SOME GOOD WOOD: SHARING MY FAVOURITE FRAGRANCES + GIVEAWAY!
I woke up this morning feeling really out of it. Our daughter has been down with a flu from hell for the last four weeks and we’ve barely gotten any sleep the last two nights. Last night was particularly bad because she was coughing her guts out and at some point she looked at me, crying, and said “Mommy, help me”. I almost started crying. Last week, she woke up puking, with the runs. In the middle of the night, as my own tummy was also waging war against me. Nothing prepared me for this level of adulting. Parenting is harder than people make it seem online. It’s an almost constant state of fear and worry; of wondering how you can protect your kid while allowing them to experience life abundantly; of trying to figure out how to not lose your shit while fighting overwhelming feelings of frustration and questioning your abilities as a parent.
As I’m writing this, I can hear Gong in the kitchen lecturing the nanny in that way only toddlers can – mid-cough – on her use of grammar. She just asked her: “Do you take a bite of milk, or a sip? Then why are you telling me to take a bite?”
I’m seated on the couch, fresh from a very long, hot shower after yet another trip to the clinic and dealing with the extreme sport that is Mombasa Road these days. I’m in my most comfortable lounge wear – cotton shorts, cotton tee, the husband’s socks and an old sweater I stole from a friend almost two years ago. I’m burning some lavender essential oil in a clay diffuser to calm me down after a tiring day. I smell good. I feel good.
I don’t know what it is about being clean and wearing perfume that makes me feel like I’m in control of at least one thing in my life. In fact, I’ve found that my commitment to that is directly proportional to how not in control I am in other areas of my life. Got a ton of emails to get through? Take a long shower first and tackle them while smelling like the money you want to make. Winding down after a long day? Take another long hot shower and get into bed smelling like the dreams you’re manifesting for yourself. It’s basically science.
So here’s a round-up of my favourite scents of the moment, in no particular order. Disclaimer: I’m no expert at describing fragrances and listing their top, middle and bottom notes, classifying them and what not. I know I’m definitely more of a woody, oriental, unisex fragrance kind of girl. I also know that I like what I like – and I buy scents based on what they remind me of, the feelings they evoke, not hype.
- White Tea, Mandarin Blossom, by Elizabeth Arden – Possibly the most affordable fragrance in my small collection right now, and the only citrusy, super feminine one. She’s non-fussy, easy to wear, is good value for money and smells like she would cost more. I love wearing her to bed on warm evenings.
- Noir pour Femme, by Tom Ford – I’ll be honest: I love Tom Ford. Have you seen his suits? They whisper sex appeal in a low, dangerous voice. Quiet confidence; alpha, but not toxic. It is unfortunate that Mr. Thomas Carlyle Ford’s fragrances do not love me as much as I love them. I feel like they just don’t smell as good on me, and this is the only one that works for me. So I guess I shouldn’t list it among my favourites – but this is Tom Ford so he gets a pass. Plus that bottle is sexy as hell. You can never go wrong with black and gold.
- Nomade Absolu de Parfum, by Chloé – bought her on a whim after seeing the leather tassel on her neck and she did not disappoint (unlike her sister, Nomade Eau de Toilette). She reminds me of a confident woman who’s as comfortable in the boardroom in her tight pencil skirt, high heels (kitten heels do not apply here) and red lip as she is in jeans and a white tee kicking it with the boys. She oozes sex appeal and knows how to use it but is not one to allow herself to play damsel in distress – unless of course it suits her.
- Bottega Veneta, by Bottega Veneta – this one; she inducted me into the world of soft unisex fragrances. I think it was the leather. I’m a big leather lover, no surprises here, and at this point I’m basically willing to try anything with a leather note in it. She smells like understated luxury. Like old money and good upbringing with a level head, so you’d never know just how much she’s worth because she’s not your average Social House poser. I could wear her every day.
- Tuxedo, by Yves Saint Laurent – been wearing this for about one-and-a-half years now and I can’t get over her. First smelled her on a guy friend and phew! I looked for her for months, only eventually getting my first bottle from a friend when she travelled to Paris. Tuxedo took my breath away and introduced me to the YSL collection of luxury fragrances, Le Vestiaire des Parfums. She’s unisex but leans more on the masculine end of the spectrum, and she’ll definitely get you noticed. She’s the woman at the jazz bar drinking a fine whiskey and smoking a cigar. She doesn’t paint flowers on her nails or carry mini handbags. Or wear neon. She is not cutesy. Her lipstick is always matte, it never moves, ergo she does not eat chicken wings in public. Try her if you want to leave an impression.
- Cuir, by Yves Saint Laurent – listen, I’ve come a long way from wearing Black Opium and her sister Mon Paris, though I still have a little bit of the latter, which I allow Gong to wear once in a while. Ms. Cuir (“leather” in French), from YSL’s Le Vestiaire des Parfums Collection de Nuit – a sub-collection of Le Vestiaire des Parfums – is not juvenile. She’s a bad bitch. She is not excitable. She doesn’t scream “that’s my jam!” in the club. She probably doesn’t dance. She prefers to people watch – it’s far more interesting than sweating and bumping bodies anyway. She’s the type that doesn’t raise her voice. She will insult you while keeping her voice low and tone level. She appreciates sarcasm. She will scare you. But when she loves you, she’ll leave you in no doubt that she does.
That’s it. That’s what I’m wearing right now. Writing these descriptions just made me realise I have an almost singular taste in fragrances. Leather, patchouli, sandalwood, spicy, woody, vanilla – those are my signature notes. It’s all very warm, sensual, a little mysterious even. Measured, very intentional, very understated in a sense. I have never gone wrong with some good wood.
Tell me, what does your favourite fragrance say about you? How does it make you feel? Drop me your answers in the comments section and you might just win a bottle of perfume from my favourites, my mainest fragrance plug, Cierra Perfumes. I’ve been buying perfume from them since discovering them on Instagram early in 2020 and they do not disappoint! Plus they’re the only ones who managed to get me both Tuxedo AND Cuir, which can be a bit challenging to find in my experience, without trying to rip me off or punish me for liking nice things. Check them out: highly recommend. Winner to be announced 4th September, 2021. Must be in Nairobi to be eligible to win.
Top tip: spray some perfume in your closet each week to keep it smelling good. I also like to douse cotton balls in a favourite scent and stick them in the corners of my drawers to keep my gym clothes and undies smelling expensive.
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All fragrances / Cierra Perfumes
Diffuser / Provisions Kenya
Lavender Essential Oil / Afroma Beehive
Gold candle holders / Home Ware Store (South Africa)
Candles + tea light / Mr Price Home
Side table / Santana Africa
Faux leather pillow cover + insert / Smartlady Home
Leather magazine rack / White Bull
The Cultured Cow