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.
Welcome to the second post in the MoodScent4 collaboration! We are four perfume bloggers based France, Holland, England and Wales who will be posting on a different joint subject every couple of months. Each time we will individually pick a selection of five or so fragrances to fit a particular mood or occasion. You’ll find links to the other blogs at the end of the post.
We hope you have fun reading our different choices and adding your own in the comments.
Wherever you are in the world, you’re bound to have noticed that it’s wedding season: unless its currently Monsoon season where you are (i.e Wales), in which case, please read this later in the year when the sun’s out.
With a number of wedding invites thudding on mats (I’ve had three this year), we thought it only fair to help you out with an informal guide to what scent to wear if you are a wedding guest.
As a wedding guest, there are certain protocols one must stick to. For example, there’s the obvious blunder of wearing all white to a wedding, or wearing attention seeking outfits that may attract more looks than the poor bride gets. Also, as a wedding guest, this is no place for racy cleavage and skimpy skirts. If you’ve invited either of the Hadid sisters, you may want to pop a Post It note in their invitation. Call me old fashioned, but I’ve seen a bag of oranges wear more string than they had on at the Met Gala (hoiks bosom and clutches pearls).
Scent wise, the rules still apply, at least in my book. I wouldn’t wear anything loud or experimental that makes everyone look round in church for the wrong reasons. Neither would I always play it safe and stick with airy florals (although they certainly have a place).
Here then, are my own personal mainstays when I am invited to a wedding.
Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps
I wore this to the wedding I attended on Saturday. It’s a beautiful classic floral that will be familiar to many, yet in my opinion, has never been overexposed. It’s gentle, pretty, delicate and warm (dash of amber in the finish). This is one fragrance I will never allow myself to be without. Here’s my review.
4160 Tuesdays Raw Silk and Red Roses
With a name like this, this beautiful scent just cries out to be worn at a wedding, and it suits the occasion perfectly. This is my usual Go To scent for weddings but I couldn’t find it yesterday. Like Virginia Woolf, my box of minis and samples needs a Room of One’s Own. Raw Silk and Red Roses smells so deliciously of old fashioned roses, yet it has depth and facets that lift this away from any other rose scent that I have tried. You can read my review here.
Cartier Baiser Fou
I fell hard for this after not being enamoured of the original Cartier Baiser Volé. Where Baiser Volé was all about the lilies and not in a good way, Baiser Fou is the fun, more playful sister. Smelling like a cross between fresh raspberries, Milky Bars and expensive lipstick, this is perfect for a summer wedding where lipstick ends up on everyone. You can read my review here.
Andy Tauer Noontide Petals
I have yet to find anything that smells similar to this aldehyde beauty. It’s bright with citrussy lime and clean soapy aldehydes, but changes throughout the day. By the time the evening party comes around, you’ll be smelling of tuberose, jasmine, frankincense, patchouli and roses. It has the added bonus of giving you the sure knowledge that nobody else will be wearing it. Unless you are going to a wedding full of perfume peeps. You can read my review here.
Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely
This one gets lots of mentions on my blog and that’s because it’s wonderfully versatile, long-lasting, and as girly as pigtails. I adore Lovely. The florals give way to rich creamy woods and patchouli and the whole shebang lasts all day. I spray mine in my cleavage and the back of my neck and I was still catching delightful wafts at bedtime. It’s not overpowering and I guarantee it will go with your dress. For the price, this remains one of the best value fragrances I know. It’s usually around £20 a bottle and I’m wearing it today.
How about you?
What scent do you wear to weddings? Do you have a favourite or do you choose as you go? Do let us know. We’d love to hear from you.
I am chuffed to beans to have three international colleagues to collaborate with. Find out what Tara, Esperanza and Megan all had to say on the subject of wedding guest perfumes. Between us we cover Wales, England, the Netherlands and France, which makes us the last word on European fragrances. We decided.
I’ve always been a fan of Yardley and I will correct anyone who says “old lady” in the same sentence. Yardley gave us the beautiful 60s style chypre that is Jade, and my favourite violet scent: Yardley April Violets. In fact, one of the reasons I love Yardley so much is that they do floral soliflores and they are pretty hard to get these days. I am a particular sucker for lily of the valley and reckon it’s about time straight-up, no-messing florals came back into fashion. In my book, they never went out.
