Tag Archives: Mother’s Day

“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…

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.

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The IScentYouADay Guide to Buying Perfume For Mother’s Day

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Mother’s Day is one of the busiest times in High Street perfume departments and no wonder. For many people (not me!) perfume is a luxury item that they feel self indulgent buying for themselves. It is seen as a treat, in a similar vein to a box of chocolates.

There are usually three problems with buying Mother’s Day Fragrance: a) Either you don’t know what your Mum likes or,  b) you think you know what she likes but she secretly went off it years ago and has to make happy faces when she unwraps it for the umpteenth time, or c) what she used to like has been discontinued or reformulated and she wants something new.

I’m going to put a few ideas out here that ought to help with  all of the above.  There’s the Classics, the Discovery Sets, and finally, at pocket money prices, there are the Cheap and Cheerfuls.  At these prices, if you’re buying for your Mum, you may as well pick something up for yourself…

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THE CLASSICS

These are the stalwarts that have been around for years and which, in my opinion, don’t get enough love from younger perfume fans. If your Mum likes the mossy chypres, orientals and aldehydes of the Seventies and Eighties, these are all safe bets.

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Ysatis

Good enough to make a grown woman weep, Ysatis fans are rarely casual about their love for this oriental chypre. Ysatis is priced very reasonably for such classic quality and prices start at £24.50. You can read my review here. Ysatis can be bought from Boots, Amazon and trusty allbeauty.com

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Estee Lauder Cinnabar

For oriental fans, Cinnabar is a classic that’s  hard to beat. It’s been around for a long time whilst fashions have come and gone, and it still stands majestic on the beauty counter. You can read my review here and buy it from Amazon, House of Fraser and John Lewis.

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Yves Saint Laurent Opium

It’s not as good as it used to be, but it’s still a very good oriental. Find my review here. There’s another review here which compares old and new. Die hard fans really know their stuff, but sadly the original formulation is only on eBay these days. You can buy Opium from John Lewis, Boots and House of Fraser to name but a few. Do not confuse this with Black Opium, which is very different indeed. (I’m pulling a face and being tactful).

chanel no5Chanel No 5

Arguably the most famous fragrance in the world. I have seen more red faced men buying this than women. Personally I’m not keen, but its popularity shows no signs of waning ever. At all.  I like it on other people, but on me it smells like stale face powder. My review is here and you can buy it everywhere: Boots, John Lewis,  and Escentual to name but a few.

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Miss Dior Originale

This is the one that’in the glass houndstooth check bottle, not the pretty floral Miss Dior that comes with a little bow. It’s green and mossy and longlasting.  I much prefer it to the latest incarnation of Miss Dior (which is pretty good, but is more of a fruity floral) You can buy Miss Dior Originale from John Lewis, House of Fraser and Amazon.

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Clinique Aromatics Elixir

I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed this one. With aldehydes, spices and oakmoss, I often happily find myself in a miasma of this whilst gadding about town. It’s usually on more mature perfume lovers: the youth of today are missing a trick. You can buy Aromatics Elixir from House of FraserAmazon and John Lewis.

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TASTER SETS AND DISCOVERY SETS

Many perfume houses offer a “Try Some Then Buy One” service, which is a great way of getting some samples to try and a follow on bottle of your choice afterwards. Another alternative is buy a sample set and a voucher. Here’s a selection of the best:

4160 taster

4160 Tuesdays

I’m a big fan of 4160 Tuesdays and can’t hide it.: quirky artisan scent hand made with passion in a London studio. If you haven’t tried any yet, enter the portal now! For £95 you can get 7 samples and a voucher for a full 100ml bottle of whichever is her favourite. It works out cheaper than buying the bottle and samples separately by £20. Here’s the link you need to the site.

Jo Loves

Jo Loves is the brainchild of Jo Malone MBE, former CEO and founder of Jo Malone. Jo couldn’t stay away from fragrance and started her own perfume house on a smaller scale after stepping down from her original flagship business. You can buy a Fragrance Discovery Gift Experience  for £100 which includes samples and a voucher for a full bottle.

