Elderflowers, the scent of Spring

* These items were gifted by I Love Cosmetics

There’s certain scents that immediately bring the current season to life, whether it’s cinnamon at Christmas, wet leaves in Autumn, freshly cut grass in Summer and for me what screams Spring is getting a whiff of Elderflower. In previous years we’ve been on holiday in France, luckily with the car, staying in quite a fancy hotel close to Lumbres in Northern France. The country lanes around the hotel were jam packed full of elderflowers in flower, so I had the bright idea that we should forage while we were there, and so we arrived home with a bagful of elderflowers ready to turn into our own elderflower fizz.

At times you have to feel sorry for MOH don’t you? Not too much, mind you…

We have our own elderflower plant in the garden, but it’s a plant that loves the sun and often it’s flowers sulk and face our neighbour’s garden. When we got back from Portugal this was all that was left of one of the few flowerheads that remained. I wasn’t going to get my Spring elderflower fix from that, now was I?

where's my elderflowers?

But luckily, this year I didn’t have to as I received a range of Elderflower Fizz products from I Love Cosmetics to try out. And after a day of gardening there’s nothing more welcoming than a hot and fragrant bath. On Sunday evening that’s just what happened, and it’s been a long, long while since I’ve had bath salts. They have a bit of an old-lady reputation don’t they? And they do remind me of my nan, who by very definition was an older lady. Hers were in square packages though and I remember being very strongly scented, these are quite different to those memories.

Elderflower fizz by I love cosmetics

As well as the elderflower, there’s also jasmine, apple and cucumber. We’ve jasmine in our garden too, and I’ve written before about its heady scent and how a holiday in Seville, where I learnt that smell. The apple brings freshness and the cucumber its cooling properties, and for someone with an often missing ‘nose’ I’m pretty impressed with myself.

Philadelphus and Elderflower Fizz

While my elderflower in the garden is sadly absent and my jasmine has yet to flower, we are enjoying another strong scent: the mock orange, or philadelphus. That too has its own scent story. It was in full flower on our wedding day, and we held our wedding reception in our garden with the tables for the sit down at the rear of the garden. Our table was next to the mock orange, and that’s when we learnt it’s one of the plants in our garden that makes MOH sneeze and wheeze, cue hayfever tablets for him!

Elderflower fizz body butter from I love cosmetics
I love cosmetics elderflower fizz hand and nail cream

It’s not just me though.  I’ve placed the reed diffuser on our bookcase, replacing the one that has long lost its smell.  After a day or so, MOH commented on the scent, not realising that I’d put the new one there.  He was trying to place the scent, his words:  fresh, summery and something he’d smelt before.  He wasn’t wrong, he was probably recalling that car journey home from France! 

He’s lucky, it wasn’t the one where the car smelt of goats cheese - but that’s a story for another day.

* These elderflower items were gifted by I Love Cosmetics to review here on my blog, as usual all views and opinions shared are my own.


The heady scent of jasmine

The weather at the moment is reminiscent of holiday weather isn't it? And for us that's not the only thing, with the warmer days our garden is full of the scent of jasmine by the early evening which is fantastic. 

Wandering around the garden earlier in the week I realised that our jasmine plants have somehow expanded. There's plants along either side the patio, underneath the non-fruiting cherry tree and at the end of the garden too.  

clematis and jasmine on the patio

It "cascades" well and I think looks best with this waterfall effect.  Over winter some of the ends and under branches become twig-like and need snipping off.  Often I do this by hand and the effect is to flatten it more against the fence in the waterfall way that I've mentioned.

A cascade of jasmine

This year we've a new "instance" of jasmine flower for the first time.  The jasmine, which thrives in our garden has climbed through the back of the fatsia and into, and beyond, the elderflower, and that's added to our garden's fragrace.

Jasmine among the elderflower and above the fatsia

The flowers do at times float down and can be found where you least expect them.

Hmmn that doesn't look quite right

But it's not just the jasmine which surrounds the patio that is scenting our garden.  At the end there's also the mock orange, of philadelphus.  Our tree is full of scented flowers, which looks pretty too.

mock orange into the sun

I'd forgotten quite how fragrant our garden can be.


Testing my nose...

Yes, but just with scented candles, nothing more sinister. Last week I told you about the candles and diffusers by Landon Tyler and how I was enjoying using them as everyday items and how I'd tested my nose before I read the back of the box. Well today I'm sharing how I got on.

You might think that this is an easy challenge, but I'm not known for having the best sense of smell so I was intrigued to see how I got on.

First up, Dark Cashmere...

I wasn't sure what to expect. And to challenge myself further - because at the time it seemed like a good idea - I thought I'd share the results in pictures. And this is what I thought I could smell:



I raided my spice cupboard for what I thought I'd smelt. Out came the cloves, cinnamon and some star anise. I was impressed that cloves and cinnamon are indeed listed on the back of the box. There wasn't any star anise though, so two out of three didn't seem to bad. 

Also listed was vetivert, patchouli and cedar.

Well cedar I got although I was lucky I hadn't identified that as I'd no idea how I'd show that visually. But vetivert and patchouli, I'm not sure my nose would have known those. In fact I'm not sure my mind did. But with some investigation - thanks internet - I've learnt that vetivert is described as "deep, sweet, woody, smoky and earthy grass."  Patchouli I've learnt is part of the mint family. 

So there you go, now you know.

And the Winter Woods...

I was expecting this to smell woody, and I wasn't disappointed. There was a strong fresh smell and so I hurried off to find one of my bleached pine cones from last Christmas.



And I'm pleased to say I wasn't wrong. I got Christmas Trees and pine, although I only managed to get the pine cone in the picture! The back of the box says "A classic Christmas tree scent combining pine, fir, spruce, moss and cardamon" so I think I nailed it.

Maybe my sense of smell isn't as bad as I thought.

What's your favourite scented candle "flavour"?

* With thanks to Landon Tyler who sent me these candles to test, to see how I'm using these scents everyday please read: Treating myself with a scent-filled house