Fathers Day Gift Guide 2020

Fathers Day Gift Guide 2020

I don’t know about you but when it comes to Father’s Day I find it very difficult to get my dad the perfect gift. I have come across some amazing products and I thought I would share them with you to make choosing your Father’s Day gift that little bit easier. Whether it be for your father or a special father figure, I am sure you will find the perfect item.

Mens Grooming

Horace

I first discovered this brand whilst in France and I couldn’t wait to share it on the blog. Horace is a men’s grooming range that uses ingredients that are a minimum of 95% natural ingredients. This simple yet effective range of products are very affordable and each one is formulated with ingredients that are proven to work. The range covers an array of grooming needs from haircare, fragrance and even oral care. Here are my favourites in the range;

Mesoa Skincare

What first caught my eye with this brand is their focus on male mental health. Not only does a percentage of their profits go towards male suicide and mental health charities, but they also have an online community on their website where men can share their own stories and chat to each other. Of course, the products are fantastic too and their simple packaging and informative website make it easy to understand what each of the products does by explaining their key benefits clearly. Here are my favourites;

Acqua di Parma Haircare

I am a huge fan of Acqua Di Parma fragrances and their Barbiere range is the perfect addition to this quintessential Italian range. Each of the products includes the stunning original cologne fragrance which is both uplifting and masculine.

Aurezzi

If you want to buy your father something unique then why not opt for this range of 24k gold pated oral health range from Aurezzi. Swedish designed with Swiss quality and backed by 168 years of dentistry this range exudes quality and style whilst being practical at the same time. The toothbrush has an exceptional density of bristles which not only helps clean the teeth thoroughly but also helps the brush retain its shape over time. It also comes with a stunning stand that you can proudly display the brush in. The toothpaste also includes gold particles and hydroxyapatite to clean and whiten the teeth.

Drinks

Flavair

I recently discovered this fine spirit membership club and I was very impressed. The club offers a number of benefits which will keep any spirit connoisseur happy. Each quarter, members receive a full-size bottle along with a themed tasting box that includes three 50ml samples, tasting notes and a Flaviar concrete coaster. It’s the perfect gift for someone who likes to experience spirits that are not always available in shops.

Feragaia

If he doesn’t drink alcohol but still wants to experience a tipple then why not treat him to Scotland’s first premium alcohol-free spirit. Feragaia contains 14 responsibly sourced botanicals from both land and sea that have been combined to create a delicious drink full of flavour, depth and body. With zero sugar and all-natural flavour, it makes a healthy alternative to alcohol.

Fragrances 

D.S. & Durga

Based in New York, this perfume house creates a fantastic range of fragrances that translates musical and literary pieces into scent. There are so many to choose from that I could recommend however I opted for Italian Citrus in the end. This spicy and citrusy scent reminds me of a traditional cologne however it has so much more depth and longevity. Its immediate fresh citrus blast provides an uplifting feeling of positivity and throughout the day the fragrance rises from the skin flirting between citrus, spicy, sweet and floral.

Stories Parfums

Created by Tonya Kidd-Beggs in the perfume capital of the world, Grasse, Stories is a perfume house that encapsulates the finest raw materials using traditional methods of perfumery. As soon as you spray them on you can tell that they were made with passion and they exude so much soul and life. Their complex notes interweave to create the most beautiful scents that float from the skin throughout the day. I couldn’t choose between the both of them as they both have such beautiful and individual personalities.

Rook Perfumes

After a complete re-brand and re-launch of Rook Perfumes in February 2020, I was immediately 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. All of the fragrances are fantastic but I recommend Forest, a fresh and uplifting scent that will transport the wearer to nature. Check my previous blog to find out more about this fragrance house.

For other fragrances check out my recommendations here.

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

Carthusia

Carthusia

I first discovered Carthusia when I was in Liberty of London where I was suddenly enthralled by their fragrances and was overjoyed when I received a bottle of their 2007 fragrance, Numero Uno. It’s exhilarating blend immediately captivated me and I couldn’t wait to find out about this fragrance house which is based on the renowned Italian Island of Capri. In 2019 I visited the island and was lucky enough to meet with Francesca Vuotto from Carthusia who showed me around their beautiful store and gave me a sneak peek of what goes on behind the scenes of their small perfume laboratory.

