Tag Archives: rose
What’s with this weather? What’s with my body? I’m freezing! Where are the curtains I ordered (in September)? I want my curtains so that I can shut out the weather. I want to cocoon myself in a centrally heated, thick (heavily interlined) curtained house. No, hang on. Scratch that. Actually I want to hibernate. Yes, that would be better. Why can’t humans hibernate? Avoid the cold and the damp altogether, avoid S.A.D. syndrome, avoid over-eating starch because it temporarily makes you feel better but leaves you feeling and looking like a little human butterball by the Spring.
Wake me up when it’s Spring, would you?
Valentines Day has been and gone and by now those beautiful red roses have begun to fade. It’s a shame to throw them away when they can so easily be dried and used for pot pourri that will last for many, many weeks, if not months ahead.
The time to turn them into pot pourri is really just as the flower heads start to droop and the petals are dropping away because once removed from the stem, the petals are still colourful and beautiful.
There are a few methods for drying flower petals, two of which require patience, one of which is quick and easy. Here’s the quick and easy method and all it requires is a few pieces of kitchen paper, a microwave and a small bottle of rose essential oil (a scent ‘fixative’ of orris root powder is an optional extra).
Gently separate the petals from the stems and scatter them in a single layer on a microwaveable plate onto which you have placed a piece of kitchen paper. Microwave on a medium setting for 15 seconds, turn the petals and microwave again for another 15 seconds. The petals will become a richer, darker colour but shouldn’t be brittle. I find that I can generally do one bloom at a time like this.
When they’re all done pop them in a plastic bag and scatter with a few drops of rose essential oil, close the top of the bag and gently toss the petals in the bag. Then preferably leave the bag shut for half an hour or so before use. Display in pretty, open containers around the house and top up the scent with more drops of essential oil as and when necessary.
If you want to make the scent last longer, you can add approx. one tablespoon of orris root powder per cup of petals just before you sprinkle on your initial dose of rose oil. Orris root is simply a natural fixative, derived from the root of a species of iris, and can be obtained from many herb supply outlets.
Here are some facts, pointers and advice about one of my favourite subjects – perfume.
Perfume is a carefully balanced blend of oil, combined with alcohol, essential oils and often chemical scents. Sometimes described as having ‘top notes’ of certain plants, this simply means that these are the scents that hit you first. For example, Chanel No. 5 has, amongst others, top notes of ylang-yang and neroli but then gives way to ‘middle notes’ of rose and jasmine before revealing the woody ‘base notes’ of sandalwood and vanilla. These layers are present in all good perfumes and it’s why, when buying a new perfume, you should always spray on a sample and then walk away for 10 minutes or so. What you smell initially may delight you. What is left after that initial spritz may be less appealing! It’s also important to do this as perfume reacts differently on different skin. What is great on your friend might be truly horrible on you. (There is, for example, a perfume that I really like on other people that always, genuinely, smells like cat pee on me)!
Getting an idea of these ‘notes’ in your favourite perfumes will help guide you to new scents that you might like because fragrance falls into categories: Florals (rose, gardenia, lilac, jasmine etc.), Exotic (musk, ylang, ylang, vanilla), Spice (cinnamon, ginger, cloves), Wood (pine, sandalwood, cedar), Fruit (lemon, orange, peach) and Herbal (lavender, bay, sage). Suppliers of perfume on the web often list the scent ingredients that make up a fragrance. If you look up your favourite perfumes you may spot a common trend!
The purest form of your favourite scent you are likely to find available for sale will be ‘Eau de Parfum’ (EDP). This is because the blend in its original form (Parfum) is so highly concentrated that it may actually cause allergic skin reactions. To produce Eau de Parfum the scent has been diluted with ethanol, water or a neutral smelling oil or wax. EDP is obviously the most expensive form of a scent because it contains, in proportion, more of the original blend of ingredients (approx. 30%) that make it smell so attractive.
When the original scent has been diluted further it becomes Eau de Toilette (EDT) and occasionally you will find available Eau de Cologne or ‘Splash’, the weakest form of the perfume, often only containing 1-3% of its original scented compounds.
Quite obviously these different versions smell very different and it may well be that you prefer the lighter fragrance of an Eau de Toilette. However, if you really like a scent don’t be put off by the expense of a bottle of Eau de Parfum. The greater concentration of the fragrant ingredients means that you can apply less to produce the same result and the scent is likely to last longer on your skin.
Here are a few tips for applying and wearing perfume:
No perfume will last more than a few hours and so will have to be topped up during the day if you want to maintain the effect. Pretty handbag sprays are often available of favourite perfumes.
Layering is the best way to make your scent last longer. Use something like shower gel and then body lotion in the same range, finishing with a light spray of perfume, highlighting the pulse points.
Pulse points on your body are areas where blood flow is closest to the surface of the skin, meaning that they stay warm – wrists, temples, backs of knees, inside elbows, behind the earlobes. Perfume reacts to warmth by releasing more of its aroma.
For a more subtle effect, spray your perfume just in front of you and immediately walk through the mist so that it is dispersed all over you.
If you tend to stick with one perfume you can scent non-delicate, natural fabrics like cotton and linen, giving your clothes your signature scent. Spray from a distance of 12-15 inches. (Be very careful with this: perfume will stain silk and many synthetic fabrics). This is not something I personally recommend by the way, simply because of the possibility of damaging my clothes and the fact that I tend to change my perfume depending on my mood and the time of year.
Last pointer, and it’s an important one. Don’t ‘ladle’ on perfume. Subtlety is the key. You want to drift by, leaving a delicate and enticing trail of loveliness behind you, not move along, leaving in your wake a trail of poor asthmatics gasping for air and the noses of others kicking and screaming for mercy.