As much as I love Byredo candles, and will buy them again, for once I decided to try something new. Having seen Overose candles around I decided to splurge on one of them. They are not cheap because apparently making a decent scented candle that cost less than a pound of flesh is impossible but it’s worth it. We can get the “similar to Byredo look of the label” comment out-of-the-way immediately. I agree, it does look like one of theirs. This scent though is a lot more powdery then anything I have ever gotten from Ben Gorhams line. It smells like the inside of a posh Italian ladies handbag, and I mean that as the highest of compliments. I have a thing for that. On the box it mentiones amber, benzoin resin,labdanum, vanilla and sandal wood. Also it mentions Himalyan Spikenard and I don’t even know what that is but it sounds cool. I once had a candle from Caffé Florian in Venice that smelled like this (or maybe it was a room spray?). I know I’ve had at least one candle that was similar and that one was a collaboration between a Swedish company and an artist that lives in Milan (I’m referring to Liselott Watkins). I should have stocked up on them. There is something about this candle that to me smells very sophisticated and un-Swedish. I find it very easy to pretend I’m elsewhere.
Another way to be transported to another place, and time, is obviously books. I’m currently reading Gengis Khan by Frank McLynn and I’m really enjoying it. I don’t think that he always strikes the balance between detail and flow in the way I would have liked but who am I to judge? I don’t write books and I give people too much detail always. The point is: of course Gengis Khan is not the brute that we kind of imagine being uninformed about that period in history, and certain people within the Chinese history have done a good job of telling the story of how the were occupied by uncivilized horsemen (they would do that, wouldn’t they? I get that). But in this case there is more to the story. That said he was not a peaceful ruler by any measure. I’m just saying that everyone back then was savage AF quite literally. There is another connection to the smell of an old Italian Ladies handbag, or at least to Caffé Florian, as Marco Polo turns up. That old Venitian scoundrel.
The cover of this book is a beaut, all glam and disco. I’ve already matched it with one outfit. Maybe I should play that old disco tune Gengis Khan by whoever that they play on radio sometimes? For a full on thematic reading I mean. (This is the one I’m talking about, and no, I won’t play it). However I also have matching earrings now as I got stuck with part of one in my scarf and long story short, my Bollywood earring bought in Bethnal Green for 50p have now become somewhat smaller but hopefully a little more wearable. We’ll see though because even though I changed the part that goes in the actual earlobe when I got them I can feel it itching when I’ve worn them for 10 minutes.
The reason that I was wearing them in the first place is because I’ve been watching the Mindy Project and I.am.hooked. It is the perfect antidote to all the sad books and as an added bonus Kaling wears patterns and amazing earring like a boss in that show. In fact she is one of the bosses, if you run your own business or part of it you get to decided the dress code. But it’s a show with fast talking people who are obsessed with junk food, alcohol and revel in being inappropriate. And in all of that every now and a again there is a little nugget to think about in terms of feminism, relations,friendships etc. I think that maybe it has a little of what made Gilmore Girls so popular but I have never really watched that show so I don’t know. Maybe it’s just that people drink reasonable amounts of coffee in both (i.e. by the bucket).
I have been living in my own little bookish bubble of late, I really have. The fact that Le Labo, the very cool French perfumery, had opened a shop in Stockholm had completely evaded my attention. Until the other day that is.
As it is located in a part of town I rarely visit (I only go to Södermalm to shop at Papercut and that is on the other end relative to this) I hadn’t stumbled upon it by accident but did so when I was thinking about them as I’m on the hunt for a new perfume. I enjoy looking for perfumes more than actually buying them, and I feel that it is time for me to break out of my comfort zone scent wise, so this might be a long process. Anyhow, I was looking at their webpage at the sample kits trying to remember which ones I had smelled and liked in London last year. As I was looking around at shipping cost etc. I realized that they have a presence here and have had so since around Easter. So off to the Le Labo store I went.
As all their stores it has a clean design, slightly apothecary in feeling and very friendly staff. Currently they also have, for a limited time only, those “city specific” perfumes that they do that are usually only available in that one town. I forgot to ask if there was one for Stockholm as I was more interested in the classic range.
I must say that everything I have smelled from them is well made even though they might no be for me necessarily. Most of them feel quite discrete or rather not distinct. I read someone saying that even though Santal 33 is the most known and popular from the Le Labo range she was still asked what it was every time she wore it. Noticeable but not screaming its name. If someone wears Angel or Cool water you know which perfume it is at first whiff. What you want is a perfume that makes you smell good, not one that overpowers you. Or at least I do.
