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What is better than Clarins Moisture-Rich Body Lotion?

27 May

The answer is : Clarins Renew- Plus Body Serum.

I have an awful lot of years now, under my belt, with beauty products, and have seen a lot of brands come and go, and some changing their names and product ingredients, so I have decided to do a write up on one of my old favourites: Clarins

  • I like their clear, ‘no fuss’, easily- recognisable packaging and their clear red typeface on a white background, in a font size that I can read, sometimes without my specs, which is very useful, if one is in the shower. I can even read the small text on the back of packages and on the leaflets with my specs on, which is a great bonus, nowadays.(I always feel I ought to be able to sue some pharmaceutical brands for discrimination against the aged)
  • I have used Clarins Moisture-Rich Body lotion, with shea butter for dry skin for a number of years as I really like the smell and it absorbs quite quickly and my skin feels smooth. Olfactory senses for me is a huge selling point, having been subjected to everyone I pass lately, smelling like either a coconut or fig pudding!!! What’s going on???? Or a lime or mandarin jelly???? ( I must say though that I absolutely HATE the ‘uplifting-perfume’ splash-it-on stuff in the red bottle that Clarins do as it reminds me of those air freshener things that affect my sinuses. My list of  olfactory aversions is ever-increasing: Zoflora disinfectant, which reminds me of care-homes, Glade carpet vacuum powder, why would you want to sprinkle that all over your carpets, those wall air-freshener things that people put everywhere, even in their wardrobes, room-sprays, some candles, some flowery perfumes that are pretending to smell of roses. Sorry, I have got a bit grumpy, but bring back the good old joss-sticks and the real potpourri, not those lurid- colour-coded bits of sprayed- wood- shrapnel!!!!
  • Okay, sorry, I quite like Clarins french text, as it helps me to keep up with my french and I love everything french, and didn’t vote for Brexit, and would probably now go and live in France, as I really like the look of Macron, but now my pension wouldn’t match their euros, so I am scuppered!
  • Renew-Plus Body serum is even better than the body lotion, as it is a dream to massage in, and seems to take longer to absorb, so you can smooth it in. I feel it is sort of between an oil and a lotion???? Thank you Clarins. It is also AGE-DEFYING concentrate and I think this makes all the difference, as opposed to the moisture-rich lotion for dry skin. My skin is now aged, dry skin and if you push your finger along my forearm, it wrinkles like jam, when you are doing that saucer-test, haven’t made jam? Don’t ever make damson jam; my lovely hubby used to go for cover, as I swore at the hot spitting cauldron, bubbling away, and the hours trying to pick out all the stones, so that people didn’t break their teeth on their jam-butties.
  • I am finishing now as my coffee has appeared and I am going to smell my real roses in the garden but I will be back with the Clarins Relax body treatment and L’Occitane body oil in comparison to my forty year old home-made version!! Bet you can’t wait! Ruth always tells me off for anecdotes, capital letters and exclamation marks so hopefully she will be so busy she won’t notice a little blog going astray, she has her standards to keep up you know!!!!!!!!! Also I don’t use my Twitter account very much now as I am really extremely politically insensitive when I get going, especially after a coffee and so perhaps I will slip by unnoticed, without getting her to edit out anything!!!!!!!!!!!! Here goes!!!!!!!!!

 

The Perfumery! Never felt the need for a dressing table?

23 Mar

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Ever felt the need for pink fluffy talk?

I haven’t ever had a dressing table with a stool but my grandparents and my parents always had one and there was always a sort of air of female mystery to them; drawers on either side with handkerchiefs, nylon stockings, underwear, boxes of  talcum powders and those fluffy brushes with little satin bows on the top. There were special green glass containers shaped like mermaids or with pot pouri inside, and trays to put your pearl necklaces and earrings in. I still have a whole set of black ebony dressing table tray and ring holders and a selection of bristle hairbrushes and mirrors which are boxed and on the loft and never to be used.

Is it that we just don’t have the time, or the room, or is it just another thing to dust? We had Maids, as in Downton Abbey? We have Spas now and ‘body-brushing’ (only just found out what this is!) I can remember reading a book by a famous Turkish Sufi Master called Sheikh Muzaffer Ozak “Love is the Wine” and about brushing his wife’s hair, which is one of the other reasons I keep my hair long, as I am rather like Mr B Pussycat who loves his hair brushed.

My lovely hubby has just been perusing our library on Sufi Mystics and thinks it isn’t that book! Hahaha I made him look! Memory is a wonderful thing if it throws you back to move you forward!

