Top Gay Bloggers & Influencers

Top Gay Bloggers & Influencers

June is pride month and although the dreaded Rona (Covid-19) came along and rained on this year’s parade, it certainly has not and will not dull the colour and spirit of the LGBTQ+ community. For me, pride is about the immense gratitude towards all the people who have fought for our  rights to love and express who we are and also it’s a celebration of those who continue to make an impact. In the world of social media, there are lots of LGBTQ+ bloggers and influencers who have made an impact on me. I thought I would list my favourites gay influencers  who continue to inspire me with their dedication to their craft and the positive impact they have.

1. @thetravellinggays

This handsome pair are an inspiration with their constant travelling around the world  and showcasing the best gay destinations on offer. With their incredible wedding photos (you have to take a look) and their romantically gushing  posts ( No, you’re jealous! Lol), Doug and Sanjay provide such a positive Insta-space full of happiness, acceptance and love.

Photo from @thetravellinggays

 

2. @omgbartomgbart.com

Based between NYC and Connecticut, this male beauty blogger has previously worked in PR and social media for beauty and fashion companies. With a cosmetic cabinet the size of a luxury boutique, there is nothing he hasn’t tried and tested. His blog covers a multitude of beauty brands spanning all budgets for all sexes and his expert reviews are honest, informative and witty.

Photo from @omgbart

 

3. @darrenkennedyofficialdarrenkennedy.co.uk

Darren Kennedy is a TV Presenter, Fashion Columnist and one of the UK and Ireland’s top lifestyle influencers. I recently featured an interview with him on my Blu Blazer Guy Chats section and it was fantastic to find out about him and his career. I am a huge fan of his social media which is a concoction of positivity, style and charm and there are lots of good fashion tips thrown in there for good measure.

From @darrenkennedyofficial

 

4. @mistercarringtonmrcarrington.co.uk

Mr Carrington is a London based blogger covering lifestyle, Travel and Fashion. Separately on @mrcarringtonhome he blogs about home interiors which defiantly kept me going through lockdown, its amazing what you can do with old peanut butter pots! He is prolific on YouTube and his videos are always fun, informative and down to earth. I love his Instagram page as it has a very laid back, honest and  with lots of great quality shots, he oozes that relaxed vibe.

Photo from @mistercarrington

 

5. @manforhimselfmanforhimself.com

Robert James is a Scottish digital creator based in London and is the king of all things grooming and lifestyle. His social media and website are sleek, well presented and cover a multitude of brands and subjects. As a fragrance fanatic, I find his fragrance videos highly addictive and you can always count on him to know what current the in-vogue scent is. His witty nature brings a humour in his accompanying stories, which give a great personal insight into his daily life.

Photo from @manforhimself

 

6. @james_s_welsh

James is a popular beauty blogger with a YouTube Channel of over 800k followers and he definitely knows his stuff. With an array of videos covering reviews, product hauls and skincare routines, his videos are fun and full of useful information. There isn’t a product that he hasn’t covered and I can’t help by binge watch his videos, especially when there are some very interesting collaborations on there as well.

Photo from @james_s_welsh

 

7. @nomadicboysNomadicboys.com

I have been following Stefan and Sebastien for years now. This sweet gay couple specialise in gay travel and through their blog and social media, you truly feel like you get to know them on a more personal level. Their blog covers the best travel destinations for the gay community, gay travel resources and lots of hints and tips of where they have visited around the world. They are huge advocates for the LGBTQ+ community and it’s not difficult to fall in love with them as their relationship is so cute. I often tell my fiancé that I wish he’d look at me the way Sebi looks at Stefan.  

Photo from @nomadicboys

 

8. @brightbazaarbrightbazaarblog.com

Will Taylor is a British born NYC based blogger and Interior design author. I have been following his blog since way back in 2011. His blog covers an array of subjects including design, style and travel. What I like the most is his hashtag MakeYouSmileStyle and that’s certainly what happens when you open up his colourful social media, blog or books. His photos are full of my favourite colour (blue) but also pops of colour from every hue of the rainbow. Will’s uplifting and friendly nature has ensured that bright bazaar is a positive and inspiring space full of interesting topics.

Photo from @brightbazaar

 

9. @ahouselikethisahouselikethis.com

A House Like This is an interior design  inspired page by couple Ky and James, not forgetting their cute little dog called Ezra. They take us through each room of their home whilst they redecorate and renovate. Being a huge interior design fan, their grid is one of my favourite Instagram pages to follow. Not only that, they now have their very own home fragrance brand  AHLT,  where they sell a range of 100% natural soy wax candles with the most amazing scents and have even expanded to include hand wash and lotion for hard-working hands. These guys are doing so well and I wish them so much success.

From @ahouselikethis

 

10. @m.rbeautymarkrogersbeauty.com

If you are looking for a great selection of beauty tips then look no further than expert Mark Rogers aka m.rbeauty. After working in the beauty industry for over 11 years, he has the best tips for applying makeup, tan and anything else that enhances your natural beauty. His reviews on different products are informative with a huge slice of fun.

From @m.rbeauty

There are so many successful LGBTQ+ bloggers and influencer out there, this selection is just a tip of the iceberg and I haven’t been able to include all my favourites. What are your favourite LGBTQ+ influencers and why?

Highland Escape

Highland Escape

Although it looks like we will be unable to grab our passports and fly off to a sunny destination anytime soon, I look forward to the day where we can travel in our very own country. The popularity of staycations looks likely to soar this year as soon as restrictions and guidelines allow and perhaps we can really take this opportunity to explore the beauty that lies on our very own doorstep. 

Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands is an area of stunning beauty and is notably known for its apparent monstrous inhabitant, Nessie. In 1924 a man named Robert Kenneth looked across the water from the drawing-room of a lochside property and it’s here where the famous photo of the alleged monster was taken. Today this property is known as Highland Escape, a stunning six-bedroom private hire house that has been meticulously restored to celebrate Scottish art, culture and history.

As soon as the property appeared on the market, founder Mathew Meredith, who works in the music business in London couldn’t wait to get his hands on it. Due to its stunning location and infamous history, it was his ultimate goal to restore the property to its former glory, adding a few contemporary touches whilst remaining sensitive to its past.

I was recently invited to stay for the weekend (pre-covid) and I couldn’t wait to experience this historic building and all the bespoke services that are on offer. After a glorious drive through Scotland’s renowned scenery, I arrived to the glimmering water of Loch Ness and as if out of a fairytale the house appeared majestically on the horizon. Its exterior slowly comes into view and as soon as I stepped out of the car I couldn’t help but look at it in awe.

The Old Manse as the building is also known, exudes a typical Victorian exterior with turreted roof, sash windows and impressive stonework. Alongside The Old Manse is Bona Church, a quant and spacious addition to the house which can cater for intimate weddings and ceremonies.

