Tag Archives: bargain perfumes

Gorgeous and a Bargain: Avon Far Away Bella

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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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Avon Rare Platinum: Tip Top Tuberose

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Confession time: Reader, I broke my No Blind Buy Rule because of a scratch’n’sniff.  You know those little patches in Avon brochure that say “rub me and buy one?” well I did just that and ended up the delighted owner of a full bottle of Avon Rare Platinum.

I was slightly miffed when Avon stopped selling Avon Rare Rubies.  I was a bit more miffed when they stopped selling Avon Rare Diamonds, but having just got my hands on a bottle of Rare Platinum, I can honestly say all is forgiven.

tuberRare Platinum is all about the tuberose.  I have been thirsting for tuberose ever since my visit to By Kilian.  Kilian Good Girl Gone Bad made this respectable citizen want to tell fibs and steal. Good Girl Gone Bad is way out of my league. I can’t justify that sort of money this near to Christmas , especially since my ten year old son has just got “into clothes.” However, Rare Platinum scratches that tuberose itch and  cost me a paltry SEVEN QUID.

It opens with thick, heady tuberose and jasmine with a touch of grapefruit to cut through the cream.  This agrees with me very much, in the way that  sharp fruits and thick double cream agrees with me. The tuberose is good stuff, especially when you think of the tiny price. It has that crescendo where it builds from white petals to thick and creamy to borderline teetering-on-the-brink-of celery before relaxing and making me think of the loud tuberose scents of the 1980s.

Lasting power is pretty good and it smells especially good on sleeves and coats ( I am joyfully plastered in it!). What I really love about it is that fact that there’s no sugary sweetness or caramel or vanilla. This is an honest to goodness straightforward floral.  If you like your white flowers big and blousy with a hint of lilies, buy this. Actually, buy several and stash them away. When perfume is this good, and costs so little, you need to pin it down.

Stockists

You can buy Avon Rare Platinum from your Avon rep or from Avon UK online. Prices are currently £7 a bottle at the time of writing.

Photos: Top photo by Avon, Tuberose photo from Fragrantica.

 

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Yardley April Violets: Contemporary Classics

 

 

The Perfume Society
The Perfume Society

In the past Yardley has been accused of being “old lady”.  It’s a term I don’t like to use, since the mature set round my way always smell terrific, with wafts of Estee Lauder Cinnabar and Clinique Aromatics Elixir being particular favourites that many younger buyers local to me wouldn’t touch.  So where some might say “old lady”, I would like to say “classic”, and since we are talking Yardley today, then classic seems to be a good fit.

My quest for the perfect violet is never ending and even when I find a good one, I still hunt for more.  Stand-out violet scents for me are Lush Tuca Tuca ( sadly no more),  Penhaligons Violetta,  Pell Wall Deep Purple ( a green mossy violet) and my beloved Balmain Jolie Madame which combines violet with leather and oakmoss.

Clever Yardley has seen fit to relaunch four of their floral fragrances as “Contemporary Classics” and I for one welcome this move whole heartedly.

Yardley April Violets is a back to basics violet, but seems all the more rare for its simplicity.  There are many notes listed, despite it being presented as singularly violet, and it does indeed change on skin the longer its there, but into a plaer version of its its own top note, rather than anything boldly different.  On the Yardley website, there are notes of white peach, orris, mimosa and rose, with sandalwood, vanilla and powdery notes in the base.  To my nose I could smell violets, a hint of iris ( probably the orris), a hint of white musk, and a handful of green notes.  It is both refreshing and powdery at the same time, with an old fashioned note that makes me thirst for simpler fragrant times before the caramel tsunami.

 

Yardley
Yardley

So “classic” was April Violets that it fell out of fashion, or so Yardley thought, and they discontinued it.  However, public clamour brought it back and it is now widely available at a very reasonable price.  Longevity isn’t great: say a weak eau de toilette or a strong eau de cologne, but topping up is part of the pleasure, and at less than £12 for a big 125ml bottle, you can’t go far wrong.

Stockists

Yardley April Violets is currently available on Amazon UK, Amazon.com and Boots.com as well as www.yardleylondon.co.uk.  My sample was from the Perfume Society Beautiful Blossoms Discovery Box.

 

Ten Perfumes Under a Tenner: Revised for 2014

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As I may have mentioned before, I am a strong believer in perfume for all. If your budget is more Aldi than Amouage, you can still smell good. The trick lies in being selective: quality is there if you know where to look.  It’s also in portion control: yes you can wear niche, but a sample or discovery set usually works out cheaper than a full bottle if eked out judiciously. When the purse is empty, I can still smell of Tauer Noontide Petals, just not every day.

Last year I made a list of best perfumes under ten pounds.  Due to constant price changes and discontinued this and that, I thought it appropriate to do another one. I won’t quote prices as they are so variable, but all of these were under 10GBP at the time of going to press, and not in a sale.

