-quality fragrances and essential oils with 100% natural bases, before hand-pouring into their pretty candle and diffuser jars. The pair work only with natural materials, choosing sustainable wax and cotton wicks. We love the name too, after Ceri, a natural redhead. Candles are available as a tealight set, and in small, medium and large, with or without a lid. Cost is £10-£25. There is also a subscription service available.
Encased in a gorgeous Scandi-style stoneware tumbler handcrafted in Essex by powerhouse potter Isabelle Taylor-Jones, this limited-edition hand-blended Parkminster candle boasts notes of bergamot and ginger soy for a scent-perfect pad. What’s more, the mocha brown glazed tumbler, which measures 9cm x 8cm and is also available in white speckled or textured graphite glazes, can be enjoyed long after the wick has burned down and the wax washed out (it’s also dishwasher and microwave safe), so if you’re looking for a sustainable treat, you know this splurge makes ‘scents’ (#sorrynotsorry).
Hand-poured in small batches in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, and made from pure essential oils (to stimulate, clarify and energise); dried botanicals (for crisp herbaceous notes); and 100 per cent Soy wax, high-quality cotton and paper wick (allowing for a cleaner burn that’s kinder to the planet), this luxurious aromatherapy candle crafted by pro therapist Delmeza McCallaghanis one you’ll come back to time and time again to calm the mind and rejuvenate your home. We love its hint of sweet citrus, too.
Tiptree Candles, from £16
Wilkin & Sons’ Tiptree– an Essex-farm-based brand famed for producing some of our most quintessentially English preserves – certainly delivers on the fragrance front, offering up everything from Victoria Plum and Apple, to Spiced Clementine and Damson Gin blends. Its charming mini potted perfumes are particularly popular and essentially deliver Christmas up in a jar. Holly & Mistletoe, anyone? Perhaps you’re more inclined to plump for the Christmas Pud? (No judgement here.) Either way, stock up now: they always sell out fast during the festive season!
We love the sustainable ethos behind this Chilterns-based brand. Available in seven scents, including Lime Basil & Mandarin, Rock Salt and Plum & Rhubarb, each candle can be repurposed as a beautiful flowerpot or ornament after the candle has completed its life cycle. The pots are sourced from an ethical producer, plus all ingredients used in the fragrance and wax are totally vegan – result! From £18.
Handmade in the rolling Chiltern hills, these sleek and simple glass candles let the scents do the talking, using a combination of essential oils, raw materials and premium soy wax to create the 13 options (we’re coveting this warm and woody number above for transitioning into autumn). Each candle comes with a handwritten note detailing the size of the batch the candles was created in, plus there’s a refill service if you want to up your eco creds.
Environmentally-friendly candles – bet you didn’t know that was a thing. According to West Sussex based Anna Swan, most candles are made of paraffin, which is derived from petroleum oil. Long story short, burning them ‘ain’t so kind to Mother Earth. Her solution is these divine soy candles, all natural, renewable and biodegradeable with absolutely no nasties whatsoever. They’re vegan friendly, and they last longer too. We’re coveting the Sea Mist – very Sussex. These also make great gifts, personalised for occasions and weddings and there’s even a bespoke Best Teacher which will please Miss no end.
This lovely brand with a cult following including The Guardian’s Sali Hughes was set up by a pair of frazzled working Sussex mothers, who have two high-flying journalism careers and five small children between them. The idea is that you bundle any lurking nippers into bed at 7.17pm, hence the name – kudos on the optimism – then grab a glass of wine, light up (the candle, not a fag…) and unwind. Lush scents and long burn times guaranteed, oh, and 10 per cent of profits are donated to mental health. They look as good as they smell too – the brown glass recycled pharmacy-jar containers have a rustic, retro feel, and an afterlife as make-up brush holders or diddy vases. We’re more than happy to make space on a mantelpiece for these beauties, or buy them for our bezzies.
Taylor Benfield Candles, St Albans
We all need is a bit of escapism right now. Enter Taylor Benfield candles. Suzanne Taylor founded her luxury candle brand in St Albans as a means of bringing her passion for travelling to far-flung places to the good people of Hertfordshire and beyond, with each fragrance in her specially curated capsule collection evoking a particular time and place. We recommend the Spicy Crimson Rose and Oud, inspired by the heady fragrances of Vietnam and Bali.
The classic collection’s 55 hr burning coconut and rapeseed wax candle from Candle Brand is high on my list for autumn treats. Made with luxury thick glass and trademark timber lid, with absolutely no nasties, there are six gorgoeus choices to pick from. Lychee & Peony blend will regenerate, enhance and soothe, with notes of rasperries and peach (ahh, yes please). Lily & White Rose will uplift, revive and inspire, with touches of white musk – Muddy’s favourite nostalgic teen scent. One for every room?
Pascoe’s vegan scented luxury rapeseed and coconut wax candles are paraben, soy, palm and parrafin free so not just good for you but the planet too. Hats off to these guys – for every order a tree is planted in Madagaskar, impressive stuff for a company that launched just before Covid hit. Snuggle up sweetly with their signature scent, Chocolate and Orange, or feel the calm, reviving scent of the winning combo of Neroli and Jasmine. Mmmm.
Hazel & Blue
Owner of Hazel & Blue, Becky Avery, crated her first candle when she was looking for an activity to do with her nine year old daughter and the rest, they say, is history. Hand-poured into recycled Amber glass, each candle is inspired by Becky’s love of nature and is made with 100% natural soy wax, an unbleached cotton/linen wick and pure essential oils. You can purchase candles individually or buy a subscription box to have a constant stream of lovely scents delivered straight to your door. Want to give candle making a go? Becky also runs workshops via video link, the perfect activity for a rainy autumn afternoon.
Fire Nest Candles, Kempston
Fire Nest Candles are hand poured in Bedfordshire. These little beauties are soy based and have wooden wicks, to reduce the amount of toxins released into your home (soy candles also burn longer than regular paraffin-based ones, so it’s win win!). The wicks crackle and flicker as they burn – giving you your own romantic campfire experience. Why not try Ginger Root or Roasted Chestnut for those autumn vibes?