Sweet little gifts – 10 ideas for Christmas

December is here and it’s hard to believe how fast the time goes by. Ready or not ready for it, now is the time to begin the Christmas shopping madness. Here in Poland most shops and galleries were ready for winter Holiday season as early as first week of November. And believe me, I won’t be surprised if this kind of sellers approach easily killed any will of Christmas shopping inside you. Personally I’m done with my shopping since a while ago. But lets not give up faith just yet! Lets hope that Christmas spirit will twinkle in our hearts again when the time is right.

When it comes to giving gifts and presents there are many different approaches. Some like them big & expensive, some like them hand-made, some like to give practical gifts and so on… Personally I especially like those small, sweet little gifts rather than bigger ones. I believe that it’s not a talent to go into a shop and get an expensive gadget they show on tv. Finding something small, useful, meaningful, something straight from the heart requires more exploring than visiting just 1 shop. Those gifts are like lucky charms, with their magic they can warm up your heart even on the most frosty day of Winter. Here are a couple of my ideas for perfumed sweet little gifts.

atelier-cologne-hand

If you’re a fan of Atelier Cologne, or know someone who is a fan of this brand you might want to have a look at their newly launched hand creams. Scented with Orange Sanguine, Pomelo Paradis, Bergamote Soleil and Rose Anonyme they make a nice addition to a morning ritual of perfuming your body. They could be used on your pulse points before spraying to make the fragrance last even longer. Tubes are 30 ml only but believe me – little goes a long way. Big plus for those creams being nicely packed with fragrance, my hands smelled delicious after I used a bergamot one. Cost of 1 tube is €20 / $25 but it’s totally worth if you like the brand. It’s a small self-indulgent treat.

hiram-green-travel

I think that by now we’ve all heard about Hiram Green & many of us have fallen for at least one of his beautiful, extraordinary, all-natural creations. For me the biggest hit in his range is the latest release, Arbole Arbole about which you can read here. If somehow deciding to buy a bottle was a tough decision to make (I agree €135 per 50 ml is not a bargain price) you’ll be happy and probably less hesitating to go for it when you find out that Hiram has recently introduced a travel format of all his creations. It’s a great way to have some of the perfume you love at a more reasonable price. They retail for €39 and are presented in those lovely spray vials. Aren’t they adorable?

eos-lip

Windy Winter days can be pretty damaging for your skin, especially when it’s snowing or hailing. As much as we usually care about our hands and faces by using richer creams that can shield us from cold temperature, we often forget about our lips. With EOS lip balm you won’t! This lip balm comes in a sphere shape and is hidden in a cute colorful packaging that looks like a ball. You can choose between many colors, each representing different aroma/flavor of the balm. Plus they are available in regular, softening, shimmering and SPF variants. And they’re a real cheap thrill!

yves-rocher

Enjoy Christmas atmosphere even when you’re taking a shower, thanks to Holiday specials from Yves Rocher. Indulge yourself with delightful flavors of Clementine & Spices, Cranberry & Almond or Pear & Cocoa. Your body will feel pampered and you won’t have to worry about your waist for these cosmetics don’t have any calories! Each line consists of peeling shower gel, bath & shower gel, hand cream, body lotion, liquid soap and lip balm. Price per product is €4-5.

taketwo

Over the years many of us became true followers of Neela Vermeire and India-inspired perfumes she creates in collaboration with her friend Bertrand Duchaufour. For no particular reason fans of NVC overlook this fabulous gesture towards customers that Neela launched in March/April this year. Take Two is an awesome gift – two vials of a perfume, 15 ml each. They’re packed together in a simple box but additionally each vial comes in a separate mini box. Ideal way to give both to dear perfume friends, or just gift one and… keep the other one for yourself! A set like this costs €125 (EU shipping included). Take Two is available in all NVC scents except Mohur Extrait.

nicolai-candles

Especially for Christmas this year Parfums de Nicolai treats us to 3 lovely candles that will keep everyone in a good mood this Winter Holidays. Composed by Patricia de Nicolai we have Or – a composition of cedar, cinnamon & orange. Myrrhe – which sources from pine, myrrh and liquorice. Finally there is Encens – a blend of benzoin and cistus. They’re bound to keep spirits high.

white-xmas-tea

Christmas without good tea is no Christmas at all. When it comes to tea, apart from buying artisanal blends from local vendor I’m a big fan of teas offered by Harney & Sons. I’m a devoted consumer of their Hot Cinnamon Spice which is a perfect marriage of black tea, orange peel and cinnamon. It’s naturally spicy and sweet, just delicious. This year I’ve found a new contender worth attention, that’s why I have put it on my Christmas wish list. White Christmas Tea is a blend of white tea with almonds, vanilla and cardamom. And that tin is adorable. $10 for 20 sachets.

ritual-of-light

From Rituals… A Ritual of Light limited edition series of cosmetics fragranced with sweet orange and cinnamon. Line includes body cream, shower foam, body scrub + bath foam. Fragrance sticks diffuser, candle and even tea with same scent are available. Every product comes in a lovely packaging that elegantly combines black bottles and jars with a shiny golden caps or lids, all decorated with sparkling stars. Prices vary from €4,5 for tea to €42,5 for a 1000 g candle.

