Individualistic Perfume Behaviour and Biking for a Burger


Val the Cookie Queen


Hello you gorgeous fragrant peepsie poohs,

Individualistic Perfume Behaviour

As I headed off to the hairdresser the other day, not a rare thing as I go every fourteen days, I grabbed a spritz for my wrists and jumped into the car. I never spray my neck as I don´t want the stylist to have to breathe in what they might not like. And to be honest a good haircut is a notch above my perfume habit. Years of perfecting my OCD I´ll be damned if I am just gonna let it go. Actually I take care a lot not to get up anyone´s nose. Dentists, meetings, doctors, stuff like that. I find myself thinking ahead before applying perfume to make sure the people in my day can handle it, or not. Probably another reason I love pure perfume and the sublime art of The Dab. Perhaps I should change my attitude and just Spray for England, whaddayareckon?

Biking for a Burger

There is this great place for burgers, unique Austrian burgers, about a 35km bike ride from here. Well, it would be a 35 km car ride too, but I don´t allow myself a burger unless I have ridden my bike to get. (70km round trip 🙂 ) Talking of OCDs ……… So we took off yesterday on the bikes for a late lunch.

When I was a ten year old I had mega bike crash, one that puts all my husband´s downhilling buddies to shame. I fell off as I was steaming down a hill, and actually have no idea to this day why exactly happened. I was found lying in the street with a couple of teeth next to me, with their roots attached. I had a fractured jaw, and a massive hole in my lip. One could say fairly traumatic. I didn´t look in a mirror for about nine months and spent the next eight years having work done on my teeth, some really weird shit I can tell you!! I didn´t step on a bike again until I was 26 years old, when my now husband
made me get on a bike when we lived in Amsterdam. I was terrified. But yeah, I got used to it and started to love it and even spent a year riding around the city at top speed on an old piece without brakes. Just using my feet. Ha! Can hardly imagine that now. Some sucker stole that bike outside of The Melkweg.
I hope they fell off.

Yesterday I fell off again. Forty seven years after my first fall. Hard to believe it took so long. Luckily Chris was there to take a pic for a later Instagram post before picking my bike up. I was riding so slowly it didn’t matter, although I got seriously nettled. Was glad I had a helmet on as I did knock my head. Teeth stayed in place.

Here’s a few pics.

The stone lion is a statue along the lake, in Traunkirchen. A local artist was commissioned by the Emperor Franz Josef. He cast several bronzes. When the Kaiser inspected it, he saw it had no tongue. He mentioned it to the artist who was so upset he later chucked himself into the lake and died. The Emperor felt so bad he vowed never to criticise someone who had done something for him again. The locals celebrate this event each year.

The coffee is a double espresso Affogato in our favourite place in Bad Ischl We have that after our burger. The mirror in the loo is in the same place. How totally cool is that, that you can fix your makeup whist on the bog? Talk about mirrors in the bathroom ….. lalalala.


Ride on.

Christmas in Vienna 2016: Photo Essay


Post by Sandra


Hiya APJ! I hope ya’ll are doing well and enjoying the holiday season.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a kid once a year when the holidays come around and that I love every moment. This year is a weird year as we are moving to the The Netherlands on 21 December and into the house on 23 December. Santa will definitely have to show up but how much decorating will get done depends largely on how many of the decorations I can find. My priority this year is to mark a box which will contain my son’s presents so that he at least can enjoy some of the magic.

Christmas in Vienna 2016





The holidays are an onslaught to my senses in Vienna and this year is no different. The streets are finally all decked out (they prepare for weeks) and lit, brightly lighting our way. It sure makes the darkness of winter seem more friendly and inviting. The Christmas markets are full of bright coloured ornaments, toys and knick knacks which bring grins to many children and panicked faces of their parents trying desperately to ensure that nothing breaks (picture my son reaching for one snowglobe in a stand with over 100 snowglobes). However pale I may be from fear of breaks, I still love seeing his face light up and his eyes twinkle with joy. There are stands selling hot mulled wine all over the city too. The kids can have warm spiced juice and enjoy the delicacies of roasted chestnuts and cookies. Magic is in the air but also the despair of so many who live on the streets. And with this despair I also see strangers performing random acts of kindness on an almost daily basis.






sandra-christmas-in-vienna-2016-10My son and his friend Maxi who were great sales assistants at the Christmas market today.

