Fragrance At First Sight: The Jo Malone Scented Experience

‘Your lips...drip honey; Honey and milk are under your tongue, And the FRAGRANCE of your garments is like the FRAGRANCE of Lebanon’-Songs of Solomon 4:11

We are conversant with the expression, love at first sight but when it comes to fragrance I like to tweak this expression a little and think of it as fragrance at first sight. Fragrance allows a woman to walk into a room and to leave a lasting first impression on the hearts and minds of those who encounter her awesomeness, such that, long after she has left the building, her perfume lingers on, and people can’t help but think of her even though she’s long gone. Fragrance allows a woman to do just that and so much more. Such is the power of specialist fragrances and Jo Malone London specialises in creating unique fragrances that allows both men and women to wear personalised scents that create an air of awe and wonder. Their unique signature fragrances command so much attention such that the wearer is bound to be stopped and asked what fragrance they are wearing. That's how I discovered this brand.

So, what exactly is Jo Malone London and what is their unique contribution to the world of fragrance? Jo Malone London is a British perfume and scented candle brand founded by the formidable British perfumer and business woman Joanne Lesley Malone(MBE) a.k.a Jo Malone who is the founder of Jo Malone London and Jo Loves. The brand is known for its luxurious perfumes, candles, bath products and room scents.

Picture of Jo Malone MBE(Image courtesy of @jolovesofficial)

Picture of Jo Malone MBE(Image courtesy of @jolovesofficial)

Her unique contribution to the fragrance industry is the fact that she introduced a personal touch to fragrance which allows consumers to have a voice and personal choice when it came to the type of ingredients that goes into creating signature fragrances that is unique to them. There was a time when you didn’t have much of a say in what went into your perfume. You simply went to a perfume store, tried on various scents and settled for the one that you liked which was already packaged for your consumption. Jo Malone London introduced that element of personal choice into fragrance and it allowed both men and women to capture their personal essence and to express the core of who they were in the choice of fragrance that best described them and the impression they wanted to convey through scent by using the highest quality of luxurious ingredients available in fragrance. 

A glimpse of the key ingredients in one of Jo Malone's fragrances called 'Smoke Plum & Leather' available on her Jo Loves brand. Image courtesy of @jolovesofficial

A glimpse of the key ingredients in one of Jo Malone's fragrances called 'Smoke Plum & Leather' available on her Jo Loves brand. Image courtesy of @jolovesofficial

In the words of the founder Jo Malone who recently wrote a feature in Stylist Magazine's Issue 345, she writes ‘When designing a fragrance, start by working out your perfume taste. Fragrances sit in families: citrus (lemon, grapefruit or mandarin), light florals (any sort of blossom), heavier florals (jasmine, tuberose and gardenia), woody (cedarwood, patchouli, vetiver or amber) and chypre (woody notes peppered with spice). I think the best way to work out your taste is to look at the fragrances you own and imagine the scene in which they would be set'.

I had heard a lot about Jo Malone’s fragrances, especially about their scented candles, prior to my visit to their Regent Street store in London to blog. On one occasion whilst whiling away time at the airport, I decided to pop into their shop in Dublin airport to see what the fuss and buzz about this brand was all about. Apart from the sweet aroma of fragrances that hit my nostrils in the shop that day, which was quite unlike any fragrance I had ever encountered before, the sheer quality and excellence of the customer service I received from the sales assistants that day was exemplary. They were not only knowledgeable about their products and the plethora of fragrances on display, but they told me about the founder of the brand Jo Malone and how she had started the business from humble beginnings and had grown it into this formidable multi-million pound business which had earnt her an MBE from the Queen of England. So, when I started my blogging journey, I made a mental note to myself that I wanted to visit the store at some point to learn more about the brand and the science behind their award-winning fragrances. So, you can imagine my excitement when I was presented with an opportunity to do just that. 

Me Angie at the Jo Malone London Regent Street shop

Me Angie at the Jo Malone London Regent Street shop

So, on the day of my visit to the store, I received a very warm welcome from the team at Jo Malone’s Regent Street Store in London. It was a morning 10am appointment. I was all giddy with excitement as I walked up to the store. The sales team were so friendly and very personal in their approach. They focused on me as an individual and they were very interested in what I had to say about my tastes in perfume and went to great lengths to understand what I wanted from a fragrance. 

