Laura Mcmahon & The Smallest Light
When I first found Laura's Instagram I was completely blown away . Her feed is a adorned with nature flat lays and posts that sit well with each seasonal shift . I found myself drawn in by the calming white spaces and contrasting pops of natural color from the nature sprinkled throughout her beautiful photos. Something else that caught my eye was her divine seasonal candles she creates herself in Wales . The candles are vegan and environmentally considerate (something I am always striving to implement in my own work), and I just found myself eager to speak to Laura and find out more about what Nature means to her and what inspires her .
'Her Feed Is Adorned With Nature Flat Lays That Sit Well With Each Seasonal Shift'
Hi Laura, thank you so much for joining in with this feature. To start could you tell me a bit about yourself and your shop?
Hi Danielle and thanks so much for the opportunity to join in! I would love to tell you a little more about me and The Smallest Light. I’m Laura. I run The Smallest Light from my home in Porthcawl, a little coastal town in South Wales, not too far from Cardiff. I grew up in England, but all my family is Welsh and over time it seems we’ve all been called back here! I am a Mum of two beautiful little humans and I create unique aromatherapy candles and products, with essential oils blended according to the seasons. My aim is to ease you through the year with blends that connect you with the shifting seasonal tapestry around us. Each blend is carefully crafted to support our well-being throughout the year. Candles are hand poured by me in small batches, using only natural soy wax and pure essential oils. My products are vegan and made for absolutely everyone across the whole of this diverse world we live in. Being environmentally considerate is also very important to me, I use natural ingredients and source recycled materials to package my products and limit the carbon footprint of the business using UK based suppliers whenever possible.
I think its excellent that you are so environmentally aware, this is becoming a real stand out point for me when shopping for gifts and products .Your feed looks absolutely gorgeous and oh so calming. I particularly love your seasonal flatlays, do you have a favourite season ?
Thanks so much, I do enjoy a bit of faffing with leaves and props for IG! Even though I love every season, I would say that I am an autumn girl at heart! I was born in autumn, the autumn oil blends were the first ones I created and I launched The Smallest Light on the day of the Harvest Moon in September 2017. I love the colours that the fall season brings us. I love walking on crunchy leaves, the feeling of wearing a cosy jumper and drinking a hot mug of tea on a cold, crisp morning. There is still a vibrant energy to the season, it can be felt in the drive to get things done before the winter kicks in! But it’s not the same as the busier, hectic energy of the spring and summer seasons; there is the sense of a gradual slow down. Autumn is the season to reap what has been sowed, enjoy the harvest and be ready for the colder months ahead. I love each season, but to me, autumn feels like home.
" Even though I love every season, I am an Autumn girl at heart"
How did you get into creating those beautiful candles?
I have always loved candles. For me there is a touch of magic involved the ritual of lighting a candle, it definitely creates a spiritual connection for me. The making though, that started out more as a hobby. I began studying a variety of natural therapies in my late 20’s while living in Sydney. As a result of everything I was learning, I became more committed to natural living and began experimenting with my own DIY products.
I became more conscious of the synthetic chemicals that go into making many of the big brand candles, releasing harmful toxins into our homes and the environment. There are some really amazing natural brands out there, but I had a very limited budget at the time and I wanted to find a way of making my own, with natural vegetable waxes and essential oils. This was the start of a very long process of trial and error over the years and meant taking time to study, attend some workshops and spend many hours refining the making process over and over again! I do feel really fortunate that through this business, I am able to combine my love for essential oils, with my passion for candle making.
What inspired you to use botanical folklore in your pieces ?
I have always been drawn to learning about myths, folklore, legends…anything with a hint of magic and I am there for it! ( Edit - I feel exactly the same Laura, anything magical and I am drawn in !) Discovering the botanical folklore connected to the plants which make up my essential oil blends, is a natural extension of learning about all their other qualities. It is an integral part of what makes up the whole picture of my product. The knowledge of how a flower or herb has been branded throughout history adds yet another layer to the blend, bringing even more depth to the seasonal story I am trying to tell.
'There is a touch of magic involved in the ritual of lighting a candle '
Have you always been drawn to nature ?
Yes I believe I have, but there have definitely been times when I have neglected to listen to that call! As a child I loved nature and loved being outdoors, I have hazy memories of days spent picking flowers and collecting leaves to take home and mush up into strange smelling, homemade ‘perfumes’ and potions! Looking back, I can see I lost touch with that side of myself as a teenager and in my early twenties. I only really rediscovered it when I moved to Australia. That change was huge for me. Going from living in central London to living by the sea and spending much more time outdoors exploring than I had done for years. This provided a big boost to my mental health and made me aware of what I had been missing out on. Now I consciously try and incorporate time in nature on a very regular basis. I really value having a strong connection to nature and the seasons, I see how powerful it is and how necessary to our wellbeing.
What is your favourite plant/ flower /herb /scent or fable surrounding the botanical world?
Rosemary is one of my all time favourite herbs and oils to use at home. In aromatherapy this hardworking oil assists to improve blood flow, can boost concentration, is a useful tonic for the muscles and acts as an expectorant supporting recovery from coughs and colds. But this herb has an ancient backstory too, it is steeped in folklore and legend! In Ancient Egypt the sprigs were burnt as incense during rituals and left in the tombs of the pharaohs so that they might better recall their former lives. Rosemary has traditionally been linked to loyalty, trust, remembrance and learning. I am also particularly intrigued by its connection in folklore to women and feminine power. An old saying goes "Where Rosemary flourishes, the Woman rules" and it was believed that rosemary could not grow in the garden of a home, unless the woman ruled the roost!
Laura's beautifully boxed candles using nature and environmentally considerate practices
Can you recommend a candle people can purchase from you that would be perfect for entering spring with ?
I am very excited to be getting the spring candle blends ready for sale in March. Each season I release a candle duo which have been crafted to connect us with the season at hand and support our emotions and wellbeing during that particular time of year. For Spring I have created the Return to Green and Wild Wood blends (I honestly can’t choose between them, so I will give you a quick rundown on them both!). Return to Green includes the essential oils of Geranium, Lavender and Neroli; this one is a fresh and floral scent which will really encourage calmness and foster the creativity that spring brings along with it. Wild Wood includes Cedarwood, Rosewood and Palmarosa, a beautifully grounding and earthy blend, this one really celebrates the new life rising around us and supports our ability to accept both inner and outer change during this highly potent season.
And lastly where can people find you and your shop ?
You can find me and my online store through my website www.thesmallestlight.co.uk or via Etsy . I love to connect with people and chat via Instagram @smallestlight so please do come on over there and say hello!
Thank you so much for talking with me Laura, It has been so fun to learn more about the botanical world and especially how tied in it is with the changing seasons . I hope you enjoyed reading folks, go snd check Laura out her candles are beautiful and I am already eyeing one up thjat i think will make a wonderful Mother's day present for the ladies in my life .
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