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March 2, 2010

Day 13 of the Heapnose Perfume Diary. Today I’m wearing Pure DKNY.

Donna Karan is New York. In the same way that Chanel is Paris, Ralph Lauren is the Hamptons and Katie Price is Essex. Her fragrances have always had a very strong NYC identity. The first DKNY was shaped like a Skyscraper, the second Be Delicious was shaped like a big Apple, and then there was a bunch of pointless variations on the Apple one – but all still with a strong New York vibe.

Pure sees the designer make a return to simplicity. “A drop of vanilla in a world that moves faster everyday. To find beauty in living simply, taking time out for the things which are closest to your heart, love, joy, embracing relationships, creating community.”

Hmm. It all sounds a bit nineties to me. I wonder how Beardy would feel if I started taking time out to embrace our relationship? I think he’d prefer it if I took time out to make him a tasty sandwich. I fear if I started Creating Community he’d probably leave.

Pretentious taglines aside, however, the fragrance itself is really really nice and very feminine. It makes me want to wear white and lark about in a New York loft with an albino child – not unlike the happy lady in the commercial. Unfortunately it fits less successfully with my NewLook fur coat and Primark accessories: Though in the coming months I can absolutely see myself wearing this with a neutral Spring wardrobe (Primark permitting).

It comes with a free plant-in-a-can.

I know a couple of vegetarians who’d be all over that shit. My boyfriend for one. There are other things which I would have preferred (in a can). Snow. Soup. A dancing squirrel. I realise Donna is making a point about simple living and all that but I do feel inclined to mistrust someone who has such a flimsy grasp on reality. Yeah yeah she’s selling a dream  – but she doesn’t have to flog a lifestyle choice. Say what you will of Heapnose, (and plenty have) but at least it has a sense of its own absurdity. Something which is noticeably absent from the perfume industry at large.

It isn’t fair to pin all this on Donna. If she hadn’t given me a plant-in-a-can I would have ended this review with some glowing remarks about the fragrance composition (vanilla, dew drop, lotus, white amber – all lovely); its longevity (not bad, not great) and a plum quote from Sion the Amiable Translator

“It smells like that bit of road between Barry town and Cardiff Wales Airport”

Instead, I’ll end it with…Great fragrance Donna. But would you please just bugger off.


March 2, 2010

Day 12 of the Heapnose Perfume Diary. Today I’m wearing Prada.

Effortless Elegance? AMAZING. Longevity? AMAZING. Can I say its name without sounding like a Nob-Head? AMAZINGLY YES. Did I get this perfume for the bargain price of $40 because someone had accidentally priced it incorrectly in Sephora Toronto? AMAZINGLY YES. Did I then tell them it was my birthday and get a free lipgloss? AMAZINGLY YES. And a $5 “birthday” voucher? YES. And cheesecake? NO. Does Pat Heap like it? YES. Does Beardy like it? YES. Does it come with a beautiful atomiser that makes even my IKEA dressing table look like a set piece from a classic 1940s movie? YES. Does the atomiser leak when you take little Prada for a day out in your handbag so that when you come back from a trip to see the in-laws, you have NO perfume left but some really fragrant credit cards?


Design faults notwithstanding, this is a lovely perfume. And it lasts for bloody ages. And it’s a cracking mosquito repellant. If I had any left I’d still be happily spritzing away with my trusty atomiser…instead of desperately rubbing my collarbone with my Boots Advantage Card, trying to save the last vestiges of the scent. Oh, the indignity.

Usually I would try and include a few quotes from other (less good) fragrance reviewers, but as regular Heapnose readers will know, most other (less good) fragrance reviewers are bat shit crazy and this is never more obvious than in the bonkers reviews which the Prada perfumes have inspired: From

” …Quite strong. Like the hand that rocks the cradle”


“..Makes you think of an ideal, measured and ethereal garden inhabited by rarefied other-wordly creatures”

Blimey. So I’ll move on.

The thing about the Prada family of fragrances is that they really are a family. Each fragrance in the collection, including the men’s, shares the same base notes, but each has a discernibly different character. Like Girls Aloud, minus the rogue ginger. Or the Blackadder series. I like the signature Prada theme…it’s refined, elegant, classic, and above all, it lasts.

