Portia's Christmas Giving Guide 2014

Hey there gang,

Yes, 2 weeks till Christmas! Crazy how it comes up so quickly. I have been thinking long and hard about things I would like to gift my friends and family with, some are fragrant, some not.

Portia’s Christmas Giving Guide 2014


What candles do I burn in my house? These are the ones I burn and the ones I gift. A candle is an excellent gift because it lasts for ages, they are lovely and for people who already have everything they need a candle is something they may not think to buy themselves. I like to have my bath with candlelight whenever possible, so glamorous.

MudAustralia Candle Ainslie Walker #3

MudAustralia Candle #1: Ainslie Walker: Our very own Ainslie Walker designed and produced these gorgeous candles for MudAustralia. They have a beautiful scent with a white floral/woody tone that clears out all the bad juju in my house/apartment in about 30 minutes. The porcelain container can be re-purposed as a vase or glass and you can buy candle refills too. This lush and creamy candle fragrance gives me a rich satisfying fragrance in the whole apartment and comes in a super great range of colours too. Everyone that I have gifted one of these to has fallen instantly in love with it.


Diptyque 34 Boulevard Saint Germain Candle: Mecca Australia: When I need something calming and soothing in the air that won’t overwhelm but will allow me to really centre myself then I choose the 34 Boulevard Saint Germain Candle by Diptyque. This is what I used to scent my house while it was for sale and one of the things that ALL the prospective buyers said was that the house smelled beautiful. I have had this candle for over a year and use it often, there is still about a quarter left, that is serious lasting power.

34 Blvd St. Germain celebrates the brands 50th anniversary since their original boutique opened in Paris. Green notes, moss, blackcurrant, fig leaves, exotic spices, fresh flowers, woods


Yes, most of you know I have a ridiculous collection of soaps too. Here are two that I use regularly and a new brand I discovered in the USA recently at Twisted Lily.


Rancé Acqua di Colonia Soap: Rancé Soaps: Billed as Made Originally for Catherine di Medici, that may even be true. What really matters though is how freaking LAVISH you will feel when you use Rancé Acqua di Colonia Soap. Super creamy and scented with mainly citruses, white flowers and spices. If ever you need to feel like the king or queen of your world then this is the soap that will send you on your way.

Tabac Original Soap by Maurer & Wirtz

Tabac Original Soap by Maurer & Wirtz: All Beauty: Yes, I bang on about this one quite a bit. I love it. Gorgeous scent, lathers beautifully, leaves my skin feeling soft and clean. Anyone who has touched my skin can tell you that soap has not ruined it over the years (nor has all the other stuff I’ve done to my poor self), it’s as soft and supple as it was in my teens, just stretched a bit tighter. Did I mention Cheap As Chips? Unbelievably good value.

Sandalo-SoapNEW!!! Sandalo Soap by Ortigia: Twisted Lily: I have not used this yet but the packaging is exquisite, so glamorous with its heavy silver card and picture of a Rajasthani elephant. The whole presentation is luxurious and the Italian form Ortigia is also very reasonably priced. 4 x 100g bars of glycerine soap that smell heavenly.

From Twisted Lily: The essential oil of this exotic tree with narcissus, cedar, teak, vetiver, rose and jasmine. Rich, complex and sophisticated. Bars of pure vegetable glycerine; wonderfully translucent, naturally coloured, and generously fragranced with the cool and spicy Sandalo perfume


The Perfume Lover by Denyse Beaulieu is one of my all time favourite fragrance books. Filled with fragrance, romance, insider perfumer information and a wonderful stary of a woman finding herself, and some company along the way. Great read. I have read it twice now.

The Perfume Lover Denyse Beaulieu BookDepositoryBuy The Perfume Lover from Book Depository in paperback for around AUD$16 delivered to your door.

The Perfect Scent by Chandler Burr is the story of two fragrances from opposite ends of the spectrum. Sarah Jessica Parker’s Lovely and Hermès Un Jardin sur le Nil come to life as you read the book. It’s an eye opening insiders fast track and a really great read. I started rereading this on my holiday but there was no time, I will complete it this week.

The Perfect Scent Chandler Burr BookDepository
Buy The Perfect Scent from Book Depository in paperback for around AUD$20 delivered to your door.

Revelation!: Reveal Your Destiny With Essential Oils by Suzanne R Banks is a really interesting look at creating a new life for yourself with Essential Oils. Aroma-Life-Therapy that gets you to become more mindful and present in your own space through scent, personal and ambient. It’s all about the naturals and very natural specific, shunning chemicals and synthetics, to use the energy of the plants and nature to help propel you to a higher level. Our very own APJ contributor Suzanne R Banks is a published author!! COOL!

