Tag Archives: Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely

MoodScent 4: Wedding Guest Fragrances- How to Pick the Perfect Scent

Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale The Uninvited Guest
Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale The Uninvited Guest

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.  

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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.

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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).

Don't wear this, unless the bride is wearing less than you.
Don’t wear this, unless the bride is wearing less than you.

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.

 

 

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Me with my two sons at a wedding two days ago.
Me with my two sons at a wedding two days ago.

Further Reading

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.

A Bottled Rose

L’Esperessence

Meganinsaintemaxime

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Top Ten Best Celebrity Fragrances

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Celebrity perfumes are ubiquitous and since they take up such a large part of the fragrance market, it would be foolish to discount them. Some press reports state that sales are on the wane (although JLo’s total sales are estimated at over 2billion), so maybe the love affair has peaked. However, for perfume opportunists like me, this usually means a drop in prices.

Many celebrity scents I have tried are sadly the candy floss/vanilla/cupcake type and many are difficult to distinguish from one another. However, celebrity fragrances are usually very reasonably priced so if you can find a good one and you don’t care what it says on the bottle ( I don’t) then there are decent scents out there to suit every pocket. Discernment is advised, however.

I have picked my ten best celebrity scents for you. Do let me know which you like best. I always love to hear from you.

I last wrote about Celebrity Scents in 2013 and some of my favourites from three years ago are still my favourites now, but I reckon it’s worth an update. Fame is a fickle mistress.

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Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely

This remains my favourite celebrity scent. Sarah Jessica Parker was involved at every stage. This was no mere sniff’n’sign off. You can read about the development of Lovely Liquid Satin in Chandler Burr’s excellent book The Perfect Scent. Lovely is widely available and very reasonably priced. I loved it so much I have a permanent 100ml bottle on my dressing table. If you like Narciso Rodriguez For Her you will probably like this too. You can buy Lovely from allbeauty.com, Boots and The Fragrance Shop.

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Rhianna Rogue

I saw this in my local Lloyds Pharmacy and it was just 9.99. I sprayed generously only to find that it smells very similar to Serge Lutens Daim Blond. Who knew? You can read my review here. You can by Rogue from FragranceDirect.

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Jessica Simpson Fancy Nights

With a Vegas style bottle in green and gold, this was first brought to my attention by the wonderful Australian Perfume Junkies– one of my favourite blogs. With patchouli and papyrus, it somehow ends up smelling almost identical to Prada Amber EDP. I bought mine from allbeauty.com and had change from eight quid. My review is here. 

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Jennifer Lopez Deseo

The blurb for this is that JLo was inspired by a walk through her Floridian garden at night. It has mimosa, jasmine, yuzu, bamboo and a mossy/patchouli base. It’s a light, white floral with beautiful lasting power.  My review is here. I have just treated myself to another bottle from allbeauty.com for 8.99. Gorgeous bottle too!

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Intimately Beckham

With a name that unfortunately makes it sound like a hygiene product, this is a lovely light daytime floral that is very reasonably priced. You can read my review here. Intimately Beckham is widely available. You can buy it from The Fragrance Shop and FragranceDirect.

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Madonna Truth or Dare

Madonna entered the celebrity fragrance with fashionable tardiness, but as usual, her entrance was worth waiting for.  Truth or Dare is a beautiful tuberose reminiscent of Fracas, but without quite the same depth. It’s an absolute bargain so get it while you can. My review is here. You can buy it from allbeauty.com for a mere £7.45.

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Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds

There are mixed reviews on this, but as a fan of white flowers, aldehydes and powdery oak mossy finishes, this was a hit with me. If you like the sound of it, you can buy it from ( believe it or not) Sports Direct for only £9.00 or from Fragrance Direct.

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Taylor Swift Incredible Things

I reviewed this recently (see link) and I was impressed.  It’s still a bit of a sweetie, but the addition of a noticeable suede note gives it a slightly different direction and I found it very long lasting too.  You can get a sample from the Perfume Society Scent With Love Discovery Box, or  a full bottle from Superdrug, or AmazonUK to name but  a few.

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Queen by Queen Latifah

Opening with bright citrus, and ending up as a boozy vanilla, this is  a great fragrance. Some vanilla based scent can be very cake-batter, but this is rich and boozy liqueur- and no wonder- there’s cognac notes in it! . I liked it and you can read my review here. It reminded me of Christmas. You can buy it from allbeauty.com.