So even though this fragrance is a good five to ten pounds more expensive than your standard D&G – you’re going to get more for your money. Though, I should say, this isn’t true of all the Pradas. Original; Yes Definitely, Infusion D’Iris; Yes Probably and L’Eau Ambree; Not really. This latest release is actually the nicest, but is also the most discreet. If you want to knock ’em out at ten paces – go with the original.

So what does it smell of? Well I’ll begin by telling you that it’s got Tonka Bean in it. That’s right, breathe easy Heapnoses. The Tonka Bean is back. I must tell the the nice lady on Guerlain that she can now cast her fragrance net further afield than…well, Guerlain. Other notes (as if they mattered) are bergamot oil, orange oil, mimosa, Indonesian patchouli oil and vanilla absolute. There are other numerous other notes to the composition, but in truth, the ingredient lists, and ensuing descriptions were heading into frighteningly pretentious territory…“This fragrance was composed by an army of 12 Swiss Dwarves, housed beneath a purpose built Alp, under which they toiled for nigh on 35o years before emerging with the definitive Prada scent…” etc etc

So I’ll quit while I’m ahead and simply say that it smells feminine but not at all girly. There’s a good bit of depth, it’s strong and it’s achingly classy. If (UK readers) are looking for a Mother’s Day Gift then I’d say any one of the Prada fragrances is worth a punt…for the class without the punch, and some Spring-friendly lighter notes, you could try the L’Eau Ambree gift set in House of Fraser (Cardiff). Decent size perfume, a free body butter and a counter lady who isn’t stingy with the samples. Sold. Just beware of that bloody atomiser.

Bvlgari Aqva Pour Homme

February 25, 2010

Day 11 of the Heapnose perfume diary. Today I’m wearing Bvlgari Aqva Pour Homme.

In response to the sharp increase in male Heapnose readers (Huw, Clack, Neil) and a recent criticism of Heapnose in a national publication*

“…We give you women the right to vote, more pay, bigger ovens and you reward us by reviewing your own toilet water. Its a disgrace!”

(*In a private email)

your intrepid blogger has taken it upon herself to subject a male scent to the stringent Heapnose perfume test. The traditional Heapnose 3 stage test (patented) was replaced with one all-purpose criterion. Can I get Jonesy to fancy me? Well allright, Jonesy or any other women who happen to be around that day.

I doused myself liberally in aftershave, but, having been warned on more than one occasion by more than one employer that the office “isn’t really the place for comedy lesbianism” I set off instead to the studio rehearsals with the specific intention of identifying what women find hot.

“Do you want my sex?” was my opening gambit to Jonesy as I wafted around her in a vaguely masculine way.

“No. Piss off.”

Later qualified with

“You smell like satsumas”

In fact a number of people identified citrus fruits in the top notes, citing everything from the humble tangerine to the fairly exotic papya. Truth be told however, I wasn’t exactly fending women off with a stick. The overwhelming responses were bewilderment (makeup), disinterest (hair) and fear (Jonesy).

Surprisingly the male crew members were a lot more effusive in their critique – and had some solid suggestions for potential blog improvements.

“Naked women” ventured crew member 1

It’s a perfume blog”

“Naked women holding perfume bottles” supplied crew member 2. “With beer.”

A quick tally  revealed Davidoff Cool Water  to be the preferred fragrance, but only because of habit, apathy and “cos [my] sister fancies that fella off Lost”. A salient point – how is  the discerning gent expected to make an informed fragrance selection when the advertising is so shamelessly directed at women? Seemingly open to new suggestions however, the sound department was duly doused in Bvlgari and sent off into Cardiff City Centre with strict instructions to “Text if you pull” .

At time of going to press, no texts had been received.

At time of going to press, I remembered that the sound department didn’t have my number.

