Sunday, 31 July 2011

The Journey Of Discovery

I have always been intrigued by Marco Polo's (1254-1324) travels. Even before I learned to read, I used to sit by the window and look at the pictures from an old book my father had, called "The Travels of Marco Polo".I used to dream of sailing off to faraway lands  for hours on the end. Marco Polo played a very important part in the prosperous East-West contact and some journeys took years yes, YEARS to complete.

He documented these journeys in the most famous travelogue of the middle ages. I loved looking at his sketches of mysterious lands and people. I particularly remember being fascinated by an island inhibited by dog-headed people. Imagine the excitement and allure of undiscovered lands, and coming back with strange flora, fauna and spices that nobody had heard of, or tasted before. So you can understand my excitement when  I read  that Omnia by Bvlgari was inspired by the spices that Marco polo found on his various famous voyages.

The bad news was that the particular perfume had already been discontinued, but I got lucky and found a small bottle in an even smaller shop.
My precious little bottle
When I sniffed it for the first time I was transported into the past. Old Spice bazaars of the East I swear I could even hear the sellers calling out their wares.You know how I get carried away.
Google image

This perfume is a soft oriental. The color of the bottle matches the scent perfectly. Amber brown reminiscent of the spices in it. Even though with swirls of  spices, it's still light and translucent maybe because of the lotus note and has an airy, creamy quality to it. Like a cup of  delicate black tea served with a splash of creamy milk and cardamom. Very well blended. None of the notes stand out alone. I can smell white chocolate,a hint of coffee,chai, spices, nuts and  the dusty scent of jute sacks that holds the spices. The silage is quite weak making it a skin scent but I don't really mind. It stays on my skin for 5 hours or so. It's unique and delicious for the colder months. I paid Rs.2000 for my small 40ml bottle.

Top Notes: Ginger, Saffron, Mandarin Orange, Cardamom
Middle Notes: Nutmeg, Cinnamon, cloves, Almond, Masala chai, Lotus
Base Notes: Tonka Bean, Woodsy Notes, White chocolate, Sandalwood.


Omnia Amethyste

Omnia Crystalline
Omnia Coral

Omnia Green Jade

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

So I read somewhere that lady gaga is coming up with a perfume soon and she wants it to smell like blood and semen. (yawn) Don't be shocked. It has been done before. Yes ladies all is not fragrant and lovely in the world of perfumes.
Why you may ask do perfumers and designers come up with these gross compositions that would turn people off.? Well sometimes it's for the shock value alone, and sometimes just for the controversy and history these scents would create.
 Today we will look at some of these in  The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (twilight zone theme)

WARNING: If you get queasy or easily offended, or have just had a big meal stop reading right NOW... I will start off easy.

The first good controversial perfume I know about is Shalimar by Guerlain
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This was the bad girl perfume of the 20's. It was said that a lady didn't do three things: smoke, dance the tango and wear Shalimar ..

In the 30's came Tabu by Dana
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The forbidden fragrance Tabu was created in 1934, when Perfumer Jean Charles was asked to create a perfume  that a whore would wear. This perfume  created controversy due to it's carnal nature.I can imagine ladies reaching for their smelling salts at this news and fainting in fits of horror. Oh! The utter Shock! The sheer scandal  of it all! Tabu was inspired by the painting"The Kreutzer Sonata" by Rene Prinet with the slogan "The longest kiss in history''.
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As the years progressed the shock factor also increased. Now people don't really mind or get offended by intoxicating, heavy orientals, or smoking, or tango come to think of it. Hence comes the shock factor of introducing  animalistic notes.

Serge Lutens Musc kublai khan 
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Musc Kublai Khan was launched in 1998 and is supposed  to  smell like a Mongolian warrior. Perfume lovers all over the world have a love-hate relationship with it. Many find it too strong, with a smell of manure, public toilet, dirty body and sweaty horses. And for some, It is raw, sexual and animalic.

