Sunday, 12 June 2011

Aftelier Give-Away + Penhaligon's Link

You’re going to get sick of reading this pretty soon, but yes, the Invasion Of The Day Job is still going strong. I’m hanging on in there… and using lots and lots of samples for sustenance.

Several weeks ago, I’d hoped that today would be the day when I’d be publishing a post about a talk given by Mandy Aftel in London. Sadly, a certain Icelandic volcano recently decided to make its presence felt, which prompted Mandy to cancel her trip, which in turn meant that the talk never took place. As if that weren't enough, I've also been denied the opportunity of a neat link with a give-away, so I have no choice but to resort to a clunking non sequitur and announce that Scent & Sensibility – which now stocks a selection of Aftelier scents – have kindly offered samples of some of Mandy’s work to one lucky Persolaise reader. To enter the draw, please read the terms and conditions below and then leave a comment on this post on the subject of disrupted travel plans; on this occasion, I won't reply to each individual comment. [The prize is a sample of the edp of Fig, Cepes & Tuberose, Candide, Shiso and Tango as well as a sample of the extrait of Fig.]

Please remember to come back on Tuesday to find out who my next guest blogger is; I’ll whet your appetite by revealing that her post is about a revered classic that’s going to be 100 years old next year.

And if you’ve got a few moments to spare, please head on over to Penhaligon’s blog to read my Father’s Day-inspired article there. I'd really appreciate it if you'd consider leaving a comment on it.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend,


Competition Terms & Conditions:

i) the competition/draw will be open until 10 pm (UK time) on Saturday 18th June; ii) the winner will be selected at random and announced on this blog; iii) if the winner has not made contact with me by Saturday 25th June in order to claim his/her prize, an alternative winner will be selected; iv) readers from anywhere in the world are eligible to enter; v) by entering the draw, you indicate that you are willing to pay customs charges (if applicable) and that customs regulations in your country permit you to receive an alcohol-based perfume / perfumery product posted from the UK; vi) if the prize is lost in transit, it will not be possible for a replacement to be sent; vii) the address of the winner will be passed on only to Scent & Sensibility; it will not be kept on record by me; viii) I take no responsibility for the composition of the perfumes, as regards potential allergens and/or restricted materials.


  1. Persolaise, while I don't think the volcano ash is likely to cause havoc for my sister, she is flying out to visit me on 25th June and she was a bit nervous about travel disruption. However, she is flying from the southern hemisphere, so I don't think it will be an issue.

  2. This is a very generous give-away. I would love to finally have a chance go try Mandy's work.
    Regarding disrupted travel plans, ha, I learned not to have them, as my boyfriend hates having a scheduled time when we are leaving for holidays (he's strange that way) and since we are usually going to his place at the seaside, it's not that big a deal. Well, for him. :)
    I'm usually the one who has to have everything prepared to finally leave when it's time. :)

  3. So far, I've never had disrupted travel plans, which is good because I get very stressed out trying to plan and make everything happen correctly. It's a wonder I don't spend each holiday twitching and tense!

  4. I don't travel that much, but once I had problem with full airplane and it was so stressful. I didn't have a lot of money and I was so scared I will be left alone in foreign country with no one to contact. I am horrible traveler.
    Thanks for the draw.

