Tag Archives: Fragonard

Fragrance Selection Boxes: How to Let Them Choose at Christmas

 

Marks and Spencer

I don’t know about you but I like all selection boxes. From chocolate to fragrance, I’ll take the lot.  I am in no way advocating that fragrance selection boxes should replace chocolate ones, but rather that they should be avidly encouraged in addition to chocolate selection boxes.

The chocolate sort is strongly encouraged in my house

Right then, now we’ve cleared that up, let’s begin.

It’s a common refrain. People want perfume, after shave and toiletries for Christmas. You ask them what sort and they may say “I don’t mind” or “anything.”

The sheer volume of unwanted fragrances on eBay the day after Christmas tells me that this system of vague politeness doesn’t work for anyone. So what’s the solution? Fragrance selection boxes.

These will offer a variety of fragrances that your intended recipient can then choose from.  If you can add a full bottle gift voucher, even better.

I’ve scouted around and made a list of my absolute favourites, none of which I would turn down (are you reading this in the North Pole Mr S.Claus?)

The Marks and Spencer Ferris Wheel

Marks and Spencer

I salivated when I saw this. Not just miniatures, but generous 12ml bottles of 12 fragrances.

Marks and Spencer

It’s currently reduced to the bargain price of £22. The box is beautiful and your recipient (or you, if you’re weak willed like me and end up keeping it) may find a new favourite. If I was a betting woman I would say this will sell out.

Whilst you’re in there, check out the mini Fragonard sets. I had one a few years ago and the longevity was incredible. You honestly can’t go wrong with Fragonard. Trust me, I’m a perfume blogger. I know this stuff.

The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes

These smart white boxes from The Perfume Society are my guilty pleasure throughout the year. I don’t think there’s a single one I’ve missed since they began. They’re beautifully wrapped so you can give them as they are, and inside there are between eight and ten perfume samples, often with generous beauty treats too such as shower gel or hand cream and I’ve even had  a tiny perfume bottle keyring and a nail polish.

Each box contains postcards with notes about the perfumes within, so it’s a great way to learn what you like and discover new brands.

I’m not on the pay roll, but as a grown up, they are my absolute favourite toy and I love to sit there playing. They also do them for men too- try the Men’s Edit or For Him and there’s a sharing box for couples, which, teamed with a bottle of champagne, makes a fine wedding/anniversary/Christmas gift.

Buy British and Smell Good with 4160 Tuesdays

4160 Tuesdays

4160 Tuesdays is one of my favourite perfume houses. Probably in the top three but don’t make me choose, okay? Too hard.  With delightfully named sets of samples such as “Frocks and Hats” (my favourite), “Love & Life Stories” and “Best of British”, you get seven spray samples and then you add your gift voucher so your recipient can fall in love with his or her favourite and buy up a big bottle with their voucher. Here’s the link.  

4160 Tuesdays

The samples will be wrapped up like little Quality Street in brightly coloured tissue so this is a very user-friendly Christmas gift. There’s no extra charge for the wrapping, it’s all part of the normal service. with 4160 Tuesdays. My favourites are Raw Silk and Red Roses, Killer Rose, Doe in The Snow, Tarts Knicker Drawer and Fruits of The Tree of Knowledge.

Pell Wall: Nine Beautiful Bottles from A Shropshire Lad

Pell Wall Perfumes

Over in beautiful Shropshire, Chris Bartlett of Pell Wall perfumes makes and sells beautiful fragrances  made with his own hands. If you haven’t heard of Pell Wall, you’re in for a treat.  I have tried several from the range and thoroughly recommend them. Best of all, you can buy a Pell Wall Discovery Set containing NINE generous 10ml spray bottles, for only £70.  They come in a box ( see above) and these nine bottles should see you through at least a whole year. My personal favourites are Pretty in Pink, Deep Purple and Anjin.

Jo Malone

My local Jo Malone shop (nearest is Cardiff) is always very busy, no matter what time of year you go there. Fans are die hard and devoted. At Christmas, there is a wide choice of mini sets and selection boxes from which to choose your gift.

