New Autumnal Scents and Amouage Lilac Love

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Sandra.

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Hey there dear APJ! How are you all doing? I hope that life is treating you very well.

Autumn has shown its face early here in Rotterdam. Early I say simply because I am not used to it coming this early. Naturally the leaves are changing colour and falling (all in different stages too) but the sun is really low, it is almost blinding. I have only ever experienced this special lighting up in Norway and have found it to be both eerie and alluring. My nose is on high alert here as there are so many new scents that I am taking in this year. It is in part because of the move north but also because we no longer live in a city. We live in a house in a suburb with a garden.

New Autumnal Scents and Amouage Lilac Love

The first smell that comes to mind is the wet damp earth. It is seriously wet here. It was so bad in September for about 10 days that I kept teasing my son that we will need to build ourselves a boat so we can have a ride to school. There is a dampness in the air, especially now in autumn where not only is the asphalt emitting its own scent but so are the fallen leaves.

Some homes are starting to have fires in the fireplaces now and I loooove that smell. Together with the damp earth, the wood and the smoke gives me a sense of calm and a feeling of home. My favorite time of the day is when I walk home with our son after school and all of these homey scents greet my eager nose.

This past weekend we were blessed with plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures. Saturday we biked for 30km and my son will tell you that we broke his muscles with that ride. It was a gorgeous ride in the greenery and then along the Rotte River. We got to smell chestnuts and leaves, but also the last of the blooming flowers. Have I mentioned of how stunning all of the blooming plants and trees are here in the Netherlands? There is always colour outside even in the dead of winter. Amouage Bracken Woman was the perfect companion for our Saturday bike ride. Bracken Woman is herbal, green and woody. All the elements of autumn in a bottle.

Sunday was another glorious day but our son protested the idea of another bike ride so we took a long walk in our neighborhood. We let him lead the way with no destination in mind and we somehow stumbled upon a city garden called Natuurtalent. The herbs alone were intoxicating to smell. They have a wood work area and the smell of fresh wood shavings surrounded by green herbs and blooming plants will ensure our return. It was a perfect place for our son to explore and he was allowed to smell things too. Since it was such a warm day I wore Amouage Lilac Love which bloomed into a floral powdery slightly spicy perfume. It is a beautiful perfume that I would wear often if I owned a bottle.

Here are a few pictures of our sunny warm weekend. Yes, Rotterdam really is this green. Now the fog has set in this week and I need to make a pumpkin soup to really get into the season.

Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Jasmine, rose, gardenia, peony, heliotrope
Heart: Orris, cacao, tonka bean
Base: Sandalwood, patchouli, vanilla

Libertine has $499/1ooml FREE Australian Postage
Surrender To Chance has samples from $4/0.5ml

Do you have a favorite season? Do you like any Amouage perfumes? I would love to hear from you.

Stay safe and healthy. Until next time.
Sandra xoxo

 

(Ed: All photos taken by Sandra unless specified)

Europe 2017: Jin & Portia’s Big Adventure

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Portia

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Hey there APJ,

Jin and I leave for our holidays on Tuesday, yes tomorrow. Bags are packed. Friends over for dinner tonight and Jin has done a huge plate of meat & veg that we all make our own Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls from. He is an artist at it and it’s one of my favourite things he does. So fresh, healthy and delicious.

europe_topography_map_en Europe 2017

Europe 2017: Jin & Portia’s Big Adventure

So where are we off to? Here’s a run down of our dates & cities. It’s mainly a driving holiday with a couple of short flights added in for ease and comfort. So the dates are the nights we spend in each city. All dates are in March. Everything in bold is a city we have never been to before, exciting.

8/9/10: Prague, Czech

11/12: Zilina, Slovakia

13/14: Berlin, Germany

15/16: Hamburg, Germany

17: Hanover, Germany

18: Rotterdam, Netherlands

19/20: Luxembourg

21/22/23: Paris

24/25/26: Milan, Italy

27/28/29: London, UK

So that’s where we’ll be. Should you be in any of this cities or nearby and like a catch up, food, sight seeing or a sniff then please tell us where you are in the comments below and we’ll try and organise something.

