Christmas 2022: It’s Not All Cake and Eggnog

Christmas 2022: It’s Not All Cake and Eggnog

Hi All, firstly, I know Christmas is full of grief and woe for many people. (Here’s a page with many worldwide HELPLINES. Please call them, they’re waiting for you.) Also, I know that many of our readers have another religion or zero religious affiliation. If you find the Christian religions to be hypocritical multinational business empire behemoths, intent only on raping the world and its people then you’re not alone. My beautiful Jin is an evangelical atheist. He sneezes, I say “God Bless You” he says, “There is no god”!

Christmas 2022 It's Not All Cake and Eggnog 1

Where I’m At

I was brought up in the Roman Catholic faith. Church as an infant/toddler, Nuns in Junior School, Jesuits in Senior School. The Jesus story has been inculcated into my bones and though I know it was written long after his death, changed on multiple occasions by a committee (often of unscrupulous, evil tyrants) and used as a herding tool rather than a teaching one for the greater good, it is so deep in my marrow. Jesus himself sounds like a pretty good guy, except he forgot to address some key issues in the Old Testament, slavery, sexual equality, homosexuality and a few others I can’t think of right now. Thing is, I love the idea of there being a God. That if I’m a good person then I can have eternal salvation. Just the idea mind you, in reality I think living one life and death being a full stop is good. Then there are the questions. Why would an ever loving God give children cancer, create pedophiles, rapists and murderers (many within the canon of his churches), let global atrocities continue (starting with the Crusades and working forwards) and let us so recklessly ruin the beautiful world we have been given.
I’m not looking for answers or even help here. Just trying to explain my dilemma in the face of mounting lack of evidence. Sorry to lay this on anyone who feels attacked or undermined by my thought processes. I’m just laying bare my struggle. Hopefully some of you will find resonance.

Anyway, I still love Christmas. That we come together and mourn death, then celebrate the renewal of life. We do it by gathering people we love, family, friends, even some people we dislike. Sometimes people we hardly know in an Orphans Christmas situation. We come together and replenish our bonds and links of humanity through shared food, stories, memories and proximity. Even the drama creates new stories to be told throughout the next year and beyond. Before it was Christmas it had already been ritual for millennia, we just added glitter, reindeer and song.

If You’re Struggling

For those who feel completely alone, cut off and adrift from the rest of humanity. I’m hugging you right now. Please take time now to organise SOMETHING for this holiday. It’s relentless and can push us over the edge.
Have something nice or special to eat, doesn’t need to be expensive, something you like.
Maybe, if you have the funds or want to be involved, go have a meal out. Yes, you’ll be solo but you’ll be enveloped.

If solitude is your favourite thing then maybe a ramble around your neighbourhood? I find walking a really good way to beat off the blues, doesn’t have to be far to change my perspective and mood. The weather, the nature, the blood pounding and rhythm of my steps all combine to elevate my mood. Nearby we have a few parks, there’s nearly always some kind of life going on. People watching is nice too if you’re comfortable and sip a cuppa.

Have a plan. The best way to cope with anything is to have a plan. Make sure there are a couple of plans in case one gets derailed. Best to keep plans small and achievable, seriously, have a few.

The crushing overload of forced intimacy and aspirational Christmas spirit is a lot to handle, even for the strongest of us.

Also, say NO. If seeing your family, friends, anything is not what you want to do. Say NO. You don’t need to explain, just say no. Write an email if they are bullying you. “I will not be coming for Christmas. Hope it’s everything you want it to be. See you in the new year.”

Again: Here’s a page with many worldwide HELPLINES. Please call them, they’re waiting for you.

Christmas 2022 It's Not All Cake and Eggnog 1

Our Christmas 2022

This year is the most low key we’ve done Christmas for years.

On Christmas Eve we are having a small group for dinner. There will be Jin’s Roast Pork & Crackling, roast veggies, cold chicken, salads and some breads. I’ve bought a supermarket Christmas Pudding and some Custard for dessert but I think Kath will do a Pavlova too. A few drinks, some cognac and teas to finish. Hopefully done by 10pm, clean up and off to bed.