Today I am reviewing Yardley English Bluebell. This is an interesting one because I am very familiar with the smell of bluebell and did not find it here, as such. However, this did not prevent me from liking it and this review is going to be a bit of a fan letter.
English Bluebell opens with peony and bergamot: two lighter than air notes that will perk you up like a spring morning. Peony is the pretty girl who always wear floaty pink tulle and it is used beautifully here. This is feminine right down to its pink ballet slippers. Whilst actual bluebell is absent, its close relative Hyacinth amkes its presence felt (I’m trying to get Hyacinth Bouquet into a sentence. Patricia Routledge fans will understand). The hyacinth is present and correct and gives an almost herbal/floral nuance. It’s like a girlier, greener version of lavender. I discerned a hint of lily of the valley, but not as much as I would like. There is allegedly peach in here somewhere, but peach dodgers will be relieved to hear that I could find none.
The base notes include amber, sandalwood, musk and vanilla. Don’t ask me why vanilla’s in there. It must have gone into the wrong meeting by mistake. Vanilla has no place in a pretty spring like floral. There is a soupcon of sandalwood in the base, which isn’t as incongruous as you might think, and the whole thing ends with a flourish of feminine white musk.
This a light and airy crowd pleaser that would pass the commuter test and the office test with flying colours. It would also make a very good scent for a young girl starting out on a perfume journey. It’s not very bluebell-y, but it is a very pretty floral that will offend nobody and delight everyone.
You can buy Yardley London English Bluebell from Boots. It’s not very expensive and comes in a very pretty box. Mine was under ten quid. Opinions are my own.
Dolce remains one of my favourite recent launches. It is a shamelessly girly fragrance that opens in Gucci Envy Stylee and blossoms into a floral delight that deftly dodges the perennial vanilla tidal wave. There have since been two flankers: Dolce Floral Drops ( also rather lovely) and today’s scent which is Dolce Rosa Excelsa.
Dolce Rosa Excelsa is not all that different to the original Dolce, but has, as you would imagine, more roses. The common note among all three Dolce scents, however, is the Amaryllis. This is a flower that wears underwear made of fruity blossoms. It is used beautifully here, and is a new way of chucking a nod in the direction of the fruity floral genre without actually becoming one. As well as the roses there’s also narcissus, water lily, neroli and papaya flower. In other words, this is like a delicate tropical flower fragrance, painted in ethereal watercolours.
The flowers are on the fruity side, but stay light and feminine. There is no tooth achingly sweet sugar here. It handles the fruitier flowers of the floral spectrum without ever smelling like a jug of cocktails. This one, my friends, is all about petals and floaty skirts. There is a soapy clean note which gives it the feel of a very expensive shower gel in a nice ( pronounced naice) hotel bathroom.
The base notes are allegedly musk and sandalwood, but they are light touches, heavily framed by flowers, and the rose in particular comes out towards the end. Longevity is very good. I could smell this on my wrist after a decent seven hour trial and it was still delicate and feminine. If I smelled like this after a day at the office, I would be more than happy.
Now there are three little Dolces, I envisage a cute little triptych in Duty Free. This customer would buy one for sure.
My sample was in the delightful Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Box. You can sign up here if you like getting samples in the post every quarter for five quid ( I do!). You can buy bottles of Dolce Rose Excelsa from John Lewis, Boots, or of course, the Fragrance Shop.
With Spring springing up everywhere with a “boing”, along with the snowdrops and daffodils, it seems an appropriate time to emerge from the winter heavies and seek out fragrances new. Carven L’Eau de Toilette is a light as air green floral scent that ticks all the boxes for me.
Carven L’Eau de Toilette opens with with a green, light flourish: there’s lemon, sweet pea and peony- surely one of the prettiest flowers in fragrance. The middle notes are hyacinth, wisteria and light-as-air freesia. The base notes are sandalwood, white woods and musk.
This combination makes for a very airy and feminine scent that fans of Issey Miyake’s A Scent and Chanel Cristalle will appreciate (so that’s me sorted). It’s most definitely office friendly and perfect for daytime. There’s no cloying candy and no vanilla to make it syrupy or rich. This is how you would want to smell straight from the shower: fresh as a daisy, light as a cologne and as pretty as a posy. The base notes, although promising woods and sandalwood, are surprisingly light, rounding off the petal accord with a white musk flourish.
