Tag Archives: bargain perfume

Library of Fragrance Cupcake: I Can Resist Everything Except Temptation

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Those nice people at Library of Fragrance recently sent me a selection of their cosiest scents. By cosy, I mean the smells you associate with staying in, wearing fluffy socks, and whacking the heating up to “sauna”.  It’s my absolute favourite thing to do in this weather: staying in and being boring. I love it.

hyggeThe Danish have a word for that cosy feeling of well being you get when all is well in the world and you’re snug as a bug in a rug: Hygge ( pronounced Hoo-GUH). With this in mind, Library of Fragrance has created a range of scents that make perfect Hygge perfume. Cupcake is just one and I shall be reviewing others in the run up to Christmas.

So what does it smell like? Well it’s funny really, because I spent all day making cupcakes yesterday for a guest who didn’t show up (I know, right?) After a day of baking and spooning up butter icing, I sprayed this on my children and asked them what it reminded them of. I love doing this- the results vary from the hilarious to the surreal via the strangely accurate.  One  had no idea whatsoever because his brain was full of Hype T shirts he “needs” and the other one said “biscuits” which was pretty close.

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Library of Fragrance Cupcake doesn’t smell of vanilla cake batter, because they already have one for that, and it does not smell of vanilla ice cream, because they already have one for that too. No, my friends, Library of Fragrance Cupcake actually smells of the crisp, light golden baked top of a cupcake when it’s been cooked somewhere between squishy and crunchy. You know the edges that are almost brown but not quite? It’s like that. In fact, freshly baked crispy biscuits was a pretty close guess. This is a dry, baked scent and very evocative it is too ( I know because I ate the trimmings round the edges yesterday).

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There’s vanilla in here, which is just the right amount, and that’s what makes this cosy. It’s also handy if you’ve no time to cook and want your supermarket cupcakes to smell shop bought- I shall be employing this trick next time our No-Show guest arranges a visit.

Vanilla is ideal for winter and I decided to experiment with layering Cupcake over other Library of Fragrance scents. I can report that it is so delicious when coupled with Library of Fragrance Nutmeg Ice Cream that  you will want to eat your own arm. I can think of no greater praise!

Stockists

Library of Fragrance fragrances are available from the Library of Fragrance website. You will also find purse sprays and extra large bottles and very often, fabulous sale items at under £10. You can also find a selection of Library of Fragrance scent on the High Street exclusively at Boots. My bottle was provided by Library of Fragrance in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own.

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Photo credits

All photos are my own  from my kitchen yesterday ( even the tea and cake sign) except for the Hygge definition which comes from www.musefondue.blogspot.co.uk

Top Ten Best Celebrity Fragrances

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Celebrity perfumes are ubiquitous and since they take up such a large part of the fragrance market, it would be foolish to discount them. Some press reports state that sales are on the wane (although JLo’s total sales are estimated at over 2billion), so maybe the love affair has peaked. However, for perfume opportunists like me, this usually means a drop in prices.

Many celebrity scents I have tried are sadly the candy floss/vanilla/cupcake type and many are difficult to distinguish from one another. However, celebrity fragrances are usually very reasonably priced so if you can find a good one and you don’t care what it says on the bottle ( I don’t) then there are decent scents out there to suit every pocket. Discernment is advised, however.

I have picked my ten best celebrity scents for you. Do let me know which you like best. I always love to hear from you.

I last wrote about Celebrity Scents in 2013 and some of my favourites from three years ago are still my favourites now, but I reckon it’s worth an update. Fame is a fickle mistress.

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Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely

This remains my favourite celebrity scent. Sarah Jessica Parker was involved at every stage. This was no mere sniff’n’sign off. You can read about the development of Lovely Liquid Satin in Chandler Burr’s excellent book The Perfect Scent. Lovely is widely available and very reasonably priced. I loved it so much I have a permanent 100ml bottle on my dressing table. If you like Narciso Rodriguez For Her you will probably like this too. You can buy Lovely from allbeauty.com, Boots and The Fragrance Shop.

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Rhianna Rogue

I saw this in my local Lloyds Pharmacy and it was just 9.99. I sprayed generously only to find that it smells very similar to Serge Lutens Daim Blond. Who knew? You can read my review here. You can by Rogue from FragranceDirect.

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Jessica Simpson Fancy Nights

With a Vegas style bottle in green and gold, this was first brought to my attention by the wonderful Australian Perfume Junkies– one of my favourite blogs. With patchouli and papyrus, it somehow ends up smelling almost identical to Prada Amber EDP. I bought mine from allbeauty.com and had change from eight quid. My review is here. 

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Jennifer Lopez Deseo

The blurb for this is that JLo was inspired by a walk through her Floridian garden at night. It has mimosa, jasmine, yuzu, bamboo and a mossy/patchouli base. It’s a light, white floral with beautiful lasting power.  My review is here. I have just treated myself to another bottle from allbeauty.com for 8.99. Gorgeous bottle too!