Bona Church

I was met by the passionate Highland Escape Director, Magda Meredith who kindly provided me with a welcoming glass of champagne and encouraged me to explore the property, which of course I couldn’t wait to do. On entering the house I was completely taken aback by its stunning elegance, its large entrance hall setting the tone of what you can expect throughout the rest of the property.

Antique furniture that has been locally sourced from the Highlands stands sophisticatedly against the mellow hues of the wall as if they have been there forever and a sweeping staircase entices you in to explore the rest of this eloquent building.

The living room is a large and inviting space where no money has been spared and its roaring open fire conjures up images of relaxed evenings and a warming glass of whisky, of which I certainly did later that night. Specially selected antique furniture enhance the room, however it is the addition of small details that really make this place special. An elaborate and extremely comfortable sofa from British company Tetrad adds a sumptuous and luxurious touch and the addition of a large Harris Tweed footstool brings in a further traditional Scottish element. The artwork that hangs splendidly in each room tells the history of the Jacobite uprising and local prints that pepper the walls are from the famous Leakey’s bookshop in Inverness.

Adjoining the living room is ‘the snug’ which again benefits from an open fire, antique furniture, artwork and beautiful hints of luxury such as the bespoke handmade blinds from Mulberry. I especially loved this room in the evening watching one of the many movies on offer whilst the roaring fire crackled away in the background.

The Snug

The country kitchen is both spacious and light and is equipped with everything guests could possibly need. As well the traditional elements they have included many contemporary appliances including large fridge/freezer with wine cooler, double-sized cooker, dishwasher and wash machine.

Adjoining the kitchen and leading to the backdoor, is the fantastic addition of a boot room, providing guests with wellington boots, jackets and raincoats.

The Boot Room

Next to the kitchen is the impressive dining room which seats up to twelve people. This palatial yet comfortable room takes in the impressive views of Loch Ness and is where the famous photograph of the mysterious monster was taken.

The Dining Room

The property has six bedrooms over two floors which allows up to 12 guests to enjoy this lavish escape. Each of the bedrooms have their own distinct personalities yet manage to seamlessly blend together with the rest of the property. There are two super king four poster beds, two super king sleigh beds and two king sized beds each embellished with lamb’s wool throws and windows that take advantage of the surrounding views.

On the second floor, each of the rooms benefits from en-suite ‘Jack & Jill’ bathrooms which are generous in size and have the most exquisite interior design each containing a selection of premium towels and toiletries.

All of the rooms benefit from their very own tea and coffee stations, branded dressing gowns and slippers, meaning guests can relax in true highland comfort. I settled for one of the bedrooms in the upper floor that looked upon the surrounding hills, it was extremely relaxing and the huge comfortable bed insured I had one of the best sleeps ever.

What sets this private hire accommodation above the rest is when guests book directly with Highland Escape they can completely tailor your trip to make it as relaxing or as adventurous as possible. Highland Escape provides numerous bespoke packages which truly allow guests to get to know the area and enjoy this house to its fullest.

Me & Tony (Tour Guide at Tour Highlands)

I was treated to a privately escorted tour by Tour Highlands which included my very own knowledgable driver, luxury vehicle and customised itinerary.

Learning about Loch Ness

This individually designed tour really allowed me to delve into the history, culture and heritage of the region. This was one of the highlights of my stay and Tony our guide was extremely informative, humorous and friendly.

Whisky tasting at Glen Ord Distillery

As well as the above Highland Escape also have their very own luxury golf tours along with a concierge service, clay pigeon shooting and exclusive access to fishing areas in the Highlands with top guides, which I can’t wait to experience when I go back.

For guests who don’t wish to cook whilst on vacation then Highland Escape have the perfect answer. They provide guests with their very own chefs who can cook a bespoke restaurant-quality meal in the privacy of the home. Prior to my stay I pre-selected my food from an extensive menu of high quality local produce. As soon as I arrived back from my day trip around Loch Ness, the chef duo Steven and Veronika were already hard at work creating their culinary works of art.

Chefs Steven & Veronika

It was fantastic to sit back in the dining room with a glass of wine by the flickering fire and be served some spectacular dishes. This is just one of the services available which makes your experience at Highland Escapes both outstanding and remarkable.

Highland Escape provides a unique and memorable stay in a stunning area of Scotland. It shines not only due to the exceptional property but also because of the added bespoke benefits which truly makes a trip here unforgettable.

They have cleverly managed to combine the relaxation of a self-catering vacation with the added benefits of luxurious hotel service. If you are looking for a exuberant getaway at an affordable price in a remarkable location, then look no further than the immaculately presented Highland Escape.

Take a video tour on my IGTV.

Opening July 15th 2020. Book direct at highland-escape.com

Elemis Superfood Home Facial

Elemis Superfood Home Facial

I don’t know about you but I have been looking for an array of things to help me take my mind of everything that is going on at the moment and self-care has been one thing that I has kept me going. There is nothing I miss more than a relaxing facial treatment and I am missing my visits to Soprano Ice’s Facial Spa located in the south of Edinburgh. They recently came to the rescue and very kindly supplied me with a range of vegan and plant-based products from the Elemis superfood range.

The first thing you obviously need in order to carry out the facial is the products. Luckily Elemis Superfood products are an affordable range and are available on many online stores. They are vegan and plant-based and full of prebiotics that helps calm, hydrate and smoothes the skin. What’s even better is that it’s suitable for all ages so if you wish you can get the whole household to join in.

I thought I would use the range to do a nurturing facial at home that you guys could incorporate into your routine to help boost your skin’s health whilst helping you relax and unwind. So find a quiet place in the house, light up your favourite candle, put on some relaxing music and let me show you how to carry out your very own facial at home.

Step One – Double cleanse 

Double cleansing the skin helps remove makeup, SPF and any impurities that may have built upon the skin throughout the day. It also prepares the skin in order for it to fully absorb all the products that will be used in the facial.

First Cleanse

The first cleanser is the Superfood Facial Wash, this gel has a really thick and hydrating texture. It is filled with prebiotics to help balance the skin and includes an array of nutritious super greens such as kale, wheatgrass and broccoli.

Superfood Facial Wash

Directions – Apply the cleanser to dry skin, massage and take a moment to absorb the lovely fresh and uplifting scent (which reminds me of a really nutritious green smoothie). Using a warm damp face cloth, gently remove the cleanser from the face.

Breath in those lovely aromas

Second Cleanse 

Cleanse your face again but this time uses the Superfood Cica Calm Foam Cleanser. This cleanser provides antioxidant protection from fermented green tea seed oil. It also includes olive, mango and rice water which keeps the skin hydrated and provides the skin with nutrients.

