Am I your favourite perfume blogger or what? I am so generous that I am giving away a full 30ml bottle of Kitten Fur by Library of Fragrance. If you want to know what it smells like, check out my review right here.
I will announce the winner on April 22nd, so you have seven days. to get your entries in. UK only please.
NB- Please do not enter if you live outside the UK and Northern Ireland as I won’t be able to send it to you if you win, and I would hate to disappoint you.
Here’s what you have to do:
Just tell me your pet’s name. If you don’t currently have one, tell me the name of your last pet.
Also, you could, if you like, do these nice things for me:
Flower by Kenzo just hasn’t been on my radar until I opened my Modern Classics Discovery Box from The Perfume Society. You know when something is so familiar that you don’t notice it anymore? Well that must be why I didn’t actually know what Flower by Kenzo smelled like until now. I see it everywhere and yet I pass by. Now I’ve finally taken time to stop and smell the Flower (sorry) What a revelation!
Flower by Kenzo opens with light citrus notes and atouch of herby hawthorn that beds down into soft violet and roses. Now, you might be thinking YSL Paris when you hear violet and roses, but this is more like very expensive luxury thrice milled talc. There is a deliciously clean powdery note that has what can only be called a “fluffiness” about it. It evoked memories of those talcum puffs I used to buy my late grandmothers- you know, a marabou puff in a little round box or tin. Gorgeousness.
The flowers in Flower by Kenzo are present but subdued, as if being inhaled through a diaphanous white veil. The base has a faint spice thanks to the frankincense, but even that’s a mere puff and a wisp. The overriding finish is one of powdery white musk with a hint of violets. This is the ultimate perfect day time scent. In fact, my dear teacher friend Janet (she’ll laugh when she sees this) wears this to work and I can’t think of a nicer way to scent a classroom. This iscomforting, pure, and makes you smell as if you come from a good home with fluffy towels and clean laundry.
Flower by Kenzo is indeed a Modern Classic. It suits all ages and would also make a great first perfume for a young fragrance rookie.
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.
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.
One of the many highlights of my trip to the Jasmine Awards was the lovely surprise of bumping into Marina Barcenilla of MB Parfums. I had reviewed Marina’s beautiful scent India only last week, and in fact she had a phial of India body oil in her bag for me as a gift. Marina is as delightful as I’d imagined and it is a pleasure to write about her beautiful scents. Today I’m going to review MB Parfums Patchouli Clouds, because it stopped me in my tracks and made me say “Wow” out loud to an empty room.
Patchouli is a big old spectrum. The patchouli you find in the base notes of say, Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, will be nothing like the unctuous oil you might have bought in the 70s or 80s ( if you are as old as I am), but it’s all patchouli, in some form.
Patchouli Clouds has a wonderful mixture of spice, citrus, and damp woods. It starts off as an almost musty wet wood, and calms down into a beautifully aromatic earthiness that made me think of forests after the rain and slightly rotten wood. Believe it or not, I mean that in a good way. I love the smell of wood in all its stages: crumbly, freshly sawn, still with the bark on: you name it, I like it. There are flowers too: I found jasmine and roses entwined among the earthy bark.
In Patchouli Clouds, the scent has more in common with the oils from the Indian joss stick stall in Newport market that I hung around in during my teens. You know the sort of place: you could buy floaty skirts with tiny mirrored sequins on and leather purses with elephants on the front. The patchouli you could buy there was not in fancy packaging and it smelled more authentic and natural than anything I’ve ever sniffed over a pristine beauty counter.
Patchouli Clouds reinvents that in a less primitive way. It still has the patchouli kick of earthiness I seek, but it’s blended beautifully with rich florals and incense to ensure that the star of the show really shines with the right chorus in the background.
MB Perfumes Patchouli Clouds is available from the MB Parfums website, which also has a good sample service. My sample is from Marina herself, for which, many thanks. Opinions are my own.
Earlier this week, I asked you to send me your perfume problems. I then chewed the arm of my glasses and looked studious, whilst reading them, just like a proper Mumsy Agony Aunt.
