Tuesday, 17 January 2012

2012: My Bonkers List Of Perfume Resolutions And Why Nobody Needs Two Daisy Bottle Tops

So if Twentieth Night was on Saturday, that must make today Twenty-Third Day, which you could say is a bit late to be making New Year's Resolutions, perfume-related or otherwise - I have almost certainly broken a few before they are even made. Ah, but it is only 17th January though, which doesn't sound so far behind the curve of resolve.

I am very boring when it comes to resolutions in my offline life. Every year I recycle the same old suspects, knowing full well that I probably won't keep any of them much beyond the end of the week. I am attached to this particular set of goals, not least because several have synonyms that rhyme:

Drink more (not alcohol, ideally) - hydrate

Use that body brush from two Christmases ago - exfoliate

Floss more - extricate

Cook more dishes from scratch - marinate and gratinate

Stop pretending to be an American by farting about on the computer till 2am, and get to bed at a sensible time, preferably on the same day as I got up - stay up less late

Eat more fish - eg skate and whitebait

The only resolution I have adhered to from this list is the one about eating more fish (though not the regul-at-ory varieties, admittedly - more your cod and salmon).

So given my dismal failure rate with run-of-the-mill New Year's Resolutions, you would think I could do no worse by setting myself some perfume related ones, so here goes:

Grow my nails

I am an inveterate nail biter, and find it increasingly difficult to prise off the stoppers on 1ml plastic vials. (Apart from which, I have two pots of Chanel Particulière and one of Paradoxal that are about six shades behind the current fashion because I haven't had a complete set of nails of the requisite length since 2009.)

Give up 2.5ml glass atomisers as a bad job

The problems I have had with this particular atomiser style and its so-called "snap fit" mechanism have been well documented elsewhere on Bonkers. Recent retrials have been just as messy and hopeless, and it is time to admit defeat. I know that it is all about the knack - hey, I have the knack - and still it doesn't work two times out of three.

Keep the office tidy

What's that got to do with perfume, you may ask? Well, a clear desk would be conducive to work, and if I don't work I shan't be able to support my perfume habit in all its manifestations, from financing new bottle purchases to decanting supplies and perfumista meet-ups. Today I started the big tidying operation in earnest, proceeding inch by inch, like police conducting a fingertip search or archaeologists on a dig. Intriguingly, amongst the effluvium of printed matter of every kind, I found laminated visitor badges from factories in Slovenia and Poland that I must have forgotten to return on my way out.

And in case anyone is curious, the Slovenian for "visitor" would appear to be:


Buy what I like, and deal with it

I have given up all resolutions along the lines of: "You must drain all your samples before you buy a full bottle", or "you must wait three months from the onset of the lemming before acting on it, in case it goes away again" - or even the "no list-skipping rule" whereby you buy the bottle you had in mind to buy, and don't allow yourself to snap up something else that you have only just taken a shine to, which then jumps to the top of the queue. All these rules are so easy to break that I will not restrain my spending, just live with the guilt that will inevitably follow. In practice, I am buying far fewer full bottles than I did in the first two years of my hobby - maybe not more than one a quarter? - and have of course largely perfected the art of the "fondle and replace manoeuvre".

NB Perfume sample travel bags are one exception to the above licence to spend. I am the Imelda Marcos of the perfume sample bag, owning at least seven or eight of the things, yet I only ever take one with me on even the longest of trips. Perhaps we perfumistas crave an endless variety of these bags instead of shoes or handbags, but personally I don't think I should be encouraged. Verdict: Stay out of T K Maxx!

Plough through my pending pile of perfume books

You know how it is - nice "literary" books pile up on the bedside table, like Lisa Chaney's biography of Coco Chanel: An Intimate Life, Damage Control by Denise Hamilton or Le Parfum by J-C Ellena, and then on an impulse I will go and buy the latest Kathy Reichs with "bones" in the title, and all my good intentions to read these more worthy tomes go out the window. In fairness, I have actually read Le Parfum now (it was slimmer than a Mills & Boon, luckily), so I may be able to make short work of The Alchemy of Scent, with which I understand it has a large amount of overlap.

