Shalimar + Mountain Adventure Photo Essay


Post by Portia


Hey there Perfume Peeps,

Today was so wonderful. One of the guys (Jean-Luc) that comes to my Tuesday Trivia has recently started an Art Shop in the mountains near Sydney. They are called the Blue Mountains because something in the eucalyptus trees shimmers blue through the air and thus the mountains look blue from afar, it’s lovely if you have them in your view. Another of the boys from Tuesday Trivia (Leo) is a motorbike rider and we have been chatting for a while about going on a bike excursion to Katoomba to see Jean-Luc. Today was the day.

It started out lovely in the sun, warm and toasty. Figuring it would stay that way I eschewed the thermals, wet weather gear, beany and puffer jacket under my riding kit. BAD IDEA! As soon as we got 20 minutes along the highway, freezing, stinging rain and the strongest winds I’ve ever ridden in. OMG! So freaking cold. It was incredibly exhilarating though and I was kept on constant alert, it was like a ride at a fairground except I was the one who had to be in control of the bike.

Anyway, we get to the top and have the most wonderful coffee before Jean-Luc opens the store. It’s a very modern artists place, mainly catering to spray paint artists who have covered the walls of the store with murals and the back alley has been given to artists from all over the world to paint, each wall a different and magical scene. It’s astounding the intricate detail they are able to bring with a spray can.

Blue Mountains Aug 2015 #1

Blue Mountains Aug 2015 #2

Blue Mountains Aug 2015 #3

Blue Mountains Aug 2015 #4After looking at the murals in the area we popped across the road to the funkiest food place ever. The Yellow Deli. An ex-hippy hang if ever there was one. It seems to be a cross between rural, historical, hysterical and home improvements. Every piece lovingly hand rendered, something happening everywhere you turn and all seemingly with little rhyme or reason: eclectic and fun. We were ushered upstairs by a friendly waiter who thought we were a band (super cool US!!) and spent a few minutes just drinking in the ambiance. I had been told what to order and I dutifully did. I think it was called a Darling Rose Sandwich. OMG! Disgusting. Ha Ha Ha ha!! It was too much super salty ham, some onion with tomato chutney and tomato sauce AND mayonnaise. BLEAUGH! I was so hungry though that I ate every bite, and by the end of it I kind of got used to it.

Blue Mountains Aug 2015 #5

Blue Mountains Aug 2015 #6

Blue Mountains Aug 2015 #7Then the unbelievable happened. 2 hours from the heart of Sydney and it SNOWED!! Big, puffy, soft looking gusts of snow that got so heavy the street was obscured. Totally fabulous. Not enough to cover the world white but it was snow, and from our comfortable seat in the deli it was magical.

Blue Mountains Aug 2015 #8After that Leo & I went and had a look at a piece of land I’m quite interested in and then we rode home. While in the mountains I purchased (at 50% Discount!) a pair of electric green merino wool leggings and matching beany, I donned my puffer jacket under my bike jacket and the ride home was considerably warmer, and dryer because the snow and rain had stopped.

Guerlain Shalimar Satin Shower Gel 200ml

When I got home to really warm myself up I drew a bath and used Shalimar Gel Douche as my Bubble Bath. It was fiery hot and deliciously scented. There is no better place in the world to warm a cold, tired body and relax an overactive mind. It was bliss. I have spritzed some recent Shalimar EdP and am now bathed in a cloud of my own sweet smelling loveliness. Sometimes life feels really good.

Shalimar Fourreau du Soir Guerlain FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Further reading: APJ Shalimar Parfum, APJ Shalimar EdP and APJ Shalimar EdC
FragranceNet has $73/90ml current EdP before coupon
Surrender To Chance has EdP samples starting at $3/ml

How do you like to wind down? Do you have a favourite bath soak?

Portia xx

A Few to Sniff at Gino's

Hi there Fragrant Fellowship,

You know those really great days? So today was a REALLY great day (I’m writing now and you’re reading a couple of days away). I was able to have a pretty good sleep in after working last night, then I lazed around the house for an hour before trotting off to a mini sniff at my mate Gino’s house with a very fun crew of people including MsKerri, KerriC & SimonC, SonyaY & JedY, Scott and our beautiful host Gino who had gone to outrageous lengths on the food and refreshments and had the house spotless.