  5. Years ago, in my previous life, I suffered through what I have come to call the Christmas from h3!l. My husband (now ex-) had consulted me on my Christmas gift several months before. I told him I would really like a nice watch. Together we decided on a beautiful watch, after three months of searching for just the right one. It was simple, but elegant; a gold bracelet watch with an oval face. The perfect watch for me.
    As Christmas approached, I was getting excited about the watch I knew I was getting from my husband. My Mother-in-law had arrived about a week before, as she did every year. She spent every Christmas with us since husband was an only child and she was a widow. She planned to stay through her birthday on New Years Eve as she did every year. Our plan for Christmas day was to get up early and have breakfast, open our gifts and get on the road for the 3 hour drive to my parents' house where we would have a late lunch and then exchange gifts and spend time with my family.
    On Christmas day, right before we sat down to open our presents, my husband quietly tried to tell me that he had not gotten me the watch we had spent months searching for. He had said something to that effect about a
    week before. He'd told me that he had changed his mind about the watch and had found something even better. I knew that he was just trying to throw me off track; he was just trying to make a pre-planned gift become a surprise.
    I opened my first gift, some very nice earrings from my Mother-in-law. We took turns, the three of us. My next present was a medium sized package, too big to be a watch, a pretty sweater from my husband. Then I noticed that there was a really large box leaning against the wall behind the tree which had not been there the night before. When my last turn to open came around, my husband told me to open the big present (way too big to be a
    watch). It was an ornate mirror which matched our bedroom furniture (furniture my husband brought into the marriage). His warning about my watch was starting to feel real, but there was still hope--I figured he must have hidden it in the bottom of my stocking under the candy. I still had half a smile on my face as I reached in, feeling around for a hidden gift inside. There was nothing under the candy, as you had already guessed. I wasn't smiling anymore. I excused myself and went into the bedroom.
    I was feeling pretty confused and upset. We had spent a lot of time shopping for my watch. It was expensive, but not more than we could afford. I felt betrayed. I felt childish for being upset about a Christmas gift I didn't get. I didn't understand what had just happened. Then my husband opened the door. On the verge of tears, I asked him what happened to the watch. He told me that a couple of weeks before Christmas has was talking with his
    mother about the watch he was getting me for Christmas when she told him that she had planned to give me a watch for Christmas--her own watch! He said she told him not to get me the watch; that her watch would be perfect for me. This was even more confusing, since she had given me earrings. He told me that at the last minute she had decided to keep her watch and give me the earrings. By then, he said, he had already bought the mirror and it was too
    late to get the watch-and we really couldn't afford to buy the mirror and the watch--and the mirror couldn't be returned. So there it was! Christmas was sabotaged by my mother-in-law. I tried to put the disappointment behind me, but was still resentful of her for her part of the whole thing.

  6. Pt. 2: By New Years Eve I was more than ready for her visit to end. It had been more than a little tense after Christmas. She would be heading home on New Years Day and things could get back to normal. We had decided to got to a nice restaurant to celebrate her birthday, then go home and quietly bring in the New Year. The meal was nice and I was actually enjoying myself, knowing she would be gone the next day! As we left the restaurant, she missed the step off of the curb and fell hard. She landed really wrong and we could tell she was hurt. We helped her up and knew immediately something was wrong. She couldn't move her right arm and her shoulder was hurting more than she could stand. We went directly to the hospital. We brought in the new year in the emergency room. Bad news-she had broken her collar bone and could not drive. Worse news--she couldn't drive for 6 weeks. She was staying with us 6 more weeks! (disruption 1)
    I will tell you now that she was never a very good house guest. Even when she was able and healthy she did absolutely nothing all day but sit and watch television while we were both at work. As soon as I walked in the
    door every day she wanted to know what we were having for supper. Now that she was an invalid, she was much worse. We waited on her hand and foot. She didn't lift a finger for herself the entire time her collar bone was healing. I felt like strangling her. I dreaded walking into my own home every day. She demanded our attention every minute we were home. It was a miserable six weeks during which I was growing to like her less and less. I had a calandar at work where I marked off the days until her last scheduled doctor visit when she would be cleared to drive home.
    The day of her appointment was nearing, but she was still complaining that she was hurting; still not doing anything for herself. But my spirits were rising! It was only a few more days until her appointment. I decided I would take the day off to take her to the doctor. She had been with us since the 18th of December. Her appointment was on the 15th of February. I went in with her so I would know exactly what the doctor said. We went in and I heard the doctor tell her that she had healed perfectly and was cleared to drive. I told him that she lived alone over an 8 hour drive from here, and asked specifically if she would be okay to go home under those circumstances. He assured us it was fine. I was jumping for joy on the inside, but was calm on the outside. She could leave tomorrow!
    I spent the rest of the day getting her things ready for her to go home the next day. I washed her clothes. I folded her clothes. I packed her suitcases. I took her car to get an oil change and gassed it up. My husband got home from work and I told him the good news. We decided to go out and celebrate the good news--all three of us. In spite of everything, it was a good celebration. She planned to get up early and leave the next morning when we left for work. By the time we got home the next evening, she would be home or very close.
    I went to bed happy. I woke up and looked at the clock. It was 3:00 a.m. What was that noise? I went back to sleep. I woke up again and looked at the clock. It was 3:43 a.m. I went back to sleep. I woke up again. What was that noise? I looked at the clock. It was 4:27 a.m. I got up and looked down the hall. There was light coming out from under the hall bathroom door. I went back to bed. I woke up again. This time the clock said it was 5:59 a.m. My alarm was set for 6:15. I was up. I was tired, but happy. Today would be a great day-she was leaving! Today! (cont.)

