Neela Vermeire Creations: Summer Vacation Memories + GIVEAWAY

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Sandra

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Hey there APJ! How have you all been doing?

Summer has gone by in a flash here. The schools only have six weeks of vacation which in my mind is too short. That aside, it was a fantastic summer here in the Netherlands with high temperatures and no rain. You see, I love the heat and sunshine.

Neela Vermeire Creations

So, in order to get my yearly fix of heat and sunshine I flew with my son to Atlanta to visit my parents and see family and friends. I decided to travel with a couple of Neela Vermeire Creations perfumes.

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How I Met Portia. My Five Year APJ Contributor Anniversary. And a Lemming.

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Val the Cookie Queen

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Hey APJ

I think it was around the end of 2012 that I read the APJ post where Portia announced that he was coming to Europe; along with the cities and dates that he would be around. So happy to see Vienna on the list, and not only that, I was actually gonna be in Vienna the day he was there. I emailed him asking if he’d like to meet up and I would bring cookies. We arranged to meet at the Café Mozart. I asked my daughter (the future BlondesWunder) to come along with me, as I was a bit out of practice at meeting random Aussie drag queens.

How I Met Portia.

Vienna

Some of you know this story, you can skip the next bit. We had absolutely no clue as to what Portia looked like, nor if he would turn up in drag. It was a biting cold day as we stood outside the Café Mozart. As each person approached BlondesWunder and I would be staring like crazy women, wondering if it might be Portia. To no avail. We walked Into the Café to take look, but no one stood out as Portia Turbo Gear. Nope. Back outside we went. And then my phone rang, with and Australian calling code, Portia
telling us he was in the Café, over to the left of the entrance, and could be found wearing a M&S style vaguely Christmasy woolly. Which is of course exactly what I was expecting. I still laugh.

I know this picture has been used any times, we have no other one really from when I met Portia, but let’s look a little closer. Between Portia and my head, in the mirror is Hannah BlondesWunder taking the pic. To the right of Portia`s head, also reflected in the mirror, is Jin busy taking a few shots too. Behind the sugar shaker is the Chanel bag I had bought 31 Rue Cambon in a few months early. You might notice the bag is pimped with an armadillo sticker, and it was packed with cookies. And if you look really closely you can see that my ear is red. When I get nervous, or over excited, it does that. So annoying and a dead giveaway to those who know me. 🙂

My Five Year APJ Contributor Anniversary.

“Its been five years, my brain hurts a lot …..“ Bowie

APJ had not even had its first birthday when we met. As we drank tea and talked I said to Portia, hey, I could write something for APJ huh? I thought maybe once or twice. He´s like yeah, totally. And now it has been five years to the very day. Tuesday 13 March 2013 – Tuesday 13 March 2018. Five bloody years of running around like the proverbial chipmunk on crack, wondering what to write, and if I can meet my deadline. It was on this day in Vienna that I became Cookie Queen. It truly changed my life, and opened so many doors for me, I wouldn’t know where to begin. Portia, please may I say another five?

And a Lemming.

Fragrantica

Christian Dior Oud Ispahan – A Lemming

Before Christmas I met up with APJ`s Sandra and the lovely Lady Jane Grey. LJG gave me decant of seven or eight mls of Dior´s Oud Ispahan, and I have used the lot. I have wanted to get into this oud thing but never liked it. I find the stuff very interesting and was privileged to to try a number of pure ouds when I visited Ellen Covey in Seattle a few years ago. But never say never, and I have totally fallen for this Dior. I don’t care if it is real oud or not real oud, the perfume is gorgeous. And I want it. Do I want a whole bottle? You can bet your ass I do. But as I have grown older I have gained a little wisdom so here’s what I am gonna do. LJG has offered to refill my bottle. (It is now empty). If I continue to wear it the way I have been, then yeah, I will buy a bottle. Portia said they do 40ml bottles in Paris, anyone know if they do that I all the CD boutiques?

