Portia’s Gift List 2019




Heya APJ,

This time of the year is a nightmare if you want to buy something lovely for friends. First and foremost being that our friends mostly already have everything they need. So for us to get them something special and important means either we have to spend a LOT of money, or we need to be a little savvy. As most of my closest don’t really understand my perfume mania it would be churlish of me to buy them something in that mode unless I’ve really thought it out. Here are some perfume and fragrant adjacent gifts that should get their eyes popping and not break the bank for you.

This is a list of things I’ll be gifting this year. Most of them are bought already, just awaiting packaging.

Portia’s Gift List 2019


While being fragrant, candles occupy the happy middle ground where they are decorative, functional and useable. You don’t need to store them because they sit out and get their burn on a couple of times a week to help freshen the air in our homes.

Cire Trudon

VERY spendy but really good if you need to impress or the person you’re buying for is impress oriented. I love their packaging and the fragrances always smell uber luxe. This year my choice of their Christmas scents is Hupo. Ambergris, Incense and creamy woods combine majestically. Libertine has these with FREE Australian Postage.

Gascoigne & King

The newest fragrance from Gascoigne & King is unbelievably beautiful. Mainly jasmine, and vanilla with the warm, feral addition of honey. G&K are a Sydney brand, created with love by hand in the home of my girlfriend Bronwyn Gascoigne. I buy a cartload of these every year because everyone who gets one comments how lavishly glamorous they make the house smell. Very reasonably priced and Gascoigne & King send to the world with a AUD$20 Flat Shipping Rate.

They also do the To Die For Rose Gold Candle Care Wicker and Snuffer, in case your friends already have candles galore. ^^


Confession time. I bought the new Glasshouse Carousel for MYSELF! Yes, I paid full retail and it is freaking gorgeous. When it’s lit in the dark of the evening the light creates fabulous patterns on the walls. It’s like a fairyland. I will run myself a midnight bubble bath, light the candle and turn the lights out. INSTANT fantasy land. Amusingly, when I told Ainslie Walker that I’d bought it she squealed, it is one of her releases for the brand! Double win.


That leads us beautifully to my favourite, Bubble Baths. Most of my mates aren’t deep into perfumes but all of them have to bathe. A simple, useful and well priced gift is always a shower gel. Excellent if you know their preference in perfumes because you can buy their attendant products but also cool if you don’t, open their minds to something new and wonderful.

Lyric Man Shower Gel by Amouage

Lyric Man has been Amouage’s best selling mens fragrance for years. It’s cool, masculine rose is beautiful and flies under the radar enough that it can be the perfect choice for the wealthy working man (or the one with a partner/friend/family with really good taste). The packaging alone makes this a gift of distinction with the added benefit of a 300ml pump pack. Guaranteed to last months, even with daily use.

Mon Guerlain Shower Gel by Guerlain

Mon Guerlain, the hit from Guerlain that has spawned a thousand flankers in its few short years. I like the simplicity of this packaging. Right now there are also wonderful Gift Packs that come with a shower gel and fragrance. I really like the less flamboyant scent they’ve used in this and it will work beautifully across the range, so no matter which Mon Guerlain is your intendeds fave this will be a perfect bath starter.

Cherry Blossom Shower Gel by L’Occitane

I was gifted this bottle for my birthday by some girlfriends. The bottle alone is a winner with its cherry blossom branch relief. The pretty cherry/cherry blossom fragrance is so much better than it needed to be. I’m surprised each time I use it how good the fragrance is. Also, though it looks pricey, it is really good value.

Basil Lemon by Korres

Want to kick start your day with a zingy refreshing fragrance, or are thinking of wearing some cologne or citrus scents for your day? This is a really good value choice and the big bottles always look impressive. 400ml will probably last till the next time you have to buy a gift for them. I like the no nonsense packaging too, perfect for the boys but not so butch that the girls will feel awkward.

Rose Jam Shower Gel by LUSH

Special Christmas time release and my favourite shower gel by LUSH, by far. Rose Jam is a scent I want to always have around. It is the perfect base coat to any rose-centric fragrance but isn’t so strong that it really interferes with anything you choose to wear fragrance wise over its remnants. Super good value and comes from 100m up to the huge 500ml. This is a great love of mine. Excellent gifting response too.

