Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Giving away the scent of Heaven

Scent is so very important.  It’s evocative, atavistic, often unfathomable.  Which scents do you love? Which do you hate? 
Does it matter how someone smells?  Oh god, yes! Some scientists even believe that attraction lies in our personal scents being compatible with one another.  No, sillies, not Lynx clashing with Prada.  J 
It’s the same with places – the smell of a space can colour how you feel about it. All that business about freshly-brewed coffee and baking bread when you’re trying to sell a house?  Okay, so it’s a bit hackneyed now but the principle is a smart move. 

Anyhow, I’m very picky about scent and I’m even more fussy about what I slather all over my body. I don’t hold truck with dousing myself in chemicals. If I can’t afford totally natural stuff, I’d rather not have anything at all – or pop a few drops of essential oil onto sea salt and bung that in the bath.  If you read this blog regularly you’ll already know that I have a fanatical crush on ila.  Ila is Sanskrit for earth and everything in these products comes from a plant or mineral – crammed full of loveliness so there simply isn’t any space for anything synthetic. 
Ila was founded by Denise Leicester, a qualified nurse who is also trained as an aromatherapist, yoga teacher and healer.  She believes in healing energy – in ‘a higher vibration capable of facilitating profound inner change.’  Well, don’t laugh, but so do I.  So much that I wrote an entire book yacking on about it. 
Denise spent a year researching, travelling and sourcing her key ingredients with huge care. ‘Each ingredient is chosen for its spiritual attributes as well as its physical and emotional benefit,’ she says. So that included Himalayan salt crystals, Rose damascena and argan oil (and you know how I love that). 
She wanted to find farmers and growers who shared her deep, sacred love of the earth and wanted to found a company on principles  of “spiritual light and multi-level reconnection”. She calls the range ‘beyond organic’ because she doesn’t think it’s enough for a product to be merely organic – she figures the purer the source and the process, the more suffused it will be with the earth’s healing energy. 
Have I lost you?  Are you scratching your heads and whistling quietly?  If so, don’t fret – just put to one side all this woo-hoo mystical stuff and simply luxuriate in some of the most divine high-class beauty products you will find. Forget that image that may be forming in your mind of the sticky gunk you find gathering dust in the far corner of ancient New Age shops.  Oh no, sirree.  These are absolutely top-notch, beautifully packaged and presented.  And, oh, oh, oh – the scents.  


If you’re wondering (and, let’s be honest, I would be too), no, this isn’t a sponsored blog.  I just adore this stuff and want to shout about it a bit.  I’ve bored you with my favourites before so I won’t go on about them again.  I want you to try them for yourselves. But I do realise they are pricey and times are tough.  So I asked ila if they could possibly give something or other for me to pass onto you.  And, bless them, they’ve come up trumps. 
I’m off to a spa in London today (shall report, never fear) but one of you, my lovely readers, can  have his or her (I would never discriminate – rose can smell very sweet on a man!) very own ‘ila-spa-at-home kit’...  This is pretty damn gorgeous and it comprises:


Inner Peace Bath Salts – apparently suited for anyone who needs ‘greater serenity’ and pampering – softens the skin and strengthens your aura. Not bad for a bath!
Body Scrub for a Blissful Experience (argan oil, Himalayan salt crystals, rosehip, jasmine, sandalwood and damascene rose et al) – I haven’t tried this but it sounds delicious –you massage it into damp skin and then bathe.
 
Face Oil for Glowing Radiance: this is a bit of a cult product and I know exactly why. I keep a bottle on my desk and anoint myself with it probably far too often throughout the day. It makes my skin smile and cheers the heart.
 

Body Cream for Glowing Radiance (argan oil, shea butter, damascene rose and tuberose) – this stuff is pure heaven (ask Lulu).
The prize is worth just shy of £200 and I think I can only offer it to readers in the UK...(I'm checking) - but the products are available in the US and parts of Europe. 
 

To stand a chance of winning, simply tell me which scent (it could be anything) you find the most evocative – and why.  I’ll find the most fragrant member of The Bonkers House (hmm, that might take some doing) to pick the winner when I come back next week.  Also, do make sure I have a way of getting in touch with you (if you don’t have a blog). 
Oh, and if you're reading this on Facebook, you will need to comment on the actual blog, not on FB....





33 comments:

Viv said...

