Category Archives: Fragrance for Spring

Gorgeous and a Bargain: Avon Far Away Bella

far away bella

Avon Far Away is Avon’s best-selling perfume by a country mile.  Even the flankers are good.  You may recall my review of Avon Far Away Infinity and Avon Far Away Exotic.   Today I am reviewing Avon Far Away Bella, and let me just say that it won me over  as soon as I saw that it was wearing a little scarf.

So how does it smell? faraway Pretty darn good, especially when you think that I bought it from a recent Avon brochure for the princely sum of five pounds for a 50ml Eau de Parfum.

Did I mention longevity? Around six or seven hours, so a few squooshes in the morning should set you up for the day.   Incidentally, don’t expect this to resemble the original Far Away, which is a cosy feast of vanilla and coconut, because it doesn’t.

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Avon Far Away Bella opens with a refreshing fruity note, namely oranges.  This lacks a sickliness that some fruity overtures can have.   So often the red berries and the pink pepper brigade can drown any notes to come, but this mandarin note is rather pretty and uplifting.  The middle goes floral, and we’re talking magnolia, so again, not too sweet, and not too far away exoticheady.  I definitely got a blast of jasmine too. The base is simply tonka bean. This is a hay like note with a faint background of almondy vanilla notes.  In Far Away Bella, the use of tonka instead of ubiquitous vanilla extract is an understated touch that I appreciated.  You may have gathered by now that too much vanilla turns me off, but this is a pleasant  sweetness blended with a light hand.

Over on Fragrantica, some readers are saying that it reminded them of Gucci Flora Glamorous Magnolia, no less, as well as Yves Saint Laurent Cinema Festival. I have smelled neither, so cannot comment, but these people usually know what they’re talking about.

My verdict is that Far Away Bella is a heck of a gem and a heck of a bargain.  It’s a light and pretty fruity floral that smells very current and holds back on the sugar.  I reckon the youngsters will go for this, as well as the 47 year old perfume bloggers.  Nicely done, Avon.

How about you?

How about you?  Do you have a favourite Avon fragrance?  Do let me know.  I always love to hear from you.

Stockists

You can find Far Away Bella on Avon UK, or from your Avon rep, if you have one, or on eBay.   The current brochure price is £9 but this can vary from month to month, depending on offers.  I purchased my own bottle and opinions are my own.

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Exclusive! 4160 Tuesdays: Codename Sea Goddess.

mermaid red
Mermaid painting by Victor Nizovtsev

For a long time now, I have been searching for the perfect marine scent.  It has to remind me of the sea, be invigorating and NOT smell like cucumber.   Doesn’t seem like too much to ask, does it? But apparently it is.   Or was. Read on Macduff.

Before I go on, I’d like to ask if any of you remember a shampoo made by Boots Naturals called Sea Kelp?  I used to adore that scent and used it until they stopped making it.  I can’t even find an old photo on Pinterest.  It was a beautifully scented shampoo that had marine notes and made my hair smell so good that I often wished they made a perfume of it.

mermaid
John William Waterhouse

Many times have I have sniffed something in a vageuly aquamarine coloured bottle and  thought, “maybe this will smell like Sea Kelp shampoo?” and been disappointed.   Cucumber and melon- yes.  Sea notes?  No.

However, I recently received a small glass phial ( vial or phial? you can use either, I checked) of a scent that is currently being called “Sea Goddess”. This may or may not be its final name: it’s still in development at the hand of Sarah McCartney at 4160 Tuesdays.

Sea Goddess opens with a burst of citrus.  I could discern sharp lemon and bitter grapefruit: the kind that makes you do an involuntary wink when you eat it first thing in the morning.  This wakes you up and prepares you for the  swishy swish of sea notes that follow.

