Friday, 19 June 2009

The Rose Reward Scheme

Last night I put into action a reward scheme for myself.

For example, action: go to the dentist, reward: go to Liberty sale afterwards.

I am basically copying my Mother’s model from my childhood. If I went to the dentist and was a good girl we could go to the nice shop that sold old fashioned cream tea afterwards. (Unfortunately when my Mother stopped taking me to the dentist I stopped going quite so much).

The dentist was good but I need a root canal- which costs more than the Marc Jacobs shoes I was going to reward myself with (above). So action: don’t go to the dentist, reward: get large dentist bill when I have to go.

Nevertheless the trip was worth it because I can report Liberty now have the entire By Redo scent and candle range for sale- and that I want some Bal D'Afrique please. Perhaps after the root canal eh?

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Boudicca Wode

On my visit to Connaught village I finally got to try the new scent Wode by Boudicca. (This is not to be confused with the Boadicea the victorious line- which I am also extremely curious about).

Wode comes in a stainless steel, graffiti can like bottle. You can choose two concentration of the scent- an eau de parfum which when sprayed onto skin looks clear like most scents. The second option is a bright, cobalt blue coloured spray- which when spritzed looks as though you have sprayed yourself with spray paint. The tenacity of the fragrance is a little lower in this version but this may well be worth it for the look of wonder in people's eyes as you demonstrate how the blue paint turns clear on your skin. You can watch the video of a model being sprayed with the blue scent here.

Notes for Wode include: juniper berry, cardamon, nutmeg absolute, clary sage, coriander seed, angelica route, saffron, tuberose absolute, tonka bean and castoreum (full list on their website). However it's the hemlock that adds the layer of magic and mystery to the scent, giving weight as it does to the scents tie with Queen Boudicca (Boudiccea- whatever) and her cobalt blue, woad painted Icini warriors.

The scent is very delicate for something associated with a woman of such immense power in her own lifetime and beyond. It is ultimately a cold, musky, woody, natural smelling, thoughtful fragrance. Perhaps when you first imagine the scent of Boudiccea you think of some kind of eighties powerhouse fragrance but this is actually much more fitting. It is also extremely wearable for something so achingly cool.

For more on Wode and a list of stockists please go to the Boudicca website .

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Essie: Liberty Belle

Liberty and Essie have collaborated to bring us Liberty Belle- an exclusive deep purple nail varnish.

Liberty is my favourite shop. Essie is my favourite nail varnish. What's not to like?

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Shopping in Connaught Village: Viola and Wear Downey

There are few things I like so much as wandering around village London. This Saturday my destination was Connaught village, an oasis of independent shops, beautiful architecture and perfect London squares all conveniently located near a Baskin Robbins on Edgeware Road.

I love discovering new shops and streets- and that feeling of being not quite lost but not knowing what is going to be around the next bend; give me this kind of shopping and searching for treasure over the high street any day.

My first stop was the exquisite new boutique Viola. I walked up the three tiny black steps- perfectly sized for a ladies feet- and into wonderland. This shop gave me the same feeling I get in Liberty of almost bathing in delight at how many beautiful wares are available. Being me I was particularly taken with the Parfums de Nicolai fragrances- but the fashion, jewellery and bags all made my pupils large with lust. Come pay day I think it is extremely unlikely I won't be back there buying the grass green bag I so desire.

Then it was on to Wear Downery- which was another room I could quite happily have moved into and lived in like a studio flat come dressing room. Here I found intricate, very delicate hand knitted garments made by hand. There were also some other fantastic bits and pieces including Isaacy Manu shirts that appealed to my current obsession with colour and eighties asymmetric design but avoided the fancy dress eighties look that is more prevalent on the high street.

I can't wait to go back to both shops and fill my hands with bags- what a lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

To scent a wedding

I am thrilled that a close friend has asked me to help her choose a scent for her wedding.

I think the love of scent is quite infectious and she has decided that she would like a new perfume to wear on that day so it will always remind her of it.

Knowing how personal fragrance is I am trying very hard not to influence her with any of my ideas about what is a good wedding fragrance or how to choose something.

I have proposed an evening of sniffing at London's best counters followed by some glasses of wine.

I have recently begun mixing oils and she has mentioned she would like me to make her something. I would love to do this but realistically I don't think my efforts are going to a patch on Diorissimo (a classic wedding scent and the perfume I think of when I think about white dresses and bouquets).

It's lovely that my dear friend trusts me to make something and that she wants something personal but I do think the professionals may have come up with something she would prefer in all honestly. This is someone who does not yet know about Frederic Malle, Serge Lutens or Annick Goutal. I think we can find her something timeless, distinctive and charming but I have decided I am going to make her a questionnaire so I can think of some perfumes to try in advance- otherwise her nose is going to be totally over loaded.

These are my question ideas (which can be a little abstract)- please let me know if you have any more- and your favourite wedding scents and recommendations.

If you could describe a landscape you would like to smell like on your wedding day what would it look like?

Would you prefer a scent that is more suited to day time or evening or to layer scents?

Do you want a scent that is at all vintage or nostalgic?

What fragrance do you most enjoy wearing on a daily basis?

Is your favourite cocktail a mojito, a belini, a daiquiri or a Margarita? (you cannot answer all of the above!)

Will you be more of a diamonds or pearls bride?

Which two words best describe how you want to smell on your wedding day? sexy, alluring, luminous, innocent, classic, elegant, happy-go-lucky, joyful, free spirited, natural, graceful

Wide Sargasso Sea

I thought this piece comparing Jean Rhys and Amy Winehouse was very interesting.

I wonder why woman with self destructive tendencies are never quite as romanticised as self destructive, artistic men?

Rebecca Hall seems to be everywhere at the moment and the interviews I have read have made me realise I missed this BBC adaptation of Wide Sargasso Sea, which she features in. Frustratingly it only seems to be available as a region 1 dvd- why do the BBC release things in America but not here?

Thursday, 4 June 2009

In which our heroine vanishes inside the TV box

After an extremely hectic and cool social week of getting in at 1am and being up at 6am each day I, of course, succumbed to a cold at the weekend.

This week has been the exact opposite of last and I have been hurrying home to watch endless TV with only a pack on man size tissues and those old fashioned blackcurrant glycerin sweets for company- and I have been secretly loving it!

Ashes to Ashes continues to have me on the edge of my seat but my favourite programme of the week so far is Mary Portas' new Mary, Queen of charity shops. I have always enjoyed her programme but this one was real treasure. It's like a cross between a fashion programme, a lifestyle programme, a reality TV show and a soap opera. The area manager, the toy twins, the shy lady who was too scared to sell cake- such amazing characters. Mary Portas' facial expressions are priceless.

Mary and all of her army of volunteers obviously really care about the shop doing well and it made me feel good about being someone who only takes things I want would to buy to the charity shop- which are normally things I will never fit in again...

Book held captive- again!

I found a message inbox this morning informing me that my order for a brand new copy of Perfume by Jean- Claude Ellena- the book I have been lusting after for months- has been delayed. The publisher don't know when there will be more copies. I will be updated. Sometime. It was due out today. What happened, did they just open the box where they thought the books were and find it was bare?

Perfume books online orders and I don't seem to have much luck. Perhaps this is the universe telling me to get myself down to Piccadily or Charing Cross and get my hands dirty searching.