Don't keep a scent diary

Okay, so this is more a case of letting go of a resolution previously held. For I did make a note of my SOTD up until April 2011 - quite religiously in fact - and have scarcely been back to see what I wore on "this day last year", type of thing. Nor can I be bothered to count the number of times I wore x, y and z scents, to see what styles or individual perfumes I am particularly drawn to. It isn't that I wouldn't find such information interesting - I would, and I admire the likes of Undina for her detailed analysis of her own scent behaviour - but I just don't have the energy to crunch the numbers.

Lose the nose bag

On the shelf above my head is a brown paper bag that looks like a nose bag. It contains a jumble of un- or once-tested scents waiting for another trial and review of their long term category status. It is the perfume sample equivalent of Guantanamo Bay or a prison wing full of lifers on appeal, and this unfortunate state of limbo mustn't be allowed to go on another year.

Don't keep perfume boxes in the fridge

Cardboard is hygroscopic - those wavy boxes with blurry lettering and tide marks are trying to tell you something.


Empty manufacturers' sample cards

There used to be a vial of perfume in there, but it has either been used up or transferred to a travel bag, where the card would be a bulky inconvenience. Once a bulky inconvenience, always a bulky inconvenience. Verdict: chuck!

The innards of Serge Lutens boxes

Serge Lutens boxes have particularly complex internal architecture, on account of the fact that they come with both screw top and interchangeable atomiser. If the innards of the box have managed to strike out on their own, it is time to set them free.

Empty atomisers impregnated with a particular scent

Wash or let go? I decided - against all my instincts - to try washing the more expensive atomisers in this motley collection of empty perfume decants. Will let you know if it works. They may be soaking some time...

Futile funnels

Narrow, with a short stubby neck that is neither use nor ornament. I'd be better off throwing away these pointless funnels and using that nice plastic bag for something else...

Multiple bottle tops

There is a reason for how I came to have two tops for the same bottle. See if anyone can guess - it can be like one of those lateral thinking puzzles, you know, the ones involving a chair, a noose and a block of ice, or where a man cuts off his arm and sends it to another man in the post.... : - )

Upping the ante further, I appear to have about 14? atomiser tops to fit just one remaining bottom in this spiral 10ml size. How on earth did that happen? And why am I hanging on to the other 13...?

Photo of shopaholic from glamriah.com, other photos my own


Ari said...

Okay, I give up! Why two caps for Daisy??? I can't figure it out! And congratulations on the clean desk! Mine is clean too, for the moment... they always start out that way....

Vanessa said...

Hi Ari,

I will reveal all, but see if anyone guesses correctly first. The explanation is pretty darn obscure, it must be said, and involved a lot of international travel.

My desk is clean, but inordinately furry, due to Charlie Bonkers sitting on my keyboard as I tynseiocjxlzl

Carol said...

I'm laughing as I type this - I love this post! How did those 13 atomizer bottles disappear? And that sample bag is too too cute.

Ines said...

Obiskovalec, huh? When I consider the same word in Croatian, I'm wondering how would you pronounce it (and smiling imagining it). :)

Loved your post.
I also would like to wash some of my decants (it just feels like I'm throwing away money otherwise) but so far, soaking them in alcohol ended in relative success and at the moment, I put just water in them and I'm using them as room sprays.
That should get rid of some more scent before I try washing them completely.

(omg, my verification word is fartmen) :D

Vanessa said...

Hi Bloody Frida,

I am as baffled as you about the 10ml top to bottom ratio riddle. I could imagine one or two of the glass bottoms being rejected for some reason - they were scratched or didn't fit properly, say - but not 14 of the darn things!

Vanessa said...

Hi Ines,

I must confess I at no point attempted to refer to myself as a visitor in Slovenian - I just said my name and that of the person I had come to see, and hoped they'd been tipped off to expect me!

Room sprays...now there's a cunning repurposing idea for the atomisers that stubbornly refuse to yield their scent.

And as for "fartmen", I can only apologise. It was probably a veiled reference by Blogger to Facebook, who are blocking me from linking to Bonkers at the moment for reasons that may never come to light!

Ines said...

No need to apologize, although I'm wondering why in the world wouldn't facebook allow you to link your blog? Though, can't say I'm surprised problems crop up with it.

