Tag Archives: National Fragrance Day

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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National Fragrance Day: A Round up of the best Nostalgia Scents

#smellfie
#smellfie

Today is National Fragrance Day! I hope you’re all wearing something that makes you feel fabulous. I can’t make my mind up and have about five on each arm. Check out my #smellfie! Jolly hard without a selfie stick.

National Fragrance Day is the perfect time to look at the role that our sense of smell plays throughout our lives. Carrying on the theme of scent memory, I have rounded up ten of what I feel are the most evocative and triggering scents around. Smelling the fragrances below is like using a time machine. If ten scents could tell my life story, it would be these.

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1. Library of Fragrance Baby Powder

Although I never used baby powder on my children, the smell of this brought back what I fondly call The Wet Wipe Years. Little peachy baby bottoms and those chubby hands that gripped my finger- all brought back in an instant. They were the most magical years of my life. I have forgotten the torture of sleeplessness. All I remember is how entranced I was with everything they did. And yes, I was a crashing baby bore and I don’t care.

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2. What I Did On My Holidays 4160 Tuesdays

This fragrance from Sarah McCartney captures the smell of peppermint rock, sun lotion and the unique vinyl smell that says “seventies caravan interior”. Despite it’s playfulness, it’s worth taking seriously. However, it definitely wouldn’t be a bad thing to accessorize this with a Kiss Me Quick hat.

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3. Library of Fragrance Grass

I once described this as smelling like fairytale grass. This is the opulent green grass that was coveted by the The Three Billy Goats Gruff. Sweet, juicy and green, this is a knockout on a hot day. An honourable mention must go to Library of Fragrance Tomato which took me back to my late grandfather’s greenhouse faster than a TARDIS.


alexis

4. Christian Dior Poison

Although I never wore this myself, one sniff transports me back to the sixth form common room in 1987 when Poison was still new and much beloved of my fellow sixth form girls. It was indisputably iconic and despite me not liking it at the time, one sniff today sends me into raptures that make think of Alexis Carrington Colby Dexter. More than any other fragrance around at the time, Poison WAS the Eighties.

issey

5. Issey Miyake L’Eau D’Issey

In a similar vein the Nineties could be summed up by one fragrance. Most of my friends smelled of it and I can never smell  L’Eau D’Issey without thinking of those carefree years in London. I wore Chanel Cristalle unwaveringly during this era, but I remember what my friends smell like more than what I smelled like. No responsibilities, very few mobile phones and dog eared copies of Time Out to get my social life in order.

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6. Library of Fragrance Salt Air

This is a magical fragrance that does exactly what it promises. This is the salty air of the harbour in Tenby, without the fish. It has that unique tang of sea spray and seasides. Refreshing and addictive, Salt Air will take you back. And make you fancy a bag of chips from the paper.

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7. Cacharel LouLou

There I was, arriving at Exeter University in October 1988, having marinated myself in LouLou to tell this new world I was coming. You couldn’t miss me. It’s ironic that I thought Poison was too strong, but wore half a gallon of LouLou to breakfast. Belated apologies to my fellow diners.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Rex Features (1350527r) Anita Roddick of the Body Shop Various
Photo by Rex Features

8.The Body Shop White Musk

This is another Eighties scent I wore, which along with Dewberry, scented every bus, train, home, school and High Street throughout the decade. I yearn for the long gone Body Shop Perfume Bar. Huge bell jars of perfume oils with long glass dipping sticks. Sit and sniff and then go up and get a little plastic bottle filled from the counter. Sadly there are no plans to ever bring it back, but think how popular it would be if someone did! (hint, hint). Out of every perfume I have ever worn, this gets the most misty eyed comments.

millerharris jardin denfance

9. Miller Harris Jardin D’Enfance Collection

A beautiful capsule collection of three scents inspired by childhood memories of gardens. It’s spot on too: in Cassis D’un Feuille there’s earthy tomato and blackcurrant and fern. In Coeur de Jardin there’s pear, flower petals and moss. Poirier d’un Soir is very, very pear indeed, and has a lovely innocence about it.

19/10/2012 Product photography for Local Morsels web magazine which showcases local products and suppliers in the Bradford on Avon and Bath area.

10. Christmas

And finally, let’s not forget Christmas. For a trip right back to the Christmases of childhood, Serge Lutens Arabie is a rich gourmand that is saturated with rich dried fruit like my mother’s whisky drenched Christmas cake. It also smells very much like Nigella’s Black Cake, in which the fruit is so drunk it has to spend a night in the cells. If you can’t get hold of any, then Library of Fragrance Gingerbread or Fireplace will give you that fireside moment that says “is it cooked yet Mum? I don’t mind it warm.”

fireplace

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Stockists:

All Library of Fragrance scents are available from the Library of Fragrance website. Prices range from £9.99-£15.00. 4160 Tuesdays What I Did on My Holidays is available from the 4160 Tuesdays website. Christian Dior Poison is available from Debenhams, Amazon UK and John Lewis. Issey Miyake L’Eau D’Issey is available from allbeauty.com, Boots and John Lewis. Cacharel LouLou is available from Boots and allbeauty.com to name but a few. The Body Shop White Musk is available from The Body Shop. The Miller Harris Jardin D’Enfance range is available from the Miller Harris website.  Serge Lutens Arabie is available from allbeauty.com and Escentual.

Photo credits: Smellfie and photo of me and Leo- my own. Photo of misshapen lollies by Alison Oddy for World of Oddy. Photo of Christmas cake from www.localmorsels.co.uk. Photo of green grass from ravishingraw.com.  Photo of Three Billy Goats Gruff from Goodreads.com. Photo of Anita Roddick by Rex Features. Photo of sea- my own. Photo of Alexis Carrington www.der-denver-clan.de.