Posted in Cooking, Injury and Mishap, Life and Family

A Few Changes

Yesterday when my sister came for coffee, my mother made a few suggestions for change.

The soda bread (all the way from Ireland) isn’t right. The only one that will do is the big round one from the cheese shop in town. More urgently, Fairy washing powder simply won’t do. I washed her clothes with it, and she leapt up in the middle of the night to change. She couldn’t stand the airy aroma, so my sister must bring the washing powder she prefers.

I will carry on with Fairy myself, as I like the fresh scent, but must redo my mother’s washing. Meant to wash her bed sheets yesterday but am absolutely not allowed to touch them till the Persil arrives.

Well, I washed the bath mat instead. A single day can’t be allowed to go by without washing something, otherwise you feel you’re falling behind. I decided Fairy would be OK for bath mat, as it’s nowhere near your nose unless you slip and fall… and bath mats are good at stopping you from doing that.

It’s good, though, to be told off and asked for things — food especially. The worst is when she’s so tired or ill that she just doesn’t care.

I’m beginning to feel my life revolves around supper… “When should I start making tonight’s? What are we having tomorrow? Do we have all the ingredients we need? Is there anything I need to defrost? Are there enough clean bowls for the soup, or do I need to put the dishwasher on now?”

I also spend a lot of time worrying what the food contains. There were three or four different cartons of breadcrumbs in the supermarket, and I picked the one with the lowest amount of salt — criteria I wouldn’t have employed just six weeks ago. Did you know commercial breadcrumbs only last about six to nine months? The carton I bought the other day is stamped ‘Best Before Sept 2018’. I checked the others on the shelf and they said the same. That’s a lot of dipping we must do!

In the supermarket a couple of weeks ago, I picked up a tiny tub of dessert (previously a favourite of my mother’s). Checked the salt content and thought, “You’re kidding!” Only realized I’d said it out loud when someone standing near me swung round and looked over.

Anyhow we’re no longer buying that particular product, and, just to be on the safe side, I threw away the old crumbs to replace with new.

Crumbs? Trivia, I know…

Over a year ago there was another change, small but significant. I grew up using a straight potato peeler and never thought anything of it. Around Christmas 2016 our old one broke, so I was using a strange black one a lot over one period of a few days. I realized it was cutting into my skin because of its poor design. There was too long a gap between the sharp bit and the handle, so I was gripping the metal above the handle and below the blade… sort of…

I hate plasters on my fingers, so decided I had to buy a new peeler. As I couldn’t leave the house, I was ordering food from Tesco, to be brought by home delivery, so added a straight peeler to the order. I marked a lot of food ‘don’t swap’, but it didn’t cross my mind to do the same with the utensil. When the goodies arrived, I was surprised to be presented with a Y peeler!

Hrmm.

I’d never used this Y peeler design before, and was both intimidated and intrigued. My mother would probably have sent it straight back, but after reading up on it on the internet, I wanted to give it a go. Typically I handle it gingerly, as though it might bite (which it definitely could), but I love it. It’s particularly good on long, thin vegetables like carrots, parsnips and cucumbers. I just set the vegetable on end and spin it round, then flip it to do the other end.

Like with my sea-salt grinder, I’m possessive… in theory it’s there for everyone to use, but I think of it as mine. I wash it by hand, then carefully dry the blade by pushing the dishtowel into the corners. I never stroke the towel along the blade… just press gently. I’ve had no accidents with it since I bought it… fingers crossed that’s how it will stay!

I never used to baby the old peelers that way.

There have been a lot of changes lately, both big and small. The above-mentioned are only a few, with some corrections back to baseline by Mum — but only some! 😈

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Posted in Life and Family

Some Fish to Fry

Meant to write this at the end of the night when I got some rest, but have run out of energy. Oh boy! Trying to write it anyway.

It is hard finding foods my mother will eat. She is more likely to shake her head and say she doesn’t like something than she is to accept it. It’s almost a reflex reaction.

A week ago I was telling her about stripy ‘Pink Tiger’ lemons I saw in Marks & Spencers. I’d never seen them before, so it was just a matter of curiosity. I didn’t buy them, but when I was describing them, all she said, very clearly, was, “I don’t like lemons.”

Well, I know! These were awfy pretty, though. Can you buy lemons just because they’re pretty?