Superfood Cica Calm Cleansing Foam

Directions – Apply a few pumps into the hand and massage onto a wet face and then with a dampened cloth, delicately remove the product from the skin.

Step Two – Tone

After cleansing its time to tone the skin with the Superfood Keri Tea Mist Spray. It includes rooibos tea which is a rich antioxidant and also has aloe Vera and coconut water which again provides extra nourishment. This can be used at the toning stage but it also throughout the day to give an added boost to the skin.

Superfood Kefir-Tea Mist

Directions – Close your eyes, spray over the skin and allow to absorb.

Step Three – Exfoliate

The next step of the facial is exfoliation and this is done using the fantastic Superfood Blackcurrant Jelly Exfoliator. Not only does this product smell amazing it also contains small blackcurrant particles to exfoliate and remove any build-up of dead skin cells. The addition of glycerin leaves the skin feeling smooth and soft.

Superfood Blackcurrant Jelly Exfoliator

Directions – Apply a thin layer to the skin and leave on like a mask and whilst those nutritional ingredients absorb fully it’s time to do a facial steam. You can purchase facial steamers online but this can easily be done by using simple items in the home. Fill a large bowl with hot water and place a your head above the steam. In order to capture the steam further place a towel overhead. For an added spa-like experience, add some essential oils to the water and breath in those lovely aromas. Do this for around ten minutes.

Before removing you can really take the opportunity to sculpt the face and use massage techniques in order to encourage lymphatic drainage. This helps depuff the face and release toxins. Ria from Soprano Ice has some tips below:

Afterwards, massage the skin fully so that the blackcurrant particles exfoliate further and then remove with a damp cloth.

Step Four – Face Mask 

It is time to treat the skin using the Superfood Vital Veggie Mask. This particularly helps with dull skin as its full of brightening and nourishing ingredients. As well as being packed full of super greens it also has passion fruit acid in there which hydrates the skin. The mask doesn’t use clay which can often dry out the skin.

Superfood Vital Veggie Mask

Directions – Apply a thin layer to the skin and allow those nourishing ingredients to get to work. Now is a great time to sip on a lovely green tea, listen to some tranquil music, lay back and relax. After 10-15 minutes, rinse the mask off using a warm dampened cloth.

Step Five – Calm, Hydrate and Moisturise

The last step really depends on the condition of your skin. Lately, mines has been very dehydrated, so I am going to use a combination of products to help with this condition.

The Superfood Cica Calm Hydration Juice is a really light gel moisturiser designed to help cool and calm the skin. It includes aloe Vera and cucumber, so really good if you have any sensitivity issues. It has a light uplifting scent and leaves the skin refreshed.

Superfood Cica Calm Hydration Juice

Directions – Apply a small amount to the fingers and massage into the skin and allow the product to fully absorb.

Using an oil not only helps seal in those previous products but also adds a further boost of hydration to the skin. Superfood Facial Oil is filled with rich omegas from broccoli, flaxseed and rosehip oil and has a really fresh and uplifting fragrance.

Superfood Facial Oil

Directions – Apply a few drops to the hand, warm into the palms and press into the skin on the face. Although the oil has a thick consistency it is easily absorbed and leaves your skin looking dewy and refreshed.

To final step of the facial is to apply the Superfood Moisturiser which comes in both a day and night format. Although they are both filled with vitamin-enriched super greens the night cream has a richer consistency and has the inclusion of lavender and ylang-ylang oil.

Superfood Cream

Directions – Apply a few pumps of the product in the hand, warm it between the fingers and massage into the skin.

Glowing skin

I was very impressed with this range of products and even though I don’t normally gravitate towards vegan skincare, using this range really surprised me. My skin was left glowing, supple and healthy-looking which is what everyone wants from a facial right? I know its not the same as going out for a treatment but trust me, after using these products it will not only give a boost to the complexion it will give you a moment to help you escape the anxieties and stresses of what’s going on around us. I can’t wait to get out again and visit The Facial Spa, but until then this easy to follow facial will help rescue me from my lockdown skin issues.

Head to my IGTV video to see the facial in action.

Blu Blazer Guy Chats With Adam Ellis – Jo Loves

Blu Blazer Guy Chats With Adam Ellis – Jo Loves

Currently we’re all going through a time where venturing outdoors and travelling has dramatically reduced. As a result, fragrances have become an important vessel in transporting us from lockdown to our favourite places. There is no better ‘fragrance maverick’ that manages to merge scents and memories together than Jo Malone CBE. Her fantastic business Jo Loves is an innovative new scent, bath, body and candle collection that is inspired by special memories and moments of travel.

Meeting Jo Malone CBE

As a lover of fragrance, candles and a huge fan of Jo Loves products I had the privilege catching up with this months ‘Chats With’ guest, Adam Ellis. Adam is the head of education and customer service experience at Jo Loves. I first bumped into Adam at ’An Evening with Jo Malone’ at Space NK Edinburgh and then again in the 42 Elizabeth Street Store in London, where his passion and dedication for the brand was so profoundly evident. His creative background in the arts allows him to tell each story of the fragrance range perfectly. Due to his close working relationship with Jo Malone and his continued dedication to the brand, I thought I would catch up with him to find out more about his career and this renowned brand.

Adam Ellis

Hi Adam, thank you so much for answering my questions today. Firstly, can I ask what your background is and how you ended up working for Jo Loves?

I’m from Swansea, South Wales and trained at Laine Theatre Arts on the 3-year Professional Musical Theatre course from 2000-2003. I was lucky enough to have a great, varied career within the entertainment industry for 13 years. Some of my highlights included Starlight Express, Chicago, Hair, Spamalot.

As I got a bit older I decided that I wanted to try something else that was a bit more stable and I actually took a job at Jo Loves as a Christmas Temp. I’ve always loved fragrances and perfumes. I love that each scent will evoke a totally different emotion or memory in everyone. I worked really hard to learn as much as I could and fast forward nearly 5 years and here I am! I’m so glad I took the leap and gave it a go.

As head of education and customer service experience you must be extremely proud to work for such an esteemed brand, what is it that you love about Jo Loves?

I am incredibly proud of the role I play within Jo Loves and don’t ever take for granted the faith that Jo has in me and my ability to tell her story and launch the brand around the world. I love that Jo Loves is pushing the boundaries with innovation. It’s not scared to be different. I also love that the brand is totally authentic and a true reflection of Jo.

At the 42 Elizabeth Street store in London Jo Loves has turned fragrance into an immersive experience through Fragrance Tapas and a Candle Shot Studio, can you describe what each experience involves and what was the inspiration behind these ideas?

