Portia’s Gift List 2019

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Portia

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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

Candles

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. ^^

Glasshouse

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.

Bathtime

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

Bruma + Mortel by Maison Trudon 2017

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Sandra

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Hello dear APJ readers. How are you all doing?

Life is quiet here at the moment. Loving the routine and no added stress this week. As I sit and write this post, the sun is shining and the sky is a brilliant blue. The trees and bushes are starting to bud and as I walk around doing all of my errands each day, I stop and smell flowers along the way. Not much is out yet, but give it a couple of weeks and it will be gorgeous. Continue reading

Winter 2018 Agence de Parfum Launch

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Portia

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Hi there Fumies,

Wednesday saw the Libertine crew and Agency de Parfum hosting their annual Winter shindig to launch the newest scented stuff to be available at Australian retailers. I chose the morning session because my day was cook a block with catch ups and meetings. Luckily Ainslie Walker was also there and we got to chatter and sniff together for an hour. Some interesting new launches to get up to speed with.

Continue reading

Ambient Scent Wishlist for Santa

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Sandra

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Hello dear APJ! How are you all doing?

The holidays are a around the corner and thankfully I am done with the shopping and just have to finish wrapping everything. We are having my parents over for Christmas this year and it will be special as my eight year old has not spent Christmas with his grandparents since he was six months old.

While I was telling my husband what I had bought for our son, he exclaimed that I am the most difficult person to buy a gift for! Seriously???!!! Me -difficult to shop for??!!! If he would listen to what I have been whispering to him (not so much whispering as it is me telling him what I wish for)… He was in Tokyo for a week and went looking but came back empty handed because he could not find it despite the fact that he had Japanese colleagues helping. He is off to Rome this week so fingers crossed… In all honesty I would love a new set of sheets and new bath towels but he says that he refuses to buy household items for Christmas – I understand his problem. So if I am honest with myself, perhaps I am a tad challenging to shop for.

The one luxury item that I am loving this year is ambient scents. So, while I am not holding my breath on receiving something scented for Christmas, I would love to share with you what has had me intrigued over the past six months.

Ambient Scent Wishlist for Santa

While buying the roses for the perfume talk at the school, I spotted a brand which was completely new to me. L’Objet. The florist carries the bath salts, bars of soap and room sprays. I started out smelling all of the bath salts and loved each one of them and would have bought one on the spot if I had not seen the room sprays.

Rose Noire Room Spray L'ObjetL’Objet

The black bottle is heavy and has a white label with the name of the scent and two reliefs on either side of the name. Very modern and elegant. The one that came home with me is called Rose Noire which is all about the exquisite rose and tea with some added spices for good measure. I spray the room, the upholstery and sit back and dream of walking through a garden of rare fragrant roses. Divine. I will certainly be trying out the two other room sprays in the collection.

Flora Di Fornasetti Room Spray MeccaMecca

Another brand that I have always loved is Fornasetti. Their incense sticks are subtle and leave the room scented for hours. This summer I splurged on the Fornasetti room spray Flora which leaves a scented trail of a white floral bouquet which I find stunning on a warm day. It of course helps that it comes in a gorgeous ceramic holder with a lid and looks like a piece of art.

Cire Trudon Becker MintyBecker Minty

Cire Trudon is another brand that I started exploring this summer. I am eyeing one of their Christmas candles with the festive scents and colours of the ceramic holders.

There is a whole new world out there with home fragrances that I have yet to tap into. If I cannot have flowers every week, why not a room spray or a candle that brings a smile to my face.

Do you like to scent your home? Do you use candles, incense or room sprays? Any suggestions for me? I would love to hear what you have to say.

Be safe over the holidays.
Oodles of fragrant kisses, Sandra

Scent Diary: 25.9 – 1.10.2017

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Portia

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Hi there APJ Crew,

It has been a week of complete opposites. The pro and con advocates for Equality are getting meaner and the whole event has turned into a slow bone crushing depression releaser. Currently I’m appalled at a large section of both sides of the argument and I hold our elected government officials personally responsible for the whole rotten mess. To be constantly equated with predators, rapists, pedophiles and beastialitists by the church, Radio & TV chat guests, politicians and people in the street is becoming unbearable. That’s the worst of it but seriously, to have a nation debate whether Jin and my 6 year relationship is as valid as theirs is galling, to say the very least.

Why aren’t I equal?

On the flip side there has been loads of fun, friendship, fragrance and food. Jin has been the Rock of Gibraltar, standing strong, cool and silent against the onslaught and a perfect companion through birthday and illness.

Scent Diary: 25.9 – 1.10.2017

Monday 25:

SICK!! I am hideous. Coughing, runny nose, sweating, AWFUL. Cancelled my Birthday Party. Too sick.

