Cozy Time Sweets

Bath Sweets Collage

I recently unearthed a container of old, favourite clothes that I had banished to shameful storage after I had gained, and retained, all the weight.  I have no idea why I saved some of the items (the thermal shirt with the stars is cute and all, but…) although others are more clear (the cat ear’d hoodie I wore on my first date with Mr. Finger Candy.)

But I clapped with joy when I pulled these old (yet barely ever worn) Nick & Nora flannel jammies out of the box.  Mr. Finger Candy gave me these maybe our third or fourth Christmas together?  I LOVED these pyjamas!  And then I forgot all about them.  Which happens when you somehow manage to gain so much weight, you outgrow your gigantic flannel PJs and are forced to relinquish them to the purgatory of the basement storage locker.

Which is where they would have stayed had I not lost 85 pounds in the last year and completely overhauled both my shape and my health.  Making it the perfect time to pull that container of old, favourite clothes straight out of purgatory to see what might fit.  Which was actually a ton of stuff!  Including these wonderful jammies.  I washed them up straightaway and then started to plan a warm, cozy bath with some likewise forgotten bath and body products.

Yummy Jammies

I mentioned last month that as part of my low-buy no buy I was also going to try to use up that which I had already bought, but not yet got around to using.  So drawing inspiration from my newly found PJs, I dug a whole mess of candy sweet things out of the beauty bin and drew myself one sweetheart of a bath.

Bath Sweets Main Photo

There’s a little bit of everything here – a three-wick candle in Bath & Body Works’ Vanilla Bean Noel, a favourite sugar cookie scent tinged with a touch of musk.  A tiny wax pie slice, sugar scrub and lotion from The Bathing Garden in Sugared Pie Crust.  A bar of soap from Dreaming Tree Soapworks in Bewitched, a creamy vanilla-raspberry scent.  A tiny, cupcake-shaped bath melt from Bomb Cosmetics in Cherry Pie.  Mmm, a couple of spritzes of Demeter’s Vanilla Ice Cream cologne, a scrumptious, toasty warm waffle cone scent I already use all the dang time.  A cotton candy-scented bath bomb gifted to me from a kind friend.  And finally, a post-bath cup of tea using this delicious Binx blend sent to me by another kind friend (named after Binx the cat from the movie Hocus Pocus, it contains catnip!)  Oh, and a couple of food-shaped wax tarts from The Bathing Garden because the PJs practically demanded it. 🙂


Winter Solstice


Before I do the show-and-tell thing with this beautiful order I received from indie parfumerie Solstice Scents, allow me to share with you one of those odd little serendipitous moments that makes you feel at one with the universe.  Or mildly creeped out.  Depends on your world perspective, I suppose. 😉

Anyhow, after choosing a title for this post – Winter Solstice, because it’s winter, and this is an order from Solstice Scents – I thought to myself, “Huh, IS there such a thing as a winter solstice?”  Turns out there is! 2016’s winter solstice – you may know it as the shortest day of the year – was December 21st, which is the day I received this order.  Dun dun duuuuuunnnnnnnnn.  Really nothing more than a coincidence (Alanis would probably call it irony) but a cool little blip amid the atrocious randomness of the universe nonetheless.

Okay, so now that we’ve got that heavy stuff out of the way, let’s move on to the perfume! It’s been ages since I’ve been this excited about a new vendor, and even longer since I’ve worn perfume (I worked for many years in close-quarters courtrooms, pretty well the last place you should be doused, or even lightly spritzed, in anything.)  So when this tiny, potent pack of goodies arrived a handful of days before Christmas, I was in *just* the right festive mood to dive back into the world of olfactory delights, and delight in discovering a new vendor.


First, the basics.  I placed my order on December 13th, Solstice shipped it from their Florida location on December 14th, and I received it here in Ontario a week later on the 21st.  That lightning fast turnaround time allowed me to sample some of the fragrances over the holidays, where I discovered a fabulous new favourite that smells just like me.  It’s the best thing I’ve smelled in forever!  My items (four 5 ml rollerball perfume oils, two 2.5 ml spray samples and six sampler vials) came neatly packed in a tiny box filled with the most gorgeous dark green tissue paper adorned with a festive sprig of evergreen – a lovely little touch.  Lovelier still were the postcards – including a handwritten thank you – depicting some of Solstice’s fragrances, as well as maps and bulletins from the Town of Foxcroft, inspiration for a number of their perfumes.


