If you like your perfumes plummy, purple and fruity, you’re in for a treat, if you don’t, well either politely remember you left the oven on and discreetly escape, or read on and ponder.
The Avon Rare range includes Rare Gold, Rare Pearls, Rare Amethyst, and the divine Rare Platinum. Worryingly, I have not seen Rare Platinum in the last two brochures, so I hope its not on its way out.
Today I am reviewing Rare Amethyst and boy, it sure is purple! The opening note is plum, although this could be easily mistaken for purple grape. There is a sour sweetness to the dry down, like tangy Haribo. The alleged violets don’t make themselves strong enough for my liking, but I like nuclear violets, which this isn’t. The base is sandalwood, although more of a powdery faint woodiness. This is better the longer you wear it. Once the fruitiness calms down a bit, you have a plummy wood scent, although sans the listed violet notes.
Some Avon users and Fragrantica members have compared this to Alien, but I don’t see that myself. Ok, maybe a little bit when it’s really dried down, maybe slightly, and there’s no jasmine here. On the whole though, this sweet fruity opening could put you off, but when it calms down, it’s worth a gamble, especially at only £6.50, its current price.
This is not my favourite Avon Rare, that honour goes ot the tuberose marvel that is Rare Platinum, but this is a decent fragrance for the price, that smells like a pricier High Street buy. The gorgeous bottle makes it a pretty gift for the fan of sweet and fruity fragrance in your midst. And yes, OK, Alien fans on a budget.
Avon Rare Amethyst is currently £6.50 from Avon UK. Although I didn’t see my beloved Rare Platinum in the recent brochure, you can buy it on the Avon website for £6.50. I paid for my bottle and this is not a sponsored post.
I’ve been strangely drawn to this beauty of late. I say strangely because fragrances like these are not usually my cup of tea, but I can’t seem to leave this one alone.
Maybe it’s a reaction to the fact that I am wearing tame day time scents now that I have re-entered the world of full time work again? Maybe I just love the fact that this was only £7 a bottle and I can therefore spray to my heart’s content and still afford school shoes and dinner money? or maybe I’ve changed my curmudgeonly mind and decided that actually, I rather like a fruitichoulil with a playful fruity edge?
Avon Mesmerize Red for Her had me at hello when I saw the glossy crimson flanks of its red glass bottle. With a filigree gold pattern and a co-ordinating box, this is clearly meant to add a bit of eastern magic to your dressing table.
Scent wise, it goes thus: red berries, flowers (I would say jasmine at a guess, although it’s not listed) bergamot to keep it zingy, spices, aldehydes (you heard me) and then a woody patchouli fruity sort of base that lingers beautifully on my pyjamas (cleavage spraying is an unbreakable habit of mine.)
The overall effect is a fruity and sweet floral, without the syrup or stickiness or (praise be!) the ubiquitous caramel note that dominates everything from hand cream to high streets these day. Deep sigh. Mesmerize Red packs a spicy patchouli punch with enough florals to keep it girly and pretty. Fragrantica members reckon it smells like Cacharel Amor Amor and it does, although its not a dupe.
Now although Avon can’t, at this price, use world class high quality ingredients, it’s worth remembering that they often use world class noses, and world class fragrance institutions. For seven quid, I don’t think anyone can do better. This stuff is fabulous.
What can I say? Avon does it yet again.
You can buy Mesmerize Red For Her 50ml EDP from Avon UK. It was £7 when I bought mine. Prices vary .
If you’re anything like me in January, your credit card won’t be speaking to you and you’ll be searching coat pockets for loose change and forgotten fivers. It’s as traditional as losing the scissors when wrapping presents.
If you’re a perfume fan and feeling frugal, I bring glad tidings. There are perfumes out there that cost under ten quid and smell good. You heard me. It’s true. In fact, the majority of perfumes I reach for on a day to day basis are often cheap and cheerfuls that I don’t mind running out of and can be easily replaced.
So, my friends, clutch your tenners and follow me as I tell you about my top ten fragrances under ten pounds.
