Thursday, 28 June 2012

Snapshots from My Phone

Photography is one of my passions, I don’t always have my DSLR with me though so when I want to snap a quick picture I usually reach for my mobile phone camera. Due to my extra-ordinary ineptitude with touchscreen phones that camera is a 2mp point-and-shoot housed within my increasingly ancient LG Shine (that’s right, I’m the proud owner of possibly the coolest phone of 2007! Hehe) Over the last five years it has served me well and I’ve amassed a huge collection of mobile phone snapshots, here are some of my favourites, collaged together like Instagram for the non-smart phone user: 

From left to right
~ A burnished silver Buddha from Next 
~ Ice lolly shaped sponge and other bath goodies from M&S 
~ The shape of a horse leaping from the flames at last year’s bonfire night 
~ The new Northumbria University campus at Newcastle
~ Giant butterflies suspended from the ceiling in a local shopping centre 
~ The spectacular fountain at Alnwick Gardens 
~ A gorgeous rose bouquet I was gifted for my birthday
 ~ A cute display of cupcake shaped lip balms, scented wet wipes and Russian dolls in Accessorize 
~ A single pink rose 
~ Guildford castle, Surrey
~ Criss-crossing escalators and skylight in Debenhams 
~ Canada…or is it? The Florida version at the world showcase, Epcot 
~ The undisputed king of doughnuts…a Krispy Kreme with limited edition orange glaze
 ~ Key Lime pie on board the Oasis of the Seas cruise ship 
~ An old fashioned (but still fully working!) petrol station in Barnard Castle, County Durham 
~ A shoe shaped cake at the Cake International show NEC Birmingham
 ~ An adorable cake and patisserie shop in London 
~ ‘The Village’ luxury designer shopping in Westfield, London 
~ Another amazing cake creation at the Cake International show 
~ A patriotic Union Jack shop display


Wednesday, 27 June 2012

My Perfume Collection Part 2: Accessories and Storage


In part 1 of this post I talked about my current perfume collection, I’m now going to explain how I store my perfumes and look at some accessories that you can buy to compliment your favourite fragrances.
I’ve seen a lot of people display their perfumes beautifully on vanities or dressing tables on glass trays, it’s only natural to want to show off gorgeous bottles but exposing fragrances to light or heat can lead to them deteriorating faster than they otherwise would. Keeping them cool and out of direct sunlight can really help to prolong their lifespan by a number of years.

I use a box that came with my Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely perfume gift set, I lined the bottom with a couple of sheets of tissue paper and placed my perfume bottles carefully inside. I usually try to stand them upright to avoid spillages but where this isn’t possible with the larger bottles I just recline them slightly against the side. The box sits on a shelf in my wardrobe where I see it every time I open the door to get clothes out, not only does it look pretty but I know it’s helping to preserve my favourite perfumes. I usually expect them to last three to four years (although I’ve had some keep significantly longer!) stored like this. When a perfume starts to change colour or darken or just generally start to smell different I know it’s time to get rid of it. 

As perfumes vary in strength (a perfume is really a blend of fragrance oils with alcohol and/or water, the most concentrated version a ‘Parfum’ is usually between 15-25% perfume oil, an ‘Eau de Parfum’ or ‘EDP’ is 8-15% and an ‘Eau de Toilette’ is 4-10%) some will last longer than others on the skin. To help retain the fragrance I will sometimes use a matching body lotion then very lightly spritz the perfume on top, as they evaporate much faster from dry skin the moisture from the lotion slows this process down and helps the fragrance last all day.

I like to have a little of my fragrance with me but carrying a heavy glass bottle around is far from ideal though so I invested in a Travalo, the pocket-sized atomiser designed to be quick and easy to fill (through a valve in the bottom) and hold approximately 4ml of perfume, enough for 50 sprays. It’s a great idea… in theory however in practice I discovered it’s not compatible with all perfume bottles so I had to purchase an empty spray bottle to decant some of my fragrances into before transferring them to the Travalo.