Carven L’Eau de Toilette scores 10/10 from me. Spring has finally bloomed on my dressing table.
Today I tried DKNY Fresh Blossom, which was in Superdrug and priced at £18. I couldn’t resist having a thorough couple of squirts, but now I’m home I have only my memories. Yes, short longevity doesn’t begin to cover it. This was a bit of a funny one on me. At first its pretty and light: there is apparently grapefruit and apricot as it opens, neither of which I could detect. I did find a few light and pretty floral notes- certainly a touch of rose. The base notes are allegedly woods and apple, but I didn’t get that far.
However DKNY Be Delicious strangely began to smell like wet shoes before disappearing altogether. Two hours later there is no trace whatsoever on me. Did I dream it?
It’s a bland and feminine fruity floral that on me at least, had a touch of wet wellies before deserting me completely. It was a genuine sample, so no questions on that score, but it left me thinking “What just happened?” So I’ll hang to my eighteen quid if you don’t mind, Donna Karan.
As always, this is just my point of view. It may smell great on you and last for ages! Let me know if it does.
DKNY Be Delicious Fresh Blossom is available from Superdrug and many other retailers. Try Boots or Amazon, but try before you blind buy.
Chloe Love Story comes in the trademark Chloe Bottle, but has been tweaked a little to look like one of the many padlocks attached to the bridges of Paris right now (It’s a romantic gesture a bit like carving a love heart into a tree) and was launched in September 2014.
When I first tried it I thought “peony” because there is something rose like but lighter in the opening notes. After a few minutes however, I found myself feeling drenched in the orange flower in all its forms: orange blossom, orange flower and neroli. Add to that some African Jasmine (aka stephanotis) and you have a bouquet of almost bridal white flowers, with none of the cloying creaminess that tuberose often adds at this point. There is a definite greenery and foliage too, just to enhance the bouquet imagery. This is as green as it is clean.
The neroli and jasmine reminded me of a much missed and now discontinued Body Shop Jasmine and Neroli, but is more “laundry fresh” . The neroli is so prominent that it is almost borderline coconutty, but stops just short of that.
The base dries down into a soapy, just-stepped-out-of –the –shower accord that seems to contain a wisp of baby powder too. It would be perfect for a wedding, but I didn’t find it particularly unique. In fact, it also reminded me of my recent review of Versace Eros Pour Femme and also of Givenchy Dahlia Divin. That soapy white flower accord won’t be falling out of favour any time soon by the look of it, and after what feel like decades of mainstream perfumes containing cheap vanilla and caramel, I’m not going to complain.
Excuse me a minute whilst I gush like a fan. The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes are my new guilty pleasure. In fact, I don’t even feel guilty. They are my new obsession and The Perfume Society haven’t asked me to say so. I am besotted.
Years ago, when I was a slip of a girl (many, many years ago) my late grandmother gave me a wonderful Christmas gift. She had decorated a little basket with some fabric remnants, making a frilled lining, and filled it with beauty bits and bobbins. In it were bath cubes, setting lotion, a sachet of Shaders and Toners (remember them?) bath pearls and various other mini delights. It was such a cornucopia that I eked it out for a long time and have never forgotten what a treat it was to receive. I’ve had nothing like it since, but the old feelings came rushing back when I received my first Perfume Society Discovery Box a few months back. I’m now on my fourth and the thrill has not dissipated.
There is always a book of sniffing strips, postcards with notes about each perfume and discussion prompts in case you want to get a perfume club going ( and I do), and then last but not least, there is a selection of seven or eight perfume samples, often hard to get, and usually an “extra”, which in the past has consisted of Liz Earle skincare, Crabtree and Evelyn hand cream, and L’Occitane Roses et Reines hand cream.
This month I have the Beautiful Blossoms Discovery Box and it contains: a quad of Yardley floral EDTs, Miller Harris Couer de Jardin, Fragonard Jasmine, Jimmy Choo Blossom, La Perla Peony Blossom, Ruth Mastenbroek Amorosa, Agonist Isis, Chloe Love Story , Philosophy Amazing Grace and Elemis British Botanical Shower Cream.