Walking the meandering streets of Capri I immediately knew I was approaching Carthusia. There was an enchanting fragrance that scented the air as I raced towards its entrance. Its storefront was as traditional and quant as I had hoped for, covered in green foliage, colourful flowers and a trickling water feature.

Its historic symbol created by painter Mario Laboccetta was proudly displayed above its entrance, portraying a “flower siren” a character representing the surreal and mythological landscapes of Capri’s heritage.

Carthusia’s creation has a wonderful historical story that really connects it to the Island of Capri. Legend has it that in 1380,  after hearing that Queen Joan of Anjou was visiting Capri, the father-prior of the Carthusian Monastery of St. James, picked a bouquet of the finest flowers from the island. These remained in the same water for three days and, as he went to discard them, he noticed that it had developed a mysterious and captivating fragrance. So he turned to the friar who specialised in alchemy, who then created the first perfume in Capri called “Garofilium Silvestre Caprese”. In 1948 the Prior of the Charterhouse found the old perfume formula and with the permission of the Pope, revealed them to a chemist from Piemonte in the north of Italy,  thus created the smallest perfume laboratory in the world, calling it “Carthusia,” i.e., “charter house”.

Gardens of Augustus

The Carthusia perfumery sits on an elevated position perfectly located near the scenic Gardens of Augustus and looking out onto the azure waters below. Walking into the store I was completely taken by surprise to how beautiful it was. The interior transported you back in time with its dark wooden counters and shelves lined with several fragrances and jars of dried flowers.

Hand-painted motifs on the walls echoed the flowers and herbs used in the fragrances  and a small spiral staircase added to its old-style character.

Tucked away behind the storefront was the surprisingly small factory where all the magic takes place. I was shocked to see how small the room was considering that the fragrances are distributed all over the world. This just goes to show how dedicated Carthusia is to share these beautiful fragrances all over the globe whilst still managing to retain its original roots.

Large metallic vessels holding each of the blended fragrances line the walls of the laboratory, ready to be decanted. Craftsmen in pristine white coats work passionately to create each fragrance, filling and labelling each bottle by hand.

My favourite fragrance is Numero Uno and not surprisingly I previously featured it in a video review which you can view here. I especially love this scent due to its citrusy and woody notes, but there are many more beautiful unisex fragrances to discover such as the lovely Io Capri, Corallanium and Meditteraneo which I also gravitate towards. 

So, when you visit Southern Italy and wander around the streets of the Amalfi coast, you will no doubt come across a delicate array of fragrances that scent the air. Follow your nose as you are probably within walking distance of the nearest Carthusia store. Carthusia has managed to capture the true essence of Capri in every bottle, therefore  when your return home to the grey skies, with just one spray, you will be transported back to the stunning sun-drenched Italian Island.  

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.

 

Surviving social distancing and working from home.

Surviving social distancing and working from home.

I don’t know about you but working from home and social distancing has been a huge adjustment for me. Although I am thankful I am safe, spending so many hours in the house can take its toll on your mental and physical wellbeing. I thought I would share some hints, tips and products that I have been using to help keep my body and mind in tip-top condition.

Stick to your usual routine

If you are working from home, try and stick to your normal daily routine. Get up at a normal time, have a relaxing shower and change into some nice clothes. It’s very tempting to just stay in your pj’s but this is not very motivating! Trick your mind into thinking that it’s leaving the house.

Washing your hands

Washing your hands is paramount but using alcohol gel and washing all the time can dry out your skin. I’ve been using This lovely Black Tulip scented hand-wash from Shay & Blue which is both delicate and conditioning. Along with the nourishing hand lotion, it helps keep my hands silky smooth and hydrated. All their products are handcrafted in England with real flowers, fruits and spices.

Skincare

Your usual skincare regime can sometimes slip when you’re in the house all the time but it’s important to take care of your skin and also treat yourself at the same time. I highly recommend MODM Vitamin Repair face oil from The Method in Edinburgh. It’s full of high-quality cold-pressed oils that really nurture the skin. I use their MODM Gua Sha Facial Tool to massage the oil in and this depuffs, sculpts and releases tension in the face.