Thoughtful aesthetic touches aside, let’s take a closer look at the contents of my order, shall we? First, I purchased four perfume oils in these cute little blue glass rollerballs. Each bottle was $15.00 US.


Owing to what I’m assuming are infuriatingly random trade rules, Solstice is unable to ship sizes greater than the 5 ml perfume oils internationally.  So I’m stuck with these baby bottles until such time as I can ask an American friend for a fragranced favour, because I’m in LOVE with one of the scents I chose, Snowmint Mallow, and would very much like it in a larger size.  This is the fragrance I described some weeks ago as smelling like a beloved perfume I wore in high school, a refreshing, creamy and comforting blend of peppermint, cake, cookies, coconut and marshmallow cream.  Holy lord is it fabulous, and not remotely as heavy or gooey-smelling as you’d imagine from that description.

Of the other three perfume oils, I like Blackburn’s Parlor the best.  It’s another sundae-scented fragrance in that it literally smells like a banana split – sugary, buttery waffle cones, creamy chocolate and vanilla soft serve and the barest hint of fresh banana.  This is another one that somehow doesn’t come across as tooth-achingly sweet; rather, it’s a light gourmand scent softened with custardy cream.

I regrettably don’t care much for either Halloween Night or Blackburn Farmstead, the latter being a musky blackberry scent that simply doesn’t tickle my fancy.  Dark berry blends never have, though, something I should have remembered when placing this wildcard pick in my basket.  But I’ve no doubt I’ll be able to find Blackburn Farmstead a good home with someone who can appreciate its lush amber berries.  Halloween Night is…intriguing. Smells a bit like assorted candies rattling around the bottom of a plastic trick-or-treat pumpkin.  I can actually picture myself wearing this Halloween night.

Next, I ordered an assortment of fragrances in smaller sizes I wasn’t too sure about based on their descriptions.

I purchased two 2.5 ml eau de parfum spray samples in Owl Creek Aleworks, a rich, toffee and stout-infused butter bomb, and Foxcroft Fairgrounds, a light confection of a fragrance scented like sweetly spun sugar. Lovely, both.  Each spray bottle was $8.00 US.


Finally, I purchased five fragrances (plus one freebie) in a beautifully presented sampler pack for $15.00 US.  I haven’t yet explored these scents in any meaningful way, but here I went kind of buck wild with my choices, swinging from sugary gourmand fragrances like Kitchen and Sycamore Sugarworks, to lively fruity fragrances like Heat of the Night, whose succulent mango notes I can already tell you I like very much.


Overall, I’m tremendously pleased with my first – but certainly not last – Solstice Scents order.  Everything about this was a positive experience, from the no-fuss ordering system and super speedy delivery, to the beautiful presentation and gorgeously-crafted fragrances.  A definite winner.  Can’t wait to see what other fantastic scents are awaiting my discovery.

ETA: It has been brought to my attention by the very kind and complimentary folks at Solstice that there are actually a couple of vendors that deal in their beautiful perfumes internationally, Pretty Indulgent (they also carry a number of other niche lines) and The Rhinestone Housewife (same), who offers Solstice’s eau de parfums in 60 ml bottles that should hopefully slay my scent lust for all things Snowmint Mallow!

Pep(permint) Talk


Mmm, peppermint, what an olfactory delight you have turned out to be!  It pains me to admit this, but there was a time not that long ago that I cared for you not one whit – too icy, too bracing, too toothpastey.  But in my advancing years, I’ve developed a newfound appreciation for some of the flavours and scents I used to shun, and dear peppermint, you are number one on that list, with a bullet (alongside black coffee, black pepper, bourbon, freesia and anything involving anise.)

And thank goodness for that reversal in scent preference, because otherwise I wouldn’t have come into the possession of this lovely little mountain of pepperminty goodness.  So shall we check out some of the peppy mints that have been sweetly scenting my holidays?  Yes, let’s!

First up, the overkill.  So did I need an entire pie’s worth of Rosegirls’ sublime Peppermint Coconut Mallow? No, probably not…although “need” is such a tricky word, isn’t it? 😉 Anyhow, when Rosegirls opened up for a pre-sale in November that included a number of beloved holiday scents, I purchased an entire pie of Peppermint Coconut Mallow, a perpetually popular pick that softens peppermint’s icy chill with mounds of creamy, dreamy marshmallow.  It’s a sublimely gorgeous fragrance – sweet, cool and creamy.  One of those scent blends you stockpile if you get the chance, which is precisely what I did!


