Category Archives: Travels

A Visit to Grasse – Photo Essay

 

At the end of last month I flew out to Nice on the Cote d’Azur to join an exceptional friend of mine who was spending part of her vacation there. The weather was perfect, around the mid-twenties.

We rented a car to go to Grasse for the day, which was only about 45 minutes from Nice. We both expected it to be a small, rather quaint town but it is much more built up than that and the main street was quite grand. Grasse is considered the world’s capital of perfume and produces over two-thirds of France’s natural aromas (for perfume and food flavourings). There are about 30 local perfume producers.

The main street in Grasse.

We visited Molinard on the outskirts of Grasse which houses the old factory/museum, laboratory and shop. All the operating factories had to be moved to an industrial estate outside the town.

Molinard opened the very first factory in Grasse in 1849 and had 300 employees which was a huge number for the time. The company has stayed in the family for five generations and the current owner is the first woman during that time.

molinard house

Molinard House

It ddin’t seem like you needed to pre-book the free tour which seemed pretty informal (Galimard and Fragonard also do factory tours). That Sunday there were maybe ten of us including Canadians and Italians. Our tour guide, Paula, was a lovely lady though we raised our eyebrows at a couple of points. She told us that Molinard perfumes are made from all natural ingredients and that rose centifolia with its lemon and honey facets, only grows in Grasse.

The flowers for the perfumes can be obtained in Grasse but other ingredients come from across the globe.

The equipment used to be made out of copper but is now made of steel.

 

On weekdays two women make 600 soaps here by hand per day.

We tried their best selling Creme 24: a balm for face and body with a strong lemon scent which is intensely moisturising. Apparently they have tried to discontinue it a few times but its fans won’t let them.

Their most famous perfume Habanita (launched in 1921) happily still smells great and the only vetiver-heavy fragrance I really like.

While the production is now off-site, the lab where the perfumer composes fragrances is still at Molinard House.

A peek inside the modern perfume lab.

Some women in our group were greatly surprised to find out you shouldn’t keep bottles in your bathroom because of the three enemies of perfume: heat, light and humidity.

She went through the various concentrations.

You can take part in a perfume workshop here (prices from 189 euro) after which you come away with a bottle of your own custom fragrance. They can then send you re-fills anywhere in the world.

Of course the tour ended in the shop.

My friend bought a tube of the Crème 24 for her mother.

We nearly bought travel sprays of the original Habanita but managed to resist. It’s the kind of perfume I admire but never reach for.

We both bought a couple of the soaps.

From there we drove into the centre of Grasse to visit the International Museum of Perfumery which opened in 1989.

The International Museum of Perfumery

Floor plan

There were some interactive exhibits as well those in cases.

20190929_1224185170617041136432154.jpg

It seemed to be a very old building that had been renovated.

The ‘greenhouse’ had perfume plants such as vetiver and patchouli.

20190929_1229403315221621162435340.jpg

The outdoor garden had jasmine, geranium, labdanum, herbs and more.

Marie Antoinette’s modest travel case (one of two in existence).

My favourite bottle and perfume, Guerlain’s Vol de Nuit

Scented products including My Little Pony.

Finally, there was an extensive temporary exhibit about eau de cologne.

 

The museum’s gift shop was a treat. I picked up several gorgeous postcards and a Grasse tote bag, while my friend bought a pretty silk scarf.

It was a wonderful day and ticked another destination off my bucket list.

Have you been to Grasse? If not, would you like to go? Let me know in the comments and what you thought of the factory tour and perfume museum.

Advertisements

25 Comments

Filed under Travels

Strange Tales from the Cookie Kitchen

Roast Fish, Collie Weed & Cornbread

“Some plant coffee, some plant tea, So why can’t I and I plant collie?  If you stray from the root, Then you’ll never know the truth right now, Ca’ the war can’t solve no problem, love is the emblem, Instead of hate and malice, we should be sipping chalice, And giving praises to His Most High Jah Jah Rastafari …….”    ‘Free Up The Weed’ from the album Roast Fish, Collie Weed & Cornbread by Lee Perry 1978
jam lee

Kingston, Jamaica 1988

Our end destination was the Dominican Republic, way before the “package holiday and get shit-faced on all-the-free-rum you want” days made it popular for the masses.  We had friends there and were gonna stay for five months.

