Tag Archives: buying perfume as a gift

Avon Eve Duet: Alone and Together

 

You may have gathered by now that I’m a bit of an Avon fangirl. I like how Avon stays on top of current trends and I like how they keep it affordable.

In the run up to Christmas (yes, we can say it, it’s October) fragrance launches emerge into a market where customers often want to cosset themselves as the weather goes colder and summer scents are put away. Avon Eve Duet is a great end of summer/start of Autumn fragrance as it has two fragrances in one bottle.  This is not the first time this has been done: I recall a bejewelled Britney Spears sphere containing two half botles of scent, but I haven’t seen it done other than that.

Avon Eve Duet has Radiant Allure in one end and Sensual Allure in the other. Both have a note in common: Water Lily. So, imagine a light and watery floral that smells slightly similar to Marks and Spencer Butterfly.  Add a bit of apple blossom-crisp and pretty. There’s a bit of jasmine in there too and an unremarkable base of amber and wood which is less prominent than the pretty, watery floral notes.

Sensual Allure, in the other end, also has Water Lily, but opens with rich plum and fruity pink pepper before the water lily peeps out, less prominently than in Radiant Allure, but still there.  It reminded me of a less sweet version of Avon Luck, so if you like that you might like this too. The note that makes the biggest difference here is the patchouli. It adds an earthy depth to Sensual Allure that makes its presence felt, but really comes into its own when sprayed over the top of Radiant Allure.

Alone, these are good, but together, you get something quite different and rather wonderful. Together you get a fabulous blend of florals, patchouli and crisp fruits.  If it was me, I’d wear Radiant Allure in the day, then spray Sensual Allure over the top to go out at night. When these are together, I can even smell a hint of violets, which aren’t there, but seem to emerge as a ghost note when everything is mixed up.

With the fragrance industry launching new scent left, right and centre, brands have to up their game, and Avon has certainly done so with this head turning novelty.  This will work because this is good quality scent that doesn’t rely on its dual-ended novelty.  Alone or solo, Eve Duet is a winner.

Stockists

Eve Duet is available from your Avon rep or the Avon UK website. My sample was paid for by me so I am under no obligation to like it, but I do.

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The Perfume Society Precious Perfumes Discovery Box: What’s In The Box?

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I am the proud owner of a Perfume Society Precious Perfumes Discovery Box and jolly pleased I am too! In this beautiful box, which, by the way, would make a perfect gift exactly as it is, you will find the following items:

Nails Inc nail polish in sparkly Electric Avenue

30ml Molton Brown bath and shower gel in Rose Absolute

Sample of Miller Harris new Etui Noir

Sample of Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540

Sample of Bvlgari Rose Goldea

Sample of Hermes Galop D’Hermes

Sample of Fathom V by Beaufort London

Sample of Versace Eros Pour Femme

Sample of Charlotte Tilbury Scent of a Dream

Sample of Ormond Jayne Tsarina

Sample of Nejma 7

In my book (or on my blog, which this is) I call that excellent value. There are nine decent spray samples that you would be very hard pushed to find at any beauty counter.  This all comes in a lovely white box with explanatory postcards and sniffing strips. It makes an excellent gift if you can bear to part with it. I can’t so I’m keeping it. Sorry, not sorry.

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I shall be reviewing some of the items within over the next few weeks so watch this space. I have already reviewed Scent of A Dream and was very taken with it. One of the scents that really jumped out at me was Fathom V by new house Beaufort London. I was delighted to see Galop D’Hermes as I have wanting to try it for ages. Oh and the Nails Inc nail polish is like liquid tinsel. Talk about Christmassy! I’m sure you will enjoy this box as much as I am. It’s so good I won’t share. It’s MINE.

Stockists

You can buy this, and other Discovery Boxes from the Perfume Society website. VIP subscribers get a discount.

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“They’ve asked for perfume but I don’t know what they like”

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Many people see perfume as an indulgence, like a box of chocolates. They don’t feel they can buy it for themselves. I am not like this. I have more trouble NOT buying it for myself, but I digress.

When Christmas and birthdays come around, people often ask me what to buy. Because perfume is so subjective, it’s very hard to pick something for somebody else so this is where I recommend the Selection Box. Yes indeed, a selection box that has no calories and won’t make you gain weight. I like both so I’ll be having a selection of perfume AND a selection of Cadbury nonsense this year.

scentsofstyleWhen buying for others, unless you know their signature scent, it’s a safer bet to buy them a choice. Many companies have a set that contains several samples and a voucher for a full bottle, and this seems like a very good idea to me. Other companies have Discovery Boxes or selections of minis that make equally good gifts. Personally, I love the idea of introducing someone to a scent they love but haven’t met yet. I’m like a fragrance marriage bureau. I live in hope of setting up the perfect match.

I have made a list of what I think make the best “suggestion boxes” as gifts. This applies all year round and not just at Christmas. It’s worth remembering that if you don’t get what you were hoping for, eBay will have the “I hate this” gifts at bargain prices shortly after Christmas.

4160 Tuesdays

4160samplesAs an introduction to handmade artisan niche perfumes using top ingredients, you 4160bottlecan’t go wrong with 4160 Tuesdays. Taster sets of samples start at just £25. If you want to provide your recipient with a large bottle of their choice, then for £95 you can buy seven samples and have a voucher for a generous 100ml bottle. I can guarantee that it will be beautifully packaged too.  No, I’m not on the payroll, but I am a very satisfied customer.

