Even a little helps

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…


  • rosarita says:

    Sounds like a wonderful day, thanks for sharing it. Those marshmallows sound amazing.

  • Dina C. says:

    What a great day for the Senses! Sights, sounds, sniffs, yummy foods, such a great day! I’ve been working through a sample of Gucci Tears of Iris for a while and really like it. Cant wait to hear your thoughts. As an iris lover, I naturally compare it to the scads of other iris scents I’ve got. For me, it’s most similar to the long gone Donna Karan Iris, which I have and love. I haven’t tried the others in the Gucci Alchemist Garden line, but that parfumer (AM) is a goodie, and he makes things I like. Delighted you were able to have a little getaway!

    • cinnamon says:

      I am so looking forward to the iris as so few iris perfumes work on me (basically, the long gone Tauer Orris is it). Yes, a day for the senses — sometimes a day is (almost) sufficient.

  • March says:

    SO JEALOUS not gonna lie. It sounds like an absolutely perfect day, and the fact that you can do it in a day like that …. it does remind me of a few times when I took the early bus from DC (those privately-run DC/NYC buses), got to NYC at 10, spent the day running around, and took a 5 or 6pm bus home (4 hour one-way trip.) Exhausting but exhilarating, and that justified my spending more $ because I “saved” the hotel cost lol. Shopping math.

    • cinnamon says:

      That exactly: saving on hotel costs. But Santa Fe sounds so wonderful — and maybe a trip to NYC vaguely in the future? It’s the combo of doing things, watching the world, and shopping. So nice.

    • Musette says:

      I use that ‘math’ on my day trips to Chicago! Great minds!!!

      xoxo (welp! ‘x’ key is working again!!!)

  • Tom says:

    What a great read! I’m glad for you that you had such a lovely day. Indifferent macarons should be punishable by community service at least..

    • cinnamon says:

      Thanks. Indeed, I don’t get making something like that indifferent. The Ladurees are better and they are so mass market. Very disappointing. I’ve got the names of a couple of places in Paris that are supposed to be stellar. One day …

  • Maggiecat says:

    Your day sounds absolutely amazing! I need to get to London someday, or at least make time for a day out here. I’m glad you had such a lovely outing, and glad you shared it with us!

    • cinnamon says:

      I think those types of small trips have an impact. I’m already hankering after another. Maybe to Bath, which I haven’t visited in decades, and is a bit closer to home.

  • Portia says:

    How bloody good is Tears of Iris Cinnamon. It’s the only one of the Gucci price line I’ve splashed on a full bottle of, though I dearly want the tiger one too.
    Portia xx

    • cinnamon says:

      I am really looking forward to my samples. This is one of the ‘special’ lines that really really excels.

    • Musette says:

      I am an iris HO! and remember sniffing this and thinking ‘dagNABBIT!’ because they are pretty spendy! sigh. xoxo

  • alityke says:

    So pleased it isn’t just me that thinks the TF Cherries are well gak! Whatever the aroma chemical being used I’m looking forward to it going out of fashion.
    Those Gucci bottles are so pretty but the contents are way above my spend limit. I’m too afraid of falling in love with the really expensive stuff in case I fall in love. It happened with Papillon’s Hera & I feel I now need to avoid temptation. Sad but true in today’s financial situation

    • cinnamon says:

      I was very glad I didn’t do the TFs on skin. I don’t see myself buying a full bottle of the Guccis even if one or more is love. Decants will have to do.

  • Tara C says:

    I love tea, marshmallows and macaroons, sounds like a feast! This holiday season I succumbed and bought the Spiritus Sancti candle and it is indeed wonderful ($125 USD). Those Guccis are lovely, I have Midnight Stroll and Tears of Iris, which I got for a relatively less painful price at Fragrancebuy.ca. Still a lot, but at least not full retail. The bottles are sublime.

    • cinnamon says:

      It was a very more-ish visit. I might have to take another look at the marshmallows. Depending on how I feel about my samples I can see decants in my future. And yup the bottles are gorgeous, but I don’t like the white ones as much as the others.

  • Musette says:

    Alberto Morillas is the perfume love of my life.

    those marshmallows sound swoony!
    I saw Cezanne at the AI in Chicago back in early Autumn. Glorious! Glad you got a chance to visit.

    • cinnamon says:

      It was one of those exhibitions that really slow you down. I was glad to have been able to visit. This line, the Alchemist stuff, is really well done. I would like to revisit them at a Gucci shop.