Thanks to every single reader and commenter over the years. I love the APJ Family.

Celebratory Bussis
CQ.

Saturday Question: What Do You Wear To Travel?

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Portia

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Hello Fellow Fumies,

Every Saturday we have a Question, an idea purloined from Olfactoria’s Travels. Everyone gets to chime in with an answer, chat with other responders and it is a fun event each week. Taking sides never means taking offence and everyone keeps it respectful and light, even though we can sometimes trawl the depths.

The idea is you’ll see it on the weekend or chime in through the week. Hopefully you will come back and see if anyone has responded to your comment and you can reply to them.

Over 100 responses I will draw a $10 Surrender To Chance Gift Card.
Over 200 responses I will draw a $20 Surrender To Chance Gift Card.
Comment purposefully on yours or anothers comment & you’ll have a chance, random.org will draw on Friday.

Last Weeks Winner:

eMail me at (portia underscore turbo at yahoo dot com dot au) with the eMail you’d like me to send your Gift Card to.

Saturday Question:

What Do You Wear To Travel?

It’s an old conundrum for me. I’m never quite sure what is the best option and usually either madly overpack or go in the opposite direction and leave myself without any choice at all. There is the flying scent, daytime scent, evenings, dressed up, casual, something to impress and something for comfort. Really that is just scratching the surface too.

Here is my current Scent Box, ready for travel and adventures.

Recently I have twice packed my scent box that goes in my checked baggage and left it on my desk. This leaves me with only the couple I carry onboard and if I’m very lucky a couple I’ve stashed in my wetpack.

My Answer:

Flying: This is the hardest one for me. I have a few favourites for flying but the number one for ease and comfort is The Different Company Oriental Lounge. Unlike many oriental fragrances it is sheer and light but still manages to smell great and lasts for even the longest flight. Even though I’m a crumpled and rumpled mess I smell fresh and warm, totally huggable.

On my one and only ever First Class trip I was showering in the Bangkok Thai First Class Lounge but had left my glasses outside with Michael. I grabbed a decant at random and triple spritzed. It was Mugler A*Men. I was ridiculously fragrant through the whole journey. Thank goodness I was in first and not Economy, the close quarters could have killed someone.
On the way back I dropped my bottle of The Different Company Oriental Lounge in the same bathroom. HA! Very dramatic, but the place smelled fabulous.

Daytime: My favourite ever travelling fragrance for days is vintage Miss Dior parfum. It fits every situation and smells completely different to anything else I smell on people the world over. I know I bang on about it endlessly but it is seriously the best choice for me.

A very close second are Jacomo Silences PdT and Niki de Saint Phalle. These dry green chypres are also poles apart from what the world is wearing so without being freaky my scent stands heard and shoulders above the rest of humanity.

Nights: Amouage Ubar is the winner here. I don’t always take it with me but when I do it gets worn almost every evening. It is easily my favourite Amouage fragrance and it works in the heat or cool.

One that I try to take every time is Guerlain Mitsouko EdT. When I think comfort crossed with haughty grandeur Mitsouko wins hands down. I also have so much, bought every time I see a bargain, that I love the chance to get it out and use it up. No matter where I am or what is happening Mitsouko fits the bill and smells bloody terrific.

My Saturday Question to you is:

What Do You Wear To Travel?

 

 

Saturday Question: Holiday Lottery

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Portia

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Hello Fellow Fumies,

Every Saturday we have a Question, an idea purloined from Olfactoria’s Travels. Everyone gets to chime in with an answer, chat with other responders and it is a fun event each week. Taking sides never means taking offence and everyone keeps it respectful and light, even though we can sometimes trawl the depths.

The idea is you’ll see it on the weekend or chime in through the week. Hopefully you will come back and see if anyone has responded to your comment and you can reply to them.