I’ve tried to include a bit of everything so in the list below you have a musk, a rose, an oriental, a cologne, a floral, and a patchouli. Hope you like it!  Oh and do let me know of your favourite bargains.  I always love to hear from you.

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1. Coty L’Aimant: still under a tenner, still smells like Chanel No 5, still easy to find.  Oddly, not often worn by the young. Time to put this right!  Think, as the Perfumed Dandy does, of an Agatha Christie heroine.

2. Dana Tabu: An affordable Oriental classic.

3. The Body Shop Early Harvest Raspberry EDP 30ml. You know the adage K.I.S.S? (Keep It Simple Stupid)?  Well that’s what the Body Shop has done and this lovely raspberry soliflore is suitable for all ages, even children, and is one of the most searched for posts on my blog.

4. Alyssa Ashley Musk: A classic Musk that has been going since the 70s.  You can’t go wrong.

5. Jessica Simpson Fancy Nights: A creamy combo of Papyrus and Patchouli. It’s not your typical celebuscent and smells like it cost a lot more than it did. I wear it often.

6. Chique by Taylor of London: This was a pleasant surprise to me:  a mossy chypre that reminded me of Estee Lauder Knowing but was a fraction of the price.  The packaging is dated and bland but it smells terrific.

7.  The Body Shop Atlas Mountain Rose oil, 15ml.  A great base for layering, or wearing alone.  Because it’s an oil and has no alcohol in it, I find it lasts longer than anything else on a very hot summer day.

8. Avon Timeless:  Currently a fiver a bottle.  Avon created this classic in 1974 and discontinued it in 2012.  Customer demand brought it back.  Amber and Patchouli and aldehydes. Buy it before they change their mind again.  Available from your Avon rep.

9.  Elizabeth Arden Green Tea flankers: widely available and usually 9.99, I have tried several of these now and I can honestly say that they are all delightful.  Light, pretty florals that refresh on a hot day and impossibly feminine to boot. Real crowd pleasers.  I especially like the Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Honeysuckle, Green Tea Tropical and Green Tea Revitalize.

10. Next Just Pink: Smells like Ralph Lauren Romance, but even prettier!  I adore this and always have a purse spray in my handbag.

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Incidentally, if you are not afraid to go a few pence over the ten quid limit, I suggest  Avon Premier Luxe , any of The Body Shop Scents of The World Range,  and a trawl through allbeauty.com.

Others that I recommend are  Tweed, Panache, A quick peek in TK Maxx to see what they’ve got in this week (stock changes constantly) a basket full of purse sprays from Marks and Spencer, the ever changing array of scents and prices in your local bargain stores such as Wilkinson and Home Bargains, the Yardley soliflores … Oh and don’t forget eBay!

Money schmoney- Who needs mega bucks?

Lolita Lempicka Eau de Parfum: On a Dark Velvety Night

lolita

Lolita Lempicka make the most delightful bottles: the gilded apples bring to mind Eve in the Garden of Eden. When quality is this high, and prices are this low, then temptation is afoot.

 Lolita Lempicka EDP was launched in 1997 and seems a decade late. I like this scent because I am a fan of Cacharel LouLou.  LouLou is full of Licorice-y notes and if you don’t like that, then you might not fall for Lolita Lempicka EDP.  There are however, many other scents to the brand that are worth trying, which I am looking forward to reviewing in future.

photo from www.ign.com
photo from www.ign.com

This slightly Gothic-y fragrance opens boldly with Green Ivy, Violet, Licorice, Almonds and if you wait a few minutes…Chocolate.  On paper it sounds like a mish mash but on skin it gives an edgy, Eighties nightclub feel that brings to mind my student years in Goth nightclubs.  Had this been invented then, it might have been my signature instead of my beloved LouLou. If this were a fabric, it would be dark plum velvet.  If it were a drink it would be absinthe, and if it were a woman it would be Siouxsie Sioux.

This is rich and sweet, but not in a candy  floss way because the dark Orris Root and sober Vetiver calm it down. On me there is a hint of vinyl, which fits the visuals in my head: a Goth student in the Eighties playing vinyl records (probably Sisters of Mercy and The Cure) late into the night. The cherries give it a medicinal flavour and add a boozy note, like Cherry Brandy. The whole shebang ends on a long glide of Liquorice and Musk. Longevity is good on me at around six hours.

I wouldn’t recommend buying this blind, but if you like it, you have a bargain that doesn’t smell like a bargain.  It’s both unusual and widely available and yet I have never, ever met anyone who wears this (except friend of the blog Lisa Wordbird, I’m sure she has it). In any case, despite being easy to get hold of (the perfume, not Lisa- she’s a lady) this still smells a bit niche, so it’s great to smell a bit different to everyone else for under twenty quid.