A Few to Sniff at Gino’s


11755651_10153022236911762_3275968211012684420_nThe crew arrived willy-nilly and there was some coming & going but EVERYONE brought some gems from their fragrant hoard for us to share & sniff. There were pasties, cheeses and dips, biscuits and a slew of other yummy munchies. Gino did percolated coffee, my favourite. I still have my Mum’s Cornflower Corningware percolator and love to get it on the hob. Gino’s was perfection.


11778060_914079175316637_1434991574_nThere was some major sniffing and sharing going on. Lonestar Memories and L`Air du Desert Marocain by Tauer Perfumes, Gentlewoman by JHaG, Dubai Next To Me by Ramon Monegal, Bull’s Blood and Violet Disguise by Imaginary Authors. There were many different incarnations of  Tabu, Magie Noir, Bal a Versailles and some rare vintage finds like Fille d’Eve by Nina Ricci and Gino has a mini collection hat would make you weep. We also got to try Antonia and M by Puredistance, some Frederic Malles and a slew of stuff that I’ve completely forgotten. It was a hoot and a half and I can’t wait to hang with them all again.


11059422_10153458648267456_4117980043175918533_nOne of my favourite moments of the day was Jed & my “Who can scream the loudest competition”. I may have just edged Jed out and taken the prize but it was a very close race. So much fun. He kept creeing up on me and saying, “I’m going to get you.” Before he could even finish the sentence I would grab him and scream it at him. Then I was acting scared of him and when he got close I would scream full throttle in his face and he would nearly shit himself. The above picture is us both trying to be the loudest but Jed is laughing too hard to really make a bid for the trophy. To be honest I don’t think he’d ever met an adult who is such a baffoon and he loved it.

Then Jin & I went for dinner to a very clean but cheap & cheerful Vietnamese restaurant. I ordered some stuff and Jin tried to remind me what I liked there but I really thought I was on top of the whole game and ordered something that came out and was DISGUSTING!! BLAH! So I ended up eating Spring Rolls and Fried Rice, it was yummy. There he is below, really tired after a LONG days work and just happy to be eating and hanging out.

11760202_10153458775537456_8023303727829475259_nAfter that we went to BUNNINGs. It’s our version of a giant hardware store and they have everything. Jin bought some shelves and then he put them up in our new garage. I helped a little bit but then Jin was like, “You go do your blog and I’ll finish here” so I have and I did, and he did. Then he came into my office and kissed me goodnight before he went off to the land of nod. I can hear him snoring from here.

Most of the mentioned fragrances are available as samples on Surrender To Chance or My Perfume Samples.

I walked the dog and now I too am ready for bed. Goodnight all.
Portia xx

South Korea 2015 Photo Essay

Hi there Fragrant Friends,

On to the South Korea leg of our latest adventure. Jin planned this part of our holiday to the millisecond and we filled our days with so much it’s hard to keep it all in order.

South Korea 2015

Jin had decided that this time we would do the history and art/museum tour of Seoul. I had said through the year that we seemed to do everything except see the cultural heritage of South Korea and he was determined to remedy this lack. We had three days in Seoul and two of them were given almost exclusively to the acquisition of aforesaid knowledge. As always Jin was an excellent guide and translator, thank goodness because some of the places we saw were so South Korean oriented that there we no translations for me to follow. The real deal.

Because we were so busy I took the camera out less while we were in the middle of stuff. There are quite a few shots of interesting or unusual architecture and light bi-plays, some of flowers because it was spring and the flowers were gorgeous and a few of us hanging out with Jin’s family because we took his Mum & Dad for their first holiday in decades. It was Jin’s Father’s birthday and we thought it would be a fun thing to celebrate. Older Koreans as a rule do not take holidays so it was especially fun to take them and it will give them a story to brag about for years among their contemporaries.