My £5.99 bottle reminds me of my late grandmother, who was such a lady and never went shopping without a brooch and a scarf. She was class all the way and loved Coty L’Aimant. She was born around the time it came out in 1927 and wore it to dances in the war. It was made in similar style to the newly launched Chanel No 5 which had come out three years earlier in 1924, and smells very similar. I also adore the Art Deco bottle and deep pink box with the gold edging. All this for under ten quid.
Elizabeth Arden Green Tea
Whether you opt for the pillar scent (which is a classic) or any of the excellent flankers, the Elizabeth Arden Green Tea range is a safe bet. Light, feminine, inoffensive, floral and citrussy, they make ideal summer or office perfume and almost always cost under ten quid, unless you see them in Duty Free where they cost a lot more. I particularly like Green Tea Revitalize and Green Tea Exotic
Alyssa Ashley Musk
This is a perfect pocket money perfume that smells amazing, gets compliments and has a subtle but pretty sillage. It was particularly popular in the 1970s but has a lot to offer the woman of 2018. It’s a warm, light, cosy musk that makes people want to nuzzle you. You can buy it here.
Bronnley Eclectic Elements range
This range of fragrances was created to attract a younger crowd to Bronnley, and I’m certainly a fan of both the classic stuff and the Eclectic Elements Range. In other words, I’m a dream customer. Bronnley gets my seal of approval for making rollerball fragrances. Although rollerballs are plentiful in Europe and the USA, they’re harder to get in the UK, so I’m hoping more brands will do this. The rollerballs are priced at under ten pounds, but if you go onto allbeauty.com today and sniff out their sale, you can find 50ml eau de toilettes at £10 too, although that’s sale price, not usual price.
The Yardley Collection of simple floral eau de toilettes are hard to beat. I own Yardley April Violets, Yardley English Rose and Yardley English Lavender. I wear them alone or for layering and I get compliments every single time I wear the rose. The violet helps me “violet-up” fragrances that I feel are missing that…well, that violet note. I also recommend the Lily of The Valley and the Freesia. You can buy them here or in Boots.
Of course, I can’t write about bargain fragrances without mentioning my old friend Avon. Avon is my Go-To guilt free brand. I own about six and my favourites are Avon Perceive Oasis, Far Away Bella and Rare Platinum, which is a gorgeous tuberose and grapefruit combo. Every brochure has a bargain and I never need to wait long until my favourite is £6 or £7. I’ve converted several friends too. The list of perfumers who have worked for Avon reads like a Who’s Who of the Industry: Christine Nagel, Olivier Cresp and Christopher Sheldrake are just three that I can think of off the top of my head. It’s a guilt free win/win pleasure. Here’s the link. Products vary seasonally so if your favourite isn’t around this week, come back and check again.
8. Go Old Skool
By old school, I mean take a second at what your Mum wore growing up.
If I told you that Tweed reminded me a little of Jicky, would you be shocked? It does.
Neither are dupes, but both deserve more love and recognition. I’m also a big fan of Panache and I’ve only now finished a £3.99 bottle that gave me twelve hours longevity after two morning sprays. I have found all of these bottle for well under ten pounds, and even under five pounds. Try allbeauty.com or Fragrance Direct.
Al Aneeq, Crown Perfumes and Al Rehab.
These are all brands that sell rollerballs of high quality, no alcohol fragrance. I own the White Musk and the Al Aneeq Violet, which is a big generator of compliments. (“Yum. I smell Parma Violets!”). Prices start at £1.99 for the delectable Choco Musk, and my trusty 10ml (very strong) violet rollerball was 3.99. Find them on Amazon or eBay. Great for handbags. Prices vary.
Marks and Spencer
And so, we arrive at the perfume shelves of Marks and Spencer. Your ten-pound note will serve you well here. First of all, there are delicious 10ml and 30ml purse-size sprays such as Autograph Blush (light roses and violets, powdery finish, ultra-feminine, not too sweet) or the new Belle. I’ve also seen White Orchid and New York in purse spray sizes in store too. Then of course, there’s the classic pillar fragrance Florentyna, which I reviewed last year. Both flankers are worth a look too and any of them will give you change from your tenner.
How about you?
What are your favourite cheap and cheerfuls? Do you have any under a tenner? Do drop in and tell me . I always love to hear from you.