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Intimately Beckham

With a name that unfortunately makes it sound like a hygiene product, this is a lovely light daytime floral that is very reasonably priced. You can read my review here. Intimately Beckham is widely available. You can buy it from The Fragrance Shop and FragranceDirect.

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Madonna Truth or Dare

Madonna entered the celebrity fragrance with fashionable tardiness, but as usual, her entrance was worth waiting for.  Truth or Dare is a beautiful tuberose reminiscent of Fracas, but without quite the same depth. It’s an absolute bargain so get it while you can. My review is here. You can buy it from allbeauty.com for a mere £7.45.

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Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds

There are mixed reviews on this, but as a fan of white flowers, aldehydes and powdery oak mossy finishes, this was a hit with me. If you like the sound of it, you can buy it from ( believe it or not) Sports Direct for only £9.00 or from Fragrance Direct.

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Taylor Swift Incredible Things

I reviewed this recently (see link) and I was impressed.  It’s still a bit of a sweetie, but the addition of a noticeable suede note gives it a slightly different direction and I found it very long lasting too.  You can get a sample from the Perfume Society Scent With Love Discovery Box, or  a full bottle from Superdrug, or AmazonUK to name but  a few.

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Queen by Queen Latifah

Opening with bright citrus, and ending up as a boozy vanilla, this is  a great fragrance. Some vanilla based scent can be very cake-batter, but this is rich and boozy liqueur- and no wonder- there’s cognac notes in it! . I liked it and you can read my review here. It reminded me of Christmas. You can buy it from allbeauty.com.

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Sarah Jessica Parker The Lovely Collection Dawn

Dawn is part of The Lovely Collection, made up of three scents: Dawn, Endless and Twilight. My favourite is Endless, although it’s very hard to get now. Dawn is still widely available and is beautifully light and airy. You can read my review here. With light touches of violet and herby Angelica, rounded off by a white musk finish, this is a beautiful daytime scent that represents very good value. You can buy it from allbeauty.com or AmazonUK.  It would make an ideal starter perfume for a young teen.

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Avon Perceive Oasis: I’ll Take The Lot

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Avon is a prolific launcher of fragrances. I don’t think a brochure goes by without a new fragrance and I particularly love the scratch and sniff pages.  This week I was given a little sample of a new Avon perfume by my lovely Avon Lady Jill, who I mention frequently.  She comes to my door like a fragrance dealer and delivers her packages round the neighbourhood.  She no longer brings her adorable Basset Hound Cody, since my Ginger Tom cat Ian saw him off. I digress.

Avon to me, is hit and miss, but that’s just because they cast their nets wide.  For instance, Avon Far Away is not my cup of tea but is their Number one best-seller.  I smell it everywhere when I’m out and about.  However, their latest launch: Perceive Oasis is so good that I plan to stock up in case they discontinue it like they did with Perceive Dew a few years ago.

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Perceive Oasis is all about the peony. Peony is one of the most delicate and feminine floral notes in fragrance.  It doesn’t have the headiness of jasmine or the creaminess of tuberose- it’s all delicate flowers and ballerinas and fairy wings.  Perceive Oasis combines peony with violet leaf and a white musk finish.

It is an uplifting scent, with hints of clean laundry and springtime in it, yet done very simply.  It veers towards the ozonic if anything, but that just adds to the clean, clean, clean vibe.

On Fragrantica, some members list this as smelling similar to Chloe, and I would agree with that, although this is lighter and is more peony than rose.

It is currently only £7 a bottle and I have already placed my order. What a lovely surprise this was. Poor Jill will have to use a wheelbarrow to deliver my Avon if they keep this up.

Stockists

You can buy Avon Perceive Oasis from Avon Shop UK,  and prices vary from £7 to £11 depending on that month’s offer.  In my book, that makes this a solid gold bargain.

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Taylor of London Intrigue: Debunking the “Old Lady Perfume” myth

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Intrigue used to be Yardley Intrigue but is now made by Taylor of London. It’s a traditional floral chypre that I should imagine a younger palate may describe as “old lady.”

I feel very strongly about such a term when used regarding perfume.  Whenever I hear somebody use that term I replace it with “retro” or “Grand Dame” or “classic”, because so many powdery chypres were exactly that.  These mythical “old ladies” knew a thing or two about perfume.

Secondly, the more mature women round these parts, always smell fabulous. On them I smell wafts of Cinnabar, Aromatics Elixir and White Linen. My Mum smells incredible in classic fragrances such as Panache and Tweed. Whereas a much younger perfume wearer recently floored me ( in a bad way) with a thirty foot trail of Diesel Loverdose in all its sickly sweet glory. Thirty foot away! I kid you not.

Glad I’ve got that off my chest, now let’s look at Intrigue.

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Described as a floral chypre, this has top notes of citrus, violet and petitgrain, middle notes of rose and jasmine and a base note of cedarwood, musk and moss.

It’s a powdery floral that reminded me a little of Worth Courtesan without the knickery finale.

Despite opening with citrus and petitgrain, this is not an astringent eau de cologne intro, it’s a musky, soft floral with a mossy and woody base. In fact all the notes seem to come out at once and stay put, making a floral woody accord with a wake of soft feathery musk.

