Tasmania Getaway, Pics and Thunks

Tasmania Getaway, Pics and Thunks

Hey ULG Crew, We created a personal long weekend with our mates Anna Maria and Johnny. Friday 7.25am flight to Launceston and Monday arrive around midday back in Sydney. We bought the flights for almost nothing months ago. It was our first time travelling as a foursome and only I had travelled with everyone before. I picked an old favourite hotel, The Grand Chancellor. It’s one of those 1990s built hotels with spacious rooms and lobby. Each room has two Queen sized beds and each couple had a room. The breakfast buffet is good and generous, without being brilliant, and we all had an excellent feed to start our days. Originally I had booked a small SUV but they gave us an upgrade to an enormous Nissan Outlander, it was like travelling in a lounge room.

Anna Maria and Johnny’s daughter Domenica was on the Australian MAFS 2022 series. They were interviewed a few times on the show and have become quite famous in their own right. They were recognised and had their pictures taken

Tasmania Getaway, Pics and Thunks

Our days were designed by meals. We all got to pick different food adventures.
Day one for lunch Jin wanted pies, a local sent us to Banjo’s Bakery and we went pie crazy. Delicious! Tasmania is famous for its Scallop Pies and all three of the others had one. After that Johnny wanted to get a shave by a barber so the rest of us went and had cocktails. Then we wandered the shopping district for a couple of hours, the stars getting papped left right and centre. Our hotel had $6 spirits for Happy Hour so we spent a leisurely hour or so drinking companionably. I’ll admit to getting a little tipsy. That night Johnny picked Kebabs for dinner. He’d seen a shop called King of Kebabs during the day and it stuck with him. It was such a strange choice but we sat instore and had the most wonderful Middle Eastern meals. We came back to the hotel, had a drink and watched the Australian Election unfold. Anna Maria, Jin and my team got up and won but Johnny’s crew were ushered out the door. He was devastated, we were quietly jubilant. OK, not so quietly. Yes, we are fully aware all politicians are lying pigs but at least the foundation of this new crew is Women, Climate and a Political Watch with teeth. They’ve been left a dogs breakfast financially and things will get austere here for at least a decade.

Day two we dropped into the Farmers Market across the road from the hotel. Again they were recognised and asked for photos, very bloody cool. I really wanted us to go out to the Lake District in the heart of Tasmania. I’d found The Great Lake Hotel and it sounded wonderful. Set right on one of the great lakes (much smaller than the US versions). This meant we also got to spend 1.5 hours in the car seeing Tasmanian scenery from urban, to farming and the hills and plateau. It was good. We had a table in the middle of the room, views of the lake and felt like we were in the action. Service was so friendly but slow as a wet week. Food was some of the best pub food I’ve had. Fortunately we had so much conversation and fun that the wait to be served and then for food to come sped by. On our way back we took a two hour detour to get the Best Vanilla Slice in the world from the bakery in Ross. It was well worth the drive. That slice was earth shatteringly delicious. Anna Maria chose Indian food for dinner. Neither Johnny nor she had ever had it. There was a restaurant called Pickled Evenings, #3 on Launceston Trip Advisor. We also had a couple of mates join us, Morag and Ward, so that lent an extra festive air to the evening. I kept the food choices very simple. Opened with Onion Bhajis and Potato Samosas. Mains were Veg Biryani, Butter Chicken, Beef Vindaloo (mild) and Goat Curry. It was a fine entree for them and only a little too spicy.

Day three we were up bright and early, busy day ahead. Today we were going to head north along the Tamar River. First stop was the Beaconsfield Mine, site of the 2006 cave in disaster and rescue. The Museum there is a wonderful memorial and there are some very eerie and saddening parts. Straight from there we went to Australia’s only Seahorse breeding centre and then next door to the Platypus and Echidna rescue. Both had excellent tours and we learned a lot. Lunch in a real, old fashioned riverside Fish & Chip restaurant chosen by Jin. Another thing Anna Maria and Johnny had never done was a wine tasting, so we found a popular Cellar Door nearby and the three of them had a wonderful hour while I watched and enjoyed it immensely. They were bloody hilarious and the hostess managed them brilliantly. Both couples have a case winging their way towards us as we speak. Being a Sunday night most of the restaurants were closed. We were going to introduce Anna Maria and Johnny to Vietnamese but the best close choice open was a very ra sha sha Chinese. Service, food, atmosphere and design were bloody wonderful. They were woefully understaffed due to C19 but still managed us, our food and the whole evening perfectly. We drank a couple of bottles of wine from our Cabbage Tree wine tasting that Jin had bought to celebrate our adventure.

