Marks and Spencer Florentyna has been there for so long that it was almost off my radar. I tried it many years ago, declared it old fashioned and never bothered again. Until today. With a new attitude, I took another look at Florentyna, and if you’ve ruled it out, as I did, then I encourage you to re-sniff with new eyes- or should that be nostrils? Because, my dear fellow sniffalots, Florentyna is actually pretty good stuff.
For years, I was convinced that this was mainly a rose scent. I’d even heard people say it smelled similar to Estee Lauder Beautiful. It sort of does-ish, a bit. Slightly. In fact, I went into my nearby House of Fraser and tried Estee Lauder Beautiful for comparison. I would say they are the same family, but not close relatives.
Florentyna opens with big, white, creamy, feminine Gardenia. Almost immediately all the other white flowers burst in then: jasmine, orange flower and lily of the valley. The base note is musk, but a clean laundry musk, not a sexy animalic thigh-sweat musk. This is so respectable it should wear pearls.
Oddly, tuberose, the Queen of the white flowers, is missing. Now this is actually an appropriate omission in the case of Florentyna, because, as much as I like tuberose, it can take over, and when it’s really strong, it can have that vegetal/celery note which I love, but not everyone does. Here, all the “naice” white flowers are included. That’s a deliberate misspelling by the way- you’re saying “nice” in a genteel voice with your pinkie finger sticking out as you hold your bone china tea cup.
The background and frame of these white flowers is a beautiful and very noticeable white soapy note. It’s good old fashioned pure white, very posh, thrice milled luxury soap, and along with the bigwhite flowers, it smells terrific.
Thinking about it, it reminded me of an eighties fragrance- remember how Dior Poison was all giant tuberose and Givenchy Amarige was all big jasmine and green soapy tobacco? Well this is massive too.
As for longevity? Well, three squirts should last you an entire weekend.
Florentyna is worth a second look and worth a lot more than its small price, but please keep that price where it is M&S!
Stockists: You can buy Florentyna from Marks and Spencer. I also recommend Florentyna White, which I reviewed here. Florentyna is available at prices starting at £3.50 for 10ml.
My Avon blog posts are always, almost without exception, in my top three most viewed posts. Along the way, I’ve picked up a bit of an Avon obsession, so you could say it’s a win-win situation.
What Avon does particularly well is tap into the trend of the moment with scents that are bang on the money whilst leaving you with some in the bank. They remain almost unbeatable on price and even if you don’t like many of them, Avon never enters rip off territory. They give women current on-trend fragrances at accessible prices.
Avon Luck is an excellent example and this is what I’ll be reviewing today.
Avon Luck is not my personal cup of tea but there is a lot to like about it. When it comes to the kind of fragrance that’s flying off the High Street shelves right now, Avon Luck could fit right in, but for a single figure price. My 30ml bottle of EDP was only £4.50 and comes nicely presented and boxed. ( see pic). I just can’t find better value than that.
The notes are as follows:
Top notes– bergamot, red berries, oranges Middle notes: white flowers and night blooming cereus (a cactus flower that smells like vanilla) Base notes: sandalwood
Reading the notes, you might expect a sweet citrusy opening, some creamy white flowers and a woody finish.
This is a vanilla scent from head to toe. It opens with vanilla, almost to the point of almonds and playdoh, and has big, creamy, borderline oriental white flowers, and well, it pretty much stays that way. If you like Paco Rabanne Olympea, Juicy Couture, Viva La Juicy, Victoria’s Secret Angel Gold, or Versace Eros or anything else with big vanilla and jasmine sambac (there are too many to list, honestly) then you will love this adorable bargain.
I bought my 30ml bottle from my Avon brochure. If you don’t have a lovely Avon Lady like I do, try Avon UK or Avon.com. Online it’s currently on offer at £9 for 30ml, but you get another travel spray for just £2.
Today is National Chocolate Day. If you live in our house, it will feel no different to any other day.
It’s almost impossible to ignore the avalanche of gourmand scent that has hit the streets and wrists of the nation in the past few decades. Personally, I blame Thierry Mugler Angel, if blame is the right word. I first tried it back in 1992 and I regard it as the Grandmother of the chocolate explosion. Since then many have paid homage with varying results, and some have gone rogue and come up with new angles on chocolate and got it just right.
