Last Tuesday, I had a small compensatory trip for having had to cancel the long weekend away at end January. This was just up to London for the day, but it was a rather packed time and I really enjoyed the change (almost always as good as a rest).
For my birthday my son bought me a ticket to the Cezanne exhibition at the Tate Modern museum. So, the day was built around doing that.
I got to walk across the Millennium Bridge over the Thames to the museum (the bridge that swings in one of the Harry Potter films). The Turbine Hall (via which you enter the museum – the building itself is a transformed power station) always has interesting installations (see pic – it’s called Brain Forest).
Off to Borough Market for lunch – plus a jar of lavender and dried fig jam. Then, onward to central London and Selfridges etc.
I started out finding the chocolate and macaron counters and then the food hall (a big disappointment for a fancy London department store – others, like Harrods, much, much better for food porn) and then decided I really needed to sit with a hot chocolate and watch the world.
I had planned to visit the Marylebone deli of the Ottolenghi ‘empire’ (for lack of a better word – a number of great restaurants and a couple of small deli/bakeries) for baked goods. So, walked over there, did some shopping, and got a hot chocolate which I nursed for a half hour.
Ottolenghi is on Marylebone Lane, a small, curvy throwback street with interesting independent shops. Including the VV Rouleaux ribbon and hat shop (see pic). Back when I ran the online perfume shop, initially, I wrapped each purchased box in brown butcher paper and a Rouleaux ribbon.
I watched the fancy people late lunching at the deli with their shopping bags, including a sort of fascinating woman with the oddest diamond encrusted snake-like engagement ring I’ve ever seen and the biggest diamond studs I’ve ever seen. Plus leather trousers. Seriously, this woman was walking around unguarded wearing around £200k of flash.
Fortified by the hot choc and mental arithmetic on jewellery value I returned to Selfridges to buy chocs and macarons and do some sniffing. The Selfridges food hall may be meh, but it’s beauty hall/perfume offer is pretty damn good.
Pierre Herme macarons (really hyped and not all that), Pierre Marcolini macarons (much nicer – bit of a surprise), and Melt (a London brand) chocolates (nice, particularly vanilla cream and sesame & black tahini).
No samples but a fair bit of sniffing.
Did Trudon to get a friend a birthday gift and sniffed the EdPs and the candles. I am now lemming the Spiritus Sancti candle, but it’s over £80, so I really really can’t see myself doing that.
On to the Tom Ford counter because Alityke had mentioned a couple of cherry fragrances and I wanted to have a go after doing the Kayali review last week. Electric Cherry is cherry candy; Cherry Smoke is cherry cough syrup. Didn’t do on skin, thank goodness.
Because I’d saved that for the Gucci The Alchemist Garden fragrances. Now, that’s some perfume. They don’t offer samples, which I always think is a marketing mistake, but I did manage to smell about half the line (not the oils – didn’t feel like it). The Voice of the Snake was the standout. Oud, patchouli and saffron. Oh, my, that is good. I also tried 1921 (neroli flower, Limone Cedrato, etc). This, not so much. A Midnight Stroll (incense) wasn’t that memorable. But Tears of Iris definitely was (iris, sandalwood, Angelica seeds, musk) – an iris I think I might be able to wear (this is a tough note for me).
Alberto Morillas is the nose. Boy, did he do some great work. I’ve got samples coming of Voice of the Snake, Tears of Iris, and A Gloaming Night. So, will be writing on these soonish.
I stopped by the Mariage Freres ‘area’ but was too wiped by then from perfume to do tea (I didn’t know at the time that they now do tea-scented marshmallows – would have swooped).
Came home feeling fortified – and might have to order some marshmallows…