Day four we had a leisurely breakfast and bumped out. The flight home had the best turbulence I’ve experienced in decades. It was a wild ride into Sydney and I loved every second. Poor Jin was a bit green by the time we got off though. Grabbed our bags, hugged everyone and holiday done. Jin and I spent the whole afternoon and night discussing what a perfect getaway and how much fun we had.

My Pics

Anna Maria’s Pics

Perfume

Wore Hermès Eau des Merveilles for the flight down. It’s salty, warm, mineral waft was perfectly understated and lasted till my nighttime change.

In the end I took these perfumes.
Atelier des Ors Rouge Saray: Wore this every evening on the trip. It was a perfect accompaniment to the dry chill night air. Spicy woods with a soft fruity sweetness, all mellowed by a vanilla patchouli. Beautiful. I thunked the decant, now desperately want a bottle.
BDK Bouquet de Hongrie: Didn’t wear it.
Diptyque Rose de Mai: Didn’t wear it.
Diptyque L’Ombre dans l’eau: Was supposed to bring this, thought it was stolen first morning by the cleaners. Thank goodness I didn’t kick up a fuss. It was here on my desk the whole time, hiding behind the Marveilles. BUMMER!
Guerlain Mademoiselle: When I first got this decant I was all meh. It has bloomed into a ridiculously beautiful marshmallow iris, so powdery and warm. I also get some roses in the heart that aren’t mentioned in the notes. Sadly it becomes a very soft wash in an hour and I can hardly smell it. Wore it on the last day and on the plane ride home. I won’t be buying another but absolutely loved it for this holiday.
Le Labo Neroli 31: First two days I wore so much of this and FINALLY thunked the decant. It’s nice but there are a million citrus type scents that smell better on me for much less money. It just does not live on my skin and I won’t be rebuying.

How ever did we fit so much into so little time? It was a really relaxing few days despite being jam packed and now I’m refreshed and ready for action.

Are you looking forward to a break? Has this given you some ideas? Where would you spend a few days nearby?
Portia xx

Jin and Portia: The Ghan Train Trip 2021

Jin and Portia: The Ghan Train Trip 2021

Hey Crew. Jin and I have been trying to get back on this train for over a year. There have been three previous dates, all postponed due to C19. Finally it’s happened. So I thought you might like a few photos and some small commentary. We were away for nine fun filled nights. A few in Darwin, three on the Ghan itself and one in Adelaide. We flew up to Darwin and back from Adelaide. I know your first thought is “What perfumes did you take?”

I thought it might be a good time to wear some of the decants I loved but have lain forgotten in the mad rush for new around here. All these decants (Except Rouge Saray, sent by my beautiful buddy Megan In Sainte Maxime) are quite old in my collection and really need to get worn. It seems my selection is VERY vanilla heavy. No problem. It’s one of my favourite notes. It’s like I’ve picked four vanillas on four very different points of the spectrum. One thing they all have in common though is how beautifully created they are. Also how easy wear and versatile, yet interesting statement pieces as well.
Coeur de Vetiver Sacre by L’Artisan Parfumeur: Vetiver, tea, incense sweetened by vanilla/amber. This was the most worn of the selection in daytime. It’s sheer yet interesting beauty went so well with the trip.
Mon Precieux Nectar by Guerlain: Vanilla heavy white floral with almond & incense.
Rouge Saray by Atelier des Ors: Spiced fruits and fairy floss over a patchouli/vanilla base. Very ra sha sha. I wore this to almost every evening event and had compliments every time. So beautiful and noticeable.
Neroli 36 by Le Labo: White floral citrus backed by a lightweight vanilla.

One of our friends, Martin, was our travelling companion on the journey. He’d always wanted to do The Ghan and when his wife Jane heard we were going she pulled out all stops to get him on ours. It was excellent having him on the trip and it made the whole adventure even more special. The photos below are a mixed bunch taken by all three of us. By this stage I’m not sure who took what.

The class we travelled on this trip was Gold Superior. There were only two of these larger cabins on the train, the rest of the Gold class has less floor space. There is a higher glass, Platinum, but we think the Gold Class bar car is infinitely more fun. Quite pricey for a four day holiday but there is no more comfortable or fun way to see the centre of Australia. My pictures hardly do the whole trip justice and don’t show any of our four night stay up in Darwin. Also, all food and booze are included in the price. VERY dangerous! I drank more alcohol in the four days than I’d drunk for the whole year beforehand.