There are of course many different types of chocolate, from white to dark and everything in between. I’m going to try and avoid listing the pralines and caramels here, because that’s a much longer list. I am therefore going to list what might feel like a small selection, but you can bet that I’ve tried every one. If your favourite is missing, it’s only because I haven’t tried it and not because I don’t rate it.
Thierry Mugler Angel
This was a shocker back in 1992 when everyone was recovering from a decade of DiorPoison and Calvin Klein Obsession worn in great quantities. The vastly popular L’Eau D’Issey was launched the same year, all pure and full of healing-vibes. Mugler came along, bashed it on the head like an iconoclast and unleashed his vanilla, chocolate and patchouli throughout the world. It’s still going strong 25 years later, which is no mean feat in Perfume Land.
Cartier Baiser Fou
A beautiful white chocolate scent that smells like Milky Bars and lipstick. I absolutely adored this fun scent and far preferred it to the original Baiser Volé. You can check out my review here. I also listed it as one of my recommendations for wedding guest scents too.
DSH Dark Moon
Genius perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz uses a bitter dark chocolate to great effect in Dark Moon. It’s almost like a naked vanilla bean with no sugar, with an added sharp edge that lingers between gourmand and wood. Add in the nuances of red wine notes, and you have my perfect lunch. Dark Moon is like the best 80% chocolate: it has more in common with the coffee bean than a hot fudge sundae.
Sarah Jessica Parker Covet
This is a daring blend of dark chocolate and lavender, which confuses my palate no end. Do I eat it? Sniff it? My brain goes haywire. This was by no means her most popular scent but fumeheads in the know hold it in great esteem. It’s discontinued now but if you have a branch of Savers near you, I found a 100ml bottle of EDP for only £14.99 very recently.
Agent Provocateur Fatale
This is an absolute bargain and taps into the trend of big patchouli, big flowers and big chocolate. You can read my review here. It’s currently available from allbeauty.com at under £15. Many Fragrantica users compare it to Lancome La Vie est Belle, but that’s a whole other ball game.
Al Rehab Choco Musk
I bought one of these in a bundle after Christmas and a friend of mine loved it so much I gave it to her. After all, I can safely say I have enough to be able to miss one. It has many notes, but the only ones that really came through were vanilla, chocolate and musk. This is so cheap it’s laughable, (£2.99) but it has some serious longevity and is pretty good quality. Being a rollerball, this is ideal for your handbag or for layering with other scents when you need to choc up the choc factor.
Thierry Mugler Angel is widely available. Try The Fragrance Shop for their refill service and lovely staff.
I often find Yardley scents off the beaten track on the High Street and this is a shame because they deserve to be centre stage. If you go into Boots for example, there’s a wall of testers (all locked up these days. Humph) and a totally separate shelf around the corner for the lower budget scents, including the Yardley range. Needless to say, I spend more time in this aisle than I do pressing my nose agaisnt the locked glass shelves of testers.
Yardley Royal Pink Diamond is an excellent fruity floral that deserves to sell like hot cakes on a cold day. Let’s start with that darling little bottle: it’s cute as a button with its fancy lid and pink juice. I can see that it’s designed to appeal to the, shall we say, under forty-seven age group, but I really like this and am sorely tempted to add it to the many bottles on my groaning dressing table.
Yardley London Royal Pink Diamond opens with tempting summery fruits: peach, cassis and mandarin. These are juicy and clean, rather that sickly and sticky.
Early on in this, the cedar pops up and adds a few woody notes to the melange of fruit. Just as I’m getting used to fruity and woody together, along come the peonies and orange flower. There is also pink pepper, which is pretty much a ubiquitous note in fruity florals and is a tiny sweet berry, not a spice. The woodsy base seems to get bigger and bigger until the cedar pretty much takes over. Personally, I don’t mind this, but you might. However, there’s a lovely clean white musk note that turns up later and hangs around for a while., keeping the flowers and fruit company as they fade.
At under £20 for a 50ml bottle, this is a great gift for someone else or for yourself, and I’m a big believer in gifts for oneself!
I feel quite protective about the Yardley name. So many um…under forty sevens might think of it as a “Nan-brand” but it takes talent, stamina and innovation to have been making fragrance since the 1770s and still be going strong. Yardley London Contemporary Classics has produced some of the best single note florals ever. I swear by Yardley April Violets,Yardley English Lavender ( which Marilyn Monroe wore, fact fans- not just Chanel No 5) and Yardley Jade. I also loved Yardley Bluebell and Yardley Freesia. They’re reasonably priced and you can wear them alone or layer them for a little bouquet on your skin. What can I say? I’m a fan.
