Pica = Digressional Food Cravings


Kate Apted


Welcome APJ family to the end of February. Already!

This post is about a strange phenomenon generally associated with pregnancy. It is called pica and refers to a desire to eat, or drink, things that are not traditonal food items. I think, in my case, it is tied to my nutritional deficiencies.


Three beautiful and well loved scents that give me pica symptoms. Blue Lotus, Jardins de Bagatelle and Mon Guerlain.

Pica = Digressional Food Cravings

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Scent Diary: 30.1 – 5.2.17: Sample Week




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:



Scent Diary 23 – 29.1.17




Hey Crew,

Welcome to week two of Scent Diary. Really it’s a meandering wander with me through my life with scented asides. Hopefully you like this shit, sorry ’bout it if you don’t.

This week has been fun and mildly hectic. Come along for the ride.

Scent Diary 23 – 29.1.17

Monday 23:

Jin was on night shift last night and when he got home this morning, unusually, he woke me up and I couldn’t get back to sleep so I bumped out of bed and started getting stuff organised. One spritz of Cacharel Liberté to give me a zingy citrus wake up. Very nice.

In the mail today were a bunch of Neela Vermeire Creations 15ml Take Twos. Trayee, Mohur and Ashoka came to be shared. I love the idea of having 15ml travel bottles and my ones will be coming on the South Pacific Cruise next week. Best thing about the Take Twos is that I can buy one for me and one to share. Luckily I have a mate in Europe who can send my stuff across (Thanks V!) but they are available from LuckyScent who ship worldwide.
Went to visit an old work buddy who is now managing a hotel within a group. He has expressed interest in having Turbo Trivia so I took him some info and fingers are crossed that we get a few of the pubs on a weekly basis.

Then Jin & I went for Yum Cha, you can tell he is pretty happy because he just spotted the Battered & Deep Fried Crispy Tentacles. They are his absolute favourite. He’s bloody easy to keep happy really.
Monday night writing the weeks Trivia Q&A I wore the original Lolita Lempicka EdP. Sweet liquorice cotton candy. It’s a great fun wear.

Tuesday 24:

At 3.19am I finally finish writing Trivia Q&A. I’m going to heavily spritz Liberté by Cacharel and hit the fart sack. Jin’s already 4-5 hours of Zs ahead.

Up at 8am to walk the dogs because they were whinging at the door and I didn’t want to clean up doggie accident. Respritzed Liberté because it’s so comfortable, I’m nearly halfway through my second 75ml bottle. Even this early, got home from our walk about 8.45am, the sun is ferocious and I could feel myself burning. Note to self, wear sunscreen for extended walks.
Scott came today and we went frag shopping with Jin. Woo Hoo! Found a Tester bin with some excellent stuff. Grabbed a 30ml Mitsouko, 50ml JPG Fragile EdT, 50ml JPG Classique, 100ml Lolita Lempicka Eau Masculine and 100ml Emporio Armani She all for about AUD$70.

To celebrate Jin took us all to Hawa, our favourite Middle Eastern Chicken Shop in Granville. It is the yummiest chicken and comes with tour, pickles, chips and flat bread. We scoffed it down.

Tonight for work I wore Magie Noire by Lancome. Not quite sure of its age but it’s a lovely chypre that feels fuzzy and firry yet cool & sophisticated. Very elegant. MMM
They had special Peking Duck Pancakes for Chinese New Year at the bistro tonight and they were bloody delicious. We had a really busy night too with 74 people playing.

Wednesday 25:

I love Jin’s days off, especially when I have a day free too. As we left the house I dabbed some vintage Chloe extrait and Jin triple spritzed Bombay Bling by Neela Vermeire Creations.
We jumped on a bus to Parramatta and Jin organised his new credit card and savings account. He’s trialling a new bank because we are thinking of moving.

It also became haircut day with both of us getting sharp new dos.

After that on the train we went to town to meet one of our besties for lunch. Indian and Guylian chocolate were on the menu, Jin had ramen. Afterwards we dropped into Hermès tie shopping and I drenched myself in Hermès Equipage Geranium which was really good but I can’t really remember it because we were busy.
Tonight our friend Latai came over for Pizza and Tomorrowland movie with George Clooney, it was a fabulous idea put poorly into action.
Now it’s bed time and I’m going to drench myself in Annick Goutal Songes.

