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.
It’s hot in the UK today and we’re totally unprepared. After wearing three layers to bed and three layers and a coat to do the school run, I found myself struggling to find summer clothes in the sudden mini heatwave that hit us.
Although Wales, where I live, is my favourite place ever, there are certain weather anomalies that one must learn to endure. You can have rain all summer anda singular freak hot day in October, or a nine-month winter and a heatwave nobody’s ready for, which I think is what’s happening now.
A nice cold, ice cold fragrance feels like an essential rather than a luxury today so I thought I’d tell you a few of my Go-To scents on this sticky summer day.
When the weather’s hot, I want eau do cologne. This is not just because the high alcohol content cools down skin on contact but because the classic ingredients of herbs and citrus remain to this day the most refreshing combination you can get. Most of the bottles I reach for have cologne elements in them.
Niobe from Cologne and Cotton
On my dressing table is a large glass bottle of Niobe from Cologne and Cotton. It has the herbs and the citrus and surprisingly in a cologne, even good longevity. I have decanted it into a mini travalo for when out and about and I always get compliments.
Le Jardin Retrouve Citron Boboli: It was a photo finish between Citron Boboli and Verveine d’Ete. Both are perfect for hot weather and the citrus will really put a zing in your step and take away the hot fussies. You can read my review here.
Avon Little Black Dress Eau Fraiche: This one is going down fast. Lighter than the original, but still recognisably its flanker, this pale green bottle isn’t always available, so when it is, do grab it. My bottle was a fiver from the Avon brochure a few months back. I reviewed it here.
4160 Tuesdays Doe in the Snow: I adore this fresh peachy chypre and have a little travel bottle. In case you were wondering why I never reviewed it, it’s because I cannot match or surpass this description “citrus fruits, flowers and woods, stirred with an icicle.” That’s exactly what it smells like and it is beautiful. EDIT- I have since reviewed this and you can read my verdict here.
Avon Scent Essences Sparkly Citrus: I bought this for just £2.50 when it was on offer. It’s a 30ml eau de toilette that does what it says on the tin and smells a lot more expensive that the price I paid. In a similar vein, do try Crabtree and Evelyn West Indian Lime. I tried it in winter and it was good in cold weather, but it’s fantastic now.
Yardley English Lavender is always uplifting, but never more so than when you keep it in the fridge and squirt your hot cleavage with it. I’m hoping the words “hot cleavage” won’t direct the wrong sort of traffic to my site, but you never know, the hot cleavage seekers might learn something.
Over to you
What’s your favourite Cool Down scent in hot weather? Do you keep any in the fridge? Do let me know, I always love to hear from you.
Off the top of your head, how many pin numbers do you need to remember? How many passwords and usernames? How many social media accounts do you have? How many text messages do you need to respond to? How many emails remain unanswered?
The digital age has done us all huge favours, such as Netflix and Facebook. But there’s a downside isn’t there? The digital age is both a privilege and a curse.
The cost of living has rocketed, house prices have gone insane, roads are congested, everything is conducted via a screen and more seems to be expected of us these days. Our modern lives are tough. No wonder relaxing has become a life skill that many have forgotten.
Which brings me nicely to the new range of fragrances from Sarah McCartney at 4160 Tuesdays. Yes, that introduction was a bit of a transition, but if you nodded even once, then you’ll know where she was coming from with this collection: “Our Modern Lives.”
Alongside creating perfumes (usually on Tuesdays, hence the name), Sarah is also a yoga teacher. She knows how to stop the white noise.
Our Modern Lives is intended as a soothing balm to your soul. There’s a scent for when you need to look away from the damn screen (after you’ve read my blog, of course) and scents that uplift, energise and revitalize, without you having to go to a spa or anything. I would call them Mood Scents.
Here are my impressions of them, and at the end I’ll tell where you can get hold of them. They’re not expensive either. By the way, you can mix them all up if you like and make your own blend.
Butch and woody are two words that I would use to describe this, but they would also make good names for a duo of male strippers. The woods are dark and rich with lots of amber. It might be Butch and Woody (hi guys!) but it is, like all scent in my opinion, unisex, as are all of these fragrances
Tricky to type, but gorgeous to sniff. This starts off with a crystalline vodka scent and smells as pure as an icicle. It reminded me a little of Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Celestia, so if you like that, you might like this too.