What frags am I taking? I’m not sure but I’m very tempted to take only Parfum d’Empire Equistrius and Patou 1000.

Here we come Europe, can’t wait to see you.
Portia xxx

HAPPY MARDI GRAS 2017

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Portia

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Hiya APJ,

Tonight is Sydney’s Mardi Gras. I’ll be hosting the Sideshow Glam Stands again with my mate Andrew Mercado. We basically do a running commentary for the event to about 2000 people who have bought seats in grandstands lining the route. they get food, toilets and commentators and all the money goes towards producing Mardi Gras. Most people know the parade but Sydney has a 2 week LGBTQI festival that includes theatre, events, art, picnics, tourist welcome parties, a parade and a parade after party. It is wonderful and I extend the welcome to you all next year for the 2018 40th Anniversary. It is going to be the biggest, brightest and best yet.

HAPPY MARDI GRAS 2017

Here I am arriving last year on the back of a Dyke’s On Bikes motor bike. One of my life highlights.

I know, you only care what fragrance I’ll be wearing tonight. I need it to last 10+ hours, smell great from beginning to end and be a comfortable ride. Though I may change my mind I’m thinking a bit fat overspritz of Jessica Simpson’s Fancy Nights.

So wherever you are, whatever sex you feel happiest with or being I want to wish you all a Happy Mardi Gras 2017.
Portia

Scent Diary: 30.1 – 5.2.17: Sample Week

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Portia

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Hey Crew,

So it’s Monday and I just realised last night I’m going on a cruise on Saturday. By the time you read this I’ll be deep in the South Pacific living it up. It was a mad scramble, as always, so the posts will be scarce. Not empty but less full definitely.

Sample Week Scent Diary 30.1 – 5.2.17

Monday 30:

Woke up this morning in a panic. I’m leaving on Saturday for the South Pacific Cruise and NOTHING is organised for my trip. I have to write 3 weeks of Trivia Q&A and get the blog set so you all have something to read while I’m off. It’s sample week so I did a huge 12 spritz of Atelier Cologne Camelia Intrepide. Very pretty floral tea scent, a creamy tea. Super fresh but comforting and with enough bells and whistles that I’m kept interested while writing Q&A. I spent so long at the computer my eyes went googly.

Then, because I was at the end of my tether, Kath, Alice, Jin & I went and tried a new pizza place that wins prizes in Napoli. The food was really good but it was just too hot to have any fun. I thought Jin was going to expire.

Having just had the most fabulous cold Lolita Lempicka bubble bath I decided to spritz Annick Goutal Les Colognes Neroli. About 2ml of it. Pithy orange peel and maybe cardamom?
One downer is that I’ll probably only get one more bubble bath from the LL.
More Trivia Q&A and off to bed in another glorious cloud of Annick Goutal Les Colognes Neroli, and that’s my 5ml done.

Tuesday 31:

OMG! So freaking hot. We let the dogs sleep inside with us last night. They’re well behaved and quiet on their inside beds. I took a couple of pics for Undina from Undina’s Looking Glass, hope you like them. BTW It’s Undina’s 6th blog-versary. Drop on over and say hi, you’ll get to meet her handsome owner Rusty.
Jinx (Jin’s dog) is the top shot and he’s saying, “Leave me to sleep please Daddy.”
Paris (my baby) is already awake and chewing his newest rope toy. Few things make him so happy as a new toy.

Jin surprised me with pancakes for breakfast, made from scratch and served with brown sugar and lemon juice. MY FAVOURITE!!! This is the Sunday dinner Mum used to make us when she ran out of money. We never knew and thought it was the biggest treat ever, still do. Look how pleased Jin is at making such a surprise. He’s having Maple Syrup on his.

I had to go get my sea sick pills, sleeping tablets, sunscreen and ginger tablets for the cruise. While I was there I grabbed a tetanus injection too, just in case. He took my heart rate and was so surprised at how perfect it was and then asked me to weigh myself which was only 113KGs. I was expecting 125KGs. So though I’m no skinny Minnie it felt like a real win. Anyway, as I was waiting for my script to be filled I noticed this Elizabeth Arden Cherry Blossom Green Tea tester and as I was scent naked proceeded to give myself 6 big blasts. Punching well above its $10/50ml price tag I found it a lovely dry floral tea. It gives me the same ache in the back of my throat that a cuppa of Green Tea does and smells quietly creamy and refreshing. Sadly it was gone after an hour but for that money…. NOPE. I did not purchase.

