I am starting this week with a severe case of "Julie Andrews déjà vu", but I have greatly enjoyed reading the synchronised "Scents that Sing Spring!" picks (why, that is almost a tongue twister). Aside perhaps from the "vermiposting" dimension to ScentScelf's piece, with its disturbingly graphic imagery of writhing worminess aka annelids...
Anyway, in the light of this comprehensive coverage of the spring scent theme, I thought the blogosphere probably doesn't need any unsolicited suggestions from my side (Ajne Printemps! - sorry, that just slipped out). Instead I am going to sing the praises of a humble, utilitarian, yet vital accessory in the armoury of any perfumista who is serious about swapping: PVC electrical insulation tape.
I had just finished the roll I bought when I first got into swapping on Makeupalley. Twelve months on, and some 60-70 swaps and RAOKs later, I needed to restock. As it happens, right next door to my local post office is a neighbourhood hardware store. It has a large sign over the doorway, which reads:
I pondered why the shop decided that it would focus on these three lines in particular. Could they really be best sellers? It seemed unlikely. Perhaps they are amongst the slowest moving products, and the proprietor reckoned a bit of shop frontage advertising would give a much needed filip to sales. Hmm, that seems unlikely too. Musing on this, I went inside and noted how sparsely filled the shelves were. Some of them were so empty that they could have doubled up as (rather uncomfortable) bunks.
Rather than jump to the conclusion that there had in fact been a run on cable glands, cavity wall anchors and boat varnish, with fresh deliveries expected any minute, I got the feeling that the store might be running stocks down. Clearly they had missed my patronage since last April's 99p purchase! I hurried to the till with a roll of insulation tape - £1.19 this time, but it looked bigger. Should I buy two? Will they be here next year if I don't? My sense of philanthropy didn't quite rise to the occasion, and I came away with one roll.
As anyone engaged in swapping perfume knows, this tape is the vital membrane that protects the precious liquid cargo from the ravages inflicted on packages by unsuspecting postal workers and their machinery. Plain old Sellotape (or Scotch, as it is known in some parts), is nowhere near as effective for sealing the tops of decants. Anyone using common or garden sticky tape would be a pariah in the MUA community - or at the very least branded as semi-pro.
I have only ever seen black in my hardware store (local demand probably wouldn't support a rainbow palette), but I have noticed that the tape used by Canadian and US swappers is often yellow or green. From such subtle cultural differences we may deduce that North American electricians are cheery, upbeat souls.
What else can I tell you about this workhorse sealant? Well, for starters it is resistant to biting. Also, very fastidious swappers may use it to seal up the hole in the nozzle before putting a second layer around the top to secure it to the body of the atomiser. NB This requires a very fine gauge of tape and very nimble fingers. If I attempt this double seal stunt, I dismally fail to get the top back on over the trussed up nozzle.
I would be lying too, if I gave the impression that insulation tape is infallible, even when applied with practised dexterity. I had a parcel leak only the other day, causing one label to flirt off completely and the lettering on another to blur.
But for the most part the tape performs very well in its unusual (and covert) calling, given that the sending of perfume flies in the face of many countries' postal regulations. It is our partner in crime, our sticky-fingered friend.
And if you were very strapped for cash - and exceedingly shortsighted - you might just be able to pass off a roll of tape on your dressing table as a bottle of Bvlgari Black.