Monthly Archives: July 2020

Vivacious by Hiram Green

Notes: Bergamot, Violet, Carnation, Orris and Amber

 

I’ve long been drawn to violet scents. Along with roses, they evoke that vintage glamour I so admire. However, I usually have issues with the violet perfumes I try. They are either too sweet or too powdery, too green or too metallic. Their characters strike me as being quite child-like or rather staid. Maybe I am unduly fussy (well there’s no ‘maybe’ about it) but I couldn’t seem to find the right violet for me.

Therefore I was understandably excited at the thought of a forthcoming violet done the Hiram Green way. I knew this indie perfumer would bring something unique to the genre, as he has done with all of his fragrances.

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Hiram describes Vivacious as a ‘violet-themed’ fragrance and it is indeed that. He riffs off the central idea of a traditional violet perfume but expands it with gauzy layers of carnation and orris. In doing so, he transforms it into something much more interesting than a violet soliflore.

The first time I tried Vivacious I got a lot of carnation; a note we rarely see in perfumes these days. This spicy floral aroma is full-bodied with the clove-like scent of eugenol. The subsequent times I’ve tried it on my inner forearm, I’ve got something considerably more nuanced.

After a joyful opening of parma violets and sparkling bergamot, it settles down into what I imagine as a purple-hued haze.. There is powder but nowhere near an overwhelming amount. It’s just enough to add a delicate aura of prettiness. The proportions of violet, orris and carnation are beautifully balanced.

Its character is supremely graceful. I thought it might be a boudoir fragrance but no. I’d put Vivacious in the category of what I think of as ‘ballet slipper perfumes’. Those that are less about vintage cosmetics and more about satin, tulle and crushed rosin. There is a distinctly romantic, nostalgic air about it but this never veers into melancholia. 

The base is a gentle glowing amber with the texture of suede. This makes for a fittingly smooth finish.

While it wears in a sheer manner, this Eau de Parfum lacks neither presence nor longevity.

In short, Vivacious is Hiram Green’s most complex and accomplished fragrance to date – and my new favourite violet-centric scent.

It is full of buoyancy and flair. Its wistful yet hopeful attitude expressed in a poised, glorious, grand jeté.

 

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Do you already have a favourite violet perfume? Do you like the sound of Vivacious?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CATSINOMA

 

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As readers of the blog may remember Meepsy/Mitzi had a massive nosebleed back during the lockdown here. The vet was not sure whether the bleeding was coming from inside the nose or from the outside. And yes, it was impossible to tell. He gave her some sort of Jackie Kennedy shot, with a lot of puppy-uppers in it and some antibiotics. Which did the job just fine. For a few weeks.Her nose began to have slight scratches on it, which would bleed a little, and then dry up and fall off. It was causing her nose to shrink. A couple of weeks ago we made the decision to take her to the very highly rated animal clinic about a half hour drive from here, and skip the local vet.She was diagnosed with carcinoma on her nose. Unbeknownst to us it is fairly common for white cats, as they have very pink noses. Whatever it is total shit. We made an appointment to have it removed, at the cost of a vacation which we will not be taking anyway because yeah, Covid.We believe that secretly she wants to be a pug-cat and that this is part of the transitioning. Nose-jobs are never cheap.She had the operation yesterday. She is always quiet in her carrier, as she is at the vet. But I know she is scared to death by the way that she behaves. It breaks your heart, but if you have a pet you also have a responsibility to care for them.

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The operation and (slight) recovery took about three hours. We picked her up. She looked like death warmed-up with a cone collar, but she crawled out of her carrier onto my lap on the way home and seemed to thoroughly enjoy the massage and rubs that I gave her.She has spent today sleeping in my wardrobe, drooling into the cone, and generally looking rough. Nevertheless she is totally up for belly rubs and a brush, as she cannot care for her self at all. As of writing this she has not eaten or drunk a thing, and of course I want her to.

