Monthly Archives: April 2020

Portia’s Hello from the Abyss

Hiya Bottled Rosers. Tara kindly asked if I’d like something to fill my time while in lockdown. What a freaking champ she is. Hopefully this finds you all coping in whatever way helps. I’d love to read what you’re all up to in the comments too.

This made me laugh quite a lot.

I’m not going stir crazy actually. It’s a very weird sensation not working after having my job define me since 1988, and working since 1985. So much of how I see myself is to do with this business of being a Drag Queen, the constant struggle to stay employed and to ensure others employment.

Thank everything worth thanking that Jin has remained employed, his hours are drastically reduced but we are still able to stay afloat. Also, our government has offered payment for people whose livelihoods have disappeared and my accountant has offered his services to make that happen for me. People can surprise us every day.

Jin and I spend quite a bit of time cooking and hanging out together. We’ve already watched all seven seasons of The Gilmore Girls again, about to embark on the eighth, awful season. I’ve watched the complete series of The Mummy films, Black Lightning three series, a bunch of rom coms. We have also seen countless hours of Korean TV, none of which I can understand, with a running commentary from Jin.

I’ve always walked the dogs two or three times a day but now that is my main source of exercise and I’m trying so hard to maintain my daily 7k steps. I’ve slipped back to 4k a couple of days but also hit 10k twice last week.

Perfumes that have had some skin time include: Amouage Opus XI and Figment Woman, Divine EdP, Viktoria Minya Hedonist Absolue, L’Eau Bleue d’Issey pour Homme, Tendre Nuit by Isabey and Neela Vermeire Mohur/Rahele/Ashoka. Vintage Hermès Caleche, Guerlain Shalimar/Vol de Nuit/Mitsouko and a bunch of decants that needed using up. There are others that don’t spring to mind.

We have started doing Turbo Trivia online. It’s free to play. Medium to easy questions. Is a bit rude, silly and funny. It would be super fun if any of you wanted to join in. We will be playing live at Turbo Trivia page in FaceBook.
You guys can link up on ZOOM, Watch Party or FaceTime and play as a team, then have me on your phones, pads or desktop.
Of course you can also play solo.
It doesn’t matter how you play, as long as you’re here for some fun.
Come join us Friday and Sunday
LA:2am/ NYC:5am/ London:10am/ Austria:11am/ Delhi:2.30pm

I’ve also been doing one of those 10 days of travel pictures on FB. Here are some shots of when we were able to travel. Happy memories, every one.

So that’s my wrap up.

What’s going on where you are?
Portia xx


Filed under Perfume Reviews


“Life’s a bleach and then you die.” George Takei Tweet 24 April.

Saturday 18 April – Friday 24 April.

Life is moving along. The rest of the shops will open on May 2, including hairdressers. I am seriously counting the days! Schools go back between the 4th of May and the beginning of June. Staggered. Restaurants and hotels as planned on the 15th of May. That should have me back with some sort of Cookie Run. I am not yet sure of the new rules that will be put into place but they will include masks somewhere. I honestly don’t mind any more. If wearing them is what it takes then so be it.

A friend lost her father to C19 last week.

I baked up and delivered some cookies to one of the MyIndigo (the company I supply) stores in Salzburg. They have a new guy doing their marketing and running their social media accounts. He wanted a picture of me. Not a hope in hell with this hair. So I substituted my head, as one does. I also saw how difficult it was to have a proper conversation with people whilst wearing a mask. And it turns out that the marketing dude used to work with Zenology, Jeroen Oude Sogtoen’s brand. (Also of Mona di Orio). Seriously.


Fragrant Tidbits

It was two years ago this week that I was in London with Portia. We also met up with Neela Vermeire and her husband at the same time, at the Art and Olfaction Awards. As mentioned in my last four CV19 posts, I have been wearing NVC Mohur EdP a lot. This week has been no exception, and my daughter (@ b.londeswunder) came home for a few days and stole my Mohur travel. AND the highlight of the week? I got a travel of Mohur Extrait in the post. Richer, more condensed, deeper, warmer smoother. Sandalwood and kid leather. Good things come to those who wait. I was and still am as excited as a child. That perfume can to do that to me is a rare joy, and one I live for.


Portia filming our thoughts on Roger Dove in Harrod`s.

My girlfriend drove down to the Italian border yesterday, just to see if it really was shut.