Did get some beautiful postcards though.

Bath in Guerlain Shalimar and wore DSH Perfumes Ma Folie de Noel

Jin and I had dinner and opened some presents. It was quiet, chill and sweet.

Wrote Trivia Q&A

Tuesday 26:

Woke up and walked the dogs with Jin.

Met Scott at the coffee shop and then we office worked.

Wore OODLES of Penhaligon’s Savoy Steam. It is the weirdest smelling stuff but utterly addictive.

I thought it was going to be a triumphant return to work in drag but I’m still coughing and sneezing too much. Two Cold & Flu tablets and I’ll be able to go host as a guy. I’m a bit sad because there are new coats to wear.

It was a really fun night. I love my Tuesday crew.

Tonight someone I’ve loved for years reached out. We have been friends and he stayed with me for a while, then we lost touch except for sporadic cyber communication. It was really nice to have a messenger conversation.

Wednesday 27:

It’s early morning and I can’t sleep. Just watched the Kathleen Hanna story on TV. WOW! She is amazing. So many levels, what a brain. Totally inspiring human being.

Woke up and walked the dogs in a lovely cloudy morning. The air was crisp and smelled like greenery, almost no traffic on the roads and so peaceful.

Spent a second day in Penhaligon’s Savoy Steam. 

Today was a total write off. I dozed and dallied. Tried to focus on work but was crap at everything so I threw in the towel until about 10pm when my cold and mind started to unthaw.

I did see this picture on my friend Haans V Siver FaceBook page. I love the soft, pastel beauty of the sky, skyscrapers and sea juxtaposed with the hard lines and darkness of the Steve Irwin and other watercraft. For me it looks like some of those huge surreal prints that used to be in living rooms.

Steve Irwin by Haans V Siver Sept 2017

Thursday 28:

Morning. My head is fuzzy.

The walk was really good with the dogs. It cleared my head a bit walking through the cool, breezy, cloudy morning with the boys. Birds are chirping everywhere and as you walk through the suburb all the smells of spring flowers catch me by surprise. Beautiful.

Jin is working nights this week so I get to spend some day time with him, which is really nice.

Trouble by Boucheron bubble bath and fragrance. YUM!

At the end of Turbo trivia tonight I got a selfie with my fave barman Aaron. What a honey.

Friday 29:

Jin has today off so we visited the banks. Just making bookings for next week to refinance his mortgage. I quite like visiting them now that I know a little bit about how they work.

Afternoon met Rasei Fort of Fort & Manly at Becker Minty in Kings X. Have you ever been there? What a collection of fabulous homewares and fragrance. I may have had a sneaky spritz of the new Trudon scent by Cire Trudon. WHOA! Super green. YUM!

Then we trotted across to Redfern and met the ever glam Kerri who is on her first day of holidays. We sniffed some stuff and chattered while I had lunch and they had coffees. It was really nice.

Jin came and met us as lunch was breaking up and we went and got him a beer at the local pub. Then we went to the cinemas to see Kinsmen II (Freaking hilarious, laughed all the way through) and afterwards dinner.

Saturday 30:

At around 3am the dogs were alarmed by a possum and caused a huge ruckus. That was the end of sleep for me. I jumped up, grabbed a drink and hit the computer. Feeling like I can get a couple hours more sleep now at 6am I’m off to bed till dog feeding time at 9am.

Vintage Guerlain Mitsouko EdT & Parfum today.

Lunch at our fave Korean BarBQ with Alice, Kath & Tina. It was really fun and good to be hanging out together. Food was excellent, as always, though they were out of their sensational mash potato.

I put both photos in because TinaG looks so cute in the first and Alice & Kath look really lovely in the second. Not one shot had all of them looking so good.

Jin and I visited one of his exes who has become my buddy too. Paul lives around the corner and we popped in for tea and cake quite late this afternoon. He has been struck down with a similar cold to mine except it had him down for the count for three weeks, he’s still coughing 100 times worse than I am.

Tonight we popped down to the local supermarket and I grabbed some ham and cheese and then we came home and I made waffle sandwiches. YUMMO!

For bed I spritzed Hermès Muguet Porcelaine. Lily of the Valley seemed to be what I craved and the Hermès was a perfect, slightly melonish choice. Pretty.

Sunday 1:

Woke up this morning feeling like a bus hit me so I went back to bed and slept till 11am. Now I feel so much better.

Hung around the house. Wearing Miller et Bertaux A Quiet Morning.

For work I wanted something bright and summery with a deeper base than most of those frags. I choose Neela Vermeire Creations Rahele. Citrus & osmathus up top, leather down the back and much much more.