February 1988 saw us leaving Amsterdam, heading for Jamaica for a two week stop-over before continuing on over to the Dom Rep.   I don’t remember when we landed in Kingston but it was dark already.   We had specially booked a well known chain hotel, not knowing our arses from our elbows in Kingston, with the intention of seeking out somewhere else on the island to stay from there.  We hopped into a taxi, the driver assuring us he knew where the hotel was.

It was about a half hour drive into Kingston and we sat back.  As we thought we were getting close, the driver abruptly took a right hand turn down a road that narrowed quite quickly and street lights disappeared.  He pulled up in front of a bungalow, everything dark, and informed us that we had reached our destination.  It definitely did not look like the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Kingston.  When we questioned him, he said that this was his friend’s place and suggested we might want to stay there. Cheaper.  Chris yelled at him and said absolutely not and take us to the hotel now.  He turned around and proceeded to do exactly that.  I still wonder if we were lucky to make it.

Irie Vibes and Weed in the Trees

We took a walk into downtown Kingston the next day.  Reggae booming out everywhere. Dancehall, Ska, Johnny Clarke, Dub, The Congos, Mighty Diamonds, U-Roy, I-Roy and a hundred other tunes.  I loved – and still love – the reggae from the seventies and eighties. At no point on our way there or back, did we pass any other white people.  A lot of dreadlock Rastas.  And yeah, we walked through Trenchtown too, which kind of surprised the receptionist back in the hotel later.  Irie vibes and pounding loud music everywhere, bass to shake the foundations of the earth.

Heading back to the hotel we were stopped by a guy who asked if we might want some grass.  Mirrored shades, very cool.  We talked for a while before agreeing to take him up on his kind offer.  At which point he snapped his fingers and yelled something, looking up into the tree we were standing under.  We raised our eyes too and were surprised to see about eight dudes sitting in the branches and sixteen eyes looking down on us.  One of them threw down a package.  Deal.

Strawberry Fields, Robin’s Bay

We asked in the hotel where we could go to be in the real Jamaica, as far away as possible from the Montego Bay scene.   They sent us up to Strawberry Fields. How could we resist the name?  About a three hour drive, due north, through the Blue Mountains, in a taxi.  Beautiful.   The driver took us right up to a wooden hut, Bobby`s hut, where Bobby himself greeted us with a handful of weed and a Red Stripe beer.

We were to eat there every day for a week; breakfast and dinner.  Roast fish, cornbread, breadfruit, mangos, avocados, beans, plantain, ackee and a shit ton of ganja. Bobby cooked.  Bobby was the main man.  He rented us a bamboo hut down near the beach. Strawberry Fields was named in the seventies and supposedly became a popular tourist destination.  But when we were there, there was not another tourist, let alone white person to be seen. Again.

 

jam hut

Bobby’s hut

 

We met a number of the local guys that same evening, I have no memories of seeing another woman.  None of that mattered though.  We sat around having a smoke together.  A chalice was filled and passed to me to light (basically what we call a bong.)  I smoked the whole thing in one toke. My lungs as big as my mouth.  I was not showing off, we smoked huge pipes in Amsterdam and I did not know I was supposed to pass it on.

You have to picture this.  There were about six of us sat around, totally high, and it was time to introduce ourselves.  There was one guy, fat dreads, who looked up and slowly said  “I am the Bush Doctor”.  We became friends with him.  He was the only guy who had been out of Jamaica, and he had visited New York.

We paid one of the men a few bucks a day to keep an eye on us. He called himself a bodyguard.  We were told that a couple of weeks earlier some German guys had had a run in with a guy with a machete.  That may or may not have been true.

 

jam joint

The bodyguard

Two weeks up there saw us forming some friendships.  Some of the dudes took us deep sea fishing. We were out on the boat for a few hours.  Everyone was too off of their heads to actually catch anything.  Smoking with these guys was wicked.

