Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bliss & Ecoya - Back Together Again!

We're a little bit smitten with our latest squeeze Ecoya. We had a brief fling early last year but it didn't last... We were shattered to say the least so when the aforementioned delicious dish looked our way again recently we jumped at the chance to bask in that glorious puppy love once again. We're now looking forward to a long and harmonious union!

We have stocked up an all the beautiful fragrant candles Ecoya have on offer and we really want to share them with you.

Ecoya are an Australian company based in Botany Bay who make all natural soy candles and beauty products.  Here's a quick rundown on why soy candles differ from others. Most candles on the market today are made from paraffin wax which is a by product of petroleum refining and as such can often emit unpleasant vapours into your home.  Soy candles burn cleaner and are non-toxic. They also burn at a lower temperature than other waxes and any spills can be cleaned easily with hot soapy water. Because they burn slower than other candles they will last longer too. And finally soy, unlike paraffin, is a renewable resource.

So, now you've had your science lesson lets get to the good bit. The fragrances...

WILD FRANGIPANI - voluptuous with complex buttery intricacies and subtle nuances of rose. A fragrance that builds in layers throughout burn.
FRENCH PEAR - spicy cinnamon, star anise characteristics reminiscent of stewed apples with crumble. Hints of all spice, juniper berries, cranberries, nutmeg and tropical fruit.

LEMONGRASS & GINGER - clean and refreshing citrus, lemon thyme and lime. Well balanced - not heavy handed. Hints of African mint.

LOTUS FLOWER - elusive, pineapple, sweet cotton candy notes with a light floral aspect, almost lavender. Warm floral and comforting.

SWEET PEA & JASMINE - light, refreshing, watermelon and cucumber tones, refreshing notes of lavender.

VANILLA BEAN - butterscotch and vanilla tones, mouth watering and edible. Rich, luxurious, dense and full with hints of caramel and toffee.

Need we say anymore?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Plant of the Month – Cordylines

Cordylines add a permanent spark of colour to the garden, and mix beautifully with green foliage plants such as palms and cycads. Although they will survive in quite low light, they need a brightly-lit position for best foliage colour. They are surprisingly hardy and there are several frost-tolerant varieties that grow well in Canberra.

While Cordylines like regular watering for optimum growth, once established they will tolerate dry spells better than most plants. Another great aspect to these plants are all the different colours available. There's everything from black to pink to burgundy to green and yellow. One of our recent favourites at Bliss is the Electric Pink (pictured) - yes it looks just like it sounds!

Cordylines are super easy to propagate as well.  A great solution for when they start getting too tall. Just cut the stem about 5cm from the base. This stump will then produce new shoots and a brand new plant. The cutting you can then divide into 'logs' about 7cm long and plant in propagation mix or even regular potting mix and they will soon strike. Once established they can be moved to garden or pot. The top part of the plant with the leaves can just be pushed back into the soil. It should grow if you plant it in a sunny position, keep the water up to it and perhaps reduce the size and number of leaves.

Unfortunately, cordylines are not just attractive to us though. They're also quite appealing to grasshoppers and snails. If you find you're having problems of the slimy variety give these ideas a try. As far as snails go, it's easy - use traditional control methods like pellets, beer traps or just squishing... (eww!) But for grasshoppers, boil up a cup of hot chillies in a litre of water. When it's cooled, strain the liquid and add a third of a cup of soap flakes. Then spray the plant with this mix. Some like it hot, but grasshoppers don't.