Jo created Fragrance Tapas to be an immersive introduction to the brand. Jo has always loved Tapas restaurants and was inspired to create an experience that served bite-sized pieces of the brand to our consumer. It’s a complimentary experience, you get to come and sit at our bar and be taken through all of our fragrances and the story’s behind each iconic scent. It’s really fun and a real must for any fragrance lover!

The shot candle experience is so fantastic. You step inside our beautiful candle studio and create your very own bespoke candle that combines two fragrances of your choice. We are the only brand in the world who offers this experience and product. It also has a worldwide patent. Both these experiences can be booked in advance by calling the shop or dropping them an email.

42 Elizabeth Street, photo by Jo Loves

It may not be easy but if you had to choose what would be your favourite scent from Jo Loves and why? 

Such a tough one! I’d have to say Green Orange and Coriander. It’s a real soulful citrus fragrance but it also got a beautiful warmth to it. For Jo, it’s an autumn day in New York, having Sunday brunch next to a roaring log fire with a large, full-bodied red wine in hand. I cover myself in it all year round though and always have compliments when I wear it.

I met the wonderful Jo Malone CBE (and you) a few years back and heard Jo’s story behind the brand and was completely hypnotised by her creativity and tenacity, how is it working so closely with her in your job role?

Jo is incredibly hands-on with the brand which I love. We work very closely together and are often travelling to launch the brand in new territories. We have such a giggle on the road together. We work very hard when we are away but we will always reward ourselves with an in cold white wine to end the day. It’s so important to celebrate even small achievements.

I noticed that within your job role you get to travel quite a lot and Jo Loves fragrances are very much inspired by memories of travel. Where is your favourite place to visit in the world and why? 

Travel is always something I’ve enjoyed. In my acting career, I was very lucky to get to travel the world and that hasn’t changed with Jo Loves luckily. I have seen some amazing places with work, including Shanghai, NYC and all over America and the Caribbean.

Last year my husband turned 40 and we travelled to Borneo on a real adventure holiday. It was a once in a lifetime trip and seeing the wildlife where its meant to be in its natural habitat was really breath-taking, especially the Orangutan. We don’t always have such adventurous holidays but we will always spend our money on travel whenever we can.

Jo loves weaves its beautiful fragrances through a number of other items such as candles, bath and body products. Why do you think the world of fragrance is so popular and what makes Jo Loves products stand out from the crowd? 

I think fragrance is part of self-expression. It’s part of how we want the world to see us. It’s so personal and many fragrances will smell totally unique on each person.

I think Jo Loves products stand out because they have been created from a very authentic place. Each one inspired by Jo’s memories or experiences. When people hear their stories it’s hard not to relate to them.

The red dot is synonymous with Jo Loves packaging, is there any significance to this?

Jo is severely dyslexic and throughout her career has always given her seal of approval to something by Red Dotting it instead of signing it off. When Jo Loves went through a period of rebranding, Jo wanted it to have its own identity for the consumer with a recognisable logo. Jo was travelling to Shanghai as a member of the great campaign and a friend sent her a bottle of shanghai Red nail polish. She dipped a pencil into the nail polish and let a droplet fall onto the white labels in front of her – EUREKA moment the Jo Loves logo was created. Jo wants our consumer to know that every product with the Red Dot has been created by her.

Jo Loves was the first to introduce the world to The Fragrance Paintbrush concept. Being such an innovative fragrance brand, can we expect any new creative and exciting products in the future?

Jo is always working hard to push the boundaries within the fragrance world so hopefully, there will be many more exciting innovations to come! Watch this space!

Fragrance Paintbrush, photo by Jo Malone

This is more for my benefit 🙂 but when will a Jo Loves Store be opening up in Edinburgh? 🙂

Well, you can currently purchase a selection of Jo Loves from SpaceNK of George Street. We are a growing brand so hopefully, it won’t be too long until more Jo Loves boutiques start popping up around the UK and beyond.

Exciting stuff! You can read more about Jo Loves and there products on their website joloves.com

7 Day Amalfi Coast Itinerary

7 Day Amalfi Coast Itinerary

The Amalfi Coast has been on my radar for years and it was a dream come true when I eventually got to visit in 2019. The stunning stretch of coastline in southern Italy impresses with its lemon groves, sparkling azur waters, rocky cliffs and scattering of spectacular towns and villages that cling precariously to its edge.

In order to explore this area to the fullest, I recommend staying in the nearby town of Sorrento. Not only is this charming town in close proximity to Naples airport, it is also less expensive for accommodation than most of the towns along the coast.  Sorrento has fantastic transport links to all areas along the coast and also has its own treasures to discover.

I have created my very own Blu Blazer Guy 7 day Amalfi Coast itinerary to ensure you get the best out of your trip to the region. (The itinerary is based from Sorrento)

Day 1 – Explore Sorrento

Piazza Tasso is the main square of Sorrento and is a bustling hub with an array restaurants, cafe’s and shops. The beautiful Church of Carmine with its Baroque clock tower and a statue of Sorrento’s patron saint Antonino Abbate are notable points of interest.

Although the square is a fantastic place to sit and watch the world go by, wander into the surrounding narrow streets and you will find a wonderful selection of shops, especially on Via San Cesareo.

Marina Grande is a rustic and laid-back fishing village set around a small bay on the coast of Sorrento. Numerous restaurants, bars and cafe’s are dispersed around the shore and are a perfect places to soak in the views of both the water and the cliff sides.

I especially loved wandering along the wooden decking and seeing the colourful changing rooms that line the beach. 

The Amalfi Coast is known for its lush green gardens, fragrant flora and extensive lemon groves.

Sorrento has the some of the most stunning groves that you can wander through and witness the production of the famous local drink, Lemoncello. I recommend I Giardini di Cataldo, a beautiful and relaxing lemon grove located on Via Correale 27.

 

Sorrento boasts fantastic views over the bay of Naples. One of the best places to experience this is from the Chiesa di San Francesco which is only a short walk from the main square. On a clear day you can watch the sun sparkling across the water and of course the stunning Mount Vesuvius emerging from the horizon.

Bellevue Syrene hotel provided a relaxing yet luxurious escape from the hustle and bustle of the town.

Wander under its tunnel of hanging wisterias where you can sit back and enjoy a light lunch and cocktails with the breathtaking views.

Il Buco

This Michelin starred restaurant housed in a former monks wine cellar is a must when visiting Sorrento.

The intimate and cosy restaurant sells a range of delicious simple food that will ignite your tastebuds and give you a taste of delicious local cuisine.

Day 2 – Visit the world renowned archaeological site Pompeii and then experience the best pizza in Sorrento

Pompeii

Pompeii is the renowned Roman City that was buried under meters of pumice and ash after nearby Mount Vesuvius erupted in 70 A.D.

