Tag Archives: Val the Cookie Queen

A Mini London Meetup – Photo Essay

Last weekend Val the Cookie Queen and her fabulous daughter Hannah (aka Blondes Wunder) landed in London for a flying visit. I met them on Friday afternoon and we had a chilled time after healthy fast food at Leon.

We got on the tube to Oxford Circus and similar to last time, Val and I installed ourselves in the Topshop cafe while Hannah trawled the rails. We had goods to exchange. Val brought me perfume but I was more excited about the world’s best cookies. I immediately ate three which showed great restraint on my part.

 

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Val’s first sniff of the vintage Chanel No.5 I brought back from Sydney for Portia.

 

 

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On Saturday morning I met Val at the back entrance of Liberty on Canaby Street. We’d be spending the day with Nick of fragrance consultancy Olfiction and Thomas, The Candy Perfume Boy who was coming down from Milton Keynes with his lovely husband, Nigel.

 

 

Before they arrived, we went into the store and had a look at Le Labo. The new Tonka 25 is very soft and quiet – likely to appeal to those craving something comforting. Val checked out Vetiver 46 which was better than most in that genre for me. (Later Thomas and I had a laugh about the fact that people regularly tell him that they wear a perfume called Santal 33 that nobody else knows about).

 

 

 

We spent some time at the Frederic Malle counter where Val and I always seem to gravitate. As a collection, it’s hard to beat, especially when it comes to niche.

 

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Val’s friend Rosie joined us and became totally smitten with Portrait of a Lady. We were shown the new 30ml atomisers which are a nice addition. Prices vary depending on the perfume: Musc Ravageur is £85 while Carnal Flower is £122.

 

 

 

Thomas and Nigel arrived.

 

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Thomas checked out the Christmas limited edition coloured bottles.

 

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Nick found us after having to get an Uber thanks to a cancelled train. He was due to be on QVC at 6pm for Miller Harris. We regrouped outside and decided to head to Muji to buy some atomisers for Val.

 

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Lunch was at Nando’s. I rarely eat there but luckily I was with aficionados. I had the Fino Pitta with Peri Peri salted chips and it was so good I didn’t stop to take a photo. Before the food arrived we did what my friend Natalie calls ‘table spritzing’. Not to be encouraged in public but we were seated in a corner away from other people. Nick had brought the strangelove nyc perfume samples for Val. Believe me when I tell you the vicinity smelt of oud from then on (it was good oud though).

 

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Next stop was the bakery Crumbs and Dollies in Kingly Court for Nigel. Hannah found a vegan cupcake too.

 

 

 

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Nick and me outside the bakery. He gives excellent advice and is a great listener.

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At this point it began to rain. We made it to Champion for Hannah to get some jogging pants and then went on to Selfridges as the downpour got considerably heavier. Nick had to shoot off to QVC once we got to Oxford Street.

Our last sniff was at the Chanel counter. Bien sûr! We looked at the limited edition red bottles which photograph beautifully but I found a little underwhelming in reality.

 

 

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Check out Blondes Wunder’s excellent beauty channel on YouTube here.

 

I’m currently experiencing extremely high levels of anxiety thanks to a house move so to spend time with such wonderful people was just what I needed.

 

 

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Filed under Perfume Friends, Perfume Shopping

A Stunning New Word – And Some Ramblings

By Val the Cookie Queen

Hi Guys 
 
Dropping in for my bi-monthly visit here at A Bottled Rose.  About a year ago I heard the most wonderful word used on the radio, sometime around 4.00am.   I sleep with BBC World Service playing softly at the side of the bed. I often hear interesting things but have no recollection when I wake up.  However on this occasion I got up and wrote the word down.  I have been waiting ever since to present it in a post.  
 
ANTICAPPOINTMENT
 
Forgive me those who are familiar with the word,  I was not.   It covers a host of events and situations in life.
I will in this case use it in relation to my feelings regarding the current perfume scene. My anticipation at new releases and the continual disappointment that follows. Anticappointment.
Perfume is subjective, we all know that, I name no names.  Nine out of ten things that I sniff are awful and the one out of ten that isn’t is not what I would buy. Hahahaha – it makes you wonder that I don’t just give up, huh?
To give up an addiction one first has to want to, and I don’t.  
Before anyone jumps out at me, I know there is good new stuff, but let us be honest here, it’s few and far between.  
 
