My Avon obsession tightens its grip. I am helpless to resist and at seven quid a bottle, I don’t want to.
Avon Rare Pearls is my latest purchase. I bought it after reading the notes that were in it, and sniffing the Avon brochure scratch’n’sniff page,- so not much to go on. However, this distinctive daywear is worth a punt and I’m jolly glad I have a bottle.
The bottle itself has an opaque pearl coloured glass body and an angular top that looks like glass but is plastic. It goes happily alongside my cherished bottle of tuberose heavy Avon Rare Platinum.
So what does it smell like?
Well, it opens with green notes and florals straight away. There’s a kind of mustiness that I rather like. It’s similar to the scent of a bouquet just before it goes past its best before date: you know, floral, vegetal and overly rich just before the flowers conk out and die.
Actually the notes are rosewood, honey, plum and pepper, with magnolia diving in before they’ve quite finished their number. It’s the honey that made me think of flowers just before they go off. It’s actually a lovely smell that can fill a room.
The middle is all about the magnolia: a big, clean, white, flower. It’s creamy and soapy without going into heady tuberose territory-which is no bad thing in my book but it’s not everybody’s cup of tea.
The base is musk, patchouli and sandalwood, but really that just provides a milky, musky backdrop for more magnolia. This is a green, soapy, floral musk. What I smell doesn’t really match the notes: It’s nicer than I thought and has a pleasant fuzziness like a cosy blanket. This is perfect for work and should pass the commuter test too. I’m ever so fond of my seven-quid bargain!
I bought my 50ml bottle of Avon Rare Pearls EDP from my lovely Avon Lady Jill. It’s also available online. The price I quote was correct at the time of publishing and may vary, but there are usually special offers on. Opinions are my own.
Off the top of your head, how many pin numbers do you need to remember? How many passwords and usernames? How many social media accounts do you have? How many text messages do you need to respond to? How many emails remain unanswered?
The digital age has done us all huge favours, such as Netflix and Facebook. But there’s a downside isn’t there? The digital age is both a privilege and a curse.
The cost of living has rocketed, house prices have gone insane, roads are congested, everything is conducted via a screen and more seems to be expected of us these days. Our modern lives are tough. No wonder relaxing has become a life skill that many have forgotten.
Which brings me nicely to the new range of fragrances from Sarah McCartney at 4160 Tuesdays. Yes, that introduction was a bit of a transition, but if you nodded even once, then you’ll know where she was coming from with this collection: “Our Modern Lives.”
Alongside creating perfumes (usually on Tuesdays, hence the name), Sarah is also a yoga teacher. She knows how to stop the white noise.
Our Modern Lives is intended as a soothing balm to your soul. There’s a scent for when you need to look away from the damn screen (after you’ve read my blog, of course) and scents that uplift, energise and revitalize, without you having to go to a spa or anything. I would call them Mood Scents.
Here are my impressions of them, and at the end I’ll tell where you can get hold of them. They’re not expensive either. By the way, you can mix them all up if you like and make your own blend.
Butch and woody are two words that I would use to describe this, but they would also make good names for a duo of male strippers. The woods are dark and rich with lots of amber. It might be Butch and Woody (hi guys!) but it is, like all scent in my opinion, unisex, as are all of these fragrances
Tricky to type, but gorgeous to sniff. This starts off with a crystalline vodka scent and smells as pure as an icicle. It reminded me a little of Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Celestia, so if you like that, you might like this too.
Creating scent out of solely natural ingredients post IFRA bans and regulations is a bit like riding a unicycle whilst crossing the road, knitting and saying your five times table. But that’s not your problem to worry about. When you feel like screens are sucking your eyeballs out of your face, switch them off and sniff these.
This is beautiful. There are red berries and raspberries and roses. Rather than being like candy, it reminded me of my childhood and of cherries. It may give you different emotions and memories, but I am sure it will evoke happy thoughts.
Of course, there’s going to be orange in this, and there is, but there are also neroli (steam distilled orange blossom), peaches and a hint of beautiful geranium. This may be my favourite.
This gave me a boost of feel good citrus, like freshly squeezed orange juice, but also something else that I couldn’t initially put my finger on. Then it hit me: what goes with fresh orange juice? Fresh coffee! Genius. I can smell the narcissus in this one too, giving you a little posy of flowers to go with your juice and coffee.