The other reason is that I have been nagging my architect husband to build me a turret at the back of our house, so I can hang my hair down like Rapunzel. It hasn’t materialised, but it is so delicious thinking about it.

I think my love of  the Eastern Culture stems from my reading the Arabian Nights, when I was a child;  I could almost smell the turkish delight, and the perfumes, and the night scented air. I have just been reading a book by a turkish lady, Elif Shafak ‘Forty Ways to Love” and her latest, ‘The Architects Apprentice’ It has made me realise that we absorb so much from our childhood, which stays within our being, and it returned my heart to that wonderful poetry by Rumi, and the search for the soul. Anyway I digress but only to point out, how we have forgotten to make time for these ‘mindful’ meanderings, and hair-brushing and dressing tables, indeed. Don’t you just love all the different shapes of glass bottles? Pop into the glass section of the V&A in South Kensington. Food for the glass lover! I just so so so love perfume it sends me on different journeys, depending which one I use. I used to sit on the telephone in the ‘olden days’ sniffing the pot pouri on the telephone table. I am a very Olfactory person. My son gave me Perfume to read ages ago and I can’t see it on the shelf so forgotten who it is by? Brilliant strategy of writing. I love “strategies” for sharing truths and wisdoms AND for getting people to do things they hadn’t thought they wanted to do! Ha ha ha xxxxx Love you. Toodlepip!

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Olfactory choices? My discovery! Caudalie and Clarins!

28 Jul

Thankyou to Caudalie Spa in ‘Etangs des Corots’ who managed to smooth out my forehead lines with their facial. They wrote down all the products they used, my beauty prescription came home with me and I have just re-discovered it. When you are having a facial, after a massage in a darkened room, the only senses you are actually using, are your hearing (relaxing music) and your sense of smell (all those different aromas) and of course touch, on the skin, of hot and cold and different textures. You don’t see the beauty products you just feel and smell them.When we are actually buying beauty products, it’s then that the ‘appearance’, packaging, logo etc, kicks in and becomes a deciding factor; small enough, light tube, to carry in handbag? will it look good on the dressing table? ( I haven’t got a dressing table, do they still exist, do people have them?) We are stimulated by visuals mostly, colour is a dictator of our purchases, the pink frock or the blue? So I found it really interesting to actually see what my Caudalie products looked like; definitely handbag and travelling light ones, they can all go in one smallish cosmetic bag. The new ‘premier cru’ moisturiser is wonderful, but it is £92.50 for 50ml. Now I am going to find a photo, as you will remember it, if you have the visual, along with the price? Oops can’t do it! It’s brown and gold so just imagine it! Not my colours at all.

Thankyou to Clarins as I really love your packaging, frosted glass jars and subtle colours, white with minimal red print BUT above all it is opening the jar and THE SMELL of the moisturiser, which sends me straight back to the smell, when opening PONDS cold cream, (or was it called vanishing cream?) which was in a glass, white jar and the cream was pink. I just love the smell. When buying roses to plant in the rose garden, don’t you go burying your nose in them at the garden centre? Definitely, I am an olfactory decision maker.

I also made a really big discovery, which you clever gals out there probably made much earlier on than me; always use the same brand for cleanser, moisturiser, neck cream and eye cream, it really makes sense and is more effective ( it LOOKS better, I really start to feel quite sick if I am faced with masses and masses of different coloured bottles, all different shapes and sizes,  my daughter’s bathroom shelves and window sills and dressing tables are just all piled high with conglomerate, do you know I think this word in this context could be an oxymoron or maybe I am just having a litotes moment? I am still waiting for a beauty product to be called obfuscation? or how about a palimpsest, layer upon layer upon layer upon…….

Sorry, I am waxing lyrical now, and must get back to the saturday papers, before I buy the sunday paper! Ruth always says I should re read everything through a few times and check my spellings? Oh yeah?

Sorry NO VISUALS, however when we are reading books and newspapers we don’t expect pictures now do we? We are ‘tickling’ those thinking brain cells with words and using our imagination?

Chanel…….. and Arm Pitt and Expensive tastes! Was I a Changeling?

10 Nov

I can remember reading a fairytale, when I was a child, about a changeling and I used to think, that when I got to the top of our road, where the Co-op was, clutching the shopping bag and shopping list, that a wonderfully handsome prince would ride up to me on his white horse and tell me that I was really a princess, and there had been a terrible mistake, and I really lived in a palace and wouldn’t ever have to go to the Co-op ever again!