Decided to fry some fish for supper tonight. I absolutely hate asking over the counter for anything, and could have asked my sister to do it instead, but I decided it was time I screwed my courage to the sticking place and did some things for myself. So I ended up at the supermarket fish counter just as someone else was leaving. Previously I’d had a surreptitious look at the fishmonger and decided he would probably be quite kind… and so it proved!

I’m extremely softly spoken, so, even as I spoke, I instinctively reached over to show him my shopping list, which was quite long! But near the top it said ‘2 small fillets haddock’.

He smiled, showed me the small fillets, then wrapped them up with the price sticker on, and handed them over, still smiling.

Sometimes there’s absolutely no reason to be nervous! I still felt slightly on edge, out of habit, and while he was wrapping the fillets, passed the time by studying the other fish and similar squirmy things on display. Right in front of me were a couple of octopuses.

Ooooh…

That makes me sad. Of all the things we fish out of the sea, octopuses seem more like personalities… though perhaps fish, crabs and limpets are personalities too. I sympathized with the lady I saw on TV the other day who said it always upsets her to see rays in the fish barrels. She said in the water they seem to smile, but in the market they all have downturned mouths.

It upset me too when she said that.

At home I told my mother about the two octopuses just in front of me. She frowned.

“Don’t think I would eat those,” she said.

As to the haddock… they tasted very good. My mother normally cooks them herself, whereas I’m weird about fish, so this is the first time in my life I’ve ever fried any. Don’t tell her I said so, but mine tasted better than hers. 🙂 I tried harder to get good coverage with the breadcrumbs, and they tasted absolutely perfect with chips and mushy peas.

I have one of those ‘grinding’ sea-salt cellars, which I bought in Aldi’s ages ago. I thought it would have to be disposed of after the salt was used up, but to my surprise, I was able to unscrew the top and refill it. I’m quite possessive about it, and when it was empty, wouldn’t let anybody dispose of it on my behalf. I’m sure I filled it up with salt again purely to stop people throwing it out anyway. Which they would have done eventually. So.

I put salt on my plate of food in the kitchen so my mother doesn’t have to watch me having something I can have but she can’t. Meanwhile I feel sure she reaches for a little cat-shaped salt cellar that sits smirking nearby… never when I’m looking, of course! We have become a shifty-eyed household who only salts food when nobody’s looking. Don’t tell anybody.

I don’t know why the song ‘Never on a Sunday’ (by Nana Mouskouri) has been in my head all day.

It was a lovely sunny day and quite mild, but my sister said the weather is forecast to become very cold again in a day or two.

“Ice, and that sort of thing, you mean?”

“Yep.”

Oh boy. According to the TV, we have Canada to blame. All of their frosty weather and chilliness is billowing ominously in this direction, if not already here. The sky was a funny colour tonight.

There was a short, quiet period after lunch when my mother was having a nap, and I felt sure somebody had come into the house. A door opened softly, and a shadow crossed the pool of sunlight at the back of the house. I didn’t move… just watched quietly, but the shadows seemed formless and flickering. What where they… the leaves of trees facing the street?

Then I noticed Samson (one of my cats) staring fixedly out towards the front door.

I got up and went softly out into the hall… if someone was lurking outside the house, I didn’t know if I wanted to draw their attention. Somehow I didn’t suspect a burglar, though there are reports of a sneak thief in the locality, and we are all supposed to keep our doors locked.

There was a bouquet of yellow roses which hadn’t been there before… also a carton of fresh Cullen Skink soup.

The roses were obviously for my mother, who frightened all her friends with her illness, but I didn’t know who had brought them. For no particular reason, I searched online to find out what yellow roses mean… they stand for joy, happiness, and true friendship.

When she got up at teatime, I showed her the carton of Cullen Skink soup… and waited.

A cloud crossed her face. “I don’t like Cullen Skink soup.”

“Not my thing, either,” I said.

I’m weird about fish, remember. My sister is vegetarian, so as a family we’re a bit stuck about what to do with it. Don’t get me wrong… it was a nice surprise, and kind. There is no good reason why any of us should be funny about fish soup… it’s sheer bad luck.

Posted in Christmas and New Year, Trolleys

Santa Baby

Feeling quite Christmassy so I changed my blog theme to something softer. I like this better than the last one. I looked at it on my desktop Mac last night, and could barely see the snow as there was too much white… I hope it shows up better against this theme?

I’m exhausted after beetling around town… my sister goes so much faster than I do, and my legs were wearing out! I was a favourite of the shop assistants — my shopping trolley was dressed as a little Santa with a sparkling beard. At least I have more gifts now. I did better than I feared, as my mother is notoriously difficult to buy for.

