Finlay Bee News

Health and Fitness. That’s so important just now in particular. When we’re in the middle (or maybe just at the beginning) of this global health pandemic, we need to concentrate on keeping ourselves healthy.

At the beginning of this lockdown lots of people promised themselves that they would learn a new skill, perhaps a language, or look to reinvent parts of their lives. Now we’re well in to the 2nd month of lockdown I wonder how many of us have stayed strong and resolute and have made positive steps. It’s so easy to allow things to slip with the very strange pressures that are on us just now, but now it’s time to pause and have a cup of tea, before considering why achievements haven’t been made yet.

Be kind to yourself, but try to establish why you haven’t managed to improve your Spanish yet,  or why you never did enrol for that online course. Maybe it’s a lack of self confidence or maybe it’s the worry that you need to choose the correct thing to do. Maybe you’ve entered an “analysis paralysis” phase and you just can’t think what to do.

One area which we could all do more on is the environment, and what we can do to do our little bit. Remember that we don’t need to be perfect. Indeed the survival of the world as we know it is not about having a few thousand people who are perfect; it’s about having millions upon millions of people who are imperfect. Take single use plastics for example. There are lots of people who want to do their bit but they can’t see how they’re going to break away from using clingfilm for particular things – like putting over dough to rise in a warm place. What alternatives are there to this? Beeswax wraps aren’t best friends with heat so you might feel you can’t use your Finlay Bee Wraps for that. Well, whilst there are alternative ways to prove your dough, we at Finlay Bee strongly feel that you shouldn’t put unbearable pressure on yourselves by trying to be perfect. So if you do have a roll of clingfilm in the house you shouldn’t beat yourself up. Try to do your best by using your Finlay Bee Wraps whenever you can, but when you can’t there are other choices like paper, foil or indeed clingfilm if you feel you don’t have any alternatives. Baking your own bread at home negates the requirement for a plastic bag wrapper which you normally get in a supermarket anyway.

Let’s be kind to ourselves. Let’s get regular exercise, and let’s pamper ourselves a little bit. It’s now time to be happy with ourselves and not to put so much pressure on us that we crumble. Let’s do our bit.

This week I wanted to look at blasting away some myths about bees. They are such wonderfully little things that it’s only fair we get rid of some of the erroneous facts about them!

It’s a common myth that all bees can sting. In actual fact, male bees cannot sting because the stinger is actually a modification of an egg laying mechanism which only female bees have. Even then though, many bee species cannot sting at all. It’s also a myth that bees who can sting, won’t sting at night. That’s not true either – they will sting if they feel they need to protect themselves.

It’s a myth that every bee lives in a hive. In fact only about a tenth of bees are social bees, and even then not all of them build hives. Most bees are solitary and live in their own nests which they build in soil or trees. It’s also a myth that if you block the entrance to a nest then it will kill the bees. In actual fact, that will probably have the effect of making them really angry, and they can burrow out in different directions – imagine if this was a nest in the wall of your house and instead of them flying in and our in a calm relaxed manner, they got really grumpy and burrowed the other way – IN to your house! All of a sudden you have a house full of angry bees! Probably better to contact a local company to address the nest.

All Bees work hard… Afraid not! Many male bees, for example, do very little work. And solitary bees don’t do much work either. It’s only female stingless worker bees along with honey bees and bumble bees that work hard. But they do indeed work very hard.

There are ways that we can help nurture bee populations in our localities. One of the best ways is to grow plants which are rich in pollen and nectar. You can also create “bee hotels” and “bee nests”. Finally you can be alert to bumblebees who are shattered and be aware that you can create a wonderful first aid nectar by mixing warm water and sugar, and placing it next to the bee’s head.

Let’s all pull together to both understand and encourage the humble bee.

I thought I’d blog today about beeswax and how it is obtained.

So, a hive produces honeycomb, and honey is stored within the honeycomb. The actual comb is made up of a number of things, including wax. It is actually quite a straightforward process to render the wax and then it can be used for a number of things – including making beeswax candles, which is one of the exciting new developments of Finlay Bee.

So, once as much honey as possible has been drained from the honeycomb, you can take the comb and wrap it in cheese cloth. Then it’s a case of boiling the comb in water until all the wax has been separated from the other comb material. At this point the waxy water is placed in to containers to cool and solidify.

Once the wax has solidified, it isn’t quite ready. It needs to be heated once again and then filtered to remove any remaining impurities. Once that has been done it needs to be cooled once again and it will solidify. It can now be used for a variety of applications.

We’re delighted that the beeswax which is used for the new Finlay Bee Beeswax candle is sourced from a small bee farm run by a couple who use traditional methods to extract honey manually. There are around 100 cases of bees on their farm, and they depend on honey and wax to make a living. To produce the best pure honey, they live in a mountainous area, far from pollution and big cities.

There is a mistrust of large scale honey producers in China, however we’re so pleased that our family run farm follows good, ethical principles. It is produced without using chemical fertilisers, pesticides or other artificial chemicals, however unfortunately and annoyingly the cost of certifying it as “organic” is too high for the small farm.