On Amazon, reviews are favourable, apart from a few fans of the original who state that it is not as it was. This is their right, and I cannot correct them as I haven’t smelled the original. However, as a very cheap and very cheerful floral chypre, this is a great little treat.

Stockists

You can buy Taylor of London Intrigue on Amazon UK or on Perfume Click (they are awaiting stock at the time of posting this). Prices are upwards of six or seven quid.  I had mine for Christmas.

Fragrance Under Five Quid- The 2015 Guide

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You may have gathered by now, since I am on post Number 602, that I am rather fond of perfume. Since I intend to review 1001 perfumes and I don’t have the income of an oligarch, I could be creating a case of fiscal fiddlesticks for myself.

In fact, from my site dashboard here at Iscent HQ, I see many daily internet searches leading to my site that read “good cheap perfume” or “cheap perfume that smells good” – so I know I am not alone in my quest for thriftiness.

Luckily I love a bargain, a cheapie, and a swapsie and I leave pride and snobbery at the door. I have therefore thrown myself on the martyr pile and selflessly sourced, borrowed and tested the following fragrant bargains, for you, my dear readers.

This is not the first time I have done a “Perfume Under a Fiver” article , but it is the latest 2015 update and it comes at a time of year when shopping rises up the Agenda. In the world of scent, availability and price changes as fast as the weather, so an update was, I felt, necessary. I hope you like the following perfumes I have listed. I would wear all of them, dear reader, and wouldn’t sell you down the river.

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Milton Lloyd

Milton Lloyd is owned by World Class Fragrance who have taken over a lot of Yardleys and Lentherics from the Times of Yore. You can still therefore buy some good 70s stylee drugstore classics such as Lace, Panache, Chique and Tweed. All of these have been reviewed on this blog. But did you know that there are modern flankers to accompany them? Panache Mademoiselle reminds me of Estee Lauder Pleasures, Tweed Mademoiselle is an excellent light fruity floral and Chique Mademoiselle is a light rose musk When you shop around on Amazon or Fragrance Direct or buy direct from Milton Lloyd, you can find them all for five pounds or under.

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The Body Shop

The Body Shop is currently on my Good List for making gorgeous 10ml purse sprays available for a fiver.  My favourite is trusty White Musk but you can also get Madagascan Vanilla, Indian Night Jasmine, White Musk Smoky Rose, Amazonian Water Lily, Atlas Mountain Rose or another favourite of mine, Fijian Water Lotus. Some of these are online and some are only available in store.

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Al Rehab

Al-Rehab perfume oils can be found on Amazon UK.  Coming in at well under a fiver, these purse sized roll ons are great value for your purse and last ages. You can wear them alone or layer them to mix and match until you find something you like. Try Choco Musk, Red Roses or Green Tea. Lovely packaging too. These are so cheap that you can afford to blind buy without going bankrupt.

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The Classics

Classic is another term for trusty perennials. Scents such as Gloria Vanderbilt, Coty L’Aimant and even the Charlies have been steadily in the background since I was a slip of a girl (decades ago). You can usually get a small bottle for under a fiver and I have reviewed them all on this site, except the Charlies.  Charlie Blue grew on me and now I can appreciate its mossy, woody longevity in a way I didn’t used to.  Try allbeauty.com (where I also found Jovan Musk oil for 4.95) or Fragrance Direct, where I always find something I like for not many pounds.

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Avon Calling

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Trusty Avon always has bargains, and despite their insistence on moving with the times against this customer’s will, you can be sure of a bargain. The under-a-fiver fragrances aren’t always obvious, but in every brochure there is usually a special offer. I often see classic Soft Musk for a fiver, as well as ambery chypre Timeless for the same price.  However, in this month’s brochure, the bargains are amazing: Spend twelve pounds on fragrance and get three 10ml purse sprays free. For your twelve pounds you could get a bottle of Soft Musk and bottle of Timeless  at £6 each, or three Avon Scent Essences for £12. That could be a total of six fragrances for just twelve quid. When my Avon Lady, Jill, comes tomorrow, I shall be ordering three Scent Essences and my three purse sprays, working out at two quid each. I hope none of my friends are reading this or the cat’s out of the bag.

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Marks and Spencer

When I’m in Marks and Spencer looking at knickers and posh tins of biscuits, I often find  a little purse spray ends up in my basket- oops!  But for prices that land between £3.50 and £5 for a 10ml handbag spray, who can blame me?  In fact, when they have the 3 for 2 offer on, who can blame me for buying three?  Try Autograph Blush for a light airy floral scent, or True Red if you like fragrances that are similar to Hugo Boss Red.

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My name’s Samantha and I’m a frugaleer. Join me, why don’t you?

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Piggy Bank photo from Snapple.com.

Pound coin photo from grandadevans.me.uk

The Body Shop Fijian Water Lotus.

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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.

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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.

Not QUITE Oceanus
Not QUITE Oceanus

Stockists

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.

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