It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas!

Posted by Lipglossiping On November - 28 - 2012

We live in a 2-bed flat… on the second floor, there’ll be no log fires ablaze this Winter and the only smoky smells will be drifting out of the toaster when I burn my muffins in the morning (not a euphemism).  But I’m cool with that, I hate roasted chestnuts and to be fair, wood-smoke plays havoc with my sinuses… still, it’s not very Christmassy is it?

To make up for this lack of festivity, I plumped for a new Winter candle this weekend: Diptyque’s Feu de Bois.  I was introduced to it just last week – massively behind the times of course – at an event I attended.  It’s not so much that it’s a great rendition of a roaring log fire, but that it reminds me completely and utterly of my parent’s house in La Vendee… a place I have a huge love/hate relationship with.  The house was a wreck in 1987 when my parent’s bought it and I had to spend every school holiday sitting in the ruins of this 500-yr old farmhouse while my friends holidayed on the beaches of Benidorm.  I know, first world problems and all that and I probably got off lightly, really… but still… it kinda sucked for a 12yr old to spend all. bloody. summer. so far away from real civilisation.

Some days, I only had the scare-o-pods to keep me company (don’t click that link, I mean it).

Winter Candle

So anyway, Feu de Bois in all it’s unashamed smokiness (are you over that link yet?) has the most incredible, guttural quality of a good rip-roaring fire.  Not the sedate kind that posh people have in their petite chimineas… we’re talking full-blown inglenook with a pyromaniac 15yr-old (me) chucking on the spitting horse-chestnut logs while everyone else in the room kippers.  Delicious.  And when I’ve got the pennies, I’m going back in for the biggest size they do.  Although, having said that… Baies also made me go a little weak at the knees when I sniffed it… Houston bank manager, we have a problem.

Whilst I’m on the subject of Diptyque, a quick mention for their Christmas “Holiday Collection” which features a beautifully ornate trio of Arabian Nights-inspired candles that capture the festive spirit wonderfully.  I lucked out on the goody bag and took home a mini-version of the one that appealed to me the most on the evening: Sapin Doré – an artful representation of, what is basically, a freshly dug Christmas tree (without the foisty decorations).  It’s so beautifully green, with warming resinous qualities that neither detract from nor soften the freshness – usually, I’d actually want them to, but in the case of Sapin Doré, it needs that prickling camphor to bolster the absolute authenticity that I take from this scent.

Winter Candle

The Holiday Collection, from left to right: Oliban, Amber Oud, Sapin Doré (priced from £25.00, available online)

The other candle that I’ve been burning like a heretic on a stake (and the award for most tasteless simile goes to…) is an outstanding creation from one of my favourite niche brands: Ancienne Ambiance.  Their Phoenicia (cedar) candle bears all the hallmarks of a scented masterpiece.  Funnily enough, my favourite tree (everyone has a favourite tree right?) is the candle’s inspiration, the Cedar of Lebanon, with it’s sprawling umbrella-like branches that used to protect me from the rain as I waited at the school gates for my friends to arrive.  If you don’t know it by name, google it… you’ll be like “ohhhh thoooose trees, yeah – they’re cool!”

Winter Candle

Anyway, back to the candle… Phoenicia is a more aromatic take on the woody genre, less pine and more resin… the kind that you inhale deeply in an attempt to warm your soul as well as your nostrils.  Tempering the richness is a light herbal quality that injects a medicinal characteristic in the manner of an old apothecary.  Phoenicia is the ultimate “I’m warm and cosy in here… while outside, it’s shit” scent and whenever I light it, I come to the conclusion that Winter is no bad thing afterall.  Priced at £36, there’s also a rather striking Limited Edition black glass version currently available for a little more.

p.s. – incase you’re curious – the full lineup of wintery candles on display in the above images are: Ancienne Ambiance Romana, OCCO Raiya No6, Diptyque Feu de Bois, Ancienne Ambiance Phoenicia*, Annick Goutal La Rose, Diptyque Sapin Doré*

* press sample


Ancienne Ambiance – Christmas Pillar Candles

Posted by Lipglossiping On December - 17 - 2010

Last month, I introduced you to luxury good purveyors Ancienne Ambiance and their wonderful Autumnal candle that brought a rich, comforting amber to the table.

This month, I’m bringing you a candle that brings the table to the table.

Say what?

I was sent the Christmas Pillar Candle in Christmas Fruits (£16) and it’s a gold-dipped extravagance of epic proportions.  Beautifully packaged it’s a perfect last-minute gift for any candle-lover in your life.

It burns for 90 hours with an aroma that epitomises all that is good about December 25th…

…Christmas Pudding.

The candle burns with a dark fruitiness that’s never tart nor acidic, just rich and decadent… I’m sure I can even detect a hint of booziness!

I can only burn this for short periods of time as I do find it becomes a little overwhelming after a while – strangely enough, exactly how I feel about eating Christmas Pudding!  Still, it’s better that than a scent you can barely detect right?

Ancienne Ambiance are accepting Christmas orders (by non-courier) up until 12pm on Monday 20th December to ensure that all deliveries make it to their destinations in time for Christmas.

Priced at £16 with free gift wrapping, it’s expensive appearance belies it’s reasonable price tag.

With one of those scents that manages to warm you up from the inside out – Ancienne Ambiance have captured some of the loveliest foodie essences of Christmas very well indeed.

