Tag Archives: perfume under ten pounds

Gorgeous and a Bargain: Avon Far Away Bella

far away bella

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.

far-awayinfinity

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

intrigue

 

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.

old school scent

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.

Perfume for Paupers: How to Smell Good on a Budget

Frugal Fragrance, Scents on a Shoestring, Perfume for Paupers: phrase it how you will.  The truth is that these days the cost of living is high and luxuries are the first to go. Choosing my perfume for the day is a few minutes I treasure. I certainly have plenty of choice but only around four bottles on my dressing table cost more than thirty quid (and were mostly gifts).

photo by World of Oddy
photo by World of Oddy

I am often asked how I can afford to sample a new perfume every day and I always answer almost apologetically: I have very few expensive full bottles and sometimes a review is prompted by a few free squirts at my local beauty counter. The rest are inexpensive bottles, samples or purse sprays. If I had had to spend a lot of money to do this it wouldn’t have been possible.

Granted, I have two advantages: a very generous friend without whom this blog would be shorter and harder to write.  I know how lucky I am.  The second advantage is that as a blogger, I often get sent free sample sizes to trial.  However, apart from that, I truly believe that it is possible to smell good without breaking the bank.

 On the High Street

There are several ways in which to enjoy perfume on the cheap.  Firstly, I no longer dismiss cheap perfume the way I used to long ago.  Rummage long enough in the nd.10934High Street fare, and you will find gems that cost well under a tenner, and even a few for under a fiver. In my local Bodycare shop, I have bought  100ml of Cabochard for £8.99 and a bottle of Jovan White Musk for Women for £6.19.  Then there is the bargain Queen of them all: Coty’s L’Aimant– and I am neither the first nor the last to find similarities between L’Aimant and Chanel No 5.  Created in 1927, L’Aimant has a retro feel that reminds my esteemed fellow blogger The Perfumed Dandy, of an Agatha Christie heroine. A small bottle can cost just over a fiver and is widely available.

 

Be Unfashionable

Back in the 70s, drugstore classics were everywhere and everyone wore them.  They have lost popularity now but are worth revisiting.  Their lack of popularity means they are cheap too, so it’s a win-win situation if you like bargain chypres tweedand aldehydes. I have purchased Panache for just £4.99 on Fragrance Direct- and the longevity is around 12 hours, making this classic aldehyde excellent value.  I have also managed to purloin (I love that word) a bottle of retro favourite Tweed from my local chemist for £4.99.  Recently a little bottle of Chique arrived in the post for just £3.99 and it is full of Citrus and Oakmoss. (see my rave review).

 

 In Praise of Purse Sprays

Then there are the purse sprays.  I have a bouquet of these on my dressing table, none costing over a fiver.  Marks and Spencer does an excellent range of perfume and purse spray ma nd salmost all of them are available in 10ml and 25ml sizes, starting at £4, making these affordable treats. I also find that very often there is a sales brochure in my Avon catalogue and I have in the past bought a purse spray of Little Red Dress for just £3.99. Avon are doing these more regularly now and you can get them for just £3. I recently picked up a 10ml bottle of Next Just Pink for just £2 in my local Next Clearance store, and it’s become a firm favourite.

Go Niche and Bijoux

 4160 test setIf you have a lot of perfumes and samples, a small amount can last nearly a year if you rotate it with other scents. It is possible to have sample sizes of great niche scents for special occasions that would normally be prohibitive when bought in full size bottles. However, there’s no reason why anyone should be left out, regardless of budget.

Samples of niche scent enable you to smell unique and fabulous without breaking the bank. In the UK I recommend Pell Wall, 4160 TuesdaysThe Perfume Society Discovery Boxes, Les Senteurs or eBay. In the USA, try The Perfumed Court or Surrender to Chance. Which leads me to my next heading…

 Buy Online

photo by World of Oddy
photo by World of Oddy

Determined and lengthy browsing on Amazon has helped me find Coty Chanson D’Eau a citrussy hesperide at only £6.99 for 50ml including a shower gel.  Even I was sceptical at that price, but pleasantly surprised at this lovely green cologne on receipt of it. Another recent Coty find was Coty Aspen for Men at £8.29 a delightful Lavender/Pine combo that smells like Creed Green Irish Tweed . Don’t rule out Old Spice either- it was originally meant for women and smells like a lighter version of Dana Tabu).