Wood Block Printing of Unified Silla: The Buddhists came to Korea from India in the 5th century AD and landed in Silla in southern Korea which was still a selection of kingdoms. The Silla people had united the lower third of what is now South Korea under their rule. The Buddhist priests learned how to carve wood blocks that would print on cloth and paper and used this technology to create more Buddhist Sutras, currently the oldest still extant piece of printed material in the world was created by these monks in the 7th century AD and it is the Buddhist Sutras. There was war and 80,000 of these hand carved wood blocks were moved hundreds of kilometers by the monks and the faithful to a mountainous region in the middle of South Korea. It is a place that Jin’s Mum had wanted to visit for a very long time and had a very nice hotel with mineral water baths so we decided we would go there. It was Jin’s parent first time staying in a hotel rather than the much cheaper pension style of guest house. They were thrilled and constantly trying to stop us spending money on them, having breakfast in the hotel restaurant an outrageous extravagance. A good time was had by all.

We also went through a lovely Korean Wildflower Park, a Bonsai Exhibition where the woman who owns and tends the bonsai took us through personally and explained some of the more interesting pieces, the Mineral Baths at the hotel and loads of local cuisine (some of which I could not bring myself to eat, yes I’m a food pussy). Jin’s mother wants us to have children, I told her to get stuffed.

South Korea 2015 Photo Essay

South Korea 2015 #1

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South Korea 2015 #3

Seoul Airport Train Station is a marvelous modern structure that lets light and space feel like its main focus. I love arriving and entering its cavernous platform, every hour has different reflections and shadows

South Korea 2015 #4

Straight to Lottie Burger for Jin’s Bulgogi Burger and my Cheesy Sticks. MMMMMM. Welcome to South Korea.

South Korea 2015 #6

Street Food BarBQ vendor, full of students and the working class we knew it would be delicious. So reasonably priced too, I think we paid $40 including Jin’s Soju and my soft drinks.

South Korea 2015 #18a

My only fragrant shopping on the holiday, an Hermes 15ml set: Ambre Narguile, Cuir d’Ange, Poivre Samarcande, Vetiver Tonka

South Korea 2015 #7

One of the original gates into the capital city, this has stood for a very long time. Centuries.

South Korea 2015 #9

Changing Of The Guard at the Palace complex.

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South Korea 2015 #15

All pieces by the same artist, Jung Takyoung, whose art reminds me of Liz Zorn’s work

South Korea 2015 #17

South Korea 2015 #19

Seoul Art History Museum, we saw about 30 of their most beautiful and famous National Treasures. Our original guide was so shit we ran away from him and took ourselves around some of the exhibits. Finally we met a small group being shown the National Treasures by a very well informed and interesting young woman, she was so passionate that we were completely swept up in her stories. Fabulous.

South Korea 2015 #20

The lilacs were in bloom, what a beautiful scent they have.

South Korea 2015 #21

Jin being posh at a chi-chi 33rd floor restaurant & bar, we arrived just before closing thinking it had another hour to go.

South Korea 2015 #22

South Korea 2015 #23

South Korea 2015 #25

All part of another Palace Complex, that door was so fabulous I just had to get a pic.

South Korea 2015 #26

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South Korea 2015 #29

At the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art there was so much amazing stuff but these are the only two pictures I took. It’s a shame because the works were really great. Currently they have a multi-room exhibition all based around gardens and how they are so many things to the people that are lucky enough in 2015 to have one. So many South Koreans live in high rise apartments that may never know the joys of having their own garden to tend.

South Korea 2015 #31

This peony bush going gangbusters in the cold foggy early morning spring air across thew road from Jin’s parents house

South Korea 2015 #33

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South Korea 2015 #36

The modern South Korean garden and a couple of the hundreds of bonsai created by one woman with a great passion, these two were ones she showed particular regard and pride for. She was so shy to show her plant children but became very enthusiastic once she understood that I too loved to garden and that I had been brought up in a garden, tending it and creating it, with my Mum.

South Korea 2015 #37

We had a little snack on our first night in the hotel restaurant in the mountains. Jin’s Mummy & Papa kept being outraged at the prices and then savouring every morsel that we got for them. Those walls are all carved creamy stone (maybe marble?) attached so perfectly you could hardly see a join. So lovely.

South Korea 2015 #39

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South Korea 2015 #41

These three shots are of the monks mountain hideaway. It’s a wonderful parkland setting and you can take the whole day to walk from the base of the hill to the monastery, there are stations along the way where you can stop for refreshment and a rest, even some street food vendors. We were naughty and caught a cab up and back.