Sea notes are hard to define and are often subjective, but here’s my take on them here: with an invigorating tang and a hit of saltiness, Sea Goddess makes you wish you were next to the sea and makes you feel an urgent need to down tools and find some surf ,  like a Bisto kid following his nose.

sea goddess boxIt is rare to find a sea note perfume  that is as on the button  as this one .  What gives it that unique 4160 Tuesdays touch is a dose of Britishness towards the end. There is an almost, but not quite, dirty tang of seaweed towards the bottom.  Rather than put me off, this adds to its authenticity.  This is how the seaside really smells.

We can romanticise the  white crests of foam as the waves crash, and we can imagine ourselves getting a revitalizing burst of ozone into our poor urban lungs, but don’t forget what the beach really smells like.  There’s salt and wet sand and sea weed.  It’s all here, my friends.  Because a real Sea Goddess will get sand on her fins and seaweed on  her arms.

This is the ultimate sea note scent.  No cucumber. No melon. This is the sea and the beach, captured in a glass vial like a snow globe.

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Bsac

Stockists
This is nearly available from 4160 Tuesdays, but not quite yet. It may be given a different name, but I will let you know. Talk about a teaser! Sorry about that.  My sample rollerball phial was from Sarah herself, for which, my deep gratitude.  Opinions are my own.

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Share your #smellfie for #nationalfragranceday!

Yes, it’s National Fragrance Day 2017, although if you’re a fumehead like me, ( and you probably are if you’re reading this blog) then every day is Fragrance Day.  Taking a #smellfie is all the rage on this special day , and I felt I must run with the pack.

However,  being a bit of a luddite and not having fathomed out the selfie stick I had for Christmas, I  was forced to use the least worst shots of a lengthy smellfie session. Plus I seem to either stare or blink- no middle ground.

BeFunky Design triple smellfie

Dear reader, you can see the conclusion I arived at.   The scent I chose, by the way,  is Mary Greenwell Fire.  I bought it last year from The Fragrance Shop for the princley sum of £19.99 and it’s become a firm favourite.  Do not ever throw the lid at anything fragile though, unless you are trying to escape from a  dangerous animal.   The lid weighs a ton and could smash a phone box.  Remember phone boxes? That’s a #scentmemory I’d rather not revisit.

How about you? What would you take a smellfie with? Your SOTD or your favourite ever? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.

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Five Decades of #Scent Memories: National Fragrance Day 2017

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Dear reader, I am now in my fifth decade and due to toast the start of my sixth in 2020 when I turn 50.

To me, scent is like a Tardis. It takes you back in time so fast that you can be stepping out the Tardis door into 1976 after one whiff of Panache.  More instantly evocative than a photograph or a song,  a fragrance can whisk you back to the scent of the primary school teacher whose name you forget, but whose perfume you can recall as if a switch has been flicked in your head.

Please join me on my mini odyssey through the smell of the 70s, 80s, 90s, Noughties and Twenteens and do share your #scentmemories below.

The Smell of the 1970s.

1970s

I was born in 1970. The first ten years of my life can be summed up, at least in the olfactory sense, as a combination of cigarette smoke (not mine), the smell of a roast cooking, mud, ferns, bluebells, Woogiraffedleigh Green Apple Shampoo, Avon Pretty Peach and Avon Occur, in a giraffe shaped bottle, no less. Quite how giraffes and perfume go together, I never thought to question, but he literally had some brass neck.

My teachers wore Cacharel Anais Anais, which hasn’t changed to this day, as long as you sidestep the “Delice” version. I can’t remember what scent my mother wore, but she always smelled nice.  My grandmother wore Coty L’Aimant, which I didn’t recognise then, but which moves me to gusty sighs of melancholy  now she isn’t here.

BeFunky Collage70s home

The Smell of the 1980s.

Formative years mean a thirst to both stand out and blend in at the same time. I was groping for an identity and slowly moving into and out of adolescence. It was 1981 before I gradually weaned myself off

sindyplaying with Sindy dolls. I can still vividly recall the smell of the vinyl heads and strange nylon hair, inevitably knotted to all hell within a week of ownership.