Over 100 responses I will draw a $10 Surrender To Chance Gift Card.
Over 200 responses I will draw a $20 Surrender To Chance Gift Card.
Comment purposefully on yours or anothers comment & you’ll have a chance, random.org will draw on Friday.

Last Weeks Winner: Old Herbaceous $10 Surrender To Chance Gift Card

eMail me at (portia underscore turbo at yahoo dot com dot au) with the eMail you’d like me to send your Gift Card to.

Saturday Question: Holiday Lottery

This weeks idea is a little different to our regular fragrance question. Imagine there was a Holiday Lottery. You would buy a ticket and WIN, obviously, and the prize would be a 4 week, all expenses paid holiday for 4 people anywhere on earth. There’s a couple of catches though. If you have a partner, or BFF, then they can be one person if you’d like. The other people must be interesting people that most of us would have heard of: Politicians, Sports heroes, Designers, Journalists, Actors, Directors, Perfumers, Activists, Medical people, Authors etc.
You also have to choose where you go on your holiday. Make it somewhere that you will be forced to interact and talk.

 

My Answer:

OK, no surprise to you all that I choose to take Jin. He’s excellent company and good at thinking his way around situations. He also has a pretty easy going personality that is perfect for smoothing ruffled feathers (mine usually). Having been together for a few years we also are getting pretty good at reading each other, important.

Sandra Bullock. I know, she’s not who I’d have though I would want along either but she fascinates me. I’ve been watching her movies for decades, have laughed, cried, loved and everything else with her along the way. I completely lose myself in her films and she has a way of melting herself into a role that makes each one special. Somehow though I don’t feel as if I know her at all and I have a feeling she would be epically cool. She has played the Hollywood game so much better than almost everyone else and that takes brains as well as talent and luck. I bet she would be a really interesting travel companion.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brigitte_Macron_(2017).JPG

Brigitte Macron. The wife of the French President and his former High School Drama Teacher. This is a cool and classy woman, she is clearly adored by her husband and in my mind I think she would be an excellent conversationalist. She also looks like fun. I am hoping she would have some wonderful stories about her life, could help me understand French politics or politics in general a bit better and maybe also share some motivational tips. She is a woman who power seems to have settled on lightly and through all the odious stuff has sailed flawlessly above.

Where? Where could the four of us go that would allow us to see a part of the world I’d not imagined wanting to visit. Somewhere that would need us to be quite resourceful and work together as a team yet give us ample time to discuss lives, the meaning of the universe and to share ourselves.

My mate Janek and a small group walked the Italian Dolomites this month. It’s supposed to be an 11 day hike right over the top but they did it in 6. It looked so ridiculously amazing that I am inspired to do it myself. There are guest houses and cabins along the way, you can get a guide and it can all be done at a very reasonable pace. Obviously these guys are fit and were up for a challenge but I’ve been looking into it and there are treks so well paved that wheelchairs can do them. So what you do is get a guide who can help choose your level.

Edited from Janek: Feeling on top of the world, truly. Such a huge sense of accomplishment having just completed the 139km Alta Via 1 hike through the Dolomites in the Italian Alps. It took us six full days even though the recommendation is 11. It was the hardest, most challenging thing I’ve ever done. But ultimately so rewarding. Actually indescribable. And so many beautiful moments. At times I seriously doubted my abilities which was weird. Ascents seemed impossible to me. Totally not passable. But id just put one painful foot in front of the other and somehow made it to the end where we hugged it out. The bond we built with each other will be cherished always.

 

My Saturday Question to you is:

Who would be your three companions, where would you go and why?

Scent Diary: 27.3 – 2.4.17

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Portia

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Scent Diary: 27.3 – 2.4.17

Monday 27:

Breakfast! Jin is sound asleep. Last night he was feeling a bit poorly so I filled him with a bottle of wine and gave him a sleeping tablet. Breakfast became a chatter with a couple of Scottish girls who work at the Royal Botanic Gardens there, on the way to a convention. Then one of the couple asked if we were perfume…..  YIPPEEEE!