I can sit there sniffing away of an evening with the TV on, blissfully trying stuff out for my blog and feeling very much in my element. It also means my sample selection has expanded in a way that makes my eyes light up like a miser in a goldmine.
So this isn’t a review of a perfume, but if you like perfume, these Discovery Boxes will save you a traipse round a High Street smelling of so many perfumes you can’t remember the name of the one you liked. Or they might fill a very pleasant evening of wrist sniffing whilst watching old reruns of House MD on Netflix with a cup of tea. Like what I do. Bliss.
The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes are available on the Perfume Society website for £15, although subscribers get first dibs and a discount.
I have long wanted to try Penhaligons Bluebell, despite knowing that it was a favourite of Mrs Thatcher, of whom I was not a fan. Interestingly, it is also rumoured to have been a favourite of the late Princess Diana, and the very current Miss Kate Moss.
The reason I have longed to try this is two fold. Firstly, when I was growing up there was a field and some woodland near our house which were awash with bluebells every year. I would pick huge bunches of them and the smell of them is a memory that has always stayed with me. Olfactive memory is never to be underestimated and can pack more of a punch than a photo.
The second reason, tied in with the first reason, is that the very first bottle of perfume that I ever bought myself with my own money was a little glass bottle of Bluebell perfume from Boots The Chemist. It was a splash bottle, square, and made of frosted glass. It has long since been discontinued but I remember buying it in my early teens and splashing it on liberally.
I had a Penhaligons Scent Library sample tin for Christmas, but Bluebell was missing. Luckily dear friend of the blog Patsi came to the rescue and I was delighted to receive a sample of both Bluebell and Violetta from her yesterday, for which, many thanks indeed Patsi. I cannot pick a favourite from the two!
Penhaligons Bluebell lived up to my expectations. It smells exactly like a fresh bluebell, only cranked up a little and made more intense. The natural smell of a bluebell is more subtle, but we’re not going for realism here, we are going for reproduction. There is slightly metallic, medicinal tang to it, a little like Jasmine at its freshest. Alongside the central bluebell note ( listed as Hyacinth, but all the same family) are other floral notes that fill in the gaps as the sharp, high pitched Bluebell wavers, unable to keep the fresh note going. Here I can discern Lily of The Valley and a faint rose, before the Bluebell note melds into the spicier, base notes with its cloves and cinnamon, used sparingly, like a faint outline.
There is a definite vegetable note in the base, reminding me that bluebells are related to asparagus, but it is eclipsed by wafts of pleasing flora. Would I buy this? Yes. And I would also buy Penhaligons Violetta and wear them together, because, oh boy, that smells amazing!
I have heard several positive noises about Stella and was delighted to find the eau de toilette in this quarter’s Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Box, along with several other great samples that made my eyes light up. To recap- The Fragrance Shop has a Discovery Club whereby they send you a box of fragrances samples once a quarter for the princely sum of £5, plus money off coupons for any or all of the featured fragrances. It’s a good way to avoid pricey blind buys and I have been a member since December 2013. You can join here.
Stella eau de toilette is a light airy floral with a manly clean cut edge, just like one of Stella’s beautifully cut trouser suits. The opening is all pretty peony and freesia, with a lightness of hand that makes me think of floaty chiffon and flower petals. Then the slightly more butch amber emerges in the base notes, making this a floral that refuses to be taken at face value.
Stella is gloriously wearable, and as you would come to expect from a practising vegan, no animals were harmed in its making, not even a ladybird. What I particularly like about it is that it has no vanilla or syrupy sweetness- it is all about the flower.
Whilst Stella will suit all ages, it is an excellent choice if you are buying for a teenager. Along with Chanel Chance Eau Tendre and Especially Escada Delicate Notes, Stella has that delicacy of touch and lightness of hand that makes this a perfect daytime scent, or even a bridal scent. Nobody could possibly find Stella de trop, yet its subtlety is its strength.
Stockists Stella eau de toilette is widely available but since I got my sample from the Fragrance Shop (UK), I should probably give them a mention. In the USA and Canada, you can get it from Sears or Sephora to name but two.