Jo Malone

You can buy the London Cologne Collection from Jo Malone or John Lewis, and there’s also the Intense Cologne Collection, and a scented candle selection box too.

Jo Loves

Jo Loves

Jo Loves is a smaller company, also founded by Jo Malone MBE, long after Jo Malone the company was sold to Estee Lauder in 1999.  Jo Loves is a smaller, more personal fragrance house, but no less addictive.  Try the “Can’t Go Wrong” Discovery Set which involves ten sample sprays and a voucher for either a 50ml or a 100ml bottle of scent.  Check out the site here.

This Year’s No Shows

Walter Langley Never Morning Wore to Evening 1894

Sadly, this year there is an absence of the Perfume Shop Viva Boxes, and also of the similar set at Boots, which is also no longer available. Both shops do little mini sets of branded scents (i.e Estee Lauder, Lancôme) but the little mixed sets with a gift voucher are no longer there.  Also, the Fragrance Shop no longer does the Discovery Club, but they do have a new subscription service where you can “date” a fragrance before buying it. You can find details here, but I do miss my little quarterly box of surprises. Sniff. I’ll have to cheer myself with some more chocolate.

PS Try TK Maxx. The stock is always changing, but you sometimes get wonderful variety sets around Christmas time. Last year I saw a Juicy Couture Rollerball set for around £12. This year they have Chloe mini sets, Modern Muse and  Marc Jacobs. Quick!

How about you?

Have you discovered any variety boxes that i’ve missed? Share your tips and insider knowledge!

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Not Everything That Smells is Perfume… Or: Some Christmas Suggestions That Don’t Come in Bottles.

 

 Lisa Wordbird has given me three days off this week and has kindly minded the shop so that I can have my annual Christmas panic in peace.  Lisa is a woman after my own heart who has quite rightly pointed out that we perfume lovers love perfume via the media of soap, lotions, potions…anything.  If it smells good, we’ll have it, thank you.  Below are some fabulous ideas, not just from your High Street, but via some grand little treasure chests  you might not have come across yet.  Over to you Lisa…

www.diptyqueparis.co.uk
www.diptyqueparis.co.uk

 

If you’re a perfumista, then you probably smell pretty much everything. I can’t buy toilet cleaner or antiperspirant without sniffing the cap first. So it stands to reason that I’m drawn to use things – shower gels, soaps, bubble baths and foot soaks – that smell particularly good to me.  These are exactly the sort of things that make smashing presents for what I like to call ‘Smelly Friends’, but have to clarify as ‘friends who enjoy fragrance’ as opposed to ‘friends who really should wash more often’ (also known as ‘soap dodgers’).

This is the time of year for buying gift sets. How else does anyone ever end up with Chanel body lotion? It’s not the kind of thing most people buy for themselves, but if you know your Mum is a Chanel No 5 loyalist then a bar of soap can be a wonderful way to buy her a piece of the brand without breaking the bank. It’s also a rather unexpected gift, which is also a good thing.

One of my absolute favourite fragrances is the lavender and caramel cosiness of Pour un Homme de Caron. Yes it has ‘Homme’ written on the bottle, so it’s a perfect gift for your favourite chap, but frankly, I have my own bottle and wear it regularly.  I love lavender and I’ve been making lavender bags for friends for Christmas this year (shh, don’t tell Sam IScent, will you?), but I’d be very happy to receive one as a gift. And if you want to bathe in a scent remarkably like Pour un Homme, pop along to LUSH and look for their bath bombs and shower gel in Twilight fragrance. It is the same caramel and lavender and it has a remarkably calming influence on me. Lush claims it’s soporific; I claim it’s plain terrific.

twilightlush

 

