Bella Freud launches Lion candle

lion bellaI love Bella Freud’s scented candles. Apart from smelling great and burning well each is imbued with a delightful sense of fun and the packaging is superb. Just added to the collection (and currently burning away in my hallway) is Lion – a candle which takes its cues from Freud’s reggae album cover inspired jumpers.

Peppery, smoky and sweet it features a raft of notes often found in male fragrance (amber, cedarwood, vetiver, oakmoss and pepper amongst them) to create a room fragrance that’s perfect for men who want their house or flat to smell of something other than last night’s takeaway but don’t want it to smell like a bridal bouquet. The effect is perhaps a little subtler than I might have expected (though, given how many scented candles can be way too overpowering, that that’s not necessarily a bad thing) but overall it’s great – and, hey, it looks the biz too so what’s not to like?

Bella Freud’s Lion candle is available here.

Jonathan Ward launches diffusion line

JW CANDLEQuite often when I review scented candles or diffusers the reaction I get is “sounds nice but they’re so expensive!” Given that good candles can set you back £35 or more it’s a fair comment, especially in these difficult economic times.  With this in mind Jonathan Ward – a man who’s a true wiz with wax – is to launch a diffusion line of candles offering customers the chance of accessing his luxury brand at slightly lower price point.

The range still has the features Jonathan Ward is famous for (the double wicks, clean burning wax and complex, multi-dimensional fragrances) but the candles cost a mere £16 and the diffusers £20 making them roughly half the price as the mainline collection.

Thoroughly English, the collection of six candles is inspired by all things native (hence names like Dorset Shore, Mightnight Sherwood and Vintage Tweed). Woodstock, above, is a blend of aromatic English woods like oak and birch along with patchouli and forest flowers like bluebell. Inexpensive maybe but certainly not unsophisticated.

The “J” range by Jonathan Ward will be available from from April 15th.

The new Floris Bergamot & Geranium Scented Candle

floris bergamot and geraniumWhen I first heard about this new candle from Floris I was uncharacteristically excited. The reason for this is that its core essential oils are two of my absolute favourites. I’ve loved the smell of geranium since I was a child and bergamot is one of my favourite citrus scents, richer and more rounded than grapefruit, orange or lemon. The combination of the two is lovely.

I always think with luxury products that it’s the little touches that mater the most and this hand-poured candle features both a snuffing lid (possibly the most useful addition to a scented candle, especially for anyone who values their fingertips) and, handily, a little cork mat so it doesn’t leave marks on your favourite coffee table. It comes in a glamorous gold box too so what’s not to love?

The Floris Bergamot & Geranium Scented Candle is available here. There’s a companion room fragrance too.


Disclosure Notice: I received a free sample of this product for review purposes

The Grooming Guru’s Christmas Gift Guide For Her

Stuck for a present idea for the woman in your life? How about these glorious gifts?

03102012042806There are scented candles and then there are Fornasetti scented candles, which don’t just smell great but turn the humble room fragrance into a mini work of art. This one, the Flora di Fornasetti candle, fills the room with gloriously intoxicating notes of lily of the valley, jasmine and tuberose and comes in the most exquisite ceramic vessel and gift box. £99 from

Face facts, how a bottle of fragrance looks is just as important as how it smells when it comes to gift giving. And who could not be won over by this orb-topped fragrance from Vivienne Westwood? Deliciously feminine, with notes of bergamot, red english rose and heliotrope, Boudoir is a no-brainer when it comes to gifting so go buy! £34 for 30ml eau de parfum from


I always think that Molton Brown products look like colourful little jewels. And if that’s the case then this Orion Gift Set, featuring six colourful bath and shower gels is a veritible treasure trove for beauty magpies. Looks fab and best of all, is easy to wrap! £36 from

ren-gift-set-05I love REN as a brand and suspect she’ll love you if you gave her this Neroil Duo Gift Set featuring a Neroli and Grapefruit Body Wash and Body Cream. They smell  fantastic and the great thing is that, once they’re on the side of the bath, you can can proceed to steal them for yourself. £28 from

