Monthly Archives: January 2021

Fleur de Peau by Diptyque

Top notes Aldehydes, Pink Pepper, Angelica and Bergamot; middle notes: Iris and Turkish Rose; base notes Musk, Ambrette, Carrot, Ambergris, Leather, Sandalwood and Amberwood

This perfume came up on my radar when beauty journalist Sali Hughes said it was the fragrance she has worn the most during lockdown. She described it as a musky, iris skin scent which really piqued my interest. I have a gaping hole in my collection where a skin scent should be and one based around iris sounded enticing.

As you may have heard, sales of scented candles have rocketed over the last year and I made my first Diptyque purchase before Christmas, which happily came with a sample of Fleur de Peau.

Released in 2018, it won in the categories Perfume Extraordinaire and Best New Women’s Fragrance at The Fragrance Foundation Awards London.

Rather than a blast of aldehydes as I had prepared – braced – myself for, Fleur de Peau opens with a very lovely iris; the kind that smells like a fresh ream of white paper. It’s crisp and airy, borne on a cloud of clean musks and silky aldehydes which manifest as a soft wash of glistening soap bubbles.

As it settles, powder puffs up and gently covers the perfume in a light dusting accompanied by just the softest blush of rose. The whole effect is romantic, low-key elegant and soothing. It doeesn’t quite stray into boudoir perfume territory, perhaps because it’s just a tad too minimal and subdued for that association.

Iris and ambrette are often paired and this union works once again. I think ambrette is best described as a vegetal, slighty fruity musk – not animalic and not dryer fresh. It adds another nuance to the composition and prevents the white musk from dominating.

The base is when it smells most like skin, in the purest way.

I can certainly see why Sali turned to this fragrance during lockdown. It is a subtle pastel perfume that doesn’t feel out of place worn around the home. I’ve really struggled to spray anything while staying in but this has been effortless to wear. It’s a perfume to relax with: undemanding yet elevated thanks to the iris.

While it is lovely in all its parts, on reflection I think I’m looking for more of a furry musk.

As you would expect, it stays close to the body but longevity is true to its EdP strength.

If you’re not a fan of wispy scents then this won’t be for you. It is not a perfume to set the world alight. On the other hand, if you are in search of a skin scent with an iris twist, it’s a good bet. Just be sure not to try it on paper if you want it to bloom.

Have you been able to wear perfume in lockdown? What have been your go-tos?

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LIPSTICK SPEAKS LOUDER THAN WORDS

“Where lipstick is concerned, the important thing is not the colour, but to accept God´s final decision on where your lips end.” Jerry Seinfeld.

You would think in these extreme times that life would hold more than a lipstick. But perhaps it is because of this very thing that it does not. Just before Christmas I got a package in the post, so totally unexpected that I did not even realize it was for me. I assumed it was for my husband and left it on the side. Upon opening it he said that it must be meant for me as the lipsticks within were not his colour.

One of the two lipsticks I received was the Burberry Deep Crimson. Well this has actually changed my life. I have always worn red, proper red. But over the last year or two I haven’t felt quite comfortable in the colour. The Burberry is as it says, a deep crimson, but it has like a microdot of fuschia embedded in it. And for the first time in my entire life I have a lipstick with pink in it that looks amazing. Fits like a glove. I am a new person. I ran out and bought a deep pink nail polish to match, because there is nothing like matching toes and lips is there? My first pink polish. A complete makeover.

I bought a bottle of Malle´s Le Parfum de Thérèse. I had used four travels over the last few years, and thought it was time. I wanted to buy the 50 ml and the store only had the 100 ml. I bought it anyway. I did feel guilty for a moment – but the store had a twenty per cent off of everything month so it was a bargain don’tchaknow?

Talking of Malle I am nearly out of my Carnal Flower. I have had it for ten years. It is thick and green, leaves a sheen of oil on your skin, and is an exquisite flower shop in a bottle. I doubt that I will replace it as, if I remember correctly, the current version just does not cut the mustard.