Is it everyone who is seriously fussy about things? For instance:

– only wears certain colours
– only likes white gadgets
– doesn’t like turtlenecks or polo necks
– doesn’t like socks with tight cuffs
– doesn’t like four out of five versions of Turkish Delight
– can’t eat spices or drink alcohol
– only eats cashew nuts
– some perfumes will seriously annoy
– prefers decaffeinated coffee at home and milky latte in town
– doesn’t like fat pens
– rejected all the slippers she looked at in town
– likes chocolate but some are too sweet
– won’t listen to music except on her terms
– ‘hates’ films (but loves Shrek)

It makes you scared to buy anything.

I like to think I’m easy to please… I love pens and stationery of all types, absolutely any CD will be tried several times till I fall in love with it, all DVDs will be eventually watched and probably kept, I love bears, I love all types of coffee, even weird flavoured ones, love mugs, love most chocolates and sweets, wear all socks (no matter how garish), don’t turn my nose up at perfumes or toiletries (unless it’s the type of perfume that gives me a headache, like Yardley’s Rose or Anais Anais).

That’s what I think, anyway… in practice, other people might not agree, and would complain that I turn my nose up at things like grey jerseys, second-hand jerseys in general (from charity shops), flimsy spotted skirts, 100% nylon or polyester bed linen, some cheap ‘gift’ toiletries, a book or CD I’ve got already, the kind of gift or book vouchers you have to remember to spend in local shops before they expire, prints you must go to the trouble of mounting and framing, dog ornaments, hand-blenders, chewy nougat, hard toffees, almonds and I don’t know what else. I suppose the fact that I’ve got a list of “don’t like so much” is telling!

At least I’ve done some of the things hanging over my head… posted cards, paid a bill, got some of the treats I feel we really ought to have at Christmas…

What about the rest of you… all ready for the festivities yet?

Posted in Life and Family

T-shirts and Time

Jewelled camel design on khaki T-shirt.No, this has not suddenly turned into a fashion blog. 😋 I bought this T-shirt a few days ago because I couldn’t be bothered to fold it up again.

OK, I was already thinking about buying it, but said to myself, “Delilah, how long do you think that pretty design will last? It will start to fade after the first wash, with bits falling off and cracks appearing, and in the end you will be left with a skimpy khaki T-shirt with an indescribable splodge on the front.”

I was about to fold it back up and replace it on the pile, but others finished buying what they were buying and chivvied me to ‘hurry up’ because they were going now.

It seemed simpler and more ‘valid’ to buy it rather than stand there folding it up neatly… though I suppose there was a flash of something in my mind that said “They’ll go home with something nice in their bag. What about me? Last chance saloon!”

Perhaps the realization I was about to lose the T-shirt was what made me realize I did want it — it was a wake-up call.

Well, my thoughts descended into utter confusion. When you hurry people up and display impatience, they panic and drop the ball. They might forget their keys, leave the door unlocked or suddenly decide to buy a camel T-shirt. At least now I have a pretty photograph to remind myself of how it used to look, though it does currently still look like that.

Maybe I should frame it, then it will — er — fade in the sunlight? Pfft. Just wear it, enjoy it… that’s what everything is for.

Posted in Christmas and New Year, Rants

Cold and Tired in Scotland

I think it’s going to be a more relaxed Christmas than usual for us, because of the bad weather. I just think “hey ho, if I don’t have all the gifts, they’ll arrive later.” We all have our excuses ready; we keep being told by various sites and couriers that we might not get our presents in Scotland before Christmas Day, but I’m inclined to think a lot of it is bluster…. just like us when on Christmas Day we are telling our loved ones “sorry, you would have had three extra parcels but they’re still stuck on the motorway. Snow and ice, you know. Not my fault.”

But it was dreadful today… I mean the weather wasn’t snowy but it’s very cold.The local temperature stands at -4 degrees C, and might drop to -6. I’m so glad we got that heating fixed (it broke down, and we were three freeeeeezing days and nights without it! Though the heat is on again, I can feel the ice still tiptoeing up my spine and trying to give me a sly hug… the opposite of that warm furry Cup-a-Soup hug that would leap on you from nowhere when you had a mug of Cup-a-Soup (according to the commercials)). Anyway, we got the bus out to town in the morning, and met my sister for coffee, then drifted round the shops, and I felt awful. It seemed to me we were just going to the same shops and fingering the same goods we did for the past couple of days, and I was very bored and ‘down’. All I wanted to do was go home again. I was looking forward to going home before we even left!

