Real Neat Blog Award: Surprise, surprise!

Real Neat Blog Award

Real Neat Blog Award

My morning routine starts with a nice steaming cup of tea, followed by checking emails and the day’s schedule.  Some days my inbox contains something exciting and special, some other days, just full of notifications and adverts. Well, there was an email waiting for me this morning which belongs to both categories.

Melita from the Perfume Polytechnic blog nominated The Perfume Magpie for a Real Neat Blog Award. This was a lovely surprise to wake up to.

Real Neat Blog Award seems like a baton passed by a blogger to another blogger, and the recipient is supposed to answer the questions that came along with the award if she/he is willing to accept the nomination. I’ve seen this kind of awards on other blogs but, to be honest, I’ve never imagined that it would come to my direction.

So, Melita, thank you!! I’ll accept the award as gracefully as a magpie can since this is my first award and there may never be another, and pass it onto other bloggers. As for the bloggers I nominate, I know some of you choose to run award-free blogs, so if I mention you in this post, participate only if you want to. No obligations. I just want to shout out “I love your blog!!”

Here are the rules for accepting a Real Neat Blog Award:

1) Show the award logo on your blog.
2) Answer seven questions asked by your nominator.
3) Thank your nominator, linking his or her blog.
4) Nominate any number of bloggers you find deserving of the award, and provide a link to their blogs.
5) Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)
(Again, feel free not to act upon them if you don’t have time; or don’t accept awards; etc.)

Well, anyway, here are my answers to Melita’s questions:

1) If you’re old enough to remember, what do you miss the most about the pre-internet era?
Handwritten letters. I used to have a great collection of letter papers and envelopes for the different friends, moods, seasons and occasions. I loved the moment of anticipation just before opening the envelopes. (Actually, I get similar excitement now when I know the package contains perfumes.)
2) Could you be self-sufficient if you had to be?
Yes. I’ve grown up in a farm and now I’m living in countryside. I grow vegetables and herbs, I can weave baskets and sandals, and I’m pretty good at milking cows. I’m crap at chopping wood though.  I’m also into natural & botanical medicines.
3) What are your thoughts on climate change?
It’s a nature’s cycle but human beings are not helping it.
4) What is your best developed sense?
Hmmmm, this is a difficult question. I have a very good sense of smell and I can recognise wide range of colours as well (well, according to one of those articles on the internet). I can also hear bats.
5) Do you make anything with your hands?
Yes. I love making jewellery in silver. I love the moment when the metal glows red and solder flows. I also enjoy making stained glass panels, knitting and sewing.
6) What is the most thoughtful gift someone has given you?
Love. Does it count?
7) Tell us about a person you miss, and what you miss most about them.
My husband. Although now I’ve met someone who is loving, caring, understanding, and completely accepting me the way I am, I still miss my late husband a lot. I don’t think I would ever stop loving him and missing him. He was highly intelligent, adventurous, humorous, grumpy, animal loving, spiritual and a gentle soul. I miss everything we used to do together, just him being there with me.

So there we have it. A little more about me. :)

Now, my nominees. I wanted to choose a lot more but I thought five was a good number.

I nominate the following perfume blogs:

L’eter
Bonkers about Perfume
The Scented Hound
Undina’s Looking Glass
The Sounds of Scent

Here are my 7 questions for the bloggers:

1) What is one of your talents?
2) What makes you smile?
3) If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
4) If the world ends tomorrow, what would you do?
5) If you can go back in time, where would you go?
6) What the weirdest thing you’ve ever smelled?
7) Which perfume are you craving to obtain?

As I said earlier, please don’t feel obligated to accept the award, it’s just a small way of showing my love to a few blogs I enjoy!

All the Pretty Bottles

Magpie's Perfume Bottle Collection

Magpie Loves Perfume Bottles | Illustration by The Perfume Magpie

I’m a visual person. I get drawn to anything pretty. Over the years I’ve learnt to behave (a bit) and restrain myself not to collect anything and everything I lay my eyes on but I’m still a magpie through and through. I enjoy being surrounded by things that are pleasing to the eye. As you can probably guess, perfume is one of such things I adore not only for the smell but also for the visual effect. If I had an unlimited amount of money to spend, I would have a huge perfume library in my house with a collection of beautiful bottles adorning each shelf.

So when I decide to buy a perfume, the design of the bottle plays a big part. The number one factor is still the smell, of course, but even if I *like* the smell, if I don’t like the bottle, the prospect of the purchase becomes very slim. (By the way, if I *love* the fragrance, I would buy it however the bottle looks.)

Anyway, I was looking at my humble perfume collection on the dresser this morning and I happened to notice that they have one noticeable visual quality in common – simple. A few of them have so called whisky decanter shapes and the rests are more or less the variations of the prism shapes. For fun, I decided to gather some of the images of the perfume bottles I like and dislike. All the bottles are chosen only for their appearance, nothing to do with the actual fragrances themselves. The choices are completely biased and personal.

So here we go…

The Bottles I Like

I decided to limit to ten commercial fragrance bottles here. Needless to say, there are so many more I like. I didn’t add any of the vanity bottles or vintage scent bottles but I love those gorgeous cut crystal and Art Nouveau glass bottles, especially by Lalique, Daum and Galle.