I was allowed to wander around the store and to explore the various fragrances on display and to then finally choose a set of fragrances that I liked which was subsequently going to be used for my customised arm and hand massage which was offered to me on a complimentary basis courtesy of the store. It was so difficult to choose from the wide range of fragrances on display as each scent was distinct in its own right and unlike any other. In the end, I settled on a couple of fragrances but that’s the beauty of the Jo Malone London 'Scented Experience' because you get to layer the fragrances of your choice to create a signature scent that is uniquely your own.

Me having fun at the fragrance wall installation in the store.

Me having fun at the fragrance wall installation in the store.

I was fascinated by their fragrance wall. The background pictures change when you lift a fragrance off the shelf. How cool is that?

I was fascinated by their fragrance wall. The background pictures change when you lift a fragrance off the shelf. How cool is that?

What struck me as I wandered around the store was the waft of exotic and luxurious fragrances that hit my nostrils. I totally loved the store décor. Very minimalist in décor but very rich in opulence. It felt very warm and homely. It’s a place that you could stay in for hours on end just soaking up the rich, luxurious feel of it all.

It’s Christmas season at the moment so the store had been decorated to capture the essence and mood of the Christmas festivities. Their theme for this Christmas season is ‘Theatre of Christmas’ (here is a link to watch their Christmas ad).

The Regent Street Store also offers a bespoke engraving and monogramming service which allows you to customise your Jo Malone London scent. You can choose from a wide range of elegant fonts with which you may wish to to engrave your Jo Malone product. Personalising your fragrance doesn't get any better than this. I was allowed to have a look inside the room where this bespoke service takes place. It's a pretty special room. 

After my personalised consultation with the sales assistant that was assigned to me, I was ushered to their boutique counter which is based instore where my personal choice of fragrances was used to give me a very relaxing arm and hand massage. The sales assistant placed each scent I had chosen on a piece of light cardboard paper and allowed me to smell each fragrance again, first as separates, and then as a layered blend by placing one fragrance on top of the other. That was a pretty awesome experience as I noticed that fragrance when layered smells completely different and distinctly unique in its blend.  

As part of the experience, I was offered a very tasty complimentary drink as well. You are given a choice of an alcoholic or a non-alcoholic beverage.

For my signature scents, I chose their limited edition Christmas fragrance called Orange Bitters (which has since sold out) as well as Basil and Neroli. I also fell in love with one of their linen sprays called Acqua Di Limone Scent Surround Spray which you can spritz on your clothes, fabrics and linen to energise your senses.  

My chosen signature scents also have equivalent hand and body washes. The sales assistant who attended to me whisked the body and hand washes of my chosen signature scents into a luxurious frost.

Sales assistant whisking my chosen signature hand and body wash to use for my hand and arm message. 

Sales assistant whisking my chosen signature hand and body wash to use for my hand and arm message. 

She then proceeded to massage my hands and arms with it. It felt amazing, refreshing and very relaxing. At that point I could have just gone to bed. 

Step 1-She places the froth in the palm of her hands ready to apply it to my arms

Step 1-She places the froth in the palm of her hands ready to apply it to my arms

Step 2-She then applies it to my arms and gently massages it into the skin on my arms

Step 2-She then applies it to my arms and gently massages it into the skin on my arms

Step 3-She ten wipes both my arms down with a warm towel

Step 3-She ten wipes both my arms down with a warm towel

Step 4: She then repeats the same step but this time she concentrates on my hands only. 

Step 4: She then repeats the same step but this time she concentrates on my hands only. 

Step 5: She then places a warm towel over my hands and allows the fragrances to sink in

Step 5: She then places a warm towel over my hands and allows the fragrances to sink in

Step 6: She then wipes my hands down again 

Step 6: She then wipes my hands down again 

Step 7: She then applies a hand and body lotion of my signature scents to my hands and arms

Step 7: She then applies a hand and body lotion of my signature scents to my hands and arms

Step 8: She then massages my hands and arms after she has applied the hand and body creme

Step 8: She then massages my hands and arms after she has applied the hand and body creme

Step 9: To finish it all off she spritz a whiff of their Limited Edition Christmas Cologne Orange Bitters onto my arms and hands

Step 9: To finish it all off she spritz a whiff of their Limited Edition Christmas Cologne Orange Bitters onto my arms and hands

I am all smiles as I am one happy camper-:)

I am all smiles as I am one happy camper-:)

With that, the session came to an end or so I thought… but Jo Malone London had another amazing gift specially tailored for me. They gave me a gift to take away with me from the experience. I was gifted a generous samples of my chosen signature fragrance and body creme. That was really very kind of them and a really lovely surprise as well as I wasn’t expecting it.