This well preserved and excavated site is very impressive and certainly deserves a full days attention. Stepping out of Pompeii-Scavi train station there are an abundance of tour guides trying to sell you tickets, but doing it on your own is a much more affordable option (see tip below).

 

Directions to Pompeii: Take the train from Sorrento towards Naples and stop at Pompei Scavi – Villa dei Misteri. Train time from Sorrento: 20-25 minutes

Blu Blazer Guy Tip: Pompeii is a very large archaeological site and can take hours to walk around. Wear comfortable shoes, carry lots of snacks and water and apply plenty of sunscreen. Download the Discover Pompeii app which allows you to wander around whilst experiencing your very own guided tour on your phone.

Duration: 2 – 5 hours
Entry Price: 15 Euros 

Pizzeria Franco – Sorrento

After a long day sightseeing you may to want to replenish your energy with Italy’s most famous meal, Pizza! Travel back to Sorrento and head to Pizzeria Franco, located within walking distance from the station. This little establishment is a hive of activity from the chatter of customers, most of which are Italians (which is always a good sign). You can witness the chefs in the kitchen churning out pizza after pizza to satisfy the hunger of its guests. Its hectic vibe may not be to everyone’s taste but I guarantee once you taste their delicious selection of pizzas you will be in heaven!

Day 3 – Climb Mount Vesuvius, visit another spectacular archaeological site and eat some authentic Italian Food

Mount Vesuvius

If you are up for an energetic morning then why not take a trip up to the summit of the famous Mount Vesuvius. Mount Vesuvius is a towering volcano that casts its shadow over Naples and the surrounding towns below.

Buses depart from outside Ercolano Scavi train station every 40 minutes between 9.30 and 3pm. These buses transport you up a very narrow and winding road which are not unusual for this part of Italy. Once you arrive at the carpark,  you can take the 20 minute walk up to the summit. Make sure you try and pick a day where the weather is clear so that you can take advantage of the views, but even on a cloudy day it makes for an eerie experience.

Directions to Mount Vesuvius: Take the train from Sorrento to Ercolano Scavi station. When you arrive at the train station there is a small office to the left where you can purchase your Vesuvius ticket. Train journey time from Sorrento: 45 mins

Blu Blazer Guy Tip: Bring warm clothes as it can be much cooler and windier on the summit.

Duration: 2 Hours
Vesuvio Express Bus Price: 20 Euros (includes entry to Vesuvius)

After your tour of Mount Vesuvius, head back in the direction of the station for a great selection of places to grab a snack or something to eat nearby before you head on your next adventure. 

Herculaneum

Herculaneum is another archaeological site which is much smaller than Pompeii and more preserved due to being buried in mud instead of volcanic ash.

I must say I preferred this small site as it was quieter and easier to walk around. 

Directions to Herculaneum: From the same station as Mount Vesuvius, walk straight down Via IV Novembre and you will arrive at its entrance.

Train time from Sorrento: 45 mins

Duration: 2-3 Hours
Herculaneum Entry: 11 Euros

Ristorante O’Murzill’

Head back to Sorrento to experience a really delicious yet affordable meal. This great little restaurant is located down a narrow alleyway and is the perfect place to escape the crowds with friendly service and enjoy some simple Italian cooking. friendly You may have to queue but I can assure you that it’s worth it.

Location: Via Accademia, Sorrento
Price Range: £/££

Day 4 – Capri

You cannot visit the Amalfi Coast without taking a trip to the stunning island of Capri. I advise that instead of doing an organised tour, which can cost a fortune and where you are hustled from landmark to landmark, just arrange it yourself. There are many boats which leave on a regular basis from Marina Piccola in Sorrento that take you to the island in around thirty minutes. On arrival it can seem quite hectic and confusing. I advise using the small local buses which are very cheap (you can purchase tickets on the bus) and will take you to all parts of the Island. 

At the port there are a number of companies who offer boat tours which is a great way to see a different side of Capri. The boat tours take around an hour and visit numerous points of interests such as the infamous Blue Grotto, a sea cave where the water illuminate in different hues of blue. Please be aware though that sometimes this is inaccessible due to weather or tides, so you can check this prior to arrival.

If you are into your luxury retail shopping then Via Camerelle in Capri is the place for you. Filled with the likes of Armani, Versace, Bulgari, Dolce Gabbana and Valentino you can shop until your hearts content. 

If you fancy a more authentic experience then you should head to Anacapri which is located higher up on the island and can be reached by local bus. Its far less crowded than Capri and you can wander the streets or sip on a drink in one of the many quant restaurants, bars or cafes. 

Giardini di Augusto is a beautiful series of panoramic flower-decked terraces which overlook the bay. Take in the views of the sparkling water or the famous Via Krupp, a pathway of hairpin bends cut into the rocks which lead down to the shore. 

Carthusia is a renowned perfumer in Capri and their store and small perfumery is located near the Giardini di Augusto. Head to my previous blog post for more information. 

For a delicious lunch or a refreshing cocktail with the most amazing views, I recommend Capri Rooftop. This contemporary establishment has panoramic views across the bay and has fantastic customer service. 

Directions to Capri: Head to Marina Piccola (Sorrento) , ticket office slightly below street level (boats are very regular and around 17 Euros).

Blu Blazer Guy tip: Ignore the blue tour buses on the right side of the port on arrival, these are specifically for tourists and are expensive. 

Day 5  – Positano

Positano is a chic and stunning cliffside village on the Amalfi Coast and is a renowned tourist destination. Again you can arrange a specialised tour to this town however it is very expensive and time restricted so I advise going on your own by bus or boat.  

Spiaggia Grande is the famous beach that hugs the shore of this village and provides the perfect photo opportunity where many an instagrammer (including myself) stand on its pebbles and pose in front of the rising hillsides and cascading buildings. 

Its most notable architectural point of interest is the spectacular Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta which dominates its skyline. Its gorgeous tiled dome can be seen from many points in the village.

If you are looking for a unique view of Positano whilst experiencing some elegant surroundings with delicious food and drinks then I recommend Le Sirenuse. This luxurious hotel perched above the sea, provides a birds eye view of the Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta.

It is a great place to grab a bite to eat or enjoy a refreshing cocktail and to take some photographs but be prepared to pay the price.

 

Directions to Positano: Go to tobacconist at the bottom of Sorrento Train station and purchase an all-day bus ticket. Buses are located against the wall opposite the station. When on the bus advise the driver that you are going to Positano and validate your ticket. The bus journey will take around 1 hour. 

Blu Blazer Guy Tip: Sit on the right hand side of the bus when travelling to Positano for the best views. Please be advised that the road to Positano is winding, narrow and clings to the side of the cliffside, if you suffer from travel sickness or frightened of heights I advise taking a boat instead. 

