Avon Alpha is a new release from Avon and even in a blind test, I would be able to tell it was an Avon. It has a lot of Avon materials in common, but this is not a bad thing. In fact many brands have a particular in-house accord and its usually down to the particular range of ingredients they use to colour in the fragrances, to use a metaphor.
Avon Alpha is, first and foremost and beyond any question, fruity floral. The opening is raspberry, lychee and blood orange. There are floral notes in the middle, and I would hazard a guess at jasmine leading the gang. In the base there is an interesting ingredient that is getting very popular lately. Cashmeran is a synthetic note and has a “wet cement” accord. It doesn’t smell as weird as it sounds, more like bland wet stone. It’s actually pretty good as a base note in a flirty floral scent like this and just blends into the background and helps the loud notes to do their thing.
Over on Fragrantica (a brilliant site if you’ve yet to venture over) many readers claim that Avon Alpha smells similar to Nina Ricci Nina, Givenchy Absolutely Irresistible and Givenchy Hot Couture. Not a bad comparison, especially at such a low price.
This isn’t may favourite Avon, since I have a thing about Avon Perceive (peony) and Avon Rare Platinum (tuberose) but this certainly holds its own against other high street bestsellers and makes a great gift.
I bought my bottle on special offer from the Avon brochure last month. It was £4.50 for 30ml. You can find it here.
Halloween is not necessarily my favourite time of year, but if I ever told my children that they’d be horrified. So, I go along with it, and I hang round at the back when they go trick or treating (at selected homes so as not to be a nuisance). Meanwhile, for me, it’s a great excuse to have fun with fragrance and add something seasonal to my year-round head to toe black ensemble.
Here are a few ideas in case you want to make your mark on Halloween and add a bit of mystery to your night. Maybe you could play guess the E-numbers with your Haribo Haul? Or wonder why the only traditional Halloween songs are Monster Mash or Thriller? Or you could just cram your little hamster cheeks with chocolate until it’s all over. (I don’t do that. Nope. No Sir). In any case, the perfume world has something for every occasion, even this one.
REEK Perfumes Damn Rebel Witches
REEK Perfumes burst onto the scene in 2016 with Damn Rebel Bitches. This is a fragrance commemorating the intrepid and gutsy rebel Jacobite women who fought back against the English with all they had. The nose behind this is Sarah McCartney, and a fine job she has done too. This scent makes me think of wild women with twigs in their hair. The ingredients are inspired by what would have been around way back then so you have clary sage and malt and even broom ( appropriately enough for Halloween). But REEK didn’t stop there. Earlier this year, they gave the bitches a sister and Damn Rebel Witches was the result.
What I find curious about this is that when you think Damn Rebel Witches has left you completely, it disappears and comes back as a sort of light floral ghostie. I was sniffing my arm wondering what petal like scent I had sprayed earlier, only to realise that Damn Rebel Witches dies and comes back! How’s that for a party trick? And where did the dark orangey flowers come from? They’re not even listed as notes. It’s witchcraft, I tell you.
Library of Fragrance Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Spice is big news this time of year. It’s everywhere from Starbucks to the mouthwash in your dentist (okay, I’m exaggerating slightly) so you may as well as embrace it. Personally, I love a bit of Library of Fragrance Pumpkin Pie and every time I wear it, I get compliments. It’s just spicy and warm enough and not too cloyingly sweet. Don’t just keep it for Halloween! Sadly, the UK arm of Library of Fragrance has closed and will be much missed, but the European branch ships to the Uk for 6E per package.
4160 Tuesdays Mother Nature’s Naughty Daughters
The name of this fruity, malty and jolly British fragrance comes from the ingredients. It is often believed that natural ingredients are best for your skin, but they’re not! (at least not always) Sarah has made these naughty naturals behave themselves via witchcraft and alchemy. Actually that last bit isn’t true, she made them behave through encyclopaedic knowledge of skin and substance. And the fragrance? Here’s what I wrote in my review which you can find here. The website link is here.
“…On some damp aromatic moss, on a cedar bench after the rain, with a glassful of sticky Pimms and pear pips. Which is not just fine by me, but wholeheartedly agreeable. If birdsong could be bottled, that would be in here too”
Possets Perfumes Ghost Fart
Just for the name alone, this was irresistible, and once I smelled it, I thought the name didn’t do this lovely scent justice (though it did reel me in). There’s no authentic manual that states what a Ghost fart must smell like, so the team at Possets had a little fun with this. This is a chocolate minty gourmand in an oil form which is long lasting and smells delicious. If you haven’t come across Possets before, so check them out. They ship worldwide and are a vegan friendly brand. Here’s their website.