I was so pleased to get so many questions, some of which I answer below. Incidentally, I also see questions on my WordPress dashboard which tell me what people type into Google in order to be led to my site.
There are two questions that I see every single day without fail. Yes, my friends, the two most popular questions are:
What’s the best Avon perfume?
What cheap perfume smells good?
Now you may have noticed that these two particular questions have entre blog posts devoted to answering them. Nobody can accuse me of not giving my readers what they want.
With that having been said, here are some other questions that I received this week.
I am very grateful to all who sent me a Dear Aunty Sam question. I wish I could tell you that there’s a T-shirt and a mug on the way to you, but I can’t. I think I may repeat this experience in future, so please do send any questions as they occur to you. I’ll be your olfactory DJ.
Dear Aunty Sam,
Like you, I miss Gucci Envy and only have a little bit left. What can I wear instead when this runs out?
A good question and one to which I still seek an answer myself. We’ve asked the Why Did it End? question but the wind took our words away and no answer was given. Meantime, here are some that I find have some of the Gucci Envy notes in common, namely green notes, lily of the valley and hyacinth.
I’ve fallen in love with Yardley’s Polaire. But as ever with Yardley 20 minutes in and unless I’ve gone nose blind I can smell nothing at all. Is there something out there that smells the same, but with actual longevity and a bit more sillage?
I haven’t smelled Yardley Polaire recently so I’m working blind here. However, I notice that the prominent notes are pear, freesia and rose. There are two scents that also contain these notes. One is Dior J’Adore and the other is Elizabeth Arden Fifth Avenue ( although more freesia than pear) However, if you want to stick with Polaire, there are a couple of things you can do to extend its life.
What I usually do is spray my hair. Hair carries scent very well- usually until bedtime! However, some people claim this dries hair out. Secondly, and I’m going to talk boobs here, spray it in your cleavage before you get dressed. As your body heats up throughout the day, you get nice little wafts under your nose. You can also make scent last longer by moisturising skin before applying it. Don’t forget a quick spray on your lapels or scarf.
There is another theory, however. Some people say that when a perfume really suits you, you stop being able to smell it. This is so subjective that I find it difficult to prove, but there may be some truth in it. Maybe Polaire just really suits you!
EDIT: I have since discovered that the ebautiful Celine Dion Sensational is a smellaike too. This one lasts ages on me.
Dear Aunty Sam
I have begun to make some fragrances. I have at least three that are absolutely delightful, unlike anything else I’ve ever tried. I really feel there’s a market for these, especially in this size, being affordable for almost everyone.
How do I go about getting someone to be willing to sell my fragrances in their shop (either online or not) or work with me in promoting mine?
Firstly, congratulations on your perfumes. I do love an entrepreneurial spirit. Secondly, before you sell them commercially, do they meet the necessary compliance? There are many perfume ingredients that have been banned by IFRA in order to ensure that scents do not cause rashes or reactions. Forgive me if I’m preaching to the converted- you may well already know this. Thirdly, have you tried Etsy? There are many beautiful handmade scents there and it strikes me as a good starting point.
I would really recommend one of the Studio days run by Sarah McCartney of 4160 Tuesdays. What she doesn’t know about making and selling perfume just isn’t worth knowing. You can find out more from the 4160 Tuesdays website. Oh, and in answer to your question about promoting your scent, my advice is, as you might imagine, harness the bloggers!
That’s all I’ve got room for this week. I hope you enjoyed my first brave fumble into the mailbag. Do you agree with my responses? Do you have any questions of your own? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.
Avon Viva La Vita is a fresh fruity floral that has enough sharpness to take you into Spring without being cloying or sweet.
The most noticeable notes are apple and grapefruit, both of which smell fresh as a spring morning with just enough zing to get you going in the morning.
The middle phase is all about the roses and magnolia, adding a feminine touch to the fruity opening. I couldn’t find the mimosa, but that didn’t spoil my enjoyment.