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The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes

These boxes contain around ten hard to get samples and a couple of very good beauty treats such as hand cream, skin serum or nail polish.  A VIP Subscription at just £25  gets you a free Discovery Box and a discount off all the other Discovery Boxes on offer as well as many more benefits throughout the year.  Your Mum might well find a brand new favourite and learn something along the way: each box has testing notes and sniffing strips. Quick plug- I have five VIP subscriptions up for grabs, but be quick- entries must be in by 25th February at midnight. See my post here to find out how to enter.

Pell Wall Perfumes
Pell Wall Perfumes

Pell Wall Perfumes

Pell Wall is a perfume house that consists of a delightfully eclectic mix by Shropshire based Nose Chris Bartlett. A set of minis costs just £49 for 9 x 10ml bottles. My favourites are Pretty in Pink and Deep Purple. Try the website and read my reviews here and here.

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THE CHEAP AND CHEERFULS

Cheap needn’t smell cheap. Some of my favourite and most frequently worn perfumes cost under ten quid. You can often find me wearing some of the following. In fact I wear them more often than my posh stuff because I know I can afford to replace them when they’re empty.

Coty L’Aimant

This was my grandmother’s favourite. It came hot on the heels of Chanel No 5 and there are many similarities in this powdery aldehydic gem, created in the 1920s. My review is here and you can buy it from allbeauty.com or Fragrance Direct. Often you can get beautiful gift sets with talc, body spray and a little cosmetics bag for under ten pounds. (The one pictured is from Fragrance Direct and is 6.99 currently).

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Tweed

Tweed makes some people pull faces and say “old Lady”- a term I avoid, but I say don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. It used to be made by Lentheric but is now made by Taylor of London. My Mum wears Tweed and it smells amazing on her. It’s woody and mossy with a nice bit of citrus in the opening notes. You can read my review here and buy it from Boots, allbeauty.com and Fragrance Direct.

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Avon

Avon has been a favourite among several generations of women in my family. My late Nanna used to like Soft Musk and Timeless, as does my Mum today. Avon launches new scents all the time, and prices are so reasonable that even a blind buy won’t break the bank. Here’s my guide to my Avon Top Ten. You can buy online from AvonShop UK.

 

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Marks and Spencer Rosie for Autograph

This is an excellent rose scent, that smells far more expensive than it’s low price. Containing centifolia roses, this is a beautiful perfume and the one I chose for myself for Mother’s Day last year. Here’s my review.  It’s currently  only £11.20.

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Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass

Blue Grass was another of my late grandmother’s favourites. It is widely available for under a tenner and is especially good sprayed fridge cold in hot weather. I reviewed it here. You can buy Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass from Half Price Perfumes , Fragrance Direct or Superdrug.

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That’s my round up for Mums everywhere, including me! So what scent reminds you of your Mum? Do feel free to comment below. I always love to hear from you.

Estee Lauder Modern Muse Chic

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fragrantica

 

Estee Lauder Modern Muse was one of my favourite launches in recent years and it would appear that I wasn’t alone in my admiration of it. Modern Muse has now reached that milestone of approval and success and has spawned a flanker.

Estee Lauder has a fairly safe Go-To image for the mainstream perfume buyer, although I think the brand is one of the best on the High Street.  On every Estee Lauder counter you can find consistently good classics and I can name at least five scents that I would buy without hesitation if someone gave me a voucher for my wedding anniversary on Wednesday for example (Ahem).   Too often Estee Lauder has been overlooked as an “Old Lady” brand, but hopefully Modern Muse will attract some new, younger appreciation in the same way as Pleasures did in the Nineties.

Having said all that, Modern Muse Chic dips its ladylike toe into Lake Daring and sticks a bit of Oud in there.  Pearls may be clutched, but Estee Lauder has pulled it off.