Jin and I are currently planning our next adventure, also on a train with the same company. This time from Perth to Adelaide ands then up to Brisbane. That’s how much we enjoyed the experience.

As a final aside, how freaking gorgeous is my husband Jin? He’s a bit of a fool in some of the pics but he is so charming and lovely the whole train fell under his spell. Every morning or evening the staff and voyagers would fall over themselves to greet him and he had smiles and chats for everyone. It was like travelling with a celebrity. We had a beautiful time and now we are back home, refreshed and ready for another few months of work and life before the next adventure.

Second Sunday Samples: All that Glitters is not Gold

Two samples that I’ve chosen for this SSS post were on my mind for the last couple of months. Originally I planned to write about them in December but then plans changed, and I moved these to January.

The reason I thought these two were suited for December is that both perfumes come with festive golden flakes in flacons, so Christmas or New Year celebrations naturally come to mind.

 

Atelier des Ors Iris Fauve

Three Sea Stars

I really looked forward to trying Atelier des Ors Iris Fauve after reading Lucas’s review: our perfume tastes are very similar, and he liked it enough to go for a bottle, a sample from which he graciously shared with me.

I was supposed to like this perfume: I like iris, I like vetiver, I like myrrh, and all other declared notes (bergamot, cinnamon, patchouli, cypriol, musk, labdanum and liatris) are among those that I do not mind in my perfumes. I wanted to like this perfume, and I kept trying it again and again after reading each next positive review (Portia liked it , Steve liked it, Gaia liked it, and even Kafka didn’t hate it).

I must be anosmic to some ingredients in Iris Fauve: while it is not unpleasant on my skin, I can barely smell anything. Some kind of iris is there in the opening but it’s not any of its facets that I usually enjoy in perfumes. Half an hour into the development I can smell cinnamon (as always, I’m amazed when I can actually recognize one of the notes). Woodiness I smell probably comes from vetiver – though it’s also less pronounced than in several vetiver perfumes that I like.

There are many perfumes that others like and I don’t, but usually with those I understand what others smell but just do not share the love. With Iris Fauve I just don’t see (smell) what one can love (or even dislike) in this perfume: it is kind of there but not really. For my nose it is quiet, inoffensive and not memorable. And it comes only in that stupid 100 ml bottle. Though maybe if one bathes in it, it is more pronounced?

 

Molvizar and Atelier des Ors Samples

 

Ramon Molvizar Musk Oriental Goldskin

Four Sea Stars

Ramon Molvizar Musk Oriental Goldskin was one of two contenders for my Barcelona trip perfume trophy. I liked it when I first smelled it, and I spent an hour sniffing it trying to decide if I wanted to get it.

As I keep repeating, I’m not good with discerning notes in perfumes. But I have good “perfume memory”: I recognize similarities in perfumes I’m trying and those that I smelled before. So sniffing Musk Oriental Goldskin, I immediately told myself that it reminded me of something I already knew. I wasn’t completely sure but because of those doubts in the end I went with another perfume from the same brand – Sol/Sun. But I brought back with me a sample of Musk Oriental Goldskin.

 

Ramon Molvizar Sol/Sun

 

At home I confirmed my initial impression: Musk Oriental Goldskin (2007) had a lot in common with Jo Malone’s limited edition from 2008 Lotus Blossom & Water Lily. As we know, notes lists do not mean much but still I couldn’t help noticing the intersection.

Lotus Blossom & Water Lily notes: mandarin, grapefruit, bergamot, honeysuckle, freesia, jasmine, water lily, lotus, sandalwood, amber, musk, guaiac wood and incense.

Musk Oriental Goldskin notes: bergamot, ginger, green notes, floral notes, jasmine, lotus, water lily and musk.

Musk Oriental Goldskin is a light floral oriental perfume – warm enough for winter wear but sheer enough not to be overwhelming in hot weather as well. Despite the completely unnecessary golden flakes, this perfume smells luxurious and elegant. It is not phenomenal, and nobody should run and test it, but if you come across it, give it a try: it might pleasantly surprise you.

When asking for that sample at the store, I hoped that I would be able to prove to myself that I didn’t need Musk Oriental Goldskin. Well, I do not need it (I don’t need any more perfumes in general) but since, unfortunately, my Lotus Blossom & Water Lily bottle turned (I bought it used so I don’t know how it was stored before coming to me), I’m thinking about getting a bottle of Musk Oriental Goldskin from Ramon Molvizar’s “pocket line” if I can figure out how not to pay the enormous delivery fee on a reasonably priced 30 ml bottle.

 

Rusty and Molvizar and Atelier des Ors Samples

 

Images: my own