Look at that! Two Marks and Spencer reviews in two days. As you may gather, I didn’t leave empty handed yesterday. I came away with a tiny 15ml bottle of Rosie for Autograph Summer Rose.
Rosie Huntingdon Whitely is the face of many M&S lines, namely her lingerie and make-up range. In 2015, the first scent, Rosie for Autograph, was launched, and jolly good it was too. You can read my review here. I’ve recently run out and need another one. It’s a fabulous centifolia rose scent. After that, came Rosie for Autograph Nuit (which I haven’t tried) and in summer 2106, the latest flanker Summer Rose was launched, which is what I’m reviewing today.
Summer Rose opens with pear and blackcurrant which hooks up with the sandalwood straight away. I’m afraid I got a few whiffs of pencil shavings before this settles down, but no matter, that phase didn’t last long.
The middle is all about the heady jasmine sambac,: a highly popular ingredient lately which appears in many bestsellers. If you read between the lines, you may see me roll my eyes (it’s in everything right now!). There are roses which are fairly prominent, and lily of the valley, which I couldn’t pick up at all- shame, because lily of the valley is one of my favourite notes.
The grand finale still has pear, roses, a bit of woody stuff and some heady jasmine. In a blind test, I would have said this was peony and patchouli, which gives you some idea of how it comes across. Even if the notes don’t match. This is of course, subjective- you may have a different experience.
Summer Rose is pretty and light and will be a big crowd pleaser. I applaud the availability of 10ml and 15ml bottles in Marks and Spencer. It puts perfume treats within everyone’s reach and it’s a great way of testing a scent before committing to a full bottle. The rest of the perfume department is pretty good too: check out the Monotheme range, the Fragonard and the Roger & Gallet.
Stockists You can buy Rosie for Autograph Summer Rose instore or online. It’s exclusively stocked at Marks and Spencer. A 30ml bottle is just £14 and makes a great gift.
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.
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.
Sarah McCartney “stirred woods, fruits and flowers with an icicle”
Doe in the Snow was created for a winter wedding, but recently it has proved itself to be the perfect summer fragrance. When it feels so hot that anything with the word snow in the title seems far-fetched and impossible, that’s when you need Doe in the Snow.
Doe in The Snow was created for the January wedding of perfume writer Odette Toilette aka the lovely Lizzie Ostrum. I had the pleasure of meeting Lizzie at the Jasmine awards earlier this year and was delighted to see her win, and deservedly so.
I’ve only recently decided to review Doe in the Snow because I cannot beat the tagline “stirred with an icicle.” It’s the perfect description of this icy refreshing treat that cuts right through that sticky, sweaty feeling you get as soon as the thermostat goes over the 20 degree point.
Doe in the Snow opens with lemon and lime and grapefruit. It reminded me of a cross between Morning Fresh washing up liquid and ice lollies. That’s no criticism at all: more of a vignette of an afternoon at my grandmother’s house circa 1970 something. Doe in the Snow however, is modern with a vintage feel.
There are peaches in here that come out boldly about halfway through, but with no stickiness. Think of the peaches in Lanvin Arpège: a restrained fruity note that adds a frisson of traditional prettiness without any of the modern syrupiness of main stream fruity florals. Besides which, the lemon and lime stop things getting too sweet and keep that astringent edge that makes Doe in the Snow so refreshing. To my nose, there’s also a touch of dark green soap in there, which I can’t explain to you or myself.
The mosses and woods in the base give it that chypre edge that I always seek. That’s not to say this ever gets rich and heavy though: the genius of it is that it’s a chypre for a summery day. It has vintage touches in the peachy mossy note, and yet resembles a sorbet with its icy coolness. Very clever, very refreshing and very chic.
This is half price until June 23rd 2017 from the 4160 Tuesdays website. After that it goes back to full price, which is still very reasonable, especially for handmade niche fragrance. You can buy something “meh” from the beauty counter or you can buy a bottle of this for a similar price. Not a sponsored post. Opinions are my own.
Summer begins the day I leave home without a cardigan. Today is that day. What better scent to review than one that immediately made me long for an infinity pool somewhere hot? As lovely as Pontypridd Lido is, I want more.
Michael Kors Turquoise was an immediate hit with me. It opens with sea notes, which is a rather handy subjective term. I’m pretty sure that many brands have their own definition. In this case, it is a clean unsalted sea note that reminded me of that scent of churning water outdoors- you know, the scent you get when you stand at the top of a water slide in the sun? Yep. That. I could even smell rubber inflatables, but I think that’s memory and association, rather than this actual fragrance.
