Sunday, 17 June 2012

Housekeeping - And House Leaving - Issues, And Penhaligon's Juniper Sling Revisited

Readers may have noticed that my posts on Bonkers have become a little less frequent in the past month or so.  Lately I have also been forgetting to wear perfume for up to three days at a time, which - as anyone who knows me knows - is decidedly out of character.  When I wrote this post on reasons to be scentless, I thought I had covered off all the scenarios not conducive to perfume wearing - death, sickness etc - but now I have come up with another: a pending house move. 

Yes, after nearly 17 years, it is the parting of the ways for me and Mr Bonkers: he is staying put, while I am moving to the new Bonkers Towers, a creeper-clad Edwardian semi closer to the centre of town.  After consulting with the vet, I opted to take Charlie Bonkers with me - she is making good progress with her programme of "transitional litter tray retraining" in the run up to the move, and the vet is confident that she will adapt to her new surroundings, notwithstanding her great age (17).  Unfortunately, being deaf, she makes enough of a racket now with her random outbursts of blood curdling miaowing that if she was finding it hard to adjust to the new house I am afraid I would be none the wiser.

So anyway, I thought I should mention this major piece of news, because I am aware that not only is my posting schedule more intermittent, but there is the chance that I may get overtaken by events at any moment and go completely quiet for a week at a time - possibly longer in the immediate aftermath of the move, as I shall doubtless be without broadband for a while.  All this also means that I have not been able to do as much reading of other people's blogs as I would like, but it is, as they say: "just a phase that I am going through".  I have a pipeline of post ideas just waiting for me to stop collecting empty boxes from supermarkets, stalking sofas on Ebay, negotiating who gets custody of the coffee table and the toaster, and notifying all, sundry - and doubtless a few other people I have forgotten - about my imminent change of address.

And somewhere in my hectic round of dealings with solicitors, estate agents, insurance brokers, IFAs, Ebay couriers and removal companies, I have been finding solace in two activities in particular: googling designer scatter cushions and wallpaper swatches.  I am a veritable demon at speed swatch scrolling, appraising hundreds of designs in a few minutes.  Oh, and I have also been looking at paint, but lately it has been more in the way of fabrics and wallpaper, in the possibly mistaken belief that it is easier to match a paint to a preferred textile or wallpaper pattern than the other way about.  I find myself repeatedly drawn to the same categories, to wit trailing florals, damasks and geometrics.  The latter include a number of patterns from the Art Deco era.

So there I am, indulging in a spot of therapeutic wallpaper surfing, when the postman brought me a complimentary bottle of Juniper Sling courtesy of those nice people at Penhaligon's.  My first thought was: "How kind of them", and my second thought was: "How fitting for the new house."  For Juniper Sling was inspired by the "Roaring Twenties", as Jovan Buac, Account Director at jkr, the design agency behind the packaging, explains on the company's blog:

"The brief was very clear on the mood and emotion we wanted Juniper Sling to conjure up from a design point of view.  It’s about gin cocktails in the 1920’s, bright young things and art deco nuances.”

His production colleague, Judith Allan, takes up the theme of haptics:

“This design is all about tactility and layering, but with simplicity at the heart of the design. The paper stock is tactile whilst the use of silver foils and varnishes helps create a luxurious feel."

So, given that the arrival of this bottle of Juniper Sling exactly coincides with my newfound interest in Art Deco and other retro styles of wallpaper, you may imagine that I studied the specific pattern on the Penhaligon's box with particular interest...  You see, I felt sure I had come across it somewhere in all my online research, but couldn't recall where.  In vain did I scour the catalogues of the likes of Osborne & Little, Sanderson, Zoffany and Harlequin - I found a number of Art Deco patterns along similar lines, but not the exact one in question, and assumed my memory was playing tricks.  I even scrutinised the "spire" of the Chrysler building to make sure that wasn't where Penhaligon's got its pattern from, but drew a (pointed!) blank.

Then, in one of those bonkers impulses to which I am prone, I emailed Jovan Buac himself, and inquired about the identity of the Art Deco pattern used on the Penhaligon's box, assuming that it was something in the public domain, or which he wouldn't mind my mentioning in public.

