Sunday, November 25, 2012

Comfort Cravings

I love winter because I can wear two of my most favourite things: all those gorgeous, resinous, heavy, vanilla perfumes and sweaters! Gosh, I love sweaters, all those fancy cashmere ones to 'nana chic' sweaters, mostly grey sweaters but love coloured ones too. I also love sweatshirts (I live in my med school/high school reunion sweatshirts) silk scarves and cute hats! And coats, oh, I love coats! It is safe to say I love warm clothes in general, a little excessively actually. I recently went shopping with a lovely new friend and she must have thought I am bit cray cray for sighing orgasmically at every sweater I looked at! I picked up this really soft and comfy sweater that is also quite stylish. It is the background of the picture above and seen here.

This winter, I have taken a deviation from my usual perfume liking of heavy resinous ones to warm, snugly, light perfumes. I still love an occasional spritz of Shalimar, all my intense ambers like Prada Intense, Tom Ford Amber Absolute, my most beloved Tobacco Vanille and a dab of my Snake Oil, but I seem to be hooked on comfort. The two perfumes I wear a lot these days are Love's True Bluish Light and Boo!

Ava Luxe: Love's True Bluish Light
The beauty of this lies in its simplicity. It is a simple blend of Vanilla and Musk. It smells innocent, pure and uncomplicated. The musk is gentle and delicate, very skin-like. Vanilla just adds a nice touch to the skin musk making it more graceful. It is such a pleasure to wear, it is something so gentle and so beautiful. It stays so close to the skin, like a dainty silk scarf rather than a woollen sweater but keeps you warm and comfortable.

Every time I wear this perfume, I am reminded of how many beautiful perfumes are made by Ava Luxe I need to get more of these gorgeous blends sometime very soon. My eyes are set on Madame X, Royal Parvati and Milk.

BPAL: Boo!
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab
LE for Halloween
"Eerie billows of spun sugar, fluttering white cotton, and sheets of cream"
It smells like milk and sugar! It is rich, warm, delicious, creamy milk with sugar and vanilla dissolved in it. The "fluttering white cotton" is adds something clean and a freshness to it. My bottle is from 2009 and it is well aged. When the bottle was new, I used to get the eeriness from something which I thought was incense. I also remember that it had a creme brule like burnt-smokiness to it, which was very mild but was still there. Now all that is gone and it is pure and simple milk and sugar - awesomeness! Boo has certainly got better with ageing. It is such a gorgeous scent to wear on cold winter night and stay in. It is so warm and comfortable.

I am also loving the entire Shea Butter range from The Body Shop, which I bought a ton of and some really nice body products from Molton Brown. After all, winter is indulgence time I enjoy the most, unlike summer where I struggle with 'fresh' perfumes and also with what to wear!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

I Swatched ALL My Lipsticks!

I did it because it was fun! I was cleaning today and chucked out many lipsticks that were old/smelly/gross and kept the good ones. So this is what I have that are less than a year old. Broadly classified as reds (those I hardly wear) and pinks (those I love to wear, but don't wear that much):
 Top row L-R L'Oreal Infallible Refined Ruby, L'Oreal Color Riche Serum Ardent Sunset, Shiseido Perfect Rouge RD 305, Elizabeth Arden Lush Red, Evil Shades Diabolical, NYX Violet Ray, NYX Peach, Ulta3 Plum Purple, Rimmel True Vintage, Estee Lauder Hot Kiss, Maybelline Copper
Bottom Row L-R Australis Flamenco, Tom Ford Pure Pink, Revlon ColourBurst Fuchsia, NYX Spellbound, NYX Gem, MAC Pink Frost, Innoxa Pink Peony, Lancome Color Fever (?), Rimmel Glamourous Pink, MNY Colorsensational Pinkalicious, NYX Rose Bud, L'Oreal Pretty Peach
 Top L-R L'Oreal Infallible Charismatic Coral, SAX Coral, MNY ColorSensational Madison Mauve, Australis LE1 (that pretty grape purple!), Revlon Colorburst Pink Nude, Elizabeth Arden Soft Rose.
Smashbox Demure and MNY's one other lipstick on the bottom left.

