Bright Sparks

With the advent of winter solstice we can start to say goodbye to the darkness and celebrate a little light coming back into our lives!

An astronomical phenomenon marking the shortest day of the year, winter solstice (the 21st December for the Northern Hemisphere) means that the days will gradually get longer and the nights shorter.

Across the globe, people will be celebrating the event with festivals and rituals, including the famous gathering of druids and pagans at Stonehenge and the Iranian festival of Yaldā, in which participants gather to eat, drink, read poetry and to celebrate the victory of light and goodness over dark.

Sunrise at Stonehenge

Sunrise at Stonehenge

But what if we didn’t have Daylight Saving Hours? The 10:10 Lighter Later campaign called for the government to run a three year trial in which the clocks shifted forward an hour throughout the year, brightening our days and making sure the sun was out when we woke up. 10:10 estimated that this change would mean we could cut carbon emissions by at least 447,000 tonnes per year, create over 60,000 new jobs, reduce crime, and save lives on the roads.

Bill Booth via Wikimedia Commons

Bill Booth via Wikimedia Commons

There really is no substitute for natural light, but for those times you do have to switch on a bulb, try thinking green. We’re all about renewable energies at Blue Patch. In fact, we’ve pledged to invest 100% of our profits into sustainable energy and community projects.

With only a finite supply of (pretty destructive) fossil fuels available, we need to embrace alternative sources. While the use of solar, wind and geothermal energies may have once seemed like an overly-optimistic pipe dream, technology and expertise has advanced so much that these energies are now viable options for most households and businesses.

Ecotricity, who provide 100% Green electricity and Britain’s greenest gas offer ethical pricing and a frack free promise. With just one tariff for all of their customers and award-winning service, Ecotricity are trying to wade through the jargon and red tape of other energy companies. Building on their fantastic product, this energy provider is re-investing profits in establishing new sources of green energy – in excess of £256 per customer per year over the last decade.

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Ecotricity providing green, ethical and reliable energy

Everyone should share in the benefits of clean electricity and Abundance offers the chance to  invest in renewable energy projects.Their democratic finance cycle enables people to fund the building of a secure, sustainable UK and see amazing returns in an environmental, economic and social capacity. How many opportunities are there to make money by doing good? Supporting renewables now will mean that it won’t be long before we can all be more green.

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Invest in renewable projects through Abundance

With more and more designers becoming ethically and environmentally aware, style and sustainability are no longer mutually exclusive and there are some amazing lighting products available on Blue Patch.

Drws y Coed (door to the woods) make these fantastic lamps using plywood and local Welsh timber. Using digital technologies to achieve micro manufacturing techniques, sustainability and design is at the heart of each lamp. The beautiful pattern work filters the internal light to create an effect that mimics the sun shining through woodland.

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Stunning lamps from Drws y Coed

Welsh business Humblesticks embrace colour, pattern and humour in their irresistible upcycled furniture and lighting. Transforming old demijohn and gin bottles, these retro lamps with a modern twist would brighten up any room, switched on or not!

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Retro upcycled demijohn lamps from Humblesticks

Taking it back to basics, there has never been a bigger market for candles, but although they harness a natural form of illumination, many candles are in fact harming the environment. Paraffin wax, found in many cheap candles, is a petroleum by-product of crude oil which emits a surprising amount of pollution when burned. A more environmentally friendly option is natural beeswax or plant based wax. Both of these produce less pollution and also burn much longer than paraffin wax, making cheaper candles a false economy.

We were delighted to discover Essence + Alchemy at the Garden Museum – their clean burning, vegan friendly candles made from natural plant wax are slow burning and beautifully fragranced. Light up your home with her sweet pinecone shaped and woodwick candles!

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Natural wax candles made in the UK from Essence + Alchemy

If you fancy trying your hand at candle making, Filberts Bees’ candle rolling kits are for you. Suitable for anyone from 5 to 105, the candles are made using natural beeswax and will create 4 table candles, 8 tapered candles or 12 mini candles. Using beeswax, a by-product of the hive, Filberts Bees produce a brilliant range of balms, salves, creams and more.

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Candle rolling kits from Filberts Bees


An incredible rate of innovation over the last decade has produced so many alternatives to the traditional bulb and lighting source. This year, we saw the Nobel Prize for Physics being awarded to the scientists behind efficient blue LEDs which enable bright and energy saving white light sources and fittingly, 2015 will mark the United Nations’ International Year of Light.

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Winning the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2014


To celebrate this important year, Cool it Vision is encouraging children and young people to create short videos on the theme of light. The project is open to anyone under the age of 25 and the aim is to share ideas, educate, and give young people the chance to be involved in these important discussions.