I just had to include the blogger's "veiled reference" as I was surprised to see it. :)

Vanessa said...

Hi Ines,

I gather it is happening to quite a lot of bloggers on Facebook at the moment - judging by the complaints in the Blogger forum - and it is because Facebook has decided putting up links to blog posts is spammy. Given the frequency with which I post, I wouldn't consider myself any more spammy than the next blogger, but there it is. FB does tend to do weird things from time to time, and this may be one of them.

Tara said...

Wow I'm really impressed by your liberating perfume resolutions. Buy what you want, when you want it and "just live with the guilt". It makes a nice change to the restrictive resolutions the rest of us are making. If only we didn't have to live with the rotten old guilt! I do love your "fondle and replace manoeuvre" though and it seems to work well.

Did a bottle of Daisy get confiscated from your hand-luggage at Departures but you got to keep the top?

Vanessa said...

Hi tara,

Regarding my cavalier approach to spending, I am banking on the "fondle and replace manoeuvre" as you infer, and also on that reverse psychology people use with obstreperous teenagers - you know, where you tell them it is fine if they want to live off chicken nuggets and get up at noon - and because they *know* they have that freedom, they do exactly the opposite (as you secretly hope). Hey, what do I know? I don't have kids, but bottom line is that I am hoping to curb by spending by allowing myself not to...

Tara said...

I see. That is a cunning plan indeed!

I wonder if the 2 Daisy tops is a puzzle that will even stump Undina.

Vanessa said...

Hi tara,

It is cunning, isn't it? We'll see how I get on this year compared to my fellow bloggers adopting the conventional "diet" approach.

I have high hopes of Undina solving the Daisy riddle - or of giving it her very best shot.

Meanwhile, your theory of confiscated luggage is most ingenious, but not the one. The truth is as odd as that though, so in that sense you are on the right lines with your lateral thinking!

Musette said...

re rewashing the vials. I have done this to pretty decent effect by doing the following:

1. wash in soapy boiling water
2. soak in a vinegar/water bath
3. run through with a hot water/alcohol (70%) rinse.
4. run through a boiling water rinse.

gets all but the most tenacious scents out. Once you put Epic in something, it's there to stay.


Vanessa said...

Hi Musette,

Wow, you have tried everything! I am making good progress with my three atomisers, which have been soaking (and re-soaking) since last night, just following method No 1. We are talking OJ Champaca, Guerlain Plus Que Jamais and FM Lys Mediterranee. Lys Med put up quite a struggle, but seems to have given up the fight now, and I can't smell the other scents at all either. I will keep washing them till I am absolutely certain this has worked. I would probably only use the atomisers for myself as a precaution - rather than in a split or swap, say - but it would surely be a cost saving (even within my own collection) if I could recycle the fancier styles now and again.

Vanessa said...

Apologies to anyone having commenting problems. Hopefully the Blogger bug (whatever it is), will be self-fixing by and by.

Olfactoria's Travels said...

I'm waiting for Undina to step up too, since my idea would have been the same as Tara's. :)

Like BF, I am fascinated byt the fact of the 14:1 top/bottom ratio of your atomizers.
Maybe there was a major cat-induced glass breakage accident that was so traumatic you repressed it from memory? ;)

(After countless, fruitless tries to comment, I'll try a Google account to log in now. We'll see...)

Wordbird said...

Hooted with pleasure at this.
Thank you. :)

Vanessa said...

Hi Olfactoria,

Thanks so much for persisting with your attempts to leave a comment. In my ignorance, I thought via a Google account was more or less the main way people *could* leave a comment, apart from anonymously, I mean. Though I really don't understand how these things work - other than the fact that Wordpress is more robust in this regard.

Re the 14:1 ratio mystery, there were no mass, cat-precipitated breakages of the glass atomiser bottoms, though your theory is a valiant effort!

Our eggy hopes all rest in Undina's basket....

Vanessa said...

Hi Wordbird,

Glad to give you an extra cause for hooting on what has been a very good day for you already!

Anonymous said...

Hello Vanessa,

What a great post! Well done on recycling all that card, and on the nifty rhyming resolutions.

