K so I absolutely LOVE perfume. Strangely enough I don’t really do cosmetics in general. I’m pretty sure that I’d injure myself if I tried to apply mascara or eyeliner. Just the thought of lipstick puts me off. It’s difficult for me to find a colour to suit my dark skin in the first place, and the idea of periodically reapplying it is terribly off-putting and tiresome in my opinion. So I go completely natural 99% of the time – the only thing I bother with, is some sunscreen in summer. I do have one cosmetic weakness though, and that is perfume. Fragrances actually, not only perfume = my kryptonite.

So I’m feeling kinda goofy now and came up with this idea to do a review of sorts on my favourite fragrances. Now I’m useless at identifying ‘top notes’ and ‘middle notes’, ‘base notes’ etc. … all that fancy terminology one hears when perfume boffins do a review. Similar to red wine reviews… I never taste the ‘cinnamon’ or ‘cherry’ or ‘liquorice’ flavour that the reviews describe – but I know what I like, and what I don’t like. So I’m just gonna wing it and tell you what perfume in my opinion one should wear for different occasions, or rather different moods.

Since I know it’s not everyone’s ‘thing’, I’ll number them and present them in order so it’s easier for someone to just read the ones they’re interested in:

1. Yardley Serendipity body spray

2. Lentheric Hoity Toity body spray

3. Elizabeth Arden 5th Avenue eau de toilette

4. Elizabeth Arden Red Door Aura eau de toilette

5. Elizabeth Arden Provocative Woman eau de toilette

6. Revlon Unforgettable eau de toilette

7. Issey Miyake Pleats Please (eau de toilette and parfum)

8. Issey Miyake ‘L Eau d’Issey eau de toilette

9. Issey Miyake Absolue eau de parfum

10. Versace Crystal Noir eau de toilette


So I rely on a couple of different fragrances to keep my world in rotation, ranging from nice smelling antiperspirants (body spray or ‘blikkie spray’ is what my local friends would refer to it as) to eau de toilette to the really good stuff eau de parfum. Let’s start with blikkie spray.

1. Yardley Serendipity 

There are three brands of body spray that I simply love. Yardley Serendipity is the first one – it’s young fresh, very feminine but light, whimsical and almost magical. I keep a few cans of these around the house, one in my car and in most of my assorted hand bags, gym bag and surf bag for just in case. The smell is that feeling of ‘going away for a weekend to the beach house’ or even for those ‘biker chic’ times. Not overly feminine but just enough to make you feel like a girl even when you off on an adventure. Have a can in my biking jacket too!

2. Lentheric Hoity Toity

Then Lentheric Hoity Toity. There are five variants in a range of Hoity Toity, but I only like two. Hoity Toity Cherie and Hoity Toity Miss Priss – both of these are very feminine. I prefer Miss Priss over Cherie only slightly because it’s a little softer. It smells like pink fluff – if that makes any sense. It’s great for a day in the office when you don’t have important meetings lined up, but you do want people to compliment you by stopping and saying you smell good. Cherie is slightly bolder, it’s more of a ‘I am here’ smell but it’s also reserved for unimportant meetings…. parent-teacher school meetings (I’m so gonna get busted for saying that!) It’s super for when you go on a short course, and you not particularly fazed by anyone else (not really in the mood to chat to new friends), but you do want your presence acknowledged.

Then we move on to the better stuff.

3. Elizabeth Arden 5th Avenue

The next four are relatively inexpensive fragrances but they’re really nice and definitely perfect for certain occasions in my opinion. The first one, Elizabeth Arden 5th Avenue is a classic scent. It’s flowery but not overwhelmingly so. It has a familiar clean/new smell to it – like springtime. Smells like lilies or magnolias and the scent lingers moderately well. I associate it with early morning class. To me, it’s like a friendly and sophisticated school teacher smell. So it’s my preference for when I have to teach an undergrad stats class. Although definitely  a daytime fragrance, will actually also do ok if you out for an early casual dinner with good friends or family members. Not for clubbing and also not really a date night perfume in my opinion.

4. Elizabeth Arden Red Door Aura

Also from Elizabeth Arden is Red Door Aura. (Not the original Red Door). This too is a sophisticated fresh smell, but not a soft florally smell like 5th Avenue. It’s more spunky and youthful floral. This one is perfect for those days when you feel like you want to blaze through work. Getting up and getting dressed to impress. There is just a hint of seduction in this smell and lots of vibrance. Something in-between citrus, rose and jasmine is the guess that I would venture with underlying scent of musk, wood and amber. I realise all my favourite eau de toilettes and eau de purfumes have musk, wood and amber as their lingering base notes.

5. Elizabeth Arden Provocative Woman

The next one from Elizabeth Arden is one that I definitely will not wear to work. It’s name suits it… Provocative Woman. It’s fruity and gingery. This is perfect for a night of clubbing, to the pub or a smart casual outing… movies, theatre or even a dinner party at someone’s home. It’s friendly and feminine, initially a bit overwhelming but it settles down soon and doesn’t smell so sweet shortly after application. I imagine the sweetness is off-putting for some people during that initial application, but I especially like it for the club because the fragrance clings to me. Thus even after dancing up a storm (and we know I love to dance) I get to smell the fragrance on me and not so much body odour.