I’m a big lover of soap. Hugely fond of the stuff. How could anyone dodge it? There are always fragrant, moisturising bars by my sinks and I love being given soap as a present.  I have never tried Diptyque’s soaps, but friends tell me that their bath and body line is excellent. A bar of Tam Dao soap may cost £10, but that’s a darn sight cheaper than a bottle of the warm sandalwood perfume (a beloved of mine).  I had a bar of Miller Harris soap and it was honestly the creamiest I have ever used.  It lasted about a year! I also rate Fragonard soaps (from Marks and Spencer in the UK) – they’re delightfully fragrant and a pleasure to use – and of course the great Roger et Gallet, whose range of luxurious soaps come complete with useful tough plastic travel cases.  Happily, you’re free to have a good sniff at soap packages to see if you like them before you buy (and you can keep your soap stash in your drawers to fragrance your clothes).

fragsoap

Finally, shower gels and handwashes: I came across a British brand called Noble Isle this year (in House of Fraser) and fell in love with their range. They are available in the US through Barneys New York and from various stockists in the UK.   My personal favourites are Fireside: a warm, woody, smoky bath and shower gel whose fragrance is inspired by the coaching inns of the Mynwy Valley, (which happens to be close to where I live), and Summer Rising: a fresh and rounded floral based on the scents of Cornish hedgerows.  I would certainly like to put a bottle of their Whisky and Water handwash in my bathroom for the festive season: can’t think of anything more appropriate, can you?

Noble_Isle_Fireside_Body_Lotion_250ml_1386599513_main

If you have a vegan to buy for, then you are in luck. Actually, everyone is in luck.  Thanks to the lovely Lipglossiping I discovered a small vegan cruelty-free company in Colorado called Haus of Gloi, who make glorious bathing products, including a seasonal section.  I can vouch for the loveliness of their Three Treasures fragrance (lightly incensey and very unisex) and the deliciousness of their Eggnoggin Bubbling Scrub, which is a salty shower scrub that does the job but leaves your skin soft and clean. I’m a fussy mare and this is one of the few ‘one-step’ shower scrubs that I actually like using, because it feels like it leaves you properly clean as well as lightly buffed.
I can also vouch for their slightly rougher emulsifying scrubs and their pumpkin butter body creams.  I’m especially fond of them in HoG’s Picaroon fragrance, which is a glorious Lime and Coconut confection that lasts well on the skin and is the perfect substrate for my beloved (and phenomenally expensive) Creed Virgin Island Water.  And – oh frabjous day! – they offer gift certificates by email.  So you haven’t missed the Xmas posting date.  Hoorah!
www.hausofgloi.com
www.hausofgloi.com

 

Fragonard Étoile: How Perfume Should Be

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 Fragonard provides everything I want from a perfume: Fantastic packaging, traditional scents unswayed by fleeting celeb fashions, good longevity and extremely good value for money.  Not so cheap I’m worried, but just expensive enough to reassure me.

 Fragonard Étoile is no exception when it comes to divine packaging. Just look at it.  I’d probably buy it even if it smelled horrible just to have that bottle in my possession.

 Étoile is in a Lime/White flowers mash up that smells like an expensive soap I once owned which was called French Lime and made both me and the bathroom smell amazing. The more Étoile blooms on my skin, the more I love it.

 Étoile has dominant Bergamot that works exceedingly well alongside Jasmine and Gardenia.  Gardenia can be a little cloying, like its friend Tuberose, but the Bergamot cuts through any cloying-ness and  lifts the white flowers from creamy to refreshing, even chalky, like wet cliffs. It’s utterly delightful and growing on me by the minute.

What I particularity admire about Fragonard is that despite their high quality and beautiful packaging, they offer very big refills at very good prices.  You can buy 600mls of Étoile for only 57Euros.  Compare to that many High Street scents and you have incredible Imagevalue.  My only concern is that if I did have 600ml of Étoile I would be splashing it everywhere, pouring it in the bath, and using it like Eau de Cologne, and then being sad because it would run out after a week. Sometimes small rations are best, so I would opt for the 100ml bottle, still a steal at under 30GBP.

If, dear readers, you can get yourselves down to Marks and Spencer, you can bag yourself Imagea 100ml EDT bottle for a mere £26.  You may see me in the queue with an overflowing basket. Oh! and have you seen the little sampler boxes? My dears! I’ll just have to tell my children that only one of them can go to university.  Did I say basket?  I meant trolley.

The Fragonard range is available at larger branches of Marks and Spencer and also online.

