The world over now we are all in some sort of lockdown.  Not just me.  I am a pretty up beat person, and have a very dark sense of humour.  I also have an extreme panic disorder.  Balancing them all is a skill I am having to learn.  And rather quickly.

I have no idea how these posts will be laid out, or how they will progress, which is fine since no one had a bloody clue about anything right now.

I live in a wealthy area, which includes a lake and mountains.  That does not mean I am rich.  What it does mean is that I can only comment on what is happening here in my vicinity.   ABR has readers from all over the world and I wanna know what is happening where you live.

I have been in permanent freak-out mode over the snail’s pace that both the UK and the USA have been moving at.  I see that thing are finally shutting down and people are being told to keep to the social distancing rules.  That means at least two meters away from each other.  And no you cannot go for a picnic, or a burger, or down the pub.  Nor to your friend’s house for coffee.  Absolutely NOT.

After mumbling to ourselves about how awful it was in China, but so far away, and then seeing it moving closer to home in Milan, (but spending more time wondering if the perfume show would be cancelled or not) we find ourselves in lockdown.

AUSTRIA.  Monday March 16th.

All the shops are closed.  Our business too.  Supermarkets, pet stores, banks, chemists, and the post are still up and running.  Otherwise it is deader than a dodo.  As many firms as possible have switched to home office.   Some of the counties are in quarantine. We are not yet.  We can go out and walk, ride bikes, or run.  We have to be alone or with people that we live with.   I was very touched when I walked  down a side street to the supermarket and ahead of me were two young boys playing football.  When they saw me approaching, they grabbed the ball and ran way up off of the road to get at least twenty meters out of my way.

I am as terrified of getting no hair cut as I am of the virus.  Already planning a buzz.  It has only just begun and the the sun is shining,  everyone is upbeat, this could be fun.


Tuesday 17th – Friday 20th

Wearing black latex gloves to go shopping obviously.  Can’t be doing the white ones.  I was slightly worried about my in-laws, 81 and nearly 88.  But when I called them they had been biking, preparing their potato patch for planting, and had made bread.  I don’t know what is happening in the cities, but it seems the lockdown is mostly working.  There will always be those who think it does not apply to them. We have a 34 year old prime minister, and him and his cronies, which also include a lot of women, are doing a great job.


My good friend left a chunk of fresh Parmesan outside the shop for me to collect.  Social distancing of about 4km. I see no reason to drop my cheese standards.   Supermarkets are full, and open normal hours.  Very quiet though.  People going out of their way to avoid each other.  Excellent.  Went for a bike ride with aforementioned good friend.  We kept at least two meters between us the whole way and sat on each end of along bench to talk.  Obedience is second nature to us.  LMAO.

0300bf6b-b171-49da-aa6b-8c2c6a329c3d 2

I brought weights and a bar home from the gym.  However weird this shit gets I will train most days.  I ride my bike for cardio and might start to run.  Probably not though,  I hate running.

It is Friday as I write this.  I can hardly bear to hear the figures of the deaths in so many countries.  Our lockdown was extended for nearly another month today.  Goal being 13th of April.  Somehow I doubt it.  It is a f***ing pandemic and I wonder what part of that people do not get?  But they will.


I was in no mood to wear any of my more regular scents, and found beauty in some of the less frequently worn of my collection.

Amouage UBAR.  Amouage Opus III.  Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle.  Neela Vermeire Mohur EdP and Trayee.

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Share your thoughts , good and bad, positive and negative, and of course the perfumes you find yourself reaching for.  Many things unite us, but none more so than our fragrances.

Don´t stand so, don´t stand so, don’t stand so close to me.   STING. 








Filed under Perfume Reviews


  1. My anxiety was kicked off big time last weekend when things got serious in the UK. I am in the high risk group and was advised by my GP to work from home, but we weren’t set up for it. So I spent 4 days still going to the office to try and arrange everything. I’d wake up every day at 5am and my heart would pound till I got to work and gradually calmed down. Just walking down the streets to the office was scary. Feeling so much better now I’m home-based but worried for everyone and where we go from here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Tara! My anxiety was higher for the Uk than it was for me here tbh. I think a lot of us will wake up with pounding hearts – and for me immediately getting up and moving in to the living room is a way to calm it down a little. I don’t think it is scary walking down the street though, as long as you keep some sort of distance. Easy to say around here t hough, in the London area it must be impossible. Can only take a day at a time right now, or maybe half a day ….. I have never been happier to have online contact. What I have to be careful of is not even getting up to go into the next room without having my phone in my hand. Hug. xxxxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hamamelis