My special thanks and gratitude to Jo Malone(London) and especially to their excellent sales team at their Regent Street London store for such an amazing experience. I had an ‘awesome-tastic’ time. Here is a link to their online store where you can purchase all their instore products. They ship worldwide and they offer same day free delivery to any London address. Be sure to definitely get your hands on their exclusive one of a kind Christmas treats. 

Jo Malone London Website:  http://www.jomalone.co.uk/

The Good Skin Diet

Hi Loves,

So in my last post I spoke candidly about my battle with acne for most of my teenage years and how failed treatment after treatment led to me taking personal charge of my skin care needs by undertaking research on my skin’s particular concerns.  

To see first-hand how my research driven findings on my skin delivered such excellent results that has kept me acne free for well over a decade (16 years to be precise) really empowered me going forward to take all things skincare very seriously. 

Following on from that season of my life, quite naturally I have become very passionate about all things skin care and to this day I continue my research on what is best for my skin based on my skins needs with every passing age and seasonal weather changes .

That's me Angie.Xxx

Everything had been going really well with my skin but earlier this year, I was compelled to undertake a complete overhaul of my diet by looking critically at what I was actually putting into my body. I did this because I noticed that my skin was becoming super oily. Also I noticed that despite eating what I thought was 'healthy' food, my energy levels were waning. It took a conversation with a friend of mine who is a nutritionist to cause me to look critically at what I was actually putting into my body. 

Following on from that conversation, I did some personal research into the kinds of food that was good for my skin specifically and my overall health and well-being in general. I have learnt so much about food in the last couple of months and implemented massive changes to my diet  with proven results that are visible on my skin. In this post I will share some insights on what I have been doing to gain traction as far as my skin and overall health and well-being is concerned.

Photo Credit: Love And Food Inc

My philosophy concerning food has completely changed. I have come to realise experientially that when it comes to what we feed our bodies, the taste of the food we eat or the quantity of food we eat should NOT be the leading or deciding factor when it comes to our choice of meals BUT most importantly we need to look critically at the nutrients that the foods we feed our bodies contain. That’s where the SECRET lies.

Photo Credit: Love And Food Inc

Have you noticed how you can eat a pile high plate of food but just a few hours later it feels as though you have not eaten anything and your body is screaming to be fed AGAIN? This is because it doesn’t matter how much food you feed your body, if that food is lacking in the essential nutrients that your body needs to function at it's optimum best, your body will be screaming for more food regardless of what you feed it. 

Thank God for wisdom. Now that I know better my aim is to do better when it comes to what I eat. Eating healthy should be embraced as a lifestyle for everyone as it's important for longevity in general and for your skin's vitality. Eating healthy should not only be embraced as a means of weight control. It's a great disservice to reduce healthy eating only as a means of weight control. 

Photo Credit: Love And Food Inc

The saying that you are what you eat is really true. If you have noticed that your skin is breaking out with acne or if despite using oil-free makeup and cleaning your makeup brushes diligently your skin is STILL breaking out, it's time to check what you eat. Please don't shelve out a ton of money just to buy expensive face creams and skin lotions to deal with skin blemishes and imperfections without first looking CRITICALLY at what you eat. Some of these 'expensive' skin lotions make all kinds of claims and in 'some' cases fail to either deliver or make you eternally dependent on them. You are better off spending that money on eating healthy. 

Did you know that salty or sugary foods can show up on your skin in the form of fine lines or puffiness?

Or did you know that many diary products notably milk(even organic milk) contains a hormone called IGF-1 which sends a signal to your skin cells to produce more sebum which results in your skin looking so oily and greasy?

That's why I have cut out milk from my diet altogether. Instead I substitute it with plant-based ALMOND MILK pictured below.  

Picture taken by me

Picture taken by me

Also filing up on the right kinds of greens, healthy fats, and vitamin-rich fruits can deliver to your skin a healthy, youthful and glowing radiance.

Picture taken by me

I refer to my approach to what I eat as ‘The Good Skin Care Diet’. It was informed in part by an ASTONISHING discovery which I made whilst reading the Book of Daniel in the Bible. The first chapter of that book has some mind blowing insights on the kinds of food that deliver excellent results to our skin. 