I can remember there were always dogs roaming around without owners, and you used to have to have quite a big shopping bag to protect your legs, when sidling past them, hoping that they wouldn’t jump up and bite you. Dogs were really my biggest fear, when I was little, and also having to go out to the coalhouse in the dark.

i read , and re-read ‘The Purple Fairy Book’ which had the most hideous pictures of goblins and demons and from an early age I became ‘The Princess’ from the Grimms’ Fairy Tales, who just couldn’t sleep as her mattress was so uncomfortable. The King piled mattress upon mattress and still the princess couldn’t sleep. It turned out to be a hard pea on the bottom mattress! I must find that story as I still insist on good beds and have to complain in hotels if the mattresses are not to my standards!

In fact I am completely anxiety-ridden; my husband often asks me why I bound into bed waking him up through the night, if I have been on one of those journeys across the landing to the loo. It’s not long ago really that I have started to turn the landing light off but I am not going to tell him that! I put one hand on the switch, looking at the bed room door, and then make a bolt for the bed before anything in the dark might loom up at me!

I used to sometimes have to pinch myself in the classroom, as I couldn’t believe I was having to actually work in a school, amongst teachers! I was much too posh for school! I can remember buying the last staff room, a set of posh matching soup bowls because i couldn’t bear all the scummy assorted crockery they used! I just love POSH. I check all hotels to see if they are Johansen accredited and I read every Tripadvisor review before I book anything. I don’t do: camping, mobile-homes, caravans, B&Bs (why on earth would I want to speak to someone I don’t know in the morning and compliment them on their breakfast-making skills?) cheap hotels with polyester sheets, nasty dirty public toilets in pubs and restaurants ( it takes me hours to clean the seat, and I just can’t bare my bum if someone has ‘soiled’ the sides, or left any fetid miasmas, I just go out and wait until I get home, rather like a camel, I can wait AGES) I have always loved fashion: I used to have a Saturday job at Timothy Whites, when I was a teenager, and I would save up my wages to buy the best designer clothes, from the one and only up-market fashion shop in the town.

Since I first discovered the perfume counter, I have been tantalised by Guerlain’s Samsara and Madame Rochas’ Byzance but above all, Chanel No 5 was the pinnacle of olfactory excellence. We loved the black and white boxes, the smell and we were all quite dismayed when they brought out Chanel No 19. I do remember that CoCo Chanel then became my firm favourite BUT right now I have gone back to No 5 and Coco Mademoiselle, as they are not quite as heavy. We gals know our perfumes!

We didn’t need a trashy advert to tempt us to buy the perfume! Imagine how surprised I was to see Arm Pitt, who apparently is the heart throb of the day, standing like someone whose underpants were too tight for him, mumbling incomprehensibly about a perfume that he is using? Perhaps? My god, he is an ACTOR, what is wrong with him? I just can’t get my breath at the banal lack of  integrity! Who is the art director? Where has this ‘striving for excellence’ vanished to? Is a classy product of long-standing success to be obfuscated in the mundanity of an excuse for ‘crass -celebrity- curtain-calls’ ? Come on now Chanel, surely you can do better?

Anyway, I have got to that stage in my life where I am not particularly impressed by adverts: some of them presume, that we have a brain the size of a gnat, and that we will buy a pile of trash, because a small spectrum of the populace, that they hope portray ‘the norm’, speak whilst their lips just remain in a smile, so there is no audible articulation, a complete lack of consonants and just a burble of vowels. Try it! Try saying WATER with your mouth in a smile! The ‘cool’ teenagers at school used to ask me,” Miss, can I get a drink of water?” but all with out moving their lips! I used to sometimes say to them that I didn’t know what wau..uh was. Perhaps Mr Pitt has been practising this technique?

Just a little praise of Chanel’s Sublimage essential regenerating cream: it is LUSCIOUS! You don’t need an advert do you girls? When I say that it smells like Ponds cold cream and comes in a real glass jar. Ruth asked me to test it and I started the jar at the beginning of March, I think. There is still about half left in the jar and I have used it every day! I LOVE it. It really smooths the skin  and feels wonderful. It does leave a bit of a shine though, which I hate, so it is best with my foundation powder brushed on the top. I didn’t like the serum as much because it smelt of alchohol and I really hate that smell you get from old perfume when you first spray it on. Probably I was too sparing and should have used it up more quickly which brings me to a pet hate: Why do they sell under-eye cream in such big pots because you use so little that they have gone off before you get your money’s worth?

