As much as I adore long, warm evenings, cocktails on a terrace and floaty summer dresses, there’s something really quite wonderful about it getting darker earlier.  I secretly rather relish the opportunity that winter brings to shun social engagements, don a pair of cashmere socks, unashamedly accept the sofa’s knowing invitation instead and gaze out of the window into the mysterious darkness. Insert cup of tea, thought provoking book and warming, scented candle, and voila, the scene is complete.

Nearly…

 

I like things done properly. With due care and attention. When lighting my candle, a lighter simply isn’t part of the ritual. It’s far more satisfying to strike a match and smell the trace of red phosphorous in the air.

 

Matches are edgy. They live spontaneously on a fine line between resting harmlessly in a box and exploding in a burst of light with indulgently reckless abandon.

These magical little sticks then warrant a bit of attention. So I’ve lined up some matches that have a bit more attitude than the average. Great as gifts, particularly with Christmas around the corner. Even better for delicious nights in…

 

Matches and match strikes from the three designers below can all be bought from Amara.

 

HAY

 

Starting simply, Schneck Zweigbergk has re-imagined the humble match for Danish furniture designer Hay, by combining bright colours with the strike phosphorus as a pattern.

 

JONATHAN ADLER

 

A design brand full of curiosities, this company has created some truly brilliant match receptacles. Quirky yet elegant, these statement pieces made from white porcelain have a base with a frictional surface that can ignite matches. I like these a lot…

THE JOY OF LIGHT

 

This company started from a passion for collecting matches as a remembrance of places visited and good times shared. The matchboxes that they create in their radiant colours and distinctive designs are a most lovely candle-lighting accessory.

 

The Joy of Light is also able to create bespoke box designs.

AERIN

 

Based on the premise that living beautifully should be effortless, Aerin develops curated collections including home décor. Classic pieces, but always with a modern point of view, their match strikers are exactly that.

 

They are all incredible pieces, but a few of my favourites are: Chocolate Shagreen Matchstick Box (top left); Gold Sphere (top right); Lapis Lazuli (middle left); Bird (middle right); Gold Sea Urchin (bottom left); and Emerald Shagreen (bottom right).

 

All of these pieces can be bought at Luxdeco, except the Bird match striker that is also at Amara.

CIRE TRUDON

 

Cire Trudon was founded in 1643, making it the oldest candle-maker in the world. During the 18th century, they supplied the court of Louis XIV, winning the praise of Marie Antoinette and later, Napoleon.

 

Alongside their range of evocative candles, created to tell decadent stories and presented in hand-blown Venetian glass, are long matches, which, wait for it, are lightly scented. Yes. Leave one of these illustrated boxes slightly open in a drawer or study to gently fragrance the surrounding air.

 

These can be bought from Delyss.

LINLEY

 

David Linley founded his eponymous brand LINLEY in 1985 with the aim of designing high-quality furniture. 30 years on and LINLEY now creates bespoke furniture, interiors, collectable pieces, luxury gifts and accessories that showcase the finest British design and craftsmanship.

 

Their matchboxes and match strikes are exactly that. I’ve picked some of my favourites but there is a great selection on the LINLEY website.

 

The matchbox sleeve with a nickel plate can be engraved which will make for a wonderful bespoke gift.

ARCHIVIST

 

Archivist are a home-spun team of artisan printers who create beautiful products using letterpress—a technique of relief printing where the printer sets movable type and images into the bed of the press before inking it and setting the thing in motion.

 

I love their fun, colourful and textured printwork, some of which includes festive designs for Christmas. Archivist has designed both square and long matchboxes.

 

A huge selection can be found at Archivist.

Now cancel all your commitments next week, find a good book, pick your candle and matches of choice and you, my dear, are in for a treat!

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