My first ever scent that I paid for myself was a splash bottle of Bluebell perfume from Boots No 7. Long since discontinued, I have sought that bluebell scent ever since.  My mother bought me a bottle of Jontue from a trip she went on, and one Christmas I had a bottle of Cachet.  I wore this A LOT.  I also remember Avon Eau Givreé: a beautiful green hesperide that has long since been discontinued.

My teens saw me receive my first ever bottle of proper fragrance from my father for my 18th birthday. It was Estee Lauder Beautiful and I still love it now. 1988 saw me leave home at go to Exeter Uni, where the most memorable scents were Marlboro cigarettes, red wine and lashings of Cacharel LouLou.

1980s collage

Meanwhile, over in Denver Colorado, Alexis Carrington was cracking the whip.  Excess, big shoulder pads, big hair and big smells were all the rage.  On the High Street, there was the unmistakable cloud of Giorgio Beverly Hills and a miasma of Dior Poison mingled with Body Shop White Musk and Dewberry. The Nightclubs smelled of Calvin Klein Obsession, and my one little egg shaped bottle took me into the 1990s.

The Smell of the 1990s

The caring, sharing Nineties sobered everyone up and made us wear ozonic scents in an urge to cleanse ourselves of the Eighties excesses. All my friends smelled of Issey Miyake L’Eau D’Issey, which is no bad thing. I had discovered Chanel Cristalle, also a light scent that was the opposite side of the spectrum to Poison, Obsession and Giorgio. The 1990s saw me graduate and move to London, which smelled very different to Devon.  London air is thicker, dirtier and there were more cigarettes smoked and more traffic fumes, but reader, to me it was the smell of freedom and wonder and possibility.

collage 1990s

1992 saw the launch of the iconic Thierry Mugler Angel. I remember smelling it for the first time in Harrods Perfume Hall and thinking “but why would I want to smell like chocolate?” I appreciate it now of course, for the multi-faceted classic it is, but back then it was revolutionary among the ozonic and airy fairy Nineties scents. Meanwhile, in 1997, Gucci launched the now much-mourned Gucci Envy.  So good was this floral green scent with a vein of metal running through it, that I dumped Cristalle and remained almost exclusive to Gucci Envy until it was cruelly taken from us in 2007.

The Smell of The Noughties

The Noughties saw a revolution in celebrity fragrance.  Elizabeth Taylor had been churning them out since 1991, but they were largely seen as fan fodder until 2002 when Jennifer Lopez launched the brilliant Glow. It was a clean, white fragrance that pleased the crowds and began a snowball of celebrity fragrances taking off.  Britney Spears got in on it, as did many of her contemporaries and soon the perfumeries were chock full of celeb scents. Sarah Jessica Parker brought new possibilities with SJP Lovely and some of the snobbery dissipated when we realised that celebrity stuff can be pretty darn good. (I’m still a celeb scent geek)

noughties collage

The noughties also mark the only two years of my adult life where I have been without any fragrance and that’s because I had my sons during that decade.  Their first scent memory is of my skin.  No deodorant, no perfume, just me.  It wasn’t easy getting those babies, but it was worth it.

The Smell of the Twenteens

Now things really start to spice up. I started my blog on January 2nd 2013. It was a combination of an urge to write and a channel for my reawakened perfume passion. This was brought about by a lean period, during which Chanel was very much out of reach.  As a result, I developed a bit of a cheap and cheerful habit as my receipts from allbeauty.com will attest.  From that, and the three huge boxes of samples that dear Lisa Jones let me borrow, the floodgates opened.

twenteens

The biggest scent launch of the Twenteens has to be the seminal Lancome La Vie est Belle. The fruity floral explosion of the early ‘teens segued into a river of caramel and praline   Hot on its heels was YSL Black Opium , which dismayed many Opium fans, but brought a  cohort of new fans to the brand.

In recent  times, I’ve been coming across the semi-ubiquitous jasmine sambac note that  seems to be so popular right now.  You can find it in  Paco Rabanne Olympea,  Givenchy Dahlia Divin and Versace Eros. The big launch of 2017 is Mon Guerlain, and whilst it’s not my cup of tea, I do harbour hopes that it will  lead us into a big lavender  trend.