If you wear this perfume and someone says, as they probably will do, “You smell nice, what are you wearing?” you will then answer “four one six oh Tuesdays (OR four thousand one hundred and sixty Tuesdays- both are correct) Mrs Gloss’s Lemon Sherbet” and you may get looks, because the compliment giver was probably expecting something like “Lemon Dream” or “Citrus Sparkle.” When you’re a 4160 Tuesdays fan, you get used to giving admirers a gob full of whimsy in answer to their compliments, but that’s how we roll.
Mrs Gloss’s Lemon Sherbet came about after Sarah McCartney (all her fault, again) collaborated with the hugely popular Facebook group, Mrs Gloss and The Goss. The group is very friendly and exchanges beauty and fragrance advice in a warm environment where women bare their souls and post make up free selfies and new hair dos. It’s like a bunch of cyber sisters, basically.
A Mrs Gloss splinter group spent the day at the 4160 Tuesdays HQ and made a scent called Mrs Gloss Made Me Do it, which was named by Sarah because Mrs Gloss made her do it. Willingly, I should add. There were no ligatures or blackmail involved.
The result was such a success (I haven’t smelled it so can’t comment) that offshoots, or flankers were created. One of them is Mrs Gloss’s Lemon Sherbet and I am wearing it today.
Here’s the Goss on Mrs Gloss (Lemon Sherbet version)
Mrs Gloss’s Lemon Sherbet opens with the kind of lemon that seems to go in two directions.
Firstly there’s a fizzy sherbet scent, which will be familiar to those who like the sweets, but shortly after, limes come in and make this a refreshing lemon/lime drink with ice cubes on a hot day. As this citrus note melts down onto your skin, it melts into a citrussy vanilla. Now, I like this because the vanilla is warm without being sweet. The lemon and lime stick around, but they’re softened and their edges are fuzzy now. The scent is refreshing but not cold: clean but not sterile, sweet but not sticky. The lasting impression is a musky vanilla with that lovely hint of lime keeping it summery. Perfect for Summer. Or Winter. Or Autumn. Or Spring.
Stockists- You can buy this from 4160 Tuesdays here, along with many other treats. Prices start at £15 for a 9ml EDP purse spray. Samples are also available for a small fee. Prices correct at time of pressing “Publish”.
My sample was included with an order for which, many thanks. Opinions are my own.
Avon Dreams is known as Prima over in the USA, so if you’re over there, you can read this as a Prima review. Same thing.
Avon Dreams is a delightfully pretty scent that almost immediately reminded me of Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely and Narciso Rodriguez For Her. I discovered Dreams in the last Avon brochure when for the princely sum of £8, I purchased a 50ml EDP, a 10ml EDP and a gel nail polish called Sheer Love, which is a sort of ballet slipper pink. That’s what I call stretching your perfume dollar.
Dreams opens with a bunch of white flowers and acetone. Don’t be put off- this is the note in Jean Paul Gaultier Classique that reminds me of the inside of ladylike handbags. I think this note is actually pear. Pear drops always remind me of nail polish. There is allegedly plum, but I don’t spot it.
The middle phase is all about the flowers in a huge big posy: jasmine, centifolia roses and iris. The effect is impossibly feminine and ladylike. The roses are especially noticable. What I like best about this is that there’s no cupcakes or vanilla ice cream here- all the sweetness is straight from the florist.
After an hour or so this becomes a white floral musk with a hint of dusky woody notes. There’s just the right balance of patchouli and white flowers to give this a clean white musk finish that’s wonderfully full bodied. You can see why I thought this resembled SJP Lovely with its white flowers, woods and musk.
Avon Dreams has pretty good longevity- I tried this on in the morning and after just two small top up squirts at lunch time, it’s been on all day.
Interestingly, over on Fragrantica, one reader claims that this has changed over the last few years, with too much cedar being added. At the same time, I thought that Dreams strongly resembled Avon Rare Diamonds, which is now discontinued. I can’t help wondering if there’s been a mix up in the lab. Then again, I don’t care if there was. Dreams is wonderful. I could insert lots of puns here about dreams come true etc, but I won’t. You’re welcome.