Sécrétions Magnifiques by etat libre d'orange

While I haven't had the displeasure of smelling this, Sécrétions Magnifiques by etat libre d'orange is supposed to smell like blood, sweat, sperm, saliva. It's enough to gross anyone out. Blood??! Is it a perfume that a serial killer would wear? If you are still curious to how it smells, below is a review by .
 Secretions, Magnifiques. I guess the name itself says it all. Unless you find bodily secretions pleasurable to smell outside the bedroom, bathroom or emergency room, you might want to skip this fragrance experience.

First of all, what strikes me is the whimsical little penis exploding like a little fountain. Reminds me of those old Disney cartoons where Donald is bathing blissfully, or when the Big Bad Wolf realises he's in some serious hot water. Surely something this cute cant be all that bad, right?

On first application, I couldn't help myself, I blotted it on my wrist and sniffed it straight away before it even had a chance to dry. Nice, a bit of soft musk. Replacing the stopper on the tester, I then went in for a second sniff......and dear god, how I regretted doing that. Immediately, a brick formed in my throat, and my stomach contents were swirling.
If you have ever gutted a fresh fish and rubbed your nose in the innards, thats pretty much what this smells like. Raw, metallic, cold, salty, fleshy and bloody, with the tiniest undercurrent of floral accents straining to take the edge off this being completely and utterly repugnant. If you want to read the full review HERE is the link.

Black Orchid by Tom Ford. I have a mixed feeling about this one. I picked up a sample in a dutyfree and tested it on the plane. Its a mish mash of too many notes all trying to make themselves appear at once. And sometimes it's spicy with hints of very bitter dark chocolate. I'm still undecided.Where is the bad part in this?  Well, *hides face* Tom Ford told the perfumers that it should smell like a man's crotch. Now we  know Tom must know( cough cough) just how that smells.

 Has anyone puked yet? I warned you.
I saved the best worst for last. Are you ready for it? It's called... VULVA... lol I'm not kidding take a look;
check out the logo on the box Ewww! (google image)
Is this not the perviest pic?! I guess it's marketed to creeps who like stealing ladies undies (shudder).

VULVA PERFUMEA company called vivaeros Special Products has developed ascent they call Vulva. That's right, it's a "perfume" that smells like a woman,s privates, but is made for a man. The advertisement video  shows a sweaty personal trainer eyeing a woman's crotch as it hovers above the black curve of a stationery bike. After the woman leaves, the long-haired dude goes and inhales her womanly scent.It's pretty bizarre. But we wonder if all those panty fetishists out there are gonna be real happy (and a lot of young woman who make extra dough selling to these men will be out of a job)
(vulva article courtsey of basenots).

I hope I didn't gross you out too much. Just wanted to share some kinky stuff in the perfume industry. I have to go throw up now :)

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Lovely Sarah Jessica Parker Perfume Review

Hello ladyyyyz. Hope everyone's enjoying a wonderful lazy Sunday. It has been drizzling here from time to time but this year we haven't experienced a proper monsoon in Islamabad as yet. Thats when it rains non-stop for days and the weather cools down significantly . It was extremely humid and hot a few days back and one could hardly breathe. The lake/dam outside my window has become more like an ugly swampland and cows graze there now lol. Last year the entire 9km lake filled up in one night due to flooding and the spill ways had to be opened. It was pretty scary.

Cows grazing
Sorry about the ramble. But I'm one of those people who lets the weather get the best of them. I will be reviewing a different sort of celebrity perfume today different in a sense that it`s not your average sweet sickly fume that celebrities usually churn out.It`s called lovely by sex and the city acclaimed actress Sarah Jessica Parker. I like the fact that Sarah claims to be involved in every step for making of this scent. From Inspiration, to notes, to packaging. Mostly celebrities just sign contracts with perfume houses to associate their names with fragrances as a self-promotion campaign for huge sums of money.
Lovely is the first fragrance by Sarah Jessica Parker (in partnership with Coty Inc.). Obsessed with style and fashion, Sarah always wanted to create a signature scent that would be very sexy and yet undeniably classy. She did not want her fragrance to be overpowering, but instantly recognizable, like infamous aromatic concoction she made for herself from 3 separate fragrances before she co-createdLovely.
Lovely is a soft, powdery, discrete and very intimate fragrance, announced as 'silky white amber'. It possesses an elegance characteristic of classic fragrances. And yet the fragrance is quite modern and very charming.
It opens with soft citruses (nectarine and bergamot) and woody (rosewood) notes, with a touch of lavender, which is very discrete and not at all sharp. The fragrance develops further with notes of apple martini, white daffodil and orchid. The base unites white amber, cedar, woody notes and white musk.
According to Sarah's words, the perfume is appropriate for all generations: 'from 17 to 107'. The fragrance was created by Laurent Le Guernec and Clement Gavarry in 2005 with Sarah herself being the creative director, actively participating in the process from its start to finish. (source
My small 1.7 FL OZ bottle
MY REVIEW: I absolutely adore "Lovely" by Sarah Jessica Parker. I immediately did a double take/sniff after smelling this for the first time. Ahhh! the swaying lavender fields of Provence.

