Cocoon yourself with the best of Irish
De-stress your home and help the economy with these Irish home acessories
Feel good about feathering your nest by shopping from small Irish businesses.
Cocooning is the order of the day but that doesn’t mean you should just retreat to your home and pull the ladder up behind you. The Covid-19 emergency behoves everyone who can ride out the pandemic with their salary relatively assured to help out those whose income absolutely isn’t.
That means our makers, our artisans and our small business owners, many of whom are facing an existential crisis. By all means feather your own nest but give them a bit of comfort too.
Scents of calm
Enniskerry’s Max Benjamin candles are hand poured and naturally scented and made from 100 per cent natural soy wax. They are also great value with a minimum burn time of 40 hours. They use essential oils that sneak up and embrace you rather than grab you by the nose, like some cloying synthetic ones do. They are competitively priced too, at about €25. Available online at maxbenjamin.ie.
Get yourself in a lather
Clap your poor chapped hands for The Handmade Soap Company, whose gorgeous products smell divine and feel fab. Fed up of harsh scented antibacs? How about a hand sanitiser made of lemongrass and cedarwood instead? There now, feels better already. Check out the full range, which includes beautifully fragrant room spritzes, at thehandmadesoapcompany.com, with free delivery for purchases of over €20.
Never mind Jo Malone, it’s locally grown Jo Browne you want at a time like this. The Carlow woman has a nose for the finer things in life having developed a beautiful range of solid block perfumes, gorgeous bamboo stick room diffusers, plus vegan and palm free soaps. The qualified aromatherapist’s range includes solid perfumes and colognes for both women and men. Right now you might be most interested in her Calm Blend aroma diffuser, which includes rose, sandalwood, jasmine, basil and chamomile. It costs €20 at jobrowne.com.
Nothing says downtime like snuggling under a blanket. Rug maker Foxford Woollen Mills in Mayo was set up in 1892 to help create jobs in a part of the country where jobs are still needed. The mill has survived emergencies, epidemics and general crises. Take comfort in its enduring presence, and under its fabulously soft throws. These include a mohair mix in camel and white for €124, perfect for blockbuster box-set sessions. Foxfordwoollenmills. com">Foxfordwoollenmills.com.
For beautifully soft alpaca wool, check out husband and wife team Shane McGlynn and Sabrina “Breezy” Kevany’s Simple Things range of luxury throws made from Peruvian alpaca wool, a wool with hypoallergenic properties. They come in a range of gorgeous colours, including visually warming duck egg and orange. The pair sell their wares in places such as Liberty in London and Bloomingdales in New York but you can get them direct to your door from about €215 from simplethings.ie.
Or how about making your own woolly goods? You have the time. Fashion design graduate Jess Kavanagh set up her business Olann to hand dye ethically sourced yarns in colours inspired by the Cavan countryside that surrounds her.
Her hanks of wool come from humanely treated sheep and are prewashed to remove lanolin. She and her staff, in what is a genuine cottage industry, dye them in small batches using non-toxic acid dyes, with food grade citric acid as a setting agent. By the time they reach you, they are clean and soft and ready for turning into warm socks, cosy blankets and more. Olann.ie.
Here’s a really cushy number. Elephant bean bags looks like an international brand, and it is in terms of exports, but it’s actually based in Ballinrobe in Co Mayo. The family business was set up by Mark Mellett and his dad, Don, back in the depths of the last recession. Since then it has gone from strength to strength by making people as comfy as possible, at a great price.
The family has long since extended its range into all sorts of soft furnishings perfect for helping you get through the coming weeks but if you’re self-isolating, its giant bean bag is literally your new best friend. Prices from about €160 at Elephantliving. com">Elephantliving.com.
If you prefer to do your binge watching in bed, it pays to get the best bed linen you can. The Winckworth women – mother Sari and her three daughters – offer a range of organic, fair trade bed linens. All are made from high-quality 300-thread cotton, and are both durable and super soft.
Their White & Green business is online only so you can rest assured, ahem, your order will arrive exactly when you want it, and with free delivery. A “bed bundle” including duvet cover, four pillow cases and a sheet costs from €232. Indulge in the full home spa treatment with their cotton waffle robes from €53. Whiteandgreenhome. com">Whiteandgreenhome.com.
Or go the full cat’s pyjamas with silk PJs from The Ethical Silk Company in Dublin, which uses a beautifully rich mulberry silk that founder Eva Power describes as being more like a fine linen, with a beautiful matte lustre rather than the shiny finish of a traditional silk.
As with all silk however, it’s kind on skin and hair, so no more bed head. The business’s tag line is “making downtime dreamier”, which is just what we need in the face of the current nightmare. PJs from €245, theethicalsilkco.com.