Tonight for work emptied a sample vial of Emeraude Agar by Atelier Cologne on my arms & chest. Opening very pepper & bro-woods generic, dry down is lovely salty driftwood and creamy sandalwood. I can’t believe it has ended up so gorgeous. Review to follow. 6 hours later I’m still gorgeously fragrant.
Sending off a sample of Oriza Legrand Reve d’Ossian and while making up the pack gave myself a spritz. Perfectly posed Catholic liturgical incense BOMB! Love it. Why didn’t this beauty get more love?

Wednesday 1:

Today is all about getting stuff done. All the invoices, postage, tidying the house and doing the laundry pre-holiday. All of it today. This morning I’m wearing Black Afghan by Mad et Len, a pepper rich, woodsy oudh. It came in a LuckyScent Sample Pack. Review to follow.

In the afternoon I decided something cooler was in order and recently I had an Amouage Opus III arrive. When these beauties first came out I found them less than thrilling. In a full 180 degree turn I now I seem to have suddenly realised their magic, since falling so heavily for IX & X. IX being a full retail purchase last year, couldn’t wait because I loved it so much. Opus III is a chunky violet/waxy/lipstick, smoke and hairspray fragrance and a fair whack of green/resinous animalics.

Duck dinner with TinaG & Alice (A F Beauty) because I’m cruising on Saturday. We had soups, a whole duck as pancakes and then San Choy Bow, desserts. Excellent farewell. Jin has officially stolen my L‘Occitane Cedrat L’Homme and it smells terrific on him. An aquatic wood, yum.

Thursday 2:

Cleaned the house, washed the linen and some last minute clothes, blogged and organised and did stuff that took forever but feels like I’ve only slightly dented the list. Have worn so much fragrance today for blogging purposes and now at 4pm I’m sitting in the middle of a fog of Surrender, the Dominique Durban creation for Surrender To Chance. BLOODY HELL! It’s the thickest, most chewy jasmine I ever smelled, unbelievable petrochemical opening that becomes this incredible jasmine soliflore. You MUST get some.

Friday 3:

FINISHED all posts for APJ while I’m gone by 10am, that’s about 5 hours ahead of my planned schedule. BIG relief.
Fragrantly I’m wearing Spiritus/Land by Miller & Bertaux. Ginger, pepper, incense and woods. It’s beautiful. This crew is woefully unrecognised for their lovely work.
Now some minor cleaning, packing and organising. Tonight Jin & I are going to wander down the road to town and get some dinner, maybe have a wine, come back here and snuggle on the couch watching TV.
Here are my Travel Fragrances for the cruise….

 

Back:Mohur EdPDivine EdP, Mitsouko EdT, Vaninger, Stash, Miss Dior parfum, Niki de Saint Phalle EdT, Bombay Bling EdP
Front: Epice Marine, Cuir d’Ange

You’ll notice every one of these is a manufacturer travel size of 30ml or less. Please take note perfume creators. If you make it small, I will buy it. 15 – 30ml is perfect for travel, respritzing and having handily in handbag or backpack.

Saturday 4:

 

Sunday 5:

 

 

Moving: Vienna To Rotterdam 2016

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Sandra

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Happy New Year APJ! May 2017 bring peace, love and joy to our lives.

Let me just come right out and say it. Moving is terrible. Leaving the comfort of my flat and all the luxuries of the known has been the most challenging aspect. Please do not take this post as a complaint, rather as a funny side to the moving experience.

Moving: Vienna To Rotterdam 2016

The bandaid has been ripped off and we landed safely in Rotterdam. The movers got us into the house and then promptly abandoned us at 2 pm stating that they did not want to unpack all the boxes because there was not enough flat surface to place the items on! WTF?! Seriously – we have four floors!!! Too emotionally spent to argue with them, we let them go home. Now, imagine us climbing, sometimes on all fours, the three crazy steep stairs with boxes – no stairmaster is needed. We have it in the house and no health club membership will be necessary.