Thursday 26:

Australia Day here in Oz. I’m ambivalent about this celebration. It’s the day the English arrived and stole the continent from its rightful owners and the Aborigines have not fared well in our ensuing takeover, so I feel bad for them. It’s also a day to celebrate my homeland, one of the most beautiful, interesting and diverse countries geographically in the world. I love our flora and fauna, yes even the deadly stuff, and our climate.
Celebrating fragrantly I am wearing loads of Australian Independent Perfumery, Vanille Tonique by Evocative Perfumes. Sweet amberish vanilla with a dry core, very nice. Wears well on a super hot summers day.

Had a Shalimar Bubble Bath and thought I was spraying Shalimar parfum afterwards but it was Mitsouko by Guerlain. That was perfect for work and I got two lovely compliments but when I got home I headed straight for the Shalimar EdP by Guerlain and went crazy.

Friday 27:

This morning, inspired by a comment on Perfume posse, I am luxuriating in wafts of Nuit de Tubereuse by L’Artisan. Why don’t I wear this more often. While I’m fully BWF fragrant I’m replying on APJ and Perfume Posse. About to start packing and sending the fragrances that have been sold this week on FaceBook. All up 51 sold in my cull! Amazing.
Spending a little time today while eating left over Pizza watching The Expanse on Netflix. I like it.
For dinner Alice & I snuck off to the Ryde/Eastwood Leagues Club to have Peking Duck. Best In Sydney. EXCEPT it’s fricken Chinese New Year, booked out and Set Menu. So we went to Billus Indian in Harris Park which was bloody ripper: service, food, outdoors in the evening cool. Heaven. We had samosas, pakora, some spicy capsicum chicken dish and aloo mutter with gravy. After Alice had mango kulfi and I had a mango lassi.

My dinner fragrance was Eau Parfumee au The Noir by Bulgari. It’s smoky tea and wood was the perfect accompaniment to our adventure. By the end of dinner though I needed a respritz so Lys Soleia by Guerlain came out. After a long summer day the creamy jasmine and ylang blend with a my man sweat to create a salty seaside scent.


Saturday 28:

Chinese (ALL of Far East Asia really) New Year and Jin is eating Rice Cake Soup to celebrate. I spritzed Sushi Imperiale by Bois 1920 to feel part of it all.

For a 40th birthday gig tonight I wore Samsara vintage extrait & EdT. Perfectly gorgeous creamy sandalwood bomb. I wish I had a photo. It was a backyard gig and they’d built a stage & hired a microphone setup but forgotten lighting and proper sound equipment. The sound was quiet and muffled but the crew came to the rescue and sang the choruses of Carpenters On Top Of The World and Marcia Hines Ain’t Nobody. The birthday boy was super stressed but it all went off splendidly with only minor hiccups.

Sunday 29:

DUMPLINGS!! Breakfast at Din Tai Fung in Chatswood with one of my longest and dearest friends Eve and her daughter. I wore Monsieur Li by Hermès again because it fits with Chinese New Year, wears beautifully in the heat and smells great on. Then we had a little wander around the shops. It was a perfectly lazy start to the day. How great are Jin & Evie in this shot? Check the peacock wallpaper too.

Bath time at Chez Turbo. Today I was in a cool bath with B&BW Sensual bubbles. Nothing sensual about it, it’s a sizzling fruitchouli concoction that is halfway between Mugler Angel and Cacharel Liberté. Smells excellent and fun.

Started a Sample & Decant using week so my first to go was the whole vial of Rubris Rose by DSH Perfumes. Review to follow.

So there’s my week in review. Anything exciting happen for or around you?
Portia xx

Scent of Sydney at Carriageworks 2017 + Stuff




Hellooooo APJ,

Yesterday in Sydney was glorious, so I filled it with really fun stuff. Some of it fragrant and most of it friends. My only apology is that for most of it I was having such a good time that there are no photographs. BUMMER! Oh well, I have memories.

Scent of Sydney at Carriageworks 2017 + Stuff

The day started early with dog feeding & walks. It’s been so hot at nights that Jin has made the boys inside beds and they sleep in the living room, with us, under the fan and with the A/C Dry Mode on. It doesn’t do much cooling but it does get rid of the humidity and runs at about 1/3 the A/C usual energy use. Here they are loving their indoor beds.

Once the dogs were done Jin was going to check his diving equipment and I had bought him a new wetsuit for Christmas. He and a couple of girlfriends were going to Clovelly/Gordon’s Bay to do that so I asked my BFF Kath to meet me there so we could have a paddle, get some rays and have brunch. It was good to get the psoriasis on my legs into the sea water and they already are showing signs of improvement. Here we are at brunch. MMMMM

Here’s the view from the carpark. Yeah, this was the shit view but I was too busy doing stuff to take another shot. SOZ!