Avon Far Away is Avon’s best-selling fragrance in the UK. Avon daren’t discontinue it for fear of riots . It also has the distinction of being the fragrance I smell most when out and about here in South Wales. The women who love it REALLY love and most of them are repeat buyers.
It occurred to me that I have reviewed many, MANY Avon fragrances but not this one. In the past I have dismissed it and not paid it much heed, but last night I sat down and really paid attention to it. Reader, I learned a thing or two along the way.
Firstly, I once dismissed this as so vanilla-y that it borders on coconuts (true-ish, there are coconut notes and vanilla). However, last night, as I let it unfold on my skin, I noticed many facets I hadn’t previously found. First of all, this is a grand white flower fragrance. It bursts with jasmine and gardenia. I thought I could discern tuberose, but no, it was jasmine and gardenia- a pretty heady combo at any time of day. Also present is karo karoundee- a white flower that has similar nuances to tuberose and is often paired with it. No, I hadn’t heard of it, and yes, I did have to look that up. (Thanks, Fragrantica!).
Before the flowers go anywhere, the peaches emerge, coupled with apricotty osmanthus, giving this a very peachy, powdery accord. This gets stronger until it peaks at freesia, peach and white flowers before relaxing into a base note you will recognise when you walk down my local High Street.
The base notes ares rich in vanilla, musk and woods, but mainly settle to a sweet, peachy and powdery vanilla.
Far Away reminds me of another early Nineties fragrance: Cassini by Oleg Cassini. I wore it a lot as I worked in the evening wear department of a House of Fraser store. There was a display bottle on a stand and we sales assistants all drenched ourselves in it. The peaches, vanilla and flowers have a sweetness in common with Far Away.
Far Away was created in 1994 and its popularity shows no signs of dipping. There have been several flankers, and the one most like the original is Far Away Gold, which is very similar, note by note, but has stronger amber notes and less fruitiness. Also, fact fans, Far Away Infinity smells very similar to Paco Rabanne Olympea but is less than ten quid. Just saying.
To sum up, Far Away is not my favourite Avon, but taking a good look at it really opened my eyes to what a great scent this is. Avon has made a wonderful peachy, powdery, vanilla classic that puts good fragrance into an accessible price range. I couldn’t ask for more.
Avon Far away is widely available. Try Avon UK, Amazon UK and eBay. I get mine off my Avon Lady because then she gets commission and she is lovely.
Avon Alpha is a new release from Avon and even in a blind test, I would be able to tell it was an Avon. It has a lot of Avon materials in common, but this is not a bad thing. In fact many brands have a particular in-house accord and its usually down to the particular range of ingredients they use to colour in the fragrances, to use a metaphor.
Avon Alpha is, first and foremost and beyond any question, fruity floral. The opening is raspberry, lychee and blood orange. There are floral notes in the middle, and I would hazard a guess at jasmine leading the gang. In the base there is an interesting ingredient that is getting very popular lately. Cashmeran is a synthetic note and has a “wet cement” accord. It doesn’t smell as weird as it sounds, more like bland wet stone. It’s actually pretty good as a base note in a flirty floral scent like this and just blends into the background and helps the loud notes to do their thing.
Over on Fragrantica (a brilliant site if you’ve yet to venture over) many readers claim that Avon Alpha smells similar to Nina Ricci Nina, Givenchy Absolutely Irresistible and Givenchy Hot Couture. Not a bad comparison, especially at such a low price.
This isn’t may favourite Avon, since I have a thing about Avon Perceive (peony) and Avon Rare Platinum (tuberose) but this certainly holds its own against other high street bestsellers and makes a great gift.
I bought my bottle on special offer from the Avon brochure last month. It was £4.50 for 30ml. You can find it here.
You may have heard me sing the praises of Yves Rocher before now. I love the quality and the price and the little freebies you get when you order online. Well, today I am sharing a tiny package that made me fall in love. No, it’s not another cat. Three is enough. Apparently. So I’ve been told. Today I’m going to tell you about the pocket sized joy that is Yves Rocher Mandarin Lemon Cedar (or Mandarine Citron Cedre as its known in France).