  7. Pt. 3: I went into the kitchen and made the coffee. I ate a bowl of cereal, drank a cup and went back into the bedroom to wake my husband and get my shower. I was finished, dressed and putting on my makeup when my husband walked in and told me he had some bad news. He told me that his mother had been up most of the night throwing up. She had a high fever and was aching all over. He was taking off work to take her to a doctor. We learned
    that she had the flu-this year it was a particularly bad strain. She was too weak and sick to go home. She would need to stay with us until she was well and strong enough to go home. (disruption-#2)
    I will just go on and tell you that she was down sick with the flu for another week and a half and was not well enough to leave for another 5 days. My patience was completely shot. I was tired of having a house guest. She finally left on the 4th of March. She had been with us 10 and 1/2 weeks. My husband knew I needed a break. He quickly arranged a getaway for us. He figured she would surely be gone by March the 7th, so he planned a 5 day trip to San Francisco and the wine country to start that day. As she pulled out to leave the morning of the 4th, I ran to the bathroom instead of heading for the bus stop. I came down with the flu. I caught it from her. We had to cancel our getaway. I've still never been to the wine country. (disruption-#3) THE END

  8. When making travel plans I now always take time to devise a B and C plan. Not that I had bad experiences but seeing all the unexpected that happens almost everyday, I feel I do not waste my time thinking : What if...

  9. I always try to make sure I'm early for everything but sometimes things can't be helped. Last week I was heading to an interview and my train was cancelled. Then the next train was only going halfway to London. Then the final train was diverted in a loop. As it happened, I was only 20 minutes late (having rang ahead to apologise), but I was mighty stressed!

  10. The Gods laugh when we make plans... I, you might not be surprised to know, am a little bit of a control freak when it comes to travel... And the first icelandic volcano coincided with my first pop-up restaurant... Help! The result was that I had 120 people coming to lunch and dinner, and no food, no White wine, and no cook... It is interesting that a hired van costs double when taken overseas, and finding a hotel in Boulogne proved nearly impossible- still, even the green vegetables survived the journey- I do wonder what travelling with 30kg of chicory would have smelled like- green, bitter, and very slightly sweet...

  11. Thank you for hosting this. It is a very generous giveaway, and I would love to have the chance to try these. Regarding disrupted travel plans, I only will say that am currently experiencing travel delay and I am not very happy about it! If I go on about it, it will just turn into me ranting.

  12. I love Mandy's scents, so thanks for posting this.

    My worst travel disruption was a near-miss rather than total screw-up.
    It was the first time I went to India, 5 years ago. I allowed plenty of time to get to Heathrow - or so I thought. But as it turns out, if the District line fails two stops into it's journey to Earl's Court, thus preventing one getting on the Piccadilly line in a timely fashion, well, the plans go to pot...
    I ended up getting a cab (I couldn't really afford) all the way to the airport, arriving with a bare hour before my flight, and going through check-in and security in panic mode. I made it - just. But my nails were chewed almost raw and I needed a packet of Tums.
    I guess that in the face of many travel disruptions, that's not so bad. But I've always been lucky with travel,and being late makes me very tense, so to me it was horrendous!