Crikey, what a challenge and what a prize.
Ok, for me, its a toss up between jasmine and rose.
Rose brings back ancient memories, from being a very small child in my nan's garden, and dead heading roses for her. She had a few old fashioned damask roses that were like huge purple red mop heads, and when you buried your face in them, your senses were overwhelmed with this deep velvety texture and a scent I came to associate with unconditional love and the ultimate maternal care. I was never close to my nan, there were too many of us(my mum was one of 8) but she did love me. she died when I was 18, I wrote her letters after my daughter was born(I was 23) asking for her advice because she was the matriarch I looked to for that sort of thing. Rose is a very pure and innocent fragrance for me.
Jasmine however is a very sexy smell. I associate it with being newly married and wearing a perfume that no longer exists, a Jasmine perfume from Culpeper. Jasmine is a plant I grown, and the scent makes me feel young and sexy and desirable. I'd love to find a true jasmine perfume again but none ever match that one. I use pure jasmine oil in jojoba to annoint my long Mary Magdalene locks with and become a temtpress.
Oh dear. that was all terribly purple prose.Anyway, 2 fragrances from either end of the spectrum
sorry.
Viv

Lorraine said...

With me it is Rose and Lavender; both make me think of my gran. Not only did she always smell of it, but when she died, she often came to me and it was the smell that identified her presence and let me know she was around. I can't smell either now without warm, loving thought being conjured up.
It was gran who showed us to pick the petals off the ground and put them in a jar of water to infuse. Beautiful smell. Sadly, so many roses don't have a scent these days.

Leela Soma said...

I would opt for jasmine every time. I grew up in India and am now a Scot, living in Glasgow. I still remember wearing real jasmine flowers in my hair. The perfume of fresh jasmine is unforgettable. The little white flowers were strung on banana tree fibres so deftly made by the flower sellers. We wore the tiny strands in our plaited hair. Sometimes we feel asleep with the flowers,and woke up in the morning to find the pillows covered with faded brown flowers but the perfume was still there. The bottled ones can never match that fresh smell but I am happy to settle for any jar of jasmine based perfume. btw Lovely blog.

English Mum said...

Ooh how gorgeous. My Dad is a perfumer (well, he was when I was younger, sadly he's lost his *nose* due to a cricket accident - he's not actually lost his nose... oh you know what I mean.)

This means I grew up visiting him at work and being allowed to pick ANY bottle off the enormous bank of shelves full of little glass phials to have a sniff (I remember laughing after smelling civet because it was so disgusting). He made me my own perfume that smelt of blossoms and baby powder. If I close my eyes I can still imagine sniffing the bottle now.

In my teens it was Guerlain's Shalimar that entranced me - I thought it was grown up and sophisticated - and now it's food that enslaves my sense of smell: freshly baked bread, juicy pineapple and the scent of basil and mint...

Oh I could go on, but I'll shut up now.

Ma.Ste. said...

36,022... :o)

Viv said...

I confess to being utterly besotted by fragrance of all kinds; would have loved to have been a *nose* like English Mum's Dad was.
I also am strongly synaesthetic and scents are a big part of it. Vanilla's texture, a deep golden brown velvet shawl. Rose is raw silk, with hints of silver.
Realising recently that synaesthesia affects empathy made me understand why I am so easily affected by emotions and so on of others.
Viv
wv is sonst as in sonst noch etwas(is there anything else in German)

Lou said...

Ysatis by Givenchy is the most evocotive smell; of my first holiday with the Hubby in Portugal 1993'ish. When I smell it every lovely memory floods back....

Long before I met him my hubby worked for Cartier.... today I found a sample bottle of Must de Cartier. It must be 30 years old... I opened it and IT. IS. GORGEOUS. I promise. Guides honour.... wearing it now...

Please, ... pick me... if only to stop me from wearing 30 year old perfume

Posie said...

Wow - Jane the Ila range sounds truly heavenly.I am certainly with you on the idea of not slapping chemicals all over the body - would opt for natural ingredients every time.
Ila is also the Gaelic name for this island so loved reading about the sanskrit for Ila. It crops up in a few place names here and has its roots in the name of a certain well known malt whisky which has a lovely peaty aroma.
However my favourite scent has to be bog myrtle, found growing wild on the hills and bog land here. When a gale is blowing its sweet, herby, lemony scent lifts the soul and brings back memories of how as a child I would be dragged up mountains trudging unwillingly desperately trying to keep up with my parents' enthusiastic footsteps. The refreshing smell of the bog myrtle would help ease the pain and lift the mood.
Many years later when living in the concrete jungle of the city I collected a parcel from the post office to find an overnight bag filled with bog myrtle and a plane ticket to visit the happy farmer, the heady scent immediately transporting me to the whisky isle far away.

trisha said...