Self Tan

Isn’t it funny how a little bit of colour on the skin makes you feel and look healthier. For a while, I’ve been on the lookout for tanning products that look natural and are easy to apply. I recently released a blog post on my favourite James Read Self tanning products, head to blublazerguy.com to find out more here.

Skin Protection

If you are working from home and your desk is situated near a window it’s still very important to protect your skin against any UV rays which penetrate the glass. I recommend House of London Face Repair Cream which not only protects you from UV but also Infrared. Their products are organic and aim to feed, correct and protect the skin naturally.

Fragrance

Just because you aren’t going anywhere special doesn’t mean you should skimp on a fragrance. Pick a scent that ignites memories of positive times or one that lifts your spirits. My favourite just now is Italian Citrus by D.S. & DURGA as it’s uplifting, energetic and full of sunshine inspired ingredients.

Home Fragrance

Candles can add an immediate relaxing ambience to any room and coupled with a lovely scent can help calm and soothe the mind. I’ve just started burning this Buongiorno candle from Italian brand Acqua Di Parma. It’s refreshing aromas of freshly cut grass and sun-dried linen transport me to a summers day.

Another great candle is the Oceana candle from Essence of Harris. Oceana washes away worries with the cleansing aromas of samphire & sea minerals. These candles are hand-poured in the Isle of Harris in Scotland. The team are so lovely and have been helping their local community throughout this tough time.

Aromatherapy

Incense is also a great way to lace the air with relaxing aromas. I recently purchased these Azoth – Lavender and Marjoram stick from Lifestory lifestyle store in Edinburgh. The comforting essential oils immediately make me feel at ease. If you are looking for a contemporary incense stick holder, check out Concrete Goods who sell a fantastic range of styles and colours.

A Shakti Mat

This may not be for everyone but I absolutely love it and have been using it daily ever since I got it. The Shakti Mat is based on the Indian bed of nails concept. The mat has thousands of sharp spikes which apply pressure to the skin. The first contact with the mat can be overwhelming but once you get used to it you soon slip into this indescribable state of relaxation, so much so that I sometimes fall asleep on it. The Shakti mats are handmade in the holy city of Varanasi by 72 woman which not only helps the individuals but their family and their community.

Exercise

Working at home can be a challenge both mentally and physically. One of the things that have been helping me is moving my body more. Setting my Alexa alarm hourly reminds me to get up and stretch, lift weights or carry out some cardio. I also make sure I adhere to the government guidelines and get out once a day for a long run and fresh air whilst keeping my distance from other people.

Sleep

I’ve been finding it very difficult to sleep as of late but I found this amazing pillow spray from Drowsy Sleep Co. This spray contains 7 natural oils which help stimulate sensors in the brain to help aid sleep naturally. The fragrance is beautiful and it’s a fantastic additional tool to calm the mind so you can drift off into a deep sleep.

Hydration

Indoor heating and poor hydration can dehydrate your body and your skin so it’s very important to remember to hydrate both inside and out. Fill a water bottle and make sure you take sips frequently and avoid too much coffee, tea and alcohol. For your skin, I’ve found that hyaluronic acids applied before your moisturiser provides a fantastic additional boost of hydration. I recommend Hylamide SubQ skin, Niod Multi-molecular hyaluronic complex and Image total pure hyaluronic filler.

Nutritional Supplements

If you are eating healthy then you should be getting all the nutrition you need from your diet. However, If you require additional supplementation, I’ve recently been trying a new product from getting Nourished which I have been very impressed by. All you have to do is complete a simple questionnaire on their website and they will determine what supplements you need. The vitamins are then 3D printed into one convenient gummy stack which is vegan, sugar-free and tastes absolutely delicious. It’s a really unique and convenient way of taking your daily vitamins and nutrients.

Talk

Last but not least is to make sure you talk and communicate with friends and family on a regular basis. In a world that had become so disconnected, it’s amazing how technology is now helping us to stay as connected as possible with the likes of face time and social media. So when you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious, reach out as we are all in this together.