South Korea 2015 #43

Mummy & Papa saying goodbye at the Busan Train station. It was an excellent holiday and I really enjoyed my time with them.

South Korea 2015 #44Jin and I on the plane and ready to come home.

Singapore 2015 Photo Essay

Woo Hoo APJ,

We are home from our 2 week Asia adventure. Traveling with Jin is so easy and fun, he loves to get amongst it and we fit in an extraordinary amount. He is absolutely fearless in his site and adventure planning and often has me doing things I never dreamed to do. This holiday he even planned in a whole day of lazy as a gift for me, we woke up late, lazed around the pool, brunched and generally hung out together till going off to some fab little street food diner for dinner. Bliss.

Singapore 2015 Photo Essay

First time in Singapore as a tourist rather than a transient, the easiest country in Asia to be a part of for us English speakers because English and Chinese are the two official languages so almost all signs are or have English. WINNING! They also have a fantastic Metro and Bus system that you can access with a card like the British Oyster system. It’s clean and the people are friendly, the food is awesome and the weather warm all year round. Our mate Julie gave us the inside skinny on everything and entertained usa to the whole islands highs & depths. We met up with friends not seen in years and really would have liked another week because we just could not fit everyone in.

To be honest there are hardly any photos with the crew because we were having too much fun while we were with them. Here is a selction of photos that I did remember to take.

Singapore 2015 #26
Singapore Airways very back row

Singapore 2015 #10
Our mate Julie who had us staying with her, excellent tour guide and hostess. (Whitney in the background)

Singapore 2015 #12

Singapore 2015 #13
Drinks at the Fullerton Bay Hotel Rooftop for welcome

Singapore 2015 #9
Portia swimming in the 14th floor pool of Julie’s apartment

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Singapore 2015 #2

We hired bikes and rode along the seafront, here we are stopped at a picnic point

Singapore 2015 #4

Singapore 2015 #3

Julie had organised a crew to see Bjorn Again (ABBA tribute) in the Marina Sands Complex (VERY Guggenheim)

Singapore 2015 #5

Singapore 2015 #6

Singapore 2015 #25
Spent the morning at the Marina Bay Gardens, even did the Sky Walk (big thing if you are scared of heights)


Singapore 2015 #14

Local breakfast

Singapore 2015 #15

Navigating Singapore by Public Transport

Singapore 2015 #16

Portia being an idiot, Jin can’t believe it. I don’t know why, it does seem to be my default setting.

Singapore 2015 #18

Singapore 2015 #19


High Tea at The Fullerton Hotel, unbelievably yummy and good value too. They kept filling up out trays till we had to waddle out.


Singapore 2015 #20
We did manage to get to some museums and art galleries but this is the only piece that I fell madly in love with, ancient version of Conchita Wurst

Singapore 2015 #8

Singapore 2015 #7
Found a Bangladeshi boy on the street and asked him where in Little India HE ate, took us to a fabulous restaurant 2 people absolutely full of naan and vegetarian food for $4 each, amazing.

Singapore 2015 #21

Singapore 2015 #22

Chinatown and Jin finally gets to use his Selfie Stick (I know, but he loves it and if that’s his worst vice I can cope)

Singapore 2015 #23

Singapore 2015 #24

Final Singaporean dinner, Chili crab, Spicy chicken and Breaded prawns.



Patrick & Wayne: Magnolia Grandiflora

Hi there APJ,

I don’t have a perfume post for you tonight. Life has been very hectic around here and somehow there is no post for now. OOOOPS! Jin & I have been out to dinner with a couple of totally top blokes that I have been friends with for 20 years and some other long standing friends. Though Jin & I have been together for 3 years still they’d not met him. So to make it happen they organised a dinner party. Roast goats chees stuffed figs wrapped in prosciutto and drizzled with honey & balsamic vinegar. Slow cooked curried chicken breasts with cous cous and sugar snap peas with a spicy jus. Chocolate souffle with raspberries and clotted cream. Fabulous drinks served to suit each course and basically a heaven night out.

Patrick & Wayne: Magnolia Grandiflora

Through the whole dinner though I was mesmerised by the perfection and beauty of the centerpiece, a couple of dinner plate sized magnolias from the front garden. Their ginger, lemongrass, citrus, vanilla and sweat scent wafting over towards me and completelyt breaking my train of thought again and again throughout the evening.

