#GayIsOK

#GayIsOK

#GayIsOK

I have come to the realisation that I am an incredibly fortunate person. I am gay. I came out at the age of fourteen to a family that shrugged their shoulders, said “big deal” and told me that they loved me. I have always been sure of myself and my sexuality, and having accepted myself at a young age, I have been able to move forward through life with confidence and without shame. Sure, things were a little rocky at school (coming out at 14 isn’t all unicorns and rainbows, I must say) but I encountered nothing I couldn’t handle with a raised middle finger and a simple “fuck you”.

I have found love and because I live in a country with marriage equality, I have been able to make a lifelong commitment to my love and I’m honoured to be able to call him my husband. Sexual orientation is also a protected characteristic under the Equality Act (2010), which means that it would be unlawful for someone to discriminate against me, whether directly or indirectly, due to my sexuality and therefore, I cannot lose my job or be denied a service because I am gay. Most importantly, I live without fear and I live openly with freedom.

This however, is not the case for every LGBT person in the world. Whilst we have been celebrating pride over the weekend and the American Supreme Court’s decision that all states must offer marriage equality, we mustn’t forget that it is still illegal to be gay in 76 countries around the globe. I can live and love freely, but others cannot, and sometimes those that cannot risk, not only imprisonment for their love, but also death. A fact that is astonishing in this day and age. Imagine risking death to be yourself, or love who you want. It’s almost impossible to believe, isn’t it? We take our love for granted, where others have to fight for theirs, or even worse, they have to conceal it.

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The Eau de Cologne Edit

The Eau de Cologne Edit

The Eau de Cologne Edit

Here in the bonny isles of the United Kingdom, the weather is flirting with us. For the last couple of weeks, Mother Nature has been coquettishly winking at us, flashing days of sunlight and pure bliss on to these green and pleasant lands. Of course, we’re in that definite transitionary period between seasons. Spring is here, and Summer is waiting in the wings, but the cold and grey of winter is persistent on some days, meaning that the weather’s dalliance with summer love hasn’t quite taken hold – but soon, it will.

I don’t know about you, but these short flashes of summer and glimpses of warmth, and vitamin-enriched days of halcyon make me reach for the lighter things in my fragrance wardrobe (and there are some hidden amongst my show-stopping sillage bombs, as hard as that may be to believe). At this time one craves bracing citrus, the sweet headiness of flowers and the airiness of musk, all of which lead one to think of one perfume genre in particular, a genre that is one of the industry’s oldest and most classic styles – the humble Eau de Cologne.

Eau de Colognes speak of lighter, fresher and more vibrant signatures. They are lighter, usually boasting a concentration between 2%-5% and utilise fresh citrus notes (mandarin, lemon and bergamot etc.) alongside herbs (rosemary and thyme) and florals (neroli, lavender, jasmine, orange blossom). The Eau de Cologne is ephemeral and designed to be splashed on at multiple times throughout the day in order to re-awaken, revitalise and refresh the sense. In short, they are an olfactory jolt to the system.

To celebrate the changing of the seasons, I’ve collected together six of my favourite Eau de Colognes for your reading pleasure. They range from the classics, which really are light and traditional, to more modern and contemporary twists on the genre, that manage to smell both unique and long-lasting. So brace yourself, folks, for ‘The Eau de Cologne Edit’ – six scents that will get your nose positively aching for summer.

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@Fragrantreviews Roundup

Tweet Tweet

Tweet Tweet

As you may, or may not be aware, my good friend and scented-partner-in-crime, Nick Gilbert and I run @fragrantreviews – a Twitter account that reviews fragrances in 140 characters or less. We have great fun throwing out smelly little soundbites into the Twittersphere and seeing as I’m swamped with work and therefore, unable to bring you a full post today, I thought I would treat you to a roundup of some of my recent @fragrantreviews tweets, which can be found below the jump. Enjoy!

For more info on @fragrantreviews and to read ALL of mine and Nick’s reviews simply click here. Also, don’t forget to join me in my Periscope experiment this evening at 20:00 GMT. Full details on that can be found here.

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The Candy Perfume Boy’s Perfumed Periscope Experiment

Join me on Periscope

Join me on Periscope

Forget your Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, because there’s a new social media app in town, and it goes by the name of ‘Periscope’. But what does it do? Well, in short, Periscope allows people to live stream to the world directly from their smart phone, meaning that social media users can broadcast whatever it is that they are doing, whether that be watching TV, baking a cake or, as I did the other day, riding their bike. Viewers can then comment, ask questions, ‘like’ the video, or ask the broadcaster to show them the contents of their fridge, as seems to be the tradition.

In an attempt to embrace this new medium I’d like you to join me in a perfumed Periscope experiment. At 20:00 GMT on Wednesday 15 April 2015, I will be broadcasting live from my living room. The subject will be my top five fragrances for summer 2015 and I will be discussing the scents, and why I like them, as well as answering viewer questions (within reason, obviously) and just generally interacting with whoever wishes to watch. Of course, this could all go horribly wrong, but I want to see whether we can use Periscope for something fun and informative. My question to you then is – will you join me?

