WARSZAWA by Puredistance

 

Notes: Galbanum, Grapefruit, Violet Leaf, Jasmine Absolute, Broom Absolute, Orris Butter, Patchouli, Vetiver and Styrax

 

Puredistance put the class back into luxury perfumery. It seems these days that a number of brands in this exclusive niche are focusing on the blinged-out packaging, with the fragrant contents coming as something of an afterthought. Puredistance have elegant, covetable packaging but more importantly, meticulously composed, high quality scents.

Warszawa is their eighth release and the third authored by perfumer Antoine Lie. It promises to transport the wearer to “a dreamy world of old-time chic” and seeing as this is one of my favourite types of fragrance, I’m feeling hopeful…

 

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Warszawa is an uncommon boudoir scent. It’s a powder puff of creamy florals with a glints of galbanum and citrus to start. This allows it to take off without the powder dragging it down. Through its development, it moves from bright green to deepest velvety emerald.

It’s a modern interpretation of the Roaring Twenties with all the glamour and dizzyingly good times that encompasses.  Sometimes powdery perfumes can feel dated but Warszawa feels beautifully retro.

Boudoir perfumes are often reminiscent of vintage cosmetics and Warszawa also mines that seam. Picture a woman with Marcel Waves in her lingerie and stockings, who is attending to her toilette before an evening of decadence. From her vanity, she applies rose-scented blush, waxy lipstick and an iris face powder. As a finishing touch, she dabs on a rich jasmine perfume, creating a cloud of lusciousness.

What sets Warszawa apart from most other boudoir/cosmetic fragrances however, is that it has a smooth green overlay. I’ve come across broom absolute in perfumes like Amouage’s Opus III. It’s redolent of overgrown meadows of wildflowers and heaps of honeyed hay.  Antoine Lie takes these untamed aromas of nature and moulds them into something incredibly warm, intimate and refined. Vanessa summed up Warszawa perfectly in her Bonkers post as a “forest green corset”.

It’s a full-bodied, kaleidoscopic fragrance that doesn’t have clear demarcations of individual accords or a top/heart/base. Puredistance fragrances tend to be supremely well blended and this is no exception.

Warszawa feels feminine in an entirely grown-up way; it doesn’t equate femininity with syrupy sweetness. This is a ‘heels and winged eyeliner perfume’ and veers nowhere near the nebulous pink fluffiness aimed at the youth market.

Of course a guy can rock anything he chooses but I love it when a truly womanly fragrance is released. Even long-established perfume houses like Guerlain and Chanel are clamouring to woo Millennials, thereby making women over forty feel invisible. Therefore, it’s good to find that Puredistance isn’t chasing the latest trends and has made a perfume that feels like me.

Warszawa is now my favourite fragrance from the collection and with 25% parfum oil, you only need a single spray for knock ’em dead sillage and all day longevity.

 

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Do you long for more fragrance releases that feel like they are aimed at you?

 

 

 

 

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Two Favourite Balm Cleansers

When I get home from work the first thing I do after making a cup of tea is take off my make-up. I do a pre-cleanse with micellar water to remove my mascara and lipstick and then go in with a balm to get rid of the rest (base, concealer, blush, SPF).

Balms are my preferred evening cleanse because they are thorough yet feel good for the skin. There is also a therapeutic aspect to them; you literally feel like you’re wiping the day away.

I used to use micellar water to take off all my make-up because it felt easier than messing around at the sink with water. However, I found that it dried my skin out and using a balm is actually quicker as well as more effective.

I spread a blob between damp hands and apply it all over my face. I then run a fannel under the hot tap, wring it out and use it to wipe off the cleanser. They are more pricey than cream cleansers or face washes but last ages.

There are a few balm cleansers around but I like the ones that are solid rather than cream-like. Clinique’s Take The Day off Cleansing Balm is a cheaper alternative to those below, but the lack of scent makes it rather joyless.  I normally askew heavily scented products in skincare but cleansers are one of my exceptions because they don’t stay on the skin.