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Sarah Jessica Parker The Lovely Collection Dawn

Dawn is part of The Lovely Collection, made up of three scents: Dawn, Endless and Twilight. My favourite is Endless, although it’s very hard to get now. Dawn is still widely available and is beautifully light and airy. You can read my review here. With light touches of violet and herby Angelica, rounded off by a white musk finish, this is a beautiful daytime scent that represents very good value. You can buy it from allbeauty.com or AmazonUK.  It would make an ideal starter perfume for a young teen.

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Ralph Lauren Romance: Perfectly Good and Proper

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Wearing Ralph Lauren Romance makes me feel that whilst working the casual vibe, my jeans should be pressed, my T shirt should be white and it’s OK to add pearls.  It’s clean and bright and floral and pretty. It’s wholesome and harmless and you can wear it to meet the in laws for the first time.

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Out of all the bestsellers I have been reviewing lately, I think this one is the one I would be most likely to buy and wear (not counting Chanel No 5 Eau Premiere, which I would own by the gallon if I could).  Some may argue that being the owner of the much cheaper Next Just Pink amounts to the same thing as a bottle of Romance, and there are indeed similarities, but I wouldn’t say no to owning both.

Ralph Lauren Romance opens with  all things nice.  The prettiest of the flowers in the garden are all present and correct especially the delightful Freesia and her friend Rose. This is SO floral and clean smelling at the same time that it reminded me of Estee Lauder Pleasures, another scent I would never turn down. There is a citrus note and the faintest hint of Ginger in the top notes, just enough to anchor down the flowers and stop them  flying away.

The middle notes bring out a little of my old favourite Violet, but sniff once and it’s gone. The flowers in the middle are a little spicier: Carnation and Lily prepare us for the Musky, prickly base.

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The basenotes very much remind me of the exquisite Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely, a bottle that will always be on my dressing table.  Both Lovely and Romance start with flowers, all feminine and pretty, before bedding into a base of Woody Musks and Patchouli.  In fact, this also reminds me of Lanvin Rumeur by St Francis of Kurkdjian, beloved by me but dismissed waspishly by Luca Turin. Both have a base that is so Patchouli and Woody that it almost, but not quite, scratches your nose, and I mean that in a good way. Bring it on.

Overall, Romance has been knocking around since 1998, and is still a steady seller.  Flankers are almost too numerous to name. Shame really, as I always feel that if a good scent has too many flankers, people forget why the original was so good in the first place, so busy are we dodging the “Fraiche” or the “Summer” or the “Night” versions of all the pretty things on the counter.

Romance is reasonably priced at around 25GBP for 30ml. The only hard part is making sure you buy the original and not one of the eight flankers.

Narciso Rodriguez For Her EDT: About Turn

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 I have often sung the praises of Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely: it is affordable, beautifully packaged and smells wonderful.  However, having finally met Narciso Rodriguez For Her, I feel my credit ought to have gone elsewhere.  They are so alike it is easy to mix them up when tested blind.  I could not tell them apart.

Whilst I still love Lovely, and will always have a bottle of it on my dressing table, it was launched in 2005, whilst NR for Her was launched the year before in 2004.  The similarity could be either coincidence, or homage. I refuse to think of it as olfactory plagiarism as I am so fond of Lovely and its Diffusion Line.

However, a great deal of credit must go to the Narciso Rodriguez Dream Team Christine Nagel and Francis Kurkdjian, both legends in their own right.  Interestingly, I always thought SJP Lovely was also similar to Lanvin Rumeur, which was created by, yes Francis Kurkdjian. And so the happy circle goes on.

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The similarities can be found in the fact that both perfumes start as a  rich floral that becomes Patchouli like and Woody almost as soon as the floral notes have registered.  Rather than being woody in a masculine sense, the prickly Patchouli and the clean florals produce an agreeable vintage note of nail polish, at least to me.  They both remind me of a 1950s dressing table with a layer of fine face powder and open bottles of nail colour and  several glass cut perfume bottles.  Both are impossibly feminine and elegant and I love them.

I am describing them together in one breath because try as I might, I cannot tell them apart. The notes listed for both are very different.  NR For Her purports to contain Bergamot, Neroli and no Patchouli at all.  Lovely is supposed to contain Lavender, Martini and Salt, yet both end results are the same.

The similarities are not necessarily a criticism.  As a diversion from the heaving mass of fruity florals and cheap candy floss patchoulis that the Noughties have drowned us in, these quality scents are worth their weight in gold.

