Travelling each summer to Transylvania was quite a long journey and so the last thing I wanted, when we arrived, was to get back in the car until it was time to make the journey back home. The photo above shows my preferred mode of transport. I travelled, by horse and cart with friends into the nearest town Sighisoara, an exhilarating trip of 15 km, on a late August afternoon.
We were running an errand for an aunt, collecting some embroidery thread. En route we’d stopped off in the village of Saes to have a drink with some friends. By the time we got back it was dusk and we were in trouble because we’d taken far too long! We spotted deer venturing out from the woods to feed in between the town and the village. I think they were telling us to hurry back home.
It was a wonderful way to travel, to feel the hot summer breeze on your face. Occasionally we’d come to an abrupt halt to allow a hissing gaggle of geese to cross the road and even a traffic jam of horse and carts going about their business.
Whilst staying in the village, there was a constant stream of eager family and friends patiently waiting to have a ride in the car. Some younger relatives, who had moved into city life, did occasionally return in their cars, but a car from England was something rather special. My Oma and aunts would put on their very best headscarves when it was their turn and become three important looking women, waving to passers by as the car slowly made its way down the dusty road.
When selling candles to my customers at markets, I was explaining how to get the longest life and burn time from them. I asked for addresses so that I could do a home check to see the candles were being cared for and treated well. Only one person didn’t seem amused and I quickly explained I was joking! But, joking aside, many were surprised to learn a few facts about burning candles:
Embroidery played a huge part in the lives of the women and girls in the villages of Transylvania. Today I have a vast collection of embroidered tablecloths, runners, cushion covers and small mats. I treasure all of it and hope that it will continue to be passed through my family.
I have far too much to display, so, every now and then, I’ll pull another piece from a drawer and give it a turn on the dining table. There is so much history attached to every single piece, with many of the cloths showing the dates they were embroidered. It was a tradition for a girl when she married to complete a piece and then work the date into the corner.
My Oma and aunts spent all their spare time on intricate pieces of embroidery. But, not only did they embroider, they also grew the flax and then produced the cloth aswell. Amazing! The photo above shows me on a summer’s afternoon pretending to use the spinning wheel (which now resides in my Transylvanian guest bedroom). At the time, I definitely didn’t appreciate how much work was involved.
The bear in the picture was incredibly well travelled (he’s still with me)!
When I started to make candles, choosing a wax to work with was an easy and instant decision. As a candle lover, all year round, I was tired of buying candles that weren’t cheap, quickly lost their fragrance and produced black smoke.
Soy wax, was in my opinion a winner all round for the following reasons:
It is clean burning & sustainable
It burns more slowly than other waxes
Soy wax holds its fragrance till the end of the candle’s life
I’d decided, that in 2019, I needed to lead a more eco friendly way of life, so using soy wax, was a small step in the right direction
After weeks of experimenting and lots of frustration with a husband waiting for an evening meal, trying different wicks, fragrances, containers and conducting burn tests, I was happy with my candles. My family were bombarded with small candles and instructed to report back to me on how their candles performed. Finally, everyone was happy and the candles were ready to sell!
The latter part of 2018 became incredibly busy and at the same time exciting, as we participated in Artisan Markets and Christmas Fairs, meeting lots of interesting people and making new friends along the way. I can’t believe how many candles we sold and already happy customers are re ordering!
I’d made the decision to make soy candles earlier than I had originally planned. But I must admit, once I’d made a very small batch, I fell in love with them! When there was nothing to watch on TV, in the evenings, I found myself in the kitchen melting wax into the small hours of the morning. Our home had started to smell like Christmas, with rich cranberry, orange and frankincense fragrances wafting through the rooms.
The candles were made in small batches and hand poured into tins and vintage tea cups (which proved to be immensely popular) The beauty of using soy wax in the cups, is that when the candle’s life is over, the china can be washed in hot soapy water and re used or re filled with wax again.
For the remainder of January, I’ll be busy working on signature fragrances and I can’t wait to introduce them to my customers.
By the way, I haven’t neglected my soaps! A signature collection is now underway on the production line, so watch this space.
I’m also going to be posting some photos of Transylvania soon, the place that inspired me to set up the business (recent and from childhood visits) so you can see how beautiful it is.
We recently returned from another exciting adventure in Transylvania. Arriving home, at Liverpool airport, to rain bouncing on the tarmac, I was tempted to stay on the plane for the return flight. Earlier that morning, in Cluj, we’d left a glorious sunny day.
Welcome to Apold Apothecary, where, we as a family are passionate about natural ingredients that help to both moisturise and nourish the skin.
Three things inspired the introduction of Apold Apothecary into our family:
1. my childhood memories of making soap in Apold
2. a husband with extremely sensitive skin
3. a strong urge to reduce the amount of plastic containers in the bathroom
Your skin will, in time, thank you for using natural ingredients.
Our delicately fragranced soaps are sure to bring a smile to your face every time you use them.
They are mild, but at the same time deeply cleansing and are guaranteed to make you feel good.
Simply use our soaps daily, with warm water and create a luxurious silky lather. Inhale the scent and enjoy!