Here are my two favourites: –

 

 

Emma Hardie Amazing Face Moringa Cleansing Balm 

Two of the reasons I love this cult cleansing balm are that it’s oily and has a fabulous orange scent. It contains essentials oils of orange, neroli, mandarin, jasmine and rose in addition to moringa seed extract which has numerous skin benefits. The base is grapeseed oil and sweet almond oil, however unlike the next balm, it is not all-natural.

I’m not sure how it does it but this balm manages to act as a deep cleanse as well as a skin conditioner. I use it on those occasions when I have a full face of make-up or am purely craving that uplifting scent. As suggested by Emma Hardie, I sometimes use it as a mask while in the bath so the oils can sink in. It’s available from Marks and Spencer but there are often deals online. It comes with a nice cleansing cloth.

 

Jane Scrivner Nourishing Cleansing Blam

Someimes I want something simple which isn’t heavily scented. This Nourishing Balm fits the bill but is still a pleasure to use. It’s more waxy with a lighter consistency than the Moringa Cleansing Balm. It has the refreshing scent of an essential oil blend; the type you often get in all-natural products such as this. It contains organic jojoba oil, beeswax and essential oils of ylang ylang, elemi, eucalyptus, frankincense, lemongrass, lavender, myrrh, sandalwood and sweet orange.

As the name suggests, this balm feels really nourishing rather than stripping.  I use it on days when my skin feels dry/delicate and it leaves it feeling soft and plump.  Again, it comes with its own fluffy cleansing mit.

 

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Please let me know if you have tried either of these or your thoughts on other cleansers.

 

 

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Bat by Zoologist Perfumes

Top Notes: Banana, Soft Fruits, Damp Earth
Heart Notes: Fig, Tropical Fruits, Mineral Notes, Myrrh, Resins, Vegetal Roots
Base Notes: Furry Musks*, Leather*, Vetiver, Sandalwood, Tonka

                                         *No animal products are used in Zoologist fragrances.

 

I’ve said previously how I love the concept behind Zoologist Perfumes. The ‘animal inspos’ are quirky and using the talents of artisan perfumers to compose them is a master stroke. I’ve written mini reviews  of Rhinoceros, Beaver and Panda and Civet, Nightingale and Macaque.

I have owned a sample of 2016 release, Bat, for a while but thought it would be fun to delve into it for Halloween.

 

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Dr. Ellen Covey is the indie perfumer behind Olympic Orchids but she is also a university professor who has conducted research into bats. Therefore, it’s no wonder she captured this creature, its diet and habitat so perfectly in scent for Zoologist. Last year Bat won an Art and Olfaction Award in the Independent category.

The bat in question is specifically a fruit bat, so we begin with a mixture of fruity notes    coated in mustiness very similar to petrichor, that fantastic aroma created when rain hits dry soil. This prevents the fruitiness from veering anywhere close to syrupy cocktail territory. I can’t bear the smell of bananas but here it’s the faint odour of dried banana skin. The damp earth accord coupled with the tropical fruit is completely unique.

Consider me hooked.

As the musty fruit opening fades, I notice a chill coming off my skin along with the earthiness, as if the bat is swooping through the cool night air.

In the heart of the fragrance, Bat returns to its cave with its scent of stone walls along with vegetal roots and humus rising up from the damp dirt floor.  It’s hugely atmospheric, recreating the dark, dank environment the bat haunts during daylight hours.

The base brings us up close and personal to the mammal’s black wings and grey fur. This is achieved through a phenol, fume-y leather dusted with vetiver and set against a fuzzy musky background. Now we get a real taste of the gothic. It’s a potent brew and not for the lily-livered.

What has surprised me the most about Bat is that it’s not the wholly unapproachable art piece I expected it to be. This may be in part because it stays relatively soft on my skin (until the base) though longevity is excellent. I was prepared to be impressed by its originality but it is also clever, witty and well structured.

Bat is not a conventional, easy wear by any means, but under the cloak of a damp and overcast autumn day when the veil between worlds is at its thinnest, it fits right in.

 

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Do you pick an appropriate perfume for Halloween? Have you tried Bat?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In Rotation – Autumn 2017

It’s autumn in the UK and I’m really enjoying wearing my two favourite releases of this year (practically non-stop). They are both by artisan perfumers whose work exhibits great depth and attention to detail. As different as they are, each fragrance feels perfect for this time of year.