This little 20ml beauty does exactly what it says on the tin but is so uplifting and gives off such happy vibes that I would have paid a lot more than the meagre £4 I paid. It opens with mandarin, (as you might imagine), is made even zingier by lemon and finishes on a citrussy cedar note. Despite its refreshing cologne like character, this has pretty good longevity on my skin, and is especially good when sprayed on a scarf. You should smell my scarf collection- it’s incredible, even if I say so myself.
Over on Fragrantica, some members are saying that this reminds them of Fan di Fendi Eau Fraiche, which I cannot vouch for, never having smelled it, but if you were a fan, you might find solace in a little £4 bottle of Yves Rocher Mandarine Citron Cedre.
These make perfect gifts too if you can bear to part with them.
I bought my little bottle from the Yves Rocher UK website. In fact, I bought five. This is not a sponsored post, opinions are my own and I paid for this myself.
Avon Femme Exclusive is one of three fragrances in the Avon Femme range. I’ve already reviewed Avon Femme and Avon Femme Icon, so here’s my review of Avon Femme Exclusive.
Avon Femme Exclusive opens with pear. I also detected some plum as well: this is deeply, darkly fruity. . The jasmine in the middle comes out at pretty much the same time as the pear and makes for a pear jasmine combo that, whilst not particularly original, certainly runs with the pack and is bezzie mates with the popular set. To be honest, the pear dominates so all the others notes tend to fall into the background, except for vanilla. It says here that there is black vanilla in this, but that’s sort of corporate speak for extra strong evening style vanilla. In fact the vanilla is not my favourite boozy liquor vanilla, it’s more of a milky vanilla, and alongside the pear, I couldn’t help thinking of pear, pastry and custard. There’s just enough jasmine to stop me thinking this is pudding flavour.
All in all, this will do the job nicely and is priced affordably. It does smell very similar to Avon Luck (all the vanilla), so if you like that, you’ll like this. It’s not my favourite, but there’s certainly a fan base out there for this bargain.
Avon Femme Exclusive is available from Avon UK or from your Avon rep if you are lucky enough to have one. My little purse spray was just £3, and it’s a great way of living with a scent for a bit before deciding to get a big bottle. Viva purse sprays!
In the past, Bronnley has had a reputation as being a classic floral brand that “older” ladies liked. Personally, I’ve always loved classic florals and soaps in wrappers so it’s never stopped me. However, the upcoming bright young things of the Twenteens are a capricious bunch with more choices than any other generation that has ever lived. Brands have to move with the times.
Bronnley has not only moved with the times but added a bit of an edge that is putting them firmly on my list of favourites. Their collection of Eclectic Elements fragrances is packaged for a new generation, but pleases this 47 year old no end.
Today I am wearing Bronnley Eclectic Elements Zealous Flower and I love it. Why do I love it? Well, that’s easy.
It comes in an adorable roll on bottle. (more about roller balls soon because I’m obsessed).
It’s available in a 9ml version so you can live with it for a good few weeks before buying a big one.
It’s inexpensive but doesn’t smell like it is.
Here’s what it smells like:
It opens with pear, orange and bergamot. Now pear has been used A LOT in the past two years, to the point where I pull non-selfie faces when I smell it.
However, in Zealous Flower, it’s the flowers that come out first, not the fruit. In fact the fruit adds clean edges to the roses and jasmine, which are BIG. Even the pear knows its place and doesn’t take over.
It must be said that there was briefly a pencil shavings phase which came and went, before the vetiver and amber rounded things off. They never quite see off the jasmine though, which remains the main player here. In fact, at first, I thought this had tuberose in it, such is the white flower richness.
Zealous Flower leaves me with a pleasing autumnal floral on my skin. What I’m left with is a very agreeable accord of vetiver, jasmine, hints of leathery labdanum flower, and some faded roses.
Now, about that adorable roller ball. This has a little metal rollerball that applies just the right amount to skin and stops you going overboard before a day at work. The rollerball version comes in an attractive narrow box in 9ml size and is a good compromise between a big bottle blind buy and having to judge it on a few sprays from a tester. I want more brands to do this.
Zealous Flower is or has also been known as Savage Flower, but I prefer Zealous to Savage.