I am continuing to take cold showers every morning, and the water that comes out of the tap in the winter is damn cold. As Wim Hof says “Cold showers are the gateway to flow and energy and peace.”. I know I recommended them last post, but now I double recommend them. Mind over body. It has been said that you no longer need coffee after a cold shower. Whatever.

I had a three hour live radio show on January first. I live about 35km from the studio. As I was just going into the second hour of the show my husband sent me a text, informing me that he was walking towards the studio to meet me. Walking. I went into my default mode, total panic. It was minus temperatures, pitch black, and I was sure he would get run over by a truck. He had it all planned, I could just pick him up from somewhere along the side of the road on my way home from the studio. About 13km into the walk he came to the small town at the end of our lake. There is a small train station there. (Well actually there are two, as Vanessa from Bonkers well knows, but I digress.) As luck or God would have it there was a train due in three minutes later, which he happily hopped onto and it took him to within about 2km of the studio. I was so relieved when he messaged me that he was on a train. Of course there were no trucks out on the first of January during a curfew, and total lockdown but ……..

Next show was 15 January. As I began a couple of people messaged, asking if Chris was walking up to the studio again. Obviously not. It was minus three and snowing. I said as much on the radio and settled into the broadcast. The guy who has the show after me arrived about twenty minutes before the end of my show, and we were talking a little. I went to line up my next track, when I heard him laughing uncontrollably. As I looked up there was a guy standing in the studio, dripping wet, high powered LED lights on top of his head, and a full face mask. All I could see was Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate. Seriously, for a few seconds I could not compute what was going on. It was like a trip, no sense of time or of what was happening. I mean it was only my bloody husband. He had biked the whole way up to the studio in the snow including through some gnarly woods. And he was not on an e-bike. When I realized who it was I was completely disorientated. I had to tell the listeners. By then I was laughing, and was getting “I knew he would do that” and “that is no surprise” messages. The thing is the dude thinks he’s totally normal.

As of Monday we have to wear the FFP2 masks. The medical masks and face coverings are not allowed anymore.

I guess most of you have seen that Campomarzio70 have launched a limited edition of the Vero Profumo EdPs. NAJA is also available, and last I looked a couple the extraits. Postage costs in some countries are über-expensive but take a look if you are interested anyway. They are exclusively online at Campomarzio70.

2021. Year of the Pink. Bring it on.

CQ.

I am indebted to Lady Jane Grey.

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December Reading Diary

I have an intense fondness for fairytale-esque books with deep winter settings. For some reason I love reading about snowy landscapes and feeling the chill run through me. Examples include Northern Lights, The Bear and The Nightingale and Spinning Silver. In December I found out that there is a sub genre for these books called ‘polar fantasy’. I was happy about this because it makes them easier to find. The last three books in this list come under this category.

The First Girl Child by Amy Harmon

“Be careful what you fear, Ivo replied, grave. We draw the attention of the fates when our fear grows too loud. The fates are cruel, and they will reward you with what you fear most.”

From reading fantasy novels over the last few years I’ve discovered that I prefer those that have some grounding in folklore or mythology. The First Girl Child is set on an island in the North Sea with a clan culture following a mix of Norse gods and Christianity

The story begins with Keeper (priest) Dagmar taking in his sister’s son, Bayr, after she dies in childbirth. As she’s dying she curses the islanders to never again produce a girl child and ensures that Bayr will be their only salvation. The relationship between Dagmar and Bayr is an endearing, loving one and Bayr grows up with inhuman strength. He is tasked with protecting the first – and only – girl child who is claimed to be born to the King. However, Alba’s true parentage is hidden and as a decade passes without any more female children, the situation on the island becomes more and more fraught.

The romance in the last quarter was verging on purple prose but I understand Harmon is more known for her romance. Aside from that, I liked the dynamic between the King, the clans and the Keepers and the relationships between the various characters. 4/5

Blackberry & Wild Rose by Sonia Velton

“But there are no secrets in London. Even the houses lean across the narrow alleys towards each other and offer up their scandals in the blink of an open curtain.”