Christmas Day just Kath and us. Leftovers, chill, TV.
Last year on Christmas night we put up on faceBook that we were heading to Club Parramatta for dinner. We ended up with a table of about 20 friends and acquaintances. It was lovely. There was no cooking or cleaning, a few bevies and we all just hung out together chatting and laughing.

Boxing Day is traditionally held at my BFF Kath’s family home. We eat cold cuts, make some fresh salads and put it all on buns. We swim the afternoon away and then we all go home and crash.

Christmas Perfumes

Even though Christmas in Sydney is hot I’m hoping to get a few spritzes of firm favourites Caron Nuit de Noel, Liquides Imaginaires Sancti, Maria Candida Gentile Exultat, CdG Avignon andL’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme Intense. Mostly these will be cool of evening wears. I’m thinking to wear some Annick Goutals like Songes, Eau de Sud, Mandragore and Nuit Etoilee. That Lolita Lempicka Eau L’Aime, maybe L’Artisan Nuit de Tubereuse and Neela Vermeire Creations Rahele and Pichola. 

Christmas 2022 It's Not All Cake and Eggnog 11

These are the dream wears anyway. Honestly, I’ll probably get super busy doing stuff and wear easy reaches like Shalimar and Eau des Merveilles Bleue. Let’s see how it all comes out in the wash.

 

For those that celebrate. Merry Christmas.
Portia x

 

Advertisement

Saturday Question: What Was The Last New L’Artisan Perfume You’ve Tried?

I’m sure that there isn’t a single participant of these Saturday posts who is not familiar with L’Artisan Parfumeur. Moreover, I have no doubts that most of us have at least one (or ten?) perfumes from this brand in our collection. But when was the last time you tried anything new from them?

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #120:

What Was The Last New L’Artisan Perfume You’ve Tried?

And a bonus question: is there any perfume from the brand that you would like to try?

 

My Answer

Yesterday, while scrolling through Instagram posts, I came across a sponsored ad for L’Artisan’s Sale: “Make the most of unmissable offers and treat yourself to a new summer scent”

I do not need a new summer scent, but I got curious and tapped on the link. While 20-25% off isn’t a bad discount, by now I have most of L’Artisan Perfumes that I tried and liked, so none of the perfumes that I’m familiar with tempted me. But going through the Sale selection, I realized that I didn’t know half or more of the offered perfumes. And that brought up this question.

The last perfume from L’Artisan Parfumeur that I’ve tried was Noir Exquis launched in … 2015 (!). What I find strange: I liked it. Not to buy a bottle (at least not until I finish my small decant), but I liked it. And yet, in the last 6+ years I haven’t tried a single new perfume from the brand. I think I lost my interest since Puig had acquired the brand.

Am I interested in their new perfumes? I won’t refuse testing everything I missed somewhere at a store. But I don’t think I will be paying for their samples any time soon. The only perfume that stood out for me when I read about it was something with “banana” in the name. So, that would be the first one I reach for in that hypothetical store.

How about you?

 

What Was The Last New L’Artisan Perfume You’ve Tried?

Vacation in the Time of COVID-19: Episode III, Hawaii Big Island – Perfumes

Whenever I go to Hawaii, I take with me perfumes that I consider my tropical perfume wardrobe. Over years I kept finding more and more perfumes that I thought would be suitable for that purpose. So, each next time I had more and more contenders for my attention (and my body) on those tropical retreats.

This year I think I went a little bit overboard when packing perfumes for the trip: even not counting samples I brought to test (and didn’t!) and shared perfumes, I had more than three perfumes per day of my vacation. Considering that our “social life” (i.e.: visiting restaurants and any indoor venues) was extremely limited and our current physical shape didn’t support the twice-a-day beach visits routine we used to follow when we felt stronger, even two perfumes per day would have been a stretch. But I have so many perfumes that wait their time to join me on a trip, that I couldn’t bring myself to pare down the set. The picture below doesn’t show new samples brought for testing that I didn’t even unpack (I’ll do a post about them later, once I finish testing) and a couple of perfumes that I forgot to bring for the photo shoot.