Day 6 – Amalfi and Ravello

Amalfi 

Amalfi is a small town located a half hour away from Positano. On arrival to this seaside gem you will immediately notice the stunning Duomo di Sant’Andrea.

Its towering steps lead up to this architectural marvel and once inside you can experience its moorish style arches and decoration.

The crypt is even said to contain some of the remains of Saint Andrews, whom is the patron saint of Scotland!

For a delicious sweet treat head to a little patisserie on the main square called Pasticceria Andrea Pansa. Open since 1830, it is renowned for its delicious selection of pastries, sweets and chocolates. Try and grab a seat outside and enjoy your treat whilst enjoying the hustle and bustle of the square.

There are also numerous small seafood stands where you can sample the freshest fish, delicately battered and served straight away at a very affordable price. 

Ravello

Located an additional half hour from Amalfi via a narrow, winding and almost vertical road is the stunning village of Ravello. Sitting 365 meters above the Tyrrhenian Sea this breathtaking town has a number of stunning villas and gardens to explore. 

The main square Piazz del Vescovado is small and quant and has a few restaurants and bars to enjoy. It’s main attraction is the Duomo erected in 1086 which also has an accompanying museum which houses a marble bust of Sigligaida Rufolo from the 13th Century. 

Villa Rufolo and Cimbrone

To the south of Ravello’s cathedral, a 14th-century tower marks the entrance to Villa Rufolo. Created by Scotsman, Sir Francis Neville Reid in 1853 the Villa is famed for its beautiful cascading gardens.

The second of the two Villas, Villa Cimbrone was my favourite due to its numerous gardens and views.

I especially love the view from the ‘Terrace of Infinity”, a terrace lined by marble busts with the uninterrupted vista of the sea below.

Directions to Amalfi/Ravello: Go to tobacconist at the bottom of Sorrento Train station and purchase an all-day bus ticket. Buses are located against the wall opposite the station. When on the bus advise the driver that your going to ‘Amalfi’ and validate your ticket. If heading to Positano, Amalfi and Ravello on the same day you can get a hop on/off day pass. Hop on/off bus pass: 10 Euros

Blu Blazer Guy Tip: The road to Amalfi and Ravello is winding, narrow and climbs to quite high heights, perhaps avoid a window seat on the bus if you don’t wish to look outside, although the views are exceptional.

Day 7 – Farm by day / Cocktails by night

Fattoria Terranova Shop 

After a relaxed morning in Sorrento I recommend a visit to the wonderful Fattoria Terranova on Piazza Tasso. This is a fantastic shop in the corner of the main square, who sell the best lemoncello, liqueurs and produce made with ingredients from their local farm.

They also have a stunning area at the back of their store for tastings which is decorated with the most beautiful fresco. 

Agriturismo Fattoria Terranova

For a great lunch or dinner with a difference Agriturismo Fattoria Terranova can take you to their local rustic farm outside Sorrento and can be booked in-store. Private transportation will pick you up at your chosen location and whisk you into the nearby countryside. On arrival, you step through the wooden doors and are met with the most stunning rustic restaurant decorated with flowers, hanging fruits and quant furniture.

The smell of the local flora scents the air and you immediately feel relaxed. After a refreshing glass of Prosecco, you can then choose from a delicious range of local foods and fresh fish.

 

After lunch you can enjoy a walk around the grounds of the farm and enjoy the beautiful elevated views that look over to the Amalfi Coast. 

Price: ££-£££
Location: Via Pontone, 10. 80061 Massa Lubrense

Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria

For your last evening I recommend a lovely cocktail on an amazing Terrace with fantastic views.

There is no better place than Terrazza Vittoria at the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria  which is located off the main square in Sorrento.

If you are lucky you may stumble upon the many music inspired evenings that they have but if not you can still sit back and watch the sun sink beneath the horizon as you sip on one of the many delicious drinks served here.

Keep your eyes peeled on the next issue of Guild Magazine for an exclusive feature on this hotel. 

Price: £££-££££
Location: Piazza Torquato Tasso, 34, 80067 Sorrento

Visiting the Amalfi Coast was a dream come true and I loved every minute of my time there, so much so that I returned with my friends a few months later. With its mystical charm, great food and its rustic architecture, the Amalfi Coast will always hold a special place in my heart. Once we are able to travel again I hope you can use this itinerary to enjoy the Amalfi Coast to its fullest and experience the magic that continues to entice me back to its shores.

I love you Italy! Andrà tutto bene.

Rook Perfumes

Rook Perfumes

It comes as no surprise that fragrance plays a huge part in my life. I discovered Rook Perfumes in 2018 and I immediately gravitated towards their fragrances due to their unusual scents and intriguing notes. For me, fragrances mark moments in life thus with only one spray, they have the power to transport you back to that very moment. When Perfumer for Rook Perfumes Nadeem Crowe (pictured below) said “People go on holiday and fall in love with a place, they buy a fridge magnet to remember the trip, I buy a fragrance” I immediately resonated with him. On each vacation I drive my partner crazy, perusing the perfumeries and trying to find the exact scent that will remind me of our time in that destination.

Image by Rankin Photography Ltd

Nadeem Crowe, the man behind these impressive and unique scents also has a career in emergency medicine and acting. These two careers have contributed to the production of these fragrances due to their scientific and theatrical backgrounds. After a complete re-brand and re-launch of Rook Perfumes in February 2020, I was once again captivated by the new contemporary look and range of luxury fragrances. At the core of the brand is the simple yet impactful triangle not only representing the top, middle and base notes of a fragrance but also the balance of Nadeem’s career in performing, perfumery and medicine.

 

Forest

The first of the fragrances I am going to talk about is my absolute favourite called Forest. I am a nature guy at heart so this is what initially attracted me to this scent. However as soon as I spritzed it upon my skin, it immediately transported me to a moment in my childhood. Each year I would visit the Scottish highlands with my family, going for long walks and playing in the forests. With just one spray it felt as if I was standing there looking up at the towering trees and inhaling the fresh pine-scented air. It’s a beautiful green, woody notes are both uplifting and comforting, transporting me directly into nature. This is much needed due to our current situation.

 

Forest – Image by Rankin Photography Ltd.

Notes:

Top – Cypress & Pine,

Middle – Black Pepper, incense and green notes

Base – Patchouli, Cedar and white musk

Blu Blazer Guy Rating: 4.5/5

 

Undergrowth

Undergrowth again exudes a stunning range of natural and uplifting notes that at first glance I didn’t think I would like, but it completely took me by surprise. On the initial spray, you get a hit of refreshing garden mint and grass. It somehow reminds me of a lush green garden after the rain, where the sun slowly warming the soil and the aroma scents the air.  As the mint dies down the rich woodiness of the vetiver and earthiness of orris really comes through, which settles beautifully on the skin. Again, if you need a hit of nature, I would definitely recommend this as I can imagine it being a refreshing scent in the summer months.