  13. I actually am Icelandic and during the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull I was scheduled to go there for a family reunion. During the same weekend my father turned 60, my grandmother 80 and my sister 30 (I'm not making this up) and sadly I missed everything.

    There is a third volcano on Icelend, Katla, that is said to have been triggered by Eyjafjallajökull and Grímsvötn. She is the biggest and meanest of them all and and she is WAY overdue to erupt. I have plan tickets to visit Iceland within 2 weeks and I'm just praying Katla will stay calm.

    And I'd love to be included in your drawing!

  14. I really wish I had the time to reply to all your comments (because you've all been leaving such fascinating little insights into your lives) but I'm afraid I haven't.

    I will just say, though, that so far, you're all in the draw and that I wish Bon voyage to any of you who are about to embark on a journey.

    And Alice: thanks very much for the triple post :-)

  15. Well, I can certainly say that I will NEVER make travel plans in the middle of winter again! My boyfriend and I traveled to Paris for Christmas this past year during thecrazy snowfall. The trip started out okay, but during our transfer from Zurich to CDG, our flight was canceled AND my bag was lost. The few hour wait wasn't so bad, but we faced the same problem on the way back. Our flight out of CDG was canceled and we spent a night in a hotel near the airport. The only flight that would get us back to JFK was a flight from CDG-Amsterdam-Reykjavik-Montreal-JFK. We got to the airport on time, but the flight in Amsterdam was delayed, meaning we wouldhave missed our other flights. So, after another 3 hour wait we were placed on a flight from CDG to Montreal. We had 45 minutes to disembark the plane, go through customs, PICK UP and RE-CHECk our luggage, go through customs AGAIN and catch our flight. What a LONG day that was!!! My boyfriend was sick as well and we were not very nice to each other!! The worst part was probably that during my entire trip I did not have my luggage. It was lost for a total of 32 days!!! So I spent my first few days in Paris essentially in my pajamas and a pair of Uggs!!! NOT how I wanted to travel the streets of my favorite city! Lesson learned however: 1) I will always pack a carry-on. 2) NEVER TRAVEL IN WINTER!!! lol

  16. Thank you so much for hosting this giveaway, the topic is quite a clever riff on my failed London trip. My *original* London travel plans were for May, 2010, and got postponed by the first volcano! So now I'm 2-for-2 with the Icelandic volcanoes, and glad to know that there's a 3rd one waiting in the wings.
    Mandy Aftel

  17. First of all, I am loving Mandy's Pink Lotus mini that I recently acquired - it's such a fantastic chypre! I would love to try more, specifically these samples :)

    Secondly, disrupted, my. Let me say Alice, I feel your pain when it comes to mothers-in-law disrupting plans. Mine is either crazy or coming down with Alzheimer's or dementia (the way my luck goes, probably all three), she's stubborn to boot, and lives in the small apartment on the third floor of our building (my husband and I are on the 2nd). She's a citizen here, but she's been complaining about the hard winters for several years and we finally convinced her to go back to Ecuador this Spring. She left March 7th. PEACE AND QUIET! We celebrated (I forgot to mention she has religious delusions, accuses people of "doing voodoo" on her, stealing from her, "making her feet burn" etc., etc.). The Ecuadorian relatives would hopefully at least have her for 9 or 10 months and we would have bliss. No more knocking on our door at midnight, no more knocking on door at 7 am on Saturday or during..intimate moments...we were glad to see her go. We found out a week ago, last Monday night, that she was flying into NYC on Tuesday evening, the next day, and staying with a cousin of hers overnight, and my husband was expected to pick her up at the train station because she wanted to come home here. Needless to say, we had to take time off work, cancel plans with friends, get her stuff out of storage, take her grocery shopping in 100+ degree weather last week. She was told while down in Ecuador by my husband that if and when she comes home, she will be taken to a doctor to be evaluated for mental status and we would be looking at putting her in an assisted living facility since she cannot continue to live on her own. She agreed. I should have known it was too good to be true. My 30th birthday is today. I took off Friday and today from work. I spent my 2 days off schlepping her to appointments that she ultimately refused to sign consent for to see mental health professional due to needing approval from some imaginary union before she would sign anything. She said hurtful things in Spanish the entire way home to my husband, who sat in the car and cried from frustration from dealing with her. She won't sign a POA, yet she continues to do things like leave the gas on from the stove, endangering our lives if the house would blow up. My husband called the county Office of Aging to come evaluate her in the next week, because we don't know what else to do.