The truth is I haven't worn most of these in ages! I have been rotating the following three shades regularly over the past 6 months:
Dior Serum De Rouge 650, Elizabeth Arden Desert Rose and Lakme Absolute Day Kiss, all of which are almost the same shade of muted pink, no shimmer or frost, very wearable and they go with everything! I wear Rimmel Glamourous Pink more than others and Tom Ford Pure Pink when I feel indulgent and that is pretty much it.

I don't have a lot but surely think I have a lot more than I wear. Using just 3 out of 33 lipsticks is such a waste of 30 other lipsticks. I am stuck in a 'Lipstick Rut' perhaps? The sane thing to do is to wear more of what I have. But I am getting this sudden urge to go lipstick shopping for more wearable shades!

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Garden Bath: Chocolate Passion

Ever felt the urge to get something as soon as you read a great review about it? I am sure everyone has! For me it was this post on Dee's blog that made me buy The Garden Bath's perfume oil after about 5 minutes of reading it (and seeing how nice the bottle looks!). I trust Dee's chocolate perfume recommendations and bought a full size bottle of Chocolate Passion. Dee is so right! I love it! It is just as described:  "Dark, rich and almost sinful, like a scrumptious piece of moist chocolate cake covered with sweet fudge icing."  I don't find it overly sweet or too rich but just the perfect chocolate perfume oil. I am loving myself sick with Chocolate Passion slathered all over me! It needs to be applied generously and I am absolutely willing to do so!
I really love how adorable the bottle is! It is a square frosted glass bottle with a round cap and it is a roll-on! It is actually compact and tiny for a 10 ml bottle which makes it so cute! 
The dimensions of the bottle correspond roughly to the length of 1 ml sample vial.
It is a pleasure to deal with lovely Donna who owns the shop on Esty. She offers a sample with every purchase and she also let me choose a perfume from her unreleased Winter Limited Edition collection. I chose Pumpkin Pie and Winter Woods. Pumpkin Pie (LE for Halloween) is a light but delish pumpkin scent. Winter Woods is intriguing. It reminds me of fresh snow on pine trees! It smells of cold incense and pine on a woody (cedar?) base. It is unisex, leaning towards masculine but I really like to wear it. It would make an amazing room spray/candle. 

I am looking forward to all the new body lotions and other goodies Donna will come up with in future, as I have heard a great deal about them!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Smell Of Smoke: Firebird Woodsmoke&Vanilla And Cinders

The smell of smoke is my most favourite natural smell in the world. Burning wood, burning leaves, campfire, woodsmoke, firewood oven, warm fireplace...... a nostalgic smell, a smell that is cozy, outdoorsy and romantic. I have always imagined how good it would be to smell like smoky firewood. Enter Firebird's Woodsmoke & Vanilla = Life Complete! It is my smoky dream come true. Ultimate comfort scent for cold weather. It feels and smells like a warm fireplace on a cold night. It is a grounded and simple scent of burning fragrant wood. Vanilla is more resinous than sweet and makes the firewood smoke soft and mild. It is such a pleasure to wear. It is so good that I want to bathe in this stuff! (Yes, they make a soap too!)

Cinders: "Burning leaves, woodsmoke, and creamy, smoky raw beeswax. This is campfires and hearth fires and a cabin in the mountains heated by wood stove and lit with candles. The smell on your clothes from tending the fire. The smell in the air after the light flickers out."
Cinders is much more complex than I imagined. It smells like beewax and maple syrup at first. On my skin, it has a kind of pine/camphor/fresh/juniper thing going on, but they are all burning! It has a fine underlay of smoke which comes out as the pine, etc. fades and the maple syrup turns into the smell of maple leaves. The result is the smell of burning maple leaves! The smell has grown on me and has become quite nice and enjoyable to wear as a perfume. It is a very realistic smell, perfect for autumn and cold weather. I advice to sample first, though I don't regret getting a full size straight away.

