Product Review: KLEIO Candles

kleioHave you ever read a history book or watched a historical drama and dreamed of going back in time to know what the past was like? Since time travel is still something from science fiction, we can only experience history through one sense at a time. There are tons of historical costume designers, musicians who specialize in tunes from the past, dedicated caretakers who work hard to preserve homes from the past, and cooks who want to experience what past delicacies tasted like and understand the diets from centuries long ago. The cooks get a general idea of what kitchens might have smelled like, but what about the average history nerds who want to understand what pleasant scents the past might include? How can a casual history nerd experience a sensory journey from the past? 

IMG_20221204_082356_721

Look no further than KLEIO, a small United States business that wants to give its customers, who they refer to as “time travelers,” a sensory journey into the past through their custom-made candles. They are named after the Greek muse of history, Kleio (or Clio), their emblem. The face of Kleio faces the left to honor the past. 

IMG_20221204_082356_912

Now I know what you are thinking, why review candles? What does this have to do with history books and the past? Here is the cool part about KLEIO. They do more than just take random scents from the past and make candles. Instead, they work with historians and historical institutes to create unique experiences for their time travelers so that they can enhance the history learning experience.

IMG_20221204_082357_239

I would like to thank KLEIO for allowing me to enjoy this extraordinary sensory journey. I was blown away by how these candles and packaging were, and I couldn’t wait to dive into the past. 

IMG_20221204_082357_028

The time capsules are black and gold cylindrical containers, with one side having the gilded Kleio image. On the reverse side is a piece of parchment with the corresponding writing style with a “sealed” date to complete the illusion of a time capsule. Each candle is wrapped carefully in tissue paper with a key corresponding to the era. Once you open the tissue paper, you are greeted with a lovely black and gold stopper with the words “Unlock History” etched into the material. The candles are encased in gilded glass vessels with a unique emblem corresponding to each candle. 

Now that I have attempted to describe the packing for the time capsule candles let me explain what candles I received and what my sensory experience was with each candle. For the candles inspired by books, I have included my book reviews on the books. 

sweet cacaoSweet Cacao

Scent: Ancient cacao, chocolate, Mesoamerican vanilla bean, and copal resin. 

The Sweet Cacao candle was made in collaboration with the Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute to create a sensory journey to ancient Mesoamerica and their ancient rituals dedicated to cacao. It is a complex, decadent cacao scent that transported me to a time and place that I was unfamiliar with, but it was thrilling. It shows the importance of cacao in the past, especially to Mesoamerica and its culture. 

If you would like to learn more about the Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute and their research, you can find more here: https://www.chocolateinstitute.org/

secret archivesSecret Archives

Scent: Resin Incense, ancient scrolls, and sacred papers.

The Secret Archives candle collaborates with author and historian Sandra Vasoli for her latest novel, “Pursuing a Masterpiece.” In the book, Vasoli’s modern-day protagonist, Zara Rossi, visits the Secret Archives at the Vatican Library and discovers an incredible mystery. This candle is comforting and reminds me of my childhood in a library and falling in love with studying history. 

If you want to read my review of “Pursuing a Masterpiece” by Sandra Vasoli, you can check it out here: https://adventuresofatudornerd.com/2022/12/01/book-review-pursuing-a-masterpiece-a-novel-by-sandra-vasoli/.

my dearest friendMy Dearest Friend

Scent: Caramelized sugar, cinnamon spice, nutmeg, freshly baked bread, buttercream, vanilla bean, and almond. 

The My Dearest Friend candle is for the American Revolutionary War enthusiasts in your life. It reminded me of my childhood and the biography I read years ago called “Dearest Friend” by Lynne Witney. This candle was so comforting, based on a bread pudding recipe that Abigail Adam used regularly. I can just picture Abigail making this recipe for her family and her husband, John Adams, as he is helping form the foundations for the United States of America. 

Fun fact: The writing on this candle’s time capsule is Abigail Adam’s handwriting. 

download (1)Bowes-Lyon

Scent: Ancient tapestries, ancestral books, and black tea resin. 

In collaboration with historian Gareth Russell for his latest biography, “Do Let’s Have Another Drink: The Singular Wit and Double Measures of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother,” Kleio’s latest candle is the Bowes-Lyon candle. Based on the scents from Elizabeth the Queen Mother’s childhood home, Glamis Castle, this candle transported me to a Downton Abbey-style castle. It felt like I was sitting in the drawing room reading a book while the Bowes-Lyon were discussing Elizabeth becoming the Duchess of York. 

If you would like to read my review of “Do Let’s Have Another Drink: The Singular Wit and Double Measures of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother” by Gareth Russell, you can find it here: https://adventuresofatudornerd.com/2022/12/13/book-review-do-lets-have-another-drink-the-singular-wit-and-double-measures-of-queen-elizabeth-the-queen-mother-by-gareth-russell/

Final Thoughts:

Overall, I found my KLEIO experience immersive and so unique. Each candle had its signature style and gave me a different sensory journey. I thoroughly enjoyed having a KLEIO candle next to me on a side table while curling up with a good book and a cup of tea. This is a perfect gift for any history lover in your life, of yourself,  especially if you want to experience the past from the comfort of your own home. I cannot wait to see and smell what new sensory adventure they will take their time travelers on next. 