Yves Rocher is a minefield of bargains, but sadly my nearest branch is in France.  Their online service for the UK is excellent however.  I just bought 2 bottles for the price of one: Clea and Yria. They were blind buys, but I looked them up on Fragrantica, liked the reviews and went ahead.  I was not disappointed and now own two bottles for the total price of £15. They usually let you choose three free samples and a free gift too.

One of my favourite sites is Allbeauty.com, formerly CheapSmells.com.  They have a huge variety of genuine big names, but can sell cheap since they are without the High Street overheads. Prices are very low and there is a vast selection of perfume under £10. Postage is free  when you spend over £15 but it does take about week.  They don’t pay me to say how great they are, but their delivery guy could find my house without sat nav.

 Samples

 Being a blogger I have the advantage of having been sent some free samples from discoveryclub_headerimgvery generous companies, and I am lucky to have a good friend in my chum Lisa, whose generosity in letting me loose on two big boxes of phials, knows no bounds.

Samples are getting harder to cadge over the counter: believe, me I’ve turned on the charm!  But there are other methods.

The Fragrance Shop Discovery Box (see photo) is a good way to bolster my sample collection.  At only £5 a quarter, I receive a box of mixed samples and vouchers for money off full sized bottles. My absolute favourite Discovery Box comes from The Perfume Society, which provides around ten samples, smelling notes, sniffing strips, and a couple of scented goodies that vary from facial serum, to hand cream or shower gel.

 Look Beneath the Glitz

Don’t rule out tacky looking celeb scents either: Who cares what it says on nd.8925the label?  If you like it, go ahead.  Two of my favourites are Jessica Simpson Fancy Nights (very Vegas!), bought for £8.95 which smells of Papyrus and Patchouli ( and very similar to Prada EDP), and JLo Deseo, which looks like wet jewel and smells eau so fraiche!

 eBay

Ebay is an excellent source of cheap fragrance trawling, especially after big events such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day when people sell their disappointments.  Some buyers are afraid of being sold a dud, but I can honestly say everything I have bought has been authentic and eBay are pretty strict about fake stuff, so it’s a good place to shop around.

Swaps, Decants and Splits

If you get stuck into the talk boards on Basenotes, Fragrantica, Facebook Fragrance Groups or even Mumsnet Style and Beauty threads, you can not only find friendly like minded fellows, but can usually swap decants, full bottles, or even go in on an expensive niche bottle by just buying, say a quarter if a full bottle with some fellow fragheads. Perfume lovers are generous souls and genuinely want to spread the joy.

Photo by World of Oddy: Wishing Pool in Portmeirion
Photo by World of Oddy: Wishing Pool in Portmeirion

How about you?

What’s the best bargain you’ve ever scooped?  Have you found a hidden gem? Do share so we can share your joy, follow in your footsteps or just sit here being all jealous. Perfume is such a treat, I truly wish it for everyone.

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Marks and Spencer Autograph New York

marksandspencer.com

My local Marks and Spencer branch sadly doesn’t carry Fragonard  or the Lyn Harris range, but I am always quite happy with the affordable selection they have on display, just for me, it seems, since it doesn’t get terribly busy.

Marks and Spencer can hold their heads high when it comes to affordable every day scent. I seem to have accumulated an embarrassing number of purse sprays, thanks to the purse (spray) friendly price tags of around £5 for 10ml.

 Autograph New York stands out from the other pretty daytime florals, and from  Issey Miyake smellalike Isis, because New York simply has more muscles.  It is woodier and muskier and more grown up than the other pretty girls. In reality, New York itself smells nothing like this of course.  My good friend Catherine, who lived there for a decade, describes the smells as “cigarettes, coffee, gasoline”. Maybe a challenge for the realist Demeter house of perfume?

wikipedia.org
wikipedia.org

Top notes are: Bergamot, Gardenia and Apricot. Middle notes: Rose, Jasmine, woods, Base notes: Heliotrope, Vanilla, Sandalwood and Musk. (- Fragrantica)

Straight away, those cosy rich Apricots make their presence felt against the transparent green background of the Bergamot, then the Woods creep in, then the Roses and then the whole thing is rounded off with a neat White Musk and Sandalwood finish.  This stops just short of being spicy, but is on the cusp of being Oriental. Whereas I can’t bear Peaches in scent, Apricots in scent are somehow richer and less sweet, in the same way that a raisin is richer than a grape.

The Gardenia is  a slight disappointment. A glimpse of a petticoat, and it was gone. And I’m not sure it was the real deal. It all looked a bit faux from where I was standing.