One day we had the privilege of being taken on a long hike, up through the woods and into their hidden fields of green.  High point.  Pun intended.

jam chris and guide

Chris and guide on the hike

 

We had our own beach, not another soul to be seen for miles. We were in bed each night by eight and up again with the first pipe at four.  I am surprised I remember anything.

 

jam beach

The beach

 

After eleven days living this free life, experiences too numerous to mention, the guys walked us to get a bus back down to Kingston.  We maybe left them with some LSD.  It was a minibus for 12 and there were 22 people on it.  Three hours, and winding mountain roads until we were back at the hotel for our last night.  I was so desperate to get off the bus I forgot my sleeping bag.

Dead Bodies and Valium

Next day we flew to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, with a two day stopover, before we would be able to fly on to Santa Domingo.  There was no straight connection between Amsterdam and the Dominican Republic.

As the plane came into land over Port-au-Prince, all you could see was slums. Corrugated iron shacks; thousands of them, right up to the perimeter of the airport.  A country with no tourists, and not because they were in Montego Bay.  There were none.  Well us and a bizarre American woman with her two daughters.  The five of us stayed in the Royal Haitian Hotel.  200 rooms, a full staff, and us.  Voodoo weird.

 

jam slums

 

As we left the airport, pushing our way through throngs of people, a couple of kids asked us if we wanted to see a dead body.  For five bucks.  Maybe that explained why you could buy Valium over the counter.  Most counters.

 

jam weed

About eighteen months later, we received a letter from Jamaica.  Upon opening it, a small piece of paper fell out with the words “More LSD” written on it.

“Nothing is real, and nothing to get hung about, Strawberry Fields forever.”  The Beatles 1967

CQ of APJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

All memories approximate, due to …..

18 Comments

Filed under Stories, Travels

Australia Trip Highlights – Photo Essay

 

Clearly Portia’s wedding was the highlight of the holiday but the whole 3 weeks were so jam-packed that this post really contains the highlights of the highlights. I haven’t even included the little train ride through the Sydney Botanic Gardens or the morning spent chatting with Portia and Anna-Maria in the Chinese Gardens at Darling Harbour.

Before I even I arrived, I decided that despite my various ‘limitations’, I’d really go for it on this trip – and I did. No lie-ins, no rest days. I pushed myself and found I could do a lot more than I imagined, socially as well as physically. None of it would have been possible however, without the support of my friends. They mean the world to me and I would never have got to experience Australia without them.

 

 

 

Soon after I arrived, Jin (Portia’s partner, now husband) took me by ferry to a tour of Sydney Opera House. I loved the building and found its history fascinating.

 

 

 

 

 

Our mate Tina G organised our 3 night stay at Emu Apartments in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in the Northern Territory. The day we arrived, she had arranged for us to have ‘Dinner Under the Stars’ with a talk through the night sky and a walk around the Field of Lights: a light installation which sadly could not be captured effectively by camera. It was a magical experience from start to finish.

 

20180718_185045

I adore that red earth!

20180718_185052

The landscape was like nothing I’d seen before.

 

Not only did we see Uluru at sunrise and sunset on the same day, but we did a tour of the rock itelf. Some of the aborignal stories the guide shared can only be told at Uluru and they had me enthralled.

 

 

Tina booked us on a hike of nearby Kata Tjuta – a landmark made up of 36 huge domed rocks. I had a couple of stumbles but I survived! Without her knowledge of the area, we might have missed out on this wonder.

 

IMG-20180719-WA0021

 

 

 

20180719_115604

 

Next Portia and I flew to Cairns, Queensland and I got to meet Portia’s wonderful Auntie Tracey. We took a Quicksilver boat excursion to the outer Great Barrier Reef. I had not intended to snorkel out in the deep sea, but I did. We also took the semi-submersible for a closer look at the coral.

 

20180721_124415

Portia in the semi-submersible. Luckily, I wasn’t claustrophobic.

 

 

 

We drove nearly 9 hours from Cairns to Airlie Beach where we stayed at a lovely Airbnb apartment. We spent our one full day on an Ocean Rafting adventure into the Whitsunday Islands. Here I got to see the most stunning beaches and snorkel as close as it gets to the colourful coral which comes down from the beach at Border Island.