It wasn’t till we DID get back home that I remembered I got up early this morning, and had already been up about 5 hours before we took the morning bus to town! I’m still very sleepy. But I felt fed up anyway, as we were spending ages in shops I didn’t want to be in (lots of waiting near the door looking at the same nasty cardigans and overpriced Christmas baubles for the umpteenth time, trying not to fall asleep on my feet), and then I was being rushed impatiently round those shops that I DID want to be in… At least I managed to get a couple of things which went off (“bleep bleep bleep”) when we were leaving the shop, and we had to have their alarms deactivated as they hadn’t been removed at the till. I don’t know why that always happens to me at least once every Christmas…

Then we went home and sat watching the same old programs we’ve seen millions of times before (Antique Roadshow, Eggheads, Pointless etc) and it was made worse by the Antique Roadshow doing “the ten best…” (pot boiler). If I had control of that remote control, the TV would either be off or I’d be watching something with more meat in it, like a film or a drama… or a DVD if I was desperate. I was looking at a family in the Antique Roadshow having a doll or a bear or something valued, and I was wondering how they could stand there looking so bright-eyed and interested. Surely the ennui of everyday life had got to them too? If they felt it, they didn’t show it, though the mother looked a little further along that road than the child.

My tiredness has turned to headache… I think that means I should have slept but didn’t really. Was dozing off on the sofa then getting up for coffee.

Sorry, I sound very grumbly! I suppose I should try and finish this Christmassy picture… will be back when I have more energy. (Probably 4 a.m. tomorrow morning…)

Posted in Gender Issues, Junk Shop Finds

Dragon Anklebiter

I was going to post this a couple of days ago but got such a headache I went away from the computer. I think too much white on the screen (or pale colours) have a bad effect on me, but aren’t always the primary cause. Unless I sit staring at them too long. Anyone else find that?

Geosomin posted this a few days ago about the claim that women love shopping because our ancestors were ‘gatherers’. I passed that snippet to Mum, and she said “no, women love shopping because they were hunters!”

I would love to say I don’t love shopping, but I suppose I do. I have a frightening number of dreams about shopping. But I don’t go ballistic about it; I don’t have a cupboard full of tottering shoeboxes, or racks of never-worn (no, wait a minute, we won’t go there!) But I know I don’t have the piles of clothes and shoes that other women have got in the habit of buying.

Bears, OK, but I don’t buy as many as I used to… most of the time now I walk straight past them, and buy a Dean Koontz paperback instead.

The thought of shopping nowadays just depresses me, because I know I don’t have room for anything new, I don’t need anything new, and I’ve seen what the local shops have and I don’t expect them to have anything new either. Ennui has set in.

For a while I was getting perfume, but stopped after I obtained my favourite few (plus bonus bottles from Mum) as I knew if I bought too much, I would never manage to wear it all before it went off.

Who could resist this little cherub, however?

Click image to view more clearly!

He was sitting in a basket of cheap teddy bears in Cancer Research, and I saw him on two or three separate visits. I kept picking him up and giving him a little squeeze, and finally Mum snatched him from my grasp and marched him to the till. She said to her friend (the volunteer at the till), “is this mad?” and her friend said “pretty mad!”
But if she knew the whole of it, she would be sending round the men (and women) in white coats.

When we got home, Mum passed me a note saying she was going to a certain coffee shop the next day to meet her friends, and did I want to accompany her? The dragon read the note carefully, then said “what’s this coffee shop thing?” and Mum said “only people are allowed there, not dragons.”
“They used to allow smoking,” I said, “but don’t any more.”
“Oh,” said the dragon, and opted out of the trip.

Today he was watching adverts about the necessity to quit smoking, and said sadly that people must be trying to stamp out dragons.
“You’re too young to smoke, anyway,” said Mum, and the dragon said “but all older dragons smoke. What will I do when I get older?”

Then some adverts came on for stuff to smear on your skin to get rid of spots, and he said that was people trying to get rid of spotty smoky dragons. I think he’s developing a bit of a chip on his shoulder… don’t you?

I’m still trying to think of a name for him… suggestions welcome!

Posted in Photographs, Political and Social Issues

Woolies Will Be Missed

Woolworths has closed down in the UK. Our branch closed on January 5th 2009 (I think some closed earlier).

It will be missed by a lot of people, though when I searched on Google to see what others were saying, there was a certain amount of ‘putting the boot in.’