Creating scent out of solely natural ingredients post IFRA bans and regulations is a bit like riding a unicycle whilst crossing the road, knitting and saying your five times table. But that’s not your problem to worry about. When you feel like screens are sucking your eyeballs out of your face, switch them off and sniff these.
This is beautiful. There are red berries and raspberries and roses. Rather than being like candy, it reminded me of my childhood and of cherries. It may give you different emotions and memories, but I am sure it will evoke happy thoughts.
Of course, there’s going to be orange in this, and there is, but there are also neroli (steam distilled orange blossom), peaches and a hint of beautiful geranium. This may be my favourite.
This gave me a boost of feel good citrus, like freshly squeezed orange juice, but also something else that I couldn’t initially put my finger on. Then it hit me: what goes with fresh orange juice? Fresh coffee! Genius. I can smell the narcissus in this one too, giving you a little posy of flowers to go with your juice and coffee.
As you may know, green is my favourite genre so I was bound to love this one, and I do. It’s so green it’s even got spinach in it, not that I could smell it, unless you count the sort of lush damp vegetal scent that hovered in the background. This has lime and mint and green mandarin essential oil. Do you know what? After ten minutes, I could smell spinach. This is beautiful and foresty. The Popeye muscles are up to you.
You may recall my recent gushing reviews about Aquamarine Waves. It’s working nick name was Sea Goddess prior to its launch.
This is a marine scent with no cucumber and melon accord- that would be too easy and lots of people have aloready done that. Not here, no Sir. Sarah used seaweed to get this right. She did filter it out afterwards, you’ll be pleased to know.
Blue Screen/Blue Horizon- Perspective
Equally good on skin or in the air around you, this is designed to aid meditation. We spend too long on screens, and it’s not always our fault in a digital dependent society. Many people use screens for their work and that goes round the clock now. This beautiful scent helps you to look up and see the blue of the sky instead of the screen. Frankincense, lavender, vetiver, mint and eucalyptus all help to transport you somewhere else for a bit.
Indigo-Into the Night
This is the strongest and richest in the collection. Indigo has definite 4160 Tuesdays fingerprints over it. This is the smell of that 3 a.m. Cognac when you can’t sleep- yes, there’s cognac in it but please don’t drink it, no matter how good the party was. There’s something dark and slightly rubbery about this one. It reminds me of cannabis and vinyl records. No bad thing. There’s also osmanthus absolute, cedarwood, rum and leathery labdanum.
It’s a mood in a bottle: after all, 3 a.m. is often called the darkest hour of the soul.
This is a crowd funding project and it’s still possible to bag your swag by following this link. Personally, I reckon they should come in phials like a pencil case so you have a colour for every mood. It would be hard to stop at one. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have mood swings, mood slides and a mood roundabout in your head. My samples were kindly sent to me by Team Tuesdays and Sarah, for which, many thanks. Opinions are all my own.
Every quarter, for the small sum of five pounds, I receive a Discovery Box from the Fragrance Shop Discovery Club. Sometimes there are fragrances I’ve already tried and sometimes there are lovely surprises. Either way, I’ve been a member since December 2013 and I always will be.
This month’s box contains six samples, as well as a five-pound voucher off a full bottle of any of your favourites from the box. So far, my clear favourite is Elizabeth Arden White Tea.
Here’s what’s in the box
Elizabeth Arden White Tea
As you know Elizabeth Arden Green Tea has been a classic since it came out in 1999. Green Tea was created by none other than His Majesty Francis Kurkdjian, and it has genius simplicity written all over it. There have been many flankers, and I’ve liked all of them. When I saw White Tea was now A Thing, I worried that they may have “over-flanked” themselves, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Elizabeth Arden White Tea is light, airy and floaty and smells like a pure white room in a dream home. There’s clean white musks and sea notes and light notes of white tea. This is like a spa in a bottle. This will be on my dressing table very soon.
Jimmy Choo L’Eau
This is in a similar vein to DKNY below, but is slightly sweeter and delicately tiptoes onto the very edges of the gourmand spectrum. I wrote about this last month and you can read my review here. It’s pretty and light and floral, and I predict it’ll be a big hit this summer.
DKNY Be Tempted Eau so Blush
DKNY Be Tempted Eau So Blush is a light and feminine scent that has a fruity floral opening and big peony notes in the middle- and peony is going to be big this year. The base is woody and fruity with apricots and musk. This is a perfect daytime scent and ideal for work. It almost demands to be worn with a pretty frock.