    Having her back, even though she's not physically living in our apartment, is extremely stressful and emotionally draining...not to mention how she has ruined my 30th birthday weekend extravaganza. It's almost impossible to not resent her for it. So believe me, I feel your pain, very, very deeply.

  18. Love Mandy's work, thanks so much for hosting this great giveaway!

    I once disrupted my own travel plans without realizing it. Not noticing the "+ one day" indicator on a plane ticket I bought, I found myself stranded in Dusseldorf for the night, of all places, on my way home from Italy. I had to stay in the world's most expensive airport hotel, but I did enjoy traipsing around downtown Dusseldorf during my detour...Sigh. Not speaking German, I accidentally ordered what was basically veal tonnato (veal + tuna, in mayonnaise...ick) at a local restaurant before retiring to my expensive room. I will be forever double checking all itineraries after that experience...

  19. I haven't had real interruptions of my travels/plans yet but there was at least a couple of near misses.

    Several years ago, after a week of the vacation, we left Cancun hours before the airport was closed for days because of a BIG hurricane.

    Last year I watched with an interest the volcanic activity because I had a trip to Europe planned at the end of May. At some point it became clear that flying was back to normal... and in a day or two after that the airline I had tickets with started the strike... Those were not the most pleasant couple of weeks of checking the status of a strike, looking for a possible alternative rout, etc. But the story had a happy ending: everything went as scheduled, I found a new perfume love in London and "they lived happily ever after".

  20. I have not experienced disrupted travel plans fortunately, but like others have had a couple of near misses. However, when my mother was on a cruise in Europe last year, she got stuck in the delays surrounding the Icelandic volcano eruption when she was trying to fly back to the states. I wonder if this is going to become a yearly event!

    Thank you for the lovely giveaway!

  21. What a generous prize!

    Regarding disruption of travel, I am blessed with a toddler (now nearly 4) and twin baby boys and have sworn never to fly with them until they are much, much older.

    When we flew from the UK to San Francisco with the toddler, then 1 3/4, he was not allowed his own airline seat (airline policy for infants under 2) so he sat on my lap the whole flight. Refused to sit on Daddy. You can imagine how little sleep we got. By the time we took our "fun" trip to check out Vegas, I let him bawl on the plane - yes, he was the kid screaming at the front and annoying everybody - and the unfortunate man who had his seat booked next to us decided to ask the air stewardess to re-allocate him a seat. (Either that, or he spent the whole flight nervously pretending he was in the queue for the toilet.) But our gain, we got a free seat into which we plonked our rather useful, if loud, toddler. Happy endings.

  22. Fabulous and wonderfully generous draw!!

    Travel disruptions - my husband and I had a doozy a few years back on a round the world trip. Apart from one flight cancellation we'd come out of the entire trip fairly unscathed, especially given the crazy winter weather the northern hemisphere was having that particular winter. Cairo was our last stop before heading home (after 2.5 months), and we arrived at the airport ready for our homebound flight only to wait for well over 3 hours at check-in for a horribly arrogant and rude airline staff member to tell us we couldn't get on our flight because our tickets were 'wrong', but she wouldn't give us a good reason why (our tickets had been confirmed/validated previously). After several tries to talk to this staff member (who was hiding in the back office, avoiding us) and being treated like idiots etc etc etc we were escorted to the front of the airport and dumped (we didn't have a choice, they'd taken our passports). Long story short, we were thankfully able to purchase tickets home on another airline in a VERY round about flight path (adding over 48 hours hours to our journey...), and then spent over 6 months harranging the airline for a refund (which we got, because they were at fault... good old system glytches...). LOL, I look back now and laugh, but I certainly wasn't laughing at the time!