 

FB_IMG_1533492917009

 

 

 

 

20180723_111744

The breath-taking Hill Inlet

20180723_114020

The breath-taking Portia Turbo

 

Spending a few days with my friend Natalie – an ex-blogger who now lives in Sydney – was a highlight in itself. I felt happy just being in her company. We visited some of the city’s many beautiful beaches. My favourite was Palm Beach where they film the TV show Home and Away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20180726_122843

World famous Bondi Beach

 

Like many tourists visiting Australia, I really wanted to meet a kangaroo and a koala. I got to do both and see a lot more native animals at Featherdale Wildlife Park.

 

IMG_20180731_232122_789.jpg

Feeding a baby kangaroo

FWP21210985_1111

With Jin, Kath, Portia and Victor the koala (who is asleep, not drugged!)

 

Finally, it was a thrill to experience Turbo Trivia live. It was impressive to see Portia in full performance mode, entertaining the players while keeping the quiz on track. She makes it look effortless but I know how much work it takes behind the scenes.

 

IMG_20180718_172757_675

 

The real incentive for me to spend around 21 hours on planes to get to Australia was the people that live there. Spending time with the friends I had already made and making new ones is what made it super special. Everything else was the most fabulous bonus ever.

 

Have you visited Australia? What should I do on my next visit? 

 

23 Comments

Filed under Travels

Heading Down Under

I can’t quite believe it, but on Friday I will be flying to Australia for 3 weeks. I’ve never visited the country before but have wanted to for a while, largely because I’m fortunate to have made so many great friends through perfume that happen to live in Sydney. Not least of these is the big-hearted bundle of fabulousness that is Portia of Australian Perfume Junkies.

 

sydney

 

I’m going at this particular time to attend Portia’s wedding, now that Australia has marriage equality. I’m sick with excitement at the thought of getting to hang out with my pals and see the sights. Portia is generously taking me travelling so I’ll get to see the Whitsunday Islands and The Great Barrier Reef as well as Uluru where our mate Tina G has put together some wonderful plans for the three of us. I’ll also be staying with another ex-perfume blogger who I can’t wait to see again.

Normal service will resume on 6th August with a Mood Scent 4 post. I appreciate your patience in the meantime!

us

 

Perfume has brought me so much, it’s quite extraordinary and I’m truly grateful.

 

 

18 Comments

Filed under Travels

That Was the Week That Was: Tunnels, Penalties and the Return of Australian Perfume Junkies

By Val the Cookie Queen of Australian Perfume Junkies

 

I took a short vacation with my husband, aka Nofearkris, last week. Probably not a vacation as you might know it. We went to Lake Garda in Italy, a well known biking Mecca. We took top class electric bikes with us, and if you have never ridden one you have no idea of what you are missing. Allow me to share my first day with you.

 

lake garda

 

After a traffic-free five hour drive down from Salzburg to Riva del Gardo, we settled into our very nice room with an amazing view. So far, so good. We decided to go out for a ride. Chris had been biking in the area several times before and was ready to show me the trails. He said it would be an easy ride. FFS. He has been saying that for 25 years and I believe him every time. So we took a straight up the mountain 6km ride on a dirt and gravel trail. Fine. I loved it.

 

route

 

As we reached the end of the trail, we took a right turn and carried up the road for several kilometers until we realized that maybe it was the wrong way to where we (read Chris) wanted to go. I was pretty wasted suddenly, lack of food and a lot of energy used in the uphill. Turned around and headed back to the original goal, Lake Ledro. I live at a bloody lake, and we were staying on a lake and I really did not care about seeing another lake.

Nevertheless, we rode on and eventually reached the destination. After refueling on spaghetti and Coke, headed back down towards Riva. The sky was a black as coal and we decided to take the asphalt road back, and not go back down the 6km. I was having a good time at this point I must add, feeling great from the food. The euphoria was short lived.

bike 3.jpg

 

We suddenly came to a tunnel, and headed straight into it. Shit. The tunnel was 6000m long, bikes NOT allowed in the tunnels and a 500 Euro fine if caught. Luckily we did not know about the fine at this point. I was shit scared and pedalling my bloody arse off. No lights on the bikes, and no light in front of me, nor behind me, Cars flying by beeping and flashing us. Awesome. I hit 42km on my bike, so desperate to get out. Chris, biking behind me at this point, said he had never seen my legs going so fast. Eventually – a light at the end of the tunnel.