The base is sandalwood and cashmere, although both were indistinct. I prefer the uplifting fruity top notes and the floral middle phase to the base, which I found hard to discern,
Viva La Vita smells impossibly girly and pretty and I would consider getting a full bottle. I’m craving light feminine florals as winter begins to outstay its welcome. Over on Fragrantica, some readers are comparing this to Dior J’Adore, but others claim it is a generic Avon scent that smells like the existing Avon Femme and Avon Dreams. I can’t remember what those two smell like, but I do have some Avon purse sprays arriving next week so maybe I can check it out then.
Avon Viva La Vita is due for release this month, so I can’t tell you the price yet. Check out Avon UK for news. I’m guessing it’ll be pretty good value though. I tested the EDP sample, which I paid for (75p!). Opinions are my own.
Avon has a knack of launching scents that are bang on trend and have the “IT”-notes of the moment. You could accuse them of bringing out too many and spreading them too thin, but perfume moves fast. What’s very NOW could be SO last month before you can use up a whole bottle. Some come and go, and some remain Avon classics. Only sales figures will tell.
Today I am reviewing one of the Little Black Dress flankers: in this case, Little Lace Dress. I bought a purse spray (can I just say yet again how much I love a purse spray?) for just 1.99 and a jolly good buy it was too.
Little Lace Dress opens with a burst of orange citrus and note-du-jour blackcurrant. Then the middle phase goes straight into big, creamy jasmine. It’s so rich you couldn’t eat a whole one. The patchouli flounces in and works its throaty magic, giving this an edge over a standard floral.
Little Lace Dress smells very similar to many best sellers that are currently flying off the shelves on the High Street. Over on Fragrantica, readers are comparing it to Coco Mademoiselle, Chanel Chance Eau Tendre and Estee Lauder Modern Muse. I’m on the fence a little bit here. This has a floral sweetness that is cranked up a few more notches than Modern Muse, and doesn’t smell exactly like Coco Mademoiselle, but certainly has the big jasmine and patchouli, giving it an instantly recognisable 2017 accord.. This would suit the young palate that thirsts for the big names but may not have the banknotes to capture one.
This month’s Avon brochure has about twelve purse sprays, each at 1.99, so expect more reviews in this vein. Purse sprays just thrill me to bits. It’s the hit of a new perfume, without the guilt of a big price tag. I would definitely recommend Little Lace Dress as a go to scent for not much money. It’s modern, on trend and ticks all the boxes except for the one marked “expensive”
You can buy Avon Little Lace Dress from Avon UK ( at the time of going to press, you can buy two bottles of selected Avon fragrance for just £14) or from your Avon rep, like I do. I bought this myself and views are my own. Follow
Dearest readers, it’s time I gave something back to you for your loyalty and readership since January 2013 when the whole thing began as a little WordPress blog with a lilac background. Incidentally, before I go on, I’d like to apologise if your comments have gone unmoderated or unanswered recently. There’s a glitch in the sytem which means I have to approve even my own comments. I’m on top of it now, though.
Back on topic- Yes, as promised, it’s time for the IScentYouADay giveaway, now that we are four- that’s the Royal “we”, in case you were wondering. Four years is giddy stuff!
There are four prizes up for grabs- one for each year of the blog. Due to postal regulations, I’m afraid this is only open to the UK and Northern Ireland.
So here’s what I’m giving away:
Library of Fragrance Nutmeg Ice Cream.
With warm almondy notes, this reminded me of Bakewell Tart, warm and crisp and straight from the oven. It’s making me long for that marzipan covered Christmas Cake my mother made me for Christmas (I’m embarrassed to tell you how quickly it disappeared at my hand). Library of Fragrance Nutmeg Ice Cream smells delicious, and so will you when you wear it. 30ml Cologne.
Perfumer’s Choice- Valerie
This is a big hitter for fans of YSL Black Opium. There’s coffee, white flowers, vanilla, patchouli and OOOMPH. Guaranteed to last a minimum of six hours, a little goes a long way, making this excellent value. You can read my review here. 93ml EDP
Perfumer’s Choice- Victor
This is a gorgeous masculine scent (although I like it for me as well) with notes of grapefruit and vetiver. This smells like something far more expensive and famous but I’m blowed if I can name it! It’ll come to me at 3 a.m, no doubt. Guaranteed to last a minimum of six hours. 93ml EDP
Elizabeth Taylor Violet Eyes
Yes, the very bottle I reviewed the other day. Elizabeth Taylor Violet Eyes has notes of peach and cedar and a hint of jasmine. This bejewelled 15ml bottle has only been tested by me, but is otherwise full and boxed. I wasn’t a massive fan, but that doesn’t mean you won’t like it, or know someone who does. The bottle has a little diamante choker on! So cute.