I hope you enjoyed this little guide of things that are truly helping me get through each day at home. Let’s keep adhering to government guidelines and protecting each other by staying home. For information always look at official government websites for the most up to date and accurate advice. We will get through this testing time together and I send all my followers and readers lots of positive vibes. #stayhome #savelives #protectthenhs

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.

Miller Harris – Perfumer London

Miller Harris – Perfumer London

“Miller Harris tells contemporary urban stories through complex fragrances. We start with nature – with distinct greens and woods, with carefully sourced floral notes, iris from Florence, French violet leaf, jasmine from Egypt, Tunisian orange flower – but we frame these precious botanicals in complex and unconventional ways.”

From their description above its evident that London perfumer Miller Harris sources only the best ingredients to create each and every one of their luxury fragrances and products.  Founded by Lyn Harris in 2000, after years of training in prestigious French perfume schools, the brand has grown from strength to strength creating over fifty fragrances so far, putting British perfumery firmly on the map.

I first discovered Miller Harris in a London airport while waiting on a connecting flight and was immediately drawn to their unique selection of fragrances. While I perused the extensive range, the Miller Harris ambassador recounted the story behind each of scents making them even more captivating, and it is from that moment that I was completely hooked.

img_2446-1

I love how the packaging exudes a perfect balance between contemporary and classical – some bottles delicately dispersed with floral designs and others with a more modern twist. Having explained my adoration for unique fragrances in my previous post , Miller Harris is another brand that has certainly caught my eye. Their high quality, finely sourced ingredients are combined to create a beautiful range of scents most of which can be worn by all genders  – another important aspect that I love in a fragrance.

The first fragrance I immediately fell in love with was Étui Noir. This scent is described “like a well-worn leather jacket” so you can imagine the depth of notes used in order to portray this description. Starting off with citrus and pepper notes, it soon melts into a luxuriously sweet and smoky combination with lasting impressions of leather.

img_2461

This warming scent emanates opulence and is perfect for for those days when you want a rich and enveloping scent. One of the best things though is its longevity, allowing you to spray it on the body and truly experience it’s fascinating notes as it slowly radiates off the skin throughout the day.

If you are looking for the perfect unisex summer fragrance, look no further than ‘DANCE amongst the lace’ which has just launched in 2019. Part of the Forage Collection of perfumes, it centres itself around the uniquely fresh scent of cow parsley, otherwise known as Queen Anne’s lace. It combines a crisp and invigorating duo of minty notes blended with mouthwatering lime and zesty verbena, together with a lush base of vetiver and moss. Other notes include red berry, cardamom, spearmint, peppermint, bergamot, fennel, angelica root, geranium, blackcurrant, sandalwood, musk and myrrh.

This fragrance is like nothing I have smelt before, the initial citrusy explosion soon settles to reveal an unusual green earthy scent. For me the refreshing mint notes really shine through, radiating from the skin throughout the whole day. It has fantastic longevity and even on the recent warm days I could still smell the scent hours later. I am a huge fan of Miller Harris and always look forward to seeing what they come up with next. This is another winner from this fantastic British fragrance house.

Another firm favorite of mine is Tea Tonique which is inspired by a trip to a tea plantation. As soon as you spray this one onto the skin it has an immediate uplifting effect, perfect on days when you need that little boost of energy. Miller Harris describes this as “early morning mist rolling over rows of neatly planted shrubs, bringing with it a sparkling and refreshing zest from the crisp leaves. Tea Tonique captivates the senses, an infusion of Italian bergamot and floral earl grey, the earthy intensity of maté, and the smoky facets of birch. The cooling spice of nutmeg provides contrast to this delicate and uplifting perfume.” It comes in a whole range of additional products such as hand wash and lotion, a range that truly adds a spring to your step.

img_2444-1

For more information and to check out their fantastic range visit millerharris.com

  • Étui Noir – from £75.00
  • DANCE amongst the lace – from £95.00
  • Tea Tonique – from £75.00
  • Tea Tonique Hand Lotion – £18.00
  • Tea Tonique Hand Wash – £18.00

Argentum Apothecary Skincare

Argentum Apothecary Skincare

Founded by Joy Issacs, Argentum Apothecary Skincare was born from a dream! From a young age, colloidal silver (tiny particles of silver suspended in a liquid) was used by her family as a highly effective way to treat and soothe skincare concerns. Several years later, after a vivid dream about using silver in skincare, Joy’s imagination was ignited and she set out to create a natural yet luxury skincare brand that utilised that exact ingredient. 

