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I'm currently using a bag of M&S tealights that my mum bought for me, I wasn't going to buy them myself as I thought that they were overpriced (I normally use Ikea Glimma tealights which are much cheaper), however my mum took it upon herself to buy them for me. I have been impressed with the M&S tealights, even though I wouldn't buy them myself as I do feel that they are way overpriced. I decided to go and check out M&S's range of block candles to see how their prices compared to Ikea's (I buy the majority of my candles from Ikea!), as I needed a couple of block candles for two outdoor lanterns that I have. I normally buy the Fenomen block candles from Ikea for my outdoor lanterns. I normally buy the 29cm high by 10cm wide Fenomen block candles, which burn for 95 hours and are £7.50 each. M&S had an extra extra large pillar candle which was 20cm high by 10cm wide, and which stated that it would burn for 154 hours, and which was £7.50. So although the M&S candle isn't as tall as the Ikea Fenomen candles it will burn for longer, and it is the same price. A no-brainer really, so I picked up two. So how do my new M&S extra extra large pillar candles compare to my old Ikea Fenomen candles. Both of the candles are cream in colour, the M&S candle is a slightly lighter cream than the Ikea candle. I'm really not too bothered about the difference in shades though, so long as the candles are cream or white. The M&S candles have a flatter top on them to start off with, the Ikea candles have more of a triangular peak on top. Again this doesn't bother me as I do burn the candles, they are not just for show, so the peak will burn down anyway. I would say that the 95 hours burn time for the Ikea candles is not 100% accurate, I don't get 95 hours out of them, I probably only get around 80 hours as they do tend to burn down unevenly, which I'll come on to next. I've been burning the M&S candles for probably around 60 hours so far and they are just above half way now, so I would say that 154 hours could be accurate. The M&S candles are burning down evenly, they are not going mis-shapen and there is no wax overspill, all the wax is contained within the candle - if that makes sense. The Ikea candles always become mis-shapen as they burn down, and there's always an overspill of wax - sometimes a little bit, sometimes a lot which then gets all over the inside of my lanterns. This then normally means that I don't get the full 95 hours burning time from the Ikea candles, but with the M&S candles burning evenly I will probably get the full number of hours from these. Another difference in the M&S candles favour is the amount of soot that the candles give off; the Ikea candles can give off quite a lot of black soot, and this can leave black sooty marks on the interior glass of my lanterns. The M&S candles seem to be sootless, they don't give off any soot residue whatsoever, and so the interior glass on my lanterns stays clean and clear. I will definitely buy the M&S pillar candles again, in fact I'm going to swap to these instead of the Ikea Fenomen block candles for my outdoor lanterns, I may even try out other M&S candles as well. I guess that I have my mum to thank for finding these, because if she hadn't bought me the M&S tealights I never would have thought to buy my block candles from M&S - I'd have just continued to buy the Ikea ones.
Marks and Spencer 20cm candle I have a lovely tall vase type thing which is designed to hold a candle, so always like to have pillar candles for when they run out. I usually buy smaller candles than this one but when I saw this in Marks and Spencer, I decided to give it a go, figuring naturally that it would last longer than the smaller ones. All of Marks and Spencer candles are made from paraffin wax, have a long burn time and boast minimum sooting, which sounds good to me as I dislike the black marks I sometimes get in this particular glass vase. The candle is packaged in some easily removable plastic, and has a wide information band around the candle which doesn't leave any marks on the candle when I remove it. The candle is tall at 20cm, 10cm width, pillar shape, and a kind of creamy white colour. The fact that it is 10 cm in width means it is nice and sturdy and not flimsy feeling or looking. This is a single wick candle rather than having 2 or 3 wicks like some wider candles I have bought. I do find this easier because when there are more than one wick then they all seem to burn down at different levels. The wick lights easily and fortunately stays out of the wax the whole time the candle is burning. Even when the flame is blown out, the wick stays nice and upright and doesn't disappear into the melted wax meaning I have to scrape it out next time I want to light it. The candle promises to burn for 154 hours (very specific). Whilst I haven't been counting the hours that I have burned it, I have had the candle for several weeks now and do burn it every night for a couple of hours, so I imagine it will hit its target. The candle costs £7.50 and is available from Marks and Spencer stores and online at www.marksandspencer.com There are the usual warnings including: burn away from draughts; never leave a candle unattended,; extinguish if the flame becomes enlarged. Pretty much common sense but I suppose they have to be pointed out. VERDICT... I would recommend this candle to anyone looking to buy this type of large pillar candle. It has no scent which is usual with the pillar candles, but I wasn't looking for a scented candle. It burns for a long time, is easy to light, looks good and doesn't drip wax all over the place. Nice quality candle Thanks for reading Daniela xx