Bye bye my lovelies…… I apologise to all those people who responded to my last blog, and I will answer, but I have been so BUSY……..I started this post on September 14th………. Sorry I also seem to have gone off on one…….you should hear me going on about our plutocratic society we live in, I can go on for hours………ranting away… but it is now 00:10 and my wonderful bed awaits and I need to escape on my raft of female romanticism into that wonderful world of dreams……….actually I am trying to finish this book on the Medicis and finding it uncomfortably similar to ………….but that’s another story! Night Night………

Saaf Skincare Eraser Bodyoil is worth a try!

2 Mar

ERASER BODY OIL
Nature’s correction fluid in a bottle, this impressive toning and smoothing oil is a skin-saving formulation. It contains a high percentage of Rosehip Seed Oil which is known to effectively reduce uneven pigmentation and the appearance of raised scar tissue, along with Safflower Oil which soothes skin irritations while increasing the moisture content of the skin. Both nourishing and protective, Organic Eraser Body Oil promotes healthy skin renewal, guards against scarring, calms irritated, itchy skin and helps keep skin supple and smooth.

Ideal for:

All skin types
Reducing the appearance of stretch marks
Soothing away hyper pigmentation
Old scars
Protecting the skin from the effects of a sun tan

  • Rosehip Seed Oil helps to reduce pigmentation and raised scar tissue by promoting healthy skin renewal, even on old scars. It also aids cell regeneration and boosts collagen and elastin to create smoother, firmer skin.
  • Safflower Oil is easily absorbed by the skin due to its high linoleic acid content. It soothes skin irritations, increases the moisture content of the skin and is particularly good for sensitive skin.
  • High levels of Natural Vitamin E, which has twice the bio-availability of synthetic versions. It promotes soft and supple skin, helps to reduce old scars and promotes healing.
  • Mandarin essential oil helps ease and repair scars, spots and stretch marks.
  • Natural botanicals are rich in anti-oxidants which protect skin from free radicals and help boost your skin’s collagen matrix.  £35.99 for 100ml

I have been trying this oil out as a substitute for my ‘over-the-counter’ almond oil (with a few drops of what you fancy to make it smell nice)

It ‘does- the-trick’ If you go onto their site  www.saafskincare.com they are offering £10 off and free delivery on orders over £50

Their products are all beautifully packaged and feel very luxurious and look good on the shelf! This oil was much less slippery than my version, but I always have the same problems with the bottles they use, to put both face oils and body oils in, from most of the retailers I have tried; They come out in a great flurry and I get it all over the floor OR you try to tip the bottle slightly and NOTHING comes out!

This oil absorbs very quickly and DOES leave the skin feeling very soft. It does work! It doesn’t have the ‘cod liver oil’ smell BUT think I have discovered what this is; I bought a bottle of pure rose hip oil and, trying to get something a bit cheaper, I used it on my face and body and had to wash it all off as I got the same smell? No smell at all with the Eraser Bodyoil and so I go for the expense, well worth it. I just wish they would do a larger bottle for the same price as I have larger dry skin areas as I am older! Perhaps they do ‘pension-discounts’

Old Age and Sharing my Green and Spring DIY Bath spas!

30 Jan

I have a little extra information about my ‘Bath spas at home’ post.
I am not sure whether this will be useful?????

In days of yore I shared my actual bath with my husband (well actually, he wasn’t my husband then, we were just ‘courting’ and as soon as we married we had to stop, as the children were around, which makes me think it must have been in hubby’s bath) Now he is allowed to share my bath water only!

I have a real problem with ‘sharing’ things, now that I am a bit older. It started with my hair conditioner in the shower room. In fact I remember quizzing my hubby about the ’emptiness’ of the bottle and the fact that his white hair appeared to have got a yellow tinge! I rest my case as it was Blonde Highlighting Conditioner!

Then it was my car! Now I don’t mind sharing my bed BUT I certainly didn’t really want to share my car. Husband has always had my ‘cast-off’ cars, which he has then driven to death. His theory is that you buy old bangers and thrash them. Mine is that I like to pay monthly and have a reliable car. As a child, my father had lots of cars and I blame him for my love of them and my brother-in-law for my love of motor-bikes.

As it is, lovely hubby now drives my car and I sit beside him anxiously giving him tips, on building up the revs, and dropping the revs to corner, and ‘doing the H’, going from fourth to second. I couldn’t contain myself on one trip out in the countryside, and did say to him, that he would be much better driving a stage coach, as he could quite easily look from side to side at the scenery, and rely on THE HORSE to look straight ahead. He is a very lovely man and took it quite well.