  23. I wanted to say thanks to Persolaise for hosting the give-away and stick in my 2 pence on travel madness. Last year, right after Xmas, my son and I set off for New York. Are flight actually left Heathrow on time on 27 Dec. And we flew and flew and flew. Somewhere over the middle of the Atlantic, I said, "If we get diverted, I hope it's to Florida". A few more hours, we're over Canada and the pilot comes on to say we're being diverted to ... Minnesota, which had four feet of snow. Next day we spend all day at the Minneapolis/St Paul airport, finally arriving at JFK at midnight. Which all would have been ok. But, the bags didn't arrive at the terminal until 3 AM (with one of ours lost). New York was winter wonderland after the blizzard. And the flight back to London was a breeze.

  24. Oops, that was meant to be 'Our'...

  25. I'm not much of a traveler, but I do remember a rare trip that my husband and I took to New York in December. We are from the southern US, so snow is not usual for us. It snowed on our last day in NYC, and we were thrilled to see all of the Christmas decorations in the snow. Of course we did not understand that snow meant airport delays, so we spent the next day chasing down connecting flights. It was still a wonderful trip.

  26. Thank you so much for hosting such a wonderful give-away. I have been wanting to try Mandy's work for the longest time. I credit her incredible book "Essence and Alchemy" for making me the perfumista I am today!

    Regarding disrupted travel plans I was stranded in Florida with my sister's family last year thanks to the volcanic ash cloud. It was lovely to spend an extra week there with my niece but I don't think my brother-in-law was too thrilled about spending an extra week with me...

    I think it's very exciting that Mandy's scents are going to be available in the UK and I will be sure to check out your post on Penhaligon's site.

  27. Very generous of you to post a give-away for such an annoying obstacle as is a disrupted travel plan! I hope that it never happens again, but if it does then you should draw only positives from the situation. For instance, I always try to accomplish some usualy neglected tasks at home (cleaning windows, wardrobe arrangements, reparation work...). Yes, it is a bit weary, but someone has to do it. Secondly, I wish to have time to see al my old friends that I haven't met for ages - the ruined travel plans are a perfect occasion! So, look at the bright side of life and don't let the dissappointment drive you crazy!

  28. Thanks for all these fascinating stories.

    So far, you're all in the draw.

  29. hotlanta linda18 June 2011 at 00:11

    Wow, I`ve nothing so detailed to report - just that in spite of all good preparedness, things still go POUF!!! As in when we lived in Oklahoma, we vacationed in Colorado to beat the heat. And even though our car was well-checked out in advance of travel, the radiator went BOOM!! in the middle of the desert heat - 110 degrees. Had to wait 3 days for auto parts before our trip resumed! Thank you for the contest :-)

  30. Really disappointed that Mandy couldn't make it over as we too had tickets for the event :-(.

    Last year our sales of volcanic ash went up and we sold out! We use it in face masks as a skin brightener and nobody had really taken much notice of it until the volcano became more active causing untold travel chaos.

    My only frustrating 'trip story' was a recent half term trip by train to the Isle of Wight for a few days. Purchased the tickets for myself, daughter and her friend and jumped on the train to Waterloo. At Waterloo we discovered that we had been sold tickets to travel the next day! By the time we queued up for a re-issue and refund, we'd missed the train, the connecting train and therefore the ferry. We got there in the end, but it took far l-o-n-g-e-r than it should have done!

  31. *** THE DRAW IS NOW CLOSED ***

    Thanks very much for all your fantastic entries. Please visit tomorrow to find out if you've won.


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