I would go as far as to say that NR For Her was a game changer which spawned SJP Lovely, Estee Lauder Modern Muse, and even Avon bargain scent Rare Diamonds as mentioned earlier in my blog..

We needed NR For Her, and it came.

Avon Rare Diamonds: I’ll Let You Into a Secret

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As I have written before, Avon fragrance used to be hit and miss. At one point I stopped ordering fragrance from them after one disappointment too many. Things have picked up however.  I recently ordered Rare Diamonds and I might just have stumbled across an Avon treasure (along with Avon Premiere Luxe, which is also pretty good- see my earlier review).

Rare Diamonds is at the end of a pyramid of “If you like that, you’ll love this”.

If you like Narciso Rodriguez for Her, you’ll like Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely (which I own and rate very highly).  If you like Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely, you will probably like Avon Rare Diamonds. This list is also in order of price.  Narciso Rodriguez is around  50GBP for 50ml. SJP Lovely is  a bargain at under 20GBP for 100ml (try Fragrance Direct) and finally, my bottle of Rare Diamonds set me back 6GBP for 50ml of EDP.

Rare Diamonds opens with strong florals in Gardenia, Jasmine and Plum Blossom, bedding down into a rich Woody Patchouli base, tinged with Amber. Thankfully, the promised Guava was absent (why did they even think it would work here?). Staying power is around four hours, and sillage is about arms length but it dies down into a more subtle pleasant aura after a while.

All in all, for six quid you can’t go wrong. The bottle is pretty too, with a faux Diamond stopper and a round glass base. My beauty bargain of the month!

Stockists:  You can buy Avon Rare Diamonds from your Avon rep or online at AvonShop UK

Elizabeth Arden Untold: Something Familar About This Angelic Creation.


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I have mixed feelings about Elizabeth Arden.  The smart packaging, the prestigious name and the accessible prices all appeal to me. However, the more EA fragrances I try, the more I am disappointed. I do like Fifth Avenue, but didn’t like Sunflowers, True Love, Mediterranean. Red Door or SplendorGreen Tea is excellent, and I say that objectively as one who doesn’t like Tea as a note.  Elizabeth Arden Untold is probably one of the better ones and they seem to have gone to some trouble with the pretty faceted bottle too.

I first tried Elizabeth Arden Untold as a spray across a beauty counter and wandered around pondering it a little. After receiving a sample in my Fragrance Shop Discovery Box (more of which anon), I was able to wear it a little longer.  This is very like Rochas Soleil Rochas, a lovely scent that I have on my dressing table, although the more perfume I try, the more I find its borderline too sweet for me.

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 Elizabeth Arden Untold has three quite dominant notes in common with Rochas Soleil: Pink Pepper, Pear and the Patchouli basenote.  It starts as a light white floral: the Pear and Pink Pepper are certainly discernible, but it ends up smelling not unlike an Angel Lite, although with a touch more of the old floral notes than Angel’s nuclear finish. The Patchouli base swamps all other notes, hence the slight Angel comparison. NB A slight comparison to Angel is like describing being only slightly knocked over by a demolition wrecking ball.

 Untold was created for its 2013 launch by Clement Gaverry, who is also credited with one of my favourite scents: Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely. He is obviously fond of the Patchouli base, which is no bad thing.

I was ready to like Untold, but at £38.50  for a 30ml bottle, I’ll stick with my almost identical Rochas Soleil Rochas for £11.75. There is very little difference, except in the twenty odd quid you’ll have left to buy something else.

Estee Lauder Modern Muse: A New Launch I Love

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It’s finally happened. A new fragrance has been launched that I love. There wasn’t even a free tote bag to bribe me with. My sample was free from the lovely lady at my local Estee Lauder concession. No obligation to write a nice review, but I will because I love it. (I may have accidentally agreed to a makeover in order to get the sample, however).

I do apologise if I have been sounding like a grumpy old lady when it comes to new launches of late. Muttering away about everything smelling the same and too much vanilla, and too much fruit, and then finally…a miracle! Estee Lauder Modern Muse has only a touch of citrus orange to its name. No red berries. No candy floss, no discernible vanilla, and no overloaded sugary Baby Angel finish.

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For every person that thinks new launches are either a Britney or an Angel homage (i.e me), there are equally those who think many new launches are copies of the much revered Narciso Rodriguez For Her. Modern Muse could be accused of such. Indeed, there are many Fragrantica users who vote that it smells like NR for Her.