google images
It`s a soft spicy lavender woody musk. I don`t experience all the notes on my skin. The prominent note is no doubt lavender. It`s perfect for warmer months when  fragrances that are too sweet gets cloying very quickly. It feels clean and fresh but not citrussy.It`s hard to tell from the bottle,but I find it`s a tad masculine too. If you look at the notes you will find most of them are used in men`s perfumes except for maybe the orchid. It can be unisex even though I cant imagine a guy buying something called lovely which is pink and comes in a bottle with a lavender ribbon around it :) The bottle is beautiful. Elegant and vintage in style. Interestingly, the drydown of lovely is exactly like  Narcisso Rodriguez For Her ( the pink bottle). So, if u like `for her' but find it too expensive this is very very similar. I`m surprised how perfumes tend to change the way they smell with the seasons. I find lovely does not work at all for the winters. It turns sharp and plastikcy  if there is such a word . Overall a great debut from SJP and can be enjoyed by all ages. It comes in a 50 ml bottle for $48, or 100 ml for $62.

Perfume Category: Floral Woody Musk.

TOP NOTES: Lavender, Bergamot, Mandarin

MIDDLE NOTES: Apple Martini, Rosewood, Paperwhites, Orchid

BASE NOTES: Patchouli, Musk, Cedar, Amber and Woods.

google images

 Off Topic: A collaborative effort titled, Outside My Window, is doing the rounds in quite a few blogs which I found interesting. Collection of pictures from all over the world of what people look at each day outside their window.

Glimpses from apartments in Paris, flats in Hong Kong, and backyards in North Carolina are shared with people in far away lands and aim to provide a peek of an everyday view. It doesn't have to be picturesqe or scenic that`s what makes it interesting. It can be anything even a plain brick wall is cute and funny. So I`m tagging all my followers (of course only if you are comfortable with the idea) to do a picture post titled Outside my window or whatever you want to name it.
Thanks to everyone who took the time out to view my post. Have a great Sunday.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Lush Love

Hey everyone! Hope you all had a fab weekend. I have caught a bit of a cold in the middle of hot scorching summer. Its not fair. Colds should be a winter thing accompanied by hot chicken soup and chick flicks.

No perfume reviews today. Since I can`t smell a thing, I decided to do a little lush soap review for all you lushheads out there. You know who you are :) All the images will be from google as I`m feeling too blaah! and lazy to snap my own *Achoo! sniff sniff *

looks good enough to eat nom nom
Lush started off as a little soap shop in UK and their soaps are fabulous. I know it`s stupid to gush or get excited about soap but these really are great. Chock-full of flowers, fruits and essential oils they are a treat in the shower. Try to get freshly sliced soap of your choice if you want all the pretty detailing (like the honeycomb in the above pic),  rather than the prepackaged ones . Even though they work the same, I  love having my soaps look all  pretty and perfect cu'z  I`m shallow like that :)

Porridge soap

  • PORRIDGE SOAP : This is my favorite from Lush. It`s so creamy and exfoliating and smells simply delicious. Like a warm comforting bowl of oatmeal drizzled with molasses. The oats in it are great to exfoliate your skin in the shower and it`s also very creamy. The only cons are the mess they make, with little oat bits stuck in the shower drain, and also melts away fast.