As we point in the direction of 2020, I’m looking forward to the alleged forthcoming trends of milk notes, peony and a renaissance of my favourite genre: green notes.

Interestingly, celebrity fragrance sales are on the wane, but guess what’s on the up?  Niche perfume.  Which is very good news indeedy.

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How about you?

What scents bring back instant memories for you?  It doesn’t matter how random or everyday they are, I always love to hear from you.

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Cartier Baiser Fou: Lipstick On My Collar

baiser fou bottle

There were several reasons why I was not expecting to even like Cartier Baiser Fou, but blow me down if the little madam didn’t bowl me over and cover me in kisses, filling me with avarice for a full bottle.

Reasons I didn’t think I’d like this:

  • I wasn’t keen on Cartier Baiser Volé,
  • The box and lid is red and pink so I thought it would smell of candy floss.
  • It contains raspberries, white chocolate and vanilla, so I assumed it would smell like an ice cream sundae.

Reader, I was wrong.  So very, very wrong. I’ll tell you exactly what Cartier Baiser Fou smells like.  Back in 2001 I found myself in Duty Free at San Francisco Airport with some unspent dollars.  I was a one scent woman back then and was fully stocked with Chanel Cristalle, so decided to buy myself a posh lipstick for the first time ever in my life. It was a YSL Lipstick and it smelled and tasted of roses, violets and strawberries with that powdery waxy  lipstick finish.

That, my friends, is exactly what Cartier Baiser Fou smells like.

ysl lipstick

The notes are: raspberry, orchid, white chocolate and vanilla, but this smells like that delicious expensive lipstick years ago and makes me feel marvellous when I wear it.

This is yet another case where I prefer the flanker to the original. It’s fruity and playful yet grown up  and classically powdery.  To my surprise, it was not at all  tooth achingly sweet.  Cartier Baiser Fou reminded me to stop reading the notes and start using my nose.

Has this ever happened to you?  Have you ever thought “I’m going to hate that!” and ended up loving it?  Do let me know.  I always love to hear from you.

Stockists

My sample of Cartier Baiser Fou was from the Perfume Society Modern Classics Discovery Box.  You can buy full bottles from House of Fraser and John Lewis, among others. Opinions are my own.

modernclassics ps

 

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The Perfume Society Modern Classics Discovery Box: My Review

modernclassics ps

I have in front of me The Perfume Society Modern Classics Discovery Box. I’ve spoken of these little boxes before.  In fact, I’m not sure I’ve missed one since they first began.

The Modern Classics Box is a must for anyone on their first foray into fragrance.  Even if you’re not, it’s great to have the classics at your fingertips, and classics they are: each and every one.

I’m going to be reviewing some of these in more detail soon, but in the meantime, here’s the list of what’s in the box:

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Yardley Contemporary Classics English Freesia

I’m a big fan of florals, and Yardley, bless ‘em, have been doing florals for generations. They do them very well, and Freesia is no exception. I have a whole bouquet of Yardley scents on my dressing table: April Violets, English Rose,  English Lavender,  Bluebell, and after today, it looks like a full bottle of Yardley Freesia won’t be far behind.

Cartier

Cartier Baiser Fou

This new scent from Cartier is worlds apart from the original and far more sober Baiser Vole.  Cartier Baiser Fou (crazy kiss) smells like lipstick kisses, strawberries and milky bar.  I didn’t think I was going to like it, as it sounded too sweet for me, but actually I was completely charmed by it.flower by kenzo

Flower by Kenzo

I wasn’t sure if I knew this one, until I sprayed it and realised “Oh! THAT’S Kenzo Flower!” It’s baby powder, wet wipes, fluffy towels and innocent flowers. I’ll be reviewing this one in more detail soon.

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Marc Jacobs Daisy

Both ubiquitous and glorious, this light, airy crowd pleaser will never go out of fashion, and its not just because of the delightful toy town flower bottles.  See my review here.