I stole one and brought it home. Here it is in the kitchen.

Portia xx

Patrick & Wayne Magnolia 2015b

Patrick & Wayne Magnolia 2015a

Eau de Gingembre Salade Dressing by Annice Gourmand


Post by Val the Cookie Queen


Seasons Greetings APJs and friends!

I do like to cook and contrary to popular belief can do more than make cookies. We have access to so many ready made things,
that it is surprising that anyone cooks from scratch at all, certainly in our overfed western world. One thing that I never buy
is ready made salad dressing. Most of the time I chuck on oil, vinegar and a drizzle of pumpkin seed oil. High days and holidays
I take an extra five minutes and mix up something little tastier.

Eau de Gingembre Salade Dressing by Annice Gourmand

Presented by Cookie Queen for APJ Christmas 2014

ginger PDPics PixabayPhoto Stolen Pixabay

Notes listed in one line: ginger, garlic, onion, carrot, sesame

The following is a rough guide. Make it like this, and then you can change it to suit yourself. If you randomly throw in 3 carrots, and
only a little oil you will get a pudding you know? Always get to know a recipe first, then tweak it!!


1 clove of garlic, chopped ( no need to use 10)
1/4 of an average sized onion, chopped
1 grated carrot, average size – don´t ask me to define average, just not a radio-active 1 kilo carrot
1 heaped tablespoon of grated FRESH ginger, a little more if you love ginger

Whisk the above ingredients in a food processor. I use the stainless steel blades in my small processor. You could use a hand held blender of course.

Food_Processor WikiCommonsPhoto Stolen WikiCommons


1/2 teaspoon of mustard
teaspoon or two of tamari/soya sauce
teaspoon or two of apple juice
a few drops of roasted sesame oil – go easy on it otherwise it is too strong OR a tablespoon of white tahini –
1/2 cup of oil – I use peanut oil because it is flavorless
1/2 cup rice vinegar


Taste it and add salt to taste. I am a salt junkie so I don´t want to say how much to put in! If it is too thick add little water, or apple juice, squeeze of lime juice 🙂
You can keep it in the fridge in jar with a lid for, hmmm, dunno, a couple of days? Never had it around long enough to find out.

Salad_Mediterranean WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

Best on a crunchy mixed salad of rucola, green leaves, radicchio, chicory, fennel, alfalfa sprouts ……..

“Maybe Christmas,” he thought,
“doesn’t come from a store.
Maybe Christmas … perhaps …
means a little bit more!”
And what happened then …?
Well … in Who-ville they say
That the Grinch’s small heart
Grew three sizes that day! (How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss)

I wish you all “Ein Guten Rutsch ins Neue Jahr!”
(A good slide into the new year)


Korea 2014: Photo Essay

Hey Crew,

I hope you are all happy and well. So we are back from our Korean adventure and it was hectic! I have had to spend the return week recovering from the amount of stuff we packed into 17 days. There is no way I could show you the whole trip and all that happened because it was just too full on.

So here is a mini view of some of our highlights, obviously I couldn’t include every meal but some of my favourite stand outs were Korean Bar B Q beef (bought for us in a very chi-chi restaurant in Yangsan) and pork (in a tiny street food restaurant in Gangnam near the Zaha Hadid designed arts centre). We also fell in love with the Lotte Burgers and Paris Baguette. The rest of the crew had loads of extra fresh seafood and pronounced it wonderful and I even ate some of the fish we caught on our fishing trip.

As we were with a local, Jin my partner was born and raised in Korea, we had the inside skinny on what was good and crap so we went to a couple of important temples, Jeju Island which is the honeymoon destination of Koreans where newlyweds wear couples outfits (super cute). We were also lucky enough to go to the JSA (Join Security Area) in the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) between North & South Korea which was both incredible and frightening because we went into the border house where talks happen and crossed over into North Korea, we were supposed to be there for 15-20 minutes for photos etc but the armed guards who were escorting us got new information and we were ushered out after only about 2 minutes, the guards and our guide becoming very nervous and agitated. Jin could only catch some of the conversations but there was a drama and we needed to be out PRONTO. It was all quite disturbing but so amazing to have been there. If you are in Seoul; there is a small tourist market for trips there, ask your Concierge.

