Monday Must-Have: Jo Malone Blackberry and Bay

Last Friday, I found myself unexpectedly at a loose end in the Trafford Centre and decided to take myself on a little, ahem, research trip around the beauty hall at Selfridges. Lo and behold, I found today’s Monday Must-Have, the new fragrance from Jo Malone, Blackberry and Bay.

I’m a huge fan of Jo Malone and not just because it’s a luxury brand. I don’t get on very well with perfume – the vast majority give me a headache, yet since I discovered Jo Malone, I’ve bought 3 perfumes in as many years (prior to that I’d worn the same 1 for the last 10 years,) and now I can tell you I’ll be purchasing a fourth.

Blackberry and bay is like a grown up version of the smell of Ribena, fruity and sweet but tempered with the freshness of the bay, I fell instantly in love… I think you will too.

Have you tried it yet?


Perfume Genius

Hello Florence Findettes! Gemma here, waffling again.

Today, I’m going to be talking fragrance. However, I don’t claim to be a genuis… In fact the title of this post is the name of a Copenhagen-based singer songwriter, who, if you’re like me and a sucker for some pretty piano music and clever (if a little melancholy) lyrics, you should really go and check out.  Why am I talking indie-folk when you’re expecting to read about cosmetics? Well, we’re well-rounded, well-travelled women of the world here on FF, that’s why. Certainly not anything to do with me having him on repeat on my ipod… As usual, I digress.  So back to the task at hand….

I love perfume.  I always get sucked in by the package deals, and I love having an array of pretty bottles on my dresser. (even if the majority of them are empty!) What I love the most though, is how just one sniff of a certain scent can take you back in time.  For me, Tommy Girl by Tommy Hilfiger reminds me of my first overseas trip, to Italy when I was 16.  It was the first proper perfume I’ve ever owned.  I had on DKNY’s original when I had a huge fight with my sister which culminated in her saying ‘I hate that perfume, because it smells like coriander, and I HATE coriander, and I, well, I’m not going to say I hate you, but I don’t like you very much at the moment!’  Thierry Mugler – Angel is all about studying in the UK for the first time and to me, smells like independence, and Chanel’s Mademoiselle was my 21st birthday party and what I was still wearing, a good 5 years later, when my husband first told me he wanted to marry me.  Now before this gets too Mills and Boon-esque I need to point out that said declaration took place via text message, in the middle of a My Latest Novel gig, and that I got the message in the lady’s loo.  Just after I’d sprayed myself liberally to try to mask the smell of spilled stout 😉

Just like other aspects of fashion, perfume is driven by trends.  Sure, a fragrance can have more longevity if women fall in love with it (a classic example of this is Clinique’s Aromatics Elixir, worn for years by both my Aunt and Mother-in-law, and celebrating its 40th anniversary this year with a lust worthy solid perfume compact necklace which I’ve added here as a link because it’s so darn pretty) but the major perfume houses often only concentrate on one release per season or less, and limited edition scents that don’t take off hugely are normally discontinued after a shorter time, leaving us with the big names.  Now don’t get me wrong, I appreciate and will no doubt continue to buy all the ‘usual suspects’ like Dior, Lancome, YSL and of course my beloved Chanel, but sometimes this can lead to what I like to call ‘perfume twinning’ – when a scent is really having a moment and everyone seems to be wearing it.  For me, running into someone who smells the same as you kind of defeats the purpose of perfume – I think the scent you choose should (subtly) mark you out, not make you blend in.

A couple of years ago I worked in an office where both my boss and her boss (and very stylish ladies they are, too!)  wore Love, Chloe.  It got to the point where we could tell whether management was in early or not by whether there was a scent of fruity roses in the lift.  Even now, though I really do love Chloe(!) to wear it would be to constantly check over my shoulder to see which senior staff member was standing behind me.

Another thing is that while we as consumers want to know where our food comes from and what goes into our shampoo and foundation, ingredients in popular perfumes don’t seem to be scrutinised to the same degree.  As a result many people can’t wear a lot of the big name perfumes because they are allergic (my coriander hating sister for one!) or just find them irritating for sensitive skin.  So with the fragrances I’m rounding up today I’ve tried to find you some offerings that are kind to irritable complexions, organic and fair trade where possible and in true Florence spirit, hopefully things that you may not have heard of and that you can put on your Christmas list.

Tokyo milk are a US based parfum company who also do stationary, candles and lots of other gorgeous things – Waltz ($28, which is, you heard me, £16) is a soapy floral with notes of linden, honeyed rose, wisteria petals and white musk.  They also have a fragrance called ‘dead sexy’ which I’m dying to try 😉

Tommy Sooni – An Australian label.  My pick is Eau de Tommi Sooni II – which is described as a ‘floriental’ and among notes of daphne and lemon features rhubarb. Yes, rhubarb!!  Now, at $160 Australian dollars, which is approximately £100, this is. not. cheap. However, it is Christmas…

If, like me, bargainous is a high-rotation word, try the lush fresh fig scent from Arran Aromatics.  A perfume and cosmetics company based on the Isle of Arran, they do a wide range of scents – I love their ‘After the Rain’ for the summer but the Fresh Fig, which is fruity and warm and sweet and smells ever-so-slightly of cake, is a total winner for me when the weather is cooler.  Plus they do a full range of body creams, candles and other gorgeous bits. And at £12.50 for a 30ml bottle, I think Santa could stretch to a few pieces from the line, non?

Ahhh,  Annick Goutal.  The bottles are beautiful, the range is extensive, the smells are sublime.  Petite Cherie has fruit notes of peach and pear, with a candy undertone, but without overpowering. John Lewis are price matching this at the moment, starting at £54, below left.

In my makeup bag: Laura Mercier tinted moisturiser? Check. LM brushes and bronzer? Check. Laura Mercier Pistachio perfume? Ch… erm, sorry, what now? Yes, the queen of natural beauty actually has a few scents under her belt but I like Creme De Pistache (above right) and at £37 odd it could easily be slipped on the end of your next LM staple order 😉

Now as always often sometimes happens – this post is vairrrry long and I’ve only got through my first four Florence Fragrances.  But I’ll very quickly add that Liz Earle fans should check out her perfume Botanical Essence which is made of 98% natural ingredients, and that if Mr C-S is reading this, I’d really like to try an Ayala Moriel scent.
A perfumer who was born in Montreal, raised in Israel and is inspired by the Mediterranean Sea, she has an Etsy shop and as well as selling all manner of perfumes (including one that smells of wet concrete as well as rosemary and cypress) will create individual scents.  What could be more personal than that?

Lots of citrus-woody-tobacco-top-note love,

Gemma xx

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