 

Undergrowth – Image by Rankin Photography Ltd.

Notes:

Top – Soil, Garden Mint, Grass

Middle – Green notes, mandarin, orris

Base – Vetiver, patchouli and white musk

Blu Blazer Guy Rating: 4/5

 

Rook

This scent wasn’t my favourite fragrance in the group, however I understand completely why others would like it. For me, It’s quite a daring combination and I am usually quite safe with my fragrance choices so it’s all down to personal choice. Rook is impactful from the first spray and is described as “strong and phenolic with a big puff of smokey firewood and birch tar”. Even though these notes are not my personal choice, this fragrance makes a good evening scent with great longevity due to its unique ingredients. I find it too overwhelming for my liking and prefer a fresher scent but if you’re an adventurous individual who’s looking to turn heads then this is definitely for you.

 

Rook – Image by Rankin Photography Ltd.

Notes:

Top – Birch tar, tobacco

Middle – Castoreum, cardamom, ginger, civet, agarwood

Base– Incense, ambrette, ambergris, guaiac wood and musk

Blu Blazer Guy Rating: 3/5

What I truly love about this fragrance house is all the scents are unique and interesting. I am so thankful that due to the power of social media I was able to connect with this forward thinking brand. Like all small businesses and perfume houses it is a very difficult time at the moment, therefore it is very important to support them in any way we can. So why not play your part and treat yourself to a luxury fragrance from Rook Perfumes. In addition, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr Nadeem Crowe and all his NHS colleagues for everything that they are doing at this time.

 

Blu Blazer Guy Chats With James Read

Blu Blazer Guy Chats With James Read

After 18 years in the beauty business, tanning expert James Read has become a worldwide name in the tanning industry. Working with an abundance of celebrities, photographers and designers, his underlying dream was always to create his very own brand. Utilising all the knowledge he had gained over the years,  not only did he create his own brand, but he also managed to infuse his tanning products with the benefits of luxury skincare. With a copiousness amount of prestigious awards and a following from all around the world (me being one of them) it is no wonder this brand keeps going from strength to strength. I caught up with James to find out more about him and his successful company.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and what lead you to become one of the world’s leading tanning experts?

I have worked in the industry for 18 Years and was the first self-tan expect to start the trend for layering your tan and making self-tan not just a spray tan but an experience. I previously worked with eight self-tan brands before starting mine, which helped me gain the experience and knowledge to launch my own brand.

What inspired you to create your very own self-tanning range?

Ever Since I was at school I wanted to be known for something. I remember watching The September Issue back in 2009 while working for St Tropez and there was a part where Anna Wintour’s dad asked her at 15 years old what she wanted to do when she was older, she said she wanted to be editor of American Vogue and now look at where she is. This inspired me to start my own brand, to create a brand that was both skincare and self-tan and to make a difference in the self-tan world. Years later I was at a launch for Net a porter and told by the beauty director of American Vogue that I had a whole page in the April issue for my sleep mask tan, I cried after she left as it was a dream come true.

Your Sleep Tan Mask (which is one of my favourite products) became world-renowned due to its combination of self-tanning and luxury skincare ingredients, what inspired you to combine the two? 

I used to use overnight hydrating masks and one day it clicked that no one has ever created a self-tan that combines both self-tan and skincare but also one that is an overnight self-tan, this is when the sleep mask tan was born. Eight years on and it won over 35 beauty awards.

James Read products are formulated with tantone technology, which promises its users the perfect golden glow, how does this technology work?

To me, Tantone creates a tan that looks natural and glowing but also takes the worry out of self-tanning. I wanted to create a perfect range of products where the tan works as a background colour and compliments your whole look but never overpowers it, which I believe I have successfully done.

What are your top tips for a flawless self-tan application?

Never over-apply your self-tan and always apply your self-tan in stages leaving your hands and feet till last. With the hands and feet always work the leftover self-tan over these areas so it looks more natural. In order to prolong your tan moisturise daily and exfoliate three days after to help your tan fade more evenly.

You have a few products geared towards men, is there a difference between the self-tan products for men and women?

The men’s self-tan for the face is more about calming the skin after shaving. The great thing about my brand is there is a product for everyone as the products are so natural.

Have you noticed an increase in men using self-tanning products?

Yes for sure, men are using more skincare as well as self-tan, they are also more conscious of what they put on their skin.  The fake orange look is so far away, today it’s about looking healthy but also golden.

One of your missions was to change the world’s perception of tanning, which I believe you have done, do you have any new product innovations or ideas coming to fruition in the near future? 

I have some amazing new stuff launching this year that will again change how people see self-tan, my lips are sealed but trust me you will be one of the first to know. To me it’s about being a leader, not a follower, never look to the left or right but look straight ahead, that way you never lose your direction.

This is completely off the subject of tanning, but as a fragrance lover, I ask this question to everyone, what is your favourite fragrance?

Byredo Bal d’Afrique, I love it so much!

Thank you James for taking the time out to answer these questions. Keep your eyes on James Reid Tan social for all up to date information.

Head to my blog post here to find out what my top favourite James Read products are.

James Read Tan – Self Tanning

James Read Tan – Self Tanning

Let’s face it we all love a good tan, it makes us feel and look healthy. After years of burning my skin in the name of vanity and with all the recent evidence of how bad sunbeds and sunbathing is, I decided enough is enough. I am now an avid user of self-tanning products and after trailing through different brands that never really provided the results I wanted, I finally came across James Read Tan who combines self-tanning with luxury skincare. Here are my top favourite products;

Sleep Mask Face Retinol

The first product I fell in love with and one that has taken the world by storm is the gradual tanner sleep mask. When using tanning products on my face I always thought I was missing out on my normal skincare and other self-tanners left my face dry and tight. James Read has cleverly included key skincare ingredients in this product including encapsulated Retinol, hyaluronic acid. Along with other skin-loving ingredients, this combination helps with the reduction in the signs of fatigue, dark circles and a dull complexion, so your skin isn’t missing out on anything at all.

The texture of this product is more serum-like and it absorbs easily into my skin. As with all tanning products, I exfoliate my face prior to applying this face mask so that it goes on evenly. As it is a gradual tanner, I can control the amount I use throughout the week to get the desired level of colour I want.

H20 Tan Drops

If you are not a fan of using retinol products and again you don’t want to skip your usual skincare routine then this product is fantastic. I apply this in the evenings when I don’t use the sleep mask and it is so convenient to use. All I do is add a few drops (this varies depending on the level of colour I want) into my normal moisturiser and it’s as simple as that.