A question that was asked more than once was “when did you last buy anything good from Woolworths, and can you remember what it was?”

Some items weren’t of best quality and you found out what to avoid, but I bet it was a great resource for students and pupils. They could buy budget-price bedding, mugs, sweets, CDs, stationery, stamps and batteries. They could top up PAYG phones. Luggage and storage items were available there, along with newspapers and magazines. We sometimes bought the Radio Times. Some said Woolworths offered a ‘strange mixture’ of products, but I saw nothing strange about it. Lots of shops offer a mixed selection. I mentioned in an earlier post how I went into a PC World store which had stationery, and then went into a Staples store nearby which had computers and software. You wondered which one you were in.

Anyway, since people were wondering what others found of interest there, I’m posting photos of some of the things we bought in the last few months, weeks and days of Woolworths. We bought more than is pictured, but gave things away at Christmas and the New Year. I remember an absorbent blue floor mop; a set of stainless steel storage canisters; a plastic storage basket for bathroom or kitchen; a luxurious faux fur bed throw; a wine opener.

I taught myself (I hope!) how to post smaller photos that you click to enlarge. If I got it wrong and it causes problems, I apologize… tips appreciated!

Our most recent purchases from Woolworths

I persuaded Mum to let me include some of her purchases. She owns the marzipan fruits, stainless steel trivet and storage rack (there are more in the kitchen), one of the packs of pens, the three sharpeners, the three red pens, the three bottles of Coca-Cola (do you think three is her lucky number?) Actually we got six and drank two; the other was in the fridge.

The rest are mine, including:

CDs: Glen Campbell, Chris de Burgh, Elton John (bought for Rocket Man and Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me).

DVDs: Tears of the Sun, Castaway, The Chronicles of Riddick, Pitch Black, The Wizard of Oz, Casino Royale (starring Daniel Craig).

Four posters: Prince Caspian, Tinkerbell, two Golden Compass posters. I looked for Wall-E but he must have been sold out by then.

The two Toblerones were a random gift from a neighbour.

The last few laundry hampers were pink… which suited me fine! I could imagine the last person buying a blue hamper thinking ‘ha ha, I got the blue!’ but they’re welcome to it. Though if they put it in a charity shop, I would probably snabble it.

Mum also bought some shop fittings to use as cat-dish stands.

Shop fittings from Woolies

For stationery junkies, I’m including a closer view of the notebooks, notepads, pens, blue sharpener (the other two were hiding) and two ‘flexible’ rulers! I was trying not to get the notebooks or the Signo gel pens, but in the end I couldn’t help myself. The big patterned notebooks will probably be personal journals. The littlest pad with the sticker across the front was the last one in the store. It was lying in a box of assorted things for clearance, and I felt sorry for it…

My Woolies stationery

Something spooky happened… note that our branch of Woolworths closed on Jan 5th. At home I have an electronic singing bird which twitters Christmas carols (such as ‘Jingle tweet, jingle tweet, jingle all the…’ or ‘God wish you merry gentletweet’). It had been chirping right up to the 4th or 5th. Then I took it down on Jan 6th and tried to get one last song out of it before we put it away, and it was silent. The batteries were dead. It didn’t seem a good idea leaving it with batteries which might leak during the year, so I opened up the battery case and found….

You’ve guessed it. Woolworth batteries.

Posted in TV and Films

DVD Reclutter

I bought a few sale-price DVDs from Amazon.

Oh, I know, we are supposed to be decluttering, not recluttering. Part of the rationale, though, is that when the new ones turn up, I will be able to get rid of… ahem… at least a few videos.

There’s one film I’ve been craving for ages, and if it ever shows up on a non-subscription channel on TV, I’ve never been around to see it. The DVD was just under £6, but as it’s hard to get and I really liked it, I decided I’d go for it anyway. Popped it in my Amazon basket and went to look at a few other DVDs… added another, and the basket said:

“Important information: the price of an item has changed since you added it to your basket three minutes ago… your favourite DVD has come down from £5.97 to £3.08”.

Oh… thank you, Amazon. 🙂

Rushed to the checkout before they changed their minds.

Posted in Christmas and New Year, Perfumes, Photographs

My Secret Obsession

My Christmas 2008 Perfumes

I spent most of last night Photoshopping my Christmas stash of perfumes (for my blog). Some were gifts; others bought in the sales. I’ve attached a small copy of the picture. That one called Secret Obsession says it all… I didn’t tell Mum I’d bought it, and it’s hiding in a corner of my bedroom. I sneak in every so often, open up the box, and put a little on! That one’s going to be a classic.