As we move onto the next stage of opening the country back up, and there will be many, I know that a lot of you are still in stricter lockdowns. My posts may get shorter, but I will continue them until the last reader is free. So please don’t stop with all of your updates.


(Still easing up) Lockdown Perfumes of the Week.

Hiram Green – Lustre. Ormond Jayne – Woman. Mona di Orio – Musc. NVC – Mohur EdP and Mohur Extrait. Vero Profumo – Rubj Extrait. Chanel N°5 Dry Oil.

“Do you remember the good old days before the ghost town? We danced and sang and the music played in a de boomtown.” JERRY DAMMERS. GHOST TOWN. 1981.



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This is a fairly rushed idea of the week with an eased up lockdown. I had planned to take some time with it but then the radio show happened. So much for sunbathing and writing a blog post.

Saturday 11 April – Friday 17 April.

I just this second got back from doing my Baking Bad with the Cookie Queen live radio show. It was planned that I return on the 1st of May, but they called today and asked if I wanted to do a two hour show tonight. I had nothing prepared but said yes anyway. So excited to go back. A little bit of normality. I have the playlists from the last ten show so just picked a few tunes from them. Apart from disinfectant bottles in every corner, and wiping down the equipment before and after the show, it was pretty much the same.


Easter was nice. We went to my in-laws after four weeks of isolation. We had a socially distanced schnitzel in the garden, and only stayed a couple of hours. Was a really hot day which made hanging out on the lawn, with them in their garden house ideal.

Tuesday saw the reopening of all the shops under 400 square meters, all garden centers, and the hardware and building supplies stores. This included our shop. In case someone is reading this who does not know – we have a bike and cookie shop. My husband was and is absolutely snowed under. Manic. So much work. It has gone crazy. High season overnight, There is usually bit of a build up around before Easter, but it was shut then. I made some cookies for some of the stores I supply, and delivered them myself, for them to give away to their order-and-pick up customers. The restaurants and hotels will not reopen until at least the middle of May, so we all do what we can to support each other.

We have to wear masks in all the stores now and also make sure our customers are wearing them too. Everyone is just doing it though. And you could feel a lightening up in the air with the change in the lockdown. Social distancing will go on for months obviously. There will be no large events until the 31st of August, if then. I cannot imagine summer here without all their different fireworks and fests and ……. but I know that is gonna be the scene for all of us, wherever we are.

Not much else to report really. Bumbling along in this new reality. I did have one morning where I burst into tears in the shower. Not that it helped much! I should know to have coffee beforehand. I washed and ironed our cotton facemasks and no way in a million years would I ever have imagined I would be doing something like that. And yet here we are.

If you feel so inclined update us here at ABR as to how your lockdowns are going. I know I have an easier time than many others. Don’t get me wrong, it has been the strangest of months, and my old life seems like a dream, but it has not been hard, not really. You wanna know what really stresses me, big time? The USA government and the lockdown stories there. I have had to stop looking at it, as it makes me so upset and so angry.


(Easing up) Lockdown Perfumes of the Week.

Malle – Rose & Cuir. Lutens – Un Lys. Jorum Studios – Trimerous. Hermès – Galop. Neela Vermeire – Mohur. Chanel – Bois de Iles Parfum.

I have to go to bed. I nearly had a normal day.

“Those who feel the breath of sadness, sit down next to me, those who find they’re touched by madness, sit down next to me, those who find themselves ridiculous, sit down next to me, in love, in fear, in hate, in tears ….” SIT DOWN. JAMES. 1989.



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Lockdown Skincare Routine

It’s no surprise that my skin has been reacting to staying in as well as the rest of me. It’s normally combination but now it’s become more oily and more dry. I rarely get a spot but I had two in the first two weeks of lockdown. It’s no doubt a result of increased stress, more sugar and less fresh air.

It’s very tempting to skip my normal skincare routine, but for the most part I haven’t let it slip and I think that’s helped me feel better overall. (I was letting my hair revert back to its natural frizz-ball state but the psychological effect wasn’t worth it so I’m straightening it again).

I’m using very gentle cream cleansers that are kind to the skin. I heard lots of positive things about The Ordinary’s Squalane Cleanser and it’s as good as they say. Squalane is deeply nourishing and the cleanser has a white, balm-like consistency that breaks down easily. Although, my favourite at the moment is Superdrug’s Vitmain E Hot Cloth Cleanser as championed by The Guardian’s Sali Hughes. This has an incredibly soft feeling on the skin and like the Squalane, never leaves it the least bit tight. I always apply cleansers to dry skin and remove with a damp microfibre cloth (from Amazon). I can’t bear splashing my face with water and that isn’t very effective anyway.

