Thursday 25 September 2008

Miller Harris fragrant tea room

Today's Daily Candy London has the news that Miller Harris are opening a fragrant tea room in their main Bruton Street shop.

Some googling led me to this interesting 4 part interview with Lynn Harris of Miller Harris which contains more information about the teas.

I was interested and excited to read that she had made the teas in conjunction with Postcard Teas, a beautiful little shop on Dering Street in Mayfair which I have blogged about before. When I visited the shop Timothy D'Offay the owner did tell me that he had been working in conjunction with a perfumer on some teas but I was too bashful to ask which one or I could have had myself a scoop! As I said to him I think the collaboration makes absolute sense.

The interviewer for Beauty and the Dirt also asked Lynn Harris which perfumes she wears, to which she answers 'Amongst others, Terre de Bois from Miller Harris and Jicky by Guerlain'. I admire her for not just saying her own fragrance and Jicky= great taste.

Miller Harris tea picture courtesy of

Tuesday 23 September 2008

Frederic Malle at Liberty

Exciting London perfumista news- my favourite department store Liberty has started stocking the Frederic Malle Editions De Parfums range.

This is a match made in heaven, the fantastic ethos of the Malle range with it's commitment to giving perfumers freedom from financial and artistic constraints and the long term tradition Liberty has for supporting artists of all kinds.

That said I hope this doesn't affect Les Senteurs, previously the only UK Malle stockist, as I love this shop too.

You can read an interview with Frederic Malle on the Liberty website here.

Monday 22 September 2008

Book Freed!

I finally managed to free my copy of Perfumes; The Guide from it's previously mentioned internment by Royal Mail. (Please note Royal Mail surely if I wasn't at home to collect my book between 9am and 6pm I wouldn't be available to collect it from the sorting office two train stops away between those hours during the week...) However I was free between 9am and 1pm on Saturday when visiting and collecting hours are at weekends.

I was then off to the theatre as mentioned below but on my return home at midnight I immediately opened the book with all the excitement of a child reading the final Harry Potter (actually myself reading the last Harry Potter too). I read PTG from end to end but of course didn't digest it terribly well so I am now taking it more slowly.

I am overjoyed that Luca Turin and Tanya Sanchez love L'heure Bleu and was very interested to read that Coco Mademoiselle was only originally intended as a flanker and it's success surprised Chanel. There were some fragrances I really love that weren't mentioned, including the big rose perfumes Nahema and Diva; but then I have read the newsletter that mentions they will be reviewing more scents in the coming months and years and maybe it's nice to have some to wait for.

The UK edition comes in a lovely black and white striped hardback edition with a bright orange lining and is going to be a permanent fixture on my bed side table which I will love to dip into.

Kate Moss for Coco Maedmoiselle picture courtesy of:

Sunday 21 September 2008


I went to see Ivanov, the first part of the new Donmar West End season at the Wyndham's theatre, on Saturday.

The play has been receiving rave reviews and I have had the tickets for about 4 months so I was very excited. Kenneth Branagh plays the title character and Gina McKee plays his wife, a Jewish woman who has renounced her faith to marry Ivanov. The play was apparently commissioned as a comedy and in this Tom Stoppard adaptation there is certainly a lot of humour, but this being Chekhov it also has very dramatic and poignant story lines. I don't want to spoil the play but you can read more about it here.

I really enjoyed the play and thought the whole cast were superb, especially McKee and Branagh, I particularly enjoyed all the scenes they shared and thought they both played the difficult scenes between a husband and wife facing illness and loss of love very well and with great empathy. The flitting between comedy and tragedy in the play can be difficult but the actors manage to really pack an emotional punch even when their dramatic scenes are short. I preferred the dramatic elements of the play but without the humour it would be a difficult watch so it is needed- and it's well done.

You can buy tickets for all four of the Donmar West End season here.

pictures courtesy of:


Thursday 18 September 2008

Paintings kill pain

This article discusses a study about art and pain. It has concluded that looking at beautiful art did ease the physical pain of the people who took part in the study. It goes on to say this might help hospitals to justify expenditure on art for their wards which has to be a good thing.

Starry night picture courtesy of:

Nigella Christmas

I know it's only September, Autumn has barely begun here and we have halloween, bonfire night and many other celebrations before Christmas but I received the exciting news that this year Nigella Lawson is finally releasing a Christmas cook book.

The titleNigella Christmas isn't too innovative but I don't care!

Nigella did some one off Christmas programmes for the BBC a couple of years ago that were wonderful. Full of great recipes including her mulled cider recipe which I became obsessed with.

Her book is definitely going on my wish list this year. What Nigella seems to understand about Christmas is how to make food that smells wonderfully of Christmas and infuses your home with a cosy, peaceful and safe atmosphere that is partly what I find Christmas is all about.

Now I promise no more Christmas posts until much nearer the time.

Tuesday 16 September 2008

Book held hostage

My long awaited copy of Perfumes: The Guide is being held against its will at my local post office. Apparently it's too big for my letter box.

Friday 12 September 2008

The Duchess

I went to see The Duchess last night. I know Keira Knightley isn't every one's favourite but I am a history graduate and would have wanted to see this film whoever was cast.

As it turns out I really enjoyed the film. I don't know that Keira Knightley is what I had imagined Georgiana to be but she is certainly a good choice to highlight Georgiana's young age and inexperience when she marries and her physical difference from the actress who plays Bess, her best friend and her husband's later mistress works quite well.