We also did a bunch of shopping. South Korea has an amazing array of excellent makeup and fragrance chains of their own (Etude House, Skinfood and Japan’s Shu Uemura) and every time I shopped they gave me some testers of their other products, which brings us to

giveaway manoneileenPhoto Stolen manoneileen

Korea 2014 GIVEAWAY

etude house fresh cherry tint EbayPhoto Stolen Ebay


This week we will have 2 winners who will each get:
1 x Etude House Fresh Cherry Lip Tint
1 x mixed bag of 6 Etude House, Skinfood & Shu Uemura samples
1 x pair faux LV socks
P&H Anywhere in the world


Open to everyone worldwide who follows AustralianPerfumeJunkies via eMail, WordPress, Bloglovin or RSS. Please leave how you follow in the comments to be eligible. I must be able to check that you follow so if you have an email address on your gravatar that’s different to your follow address then please email me so I know. Yes, you can start following to enter, in fact it’s encouraged.

You must tell me how you follow APJ


Please tell me a memory that involves a travel fragrance experience or a beauty product someone brought back from overseas for you.

Extra Chance?
Tweet: @OzPerfumeJunkie Korea 2014 Beauty Product GIVEAWAY #Beauty #Giveaway


Entries Close Sunday 8th June 2014 10pm Australian EST and winners will be announced in a separate post.
Winners will be chosen by
The winners will have till Thursday 12th June 2014 to get in touch (portia underscore turbo at yahoo dot com dot au) with their address or the prize will go to someone else.
No responsibility taken for lost or damaged goods in transit.

Korea 2014: Photo Essay

Korea 2014 Jeju Island Weather Stone

Korea 2014 Jeju Asses

Korea 2014 Jeju Love Seat Jin:Portia

Korea 2014 Jeju bird

Korea 2014 Jeju from hotel

Korea 2014 Korean Flags

Korea 2014 Dior Counter1

Korea 2014 City Lights

Korea 2014 Zaha Hadid Art Centre

Korea 2014 Jin & Portia shopping

Korea 2014 Suspension Bridge

Korea 2014 Matthew, Portia, Jin Wet Willy

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All photos donated by Kath, Matt and Portia.

I hope you enjoyed this little look into our trip. Sadly I was so busy seeing and doing that I didn’t capture enough vistas or places of interest. Also you’ll notice that there is often someone at the table using their iPhone, this is ONLY allowed after mains are finished and the time I would remember to take a snap.
Portia xx



Melbourne Getaway + Peony Melbourne Photo Essay

Jump across and enter our by Kilian GIVEAWAY<<<JUMP

Hey Hey APJ Family and Friends,
Last weekend BF Jin, BFF Kath and I took ourselves to Australia’s fashion and food capital Melbourne, though we bypassed the fashion food was definitely on the agenda. So was fragrance! More on that in a moment.

Melbourne Getaway

Kath had organised us a terrific 2 bed serviced apartment in Docklands in the 16th floor with views over Docklands, wheel and out to the sea. It was compact but super well laid out and the views, breeze and whole atmosphere felt wonderful. We hired a car and drove ourselves around and the weekend getaway has me both recharged and relaxed.
On Friday night we wandered around Docklands (a bit like Sydney’s Ultimo/Pyrmont area) and found Medici, an Italian eatery where we had Pizza and Antipasto with great service from friendly staff and it was surprisingly reasonable, then some more Docklands wandering before home to a long hot soak in the bath and bed.
Saturday morning we met a mate I lived with in London, an Aussie called Ben, and we reminisced for the crew. Breakfast at Time Out in Federation Square was fun and full of laughter, catching up after about 15 years it felt like Ben and I had never spent a day apart, it was really magic. Kath and Jin adored him and the breakfast was YUMMO! I had Eggs Benedict, my favourite breakfast ever, sorry I can’t remember what everyone else ate.

Peony Melbourne Photo Essay

 Peony 1 window Kath Waples

Taking our leave of Ben we trotted out to Peony Melbourne, Australia’s best known and loved Haute Perfumery. I had written to the proprietor Jill and warned her of our coming and Clayton from What Men Should Smell Like had warned me that she is a beautiful, fun, vibrant lady who knows EVERYONE in the perfume world and more about fine fragrance than he or I will ever know.