As we came out it had started to rain, but to our great joy we saw another tunnel in front of us. Face palm. This one was only 1000 meters, and we knew it came down into Riva. I flew on when suddenly my sunglasses case fell out of my bum-bag which I had stupidly not done up correctly. My hero husband braked immediately and went back and got them. Sheesh.

 

nofear chris

 

We were spewed out of the tunnel into a torrential downpour, thunder and lightening, and huge hailstones bouncing off of my helmet. We biked through water 30cm deep in places. Soaked and sodden, but absolutely elated that I had survived this easy ride, we finally arrived back at the hotel.

 

hotel

 

After dinner we retreated to the hotel and settled in for the second half of the England – Columbia game. I love football and fly the England flag whenever they play, despite the heartbreak it inevitably brings. Thought it was in the bag until the Columbian coke and coffee boys put one in the net in injury time. 1-1. Then there was extra time, followed by the dreaded penalty shootout. My phone going like mad from friends and family. I was more scared than I had been in the tunnel. I hid in the bathroom, door ajar, looking through my fingers. England won the shootout and I nearly had a stroke. Vacation,
day one, was over. I was beginning to unwind.

 

bathroom.jpg

 

I wore Hermès throughout, one must retain one´s style.

 

val hermes

We stopped in Val di Sole, Italy, on the way home to watch the UCI World Cup Downhill MTB 2018 qualification runs. Chris asked me to bike up to the start at the top of the course. Hahahahahaha. Nope. I stayed down and watched at the finish line and drank coffee and ate salami sandwiches.

 

 

Australian Perfume Junkies is back up and running. I will slip back into my first and third Tuesday slots there and look forward to the challenge of keeping things fresh! I am ever thankful to Tara and A Bottled Rose for giving me a home whilst APJ got things sorted out. However, the exciting news is I am gonna stay with A Bottled Rose too; going in a somewhat different direction with a “Strange Tales from the Cookie Kitchen“ monthly post.

 

lake italy.jpg

 

Biking Bussis
CQ

12 Comments

Filed under Travels

24 Hour Perfume People – A Parisian Photo Essay

Portia of Australian Perfume Junkies invited me to join her and pals for an April trip to Paris a while ago. I thought I had better give it a miss considering I had booked a big holdaiy for July. Then last Wednesday I had one of those “life is short” moments and got on to fellow frag fanatic Lisa, to see if I could travel with her for the weekend. (Look out for her write-up on I Scent You A Day).

On Friday we boarded the Eurostar at St. Pancras.

 

20180429_153719.jpg

‘I Want My Time With You’ – Tracey Emin’s new pro-EU artwork.

 

On arrival at the Gare du Nord, we headed straight for the Metro.

 

FB_IMG_1525028685945

Photo credit: Lisa Jones

 

Lisa was staying at a hotel in the Latin Quarter while I was sleeping on the sofabed at Portia’s Airbnb, conveniently located in Les Halles. Before we met the others we found time to visit a huge French pharmacy. These places are full of amazing skincare that is often cheaper than back home. My usual Nuxe lip balm costs £9.50 but I got a couple here for 6.99 euro each.

 

 

When I arrived at the apartment, Scott was sorting through his precious scent strips from their trip to The Osmotheque the day before. He kindly let me sniff the recreated Iris Gris.

 

 

That evening we walked past the amazing Pompidou Centre on our way to dinner in the very cool Marais district.

 

 

20180427_214920

Pompidou Centre

 

 

The next morning we had croissants by the pond in the Tuileries gardens. Portia harassed the ducks and we messed about in front of The Louvre.

 

 

 

Then we made our way to the Jardin du Palais-Royal to meet up with the others (14 in total) for a 10am appointment at Serge Lutens.

