Botanical Bliss

We launched Essence & Alchemy last week, our first aromatherapy wall full of fresh flowers, calming scents and pure essential oils.

We take a look behind the scenes and ask Lesley, founder of Essence & Alchemy a few questions about how she set up her business.


Wonder Wall 2-026

Wonder Wall 2-054


Why & how did you start your business?

We’ve been renovating our home, a run down 1860s detached stone house with a 70s extension since August 2012. I started making candles not long after we moved in.  I’m not sure why or how it came about but once I started I couldn’t stop.  I became obsessed with creating the best eco-friendly and natural candle that I could make.  I’ve always loved the use of aromatherapy and how it can heal different emotional and physical states.  I’ve been blending essential oils since I was young, whether it was a potion for the oil burner to help me work or aromatherapy bath/body oils. I’m not a big fan of artificial lighting so being able to combine my love of aromatherapy with natural candle-light is my perfect alchemy!

Starting out was quite difficult as we didn’t have any heating and a very basic kitchen with no worktops and an ancient gas cooker.  I used to melt the wax on the stove in a make-shift bain-marie, blend my essential oils on the kitchen table and then pour the candles and pop them in the oven on low so they wouldn’t set too quickly in the cold. It took lots of experimenting.  I came up with Flowers, Roses and Hibernate, Unwind followed with Purify and Tranquility. I started selling at fairs and a few shops via Instagram and the business has grown organically from there.


We love your designs and the packaging is beautiful too, can you tell us a little bit about your inspirations for not only the fragrances but the branding too?

Thank you! I receive a lot of positive comments about my branding which is so rewarding because it’s so personal to me.  I’m from an environmental science background and my initials are LAB so it made sense to start from there.  I wanted the brand to reflect me, who I am and my passions.  The packaging all had to be reusable and the card board tubes made from recycled card.  The design was inspired by retro laboratory glass ware and embossed labelling.  ‘Essence’ because I use natural essences and ‘Alchemy’ because I combine natural materials and transform them into beautiful products.  Each candle has a triangle on the label, which is the alchemical symbol for fire and the atmosphere mists have the symbol for air, so everything links in.

Inspiration for the fragrances comes in different forms, either a scent, a memory, a favourite essential oil or the effect I’d like to achieve. ‘Roses’ was created because we live at Rose Cottage and our garden is full of beautiful ancient roses and their natural perfume is incredible.  I would love to use rose absolute essential oil but it’s too expensive and precious to burn.  I combined 3 rose oils so ‘Roses’ was quite an easy name to come up with! Similarly ‘Flowers’, as it contains ylang-ylang which is known as the Flower of Flowers.


How did you find making your Supermarket Sarah wall? 

It was great fun making the wall.  I knew what style of wall I wanted to create and I was so pleased that my friend and talented photographer Helena Fletcher was there to help.  Helena has a great eye for detail and always gets me and what I want to achieve.

We used the bedroom in the 70s part of the house, which has the exposed stone end wall from the old house.  I knew I wanted to use this room for the wall, so it was all systems go leading up to the day of the shoot. The room was re-plastered and then we painted it white and the oak strip flooring was reclaimed from the dining room and relaid up there by my husband Dan.

All the product shots have been taken by Helena during different stages of the renovation, which I love because they are a reminder of our journey.  Most of the props in the wall shot are salvaged, borrowed or made from reclaimed wood and the flowers were from the garden.


Which product is your favourite on the wall and why?

Oh that’s always a difficult one and changes depending what mood I am but I would have to say the large Purify candle, I love the scent and it clears my head and helps me focus.  I’m pretty busy at the moment so it’s helping me a lot right now.


What are your future plans for Essence and Alchemy?

I’m always designing and testing and there are some new Essence + Alchemy products coming soon. I love collaborating with other makers or organisations for limited editions or bespoke projects. The limited edition Festive candle will be released in November and I’m working on a few other winter and spring products.  I’m moving into a larger workshop in November so I’m very excitedly planning the new laboratory!



Supermarket Sarah ROOM @ John Lewis is now OPEN

Its been an absolute privilege and pleasure working with John Lewis and beside such awesome design talent, Tom Raffield, Timorous Beasties and Antoni and Alison, to create my room in store as part of the fantastic new refurbishment for the Home department at John Lewis.

THANK YOU to all who came by for the Launch yesterday!  If you missed out do not fear – the room is now OPEN until 25th September and will be part of the London Design Week.  Do check it out in store at John Lewis Oxford Street, third floor or shop online at supermarketsarah.comJohnLewis-29JohnLewis-28

Tom Raffield, Timorous Beasties, Antoni and Alison, Sarah Bagner

Tom Raffield, Timorous Beasties, Antoni and Alison, Sarah Bagner





Supermarket Sarah x John Lewis – LAUNCHES TOMORROW !

Supermarket Sarah’s ROOM for John Lewis LAUNCHES TOMORROW Thursday 3rd September featuring our favourite John Lewis products.

The room will be open to the public until 25th September during store open times and will be part of the London Design Festival 

The wall will be live on where you can click to buy!