The day before her operation she received a care-package in the post (her first ever mail) from her Katzen Tante in Germany. She was so excited to sniff/smoke her catnip, and to eat all of the yummy strips of jerky for cats.  That was pre-op and I am sure it gave her the strength to go through it.  Right now she won’t touch a thing.

I blew off my training class at the gym tonight, just in case anyone needs proof as to how much I care about her.

I hope that they have got all of the cancer out, and that it does not crop up somewhere else.  So yeah.

UPDATE. Twenty four hours later.

We loosened her collar last night and she finally ate and drank little water.  She stayed hidden all day today, but I am just home from the radio studio, 21:00.  She came out and let me take her collar off and I massaged and groomed her for a long while, and she ate food which we laced with cat painkiller!  She is now out on the balcony.  

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Reading Diary – June 2020

May was the month I gave in and signed up to Audible. I have a strange reltaiotnship with audiobooks. I don’t feel like I absorb them so well because \I am such a daydreamer. However I’ve found they work well for non-ficton. I’ll try a novel this month and see how I get on.

 

Hope for the Best by Jodi Taylor

This is the 11th book in the Chronicles of St. Mary’s and for most of it I thought maybe the series was finally starting to dip. Stories about time-travelling historians are never going to be logical but sometimes characters’ actions didn’t make a lot of sense and there were threads that weren’t tied-up. There is a jump to ancient Crete during the Minoan empire and one to 15th Century London to observe the two Princes at the Tower of London just before their disappearance. What saves it is a revelation about a favourite character in the last 50 pages that left me (as a long-time reader) absolutely gob-smacked, it was so good. That upped it considerably. 4/5

Resistance by Tori Amos

“The sense of loss is such a tricky one, because we always feel like our worth is tied up into stuff that we have, not that our worth can grow with things we are willing to lose.”

I’ve been a Tori fan for, oh Lord, nearly 30 years now. ‘Piece by Piece’ was a memoir but this book looks at her songs and career through a political lens. I always knew that she had a few songs  which dealt with issues but didn’t realise there were quite so many. Tori goes through the songs and talks about the events that inspired them. She covers everything from sexual assault and FGM to 9/11 and racism. Although perhaps incongruous, the section of the book I found most affecting was that exploring her grief after her recent death of her mother. There is also a lot of valuable advice for creative people of all types. One for fans and those embarking on an artistic vocation. A highly biased 4/5

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Queenie by Candace Carty-Williams

“Is this what growing into an adult woman is—having to predict and accordingly arrange for the avoidance of sexual harassment?”

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I raced through this book in a day and a half but it was really hard to read a lot of the time. Queenie is a young Londoner whose self-esteem is in the gutter thanks to her abusive childhood. After her boyfriend says they should take a break, she simply can’t cope. She uses casual sex to try and fill the void but it’s with vile men who fetishise her Blackness. She works at a magazine where her boss constantly turns down her ideas about articles covering the Black Lives Matter movement. The gentrification of Brixton is also a theme of the book.

It was published last year but feels acutely relevant to right now. It sounds heavy but the author manages to write in an incredibly light, readable way and infuses the narrative with humour. Queenie is hugely likeable and I kept rooting for her to deal with her issues and ditch the self-destructive behaviour. I was very pleased it recently made Carty-Williams the first Black author to win Book of the Year at the British Book Awards (if not before time). I only marked it down because I found it personally painful to witness her allowing men to treat so appallingly.  4/5

 

Love Is Not Enough by Mark Manson

I was a member of Mark’s website years before ‘The Sublte Art...’ blew up and he becaome a megastar in the field of no-nonsense personal development. It couldn’t have happened to  a better person. He is free of any kind of magical thinking or easy answers. This exclusive audiobook for Audible goes back to his roots as a dating expert. He has separate dialogues with five men and women who have issues with relationships and coaches them over a period of time. We hear those interviews and the results of the homework and advice Mark gives them. Basically they are all suffering from some kind of issues around boundaries and vulnerability but in very different ways. It would be hard not to identify with at least one of them. As a nosy curious person, I found it fascinating. 4/5

 

Gravity is the Thing by Jaclyn Moriarty

“Popular self-help teaches you to ask for help, accept help, set boundaries, say no. So you ask for help and the person you ask politely refuses. Because he or she has learned to set boundaries and say no.”