Sultana of soap

  • SULTANA OF SOAP: I have a mixed feeling about this one.
  WHAT LUSH SAYS: The creamy fruity one. Can we help it if our soap looks like a big cake of tasty Italian nougat? Well, I suppose we can. If we make it soft and creamy, fill it full of chopped apricots and currants and scent it with spicy olibanum, it's hardly surprising that it looks tempting enough to take a lick. You know better than that, though, don't you? Smooth a slice of our fruit encrusted, creamy dessert of a soap all over your body and enjoy smelling like a sweet shop.

This was somewhat disappointing only because after reading the above description I was expecting a more of a bakery yummy scent. But it turned out quite spicy. I`m afraid the olibanum ruined it for me. The scent is rather mild and not harsh, I don't hate it. Just not what I was expecting. It has bits of fruits and kernels in it for gentle exfoliating. I find porridge soap does a better job when it come to exfoliating. Very creamy and lathering. 

Honey I washed the kids
  • HONEY I WASHED THE KIDS: This one is their bestselling soap of all time and for a very good reason.
 What lush says: The irresistible toffee and honey soap. Once you've sniffed it, you've got to have it. On paper, it's difficult to portray the full effect of this honeycomb and toffee scented soap. People who fully intended to walk past a Lush shop find themselves unable to resist its tempting fragrance. They inhale, drool, pick up a big chunk and join the queue for the till. It's hard not to buzz about this one
I fully agree with them. Its like toffee and honey and gets your skin squeaky clean with loads of lather. The honeycomb at the top looks so cute and gently exfoliates too.

  • ROCK STAR SOAP : Rock star  soap was very hyped about in you-tube videos and all. I didn't find anything exciting about it. Its just a pink soap which smells like bubble gum. Enough said. 

Godmother soap

  • THE GODMOTHER SOAP : For those of you who love the scent of snow fairy and can`t wait for it to come out only at Christmas, the godmother has the exact same scent. It`s transparent and full of glitter which doesn't stick to the skin. Lathers well and looks pretty.

Noubar soap

NOUBAR SOAP : Again deceived by the looks of it. When will I learn? It`s not my fault though. Does this not look like a bar of nougat that would smell like pistachio ice cream? I don't know why lush added vetiver oil in it? Why  Oh why!? This could have been amazing but now it smells like stale damp cigarettes. Very exfoliating if I breathe through my mouth and not smell it. Now that I think about it, it`s perfect for when you have a cold. Will use this today.

Snow cake soap
SNOW CAKE SOAP : Snow cake comes out once a year during holidays and is supposed to smell like almond frosting. It`s very creamy and moisturizing and melts like crazy. I did not find the almond icing scent very exciting. It was more powdery than marzipany and very ordinary. But that`s just me.

Vanilla in the mist soap

VANILLA IN THE MIST SOAP : I know I said porridge is my favorite but I lied. I have undying love and loyalty for vanilla in the mist. I don`t know what I'd  do if lush discontinued it. It`s a must for coffee lovers. Very creamy, and the scent lingers on the skin for a long time. I love LOVE this one. This should be the king of all soaps. 
What lush says: If you can't live without your morning vanilla latte, our new Vanilla In The Mist soap is for you.
Its strong scent of roasted cocoa beans and sweet vanilla is as good at waking you up as a freshly brewed cup of java. Real vanilla pods gently exfoliate the skin and add a caramel note to the addictive fragrance. 
Coffee fiends will find themselves constantly washing their hands to get their fix between cups.

