“ Manufacturer: Laura Ashley / Type: Table Lamp „
This was part of my Christmas gift from my hubby, because I've wanted something more substantial (and pretty) to use as part of the dinner table setting and general household use - we like candles! Although we have a faithful old candelabra, our house is very draughty and the candles blow out easily, so I was really drawn to the hurricane lamp design of this Laura Ashley model because it would not only be more effective against our indoor draughts, but would also make the lamp useful for having meals out in the garden in the summer (weather permitting)!
***** What it is *****
* A cream coloured two arm candle holder with decorative florals trailing along the arms. There are two glass hurricane lamps, with fluting-type shape, which clip around the candle holders, to protect the candles from draughts and knocks.
* HWD: 45; 31; 12 CM (max)
* Sturdy circular base, which is covered in a rubber-like material, to help add stability.
* I'm not sure of what the actual candle holder is made of, but it is a metal type, which has been painted cream. The fact it is metal means that it feels very solid (quite substantial in fact) and is less prone to
being easily knocked.
***** What we've found .. *****
Looks: Good, both when it is being used and not. It's certainly decorative enough to have on your table / mantelpiece even if you're not into your candle-lit dinners - it could certainly be used to accessorise a room if you wish. The arms & base are easy to wipe clean, so don't let the cream colour put you off!
When in use, the candle holder looks very effective. Depending on what other lighting you have in the room, the glass of the hurricane flutes can be quite reflective both of the candles or other light sources, which means it can give quite an attractive glow. I actually find the light from 'plain' candles to be too bright at times but the glass flutes add a subtle diffusion of the light which I actually find to be a bit gentler on my eyes.
Use: Ok, there are good and not so good points to this ....
We were quite surprised to find that the item did not come boxed, when we bought it in the Laura Ashley shop: I'd assumed that because of the fragile, glass components that it would be safely packaged - I can only guess that if you buy this candle holder from an online source, then it would have to be boxed for protection. However, my point is that I don't know if the item comes 'assembled' if you get it in a box. For us, the three items were separate - candle base and two glass hurricane lamps, so a small amount of assembly was required: we had to put the glass hurricanes onto the arms of the base.
Now, this does not sound tricky but, my goodness! The glass lamps slide onto the candle arms and are attached by two little 'spring' clips which are fixed around each actual candle holder (just visible in the item picture). In theory, you pull the springs in towards each other, put the hurricane lamp into place and then release the clips which, now back open, hold the glass lamp in place. My husband tried doing this first, but his hands are so big that it made it impossible - we really thought that he was going to end up breaking the glass lamps before we'd even had a chance to use it. I took over and thankfully with smaller hands was able to complete the manoeuvre - but it wasn't easy and I too felt that I was going to end up breaking something.
Still, you'd think that once you'd done this, the matter was sorted, but of course when using long candles, they burn down and sometimes on subsequent lightings the candle may only be a couple of inches long, which means you have to be careful about re-lighting - it's not safe to lower your hand into the lamp to light the candle, nor does it feel safe to take the glass lamp off, light the candle and then do the manoeuvre with the clips to try to get the glass lamp safely back on - not with a naked flame close by. Our way around this has been to buy the extra long matches and turn the holder onto its side and light shorter candles that way.
Additionally, what happens when your candles are burned all the way down? It's necessary to take the whole of the glass lamp off, remove the remains of the candle and replace - all of which looks like a simple sentence as I write it but, trust me my friends, is far easier to write than to do. This is not helped by the fact that if you let the candles burn right down, it's very tricky to get the remains out of the little holding cup - we always need an extra implement of sorts to help welly the remains out, so you'd be best advised to replace the candles when there's still a bit left to burn - wasteful I know, but far easier to make the changeover (until you come to the clip kerfuffle of putting the hurricane lamp back on that is)! On a happier note though, I use these short remains in the old candelabra to avoid the waste.
One more issue we have noticed when using this lamp is that, particularly when you are relighting half-used candles, the glass hurricanes can become quite sooty inside. Now this can totally add to the aesthetics of a shabby chic dinner setting, but does mean an extra cleaning job every so often. Of course the soot does come off easily with a rinse or wipe so it's not a major cleaning task, just something to be aware of alongside the difficulty in getting the lamps on and off each arm!
We do enjoy this item and I do like having it (although I'm a very 'Little House on the Prairie' kind of girl so this lamp does have a natural appeal to me)! It does look good on the table and can be a real feature if you use silver or cream taper candles in it. However, as described, it can be a bit of a pain to change the candles over - my husband actually wants to cut the clips off so that the lamp can just be lifted on / off and the candles lit easily, but I am worried that this will affect the overall stability of the lamp and whether the glass could just then fall off - especially as we all know how clumsy I am ....! So, perhaps also beware that this item can also invite some interesting domestic discussions!
Value for money? I would not have paid full price for it (we didn't) because it's too much for a decorative item and if I'm paying that kind of money for a practical item I'd expect it to be easy to use and not this much faff to get the lamps on and off. That said, because we got it in a pre-Christmas event it was a very reasonable price which we have definitely had plenty of value from already.
If you like your Laura Ashley / Shabby Chic / nostalgia type items that are purely decorational, then I'd recommend this item because it does look stunning. If, like me, any addition to your home has to be practical as well as pretty (not sure I actually applied this criteria to my hubby, hmmm) then you'd be best to be aware of the niggles we have found with it, particularly if you are buying online. If you can, I'd recommend that you visit an outlet which sells these so you can try out those clips and see for yourself! Try for a sale event, because I wouldn't recommend paying the full price (£32) for this! So, although I love this hurricane lamp in itself, at least one star has to go, I'm afraid!