Kona Vacation PerfumesLast year, longing for a tropical vacation that we had to cancel, I did a post on my typical perfume selection for these trips. This time in Hawaii I wore seven out of nine perfumes that were featured in that post (I didn’t re-read it until I started writing this one): Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess, Ormonde Jayne Tiare and Frangipani, L’Artisan Parfumeur Traversee du Bosphore, Parfums DelRae Bois de Paradise, Byredo Bal D’Afrique and Yosh Ginger Ciao. I don’t have much new to say about these perfumes in addition to what I wrote last year (I still love them all), but I want to share that on this trip, for the first time, I smelled Ormonde Jayne’s Frangipiani side by side with live plumeria and realized how complex Frangipani was while prominently featuring this note.

In addition to these, I managed to wear Diptyque Volutes (EdT), our shared perfume for plane flights (I decanted it into a tiny roller ball bottle, so we can use it discreetly without bothering fellow-travelers), Moroccanoil Hair & Body Fragrance Mist, which together with Bronze Goddess spent the whole vacation in the fridge, and Serge Lutens La Dompteuse Encagée, which I wanted to try in tropical surroundings – and yes, I still want to get it, even though I confirmed my initial impression that its longevity in a humid hot weather wasn’t great. My vSO wore Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine (love-love-love it) and three of Tom Ford‘s perfumes (I don’t envision any of them in his full bottle collection, but they were fine as the after-the-sunset wear).

 

The next time I go to Hawaii, I will probably bring that exact line-up, because all of them are gorgeous in tropical weather, and each of them deserves more skin time. I don’t need any more tropical perfumes! And yet, I’m still curious… Do you have any favorite perfumes that are especially great in hot weather?

 

Images: my own

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.

L’Artisan Parfumeur: Portia’s Most Worn

L’Artisan Parfumeur: Portia’s Most Worn

Hiya ULG, L’Artisan are one of those houses that many perfumistas had as a gateway to the rest of the world of perfumery. L’Artisan Parfumeur was established in 1976 by Jean Laporte making luxurious ambergris scented balls. He stayed till 1982. Interestingly, two of the first years perfume releases (1978) are still available; L’Eau d’Ambre and Mure et Musc. Over the years they have been incredibly groundbreaking. The first blackberry, fig, mimosa and others. Several have gone on into fabled history like Iris Pallida, La Haie Fleurie du Hameau, L’Eau du Navigateur and who can forget the fragrance made for a NYC store that started its own brand; Aedes de Venustas. Through the 21st centuries early naughties and teens they were available at almost every large department store. They have the added bonus of being slightly weird but extremely wearable, perfect for the newly minted perfumista. I have a whole box dedicated to them in my collection but only a few get year round, reach for a lot, wear. I thought it might be nice if we had a look at these easy go-to scents from a brand that I hope will see a new lease of life under their current owners since 2015, Puig.

L’Artisan Parfumeur: Portia’s Most Worn

Honestly, I was quite surprised at which bottles were most empty. A couple that I really adore seem to hardly have been used at all. So I picked the bottles with the most air in them, that seemed fairest. One day I’ll do a favourites from the line post and the outcome will only have a couple of crossover perfumes.

lartisan-parfumeur-portias-most-worn

Al Oudh

You know when the L’Artisan hands touch anything it’s going to be a smooth and classy version of whatever it is. Add in that this is a Bertrand Duchaufour fragrance. Al Oudh was a 2009 entrant into the oudh race. Just before I found you all on the scentbloggosphere. So when I hit the blogs it was a big, talked up fragrance along with Vanille Absolument (a rerelease of Havana Vanille) and Côte d’Amour (their first stab at all natural). A sweet and spicy look at the oudh/saffron/rose/patchouli combo that stays sheer and elegant, even though it has a lovely dirty/medicinal hit of oudh.