The Perfume Society

shayblushopwidgetawThe Perfume Society has something for everyone.  They have a dangerously tempting selection of Discovery Boxes for starters. OR, you can buy a VIP subscription MoltonBrownShopAW2-350x346which  gets you a free Discovery Box, discounts off further boxes and invites to many exclusive events, as well as a free online subscription to The Scented Letter magazine. The vast collection of Discovery Boxes makes me twitch with greed.  You can buy carefully curated sets such as Beautiful Blossoms or Eaux La La, or you can buy exclusive selections from your favourite brands such as Shay & Blue, Molton Brown or Agonist to name but a few.  I’m a big fan.

vivaboxes-viva-box-for-her-999023820002-vivaboxThe Perfume Shop

The Perfume Shop Viva Box continues to be a popular choice but I’ve noticed they’re not publicised much in the branches. For £39.99 you get a selection of mainstream popular sample and a voucher for the full bottle of your choice. You can buy them here.

Boots

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Boots the Chemist, that bastion of temptation, is also offering a little perfume selection box. In a smart cardboard gift set you will find seven contemporary samples, including recent hits Stella McCartney POP and Moschino Fresh Couture.  Seven samples and a full-bottle voucher for just £40 and nicely gift boxed. You can buy it here.

For The Men In Your Life (or the life in your men)

marks-menThe Perfume Society has two excellent Discovery Boxes: Scent of A Gent and Scent of A Man. Each one contains a selection of mainstream and new-to-you samples, as well as a couple of manly beauty treats.  It all comes in a lovely white Perfume Society box.

Trusty Marks and Spencer also has some quality men’s grooming miniatures. Check out this set of six. Wrap up a box of these and an M &S voucher and Bob’s your fragrant uncle. Speaking of Marks and Sparks…

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Marks and Spencer

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Marks and Spencer has such a superb perfume department these days that florentynaI almost don’t dare to go in. If you added the Marks and Sparks perfume dept and the TK Maxx perfume department together I’d be bankrupt. I’d smell fabulous, but I’d be bankrupt. There’s a lot of choice at very reasonable prices. I don’t know where to start or stop.

Marks is affordably tempting. Check out the Florentyna mini set for just ten quid and the mixed EDT mini set, also for ten quid. Either would make a fabulous stocking filler, if you can manage to get to the till without buying seventeen bottles of something nice for yourself on top. I’m not sure I can make it past Monotheme or Shay & Blue without saying “but do my children really NEED school shoes after all?” That’s if I haven’t already filled the trolley with Fragonard…

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Pell Wall Perfumes

In the heart of beautiful Shropshire, perfumer Chris Bartlett pours and macerates to make niche brand Pell Wall perfumes a force to be reckoned with. The set I find most tempting is this little set of 10ml bottles. For £59 you get nine 10 ml bottles of Pell Wall fragrances in small spray bottles.  When you think that one bottle of mainstream High Street perfume costs more than this, then I reckon this is excellent value that allows you to vary your scent throughout the seasons  and the year ahead. You can buy it here.

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Duty Free Shopping: It’s Just a Showroom To Me

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www.frontiermagazine.co.uk

I have just got back from a sensational holiday in California where I was visiting my wonderful family over there. I enjoyed heat, outdoor swimming, fantastic food ( the USA has the best food ever!), and saw wild turkeys, sea otters, dolphins, pelicans, hummingbirds and sea lions.  It was idyllic and I cannot thank my wonderful relatives enough ( although Interflora will shortly be helping me out).

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Naturally, whilst I was en route there and back, I made a beeline for World Duty Free (Heathrow Terminal Two) and made several conclusions:

  1. Nowhere will you find cuter mini sets of virtually every brand in cute boxes and cute bottles.
  2. Nowhere will you find bigger price hikes. Even Harrods is cheaper.

So what did I do at Duty Free?  I used it like a showroom and enjoyed testing the wide range of scents that I have not been able to try before.

 

Notably, one scent that stood out was Chanel No 19 Poudre, which I adored immediately ( I didn’t even dare look at the price), and several Guerlain Aqua Allegorias, which, in San Francisco International Airport, retailed at $75 (or £48.87).  In UK shops you can buy these from around £41.50 ( try Boots), or online at Amazon for just £31.12. In San Francisco Duty Free, I saw Elizabeth Arden Green Tea flankers, (which can be widely had for under £12 in the UK High Street),  retailing at $35, or £22.81.

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There has recently been controversy over the fact that supposedly VAT free retailers in airports have not been  passing on the discounts to customers.  So the retailers are getting away without paying VAT, but still marking up the prices and fooling customers that they are getting a bargain.

Now I’m a realist and I don’t expect airports to be cheaper than High Streets, but a 100% mark up with no VAT taken off is really taking the biscuit.

What’s the one advantage of buying at Duty Free? My husband doesn’t know the above and thinks it’s traditional for me to pick up a bottle on holiday. The voice of my conscience was too loud, however, and I left the beautifully lit, fully stocked perfume outlets empty handed, but smelling great. For free.

Stockists

You can buy Chanel No 19 Poudre from Boots for around £68, Elizabeth Arden flankers for under ten quid on allbeauty.com, and Guerlain Aqua Allegorias for around £31 on Amazon UK.

With love from Santa Cruz
With love from Santa Cruz