Papillon Perfumery Anubis
With hints of Egyptian mystery and ancient rites, this incredible debut from perfumer Liz Moores is both distinctive and resonant. If you like Shalimar, you’ll also appreciate the oriental spices and resins in Anubis, but I’m going to stick my blogger’s neck out here and say Anubis is better. Controversial, no? I’m sticking to my guns. Anubis has a dark, resiny enigma about it which I find both intriguing and alluring. Papillon has a good sample service if you want to smell this range for yourself, or you could pop into Les Senteurs in London where they are all stocked.
Dior Hypnotic Poison
The name is so perfect for this time of year, but so is the scent. This deep, almost boozy vanilla comes in a bottle that reminds me of Cinderella’s pumpkin coach after midnight. The vanilla in this borders on marzipan, which is fine by me but gives me cravings for Christmas Cake. I know, first world problem! But if your vanilla palate is jaded by cheap imitaions, then do revisit this beautiful treasure of a scent which always reminds me exactly how good vanilla can be, and should be. You can buy it from here, but it’s available in lots of places. I recommend the EDP over the EDT.
With a bottle like Snow White’s poison apple and a scent that smells like purple velvet, Lolita Lempicka Eau de Parfum is a great Halloween scent, in fact, it’s a great scent for anytime. Opening with green ivy, violet and liquorice, and a burst of deep cherries, this is rounded off with woody musk and vetiver. Suitably bewitching for a dark night. You can find it here and read my review here.
I love a bit of Karma. It always reminds me of my friend Alison who has made this her signature scent. It’s oranges, spices and patchouli. One of the main things I like about it, apart from its gentle hippie vibe is that it holds back on the sweetness and lets the bitter orange shine through without adding marmalade or vanilla. In fact, Alison, just uses the lotion and still smells enchanting and gorgeous, which she is. You can buy Karma from here.
Lancôme Magie Noire
OK, I don’t need a special occasion to wear this deep, mossy chypre. I love how Magie Noire does a dance of the seven veils and unfurls its layers and notes over the hours and hours that it lasts. There’s ivy, hyacinth and roses as it opens, then deep rich florals- all the big ones, then a wonderfully mossy and woody base of vetiver, oakmoss, incense and smoky resins. It’s like a fragrance chameleon, changing faces as the night goes on. Plus check out the divine poster ads! You can read my review here and buy it from here.
Over to you
So that’s my Halloween round up, although I’d wear any of these at any time of the year. What’s your Halloween fragrance? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.
You may have heard me sing the praises of Yves Rocher before now. I love the quality and the price and the little freebies you get when you order online. Well, today I am sharing a tiny package that made me fall in love. No, it’s not another cat. Three is enough. Apparently. So I’ve been told. Today I’m going to tell you about the pocket sized joy that is Yves Rocher Mandarin Lemon Cedar (or Mandarine Citron Cedre as its known in France).
This little 20ml beauty does exactly what it says on the tin but is so uplifting and gives off such happy vibes that I would have paid a lot more than the meagre £4 I paid. It opens with mandarin, (as you might imagine), is made even zingier by lemon and finishes on a citrussy cedar note. Despite its refreshing cologne like character, this has pretty good longevity on my skin, and is especially good when sprayed on a scarf. You should smell my scarf collection- it’s incredible, even if I say so myself.
Over on Fragrantica, some members are saying that this reminds them of Fan di Fendi Eau Fraiche, which I cannot vouch for, never having smelled it, but if you were a fan, you might find solace in a little £4 bottle of Yves Rocher Mandarine Citron Cedre.
These make perfect gifts too if you can bear to part with them.
I bought my little bottle from the Yves Rocher UK website. In fact, I bought five. This is not a sponsored post, opinions are my own and I paid for this myself.
You may have gathered by now that I’m a bit of an Avon fangirl. I like how Avon stays on top of current trends and I like how they keep it affordable.