Perfume Bottles Magpie Likes

The Perfume Bottles Magpie Likes

The Bottles I Dislike

I think you can see some patterns forming here; I don’t like those dolly ones or plasticky ones. I didn’t list it here but I’m not too keen on the bug on the bottle of Maai by Bogue either.

The Perfume Bottles Magpie Dislike

The Perfume Bottles Magpie Doesn’t Like

The Bottles I Feel Somewhat Embarrassed

Not that I get offended by the designs or anything like that. I’m not a prude at all. I just wonder why they couldn’t come up with more suggestive but elegant looking bottles… OK, the Azzaro Duo bottles aren’t so bad if you look at them from the front but the side views they used for the advert definitely make them look like sex toys… Someone said that the bottle should be the physical embodiment of the fragrance… Well…never mind.

The Perfume Bottles Magpie Feels Embarrased

The Perfume Bottles Magpie Feels Embarrased

Extra

I want these.

The Perfume Bottles Magpie Wants

The Perfume Bottles Magpie Wants

So, when you buy a fragrance, does the design of the bottle affect your decision making? What is your favourite bottle design?

Disclaimer: The images of the fragrances and the bottles were borrowed from various perfume house and brand websites, Pinterest, and Google image search.

Tea Anyone? : Oolang Infini, Osmanthe Yunnan & Infusion de Tubereuse

Tea Fragrances for Spring | Illustration by The Perfume Magpie

Tea Fragrances for Spring | Illustration by The Perfume Magpie

February had come and gone with mountain piles of work and paperworks. What happened? A month had just disappeared into thin air. I guess now I need to relax and have some tea.

When the weather gets warmer, I ritually dig out fragrances with tea note. I realised it a few years ago that the tea fragrances somehow go well together with the heat and the outdoor environments.  Since spring has finally arrived here in the eastern part of Spain, I’ve emerged out of my nest, started venturing around the countryside and made a start with my herb garden. When you are covered in dust and God-knows-what, heavy or sweet perfumes are huge no-nos but for a perfume addict like me, go without any fragrance is just unthinkable.

Magpie's Atelier Cologne Collection | Photo by The Perfume Magpie

Magpie’s Atelier Cologne Collection | Photo by The Perfume Magpie

One of my favourites for outdoors at the moment is Oolang Infini by Atelier Cologne. It is refreshing, not overpowering, and decidedly blend well in the dusty settings. In fact, in my humble opinion, most of the Atelier Cologne line are your perfect al fresco companions. They are almost like couture fragrances for me; specially designed to withstand the Spanish scorching climate. Around Christmas 2014, I was the blessed winner of the Atelier Cologne Ecrin Absolute giveaway hosted by The Sounds of Scent. I chose Oolang Infini and Sous le toit de Paris as my prize and I can tell you that I’m getting the best out of them along with Grand Néroli I own. I will be wearing a lot of theirs this coming season and I’m pretty sure that my Atelier Cologne collection will increase over time.

Another tea fragrance I adore and love to wear in spring/summer seasons is Osmanthe Yunnan by Hermès. It is smokier and juicier than Oolang Infini and it makes me think of the spring haze over the blooming fruit orchards. I’m not too keen on the fruity fragrances but the fruits in Osmanthe Yunnan are very subtle and add to its vibrancy. All the notes are very well balanced; it is juicy, soft, gentle, and kind of ethereal. In a few days time , the campo around the village will be filled with bright pink peach blossoms, then apricot and plum blossoms. I can’t wait to wear Osmanthe Yunnan and have leisurely walks among the falling petals.

Flowery Tea

Flowery Tea | Image borrowed from Mighty Leaf

Here’s another addition to my warm & sunny fragrances; Infusion de Tubéreuse by Prada. Is it just me? It’s not a tea fragrance but I keep smelling something like tea in this one. I blind bought a bottle just because I liked the look of it (yes, shallow of me) and due to my love for its big sister, Infusion d’Iris.  When I sprayed it on me for the first time, my reaction was “Meh”. It wasn’t interesting enough and lacked gravitas. It was hardly a tuberose fragrance; I couldn’t smell it at all. To be honest, it was one of the most disappointing fragrances I’ve ever bought. Then, on one hot spring afternoon, I put it on and went out for a wild asparagus picking. What an ideal outdoor fragrance it turned out to be! It didn’t lose its freshness in the dust and sweat (sorry for the image) and it stayed airy and transparent all the way through. Actually, when it got mixed with the smell of dried grass in the field, Infusion de Tubéreuse smelled very much like pleasant Chinese fragrant tea. Who knew?

Do you like tea note in fragrances? Do you have any tea fragrance you would recommend?


Oolang Infini by Atelier Cologne – 100 ml €105.00
Osmanthe Yunnan by Hermès – EDT 100ml £167.00
Infusion de Tubereuse by Prada – EDP 100ml £55.70

Read what others are saying about them.
Oolang Infini:
Bois de JasminOlfactoria’s TravelsBonkers about Perfume
Osmanthe Yunnan:
Perfume Smellin’ ThingsOlfactoria’s TravelsPerfume Posse
Infusion de Tubereuse:
Perfume ShrineThe Non-Blonde

Disclosure: The reviews are based on the bottles I own.