Here is a brief account of what I read that COMPLETELY revolutionised what I eat.

The Book of Daniel opens up with an account of when the people of Israel were carried off into captivity by King Nebuchadnezzar the King of Babylon when he declared war on Jerusalem and besieged the city during the third year of King Jehoiakim’s reign in Judah.  

Photo Credit:LifeHopeAndTruth

Following the carrying away of the children of Israel into captivity in Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar, 

3-5 The king told Ashpenaz, head of the palace staff, to get some Israelites from the royal family and nobility—young men who were healthy and handsome, intelligent and well-educated, good prospects for leadership positions in the government, perfect specimens! —and indoctrinate them in the Babylonian language and the lore of magic and fortune telling. The king then ordered that they be served from the same menu as the royal table—the best food, the finest wine. After three years of training they would be given positions in the king’s court.

6-7 Four young men from Judah—Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah—were among those selected. The head of the palace staff gave them Babylonian names: Daniel was named Belteshazzar, Hananiah was named Shadrach, Mishael was named Meshach, Azariah was named Abednego.

8-10 But Daniel determined that he would not defile himself by eating the king’s food or drinking his wine, so he asked the head of the palace staff to exempt him from the royal diet. The head of the palace staff, by God’s grace, liked Daniel, but he warned him, “I’m afraid of what my master the king will do. He is the one who assigned this diet and if he sees that you are not as healthy as the rest, he’ll have my head!”

11-13 But Daniel appealed to a steward who had been assigned by the head of the palace staff to be in charge of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: “Try us out for ten days on a simple diet of vegetables and water. Then compare us with the young men who eat from the royal menu. Make your decision on the basis of what you see.”

14-16 The steward agreed to do it and fed them vegetables and water for ten days. At the end of the ten days they looked better and more robust than all the others who had been eating from the royal menu. So the steward continued to exempt them from the royal menu of food and drink and served them only vegetables.

17-19 God gave these four young men knowledge and skill in both books and life. In addition, Daniel was gifted in understanding all sorts of visions and dreams. At the end of the time set by the king for their training, the head of the royal staff brought them in to Nebuchadnezzar. When the king interviewed them, he found them far superior to all the other young men. None were a match for Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.

19-20 And so they took their place in the king’s service. Whenever the king consulted them on anything, on books or on life, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his kingdom put together.

Daniel 1:3-20(The Message Bible)

So you can see from the account above how shunning a ‘royal diet’ of sumptuous food and rather choosing to embrace a diet of vegetables and water for just 10 days caused Daniel and his friends to look better and more robust than their colleagues who were on the ‘royal menu’.

Verse 15 says ‘At the end of the ten days they looked better and more robust than all the others who had been eating from the royal menu’’

It’s this scripture that has for the most part informed my approach to what I call ‘The Good Skin Diet’’ coupled with some other research findings which I will share below.

Let’s now look specifically at the kinds of foods that we should fill our plates with if we are committed to maintaining good skin and improving our overall health and wellness. 

Fill Your Plate With…

Omega-3S

Foods with ‘healthy fats’ (a.k.a omega-3 fatty acids) such as avocados, chai seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts and wild salmon are anti-inflammatory. This means that eating them helps halt the breakdown of collagen which is a skin-firming protein responsible for your skin looking healthy and naturally plump. This in turn prevents fine lines.

You should aim to have at least two servings of fish a week (salmon is the best source of omega 3-s). Mackerel, herring and tuna are also sources of omega 3-s. Egg yolks also contain omega 3-s. 

Photo Credit:Love And Food Inc

If you are not a seafood fan, don’t you worry. You can eat a snack with healthy fat such as a handful of walnuts daily (unless you have a nut allergy in which case you will have to avoid eating any form of nuts). In that case chai seeds, flax seeds and natto’s will do the job equally as well.

*Natto’s are a traditional Japanese food made from soybeans fermented with Bacillus subtilis. 

Anti-oxidants

Vitamins A and C in particular counter skin-damaging free-radicals in our bodies but that’s not all. 

Vitamin A (which is found in butternut squash, carrots and sweet potatoes) can help reduce inflammation and encourage cell turnover, thereby reducing your risk of skin breakouts. 

Picture taken by me.

Depending on ones age and physical condition, the amount of Vitamin A and C that needs to be taken varies.

 

Consider slicing kiwi into your yogurt for breakfast. One whole kiwi fruit delivers 100 percent of most people’s daily value of vitamin C. As for Vitamin A, try half a cup of cantaloupe melon a day.