In the run up to Christmas (yes, we can say it, it’s October) fragrance launches emerge into a market where customers often want to cosset themselves as the weather goes colder and summer scents are put away. Avon Eve Duet is a great end of summer/start of Autumn fragrance as it has two fragrances in one bottle. This is not the first time this has been done: I recall a bejewelled Britney Spears sphere containing two half botles of scent, but I haven’t seen it done other than that.
Avon Eve Duet has Radiant Allure in one end and Sensual Allure in the other. Both have a note in common: Water Lily. So, imagine a light and watery floral that smells slightly similar to Marks and Spencer Butterfly. Add a bit of apple blossom-crisp and pretty. There’s a bit of jasmine in there too and an unremarkable base of amber and wood which is less prominent than the pretty, watery floral notes.
Sensual Allure, in the other end, also has Water Lily, but opens with rich plum and fruity pink pepper before the water lily peeps out, less prominently than in Radiant Allure, but still there. It reminded me of a less sweet version of Avon Luck, so if you like that you might like this too. The note that makes the biggest difference here is the patchouli. It adds an earthy depth to Sensual Allure that makes its presence felt, but really comes into its own when sprayed over the top of Radiant Allure.
Alone, these are good, but together, you get something quite different and rather wonderful. Together you get a fabulous blend of florals, patchouli and crisp fruits. If it was me, I’d wear Radiant Allure in the day, then spray Sensual Allure over the top to go out at night. When these are together, I can even smell a hint of violets, which aren’t there, but seem to emerge as a ghost note when everything is mixed up.
With the fragrance industry launching new scent left, right and centre, brands have to up their game, and Avon has certainly done so with this head turning novelty. This will work because this is good quality scent that doesn’t rely on its dual-ended novelty. Alone or solo, Eve Duet is a winner.
Eve Duet is available from your Avon rep or the Avon UK website. My sample was paid for by me so I am under no obligation to like it, but I do.
It may be Autumn, and the leaves may be on the turn, but my passion for fragrances with green notes stays with me all year round.
Bronnley Wild Green fits the bill for every season of the year and wearing it today brings a bit of nature into the stuffy central heated indoors like an invigorating open window.
Wild Green opens with bergamot, orange flower and patchouli. This green floral symphony gathers uplifting, spicy facets on its journey: namely aromatic cardoman and coriander (the spice not the leaf). It claims to have pink pepper, which makes me pull faces, but actually I could find no trace of it here. This is a clean, spicy green that fits perfectly with this transitional time of year. The green is an evergreen that never wavers, yet the spice suggests that cosier times are beckoning. There’s a touch of smoky incense, but just a touch, just enough to say bonfire night is over a month away.
Having said all that, there’s nothing to stop us wearing this all year round. Wild Green suits Spring and Summer and the spices really come into their own in Autumn and Winter.
Although this is aimed at women, it makes a brilliant unisex fragrance, and is definitely a firm favourite with me. I am quite devoted to my little purse sized rollerball.
Bronnley Wild Green is available from the Bronnley website or from Boots and online from allbeauty.com. My rollerball was kindly sent to me by Bronnley in return for an honest review, which this is. This is not a sponsored post.
Avon Femme Exclusive is one of three fragrances in the Avon Femme range. I’ve already reviewed Avon Femme and Avon Femme Icon, so here’s my review of Avon Femme Exclusive.
Avon Femme Exclusive opens with pear. I also detected some plum as well: this is deeply, darkly fruity. . The jasmine in the middle comes out at pretty much the same time as the pear and makes for a pear jasmine combo that, whilst not particularly original, certainly runs with the pack and is bezzie mates with the popular set. To be honest, the pear dominates so all the others notes tend to fall into the background, except for vanilla. It says here that there is black vanilla in this, but that’s sort of corporate speak for extra strong evening style vanilla. In fact the vanilla is not my favourite boozy liquor vanilla, it’s more of a milky vanilla, and alongside the pear, I couldn’t help thinking of pear, pastry and custard. There’s just enough jasmine to stop me thinking this is pudding flavour.
All in all, this will do the job nicely and is priced affordably. It does smell very similar to Avon Luck (all the vanilla), so if you like that, you’ll like this. It’s not my favourite, but there’s certainly a fan base out there for this bargain.
Avon Femme Exclusive is available from Avon UK or from your Avon rep if you are lucky enough to have one. My little purse spray was just £3, and it’s a great way of living with a scent for a bit before deciding to get a big bottle. Viva purse sprays!