Marc Jacobs Decadence
Marc Jacobs Decadence comes in such a fantastic bottle that when I first saw it, I almost didn’t care what it smelled like, I just wanted that bottle. Luckily, it smells pretty good with its saffron and plums and a vetiver and musk base. If you like Marc Jacobs Daisy, don’t buy this blind as they’re very different. Decadence is fabulous for the evening whilst Daisy is lighter and better as a daytime fragrance.
This one certainly lives up to its name. “Wow” was the first word I said when I sniffed it. It opens with sharp lime and aromatic cardoman, and settles as a slightly gourmand, warm vanilla, via peppery geranium and dry grassy vetiver. Despite not having any leathery notes, this reminded me of Dior Fahrenheit, only Joop!Wow! is sharper and with more citrus. I loved it. I sprayed it on me, my husband and my ten-year-old son. Unanimous thumbs up! We all smell great.
I was surprised when I saw this as I thought “Hmm, Invictus is pretty intense anyway, what could they possibly do to make it bigger?”The answer, my friends, is that they turned up the volume and tweaked some knobs until it knocked out every canary within a fifty mile radius. Invictus Intense is similar to the original, but cranked up to the power of ten. The salt notes are very prominent. It’s dry and masculine and not pretty. It reminded me a lot of Paco Rabanne One Million Intense. If this sounds like your cup of tea, please use sparingly. For all our sakes.
The Discovery Club is easy to join with no long term red tape. Just join to get your box and cancel if you want to. But I bet you won’t! I’ve been getting these boxes for four years and the flat box they come in fits through the letterbox so it won’t end up in the Post Office depot if you’re out.
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.
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.
It 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.
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.
UPDATED 31st March 2017
Sea Goddess is to be called Aquamarine – Waves and is available via this link. I’ll see you in the queue! I’m buying a couple of gallons.
Fijian Water Lotus is the latest addition to the Body Shop’s excellent Voyage Collection, two of which I have reviewed elsewhere on this blog. Today I treated myself to a little £5 for 10ml bottle of Fijian Water Lotus (for which, bravo Body Shop for offering affordable purse sprays!).
As the name suggests, this is an aquatic/ozonic sort of affair, which would please fans of say, L’Eau D’Issey by Issey Miyake or Marks and Spencer Isis. It is full of sea notes, though without the salt, and the zinginess is maintained with sharp mandarin and lemony blossom (litsea cubeba if you must). It is often hard to maintain that “fraiche” accord for more than a top note presence, but here it is achieved successfully, although after two or three hours it does bed down into a very clean basket of laundry. I must add that if anyone’s laundry smelled this good, I would be asking for the name of their fabric softener.
In the latter stages, Fijian Water Lotus still maintains a blue image that makes me think of crashing waves and blue skies, and the citrus is still there, but don’t expect astringency to hang around for the entire show. All in all, this is a great summer scent and I foresee several Body Shop Oceanus fans coming out of retirement to purchase this. It’s not quite Oceanus, but it sure does tick all those sea spray/ crest of a wave/ ozonic boxes that feel just right on a sunny day.
Available from the Body Shop online or in store starting at £5 for a 10ml purse spray and rising to £16 for 100ml EDP. There are lots of nice ancillary products to match too if you want to do layering.
Where the Eighties were all about the size of your phone (big), your hairstyle (big), your shoulder pads (big) and your perfume (gigantic), the Nineties became the decade of anti fashion and everyone calmed down a bit. After the brash gilt of the opulent ”Greed is Good” Eighties, the vibe was suddenly less is more and the Nineties became the caring, sharing Nineties where we started to look worried about leaving all the lights on the Eighties.
Suddenly it was all about Britpop, The Spice Girls, Meg Ryan rom-coms, pinafore dresses, Princess Di’s divorce, boybands with “curtain” fringes, blazers over bras , Friends, and the Rachel Cut.
Whilst many Nineties fashions faded away into history, Issey Miyake L’Eau D’Issey stood strong among the rubble and remained a runaway bestseller throughout the Nineties, the Noughties and the Twenteens (I made up that last word, but you can borrow it. What else are we going to call them?)
Where the Eighties were all about Poisons and Obsessions, the fragrance of the Nineties was a gentle “eau”.