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Fragonard Miranda: Vanilla Fields Finds A Taste Of Paradise

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Miranda by Fragonard was launched in 2005 and in a nutshell, pardon the pun, smells like coconuts. However, there is more to it than that. From my intial “huh! Coconuts” reaction I became more interested as it dried down and faded into something a little less straightforward.

I am trying the EDT today, kindly on loan from LisaWordbird. In fact it is the first of many Fragonards that I will be trying. The pretty French style packaging cries out for a place on my dressing table.Image

Besides, those nice people/enablers at Marks and Spencer are stocking a range of Fragonard EDTs at the very reasonable price of £22 per 100ml in bottles that are heartbreakingly delightful to look at (see photos. Gorgeous aren’t they?)

Miranda opens with coconut and soap, there’s no doubt about it. However once the Vanilla kicks in  and41ZwvjFq86L._SX182_SH10_QL100_ starts to take over, this becomes more palatable and more interesting. On Fragrantica, under the “smells like” section, readers have voted that Miranda smells like Casmir by Chopard and also the legendary Vanilla Fields by Coty. There is indeed some Ambery heat to Miranda, so I can see why it has been compared to Casmir. The Vanilla is strong and sweet, very much like Vanilla Fields.  Throw in a 5 star hotel quality coconut soap and you have Fragonard Miranda.

Longevity, packaging and price are all excellent. I will be checking out the bigger branches of M and S and taking my Dear Santa writing set.

I can’t help thinking that this is what LUSH Furze hoped to smell like, but sadly, it didn’t make the grade. (Apart from the long lasting bit. Just my luck my son emptied a 7ml bottle over the sofa . *Sigh*).

Miranda is not top of my wish list, but  if you like Coconut or Vanilla, it is an excellent buy. Judging by the quality of this, I will certainly be checking out the rest of the range. If there was a prize for best packaging and prettiest bottle, Fragonard would win hands down.

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Marks and Spencer Per Una Originale For Women: Haven’t We Met Someplace Before?

 realperuna

Marks and Spencer is becoming a force to be reckoned with in the High Street Fragrance Wars.  Lyn Harris of Miller Harris fame has climbed on board and produced a remarkable range at a reasonable price. Roger and Gallet are also to be found on their shelves, as are Fragonard, with their exquisite packaging.  Sadly, and apologies for the anti climax, none of the aforementioned ranges have reached my local branch. Sadface.  There’s a still a good selection though, if you keep walking past choky, cloying Florentyna.

I have it on good authority that Per Una Exquisite smells almost exactly like the much missed Houbigant’s Quelques Fleurs. Autograph New York is a fresh floral with gourmand vanilla basenotes.  It’s also no secret that Marks and Spencer Isis smells very similar to Issy Miyake L’Eau D’Issey, the ozonic fragrance hit of the Nineties.

This review is for Per Una Originale Eau de Toilette. Although Per Una Originale  is not a dupe or a copy, I  could not help noticing that it is very similar to Sarah Jessica Parker’s Lovely.  Here’s what the M and S website says “Flowers of magnolia, jasmine, rose and summer freesias mingle with a sensuous background of woods, heliotrope and patchouli to give added depth.”

Just like Lovely, the opening is all fresh, light flowers, no Tuberose, nothing too heady, followed by a background of Patchouli to give it that slightly Fresh Spicy accord. It is hard to point out the differences as they are so slim. I think Lovely has the edge though, certainly on longevity. Prices are good for Per Una Originale, starting at £4 for a 10ml purse spray: a good way to try before investing in a big bottle. However, at £12 for a 50ml bottle, you wouldn’t have to sell your house to afford it. Looking online, current offers include buy one get one half price, so you may as well buy a few different ones to test. Any excuse…

I have bought a 10ml bottle which is the perfect size for my handbag. It is slightly more floral than Lovely (more Magnolia and Rose), but a very close contender: a pleasant fresh fragrance with a resonant Patchouli-Lite base.

Affordable, accessible, and a wide enough range to avoid smelling like everyone else, Marks and Spencer have got it right.