I hope I haven`t bored you too much with my soap fixation :) I went crazy in the lush store when I last went to India and stocked up on a lot of goodies cuz we don't have lush where I live :( . In the end i would like to thank my man, for dealing with my lush wish list whenever he goes to UK. Thank you honey, for even stepping in a store so chock - full of girly scents and glitter most guys would be dead embarrassed. I know it takes a man who is extremely comfortable with his masculinity to walk into a store and ask for a snow fairy shower gel with a straight face. ( I know you were blushing hehehe) 

Signing off for now. I better go have some chicken soup and boiled eggs Grrrr....

some images by google.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Miss Dior Cherie

I'm sitting outside in a cafe in Paris. I order a bowl of wild tart strawberries sweetened by a hint of caramel sauce. There is a vase of roses and violets on the red and white hounds-tooth print tablecloth. Its a sunny day in Paris and I'm wearing red cherry lipstick and a big silver bow in my hair. All is right with the world because I'm young, impulsive and beautiful. Oh! My name? Miss Dior Cherie.
love the hounds tooth etching on the bottom of the bottle

Dior introduced a new and charming girl, Miss Dior Cherie. Face of the perfume is Riley Keough, Elvis Presley's oldest granddaughter, and the bottle resembles the one of Miss Dior of 1947. This fragrance, although it features the same basic components like its famous predecessor, is not at all a remake of Miss Dior. Sweet and gourmand notes of pop corns in the heart, so unusual, make this perfume appealing to youngsters. Miss Dior Cherie is young and romantic, she possesses good taste and style, she looks smart, but youth is youth, and this young lady looks pretty with a pop corn bag in hands. The top notes are wild strawberry leaves and green tangerine. The heart features caramel pop corns surrounded by violets, wild strawberry, so strong and seductive and pink jasmine. The base is created of fresh patchouli leaves and crystalline musk.
Miss Dior Cherie was launched in 2005. The nose behind this fragrance is Christine Nagel. source
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Aaah Paris!! The city of lovers, perfumes and fragrances. A trip exploring and sampling all the great perfume houses and fragrant treasures of this city is every perfumista`s dream. The house of Dior came out with Miss Dior Cherie hoping to target the younger market of perfume buyers. But I think this scent  can be worn by all. Age no bar. This perfume is an ode to the fun, playful side of Paris. The playfulness and essence of the scent is captured perfectly by Sofia Coppola who directed the the commercial for this little gem where she shows the model enjoying a beautiful day in Paris. Indulging in French pastries, walking down it`s streets and just having fun. It has to be one of my favorite Perfume ads.

Perfume Notes:
Top Notes: Wild strawberry, Mandarin Orange, Pineapple, Cherries.
Middle Notes: Rose, Jasmine, Violet, Caramel popcorn.
Base Notes: Musk, Amber and Patchouli.
Catagory: Fruity Chypre

It`s quite a lovely perfume. And the bottle is adorable. The scent is Sweet, flirty, festive yet sensual and complex. Opens up very fruity with a hint of pineapple. The top notes last for only a minute or so on my skin. I  can see you roll your eyes at the popcorn note, but the buttery richness tones down the tartness of strawberries beautifully. The strawberry note is the strongest and lasted the longest on me. The strawberry was not candy like or sweet at all, but rather tart and  green. The caramel sweetens this scent a lot. I don't get any rose on my skin and just a hint of powdery violets.The patchouli is not the strong earthy kind but very soft and subtle only added to add a little depth to the fragrance. This lasts on my skin for 12+ hours and is available for Rs.12000 ( yikes!!) for 3.4 ounces but it is from the house of Dior and will last you for years and years as very little is needed.
Good For: Spring and early days of summer as it is quite heady and sweet. People who like sweet floral chypre fragrances.
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Now the bad news: I don't know why, but it was discontinued and was replaced by a new version in 2011. The new one, even though looks the same, smells entirely different and was created by a different perfumer. Dior has lost a lot of it`s fans for this perfume by this replacement. I think when they changed the composition, they should have changed the name to prevent confusion. I`m not saying the new one is bad, but it`s not as fun as the old one. It has lost it`s playfulness and the caramel popcorn note, and is not as bright and cheerful. But rather elegant and sophisticated. So make sure if you want to buy this to ask for the 2005 version rather than the 2011 one.
Dior came up with 5 flankers of the original Miss dior cherie.

The one on the left is truly beautiful. It`s called Miss Dior Cherie L 'Eau and is a beautiful floral citrus.