    Dearest Val and Tara, will mail too but just a short Dutch WTF CV19 report. Almost everyone is keeping the governmental measures, although we are not in enforced lock-down (yet), restaurants, bars etc. are closed, as are gyms. Still, our PM, who is doing a great job, in his daily press conference yesterday had to warn some people again to keep distance. He goes on bike to his office, so he sees what people in the Hague are or aren’t doing. He made a work visit to a supermarket, where a woman offered him toiletpaper. He replied: “There is enough toiletpaper in the Netherlands for the coming 10 years. Everyone can poop for the coming 10 years!”. I have close friends and family who are doctors, and although everyone is nervous, so far the hospitals are able to cope with the amount of people in need of IC. All non urgent procedures are cancelled. They are doing such a good job, a photo circulates here of an ER crew, each holding an A4 with words which add up to: We are here inside for you, can you stay inside for us! I am not freaked out, but as many we have concerns for our business. The government has pulled out all the stops where financial support is concerned, so we should survive. When I get stressed, what helps me is breath in 4 seconds, breath out 6, and keep going. I am not wearing any scents, there is no space in me for them. Thinking of all of you. It will pass.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hamamelis! Yaaaas!! Great to see you here. I follow the situation in Holland airly closely. I saw the lines outside the coffeeshops. Hahahahahahaha. We will have financial support to and of course we will all survive. How we go onto live afterwards will be interesting. I just know one thing, until the end of the world people will always want cookies and bikes. They will also want gyms of course. All my gym buddies are freaking out and have started to run, and we all hate running. 🙂 I am loving my perfumes as much as ever, but like I said, totally different ones. I am wearing a ton of Mitzah today and can start to see a pattern forming. Very interesting. Love to you and your husband and we´ll all stay on touch. Big hugs. ❤


  3. Hey Val,
    I love how well Austria has responded.
    Australia is behind everyone.
    Jin and I are still working. Both of us are in jobs that involve us being around many people but obviously we can’t do either job at home. Fingers crossed our good health continues.
    The streets are nearly peopleless. Tonight I walked the dogs and saw less than a handful. Normally at that time they are full of people returning from work, going out for meals, families enjoying the evening and dog walkers. It’s quite eerie, like a movie.
    Perfume wise I am making my way through some dehydrated decants, getting extrait versions. It’s fun to wear them in such potency, yet the throw isn’t huge because the alcohol is mostly burned off already.
    I Am Trash, Liberté, No 18 and Neela Vermeire’s line are making a good showing too.
    Portia xx

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Tara C

    I went through a period of intense anxiety but am feeling more fatalistic now. If it happens, it happens. I think it’s our comeuppance for destroying the planet. Right now I am driving back to Canada from California, we will be quarantined 14 days upon arrival. Since it is still winter in Montreal, no big deal. And being a natural hermit it doesn’t bother me that much to be alone. They say this whole thing will last about 18 months. It may end, but things won’t be the same afterwards. This is our generation’s Black Death, Spanish Flu.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi TaraC. ❤ It is a result of humanity for sure. But that applies to everything. How long is the drive to Canada? Fair old journey I guess. Will you actually be told by someone to go into quarantine or will you just do it? Nope, things won't be the same again. Life never stays the same anyway – but this is a world wide shit storm. Gonna be a dramatic ride. And we are on it together. Loads of love, and crank the music up. xxxxxxx


      • Tara C

        They are instructing anyone returning home to stay inside for 14 days but I don’t think they are going to come to my house to check. I am happy to comply though. Plenty of fumes, tunes and chocolate to get me through. It’s a good 5000+ kms, so 3 long days. Sending you love & bussis!


        • Ah ha. I just wondered if there might be border checks, but in reality we are not that far down the line. Hard not to imagine the worse case scenario! 5000? Holy cow. Two weeks is totally doable – I think we could end up in this lockdown here for a lot longer. Three weeks to go, and I would be surprised if that was the end. Still I hope. xxx


  5. Gina T.

    Hello tot he crew I love from over at APJ!!!!!! Good to see ya’ll from all corners of the world. The U.S. is a mess, too. I love quarantine, actually. It simplifies everything, including spending. I sleep. I rest. I read. I stream shows. It is relaxing for a Type A person who is always going going going to the point of dropping. But, I lost my job yesterday. Indefinite layoff because the company is losing money and made cuts. Here, that means getting less than 1/3 what I made on unemployment, paying $400-500/month for COBRA insurance continuation then trying to live on $1000 per month. So, I am going under and have no savings. My cat had major oral surgery yesterday, as well. He is my only baby left at home; otherwise, I would be alone. It was a high-anxiety day. I am glad it is over. Today, we are comfortable and together as I worry about the future and bills I can’t pay. Last night, I finally put on perfume. Hadn’t had time to even deal with it all day. I wore Serge Lutens La Participe Passe. Appropriate. Today, I am still in my jammies cuddling with a sleeping kitty, but have to wash and dress to head to the barn and spend time with the horse I can’t afford. I was great until I lost my job. I had hope. Now…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Gina

      I’m so sorry to hear this. I hope you can get some support. Your kitty sounds like a great comfort.


