Weekdays without a commute (for some) and weekends with little place to go can leave us feeling fidgety. So it’s no wonder thousands of us are going online or turning to Zoom to learn something new.

Working from home often blurs the boundary between our personal and professional life. But it should also  inspire us to make the most of our weekends. A great way to do this, is by learning a new craft or skill. As well as being a fantastic time filler, virtual workshops can help flex your creative muscles and leave you feeling inspired to take up a new hobby. 

Laura Wilson, founder and creative director of North Berwick-based Laura Thomas Co quickly recognised the need to take their candle making workshops online as lockdown took hold last March. Laura started her company, Laura Thomas Co in 2012, when she was living in New Zealand and found it difficult to source mid-range, well made bedding. She began her own company sourcing high quality, fair trade cottons from India, Egypt and Vietnam. Since returning to her native Scotland six years ago, Laura has added a range of homewares and lifestyle products, including; a natural soy candle and diffuser range, all natural fibre herringbone blankets and towels, and a recently-launched body and hair care range.

A couple of days after booking my online candle making workshop, I received my candle making kit all beautifully presented in recycled packaging. Further instructions and a Zoom link followed by email, and I was set to begin. Candle-making isn’t difficult, Laura assures us, as the online tutorial began. We had each received everything we needed to make our candles at home including; natural soy wax, glass votives and our choice of scented essential oil. Laura shows us how to melt the soy wax to the correct temperature before pouring it into a jug. We add the essential oils, and whisk the mixture to cool the wax to the perfect pouring temperature. There is a burst of aroma – hinting at what my finished candle will smell like. We then centre the wick in a gorgeous LT jar, holding it in place with a lolly-stick, pour the wax and leave it to set. Laura advises us to leave our candles to cure for a week – longer if we can, to ensure we get the best fragrance. All the while Laura chats to us, sharing insider knowledge, secrets, tips about candle maintenance – something she is ardent about. “You should always burn the entire top layer of the candle, right to the edges of the jar, so it melts evenly” Laura says, “and wicks need to be trimmed after each use. 

There are plenty of opportunities to ask questions and time flies. I’m left with an amazing sense of achievement and two gorgeously-scented candles, not to mention my kitchen smells delicious. So while at-home work sessions can get a bit dull, switching up your workspace can help boost your spirits – and what better way than making a scented candle for your desk?

LAURA THOMAS CO | laura-thomas.com