On… perfumes. And blogging. And… oh, stuff.

As mentioned umpteen times before, I often don’t know what to write on this blog. I’m not going to bore you with stories from my day-to-day life (“And then i was like, I am SO not pleased with the standard of that drycleaner, and she was like, I KNOW!”). There’s only so much one can say about writing (“Read, write, edit. Repeat”). And I’m not just going to talk about the career side of writing the whole time, either (“So, the German rights have sold, and I’m hoping for the Dutch soon clunkzzzzz”).

Actually, I think that author blogs are like a little pulse check. As in: yep, I’m still here.

And this is also a hello to anyone who just read The Dating Detox. Yep, I wrote that. Yep, it’s pretty much my 20s in 400 pages. I lived in Pimlico (though I’m now in Notting Hill). I was permanently dumped (now married but only very newly so it hardly counts). I was a copywriter (I still am, some of the time). I sometimes named my outfits (I’m pretty consistently French Schoolboy these days, I don’t know why but it seems to have stuck – a lot of little shorts and crisp white shirts, peacoats and brogues).

And yep, I have a second book coming out in December. It’s called A GIRL LIKE YOU. It, too, is another tale taken from my life, but more of a how-to-regain-single-confidence-after-a-long-time-in-a-relationship kind of thing. And lots of drunken mistakes and high jinks and crazy parties and you know, all that good stuff.

Sometimes I think writing novels is the most self-involved, solipsistic thing a person can do. It’s like ‘this is ME and here’s what I THINK and things I’ve OBSERVED and now let me ENTERTAIN YOU and make you LAUGH and/or CRY! TA-DA!’. I’m not really that showy at all in person. Whenever I meet people who’ve read the book before they actually meet me, they spend the first few hours watching me carefully, as though expecting me to keep up a running narrative commentary (I am doing that, of course, but only in my head) or jump on the table and start doing shots and air guitar (ditto) (okay it still happens but rarely).

So my blog, I think, is really just mostly news, and every now and again, a little chatty piece like this.

Yeah. So. Solipsism is an awesome word, n’est-ce pas? It means extreme self-obsession. My friend Sarah and I went through a phase of making up pretend perfume names and straplines. Like SOLIPSISM. Strapline: ‘It’s all about you’. PATRIARCHY. Strapline: ‘Daddy knows best’. And APATHY. Strapline – actually, there was no strapline, just a shrug and a sigh.

I love perfumes. I wrote a paragraph somewhere in The Dating Detox about the intense rush of memory a scent can provide, and I named a few that mark my progress through my teenage years and 20s… I think the list was pretty much the truth (which shows how lazy I am, as does the fact that I’m too lazy to actually check the book to see if it is or not.) My first scent was Miss Diorissimo, then Benetton Colors, then Anais Anais, LouLou, Jean Paul Gaultier, Chanel No.5, Gucci Envy, Gucci Rush, Sisley Eau de Soie, L’Eau de Guerlain, Shalimar, Balenciaga Le Dix… If I smell any of them now, I nearly pass out from the olofactory memories. My friend Alex freaks out when she smells LouLou as it reminds her so strongly of me and first year university. I’d like to go through and tell you the exact boyfriend or lifetime period that each perfume represents, but I feel kind of bad talking about ex-boyfriends in this blog. I respect their privacy. (The cockmonkeys. ) (Just kidding! Some of them were nice.)(Ahem.)

At the moment I have several favourites, I don’t know why. Perhaps because my taste is more complicated than it used to be. Or – and this is far more likely – because I’m more flighty. Also, I read this amazing book called PERFUMES, THE A-Z GUIDE by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez. If you’re not a flighty perfume addict before you read it, you will be afterwards.


This is the newest addition to the Burgess scent family. I bought it rather cheaply after reading about it in the book PERFUMES. They describe it as a vanilla-vetiver hybrid “like Arthur Miller arm in arm with Marilyn Monroe”. I think it’s damn interesting and manly and spicy-lemon.


Clean, green, sharp with that soft ambery woody drydown… Argh! I love this one. I don’t know why, but for the past three years I’ve worn this perfume constantly in April, May and June and then I stop. The Perfumes book calls it “sleek, dependable, perfectly proportioned… basically perfect”. But the bottle is the size of St fucking Pauls, which makes it hard to travel with.


That perfume book famously called this scent ‘dirty knickers’. When I wear it, I just want to feel myself up. Seriously. That’s how deliciously sexy it is. A Muji salesguy followed me around his shop the other week and said ‘I HAVE to tell you, you smell CAPTIVATING’ which has never, ever happened before and doubtless never will again. (Obviously he was gay; a straight man would never use the word captivating. More’s the pity.) It’s musky and salty and sweet and smoky, all at once. Amazing.


When I’m feeling clean and uncomplicated, I wear this. But, like plain white cotton knickers that I also put on when I’m feeling clean and uncomplicated, this perfume is surprisingly sexy. You can buy it in a little rollerball pen, which is ideal for nights out and travelling.


Like being slapped by a big fat man-eating flower. This smells so aggressive that I wear it very rarely, and only on a big-time night out, when I’m wearing the highest fuck-off heels I own, a very tight and/or short dress and feeling uber-confident. Seriously. It never wears off; one spritz lasts all night, and it never really softens and becomes that little skin-hug like most perfumes do. When I wear it, I think of Brigitte Nielson in Beverly Hills Cop II, when she’s at the rifle range. I also think of Jllly Cooper’s Rivals, because Cameron wears it. Yep, that’s how often I’ve read Rivals. Daisy in Polo wears Je Reviens, by the way, but I’ve never managed to smell that. Anyway. I’m digressing, as usual. In fact, this whole blog is one long digression.

I just smelled Serge Lutens Chergui today and now I cannot stop sniffing my wrists. And I think it might be the smell of Winter 2010. Argh! So good. Dark and spicy and honey-pipe-ish.

Anyway. The point, if there is one, is that I love discovering new perfumes. What are your favourites and why?

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3 thoughts on “On… perfumes. And blogging. And… oh, stuff.

  1. Anonymous

    i love covet by sarah jessica parker (buh, celebrity fragrances) because it's a really lovely, subtle flowery smell that i can throw on every day and not feel like i'm TRYING to smell all perfumy. which is bad.

    on days i'm trying to smell perfumy and delicious (dates, long flights) i love princess by vera wang. it's mellow and vanilla-ish and a bit fruity. it was the smallest perfume bottle in my collection so when i went traveling, i took it with me and smelled like a princess every day. now it is also my traveling perfume.

    on really really important dates, or like, special occasions, i can't go with any other than coco mademoiselle. maybe because i got it for my 18th birthday and still have the same bottle so i'm trying to "preserve" it or something, or maybe because keira knightley is its spokesperson and a stone cold fox.

    honorable mentions: byzance (bold and crisp) by rochas, daisy by marc jacobs (standard spring fragrance), and surprisingly, curious by britney spears (fruity and a bit slutty, the scent of youth).


  2. P

    My ultimate favourite is Deci Dela by Nina Ricci. It no longer is sold, so I have to buy it off ebay, but I started wearing it when I was about 15, so it makes me feel young and re-live my youth a bit when I wear it.

    I also love Eden by (I think) Cacharel. It reminds me of being 23 and just moving out and getting proper independence.

  3. Rachel

    I just stumbled on your blog searching for "dating detox" pictures, I'm so glad I did. Now I'll know what two books I'll be reading on my trip home. Happy holidays!

    PS Dior Pure Poison, Ann Sui Sui Dreams (discontinued, tear)


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