Tag Archives: Marks and Spencer fragrance

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

eauxlalashopaw-1vivaboxes-viva-box-for-her-999023820002-vivabox

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

sample-boots

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…

scent-of-a-genmt

Marks and Spencer

m-and-s-selection

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…

fragonard-mini

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.

discover-pell-wall-box-web

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Per Una Gabriella: Affordable Quality on the High Street

gabriella

 

I have often wittered on about the good things that are happening over in the Marks and Spencer Fragrance Department and I was delighted to find a bottle of Per Una Gabriella in my Christmas stocking, bought by my crafty sister in law who managed to buy it when I was actually with her. It must have been when I got lost by the Christmas party dresses. We had to text each other in the end, but I digress…

scarf

I was delighted with Gabriella for two reasons: One- it smells lovely, and Two: the packaging is so delightful it was a pleasure to receive.

Let’s talk about the first one:  Gabriella opens with citrus, namely lemons, and blends into abundant white flowers.  The white flowers are not too creamy and heady: we’re not talking hardcore tuberose, more like a bit of jasmine here, a bit of orange blossom there…  and when that has finished blooming and being all feminine and pretty, the base comes out with a hint of light musk (which would be toasty beige if it were a colour) and a light woody finish.  It’s fresh and uplifting and a very pretty floral.  The combination of lemon and flowers briefly reminded me of Boucheron Trouble (yes a hint of lemon cheesecake very briefly), but I actually prefer Gabriella to the much loved but sadly discontinued Trouble.

Now to the packaging:  Not only does Gabriella come in a delightful patterned  gift box somewhere between leopard print and giraffe, but the 100ml bottle has a flipping neck scarf on like a fancy woman! Impossibly charming, Gabriella became an instant favourite and I have been wearing it lots.

The other nice thing about Marks and Spencer fragrance is that you can buy most of their range in little 10ml or 25ml bottles, so if you don’t like it, you haven’t bankrupted yourself. These days I would happily skip many a High Street Perfume Shop for dear old M and S.  And nobody can knock their knickers as far as I’m concerned.

gabriella little

Stockists: Gabriella is available from Marks and Spencer in store or on online for £7.50 for a 25ml bottle, or £16.00 for 100ml.

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

 

Marks and Spencer Limited Collection: Butterfly

 

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The Marks and Spencer fragrance department is a bit of a favourite stop off when I’m in town.  Sadly my local branch doesn’t carry the full gamut, but I often feel able to  buy myself a purse spray guilt free, especially when they have 20% off like they did yesterday.  Whilst not all of them are great, I can’t call any of them bad, except Florentyna *shudder*, which I can’t be cruel about since it has a steady and loyal fanbase.  For the prices I have paid, I have never been disappointed by a Marks and Spencer perfume.  Overall, they are decent affordable quality.

Today I am reviewing Limited Collection Butterfly, which comes in a pretty bottle and is an unmistakable homage to Marc Jacobs and his Dots and Daisies.

Fresh and light, this makes an ideal scent for a teenager, or for office day wear.  In other words, it’s more shower fresh than provocative or come hither.

Surprisingly, this opens with cucumber.  The surprise here is that usually I can’t bear cucumber in perfume, but this is combined with lemon, grapefruit and apple and smells wonderfully citrussy.  There are many comparisons with the more expensive DKNY Be Delicious, which also opens with lemons and cucumber, and has identical floral notes.

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www.fragrantica.com

However, just before it comes too “herbal facial wash”, the flowers step in, and some of my favourites too: rose, violet and magnolia.  The magnolia was particularly noticeable.  The base notes are nothing to email home about: amber and musk, and not particularly robust at that.  In fact I would say the base is more violet, citrus and magnolia than anything else.

Longevity is not bad at around four or five hours, and by not bad, I mean that this cost me £2.80 for a 10ml purse spray yesterday, so I’m not going to complain about longevity for that price.

All in all, this is a good buy that I would recommend for young girls testing the path into fragrance, or for day to day wear where sexy isn’t an option. It’s fresh and pretty and will cut through the heat on a muggy day,  if we can remember that far back. I am looking though a rain washed window at a grey rain washed sky as I write this, so we will just have to use our imagination.

www.walesonline.co.uk
www.walesonline.co.uk