Perfumed Memoirs: Amouage Dia and Frankincense

Amouage Dia | Illustration by The Perfume Magpie

Amouage Dia | Illustration by The Perfume Magpie

The rugged rocky mountain terrain, the tranquil beach with fishing boats, the endless dunes disappear into the Empty Quarter, and the oasis, the water sparkling in the desert’s light. They are the images of Oman I remember. I used to live in the desert city of Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates, adjoining to Al Buraimi, an oasis town of Oman. At weekends, we used to venture into the deserts and wadis  (dry river beds) to enjoy their harsh but unspoilt natural beauty.

When I lived there, I wasn’t at all a fan of the Middle Eastern perfumes. Occasionally I trotted into some Arabic perfume shops in the malls but I couldn’t find the one I liked. All the perfumes I smelled in the shops or on people were too gooey and hideously resiny… That was the impression I got until I came across Amouage Dia Pour Femme.

I wasn’t aware of the “pedigree” of this perfume when I had my first sniff. All I knew was its connection to Oman. On the way home from the mall, I kept smelling and smelling my wrist, admiring its sheerness and the dewy-ness of this fragrance. It felt like an “Arabic” fragrance but it was so much lighter… and more complicated. The aldehydic opening was like a dawn; bright and cheerful .Then the lustrous florals, swirling up to reach to the limitless sky. By the time I got home, the revitalising woody notes started to unfold… and, gosh, that was the best part for me.

Oasis | Photo by The Perfume Magpie

Oasis | Photo by The Perfume Magpie

In the desert, after the spring rain, the wildflowers start blooming all at once. Tiny yellow Arabian primrose, desert campion, desert hyacinth and wild carnation…  They all appear in abundance, forming a luminous floral carpet on the otherwise barren sand. It is a bright, joyful and uplifting sight. It is all about the celebration of life – and that’s how I felt about Amouage Dia. The discovery of this fragrance among the heavy perfume oils was like the finding of an oasis hidden in the monotonous sand dunes.

I went back to the mall next day to smell Dia again. The nice guy at the perfume shop explained to me about the Omani royal family and Amouage connection and the facts about frankincense over a strong cup of cardamom dosed coffee.

A few months later, I had an opportunity to visit Sir Bani Yas Island, an animal sanctuary island in the Arabian Gulf. There, among the freely roaming endangered Arabian wildlife species, I unexpectedly stumbled across the frankincense tree for the first time in my life. I don’t know what I was expecting but this legendary tree didn’t look too impressive; it looked rather tattered.

Sir Bani Yas Island | Photo by The Perfume Magpie

Sir Bani Yas Island | Photo by The Perfume Magpie

“The paler the better…” Like a mantra, the words by the perfume shop guy echoed in my head. I lustily scraped and collected the small beaded resin off the tree without really knowing what I would do with them next. I wanted to burn some as incense but other than that, I had no idea what I could or should do with the rest. But fate, in the shape of a parakeet, decided for me.

While I was getting rid of sand from my travel bag back home, I casually placed the frankincense resin in a small plastic bag and put it on the windowsill, and then went into the house to make some coffee. I heard a bang and a squawk. Looking out of the window, all I could see was the bright green feathers flying away into the next door’s palm trees. The plastic bag wasn’t on the sill anymore.

So, here I am, gathered a bagful “quality” frankincense in the burning sun, never got to smell a whiff of it. My first bottle of Dia has long gone and to this day, I haven’t had a chance to smell burning frankincense.


Nose: Jean-Claude Ellena

Notes:

Top: Bergamot, Fig, Tarragon, Cyclamen, Sage, Violet Leaves

Middle: Orange Blossom, Orris Root, Rose, Peach Blossom, Peony

Base: Frankincense, Gaiac Wood, Cedarwood, Sandalwood, Heliotrope, Vanilla, White Musk

It is available in 50ml Eau de Parfum, £170.00 from Amouage.

Read what others are saying about Dia: I Smell Therefore I Am, The Non-Blonde, Australian Perfume Junkies, Suzanne’s Perfume Journal.

Disclosure: The review is based on the bottle I used to own.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas wishes

May your life be filled with joy and happiness and may each new day bring you moments to cherish.

Christmas is here.

Someone said that Christmas is not a holiday but it is a festival which makes people closer to you. It’s a time for remembrance, a time to express the gratitude from your heart, and a time to express your love to those who are important to you. It is, of course, a time for celebration.

So let me say this from my heart…

Thank you, my dear friends, for all of your kind words and support throughout the year. Your love and warmth have meant so much to me.

Celebrate all your moments in life, the highs and the lows, the good and the bad, celebrate them all… and share Christmas wishes with people you love, let them know that you love them.

May your Christmas sparkle with moments of love, laughter and goodwill,
And may the year ahead be full of contentment and joy (and fragrances).

Merry Christmas everyone!

Love to all,
Yukiko