Bois Farine

Jean Claude Ellena created this 2003 beauty. I bought my bottle second hand and already there was juice missing to the top of the title. Powder, woods, iris and I don’t know how there are not sugar and almonds in the mix. In deepest dry down ALL I can smell is those sweet, puffy, almond horseshoe biscuits. It’s uncanny. Clearly my nose smells stuff ay out of whack sometimes but I really don’t care. Part of what I love about this beauty is it’s gourmand hints as it dries down.

Caligna

This is my favourite fig from the L’Artisan line up, created by Dora Baghriche. I love its more aromatic and herbal take on fig. Still creamy but with so many more interesting bells and whistles. Sage, citrus leaves, pine and ambroxan make for a very modern look and yet they also make it seem thoroughly reminiscent of the mid 20th century mens cologne fragrances. It’s an interesting mix that really captures my nose but could fit any time or place and any gender. That’s probably why I wear it so much. Also, it’s less OTT than Premier Figuier.

L’Eau du Navigateur

This was released back in 1979 and had gone through some heavy reformulations before I bought my bottle mid 2010s. At the time I’d only read about it in reverent tones and never seen a bottle. One day at a sale I saw one bottle left, didn’t even ask if they had a tester, I just bought it then and there. So happy I did. A Jean Claude Ellena from his earlier, heavier, more note filled days. Here we have a wooden spice boat on the seas, filled with cargo, deck hands, briny winds and the million other smells of sailing. Just close your eyes and live in this cleaned up fantasy of travel in the spice trade.

Poivre Piquant

This foody trilogy was released in 2002. Piment Brûlant, Poivre Piquant and Saffron Troublant are odes to Bell peppers (chilli), Peppercorns and Saffron. Almost photo realistic recreations of the named foodstuff that open each perfume. Poivre Piquant is pepper but wears like a zingy mix of black and pink peppers, drizzled with honey and sweetened to a liquorice deliciousness by dry down. Pepper lollies! Can you even imagine? It sounds as weird and out there as a fragrance could be but mercifully it’s all done in the cool, smooth, low key Duchaufour/L’Artisan style.

Seville a l’Aube

This is my second bottle of Seville a l’Aube. The Perfume Lover book by my buddy Denyse Beaulieu changed the way I viewed perfume creation and I fell in love with her wild and wicked ways. Though the fragrance itself is not sensual I always feel infused with her free spirit and zest for adventure when I wear it. Oranges, smoky incense, white flowers and honey mix together in an overwhelmingly ripe fragrance that tells the story of a romantic adventure remembered and brought to life by Bertrand Duchaufour. What’s not to love?

Tea for Two

When Tea for Two was first DCd in 2013 the Perfume Posse crew organised a Bus Tour through LA to some of the major fragrance venues. I was SO BUMMED about missing out on a bottle and begged the crew at Beauty Habit to give me their tester. As we were leaving they ran after the bus, stopped it and gave me the tester. This unbelievable fragrance. Smoky, incense laden, rich milky chai tea. Olivia Giacobetti masterfully arranges a fragrance rest stop in an Indian backstreet where the chai wallah has your tea at the ready. It’s sweet, milky, spicy and has the slight smell of frizzing electrical junctions, incense smoke, dusty streets and humanity.

I have at least a dozen more bottles of L’Artisan in the cupboard. Some of them I love infinitely more than these few yet these are the ones I reach for most.

What are your Most Worn L’Artisans?
Portia xx

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

Perfumes of My Hawaiian Vacations

I realize that a vacation at a tropical destination is a luxury, and many people cannot afford those or even going to the seaside. But since both my vSO and I work and work hard, as a rule, we try to go to Hawaii every second year. Last year we had a business trip combined with visiting relatives back in our country of birth followed by a week in London. It wasn’t the easiest trip (if not to count the UK portion of it, which was fabulous in all respects), but it ate up most of our travel budget and time off, so I was looking forward to going to Hawaii this year.