 

 

20180428_094445

Jardin du Palais-Royal

 

20180428_100055

Tim and Lisa, with Margo in the background being fabulous (as per).

 

 

received_1721901071258862

A Portia Photobomb

 

 

 

 

 

20180428_100553

We went up the hallowed spiral staircase where few mortals are allowed to go.

 

 

20180428_100816

Each of the three tables had 4 different bell jars – and macarons!

 

 

After an introduction about Serge Lutens – the man himself – the staff passed around paper strips dipped into each of the twelve fragrances in turn. With strips in hand, they then read some corresponding background information about them.

The bell jars included Santal de Mysore (spiced), Miel de Bois (happily urine-free), Iris Silver Mist (bliss), Borneo 1834 (yum), Cuir Mauresque (greasy leather – in a good way), Chene (great), Un Bois Sepia (ugh), Fumerie Turque (very popular with the room), La Myrrhe (classy) and Rose de Nuit (own it).

 

20180428_111018

 

Afterwards, we were able to request others. I asked to try Une Voix Noire (which I thought I might buy) and De Profundis on skin along with Iris Silver Mist.

 

20180428_100930
Une Voix Noire turned out to be a transparent, almost honeyed, white floral. It was rather lovely but because it wasn’t the smoky gardenia I’d expected, it threw me.  I reckoned it was too much of a risk to purchase on the spot (I need a decant first).

 

20180428_103511

The Cool Kids Table

 

The one I decided to buy was Iris Silver Mist because I’m trash for iris and it isn’t as carrot-y or metallic as it used to be. When I thanked one of the SAs on my way downstairs and told her I was buying ISM, she told me it was currently available as a 30ml travel atomiser with a 30ml refill. At 120 euro for a total of 60ml (which I can spray!) compared to 190 euro for the 75ml bell jar, this was a result.

Just about everyone came away with something. In Portia’s case, three somethings – La Myrrhe, Chene and Chypre Rouge.

 

 

20180428_105145

Le Waft

 

 

Below left is the box and then below right is the black travel atomiser full of ISM, with the refill alongside it. I’ve worn it every day since and adore it. Anna-Maria bought the same and accidentally but brilliantly renamed it Irish Silver Mist 🙂

 

 

After lunch, we stopped off at Dior on our way to Jovoy. None of the swath of new perfumes in La Collection grabbed me but it’s great they do 40ml bottles now. Apparently Mitzah is released as a limited run each year, but only available in Paris.

 

 

 

Jovoy is a large store stocking a lot of luxury niche brands.  I tried Niral by Neela Vermeire Creations and a couple of the fragrances by Anatole Lebreton. I wanted to love Grimoire because of its wonderful name but sadly, did not. (You can read about my visit to the new London branch here).

 

 

A few of us wanted to visit the Sacré-Coeur and Montmartre so we left the others to it.

That tiny baby – bottom right – squealed and scared Portia out of her skin. Hahaha.

 

 

Before heading back to the apartment we made a visit to Divine Perfumes. Apparently L’Homme Sage went down well.

 

 

We spent the evening at a very nice restaurant where I tried my first oyster.

 

20180428_195040

The Last Supper

 

This fantastic group of perfume people made me feel included even though I was piggybacking on their trip at the last minute.

Lisa and I headed for the Eurostar home the next morning so it was essentially only one full day in Paris but wow, what a day.

Huge thanks to everyone involved for making it so special.

 

 

23 Comments

Filed under Perfume Events, Perfume Friends, Perfume Shopping, Travels

Holiday Sun, Skin and Hair

After sharing a photo of the inside of my suitcase the other week, I thought I’d talk about some of the many products I took with me on holiday.

We spent a week in Majorca with temperatures of 27 to 30 degrees C. I brought enough lotions and potions to cover myself, my sister and niece.

 

20170813_171022

Cleanser

I got Pixi’s Double Cleanse by Caroline Hirons in the re-issued Cult Beauty Box, just in time for my trip. It was handy to have a cream and balm cleanser in one container. I used the cream in the morning and the balm in the evening to take off my SPF. I liked the texture of both a lot. The cream is, well creamy, and the balm is nice and solid.

