Using candle light to help improve your mood*

Last week I was listening to a discussion on CBC Radio and they briefly mentioned the mental health benefits of candle light [I tried to find the discussion online, but since it was so briefly mentioned as part of a wider discussion, I can’t find it. Welp]. It was one of those things you do on a subconscious level but it never really registers with you until someone points it out. It got me thinking about how much I use candles in our home and a lot of the time it can contribute to making me feel better, as silly as it sounds. 

There’s something about coming home after a long day to a dark and cosy room, splaying yourself on the couch, watching your favourite show / movie / series, light a few candles and create a bit of a calming ambiance [said Micky Flanagan style]. I’m sure there’s a science to it and candle light relates to our ancestral heritage before electricity or goes as far as cavemen and women, but there’s something that makes me feel better when there is a candle lit in a room. 
I’m not ashamed to say I can have periods where I’m not in a great place. We’ve had a rough year and we’re still adjusting to living in a new city / country / continent far from everything and everyone we know. Some days are good, and others, not so much. If I’m too inside my head, I find a cosy space helps me put my thoughts in order. I feel more relaxed. I can put things into perspective. I’m able to let go of things and [try to] GTF over them. It’s like it’s my way of self medicating, but with candles. Is that a thing? I’m going to claim it’s a thing. Candles are my medication.

I find I’m much more of a winter person than a summer person in general. I prefer dark spaces and creating a cosy atmosphere. And snuggles and blankets and mittens and hot drinks and candles. I find it interesting that it all relates back to my design style, dark romantic luxe, that I time and time again come back to. Creating my own little space that helps me start to feel better, comfortable and safe [not that I feel unsafe, but you know what I mean]. 

Whatever it is that makes you feel better and helps you get into a better head space, do that thing. Whether it’s cheesy movies, board games, a giant meal or something as basic as candle light. Or all of the above and that is more than okay because I am right there with you on the couch eating all of the food.
*Please know that I am not suggesting buying a $10.99 candle instead of going to therapy. If you are in a very bad place, a candle alone won’t do the trick. I’ve been there and I’ve gotten help and trust me, if you think you need help then get it. Just know that I’m not belittling mental health and saying it can be cured by slapping a candle on it.

TFW you keep going back to the same palette

We’re settling into our new apartment nicely, and part of the excitement [for me] of making it a home is deciding on what paint colours could go in each room. However, one thing I have noticed is that I keep going back to very similar colours that we had in our last apartment. 

I’m halfway finished painting our living room burgundy [hello old living room], I keep thinking about painting Cora’s room a lovely muted grey [like her old nursery] and I can’t help but want to go really dark in our bedroom. Again. I say to myself no, you can’t do those colours again because you already did that! People don’t want to see it again! And then another part of me thinks, hang on a second, these are colours I like. I like them for a reason. I’m not going to all of a sudden paint our bedroom orange [no offence to anyone who likes orange] just because it’s something new and might interest people. So I’ve given in and I’ll stick to the colours I like instead. I’m still going to worry that I’m just copying our old apartment, but I’m going to try and get over myself. 

I haven’t decided what colours I’m thinking of painting the rest of the apartment, but I do keep coming back to certain colours and yes, you’ll probably see more of what I’ve used before. But I am hoping to add them in more creative ways on walls and on furniture, etc. 

Do you have certain colours that you can’t help but paint certain rooms? Or do you have a palette that you love and keep going back to? I didn’t realise how much I loved certain colours until I’ve pretty much decided to use the same colours in the same rooms again! And I’m beginning to think that might be okay 😉 

DIY Friday – how to mattify gloss paint

Last week I traveled to our closest Home Depot to decide on a paint for our living room. It had a huge selection of interior paint so as you can imagine, I was excited to pick a colour. I did the thing you’re not really supposed to do though and I chose a colour without trying a few tester pots first. It took me nearly an hour to get there by bus and it was -17C that night, so forgive me as I had survival instinct priorities at the time so I committed to 3.5L of BEHR’s Classic Burgundy [09YR 05/305] and headed home. 