How to Win
Just tell me which one you’d like to win and I will enter you into the draw. You can tell me in the comments scetion below, on Facebook or on Twitter. Closing date is one week from now- 16th January 2017 at midnight. Good luck!
Many thanks to the Library of Fragrance for the Nutmeg Ice Cream Cologne. Thanks also to World Class Fragrance for Perfumer’s Choice Victor and Valerie.
Zadig & Voltaire is the achingly cool brand that’s so hip it that makes Hollister look like Country Casuals. Based in Paris and on the even more achingly cool Left Bank, This is Her and This Is Him are the new 2016 fragrance launches. Even the names sound like ready made cult products in that “wait til you meet them, this is the one I told you about” way. But you know, none of that’s any good if the fragrance is a turkey- or maybe it is? The way young people follow brands and labels these days! And policemen are looking younger too. I remember this when it was all fields etc #middleage
Here are my thoughts….
Whipped cream and jasmine sambac anyone? Chestnuts and cashmere with that? This is Her is audacious to say the least, but it grew on me to the point where I started to wonder why nobody had thought of such a genius combo before. Don’t get me wrong- my first impression was “what on earth…?” and my second impression was “okay, this could actually work.”
The top notes are jasmine sambac, silkwood blossom and pink pepper. This is a heady floral opener- I could barely discern any pink pepper and I’m not sure I’d recognise silkwood blossom if it stood up in my soup and sang me a shanty. However, jasmine sambac has been enjoying much popularity of late. It’s a jasmine note that is almost so concentrated and refined that it borders on the oriental and just stops short. So into this heady opening act you then have whipped cream and chestnuts. It sounds weird, doesn’t it? But strangely, this really works. The whipped cream gives a sort of pillowy marshmallow effect and the chestnut adds a gourmand richness which goes remarkably well alongside the jasmine sambac. The whole shebang is rounded off with smooth sandalwood and cashmere woods, but that nutty vanilla from the chestnuts is refusing to quit and stays til the end.
My verdict is that this is one you must try: definitely not a blind buy and it may take more than one go before you understand each other. This kind of originality doesn’t come along very often so I give This is Her 10/10 for originality and a deep bow of respect.
Sit up and take notice, Kenzo fans: Kenzo Takada has made a fragrance for our chums at Avon. Avon LIFE For Her has just launched and I managed to bag myself a sample ( there’s also a For Him but I haven’t tried that one). Being a pre-Christmas launch, I wasn’t expecting anything quite so light and summery, but the only rule in perfume is that there are no rules. LIFE is Kenzo’s take on violet, so as a violet fan I couldn’t wait to get stuck in.
LIFE opens with a white tea note. It’s similar to Elizabeth Arden Green Tea but less metallic and less green. There is prominent water lily, making this a treat for fans of The Body Shop Fijian Water Lotus who want something in the same ozonic vein. A touch of apple adds to this clean wholesome accord.
By the middle phase I’m still waiting for those violets to turn up, and I do believe they sneak in dressed as irises to fool me. There is the typical iris sobriety here: a touch of grey rootiness that is contrasted here with a bright floral sweet note. Nothing to do with vanilla or gourmand: it’s more like the sweetness of a small spring flower magnified into intensity. The vegetal note from the iris sticks around, and the musk mallow (aka ambrette) does nothing to dispel it. There is allegedly patchouli to round things off, but I still found this to be an ozonic tea scent.
It’s pretty and light, and would be the ideal scent for a hot day if you like your fragrance to be of the the airy, green tea sort. It’s not for me right now, but I’ll give it another go in summer, when it will go perfectly with short sleeves and a cloudless sky.
Avon LIFE is available exclusively from Avon. In the UK try Avon UK or your Avon rep.