Argentum Apothecary skincare is created containing a range of products with a combination of Silver Hydrosol and DNA HP. Silver Hydrosol regulates skin flora with its natural antibacterial and anti-irritant properties and DNA HP; a natural marine sourced ingredient helps to promote cell regeneration and enables optimum hydration. Together they make a perfect union, helping to nurture the skin and make it looks its best. The range of products all come in black bespoke jars that have been created to block out light in order to protect and harness the precious ingredients inside. Not only do they look fantastic in your bathroom, they also serve an important purpose.

What first attracted me to Argentum wasn’t just its use of silver in its products but the unique deep meaning behind their brand. Joy’s interest in Tarot and the unconscious mind is woven into the creation of the brand, encapsulating the 12 archetype images in its design. Each Jar of the La Potion Infinite contains 1 of 12 archetype cards. This is to ensure the individual can draw energy in order to inspire balance and create harmony within, elevating the beauty product with a sense of fun and charm.

Argentum products are created to turn your normal skincare routine into a skincare meditation. They allow the consumer to sit back and pamper their skin with a luxurious product whilst appreciating mindfulness in a modern hectic world.

La Lune de Velours – Nourishing Oil Milk Cleanser – £98

5 - la lune de velours Box + Jar Lifestyle

Argentum’s newest product is the enticing La Lune de Velours. This product is a deluxe nourishing oil milk cleanser designed to remove makeup and grime whilst keeping the skin deeply hydrated. As well as including their renowned Silver Hydrosol & DNA HP it also includes natural skin-loving ingredients such as Argan Oil, Sweet Almond Oil and Vitamin E. All these ingredients makes La Lune de Velours very nourishing, luxurious and comforting.

2 - la lune de velours Jar Whip

The product also includes a beautiful fina silk sea sponge, hand-picked from the Mediterranean sea. By massaging the sponge into the skin, it turns the oil into a soothing milk that cleanses the skin without stripping it of moisture.

6 - la lune de velours + fina silk sea sponge

I adore this product, from its very classy packaging to its melt in the skin texture and its ability to cleanse yet keep the skin really supple. It’s a product that you may want to keep for special occasions but it’s so lovely that you then use it every day. Don’t worry guys, even though it states that it removes makeup, this is a great cleanser for you too. It will remove that build of city dirt and grime that has accumulated during the day. 

La Potion Infinie – Restorative Day and Night Cream – From £36-£158

5 - la potion infinie Box + Jar

La Potion Infinie is their renowned and award-winning moisturiser, again with added benefits of the Silver Hydrosol and DNA HP. This cream is fantastic as its designed to provide intense hydration without any of the dreaded shine that can sometimes occur when using some thick textured anti-ageing facial creams. The cream is designed to cover numerous concerns such as oxidative stress, blemishes and wrinkles. La Potion Infinie really is an all encompassing addition to anyone’s skincare regime. The cream itself has a fantastic texture that is immediately absorbed and there is an instant tightening and firming of the skin. I love to use this before a night out or an event to awaken my complexion.

2 - la potion infinie Open Jar

Being a fragrance fanatic I especially love the scent of this product which was specially created in Grasse, a town in France renowned in the fragrance world. This calming non gender-specific scent is an uplifting aroma of citrus, rosewood and geranium leaves with a rich heart of spices and creamy musky base of sandalwood and patchouli.  The combination of the unique fragrance, bespoke packaging and a range of products containing highly effective ingredients make this skincare collection very luxurious and unique.  

To see how I use the product why not watch my associated video here.

 

National Fragrance Week – Luxury & Niche Fragrances

National Fragrance Week – Luxury & Niche Fragrances

Coco Chanel Said “No elegance is possible without perfume. It is the unseen, unforgettable, ultimate accessory.”