Anyway back to the bath and Green and Spring. Sometimes my bath water is too highly perfumed for lovely hubby to want to share BUT he actually APPROVES of the Green and Spring perfume because “It’s much more subtle and I feel confident with my masculinity hovering over the shelves in Aldi doing the weekly shop!”  Wow! What a man! I do know I am very lucky. I was going to hire him out but he’s too good to share. He also has a brain as big as Britain and can start off a car-journey, and two miles in he is still going on about Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry 2nd, I frequently have to tell him that my brain is FULL-UP and I am going to VOMIT if he doesn’t stop. We are incredibly well-matched. I did suggest that he might like to re-train as a taxi-driver and then he could verbally accost all those poor tired people that need transporting to and from the airport. (Why is it that I am always the one that has to listen to the taxi-driver’s life story and lovely hubby doses off and doesn’t ever even chirp in with an ‘Oh really” or ‘What a shame’?)

That was a big moan! I only came onto my blogg because I have forgotten my password for my Twitter and I have a big question to ask you lovelies but I can’t get onto it so here is the question: What can I do about the unsightly thread veins covering ALL my thighs? I had thought of joining them all up with different coloured felt tips and turning them into flowery tattoos but some are on the backs of my thighs and lovely hubby is refusing to join in. He is VERY feisty at times. Maybe I should put thread veins in my Title so you can see my PLEA a little more. I need to do something before SHORTS weather.

Best Wishes to you all and I hope 2012 is being good to you. I am LOVING IT ……….every day is such a holiday. I am soooo lucky.

An Amazing Olfactory Experience! A Special Birthday Treat!

6 Jun

The second of my ‘special birthday’ treats was a visit to a perfumery called ‘Floris’ in Jermyn Street, London, to conjure up a very personal perfume!

I can remember my first experience of perfumes; there used to be two types on the Woolworth’s counter in tiny little glass bottles, one with a purple ribbon around and a picture of violets and the other, I think, was a red rose? They had a similar smell to the Christmas soaps shaped like Father Christmas!

Our house was not a perfume-orientated home, even though there were seven girls (and one boy, poor thing) and the nearest I came to perfume was collecting rose petals and steeping them in water in a jar and trying to capture the essence, invariably they turned to a foul-smelling mouldy sludge that had to be thrown out.

When I was about five, I became interested in the lavender and rose smells emanating from my Nana’s bathroom. We used to visit her every Sunday and there was always a bowl of roses on the table during the summer months, and during the cold winter season, a blue light from the depths of the ‘back-kitchen’ and a strange smell which I was told was the gas! The toilet facilities were in the back yard, which I remember was a beautiful terracotta red, as Nana used to redden it with’Cardinal red’ Wow, that’s where I got my love of terracotta! The bathroom was at the top of the stairs and the light used to beckon through the etched windows in the door; there was no reason really for us to visit the room, apart from if you asked politely to borrow a handkerchief ( embroidered and folded neatly in the desk drawers with lavender bags?) so it was a treat to be cherished to fill your nose with lavender and rosewater smells.

I then discovered ‘Pretty Peach’ which was a girl’s solid cream perfume in a little container, shaped and painted like a basket of peaches. It was part of the Avon range, when Avon first emerged and it must have been the 60s. Their range of solid perfumes developed into less subtle smells and much more elaborate jars with more exotic names and was it then that the pungent smell of gardenias and lily of the valley made their appearance?

Lemon and orange soaps in wooden containers and bottles of different coloured shell soaps replaced the Woolworth’s brands but I used to keep them for years and just get them out of their containers and smell them and look at the colours, an artist in the making?

I am writing about these memories, as the first thing the wonderful lady in the perfumery asked me, was to recount first memories of smells I had liked and also which perfumes I had used already and which ones I still used. As  ‘struggling artists’ there was no money at all for perfumes and my first bottle of ‘Opium’ by Yves St Laurent came as a pressie from my brother in law after a visit to France with his family. He had been buying his wife perfume since the day they met and felt sorry for me! Did I marry the wrong brother I ask myself? He was brilliant, every time he bought my sister in law Coco Chanel or Madame Byzance by Rochas, I had a bottle too, I think my kind sister in law had something to do with the purchases also, bless her.