I spent a few days at a forest lodge in Scotland earlier in the month and the autumnal countryside was stunning. The scents of green leaves, woodsmoke and damp earth filled the air.

 

 

Dryad by Papillon Perfumes

Narcissus, Oakmoss, Jonquil, Costus, Galbanum, Clary Sage, Deer Tongue, Cedrat, Benzoin, Lavender, Thyme and Orris

Liz Moores is very connected to nature in all its forms, so it’s no wonder she should see the soul in a tree and create a perfume in its honour: Dryad. Bitter greens are crushed underfoot as the woodland becomes denser and darker. The drydown has the glorious feel of a vintage oakmoss chypre. Green perfumes are rarely this complex or classy. Wear it while wistfully wishing you lived in the forest, or kicking up leaves walking through the park.

 

Naja by Vero Profumo

Osmanthus absolute, melon, linden blossom, tobacco

The green in Naja is a neon bright lime.  It starts out like juice, then blossom and finally powder. This provides an overlay to the palest blond tabacco which feels just right for these damp days with a hint of bonfire in the air. Naja is a perfume full of contradictions that exist side by side. It is body and spirit, dissonance and harmony, purity and poison. Wear it to weave protection spells and cast out evil. It’s the perfect perfume for the run-up to Halloween.

 

Coromandel by Chanel 

Bitter Orange, Neroli, Jasmine, Rose, Orris, Patchouli, White Chocolate, Vanilla, Woods, Incense

While I’m wearing Dryad and Naja on skin, I’m also wearing Coromandel on fabric. It’s my favourite scarf perfume. I sprayed it onto the front of my long black cotton scarf once I’d wound it round my neck.  The luxe patchouli works really well when you can catch wafts of it as you walk. I have the EdT version which has wisps of incense which show up in mild weather.  It really complements both Dryad and Naja. Wear it to amplify and complement the wonderfully musty aromas of autumn in a super chic way.

 

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What fragrances have you been turning to lately?

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Mx. by Eris Parfums

 

Top Notes: Ginger, Black Pepper, Saffron, Olibanum
Heart Notes: Sandalwood, Cedarwood
Base Notes: Vetiver, Patchouli, Benzoin, Birch Tar, Cacao, Castoreum

 

I was impressed with the initial collection of three fragrances launched by Eris Parfums last year. Creative Director, Barbara Herman, is a vintage perfume expert and author of Scent and Subversion. You can read my mini reviews of Ma Bête, Belle de Jour and Night Flower here.

The latest fragrance by Eris Parfums, Mx. (pronounced “Mix”) was launched this year and once again, was created with perfumer Antoine Lie.

I recently discovered the meaning of the word Mx. in the most prosaic way imaginable. I was placing an online order with a supermarket when I noticed one of the options in the contact details section was ‘Mx’. I correctly deduced that this is a new gender-neutral title, with the ultimate aim of replacing Mr, Mrs, Miss etc.

You may be thinking “Okay, but we’ve had unisex fragrances for a long time now”. However, Mx. rebels against the idea – prevalent in the mainstream at least – that gender-neutral perfumes have to be clean (read asexual) or lean masculine in style (presumably so as not to scare off the fellas).

 

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In sharp contrast to the cool and fresh unisex style that dates back to CK One, Mx. is warm and inviting.

I often find ginger notes tricky but the accord that forms the opening of Mx. is like gingerbread baked with a good deal of saffron and a sprinkling of pepper. Come in close and you may even be treated to a spike of incense.

This combination of gourmand spices over light, pliable woods brings to mind the excellent Dries Van Noten par Frédéric Malle. Both are comforting yet stylish, but unlike the Malle, Mx. completely bypasses florals. It also has an enticing dark twist in the base with vetiver, patchouli, a dusting of cacao powder and a shadow of smoky leather.

The animalic aspect here is very much of the soft and purring kind. The musk is at the furry end of the spectrum and adds to the luxurious feel. Mx. seeks to blur the gender boundaries and the whole feel of the fragrance is soft focus. It’s someone coming home late at night, lighting a fire and wrapping themselves in a faux fur blanket after an indulgent evening of excess.