Other Great Stuff

Liberty & Co Colour Block Mug

Jin bought me one of these last year. It has been my most coveted coffee mug ever since. It’s perfect in every way. The feel, the colours, the size and the handle. PERFECT! So perfect in fact that I have bought it this year for others, so they can enjoy the luxuriousness of a Tiffany & Co cuppa.

Tea Towels

I know, right! So many of my friends really do have EVERYTHING! It’s impossible to get them anything they really want, let alone need. So wherever I go, be it Art Gallery, Holiday Destination, Event or Place of Note I grab a couple of Tea Towels. We all use them, most people have a couple of skanky old rags or even a set bought a few years ago at the local supermarket but rarely does anyone think much about them. So getting a pretty, interesting or luxurious one is nice. They are also good to use as safety wrapping inside put together gift boxes.


OK, so there are some thoughts. You’ve got nearly three weeks of shopping left for Christmas or whatever your ritual is at this time of year.

No matter what you do or don’t buy, who or what you do or don’t have, I wish you a safe season. Hoping it’s free of drama, pain and depression for you, and if any of those hits I hope your coping mechanisms get you through. Plan ahead, make sure you are not putting yourself or others in danger. Hugs from me, and the APJ crew.

Portia xxx

Our Journey to Adoption Part II




Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Vacation, dear APJ!

I hope everyone is enjoying a day off and having some relaxation at home. The holidays can be a stressful time of the year for many, including myself. I have vowed however to sit back and enjoy the day as it unfolds here in Rotterdam. We are together for the next two weeks and we will be enjoying quality family time and good food with festive cheer here and there.

Continue reading

Merry Christmas 2017





To all who are celebrating, and those who are not, APJ wishes you a safe and peaceful holiday season. Here are some healthy young lads to help you celebrate. If they’re not your cup of tea for sexy time elf play then they double as handymen and will get all the stuff that needs doing around your house done. Now isn’t THAT the best Christmas Wish anyone ever gave you?

Merry Christmas Australian Perfume Junkies

We are having a lovely warm day here in Sydney. Lunch with Kath’s sister & family and then a sneaky swim at her parents place. Jin worked Christmas Eve overnight so he is sound asleep till at least midday.

Fragrance wise I wanted something cool and calming, also something I had a small travel size to take with me for respritzes throughout the day. What better a choice than my lovely old standby Niki de Saint Phalle.

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Artemisia, mint, green notes, peach, bergamot
Middle: Carnation, patchouli, orris root, jasmine, ylang-ylang, cedar, rose
Base: Leather, sandalwood, amber, musk, oakmoss

FragranceNet has $22/14ml before coupon

So what did you wear for the festivities?
Portia x



Post by Portia


Heya LATE people,

There’s 7 days till Christmas and you are FREAKING OUT? Don’t. I’ve got you covered. Here is a selection of beautiful things that are guaranteed to keep your friends, family and loved ones smiling long after the big day. They are a look into what I have paid full retail for to gift my mates with this year.

Now these are mainly for Australia. Down the bottom I’ve put a few perfume ideas that you can buy at most Chemists (Drug Stores) or Department Stores for everyone around the world.

Late Quick Christmas Gifts



Cult Of Scent<< has just released the most fabulously glamorous candle ever. Jocelyn Fullerton is the creator and le Rêveur (the Dreamer) is inspired by a magical book by Erin Morgenstern and the dream of waking in a rose garden. Fabulous red glass lidded bottle of 500g (approx 15.5oz), hand made with vegetal wax and burntime least 80 hrs for AUD$65 before tax & shipping. Perfect for your glam, luxe and OTT buddies.
DISCOUNT CODE: APJ10 (Only 100 of these discounts available)
Last shopping day till 12pm (midday) Sydney time on Wednesday 21st December


Gascoigne & King Candles<< are created and produced by my mate Bronwyn Gascoigne who hand makes everything in her Surry Hills studio. My current favourite is Paddington with its notes of rose, marigold, fern. tulips & lily. It manages to fill the room with fresh clean air and the hint of a floral bouquet. These are the perfect gift for your super cool minimalist friends. At $55 for 400ml with around 75 hours of burntime, beautifully boxed and FREE SHIPPING in Australia.
Final Christmas orders by 4pm Tuesday 20th December Sydney time