20170818_173305.jpg

 

Vitamin C

After cleansing in the morning I applied a layer of Vitamin C serum. This powerful antioxidant is a good way to counteract the damaging effects of sun exposure.  I took two from both ends of the price spectrum.

At home, I normally apply DCL’s C Scape High Potency Night Booster 30 in the evening because of its grainy texture. It contains 30% vitamin C (L ascorbic acid) and gives a sharp tingle on application.

As my skin got drier through the week, I switched to The Ordinary’s Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% vitamin C because it’s in oil form. I’m extremely curious about the new Vitamin C 30% Suspension in Silicone from The Ordinary. I suspect it stings pretty intensely. Let me know if you’ve tried it.

 

20170812_181241

 

Facial Sunscreen

For a base layer in the morning, I applied Anthelios XL Ultra Light Fluid SPF 50 by La Roche-Posay. It was indeed very light and a pleasure to apply.

For re-application I took Bioderma Invisible Fresh Mist SPF 50 which was a revelation. The mist is so fine you barely feel it hit your skin. This makes topping up your sunscreen an absolute breeze.  I never broke out, even with my combination skin.

 

20170812_181105IMG_20170811_102121_267

 

Body Sunscreen

I knew we’d be spending a lot of time in the swimming pool so I looked for a sunscreen that would stick. I researched a lot of high-end brands and while most say they are “water resistant”, I went for Marks and Spencer Ultra Defense SPF 50 because it’s “very water resistant”.

I bought the cream for applying in the morning and the spray version for re-application. Not glamorous, but the best for our needs.

 

20170813_150323

 

Lip Protection

Lanolips Tinted Balm is very moisturing and contains SPF 30. I got it in Rhubarb which is a natural-looking pinky colour. Good for poolside or on the beach when you’re not not wearing lipstick.

IMG_20170813_150918_678.jpg

Body Moisturisers

I took my trusty La Roche-Posay Lipikar Baume as well as the E45 Intense Recovery spray in case my skin got too over-heated from the sun.

I finished with a little Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse for the oil sheen and tropical scent (which my sister is now obsessed with). I didn’t wear any of the handful of decants I took in the end.

 

20170812_181147

IMG_20170810_101503_223

 

Hair

I took travels sizes of Bumble and Bumble’s sulphate free shampoo and conditioner but the conditioner wasn’t mosituring enough after a day in the sun and pool. Luckily, I had brought along a small tube of Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask by Briogeo and that worked wonders. I honestly think my hair came home in better condition that when I went.

I’m still experimenting with styling my hair using Wave Spray by Quai, so the jury’s out on that one.  I shared my sister’s great smelling Sun Care Protective Hair Veil spray by Aveda for a UV filter and covered my hair as much as possible.

 

20170818_173619.jpg

At Duty Free on the return leg we tried a lot of perfumes to pass the time. Both my sister and niece have great noses. My sister spritzed Eau de Pamplemousse Rose by Hermes for the flight home while my niece said Angel Muse was her favourite. The reason being “It smells like Daddy’s Christmas cookies”.

 

20170814_231559

 

Do you have vacation sun, skin or hair care products to recommend?

 

 

 

12 Comments

Filed under Beauty Review, Perfume Reviews, Travels

Summer Break

Just checking in to let you know there won’t be a post on the blog for a few weeks. It’s time to take a break. I’m off  to Majorca on Monday for a lazy holiday by the sea which is something I haven’t done in ages and feel I really need.

For the last few years I’ve done city breaks and traveled with hand luggage only. The result of suddenly not having a restriction on liquids is that I’ve started throwing whole bottles into the case with abandon. Hopefully I’ll be able to lift it. I haven’t even started on the perfume yet…

 

20170805_114849

 

 

If you’re heading off yourself, have a wonderful time and if you’re not, I hope you manage to do something fun for yourself before the end of August. We all need a break from the daily grind now and again.

Back soon!

 

 

9 Comments

Filed under Travels

Italy, Friendship and Fornasetti

 

I know I said I wasn’t going to post this week but I couldn’t wait to share my recent trip.