Dreams is available from Avon UK, or Avon USA as “Prima”. Prices change often, but are always very reasonable indeed. Bottle is my own as are my opinions.
My dear Avon Lady Jill gave me a little perfume sample when she dropped off a late item yesterday. I’m used to this now- Avon launches wide and often, which is fine by me. However, when Jill said “This one’s called Imari” I stopped in my tracks. “Just a minute,” I thought, “that one’s only available in the USA.”
Dear reader, and fellow Avon fan (probably if you’re reading this) it is true. Imari is coming to the UK.
This has got me very excited because if they can bring Imari to us, then what else can they do? I have always thought that if Avon did a heritage range of old favourites, then the people in my age group, i.e. late forties (but we look younger) would snap them up before you could say Foxfire. Dare I hope for Eau Givree? For Odyssey? For Charisma? My wishes are not impossible dreams. They did after all, bring Timeless back when customer clamour deafened, and jolly good it is too.
But did you know for instance, that the USA Avon brochure has Sweet Honesty, Odyseey, Candid and Night Magic? Dare I hope we’re getting them too over here in the UK?
So what’s Imari like?
Well it opens with citrus for a clean, bright opening. There’s a nice bit of soapy aldehydes in the beginning, before this lurches into rose and patchouli territory, with some big noticeable white flower notes. It’s all rounded off with a bit of musk, incense and amber. Despite calling itself a chypre, this lacks the mossy note that qualifies it as one, but I’m not going to nit-pick, because I want more. There is a touch of vanilla in the finish, but its warm and cosy rather than sweet and cakey.
Avon has a particular talent for channelling into what’s hot on the high street and providing its own, more affordable take on current trends. What delights me about this one is that Avon is looking beyond its younger demographic. After all, they have all the vanilla and fruity florals and praline combos they could ever dream of. What joy then, to get something for me and my tribe of fellow grand dames of a certain age (but look younger). Imari was originally created in 1985, and we know how great all those fragrances were.
Avon Imari will be in the next brochure and you can queue behind me if you like. It won’t be expensive. Avon UK, if you’re reading this, please bring the others over too!
Because I’m nice and because I have more than one, I thought it only fair to run a giveaway for this fabulous fragrance. Missguided Babe Power is a juicy burst of a scent: full of cherries, vanilla and jasmine. You can read my recent review here.
Not only does it smell good, but it comes in a can like an energy drink. Don’t worry though , it’s a spray not a splash. As you can see from the photo it’s a generous 80ml bottle of eau de parfum.
How to win
The name of this scent is pretty divisive. Some like it and some don’t. So here’s the question: if you could invent your own fragrance what would you call it?
Ts and Cs
Please be aware that due to postal regualtions I cannot post fragrance outside the UK, so to avoid disappointment, please only enter if you are UK based. I’m as frustrated as you, but them’s the rules.
Send me your answer by Twitter @iscentyouaday, or Facebook or in the comments below.
The closing date is five days from now so Sunday the 11th June 2017 at midnight. I will announce the winner on Monday 12th June.
Welcome to the second post in the MoodScent4 collaboration! We are four perfume bloggers based France, Holland, England and Wales who will be posting on a different joint subject every couple of months. Each time we will individually pick a selection of five or so fragrances to fit a particular mood or occasion. You’ll find links to the other blogs at the end of the post.
We hope you have fun reading our different choices and adding your own in the comments.
Wherever you are in the world, you’re bound to have noticed that it’s wedding season: unless its currently Monsoon season where you are (i.e Wales), in which case, please read this later in the year when the sun’s out.
With a number of wedding invites thudding on mats (I’ve had three this year), we thought it only fair to help you out with an informal guide to what scent to wear if you are a wedding guest.
As a wedding guest, there are certain protocols one must stick to. For example, there’s the obvious blunder of wearing all white to a wedding, or wearing attention seeking outfits that may attract more looks than the poor bride gets. Also, as a wedding guest, this is no place for racy cleavage and skimpy skirts. If you’ve invited either of the Hadid sisters, you may want to pop a Post It note in their invitation. Call me old fashioned, but I’ve seen a bag of oranges wear more string than they had on at the Met Gala (hoiks bosom and clutches pearls).
Scent wise, the rules still apply, at least in my book. I wouldn’t wear anything loud or experimental that makes everyone look round in church for the wrong reasons. Neither would I always play it safe and stick with airy florals (although they certainly have a place).