Created in 1992 by the same Japanese designer who kept Steve Jobs in trademark black turtlenecks, Issey Miyake’s L’Eau D’Issey was an immediate bestseller and still is. I remember it coating many a dear friend of mine in the mid nineties and just smelling it now takes me back to those turbulent years in my mid twenties.
Top notes are (with thanks to Fragrantica): Cyclamen, Freesia, Roses, Melon and Lotus
Middle notes: Carnation, Lily, Lily of the Valley and Water Peony
Basenotes: Woods, Tuberose, Amber, Sandalwood, Musk, Osmanthus and Cedar
If by some tiny chance you have never smelled this ubiquitous Top Ten scent, I can safely say that many of the floral notes are either not there or drowned out by the aquatic/ozonic/melon accord. This is primarily melon/calone and the flowers listed are a pretty chorus, but by no means do they take centre stage. I would also say that the base notes described would give an impression of a much woodier musk scent, which this is not.
Having said all that, this is certainly pretty and light, as was its intention, and it also heralded a genre that hasn’t gone away: Clean.
Clean, Laundry Fresh and Fresh Cotton and Fresh Linen and ooh, everything that makes you smell as if you’ve just come in from being hung on the washing line to dry in a gentle breeze. I don’t hate this trend, and sometimes I want that Linen Fresh thing going on, but in general, I want my perfume to be more challenging and interesting than just “clean” (especially when the opposite can be such fun! I’m talking to you Bal a Versailles, you filthy madam!).
L’Eau D’Issey almost became a victim of its success in so far as it was everywhere. Having said that, I’d rather smell this than its ubiquitous contemporary Thierry Mugler Angel, which is the same age and couldn’t be more different.
Whilst fragrance trends come and go (some a bit slower to “go” than others), there must be a reason why L’Eau D’Issey has stayed steadfast.
Personally, Calone has never been my cup of Earl Grey, but putting aside my subjectiveness for a moment, this is a brilliantly done scent and has stayed at the top of its game for over two decades. This is no mean feat when you think how many perfumes are discontinued on a yearly basis.
My theory is that in all the stress and chaos and busy-ness of modern life, some people need and want a drop of something pure to gently bring them back to earth again. And who can blame them? L’Eau D’Issey does that very job and does it brilliantly.
CB I Hate Perfume was founded by Christopher Brosius, a former taxi driver who rebelled against the suffocating scents that filled his cab. It’s great news for us that he felt that way because CB I Hate Perfume is a unique brand that breaks the mould.
His scents are more about capturing a memory or a mood in a bottle, rather than having the singular aim of making you smell pretty. Such a concept is refreshing and I look forward trying more.
CB I hate Perfume Winter 1972is a delightful scent that immediately evoked a very visual memory. It is, to me at least, the smell of lying in a cosy bed next to a damp, rather mildewy window on a cold night. I love perfumes that take to me to a place or a moment, and they have a definite role to play, in the same vein as Demeter’s scents of realism.
The notes in Winter 1972 are simple: soil, wood and sea. The soil tincture is certainly the most dominant, with it’s earthy slightly “off” smell which combines beautifully with the Wood and the Sea. It reminds me of wet bracken on a damp winter walk.
CB I Hate Perfume also provides samples at 3GBP each, which is another quality that endears them to me. Often large bottles are too expensive to take a blind buy gamble with, so I always like it when niche brands offer this service.
Ding Dong! Reasonably priced beauty products, fragrance and miscellany calling!
Yes trusty old Avon is still at it and going strong. The Avon modus operandi is almost Draconian in this Digital Age. A brochure is brought to your door, a form is filled in by hand with a pen, and given to a representative that comes back two or three weeks later with your goods. When High Streets are falling like dominoes, it’s almost miraculous that the Avon lady still stands, with a smile.
Of course the Digital Age hasn’t completely bypassed our trusty friends at Avon. There’s a website where you can order items and leave reviews, and many people text or email their Avon reps now, although that does not exempt them from the long wait for their goods. In fact the long wait is kind of half the fun. Usually by the time I’ve waited three weeks I’ve completely forgotten what I’ve ordered. It’s like a lovely present chosen by someone who knows your tastes perfectly. Which, in a way, it is.
I’ve mentioned Avon in earlier posts, and I’ve promised you an Avon Week. That week is here, dear readers, and it starts now.