It doesn’t have the retro stamp of the first three Eris perfumes, but it shares the same sophisticated, sensual character and may be more approachable for some. While Mx. seeks to challenge the binary nature of gender, the fragrance is easy to wear and fits like a second skin. It possesses intimate sillage and lasts incredibly well.

Gender politics aside, Mx. is cosy, comforting, chic and more than a little romantic. It works beautifully at this time of year as the temperature starts to dip and the nights are about to draw-in.

 

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Do you find gender distinctions in fragrance helpful or would you rather that we did away with them completely?

 

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Books I’ve Been Reading Lately

The last couple of months have contained two books with harrowing but ultimately feminist themes.  I read both because they are so well known and each had its own impetus, as you will see. I also checked in with a couple of my favourite authors. I feel like I’m on a roll and I hope it continues. Having a good supply of new reading material is important but not always possible. If I were scoring the books, all of these would get a solid four starts.

 

 

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The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

I have always meant to read this dystopian classic but never got round to it. The excellent TV adaptation gave me the push I needed. It’s different in a few notable ways to the TV show and much slower paced, but it was good to get extra insights and read the original book. Like a feminist 1984, it resonates decades after it was written in 1985.  I’m intrigued to see where the next season of the TV show takes it from here.

 

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

After something so dark it was good to dive into a easy-to-read fantasy. I got Caraval for 99p in a Kindle Daily Deal. It’s fast-paced and full of magic, which I love. If you liked the premise of The Night Circus but found it a bit heavy-going you might like this. Caraval is an immersive game that’s a cross between a circus performance and a treasure hunt, but with much higher stakes. The two sisters at the centre of the tale irritated me at times but didn’t spoil my enjoyment.

 

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A Perfect Storm by Jodi Taylor

Another riotous short story e-book from the time-travelling series, The Chronicles of St. Mary’s. It was like catching up with old friends and I read it in one sitting. Can’t wait for the next (10th?) full length novel.

I never re-read books but when Jodi stops writing these – *shudders* – I shall start again from Book 1, Just One Damned Thing After Another.

 

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

I got this free in an Amazon offer which was great as it’s another book I’ve been meaning to read forever but never did because I’m not a fan of thrillers. At first I wondered what all the fuss was about after wading through pages of financial double-dealing. Then Lisbeth, the troubled girl with the titular tattoo, came on the scene and l was hooked.

As the mystery at the centre of the book developed, I got more and more engrossed. With one big reveal I even exclaimed out loud and that doesn’t happen often. However, I don’t feel compelled to read the rest of the series. Let me know if you think I should.

 

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The Break by Marian Keyes

I know a new book from Marian is going to be a treat and I couldn’t wait to get stuck into this after the grim storyline of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. In The Break, Amy’s lovely husband reacts badly to two bereavements and decides the only solution is to put their marriage on hold while he goes travelling for six months as a single man.

It’s an enticing premise and waiting to see how Amy will cope and how she might even take advantage of the situation herself, makes it a great read. Not to mention the array of often comical supporting characters you always get in a Marian Keyes novel. Loved it.

 

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What have you been reading lately? Anything you’d recommend?

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Mood Scent 4 – Uplifting Perfumes

Welcome to the latest instalment in the Mood Scent 4. joint blogging project,

We are four perfume bloggers from France, Holland, England and Wales who post on a different joint subject every couple of months.  Each time we pick a selection of fragrances to fit a particular mood or occasion. You’ll find links to the other blogs at the end of the post.

Previous posts have been on the topics of Rainy Day Perfumes, Wedding Guest Perfumes and Mainstream Perfumes. Today the topic is Uplifting Perfumes.

 

 

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Really, any perfume you love can be uplifting but some types of fragrances can be  depended upon to raise most people’s spirits. Aromatherapy will tell you orange is the most mood-boosting aroma and I agree many perfumes in this citrus category can do the trick.

My personal favourite for an instant up-tick in outlook is Eau de Mandarine Ambrée by Hermès. The scent of mandarins is pure happiness to me, perhaps because I was given tinned mandarins segments in syrup as a dessert when a child.