It was wonderful, partly because Italy is such a fabulous place but mainly because of the people I was with. Ines, Asali and Natalie are all truly kind, supportive and inspiring women.  It was a real joy to finally meet Ines (read her lovely write-up here) and Asali (who designed my gorgeous blog header) and to get to know Natalie better.

We not only saw Bologna, where we were based, but also took the train to Parma for the day.

Sadly, Ines and Asali had to leave before our final expedition to Venice on Monday.

 

Bologna

 

 

Parma

 

 

Venice

 

 

I came home feeling extremely fortunate, but also with something I’ve wanted to own for a while now.

 

fornasetti-a-la-une1

 

Fornaetti is an iconic Italian homewares brand, producing room fragrances, plates, cushions etc.

You may have seen their scented candles, even you didn’t know the name. The images are very striking and usually quirky. I guess they are something that you either find  appealing or you don’t. For me, they are actually much more about the ceramic holders than the scent of the candle inside. They are a thing of beauty and wit – a winning combination.

What had put me off until now was the price. The smaller 300g ones are generally £140. However, visiting Italy gave me the perfect excuse. We were browsing a clothes shop in Parma when I noticed the candles. There were about 8-10 of them and I thought they would make the perfect souvenir of this awesome experience.

 

20170621_121340

 

The shop offered a little money off and when Natalie worked out the conversion rate (£113), that swung the deal.

I took a little while to make up my mind but I went with the image that spoke to me the most.  This one of soprano Lina Cavalieri dressed as a medieval knight – called “Armatura” –  fits me to a T. As Natalie said “It’s dark and empowering”.

 

20170621_121728

 

The candle’s scent is called ‘Otto’ which was created in collaboration with perfumer Olivier Polge, who in recent years has composed Misia and Boy for Chanel.  The fragrance was inspired by the Mediterranean herbs found in and around the Fornasetti home in Milan. It has notes of thyme, lavender, cedarwood and incense and was created in Grasse, France, while the porcelain holders are made and hand-decorated in Italy.

 

 

I’ve been piecing together my own metaphysical suit of armour for a couple of years now and the idea of a fighter with femininity resonates greatly with me. It will be a nice reminder of the strong women that are my friends and for who I will travel the earth to see, as well as my own inner warrior.

 

 

Do you like Fornasetti or scented candles in general? Is there a decorative object that you’ve long lusted after?

 

 

23 Comments

Filed under Perfume Friends, Perfume Shopping, Travels

Italy and Instagram

Hello All,

There won’t be a blog post next week as I’m off to Italy for a few days. Tangentially, it’s a perfume-related trip, as I’ll be meeting up with three friends I’ve found through blogging.

These are, Natalie of Another Perfume Blog (which is sadly no longer extant), Ines of All I am – a redhead and Asali of The Sounds of Scent. I’ve never met Asali or Ines in real life so I’m super excited to see them for the first time and it will be beyond wonderful to spend time with Natalie again after she’s been such a great support to me over the last few months.

Add this to finally meeting Undina  a couple of weeks ago and I feel really lucky to be meeting so many women I’ve known online since the beginning of my adventure down the fragrant rabbit-hole, some six or seven years ago  As Vanessa says, we come for the perfume but stay for the friendships.

We will be travelling to Bologna from four different countries which is pretty cool. Bologna looks like a fabulous medieval city and a good base for seeing other parts of the country. It also helps that the region is known as ‘The Stomach of Italy’ because I plan on eating all the food.

I intend to post some pics on Instagram which I’ve joined recently (@abottledrose). I never thought Instagram was the place for someone with a sight impairment but I was encouraged to try it by Val the Cookie Queen and she never steers me wrong.

I’m giving it a go and enjoying it so far. The photos on Facebook have long been my favourite part and the Insta Stories are a lot of fun. I post the odd Scent of the Day pic and other bits and pieces. As I have recently become skincare obsessed there’s some of that too.

Although I did wonder at first if I should be cutting down on my social media, not adding to it, Instagram feels more carefree than other virtual hangouts.

 

 

Have you been to Bologna? Are you on Instagram? What are you thoughts about social media?

 

 

 

 

46 Comments

Filed under Perfume Friends, Thoughts, Travels