The holidays are a feast for my senses but especialy for my sense of smell. The caramelized almonds, roasted chestnuts, hot mulled wine, ornaments made with cloves, anise, cinnamon and dried fruits, incense in the cathedral and even the smell of pine needles all around are pure sensory overload. How do I find a perfume that wraps up all of these into a perfume that is even wearable? I have not found a perfume that suits the holidays yet, but I tend to reach for gourmands and vanilla or almond notes. So I tend to veer off on a tangent and think of what perfume would I like to receive for Christmas and I then go and have a sniff.

Chanel Misia Chanel FragranticaFragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Powdery notes, violet, iris, orris root, Turkish rose, Grasse rose, Laos benzoin, tonka bean

Well, needless to say I have found two that I would love to see under the tree – so let me dream please. How about Chanel Misia EdP and Chanel Beige EdP please – and if Santa is being more than generous I would love Chanel Boy too.

I did not read about the Chanel EdP releases because I wanted to form my own opinion and to be perfectly honest with you – I like several of them more in the EdP strength. Beige and Misia smelled pretty similar to the EdT but lasted quite a bit longer. 31 rue Cambon I am torn about – something is different but it does somehow resemble the EdT and yet it lasts. I wore both versions of Coromandel on the same day and even though the EdT has more incense I liked the EdP quite a bit.

What are your scents for the holidays – be it culinary, perfumed or floral? Do you have any perfumes on your wishlist?

Wishing you all a joyful, peaceful and safe holiday season.
Sandra xoxo

Vienna Take Two. Photo Essay 2014


So have taken you on our flight to Vienna through it’s stops and starts, shown you Michael eating a schnitzel bigger than his head and now we are up to the meeting up with mates section We sampled fragrances, ate, drank, laughed and Michael shopped up a whole new wardrobe because he’s 6 foot 4 inches and whippet thin so Austria is the first place he’s been where they cut for his shape.

Birgit, Sandra (both of Olfactoria’s Travels), Michael and Sandra’s sweet and hilarious son Sean made our stay so fun and we saw Vienna the city to live in as well as the tourist city. I was so happy to have dinner with Birgit’s gorgeous husband again, he is sharp, handsome and funny and I am completely smitten.

You may wonder why there’s a dirty great ginger cat but Sandra took us to a Cat Cafe, where people who can’t have pets of their own can spend some time with a bunch of glorious cats. This was my favourite and reminded me a little of Undina from Undina’s Looking Glass cat Rusty, except this one would NOT pose.

Again we stayed in the Hotel Royal on the Stefansplatz, a very comfortable and affordable option in the heart of Vienna that serves an excellent breakfast. These are my three criteria for accommodation: Comfortable, Affordable, Excellent breakfast. Also add to that: Near the station.

Here are a few pics, enjoy a glimpse of Vienna, Austria with us.
Portia xxx

Hoffburg Vienna

Hoffburg Stairs

Church Vienna

Model of Church Vienna

Salzburg #2

Belvedere Gardens Vienna

St Stephan's Vienna

Salzburg #1

Sandra Michael Vienna

Cat store 2

Sandra, Michael, Portia Cat Store

Birgit M & P Vienna

Birgit & Michael

Michael OT & Portia Vienna

Wien Museum

Sacher Torte

Le parfum Vienna

Sydney Australia to Vienna Austria 2014 Photo Essay

Hello lovely APJ Peeps,

Currently I am sitting in the Hotel Royal off Stephanplatz (The Plaza of the St. Stephen’s Cathedral) in the heart of shopping town Vienna, Austria. My traveling buddy and APJ contributor, Michael, is on his first ever trip to Europe and we are both super excited, he to see and me to re-see and bump into a bunch of frag buddies. The journey here has been so amazingly extraordinary I thought I’d share a photo essay of it.

Due to a mate of ours being able to procure us the most ridiculously cheap airfares ever we traveled most of the way to Vienna in First Class. Until now I never dreamed such a thing could happen. I am usually an economy passenger except for a time when a partner of mine worked for British Airways and I was sometimes upgraded to business because they’d oversold the plane. I though THAT was luxurious……

Here are a few pics of the journey so far. We have had a great day with Birgit & Sandra from Olfactoria’s Travels but were so busy enjoying their company that there are no photos. There will be photos of some of the other stuff soon. Sadly I left my phone on a train, all will be fine though and life will be cool.
Portia xx
















Holiday Photo Essay Vienna, Austria and Budapest, Hungary

Hey Hey APJ Family and Friends,

As you saw from our shopping lists we have hit the frag shops hard this week with Birgit and Sandra in Vienna but we didn’t get many good shots from the day, sorry. I did pop into the Knize flagship store in Vienna to grab a bottle of the limited edition Knize Ten Gold. They were sold out so I had to content myself with a deodorant stick till I get to Paris. Annoying because I didn’t get it in Prague when I saw it hoping to buy at the original home, GRRR!
I’m not sure if I bragged about this but Neela Vermeire and her gorgeous husband Tony happened to be in Vienna and we all went for a super great dinner filled with loads of laughs and great food. They are such good people and Neela’s beauty is especially apparent in her fragrances. From the little I’ve seen she is as filled with magic as her frags. Great night!!