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L’Occitane Terre de Lumiere

A stunning summer scent from L’Occitane with notes of lavender honey, bergamot and a warm base of almond and tonka. This makes me want to lie in the sun with a straw hat on and be very, very indolent.columbia

Angela Flanders Columbia Rose

Columbia Road in achingly cool Shoreditch is the scene of the famous Columbia Road Flower Market every Sunday, when the street is filled with greenery and botany and petals and buds. Worth visiting for the scent alone, it’s little wonder that  perfumer Angela Flanders saw fit to open her shop here.

This is how roses used to smell before factory farming chased the old-fashioned scent away.  There’s something slightly earthy about it too, thanks to the patchouli and amber in the base. This is patchouli with rough edges and it complements the centrifola rose like Mellors complemented  Lady Chatterley.

kate-middleton-wedding-dress-inspired

Illuminum White Gardenia Petals

This scent of green notes and heady white gardenia may well be my absolute favourite from the box.  As worn by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge on her wedding day, this beautiful fragrance is right up my street, even if I can’t quite compete with Catherine’s untouchable glamour. I’ll be reviewing it in more detail very soon.

Narciso Rodriguez for her EDP

This beauty has been a classic since its launch.  NR For Her was created by the ultimate dream team of Christine Nagel and Francis Kurkdjian and I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t smell wonderful in it, including me! You can read my review here.

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Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar Eye (lotion tube)

I don’t know what this is like yet, but buy the sound of the name, I need it BADLY.  After squinting at computer screens and phone screens, and being tormented by hay fever and contact lenses, my forty-seven-year-old eyes need all the help they can get.  I’m fifty in three years’ time but I don’t want to look like I am!

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Minnies Literally Lovely Shimmering Body Lotion.

A sachet sized treat that is going in my overnight bag. Possibly too glamorous for the school run, but I’ll be spoiling myself with this next time I get away from it all.

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As usual with Perfume Society Discovery Boxes, there are scent sniffing strips and handy postcards with discussion prompts and facts about each item.  All the goodies come in a smart white gift box with the Perfume Society Logo on. They make excellent gifts for your friends or for Mothers Day,  but I’m not giving mine away!

Stockists

These boxes are exclusive to The Perfume Society, and cost £17.50 each or £12.50 if you are a VIP subscriber. My box was kindly sent to me by The Perfume Society.  Opinions are my own.

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Dear Aunty Sam: More of your Perfume Problems Answered

a passing cloud arthur hughes
A Passing Cloud by Arthur Hughes

Two weeks ago, I invited you to send me your perfume problems.  rsz_dr_samThis week  a dear friend of the blog, Cassieflower, came to me with the following problem.  Reader, I share her pain.  It hurts when a favourite is reformulated or discontinued .  Cassieflower, you are not alone!

Dear Aunty Sam,

I hope you, or indeed some of your readers, can help. My all-time favourite perfume is Fidji by Guy Laroche, and even though this can still be found cheaply on lots of sites it really is only a shadow of its former self. I used to wear it in parfum strength but nowadays the only offering is edt, and that just don’t cut the mustard with me. Any suggestions for a replacement would be most welcome. Pleeeze and fankoo

Firstly, you have excellent taste. That’s a given. Guy Laroche Fidji is quality stuff. I had a bottle back in the 80s and it was green and gorgeous andfidji beach landed me compliments. Unfortunately, reformulations are so very widespread, as we know. There’s a whole support group for traumatised fans of original YSL Opium, or at least there should be.

I went out today and tried Fidji in my local Perfume Shop to jog my memory. It is indeed far weaker than I remember it. However, it reminded me of two perfumes. The first is Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps.  Fidji is almost a greener flanker to L’Air du Temps.  Both have the orris root, carnation, iris, violet, spices, oakmoss and aldehydes.   The second scent that Fidji reminded me of is Clinique Calyx. It’s not as close a match, but Calyx has the transparent greenery that Fidji has, albeit with a  touch more tropical/botanical fruit going on.

