Portia in the Looking Glass

Hello! My name is Portia, and Undina has invited me to come do some guest posting at Undina’s Looking Glass.

It’s very exciting, and nerve wracking, to jump into another person’s creation. They have worked so hard to produce a brand, and I hope that it’s a good fit for Undina, you and me. We all have perfume in common, and many of you I know already from around the scentblogoshere. Up till now, I have written for a few other blogs, including Olfactoria’s Travels, Perfume Posse, A Bottled Rose and Australian Perfume Junkies. Undina was the very first person I never met to subscribe to APJ, and we have been friends ever since, she has been also brains trust, confidant, blog rescuer and aspirational icon. We also bonded over the naming of her cat Rusty: my very first cat was a gorgeous ginger and white tom called Rusty. Synchronicity! Every time I see pics of him, it brings back some happy memories.

For those I’m new to: I live with my beautiful husband Jin in Parramatta, a second city in the Greater Sydney Region in Australia, with our two Greyhounds Jinx and Paris. It’s apartment living, but I did manage to snaffle one of the bedrooms as an Office/Perfume Room. Jin works as an electrician on the diesel trains that go to the country areas of our state New South Wales. I have been a drag queen for decades, and my current focus is Trivia events with a cool crew of drag queens. It’s a good life, and we are very aware of how lucky we are. During our C19 lockdown all the pubs and clubs are shut here in Oz, so I’m finally living the life I was bred and raised to pursue – as a trophy bride. It’s only taken 52 years to fulfill my destiny.

Here’s a pic of the three men who fill my life. From left to right: Jinx, Jin, Paris.



In the days of lockdown, I decided to rejig my grab tray of perfumes next to my desk. It had become cluttered with things that weren’t getting a lot of love, and I thought a new tack was in order. Maybe putting groups of all my opened bottles of houses would entice me to wear some different ones than the couple on the tray I always reach for?

My unboxed Serge Lutens were in an out of the way box that saw little action, so I’ve brought them all out to the tray. I’ve worn more of my Lutens in a week than I have for the rest of the year put together. Only three of my DIOR Prive line were out, so I grabbed six more, and already they are seeing wear. Two previously less available CHANEL Exclusives, all four Cartier Les Heures de Parfum and Oriza L Legrand, my Neela Vermeire Creations, L’Artisan and Mona di Orio favourites, most of my Piguets and a brand new bottle of Liberté by Cacharel.



The day after I’d done my big reshuffle, one of my besties, TinaG, came over for brunch. I had to show her my newly organised tray, and she was horrified of how dusty quite a few of the bottles were. After we ate (cheesy french toast with bacon and maple syrup), and while we chattered away a couple of hours, TinaG lovingly cleaned each bottle, giving herself a spritz of about six different perfumes. It was a wonderful time together, really chill and fun. We laughed about stupid stuff and had some deeper chats about loss and lockdown, smelled perfumes and reminisced about holidays and friends. It was the perfect way to spend time together. I keep smiling to myself about it.



I also took a pic of my wardrobe favourites tray. NO, it’s not cleaned and dusted. Hopefully TinaG will come over again soon. HA!



How is our lockdown going?

Well, in Australia at the time of writing we have had 102 deaths. For a bit of perspective, in the USA per 1 million people there have been around 300 deaths; in Australia for the same million there have been 4 deaths. While I’m no fan of our current government, they really did do the C19 pandemic right. I really feel that they have striven their utmost to keep the best interests of our people and our country in sight. They have instituted a fortnightly payment for people who are currently out of work but have jobs to go back to, like myself. This money has meant that I’ve been able to maintain my payment of half the bills that come in with a little over for other stuff. Jin has been incredible, is buying all our food and shouldering quite a bit of extra financial burden. He now calls me Poor Bitch as he gives me a little extra cash every fortnight and is getting great glee from doing both. The other day, we were out grocery shopping, and he gave me the cash, loudly saying “Thanks for last night, you were worth every cent.” Everyone was laughing, it was cute and sweet and mortifying.

Today I wore L’Artisan Seville a l’Aube in the morning and Cacharel Liberté in the afternoon. Jin has gone off to work night shift, and I’ve been doing some loads of washing while writing to you all.