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Eau de Mandarin Ambrée is from Les Cologne Collection but the citrus is supported by amber which prolongs its life significantly. Hermès are generally a good bet for classy orange scents with the classic Eau D’Orange Verte, the orange-tinted beach scent Eau des Merveilles and last year’s Eau de Néroli Doré.

Orange Sanguine by Atelier Cologne is like a morning class of fresh orange juice, while the mainstream have Clinique Happy and Boss Orange.

Related to citrus scents but fuller and obviously more floral, are the orange blossom perfumes. They feel like inhaling the scent of blossom on the breeze in early summer. It’s uplifting but in a more languid, sensual way.  For an added burst of zingy lemon in the opening and extra longevity, there’s the golden orange blossom of Cologne Indélébile by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

The two I own though, are the limited edition Fleur d’Oranger and Seville a L’Aube, both by L’Artisan Perfumeur. The latter is a combination of honeyed orange blossom, caramelised lavender and a wisp of incense. If you fall for it you can read all about its development in The Perfume Lover by Denyse Beaulieu.

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Sometimes just the name of a perfume is enough to make you smile. Tart’s Knicker Drawer by 4160 Tuesdays is just as playful as its name. This is a vintage-style boudoir scent topped with raspberry. Put it on and enjoy that fun, flirty feeling. If someone asks you what you’re wearing, that’s an added bonus.

How about a perfume inspired by the glittering world of Bollywood that also has an exclamation mark at the end? Bombay Bling! by Neela Vermeire Creations is characterised by a fabulously joyous and super juicy mango note. Spray it and just see if you can resist the urge to smile

 

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Aldehydes are the party perfume ingredient with their bubbly spray of champagne foam. My favourite Vega is no longer available but there are some others out there including of course, the most recent youthful incarnation of the Chanel classic, No. 5 L’Eau.

Other easily obtainable old school aldehydic perfumes are Lanvin Arpege, Ivoire de Balmain and YSL’s Rive Gauche.

 

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Be sure to check out my fellow bloggers’ choices of Uplifting Perfumes at Megan In Sainte Maxine, L’Esperessence and I Scent You A Day.

 

What perfumes to you turn to when you need a bit of cheering up?

 

 

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Rose Omeyyade, Iris Fauve and Cuir Sacré by Atelier des Ors

My mate Megan of the excellent blog Megan in Sainte Maxime was kind enough to send me some samples from French niche brand, Atelier des Ors, which launched in 2015. As pleased as I was to receive them, for some reason I didn’t rush to spray.

The bottles are beautifully faceted and contain juice with floating flecks of gold leaf, but I leans more towards an artisan aesthetic. I also had the impression that the compositions were skewed towards the oriental, which I have a poor track record with. I finally got over myself and tried the three which focus on notes I gravitate towards: rose, iris and leather.

 

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Rose Omeyyade

Top notes: Raspberry, Rose, Pink Pepper
Middle notes: Patchouli, Brown Sugar, Guaiac Wood
Base notes: Amber, Sandalwood, Oud

I’d describe Rose Omeyyade is a slightly jammy, almost boozy, softly spiced, rose-centred fragrance.  Sweet but not sickeningly so, the raspberry brings out the fruity facet of the rose, placing it on the verge of gourmand. I keep noticing something like spicy incense, which I’m putting down to the pink pepper combined with guaiac wood.  This is very much a composition based around a prominent rose note, rather than a rose soliflore.

The oud is mildly skanky which makes a nice change from the plethora of sanitised versions out there. It also gives the fragrance a bit of edge. In the drydown the woods become a little too persistent for me, however if you are fond of ‘east meets west’ rosy perfumes, you should give Rose Omeyyade a spin.

 

Iris Fauve

Top notes: Bergamot, Cinnamon, Iris
Middle notes: Patchouli, Haitian Vetiver, Cypriol oil.
Base notes: Myrrh, Musk, Labdanum, Liatris (Deerstongue/Wild Vanilla)

Iris Fauve was released this year and turns out to be a pussy cat rather than the beast its name suggests. After a bright bergamot opening, it becomes smooth and fuzzy with pillowy iris atop a bed of ambrette-style musk.  Usually irises are cool and metallic, rooty or cosmetic but here it’s in my favourite mode; warm, sensual and somewhat doughy. The overall texture is suede-like but without any hint of leather present.

