|'You're really not very well, are you?'|
|Before I took to my bed, I took to the sofa.|
Oh yes, a special mention is due to Truffle, whose quizzically concerned looks and sustained ownerside vigil were a source of great comfort. On New Year's Eve, a night when I would usually be out whooping it up amongst friends, Truffle lay on my chest with her face pressed to mine, intermittently licking the tip of my nose as if to say: 'You're poorly and I don't like the loud bangs - but we can make our own fun here just as well.' A big thank you is also due to the friends who did 'porch drops' of home made soup, stewed fruit and other nourishing foodstuffs. When you live alone, the good offices of friends are an absolute mainstay.
|A change of room is as good as a rest - which we also had!|
As the days went by and I felt a bit better, the cat noticed that I was changing levels in the house for a few hours here and there, so she relocated her watch to the radiator cradle in the dining room. At the first sign that I might be tiring and need to lie down again (a daily occurrence over the past week), she would return upstairs and continue her bed sitting duties, whether to one side of me, on me, in the bed, or on the warm spot at the bottom of the bed occupied by the hot water bottle. And eventually, a couple of days ago, Truffle decided that if I was well enough to get dressed I no longer needed constant ministrations, and promptly took up residence again in her cooker top eyrie.
Now although it is customary at this time, I am afraid that there will be absolutely no 'launches of 2017' retrospective from me - and probably never again. I am too far out of the loop to have anything approaching a proper overview of new perfume releases, though I have tested and liked a number of things which were launched last year. In terms of my favourite scented discoveries overall, they might actually be Annick Goutal Songes - in both the edt and edp versions (my only full bottle purchase of the year, and technically a re-discovery!), and House of Cherry Bomb Immortal Beloved. Yep, if you restricted me to just two perfumes - one for summer and one for winter - at the time of writing these may be they. I cannot believe I just limited myself to two perfumes! And of course I reserve the right to change my mind at a moment's notice. I am indebted to perfumers and friends alike for continuing to send me samples, which is the main way I get to try new things these days, apart from my (exceptional) sniffing marathons like the one I had with Undina and Tara last May.
|Songes also having a nice little lie down|
If I am honest, I would probably not go near the perfume counter of a major department store even if I happened to find myself in one - not without being pushed in that direction. I know how much I already tune out to the fragrance section of Duty Frees in airports these days, albeit their selection is not typically in the same league. I will definitely try new perfumes if they land on my mat or are otherwise put in front of me, but I don't seem to go out of my way to seek things out any more, and a lot of the conversations that go on between perfumista friends pass right over my head. I haven't heard of whole houses, never mind individual scents!
I don't know if this is just a phase or whether my interest in perfume has now muted down to a positively passive level. Given that I already have such a huge stash to use up, it is probably for the best that I don't start developing too many new lemmings.
|The night shift|
During my time lying in bed all sorts of other random thoughts came to me about my perfume hobby: my attachment to friends is the blogosphere is as strong as ever, if not more so; I am still troubled by cliches in reviews (also from me!), by an excess of flashing, fruit machine-style ads - which to be fair you don't see very often, but I wouldn't like them if I did! - and by unspoken commercial connections between bloggers and perfume houses. As well as relationships that strike me as frankly coercive, whereby bloggers use a degree of emotional manipulation to 'extract' free product from perfumers and/or retailers to use in giveaways, or sell on privately to hapless newbies unaware of the bottles' provenance. I have been that (latter) soldier myself when starting out in this hobby. Nor do I care for perfumes with preposterously blingy bottles and eye-watering price points that cynically target stratospherically rich Saudi princes and Russian oligarchs, though I sense I have a problem with conspicuous luxury in every sphere! I also feel uneasy about decadently swanky perfume launches - apart from anything, the cost of those has got to be going on the price of the perfume...
Some of my sense of detachment from the perfume scene may be attributable to my current difficulties at finding work (notwithstanding the recent overload!). The enforced frugality which inevitably ensues may also have led to an estrangement from consumerism in general. For it is not just the scarcity of work: such projects as I have been offered tend to be pitched at more or less the going rate earnt by Romanian strawberry pickers. It would be unthinkable for a person in full time employment suddenly to be told they will be receiving a third - or even a fifth - of their usual monthly pay packet while doing the same job, yet in the freelance world it is clear that anything goes. So the viability of my current profession, and the need to find more lucrative and/or less stressful alternative sources of income is weighing heavily on me at the moment, such that the notion of buying a new bottle of perfume or an expensive item of skincare feels completely alien. In the event of a fillip to my finances that could of course all change...;)
|Purple Christmas gin!|
I haven't made any New Year's Resolutions as such, although one or two appear to have made themselves. For example I was very pleased to learn - following a statistical computation worthy of Undina - that in 2017 I achieved my target of an average of 2 alcohol-free days a week, up from 'just over one' in past years going back as far as I can remember. It doesn't sound like much of a lifestyle change, but that still probably equates to 40 days on which I consciously opted not to have a drink when it might so easily have been the default choice before. Thanks to the flu, 2018 has got off to a stellar start in terms of non-drinking: in the first week of the year I have had two days on which I have had a drink, rather than the reverse. So I am well in credit for the rest of the month at least, haha.
(Editor's note: In case I come across as a bit of a lush, I could perhaps add that I do mostly just have one drink at a time, so my weekly units remain within the Government guidelines. ;) )
The other 'not a resolution' that seems to be spontaneously happening - also prompted by my gradual recovery from illness - is reading. I am already 450 pages into the New Year, hurrah!, an unprecedented improvement on my reading rate in past years. I am sorry to report that I read just 11 books in 2017, so didn't quite make my target of one a month. Though work might make a jolly good excuse for December...
Beyond that, I have the usual clutch of vague aspirations: to go to bed earlier, knock off Facebook a bit(!), drink more water, and obey Michael Mosley to the letter and incorporate 150 minutes of medium intensity exercise into my life every week, at all of which I will most likely fail. Inspired by Louise Woollam, I'd also quite like to relearn to crochet...2017 has in fact been a great year for my knitting endeavours, and I have even earnt a bit of money from selling my wares. It is sadly too labour-intensive a hobby to ever become a full-time occupation, but it has its place as a hugely satisfying sideline. Oh, and I am actively considering doing Airbnb, as a friend in the next street makes a tidy living from that, with pretty much zero stress, beyond guests flaunting her house rules of not flushing the wc with the lid up. I have even let in one or two of her clients when she couldn't be around.
|'Naja' the scarf|
So we will see...2018 is definitely set to be a year of change for me on the work front - it just has to be. I haven't been wearing much perfume while I was ill, but here and there I did dab on a spot of Bois des Iles, which acted as a perfect complementary comforter to the cat. Thanks, Val! There are other perfumes I discovered in 2017 that I fully intend to write about, but simply didn't get round to, so I promise I am still a perfume blogger after a fashion till the fat lady sings. Or the thin lady more like, as I inadvertently lost 9lb over Christmas!
It remains to wish readers near and far a very Happy New Year - I hope your holidays were not characterised by illness or existential doubt. I will be back with perfume reviews in due course, and the inevitable tangential posts on toiletries, travel and Truffle...
Oh, and I am getting a flu jab next year. The requisite tenner is already on the hall table...;)