Category Archives: Perfume Reviews

CQ’S WTF CV19 LOCKDOWN TALES FROM THE COOKIE KITCHEN.

CV19 LOCKDOWN WEEK 2. 

Deadlines know no lockdown.  Here I am still running against the clock.

Saturday 21 March – Friday 27 March  (Writing this Friday morning.)

As I said last week we are doing the  “arse-in-the-butter” form of lockdown where I am living.  I cannot and will not complain for a second.  Yes it is serious. No it is not like in so  many other countries.  Our government tells us every day we cannot let up for a second in the way that we have to live out lives right now. Money will start to be paid out next week for those suffering loss of income.  Our shop falls into that category.   Social distancing has been in full swing for the last two weeks and and starting to show some positive results maybe, the predictions and cases matching what was suggested at the beginning. There are idiots.  There are corona parties.  But it is at this point a very small percentage. Some people are as dumb as wallpaper.

My husband went out and bought me hair clippers last Saturday.  Yes, that is an essential item.  I have been planning the hair buzz for the last couple of days, and am about to do it.  Today, 28 March at 18:30 CET live on Instagram.  Drop in since you will all be at home anyway.  Of course I am terrified, but the fear of my hair being too long outweighs it.

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It was five years ago this week that Vero launched the two Rozys in Milan.  Memories came up in my FB feed.  (One of the terrible side effects of the lockdown is that I have reopened my FB page.).

Tara brought to my attention that David Goggins was gonna do a 60 minute live-on-social -media workout on Monday.  We did it together.   It was hardcore to say the least.  Squats, lunges, jumping jacks, sit ups, push ups.  10 second breaks if you needed one.  It took me two days to recover properly.  We are going to do it again tomorrow.   After we had finished the workout, we chatted briefly about David Goggins.  Tara told me how inspirational his book was and that I should read it.  Yesterday when I came home from a run, I found a copy of the book in my letter box.  Tara had a copy sent to me.  I cried, really.  It changed my whole day and cheered my soul.  Love in the times of Corona.  That kindness will remain with me forever.  I had to put the book down to write this post.

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I made cookies during the week to share with the supermarket ladies and friends..  Baking makes feel I have some sort of control.

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My mother kept journals for the last twenty-five years of her life.  Each year’s journal has a large envelope that is full of the postcards, magazine and newspaper cuttings, letters, birthdays cards along with it.  I have about fifteen years of the journals here in my home and the other ten years or so are still in the UK.  I brought the suitcase that I keep them in up from the basement and am starting to re-read them.   She wrote them all exactly how  she spoke, and it is a great joy.  It is particularly interesting to see that she wrote every single haircut she got down.  Sometimes with a little drawing of the new cut, and always commenting as to whether Jane or whoever had done a good job or not.  Those who know me will find that hilarious and haunting!

IMG_2773Some of Mum´s journals.  

I started to run this week.  Have not run in twenty years.  And I am smugly satisfied that I have not peed myself yet.

The UK is now on lockdown, and about time, and Boris J is immersing himself in his Churchill wanna-be role.  The country pulling together in that oh-so-British way.  I would expect nothing less.  I hope it is not too little, too late.  Having talked with people in NYC via Zoom, I just cannot imagine how terrifyingly bad it is there.

LOCKDOWN PERFUMES OF WEEK 2. 

I am still wearing perfume.  L’Artisan Passage d’Enfer.  Neela Vermeire Mohur.  Hermès Musc Pallida Oil layered with Cèdre Sambac.  Chanel Boy.  Chanel N°19 Pafum and Lutens Iris Silver Mist in the evenings.

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I have never been bored in my life, and I am not bored now.   My main concern is do I buzz my hair 20mm or 15mm?

Yes of course I know how bloody serious this all is.  It is a pandemic.  I am not stupid.

How has your week been?

“It’s the end of the world as we know it (time I had some time alone),  It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine (time I had some time alone)”.   REM. 

CQ.    

There were around a thousand deaths in Italy over the last twenty-four hours, and nearly as many in Spain.  I dare not look at NYC. I have Italian friends who will have to lockdown even longer.  My heart breaks.

 

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CQ’S WTF CV19 LOCKDOWN TALES FROM THE COOKIE KITCHEN.

CV19 LOCKDOWN.

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

LOCKDOWN PERFUMES OF WEEK 1. 

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. 