I have been wearing Modern Muse Chic all day- two spritzes of Eau de Parfum this morning are still going strong seven hours later with no need for a top up.

uk.westfield.com
uk.westfield.com

Initially Modern Muse Chic is similar to Modern Muse but with the Plum and the Jasmine Sambac cranked up.  Wait an hour though and the Oud and Wormwood emerge and stay put throughout.  I can’t decide if Oud or Jasmine Sambac have been over used lately in new launches, but frankly I can’t find anything to complain about here.

 Modern Muse Chic is pretty much an evening version of Modern Muse, and smells as if Modern Muse has been concentrated and layered over the teeniest drop of pure Oud oil.  It seems to radiate more as the day goes on, which is no bad thing.  This may be too much for the office, but great for a memorable night out.  Nice bottle too.  If you don’t like  even the slightest trace of Oud or Wormwood (think how Absinthe smells) then you might want to side step it, but I think this is rather good.

Stockists

Estee Lauder Modern Muse Chic is available in widespread locations: in the UK you can buy it from John Lewis, House of Fraser, Selfridges and Debenhams to name but a few.  In the USA and Canada you can buy it from Neiman Marcus (USA only), Macy’s and Sears, and in Europe you can buy it from Sephora, or of course, the Estee Lauder website.

In Praise of Mothers

 

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Mothers are often our first point of reference when it cnd.221omes to perfume.  It never ceases to amaze me how people can forget what they had for breakfast yesterday but remember exactly how their mother smelled to them when they were four.  It often moves me to read comments on my blog where postnd.96ers nostalgically muse about scents of their much missed mothers, or even the much missed years of their childhood.

One thing I admire about my own mother is that she always tried a different scent.  She has by turns, worn Louis Feraud by Avon, YSL Rive Gauche, Paloma Picasso, Chanel No 5,  Estee Lauder Knowing, Dior Dune and several late great Avons that I cannot name but would immediately recognise.paloma-1

Today she favours Avon Soft Musk, Body Shop White Musk,  Tweed and Dana Tabu, which I introduced her to and which smells terrific on her.   She doesn’t very often like anything I like,  but she has always been interested in perfume, wearing it every day, and that in turn, has made it part of my 125530_a_LARGEordinary day to day life.

My son asked me “When is Kid’s Day?”  and I said “every day is Kid’s Day”.

Dear Mum, thank you for having me.

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Tweed-It’s Golden Oldie Time: Bear With Me.

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I have very happy memories of scents in the 70s. It was the decade I went from nought to ten and grown up ladies were the blueprint of what I was to be become one day.

tweed old1I am not the only forty something who remembers their mothers, aunts and grandmothers dousing themselves in Tweed. Everyone remembers it, but nobody owns it. Except my friend Lisa who, as you know, is canny when it comes to perfume.

Based on her interest, and having been initiated into the Chypre portal via dreamy Balmain de Balmain and  Jolie Madame,  I allowed a small bottle to land by the till of my local chemist and fall into my bag in exchange for money. Oops!

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vintageadbrowser.com

Opening notes are clearly and loudly Lavender and Geranium.  It reminds me of Tauer’s Le Maroc Pour Elle: only because of the lavender opening, after that they part ways.

The Geranium keeps it prickly and it reminds me of Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass  for the first hour. I don’t actually enjoy the first hour of Tweed, but it gets better, trust me.

In the middle phase, the Lavender stays loud and the Cinnamon adds spice.  There’s noisy Jasmine- loud and proud, but the synthetic Lavender jars a little.  There is a disquieting hint of disinfectant.

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The base notes provide the bit worth waiting for.  Oakmoss, Vetiver, Patchouli and Benzoin. It’s a Woody, Mossy finish that lingers long beyond what anyone would expect for £4.99 from a little independent chemist.  For those of you who don’t live round the corner from me, you can buy this from Amazon or Allbeauty.com. It’s less than ten quid and worth it just for that amazing base note and the great longevity.

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