The following day, I received this response:

"Hi Vanessa

You won't find the pattern anywhere as, although it is based on art deco inspired design, it has been drawn up by one of our illustrators."

Well well, I thought, no wonder I couldn't find it then.  I wrote back, thanking Jovan for this information and - in case you are wondering - didn't push my luck by inquiring where exactly they HAD taken their inspiration from, even if the finished design was original.

So there you have it: new house, new start, "christened" by new bottle of perfume inspired by era of said house.  The last month or two have not been easy for either of us, but I seem to be faring better than I would have expected - there was a mobile health clinic in the town centre today, and out of curiosity I had my blood pressure taken, and it was resoundingly normal. 

Oh, and speaking of blood, did you know that there is a wallpaper with a pattern based on the crystal structure of insulin, and a dress fabric inspired by haeomoglobin...?

Insulin 8.25 (wallpaper)
Crystallographer: Dorothy Hodgkin; designed by Robert Sevant for John Line and Sons

Haemoglobin 8.26 (fabric)
Crystallographer: Max Perutz

Oh, and tonight I had one last google, looking for the similar wallpaper to Juniper Sling that I thought I had seen, and I did come up with this one - Cinema, by Graham & Brown, based on the arches of Art Deco cinemas.  The proportions are different - it is a looser "weave", if you will - and it more of a cream colour, obviously, but the resemblance is otherwise compelling.  Yes, I wonder if this could be the one that inspired the jkr design team?  As I say, I have looked at an awful lot of wallpaper lately... : - )

Juniper Sling pattern


Olfactoria's Travels said...

I wish you all the best for the impending move! A stressful time, but it'll pass and the new house is so gorgeous, I'm sure you'll love it there.
So will Charlie.
Enjoy your new bottle of perfume!

Anonymous said...

Dear lady, I hear a world of understatement in your post. Know that I wish you the best in your move, and through these trying times. If you disappear for a while, you will be missed. . .but I'll keep passing by, looking for new Bonkers adventures. Best wishes to you and Charlie in your new nest. Be well.

Hazel said...

The haemoglobin wallpapers give a whole new meaning to 'blood on the walls'. And I think you should have Bonkers Towers on a shingle by the front door.

Vanessa said...

Hi Olfactoria,

Thanks for the good wishes, and for all your support in recent months. I will be doing a separate post at some point on the kindness of perfume friends - many of whom (though not you, obviously : - ) ) are technically "strangers"!

: - )

Vanessa said...

Hi HemlockSillage,

Thanks for your lovely comment and for bearing with my patchy posting schedule. As you probably know, we Brits are master of understatement. : - )

That said, though it has not been an easy period lately, we have managed to sort things out ourselves, which feels like quite a feat in such circumstances!

Vanessa said...

Hi Hazel,

Now I know you are technically family, but please consider yourself subsumed under the perfume friends alluded to in my earlier comment. : - )

LOL re "blood on the walls"! And a shingle with "Bonkers Towers" on it sounds perfect. My next door neighbour just had one made, so I could ask where she had it done...

Suzanne said...


No need to worry about a patchy posting schedule for a little while -- I will check back in orer to get my Bonkers fix, and since I'm often (fashionably!) late to people's posts anyways, perhaps I'll find myself in sync for a change. ;-)

Wishing you all the best on your move. I'm seriously envious of your being able to decorate your new place in Art Deco style. The wallpaper you found that is similar to the Juniper Sling box design is exactly the kind of thing I like (though my cottage-style house wouldn't suit it). Have fun decorating -- it's definitely the best part of moving.

Natalie said...

I too am wishing you the best with the move, and all the changes afoot. I'm confident you will handle them all with grace, as you do.

I have shared your obsession with deco wallpaper, having used a pattern as a starting point when designing my wedding invitations. There's a surprising quantity of it out there!

Carol said...

Wishing I lived closer so I could be of help - moving, tea-ing, swatching, etc. Know that I am thinking of you all the time. XOXOX

flavourfanatic said...