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This was a quirky read which could have gone either way. Reviewers on Amazon seemed to really like or really dislike this debut novel for adults by the sister of author Liane Moriarty (Big Little Lies). It’s contemporary fiction set in Sydney which was a bonus for me having friends in the city. Abigail has been recieving chapters from ‘The Guidebook’, a mysterious self-help book, since she was fifteen; the same time her brother went missing. She is now in her thirties and running a Happiness Café (despite being far from happy herself) when she gets an invitation to attend a retreat where all will be revealed about The Guidebook. We follow her as she attends the retreat and the new course this sets her on.  There are a lot of references to self-help and it’s a slow-paced read but I liked Abi a lot and was up for the weirdness of ‘the truth’ of The Guidebook. I enjoyed seeing where the relationships formed at the retreat would go, not to mention the possible resolution of her brother’s disappearance. 3.5/6

 

Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

“Sometimes she heard night-sounds she didn’t know or jumped from lightning too close, but whenever she stumbled, it was the land who caught her. Until at last, at some unclaimed moment, the heart-pain seeped away like water into sand. Still there, but deep. Kya laid her hand upon the breathing, wet earth, and the marsh became her mother.”

This is the first book that has made me cry in a very long time (I can’t remember the last one). It was everywhere last year and finally reading it during a mini heatwave was perfect. It tells the story of a Kya who was abandoned as a child in the 1960s by her family and has to fend for herself in a shack nestled deep in the North Carolina marshlands. She is ostracised by the people in the nearest village with a couple of notable exceptions. When there is a murder, all eyes turn to the ‘Marsh Girl’. Delia Owens is an award-winning nature writer and it really shows in this, her first novel. Her lush descriptions of the flora and fauna of the marsh were wonderful and made it hugely atmospheric. I could picture everything, as wall as feel Kya’s intense connection with her home – and her equally intense loneliness. 5/5

 

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How has your last reading month gone?

 

 

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Mood Scent 4: Weird and Wonderful

Hey there A Bottled Rose, It’s a Mood Scent 4 week. WOO HOO! This month the crew are looking at Weird and Wonderful perfumes. I think we all have a few in our collection. Things we fell in love with because they were utterly outside our realms of previous scent experience. Suddenly our minds are blown by this weird, creepy, strange, intoxicating adventure. I’ll admit my credit card is usually on the counter faster than you can say, “Maybe not everyday wear.” There’s something about the unusual that draws me like a magnet. It was quite hard to narrow today’s selection down to six. I think they are beautiful and inspired but honestly they mostly don’t get as much wear as they deserve around here. Now they’re on the desk I’m hoping they will.

Obviously, these choices are subject to change, daily.

Can’t wait to read about your favourite Weird and Wonderful 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: Weird and Wonderful

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Chasing the Chanel Lion

Li-li-lion, lion’s in a jungle, jungle’s in a cage, tra-tra-trouble, trouble in the homelands, trouble in the homelands, bosses in a rage ….. A Party. Big Audio Dynamite. 1985.

I am very responsible and completely in control of my perfume habit. Except when I really want something.

I always was going to get the new and only available in the UAE Chanel Exclusif, Le Lion de Chanel, it was only the question of how. I started by emailing one of the department stores in Dubai that carried it. Coincidentally on that same day, Portia sent me a video of himself and a friend trying a sample of Le Lion in a store in Sydney. First part of my mind lost. He told me that he could organise getting a 200ml bottle sent to me at an eye watering, yet not too bad for such a large bottle, cost. The 75ml was not possible. I needed to think.

I have a husband with a bike addiction. (He has been known to call UPS and arrange a meet-up on the autobahn, just so he can get his bike a couple of hours earlier than it would actually be delivered to him.) So he did not flinch when I told him I was considering a blind purchase of a perfume for more than 400 Euros – do what you gotta do.