6. Revlon Unforgettable

Now this one, is my ultimate favourite fragrance to put on when I go clubbing. Similar to Provocative Woman, initially it’s rather potent. Because of the potency, I think people will either love it or hate it. It’s sweet smelling, but not a yucky sweet smell in my opinion (Chloe Narcisse and Kenzo Flower both have a yucky overwhelming too sweet smell to me. They both honestly smell amazing on other women. But I had a bottle of each and I have to give them away because I just could not handle the smell on myself). Unforgettable is not the same for me – it has some jasmine in it initially and then when it settles down, the very sultry amber, musk and wood that I love so much comes through and it stays! The whole night, even when I’ve danced until 5am. What impressed me the most is people still notice it on me at that time in the club. I kid you not, on more than one occasion a fella has told me that I smell amazing even though we’d been partying and dancing for hours before that. So this one is really good. An excellent buy and really relatively inexpensive. A 50ml of this is costs a quarter or even a fifth of the price of many of the others on this list. This is a definite nighttime fragrance – I would not wear it to work or even during the day.

7. Issey Miyake Pleats Please

Now I have to admit that I am an incurable Issey Miyake fanatic. Thus, I have rather an impressive assorted selection of Issey Miyake. My signature smell is Issey Miyake Pleats Please eau de toilette. And for an eau de toilette I think it’s pretty darn impressive. It’s moderately long lasting and it has a fresh flowery almost fruity smell but it’s not too sweet. It smells of exuberance and optimism. It’s just enough to make me feel serious but playful at the same time. It’s a lady’s fragrance, definitely not a girly fragrance. I think it’s more suited as a daytime fragrance but it is rather audacious, so you could wear it to go out for a fun time, drinks or dinner with friends at night.

There are two other variants of Pleats Please, namely Pleats Please L’eau (also an eau de toilette) and then Pleats Please eau de parfum. Pleats Please L’eau is very light and flowery, it smells rosy (literally). I’ll only wear that in the daytime, maybe when I have a dentist or psychologist visit. It says ‘I’m pretty, but I don’t really want to be seen right now – even though I smell like a rose garden’. (Cheeky side note: I don’t think anyone can take you serious if you smell like this – but I have a bottle in my collection).

The Pleats Please eau de parfum smells almost identical to the eau de toilette except it is just a degree sweeter. It surprises me that they smell so similar since the composition is reportedly very different. The floweriness is the same, the parfum just doesn’t end with a woody or musky note and it’s not quite as upbeat, rather it’s more feminine – although both are distinctively Pleats Please. In plain language, the eau de toilette says ‘I am hot’ and the eau de parfum says ‘I am beautiful’ – but they both say Issey Miyake Pleats Please! I think the parfum is absolutely perfect to wear to a summer wedding.

8. Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey

This I reserve for important work (e.g. very important business meeting – because it’s a confidence booster) or otherwise just for any time when I want to feel special. For a long time Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey eau de toilette was my signature – till I discovered Pleats Please which is slightly more playful but still bold enough to be taken seriously. Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey is a confident trailing jasmine scent. Not too sweet, not too playful but not too serious either. A classic smell. Definitely a smell that says ‘I am here, I am gorgeous and you are not going to pretend that you don’t notice me’. When I consult I tend to wear Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey. It lingers around. By the end of the day I’m still smelling devine, but more woody and musky, just a little bit of white floral that it started so strong with. Thus it’s a daytime scent but can easily pass as a nighttime scent, whenever you want to feel confident, or just special or for a fancy-dinner-kinda special occasion.

9. Issey Miyake Absolue 

Very similar to the Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey but not as crisp. Very jasmine, bolder jasmine but not too sweet. It’s rounder, more sultry. The scent of seduction. Catsuit or sexy black number and stilettos kinda feeling. Simply a gorgeous beautiful scent. This scent is reserved for a special date night. I don’t think I’ll ever wear it to go clubbing or to a work conference banquet even. It’s just too very sensuous. This is a definite nighttime fragrance – or if you must a daytime outing, road trip etc. with someone really special.

10. Versace Crystal Noir

Although I absolutely love all the above-mentioned, my favourite perfume is Versace Crystal Noir. I came upon this one by accident and what a find! It was a gift I bought for someone else but I never got to give it to her. So one night ended up opening it and trying some on. Oh My Word. It’s warm and spicy. It’s different. Rounded and exotic smelling but not overwhelming. And somewhat florally too. Then when it settles, the amber, wood and musk scent stays on you like a luxurious cloak. It’s undeniably feminine. In my opinion it smells very similar to Thierry Mugler’s Alien (on me at least). It’s the smell of a Goddess. Funny I don’t have a specific occasion that I would recommend someone wearing this on. I guess it’s for days you feel like being a Goddess. Every day if you wish. For me it’s any day that I remember that I am one.