The eau de toilette...
Here is the Eau De Toilette version of the same perfume (image source google)

What is a Chypre  scent?
The term chypre is French for Cyprus, and goes back to François Coty who created in 1917 a perfume of the same name from fragrance materials that came predominantly from Mediterranean countries. The chypre concept is characterised by the contrast between the fresh citrus accord and the woody-oak-moss fond; often patchouli is considered an indispensable element as well. The chypre accord is used in both male and female perfumery. Modern chypre perfumes have various connotations such as floral, fruity, green, woody-aromatic, leathery, and animalic notes, but can easily be recognized by their "warm" and "mossy-woody" fond which contrasts the fresh citrus top, and a certain bitterness in the dry-down. (source Wikipedia)

To pronounce Chypre, click HERE

And on a closing note I want to add; that please ladies, whatever you do DO NOT store your perfumes in the bathroom cabinets or shelves. This is absolutely the worst thing you can do to your fragrances as the heat and the dampness makes the perfumes go bad before their time. The best place to store them is somewhere dark and dry, like your closet or vanity table drawers and preferably in the packaging the bottle came in.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

VS Secret Garden Body Mists

Hi everyone. I know I have rambled and raved about my love for vicky`s secret`s body mists before, but they seriously are that good and deserve to be mentioned again. The secret garden collection comes in both perfume and body mist forms and have further matching lotions, body butters, showergels e.t.c My review today is of their gorgeous body mists. They come in loads of scents and the bottles are huge 8.4 fl oz. They retail for $12 or $15. I can`t seem to find these on their website right now. And are available at SHAMS in Islamabad for Rs.1,400. These are all fruity florals and last a long time on my skin.
source google

What it says on the bottle: Refresh with fragrance from a secret garden, infused with moisturizing Aloe Vera and calming Chamomile. Mist over body after shower or bath for delicately scented skin.
I have four favorites from their collection.

I find these refreshing and long lasting. Great for summers. But, some people have complained that these don`t last long on their skin. The trick is layering. And that means forking out more money to buy shower gel and lotions in the same scent and layer it on before applying the mist. I don`t know why Victoria`s secret doesn't launch outside the US. It is quite cheap over there and their sales and deals are to die for. I hear they have VS at  Heathrow and Gatwick airports in London but even those don`t have their entire range of products. Come on VS!! You need to get out and explore the world. Victoria`s secret + La Senza + Bath and body works = owned by the same parent company i.e.Limited Brands.
OK enough ranting lets get to the review.
strawberries and champagne
Sounds romantic right? I don`t know how they did this but it actually does smell fizzy and bubbly. Delicious and refreshing. Its like a very watered down version of Miss Dior cherie, minus the caramel note.
The sweetness of the strawberries is balanced and not too sweet. I store mine in the fridge and apply whenever a blast of freshness is needed. 

NOTES: Strawberries, Champagne and Cassis.

Pure Seduction
Its a juicy summer cocktail. Love the melon in this. Beautifully blended. Great for casual wear during the summer.Sweet and lush. Nothing complex about it. Pure fruit punch. I have received compliments every time I have worn this, just last week an elderly uncle wanted to know what smelled so heavenly so he could get it for his niece and I was too embarrassed to tell him the name of this so I just made up some name that doesn't exist hehe.

Notes: Casaba melon, Plum and Freesia.

Berry Kiss
Who doesnt want to be kissed by berries! Starts off very fruity and girly, pure berries galore. After ten minutes or so, it becomes very floral hence the rose note. The drydown is pure praline and roses. Truly yummy! 

Notes: Wild Raspberry, Praline and Rose.

Amber Romance

Amber romance is great for everyday winter wear. Even though this too is a fruity floral, its different from others in this collection. unique, comforting and creamy. The notes are Black cherries, creme Anglaise (fancy name for custard) and sandalwood. The opening is somewhat sharp with a tangy cherry note the most prominent, it settles down quickly into this creamy sandalwood with a hint of cherries. Even though this has lashings of creme anglaise Im happy to note its not very sweet or gourmand. Too rich  for the summers, it`s lovely for fall and winters.

Notes: Black Cherry, Creme Anglaise and Custard.

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