Firebird Bath and Body, (used to be called Flourish before) is an Etsy store with nice perfumes and awesome service. My order was here in just a week after I bought. The full size (15ml) perfume oil roll-on costs $9USD and you can get 3 samples for $5USD. They smell close to skin and need to be reapplied after a few hours which I can do with pleasure! Roll-on makes it more convenient to do so. They also have some nice looking soaps and lotions which are on my wish list.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Walk Into My Wardrobe: Organising Makeup, Perfumes & Clothes

As a final step of the move, we got our boxes delivered from Australia yesterday. I think we have officially moved to UK now. It took 4 whole months for the freight. I was getting fed up of waiting and fed up of living with minimum makeup, skin care and clothes. I couldn't even justify buying, say a blush because I would get about 10 if I waited. Finally, I am so glad to see all my stuff again. 

Everything got here fine, expect for a leak from my Aveda bath oil (the whole box smelt like mashes flowers!), a few powder spills from those tiny mineral makeup samples and moist-smelling clothes (will take me a week to do the laundry!). I can't find a few of my skin care stuff and a few brand new conditioners and shampoos I bought just before leaving. I haven't opened all the boxes yet, so here's to hoping they are in one of them.

It took me all of yesterday (and a couple of ibupropens) for unpacking and organising. Let's just not get into the boring stuff like electronics and books and go straight to interesting things! After toiling for 3 or 4 hours, this is how my walk-in wardrobe looks! There are a few boxes and a few huge suitcases but the room is also serving us as a store room.
Welcome! The white chest of drawers looks out of place with the rest.
Three drawers each containing makeup, perfumes and extras respectively.
Clothes on rotation. Bare minimum warm clothes. Summer clothes are in a plastic box.
I know, I don't have many clothes. It is not as easy to shop for clothes as easy as it is to shop for makeup or perfume!
Dressing table (just a shelf, really) L-R: hair care, compacts, deodorants, jewellery boxes, skin care, brushes, everyday face stuff, mascaras, pencil stand with eyeliners, cutlery stand (!) with mascaras and lip glosses, a box of lipsticks
Makeup chest.
I have this habit of keeping the packaging of makeup and perfumes. Keeping perfumes in their original boxes is normal I guess, but keeping the packaging of makeup is a bit insane. Is it a feature of hoarding or OCD? I don't know but it always comes in handy while packing and unpacking. It feels nice to see things in their little homes!
Perfume chest. full sizes, perfume oils, samples, decants, miniatures.

Drawer with extras. Reserve skin care. The red bag has Skin Physics LED Photon thing (Aveda oil spill on the white box!). There are 2 hair straighteners. The pink makeup bag has been stuffed with nail polishes and pigment pots of mineral makeup. The black makeup case has perfume samples stuffed in it.
I didn't take a lot of 'before' pictures because I was taken aback by the task ahead of unpacking and organising. I had two little mountains to deal with! One is an avalanche of makeup and second, a heap of samples. Some makeup was organised and what couldn't deal with went into the aforementioned pink bag. The samples went into the black bag.

 One thing I was nervous about was my perfume oil bottles breaking. I did not use any bubble wrap for packing. I tightly packed the glass bottles in a box, so that there was no space in between them to clash and break. The samples are in an empty plastic box (Natio body butter box) and a few in little cardboard cartons (packaging of L'Occitane creams). I am glad to report no breakages.