I’m thinking to give myself a swipe of vintage Guerlain Shalimar extrait and a spritz of Sha-Lemur before I embark on the vacuuming? Yeah, might as well smell like a goddess if I’m being a Domestic Goddess, eh?



Hope you are all staying safe and well in body and mind.

Portia xxx


Images: my own (Portia)


56 thoughts on “Portia in the Looking Glass

  1. I can’t wait to get a sniff of the 2 new Guerlain AA. Granada Salvia nad Orange Soleia.
    Hopefully they will remind me of a fab holiday in Granada a few years ago. The Alhambra and walking in the Generlife Gardens. The orange trees in the squares. Divine X

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a wonderful post! Very happy to see you here. Got a good chuckle about you finally becoming a trophy bride and Jin’s funny comments. I bet he feels good about being able to provide and help keep the family afloat.

    I love your new tray!! So jealous of your Neela Vermeires, I want Niral and Rahele. Hopefully next year for my birthday. Like you, my Lutens are hidden away and rarely get worn, I think I will remedy that today, you’ve inspired me!

    We have so much pollution in Montréal, my bottles get dusty and grimy, I have to clean mine occasionally as well. How nice you got to visit with TinaG. None of my friends will come over, they are all terrified of Covid. Montréal has been hit very hard.


    • Hey TaraC,
      SO COOL to see you here.
      Yeah, Jin is LOVING it and milking it for all it’s worth. I’ve been having meals prepared when he gets home from work (and tell him not to get used to ANY of this)
      YAY! Portia as INSPIRATION! I hope you up your Serge wear. They are too lovely to languish.
      Yes, having friends come has always been allowed in Sydney but it was limited to two, now it’s 5 guests. We have been very lucky but we worry now that winter is upon us. Poor Montreal, I understand the fear. This disease is killing young and old, healthy and innumerable compromised. Terrifying.
      Portia xx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice to read you again Ms P! Now is the time I am grateful to be in a very isolated city in WA, face to face classes are cancelled and I am at home spritzing Anything I Bloody Well Like!
    Glad you are well.


    • HEY JackieB!
      I was looking at property in WA today. There are still some fairly good bargains within an hour of the sea. I forget what part of WA you are in, please remind me?
      HA! Definite upside of lockdown has been spritzing with gay abandon.
      Portia xx


  4. I’m trhilled you will be posting Portia! This is very good and wonderful news. Now that you are a housewife oh sorry, Trophy Bride we should see plenty of perfume posts! Glad you’re keeping well during the pandemic. So many strange things. I went shopping for the first time in two months this week, but for boring things not perfume as I still haven’t ventured far. Felt a little odd. Thank goodness for the internet!


    • WOW Narth! You haven’t been to the shops for two months! That’s amazing. Here in Parramatta the available for the week would be booked out by 12.15am. I think people had their orders done and were waiting for the moment the new times dropped. So we have been shopping the whole time, usually once a week but sometimes more.
      So glad we are both over here at Undina’s place. It feels extra homey having you around.
      Portia xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Of course I was able to shop in Melbourne but honestly didn’t want to risk it. Have one family member in the high risk category, doesn’t live with me but we’ve met at the end of the driveway a couple times. I kind of got into the whole online ordering bunker mentality, it wasn’t too hard and frankly the shops I really want to go to for food require a train. Tomorrow I’m taking my first train trip, a grand 2 stops, to see some family for the first time since March <3 there will be wine! Thinking about what perfume to wear..


  5. Portia, you suit being a kept woman very well :)

    Australia have done so well. We are nudging 40,000 deaths now. But we are opening up more and more and hopefully there won’t be a second spike as a result. It felt good to see my sister yesterday for the first time since February. I also had a number of huge spritzes of the Nuxe perfume which is my beachy go-to fragrance It felt great – it was so hot!

    Liked by 1 person

    • HA! Tara, I really do. Trophy Bride was always the goal.
      WOW! 40,000 people dead. Tara that is appalling. POOR UK. That’s hundreds of thousands of people mourning lost loved ones. I can’t even begin to imagine how that must feel for a nation.
      YAY for your first family visit. I bet it was super fun and so good to catch up with Lisa and her crew. SUMMER! Catch ups in the sunshine. How heavenly. I bet this will be one of the great memories you relive when times get tough.
      Love you, little sister,
      Portia xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  6. So glad to see you here Portia and know that you and Jin are doing fine!