In the morning, if I am suffering from dryness I may start with a face mist. I ordered La Roche Posay’s Toleriane Ultra 8 Soothing Daily Moisturising Concentrate after skin expert Caroline Hirons recommended it for stay home skin. As a result of this, it’s now hard to get hold of and my bottle is yet to arrive. It should be a nice way to boost moisture after cleansing. A face spritz isn’t a necessity but hey, I have the time.


I don’t feel like I’ve done my routine properly without including an active and in the A.M. it’s Niacinamide Serum by The INKEY List. It has anti-ageing properties but the fact that it supports the skin’s barrier function is a bonus. Vitamin C feels too irritating at the moment.

I’ve tried to tackle flaky, dry skin, particularly around the eye area, with various lotions and creams. Nothing has worked for long. Then I kept hearing about a cheap as chips serum from Superdrug and for £2.99 thought I’d give it a try. It’s been game-changing and definitely my current hero product. It’s the Simply Pure Hydrating Serum for sensitive skin. I use it all over the face paying particular attention to the eye area. I haven’t had a single flake since.

I’m very skeptical of expensive eye creams and am currently using CeraVe Eye Repair Cream morning and evening. I tend to think my general skincare migrates to the eye area anyway and that it’s most important to keep it hydrated.

As I currently have access to a garden (hurrah!), I finish with Paula’s Choice Skin Restoring Moisturiser SPF 50. I agree with the adage that the best sunscreen is the one you’ll actually use. A cheaper alternative I’d love to get my hands on when this runs out is The Body Shop’s Skin Defence Multi-Protection Lotion SPF 50 which has had rave reviews for its light texture.

In the evening, I remove the SPF with the Vitamin E cleanser and follow with 0.05% tretinoin from Dermatica and my eye cream. I leave that to do its thing for a while and then may follow up later with the Super drug Simply Pure Hydrating Night Serum. (It was buy one get one half price so why not?) Sometimes, for extra comfort and to counteract the drying effect of the tret, I add a final layer of moisturiser which would normally be CeraVe PM Moisturising Lotion but I also use Natural Moisturising Factors by The Ordinary.

I feel like this routine is now really working for me and my skin is looking and feeling much better.

How is your skin doing during lockdown? Are you giving it a break from make-up and seeing the benefits or it is having a freakout all of its own?
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Continuing with the luxury version of lockdown, and a flicker of light for next week.

Saturday 4 April – Friday 10 April. 

The Austrian government rolled out a plan this week, one of which in theory sounds great.  There is going to be a staggered opening of well, everything.  Small shops, meaning those of less than 400 square meters, will reopen on the 14th of April.  Next Tuesday.  Our business falls into that category.  All the bigger stores, and the HAIRDRESSERS will reopen on the 1st of May.  Which is really the second because the first is a national holiday.  The fact that we have just had four weeks of some kind of forced holiday plays no role. A holiday is a holiday I guess.    Restaurants and hotels are expected to be reopened in the middle of May, although I don´t know quite how that will pan out yet.  No public events until at least the end of June.  I have no doubt there will some kind of second wave of CV19, but with the continuing mandatory wearing of masks in supermarkets and stores, and with the lockdown rules staying in place until the end of April, I hope it will be a handleable amount.  I mean this virus is not gonna suddenly disappear in a puff of smoke, so we are going to have to learn to live with it.  Gotta get back to a life boys and girls.


I have been shopping with a mask.  Have had to remember to wipe off my lipstick before I put it on as my lips stick to the material.  Which was pretty funny the first time I wore it.  Breathing through my nose steamed my glasses up and trying to breath through my mouth whilst my lips were glued to the mask?  Honestly.  By the time I got to the checkout I thought I was gonna pass out.  Glasses totally foggy – the checkout lady, (I know all of them) took one look at me and started laughing.  And then I started to laugh and we both ended up in tears.  Seriously, gonna take some time to get used to this shit.  I have coloured cotton masks at the moment, but have ordered a couple of black ones.  Will have to color coordinate with  my outfits if they are gonna become a basic, so black it is.  There is technique to wearing them and I am getting better at it.

