Monday, 6 January 2014


The holidays over, the tree out for recycling, the first Pilates session after 4 weeks of slouching done with, it's pretty much time for a new blog post. But my problem is: I got a wonderful perfume for Christmas and I want to tell you about it, but the visual I've created for it doesn't look like I think it should and whatever I try with it makes it worse. OTOH there is another perfume for which the visual is bang on, but I am uninspired to write about it, and it feels wrong to start the year with a perfume that I don't like. I have now pondered about what to do for a few days and decided to write a rather personal post about the Christmas we've had.
This year, for the first time in 9 years, I was actually staying at home in London. None of the usual travelling to respective parents in either Germany or France, no beach holiday in the tropics. We were looking forward to some quiet and peaceful days with good food and lots of booze in front of the fireplace. And because it felt special we broke with the rule of not giving each other Christmas presents. I know lots of people find it totally weird, but that was the way we did it. Not this time though. 

This time I got, surprise, surprise.....a perfume. And not just one that I had mentioned on the blog or to him in person, that would have been too easy, I guess. M. has a good nose and a clear idea of what he wanted, and he got me the most beautiful, soft and elegant iris I've tried so far. Nirmal, by Laboratorio Olfattivo. It opens with a carrot note that is not vegetably, but I assume it helps if you actually like carrots. After a short moment the iris and violet come to play and they are combined to show off all the powdery dryness they have to its maximum effect. With the powder comes the sweetness, but it's not sugary, not heady, but ethereal and transparent. This particular note combination can easily be too fleeting, like the beautiful  Cuir de Nacre by Ann Gerard, but this doesn't happen with Nirmal. It has excellent staying power this perfume, and lasts a good 8 hours on me. During its development the cedar wood and suede notes become more and more prominent, and when the leathery softness is at its strongest it reminds me of Cuir d'Iris, but the Parfumerie Générale scent is a brown to Nirmal's white, a skin warmth compared to a paper thin softness. But as I said, it's not just a fluffy violet/iris. The name Nirmal,  indicating pureness, gives a hint of the general idea and inspiration behind it but nothing is, or should ever be just pure, and this perfume has quite a lot of backbone and a strong personality. Thankfully it also avoids the wet earth root vegetable direction of some iris perfumes. It's probably not the most original creation, but if you like your iris with a hint of suede there is a good chance you will love this perfume. I know I do, and I'm well impressed with my husband's sniffing skills.

Here then ends my description and had it been the Christmas we had hoped for, I would have nothing more to tell about it and all would be good in our life. Unfortunately, it wasn't going to be.
Just after Christmas, on the night from Friday to Saturday, our beloved cat Basil was killed by dogs. We had been in bed waiting for the cat flap to announce him, unable to sleep and sick with worry. In the first morning light M. went out and found his body in a back garden. I can't describe the pain I felt when I looked into his eyes to see the pain and grief that confirmed my greatest fears. Basil was dead. 
Pet owners are able to understand the strong force of emotions that come with the death of a beloved animal, so very different and yet, sometimes just as ferocious, than the loss we feel for the death of humans. Basil was the cat part of our little family, we certainly had a bit of a child substitute thing going on there... and the flat feels very empty without him.
So instead of posting a visual of the perfume that I will forever associate with last year's Christmas  I will show you a picture of Basil. Our wonderful, soft, grumpy and beautiful cat who is no longer here. 

Basil having a nap on the sofa


  1. I'm so sorry for your loss... It's painful even to read and think about it so I don't know how you're coping with it. Please support each other and remember how wonderful Basil was. Do you have more pictures or stories of him to share? (or not - if it feels wrong)

  2. Thank you, Undina.
    Here is what my lovely husband wrote about him, it describes him very well.
    "I write this having spent the whole day utterly numbed and bawling my eyes out at every memory and memento. Some good friends visited us and shared tea with us; it helped. I am at a complete loss. It seems that the fact that it was a pet, an animal that was the receptacle for nothing but love and comfort magnifies the pain. We'll move on, but it's going to hurt for some time yet.

    He was a beautiful animal, long and shiney black; he had a very established personality and we were very clearly his people. He was shy, very cautious and a little cowardly, which always struck us as odd for his size. He was also fiercely territorial and never tolerated any other cat in his garden, in which he liked to spend time. His favourite spot was the top of the shed, and he liked tuna far more than chicken. His ears were long, and the pads of his paws were always soft and tufty. He hated to have his tail touched and would always affect an air of utter feline indignation when we played with it. He was possessive of us and would always lay a paw on both our arms when cuddling with the two of us. He was our cat, and he's not here anymore."

  3. Dear Sabine!
    I'm really sorry about your loss of Basil the cat! A loss is a loss but I think a person feels different when a beloved pet departs to heavens because of the age and when the tiny animal dies because of the accident and much pain. I'm joining you in sorrow, my family lost a dog earlier in 2013.

    Regardin Nirmal - it's a great perfume. Laboratorio Olfattivo is a great brand. I really like their Daimiris, Noblige and Rosamunda.

  4. Hello my dear. Still thinking about you both, and Basil of course. Your post is a lovely tribute to him and I like what M. wrote too. I'm glad we were able to help just a little bit. Kisses xx

  5. Thank you both, Lucas and flaminglily.
    Sharing does indeed help, even though it hurts at the beginning.