While I’m on this subject, some people have questioned why we source our products from other countries at all. The truth of the matter is that we are a family company in the UK who operate globally due to the leverage that Amazon can provide us. So we look across the globe for production which enables us to operate, whilst still maintaining high ethical standards. We build excellent relationships with our producers and suppliers, and pay a premium which is passed on to local workers. At Finlay Bee we believe in offering consumers across the glove better options – beeswax candles rather than fossil fuel based candles, and also Beeswax Wraps rather than clingfilm. In the future we will be developing more, but for now let’s look forward to the launch of our Beeswax Candles in early July.

I wanted to blog today about our fantastic Beeswax Candles which are nearing the end of production. We’re so proud of them and I wanted to tell you more about them.

Firstly, these are beeswax candles, and when I say beeswax I mean that there is no other filling or cheaper waxes mixed in. There are so many candles which describe themselves as “Beeswax” but they have cheaper waxes mixed in. The only other thing in our candles is a dash of honey extract to add some extra celebration of the mighty Bee. This produces an even better scent and allows the candle to be appreciate throughout your room and will drift through your entire house.

We have designed our candles to burn with the maximum efficiency possible. The wick has been carefully chosen so that it doesn’t burn too quickly and that is doesn’t smoke. This means that as the candle burns the flame will naturally become smaller. If you burn your candle for an extended period of time you will find that the flame gets smaller and smaller but just like the mighty Bee, the flame is strong yet small and won’t go out (unless you extinguish it of course!). The scent will still flow from the candle and it will still glow in a beautiful fashion, but it’s just becoming more and more efficient with its burn. If you want a bigger flame, you can just pour a small amount of the wax away and use if for other things – on top of essential oil burners maybe? Also you will find that there will be some wax left at the bottom of the jar once the candle has burned through. This is entirely normal and will allow you to be creative with the small amount of wax which is left over.

Our fantastic candle is designed to bring you the maximum amount of enjoyment and give you the opportunity to create the most wonderful atmosphere in your homes. We hope you will love this candle, and will want to share the love with as many of your family and friends as possible.

We know that wild flowers are hugely important to a wide range of wildlife, however do we know what the term “wild flowers” actually means? We are able to buy “wild flower seeds” from garden centres so what’s actually in there?

On one hand the term “wild flowers” could describe any flower that is growing freely without human intervention. If this were true though it would go against the notion that we could buy “wild flower seeds”. So instead we can regard Wild Flowers as commercially available packs of flowers that aim to replicate flowers that naturally cultivate in wild places such as hedgerows and meadows. The issue, of course, it that many of these flowers have particular habitats which are favourable to them, so it is unnatural for you to find such a full mix of different flowers in the same place. You can get annual wildflowers such as poppies and cornflowers and also perennial wildflowers such as buttercups and daisies.

So why are they so important? Well they provide important habitats for pollinators, insects and other wildlife. They also can improve soil health, improve the quality of water and prevent erosion. They provide seeds and other food for wildlife and livestock, as well as reducing the impact of drought. Without wishing to suggest that anyone of these is “more” important than the others, the fact that over 30% of food crops require pollinators does underline the importance of creating natural spaces which are attractive to bees, butterflies and other flying insects.

Many of us are donating parts of our gardens to wild flower areas, and although this is a good thing, we should be encouraged to research the sort of flowers that might be best suited, and most native to our individual gardens rather than just sprinkling down a mixed pack of wild flower seeds from the garden centre. A good local garden centre will be able to advise further on this.

Finlay Bee was created from a desire to offer products which gave consumers options and choices. We wanted to help you make decisions which were kinder to the world around you. Hence our first product was Beeswax Food Wraps. These are excellent ways in which you can reduce your reliance on single use plastics and still keep your food lovely and fresh. It’s a far nicer way of keeping food fresh and helps you to work towards zero waste. We decided to offer them in 4 different sizes too to enable you to purchase exactly what you wanted rather than have to stick to a single choice of a mixed pack.

At the very heart of Finlay Bee is the sense of responsibility to the world around us, and to use our fantastic little friends Bees to help us with that. All too often as humans we think that we know what’s best and that we can beat the natural world. Well maybe the damage we’re doing to it is testament to the latter, however increasingly there’s a sense that the former certainly isn’t always true. We can and must learn from nature and at Finlay Bee we want to learn as much as we can.

So it’s only natural that we would want to move Finlay Bee forwards and develop a Beeswax Candle. There are a few waxes which can be used in candles as I have previously blogged about. The main eco-friendly wax used is Soy wax, and Soy is brilliant for so many reasons. But Beeswax is different – it’s much more costly, but it produces a beautiful candle which we love.

So what will come after candles? We don’t really know. The climate that we’re, and the global nature of our business means that we need to offer products which are enjoyed by many people. So we’d love to hear your thoughts about what you would like us to create. Please let us know by commenting in the box below or emailing us – customer.service@finlaybee.com

We wanted to blog about our hugely exciting product which is currently in development. As you will all know, we love bees. So it is only natural that we would bring products other than Beeswax Wraps to the market. We are developing a 100% Beeswax Candle product and we are buzzing about it (!) However, we wanted to have a little look at the dark murky area of “beeswax” candles which aren’t entirely made from beeswax.