Peony Jill:Portia sniffing

Peony Jill:Portia Rude Joke

Peony Jill:Portia Laughing

Clayton was right on for the money. Jill welcomed us in and talked, coached, guided and wandered us through her vast and beautifully presented collection in the shop. Kath was trying fresh citric fragrances with amber nuances, Jin was hoping to find an oudh and I wanted EVERYTHING!!!

Peony 2 wall

Peony 3 wall

Peony Jin:Portia

What did we end up buying? Kath found a lovely square black bottle called Haram
Jin had tried Mona di Orio’s Oud in Budapest and wanted to see if it was the one and Jill also introduced him to Creed’s Royal oud, which is my favourite of their whole line. Both hit his skin and they were worn and sniffed all evening and still Sunday morning there were traces of Mona di Orio’s lavish and luscious Oud hanging around and stuck fast to his watch band. I wonder which he will chose?

Peony 5 J:P MdO Oud

Peony 7 Mona di Orio

I was ready to shop and picked up some soaps by a brand that Victoria from Bois de Jasmin had written about recently, incense and a bottle of Naomi Goodsir’s Bois Encens. So freaking good that I could not leave it to languish in the Peony shelves. Review coming.

Peony 6 Card

Special thanks to my BFF Kath for these fabulous photos, and to the lovely Jill at Peony Melbourne. They send all over Australia and have a super online range.

Biggest kisses from

Portia xx

CQ`S Cooking Tips #3: Hommus + Pesto


Post by Val the Cookie Queen


Cookie Queen’s Infrequent Cooking Tips No 3

Hommus + Pesto

Hungry APJs? I greet you.

I am expecting five visitors from England and have been running round like a chipmunk on speed.

Chipmunk Running SeagullStevePhoto Stolen SeagullSteve

Turning my 20 year old bodybuilding, XBox playing son`s bedroom into a room for an 8 year old girl to have for a week. No mean feat I can tell you. Changing my teenage girl´s room into a small haven for the mum and dad I was stunned to find that there was actually a carpet on her floor. I had forgotten she had one. Two young lads coming along too, but I have bunged them in the attic. Washing, cleaning and of course cooking!!
Yay!! I can do that. Fast. Simple and bloody good. If I do say so myself.
It goes without saying that I baked a few cookies in the morning, and no, I will never share the recipes for them.

Since it is still warm here, and our southern hemisphere friends are getting ready for summer, I have made hummus and a batch of pesto, perfect summer food.

HUMMUS (Hommus for Aussies)

Hommus ExclusivelyFoodPhoto Stolen ExclusivelyFood

Soak about half a kilo of chickpeas for a few hours or overnight.
Cook them for about 50 minutes in the pressure cooker. Turn off and leave to cool down.
I then swirl them around in the water, lightly running them through my fingers, to remove the skins.
Pour the skins and water away. Keep doing it until most or all of the skin is gone. It really does make a difference to
the end result.

So now ……..
About 4 cups of cooked chickpeas
1 cup of tahini (sesame paste)
Juice of 2 or 3 lemons
A hefty amount of finely chopped garlic
A decent amount of salt
7 tablespoons of iced water

Put the chickpeas into a food processor. Process until mashed up.
Add the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt. Process some more.
Drizzle in the iced water, and then process/puree for 3 or 4 minutes.

Job done. (You can do the whole lot with a fork if you don´t have a mixer. It will just be coarser.)

Put into a nice serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil and decorate with whatever – chilies, parsley, cracked black pepper.

DO NOT ADD OIL WHEN MAKING THE HUMMUS ………. that is a western practice.

Serve with nice bread, raw vegetables, whatever. This is so good you will never buy it again. You can use canned chickpeas of course,
but cooking your own has the edge.

So that´s supper out the way.


Pesto Ingredients ThePleasuresOfThePalatePhoto Stolen ThePleasuresOfThePalate

Rinse out your food processor and make the pesto now. Please don´t buy pesto from the store. Ugh.