As you may know, green is my favourite genre so I was bound to love this one, and I do. It’s so green it’s even got spinach in it, not that I could smell it, unless you count the sort of lush damp vegetal scent that hovered in the background. This has lime and mint and green mandarin essential oil. Do you know what? After ten minutes, I could smell spinach. This is beautiful and foresty. The Popeye muscles are up to you.
You may recall my recent gushing reviews about Aquamarine Waves. It’s working nick name was Sea Goddess prior to its launch.
This is a marine scent with no cucumber and melon accord- that would be too easy and lots of people have aloready done that. Not here, no Sir. Sarah used seaweed to get this right. She did filter it out afterwards, you’ll be pleased to know.
Blue Screen/Blue Horizon- Perspective
Equally good on skin or in the air around you, this is designed to aid meditation. We spend too long on screens, and it’s not always our fault in a digital dependent society. Many people use screens for their work and that goes round the clock now. This beautiful scent helps you to look up and see the blue of the sky instead of the screen. Frankincense, lavender, vetiver, mint and eucalyptus all help to transport you somewhere else for a bit.
Indigo-Into the Night
This is the strongest and richest in the collection. Indigo has definite 4160 Tuesdays fingerprints over it. This is the smell of that 3 a.m. Cognac when you can’t sleep- yes, there’s cognac in it but please don’t drink it, no matter how good the party was. There’s something dark and slightly rubbery about this one. It reminds me of cannabis and vinyl records. No bad thing. There’s also osmanthus absolute, cedarwood, rum and leathery labdanum.
It’s a mood in a bottle: after all, 3 a.m. is often called the darkest hour of the soul.
This is a crowd funding project and it’s still possible to bag your swag by following this link. Personally, I reckon they should come in phials like a pencil case so you have a colour for every mood. It would be hard to stop at one. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have mood swings, mood slides and a mood roundabout in your head. My samples were kindly sent to me by Team Tuesdays and Sarah, for which, many thanks. Opinions are all my own.
Today, in my local House of Fraser fragrance department (they really should name it after me by now), my eye was attracted to a bottle of coral pink juice. Thinking it was some sort of playful fruity floral for “The Youth”, I almost didn’t stop, but then I saw it was a bottle of Elie Saab Le Parfum Resort Collection. Well, I had to stop and drench myself in it, didn’t I?
The intersteing thing about flankers is that some flankers do not resemble the original in the slightest ( Dior Poison -vs-Dior Poison Girl, anyone?) and some smell like the original, but with a different top note. This one falls into the latter category.
The opening notes are full of tropical fruit and flowers. It’s playful and summery and rather lovely. There’s mandarin, frangipani and fruity pink pomegranate. It would please the youngsters as well as the picky fortysomethings (who, me?). However, the top phase lasts about an hour, and then it’s Elie Saab Le Parfum again. That is to say, the fruit disappears and it’s all about the white flowers and the patchouli. Now, if you like Elie Saab Le Parfum, this won’t be a problem for you, but if you don’t, it might be.
I rather like it, but I wouldn’t see a need a to own both, due to the similarities. I’ll leave you to decide about that one. The juice is REALLY coral pink, though.- very cute!
How about you?
What’s your take on flankers? Do you like it to resemble the original or be completely different? Or do you just follow your nose? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.
I love fragrance and all things that smell nice. Now that I’m 47 I need good skincare or I end up looking like Zelda from the Terrahawks. Combine those two things into one and you have a happy Welsh bunny with glowing skin.
Recently, my dear scented chums at the PerfSoc (or the Mothership as I call it) sent me a Discovery Set with a difference. There are no actual perfumes or fragrances in this set, yet every item is scented. My greedy eyes popped at the scented hand cream- I have a serious hand cream fetish. I recently went around the house Kondo-style rounding up hand creams and found nine. Oops.
The Perfume Society asked me for my opinion on the Scented Skincare set, because unlike my children, they listen to me and don’t argue that I’m unfair and that it’s not even dark yet. Sorry, I digress. Tough day.
So here you are, my dear chums and fellow fans of good smells. This is a round up of this rather splendid set, which retails for £22 despite being worth about £75. By the way, if you know anyone who is getting married, this makes a fantastic honeymoon present or hen weekend gift.
What’s in the bag?