    I have been using lots of sample these days and also giving some love to my full bottles. Now that I am working from home I have plenty of time to wear different scents during the day. I have been also slowly reorganizing my perfume cabinet once again, which has allowed me to reunite with many forgotten beauties and also keep putting away things that need to be rehomed.

    In New York the pandemic has been extremely difficult and I am thankful that so far we are all in good health in my family by taking all the necessary precautions very seriously.

    Be well and hope to see you here more often!


    • YAY! PL67! I’m so happy to see you.
      Sounds like you’ve been doing good things with your pandemic time. How lucky we are to have the luxury of enjoying it, rather than being hit hard either physically or financially.
      Is it a big box of rehomables?
      New York! It has been so bad for you all. Now the curfew! The hits keep on coming for you guys.
      Hugging you hard and wishing you continued good health and safety.
      Portia xx


  7. Wonderful to see you in this dark time in the US, Portia darling. Coincidentally I wore my neglected SL this week too! Enjoy you Trophy Bride status and keep shining your light. We need it so.


  8. Thank you, Portia! It is crazy here for sure! The city has been hit so badly in every aspect. I hope things start getting better soon.

    The “good bye box” has mostly decants and samples, but some bottles have joined and will keep joining the box. They will be offered for swaps or as freebies. This is the right time for cleaning, reorganizing and making so much needed space. So liberating! xx


  9. You had me at….You were worth every cent ….haha ..go Jin.!!
    You’re the perfect trophy bride..with a perfume room 💖 in which I have been a guest in it’s magnificence xx


  10. I am so glad to see you posting here, I have missed reading your scent diary and travel updates! Hopeful that your guesting becomes a regular feature. :) Life is almost normal where I live in the northern US and enjoying living life again. In the last few months I have not been much inspired fragrance-wise and my go-to tray has only contained body mists. I did blind buy L’Occitane Herbae L’Eau and Jo Malone Yuja, both came yesterday and are winners. Jo Malone has brought back some archived scents, some already sold out but I was also able to snag Verbenas of Provence and Nutmeg & Ginger. Best to you and Gin and glad to hear that you are doing well and enjoying your time off work!


    • Hey Hey VerbenaLvvr,
      What a fab surprise.
      Let’s see how Undina enjoys having me here I’m doing June, fortnightly. After that we will reassess.
      Sounds like your perfume break has you ready to hit it all again. That’s good news. It’s getting hot there now right? Bosy Mists and Jo Malone will do you fine for the next 12 weeks. WOO HOO!
      Portia xx


  11. Hey Portia! Glad to see you, Jin and your lovely doggos are doing fine. “Poor bitch”, LOL: me too! I did buy a second-hand Dia last week: I may be penniless, but I’m not cheap ;)

    Liked by 1 person

  12. So glad you are all well and happy to hear Australia is doing ok and providing support! And Jins comments are hilarious, thanks for a much needed laugh! Now off to study that pic to see if I can guess which bottles are which 😊


    • Hey Mariann,
      Jin IS hilarious. He’s lived in Australia for about 13 years now but only really needed to have good English since we got together 9 years ago. His ear for and use of nuance is astounding. Also, his use of traditional Aussie phrases in new and unexpected ways gets us every time. Back in South Korea he studied Korean Literature for his university degree and was a teacher of same. So he’s bloody smart.
      HA! Are you talking about the round tray? It’s a happy hodge podge. It really needs a going over also to remove the ones that aren’t getting sprayed and popping some new excitement in.
      Portia xx


  13. You and Jin are so funny together, I love your banter! This week has been a dark one in the US. We’ve gone over 106,000 deaths (probably more) and you’ve probably seen the coverage of protests on the news. I’m relieved to be able to say all of my family are safe and well. A friend of mine lost her father this week after a 9-week battle against COVID-19 in the ICU. Her mother is still there but seems to be on the (shaky) road to recovery. Reading about our shared fragrance hobby is a welcome relief! Thanks for sharing your doings!