Vanessa, I wish you the very very best with everything and those Penthaglion inspired wallpapers will look SUPER. And remember, if all the work at the new Bonkers tower feels like a bit much to take on all at once, the peaceful Stockholm archipelago is just a few hours away and great for a weekend off.

Vanessa said...

Hi Suzanne,

I love the fact you are "fashionably" late to reading people's posts - I will try to think of my own publishing schedule in those terms from now on, hehe.

I am not sure I will end up going for the Art Deco wallpaper like the Juniper Sling bottle necessarily, but those stylised designs are a definite contender for a feature wall in one of the bedrooms. I am also drawn to some damasks in a faded red colour or duck egg blue with a faint hint of gold. At this point I think a feature wall is as bold as I would be likely to go, but there are some magnificent designs out there - option anxiety doesn't come close to describing it!

Vanessa said...

Hi Natalie,

Thanks so much for your good wishes - of course a wedding is another huge event in organisational terms. Having engaged in discussions about the custody of our toaster, I'd say that being given TWO toasters as wedding presents may not be a bad thing after all. : - ) Though on balance I'd say it's much better to be happy ever after and burdened by duplicate small appliances!

Vanessa said...

Hi Carol,

Aw, thanks for your sweet comment - having visited you in your own house I must say you never feel far away. And I will graciously accept a virtual cuppa on moving day. With chocolate digestives if it's no trouble...

: - )

Vanessa said...

Hi fragrantfanatic,

Hey, thanks for your good wishes and the tempting suggestion of a Stockholm getaway.

Spookily, my friend in Sodermalm suggested the same thing - indeed she said I could have free use of her friend's flat in return for minding her cat while she goes on holiday. I would have jumped at the chance, only it would be so close to my likely moving date and I need to ensure that Charlie Bonkers is fully settled before making any travel plans.

But next summer I would definitely be up for that if it doesn't work out this year...the flat sitting/cat feeding vacancy is a regular annual event, apparently.

And it goes without saying that whenever I next make it to Sweden I would love to hook up!

Cymbaline said...

Yours and my personal lives have enough similarities that my heart jumped into my throat when I read this post. Change is really hard, especially when it involves loved-ones/places. I'm rooting for you and so look forward to reading about new adventures - perfume and more!

Lots of love,


Vanessa said...

Hi Cym,

Thanks for your good wishes, and I am so sorry to hear that you find - or have found - yourself in a similar spot. Sending reciprocal rooting vibes your way!

Scentimentalist said...

Oh, Bonky. I send you love. I wonder perhaps if it's something planetary, darling -- I'm moving myself in a month or so ;-) New place sounds ineffably elegant, though. Take care. I shall be sure to spritz for two until you get back in the urinous saddle. Scenti xx

Tara said...

Vanessa, you handle some difficult life changes with such lightness and grace in this post, which can't have been easy. I'm reassured that your blood pressure is normal. A great achievement under the circumstances.

Thinking of you and Charlie Bonkers and I know you'll both be very happy at Bonkers Towers.

Anonymous said...

Best Wishes.
I am wearing perfume for you. Can you smell it from Sydney? Seriously, I'm wearing enough.
Portia xx

lovethescents said...

How wonderful to have gotten a new fumie for a new chapter in your life! I'm so glad you found such a great house. You're going to fit right in, and if you don't, I'm sure you'll find a clever builder to adjust the edges ;-)

Good luck, and thank goodness. I'm SO proud of you, my lovely duck!!

tarleisio said...

V, I shall promptly send a few fragrant (and diabolical) benedictions in the general direction of Bonkers Towers and send all the "Happy Move & Happy Future!" vibes I possibly can. Hang in there! We're rooting for both you and Charlie- haemoglobin dress fabric, wallpaper research and all! <3 Oh. My apologies, too, for being very unfashionably late to this post!

Eva S said...

Good luck with your move, I've been missing your posts! The new Bonkers Towers sounds like a dreamhouse.
Even before this post I've always associated Juniper Sling with you, I hope it will be a fittingly bracing perfume to take you through the ordeal!

