Cowra Weekend, 50th Birthday Gig, NRL Grand Final

Cowra Weekend, 50th Birthday Gig, NRL Grand Final

Heya Crew, BIG weekend. Huge. Did some stuff, wore some perfume, had a ball.

Cowra Weekend, 50th Birthday Gig, NRL Grand Final

Jin and I went on a mini adventure about 4 hours west of Sydney. We drove out on Friday in a leisurely way. Left at 9.30am, stopped for lunch at a lovely cafe where they home made their pies and a couple of other places, then got out to Cowra at about 3pm. Checked into the motel the guys had booked for us and waited for them to get back from picking arrivals up from the airport. Some of the guests were arriving by their private planes, including an ex fighter jet, and they were giving joy flights. Heaven. Yes, it was that kind of party. Heads of industry, politicians, LGBTQI+, family and locals all meshed together for a weekend of celebrating my warm acquaintance’s 50th birthday. I was the MC and entertainment, with the publican’s children (OMG! They were amazing and sang Journey We Built This City like angels). If you put everyone in country casual, add copious amounts of Moet and an open bar, a buffet dinner and one of Sydney’s most sought after DJs (Victoria Anthony), you start to get a picture of the happy bedlam.

Here I am in full flight, miming like crazy. No idea who took the photo.

Having slept soundly and with Saturday to ourselves before the party we decided to explore. Cowra was unexpectedly lovely and full of history. They had a POW camp in WWII. Italians and Japanese were the bulk of the internees. While the Italians were very happy in the compound it was overcrowded. The Japanese staged a huge breakout and many were killed. It’s an eerie set of ruins now but in the most gorgeous scenery of softly rolling hills and agriculture. Cowra has planted a Japanese Garden in the dead POW soldiers honour and every one of them has a blossom tree with plaque. Luckily we were there just as the blossoms were still hanging on, a week later and they’d be done.

There is also a perfectly maintained non working train station and some very famous old houses.

Again I’ve dropped the ball on photos (SORRY Undina) but here are a few.

Weirdest thing. The ducklings were obsessed with Jin and came up to him everywhere. They even followed him across the pond. I saw no one else have this unbelievable connection with them. I get it, he’s freaking adorable but it was spooky.

What perfumes did I take?

Divine EdP because it’s so rich and glamorous. The end game of aldehydic florals. CHANEL No 5 started the ball rolling and I think this is the best of breed. It’s also an excellent power perfume that works as armour and centre. If you haven’t tried it and aldehydic florals are your jam go do.

Cacharel Amor Amor is a lovely sweet fruity floral that has a soft amber base. The original that spawned a slew of flankers. The top notes list reads nothing like what I smell which is berry lollies. Add some light white flowers and a laundry musk vanilla. It’s simple but so jaunty and wearable. Perfect spring fare that works all year. My original bottle was a gift from one of our besties Anna Maria. Every time I wear it it’s as if she were with me.

Jin brought his vintage CHANEL Antaeus and smelled divine.

Sunday morning after the party we jumped in the car about midnight. Jin had to be back in Sydney by 9.30am to meet his BFF Matt. They’d won the NRL (Nat. Rugby League) Grand Final Experience. This included walking the ground, the dressing rooms and bleachers. They were able to meet and talk to two ex players who’d played in Championship Winning Teams! Back home for a couple of hours sleep and then off to the Grand Final in Row 9 tickets. It was their dreams come true and when they got the news they’d won there were a few happy tears shed.

Sadly both the women and men teams they barrack for were defeated but they had been there.

It was a BIG weekend. We took all of our public holiday Monday off to recuperate.

Did you do anything, wear anything, spritz anything you’d like to share? Please chat with me in the comments (and each other). It’s the connection I crave with you all. That’s what makes blogging so special.
Portia xx

 

 

 

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Which 20 Would Portia Keep?

Hi there Crew,

Recently Undina (What Are Your Top N Perfumes?) and Tara (My Perfume Collection – Top 15) have done their “which would I keep” posts, following on from from Vanessa (‘Be more Undina’). After you’ve read this go have a squiz at theirs too. Who doesn’t love lists, right? So, I’m thinking “Damnit! I want to do this too.” It’s such a mind blowing, freak me right out, dumb assed thing to want to try because invariably my head explodes. Then the next day I instantly start second guessing my choices and that can rattle around my head for a couple of weeks before my brain lets it go. BUT! I also love doing it, just to see what my head and heart come up with this time.

Jin and I have often talked of buying a van and travelling through Europe for a couple of years. As part of that adventure my mind instantly goes to “How many perfumes would I take and which would they be?” So I’m kind of experienced at it now. Problem is some of them change, HA! Impossible, right. Usually I say 25 bottles and a bunch of samples/decants but in all honesty I think it will more likely be 10. So today I’m formalising my ideas for you all and myself. Subject to change at a moments notice.