One major challenge with which we are faced is figuring out what foods are safe for my allergic son. To give you an example – the first night in Rotterdam we mistakenly thought that a sushi restaurant would be safe. The waitress tried telling us to leave because she could not handle my request. All I wanted to know is why there was egg in an avocado maki! The manager came and told me it was because all the sushi has mayonnaise. Really?! I kindly requested that he makes the maki without the mayo and voila we have safe food! So, it will take us several weeks to get our bearings and figure out which grocery stores have the right foods for us and which restaurants we can visit.

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On another note, I know that I am short – but I feel positively elflike here. Both men and women tower over me! We needed to buy a step stool to actually climb into the bath tub – my legs are just not that long. My husband placed one step stool on every floor as there are even light switches I cannot reach on tippytoe. Don’t even get me started on the cupboard space in the kitchen – I don’t remember what I placed up top and cannot even see all the way up there from the ground.

With all the stress and now culture shock setting in, I have two favourite perfumes giving me the much needed comfort and hugs.

Knowing how stressful this would be, I decided several weeks before the move that for the five or six days that it would take to pack, move, stay in a hotel and then move into the house I would be fragrance free.


shalimar-edp-guerlainGuerlain

Once unpacked, I spritzed Shalimar EdP lavishly and was in scented heaven. It has grounded me when I found myself wanting to whimper in a corner.

spiriteuse-double-vanille-guerlainGuerlain

At night I require an extra dose of sugar and reach for Spiriteuse Double Vanille which sends me off to dreamland with its wonderful boozy vanilla cloud.

All in all, I am excited about the adventure and am looking forward to discovering new places and meeting new people. The Dutch are some of the friendliest people I have ever met. People smile and are willing to help us and most go out of their way when we explain that we are newly implanted foreigners in their country.

Here are a few pictures of the last night in Vienna and then my first impressions living in this vibrant city. If you are interested, you can follow my Instagram (vienna_living) to catch a glimpse of my latest discoveries.

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Merry Christmas APJ 2016

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Portia

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Hey there APJ Fragrance Family,

I know heaps of you don’t celebrate Christmas, loads of you will be solo or in an unhappy grouping. Some will be fighting so hard to keep afloat that Christmas will pass us by. This time of year can be a freaking bitch. So much expectation, from outside and in, relentless media hype and you can’t go to a mall without being bombarded. For any of our readers that are in any of these boats my heart goes out to you.

My only advice to you is Do Something Special For Yourself. Make sure you take a moment to treat yourself, doesn’t have to cost money, could just be one minute alone in thew bathroom to spritz a fragrance and enjoy its top notes. Whatever, take a little moment for you.

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Merry Christmas APJ

What scent was I going to wear? Nuit de Noel by Caron. It was TOOO HOT for that so I chose Geranium Pour Monsieur by Malle. PERFECT!

What are we be doing?

Lunch with my BFFs family at our place. Here are some pics of the fun.

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Lunch was an informal buffet with loads of fabulous food and booze. We all just sat around and laughed and chatted. Those bloody jokes in the crackers were really funny this year, we were all groaning and laughing in unison, so silly but fun.

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Present opening time. We were all spoiled rotten and loved it. Really fun and thoughtful presents, very happy here.

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My surrogate Mum, Kath’s mum has become mine. We have a wonderful time and I love her so much. Isn’t she beautiful.

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This guy. He’s a really good egg. He also does the BEST pork and crackling, BLOODY DELICIOUS!!

How was your Christmas? Yes, if it was shit feel free to vent. We love that too.

Portia xxx

HOLIDAYS!! South Korea 2016: Photo Essay

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Post by Portia

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Hi there APJ,

It feels utterly sinful to be frolicking on holidays while the world implodes politically and in so many other ways. Still, here we are in South Korea with Jin’s family and friends.

Here are a few of the billions of photographs I’ve taken. Come see a slice of South Korea, its people and some fun things to do on a seven night getaway. Can I also tell you that South Korea is still incredibly affordable.

HOLIDAYS!! South Korea 2016: Photo Essay

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Pick up from Ulsan station. You can’t tell but Mummy & Pappa are thrilled to see us. It’s very late at night.