After first painting the ceiling white that weekend, I got to work and started painting the walls burgundy. I got very lucky as BEHR’s burgundy was EXACTLY the colour I was looking for. Except for one thing; it was in an eggshell finish. Big time not something I wanted. 

I don’t like eggshell finishes in such a dark colour as it makes it too glossy. I’m not pointing fingers but I am used to being asked what type of finish I’d like my paint to have and as I wasn’t asked, I completely forgot to mention it to the paint technician so I didn’t realise it had an eggshell finish until the first coat dried. It wasn’t cheap paint and I bought enough to paint our entire living room, so the thoughts of having to buy more paint was exhausting [it ended up taking me close to two and a half hours to get home by bus that night as the bus I was on got cancelled mid-journey. I wasn’t looking forward to a potential repeat]. I figured I’d take advantage of the opportunity to make lemonade and help out anyone else who might be in the same situation. 

It wasn’t long though before I remembered a hack my dad told me about a few years ago that I used on the walls in our living room in our Dublin apartment to dull the shine on our even then glossier walls.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED
– plaster of Paris
– water
– tablespoon and cup measures
– a tub to mix the plaster of Paris
– paint brush, roller etc. and whatever else is needed to paint a room
– patience

RECIPE / PAINT HACK

I mixed 3 tablespoons of plaster of Paris with 1 tablespoon of water in a jar. I mixed it thoroughly to make sure the plaster of Paris was completely dissolved and there were no lumps. It’s pretty VITAL [enough to warrant the use of capitol letters] that you mix the paste like this first and not under any circumstances do you just add the powder directly to the paint. PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF DIY, DON’T DO THAT

I used this amount of plaster of Paris mix for every 1 cup of paint I used. For the eggshell finish I had, I found this ratio worked out perfectly to give a matt finish. Try messing around with the proportions yourself if you’d like in small batches before committing to repainting an entire room and finding it’s still too shiny for your liking. I definitely found I needed about 10L of patience while I was testing out the ratios. There was a lot of waiting for things to dry before finding out if my ratio was right, but it totally paid off. 

At the most I mixed up enough for 2 cups of paint as that’s how much my paint tray would take. To add the paste, place a few dollops of the paste in the corner of your paint tray. Using your brush, smooth the paste into the paint in a small corner of your tray and ensure it’s completely mixed and lump-free before stirring it in with the rest of your paint. Once all the paste is added, thoroughly mix your paint so the paste is evenly distributed. Thoroughly. If you think it’s all mixed, mix it for another minute to be sure. 

It was actually quite difficult to try and photograph, but you can just about see where I used the plaster of Paris paint vs. the eggshell paint above. To me, it made a huge difference and I was able to actually use the paint in our living room without it driving me up the walls. 
I then used the paint mix as I normally would; I painted on the edging and rolled on the rest. I will say because of the plaster of Paris, don’t go for a lunch break mid painting. The paint in your tray will dry faster than it normally would and especially the paint on your brush and roller thanks to the plaster of Paris. If you do go for a break or want to finish on another day, use some cling film on your roller and brush to keep them airtight and that will stop the paint from drying. Once you’re finished, be sure to clean your roller and brush thoroughly as you don’t want any paint or plaster of Paris left in the bristles. 
I am so SO SO happy with how it turned out. BEHR’S Classic Burgundy is my dream colour and I’m able to appreciate it so much more now thanks to having a more calming finish. I’m now almost finished painting the living room [I’m taking it one wall at a time – about as much as you can get done with a toddler] and I cannot wait to share what it looks like now. It’s so excellent. 
PLEASE NOTE – I have not tried storing paint after adding plaster of Paris to it so I do not know what would happen to it. I don’t know if it would completely solidify or if it would be fine. It could make like Han Solo at the end of The Empire Strikes Back, or not. I really don’t know. But I am going to make up a small amount to store and I will report back as to the Han factor in a few weeks / months.