You might want to grab a cuppa or a boozy bevy. This post is LONG! Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

[N]SFW Perfumes

Flying on a plane, attending a symphony concert or visiting people in hospital – in all these circumstances we know the space limitations and are trying not to arrive in a nuclear cloud of a killer perfume. But all these situations happen once in a while so it’s easier to be mindful of the surroundings. When it comes to wearing perfumes to the office it gets trickier: we spend there a huge part of our life and we spend it mostly with the same people.

Many years ago I had a co-worker R. who really liked Victoria’s Secret Dream Angels Halo. I liked it too and even bought a small bottle of it, but I never wore it to work because everybody knew it was R.’s perfume: you could tell she was in the office on the second floor once you opened an entrance door on the first floor. As I said, I liked the scent but I was happy that we worked in separate offices. Since she was a senior person (both age- and position-wise) nobody dared to tell her she was going overboard with application. I don’t know if she was done with the bottle or somebody finally decided to speak up, but her next perfume wasn’t as loud. But for me it was a lesson well learned and for many years, long before my perfumista times, I classified all of the perfumes I wore or tried as safe-for-work or not-safe-for-work. DKNY Women, Calvin Klein Truth, Cacharel Noa fleur and later several Jo Malone‘s bottles were my SFW perfumes back then.

Rusty and Cacharel Noa Fleur

During the descent down the rabbit hole, for a while I used most of the time I was awake for testing perfumes. And since testing meant putting on my skin something, with which I was unfamiliar, for both my and my co-workers’ sake I applied them very sparingly (besides, have you seen those Luckyscent’s samples?!). So even though many of the perfumes I tested during that period weren’t particularly SFW-type, with a careful application they didn’t bother anybody much (bar a couple of accidents with a crushed vial and mistaken identity).

But after testing 356 perfumes in one year, I realized that I wasn’t wearing my favorite perfumes from the rapidly growing collection. So gradually I switched to wearing to work perfumes I love and testing in evenings or during weekends. And that’s when I discovered that not wearing Angel or Fracas (other than maybe in homeopathic dozes) wasn’t enough: I had to take into account personal dislikes of people with whom I was sharing space daily for 8-9 hours.

Trying to be a good person, I asked all my office-mates to let me know if any of my perfumes would bother them: with the size of my perfume wardrobe I could afford not to wear some of them, right? Over time I learned that one of my co-workers disliked Tom Ford Amber Absolute (“too kitchen spicy”) and Jo Malone‘s Sweet Milk. I had to let him go: who dislikes Sweet Milk?!! (Ok, just kidding, there were multiple disciplinary infractions.) Another co-worker said that Guerlain Encens Mythique d’Orient was too strong and “smelled as in Men’s department at Macy’s.” Though I was sad when she left (not because of my perfumes choice!), I was glad I could wear my Encens Mythique d’Orient again.

Guerlain Encens Mythique d’Orient

Several years ago during our short perfume sniffing walk with Birgit and Sandra (Olfactoria’s Travels) in Vienna in one of the shops Birgit attracted my attention to the brand. Her comment was along the line that she didn’t like it in particular but it was one of the brands that weren’t widely available elsewhere. Prompted by her an SA handed me a test strip with perfume – Chic Shaik No 30 by Designer Shaik.

We visited four shops that day and tried numerous perfumes but that single paper strip came with me back to the U.S. via Paris. Birgit was right: three years ago Shaik wasn’t easy to find in the U.S. But I still managed to get a tiny vial of Chic Shaik No 30 from one of the decanter sites and later tracked and bought a bottle.

Chic Shaik No 30 by Designer Shaik

When I unpacked my purchase, I couldn’t believe what I saw. Pictures cannot properly convey how bizarre everything about this perfume’s packaging was – from a flimsy box à la Ghirardelli-chocolate-packet with that awful bow to the horrendous bottle adornments; with “FROM THE PRINCE IN YOUR LIFE” etched into an unexpectedly good quality coffin-like leather case as an apogee of this disaster. I’m not familiar with Middle Eastern aesthetics so I might be off with my impressions but I do not understand this etsy-worth chic for expensive perfume.

Packaging and name aside (people, you have to be Chanel for the numbering to work and even Amouage got most of us confused with their Roman numerals!), I like Chic Shaik No 30. It combines two of my favorite characteristics: it’s both floral and amber perfume. The brand’s site doesn’t provide any useful information so I’m going with Fragrantica’s notes: bergamot, cardamom, passion fruit, rose, jasmine, patchouli, vanilla, ambergris and tonka bean. As usual, my nose isn’t sensitive enough to recognize most of them but I enjoy the composition.

Chic Shaik No 30 by Designer Shaik

I thought that with a light application Chic Shaik No 30 was a perfectly SFW perfume. But a co-worker with whom I used to share the office took a strong dislike to it. Surprisingly, she pinpointed exactly what bothered her about if: she said it smelled like a souk. She didn’t protest any of my other perfumes, so I had to respect her pet peeve.

I wore Chic Shaik No 30 on my first day at the new job. So far no complaints but only time will tell.

Did you come across any perfume that you considered SFW but got complaints, unfavorable comments or some form of non-verbal disapproval from a co-worker?

 

Images: my own