I did a wise thing by downsizing my perfumes and makeup collection before I moved. I have all I need and more. I have lived for 4 months with minimum things and survived. I feel I have enough for a lifetime now!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Lush Gorilla Perfumes 2012: Set In Stone - The Bug

I hardly ever enter a Lush store because the mixed smell of all those essential oil laden products simply overwhelms me. It somehow becomes this herbal chemical stuff that I can't stand. If you want to know more, here are the reasons why I am not a fan.
I happened to go a Lush store to check out the Emotional Brilliance cosmetics which I have been lusting after for a long time. When I spotted the new range of Gorilla perfumes, I proceeded to try them out, with much apprehension as I knew I would end up with a headache! The SA was very enthusiastic about them and we had a chat about how the only smell I like from Lush is Honey, I Washed The Kids. Gauging my taste, she showed me two perfumes which she thought I would like. They were Sun, a really orangey/citrus fragrance and Furze, which is a vanilla coconut smell, both of which apparently are best sellers. After spending some more time trying different ones (there are 10 new ones!) and testing a few on my skin, I walked out of the store and went on with my shopping. After getting a coffee and spending sometime at T K Maxx, I fell in love with the smell on my wrist! I did not know what Gorilla perfume it was but it smelt really nice! I went back to Lush and bought The Bug!

The new range of Gorilla perfumes from Lush is inspired by the stone circles, (the Stone Henge) and the nature and natural ingredients surrounding the stones and the English Countryside in general. Read all about them here. There are 10 perfumes, all made of natural essential oils. They come in various sizes, have different prices. I picked up The Bug in a 7 ml tiny bottle for £14.

Here is video of the launch: LushFest 2012: Set In Stone range of perfumes. People are sniffing stones! It looks like a totally bizarre New Age hippie circle in the woods, performing some kind of ceremonial chanting! Gosh, I wish I was there! I would have totally enjoyed the stone smelling thing!

The Bug: Lush says "Inspired by the paranoia of the modern age (and a track by the same name), this perfume was introduced by walking people through a dark corridor full of clips from cctv footage and glowing uv-lights. The perfume contains galbanum and black pepper."

(The Bug paranoia reminds of Ashley Judd's movie The Bug, which is a wacky psychological thriller!)

All these perfumes smell very powerful at the first sniff, very head shop like and too strong to even know what I am smelling. The Bug is no different. If I hadn't tried it on my skin, I would not even given these perfumes a second glance. The label says it has: Labdanum, Sandalwood, Elemi, Galbanum. No wonder I like it! The Bug is an arid but a warm perfume. 

The Bug is a green perfume, a really, really green perfume. It is all about Galbanum. The greenness is realistic, like sap and quite strong. It becomes softer as it progresses but it takes a long time to settle down when some more softer resins start to emerge. It turns into a dry, woody, ambery and balmy perfume. There is still a lot of powdery, green, slightly herbal galbanum. Its thick balsamic nature is so dry yet so soothing and so sensual. I want to call the dry down a dry, warm green sap, if anything like that ever exists. If you are a fan of labdanum or amber this is a must try. It reminds me of Agent Provcateur Strip and the Ambers from Prada. Those ambers with a lot of galbanum, that is how The Bug smells!

These perfumes are not for everyone (I'd never have imagined to like any of them) but I am sure they will strike a chord with many, especially Lush lovers. The perfumes are in alcohol form with a looming presence of the essential oils, which is kind of a turn off for me, as with Lush in general. I am glad I waited out till the perfume tamed on my skin. It is a nice perfume afterall. Other perfumes I liked are A Voice Of Reason, a smoky woody floral scent (it smells like cigarette smoke and flowers!), The Devil's Nightcap, a mossy floral and Flower's Barrow which is a berry floral. I don't think I'll jump to buy them before properly testing on my skin. The little bottles are cute and well priced (£10 to £20 for 7 mls, depending on the perfume). 

Because I finally liked a Lush perfume enough to buy, I also bought 2 ml set of old perfumes, the Exclusives to try out in the comfort of my home, without being surrounded by all the smells in the shop. Let's see how they fare on me!