In the past, Bronnley has had a reputation as being a classic floral brand that “older” ladies liked. Personally, I’ve always loved classic florals and soaps in wrappers so it’s never stopped me. However, the upcoming bright young things of the Twenteens are a capricious bunch with more choices than any other generation that has ever lived. Brands have to move with the times.
Bronnley has not only moved with the times but added a bit of an edge that is putting them firmly on my list of favourites. Their collection of Eclectic Elements fragrances is packaged for a new generation, but pleases this 47 year old no end.
Today I am wearing Bronnley Eclectic Elements Zealous Flower and I love it. Why do I love it? Well, that’s easy.
It comes in an adorable roll on bottle. (more about roller balls soon because I’m obsessed).
It’s available in a 9ml version so you can live with it for a good few weeks before buying a big one.
It’s inexpensive but doesn’t smell like it is.
Here’s what it smells like:
It opens with pear, orange and bergamot. Now pear has been used A LOT in the past two years, to the point where I pull non-selfie faces when I smell it.
However, in Zealous Flower, it’s the flowers that come out first, not the fruit. In fact the fruit adds clean edges to the roses and jasmine, which are BIG. Even the pear knows its place and doesn’t take over.
It must be said that there was briefly a pencil shavings phase which came and went, before the vetiver and amber rounded things off. They never quite see off the jasmine though, which remains the main player here. In fact, at first, I thought this had tuberose in it, such is the white flower richness.
Zealous Flower leaves me with a pleasing autumnal floral on my skin. What I’m left with is a very agreeable accord of vetiver, jasmine, hints of leathery labdanum flower, and some faded roses.
Now, about that adorable roller ball. This has a little metal rollerball that applies just the right amount to skin and stops you going overboard before a day at work. The rollerball version comes in an attractive narrow box in 9ml size and is a good compromise between a big bottle blind buy and having to judge it on a few sprays from a tester. I want more brands to do this.
Zealous Flower is or has also been known as Savage Flower, but I prefer Zealous to Savage.
You can buy the Bronnley Eclectic Elements range from Boots in store or online. The rollerballs cost £10 and contain 9ml of scent. You can also buy this cute set of whole range minis for £20 from the Bronnley website. My rollerball bottle was kindly provided by Bronnley in return for an honest review, which mine is. This is not a sponsored post. Follow
Have you ever tried an inexpensive perfume that was so good you thought you’d been undercharged? That’s how I felt when my little Yves Rocher consignment arrived recently. Tucked away on the website is a small selection of excellent 20ml scents that cost me only £4 a bottle. Vanille Bourbon was one of them and all I can say is Crikey Moses, this is good stuff.
Now vanilla, as you know, can smell like cheap candles or like delicious buttery boozy liqueur that makes you want to swoon. You have to try a lot of bottles to find the latter and this one falls into that category.
Despite being an eau de toilette, Vanille Bourbon lasted ages on my skin and I was getting delightful wafts up to five hours later when I found myself sniffing the air and saying “mm, someone smells nice,” realising later that it was me. I was the someone.
The only note listed for this fragrance is vanilla, but that’s a wide net. This has facets of woods, soft musk, some unidentifiable floral notes, and an edge of smoky toasted sugar, like the singed edges of a Crème Caramel. For a fleeting second, it smelled like spiced whisky, but overall, I would call this a milky, musky, floral and a very, very rich (kazillionaire) vanilla. It’s as satisfying as a mouthful of good crème brûlée and cost me a mere £4. Yes, I had change from a fiver. Well, I would have if I hadn’t bought four others in the range, more of which anon.
Yves Rocher Vanilla Bourbon is fantastic value and a dream of a vanilla scent. Not a cheap candle in sight.
Yves Rocher Vanilla Bourbon 20ml EDT is only £4 from the Yves Rocher UK website. I won’t be parted from mine.
Yves Rocher is a trusty brand that’s been going strong since 1959. Although there are no branches in the UK, they have a good UK mail order service and send you freebies and extras every time you order. I just ordered 6 x 20ml bottles of fragrances that I will be reviewing soon, but as a bonus, I was also sent a 10ml bottle of latest launch Oui a L’Amour. This may have been a freebie, or it may have been a blogger perk. I’m not sure. Not to worry. Free perfume is never turned away!