"Two Caps for Daisy" sounds like a gel's book from times of yore, about a plucky gel getting into the cricket, hockey or lacrosse team and then playing for her nation. (No drink has been taken: my mind works this way.)

I'm feeling sorry for the Nosebag of No-hopers Sidelined on the Shelf. Poor little scents. Show them some kindness, ma'am!

I can provide assistance on the nail-biting front, should you require it, in the shape of a dip-in pot of bitter stuff that really works. (I had to resort to wearing disposable gloves for food prep when using this stuff!) Scout's honour, it soon stops absent-minded nail-gnawing. Say the word and I'll mail you the little pot.

cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh

Vanessa said...

Hi Anna,

You are spot on with your "Two Caps for Daisy" observation. Straight out of Malory Towers, now I think of it!

And your "Nosebag of No-Hopers" nicely nails your patent potential to be my alliterative ally / adjutant - on an ad hoc basis at least. Okay, sorry, I'll stop now.

I will let you know how it goes on the nail biting front. I have had one away today already, fretting about this Blogger comment blocking bother.

Undina said...

Ok, let's try. Without asking questions I don't think I'll be able to guess an actual story but let me offer several possible scenarios based on those scarce facts I have. But, in general, based on the following story about extra 13 automiser tops, it looks like you're prone to attracting those upper bottle parts (I think you got them mismatched from the very beginning: nobody counts big quantities of supplies, we assume they are correct when we buy them).
But back to my speculations.

A bottle on a picture looks like your favorite Daisy mini bottle (unless your mini grew up and you tricked it into replicating itself like in Sheckley's story "The Necessary Thing"), the second top looks bigger. Since Daisy doesn't
sound like a perfume worth splitting and that plot line wouldn't have involved travelling, I'll assume that you've got
just a top. By mistake.

1) You took your mini on a business trip, it was in your purse, somewhere (hotel? McDonalds? plane?) you noticed that top on the floor, picked it up and only later found out it wasn't a top from your mini.


2) You were on a vacation. A nice hotel where you stayed found that top in your room and since it didn't look like garbage they sent it to you thinking you forgot it there.

Now, your turn, Vanessa. How did it actually happen?

Vanessa said...

Hi Undina,

Thanks so much for pitting your wits most thoroughly against the puzzle in hand! Very ingenious ideas - and that "hotel sending stuff on" theory did happen to me once with a cardigan I did not own in the first place! - but you are not correct on either count. It is funny how I seem to attract extra tops generally, though, as you say.

The true story is as follows:

That is a full size bottle of Daisy (50ml), though coincidentally I do own a mini as well (with appropriately sized top present and correct).

The photo may be a bit foreshortened - and hence misleading - because those tops are in fact the same size.

I acquired the Daisy bottle in a swap on MUA in return for my one of Hugo Boss Femme. When it came I noticed that the top was quite discoloured and a rather unpleasant shade of cream - which again I don't think comes over properly in the photo.

I tentatively raised this with the swapper, asking why she hadn't thought to mention the less than "Hollywood smile-white" colour of the cap, and she batted off my complaint, admitting that people did smoke at home.

So I advertised on MUA for *a separate top* of a better shade of white! After many months, someone came through with just a top to swap (goodness only knows why they had kept it on its own!).

To be honest, its colour was not much of an improvement on the first one - it had also been hanging around for a while in the light if not the smoke - and I just gave up the search at that point.

Occasionally I would swap the two tops over to see what I felt about the colour difference, and whether I still thought the second one was a bit better than the first (which explains why I still have both). And also my usual inertia, as you might very reasonably have inferred.

So there you go, though I must apologise for the foreshortening effect and the fact that the discolouration is not really apparent in the picture, unless you happen to have a brand spanking new white cap at home for reference, whereupon you might well spot the difference even so...

Undina said...

Your explanation is funny and, I agree, obscure. But now you have to explain how is it "involved a lot of international travel"?

Vanessa said...

Hi Undina,

Ah, well the bottle of Daisy came from the New York area, and the second top from somewhere else in the US - you know, classic MUA swaps with a carbon footprint similar to mange-tout from Kenya.