What really stands out in the base notes of New York are the Musk, the Woods and the Apricots. The combination leaves this as a perfect day to evening scent, though longevity is related to price.  Being an EDT, and being on the cheap side of cheap (though it doesn’t smell like it) this does need topping up. However they do these handy purse sprays…( see paragraph two above).

It’s kind of a vicious circle, but not one that bothers me too much. It’s cheap and affordable (hooray!), but it doesn’t last long (Boo!), but that’s OK, because it’s cheap and affordable (hooray!) and so on.

However, short lived purse sprays are the instant gratification of perfume and I could do well to learn a lesson I am always teaching my children. Learn to wait.

My problem is that when purse sprays come in pretty boxes and make such lovely treats for under a fiver, I’m never going to get round to affording that Guerlain, am I? It’s a beautiful scented trap. Which doesn’t last long. But that’s OK because it’s cheap and affordable etc …and off we go again.

Incidentally, many people swear this smells like Donna Karan Cashmere Mist. I haven’t smelled it so I can’t vouch for it, but I am outnumbered by those who think so.

 

Marks and Spencer Florentyna White Flowers: A Lily, Ungilded.

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I tried this yesterday on my travels, and I was very impressed with it.  At its highest price, it is only 6.50GBP for a 30ml bottle, but the current sale means that a gift set containing a 30ml EDT and body lotion is only 4.75 today (see website or your local store, but hurry!).

It does what it says on the tin.  It is white flowers and nothing more, nothing less, but it is done very well.  It opens with unmistakable Lily, which sidesteps its occasional tendency to go all Image

vegetable soup on me,  and is enhanced by the addition of pretty orange flower and jasmine.  That’s about it really.  There’s no fancy allusions or long lists of aspirational base notes or middle notes.  It’s a clean, white scent that lingers for around four or five hours and is very feminine.  There is a hint of posh white soap in there somewhere too, which , as a fan of posh white soap, I never object to.

For a clean, inoffensive daytime Lily scent, this is the cheapest I’ve seen.  The price tag is deceptive: you could pay a lot more for lower grade tat elsewhere on the High Street.  This is classy and damned good.

Lidl X-Bolt for Men: Grab Yours Now Before I Do

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I don’t normally review men’s colognes, since I have enough to get through as it is with my one-a-day reviews (with occasional lapses due to children or migraines or both). However, gender is no bar to me and I often look through my husband’s fragrance collection and rifle what I can.

You may recall that I reviewed Old Spice on Father’s Day and enjoyed its spicy and clean notes, so as you can see, I am more than happy to wear so called Pour Hommes, even though I am  a Femme.

Dropping into my local Lidl two days ago, I couldn’t help but notice that they had their men’s fragrance X-Bolt in stock and at a princely sum of 1.99GBP, reduced from its usual price of 3.99.

Since I have reviewed Lidl’s Suddenly Madame Glamour, and since that review gets more daily hits than any other I have ever written, I thought it only fair to review X-Bolt. Besides which, my Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Box arrived today and I couldn’t muster one iota of enthusiasm for it. (but that’s another story…)

Let’s start with the name. X-Bolt either sounds like XBox and is therefore supposedly named to excite men, or it sounds like something my sons would watch after Ben 10. Either way, the name’s not the best, but I’ve heard worse. The bottle is lovely: simple glass with a faux burnished chrome stopper with the juice being an appealing shade of elderflower wine.

Image X-Bolt is extremely similar to Hugo Boss Bottled. This may or may not be deliberate, I’m saying nothing. The smell goes like this: Apples, Cedar and Bergamot very strongly in the top notes. Middle notes are woodier, but still Apple-y, and the base is very Vetiver, with a bit of sandalwood and  a general whiff of Woods.

Long ago, I would never have considered that anything costing 1.99 would have been any good. However, when you realise that the cost of making many fragrances is a tiny single figure percentage of the overall price, it’s easy to figure out how much goes on branding, marketing, advertising and very often, a celebrity face. In other words, lose the prestige and companies can still afford to produce a half decent fragrance, if of course, you don’t mind that you bought from a notoriously cheap supermarket and threw it in your basket next to kitchen roll and bacon.

 XBolt does have a slightly 80s Sport feel to it, (as does Hugo Boss Bottled), a bit like manly shower gel, but it’s so good for the price that I’m going back for more, and not just for my husband, who smells great in it.

(NB Hugo Boss Bottled is sometimes called Hugo Boss No 6 in the USA)

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