The thing is, Beeswax is the most expensive wax you can buy for candle use. It’s not manufactured by machines in a factory, it can only be produced from bees. So it’s so tempting for manufacturers to sell blended products to reduce the costs. And whilst there are some additives which can add scents or strength the candles, some irresponsible producers do add other waxes to reduce costs.

Beeswax in itself is a wonderful colour, and produces a wonderful scent, so our opinion at this time is that we do not want to add anything to our candles. We want to bring the purest candle possible to the market and offer people a product that will bring a wonderful piece of nature in to your home. There are lots of potential health benefits from using beeswax candles too, and a quick internet search will bring up plenty of sites which suggest ways in which your health can be improved by using beeswax candles.

The ultimate of course, would be for us to keep our own bees and to make our own products, however that simply is not possible on the scale that we need, which is why we outsource production to trusted colleagues. We are a global operation, but still a tiny family company. We are a small UK business with a dream of helping people all over the world make better decisions, and do their bit to make a difference.

So… right now we are living in unchartered times. So many words are gathering new meanings: We now use the words “Self Isolation” more frequently than we have cups of tea, we now know the dictionary difference between “epidemic” and “pandemic”, and we now have a new found respect for the word “Unprecedented”.

The last word in that list can be described as “never having happened or existed in the past” and no doubt we have used it many times in the past. One way in which many people have used it is to describe the threat to the health of the environment. There is now little doubt in many peoples’ minds that climate change is real and that the threat to the future of the world is very real. People understand this, but the question is what can be done about it. What can the “average person” do? How can we do our bit? How can individuals change their actions or behaviours to make a difference when the problem is so huge?

Well, right now with the global threat of the Coronavirus we are showing that given a world wide health emergency we have it in us to make changes. As many of us as possible are now working from home, and this may be reducing CO2 emission in the US alone by 2 million tons every day, which is the same CO2 saving as switching 75 million bulbs to LED bulbs! Many commentators have suggested that if we can do something about Covid-19 then we should do something about the damage to the environment. But the answer seems quite simple to me – CV19 is happening NOW and people are dying NOW. Our friends, our neighbours. We can all see it happening NOW. Whereas damage to the environment cannot really be appreciated in its entirety by the general population. It’s difficult to grasp. Therefore it’s difficult to know what to do.

It’s up to us, the manufacturers and producers of goods to help people in their decisions. We are living in a global production system and much of what we produce has been on a journey to get to your front door. This is not necessarily a bad thing, and although there are those who will criticise the global system, it is a fact that the global system brings huge benefits. Very few producers are exempt from negative impact on the environment and most producers whether they like to admit it or not, are intertwined with the global production system (think about packaging, fuel sources, printing, design choices etc). But we must give consumers choices and options, even if those choices and options aren’t perfect, to enable consumers to make changes to their actions and behaviours.

It has taken a while, however we were determined to create a fantastic 100% Beeswax Candle which didn’t suffer from the common problems that beeswax candles have such as tunnelling and flickering. We have selected a perfect wick size from over 200 different sizes available and performed many burning tests and the final result is a candle which is truly impressive. We wanted you to have a sneaky week peek right now before we take it to a focus group.

There are many potential health benefits from beeswax candles such as a lower toxicity than paraffin candles, and the fact that they produce negative ions in the air when burned. They also burn with a more natural light colour than other candles so many people find them easier on their eyesight. There’s also the knowledge that these candles have bee produced by those amazing hard working little guys that we all love so much.

The current world wide health issues are certainly a challenge for us right now and it’s likely that there will be a delay in bring this to market, but we are working hard to ensure that this will be a fantastic product that you will love.

In this week’s blog we thought we’d look in to the history of cling film and how it is made.

Clingfilm, then called Saran, was first developed in 1933 and used as a waterproof sheeting for military planes in the second world war. It was then cleaned up a little, the smell and the colour removed, and then began to be used for covering food. It was originally made from PVDC however because of health concerns to do with presence of chlorine, it was reformulated.

Cling film is most often made from PVC, although there are some other options available to manufacturers. It protects food, and can help reduce waste by allowing consumers to store unwanted food in the fridge and reuse it. However there are a number of health concerns to do with the use of clingfilm, mainly connected with the transfer of chemicals from the plastic to the food. There has been some research on the matter however the Health Authorities around the world have decided that it does not pose a significant danger to public health.

More significantly, there are environmental concerns about single-use plastics. Before it breaks down there are very real dangers to wildlife from cling film. It can get wrapped around airways, or be ingested. It can also trap animals who become unable to fend for themselves. Also when it gets in to the oceans some marine animals mistake it for food. Cling film never fully degrades. It just gets smaller and smaller, eventually turning in to microplastics which contribute to huge slicks in the oceans.

At Finlay Bee we recognise that cling film is widely used, however we are proud that we’re providing a choice for people who want to find a more environmentally friendly alternative to single use plastics, by producing Beeswax Food Wraps. We don’t want to nag or guilt you in to changing, however we want to encourage you to do your bit. It’s not about being perfect; it’s about doing your bit.

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