You can buy the Bronnley Eclectic Elements range from Boots in store or online. The rollerballs cost £10 and contain 9ml of scent. You can also buy this cute set of whole range minis for £20 from the Bronnley website. My rollerball bottle was kindly provided by Bronnley in return for an honest review, which mine is. This is not a sponsored post. Follow
Have you ever tried an inexpensive perfume that was so good you thought you’d been undercharged? That’s how I felt when my little Yves Rocher consignment arrived recently. Tucked away on the website is a small selection of excellent 20ml scents that cost me only £4 a bottle. Vanille Bourbon was one of them and all I can say is Crikey Moses, this is good stuff.
Now vanilla, as you know, can smell like cheap candles or like delicious buttery boozy liqueur that makes you want to swoon. You have to try a lot of bottles to find the latter and this one falls into that category.
Despite being an eau de toilette, Vanille Bourbon lasted ages on my skin and I was getting delightful wafts up to five hours later when I found myself sniffing the air and saying “mm, someone smells nice,” realising later that it was me. I was the someone.
The only note listed for this fragrance is vanilla, but that’s a wide net. This has facets of woods, soft musk, some unidentifiable floral notes, and an edge of smoky toasted sugar, like the singed edges of a Crème Caramel. For a fleeting second, it smelled like spiced whisky, but overall, I would call this a milky, musky, floral and a very, very rich (kazillionaire) vanilla. It’s as satisfying as a mouthful of good crème brûlée and cost me a mere £4. Yes, I had change from a fiver. Well, I would have if I hadn’t bought four others in the range, more of which anon.
Yves Rocher Vanilla Bourbon is fantastic value and a dream of a vanilla scent. Not a cheap candle in sight.
Yves Rocher Vanilla Bourbon 20ml EDT is only £4 from the Yves Rocher UK website. I won’t be parted from mine.
There are some fragrance fans who would never consider celebrity scents or Avon perfumes. There are some who say that in fragrance you get what you pay for. I dispute that. I’ve smelled amzing, cheap scents and unpleasant expensive ones. In fact, if this were an episode of Newsnight, I’d be on the panel, looking sternly over the top of my glasses and arguing the case that inexpensive fragrance can be good, great even.
I would present the case for Avon Today, Tomorrow, Always, My Everything for Her. I would make allowances for the name that is, admittedly a bit of a mouthful, and I would point out that the nose behind this inexpensive beauty is none other than living legend Olivier Cresp, who co created the iconic and perennial Angel for Thierry Mugler.
First of all, it’s OK if we abbreviate, so let’s call this TTA My Everything. There’s a For Him too, but we’re talking about the For Her version, if labels matter (another Newsnight topic?).
There are only three notes: bergamot, rose and crowd-pleasing praline. Personally, praline isn’t my cup of Typhoo, but only a fool ignores public demand. Praline is one of the main notes in Lancôme La Vie est Belle, which has been scenting the streets of Britain since it came out way back in 2012. The fragrance buying public have gone mad for gourmands in the last five years and whilst I’m more of a mossy chypre kind of woman, I can understand the buzz.
TTA My Everything opens with powerful bergamot and rose. The bergamot makes the rose smell sharper and mingles with it until you think you’re smelling a lime coloured rose or a rose-coloured lime. They blend seamlessly, giving this a delicate opening that gets stronger the longer you wear it.
The praline comes in gradually, and despite being one third of the notes, it doesn’t overtake or dominate. In fact I would say this is a rose citrus with warm sweet edging. It really reminded me of Nina Ricci Nina which combines apples and praline, so if you like that you might like this too. I love the different rose nuances in My Everything. It seems to come and go in waves. In fact, if you’ve ever tried the aforementioned La Vie est Belle and found it too sweet and wished the floral notes were stronger, then this would suit you down to your boots.
Avon Today Tomorrow Always My Everything For Her is coming soon. I was lucky enough to get a sample from my lovely Avon Lady, so watch this space for when it comes out. Opinions are my own.
This will be available soon from your Avon brochure or from Avon UK. The current prices of other fragrances in TTA range is £14 for 50ml EDP, so I imagine this would be in that price bracket too. Owning an Olivier Cresp for £14? Yes, indeed.