Firstly, the set comes in a stylish bag with a rather lovely message on the front “be confident, be kind, be beautiful”. Couldn’t put it better myself. Right. I’m going in.
Aromatherapy Associates Renewing Rose Body Cream40ml (normally £38 for 200ml)
This was my absolute favourite. The scent of roses was stunning: good old fashioned garden roses-none of your modern rubbish. This scent stopped me in my tracks. I’d wear this just for the smell alone. I could still smell pretty wisps of roses as I went to bed.
Sukin Detoxifying Clay Masque100ml – full size product (worth £11.49)
This comes in a little tub that gives you enough for several generous face pack sessions. I haven’t used it yet, but I will say that I found it very difficult not to eat it. It smells like the most delicious marzipan and even touching it feels good. I can’t wait to get stuck in but it will definitely be when the husband and the kids are out or I’ll be all over Instagram, and not in a good way.
Weleda Pomegranate Body Lotion20ml (normally £22.95 for 200ml)
Trust Weleda to come up with the goods. This beautiful lotion smells lightly of pomegranate and the delicious thick lotion leaves a beautiful subtle scent trail whenever you move.
MOA Fortifying Green Bath Potion 10ml (normally £27.50 for 100ml)
I couldn’t get the lid off because I stupidly tried all the hand cream first. Today, I finally managed to unscrew it and have a sniff. It smells divine. It comes in a glass phial and the scent is bursting with green tea and mint and maybe green grass. It’s very refreshing and perfect for Spring.
Aurelia Aromatic Repair and Brighten Hand Cream7ml (normally £28 for 75ml)
The scent was divine and the cream sank into my fossilized hands and made them look human again. The smell was terrific and lingered around for a good few hours. It’s all lavender and herby citrus. Gorgeous.
This Works Sleep Plus Trouble Shooter10ml (normally £35 for 120ml)
This gentle spray not only has anti-aging properties but is also supposed to aid sleep thanks to its beautiful aromatherapy scent. You can spray it on your collarbones and shoulders for a revamped décolletage (well, we live in hope), and a good night’s sleep. Bonus points for giving me a nice smelling pillow the following morning.
Balance Me Restore and Replenish Face Cream 15ml (normally £40 for 50ml)
I slathered this on before bed and looked as if I had slept for 12 hours in a dewy meadow. My skin glowed this morning. My cheeks were like two peaches and I didn’t look exhausted like I usually do first thing in the morning. I’ll be getting more of this for sure!
Rosalena Rock & Rose Face Oil5ml (normally £42 for 15ml)
A posh looking facial oil that goes a long way thanks to its little pipette style applicator. The scent is very natural and realistic, though not particularly strong. I haven’t tried it as a facial oil yet as I was covered in Balance Me Restore and Replenish Face Cream last night ( see above), but this one’s next.
Ultrasun Face25ml (normally from £20 for 50ml)
I could tell you how great Ultrasun is or I could tell you a funny anecdote about a stupid person with pale skin, freckles and slightly gingery hair who decided to go to California in August, for goodness sake. This person, er, we’ll call her “Pam”, used Ultrasun on her face but nothing on her legs. Her face was a healthy glowing pale beige on her return, whereas her legs were still two different colours 18 months later from severe sunburn. That “Pam” is so stupid.
Amie New Leaf Deep Pore Exfoliating Polish25ml (normally £5.95 for 100ml ) Haven’t tried this one yet but I did squeeze a bit out of the tube to smell it. It has a very light floral scent and a reassuringly sandy texture to really slough those skin cells off. I’ll be doing the old hot flannel treatment very soon.
You can buy this wonderful bag of treats from the Perfume Society website. Mine was kindly provided by The Perfume Society and opinions are my own.
Over to you
How about you? What’s your favourite non-perfume fragrance? Do you have a favourite body lotion or face cream? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.
Ever since Liz Moores launched her perfume house, Papillon Artisan Perfumery in 2014, I have been impressed, nay, blown away by the calibre of her fragrances. My superlatives have overtaken each other on each new launch and this fifth scent, named Dryad, was much anticipated by me and the many cohorts of Papillon fans. To say that I was not disappointed would be a vast understatement. In fact, I feel that this was made just for me, even though I know it wasn’t.