Autumn… the year’s last, loveliest smile.

Posted by Lipglossiping On November - 6 - 2010

If it weren’t for those pesky prematurely dark evenings… Autumn would be my favourite season by far.

The excitement at dragging our lovely knitwear out from storage, discovering warming new recipes for the slow cooker, 100 denier tights and nature’s most vibrant display of colour.  It all combines to fill me with that pre-Christmas thrill.

For me, Autumn is the season of scents… crushed leaves underfoot, cordite in the air and hearty stews on the stove.

Here’s my take on some of the nicest Autumn scents that money can buy.

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Ancienne Ambiance Scented Candle Collection – Romana (£28)

Brainchild of Adriana Carlucci, Ancienne Ambiance offer luxury goods inspired by Antiquity.   When you burn an Ancienne Ambiance candle, you’re burning more than just a beautifully blended scent.

Romana is like a portal to another age.  Described as: A powder-like scent with sensual & comforting effects..particularly good when desiring a calm ambience.

Comforting is exactly right… it’s soft and evocative.  The amber tones are rich, earthy and overwhelmingly Autumnal.  Perfect for warming up these dark evenings.

The quality in this candle is evident with a flame which burned evenly throughout the many hours of enjoyment I’ve had thus far.  The scent remains true and consistent from the first time you light it through to the moment it extinguishes itself.

The Ancienne Ambiance Scented Candle Collection is available to buy online and instore at Fenwick of Bond Street.

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OCCO  Motovun no3 Bath & Body Wash (£18)

Croatian-inspired OCCO are a new to the UK, natural brand with a wide range of luxury products.

The Motovun no3 range combines essences of Cypress Leaf, Labdanum, Oak, Cedar Leaf, Vetiver and Black Pepper, to create an earthy and woody selection.

They say:

Oil of cypress tree fuses with gentle oat-based cleansers with anti-oxidant properties, to help restore elasticity and cleanse your skin. Natural extracts of pine and oak calm and centre your mood.

With an impressive list of active ingredients including: Pine Oil, Cypress Oil and Sage Oil Grape Extract, OCCO’s Motovun No3 promises to be a moisturising experience.  Something that our skins definitely crave this time of year.

All OCCO products contain a minimum of 95% natural ingredients and 100% natural fragrance blended from absolutes, extracts and oils to reveal subtle top, heart and base notes. All products are free from parabens, sulphates, petrochemicals and synthetic colours.

The brand are set to open a central London boutique this Autumn but for now, you can purchase online and instore from Harrods and John Lewis.

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Haus of Gloi Parkin Bubbling Scrub ($9)

My latest Haus of Gloi order turned up yesterday morning and amongst it was the newly released Parkin Bubbling Scrub.

Heavy in black treacle, ginger and roasted chestnuts… the initial ginger sweetness morphs into a richer, darker base that lingers on the skin for hours.  Synonymous with Bonfire Night, I was delighted to scrub myself silly with this yesterday morning to mark the historic date.

Now, if only I had some real sticky Parkin to go with it *nom*

Parkin Bubbling Scrub is available online from Haus of Gloi (for a limited time).

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LUSH / Gorilla Perfumes – Tuca Tuca (from £2.50)

I wanted to include an out and out fragrance in this selection but I found myself struggling to choose.  Sure, there are many amber and woody offerings…. even heady orientals that would fit with the theme but as I was exploring my stash of lovely things, I remembered Tuca Tuca.

It’s a love it/hate it pick.  Mr. L hates it, I love it.  Not quite as much as I love some of LUSH’s other new fragrance offerings (I’m looking at you Lust and The Smell of Freedom) but by Jove it reminds me of Halloween!

Tuca Tuca is an explosion in a Parma Violet Factory… and in this house, Parma Violets are king… or yano… queen… whatever, I ain’t discriminating.  Even better if we can find the jumbo ones… am not fattist either.  It’s playful, girly and comforting all at the same time.  But most of all?  It’s impish… mischievous and defiantly bold.

A pied piper of fragrances.

Tuca Tuca is available instore at LUSH or online.

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Neals Yard Remedies Lip Gloss with Organic Orange Oil (£9)

Neals Yard Remedies are new to cosmetics and I’m finding it hard to decide if this is a gloss, a balm or maybe just a bit of both!

Advertised as a gloss, it does indeed leave a lovely (if subtle) sheen behind.  It’s non sticky and wears just as well under a lipstick as it does over it!

But the real beauty is in it’s scent!

I have literally spent an entire car journey with the end stuffed up my nostril.  Well, not *up* my nostril… that would just be dangerous, imagine if we had to brake?

Let me explain…

As a child, around this time of year… I used to make orange pomanders and use them to scent drawers and wardrobes around the house.  The organic orange oil is an acute reminder of those days.

It’s got enough tartness to it to steer it away from being sickly, but enough softness to stop it from smelling like a kitchen cleaner.  Fragrance blenders… I have so much respect for the delicate balancing act you do!

No parabens, no silicones and no carmine.  Neals Yard Remedies offers the first collection to include Soil Association certified cosmetics.  But I’m still all about that orange!

Neals Yard Remedies Lip Gloss with Organic Orange Oil is available to buy instore and online.

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What are some of your loveliest Autumnal scents?  And which season is your favourite?

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