Everything else in the picture is a gift from Mum, except the little bottle at the front with the lacy flower… that’s Mango Delirium.

I wonder if I go over the top when I’m ‘into’ something… I had the photo blown up really big and was working away on it, and Mum came in and said “in town tomorrow, don’t go buying any more perfume… that lady in Boots was giving you funny looks.”

“What?” I said, and looked at her as though she’d burst my balloon with a pin.

“Not really, it’s just that she looked up when we went back into the shop today, and said ‘oh, it’s you.’ ”

Having reduced me to a quivering wreck of embarrassment and self-loathing, Mum looked closer at the zoomed-in section of my photo, which was unrecognizable… and said “what’s that?”

I said “it’s just a picture,” and she had to go away without me telling her. It was the very corner of the Secret Obsession bottle.

It’s a funny story now when I’m telling it, but at the time I got depressed and said “I’ve decided I’m not going to town.”

“OK,” said Mum.

I think she’s just driven my new hobby underground… I will have to buy all my perfume secretly! In my defence, I’m hardly breaking the bank. Look at the picture: everything in it was bought by Mum, except for the Secret Obsession and Mango Delirium, which were both on my wish list for several weeks. I had Christmas money to spend… why not on the scents I wanted? It makes a change from CDs, books and bears, none of which she quibbles about. The collection on top of the Secret Obsession box were from charity shops, and the rest were half-price. Actually the big pink box was probably from a charity shop too, but brand new… the glass bottle was still glued to the back of the box.

The photo isn’t clear, so for those who love perfumes, they are as follows:

  • Brown bottle and golden tube: Secret Obsession.
  • Big pink box at the other side: Crabtree and Evelyn ‘Rose’.
  • Box of miniatures from Boots: Guerlain Insolence, Amarige, Ghost, Anais Anais, ange ou demon.
  • Small bottle with lacy pink flower: Mango Delirium.
  • Collection of bottles on top of the Secret Obsession box (from left to right): La Chique, Courreges in Blue, Boots Oceanus body lotion (nice).

There will be further reviews. 🙂

Posted in Perfumes

The Mad Perfume Sprayer Strikes Again

Latest batch of perfumes I tested:

Calvin Klein ‘One’ — 2 (90s unisex classic)
Citrus-y… at first I wasn’t sure, but realized after a while that I liked this perfume. It stayed tangy all day, though in a seductive way. Mum said it was ‘intriguing’, and that she got me Calvin Klein once, but I don’t remember. (Scratches head).

Calvin Klein ‘Secret Obsession’ — 1
This was on special offer in Superdrug but I didn’t like it much when I first put it on, so I didn’t buy it. As time went on, though, I realized I liked it quite a lot… it made me think of a dark, damp, magical forest with deep, jewel-green moss. At night, when there was just a trace of it left, it went somewhat ‘soapy’ on me. If I owned a bottle of it I could always put more on and override that. I can imagine curling up with it in a warm nest, the way I did with Euphoria; I felt the same way about Calvin Klein ‘One’. I wasn’t sure about Secret Obsession at start and at end, so it fell a spot in my perfume list. But I looked in Superdrug again the next day, and it was sold out. (The other perfume on special offer, Elizabeth Arden ‘Red Door’, had hardly been touched. I didn’t try it; I sniffed the bottle and hadn’t liked it for whatever reason). The last thing I noticed about Secret Obsession is that it’s so long-lasting that when I washed it off the next morning, it was still there!

Estee Lauder ‘Beautiful’ — 1
Nice and flowery. Fresh and feminine. Friendly. Liked it. Mum said she didn’t like it, but I had just made her smell Cacharel’s ‘Eden’, which was on the same hand, and she was still scowling… I only put ‘Beautiful’ this far down the list because it’s pricier than the perfumes just above (Monsoon, Delirium etc), and if I was on the hunt for another perfume to buy, those would come first. Probably.

White Satin — 2
I received the White Satin body spray as a gift from Mum. I’ve had it in my collection since before I started all this ‘perfume testing’ malarkey, but it seems only fair to include it in my reviews. It’s a pleasant flowery perfume, innocent and old-fashioned in nature. It makes you think of a dressing table covered with cylinders of lipstick, canisters of hairspray and a heavy cut glass ‘puff powder’ thing. And yourself, wondering if Granny will catch you roaming her bedroom (which is off limits to little children). I don’t put any of this in a dismissive way; it’s a pleasant body spray; the aroma is slightly powdery but with a sweet floral note coming through.

