Most of the candles you can buy are made from paraffin wax, soy wax or beeswax – or a blend of these waxes. I absolutely love pure beeswax candles and choose to use them in our home. These are the reasons why:
1. Beeswax Candles burn brighter
Beeswax candles burn up to 5 times brighter than paraffin candles. Medieval monks knew that they were superior to the tallow alternative and kept bees mainly for their beeswax – allowing them to work on their manuscripts in the dark!
2. Beeswax doesn’t cost the earth
Beeswax is a naturally occurring wax, produced by bees. It is possible to clean wax for candle-making using solar wax extractors. Paraffin wax is made from a refined form of petroleum, which takes a huge amount of energy to extract and process. Soy wax is made from soybeans. To make the wax the oil is first mechanically extracted from the beans. It then has to be refined and bleached before being distilled with hexane, bleached with chlorine, deodorized with boric acid and then hydrogenated. This all takes a great deal of energy. The WWF has produced an interesting report about the impacts of growing soy on an industrial scale – Check it out here
3. Beeswax has a wonderful natural scent
When beeswax candles are burning they release a gentle, natural honey scent. Other types of wax have very little natural scent, so need to have scents added to them. I often find these scents overwhelming and unpleasant.
4. Beeswax is naturally coloured
The colour of beeswax reflects the flowers that the bees were foraging on when they made the wax. The natural colour variation ranges from almost pure white to bright yellow to a golden brown. I enjoy this variation because it reinforces the fact that it is a natural product and doesn’t have dyes added to it to make it into a uniform product.
5. Beeswax candles burn slowly
Beeswax has a higher melting point than other candle-making waxes, which means that candles made from beeswax burn more slowly. I get more minutes of candlelight from a beeswax candle!
I acknowledge that beeswax candles are usually more expensive than the alternatives, I do think that they are worth the extra expense though.
I love to read and I get through a lot of books of all different genres. It’s fun to look back over the year and reflect on which books have stayed with me. Interestingly, some that I didn’t particularly rate while I was reading them keep popping back into my head and have changed how I think about things.
If I had to pick my favourite I’d have a tough choice between these two:
Both are very nature based, both are written by women who are scientists and both are beautifully written – weaving their lives and the work that they do together. I devoured each of them in a few days. They have both impacted the way that I look at the world and constantly pop into my head. I can’t recommend them enough!
This book was interesting too – it is a day by day diary of the seasons in the UK over 2020. It compares the changes in nature to the 72 mini seasons defined in Japanese culture. The author is a bird watcher, so it focuses mainly on which birds are around and what is in flower. Beekeepers tend to pay close attention to weather patterns as they affect our bees – so this was interesting to me. I wonder if I would have enjoyed it more if I’d read it over a year, reading the relevant chapter to match the actual date.
Very occasionally I read a novel that is so completely unlike any other novel that I’ve ever read. Piranesi is one of those books. It is dark, other wordly and extraordinary.
Somehow I only recently discovered that Tove Jansson, the writer of the Moomin books, also wrote for grown ups. I’ve been savouring them ever since! This is a short novel about a grandmother and her granddaughter, spending the summer on a remote island off Finland. It is absolutely delightful, witty and wise.
I’d love to know which books you have enjoyed this year – leave a comment below!
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I’m often asked if I’d like our empty jars back – and my answer is always “YES PLEASE!”
We deliberately use labels that can be easily removed, so that once the jars have been thoroughly washed they can be reused for honey again.
We have to use new lids, so if they have been lost then we’d still like the jars.
We’ve been making these for a a few years for our own use and for gifting. After much prodding from a friend we finally took the plunge and made a huge batch of beeswax wraps to sell.
They are the sustainable alternative to using plastic food wrap or plastic bags. We make them with organic cotton, beeswax from our own hives, pine tree resin and jojoba oil. The brilliant thing about them is that they can be used again and again, and when they finally collapse (we have some that are two years old and still going strong) they can be chopped up and composted – they also make terrific fire starters.
We use ours mainly for wrapping up after school snacks and sandwiches in lunch boxes. You just fold the wrap around the food and use the warmth of your hands to set the shape.
They are also great for covering bowls.
We’ve even made some huge ones suitable for wrapping a large loaf of bread.
When you’ve finished using one, you just rinse it with cool water (hot water would melt the beeswax) and some washing up soap, leave to dry overnight then it is ready to go again the next morning.