Cinnamon can be harsh and anti-social but here it plays nice and mixes well. There’s a lick of liquorice in the drydown from the myrrh but nothing forceful. It’s said to “drape the skin like a soft and reassuring caress” and it does indeed stay close to the body.  In short, Iris Fauve is a welcome addition to that small subset of warm iris fragrances.

 

Cuir Sacré

Top notes: Juniper Berries, Cypress, Cardamom
Middle notes: Incense, Saffron, Cedar Needles
Base notes: Leather, Vetiver

Not only do I generally love saffron notes in perfume but my favourite discontinued leather fragrance Cuir de Lancôme contains creamy saffron wrapped-up in buttery suede. Therefore it’s unsurprising that I really enjoy the strong saffron opening of Cuir Sacré. Most spices are not my friend but the orange-gold of saffron with its floralacy is something else entirely. It speaks of luxury and seems to pair brilliantly with more austere accords.

The leather is super smooth and refined rather than rough and tarry. It’s not all about sleek upholstered interiors though. There is a distinct aromatic accord unwinding throughout that is evocative of dark green pine forests which, along with the saffron, lifts it above most of the niche leathers currently available. If I wasn’t in the mood for my usual birch tar, smoky leather I’d certainly go for Cuir Sacré.

 

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Have you tried any of the fragrances from Atelier des Ors? What are your thoughts and favourites?

 

Photo credit: zastavki.com

 

 

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The Boxwalla August Beauty Box

I feel closely connected to this particular subscription box. I first got to know Lavanya – the talented woman behind Boxwalla –  online a number of years ago through her perfume blog and then in person when she and her family visited London from California.

When her second child was born she blogged about how she had been inspired to start a new venture which turned out to be Boxwalla (which means a “box seller” in India). It was great to see the scheme grow and it has even been featured in Vogue.

Lavanya noticed I had recently got into skincare in a big way and kindly offered to send me the August Beauty Box for review.

 

 

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The lovely boxes are made from recycled cotton scraps

 

Before Boxwalla I had been very sceptical about subscriptions boxes. From what I could tell, you’d get one or two things you might be half interested in and then quite a few random bits and pieces of little value, just to bulk it out. Therefore the first thing that impressed me upon opening the box was that it contained three high quality, full sized products and no filler.

 

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Lavanya is passionate about green beauty but she is also only interested in those products that are nutrient-rich and actually work. I felt very fortunate that this box included two items from Odacité because I’ve been eyeing this plant-based brand for a while. However, after reading the packaging of both products I was still none the wiser as to what exactly they were and where they fit into my skincare routine.

 

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This is the where the Boxwalla card came into its own. It detailed not only what the main benefits of the products were, but how and when to use them. As suggested, after misting, I added 2 pumps of the Oleosomes Time Release Delivery Créme (moisturiser) to the Pa+G Serum Concentrate (hyperpigmentation treatment) and applied all over my face and neck.

The emulsion sank into my skin fast and left a non-sticky, velvety feel. I have been having issues with eczema and dehydration but my skin has been incredibly soothed and hydrated since using this concoction. I’ve have also been using the Créme as a stand alone moisturiser. It contains seed oils but smells like herbs.

 

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I only started using lip exfoliators recently and don’t know how I got along with without them before. My lips are smoother (obviously) and lipstick goes on better. The only issue is that I always end up accidently eating some, so an all-natural version is a definite plus.  Nordic Berries Lip Exfoliator by Henné Organics looks stunning, smells amazing and is gentle yet effective.

 

 

The box is great value at $54.95, especially when you consider the retail value is $131. The Odacité Oleosomes Time Release Delivery Crème alone costs £60 on Cult Beauty! There is limited availability to buy this box as a one-off if you’re interested.

 

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I really admire the ‘slowness’ concept behind Boxwalla.  It’s nice to find someone who is focusing on sharing high quality products with integrity by artisans and small businesses. This isn’t a throw away buzz which fades soon after the box arrives in the post. Every single one has been curated with care and it shows. Boxwalla make sure that each box builds on the one before so you don’t end up with random products that don’t fit together.