The highlight of the week was finally getting a date as to when the hairdressers would reopen.  (This would not be a CQ post if I did not mention hair obvs.). My stylists, (yes I have two actually) messaged me at the butt-crack of dawn on Wednesday morning.   What time would I like my appointment on the day that they open?  07:30 thank you very much.  So I will be leaving my growing out buzz cut until then, so we can put a style back into it more easily.  Whooohoooo.  Priorities.


Meanwhile I have been doing my workouts and bike rides.  No walking.  I have actually slowed myself down a little and have spent several afternoon on the balcony, reading and lying in the sun.  That has been good for me.  Also watched all the Bourne movies, as did my cat.  Looking forward to Killing Eve III starting next week.

So the shop will be open next week, which is brilliant.  It is high season for the bike part and we have most of our turnover in these couple of months, so it is kind of crucial.  Full  on cookie production will not start until the restaurants re-open, although there will always be some in the shop.  I am hoping I might have time to clean the windows in the apartment.

We are going to visit Oma and Opa for lunch on Easter Sunday.  They will eat first, inside, and then Oma will feed us at the table out in the garden, just as she does with the birds.  As fit and active as the are, they are both in their eighties and who knows what next year will bring.  No way we are not dropping in for a socially distanced schnitzel.

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Vero’s NAJA.  Lutens La Fille de Berlin.  Hermès Galop.  Malle’s Superstitious and Rose & Cuir.  NVC Mohur.  Chanel N°19 Parfum.

Peace out.    This too shall pass.

“Sometimes the light’s all shinin’ on me, other times I can barely see, lately it occurs to me,  what a long strange trip it’s been.”  Truckin’. The Grateful Dead.  









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Mood Scent 4: Wellbeing Wonders

Hey there A Bottled Rose, It’s a Mood Scent 4 week. WOO HOO! This month the crew are looking at Wellbeing Wonders. OK, hopefully we are all in some kind of lockdown and crew taking it seriously. Australia seems to be taking a very lasses faire attitude so far but I think that will become more rigid as the disease progresses here. Already Covid19 has changed the way we interact, work, shop, live and love. I’m off for the foreseeable future. Jin is still working on the trains, they are essential service. I’ve started meeting friends across the road in our cemetery, 2m apart on picnic rugs. It’s BYO food and beverage. LOVELY sitting in the warm autumn sun or the dappled shade. So, what fragrances are we thinking about to help our mind stay healthy in this time of mainly solitary living? Are we choosing meditative, fun, deep, warm or comforting scents? Maybe we want super weird or bombastic things that we could never wear in the workplace? Are you revisiting, culling, testing or going with what you know? My line up is eclectic for different moods.

Obviously, these choices are subject to change, daily.

Also, while this is a lighthearted look at isolation, illness and the current pandemic: on a serious note: Please Stay Home. As much as you, or your work, can. The less people you interact with the less transition of this insidious and hideous virus can occur. If you get Covis19 and go to hospital none of your friends or family can visit. You will die alone with tubes sticking out of you and not enough people to care for you. Please Stay Home.

Can’t wait to read about your favourite Wellbeing Wonders in the comments too.


So excited to be blogging with these three superstars again:  Esperanza L’Esperessence, Megan Megan In Sainte Maxime and Samantha I Scent You A Day. Check theirs out too.


Mood Scent 4: Wellbeing Wonders

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The beginning of this week marked half way through the official four week lockdown. I am fully aware that I have the easiest of lockdowns but nevertheless continue to journal them.

Saturday 28 March – Friday 3 April.

Three weeks into the lockdown now, and it looks like we might have some easing of the restrictions after the Easter weekend. I am hopeful that we will be able to reopen our business. There is no doubt that our behaviour will have to change though, as a nation. Social distancing, face masks, number of people in the shops and so on. This is the foreseeable future. But so be it.

Had a Zoom meeting with some friends in different places around the world, including NYC. One of the guys was riding a bike through downtown. As he rode along 6th Avenue, he showed us the empty and desolate space. We all have disaster movies burned into our brains, and this looked like a scene out of one of them. Dismal.


Monday was still Monday, the mood matching. Woke up to snow and freezing temperatures, but that did improve throughout the day. Ran for 45 minutes in our underground parking garage. My knees hurt the next day, I bloody hate running, and in reality, it is gonna take more than a pandemic to get me to do it regularly. Which means I quit.