CQ

 

 

 

 

 

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Mxxx. by Eris Parfums

Gentle Reader, I hope all is well with you and yours at this strange and anxious time. Val the Cookie Queen will be starting a weekly coronavirus lockdown journal this Saturday. In the meantime, let’s try and distract ourselves with  perfume. 

Notes: Blue Ginger, Mace, Saffron, Olibanum, Pink Peppercorn,  Cacao, Cedarwood, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Patchouli, Benzoin, Castoreum, 7% Natural Ambergris, Pierre d’Afrique (Hyraceum), Green Vanilla.

I feel like Mxxx. is winking at me. It is knowingly playing with a few perfume tropes but you need to be in on the joke to appreciate it fully.

The original Mx. was a warm and inviting comfort scent with accords of gingerbread and saffron over light woods and cosy musks. With this 2019 Extrait de Parfum reboot, perfumer Antoine Lie has added an animalic twist as well as increased strength.

 

 

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Mxxx. starts out sweet: a swirl of vanilla and chocolate with a nice sprinkling of saffron still present. At this stage you might feel you already know everything about this perfume – yet another sugary confection. But no.

It mellows and darkens from creamy yellow/orange to deep brown. It transforms into dark chocolate praline with a background of salty feline fur. It matures and becomes a more grown-up affair in a matter of minutes. This effect is achieved by taking a cacao note and undercutting it with ambergris (the real deal no less). The result is a deceptively simple on the surface but on closer inspection, a seductive underbelly is revealed. This is my favourite part of the scent’s evolution. The moreish combination of cacao and ambergris shows just why salted caramel has become so popular.

Featuring the unholy trinity of castoreum, hyraceum and ambergris, you’d be forgiven for thinking this would be eye-wateringly sexual. It’s not quite. Somehow Lie has kept these beasts on a leash. It is more slinky and overtly suggestive than outright skanky. I am irritatingly squeamish but find it wearable.

The base is more familiar territory. It’s like one of those robust Middle Eastern sandalwood fragrances studded with spice, incense and oud. (Anyone remember Tom Ford’s Sahara Noir?) Its voice drops several octaves and in contrast with the first half of the perfume, now reads as more traditionally masculine.

Mxxx. has a good amount of throw and excellent longevity. It left a lovely sheen on my skin which shows the high content of perfume oil.

Maybe you’d like to appear as if butter wouldn’t melt but also hint at a saucy side.

Maybe you’d like a fluffy, cosy scent that flips the script later on.

Or maybe you’d like a fluid fragrance that covers the spectrum from feminine to masculine in one seamless flow.

You’ll find Mxxx. works on a number of levels.

 

damian

 

Were you a fan of the original Mx? Have you tried Mxxx?

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Mood Scent 4: Gorgeous Gourmands

Hey there A Bottled Rose, It’s Mood Scent 4 week. WOO HOO! With the first Monday of this month the crew are looking at gorgeous gourmand fragrances. As much as I Pooh-Poohed gourmands in my early perfume years they seem to have grown on me. There’s so much choice from bakery to berry, cheesecake and chocolate to fairy floss and rice pudding. All are edible, sweet, delectable and make up an enormous sector of the current scent selection available.

Obviously, these favourite choices are subject to change, daily.

Can’t wait to read about your gorgeous gourmand favourites 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: Gorgeous Gourmands

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Strange Tales from the Cookie Kitchen.

“When they kick at your front door, How you gonna come?  With your hands on your head or on the trigger of your gun?”  Guns of Brixton.  The Clash.  

This Tale takes place in the spring of 1990;  at our apartment in Amsterdam, just off of the Leidsestraat and but a two minute walk from the Leidseplein.   You couldn’t live more centrally.  It was my favourite apartment ever.

The apartment was on the first floor, and the flat door opened straight into one huge room.  There was a smaller room for storage and wardrobe, and a bathroom.  The stairs up from the main door were wooden and very narrow.

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Our apartment was one of these seen here.

 

It was around ten thirty in the evening.  Chris and I were sat around watching TV with a huge, as in a brick, of Afghan hashish on the table,  the room full of the fragrant smoke.  There was suddenly a bang downstairs and the sound people running up the stairs, past our flat, and up the next two flights of stairs.  There was a bit of a party animal who lived above us and we wondered if there was a connection.   We were extremely stoned, and tuned to every single movement.

 

We could hear them coming back down the stairs, yelling and hammering on doors along the way.   We were totally stoned and everything was going in a kind of slow motion, our senses were on high alert.  As they reached our landing, Chris got up with the intention of  quietly opening our door to peek through it.