Perhaps my favourite spot in London is Dennis Severs’ House in Spitalfields. The artist spent years recreating the home of a Huguenot silk weaving family from the 1700s through the 1800s. The fact you have to walk through it in silence allows you to soak up its distinctive atmosphere. My love for the house drew me to this book which is set in a similar household in Spitalfields Square during the 1700s.

Esther is married to a silk weaver and offers to take in a woman from a local brothel as a maid. For the first half of the novel they have an uneasy relationship simmering with resentment. However in the second half, a revolt by the journeymen weavers throws them together during a court case. Back then you could hang for maliciously damaging silk, it was that precious. I stayed up till midnight to find out the outcome of the trial and I haven’t done that in a long while 4.25/5

The Raven and the Reindeer by T. Kingfisher

“Do you have a name?” asked Gerta. “I do,” said the raven. Gerta waited. The raven fluffed its beard. “I am the Sound of Mouse Bones Crunching Under the Hooves of God.”

This is a very modern retelling of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen. Greta sees her childhood love stolen away by the Snow Queen and sets out for the Far North to rescue him. This irked me in as much as he never did anything to deserve her devotion but there is a nice twist to this. Along the way, she is kidnapped by a witch – and then a bandit – and helped by a raven and reindeer. It was a nice pre-Christmas read. 3.75/5

The Night Before Christmas by Nikolai Gogol

“What the . . . Look, Panas, the moon’s gone.” “So it is,” Kum agreed phlegmatically. “Right, and you just accept it, like that’s the way it should be?” “Well, what else can I do about it?” “What devil has done this to the moon, I want to know? May he never have a shot of vodka in the morning,”

Apparently this fairytale written in 1831 is still sometimes told to Ukrainian and Russian children on Christmas Eve. I wonder what they make of it. It tells the story of the night before Christmas when the devil steals the moon to wreak havoc on a village’s residents. It only gets more bizarre from there. A local witch hides her lovers in sacks to prevent them discovering each other while a blacksmith is set a seemingly impossible task to win the heart of the incredibly vain and unpleasant village beauty. By the end I was more baffled than anything else. I guess I’m used to fairytales with a moral or neat storyline. I do think I was reading a pretty poor translation though. If you know the story, please let me know your thoughts in the comments. 2.75/5

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

“In my old age, I see that life itself is often more fantastic and terrible than the stories we believed as children, and that perhaps there is no harm in finding magic among the trees.”

This is a reworking of a Russian fairytale about a childless old couple who build a girl from snow which then comes to life.

Set in the 1920s, ageing Mabel and Jack move to the wilds of Alaska to escape the prying eyes of others after a stillbirth. They buy a homestead out by the mountains but their isolation only magnifies their loss as they struggle to survive through the winter. Mabel is suicidal at the start of the book.

On the first day of snowfall they make a snowman that they shape into a child. The next morning they see footprints leading away from the snow child and spot a little girl in the forest wearing its scarf and mittens. This child fills the hole and gives them a new reason to keep going.

The setting and nature writing were beautiful and I truly loved the stoic yet warm-hearted Jack and Mabel. However as much as I love fairytales and fantasy I seem to struggle when books are 95% gritty realism and then 5% magic mixed in, like here.

As a result the magical element felt inexplicable and a little jarring. We find out the child has human parentage but she appears to be able to control the snow. We never really get an explanation, which left me rather unsatisfied. I think this is peculiar to me though, going by other reviews. I like clear answers! 4/5

How was your reading in December? Does polar fantasy appeal to you at all?

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Mood Scent 4: Jewels in the Crown

Hey there A Bottled Rose, It’s a Mood Scent 4 week. WOO HOO! This month the crew are looking at Jewels in the Crown. The five fragrances in my collection I hope to never be without. OOOH! Sam came up with this doozy of a monthly puzzler and I’ve been flummoxed, trying to whittle the number down. Especially because I’d like to keep it interesting for you all and not just the same favourite stuff all the time.

Can’t wait to read about your favourite Jewels in the Crown 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: Jewels in the Crown

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