After that Kath, Jin & I went back to Kath’s so he could fix some stuff at the apartment. Jin went home and I went around the corner to meet my next adventure.

Then TinaG, APJ writer and one of my longest term friends, organised a get together at the sydney Festival’s Scents Of Sydney at Carriageworks. I love this venue and we ran Turbo Trivia here for years in the cafe/restaurant behind me in the pic below. Good memories.




As a first impression, smell is one of the most basic forms of identification. Can you really know a city by the way it smells? In this work, artist Cat Jones distills more than first impressions and seeks to capture the real substance of Sydney – its stories of landscape, democracy, resistance, competition, and extravagance. In a series of conversations and debates you are invited to create an olfactory portrait of our city and contribute your ideas and stories of Sydney’s identity.

Scent Of Sydney EXHIBITION

7 – 29 JAN 10AM – 6PM
Closed on Mondays.


10 JAN 6PM Democracy
11 JAN 6PM Landscape
17 JAN 6PM Artist Talk
18 JAN 6PM Competition
24 JAN 6PM Resistance
25 JAN 6PM Extravagance

Scents Of Sydney was a very interesting idea and FREE. Take 12 people who are Sydney based catalysts of change. All each one to tell their story and how they helped create change or awareness, then think of a group of scent notes that express or remind you of that time in the journey. SUPER interesting right, all across our multiplicity of cultures, wealth and history here. The scents were brilliantly thought out and really captured the spirit of the stories.

So the scent was in an oil wiped around the inside of the cup, excellent delivery system. You could listen to some of the story and pick the cup up at different times to rem,ind you of their scent.

Each story was played continuously through headphones and each cup had three attendant headphones so a maximum of 36 people could be listening at any time. There was also a central seating circle where discussion was happening with one or more of the producers, artist, festival peeps etc. My only problem was the length of the stories. Bloody hell. After 4 of them I was exhausted of my will to live so I crept out and awaited the others.

I found a sweet man called Jackson who lent me his phone charger and sat down by a mirror for some chill time as the phone juiced up. There I took photos of myself & surrounds and uploaded them to social media because narcissist.

We sat down for a delicious afternoon tea with Rose and Tina. Rose went off to see some dance that was also part of the Festival of Sydney 2017 and Tina & I walked to the train and caught our way home. On the way we saw this splendidly painted row house and couldn’t help but add it to our selfie list.

That lovely man Jin picked me up from the station and we had delicious Thai reheats for dinner. YUMMY!

So how was your weekend? Do any thing fun and/or fragrant?
Portia xx

Merry Christmas APJ 2016




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.


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.



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.


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


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


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

Tasmania! Two Days Away: Photo Essay


Post by Portia


Hi there Fragrant Fumies,

This week my mate Alice & I decided to take a moment out of our lives and go down to the island off the bottom of Australia. It’s called Tasmania and it is beautiful.

Tasmania is 68,401 km² and has around 500K people. Let’s compare that to South Korea at 96,920 km2 and 49M (July 2015 est.). Yes, it’s a quiet out of the way place full of beautiful mountains and rivers, small towns and larger ones, friendly people and an enormous amount of history, quite a lot of it as brutal and unforgiving as the winds that whip up direct from Antarctica.

What better way to commemorate such a journey than to do a Photo Essay and have you guys along on the trip.

I know you are absolutely agog to know what fragrances I took. EASY! I grabbed my Hermès 15ml travel size of Vanille Galante, a vintage Youth Dew, something I didn’t even look at and what’s left of my Oriental Brulant that I wore for the whole 2 days and LOVED!

Here are the pics of our adventure! All the gorgeous scenery ones were taken by Alice and I took the rest.
Portia xxx

Tasmania! Two Days Away: Photo Essay

Tasmania Alice Portia April 2016 #1Ready for TAKE OFF! One of my besties, Alice, and I off to look at Tasmania. YAY!

Tasmania Alice Portia April 2016 #3Hotel Grand Chancellor in Launceston. Trip Advisor gave it VERY mixed reviews but we found it comfortable & clean and the staff very friendly.

Tasmania Alice Portia April 2016 #4

Tasmania Alice Portia April 2016 #5I know, but I love BUFFET BREAKFAST!!!