In what was precision timing, Chris cracked the door open at exactly the same moment as there was an almighty loud thump on it.

A guy in plain clothes, screaming “Police” came flying in through the door with his gun pointed straight at us, another with a weapon standing in the doorway, and several more backup outside.  He kicked open the door to the smaller room, and the door to the bathroom.  All the while with his gun at the ready.  This happened at extremely high speed.   I sat there staring.

As the cop started to leave, we asked them what they were doing.  He replied that they were looking for some people.  Chris continued by asking what they had done, to which the cop who had been standing at the door replied, “a lot.”   And they left.

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A Smoking Gun. Roy Lichtenstein. 1968.

 

All the action, from coming in the door downstairs to leaving the building again, took less than ten minutes.  There were six guys and they were loud.  We found out the next day that there had been a robbery at the post office in one of the main markets in Amsterdam, not far from our place.   They had been told that the perpetrators were holed up in our building.

Sheesh.

CQ.              

            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Frost by St. Clair Scents

Top Notes: Bergamot, Mandarin, Coriander, Petitgrain sur fleur, Meyer Lemon
Middle Notes: Honeysuckle, Rose Geranium, Elderflower, Petitgrain
Base Notes: Cistus, Labdanum, Vanilla, Vetiver, Cedar, Smoke, Clove

I went up to Edinburgh at the end of last year and had the pleasure of finally meeting up with crikey, whom I’ve known through the blogosphere for years now. In 2019 she set up the fabulous Instagram account @scentosaurs. Here, her model dinosaurs pose with perfume but paired with those joyous photos are heartfelt, literary snapshots sparked by the particular fragrance.

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From scentosaurs IG account

 

crikey loves indie perfumes and is much more adventurous than me. After sniffing a number of intriguing creations she kindly gave me a smaple of Frost released by American indie brand, St. Clair Scents in 2018. Perfumer Diane St. Clair produces artisanal, gourmet dairy products from her farm in Vermont and takes the same approach to perfumery, making small batches by hand influenced by the natural environment.

frost bottle

I had wrongly assumed that Frost was all about cold, icy weather. That couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s actually named after the poet Robert Frost whose summer writing cabin is located near the perfumer’s HQ. I was only going to include an extract from the particular poem that inspired Frost but I had to share it in its entirety:

‘To Earthward’

Love at the lips was touch
As sweet as I could bear;
And once that seemed too much;
I lived on air

That crossed me from sweet things,
The flow of—was it musk
From hidden grapevine springs
Downhill at dusk?

I had the swirl and ache
From sprays of honeysuckle
That when they’re gathered shake
Dew on the knuckle.

I craved strong sweets, but those
Seemed strong when I was young;
The petal of the rose
It was that stung.

Now no joy but lacks salt,
That is not dashed with pain
And weariness and fault;
I crave the stain

Of tears, the aftermark
Of almost too much love,
The sweet of bitter bark
And burning clove.

When stiff and sore and scarred
I take away my hand
From leaning on it hard
In grass and sand,

The hurt is not enough:
I long for weight and strength
To feel the earth as rough
To all my length.

The beginning of Frost is bright and zesty with the optimistic air of burgeoning love. Everything feels fresh, exhilarating and filled with a sense of boundless hope. Just below that are the sweet, tender florals of honeysuckle, elderflower and dewy roses. This is the stage where love has blossomed and all is well.

Beneath all that however, are circling wisps of smoke and spikes of spice; the foreshadowing of a heart that will eventually be charred and seasoned by the passing of a grand passion. This effect is softened greatly by a cloud of vanilla so the overall feeling is one of yearning rather than regret. The lovelorn is only focusing on the good times and longs to experience them all over again.

The fragrance ties in with the progression of the poem: we start out floating on air, enjoying the ‘sweet things’ and ‘sprays of honeysuckle’ as we travel closer and closer to the ‘bitter bark’ and ‘burning clove’, inevitably coming back down to earth. Still, the overall mood of the perfume is one of light, warmth and dreaminess.

The combination of the sparkling citrus top, delicate floral heart and vanillic resinous base works well. It’s far from a dupe, but imagine a featherlight, naturals-heavy version of Shalimar EDT and you’ll be close to the general vibe of Frost.

Being able to discern all the various facets from the start is like entering into a romantic liaison having already glimpsed how it will end, but being helpless – and unwilling – to do otherwise.

 

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Have you tried anything by St. Clair Scents?