I loved the bottles and the packaging, even though I knew they cost more than the perfume itself because I am a complete sucker for that kind of thing and I kept all the bottles over the years until just recently when I had to give myself a really good talking to when we moved! I used to hide them in my underwear drawer until my knickers smelt of alcohol! I can remember popping into Rackhams perfume counter on the way to College to spray myself with ‘Samsara’ by Guerlain.

All the old perfumes are much too heavy for me now and I favour Coco Chanel’s ‘ Mademoiselle’ and Dior’s ‘Dolce Vita’. Actually, apparently it is the vanilla I like in the latter; my son was persuaded to buy me ‘Hypnotique Poison’ as a substitute because of the vanilla content, I think he wsa hoodwinked as it is much heavier and smell more like the ‘Opium’ of days gone by! That brings me to an interesting conclusion about children and their memories of mothers’ perfumes: Ruth bought me a little spray of ‘Opium’ in those gorgeous satin bags they come in, to take with me on my honeymoon ( oops, first marriage of 24 years, second marriage, now of 11 years, different perfumes? Good job I didn’t change my husband as many times as I changed my perfumes or EVEN tried out new samples!!!!! What fun I could have had; I was married at 20! I most definitely should have taken a more olfactory angle?

Anyway, I was asked to give a SUMMARY of my perfume experiences, although I so loved chatting with the ‘perfume-designer’ as she was brilliant and great to have an adult female ‘girlie-talk’ but my husband had decided he’d like to stay in for the whole 90 minute experience so I was slightly uneasy about his reaction to this very feminine aspect of me that he hasn’t met yet? (When we were planning our wedding I overheard him telling my niece on the phone how he felt like he was floating on a raft of female romanticism………it has stuck in my mind as we have been friends for 40 years…I had thought he had noticed my female attributes as well as my intellectual prowess… I have a saying now: “You never know your man until you marry him, you never know your man until you buy a house with him and now you never know your man until you retire with him………. there could be more to come………..best bit is always marry a longstanding friend?……..Mmmmmm………someone who shares your 60th treat, smelling perfumes for 90 minutes, becoming involved in the chemistry of the olfactory process………my romanticism will never be crushed!!!!! ………hours of fun ahead……………!

The Visit To FLORIS

I loved the visit and it was an informative experience: I didn’t know that ALL perfumes are distilled in factories to a formula which is written down rather like a recipe with percentages, or milligrams of each ‘smell’ and then sent to each perfume house UNLESS you are FLORIS who have their own perfumery in Devon somewhere and then their shop in Jermyn Street where they make personal perfumes. It is an amazing shop with a plethora of glass cabinets full of antique perfume bottles and boxes and Account Ledgers from eons ago, with the costs of perfume bought by Royalty, and in some cases the entries tell the secrets of past purchasers! ( Actually, I was there on the Tuesday before the ‘Royal Wedding’ and the head ‘perfumerer’ wasn’t available because he was at Buckingham Palace) The walls are lined with apothecary drawers and there is an air of stepping back into the past.

We (hubby as well) were given the base ‘smells’, rubbed onto the back of my hand, to decide which one would be the base for all the other smells to be added. ‘Iris’ was the most expensive (and the one I didn’t like, as it smelt heavily of Gardenias) and White Rose and Tuberose, or it might have been Tudor rose?? These ‘bases’ were already distilled in dark brown bottles and then the extra potions of smells were added when I had decided which I liked. The added smells ranged from Amber Gris to Ylang Ylang to Sandalwood. All were applied to paper spatulas and we breathed on them to allow the alcohol to evaporate before smelling. We discarded the ugh ones and savoured the ooo ones! To clear our smell senses, we opened little silver boxes, which were full of coffee beans, and sniffed to calm our brains, and my decision mechanisms!

It was really difficult to make a decision and the end result didn’t really have enough oomph for me; I had to have some Musk added, or it might have been the Amber Gris, which they used to extract from some revolting white stuff which belonged in the colons of whales, it almost put me off the scent immediately until I was told it was made chemically! Phew!

Well I ended up with a gorgeous bottle of perfume beautifully wrapped, with the ‘recipe’ printed out and its name on the label (you have the added task, as well as trying to discern which smells you like, of making a name for your perfume! A little tip French sounds better than English or German or for that matter Spanish (but I only know a few phrases in Spanish!)

A wonderful experience and it has taken me longer to write it up than when I was there! Oh by the way my husband couldn’t smell sandalwood at all and I thought it smelt like creosote! I used to love Roger and Gallet sandalwood soaps (all individually wrapped in beautifully designed boxes, I still have some!) I won’t be buying those again!