As for Fidji itself, it does seem to be widely available in eau de toilette form and not much else. The only advice I can offer is drench yourself in the EDT in summer and break out the L’Air du Temps eau de parfum  in colder weather.  I promise you will always smell wonderful.

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I also had a plea from reader Mia who has fallen in love with Maison Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540– and who can blame her?  However with a hefty price tag,  Mia is looking for something in the same vein that is slightly kinder on the old budget. Mia- you are singing my song! I’m having a very frugal March at the moment.

Dear Aunty Sam

Hello! I’ve fallen in love with Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540. Smells like warmed skin and caramel but 100000x better. I can’t stop sniffing my wrists and cooing sweet nothings to this scent when I’m wearing. Problem is, I can’t afford it atm. Any cheaper recommendations to tide me over? Thank you so much!

Dear Mia,

Thanks so much for writing in. You’re among friends here.  Please help yourself to tissues.  We’re used to traumatised perfume fans.

Baccarat Rouge 540 is indeed as lovely as you say, although it barely stayed on my skin at all.  It was close to skin immediately after I baccaratsprayed and then poof! Gone.

I’ve been digging around on your behalf and I came across what I think is the best match.  There is a company called Dua Perfumes who make a scent called Casino Royale. This has many notes in common with MFK Baccarat Rouge 540: notably saffron, mandarin, cedar and  fir balsam ( actually pine in Baccarat,  but same forest).

The bad news is that they are based in the USA. The good news is that casinothere is a company in the UK called FragranceSamples UK who stock samples of other Dua perfumes, although not Casino Royale.  I’m sure if you ask them nicely they could get some in.  Sample prices are just over £11 for  a generous 5ml sample,  so not quite as spendy as Cap’n Kurk!  You could also try Givenchy Pi, which has a similar herby orange opening and a muted gourmand base via almond  and tonka notes.

Got a perfume problem?  A scent situation? A fragrant foible?

rsz_dr_samDo keep sending in your questions. If I can’t answer them, I am sure helpful readers will be able to share their experience and knowledge too.  We’re a lovely bunch.

Write your questions in the comments box below or email me on iscentyouaday@gmail.com.  If you are very shy, I will even answer them privately. I’m nice like that.

Over to you

Do you agree with my answers? Would you add or change anything? Do let me know.  I always love to hear from you.

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EDIT: With warm thanks to the BlackNarcissus whose kind advice led me to revising my first opinion! Thanks Neil xx

Quick Mini Guerlain giveaway winner

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The winner of the quick mini Guerlain giveaway is FlowerPowerLife. Congratulations!  You will shortly be receiving a sample of Mon Guerlain and  a few other samples from the sample suitcases.

Please send me your address  at iscentyouaday@gmail.com.

 

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Look! A Tiny Little Video!

I keep blathering on about how I’m going to do vlogging one day and on a whim I ended up filming the opening of my Perfume Society Modern Classics Discovery Box. You only see my unmanicured hands and hear my voice, but  check out my gorgeous cat Ian, who appears to be a  big purr-fumista. I’m sorry, I’ll get my coat… I might actually do this again and you might actually see me in it next time. I have two other cats so I may not be alone.

 

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A Quick mini Guerlain giveaway!

angelinaPerfume people won’t have failed to notice that Guerlain has just launched its first new scent ( and thereby hangs a debate) since 2012. Mon Guerlain is fronted by the unfairly beautiful Angelina Jolie, and I reviewed it here.

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I have an unused sample of Mon Guerlain ready to give to you .  I used up all of my first one and haven’t touched this one at all. It’s only a little giveaway, but if you have had trouble getting hold of a sample, just leave a comment below or on FB and Twitter to win this one.   If you’re not already following me on social media, please do  join my little insta-twitter-book-lovin’ ramblings!

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Bloglovin.

Closing date is two days from now, so midnight on the 8th March. Please don’t enter if you live outside the UK as I won’t be able to post this to you.

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