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Memoire d’Une Odeur by Gucci

Notes: Roman Chamomile, Indian Coral Jasmine, Musks, Vanilla, Sandalwood and Cedarwood.

My signature scent for the late 90s was Gucci’s Envy. When I fell down the rabbit-hole about a decade later, I congratulated myself for unknowingly choosing a perfume authored by the masterful Maurice Roucel, who is responsible for the incomparable Musc Ravageur and Iris Silver Mist. I marvelled at how he had transformed green tea into something glossy and sexy.

In some ways, Gucci have pulled off a similar trick with their 2019 release Memoire d’Une Odeur. Chamomile is rarely used as a starring note, being both sedate and sedative. It’s hard not think of nice ladies in floral dresses sipping it as herbal tea in neat gardens. However, this composition takes this demure plant and polishes it until it gleams like an emerald before placing it in a setting that shows it off to its best advantage.

The perfumer is Alberto Morillas who has been creating blockbuster mainstream fragrances for years, from CK One and Aqua di Gio to Mugler Cologne and Daisy.

To be honest, I was so taken with the retro packaging the scent itself didn’t have a lot of work to do.

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Memoire d’Une Odeur rolls out a chamomile lawn; fresh and herbal – but not as grassy as Daisy – with a nice hint of tart citrus peel. I find the novelty of this and its satiny greenness pleasing. It possesses an easy stylishness while radiating a soft wistful mood. It gels with the idea of a scent that instantly connects you with a long-term memory. I can imagine the wearer floating away on it to summers’ past, when they believe life was simpler (even if it wasn’t).

Although the bottle and concept are nostalgic the fragrance is decidedly modern.

A silken jasmine weaves through the heart while pale woods and clean musks make up the rather predictable but perfectly adequate base. It stays green and shimmery throughout with the progression taking the form of a slow slide. I found that after the memorable beginning, it became quite quiet and longevity was average for an EdP.

This is not a fragrance of complexity or twists and turns. Neither could it be mistaken for niche but for a mainstream fragrance, it’s good. It’s the best example of a green floral you’re going to find at this price level (even if Gucci are hailing it a ‘mineral aromatic’). Whether civilian consumers feel the same is far from clear but it’s great to see Gucci releasing something different to the mass of berry bombs and candyfloss canons lining the shelves.

Why not take a trip down memory lane?

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Have you tried Gucci’s latest mainstream release? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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Cheap Shit Portia Loved – 2019

By Portia

So many lovely Best Of 2019 posts or Gift Shopping posts popping up, don’t you love reading other peoples lists? I wanted to give you all something a bit different. A budget version. The things that cost peanuts yet delivered in spades. For you, for gifting or even as a Best Of Cheap Shit list.

Cheap Shit Portia Loved 2019

4711 Remix Cologne 2018

ALL about the zingy citrus and available for almost nothing 4711 Remix Cologne is so wearable and refreshing.It lasts about 2 hours on me and I’m ready for a respritz or something new. Warm enough to wear all year but cool enough to keep me grounded.

Le Bain by JOOP!

So I saw a piece on Le Bain in Fragrantica a while ago and they waxed so lyrical about it that I went right on over to the discounters and grabbed a gift set. TOTAL blind buy. Mainly Le Bain is a vanilla fragrance with a sheer overlay of an aldehydic floral. So wearable and comfortable, it’s like I’m wearing a favourite T Shirt.

Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker

Lovely is one of those fragrances that non perfumistas really love, as well as us. I often smell it on people on public transport, in malls and galleries. It’s so singular that I always compliment the wearer and ask if it’s Lovely. Though I don’t wear it a lot it remains a firm favourite. That hefty sheer lavender, patchouli and musk work perfectly for me.

Our Moment by One Direction

OK, I am going to keep on loving this original release from One Direction even though you all Poo Poo me. Fruit and creamy, tropical, white florals with a soft focus musky woods base. I seriously don’t understand why you all aren’t screaming for gallons of it. A cut price Guerlain style sweet fragrance, LOVE it.

Teazzura by Guerlain

OK, this didn’t start out as cheap but now you can get a bottle at the discounters for nothing. Chamomile, fresh tea leaves, citrus and a white musks base is all tied up with a cool fresh water accord. Longevity isn’t so great, I’m lucky to get an hour of fragrant before it becomes a very soft murmur of clean laundry. It is pretty though and the opening citrus/tea/chamomile harmony interesting. Respritz after about 15 minutes to give MUCH better projection and longevity.