Burberry ‘Weekend’ — 2
Sharp and lemony… it was quite refreshing. Mum liked it but I wouldn’t bother with it, unless it grew on me later. Could well do… in which case I’ll plump out this review!

Ghost — 1
Another vanilla-y perfume… it was OK, but I’m not all that into the vanilla scents. Mum didn’t like it, and though I thought it was all right, I wouldn’t buy it for myself.

Christian Dior ‘Miss Dior’
— 1 (0.5 each from Mum and me)
Whoo, expensive. £57 for the bottle I was looking at. I wouldn’t even dream of paying that, but it’s one of those key perfumes everyone’s heard of… my grandmother wore it. When I tried it, it reminded me of Ma Griffe. Mum said it was OK but she didn’t recognize it as Miss Dior. She says there’s something missing and it’s not the same. I read reviews on it earlier; it has been reformulated, possibly to remove or replace ingredients that couldn’t be used any more, but I don’t know the story. I didn’t dislike it, would be prepared to take it at face value, and was grateful that it didn’t give me a headache the way some perfumes do. It was the best of the three Christian Dior perfumes I’ve tried so far, but alien to me. For the rest of the night I kept thinking there was someone else in the room wearing this perfume, and that it had nothing to do with me…

Intimately Beckham — 1
Had this on the other wrist, and it was completely overshadowed by the Miss Dior, but that wasn’t its own fault. I quite liked it and was glad it didn’t give me a headache either, but I can’t imagine myself owning a pink perfume with a footballer’s name on it. Football and I don’t go. Setting that aside, it was a quiet, pretty, feminine fragrance without being too wild or cloying. Mum gave it the thumbs down before even learning what it was, but I’ll give it a thumbs up.

Elizabeth Arden ‘Green Tea Revitalize’ — 1.5 (1 from Mum, 0.5 from me)
A bit sharp and edgy for me, but it was OK at first. As the day wore on, it smelled more and more acridly of tea, and that didn’t really please me! I felt I might as well put real tea on as get the perfume.

Bodyshop ‘Japanese Cherry Blossom’ Eau de Toilette — 0
A bit on the sugary sweet side for me. Looking forward to trying the other Bodyshop offerings, though. I was in there looking for rose-scented hand cream, but couldn’t see any.

Dolce & Gabbana ‘Light Blue’ — 1 (0.5 from each of us)
Reminded me strongly of another perfume… it bothered me all day, as it was a perfume I knew well, and its name kept bubbling up then wafting off again. I nearly choked when I finally realized I was thinking of ‘Miranda’ by Ricardo… I got 100 ml of it for £1 from Pound Mania. Reasonably pleasant, and of course the Light Blue was of better quality (didn’t degenerate into a soap-bubbly aura) but when you look at the price, I would go for Miranda any day.

Kylie Minogue ‘Showtime’ — 1 (0.5 from each of us)
Quite a strong aroma… not unpleasant, but rather like cough drops. I don’t say that to be mean, as it’s not a bad perfume overall. Perhaps it doesn’t suit my skin-type well.

Hugo Boss ‘Deep Red’ — 0
Soft and dull, faded quite fast; had no presence. I’ve read reviews on various perfumes by people saying “the such and such notes weren’t obvious on me,” or “it faded faster on me than on other people,” so maybe that’s what happened here. Leaves quite a pleasant powdery trace at the end.

Lancome ‘Magnifique — 0
On me it smelled like rubber at first… improved eventually, but only in its final stages.

Calvin Klein ‘Crave’ — 0
Apparently discontinued… and for men. ☺
I tried this on the other wrist the same day I tried Hugo Boss ‘Deep Red’… I met up with Mum later and she enquired “so, have you had your perfume fix for today?” and I said “it wasn’t much of a fix!” Both perfumes were disappointing. At first spritz, I thought ‘Crave’ was nice and fresh, but it slumped quite rapidly, and turned out to have a hard note not dissimilar to the one in Christian Dior ‘Pure Poison’. Fortunately it was relatively faint.

Cacharel ‘Eden’ — minus 2
The only reason I didn’t sink this right to the bottom of my list is that it wasn’t one of the ones I had an allergic reaction to. All the ones below it gave me a headache or made me feel ill. Eden made me think of some oily mechanical rubbery thing in a DIY, smelling strongly of plastic tarpaulins and shut-up-dusty-shop. It took over, unfortunately.