They have samples for sale but this time I stuck with just trying two different ones on my wrists; on one there is the Vetiver 46 which is rather dry and miles away from the sweetness of Bal d’Afrique from Byredo. On the other I tried Thé Noir 29 which I took to immediately, it has figs in it and I’m on record of being partial to that family of scents (I have had several including Philosykos from Diptyque in the past). I currently have no fig scent as I used up teh one I had from Terry de Gunzburg earlier this year. So much for breaking out of my comfort zone…
The chase is on and we’ll see what I end up with. Le Labo is located at Bondegatan 48 and you can find out more about them here.
Other perfumes I’m thinking about;
Fantôme de Maules from Stora Skuggan
Ambre Narguilé from Hermes
34 Boulevard Saint Germain from Diptyque
Accord Oud from Byredo
If the weather doesn’t act like it’s July, then you just have to give it some help, right? I’ve try to surround myself with summery scents that signal sunshine and energy. I’m not fooling myself, but good scents do improve my mood. I’ve also tried to ritually cleanse the flat of bad energy using sage. And by that I mean I’ve made roast chicken with sage and butter. Someone told me to burn sage and let the smoke purify my surroundings, very hippy-esque. Seemed a waste of sage, and I wanted a tasty dinner. And putting on the oven does give the place some warmth if it’s gonna be this cold. It didn’t work and I suppose the weather goods want a proper blood sacrifice. That won’t happen. A gift of incense and gold perhaps? Or rather; fancy scented candles and orange roses.
Scented candles is an all year thing around these parts. At the NK-sale I bought a candle from Ladurée, of macaron fame, in an orange blossoms scent. It’s a perfectly adequate candle for what I paid (about €30) mostly because of the nice jar. Had I paid full retail (around €70) I would have been sorely disappointed. I won’t buy it again unless there is a sale. In future I will stick to the one from A.P.C if I can; it’s cheaper and in my mind just a bit “more” in regards to the actual orange blossom. I did buy another candle in the Ladurée sale, that actually smells like incense but I plan to give it away.
When it comes to Earl grey and cucumber from Jo Malone I will not repurchase. The scent is lovely and I was so happy for this travel size bottle that was a gift. The staying power on my skin however? About 30 seconds. It’s a cologne but still. And then there is the small thing of me being a bit of an idiot; now that Jo Malone is available here in Stockholm the brand seems to have lost part of it’s allure. I still have my eye on a Tomato leaf candle because that is one product in their range I really love.
I’m quickly running out of Grand Néroli from Atelier Cologne. I will probably buy more of this. I do love it in summer, it is sunshine in a bottle. Very uplifting, like a vitamin-c kick. As I also have this very nice leather sleeve for the travel spray I’m not throwing away the bottle. I may, possibly, buy another of their citrusy scents to transfer into this instead. They have a few that are very nice.
I do own a bottle of The knot from Bottega Veneta and I adore it, but only in winter. It may be cold but still a bit too warm for me to wear anything that contains musk.
In the last few weeks we have gone from winter (we had snow on May 10th) to summer (May 20th) and sometime around there I used up the last of several things that have gotten me through winter. I can’t stress this enough; I’m not a beauty or skincare blogger. But I have skin, and I care about it etc.
- Vaseline intensive aloe sooth
One thing I’ve learned about having dry skin is that it’s not necessarily about the product, it’s about the routine. Better to buy a cheap but still reasonable bodylotion, and there are several on the market, and then make sure you use it everyday. This is one that I often find at the discount store and I’m very fond of it.
2. Almond oil
In addition to the lightweight bodylotion I go in with almond oil at times, the heavy artillery so to speak. This is available from Swedish pharmacies and is better then the Other stories body oil, but at a third of the price. The bottle isn’t as nice obviously. That is part of what you pay premium for. Or you can do like me and just hide things in the bathroom cabinet.
3. Vichy Aqualia Thermal
Love this pure and simple. It works very well for me as I have combination skin on my face and the difference between t-zone and cheeks is aggravated by harsh weather. Since this is so light weight I can basically put a bit extra on my cheeks to even out. Layering serum is probably wrong/blasphemy/idiotic but whatever. It works for me and I can adjust for the level of winter wonderland we have on any particular day.
4. Flagrant délice by Terry de Gunzburg
This lovely fig and almond scent is sweeter than what I usually like but as it is also quite discrete. I enjoy wearing it on cold days as it is a mood enhancer and almost like being wrapped in a cosy blanket.
5. Dry fast top coat by Seche Vite
I don’t wear nail polish that often, especially not in winter as the weather wrecks havoc with my nails. But if I do, I need a good fast drying top coat because otherwise it will smear as I’m impatient and will probably put on mittens or gloves and ruin it otherwise. This is the best, with the notable exception of the spray on top coat that used to be available abroad. I suspect that it was an environmental hazard and probably a human one as well but I will tell you; for a while there I had some lovely colourful nails and not a smudge as far as the eye could see.