Budapest is awash with fabulous niche perfumeries. A city that fills during working hours to four million people has two incredible niche frag shops, Neroli and Parfums Croissette, that we’ve been to and Madisson that we hope to see tomorrow. I’ve also added some great shots that we’ve taken that are not frag related. All taken in lovely Budapest. The dinner shot is our new buddy Ibrahim who helped us at the post office and then became our leader and guide on our last night here. I’ve just taken the one of us in bed because we are off to sleepy byes, goodnight from us.

Off to Venice tomorrow afternoon.
Love and kisses,
Jin and Portia xx















Shopping in Vienna, Austria and Budapest, Hungary


Hey from HOLIDAYS!
We are making our crazy way across the continent of Europe. It’s two glorious weeks in and we’ve seen five countries so far!! WOW!


Early last week Jin and I were lucky enough to be invited on a breakfast and perfume shopping spree with the gorgeous Birgit from Olfactoria’s Travels and her friend and fellow perfumista Sandra who has traveled the world and landed in Vienna. The girls are both gorgeous, friendly, fun and totally up to date in perfume. It was like hanging out with a couple of encyclopedias, and they have sniffed EVERYTHING!! Seriously.

We started at the Central Cafe in Vienna which is as beautiful as a cathedral and the food was SCRUMMY, that means good. The girls has tea, we had bacon and eggs. Yummy.

Then to Le Dix-Neuf, Vienna’s newest niche store, where I tried quite a few new frags from a host of lines currently near impossible to get in Sydney. It was bliss, the SA was really knowledgeable and helpful but it was Birgit who led my nose to NUDA, the recently discontinued jasmine bomb from Nosamatto and VolkaMaria by WeinerBlut (Blood of Vienna) that I can’t wait to wear at home, just to tell people the name.

We went to loads of other places, Le Parfum, Pure Day Spa where I bought the Frederic Malle mini trio of Carnal Flower, En Passant and Lys Mediterranee.
We were absolutely captivated by Duft & Kultur where they had an enormous Niche selection including A Quiet Morning by Miller & Bartaux, Jin adored it and I can see him getting a bottle soon.

There was more, including Hermes, Robert Horn’s Ledermanufaktur and others but no buys just looking. Birgit and Sandra had busy days ahead so the peeled off and we went home EXHAUSTED, even though it was barely lunchtime. Thank you Vienna, thank you ladies.


Only a three hour train trip and we are in the heart of Budapest!
There are two famous niche perfumeries here.

The first, Neroli, is next street along from the Mecure Hotel and the lovely Ursula is helpful and fabulously knowledgable. I was lucky enought to bump into the owner, Aron, while there too and have a quick chat. He is sexy and cool, left a life of journalism to run a niche perfume shop seven years ago and has a fabulous selection including the Naomi Goodsirs. Ursula gave me some wonderful Montale samples and they ship to the world for only 10 euro!!

Croisette is the second, owned by Zsolt like the G in George-olt. Zsolt is a perfumer and was so bright and bubbly Jin and I both fell in love. He is all about creating gorgeous and interesting scents but bespoke. They also have a wonderfully curated range.

I haven’t made my niche purchases with them yet but there is an incredible sell out store just opened in the Shopping Passage and we scored some INCREDIBLE bargains including L’Instant, Samsara and Homme body washes by Guerlain, a Lolita Lempicke Au Masculine after shave balm and am Aromatics Elixer for about 5 Australian Dollars each! Quite a fabulous score and I do love a posh body wash.

We are doing the laundry today and finalizing Niche Purchases so there will be more to photograph next Saturday. We are loving Budapest, it is an architecture lovers dream, the people are friendly, it is inexpensive to eat even in the best restaurants two courses and drinks is coming to less than 100 Aussie dollars. We are doing loads of sightseeing and walking.

This post was much better in the first two drafts that the iPad deleted because I forgot to save after every paragraph. Thanks for putting up with my long post if you’ve made it thus far.

Loads of love Portia xxx