tauer-soap

Tauer Perfumes and Andy Tauer have a treat for all brand enthusiasts – a returning Christmas treat of a luxurious glycerine (transparent) soap. From Tauer website: “Mandarines ambrées is a fragrant delight created around natural red mandarine oil, sweet Messina orange oil and refreshing lemon grass. The citrus chord is balanced with hints of amber gris and lasts wonderfully on skin. The perfume is generously dosed at 4% and will scent also your rooms if unpacked.” I didn’t have a chance to smell it but knowing Andy’s talent it would smell divine. 100 g bar costs almost €14.

chieffo-skincare

Few months ago Maison Gabriella Chieffo developed a new cosmetic line. Perfumed with their best-selling fragrance – Acquasala those products should soothe your senses with a pure, spiritual smell that combines salty & marine notes with incense. Via brand website: “The spiritual, contemplative and regenerating power of Acquasala valorizes the magic of gestures that, through our skin touch our soul with gentle hands”. Available as 100 ml body oil (€42), 300 ml foam bath (€34) and 250 ml body lotion (€42). Each product is packaged in funny, house-shaped box.

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Would you like to find one of those underneath your Christmas tree?

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Facets of gold, Atelier des Ors Iris Fauve

One of the toughest part of being a perfume lover is being patient. As it all comes down to patience when you’re awaiting a new fragrance from your favorite brand or from a favorite perfumer. You’re waiting for that one moment when you will be able to try it and until it happens the excitement rises every day. Similar situation happened to me earlier this year. In April, when I went to Excence I was shown a sample of new Atelier des Ors name, under a work title of Iris Musque.

iris-fauve-at-pitti

I loved it and was hoping to put my hands on some more of it but it wasn’t launched for a very long time. Actually I was starting to get a little worried if a company didn’t change their mind and decided not to release it in the end. Luckily my waiting was rewarded and in September at Pitti Fragranze I was officially introduced to new Atelier des Ors – Iris Fauve. My nose confirmed that it was the same fragrance and the only thing that changed was the name, reworked due to registering problems that occurred on the way. It appeared that this name was already taken.

On my skin Iris Fauve opens with a rather dry fragrance of vetiver that has a sharp edge to it for the first couple of minutes. After 10, maybe 15 minutes its edges become softer and the note transforms into more substantial version of itself. It remains dry for quite a long time and in this dryness it makes me think of the tall grass of pampas (with a slight hay note underneath). At some point vetiver becomes more woody with a typical manner reminiscent of cedar wood.

In the meantime, when vetiver is still very present & gradually changes its shape, iris begins to emerge on top of the composition of the new Atelier des Ors perfume. It’s well camouflaged at first because it enters in its rooty domain so it blends together with vetiver in a blend that at first is rather tough to identify. But as the perfume starts to dissipate and notes get more space separately, iris becomes more pronounced. At this point it also starts to change.

iris-fauve-bottle

After a rooty facet iris blooms and unveils a buttery side. Do you remember how Prada Infusion d’Iris Absolue smells like? Iris Fauve smells like its close relative with the main difference being the fact that the latter puts more accent on velvety side of iris. It has a beautiful smell, very elegant and glamorous. At 45 minutes mark I finally start to smell much-anticipated powdery facet of the iris. I adore this part of development because it doesn’t veer towards cosmetic odours of blush or face powder. Instead it reminds me more of rice powder. It’s slightly more like talcum, but a very luxurious and expensive one, where iris facets – rooty, buttery and powdery entwine.

Even more things start to happen in Atelier des Ors Iris Fauve later on. When cinnamon joins the composition and begin to effuse its pleasant and tingly warm spiciness, it somehow effortlessly enhances a performance of iris. On my skin it felt as if iris was about to bloom again. After a couple of hours I detect wafts of cypress surrounding the central iris accord. Thanks to it the perfume feels more festive to me. There are also other spicy notes in the blend. I’m not 100% sure but I think I smell bits of pink pepper, some cloves and on top of that I reckon there is a cocoa note.

iris-fauve

The last one provides a smooth wave of very sheer, gentle sweetness that then seamlessly becomes one with sandalwood. It’s a bright, luminous one. Very smooth and rich in fragrance that I would describe as creamy-woody. Few more hours have passed and drydown notes start to play quietly. There is labdanum blended with hints of myrrh (luckily more labdanum here) that provide a sensual, balsamic base to Iris Fauve. There is also a whole lot of musk in the drydown. It’s on the edge of being and not being animalic but because of patchouli it is more earthy which is actually very good for this perfume as it gives more complexity to the whole composition.

Iris Fauve by Atelier des Ors has a very good longevity and moderate sillage. This beautiful and complex iris was composed by perfumer Marie Salamagne. Facets of the iris sparkle in this perfume as if they were made of gold. Iris Fauve is concentrated at eau de parfum level and will be available in 100 ml bottles infused with tiny gold flakes. It’s a great option to wear for Christmas.

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