When the pandemic started, I was still hopeful that it would get resolved in the next several months, so I even booked a plane part of the trip late in March, and as September/October (the planned time for the trip) was approaching, I was still optimistic that the 14-days quarantine mandatory in Hawaii would get eased up, and we wouldn’t have to postpone the trip (the air tickets these days are easy to be moved or canceled – no penalties or change fees). The closer we got to the time, the less likely it seemed that we would be able to go, but it wasn’t until August when our airline sent me a notification that the flights have been canceled. They offered to move our itinerary to different days… But that’s when we decided that we should move that trip to the next year.

It was a disappointment, but on the grand schema of things, it’s not the worse what could have happened or is happening to many, so I’m trying to be positive about it and hope that we’ll go there next year (and I might even be able to shed some pounds by then – well, one can dream, right?).

But one thing that struck me as something sad and depressing was that, in addition to clothes that I wear only while in Hawaii, I have a list of perfumes that I also tend to wear mostly when I’m on a tropical vacation. And not going there meant that those perfumes would be waiting one more year for the skin time.

Perfumes for a Tropical Vacation

So, I decided to do a mini-project: a week of perfumes of my Hawaiian vacations. I thought about doing this project during my staycation, but then I figured that to keep reminding myself that we had to stay at home instead of enjoying time somewhere else would be too depressing. Besides, the week of my staycation promised to be pleasantly cooler (and it was). But the week before was hot, so it was just perfect for the project.

Almost all these perfumes I wore in Hawaii before (the picture above is from one of the previous trips), and I even wrote about some of them before – so, I knew that I liked them and would enjoy wearing them again. So, I’ll share just a couple of thoughts here and there, as well as several pictures from the previous visits to Hawaii – not pairing those images to perfumes, just using them to set the mood.

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Eau Fraiche Skinscent

Bronze Goddess is one of those perfumes that could have completely gone by me if it weren’t for Perfumeland. But thanks to a perfumista friend who shared a decant with me many years ago, this perfume became a staple of all my Hawaiian vacations. Working from home, I didn’t follow my usual vacation ritual of getting the bottle cold from the fridge and using it as a body mist, but it was extremely enjoyable still.

Sunset Big Island Hawaii

Ormonde Jayne Tiare

Two years ago, I complained that Tiare, my proven friend and companion on many tropical vacations, felt completely out of place in the office environment. This time, worn for the evening neighborhood walk on a warm evening, it was pleasant again, and we rekindled our friendship.

Tiare Big Island Hawaii

Ormonde Jayne Frangipani

Whenever I wear Frangipani, I realize how much I like it. But then I forget about it again until the next time I pack for my trip. It blooms wonderfully in hot weather, and I know that when I’m done with the last travel spray, I’ll want more.

Byredo Pulp

I don’t think I can wear Pulp where I live: even in hot weather these overripe fruits seem too much and almost nauseating. But I know that I feel completely differently about it when I put it on in Hawaii. Conclusion: I need to go to Hawaii.

Tropical Fruit

L’Artisan Parfumeur Traversee du Bosphore

Traversee du Bosphore works for me only when it’s hot. I checked: it doesn’t have to be Hawaii, as I proved to myself this time wearing it in hot Californian weather. But it needs heat to bloom. So, as much as I like this perfume, it’ll be a while before I finish my decant, and until then I probably do not need a bottle.

Kawaii Hawaii

Neela Vermeire Creations Bombay Bling!

As I discovered the last time when I wore Bombay Bling in Hawaii, it smells the best in A/C’d environment. This time I wore it again on a hot day in the house with working A/C, and it was beautiful. So, I think in future I’ll keep wearing it at home and let one of the two new to my collection perfumes mentioned further to take up its place in my holiday wardrobe.