 

If you want to explore KLEIO’s catalog or know more about their products and collaborations with the vast history community, check out their website: https://kleio.global/home

 

Book Review: “The Time Traveler’s Guide to Elizabethan England” by Ian Mortimer

Have you ever read a history book and wondered what life was really like for those who lived in the past? To understand a time period and the motives of the people of the past, we have to understand the structure of their society. How they understood things like class, sex, violence, government, and religion is essential for us to understand what separates us from our ancestors. What they ate, what they wore, and where they slept also give a unique insight into the time period. It can be a difficult undertaking to figure out all of the different aspects of the past connect and to present it cohesively, yet acclaimed historian Ian Mortimer has embraced this challenge head-on to tackle one of the most complex periods of the past; the Elizabethan era. His love letter to the Elizabethan age entitled, “The Time Traveler’s Guide to Elizabethan England” is a delightfully imaginative guide to the past.

There have been numerous books about the lifestyles of past eras, but what separates those books from the one that Ian Mortimer has written is his writing style and the imaginative descriptions that he included. Many writers give you the facts without the fluff. Mortimer has written this book as if you have stepped back in time and you are seeing the Elizabethan age with your own eyes. It is a treat for all of the senses. To engage the reader in such a way is not an easy feat, but Mortimer does it seamlessly.

I think we all have a vague idea of what the reign of Elizabeth I might have been like. After all, it was known as the “Golden Age”, so it must have been a time of opportunity and great providence for the people, no matter their social standing. Or maybe not. As Mortimer explains, this “Golden Age” was a varnish for a reign that was filled with its own set of trials and tribulations, very similar to what we experience today. Sure, the problems are different, but we can relate to the people of the past because they are human problems. We all deal with things like diseases, where we live, what we eat, what to wear, religion, entertainment, and education. Yet what makes each era unique is how we address these issues.

To see the Elizabethan era, which was on the precipice of the early modern age, in the midst of great progress was a joy. Obviously, this would not have been a time that modern readers would like to have stayed for an extended visit, but it was simply a fantastic guide for those who dream of the past.

I don’t usually share quotes from books in my reviews, but there was something that Mortimer said at the very end of this book that was too poignant not to share.

“History is not really about the past; it is about understanding mankind over time. Within that simple, linear story of change and survival, there are a thousand contrasts, and within each of those contrasts there is a range of experiences, and if we put our minds to it, we can relate to each one. “(pg. 325)

I picked up this particular book on a whim and I am truly glad I did. It gave me a deeper understanding of the Elizabethan age and what it meant to be Elizabethan. Although we are separated from these people by centuries, their experiences and ours are similar. We are all humans trying to get by each day the best we can. If you have ever wanted to know what the past was really like for those in the Elizabethan era, either for your own personal enjoyment or for research, I highly recommend you add, “The Time Traveler’s Guide to Elizabethan England” by Ian Mortimer to your own personal collection.

Book Review: “Timeless Falcon- Volume One” by Phillipa Vincent- Connolly

53298476._SY475_Have you ever wondered what it would be like to travel into the past? You could interact with your favorite historical figures and truly understand what they were like. You could dine like a king or a commoner, dress to impress and experience everyday life. There would be risks involved, but any history nerd might jump at the chance to explore the past. One lucky history student named Beth Wickers discovers that a ring in her professor’s office allows her to travel back into the past to visit her favorite historical icon, Anne Boleyn. Can Beth help Anne to survive the dangerous Tudor court of Henry VIII? Follow Beth’s adventures in Tudor England in Phillipa Vincent-Connolly’s first historical fiction novel, “Timeless Falcon- Volume One”.

I would like to thank Phillipa Vincent-Connolly for sending me a copy of this book. I was a bit skeptical at first about a historical fiction novel that involved time travel, but it did sound intriguing so I decided to give it a try.

We are first introduced to Beth Wickers as she is experiencing a typical day at her university, studying and attending lectures by Professor Marshall. She finds herself going into Professor Marshall’s office where she finds an extraordinary ring that allows Beth to go back in time, to 1522. There, she finds herself in the colorful home of the Boleyn family, Hever Castle. It all seems like a fanciful dream, that is until Beth encounters the legend herself, Anne Boleyn.

While their first encounter is indeed memorable, I do have some concerns with it, especially when it comes to the time travel idea. My main concerns are that Beth mentions to Anne that she is from the future and she allows Anne to handle objects from the twenty-first century. This is probably me just being nit-picky, but as someone who is a fan of the idea of time travel, I do have issues when a character from one time period flat out says that they are from the future to someone from the past, not to mention allowing them to interact with objects from the future. My understanding is that with time travel, those from the future should be inconspicuous, but in this case, it does work.

Besides the logistics of time travel, I found this story rather enjoyable. It is a charming tale of when a 21st-century girl is thrown into the Tudor era. Her interactions with the past and how she copes with it all is thrilling as you wonder if she will ever get back to her own time and if she can help those who she holds dear. I love how Connolly creates two believable worlds and a protagonist who is so relatable. Beth’s interactions with her family and friends in her time paralleled the interactions with the Boleyn family. I loved how the Boleyns seemed like another family for Beth; Thomas Boleyn welcoming Beth into his home, kind Lady Boleyn, her complex relationship with the ever-charming George Boleyn, and her friendship with Anne that truly lasts centuries. We also see Beth interacting with other famous figures like Jane Parker, Mary Boleyn, Thomas Wolsey, Katherine of Aragon, and the big man himself, King Henry VIII.

I was not sure about this novel when I first read the description because of the time travel element, however, I think it was a delightful read. I think Beth was such a relatable heroine for so many fellow history nerds who would just want to protect their favorite historical figure from any harm. This book will make you question whether you would make the same decisions that Beth does and whether you can protect the integrity of the past. If you want a historical fiction novel about the Tudors that is fun and unlike any novel you have read before, check out, “Timeless Falcon- Volume One” by Phillipa Vincent-Connolly. I am looking forward to the next volume to see how far Beth will travel into the past.