Please join us at:

John Lewis, Third Floor, 300 Oxford Street

Date: 03.09.15

Time: 6.30pm -9pm


Bags of fun!

Anna Beam lives and works in East London but is originally from Baltimore. She draws on her background in embroidery and fine art to create bold and beautiful homeware and accessories that are carefully constructed by hand, using a mix of traditional ‘slow’ craft techniques and new materials. We just love her Mondrain/Memphis style!

Click on her wall to find out more about her designs and to purchase one of her handmade delights.

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mini plants

mini Triffid sculptures


Pink and grey notebook set £6.50

Perfect Prints!

A chat with Laura Nevill

Can you tell us a little bit about the inspirations behind your prints?

With my most recent prints a lot of the inspiration came from looking at traditional style tattoos.  Although I am yet to get inked myself I love looking at the designs, I use these as a basis to create my own illustrations and I love all the details in the old school traditional style.

Any exciting  plans for the Summer?

I have just got a new job helping out in a litho printing studio which I am really excited about as it’s great to get to see the the product go from an idea to a finished product and to gain more insight into foiling and letterpress.  I expect I will also be enjoying the sunshine, if it sticks around, from a pub garden or two.

What was the most interesting aspect of your Supermarket journey?

I loved creating my wall!  Being able to contextualise my work and see it as a whole collection was really nice.  It was a challenge to find a good spot to photograph and curate a wall without actually putting any nails into my mums newly painted living room wall, but in the end it this gave me a lot more options and I’m really pleased with the final look.

If you could describe Supermarket Sarah in 3 words what would they be?

Original, exciting, yummy!

Who are your favourite designers and why?

I love the work of Malika Favre, it is so different from the type of work I do and the way she uses such simplicity to create such beautiful graphic images amazes me.
I have long been a follower of Ella Masters blog and love her style of illustration and the quotes and imagery she uses.  Her posts are always very positive and have always been helpful when I  felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere, that actually if you just stick at it good things will happen.

Which 3 guests would you invite to your dream dinner party?

I would invite David Hockney because could listen to him for forever taking  about the way he sees the world.  I would also invite and Tyler Blackburn as my date.

Who would you love to see create a Supermarket Sarah wall?

I think it would be great to see a Supermarket Sarah wall from Lazy Oaf.  I am a big fan of their clothes and all their promotional videos are amazing, I think they would create a really colourful fun wall.


check out Laura’s wall here





Emma Nicol’s Seaside Supermarket!

Oh we do like to be beside the seaside! Summer has arrived at Supermarket Sarah, thanks to Emma Nicol, for creating a wall drenched in sunshine and light! We can almost smell the salty sea air.

Emma is a homeware designer based in Portsmouth. She has created this super seaside themed wall for us to share her “LOVE of all things seaside and to hopefully put some summer sunshine into your lives!’ Enjoy Emma’s seaside town inspired lampshades, embroided purses, pictures and pillows and watch her wall come together in her video she made for us!




Supermarket Sarah @ Monki

It’s has been an absolute pleasure working with Monki to create their Windows Summer Campaign 2015 across their 90 stores worldwide.

Incredible to watch my sketches come to life and scale worldwide! I can’t believe I managed to get a cat and a dog in both walls!

Thank you also to the awesome photographer Anders Kylberg @ Acne Photography

and Idha Lindhag, Susanna Brunetti, Yacco Vijn, Will Tomlinson, Oliver Stallwood, Irina Kikina, Artem Mazurchuck, Susanne Bagner Ebony Bizys and Ai Aoki for the Store Window photos from London, Sweden, Paris, Tokyo, Russia, Amsterdam and Berlin.

and Lynnie Zulu -such a pleasure working with your gorgeous prints!

…Here’s how it all came together! :)

both walls are still live on










WINDOWS ARE GO! Monki windows across their 90 stores worldwide are live!

Monki Windows in Carnaby Street London

Monki Windows Stockholm

Monki Windows in Carnaby Street London

The second Wall is the Lynnie Zulu wall!

Lynnie Zulu Wall

Lynnie Zulu Wall
Monki Windows - Lynnie Zulu -London Carnaby Street

Monki Windows - Lynnie Zulu -London Carnaby Street

Monki Tokyo

Monki London

Monki London

Monki Tokyo
Monki Lynnie Zulu

Monki Lynnie Zulu

WALL IS LIVE ONLINE!Wall online on the Monki Website

Wall online on the Monki Website

Wonder Wall Hangings

Jo Waterhouse’s stunning wall is full of her beautiful printed homeware. Jo works from East London Printmakers and Family Tree on Exmouth Market. We love the boldness and scale of her work and how versatile her designs can be around the home.

Jo describes her love for scaling it up  ‘I love working on a large scale and the idea of large multi-functional cloths really appeals to me. I love to always move my house around and having a cloth to hang up is an amazing way to instantly change the feel of a room. The cloths can also be draped over chairs, beds or windows.’

So if you’re looking to spruce up a white wall and are in the need for something unique and handmade then look no further. Jo’s work is available to buy online, just click here to check out her designs.




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