    • Oh noooooo. Gina. 😦 I ma so sorry, shit, that is just too much. Did it come as a shock or were you prepared a little? Either way it sucks, just wondered. That is massive drop with the unemployment payout. I know that survival in the US in extreme situations like yours is very tough. Not much of a safety net. And vet bills to kill you. Perhaps when the dust settles, and you have time to ponder the situation, you will see something brighter. And likewise! Great to see you here. I will keep this up as long as anybody is in lockdown, even if we get out first. Life will have changed so much afterwards that I am sure there will be things to talk about. Drop in here anytime, Tara and I will be around. After all, we have pleeeeeenty of time now.. Hugs, Val. xxxxx


      • Gina T.

        TOTAL shock. No idea it was coming. Not prepared with $68 in savings. Hugs, Val. I promise to hang around. Love you and Tara and Portio oodles and oodles. Thanks for the kind words and encouragement. I was very hopeless on Friday. The last two days I’ve felt better. Decided not to be a fraid until I need to be afriad. For today, Iam okay.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I think we all need to learn not to freak out immediately something shit happens, things look different a day or two later. Maybe not better, but different and we can get a bit more of a handle on things. xx


  6. Val, I promise I see the sense behind lockdown now, I do! Once I shake off this migraine I shall continue to stay put, though not just in bed.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. matty1649

    It’s a terrible situation worldwide. I’ve been self isolating for 2 weeks and things look like they are getting worse by the day. I live alone but my family live nearby. They have been shopping for me, but the shelves are empty in most supermarkets. Where will it end. Keep safe XX


  8. Amy

    Val thanks for letting us all know how you are and what is happening in Austria. As Gina T already noted, things are financially bad for many many people in the US and our government is a disaster of its own, unable to deal effectively either with the virus or with the financial fallout of the (much belated) response to the virus. My person and I are both employed with a university and so can work from home and will stay employed, but that isn’t the case for way too many people. Hard to know how many family members will need help, financially or otherwise. And I am incredibly worried about those on the front lines in hospitals and clinics. All of that said, with luck someone will start governing and protect people medically and financially.

    I don’t wake up with a pounding heart. Instead in the late afternoon I can’t breathe. My particular form of panic. But its a long term thing, just exacerbated by the current moment, and I know what to do for it. (Too bad it is also a symptom for COVID-19. It’s now what I call Phantom COVID-19 Syndrome and I just have to remind myself I don’t have a cough or a fever and that if I take a xanax it goes away!)

    Way more information than you or anyone else needs, but I guess we are all finding ways to communicate across the ether. I like staying home, frankly, but I also like to talk!

    I hope all stay well!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gina T.

      I love staying at home, too. This is simple, restful, no schedule. Doing what I love to do. Sad that we sell our souls to the devil for a paycheck and waste so much of our lives at work but can’t survive without it.


    • If a Xanax helps it go away then you now it is not real, know what I mean? 😉 And most definitely not too much information. Sharing is good for everyone concerned, whether the writer or the reader. Keep it coming! I am so glad that you can stay employed, and know losing employment is the scariest thing. I know we will not lose our business so that is something. (Unless this goes on for months, and then we would be up shit creek.). Yeah the US government is kinda scary. Please do keep in touch. I will be back with update 2 on the coming Saturday! Lots of love, Val xxxxx


  9. Lady Jane Grey

    Greetings from Vienna !
    I managed to get back home from my travels in time. All trips for the next few weeks cancelled – a strange feeling for a long time frequent traveller. I work from home and doing on-line work out daily. And try to keep my cool – cannot change it, anyway.
    Parfum-wise I went for fresh and clean this week : colognes, like FM’s Bigarade.
    Stay safe everybody !

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gina T.

      I have visited Vienna. What a lovely city. I was there visiting a native Austrian. People were not very nice to me though I was a polite American and well-traveled and absorb culture, unlike the mainly loudmouth entitled Americans I hate to see when I travel.I like Styria a lot. My first taste of pumpkinseed oil. I also loved liebekase, sturm and a mayonnaisse salad with vegetables and carrots in it that I can’t remember the name of that began with an L I think. It may have cream cheese or creme fraiche in it, too. I actually put that on my liebekase sandwich. Great memories.


      • I love pumpkin seed oil and always have it in the fridge. It is also what I take as gifts whenever I go away. Which at this point I guess was in the past, since no one is going anywhere for a long while. ❤


        • Ingeborg

          I think pumpkin seed oil is an aquired taste! I have not yet gotten used to it, which has created a few akward moments at the table during visits to my father and stepmother.

          Our plan to go for a wine weekend to Austria in May was cancelled as soon as a lot of winter holiday skiers came back from Austria with the virus, about a week before both your and our government took drastic action. The hospitals are no longer allowing their doctors to go abroad either, so there is that. We just hope family and friends stay healthy!


    • Hey LJG! I guessed/hoped you were back as I kept my eye on flights returning from abroad. I cancelled or coffee booking of course, and cannot wait until it will be possible again. I fear it may take longer than we might think. We will keep in touch. xxxxx


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