When choosing a fragrance, we all seek to find a specific scent that accentuates and reflects our own personalities. However, in a vast and ever growing fragrance market, it is a tad difficult to find a scent that is unique to you. In such a market it is difficult to find a fragrance that no one else is wearing and like clothes, we all long for something different that portrays our individuality.

If like me, you sometimes crave a fragrance that is a little bit different then this is where the niche and luxury fragrance market come into play. There are a selection of brands appearing on the market that provide certain exclusivity, allowing you to choose a fragrance that has high quality ingredients and stunning packaging. Some people often disregarded these brands for the fear that they would not like them once they arrive. Luckily more fragrance companies are producing discovery sets, allowing you to purchase a range of samples so that you can experience the scent before you choose the one you prefer.

For National Fragrance Week, I recently sought out some niche and luxury brands and had the chance to enjoy their range of fragrances. Here are the selections that caught my eye (and nose):

IDEO Parfumeurs

This unique brand originates from the centre of the Mediterranean, from the beautiful city of Beirut in Lebanon. Taking advantage of this fantastic location, IDEO has created a range of fragrances that take influence from the Middle East, Europe, Africa and Asia. Founded by Antoine and Ludmila Bitar, they have crafted a beautiful selection of unisex perfumes that not only bring together the energy of Beirut but also explore its many contradictive facets. Therefore each fragrance exudes a timeless elegance with a touch of originality and a splash of freedom just like the city it come from.

Head to my Facebook or IGTV IDEO Parfumeurs video where I talk about my favourite scent in the collection, Prison Blues.

GALLIVANT – Fragrance for Urban Explorers

You know how much I love travel and fragrances! This brand manages to ingeniously combine both of my passions. Gallivant is a small independent perfume house in London created and founded by Nick Steward where each fragrance is inspired by a selection of cities from around the world. By using natural ingredients that are hand crafted in France and England, Gallivant have produced a range of high quality yet unique unisex fragrances.

Head to my Facebook or IGTV Gallivant video where I talk about my favourite scent in the collection, London.

ZOOLOGIST

When I first heard of this fragrance house I was immediately fascinated by its unusual story. Founded in 2013 by Victor Wong this Canadian based company has produced a quirky range that has been lovingly inspired by the animal kingdom. Each scent captures a unique eccentricity and personality of a particular animal. What they have ended up with is a vast array of cleverly constructed perfumes that are truly unique and fun to explore.

Head to my Facebook or IGTV ZOOLOGIST video to discover my favourite scent in the collection, Elephant.

M.INT – That Which Triggers Emotions

With a tagline of “That which triggers emotions”, I was immediately intrigued by what this brand had to offer. Their website provided a contemporary and artistic vibe providing a current slant on a perfume house that I had not seen before. Launched in 2016, M.INT released a range of 20 unisex fragrances, each created by renowned perfumers all over the world. Although each of the fragrances has their own unique personality, the collection comes together perfectly, creating a wardrobe of luxurious fragrances. The packaging is slick and modern and houses a bottle that is completely unique and the vast array of choice means you won’t be stuck for choice.

Head to my Facebook or IGTV M.INT Parfume video where I talk about my favourite scent in the collection, Azure Haze.

KINGDOM SCOTLAND

Founded by Imogen Russon-Taylor; Kingdom Scotland is the very first Scottish fragrance house capturing the very essence of the beautiful country it originates from. The fragrance collection made its debut in 2018 with the first three expertly crafted scents; Metamorphic, Albaura and Portal. After working a lustrous career in the aromatic world of Scotch whisky, Imogen already understood the complexities of creating a product that consisted of a variety of notes and distinguished ingredients. Seeing the connection between the sensory experience of whisky and perfume, she used this powerful knowledge to shape her vision of Kingdom Scotland. Through in-depth research, she began to develop further knowledge into the Scottish history of perfume, unearthing historic records detailing stories that fed her inspiration. After finding a perfumer who perfectly matched her vision, Kingdom Scotland was born. Imogen has created a beautiful collection of unisex fragrances that capture the imagination and transport you to the natural landscapes of Scotland.

Head to my Facebook or IGTV Kingdom Scotland video to see more about my favourite scent in the range, Portal.