Another favourite mint around these parts is Bath & Body Works‘ Twisted Peppermint. Sweet and icy where Peppermint Coconut Mallow is cool and creamy, Twisted Peppermint is a blast of candied arctic air.  To me, it is the smell of Christmas.  It also reminds me of the candy coating on a Freshmint Tic Tac.  This three-wick candle is going into reserve for next year, although I had it out and about over the holidays because I love the design on the label.  Actually, come to think of it, Bath & Body Works had very attractive packaging on all of their products this year.  Well done, BBW!


Then, succumbing to the beautifully photographed enabling of my blogger friend Julie of The Redolent Mermaid, I placed an order with Solstice Scents, a small, independent parfumerie that deals in the sort of gourmand fragrances that make my eyes roll with delight.  That’s how I came to possess this tiny – already deeply coveted – roll-on bottle of Snowmint Mallow perfume oil.  And oh my, this perfume – a blend of “Peppermint, Vanilla Cake, Sugar Cookies, Flaked Coconut (and) Marshmallow Creme” – is FABULOUS!

I will freely admit that gourmand fragrances are not everyone’s cup of highly sugared tea. I also recognize that the above-listed scent notes seem like they would be best served on a dessert plate as opposed to spritzed on your wrists.  But Snowmint Mallow manages to dodge the plastic problem that so many foodie fragrances ultimately fall prey to.  This is no hodgepodge of vaguely fake, desserty-type scents; Solstice has created a proper fragrance here that’s beautifully balanced and layered.  That it reminds me of a favourite mocha vanilla perfume I wore in high school is simply marshmallow creme icing on the peppermint-dusted vanilla cake.  At a holiday party an old friend pulled me close and shouted in my ear that I smelled “JUST LIKE HIGH SCHOOL! Oh crap, is this the Wu?  CLEAR THE DANCE FLOOR!”  I’ve also received a number of compliments from my husband and my mom, who sniffed my wrist and shouted with delight, “It smells just like you!” Can you ask for anything more in a perfume?  I think I’m in love.  I shall be needing reinforcements, or at the very least a larger bottle.


Finally, here’s an impulse purchase from Bath & Body Works that became my must-have beauty product of the holiday season, Shea & Sparkle Scrub in – sing it with me one more time! – Twisted Peppermint.  This is a lovely little scrub, soft and smooth as opposed to hard and scratchy, loaded with fine glitter and scented with that distinctive Tic Tac fragrance (softened a bit here for use in beauty products, a wise idea when using mints on your skin.)  The nicest thing about this scrub is it washes away cleanly, leaving behind no glittery, slippery residue, making it safe for both bathtub surfaces AND glitter-phobes! Dee-lish.


Fall Fun Series: Light My Fire


I’m combining this week’s two Fall Fun Series prompts – Monday’s to highlight a new or little known vendor and today’s to talk about good, old fashioned candles – into one with this post featuring my favourite wicked wonder, Volupsa’s French Bourbon Vanille.  Made with crushed, distilled vanilla beans, this gorgeous fragrance satisfies the side of me that prefers her scents to be a little less cotton candy cupcake and a lot more gourmand.  If you’ve ever used vanilla bean paste in baking, you’re familiar with the heady, floral, slightly boozy scent of pure vanilla – it’s one of life’s most beautiful fragrances, and this candle captures it perfectly. French Bourbon Vanille is also one of those universal fragrances that bridges seasons – I think this scent would be just as pretty in the spring, with its light floral undertones, as it would be in the fall and winter, with its rich, more complex vanilla notes.

Voluspa, being on the higher end of both the price and availability spectrums, is not a name I ever see being bandied about the wax world.  Available via a number of independent perfumeries, but for a Canadian like me, primarily through the Chapters/Indigo chain of bookstores, Voluspa’s products – lidded glass candles, tiny, travel-size tins, reed diffusers and more – are not easy to come by, nor are they inexpensive.  This two-wick glass jar candle, an annual Christmas gift from my parents, retails for $38 Canadian.