Here then, are my own personal mainstays when I am invited to a wedding.
Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps
I wore this to the wedding I attended on Saturday. It’s a beautiful classic floral that will be familiar to many, yet in my opinion, has never been overexposed. It’s gentle, pretty, delicate and warm (dash of amber in the finish). This is one fragrance I will never allow myself to be without. Here’s my review.
4160 Tuesdays Raw Silk and Red Roses
With a name like this, this beautiful scent just cries out to be worn at a wedding, and it suits the occasion perfectly. This is my usual Go To scent for weddings but I couldn’t find it yesterday. Like Virginia Woolf, my box of minis and samples needs a Room of One’s Own. Raw Silk and Red Roses smells so deliciously of old fashioned roses, yet it has depth and facets that lift this away from any other rose scent that I have tried. You can read my review here.
Cartier Baiser Fou
I fell hard for this after not being enamoured of the original Cartier Baiser Volé. Where Baiser Volé was all about the lilies and not in a good way, Baiser Fou is the fun, more playful sister. Smelling like a cross between fresh raspberries, Milky Bars and expensive lipstick, this is perfect for a summer wedding where lipstick ends up on everyone. You can read my review here.
Andy Tauer Noontide Petals
I have yet to find anything that smells similar to this aldehyde beauty. It’s bright with citrussy lime and clean soapy aldehydes, but changes throughout the day. By the time the evening party comes around, you’ll be smelling of tuberose, jasmine, frankincense, patchouli and roses. It has the added bonus of giving you the sure knowledge that nobody else will be wearing it. Unless you are going to a wedding full of perfume peeps. You can read my review here.
Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely
This one gets lots of mentions on my blog and that’s because it’s wonderfully versatile, long-lasting, and as girly as pigtails. I adore Lovely. The florals give way to rich creamy woods and patchouli and the whole shebang lasts all day. I spray mine in my cleavage and the back of my neck and I was still catching delightful wafts at bedtime. It’s not overpowering and I guarantee it will go with your dress. For the price, this remains one of the best value fragrances I know. It’s usually around £20 a bottle and I’m wearing it today.
How about you?
What scent do you wear to weddings? Do you have a favourite or do you choose as you go? Do let us know. We’d love to hear from you.
I am chuffed to beans to have three international colleagues to collaborate with. Find out what Tara, Esperanza and Megan all had to say on the subject of wedding guest perfumes. Between us we cover Wales, England, the Netherlands and France, which makes us the last word on European fragrances. We decided.
I’ve been circling this one for a while and wondering how to review it. It sort of does and doesn’t fit into a neat category. It’s sort of a fruity floral and a spicy woody scent. It’s sort of provocative but you could wear it to work without inadvertently turning anyone on. In other words, it has cast its net very wide.
Created in 2004, the Elizabeth Arden Provocative Woman campaign was fronted by my fellow Welshwoman Catherine Zeta Jones. We also happen to be the same age, but the similarity ends there. We won’t get confused as twins anytime soon.
Provocative Woman opens with quince, raspberry, peach, ginger and lotus. The middle notes are apricot, freesia, papaya and orchid. The basenotes are hinoki wood, amber, red amber, sandalwood and cedar.
So you can see my problem. All the fruit from the fruit salad is in here, but with added spice and heat from the ginger and a warm woody finish. It’s hard to pick out the individual notes. It’s sort of a fruit Pimms accord with a touch of chai tea . There’s a lovely clean whiff of freshly washed hair in among the jelly but the flowers struggle to come to the fore.
All in all, I can’t help liking this crowd pleasing effort, even if it is a little bit of a mish mash. I didn’t used to be a fan of fruity florals but I smelled so many different ones that I was won over, and this one has won me over too.
I think the youth market is missing a trick with this fruity number and may well rule it out as being a “Mum” perfume. In fact, the fruitiness is fun and light and even playful. The woods don’t get too dark or deep and the faint, faint flowers offer a little flourish of girliness. I wouldn’t call this provocative, but it’s certainly womanly. It’s also a massive bargain. My bottle is a 30ml EDP and lasting power is not bad at around four hours.
Elizabeth Arden Provocative Woman is widley available. Try Amazon UK and Half Price Perfumes to name but two. Opinions are my own, as is this bottle.