The lime is astringent and not sweet like cordial. If you don’t normally like cucumber notes, you’ll still like this: it’s in there faintly, but hard to pick out. The water lily adds to the aquatic feel : It’s a clean, subtle flower note. The jasmine comes out somewhere in the middle, but gently, not in a big white flowery way like tuberose can. There’s nothing heady about Turquoise at all.
This claims to bed down into a cedar and amber base, but I can report that after two hours, it smells like a swimming pool with flower petals in to the point where I want to start looking at holiday brochures.
Turquoise is the perfect name for this. It’s David Hockney, water slides and infinity pools. It’s the perfect summer fragrance. I wish it was stronger so that my whole day smells like this. Suddenly, indoors seems a bit stuffy now.
Oh, is it for men or for women? Don’t know, don’t care. It’s gorgeous.
Michael Kors Turquoise is available from House of Fraser where I drenched myself in it more than once. Sorry, not sorry, ladies. You should be used to me by now! You can also buy it from John Lewis.
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!
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.
Some blog posts are very hard to write because I’m so afraid I won’t do them justice. This is one of them. I was on such a high after coming back from the Perfume Society Improve Your Sense of Smell Workshop that I was neither use nor ornament for about 48 hours.
First of all, The Perfume Society is three years old and is the only body of its type in the world. They know this because they googled to find a perfume society before realising there wasn’t one. The Perfume Society is the brainchild of legendary beauty editor and writer Jo Fairley and her business partner Lorna McKay. I have been reading Jo’s work since around 2000 ish, before blogging was invented and back when I was a One Scent woman.
The workshops are not just exclusive to London, so it really is worth subscribing to The Perfume Society, if only to get access to The Scented Letter and Discovery Box discounts. The workshop I attended was in the basement of The New Moon Tapas Bar in Clifton.
It was a wonderfully informative, but informal session that made me feel like I was BFFs with everyone around the table, and not just my real life BFF Lisa, who was also there. Jo is an engaging speaker and delivers the workshop in an accessible and inclusive way that felt like a chat with a friend except with far more “Wow! I never knew that” moments.
You may think that having written 817 blog posts about perfume that I might know a lot. Well I know about 1% of what I actually want and need to know. However, you very much do NOT have to be a blogger in order to attend. For one thing, the amount of experience and knowledge you need to attend the workshop is ZERO. No experience required.
So, what happens? Well, we were made comfortable with refreshments and introduced ourselves, which wasn’t cringy like work training, but friendly like meeting your tribe. There were six of us altogether and it was especially lovely to meet Claire, who I have been following on Instagram and talking to on the perfume group Eau my Soul.
Jo explained that part of the mission of The Perfume Society is to put us back in touch with our sense of smell, referred to by Helen Keller as “The Fallen Angel of the Senses” and she was right. Back when we were cavewomen, we could sniff out herbs, non-toxic berries and woolly mammoths, but now our sense of smell has been blunted by modern conveniences.
The workshop goes about starting us on the path to putting this right. We did some very interesting sniffing, giving our impressions in an atmosphere in which there was no right or wrong. There was also a very interesting exercise in which we tried minty Green and Black’s chocolate to see if it was smell or taste that gave us the minty hit. The answer really surprised me. Plus, you know, Green and Blacks. *swoon* (something else we have Jo to thank for).
The third section was the bring a bottle party. Some of it was 80% proof. Yes, I’m talking fragrance. Prior to attending, we were asked to bring a bottle of our favourite scent. I had to be very strict with myself and put the wheelbarrow back before leaving the house with just one: Art de Parfum Gin &Tonic.
My adorable colleagues, as I now thought of them, brought a few each, so we had great fun diving on the stuff we hadn’t smelled yet and sharing opinions. On top of that we were given goody bags to take home. Reader, this was better than my birthday.
As if that wasn’t enough fun, we then got the chance to buy Discovery Boxes and the gorgeous Perfume Society Scented Skincare set at big discounts. As if that wasn’t enough, we then go to visit a brand-new niche perfumery called Shy Mimosa, which I will write about separately, and where we also had a big discount.
So, was it worth it going? Did I improve my sense of smell? Yes, and yes and it was wonderful and I had several OMG moments where I made surprising discoveries and oh, my stars, what a day!
If you ever get the chance to attend one, go. Just go. They’re not just in London and you don’t need to know anything beforehand. If there’s not one near you, then email The Perfume Society and tell them. They will listen. Unless you live alone on a remote island that can only be reached by catamaran at high tide. Apart from that, if enough people clamour, then you never know…