Fortunately, French Bourbon Vanille has the pedigree befitting a $38 candle – 60 hours of burn time, silky smooth, clean-burning coconut wax, cotton wicks and a gorgeous glass container with an embossed lid that, if you’re very careful in cleaning, you can reuse as a beautiful box for tiny treasures.  This candle feels like a Very Special Item, and I look forward to receiving one every year (my parents always mock-protest the price, but I can tell they’re secretly kind of thrilled in a mildly illicit way to be buying a $40 candle!)

If this gorgeous French Bourbon Vanille candle sounds like something you might be interested in, you can peruse it and other Voluspa products at, Canadian home to all sorts of fun ways to part with your money, and of course, through Voluspa itself.


Gingy’s Hot Date

Gingy's Hot Date Fingers

The final Demeter cologne I have for you is a do-it-yourself scent, a fragrance blending experiment I call Gingy’s Hot Date.  Gingy’s Hot Date, a spicy, creamy mix of gingerbread blended with bright, herbal lavender, is the custom scent I created with the perfumes I was sent from Demeter Fragrance Library to do just that! You can read all about my adventures in blending here and how I came to create this unexpectedly delicious scent, but for now, here is the final “inspired-by” manicure I did, this time inspired by the base notes of Gingy’s Hot Date, both of which are supposedly massive turn-ons for men (human AND gingerbread!)

Gingy's Hot Date Bottle

One Big Blended Family

All In Bottle Shot

To my continued delight, I recently received a most generous press pack of blendable fragrances from Demeter Fragrance Library to test, muck about with and report back on. Like the Mr. Bubble campaign I took part in last September, this arrangement was brokered by Canadian Beauty Bloggers, a helpful online resource for Canadian bloggers, vloggers, Tweeters and ‘Grammers alike.  Pleased with the response to the one-bottle Mr. Bubble campaign, Demeter are now upping the ante a bit, providing bloggers with a range of complimentary, singular scents to mix and match and blend and otherwise play amateur parfumier with. I’ve long been a fan of Demeter’s spunky approach to fragrance (one of the blending scents is a cologne I already own) so this felt like a fun and natural fit.  There’s lots of delicious-smelling, DIY enjoyment to be had from these all-in-one blending kits, so let’s get into it!

Participants were asked to choose one of three different scent duos (jasmine/lavender, clean skin/sunshine or grass/dirt) to blend with a chosen base note trio (Hawaiian vanilla, angel food and gingerbread.)  I suspected that my choice, jasmine/lavender, was going to be a popular one, and indeed, I see there’s already a preponderance of posts favouring the floral duo.

Duo Collage

All the same, the point of this exercise is to build a unique custom scent, and with five lovely fragrances in the mix, as well as all the necessary blending accoutrements, Demeter has made it easy to do just that, enabling you to create a fragrance that, similarities in scent notes notwithstanding, is your unique creation and yours alone.  So we might all be dabbling in the night blooming lavender pound cake pool here, but everyone’s creative interpretation is going to be just a little bit different from their neighbour’s, and delightfully so.

Before I get into the actual fragrance creation, let’s take a look at the blending kits themselves.  For this campaign, Demeter chose the all-vanilla trio as its base note kit, although it’s also offered in scents ranging from smoky and woodsy to clean and floral. True to their name, these heavier scents form the foundation for your fragrance on top of which you layer one or both of the lighter scents from your chosen duo (which is also offered in a wealth of sweetly scented pairings.)  Having said all that, there’s no rule that stipulates that you must combine them in such a fashion.  In fact, the whole point is that there are no rules!  You can mix these fragrances (the duo and trio, both) exactly as you see fit, although I might warn against the all-in approach to fragrance creation – “jasmine gingerbread sunshine dirt cake” is a heck of a mouthful, and I can’t imagine it would smell that wonderful either.

Demeter Collage

Between the two kits, there are five one ounce fragrances, a funnel, four plastic droppers, a small stack of scent strips and an empty one ounce bottle in which to capture your perfect – and perfected – scent.  Of course, you could always go completely low tech and just fire two scents into the air – sideways! – and then glide through the mist like you’re Antonio Banderas in a beauty-obsessed version of Desperado, but where’s the fun in that (actually, that sounds like A LOT of fun!)  The set-up is simple and nicely intuitive – use the droppers to dab various scent combinations onto the disposable strips until you create THE perfect blend, at which point you use the empty bottle and funnel to create a lot of that perfect blend.  Easy!