Coast Candles Sydney<< who we recently showcased for their new fragrance range is an Aussie candle company. I bought a bunch of these because firstly they smell fabulous. For my preference Coast Candles are a little strong for the living room but perfect in the bathroom when you have guests to keep everything smelling fresh and new. We have Tahiti at AUD$38 for 440g with approximately 80 hours of burntime in the bathroom right now with its notes of vanilla, coconut and gardenia.
Women for Women International supports female survivors of war with tools and resources to move from crisis and poverty to stability and self sufficiency. Two dollars from the sale of each candle will benefit Women for Women International.
Last orders by 4pm Tuesday 20th December Sydney time for Christmas delivery


MudAustralia Candles<< were created in conjunction with APJs very own Ainslie Walker. There are two choices and my favourite is the tuberose, green ginger, tolu resin and spice stunner Mud01. The hand made porcelain vessels by MudAustralia are each individual pieces, shiny reflective on the inside and porous matte on the outside, with hand filled soy candles. 340g candle with refillable vessel and 80 hour burn time for only $85.
Final Christmas orders by 4pm Tuesday 20th December Sydney time


Peony Melbourne<< has a fabulous array of hair care, beauty, candles and soaps. There is the Santa Maria Novella beauty range from Florence Italy and the David Mallett Haircare from Paris. Cire Trudon candles and Royal Fern skincare. Anything in Jill’s shop that does not contain alcohol can be ordered by close of business 5pm Tuesday 20th December Sydney time for Christmas delivery



Libertine Parfumerie<< has all the fragrance in the world but it also has a spectacular selection of gentleman oriented gifts like the Penhaligon’s Shave Bowls & Soap, Creed Shower Gels and Deodorants. They even have Laduree Candles, you know the French brand that basically brought the Macaroon and Croissant back from the forgotten lands of yesterday?
Final Christmas orders by 4pm Tuesday 20th December Sydney time

Perfumes that have wide audiences: Le Parfum by Elie Saab for white floral. Stash by Sarah Jessica Parker is the newest good thing on a budget both dry and woodsy, CHANEL No 19 for the elegant, cool and aloof. Eau Parfumee au The Rouge by Bulgari for a zingy fruit tea. Super sweet almonds and cherries La Petite Robe Noire by Guerlain. For the ironic fashion follower any of the Elizabeth and James line by the Olsen twins, great packaging and excellent frags.
Manly men? Antaeus by CHANEL. Musc Nomade by Annick Goutal. Bentley for Men Intense by Bentley is hitting well above its price range. Dior Homme by Christian Dior is still among my perfect fragrances for the boys.

I hope these help for the last minute late buyers among you. Good Luck!!
Merry Christmas (or whatever you may be celebrating)
Portia xx

Three Kings and Christmas Season Fragrances


Post by TinaG



Christmas is a week and a bit away yet, but somehow feels like it’s tomorrow. To help us get into the holiday season I thought I’d take a look at some traditional Christmassy scents. Hard to choose just one sometimes! But let’s take a look.

Three Kings Fragrances

Let’s take a look at what fragrances the three kings may have worn to match their scents.


Gold: Larmes Du Désert – Atelier des Ors
The beautiful sun-rayed bottles with flakes of real gold make wonderful perfumed snow-globes. Pick it up & give it a shake, preferably while standing in sunlight. What do they smell like? I can’t remember, I was too mesmerised by the sparkles.


Frankincense: Oliban – Keiko Mecheri
Frankincense is sometimes referred to as olibanum/oliban , and the perfume of that name by Keiko Mecheri has a fabulous, photo-realistic frankincense note which smelt like it had been grabbed straight from the burning censer. I’m gonna be bold and put it out there as a must-sniff for this incense note. Portia has done a lovely Oliban review


Myrrh: Parfum d’Empire – Wazamba
Wazamba opens resinous and sticky, almost a honeyed amber with an interesting apple note. This settles to a straight-up dry myrrh throughout the dry down. Myrrh is an interesting resin to burn, it has a cool greyness about it. Wazamba manages to capture this incense wonderfully.

Christmas Season Fragrances

Christmas in the southern hemisphere is VERY different to that up north so some thought needs to go into what to wear on the big day.