Instantly we started talking about frags and I had bought a bottle of their Lily of the Valley fragrance. The group is called Detaille and they have a new bunch of frags out this season, Louis and his wife Christine. He was so sweet and passionate about their fragrances. Even made one of the newest range especially for Christine, with her involvement. She was wearing it to breakfast so proudly.

So, obviously I wore Detaille Bois d’Oud. It’s a nice, wearable, synth oud. Not too swanky, won’t scare the Grandmas or the teens away, and has a very comfortable wear. No boundary pusher but done nicely. Review to come.

Jin & I then flew to London and met up with Tara from A Bottled rose and my Aussie mate Andrew and his partner Renato. We all went and had a fantastic Italian dinner and spent the evening laughing, reminiscing and trying to talk Jin into seeing Dreamgirls the musical. sadly it’s booked out the time we had free.

Tuesday 28:

OMG! Today was huge. Last night Jin decided that our bed was unsleepable, it had prolapsed in the middle and he was having none of it. Realising that my sleep depended on his I went down to do battle. We were upgraded to a suite for our stay! So late night move. Woo Hoo! Don’t stay here though, it’s shit.

Early we were up to have the crap breakfast included. Seriously! No fucking milk?

Spritzed liberally in Rose Oud by Yves Rocher.

Off to get a rental car. Jin just smiles at people and they fall under his spell so instead of a FIAT 500 (which I adore) we end up in a brand new JEEP Cherokee (Tank). Super comfortable though and it was heaven on our adventures.

We set off for Windsor Castle in the dreamy spring sunshine and really enjoyed our castle tour with Audio Guides. We saw the Dolls house, the Royal Apartments and some of the outside. It was really lovely, interesting, historic and a few of the rooms were so ornate they could have been French or Austro-Hungarian.

Then we drove up to Bath. I don’t know why I’ve never been before. It was the site of so many historic societal comedy/drama novels that I read. Anyway, we got there and it’s as gorgeous as they say. PERFECT! Saw the watergate, cathedral and Roman baths. It was an excellent stop and I would love to spend a few days there one day.

Lastly we drove over to Stonehenge. All the advice we’d researched was that it closed at 5pm. That much is true BUT the entrance is closed at 3pm. So at 4pm when we arrived we were unable to enter. Both Jin and I were gutted. It was to be the highlight of a long fabulous day and ……..

The second shot is a weird one, no filters or anything. It was taken a second after the first with the same camera and this is the shot. No alteration of the image has taken place at all. Spooky, huh?

So, off to a Paddington Fish & Chip store we went for delicious dinner and a wander around till we got home. Bed. Bliss.

Had a late shower and wore a big fat spritz of Miss Dior vintage parfum.

Wednesday 29:

So Jin and I both woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning and we had a contretemps. This was not helped one bit by the fact that our shit hotel had no hot water for showers in the morning and we both showered cold. What a fucking shit hole.  All was fortunately resolved as we left for breakfast though.

My morning spritz was Bois d’Oud by Detaille again. It’s really nice.

First stop was the National Portrait Gallery near Trafalgar Square where we shared a croissant and pot of tea for 4 quid. I loved wandering around but Jin was bored to death. He sat down and played with his phone while I wandered the halls.

Then off to Liberty London.I had to meet Lila’s son for a fragrant pick up. OMG! He’s so bloody gorgeous that I couldn’t focus on the job at hand and stumbled over my words. Adorable. No I didn’t take a photo.

Jin went to the basement for a haircut and beard trim while an old mate of mine, rock photographer, James Sharrock and his beautiful daughter Eva joined us for lunch at the LibertyCafe on the 2nd floor. Jin came, said his hellos and then went off for an adventure while James and I wandered Liberty for an hour or so before Eva made it clear she was over it.

When I got home I spritzed Palissandre d`Or by Aedes de Venustas. Oh the heavenly woodsy woods.