But a beautifully blended fragrance truly is the sum of its individual parts, and so before we get to my creation, let’s first take a look at those singular fragrances.  Getting the negative out of the way first, I am no fan of jasmine, nor have I ever been.  I concede that it’s therefore an odd choice of blending fragrance on my part, although I was really after the lavender side of the duo, with jasmine simply coming along for the ride. Scent preference is a deeply personal thing, so I won’t fault you if you just adore jasmine, but to me, it smells simultaneously like hippie grandmas and an ex-boyfriend’s nauseatingly bracing cologne, neither of which I need to be reminded of on a day to day basis.  It does make for some rather beautiful nail art, though, no? Actually, as you’ll see, they kind of all did.

jasmine bottle

The other half of the scent duo is a gorgeous herbal lavender.  Lavenders can be quite tricky, as they often drift into “grannie’s unmentionables drawer” territory (again with the grandmas!) but this one is fresh and green and sweet, and not the least bit powdery or cloying.  Really lovely.

Lavender Bottle

Moving over to the base trio, angel food is the Demeter scent I already own (having a duplicate is stupendous, as the bottle I bought 15 YEARS AGO is just now starting to show its age.)  Unlike its diabetic-friendly namesake dessert, this fragrance is rich and sugary and buttery.  Immensely edible (but please don’t eat it.)

Angel Food Cake Bottle

If you’re looking for something a little less bakery-oriented, Hawaiian vanilla is a fresh and floral vanilla that’s evocative of the orchid plant that gives it life.  Mild and sweet, this vanilla will play nicely with other fresh florals and watery, clean scents.

Hibiscus Bottle

Finally, we have the fragrance I was the most excited to play with, gingerbread.  Spice-phobic folks need not fear this gingerbread, which is mild, sweet and dry, lacking that irksome and irritating fresh spice note that overwhelms most ginger-based scents.  Very nice.

Gingerbread Bottle

So lovely individual scents, all (save and except the jasmine) but what sort of fabulous creations did I wrest from combining them?  Well, I suppose it all rests on your definition of “fabulous,” but I don’t think there’s a dud in the bunch.  The “softness” of the scents aids in successful blending – there’s no sharp, unduly alcoholic tones to the fragrances, and they blend beautifully in nearly any proportion.  Just about as close to Demeter’s promised “foolproof” as possible!

Before settling on one favoured fragrance (the big reveal of which I’m saving for the end of this massive missive) I tried my hand at:

1. Lavender Vanilla Cake.  This blend of sweet lavender and angel food is the very definition of a gourmand scent, with a light herbal freshness to cut the all the sugary and buttery.  Yuh-um.

2. The Ex-Grannies.  That sounds like a punk band.  Or the bank robbers in a low budget remake of Point Break (so pretty much the recent remake of Point Break.) This combination of jasmine and Hawaiian vanilla represents my one and only attempt to blend with jasmine, and it failed miserably.  Best to leave this one to the grandmas and my ex-boyfriend’s gag-worthy cologne.  You can’t say I didn’t try.

3. Hawaiian Lavender.  I’m pretty sure there is no such thing, but work with me here!  It’s all about being creative, and that includes horticulture.  This blend of lavender and the most floral of the three vanillas combines beautifully, creating a soft, gentle fragrance the most in keeping with traditional floral perfumes.

4. Butter Your (Ginger)Bread.  Sweet and lightly spiced gingerbread gets a tender, almost buttery kick from delectable angel food.  Another beautiful bakery.

The last scent I blended was also my favourite, and the one I chose to bottle, a uniquely sweet and spicy combination of gingerbread and lavender I call “Gingy’s Hot Date.” Studies have shown that when it comes to stirrings of lustful feelings in people bearing the Y chromosome, lavender and spicy scents like ginger get the job done. So why not combine them into one monster aphrodisiac of a scent that will work its magic on men and gingerbread men alike?  Heck, gingerladies, too – let’s not leave them out of the sweetly scented fun.  This is a delectable, unexpectedly yummy-smelling fragrance that bridges the gap between earthy spices and rich gourmands, and I love it.

Gingy's Hot Date Bottle

All told, this was a fun do-it-yourself beauty project – like a science experiment, but less explode-y – and a well-run blogging campaign by Demeter.  A great experience all around, at the end of which you’re left with a beautifully scented reminder (or reminders) of your creativity.  Sweet!  And kind of spicy… 😉