My final perfume tip I use to keep my handbags smelling lovely and fresh when I store them. Spraying perfume directly onto leather or fabrics is never a good idea as it can stain them so instead I use the paper swatches found in department stores and chemists for trying out fragrances, I spray one a couple of times with perfume, let it dry for a second and pop it in my handbag before I store it away in its dust bag. The perfume leaves a subtle fragrance and stops the bag smelling musty. You can use exactly the same tip to keep drawers smelling sweet. 

Hope you enjoyed this mammoth double post, what are your favourite perfumes? Do you have any tips or tricks to share? 


Wednesday, 20 June 2012

My Perfume Collection Part 1: Fragrances

I’ve always loved perfume since I was a little girl. Even a dab of a gorgeous fragrance can lift my mood and leave me feeling more confident and ready to face the world! I don’t have one particular favourite perfume I wear all the time but rather I like experimenting and trying out new ones. I have a relatively small collection of ten or so perfumes at the moment, a real mixture of highstreet, celebrity and designer perfumes; some expensive, some cheap, some tried-and-tested favourites, others bought on a whim. In this the first of two posts about my perfume collection I’d like to briefly introduce each fragrance and tell you a little more about it

One of my all-time favourite perfumes is Kenzo Flower. I must have gone through five or six bottles of this gorgeous fragrance since an aunt first bought it for me for Christmas a few years ago. It’s floral and exotic yet really crisp. I love the bottle too- it looks so sculptural!
Another Christmas present, this time from just last year is Ghost Sweetheart. Like the name suggests this perfume is sugary sweet, I like it but a little definitely goes a long way.

A limited edition version of Organza, Givenchy Organza First Light is undoubtedly one of my favourite fragrances ever. Sadly I’ve only ever owned this one bottle as it was discontinued shortly after I bought it. It’s similar to the original Organza but more light and playful, making it perfect for day or evening. 

The next perfume, Donna Karan Cashmere Mist I’d never heard of until I came across it tucked away inconspicuously in a corner of in my local department store and instantly fell in love with it. It’s a wonderfully warm fragrance with subtle floral hints. Whenever I wear it I always get lots of compliments on it.

Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely  is another perfume I was bought as a gift years ago and have since worked my way through several more bottles. It’s so delicate and feminine I find myself reaching for it again and again. Even though so-called ‘celebrity’ perfumes are often derided I think this can easily compete with any high-end fragrance.

Dolce & Gabbana The One  oozes glamour and sophistication. I love this perfume for an evening out or a meal at a nice restaurant.

Sean John Unforgivable Woman  is quite different from the type of fragrance I usually go for, and not only because it was created by hip hop star turned clothing designer Sean John “Puff Daddy/P.Diddy” Combs! Influenced by his male fragrance line this perfume has definite masculine characteristics, it’s rich and strong but at the same time has floral notes to add femininity. It may not be for everyone but I really like it.   

Next Just Pink  was bought for me by my friend as part of a lovely gift set. The fragrance is incredibly fresh, sweet and girly- perfect for summer days!

I love Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb not least because of its ingeniously grenade shaped bottle complete with flower pin (mine fell off the first time I opened the box unfortunately). It’s a flowery but with a crisp, modern edge.

Another celebrity perfume I really like is Intimately Beckham. Like Ms. Beckham’s catwalk collections this surprises with just how sophisticated it is. It has a lovely depth to it with multi-layered floral and woody notes.

Finally Dior's Miss Dior Original, a perfume that despite the diminutive name is one of the most mature fragrances I own. Very classic and very chic, this perfume adds instant elegance.

Well that’s it for part 1, if I’ve inspired you to try any of the fragrances I’ve mentioned I’ve included links where you can purchase them online, where possible I’ve tried to find the best available price for each one although I cannot personally verify any of the websites.

Look out for part 2 coming soon!

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