Anonymous said...

Wishing you and Charlie (and your two perfume fridges) a gentle and successful transition to your new abode. And may Juniper Sling (and possibly some real gin) ease you through these difficult times.

I'm sure any Towers decorating posts would be as entertaining and well received as perfume posts. As for the Insulin and Haemoglobin patterns -- eek! They make me now really appreciate gaudy cabbage roses or even flocking or wall murals. ;-)

-- Lindaloo (patiently persisting past "patchy posting" predicament)

Undina said...

Pack and transport carefully both fridges and Charlie! :)

Please come back with your stories and travels when you can. <3

Victoria said...

Wishing you and Charlie a good, smooth transition! I already know that there will be many fun stories in the future, and I look forward to hearing them all.

Vanessa said...

Hi Scenti,

"Urinous saddle" - that phrase takes me back to the early days of my Ebay sample hunting...

I wish you all the best with your own impending move - yes, maybe the planetary alignments are a bit skew-wiff to say the least.

Let me know your new address in due course! xx

Vanessa said...

Hi Tara,

Thanks so much and also for being such a wonderful sounding board and listening ear in recent months. If a person can be a board and an ear at the same time, that is?

I must say, I do rather like the idea of calling the house Bonkers Towers... : - )

Vanessa said...

Hi Portia,

I smell that perfume, haha! Thanks for thinking of me. : - ) And you may be interested to know that as well as Charlie Bonkers, a toy koala called Mosman is making the move, a souvenir from a happy holiday in Sydney and the surrounding area. My mum was Australian too, btw! She used to live (amongst other places), in Parramatta, and as a little girl presented The Duchess of York with a purse on her state visit on 1927. Hold on - I thought the Royals didn't carry money? : - )

Vanessa said...

Hi lovethescents,

Thanks very much for your lovely comment - and for my birthday bottle, which I shall also very much associate with this new phase. You have been a great morale booster along the way, I must say!

mals86 said...

Best wishes for the move and for finding a new direction in your personal life. And may I say that the Juniper Sling bottle packaging is stunning? It so, so is.

Sending virtual Towers-warming gifts of tea and cookies and cat treats.

Vanessa said...

Hi Tarleisio,

Your fragrant and diabolical benedictions are gratefully received! Something tells me that wallpaper may feature in another post some time...

Oh, and I am also drawn to some rather regal Scandinavian design ideas, but I have to restrain myself - this is an English semi, not Carl XI's palace. : - )

Vanessa said...

Hi Eva S,

Oh wow, I am touched that you should associate me with Juniper Sling - that would be from my earlier review I take it? I must say that my gin drinking predilection is arguably grounds alone for such a link, never mind the period home and possible period wallpaper! : - )

I would very much like to meet you also, if I swing a cat-sitting job next year in my friend's flat in Stockholm... No swinging of the cat would be involved, obviously!

Anonymous said...

You said that a virtual cuppa and chocolate digestives would be welcome, so I came back with some! :)

Vanessa said...

Hi Lindaloo,

As may be inferred from my previous comment, some "spritzing and swigging" may well be on the cards - and "bracing" is just the word to describe Juniper Sling.

And as I was saying to Tarleisio just now, I reckon decorating posts may also "unroll" in due course - hopefully with some tenuous perfume link at least!

Loving your latest alliteration - keep them coming - they never fail to make me smile. : - )

Vanessa said...

Hi Undina,

Funny you should mention the safe packing of first visitor to my previous house (whose father was a plumber), helped correct my attempts to position the washing machine, and wrote in my Visitors' Book:

"Always remember to remove your transit brackets." Subsequent visitors have puzzled over that entry ever since.

This time round, I will remember to pack the perfumes safely - and separately - and defrost the fridges before the day of the move!

Vanessa said...

Hi Victoria,

Thanks for your kind wishes! I hope to maintain at least a skeletal posting schedule in the next few weeks, though I guess the possibility of a sudden hiatus cannot be ruled out.

Vanessa said...

