Nina Nixon


I'm Nina, a photographer, film maker and forever wanderer.  Passionate about nature, the great outdoors and all of life's adventures.  This is the place where I keep all my 'field notes'


Whilst I was doing my homely chores this morning - pottering along to some classical vibes - I thought it may be lovely if I shared with you some of my tips on how I scent our home.

Now this may seem like a strange thing to write about and even post some pictures on, but scent is just as important to me as it is to have a (fairly) tidy home.

The latter is not always achievable, but at least we smell good.

I think the power of smell must be one of my strongest senses as a single whiff can stir up the deepest of memories - and feelings - and is something I can relate to in a deep rooted, within my traditional ways.

Like the smell of woodsmoke and watching the wisps curl out of a chimney conjuring up images of an open fire all warm and waiting to be snuggled in front of that gives me that feeling of homely, welcoming and warmth.

And so does the smell of a home when the door is first opened and wraps its arms around you inviting you in.

It could be the waft and warmth of baking welcoming you in or the smell of coffee freshly brewing - offering without the request.

I do know of people - as a home selling trick - putting droplets of vanilla on a baking tray and leaving it in a warm oven so the vanillary vapours give you that homely vision (and feeling) of a cake being baked whilst you're looking around a potential new home.

But for me I have five different ways (minus the obvious baking one which is warmth and smell all rolled into one) and this time of the year is when it becomes even more important to me that our home feels welcoming because of the lack of natural air flow - all doors and windows tightly shut keeping out the cold.

So. The first (and possibly the foremost) thing on top of my home scenting list is the wax tart.

Now I'm sure the name alone is enough to give you the snigger's, but rest assured (and don't be fooled) this little waxy tart has the power to scent your whole home with just one little melting.

Though with time they do wear off - I would say a fortnight or so depending on how much and how long you burn one. I tend to snap mine in half and use one half at a time to make it last longer.

You will need a wax/oil burner - this has a multi purpose which I will come to in a minute - and is well worth the investment.

I buy all my wax tarts from Yankee Candles as they have a huge range to choose from and all are seasonal plus they always have an offer on 'oh' and you can find them in some shops too so you don't necessarily have to buy online. Our local garden centre is the nearest stockist to us which means I can sniff them before I buy - so shop around.

At the moment I'm melting 'Kitchen Spice' which is all cinnamony and perfect for this autumnal time of year.

I also love their Christmas range and the candles well - they just have such a beautiful selection.

OK. So secondly - coming back to the burner - you could use fragranced oils too (but I tend to have one burner for each - not mix and match - as the oil residue leaves a sticky mess all over the bottom of the burner bowl which will need cleaning thoroughly)

You can buy these fragranced oils all over the place, but my most favourite and especially at this time of the year is Vanilla Spice from The Body Shop.

They don't have any in at the moment - it's a seasonal scent - but I popped into our local store last week and was assured that they should have some in after half term. The first-ish week in November.

Vanilla Spice is my most favourite product of theirs and I tend to stock up every year to make sure I have enough to last.

:: NOTE :: You must always always follow the suppliers instructions when using fragranced oils because unlike the wax tarts, you must always dilute the oil.

Never, ever use neat oil in a burner as it can get incredible hot and oil spits when it's hot.

I always three quarters fill the the burner bowl up with water and then just add a couple of drops of oil, so that as the water warms the oil gently heats too giving you that undercurrent of scent, but always remember to keep an eye on the burner bowl because as the water evaporates (leaving the residue of oil) then it could start to burn. Which is why I rarely use this method of scent.

OK - scare and lecture aside - so I rarely (but do) use fragranced oils for burning, just wax tarts. I tend to keep my oil for number three and four of 'how I scent my home'

So number three is part of my every day (general daily) housework chores and I do this all year round and is most effective if {a} you have an open fire with a hearth and {b} if you light the fire.

Basically I clean our hearth tiles with fragranced oil - strange I know - but not only does it buff them up, give them a jolly good dusting and an all round clean all at the same time, it also leaves a room smelling totally gorgeous. I tend to use a piece of kitchen towel for this as it can get quite mucky, but a duster or old cloth (I'm sure) would do just a good job.

Just sprinkle a few drops onto your cloth and wipe over the hearth or tiles.

We are lucky to have hearths in most rooms of our home, but only one is used as an open fire which when lit, warms up the tiles and releases additional scent into the room - hence the a/b comment.

If you don't have a hearth then maybe wipe a windowsill in exactly the same way or around picture/door frames - I'm guessing wooden would be better then plastic or PVC.

The fourth thing I occasionally do and it is very occasional because, even though I love scented candles they can be incredibly expensive or just smell purely naff so just before I blow a plain old candle out I put a couple of drops of fragranced oil onto the melted wax so that when you go to use it again the wax naturally releases the scent when warmed up again.

And fifth and finally it's good old incense sticks. These have been such a life saver when we've cooked something stinky or you've gone away for a couple of days and come home to think 'phew - who forgot to put the bin out?' They are incredible efficient and work wonders on even the most stinkiest of smells.

So there you have it - wax tarts, fragranced oils and incense sticks. My perfect way of making my home smell gorgeous and feel lovely and welcoming and homely.

Do you have any homemaking tips you'd like to share? All are welcome.


ADDITIONAL NOTE :: all my tips have been sourced from 'some where' over time and I always follow the instructions on any given product religiously.

I am no expert so please do not give me a verbal ear bashing if you feel the things I've said or do are incorrect. I am also always very careful where I place any candle I intend to light and for how long and never around children or animals. Never leave a lighted candle or burner unattended.

I know that some scents are a big no, no if you are pregnant. There are some great places (like Boots the chemist) where you can find all the relevant 'safe aromatherapy scents' you can use. Nina x