Revelation Reveal Your Destiny With Essential Oils Suzanne R Banks Amazon
Buy Revelation! Reveal Your Destiny With Essential Oils from Amazon for $3.30 on Kindle, also available as a book $11

Oh, My God, Am I Alright? by Michael El-Bacha is the ‘coming out’ story of a young confused man growing up in the Western Suburbs of Sydney to strict Lebanese Christian parents. From the outside looking in, Michael El-Bacha seemed like any other Lebanese boy from a large family with strong values and an appetite for football, fast cars and chicky babes. But after his parents notice that Michael is not like other ‘typical’ Lebanese boys, he is whisked off to Lebanon to marry his first cousin. Young Michael struggles to deny his true sexuality and leaves his young bride and infant child to find his identity. He embarks on a downward spiral until losing a lover leads him back home. Sex, drugs, homosexuality and love potions are what make this tale of self-discovery so tantalising. Michael’s story will make you laugh, cringe and cry.

Oh, My God, Am I Alright? by Michael El-Bacha Bookshop Darlinghurst

Do you know any kids/adults on the cusp? Maybe they need a story like this to ease the heartache of coming out? Extra plus? I have a whole chapter! Michael was my friend when much of this was happening for him.

Buy Oh, My God, Am I Alright? from The Bookshop Darlinghurst AUD$20

Hopefully this has helped you in your Christmas Shopping in 2014.
Portia xx

PS> Just so you know, I love these products because they are really good. Yes, I am affiliated with some of the people who have produced these lovely gifts. They are my friends and I am justifiably proud of their efforts, no one is paying me to write about them. Fingers crossed they are thrilled I wrote about them and that some of you go buy their shit.

17 thoughts on “Portia's Christmas Giving Guide 2014

  1. A lovely selection of gifts. I often give candles as gifts (though not to people with cats—I’ve learned they’re always afraid the cats will knock over a burning candle, to disastrous results). And I’m giving those Ortigia Sandalo soaps to someone I love very much. The color got me as much as the fragrance. I


    • I think I’m keeping the Sandalo for myself but I grabbed another pack by the house that will be under a Christmas tree.
      What a fun day it was buying them at Twisted Lily Francesca. I thought them quite reasonably priced too.
      Portia xx


    • Yes, this is the ever present Christmas conundrum, isn’t it. Wrap it or keep it?
      Totally get the soap Ho thing, I have quite a collection.
      Portia xx


  2. Portia, thank you for being a part of my journey. Thank you for being my Ultimate Drag Queen. This means the world to me, and thak you again from the hearts darling you xx
    P.S Get ready for the movie adaptation of my story…Woot Woot!
    Love & Light,
    Michael xx


  3. Ortighia soaps sound great, now I’m thinking about getting them for myself… Why is it that most of my friends don’t like using soaps?
    I love The Perfume Lover, I’ve read it twice as well.
    Christmas is really near, isn’t it? I still haven’t finished my Christmas shopping yet!


  4. ok, i am going to try very hard to ignore Lebanese men on the list… why do we have o buy the book? aren’t there ACTUAL Lebanese men we can have for the holidays? 😉

    seeing all that bar soap… i don’t know if it’s a PHOBIA, but i get a bit disturbed by bar soap that sits in water and gets that film on it… i digress.

    lovely collection- Denyse’s book always catches my eye… good reading here, especially for people like me who are not into fiction so much.

    now excuse me, i have shit to buy. *laugh*



  5. This is a GREAT list! I’ve been in love with Rance soaps for 30yrs – but it wasn’t for the scent(s) – I just adored the designs! So luxe and lush.

    How wonderful that your friend Michael was able to ‘achieve’ his true self. A lot of my friends went through similar experiences – it was harrowing for so many of them but all prevailed! So happy to know Michael did, too!



  6. Oh The Perfume Lover is such an enchanting book. Denyse can really write. I have read my copy three times and every time I pick up on something new. That would make a marvellous present for a fumie,


  7. Chuckle!! An alert from Amazon for additional 25% off any book, on top of this post :-), and Suzanne Banks, Roja Dove`s, and Karen Gilbert`s scent books are on the way! 🙂 This is the only scent-related purchase my 84 year old folks won`t give me a lot of grief over ( in spite of the fact that yt is debt-free, period 🙂 – no room to talk, right? lol!!) Rance is a life-long need to dive into 🙂 I can`t burn candles due to sensitivity, but I BUY and enjoy the milder scent of them unlit 🙂 (Crabtree and Evelyn) Thank you for such fun and thoughtful blogging!


  8. Hi Portia,

    Cool list. I read the Perfume Lover last year and thought it was an incredible book (and story) and she is such a good writer. I think it’s high time I read it again as I’d probably get more out of it now too. The Suzanne Banks book sounds excellent as well so I’ll look into that. Present for myself!


  9. Pingback: MudAustralia Candles: Re-Priced in time for Christmas 2015!! « AustralianPerfumeJunkies

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