Tasmania Alice Portia April 2016 #6Serendipitously it was Farmers Market Saturday Morning and we had a wander through. The produce was unbelievably gorgeous and Alice bought some local wines, meringues and fresh picked, unsprayed raspberries! Happy Girl. We also grabbed some spicy sunflower and pumpkin seeds for our BFF Kath.

Tasmania Alice Portia April 2016 #7

Tasmania Alice Portia April 2016 #8

Tasmania Alice Portia April 2016 #9

Tasmania Alice Portia April 2016 #10

Tasmania Alice Portia April 2016 #11Home made chocolate whiskey meringues. WINNER!

Tasmania Alice Portia April 2016 #12

Tasmania Alice Portia April 2016 #13Spicy Pumpkin & Sunflower Seeds.

Tasmania Alice Portia April 2016 #18

Tasmania Alice Portia April 2016 #14That will be Pinot Gris for the sexy bitch please.

Tasmania Alice Portia April 2016 #15Launceston has a wonderful olde worlde feel to it, we really liked the atmosphere and the people. It’s a cool town for a funky bunch.

Tasmania Alice Portia April 2016 #16

Tasmania Alice Portia April 2016 #17

Tasmania Alice Portia April 2016 #27On the road again. We hired a car and drove ourselves. Way more fun.

Tasmania Alice Portia April 2016 #19

Tasmania Alice Portia April 2016 #20

Tasmania Alice Portia April 2016 #21

Tasmania Alice Portia April 2016 #22

Tasmania Alice Portia April 2016 #24

Tasmania Alice Portia April 2016 #25

Tasmania Alice Portia April 2016 #26


Santa Maria Novella: Florence 2016: Photo Essay


Post by Portia


Hi there Fragrant Fumies,

Our recent trip was a bit light on the fragrance stops. We really wanted to see what each city is most famous for. While in Florence though Anna-Maria put her dainty foot down. We could look at art & churches all day & night but we had to go to the Santa Maria Novella Basilica which handily combines all three of our interests. It’s a church and cloisters, very old and it has one of the oldest still extant apothecaries/farmaceutica which is now centred around fragrance and tea.

Santa_Maria_Novella Basilica Florence WikipediaWikipedia

The church you can see today was begun in 1279 and was finished around the middle of the 14th century.
Inside it resembles Cistercian gothic churches, the nave separated from the aisles by wide bays and covered with gothic vaulting (Edited from museumsinflorence.com). There are some lovely frescoes inside too if you get a chance.

Florenz_Santa_Maria_Novella_Innenraum WikiMediaWikiMedia

Santa Maria Novella: Florence 2016

From the moment you enter Santa Maria Novella shop in Florence you are transported back in time. You are also reminded of the extraordinary amount of money the church has at its disposal. The place is exquisite and we were surprised at how busy, and how much money people were spending. It was like a fragrant feeding frenzy.

Florence 2016 #14

Florence 2016 #21

Florence 2016 #15

Florence 2016 #20I have a set of these tablets keeping my wardrobe pest free and fragrant. They were a gift and my very first Santa Maria Novella. I love them and they are still extremely fragrant years on.

Florence 2016 #19

Florence 2016 #18The homewares section is fabulous. It took ultimate restraint to keep my wallet in my pocket.

Florence 2016 #16

Florence 2016 #23

Florence 2016 #25Anna-Maria and Jin being looked after by the extremely beautiful and helpful SA. I was not going to buy anything but then I spied some smaller bottles which turned out to be soliflore extrais. I tried and fell madly in love with the triple distilled jasmine extrait, the sample I tried which lasted 3 days on my skin through showers and general living. Sadly the product they sold me is gone in about 2 hours, it’s really gorgeous while it lasts though I am disappointed.

Florence 2016 #26Anna-Maria was so sweet and bought Jin & I a set of the soaps as a thank you for sharing our holiday! Woo Hoo! Can’t wait to use them.

Florence 2016 #17

Jasmine Santa Maria Novella 2016Here is the Triple Distilled Jasmine Extrait. I am sad now that I didn’t order tea. Next time.

Florence 2016: Photo Essay

Florence 2016 #1The Duomo is the heart of Florence. It’s free to enter and the floor and dome are gorgeous. You can walk to the cupola up the top but Anna-Maria had done the one in Vienna and that was enough.

interno-duomo Florence visitflorence.comVisitFlorence

duomo-facade Florence visitflorence.comVisitFlorence

Florence 2016 #2All through Europe we lit candles and asked God to bless our friends and family with bountiful lives, peaceful and funfilled.