 

So, how about your week? What happened to you or your crew? Tell us stories, we love to read them.
Portia xx

Cire Trudon Candles!!! For you, for giving, for Christmas!

Guest Post by Jordan River.

On ya APJ,

Scented Candles; let’s talk about them.

Cire Trudon Candles

They do two things. The warmth of a room will release scent from the wax without lighting the candle. This is a beautiful item to have near an armchair. Some people cover their candles with a bell-jar (aka glass cloche / dome) as you often see in retail establishments. This holds all the released scent inside the glass. When you pick up the bell-jar a scent cloud is delivered into your room. I prefer no bell-jar as then the scent has a way of surprising you throughout the day and night.

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Lighting the candle will scent a whole room and even a home.

A scented candle must be burnt until the whole surface is liquid to ensure that tunneling does not occur. This can take up to 2 hours before you have a scented room.

Trim that wick before reigniting. This step is important to ensure a clean burn. A long wick will spit soot into your expensive wax and add a slight charred smell. A long wick will also make black smoke appear which is not good for your ceiling. A specially designed wick cutter rather than scissors is your friend here. They cost around $12 to $25. There is no need to leave the candle burning when visitors arrive, unless you want to of course.

You may have noticed that every woman and her cat has a scented candle for sale at various price points and often with disappointing results. The top of the range is Cire Trudon who have been candle-making since the days of le Roi Soleil back in 1643 when Claude Trudon arrived in Paris and became the owner of a store in Rue Saint-Honoré.

Louis XIV, Le Roi Soleil

Louis XIV, Le Roi Soleil
Versace / Rosenthal
Private Collection: Jordan River

His son Jacques entered the court of Versailles in 1687, as apothecary distiller to Marie-Thérèse, wife of the King.

Image via Cire Trudon

Candle making image via Cire Trudon

By the 18th century, in 1737, the next Trudon descendant Hierosme had purchased the most famous wax factories of the era from the official wax provider to King Louis XV. Trudon grew and began supplying the French court and the most important churches. The Trudon company supplied Versailles until the very end of the monarchy.

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The standard Cire Trudon candle size of 270 grams is around $US95 ~ $US120.

While the price point is high, the scented value is completely worth it as long as you are spending within your ability to maintain solvency or even better within your ability to have savings. I like Portia’s advice for Perfumistasset a monthly budget and stick to it.

The trick is to burn these in two-hourly lots to achieve around 55 to 65 hours of scent. The variance between 55 to 65 hours is wind speed; a breeze in your room will make the candle burn faster. Cire Trudon candles are all made in France and reside in hand blown glass vessels. The wax is 100% vegetable-based, the wick is pure cotton; both are biodegradable, allergen free and contain no pesticides.

Let’s have a look at some of the range. Not all of these are necessarily traditional Christmas scents as I know some people have their own holiday and / or family celebrations.

Bethléem
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Bethléem, pictured above with the theme and notes, is the latest seasonal candle from Cire Trudon. You may need to zoom in to read the calligraphy.

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Photo: Jordan River

Nazareth.
My favourite is still Nazareth which despite repeated rumors of discontinuation is now is it’s fifth year.

This is a scent I discovered in 2011 at a perfume masterclass in December. It stayed on my mind. Not realizing it was a seasonal release I couldn’t buy it in March 2012 when it was still blowing through the scentmills of my mind.

In November 2012 I was an hour early for a meeting and wandered into World when they were unpacking their annual supply of this scent. Not one to think twice about analyzing serendipity I knew I was in the right place at the right time.

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This Christmas candle, Nazareth, wafts a whisper of frankincense and billows of cinnamon, orange, and clove from a ruby red holder. Bees and other pollinators receive protection from this candle as a percentage of sales goes to Terre d’Abeilles.

Of course there is a lot of fun to be had by going to a shop and experiencing the range of scented candles for yourself.

Down Under Stockists
Australia
Melbourne – Peony Haute Parfumerie
107 Auburn Road
Hawthorn
Melbourne
+61 (0)3 9882 0662

Sydney – Becker Minty
Shop 7, Ikon Building
Potts Point
Sydney
+61 (0)2 8356 9999

Mérida $AUD115
Bartolomé $AUD105
Bethléem $AUD125
Nazareth $AUD115
Melchior $AUD125

New ZealandWord Beauty
World Store Locator – Auckland Wellington Christchurch
Mérida $NZ139
Bartolomé $NZ139
Bethléem $NZ159
Nazareth $NZ159
Melchior $NZ159

Cire Trudon
Tips for burning scented candles
Stockists
e-shop

Further Reading
Notable Scents – Nazareth
Bois de Jasmin – Mérida
Arquiste – Auckland Action – photo story