Tabac Original Shower Gel by Maurer & Wirtz

This one is SERIOUSLY cheap. I think you can grab a bottle for well under $10. Don’t worry, it’s such a beautiful fragrance you won’t even notice you’re having a bubble bath in dudes fragrance. Makes terrific bubbles and leaves my skin very softly scented. Just enough to continue on my day, even without fragrance. Yet it doesn’t seem to interfere with my frag choices either.

TABU Shower Gel

HA! You should see your faces reading this post. Eyebrows shooting up in snobby questioning mode. This is a HUGE secret, “TABU shower gel is freaking gorgeous.” It’s a very pared down version of the perfume. All the soft, fluffy, cozy bits. Seriously, I absolutely love this stuff and have myself quite the hoard and it costs about $5 or less for a tube. YEP, you read it here first. Go crazy.

Now you need to tell me what cheap shit YOU loved in 2019 please. Come on, share the love crew.

See you all in 2020

Portia xx

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Strange Tales from the Cookie Kitchen.

“Look up here, I’m in heaven I’ve got scars that can’t be seen, I`ve got drama, can’t be stolen, Everybody knows me now.  LAZARUS.  David Bowie.       

THE UNSTERBLICHE (THE IMMORTAL) SISTER WALLNER.  1923 – 2011.          

 

I first met Sister Wallner after the birth of my son, 1993.   She came to visit me in the hospital with a homemade applesauce, which she had put into a glass jar that had previously been filled with  pickled garlic.  “Sister” because she was a member of the same church as I was, where everyone is called/or can be called “brother” and “sister”.  Although I became very good friends with both her and her family, I never called her anything other than Sister Wallner.

At the end of WWII Sister Wallner walked back from from Greece to Austria, through Yugoslavia.  Yes, walked.  We do know that it was extremely traumatic, and she carried the scars throughout her life.  It did not kill her though.

In 2003 Sister Wallner had two hip replacements within a very short time of one another, and was sent to the rehabilitation centre to recover and to start physiotherapy.  She was told under no circumstances could she leave leave the hospital grounds.  Unfortunately the people in charge had no idea that you couldn’t tell her what to do.  She shot off one evening, as fast as she could on two sticks, and indeed did walk out of the hospital, onto the pavement, and then decided to cross the road, on a curve.  The Audi A3 was going way too fast, and she should not have been there.

Her daughter, (the infamous Doctor Fox, my eternal partner-in-crime, but that’s a Strange Tale for another day) and son-in-law received a phone call, informing them that Sister Wallner/mother/mother-in-law was lying in the intensive care unit and things were not looking good.  They lived about a 45 minute drive away, and so called us to go straight up to the hospital, and they would meet us there.   We were and still are only a five minute drive away.

Sister Wallner was unconscious, green skin, black and blue eyes like you have never seen, a massive cut on her head; I thought that my husband was gonna pass out when he saw her, as he too turned the same shade of green.  For the first time I offered a prayer for her well-being, little knowing that I would find myself doing the same thing many years later.  It did not kill her though.

As she became older she began to have various strange episodes and was at times extremely difficult, and Dr. Fox and I cared for her Mum in different ways. Together we moved her from her home of many years, into a smaller apartment.   Dr Fox and her family had moved into the area several years earlier to be closer to her mother.   Around 2008 Sister Wallner’s health, both physical and mental, started to go downhill.

THE TWILIGHT ZONE. 

I had just come out of the supermarket and was loading the car, when I got a call from Dr.  Fox.  “My Mom has just slumped over, and is dying, and if you wanna see her you had better get your ass down here quick.”  I was there so fast, like in two minutes.  Parked the car, and ran upstairs.  It was 11:00.

I ran in through the  door the same time as Dr S arrived.  Now let’s be clear, this was not a doctor that was coming to rescue Sister Wallner, no.  This was the  doctor dude from the council who had come to reevaluate her level of care, to increase the level of financial aid she was receiving.  Which was why Dr Fox was there in the first place.

Sister Wallner was a Grinchy shade of green, not breathing, and had her eyes been open, she would have been staring vacantly.  It was not the first time that Dr Fox and I had been confronted with a dying person – unlike the doctor apparently, who took a quick pulse check, started sweating profusely, and started walking circles in the kitchen. Dr Fox and I were holding her slumped Mom between us.  We told the guy to go home.  He did mumble something about maybe calling an ambulance, but we sent him packing,  telling  him we would deal with the situation ourselves.