Living in an old school house on exmoor (similar temperature to the bonkers house)I love citrus smells - especially lemon, it reminds me of sunshine, youth, carefree holidays, greek Islands, picking fresh lemons, scrapping the surface and inhaling.... pure summer, off now to have a steamy bath you guessed scented with lemon! Tired limbs need refreshing!

Mrs Jones said...

I'm short sighted and my hearing's not great due to years of gigging, but my sense of smell has always been razor sharp. The smell of mown grass is one of my favourites and always has been. When I was a young child I used to adore the smell of petrol, fresh tarmac and just-extinguished match heads. Summer smells of the spicy honeysuckle that grows outside my door and there's nothing quite like a rain shower on hot concrete. The smell of fresh ginger and lime when cooking can send me into raptures. I react strongly to scent - 'Poison' turns my stomach and will literally make me heave, but l'Occitane products smell divine. Jasmine smells like blocked drains to me (sorry, Viv!)

Lisa Scullard said...

Mine are Mandarin - because it's the safest to use, so if you are trying to conceive, or have the blues, or are on other treatments - it won't do you any harm and is lovely and relaxing and uplifting. Grapefruit reminds me of sitting down to breakfast in Florida, cutting the peel off a ruby grapefruit and eating it whole, like an orange... caution when on prescription meds, though (it can interfere with uptake). And bergamot, which I always had a small bottle of when I lived a long way from family and friends, very anti-stress and reassuring. Hmm. Never realised I was so fruity! Luckily I'm not a sun worshipper - citrus oils and sunburn aren't a good combo. Lisa xx

Viv said...

@Mrs Jones, not to worry. Some jasmine oils have a distinct edge of cow manure to me too but then I like cows.
L'occitane do a very lovely jasmine perfume at a huge price tag. In that range they do neroli(got it as Christmas present) jasmine(travel size, got it too) labdanum(sample) cedar, iris, mimosa. I can never make up my mind which I like most, hence I have a perpetual list....
viv

Preseli Mags said...

So where have all the other lovely comments gone? Were they victims of the Blogger crash?

I tried to post this yesterday but failed (bad Blogger!) So I'm having another go.

My favourite scent of all time was found in the lovely smooth skin behind my lovely big horse's ears. I wished I could have bottled that! Failing that I love the smell of neroli, such a happy, soothing scent.

Alison Cross said...

Cliched but true, I love the crisp freshness of bed linen that has been dried outside.

All that blowing about in the wind gives laundry an indefinable 'outside' sort of smell that makes sliding beneath the duvet such a sensual pleasure.

Loooooove it!

Ali x

Posie said...

blogger must have chewed up and spat out my previous comment....so I am scribbling my post again.....
Loved reading the sanskrit for Ila Jane as it is also the Gaelic name for this island and crops up in several place names and has its roots in a well known malt whisky which has a gorgeous peaty smell.
However my ultimate scent has got to be bog myrtle, found on the heather clad hills here and in the boggy ground. It has a lovely sweet, herby fragrance which lifts the soul and brings back memories of trudging grudgingly and unwillingly up hills trying to keep apace with my ever enthusiastic parents, the sweet heady scent of the bog myrtle would help ease the pain and lift the spirit somewhat.
Years later when I was living in the concrete jungle of the city I collected a parcel from the post office to find an overnight bag filled with bog myrtle and a plane ticket from the happy farmer the scent of which immediately transported me to the peat bogs and wilderness of an island far away.

zenandtheartoftightropewalking said...

Mine would be a toss up between rose and jasmine.
When I was a kid on the very rare occasions we went north to visit grandparents, I used to potter around my nan's garden and dead head roses for her. She had some that were old fashioned damask type roses. Burying your face in these moplike blooms was like being wrapped in deep crimson velvet with an overwhelming and delightful fragrance. I tried repeatedly to make rosewater and failed. It's a very maternal scent to me.
The other is jasmine. I used to use a jasmine fragrance from Culpeper when I was a student, and courting and then newly married. The scent is to me tied in with being young and discovering my inner temptress. Sadly, the perfume was discontinued years ago when Culpeper went under and was bought out. I still use pure jasmine mixed with jojoba oil in my hair and on my skin for the same effect
But I miss that perfume. Even the lovely Jasmine from L'occitane isn't quite up the same standard.
Two scents from opposite ends of the feminine spectrum, the mother and then the siren.
Viv

Lisa Scullard said...