Oh, and flavourfanatic, apologies for muddling you up with the name of your blog. I have done that before in my head, but so far never in print!

Vanessa said...

Hi mals86,

It is fabulous packaging, I agree. The home office I am leaving behind is actually painted Juniper Sling green, though I am probably going to go for a different colour scheme in the new house, whilst ensuring that the box will tone in with the decor of at least one room where it could feasibly be stored!

And thanks for my virtual house-warming present - much appreciated. It looks like Charlie and I will be well catered for on the biscuit and treat front. : - )

Vanessa said...

Hi anotherperfumeblog,

Thanks so much for these additional reinforcements of tea and biscuits. Thanks to you all, I am going to be just fine, I can tell.. : - )

Lila Das Gupta said...

The best of luck V, onwards and upwards!
This post did make me laugh - I thought only you would be bonkers enough to try to find out what the pattern is on the box - pretty good detective work either way. But look what you did: now I am bonkers enough to go and look at all my boxes and wonder if any of them would make good wallpaper - I think the Escentric/Molecules series would be my favourites along with CDG.

Ari said...

Vanessa, whenever you have a chance, please email me with your new mailing address. I would love to send you a housewarming package. And I'm so glad that Charlie Bonkers will be right by your side as you take this big step.

Vanessa said...

Hi Lila,

I am bonkers at the moment where wallpaper and fabric are concerned - definitely suffering from "obsessive compulsive online swatch scrolling". I can thoroughly recommend the website of Kingdom Interiors in Gloucestershire. They only have 58000 different designs of upholstery fabric, for example...

As for the idea of using perfume packaging as wallpaper, I can totally see the Escentric Molecules ones working in a funky retro 50s kitchen! : - )

Vanessa said...

Hi Ari,

Thanks so much for your kind offer of a housewarming package - I will PM you. Indeed I have been meaning to write to say thank you for your fun "rally round Bonks tweet", which made me smile on a particularly frantic day earlier this week! : - )

Anne Meyer said...

Fabulous patters. I just love how you stretch out your ideas. Very great! :)

Vanessa said...

Hi Anne,

Thanks for stopping by! And you have hit the nail on the head with your comment about my stretching out ideas. I hadn't even noticed that that *was* my "authorial M.O.", but it so clearly is! : - )

The Candy Perfume Boy said...

Hi Vanessa!

Wishing you all the best in your new home, I hope the move and everything goes well! Both Nigel and I (and the cats too) are thinking of you and Charlie Bonkers!

The JS packaging would make rather smart wallpaper, we agree!

Vanessa said...

Hi Candy Perfume Boy,

Thanks for your good wishes and those of Nigel, Rupert and Paddington - I will pass them on to "fur indoors".

And I do hope to make it to your talk, provided Charlie has acclimatised sufficiently to her new surroundings, such that I could slip down for 24 hours...

Lady Jane Grey said...

All the best for the housemoving - to Charlie as well (I have a catlady at home - we celebrated her 18th birthday March 15th...). Bonkers Towers sounds great (and I like Haemoglobyn a lot :-) ) !

Vanessa said...

Hi Lady Jane Grey,

Thanks for your warm wishes - your catlady is exactly a year older than Charlie - well, her birthday is 11th March '95. Funny to think our pets are nearly as old as Ari - that is quite a good innings for a moggy! Perhaps it is cats' modern diet of things like IAMS crunchies - or their Austrian equivalent : - ) - which promotes long life.

Tee cake said...

Hi Vanessa,
I only came across this today. I've had to try and wean myself of getting completely enveloped in the world of perfume and beauty blogs!
I just wanted to say I wish you all the very best . I hope you and Charlie will be very happy in your new home. We humans don't like change but it's funny how we adapt to new and different environments and situations. Best regards, tee cake

Vanessa said...

Hi Tee cake,

Charlie Bonkers and I really appreciate your stopping by to wish us well for the move! As you rightly say, we humans - and probably cats too - don't care for change too much, but Mr Bonkers has kindly agreed to keep Charlie for the first week or so till the initial chaos has subsided a little. ; - )