Oui a L’Amour is a simple affair. It opens with herby Angelica. If I said this was a herby sort of rose scent you might expect something botanical and green, but actually the Angelica is plump and juicy like a cactus. It’s neither sweet nor sharp but somewhere in the middle. In fact, when I first smelled this I wanted to call it a fruity floral even though I could see that it wasn’t.
After the Angelica comes the rose and it’s very prominent and beautiful with clean, powdery facets. After that comes tonka bean (kind of like nutty dried grass) which I mistook for vanilla, and not for the first time. There’s cedar in the base, which comes across as slightly tangy and almost citrussy.
Tie all that together and what have we got? A very clean rose fragrance with touches of juicy garden leaves and a sharp woody finish.
It smells clean and light and very feminine. It’s perfect for work and passes the commuter and the office test with flying colours.
There’s no sickly syrup, no big, rich jasmine overtaking anything,, and none of the usual rent-a-scent suspects that I have come across so often lately.
I say oui to Oui a L’Amour.
You can buy Oui a L’Amour from Yves Rocher UK, Yves Rocher.Fr Extra thumbs up for selling affordable 10ml purse sprays. Opinions are my own.
As we blow summer a kiss goodbye (and my kiss is as warm as the weather was) I find that my longing for the sea and for those uplifting crest-of- a wave scents stays with me throughout every season of the year. If it’s related to the sea, if it reminds me of the sea and if the bottle is the colour of the sea, and if I like it then it’s on my list.
So if, like me, you’re a mermaid out of the water (trust me- swimming is the only sport I can do well) then, do feel free, if you’ll excuse the pun, to dive in here.
Art de Parfum Sea Foam
The name says it all and this gorgeous scent really delivers. With milky fig and salty notes, this resembles the crashing sea, the sandy dunes and the green notes of the scrubby beach flora. I adored it and declared it one of the ebst sea scents I have ever tried. You can read my review here and buy it from here.
Our Modern Lives Aquamarine Waves by Sarah McCartney.
What a stunner! So authentic is this gem from Our Modern Lives, that it contains actual real seaweed (filtered out once its job has been done). This is a marine scent with no calone, and they are few and far between. You can read my review here and buy it from here. The nose behind Our Modern Lives is none other than blog favourite, Sarah McCartney of 4160 Tuesdays.
Library of Fragrance Salt Air
Our dear chums at the Library of Fragrance come up with the goods once again. Salt Air is a fabulously salty, sea spray of a scent that really reminds me of damp beaches and seagulls and splashing around in the shallows. It’s both refreshing and salty, and will give you a ray of optimism throughout the British ten-month winter (well, it feels like ten months anyway). You can read my review here and buy it from the Library of Fragrance website.
Michael Kors Turquoise
I tried this at the beginning of summer, or what I thought was going to be summer, and it just made me think of those wonderful David Hockney paintings of swimming pools. With sea notes, water lily and zesty lime, just smelling this will quench thirst. You can read my review here and buy this from House of Fraser or John Lewis, among others.
Aqua di Parma Blue Mediterraneo Arancia di Capri
I delighted in this when I first sprayed it. Those bitter oranges just brought the Mediterranean Sea to life on my skin. There is allegedly a caramel note but thankfully it didn’t really show up on me. You can read my review here and buy it from John Lewis
Lancôme O d’Azur
This is one from the O de Lancôme range, so you just know it’ll be a fabulously refreshing hesperide. I’d happily take any from this range off your hands: there’s O de Lancôme, O de L’Orangerie and this one. It opens with sharp citrus and beds down into pretty peony, with a soft musky finish. You can buy it from here.
Fathom V by Beaufort London
This scent was like a scene from a Dickensian swampy dock playing out in my head. I sme ll pirates.
Like the green slimy flanks of a ship and with lily so heady it’s off the scale, this is one of my favourite sea scents. It’s a bit out there, but that’s what I love about it.
This is a classic that seems to have universal appeal. It’s a light calone scent (i.e melon and cucumber) with aquatic notes that smell fresh and clean, like stepping out of a shower. To be honest, the one for men is just as good so I regard the “for her” and “for him” labels as totally interchangeable. I didn’t used to like calone and still sometimes have a problem with cucumber in fragrance, but now that I’ve smelled eleventy billion perfumes, I keep a more open mind about it. You can buy it here, and it’s widely available in lots of other places too. Very inexpensive too.
Over to you
How about you? What scents make you think of the sea? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.