After much thought, I made the decision not to buy it, too much dosh to risk, especially on a blind buy. Portia offered to include me in his split and put me down for 10mls – that I would have to spray out of an atomizer with no magnetic Chanel cap, and have to wait for. But you know, you take what you get, huh?

The following day I had a voice message. He could organise 75ml and did I want it? Open Pay-Pal – transfer. This is the definition of responsible.

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A day later it had been sent and I had a tracking number. I knew it would take about a week, so did not bother to check more than fifteen times a day. I started to get excited when I saw that it had landed in Vienna and cleared customs and was out for delivery, expected on the Friday, eight days after the order.

I had a live radio show on this Friday and time was getting so tight I had to go. No problem, I could wait until Monday anyway. Just as I was leaving I had a message on the tracking app – the package was at the post office, and at the same time unbeknownst to me, the postman had dropped into our shop with an official yellow “your package is waiting to be picked up” paper which he gave my husband.

Over the years, as in many countries, post offices have closed down here , and have been moved into corners of general stores etc, and in our case, into the local gas station. It is always a complete pain-in-the-ass having to go there. You wait in line forever as the employees are rather – well, as my father used to say, “pay peanuts and you get monkeys.”.

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I waited in line for thirty minutes, sweating like a bloody junkie, and worried I was going to be late for my show. About fifteen minutes in Chris (husband) turned up with the aforementioned yellow paper, he was going to pick it up for me as a surprise, not knowing that I knew it was there already. (Insert laugh here, we ALL know where our packages are at any given time.). He left me the paper and legged it back to work.

It was finally my turn. I gave the employee the paper, and she turned around and stared vaguely at a couple of shelves, looked blankly at her computer screen, and told me the package was not there. I told her it had to be there as I had the tracking confirmation and the bloody yellow paper. But no. She said she had no idea where it was and there must have been some sort of mistake. I told her not to be ridiculous it had to be there. At this point she walked across the aisle and looked under the counter where the gas station part of the building sell their bread and sandwiches. I kid you not. I suggested to her that packages are not usually kept under bread counters. There was no one else there to help and the alcoholic, chain-smoking gas station assistants, just leaned against the counter looking like a couple of extras in Deliverance. I left in a cloud of 28 La Pausa and red lipstick, telling her I would be back tomorrow.

I was so piping mad as I got into the car that I could barely breathe. I had about a half hour drive to get to the studio, and would have a few minutes there before the start of the show. I had to do some seriously deep breathing, and needed to decide if I wanted to start the show with The Clash’s White Riot. As luck would have it my brother called a few minutes into the drive to wish me good luck for the evening. As I told him the drama I started to calm down a little, and to laugh. He kept talking to me for the whole drive and I was so thankful. It allowed me to get a little perspective (that might be a lie) and put myself into show mode.

I have a free hand at the radio station and told my listeners I was pissed. and why. I had several messages from perfumistas and yeah, you know, shit happens. The show must go on!

Saturday morning and I was back at the Post Office at nine. AS I walked across the garage forecourt I saw the assistant take one look at me and go hide in the back room. Hahahahahahahahahaha. Quite right too. She came out after a couple of minutes, I had already decided not to freak out. She did not bother to look though, that made me so mad. I mean at least pretend to check the shelves and the sorting area. When I asked where she thought it might be she shrugged her shoulders. Dude.

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Monday morning came, I went to work, and Chris went to the Post Office. I know I would have stabbed her if I had gone, and who would make the cookies then? As he walked into the post office she reached under her counter and took out the package. And here is the unbelievable part: Told him that it has been there all the time but she had not seen it. And she felt so bad that she gave him a box of chocolates to give to me to say sorry. I say open your eyes girl, and I don’t eat chocolate.

I went down to the post office today (Thursday) and took Le Lion with me so that she could her try it. And I wanted to thank her for the chocolates. Unfortunately she was not there.

THE END

Thanks to all who supported me through this difficult time, you know who you are.

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