I went by the asian supermarket yesterday to pick up soba noodles, sichuan peppar and a few other essential foods, but there is more to be found there. It’s a great place to shop to be honest. Here are a few things to look out for;
- Fans; these are ever so useful when it’s warm out and a small fan that you can fold up is a good thing to have in your bag. I stock up on these and frequently give them as presents.
- Soaps; especially rose and jasmine. They smell great,cost next to nothing and are not drying. I mostly adore the packaging to be honest.
- Sheet masks; turns out that the asian supermarket is where reasonable priced and good quality taiwanese and korean sheet masks can be found.
- Fortune cookies; These are somewhere between styrofoam and something you can eat but I count them here as they are not essential food. However they are fun to have at a dinner party and can be a nice decoration on a glass of chocolate mousse.
- These tiny teacups; I have a weak spot for blue and white china and I seem to be partial to this, the cheapest around, and some very fancy Royal Copenhagen and Spode. These are great for chocolate mousse,chocolate fondants,to serve an espresso/macchiato or punch.
- Really big bowls of this kind; great to serve punch from or use as fruit bowls or possibly floral arrangements.
- Teapots; Have we meet? You need teapots of all shapes and sizes(obviously) but these are reasonably priced, really good quality and in worst case they have other uses. They never go out of style.
Under the heading of “things I don’t actually collect but have a lot of anyways” we have come to The evil eye.
I’m fascinated and have quite a few; some are of the kind to be placed somewhere in the home to protect it from djinns and other evil spirits.
However of late I have rummaged in my drawers and sported them on my person. I have more then these two around my neck; I’ve also been wearing a bracelet. I have a few more and I just might add them. Three is the magic number(and that’s what I’m wearing on a day to day basis now, pretty solidly for a few weeks) but seven is also a number with magical connotations. I do wonder if I have that many laying around? I’m not superstitious by the way, I just like the look of them, especially the more almond shaped eye. And turquoise is such a great could to just have a dash of. Shamelessly mixing gold and silver I might add( my experience; in the middle east it’s all about the evil eye and gold while the Greeks and in Turkey they like to mix it with silver. Just anecdotal evidence but it’s an observation). I do hope they become trendy around these parts because I would love some rings, that would really work for me. And one of the necklaces and my bracelet is looking a bit knackered.
Maybe they have been beset by evil and taken all the bad juju, but probably just low quality to begin with; souvenirs rarely are top-notch. The company from which I bought my glasses, Divides, has a very nice looking eye as a logotype. Makes sense since they are in the business of selling things that make people see better. But as lovely as it is I can’t really walk around carrying that box. I wear the glasses thougo. I must say I really enjoying seeing clearly and not having tired eyes and headaches. Hmmm; maybe that’s why I started wearing the eye-symbols again? It’s all very Freudian somehow(not necessarily in a bad way).
Have a great weekend!
Things referred to in this post:
The evil eye
I’m not gonna get too specific with this or make a tutorial; I just want to plant a seed and hopefully make you look at things around you a bit differently.
Jewelry is one thing; know what you are doing when working with expensive materials or leave it to professionals. Accessories though? Go for it.
With a few simple tools( a pair of small pliers, sandpaper possibly), super glue and supplies from the craft shop fun thing can be made.
When it comes to the super glue use the “gel” kind if you can find it, it usually comes in a little tube. Works better then the more liquid kind with these sort of thing. And don’t trust that “dries in 10 seconds” thing. Add light pressure for half a minute and leave to dry over night before using.
There are “ready” rings to buy;you just have to glue something on it. In this case a teacup that is a knickknack from my childhood and a button from an old(and loved) coat.
Buttons also make excellent pins; I’ve found different kinds and sizes of “bases” so the sky is the limit. Here three old coats (I really love my coats) will be remembered through pins. They do look very good together on the lapel of a fourth coat oddly enough.
An old broken watch from a flea market in Paris became a necklace, as did some buttons from a table organ. The last to have the word “vox humana” and “voix celestial” printed on them. Again; those two are best worn together.
And then there is a necklace with little souvenir pendants, solitaire earrings and a little marble heart in the middle. I would like to wear a charm bracelet but turns out I’m to active and the thing snags in everything. And I loose two many earrings in wintertime. My body language and the consequences of long scarfs ended up being ingredients for a “charm necklace”.
I’d say start with rings and pins as they are easiest but none of this is really hard. Time-consuming only if you decide to make shards of a broken plate into a necklace or earrings because then you have to sand down the edges with sandpaper and it can take some time( and do it outside; it gets very dusty).
These are not expensive things, although for me they all have affectionate value, but they are fun. And we all need a bit more of fun.