My favourite scent genre is the mossy green chypre. It’s hard to get the good ones these days, especially since IFRA made everything so safe that the fragrance industry suffered casualties in the purge. Green chypres have never quite regathered themselves into that glory-days retro mustiness that I am always seeking: like the end of the rainbow, it eludes me the nearer I get. Well, there’s a happy ending to my quest and that rainbow has ended in my lap with a pot of gold, because that’s how I felt when I sprayed my sample of Dryad.
Dryads are mythical wood nymphs, whose lives are intrinsically entangled to the tree they inhabit. When the tree dies, so do they. There’s a wonderful message in Dryad. In all the hectic noise of modern life, it is time we slowed down and inhaled the moss and the leaves and listened to the birdsong, because when the trees die, so do the dryads.
It didn’t surprise me at all that Liz Moores chose this as the name of her fifth fragrance: after all, she lives a sylvan existence nursing broken wings and wrangling stripy tailed lunatics in the heart of the New Forest. So the big question is of course, what does it smell like?
What does Dryad smell like?
Dryad opens with bergamot and oakmoss and a mass of herbs. I find it rare for oak moss to come out straight away: it’s usually a base note, sneaking in at the end. Dryad, though, is all about the oakmoss and it’s pretty much the main figure in this beautiful composition. The greenery is all encompassing: musty, mossy and mysterious, like a dark route through a forest. There’s fauna as well as flora: deer tongue absolute has been used to beautiful effect. Deer tongue has a herby/tobacco accord and it certainly makes its presence felt. This is everything you find in the woods.
The middle phase reminded me of genuine, vintage, Dior Diorissimo: that classic green ily of the valley chypre. You can still buy Diorissimo of course, but it’s not the same as the slightly dirty version I smelled from a vintage bottle a few years back. That bottle of Diorissimo gave me a whiff of sweaty, talcum powdered inner thigh.: not so much a sexy smell, as a womanly smell. It’s no sterile baby powder, but powder it most certainly is. The nymph tries out a ladylike phase before returning to her feral roots.
The base of Dryad, whilst never wavering from the chord I’ve named Oakmoss Major, is a little bit Guerlinade, but greener. There is narcissus and jonquil (a very vernal dafodilly posy) and they merge and move around like weather clouds from one phase to the next.
My overall sign off from Dryad is a picture in my mind of green damp woods, overrun by thick moss, a delicate glove from a vintage handbag, a whiff of Diorissimo and a fluffy talcum puff. Oh, and the warm flanks of a startled faun.
It’s not quite launched yet, but I’ll update when it is. You can currently buy Papillon fragrance from the website or from branches of Les Senteurs in the UK. Check the website for further stockists in Europe, USA and Canada. My sample was very kindly sent to me by Liz Moores, and opinions are my own. Papillon has an excellent sample service. You can read my reviews of the other Papillon scents here: Anubis, Tobacco Rose, Angelique, Salome.
Dear lovely friends, I’m going offline for a few days so please don’t think I’m ignoring you if I leave a comment unacknowledged. I’ll be back online on Saturday with the results of the Kitten Fur giveaway and some exciting news about the latest fragrance from Papillon Perfumery. My sample arrived today from the lovely Liz Moores and I can’t wait to review it.
When I need a floral that does what it says it will do, I go to Yardley. They don’t add vanilla and caramel and syrup: they showcase the flower and add a few notes that enhance it. I already have Yardley English Rose, Yardley April Violets, Yardley English Bluebell and Yardley English Lavender in my collection. They are brilliant alone or layered over other scent that you want to “flower-up.”
Freesia is a naturally light spring time flower, and is often hard to pin down in a fragrance. However, the addition of a chorus of stars makes this an all singing floral treat.
English Freesia opens with, as you might guess, freesia but this is surrounded by refreshing eau de cologne style citrus notes. There’s bergamot, lemon and mandarin as well as a touch of lavender, giving this a unisex appeal, although I am yet to persuade my husband that wearing freesia to the office is a good idea.
The middle notes carry spicy ginger and pepper. You might not think they would go, but actually the ginger goes particularly well with the freesia, helping this airy fairy note to stay grounded.
The base is both woody and floral, although I wouldn’t really call it sandalwood. The mandarins are still there at the end, as is the ginger. All in all, this opens as a citrus, segues into a spicy floral, and beds down into a combination of the two. Longevity wasn’t as good as I might have liked, but I have ways of making it last ( sleeves, hair, lapels, moisturised skin).