However, as much as I love fragrances in the style of NR for Her (SJP Lovely is a permafixture on my dressing table), I feel it would be unfair to simply label Modern Muse as a smellalike. It is in fact, only the base notes which hold any similarity to NR for Her.

Modern Muse opens with clean Petals, Jasmine (in spades) and Tuberose. It is a bouquet of a smell, prevented from being too cloying with a spritz of orange in there somewhere. The middle notes retain the Jasmine and Tuberose, but are now turning woodier as the Patchouli starts to gradually make its present felt.

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The basenotes are a wonderful mix of Patchouli, Wood, Musk and Tuberose. It’s at this point that I feel it must be said that whilst the Musky Patchouli base has much in common with NR for Her, the flowers make Modern Muse, dare I say it, a cut above.

Impossibly feminine, with good longevity and arms’ length sillage, this is a great buy and an important launch.

Estee Lauder still remains, in my eyes, the best quality fragrance you can buy on the High Street. Among all the ubiquitous brands and newbies and celebuscents, Estee Lauder can still provide accessible classics such as Cinnabar, Youth Dew, Private Collection , Alliage, White Linen and Pleasures.  Modern Muse can stand alongside the EL greats without a blush.

 

Agent Provocateur: I’m Seduced

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I picked up a sample of Agent Provocateur recently from a House of Fraser counter alongside numerous new launches and free tote bags. I had low expectations of it, to be honest. It seems that everybody is launching a new scent every week and I’d heard no particular buzz around this one. Well here’s some buzz: this is great.  It’s described thus: “Exotic. Floral. Chypre.”. With today’s eulogistic blurbs about perfume, even that could mean anything. However, I have tried my little 1.5ml bottle of Eau de Parfum and I love it. My happy thoughts regarding the opening notes could not quite be located at first until it came to me like a shot. It smells like Gucci Envy. At least at first anyway. I couldn’t find the Lily of The Valley that is so strong in Envy, so it must be her cousin Gardenia spreading the White Flower love around, and the Coriander adding the Green note.

After a few minutes, the scent becomes more Rose and Magnolia, reminding me a little of SJP Lovely. The smell is intimate, as if you are right up close smelling skin.  It’s floral but lacks that high pitched screechiness you can sometimes get with flowers alone. Agent Provocateur is softened by Musk and warm, white Magnolia which makes this both cosy and sexy at the same time. It’s lightened with the Coriander, just the right amount, but I must confess to not recognising the top note scent of Indian Saffron unless it’s in a Chicken Pilaff. This is a Magnolia Musk and a Powdery Rose, with enough Vetiver and Amber to make the basenotes warm and  rich. It had me at “Bonjour”.

Avon Week: Avon Soft Musk

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Avon Soft Musk was created in the 80s and is a rare thing indeed: a perfume that is good quality, popular and excellent value for money.

Every perfume wardrobe should have a Musk. There are many to choose from, varying in quality and price, with the cheapest not necessarily being the worst by a long shot. Before Sarah Jessica Parker created the excellent Lovely, she layered Comme Des Garcons Avignon with an Egyptian perfume oil bought from a street vendor, and  an El Cheapo Bonne Bell Musk from a drugstore. If cheap Musk is good enough for her, it’s certainly good enough for me. I should imagine the end result  was  intoxicating in all the right ways.

 Avon Soft Musk holds many memories for me. So many people I know have worn it since its inception. I can say, hand on heart, that it is both dirt cheap and very good indeed. In my current (now well thumbed) Avon brochure, it retails for £5 for 50ml. You can be sure I will be snaffling me a bottle of that. (online prices vary from the brochure)

It’s often hard to review a Musk perfume without being repetitive, but the more I smell the more differences I can ascertain. Body Shop White Musk has White Flowers in it, at least to my nose, whereas with Jovan White Musk, the honeysuckle is pronounced. Avon Soft Musk is more on the Musk and Rose spectrum, but only barely there, since the Musk dominates.  There are powdery notes too, making this cosy and unthreatening. The powder is more Baby than Face.  Despite being marketed as a “Sexy and Deep” Musk perfume, I actually find it very chaste and respectable. It fits the bill for meeting in laws, job interviews and any occasion when you need to persuade people that you are a nice girl that won’t be any trouble.

Soft Musk is a reliable and good value Musk perfume that currently has several layering accessories to accompany it such as talc, lotion and body spray. It would suit any age from eighteen to eighty  and I will not be turning my nose up at my five quid bottle of scent any time soon.