Between us, we carried the ever-so-slightly-stiffening, and bloody heavy,  Sister Wallner into her living room and laid her on the sofa.  Once again I offered a prayer, asking that she be taken in peace.  Dr Fox called her husband and said her mom had just died.  I called my husband and said Sister Wallner just died.  Dr Fox called meals-on-wheels and said Frau Wallner had died and would not be needing her Mittagessen.  We sat at her mother’s side.

Suddenly Sister Wallner took an almighty great big breath, and started to sit up.  “I’m hungry, where’s lunch?”

We called our husbands and said it was false alarm.   They were not surprised,  a bit weird yeah, but then you really have to know our two families to understand where things are on the weird scale.  The tipping point for us was when Dr Fox called the meals-on-wheels back and told them that Sister Wallner had not in fact turned-up-her-toes, and that she would like her lunch delivered, preferably as soon as possible, and we started to laugh, albeit tinged with hysterics.   And this did not kill her.

As sure as little apples grow on trees, this happened.

After this episode we were fortunate to be given a place in the Altersheim (Old Folks’ Home) here for Sister Wallner.  She had no idea that she was going into one.  Dr Fox organized it all and waited there, as I went to pick Sister Wallner up from outside her apartment, having lied to her about going out for tea, to get her to come out and wait for me.  Basically a kidnapping.  I took her to the home, and she was not a happy camper.  But after a relatively short period of time, she  settled down, and lost a lot of her stubbornness and her need to fight so many battles.  She softened after having had such an incredibly difficult life, and began to have some peace.

Of course she did die.  Because no one is immortal.  It was the 24th of November 2011.  My birthday.  Dr Fox was on her way over to me to celebrate it, when she got the call from the Old Folk’s Home. “Your mother has been taken into hospital and you need to hurry if you want to see her before she passes away.” Been there, done that, she thought. She called me and said “My Mom is dying again and if you wanna see her, meet me at the hospital.”  We hurried, but this time we were too late.

CQ of APJ

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Dr Fox and I have talked about this experience we had together many times over the years.  Recently Dr Fox`s daughter, a medic, said it would seem that this might have been what is known as the Lazarus Syndrome, so rare that not fifty cases have been recorded.    The spontaneous return of a normal heartbeat after failed attempts of resuscitation. Except no one tried to resuscitate her.  Why would you?  She was the Unsterbliche Sister Wallner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Voyage 2019 by Hiram Green

Notes: Citrus, Lotus Flower, Amber and Vanilla

 

Indie perfumer Hiram Green released the luminous rose Lustre earlier this year and before that, the intoxicating Hyde which quite rightly won an Art and Olfaction Award.

He has now launched a new limited edition version of Voyage, a fragrance that had a limited run of 250 bottles back in 2015. It was inspired by Indian street markets and the floating palace on Lake Pichola in Rajasthan.  I wasn’t fortunate enough to experience that first version but it included a suede note that has now been replaced in Voyage 2019 by lotus flower, the national flower of India.

Voyage 2019 50 ml (1)

Voyage 2019 opens with smooth and glowing orange-tinted citrus, undercut by what my nose reads as a velvety musk. As the lotus flower comes through, it gives the fragrance a lift with its refreshing flow of water drenched petals.

This version has been designed to be lighter and more tropical than the original and it does have a subtle languid quality. I don’t generally enjoy straight-up florals because they are often rather ‘much of a muchness’ and can be rather vapid. However, I do have a soft spot for sultry florals, especially when layered over an appealing crème brulee base, as here. There’s a nice contrast between the freshness of the lotus flower and the cosiness of the drydown: like the feel of a warm breeze over hot skin.

I don’t detect spiciness except for a kind of mellow warmth and a resinous facet that is reminiscent of sticks of unlit incense.

The base is a slightly smoky vanilla which is no doubt where the use of natural materials really comes into its own. It isn’t a thick synthetic cupcake aroma but a pillowy soft vanilla with a burnt caramel edge, stopping it from being overly sweet (not to mention obnoxious). Voyage 2019 starts off on a tropical island and ends in comforting home territory.

I get low-to-moderate projection from this Eau de Parfum but it does last extraordinarily well. I’d recommend Voyage 2019 to those who love cosy yet buoyant ambery vanillas and anyone who is a fan of soft-focus floral oriental fragrances. It’s an incredibly easy to wear perfume offering warmth and comfort with an exotic floral twist.

Only 280 bottles will be available exclusively online from the Hiram Green website where you can also buy a sample if you’d like to test it out for yourself.

 

 

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How do you feel about floral oriental perfumes? Do you have a favourite?

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