Volcano Maui Hawaii

Parfums DelRae Bois de Paradise

Many years ago, one of the bloggers sent me a small sample of Bois de Paradise, and I thought it was the right choice for my vacation wardrobe. I brought that vial with me on one of my trips and used it up there. Since then I had it somewhere on the back of my mind that I wanted to buy it. But I was waiting for the brand to release it in a smaller bottle (I hoped it would be released since they were asking opinions on the size on Twitter, I think). It had never happened, and once I saw it on sale at Luckyscent last year, I immediately bought it. I was right: the brand went out of business later that year. Since then I’ve been waiting for the chance to wear Bois de Paradise in Hawaii… Since it didn’t happen, I’ll wear it at home. It’s great, and I even got a compliment from a friend (from my “extended bubble”).

Tropical Forest Maui Hawaii

Byredo Bal D’Afrique

I’ve never tried Byredo Bal D’Afrique in Hawaii, but it was very pleasant both in humid heat or New Orleans and in drier Californian heat, I suspect I will like it in tropical environment as well. If I ever get to go there again.

I didn’t get to wear one more of my “usual suspects” for tropical vacation – Yosh Ginger Ciao. But unlike all other perfumes in this mini-project, I wore Ginger Ciao several times this summer, so I didn’t feel like I abandoned it. But whenever I go to Hawaii the next time, this Vacation in a Bottle is coming with me.

Palm Trees and Moon Maui Hawaii

Images: my own

Portia’s Bathtime Goodies

Hi there Posse, Beauty Queens Bathe! I don’t know where I originally heard it or if it is my own invention. Either are believable. I seem to be the ONLY person on Insta who has ever used it. Thing is, it utterly describes the way I feel about baths in a tongue-in-cheek way. When you want to feel totally pampered and cleaned then full submersion with a quick rinse at the end seems perfect.

Seriously, even if it’s 1am and I’m dead tired. A good steaming hot soak in a bath full of bubbles for at least 20 minutes then sets me up to sleep deeper and wake up more refreshed, smelling gorgeous. I know it feels like a lot of work (especially at ridiculous hours) but believe me, it’s worth the effort.

Portia’s Bathtime Goodies

FRONT ROW:

Olympic Orchids Amber Labdanum Bath Oil

Want to smell and feel unbelievably gorgeous? Just a few drops in the bath. It coats my skin, and afterwards there is no need for more fragrance, especially if you are going straight to bed. You can drift off in the most delicious, lightly animal amber dreams. It also works perfectly as a fixative for and amber fragrance. I particularly love to wear Mitzah by DIOR after a bath in Olympic Orchids Amber Labdanum Bath Oil.

JOOP! Le Bain

I read a Fragrantica piece about this scent not so long ago. INSTANT lemming. So, off I went looking for some. A small bottle with shower gel was less than a regular niche 3ml decant, so I splurged. It wears like a female veering barbershop, with vanilla and flowers rather than lavender. Softly resinous and not as sweet as the base notes would suggest. I’m eeking out this shower gel because it’s so precious.

Vintage Caron Bellodgia Bath Oil

This popped up on eBay about 10 years ago, maybe more. When I bought it, I thought it was a large bottle, like 150ml. When it arrived I was totally bummed, it had been expensive and come from overseas. Then the smell hit me. O M G! One drop is all I need to put in the bath, and the whole apartment is suddenly awash in the divine smell of vintage Bellodgia. As you can see, the bottle is about halfway empty. When it’s gone, I’ll have the amazing memory of having owned such lavish luxury.

Tabu

OK, I know. This is not a big ticket item. Reminds you of great aunt Agatha who you despise. Stop your bitching a get some. FragranceNet has this regularly for under US$5 before coupon. It smells like a soft version of vintage Tabu and gives excellent bubbles. Another good base for all your ambers but also works beautifully with woods, resins and leathers.

Reem Acra

This fragrance came out to general acclaim by perfumistas in 2012. Radiant white floral with enough bells and whistles to make it interesting as well as lovely. You can buy a bottle at FragranceNet of the perfume for peanuts nowadays and stock up on Shower Gel US$4 and Body Lotion US$7 before coupon! Remember to GOOGLE FragranceNet Reem Acra 90ml and follow the link to get the 35% discount code applied. Currently you’ll get a 90ml EdP, Shower Gel and Lotion for around US$25! (Not affiliated, just LOVE DISCOUNTS!)