Chique by Taylor of London : My Dusty Beauty

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Long overlooked, with its cheap plastic lid and utilitarian packaging, Chique by Taylor of London, formerly made by Yardley, has such a cringe-y name and unremarkable presence that it has become all too easy to ignore.

However, I bought a bottle this week and was more than pleasantly surprised.  You may have been able to tell that I love a drugstore classic and nothing is too cheap for me (except coffee).  My small and rather dull looking bottle of Chique held some amazing surprises.

It opens like a prickly Chypre and stays put.  The drydown was puzzling me for a long time until I realised what it was that I was reminded of.  Only Estee Lauder Knowing!  What’s not to love? Chique goes on with the subtlety of an Olympic fireworks display and hangs around like a barnacle on a ship.  Longevity is about ten hours.

Here are the notes according to trusty Fragrantica: Floral Notes, Orange, Lemon, Fruity Notes, Oakmoss.

First of all, the list of notes doesn’t do this justice.  This is a green, musty, powdery Oakmoss scent.  In other words it’s right up my street.  It’s also very reasonably priced to a point that made me suspicious.  However, on opening it and trying it out I was utterly delighted (and for once in my life I threw the box away, it was beyond dull).

It is so up my street that we’re practically housemates.  In fact we are.  This now lives in my handbag.

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One word though: it has muscles, so don’t spray near other people, unless you want them to run away. I bought my bottle of Chique for £3.99 off Amazon and it came with a free body spray.  I think the price has changed now, but you’d still get change from a ten pound note. Bargain of The Year.

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Chloe Narcisse: Busy As A Bee

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I have happy memories of Chloe Narcisse. It was created in 1992 and I remember coming back from my local House of Fraser with a bottle of it in a little beribboned gift bag. For about two months I smelled of this every day before ending my fling and returning to my old faithful Chanel Cristalle. It was great whilst it lasted and we had some good times.

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www.discoverlife.org

However, I tried it again more recently and I’m on the fence about it.  It has too many yellow flowers and honeyed sweetness for my taste these days, but it’s not unpleasant, it’s a bestseller, it’s good quality and very cheap (around 10GBP for 30ml).

The opening notes are bright and sillage can fill a room.  Sticky Marigold, yellow Narcissus , Sweet orange blossom and even  sweeter peaches.  The problem here is that my dislike of peaches means I can pick out the slightest hint from a mile off and this is a turn off alongside other sweet flowers.

The middle is equally sweet and reminds me of a very hot day: so sunny you can’t move for the heat, and a loud buzzing of bees in the overwhelmingly overstuffed flower beds. It’s all a little too much. Thankfully the pineapple that’s alleged to be present is not present, at least to my nose.  Many a pineapple has ruined a perfume for me. They are strictly for eating only.narcisse ad

The base is a little calmer, with surprisingly, Tolu balsam as a base note. There is a little spice and sandalwood and I think I prefer the base notes to the rest of it.  It’s like the smell that lingers after the overly lavish bouquet has been taken out of the room.  A faint trace that flowers were here once, but what remains is much more palatable.

I bought a bottle of this last year and had such mixed feelings about  it that I ended up selling it on eBay.  I can’t hate it, it gives me happy memories and I love the little green metallic neck on the bottle, but try as I might, my nose has changed too much to still be that 22 year old with the little gift bag and the free body lotion.

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Tommy Hilfiger Tommy Girl: Worth Taking Seriously

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First of all, the creator of Tommy Girl is a legend in her own right. Calice Becker is the creator of Balmain Vent Vert, Dior J’Adore, Estee Lauder Beyond Paradise (which automatically makes Luca Turin one of her greatest fans), and a whole stable of Killians, to name but a few.

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photo by fragrantica.com

And yet Tommy Girl has a reputation for being popular with teenage girls.  It’s very much a must have within certain age groups, and I should imagine many a sixth form common room has been much improved by Ms Becker’s fragrance.

 Tommy Girl is a refreshing change from many young fragrances in that it is invigorating and effervescent rather than overly sweet. Opening notes are citrussy and refreshing, but they deftly sidestep the temptation to wander into Davidoff Cool water or Issey Miyake L’Eau D’Issey territory.

This is achieved by the right balance of floral preventing this from becoming aquatic.  There is refreshing Grapefruit, but also Magnolia.  There is sharp Lemon and Mandarin, but also Roses to tone it back down again. Violet, Honeysuckle and Camellia keep it young and pretty without going over to the Twee side.

The only note I take issue with is the alleged Leather in the basenote, which I did not get at all.

This is everything light and refreshing and youthful, but at the end of a long day, you still get some faded florals clinging prettily to your skin. A bargain, and possibly a modern classic.

Tommy Girl is available from www.Boots.com or www.allbeauty.com and is usually well under £20.