In the evening we met up with Tara again and her delightful sister Lisa. OMG! We had a ball. Italian food, loads of laughs and then a wander around Paddington. Perfect last night in London.

Shower and a hefty spritz of Mitzah by DIOR before bed.

Thursday 30:

Final morning together in Europe on our 2017 adventure. Jin and I love each other but being in each others company non-stop for a month was starting to wear thin. We had a really nice wander through Hyde Park, grabbed a typical UK pub breakfast, wandered up to Selfridge & Co and Primark and then grabbed an Uber to Heathrow. It was a perfect, low key, holding hands kinda ending to a spectacular holiday.

At the Korean Air Check In Desk we scored the beautiful, smiley and super helpful Kristine. We kept coming back to her because of silly dramas and she never once rolled her eyes or gave a hint that we were the asshole passengers we knew ourselves to be.

Upshot of all that was EMERGENCY ROW! Yay! More room but near the babies, comfortable but loud. Still it was a win.

Friday 31:

Arriving in Incheon Airport was bittersweet. On the Upside it’s my favourite airport and there’s so much to see & do. On the Downside Jin went off to catch a train to see his Mum & Dad for a few days. To make myself feel better I spritzed heavily with Parfum d’Empire Equistrius.

Fragrantica

I grabbed 2 hours real sleep in the By The Hour hotel, only $21/hour. Clean, comfortable and you can see me in my undies in the mirror, sorry about that.

Korean Air is excellent and cheap. The bathrooms onboard are kept spotless, food is good and even in the economy rows it’s quite roomy.

Saturday 1:

HOME! In the arrivals hall I triple spritzed myself with the new Guerlain Shalimar EdP which is very nice. Exactly the right amount of growl and purr for a returning traveller.

Sydney put on a beautiful blue morning, my BFF Kath picked me up at the airport and drove me home where Scott, who had been house minding, waited. Perfect lazy day lying on the couch reading, doing laundry and then paying some bills and blogging. Sweet.

Sunday 2:

There’s too much fragrant choice here. HA HA HA! After living with a mini collection for a month it’s all a bit overwhelming to come back to this room bursting at the seams with scent so for something easy, smooth and comfy it was CHANEL Boy. Perfect cool autumn wear. Then one of my BFFs Alice dropped over and we spritzed a bunch of stuff.

I grabbed an old favourite for work today too, 1000 EdT by Jean Patou. Not a new pic but this bottle.

Now you’ve read through my adventures, how was your week? Do anything interesting or wear something fragrant? Share please. I love to read your stories too.
Portia xxx

 

Europe 2017: Jin & Portia’s Big Adventure

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Portia

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Hey there APJ,

Jin and I leave for our holidays on Tuesday, yes tomorrow. Bags are packed. Friends over for dinner tonight and Jin has done a huge plate of meat & veg that we all make our own Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls from. He is an artist at it and it’s one of my favourite things he does. So fresh, healthy and delicious.

europe_topography_map_en Europe 2017

Europe 2017: Jin & Portia’s Big Adventure

So where are we off to? Here’s a run down of our dates & cities. It’s mainly a driving holiday with a couple of short flights added in for ease and comfort. So the dates are the nights we spend in each city. All dates are in March. Everything in bold is a city we have never been to before, exciting.

8/9/10: Prague, Czech

11/12: Zilina, Slovakia

13/14: Berlin, Germany

15/16: Hamburg, Germany

17: Hanover, Germany

18: Rotterdam, Netherlands

19/20: Luxembourg

21/22/23: Paris

24/25/26: Milan, Italy

27/28/29: London, UK

So that’s where we’ll be. Should you be in any of this cities or nearby and like a catch up, food, sight seeing or a sniff then please tell us where you are in the comments below and we’ll try and organise something.

What frags am I taking? I’m not sure but I’m very tempted to take only Parfum d’Empire Equistrius and Patou 1000.

Here we come Europe, can’t wait to see you.
Portia xxx