Winter: Guerlain – Aqua Allegoria, Winter Delice
Winter Delice is a walk through a European mountain forest, fir and pine. It it well balanced and eminently wearable. It is unfortunately discontinued but bottles do pop up from time to time.


Summer: CB I Hate Perfume – At The Beach 1966
This is a day at the beach, suntan lotion, salt spray and warmth. I’ve only sniffed this from a friend’s sample but it left such a strong impression of summer’s past – a great frag to try for a flashback.

What fragrances are you grabbing as we head directly into the holiday season?

Till next time!
Tina G xx

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

Perfect Fragrant Gifts for Annoying People


Post by Azar


Happy Impending Holidays, APJ!

The holiday season is upon us and what better way to please the folks on Santa’s list than with perfumed and fragrant gifts. There are also those other, “special people” who deserve lumps of coal or bundles of sticks. Perhaps these stinkers might benefit from pleasant fragrances too!

Perfect Fragrant Gifts for Annoying People

Poo-Pourri Party Pooper – 2016


Our young friend “L” is a wonderful woman – in all ways but one. This lovely person has a very annoying and smelly habit. When visiting our home, “L” will inevitably unload in the bathroom, closest to where the action is. The fan and air fresheners have no effect. “L” usually emerges from the bathroom giggling, knowing full well that she has gassed the entire assemblage and polluted the party. I consider this “marking behavior” and have chided her often to no avail. So for “L” this year’s perfect fragrant gift will be:

Poo-Pourri Party Pooper Gift Set – Potty like a rock star and leave the toilet smelling better than you found it with a pure blend of mandarin, lily and tangerine natural essential oils.


Empire by Donald Trump – 2015

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Spicy mint, tea, orange blossom, apple, jasmine, amber, musk, tonka bean

The next gift recipient is politico, “G”, who would barge into the house, day or night, trying to convert us to his religion, telling us how to vote and advising us on health matters. We don’t see much of “G” anymore, but if he appears around the holidays I will be ready with a gift, one that I know he will appreciate – Empire by Donald Trump. I have not tried Empire but I’m sure that “G” will resonate with the name and the celebrity candidate behind it.


Star Trek Pon Farr – 2285

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Nectarine, white violet, orchid
Heart: Egyptian jasmine, mirabelle, vanilla
Base: Patchouli, musk, sandalwood

Finally, I’m sure you’ve met someone like the next special person on our list. “J”, a cougar who imagines she is still a sex kitten, is always on the prowl, showing up at parties looking “other-worldly” in micro minis and skimpy tops. Far be it from me to question anyone’s fashion sense or methods of sexual manipulation, but this girl really needs some help. My gift to her this year will be the Star Trek fragrance Pon Farr. Pon Farr is defined as “a neuro-chemical imbalance in Vulcans occurring every 7 years causing them to be extremely horny.” Pon Farr might actually help “J” by postponing her last hormonal gasp for 7 years, effectively by-passing menopause and temporarily clearing any predatory illusions from her mind.

Today’s give-away is a 5 ml decant of Pon Farr – only shipping to addresses on planet earth. To be eligible let us know how you follow APJ and tell us about a special person in your life who could use a fragrant gift this season?

Live Long and Prosper!

Azar xx



Post by Portia


Hey there Crew,

Whether you celebrate or not we hope the spirit of loving your neighbour and peace on earth will be with you at this time. Here are some helpful hints to get you through Christmas 2015.

  1. Congratulate yourself on surviving another year more or less intact.
  2. Nobody gets what they want as a present, smile and thank them for the thought. Straight to Goodwill on Monday.
  3. Remember in times of family stress over the Christmas period, God gave you legs to walk away from a disagreement.
  4. No ones home is perfect, yours is fine.
  5. Everyone is doing their best to cope and fit in, even though it doesn’t look like it.
  6. Unless someone has died everything else is dealable or fixable.
  7. If alone on Christmas, you have to make your own joy. Spritz or dab lavishly of your most exquisite fragrance.
  8. Nobody wants to do the dishes while in a food coma, clear the table of empty plates, scrape them and leave them neatly in the kitchen for later.
  9. Think of three things you can be grateful for. Say “Thank You” out loud for each one.
  10. Remember you are part of the APJ International Fragrance Family and we love you to bits. Thanks for being part of our fragrant lives.