The ingredients do not interact with your moisturiser in any way, so you can relax in the knowledge that you will be getting a great tan while still benefiting from your usual skincare.

The Glow 1 hour Face & Body

When I am in a hurry or life has been so busy that I have forgotten to tan throughout the week, this is the perfect last-minute product. Formulated with aloe vera, hyaluronic acid and jojoba seed oil, you are yet again getting the benefits of luxury ingredients whilst obtaining a tan. All you do is apply using a mitt and within 30 minutes you can start to see the glow appearing.

As I have pale skin I only need to keep this product on for around 45 minutes before washing it off and afterwards, I am left with a healthy golden glow. This is convenient to use before a night out or an event and doesn’t give off that undesirable fake tan aroma.

Hydra Tan Mist – for Men

Even though James Read products are unisex this Hydra Tan Mist with its chic black packaging and fresh fig and ginger fragrance has been tailored towards men. This mist is perfect for the man who is on the go as it is quick to use and very fast-drying. As it is colourless it also takes out the worry of any colour appearing on your fresh new shirt. It also calms and hydrates after shaving which is an added bonus. As with all the other products it features Tantone Technology which ensures the most natural result for your skin tone.

I sometimes spray this over my normal moisturiser throughout the day for an extra boost of hydration, knowing that I will also get a hint of colour at the same time. This is a multi-tasking and convenient product and one that should be in every guy’s toiletry case.

If you want to know more about the man behind the tan, head to my ‘chats with’ section where I chat to James Read about his life, career and his renowned self-tanning brand.

Nadia Banaisa – Founder of Les Soeurs de Noe

Nadia Banaisa – Founder of Les Soeurs de Noe

In celebration of National Fragrance Week (16th – 22nd March), I caught up with founder of Les Soeurs de Noe. This luxury niche fragrance house was born and created in Brussels, Paris and New York and inspired by Nadia’s childhood memories of travel, people and cultures. Le Soeurs de Noe launched in 2019 at London’s exclusive Liberty Department Store and as soon as I saw the gorgeous packaging and ingredients, I couldn’t wait to try them. I immediately fell in love with the unique and stunning fragrance notes and I had to reach out to Nadia to find out more about the inspiration and creation of this wonderful fragrance house.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and did you have any experience with the creation of fragrances before?

I was born and raised in Belgium with two cultures, Belgian and Moroccan. I travelled to Morocco many times from birth to visit my grandfather, and I have many memories of smells associated with those trips. His beautiful garden in Tangier was surrounded by Olive and Fig trees and I remember the scent of jasmine growing in his garden and the beautiful scent of orange blossom inside the house.

The intense colours of Morocco, as well as all the sweet smells have developed an indelible bond between my memories, emotions and fragrances. These memories were my introduction and my fascination with fragrances. I had no experience in the creation of fragrances but I‘m still training my nose every day and I have learned this new language of communication with my perfumers. I really love the way we work together.

What inspired you to create this luxurious range of fragrances? 

All the memories of my childhood inspired me but also the relationship to cultures, nature, people and many places around the world are a huge source of inspiration.

Where did the name Les Soeurs de Noe come from?

I have two daughters ‘Yara and Nahla’ and one Son ‘Noe’. My nostalgia for the past has been revived by the birth of my children. Thanks to them I found the strength to realise my dream by creating les Soeurs de Noe. This is why I dedicated the name to them. ‘The Sisters of Noe’.

Nadia at Liberty London

To bring your fragrances to life you chose master perfumers Jerome Epinette (known for the likes of Floral Street) and Pierre Wulff (who has worked with Byredo). What made you choose these individuals to create your vision? 

I was introduced to Jerome Epinette and Pierre Wulff by my designer Pierre Dinand who’s a close friend of Pierre Wulff during a trip in New York. We had a dinner and we got to know each other, started talking and we decided to work together. I really love their work. They are very talented and immensely creative perfumers.

I really developed a strong friendship with both of them. There is a dialogue and an understanding with Jerome and Pierre. We sit together and I am trying to get them to feel my emotions. The brief could be very visual or based on words, raw materials, music, a place, poetry, images,…

What captured my eye at first was the stunning packaging and bottle and the striking blue cap, how did the design come about? 

I worked with the designer Pierre Dinand and immediately fell in love with his work. He created the perfect association with luxury and craftsmanship. I wanted a round bottle to reflect the cultural diversity, the softness and the generosity of Les Soeurs de Noe. Its geometric motifs evoke all of the stories at the origin of Les Soeurs de Noe but also each person’s story. I wanted to use a new colour code in the luxury world for the cap and the packaging. Pierre and his wife Danielle came to visit me in Brussels for Christmas a few years ago. Danielle was wearing a magnificent necklace with a blue pearl. I loved it and this was my inspiration for the Colours of Les Soeurs de Noe. I was informed by Pierre Dinand that this necklace was part of a selection of jewellery that was proposed to Yves Saint Laurent by Pierre Dinand for their Opium project in 1977. In spite of its originality and beauty it was not selected by YSL. Now, more than forty years later, Les Soeurs de Noe is bringing it into the limelight.

A few of the fragrances are connected to the orient, where did this inspiration come from? 

I travelled a lot with my parents during my childhood and I was fascinated by different cultures and people I met. Being multicultural, I am sensitive to cultural diversity and I try to consider that very much in the creation of my fragrances. Les Soeurs de Noe explores this indefectible bond between the Orient and the West, establishing links between both regions’ heritage and cultural richness.

One of my favourites is Oud Rose as it has that perfect balance between Oud and Rose that I have been searching for, so thank you! Did the perfumers manage to encapsulate your memories perfectly first time or were there a few changes along the way?

Thank you very much Scott! The creation of each fragrance is unique and an emotional process. I focused on the feeling that the scent should evoke and worked with Jerome and Pierre to create it, we did several changes to get the final one.

Photo by Ahmed Bahhodh

Apart from your own range, do you have your own particular favourite fragrance and what do you look for in a scent when purchasing one? 

I always tried to find the fragrance that I am comfortable with physically. It is really important to know who you are. It’s subjective. One of my favourite fragrance is Chergui by‘Serge Lutens’. It takes me back to my earliest scent memory in Morocco with my grandfather. I remember the chergui wind blowing in his garden and all the smells associated with it.

Can we expect any further beautiful creations from the Les Soeurs de Noe range? 

We really want to grow slowly and create a truly unique fragrance experience. Now, we are working on new scents that will launch in the future.

Finally, can you sum up your perfumes in three words? 

Authenticity (quality, creativeness), respect (people and environment) and sharing.

Head to my latest video to find out more about each of the fragrances.