Around 2 cups of chopped basil
Maybe about half a cup of pine nuts
Half a cup of grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Crushed garlic to taste (anything fro 1 – 6 cloves!!)
Olive oil
Fresh squeezed half a lemon, maybe a little zest if you fancy


Put everything into the processor except the oil and lemon juice.
Process away, scraping down the sides.
Then drizzle the olive oil in until you have whatever consistency you like – hard to say how much, half a cup, more??
Add the lemon juice right at the end. It literally brightens it, and freshens it up. Beautifully. And fragrantly.

Put it into a jar, sealing it with a layer of olive oil.

Cook up a pot of linguine or spaghetti. Drain. Put a huge dollop of pesto into the bottom of a nice
serving bowl and put the noodles on top. Mix in well. Maybe grate some extra Parmesan on top.
Done. Serve with a large plate of sliced tomatoes and some goat´s cheese. Lunch is served.
There will be pesto leftover. Put it into a jar, and seal it with a layer of olive oil to keep it fresh.
Keeps for a while.

I suggest that when working with this much garlic, that you don´t apply any perfume until you have
finished and showered!! You all know what I think of perfume and garlic.

Let me know how you like it.


Stuff Portia Loved In 2012

Hey Crew,

Before you go any further jump back to our Triple Giveaway

I wanted to look back at the year of things that I’ve loved, that have made definite impressions on me, have changed the way I look at the world or craved/enjoyed/shared. Most of the non-fragrance things have been enjoyed with my Best Buddies and TSO Jin making them EXTRA special. I had to do a Top 20 Worn because it was impossible to curb, you are lucky it didn’t blow out to 200.

Best-of-2012 dyknowPhoto Stolen dyknow

Portia’s Top 5 Lists

FRAGRANCES WITH MOST SKIN TIME (Top 5 are highlighted)

Baiser Vole EdP- Cartier
Ballets Rouges- Olympic Orchids
Bellodgia EdP_ Caron
Brasil Dreams- Estee Lauder
Casmir- Chopard
Courage- One Seed
Dreamer- Versace
Guilty- GUCCI
Halle- Halle Berrry
L’Eau d’Navigeur- L’Artisan
Lou Lou- Cacharel
Lys Soleia- Guerlain
Matin d’Orage- Annick Goutal
Mohur- Neela Vermeire Creations
Nikki de Saint Phalle
Parfum de Maroc- Aftelier Perfumes
Shalimar- Guerlain
Trouble- Boucheron
Wild Ginger Chai- SOIVOHLE

NEW RELEASES (You try and make this list into 5)

Amouage- Interlude Man
Christian Dior La Collection Couturier Parfumeur – Oud Ispahan
Guerlain – Aqua Allegoria Lys Soleia
Keiko Mecheri – Un Jour d’Ete
L’Artisan Parfumeur – Seville a l’Aube
Naomi Goodsir – Cuir Velours
Neela Vermeire Creations – Mohur (I know but…)
Robert Piguet – Bois Noir
Serge Lutens – Santal Majuscule
Ys Uzac – Pohadka


Aftelier Perfumes
L’Artisan Parfumeurs
Neela Vermeire Creations
Olympic Orchids



FRAGRANCE BLOGS I ALWAYS READ (PerfumePosse obviously!)

Candy Perfume Boy
Olfactoria’s Travels
Perfume Shrine
Scents Of Self
The Alembicated Genie


Boscaiola Sauce
Home Made Nori Rolls
Spicy Korean Bar B Q
Chicken Penang Curry


American Idol
Family Guy
The Voice – Australia
Two Broke Girls
UK Got To Dance

MOVIES (sorry only LOVED four)

Snow White and the Huntsman
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

What were your #1 faves in each category? Why?

As we finish the year I want you to know how much you all mean to me. A LOT!! This blog continues because you all are awesome. Thank you readers, commenters, Guest Posters and regulars in all shapes and sizes.

To all the perfumers, houses, writers, shops and online presences that continually inspire and delight me.



Portia xx

MUSIC (I know there are 8!)

These are the songs that never left my playlist after they were released. This is the first time I’ve seen a couple of the videos too.

Alicia Keys – Girl On Fire

Ed Sheeran – A Team

Florence + The Machine – Shake It Out

Guy Sebastian – Battle Scars ft. Lupe Fiasco

Gavin DeGraw – Not Over You

KylieMinogue _ Timebomb

Mary J Blige – 25/8

No Doubt – Looking hot