What’s going on here in Sydney? We are having 3 generations of my BFFs family for lunch and a couple of our mates. Every family brings a meat, a salad and a dessert. Jin & I also supply the booze, drinks and bread rolls. It’s very relaxed, loads of fun and I feel so blessed to have them coming, that our home fits everyone and that we get to spoil them all. The day runs from around 11am through to 4pm and then slowly people move off to their next event, there will be some late stayers who will hang out for dinner and some serious couch surfing.

Chanel No 5 Eau de Cologne Chanel FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Aldehydes, bergamot, lemon, neroli, ylang-ylang
Heart: Jasmine, rose, lily of the valley, iris
Base: Vetiver, sandalwood, vanilla, amber, patchouli

What fragrance will I be wearing? This is not set in stone but my idea is to wear some vintage CHANEL No 5 EdC that I bought from the Linda Beth Ross estate and some vint-ish CHANEL No 5 parfum. It’s so easy to wear in the height of summer and that lovely fizzy, out of this world bouquet is timeless. I may change my mind but that’s the plan…. Last year CHANEL No 5 worked so well for Boxing Day I wore it the next day too.

What are you doing for Christmas? Whether there are one or 100 of you please let us know. What fragrance are you wearing?
Peace be with all of you.
Portia & the APJ Crew xxx

Beauty Is About Serenity: Part 1


Post by AF Beauty


As we head towards the festive season, or if you’re in the northern hemisphere, you’re probably over the festive period already – it’s easy to get caught up in the stresses and pressures of the season. There are expectations, promises, family and friends, presents and no presents (!) and inevitably, something’s been forgotten.

For these days, rather than frown and develop those fine lines, you need serenity! And I’m here to suggest that glorious smells are a good way to start you down this road. I have been testing a number of candles – less so in smell – because, as you sophisticated perfumistas will surely know – smell is so very much a personal thing, I’ve been considering the rest of the package, including, unsurprisingly, the packaging, the burn, the wick and the smokiness.

Beauty Is About Serenity: Part 1


Ecoya French Pear

The first candle I’ve used this season is from the Ecoya range. This is an Australian brand of soy wax candles – I’ve tried the jar in fragrance, Wild Frangipani. Typically, since I’ve tried this fragrance, they’ve discontinued it! But the range is wide as you can see at the Ecoya Website. The packaging on this candle is great, a very solid glass jar, comparable to this alternative fragrance, comforting in it’s heaviness. The candle burns well, evenly so you’re not left with half the candle up the sides and smokiness is minimal. The wick is reliable and strong and doesn’t burn off so you’re left with a stub, that’s just irritating. I regularly rebuy this range as it’s so reliable.

Voluspa Crane Flower Candle

The second candle I’ve tried is from the MOR Voluspa range. This is a range developed in California and, if you ask me, slightly oversells their product range by talking up the range being used by the Hollywood elite. To quote Shanian Twain, that don’t impress me much! However the candle isn’t bad. I have been testing fragrance Crane Flower in a large base candle with three wicks. This is an interesting smell in my opinion, but the thing I like most is that the candle burns incredibly evenly with no smokiness at all, which I really like. The container is beautiful, but metallic and I am worried about it causing a burn on the bookcase as it starts to reduce. Best of all it’s only $20 online at Voluspa.WoodWick ESCAPE™ Candle - Large Creekside Cabin


Lastly I’ve tried the Woodwick candle range by Virginia Candles, another US brand. The selling point of this candle is that the wick burns and crackles like a fire. This is particularly tempting during winter where the sounds of a wood fire would be endearing. But this candle is very disappointing. I was so keen that this would be lovely, that I’ve tried two different versions. Both let me down. The crackle *is* pleasant, but let’s face it, unless you’re sitting in absolute silence, it’s almost impossible to hear. Add to this, the wick itself sometimes burns too low and then is difficult to relight. But the worst thing about this candle is the smokiness, it’s far too much in my opinion. So much so that I had to burn this candle on the balcony as I was so worried about smoke damage to my walls! Currently on sale at Woolworths

Do you have a particular favourite candle range? Do you favour particular smells, or do you look for the way it burns? Or are you obsessed with smokiness, like me?!
AF Beauty