Sliced Kiwi's pictured above. Photo Credit: Love And Food Inc

Cruciferous Vegetables

Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and spinach contain a phytonutrient called sulforaphane which can stimulate liver detoxification of hormones. This process helps eliminate excess storage of the hormone oestrogen which may lead to blemishes. 

Photo Credit: Love And Food Inc

If you can aim for a salad the size of two open hands containing the aforementioned veggies every day, that will be excellent!!! If the monotony of eating them every day wears on you, steam them, blend them and toss them into a smoothie; the ground greenery will add thickness if not flavour plus it is so yummy too.

Photo Credit:Love And Food Inc

Lean Protein

Eating lean meat from grass-fed animals, organic chicken, and wild-fish helps stabilize blood sugar levels by combating insulin spikes that jump-start inflammation.

Photo Credit: Love And Food Inc

The more inflammation in your body, the more prone you will be to acne and collagen loss. Loss of collagen is what causes your skin to loose it’s plump and supple look.

Though the amount of lean protein your body needs varies based on your weight, health goals and physical condition, it is recommended that you aim to get 25 to 30 percent of your daily calories from protein. You can incorporate protein shakes, but try not to offset the good you’re doing with a sugary or too-rich dairy base.

Do also definitely go green by drinking lots and lots of green smoothies every morning. I tend to blend kale, cucumber, green apples, celery in almond milk and it’s so good for your skin. Leafy vegetables also stimulate detoxification prompting that make-up free glow. Carrots, orange, pineapple, ginger and tumeric also make a vibrant orange smoothie when blended together.

Photo Credit:Love And Food Inc

In my next post where I will continue this conversation on ‘The Good Skin Diet’, I will talk specifically about which foods to avoid completely or eat in moderation to avoid breakouts and blemishes. 

Until then…thank you so much for taking the time to read my article. I hope it encourages you to also incorporate some of the foods mentioned above into your diet. Just try it for the next 10 days like Daniel did in the Bible and you just stand back and watch in amazement the visible difference and results that will appear on your skin.

Cheers to healthy eating!!!

Lots of love,

Angie Xxx

*Research credit: InStyle USA August 2016 issue

*Special thanks & gratitude to 'Love Life Food Inc'  for providing me with some of the pictures that were used in this post (www.loveandfoodinc.com

 

 

 

My Skincare Story

As a teenager I had very bad acne which almost threatened to completely ruin my facial skin and as a girl who had just hit puberty, it was a very big deal to me. My face always looked like I had a perpetual bout of small pox. Every part of my face apart from my eyes and nose was constantly covered in spots.

Various doctors had prescribed all sorts of topical and oral medications that worked for a while with minimum relief. But I remember one summer for no reason I was walking on the streets of the City Centre in Dundee, Scotland and my face was literally burning for no apparent reason. I remember walking into the Department store Debenhams and making a beeline for the nearest counter to ask if there was any product they could recommend to give me some relief. I remember the kind sales lady spraying a spritz of something on my face which was so soothing and helped a little. I walked out of the store that day and vowed that I will become my own dermatologist and will do my personal research when it came to my skin. 

A few weeks later, armed with information from my research, I walked boldly and confidently into my doctor’s office and made a compelling case to him that as much as I appreciated all his efforts, his attempts to help had proved futile and that I had researched and found a new drug that was having tremendous success in America and which had just been introduced in the UK. My doctor was reluctant at first but he was willing to have a go. The medication was called Roaccutane. It is a vitamin A derivative but highly potent and it is used to treat strictly severe cases of acne and is available only via prescription from a dermatologist who needs to closely monitor your progress whilst on it due to the side effects some of which can be quite severe. 863 tablets later taken over a period of six months, glory to God, I was and have continued to be acne free for 16 years so far. I have learnt so much about skin care and I would love nothing more than to share some of my tips and tricks for maintaining healthy and naturally glowing skincare with you.

When it comes to skincare, I believe that your skin’s health is paramount. With skincare products, less is always more. Knowing your skin type is where it all starts as well as one’s diet and attitudes in general to overall fitness. I believe in putting your best face forward as it makes you confident and self-assured.

On this segment of the website, I will share tips and tricks for maintaining naturally healthy and glowing skin. 

I hope you will be inspired and encouraged by what I share on maintaining healthy skin care. 

Lots of Love,

Angie Xxx