Yardley ‘English Rose’ — 2
This perfume is just lovely, and I didn’t ‘test’ it as such, as I already had it and had forgotten! It was still in the box, therefore quite fresh. It has a lovely Turkish Delight bloom to it. Mum probably smells ‘flowers’ rather than ‘Turkish Delight’ (as I found out when we were discussing J Lo Glow) but she says Yardley’s English Rose is one of her favourite perfumes. She was delighted when I gave it to her, as it turned out I was reacting quite badly to that as well… sore, red eyes and headache. About two or three times after washing it off, I came and sat here at my desk where it must have rubbed off from my wrists, and got sore eyes again. That’s finally stopped happening… but it strikes me it would be a good deterrent for when I’m spending too much time at the computer! Just stroke a little Yardley’s English Rose round the edges of everything, and market it as Stop Diddums. That’s the only reason I gave it such a low placing. I shouldn’t have given it a score of 2, but I liked it and was sorry to see it go. Am now looking for a Diddums-friendly rose perfume to replace it. Once I got a lovely, strong, long-lasting rose hand cream from a National Trust shop, so that might be the next place to look.

Sarah Jessica Parker ‘Lovely’ — 1 (0.5 from each of us)
Pleasant perfume; not outstanding for me… it gave me a headache. Reading the reviews, ‘Lovely’ takes one or two people that way. Mum just said “hm, mm,” as though to say, “quite nice. I wouldn’t rush to the till with it.” I read that S.J.P. wanted an understated perfume that wouldn’t scream that she was in the room, so I guess it did that quite well. Unfortunately it tried to drive me out of the room and upstairs to bed (with a cloth over my eyes).

I’ve updated my full list of tested perfumes (below). The ones reviewed above are in bold. As mentioned before in my blog, it’s only my personal list; these scents could come across completely differently on someone else.

From places 1 to 13… I would buy. (Have you noticed the number has increased from 9 to 13? That’s the whole problem with playing this particular game, but I suppose it’s good that I would only buy 4 out of the 18 I’ve reviewed this time… and I already own one of them!)

The 11th perfume (Monsoon) was completely sold out last time I passed that spot in Boots. All to be found there is a sad (but smug) little tester bottle.

1. Calvin Klein ‘Euphoria’ — 2
2. Jennifer Lopez ‘Live’ — 2
3. Jennifer Lopez ‘Glow’ — 2
4. Paloma Picasso — 2
5. Cacharel ‘Noa’ — 2
6. Calvin Klein ‘One’ — 2
7. Marc Jacob’s ‘Daisy’ — 2
8. Calvin Klein ‘Secret Obsession’ — 1
9. Britney Spears ‘Curious’ — 2
10. Mango ‘Delirium’ — 2
11. Monsoon ‘Monsoon’ — 1
12. Estee Lauder ‘Beautiful’ — 1
13. White Satin — 2
14. Burberry ‘Weekend’ — 2
15. Ghost — 1
16. Christian Dior ‘Miss Dior’ — 1 (0.5 each from Mum and me)
17. Intimately Beckham — 1
18. Elizabeth Arden ‘Green Tea Revitalize’ — 1.5 (1 from Mum, 0.5 from me)
19. Bodyshop ‘Japanese Cherry Blossom’ Eau de Toilette — 0
20. Katie Price ‘Besotted’ — 0
21. Ricardo ‘Miranda’ — 1
22. Dolce & Gabbana ‘Light Blue’ — 1 (0.5 from each of us)
23. Kylie Minogue ‘Showtime’ — 1 (0.5 from each of us)
24. Hugo Boss ‘Deep Red’ — 0
25. Lancome ‘Magnifique’ — 0
26. Calvin Klein ‘Crave’ — 0
27. Givenchy ‘Amarige’ — 0.5
28. Police ‘Wings’ — 1.5
29. Vera Wang ‘Princess’ — 0
30. Christian Dior ‘J’Adore’ — 0
31. Dolce & Gabbana ‘The One’ — 0
32. Britney Spears ‘Fantasy’ — 0
33. Cacharel ‘Eden’ — minus 2
34. Yardley ‘English Rose’ — 2
35. Sarah Jessica Parker ‘Lovely’ — 1 (0.5 from each of us)
36. Cacharel ‘Anais Anais’ — 1
37. Christian Dior ‘Pure Poison’ — 0