Shame about the Blogger thing this week :(

Although I said about my favourite citrus oils on the original comment - mandarin because it's the safest, grapefruit because it reminds me of Florida (caution with other meds though) and bergamot for stress relief - today I'm experimenting with using rose absolut oil on a keloid scar, which I occasionally get. A few years ago I put neat rose oil on a callus I'd developed from the way I hold a pen when writing - after one week, twice a day, the whole thing peeled off and hasn't come back. Aromatherapy can do magic, and is also potent!

Trisha said...

My favourite scents are definetely citrus - remind me of summer, much needed here on Exmoor as the temperature of the school house we live in minics the bonkers house. Citrus smells remind me of summer days, summer holidays, beaches, long days, picking lemons and running your nail over the skin and inhale pure freshness.
Beautiful in a hot bath to revive aching limbs, Happy times - great for doggies too!

Tiger Princess said...

I was nodding all the way through this blog and imagine my surprise to find that one of my favourite books is written by Jane!

As I said on FB - my family all have their own distinct smells: TOH smells of the sea - proper salt and fresh air smell... PT has a sweet fizzy smell, like Loveheart sweets... and my son is earthy and tree-like - although he's now going through puberty and his normal scent is getting covered by what I call "teenage boy". I'm going to ban Lynx from the house!

My favourite scents are all plants & flowers - Rose, Jasmine, Lavender. I also love White Musk (which is a plant, not a deer like traditional Musk)and Citrus - Lime, Lemon, Orange, Grapefruit - but my absolute favourite scent is the air by the sea... it soothes me like nothing else.

Exmoorjane said...

Huge thanks for your comments. I'm going to try to retrieve the original ones and post here too...
jx

Anonymous said...

The sweet scent of my little girls' hair when they were babies. So pure and natural, fresh and innocent.

5 and 6 years on, it is full of knots, breakfast cereal and on one occasion LICE, Yuck!

I love how they have grown up into beautiful little girls with very different personalities, but oh how I wish I could bottle that memory.
Julie Christian twitter@ThreeAcres

Meer For Beer said...

Chanel No5, always reminds me of my childhood. Mum used to have a big bottle of it on her dressing table,my sister and I fought over who would get the empty bottle when it was done.

I just have to smell it to remember lying with my head on my mum's lap watching clouds floating by on family picnics.

Exmoorjane said...

Mrs Jones has left a new comment on your post "Giving away the scent of
Heaven":

I'm short sighted and my hearing's not great due to years of gigging,
but my sense of smell has always been razor sharp. The smell of mown
grass is one of my favourites and always has been. When I was a young
child I used to adore the smell of petrol, fresh tarmac and
just-extinguished match heads. Summer smells of the spicy honeysuckle
that grows outside my door and there's nothing quite like a rain shower
on hot concrete. The smell of fresh ginger and lime when cooking can
send me into raptures. I react strongly to scent - 'Poison' turns my
stomach and will literally make me heave, but l'Occitane products smell
divine. Jasmine smells like blocked drains to me (sorry, Viv!)



Posted by Mrs Jones to Diary of a Desperate Exmoor Woman at 12 May 2011
07:55

Exmoorjane said...

trisha has left a new comment on your post "Giving away the scent of
Heaven":

Living in an old school house on exmoor (similar temperature to the
bonkers house)I love citrus smells - especially lemon, it reminds me of
sunshine, youth, carefree holidays, greek Islands, picking fresh
lemons, scrapping the surface and inhaling.... pure summer, off now to
have a steamy bath you guessed scented with lemon! Tired limbs need
refreshing!



Posted by trisha to Diary of a Desperate Exmoor Woman at 12 May 2011
07:43

Exmoorjane said...

Lou has left a new comment on your post "Giving away the scent of
Heaven":

Ysatis by Givenchy is the most evocotive smell; of my first holiday
with the Hubby in Portugal 1993'ish. When I smell it every lovely
memory floods back....