Florence 2016 #3On the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge, no wonder Italian is a romance language) ignoring the jewellery shops but watching the people.

Florence 2016 #4View of the Ponte Vecchio from the next bridge, it was a lovely walk along the river.

Florence 2016 #5

Florence 2016 #6

Florence 2016 #9

Florence 2016 #11Anna-Maria was overcome by David. She needed a few moments to stabilize.

Florence 2016 #8

Florence 2016 #12We caught the local bus up to the Piazzale Michelangelo. A perfect winter day with dappled sunlight over the city. It was a beautiful afternoon and from the bus we saw some amazing parts of Florence that you would otherwise miss.

Florence 2016 #13Anna-Maria had a pre-mixed alcoholic beverage at the lookout. She was so happy.

Florence 2016 #10Our dinner in the hotel was a complete disaster so we decided to go around the corner to the international restaurant of choice for the hungry and weary traveller; McDonalds. YUMMY!

Florence 2016 #28Next night we had the best steak I’ve ever had in my life. The three of us shared 1.2kg of steak cooked to perfection. It came with salads and baked potatoes. OMG! So freaking delicious. If you are Florence you MUST go here and have the Special Florentine Steak.

Florence 2016 #27

Florence 2016 #30

Florence 2016 #29

Florence 2016 #31

I hope you enjoyed a snapshot of our amazing journey through Florence. There is more holiday to come next week.

Have you been to Florence? What is your favourite part?
Portia xx

Boxwalla: Interview with creator Lavanya


Post by Lavanya & Portia


Hey there APJ,

Lavanya is a fellow perfume nut, blogger, APJ reader and commenter. So when Val the Cookie Queen told me about her new venture, Boxwalla, I really wanted to find out what goes into a Boxwalla box and how it was different to the others. What better way than an interview with the creator to give us an insight into the Boxwalla idea which launched this week. See, we are all over the new stuff here at APJ.

Boxwalla: Interview with creator Lavanya


APJ: Hey Lavanya, since this is a place for perfume junkies I thought we’d start with your first scent memory.

Lavanya: Ah- the first scent that pops into my head when somebody speaks of scent memories is the smell of tuberoses wafting in the living rooms of my childhood. I grew up in India and we moved from place to place, living all over the country but my first memory of smelling tuberoses is in Delhi. A friend of my father’s when invited for dinner would bring my mother a bunch of tuberoses, as a thank you (It is her favorite flower). And then for the next few days this cold, elusive scent would float through our living room, wafting in the night breeze. It has been my favorite flower too, ever since.

APJ: OMG! One day we need to sit down and chat about India. So tell me what made you start Boxwalla?

Lavanya: The long version of what led to us creating Boxwalla can be read here. ‘The shorter version is that we wanted to create an online platform that would allow us to showcase artists, artisans and all the beautiful things we love in a way that allowed people to also experience those things easily. Things that are not as well known, as they ought to be: be they film or books or a perfect dab of scented lotion that melts into your skin.

APJ: OK so how does it work?

Lavanya: We have four categories of boxes that one can subscribe to: Beauty, Books, Film and Food. You can subscribe to any of the categories. And you can switch between them. Every two months you will receive a box, in the category of your choice, filled with things curated around a theme. To make it just a little bit more fun the contents of the box will be a surprise. We try to make sure that the total retail value of the box exceeds the cost of the subscription so that people will be encouraged to take a chance on us and experience the work of these wonderful artists and artisans. We also have a cut off date before which one needs to subscribe to receive a particular box. The cut off date for the December boxes (which will ship in the beginning of December) is November 10th.

APJ: How is Boxwalla different from other subscription boxes?

Lavanya: In a few ways, actually. One, we want to encourage a deeper connection with things that people buy, use and experience. Which is why, for example, most of the products included in our beauty box are full sized (or travel sized) so subscribers can use the product extensively before deciding whether it belongs in their life.

Next, we understand that people are multifaceted with multiple interests and we wanted to provide an easy way for people to explore different interests within one subscription. If you think you have had enough of one category and want to know more about another, you can switch!

Third and most importantly, our focus is on the artists and artisans that we feature in our boxes. We want to showcase them and their work. We have a dedicated page for each of them. We also don’t stock inventory of individual products but encourage people to directly buy from them to maximize their returns.

APJ: Thanks Lavanya!

Lavanya: Thank YOU Portia, for letting me talk about Boxwalla in this wonderful space you have created.