For the price, this is a steal. I will probably buy a bottle to add it to the Yardley bouquet on my dressing table.
Funnily enough, my children and I were halfway through Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox when this arrived in the post. I have been reading this book since the mid-seventies and it kept me company during several commutes in my twenties too. This utopian story in which handsome Mr Fox overcomes adversaries brings both adults and children back to this classic story. Also, it marks the only time in my life when I ended up with a bit of a crush on a charismatic fictional wild animal.
As if she can read my mind, or hear the funny voices when I read in Farmer Boggis’s voice, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz posted me a trio of samples all the way from Boulder Colorado: you know, where Mork and Mindy lived.
So what does Foxy smell like and is it as fantastic as Mr Fox himself? Well, read on.
Foxy instantly smells like a vintage scent. I don’t know how Dawn does this, but usually you have to buy fragrance that’s about 70 years old to get this kind of ambery aged lushness.
The amber smells almost rusty, which seems appropriate when you think of the name of the scent. There are flowers, although they don’t dominate. I detected jasmine and spiky, peppery carnation. There are spicy herbs and a little heat from ginger, and a fun note of apple brandy, made by and drunk by Farmer Bean from the book, who drinks only cider and never eats.
The final flourish has definite notes of oak moss mingling with the amber, to give this an animalic, rustic heat. I am often to be found with my face buried in the flank of a sleeping cat and this warm fuzzy finish certainly reminded me of that. The big star here though, is amber. It’s there at the start, in the middle and at the end. The amber adds a cosy warmth and showcases all the other notes within its embrace.
Foxy is fantastically Foxy. Let it transform you into a twenty first century fox with a retro twist and a crafty twinkle in your eye.
You can buy Foxy from the DSH Perfumes website, which also provides an excellent sample service. My sample was from Dawn herself, for which, my warmest thanks. Opinions are my own.
Am I your favourite perfume blogger or what? I am so generous that I am giving away a full 30ml bottle of Kitten Fur by Library of Fragrance. If you want to know what it smells like, check out my review right here.
I will announce the winner on April 22nd, so you have seven days. to get your entries in. UK only please.
NB- Please do not enter if you live outside the UK and Northern Ireland as I won’t be able to send it to you if you win, and I would hate to disappoint you.
Here’s what you have to do:
Just tell me your pet’s name. If you don’t currently have one, tell me the name of your last pet.
Also, you could, if you like, do these nice things for me:
Being obsessed with both cats (I’ve got three) and fragrances (I got eleventy hundred), I was delighted to receive a bottle of Kitten Fur fragrance from my good friends at The Library of Fragrance.
Now, I always go a bit clucky when I talk about my boys as kittens, but I distinctly remember the kitty smell of them when they gingerly emerged from the cat box for the first time. I couldn’t wait to cuddle them but when I buried my nose in their fur, I couldn’t help wishing that I hadn’t. There was a whiff of cat pee, kitten bums and dribble. Don’t panic, reader, I can assure you that Library of Fragrance Kitten Fur has none of this.
As cats gradually gorw out of kittenhood, their cleaning gets more fastidious. Ask my sleek black 9 year old, Ruby, who cleans herself up to 57 times a day. The scent of her is more subtle now, but in a dark room I could pick my black cat out just by sniffage, and it is now that we are more in Library of Fragrance Kitten Fur territory.
My nose tells me that this has tonka bean in it. A light combo of vanilla and almond, this is much more like the cuddly, comforting scent of a cat. In fact, I often think my cats’ fur smells faintly of plain biscuits, and this is captured perfectly.
There are also musks in here, but not the animalic civetty musk that smells “dirty good”, it’s more like a clean but nevertheless distinct musk. The overall feel is one of a cwtch in a bottle. Cwtch means “to comfort” in Welsh and it’s more of an uninhibited wrapping round of arms than a polite hug.
Kitten Fur is like a warm, fluffy gourmand scent that purrs. It made me feel very soppy indeed. Spray liberally, and….rest.
Watch this space for a Kitten Fur giveaway!
Library of Fragrance Kitten Fur is available from The Library of Fragrance website. My bottle was sent to me by The Library of Fragrance, for which, warm thanks. Opinions are my own.