Long before I met him my hubby worked for Cartier.... today I found a
sample bottle of Must de Cartier. It must be 30 years old... I opened
it and IT. IS. GORGEOUS. I promise. Guides honour.... wearing it now...

Please, ... pick me... if only to stop me from wearing 30 year old
perfume



Posted by Lou to Diary of a Desperate Exmoor Woman at 12 May 2011 06:00

Exmoorjane said...

Lorraine has left a new comment on your post "Giving away the scent of
Heaven":

With me it is Rose and Lavender; both make me think of my gran. Not
only did she always smell of it, but when she died, she often came to
me and it was the smell that identified her presence and let me know
she was around. I can't smell either now without warm, loving thought
being conjured up.
It was gran who showed us to pick the petals off the ground and put
them in a jar of water to infuse. Beautiful smell. Sadly, so many roses
don't have a scent these days.



Posted by Lorraine to Diary of a Desperate Exmoor Woman at 12 May 2011
01:13

Exmoorjane said...

English Mum has left a new comment on your post "Giving away the scent
of Heaven":

Ooh how gorgeous. My Dad is a perfumer (well, he was when I was
younger, sadly he's lost his *nose* due to a cricket accident - he's
not actually lost his nose... oh you know what I mean.)

This means I grew up visiting him at work and being allowed to pick ANY
bottle off the enormous bank of shelves full of little glass phials to
have a sniff (I remember laughing after smelling civet because it was
so disgusting). He made me my own perfume that smelt of blossoms and
baby powder. If I close my eyes I can still imagine sniffing the bottle
now.

In my teens it was Guerlain's Shalimar that entranced me - I thought it
was grown up and sophisticated - and now it's food that enslaves my
sense of smell: freshly baked bread, juicy pineapple and the scent of
basil and mint...

Oh I could go on, but I'll shut up now.



Posted by English Mum to Diary of a Desperate Exmoor Woman at 12 May
2011 01:33

Exmoorjane said...

Ma.Ste. has left a new comment on your post "Giving away the scent of
Heaven":

36,022... :o)



Posted by Ma.Ste. to Diary of a Desperate Exmoor Woman at 12 May 2011
01:38

Exmoorjane said...

Leela Soma has left a new comment on your post "Giving away the scent
of Heaven":

I would opt for jasmine every time. I grew up in India and am now a
Scot, living in Glasgow. I still remember wearing real jasmine flowers
in my hair. The perfume of fresh jasmine is unforgettable. The little
white flowers were strung on banana tree fibres so deftly made by the
flower sellers. We wore the tiny strands in our plaited hair. Sometimes
we feel asleep with the flowers,and woke up in the morning to find the
pillows covered with faded brown flowers but the perfume was still
there. The bottled ones can never match that fresh smell but I am happy
to settle for any jar of jasmine based perfume. btw Lovely blog.



Posted by Leela Soma to Diary of a Desperate Exmoor Woman at 12 May
2011 01:21

teresa said...

it has to be wet salty pooch!!! i know that sounds rather strange,but that smell always reminds of camping holidays in cornwall,crabbing lines,and my wonderful dogs(there were many when i was growing up and still have pooches now, who rule the house!)trying to catch crabs and prancing and barking at the waves.smells to bring happiness to the soul=wet salty dog!!

Exmoorjane said...

Huge thanks to everyone who entered - and once again I'm sorry Blogger screwed up so royally (I think I caught all the entries).

THE COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED. I shall pluck a fragrant person from the pub opposite and pick a winner, come opening time. :)

HER ON THE HILL said...

I know the competition is now closed (I was too tired to think last night), but I will say what my favourite smell is: earth.

I have toyed with all the favourites like freshly mown grass, air-dried cotton sheets and they are marvellouly evocative. So too is the drifting, oh so subtle scent of plane trees on a warm spring or summer evening (whether I smell them on the streets of London or abroad, I am immediately transported to a place that feels like pure holiday).

But having said all that, it is the sweet, musky, damp smell of earth as I weed and dig and pot and plant which is the essence of this life for me.

PS: have to agree with the lady who hated 'Poison'. It is, indeed, utterly poisonous.
x

Exmoorjane said...

HUGE thanks to everyone who commented and entered the comp... I finally decided that the prize was too gorgeous to give to just one of you so it was split and Viv, Preseli Mags, Tiger Princess and Posie will each get some ila loveliness. So sorry I couldn't send some to all of you... :(