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Savage Beauty in Scent

'Savage Beauty' - A retrospective of Alexander McQueen's Work at the V&A, London

‘Savage Beauty’ – A retrospective of Alexander McQueen’s Work at the V&A, London

“You’ve got to know the rules to break them. That’s what I’m here for, to demolish the rules but to keep the tradition”.

– Lee ‘Alexander’ McQueen ¹

Whether one is a follower of fashion or not, it cannot be denied that the work of the late, great Alexander McQueen is art. McQueen paired exceptional tailoring (forged after an apprenticeship on Saville Row) with violence, romance and often alien beauty to create pieces that shook, and more importantly, challenged the world of fashion. Whether it be his early collection, ‘Highland Rape’, which had a name as controversial as its clothing, or the 3D printed and H.R. Ginger inspired ‘Alien’ footwear from ‘Plato’s Atlantis’, McQueen demonstrated that he was a fashion renegade – always courting controversy, but never losing sight of beauty.

This weekend I visited the Savage Beauty exhibition at the V&A in London. Running until 02 August 2015, the exhibit is a tremendous showcase of McQueen’s work, spanning his illustrious career from his MA Graduate Collection (‘Jack the Ripper Stalks his Victims, 1992) to his final, and incomplete collection (Autumn/Winter 2010). The whole thing is impeccably staged, with each room transformed to capturing the theme of each body of work. Perhaps the most captivating part of the exhibit is the ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ – a room that spans two storeys and is filled with a dazzling array of pieces, from accessories such as bags, shoes and head pieces (many of which are collaborations with milliner, Philip Treacy), to gowns and metal spines. There’s simply so much to look at and the whole thing serves as a true testament to the talent, nay, the genius of one of the world’s greatest fashion designers.

Leaving the exhibition I felt incredibly inspired. It was fascinating to literally walk through the evolution of McQueen’s aesthetic, encountering the divine and the macabre along the way. There will never be another talent like his and to celebrate this stunning exhibition and body of work, I thought I would pick out some of my favourite McQueen pieces from his greatest collections, and ‘scent them’ with some perfumes that embody the spirit of these remarkable pieces of fashion. Here you’ll find some deeply intriguing clothing and scents, all of which are tailored to perfection and challenge one’s perceptions. They are works of fashion and olfactory art.

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So…Headspace Technology is Pretty Cool…

Enfleurage - A Traditional Method of Extraction

Enfleurage – A Traditional Method of Extraction

In the perfume industry there is a lot of emphasis on things being natural and people tend to be sceptical of fragrances that aren’t literal in their representation of nature. There’s a thirst for realism and more often than not, people want ‘real’ flowers in their juice, rather than ‘synthetic’ ones. Natural doesn’t always mean better though and it’s a known fact that the use of synthetic ingredients or isolated materials has allowed the industry to move forward in leaps and bounds (it’s also a fact that synthetics are generally more stable and long-lasting than many naturals). Without a mixture of the two, perfumes often feel flat and two-dimensional. Chemophobia may be the moral high ground (or complete, utter craziness, if you ask me), but it’s the embracing of new materials and technologies that allows for true innovation and artistry in the world of fragrance.

One of the most fascinating examples of innovation in perfume is Headspace technology. Developed in the 1980s, Headspace acts as a fragrant camera that captures and decodes the molecules in the air surrounding a particular material or object, providing a perfumer with raw data they can use to piece together a familiar smell using other notes and ingredients. Without Headspace, our perfumes would be devoid of such wonderful things as lily-of-the-valley, caviar and nail polish. It’s an important tool that allows perfumes to truly represent the world around us, and in some instances, an imagined world that is greater than our own.

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Scenting the Most Iconic Oscar Red Carpet Fashion Moments

Björk Leaves a 'Surprise' on the Red Carpet

Björk Leaves a ‘Surprise’ on the Red Carpet

I like to scent things. It’s true, I do. Also, it’s The Oscars this weekend so it feels only right that I should tie the two things together. In my Scent a Celebrity Series, I try to pick perfumes that represent the personalities, characters and style of some of my favourite celebrities, whether they be real or fictional. This post is an extension of this idea, of sorts, but instead of looking at the celebrities, I’m casting my fragrant eye over something entirely more important – their fashion.

The Oscars mean one thing – the red carpet. And what does the red carpet bring? Fashion, and lots of it. Like most people, I’m not as fussed about the Awards themselves (although I am rooting for Eddie Redmayne and Julianne Moore for the Best Actor and Best Actress gongs this year) as I am the fashion. I may skip through the ceremony, but you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll be tuning in to the red carpet in full, not to mention Fashion Police on the following day to get a full post game analysis of who wore what, and whether it was good, bad or ugly.

So, in anticipation of some truly awesome red carpet fashion this weekend (those celebrities better not disappoint), I have put together six of my favourite iconic Oscar looks (I couldn’t settle on five) and have scented them with some decadently glam fragrances to match. It’s all about to get a bit ‘Hollywood’ up in here, so get the popcorn on, throw on your most glamorous onesie and get set to enjoy some truly high-fashion red carpet and perfume moments.

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