Charlotte Rampling is wonderful as Countess Spencer and get some of the best lines- which she delivers with relish- sex for example 'can be a bother'.

To be honest I was mostly lost in the visuals of the film, it really is sumptuous. The costumes are wonderful, particularly Georgiana's as she was a fashion icon. The scenery is wonderful too, there is a scene where Georgiana and Bess are in a sort of marshy land which just seems so isolated and desolate but incredibly beautiful, quite unlike the pretty but quite twee English countrywide we often get in period films set in Britain.

For scent aficionados I was pleased to see bottles of scent on Georgiana's dressing table and she is also filmed dabbing perfume behind her ears on the way to an assignation. I suppose the scents Georgiana would have worn would along the lines of those worn by Marie Antoinette and discussed in the wonderful A Scented Palace by Elisabeth de Feydeau. The ingredients used by Marie Antoinette's perfumer seemed very similar to our own scents: rose, violet, tuberose and orange blossom- this is all from memory as my copy of the book is in storage! It is definitely worth finding your own copy and sitting down with some macaroons to immerse yourself- and I would say the same of the film.

**UPDATE** I just found this
excellent blog review of A scented palace which has more detail than my from memory musings!

Georgiana on her wedding day picture courtesy of:

Chatsworth house picture courtesy of:

Thursday 11 September 2008

Testing, testing

I was hurrying like the white rabbit yesterday evening when I decided that I could just as easily hurry through the ground floor of a perfume department as I could hurry along the street and it would be drier in there (it's still raining!). So...

I found Lancome's Magnifique and Guerlain's Eau De Parfum of Insolence had both landed(this my have landed a little while ago in truth, I really don't like Insolence so haven't really been paying attention but I saw the purple bottle and thought it looked, well better I suppose, or it re-intrigued me).

Magnifique has a big build up and I have read lots of initial reviews so I was keen to try for myself. Firstly I do quite like the design of the bottle but I do find it a bit RED. I suppose it's better than if it had been another pink perfume bottle but it's a bit too fiery. I didn't find Magnifique to be particularly anything to be honest. It is woody but I couldn't detect anything very special at all but you could choose far worse offerings. Historically the only Lancome I have really clicked with is Mille et Une Rose and I have never had a full bottle.

However at the counter I was drawn to the original Miracle scent and I was surprised by how much I liked it! It's so peppery and not as overtly feminine as it looks. If you stood me by the Lancome counter and said I could have any of their scents for free I think I would go for the Miracle over the Magnifique any day (Mille et une Rose is rarely available here). I always loved the Miracle pictures with Uma Thurman too (although I know there are issues about them now).

Now the Insolence EDP. I actually found it to be much more wearable than the original Insolence. I still don't think it's going to be for me but it smelled less synthetic than I found the EDT smelled and I actually found myself going back for more sniffs. It was less sickly violet sugar, although that is still mostly what I got it was in a much more natural way. The deep purple bottle it much more attractive too I think.

Magnifique bottle picture courtesy of:

Miracle picture courtesy of:

Insolence picture courtesy of:

Wednesday 10 September 2008

My Guerlain

I keep taking the discover your fragrance test on Guerlain's website but I don't feel that I am finding my fragrance!

I have taken it about 3 times now and it keeps telling me that I want a fragrance to freshen up- but I don't! I want it to tell me my perfect Guerlain is L'heure Bleu, Apres L'Ondee or Nahema. But no it tells me that I should like the Aqua Allegoria range and all the Guerlain Eaus. It's funny how people think your taste in perfume should conform to type, so you like the outdoors, you like light fresh scents, you have brown hair you must like exotic scents and so on.

Now I do like the Eaus for what they are but they're not really scents I think of as 'me', lovely as they are. The Aqua Allegoria's are scents I always want to love but they never quite grip me.

Anyway the quiz is quite fun even if it doesn't match you up with your favourite. You can take it here.

La Maison de Guerlin picture courtesy of:

Thursday 4 September 2008

Bathing in bluebells

I'm not sure if it's the weather cooling or the fact that our bath which used to only run luke warm and required Victorian style topping up with kettle boiled water has suddenly started running proper hot water but I am obsessed with baths at the moment.

I have always liked a bath but having long hair and being busy means I normally just take showers. However lately I am taking a bath in the evening and then jumping in the shower too!

So I have a renewed interest in bath oils and foams all of a sudden.

For pure luxury and indulgence I have always enjoyed Penhaligon's bath oils and have been lucky enough to pick up bottles in sales.

My favourite Penhaligon's bath oil is Bluebell, although I also like Violetta, and would love to try the Lavendula and Elizabethan Rose.

Bluebell is an unusual scent in both the oil and perfume incarnations. Reading reviews it seems a bit love or hate and I can understand not everyone would appreciate it- but to me it really does smell of an English wood, of damp earth that has been shaded by trees for hundreds of years, and for taking me to the woods near my childhood home I love it.

I actually think the scent is in many ways more suited to the bath oil as the steam makes the whole room smell of woods (perhaps that's just the quantity I put in though) and it's more evocative this way.I also find it very calming, restorative and re balancing.

Bluebells picture courtesy of:

Penhaligon's bottle from their website as above