Tidy_All_PurpleLizThough the contents of a woman’s handbag largely remain a mystery to me I’ve seen enough friends rummaging around in them to know that they’re clearly a bit like the Tardis inside (i.e big and very messy). This dinky little Aspinal Handbag Tidy solves part of that problem by safely housing a few essentials like lipstick, lipgloss and contact lenses. £65 from

black orchidYou probably know by now how much I love Tom Ford fragrances. Well, Black Orchid is one of his best selling signature fragrances for women and this gift set, featuring a 50ml bottle of the rich, sensual fragrance along with a 75ml body lotion, is guaranteed to make a big impression on Christmas morning. £75 from

whole lotta colourI must confess I don’t know much about make up (the last time I wore any myself was back in the Eighties when it was de rigueur for men to slap up) but what I do know from reading the posts and tweets of my fellow beauty press and beauty bloggers is that Clinique’s Chubby Sticks* have been a bit of a sensation this year. So much so that this Whole Lotta Colour gift set has sold out on their own website and it’s pot luck whether you’ll be able to find a store near you that has a set. But since it’s clearly one of this year’s must have gifts you’ll get extra points if you do find one. So what are you doing reading this? You’d better get shopping! £30 from a store near you (hopefully).

*they’re lip colour balms in case you were wondering

The Grooming Guru Awards 2012. Best Room Fragrance: Byredo Parfums Apocalyptic Scented Candle

Byredo Apocalypticggawrd12lIn the last of my Grooming Guru Awards for 2012 (I know, they do seem to have gone on forever and for that I apologise) I wanted to give an award for my favourite new room fragrance. I’m an absolute scented candle/diffuser/incense stick junkie so it’s always hard for me to pick just one product I really like but this new candle from Byredo I love for several reasons.

For starters, I tend to prefer candles with a warm, earthy, woody and slightly mysterious feel (if they smell anything like a smouldering campfire in a secluded forest all the better). Apocalyptic ticks all these boxes thanks to notes of oakmoss, birch wood and fire iron (think hot, smelting metal). It’s similar in vibe to my favourite ever candle, Diptyque’s Feu de Bois, but is subtler and not quite so overwhelming.

I love it, too, for the deep navy-black wax which reminds me a bit of an ancient obsidian scrying glass when liquid. If indeed, the end of the world is nigh as the Mayans predicted, Apocalyptic will be what’s burning in the background, at my place at least.

Byredo Parfums Apocalyptic Bougie costs £50.00 for 300gr and is available from Liberty 020 7734 1234

Josephine’s Rose candle by Jonathan Ward – the ultimate bedroom accessory

Looking for a great Valentine’s gift for the woman in your life? Then how about this fantastic scented candle from Jonathan Ward London? Inspired by the legendary romance between Napoleon and Jospehine and the latter’s passion for roses, Josephine’s Rose features a medley of rose notes (english rose, tuberose and tea rose) but manages to avoid being old fashioned or ‘Nanish’ thanks to a sexy, musky note of amber.

As with the Serge Lutens fragrance Tuberose Criminelle (which I reviewed here) when rose is ‘sexed-up’ by other ingredients, debased a little if you will, it always smells miles better to me.

As always Jonathan is clever with his choice of ingredients – taking something potentially ordinary and giving it his own unique twist so it becomes extraordinary. Ideal for setting the perfect bedroom mood. Just add matches and willing partner.

For more info go to

Why Timothy Han’s Lemongrass, Marjoram and Lavender candle is ‘therapy’

I must confess, I’ve always been rather cautious of anything containing lemongrass. And with good reason. The smell of it brings back terrible memories of a Thai restaurant in Soho, a dish containing mussels and the three days that followed, during which I lost not only the contents of my stomach and much of my dignity, but over half a stone in weight too.

So it was with some trepidation that I put a match to Timothy Han’s Lemongrass, Marjoram and Lavender candle today. Hancrafted, using soy wax and aromatherapy grade essential oils, it’s a nicely thought-out fragrance and the colour of the glass is exquisite (practically the same as my lounge walls, which is handy!).

Although touted as the kind of candle to help you unwind at the end of the day it strikes me as being quite a stimulating scent, one brilliant at keeping a lounge, office or bathroom fresh, rather than for setting the mood in the bedroom.

If you’re a man nervous of florals, it’ll be perfect for you and Timothy’s range includes a few other cancels I can see appealing to men, including Wild Tobacco & Jasmine and Oakmoss & Vetiver, which sounds amazing. Best of all, even though the one currently alight in my living room has lemongrass, it didn’t bring back one single awful memory. It may even have helped me tackle my fear.

Available from priced £38.