    • Thanks OH,
      Yeah, Jin is a wildcard.
      I keep thinking how amazing it would be if the USA (and the world) had a full turn around but it just seems so rigged against positive change. Systemic segregation, fear and hatred are brainwashed into us from birth, every day is a fight against bone deep prejudices that are based on lies.
      Glad to read your family is safe and well. Sorry for your friend, losing parents is shit.
      Perfume binds us and lifts us up. Across the world. How lucky are we?
      Portia xx

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Oh my Portia! I know I’m a couple of days late as I’ve been away from the computer for a couple of days. What a wonderful post you wrote for this site. I enjoyed reading it so much. It was absolutely wonderful to get a little glimpse into your life in Australia. I’m so glad you’re enjoying ‘temporarily’ being a kept woman and that Jin is enjoying his role in this adventure. It would be so easy to slide into being bummed about the circumstances but I love your ability to see the adventure and opportunity in challenges and changes. Very inspiring. You definitely have a knack for putting words together in an engaging way.


    • Hey SV!
      So good to see you here.
      Thank you, It makes me smile that you enjoyed the post.
      I have to be honest, Jin makes my worries disappear with humour and support. There have been a few dark days, the brute of depression has been whipped up watching the world’s problems. Still, were there no dark days then who’d notice the clear skies?
      Thanks for dropping in and commenting.
      Portia xx


  15. I’m so glad you will be posting over here-I love your view on the world. Here, we joke about finding partners to keep us in the style to which we wish to become accustomed. Can I ask-is that quilt hand made? It’s gorgeous.

    I got interested in your Aus politics a few years ago-started with watching Rake (Am I the only one who finds Cal McGregor hot??) and my interest deepened after seeing an incredibly animated picture of Mikaela Cash. She was perfectly coiffed and made up, but to make a point she was using all her facial muscles, and all the veins and tendons in her neck were really standing out. So I wondered what had happend to her day, to achieve this effect. Then I got hooked on The Guardian’s Australian site. I’m so glad your govt took action, and did what they could to make things ok during the pandemic.

    I live in Nova Scotia and we have been fortunate to have a pretty low dose of Covid. There was a mass shooting a few weeks ago which has affected all of us. I guess we were complacent and never thought it would happen here.

    I’m glad you will still be writing about fragrances,and I envy your SL collection :) I hope for good things for all of us in the future-that we find a virus for Covid so fewer people will suffer. Take care, and thank you,



    • Hi there Carole,
      Thanks. Yes, I’m hoping for a long stay here too.
      Also yes, the quilt was lovingly crafted by a beautiful friend of mine Lyndall. It was a gift. The amount of work in it is mind-blowing and we love the colours and design. One day I’ll take a pic for you.
      You know I never watched Rake. Loads of my mates did and loved it too. I might try and find it.
      The Guardian in Australia is pretty good. A much fairer read than most of the Murdoch press. It’s hard to know who to believe nowadays, everyone seems to be lying, cheating, hating and covering up.
      I saw no reports of you guys having a mass shooting, how ghastly. Has your government instituted new gun laws or are they looking to?
      Oh yes, writing life and fragrance here at ULG.
      Serge Lutens is one of my favourite houses. Almost everything I’ve worn decants of has turned into a FB. There are even a bunch of unopened sitting awaiting me finishing decants. What a visionary.
      Yes, fingers crossed for a lessening of C19 worldwide.
      Portia xx


      • I don’t know about the gun laws-we have them here, but I don’t know anything about them-I’m not into guns. A person went on a rampage, and killed 22 other people at random. It was awful-this province is tiny.

        Watch Rake, and the Jack Irish series, if you haven’t already :)


  16. Lovely post. I really enjoyed it. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Jin’s sense of humor!!! I’m still smiling. Both of you stay safe. OK?


    • Hey there Maya!
      Jin is hilarious. He has me in helpless gales of laughter on a regular basis with tears streaming down my face, unable to breathe and with a sore tummy. The funniest man. All his stories and asides are told in such a way, I can’t even explain, cracks me up every time.
      Yeah, you too.
      Portia xx


  17. Firstly, love the order in the bottles. Everything about that is making me happy. I also store according to house and then also in themes within that (commercial, niche, etc).

    Secondly, I use that line too – but usually I’ll drop a coin or two in a friend’s hand and then say “That’s for last night – DO keep the change!”

    They never laugh, but I tell myself it’s because my humour is just too wonderful. :D

    Thank you for the (re) intro! <3


What's on your mind? (I encourage posting relating links to your posts)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.