L’Occitane Neroli & Orchidee

The only one on my shelf I’m yet to use. It was a birthday gift, and I loved the fragrance when it came out. Will be very excited to have myself a bath in these bubbles.

BACK ROW:

Guerlain Champs Elysees Bath Balls

These are PRECIOUS! A gift from my mate Scotty a couple of years ago. I have only had two baths in them, and the smell is so damn glorious. Every time I go to use them though my TOO PRECIOUS button kicks in. Just seeing them and having them is enough.

Cuir Vetiver

Bought on one of our holidays. Can you believe Yves Rocher isn’t in Australia? I think it was a stand alone store in Budapest, and I went a bit crazy. Their product is super affordable, smells great and makes excellent gifts in a world of multinationals. One of the downside to being able to get almost everything is that it denigrates the fun of shopping overseas for friends. What’s not to love here? Leather and vetiver with a few extras for cohesion. Perfect base for Penhaligon’s Halfeti Leather, vintage Trussardi donna and YSL Jazz.

L’Artisan Premier Figuier

I seriously wish I’d bought 100 of these bottles when I saw them deep discounted as they were being phased out of Australia. I did buy about 20 with a few Chasse and Amber in the mix and then gave most of them as gifts. NOW I’m kicking myself because they are so beautiful. Fig is in a few of my favourites like Premier Figuier & Extreme, Neela Vermeire Ashoka and Mugler Womanity.

L’Artisan Caligna

I just bought a pre-loved bottle of Caligna off a friend’s FB sale doc. I’m yet to wear the fragrance over the shower gel but have high hopes for extended longevity. This is the old style bottle that I bought at the discounters a while ago. The plastic wrap had started to come apart on the box, so I took it as a sign that it wanted some use. Another fig-centric fragrance but this time with lavender and woods. This also works beautifully as a base for CHANEL Boy and Caron Pour un Homme.

LUSH Rose Jam

You all know about this ridiculously beautiful rose shower gel? It is virtually free! Of all the LUSH products Rose Jam is by far my favourite and most used. It is a rich, jammy rose and amps any rose fragrance or can be worn alone as a soft rose wash that lasts a couple of hours by itself. I’ve lost count of how many bottles of Rose Jam I’ve gone through but it must be 10 or more.

Tabac Original

This was my fathers fragrance, and this year marks 30 years since he died. When I saw this freaking enormous bottle for sale, I bought two. Of all the money spent over my life on fragrance and accoutrements Tabac Original is still one of the best scents around. Not only does it smell fantastic but nowadays it is also a rarity to smell someone wearing it. Barbershop done right.

Sea Salt Mimosa

I have a mate, Andrew, in the USA who I send stuff to, and he repacks and forwards it on. TBH I have no recollection of where I bought this and a couple of other C O Bigelow shower gels from. They do some really interesting scent combos though and give huge bubbles in the bath. This one is salty mint. YUM! The fragrance doesn’t last on skin though spa my enjoyment is bath only. This is a good thing if I don’t want my bubbles to wreck my fragrance later.

 

As you can see, I have a formidable arsenal of potions. Part of my lavish bathing adventure is picking the scent.

What do you bathe or shower with?

Portia xx

Portia’s Mid Season Beauties 2020

Portia’s Mid Season Beauties 2020

Hey there crew,

Mid Seasons are my favourites. I love the less extreme temperatures and the chopping and changing. Whether it’s Spring or Autumn, the days play similarly, and I find the same set of fragrances can often get some play. One day hot, next day cloudy, sunshiny days and chilly nights happen in both seasons. It does mean our easy reach fragrances need to be able to fit into more than a single weather mood. So I have a bunch of perfumes each year that are able to cross the borders comfortably. I pop them on the easy access tray with some all-year contenders. This year looks like it’s going to be fun.

 

 

Portia’s Mid Season Beauties 2020

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