Fear not.  I still have classic signs of addiction.  I recently bought 50mls of Dior”s discontinued Mitzah from a perfumista friend who scored a half gallon in Paris.  
I tried it once years ago and did not like it.  LMAO.  But I have moved on and I reckon I am gonna love it now.  It was shipped to Tara and I will get it next week. 
uk
 
Which brings me nicely to my ramblings.  I’m heading to London tomorrow, along with BlondesWunder, and as you read this we will be in Pack’n’Panic mode.  
I will get two full days with Tara, an evening with Portia, time with Bonkers Vanessa, a meet up with Megan In St Maxime, and most of us are going to The Art and Olfaction Awards. Keep your eyes out on my Instagram …
anima vi
 
I have a date with a favourite blogger, (to be revealed in my next post) and together we will spend some time with Nathalie Vinciguerra, the founder and CEO of Anima Vinci.  These perfumes excite me and come highly recommended.  Stay tuned. 
 
What perfume will I wear to the Art and Olfaction Awards? I hear you ask. Why Vero Profumo of course. Naja Eau de Parfum, including notes of red apple and leather. Launch date to be announced.  
apple
 
Have you ever been anticappointed?
 
Britain Bound Bussis
CQ
 
 Apple image by John Hyde Phillips

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Filed under Perfume Events, Perfume Friends

You Can Find Me In The Gym

It used to be that you were about as likely to find me in the gym as you were to find me “in da club”. Things have changed.

For the majority of 2014 I suffered from persistent negative thoughts. I tried various ways to cope with these, from the very old (Buddhist worry beads) to the very new (unfriending a load of people on Facebook). Nothing worked which meant I would need to take drastic action the following year. 2015 subsequently became my year of living dangerously – well compared to how I had been living, anyway.

In February last year I sat silently quaking on a 2 hour flight to spend time in Austria with a good friend. By December I was sitting relatively calmly on a 10 hour flight to a retreat where I didn’t know any of the 130 other attendees. I made lots of changes inbetween those two events but the pivotal one was joining the gym last July.

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The person responsible for holding my hand and encouraging me every step of the way was Val the Cookie Queen. Like all the best role-models she didn’t preach or cajole, she was just a great advert for what an active life-style can do for you.

Up to that point I’d heard countless times how exercise helps with low mood. I just couldn’t identify with working-out in any way and didn’t consider it to be an option for me. All I’d done in the past 20 years was a spell of Kundalini yoga: call me hardcore, but I don’t think anyone should be snoring during their exercise session (I swear it wasn’t me).

When I tentatively brought up the idea of following her example and going to the gym, Val plainly stated it would change my life. That was the final push I needed to at least give it a try.

To say I had low expectations on taking out a gym membership is to put it mildly. I felt like a fish out of water and thought it unlikely that it would be for me. But in the spirit of my drive to step out of my comfort zone, I’d give it a proper go for the next 6 months.

After two weeks my obsessive thoughts had decreased by about 90%. I was amazed. Considering they had been intense and constant for the previous year and half, I don’t think this is a coincidence. I doubt I was pushing myself hard enough to release the required amount of endorphins but I do think I sent a strong positive message to myself that I was prepared to do whatever it took to improve my well-being.

Becoming fitter and reducing my body fat was a great bonus. I do two sessions of cardio/resistance work a week plus a Hatha yoga class. Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t exactly enjoy being at the gym and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t check my watch regularly while I’m there. All the same, if I can’t go for any reason, instead of feeling relieved I feel uneasy. This is now an important part of my weekly routine.

Thanks Val, you were right; going to the gym changed my life.

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Me and Val at Fortnum & Mason last summer

Do you go to the gym or do any other kind of regular exercise? What have the benefits been? 

 

 

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