This isn’t just about Beauty either. There are also Food, Film and Book Boxes and all but the Food Box ship internationally.

Boxwalla is a subscription box done right.

 

 

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Jovoy Comes to London – Photo Essay

 

I’ve long heard of French perfume store, Jovoy. Their house fragrances have been available in London for some time but now they’ve opened a shop here stocking a range of mostly high-end and luxury brands.

Located on Conduit Street, off Regent Street, the space is stylishly designed and a lot bigger than you might think on first look. Last Saturday my pal Sabine and I had a good nose around.

 

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Until fairly recently it wasn’t easy to access the exquisite perfumes from Neela Vermeire Creations north of the river, so it’s nice to see them stocked here. Pichola is one of the few tuberose perfumes I can wear, but the meditative osmanthus of Rahele is still my favourite.

 

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I really wanted to explore the range from The Different Company because I haven’t come across it before in the capital. The one I liked the most was After Midnight, probably not surprising because it has a prominent iris note.

 

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It’s hard to find a brand that does luxury better than Puredistance.

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Val the Cookie Queen suggested I try Cuir Andalou by Rania J which was a wearable, not very tarry, leather, smoothed out by a undercurrent of velvety oud.

 

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We were surprised when one of the staff told us there was more downstairs. Here we found Adedes de Venustas and Masque Milano. The latter is a niche brand that – unlike many – I think are doing something distinctive. Sabine tried Russian Tea with its mint opening and raspberry flavoured tea base.

I made a beeline for Romanza as I’ve wanted a narcissus fragrance for years and I know it’s a favourite of Claire’s, who writes the wonderful Take One Thing Off. At first the narcissus and galbanum had me getting ready to request a sample but then a forceful musk elbowed its way to the front and my high hopes were dashed. If you’ve been looking for a narcissus fragrance and you’re not sensitive to musk, you should still check it out.

I also tried L’Attesa which is a very softly spoken iris with a refined air. Extremely nice but a bit too mannered now that I’ve fallen for Iris Poudré.

 

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The full list of brands available is as follows: –
Aedes de Venustas – Alexander J – Arty Fragrance –  Atelier Flou – Begim – Berry – Berdoues – Chabaud – Dauphine – Eight & Bob – E.Coudray – Evody – Eternal Gentleman – House of Oud – Isabey Jacques Fath – Jeroboam – John Paul Welton – Jovoy – Fragance du Bois – Grossmith London – Indult – Institut très Bien – Jul et Mad – La Parfumerie Moderne – M.Miccalef – MDCI – Nejma – Neela Vermeire Créations – Olfactive Studio –  Parfumeur du Monde –  Prudence – Puredistance – Rania J – The Different Company – Volnay – Widian

 

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After the official opening on 28th September, the self-service perfume dispenser will be in operation. You’ll be able to purchase a 10ml bottle at a flat rate and fill it with one of the eight perfumes on offer.  Four will be Jovoy perfumes while the other four will include one from Neela Vermeire Creations, one from The Different Company and a new, as yet unnamed British brand.

 

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Real chunks of ambergris are locked away in a glass cabinet downstairs but the sales  assistant opened it up for us to a have sniff.  The largest piece had a strong whiff of the animalic but didn’t smell salty or sea-like the way I expected it to.

 

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The small piece on the right of picture below is the oldest and whitest, having been bleached by the sun on the sea’s surface for so long. Now this stuff nearly blew my head off. To say it was skanky in the extreme is an understatement and that was just sniffing the glass cloche!

 

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I asked if I could possibly have a sample of the fragrance that captured me the most (After Midnight) and was happy to be greeted with a positive reaction. It’s ridiculously hard to get free samples these days. Not only did they make up samples for both of us at no charge, they packaged them beautifully too.

Sabine picked up a copy of perfume magazine Nez to practice her French and we repaired to Fortnum and Mason for cake.

What a lovely way to spend an afternoon in London.

 

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Have you visited Jovoy in France? Do you think you’d like to visit the London store? Which brand/s would you be most interested in?

 

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