Wearing face masks in the supermarkets will be mandatory as of the coming Monday, and also where there are larger groups of people. I ordered a material one, which I should get tomorrow. There are some people walking round looking like stormtrooper rejects, I wonder if they can breathe at all?

I did vacuum this week, but things still not bad enough to clean the windows. Watched the third series of Ozark.


Managed a 42km ride on my carbon frame Rocky Mountain. I have been riding an e-bike for the last couple of years, and it is most excellent fun to be back on a light bike. We rode through the country side, where there is next to no traffic at the best of times. Nothing looked wrong, and made you wonder it was all just a dream?


Chris took grocery shopping over to his parents yesterday. They are well into their eighties and fall into the high risk category, although it did take someone in their town to give Oma a bollocking for doing her own shopping during the first week of the lockdown. We never come back empty-handed from their place and yesterday was no exception. There is a small biscuit that is very popular in Austria during the Christmas season. “Vanillekipferl” – and to some they are the Holy Grail of all the “Weihnachtskekse”. It is an unwritten law that these are only made at Christmas time. (Actually knowing the Austrians it probably is written down somewhere.) These are my very favourite biscuits in the whole world. Oma had baked me a boxful and sent them home with Chris. This act of kindness totally blew me away.

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It was Vero´s birthday this week.

I had a text from Neela early Wednesday morning saying “Trump is dead.” I knew that it could not be true, but confess to checking my BBC updates! (I assumed she meant that he was dead because of his horrific handling of the whole pandemic. ) Before I could message back I got another one – “April Fool.” Still laughing.


NVC Mohur – several times. Vero’s Rozy Extrait and Kiki EdP. Malle’s Superstitious. and PoaL. Hermès Cuir d’Ange.


A few people asked me if I could put a photo up of my buzz cut, on Instagram or here in the post. Over my dead and mangled body. But …. I spent the best part of an hour this morning taking selfies. Cringe. Close up ones, and then ones in the mirror. I sought help from my daughter, who suggested I try a few more poses. Scream. Seriously who bothers with this shit? But I did learn something from the close ups, apart from never taking them again – I have a lot more wrinkles on the right hand side of my face, no doubt caused from only ever sleeping on that side. Time to switch.


You guys know that I know how serious this is don’t you? May your weekend have some joy in it regardless.

“Sometimes in our lives we all have pain, we all have sorrow, but if we are wise, we know there’s always tomorrow.” Lean on Me. RIP Bill Withers. 1938 – 2020.



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Staying Sane When Staying Home

If you’re not used to staying indoors day after day, how do you protect your sanity? I haven’t seen anyone face-to-face or stepped outside my front door for over a week now. What I have found that helps the most is forming some kind of routine. I can’t work remotely (properly) for another week so I don’t have that structure as yet. What I’ve done in the meantime is come up with a list of things to do each day that help to protect my mental health:

  • I subscribe to the Calm app and do their daily meditation, which isn’t easy to focus on when you’re anxious but it helps. I also listen to one of the excellent Sleep Stories at night. A free meditation app is Insight Timer.
  • Everyone and their granny seems to be doing Yoga With Adriene on YouTube and for good reason. She’s very down to earth and has a nice chilled, slightly quirky way with her. I’m currently doing her 30 Day of Yoga which is suitable for anyone of any level but particularly beginners and those who have slipped since the gyms/yoga studios shut.
  • It’s tempting to treat every day like a pajama day (what day is it again?) but acting like this is one long weekend only adds to the sense of this being never-ending. Getting up on weekdays, making my bed and getting dressed makes me feel like I’m in the land of the living.
  • Linked to the above is carrying on with my skincare routine. Staying inside with central heating, stress and comfort food has played havoc with my skin and it’s part of self-care. I may do a separate post on what I’m using.
  • Regular Housepartys!!! This video chat app has taken off during the pandemic – it seems everyone I have ever known is now on it. Phone calls are great but video chat makes a real difference. I have been doing this every day with my sister and it’s the highlight of my day. (We mostly talk about what we’re going to have for dinner and watch on Netflix).
  • Lastly, I do something productive. This could be cleaning out a cupboard, finally washing that throw or even putting a treatment on my hair. I use the word ‘productive’ loosely. Feeling like you should be using this time to learn a new language or how to play an instrument will only add to your anxiety if you don’t feel up to it. If we just get through this with our bodies and minds intact, that is more than enough.



If you have anything that’s helping you get through this strange and difficult time please let us know in the comments.


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