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Breakfast in Yangsan. You’ll notice the family has Pork Soup and I have a Croissant. I know, I’m a Philistine.

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Visiting Grandma who has Alzheimers. 4 generations of family, from two branches, sharing love and special moments. Grandma remembered Jin so he was over the moon. We had bought her a bunch of Japanese sweets and treats because she studied in Japan when she was a teenager (unheard of for a woman in that time).

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On our way to the mountains with Mummy & Pappa to see the autumn leaves. Sadly the leaves were not 100% co-operative because it’s been a really weird season. We did see some lovely colour and every new vista was so picturesque.

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We stayed in the faded grandeur of the Jirisan Spa Land. Though the decor was tired and the maintenance on the gardens and building had lapsed we could still see what it was designed to be. Beds and rooms were comfortable and spacious. The spa baths were clean and neat and the family loved their time in the waters which left our skin soft and lightly fragranced with minerals and salts.

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On our way home from BarBQ dinner in the village that night we saw some strange arguments and a boozy customer screaming. As we left the next morning the site was crawling with Police & CSI. Jin’s Dad got out and explained what we’d seen last night. We were all called into the Cop Shop for questioning and to give statements, also to identify the miscreant. It was super fun.

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While Mummy & Pappa were in with the cops Jin & I went exploring and found this wonderful shrine. The plaque below explains everything. Nice find in rural South Korea.

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The tip top of the highest mountain in South Korea you can drive to the top of. We wandered around, had some noodles and coffee. It was a great cheap family adventure. How handsome is Jin’s Dad?

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Back in Busan they are having a Chrysanthemum show. While all the usual types were there I had never seen them trained into the tortured Bonsai experience. They look freaking amazing and I am now inspired to try it at home.

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Jin thinks it looks like an ice-cream but I think it looks like a Butt Plug, making this photo extra creepy.

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Dinner with one of Jin’s childhood BFFs Kinam in the Westin Chosun, Busan. We have stayed in this hotel and I really love the way they keep the 5* dream alive. Dinner in the Camellia Restaurant is always gorgeous.

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Mummy & Pappa’s apartment block.

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While shopping we found these crazy ETRO paisley slippers. VERY Roja Dove!

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Hanging out playing Transformers with another of Jin’s BFFs, Jungyon, and her daughter. Loud screaming laughter ensued.

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So next day we are off to the famous Kijang Crab Market in Busan. Below is a Korean Crab that came as a GWP for the huge monster King Crab we bought for lunch.

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Yes, here it is. You can’t really see but the top of the shell was easily 3 of Jin’s hands. ENORMOUS! Mummy & Pappa had never had a King Crab before but their friends had talked of it for years after having the experience. I was completely unaware of this when I asked Jin to find out what the most delicious and meatiest crab they had. Not being a seafood eater my knowledge is pretty sparse.

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Here they both are cooked and cut, ready for eating. You have no idea how much meat there was. The three of them ate till they were absolutely disgustingly full, then they ate some more. There was still a third of the meat left which will make delicious seafood salad over the next two days. Mummy & Pappa now have bragging rights for the next decade.

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Then we went to the seaside Haedong Yonggungsa Buddhist temple. It’s about 100 steps down and on the way I managed to get a coin into the wishing pot, after many tries. We bought some candles to light and prayed for all of you, our friends, family and the world in general. I think in light of this weeks events that the world will need every ray of light.

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Tonight I put my foot down. Dinner at HOME with the family. So we trooped out to Mummy & Pappas little farm with Jin’s BFF Jungyon & daughter and we gorged on Korean BarBQ, drank Whiskey & Soju and generally had a fabulous time celebrating Mummy & Pappas 4oth Anniversary and our 5th Anniversary, which are spookily only 5 days apart. Jin & I had procured a bunch of Roman Candle fireworks and we had a fabulous display after dinner. The whole night was magical and fun.

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Back to Seoul tomorrow and then home.

Niki de Saint Phalle Niki de Saint Phalle FragranticaFragrantica

Been wearing Niki de Saint Phalle almost exclusively. It really seems to fit South Korea.

It’s been great. What’s your favourite family meal?
Portia xx