It was an interesting test…though one which is yet to yield any tangible results. At this stage I’d go so far as to say, gentlemen that I don’t think Bvlgari is the one for you. It’s appreciably less well known than a lot of other guy scents – but there’s a reason a for that. Stick with me. I’ll find you something better. I’ve got some Aqua di Parma to try next week. And a smattering of others thanks to the helpful (but puzzled) lady at House of Fraser. Until then – stick with Marc Jacobs. He’ll see you through the last days of winter.

x Heapnose x

L’Eau D’Issey by Issey Miyake

February 16, 2010

Day 8 of the Heapnose Perfume Diary. Today I’m wearing L’Eau D’Issey by Issey Miyake.

I’ll begin this diary entry by explaining that Issey Miyake’s signature fragrance has spawned a wealth of (badly written) reviews, ranging from the vaguely nob-like

” I love to wear [L’Eau D’Issey] in order to achieve a detached peace of mind, or as a releaf for mental thirst for water-derived tranquility”

to the completely bizarre

“If l’Eau d’Issey could have a sound, it will definitely have the sparkling, chilly & magnetizing synthesized studio sound of Donald Fagen and Steely Dan.”

Issey’s aim in creating this fragrance was (reportedly) to capture the smell of water. Or as one inspired blogger writes

“…most importantly, it is the only water that can be enjoyed when drunk through the nostrils.”

Whether you choose to read this comment as profound (as if) or bat-shit crazy (more likely) there is a hint of the aquatic about L’Eau D’Issey. Perhaps it’s the notes of Water-Lily, the rain-drop bottle or even the completely transparent colour; but there is a certain freshness to the scent, supported by a terrific sweet honey fragrance. This combination makes it a good-for-all seasons perfume and explains its continuing popularity, 18 years after its first release. Or perhaps the ever-resourceful British public has been using it as a “releaf for mental thirst for water-derived tranquility.” Yes, actually, that must be it.

Earlier, as I was drinking it through my nostrils I asked myself why I’ve never bought this perfume. I’ve always really liked it, it’s reasonably priced, and, on the whole I have nothing against the Japanese. Plus, it easily passes all three stages of the Heapnose perfume test – I can even pronounce its name without sounding like a knob-head. For a fragrance which has been around for nigh on 20 years it’s remained refreshingly contemporary without ever becoming a classic. It can be dressed up or down, and, you know, most importantly it might releaf my mental thirst for water derived tranquility.

Plus, according to my new favourite perfume blogger

“It can even be used as a substitute for a shower if necessary…”

Sold. I might nip into town and see if they’ve got any post-Christmas gift sets on sale.

Eau Des Merveilles by Hermes

February 10, 2010

Day 4 of the Heapnose perfume diary. Today I’m wearing Eau Des Merveilles by Hermes.

Traditionally, I’ve never been a fan of this perfume. I’ve always thought it smelled like a really nice men’s fragrance…that’s been dunked in chip fat and seasoned with pepper. Plus, as far as the “Can I pronounce its name without sounding like a knobhead” part of the test goes, it’s an Epic Fail. Epic. What old Hermes no doubt thought was a stylistic flourish is bordering on a social handicap.

If I thought you cared I would tell you that Eau Des Merveilles is first in a family of three Merveilles releases  -the second and third being Parfum and Elixir Des Merveilles, respectively. But I don’t really care, and I doubt that you do, so let’s get to the good stuff. THE BOTTLE DOUBLES AS A MAGNIFYING GLASS. Jonesy and I are going to have a riot with this one in the office today… I hope there’s some sort of magnifying glass emergency which calls for me to whip out my trusty bottle of Hermes. I only have three days remaining on my contract and truth be told I’ve been looking for ways to make myself indispensable. Starting rumours that my co-workers steal things has not proven fruitful so far (and in fact has somewhat diminished my popularity in the office) so this might be just the tool I need to win favour with my producer.

Now, to the fragrance itself. Your friend and mine, that bastion of popular fragrance bloggers “Bois de Jasmin” remarks that

“An inky note appears in the heart of the composition, and although slightly sharp at first, it develops into salty undercurrent touched by dry peppery warmth.”

See I was right about the pepper…And the “salty undercurrent” might account for my chip fat theory. Time to ask Sion the Amiable Translator if he can detect the inky note at the heart of the composition. If he’s thinking in colours today, we may strike gold.

“Green grass, brown bread and…my mother.”

Today, it appears, he is thinking in foliage, food and family.

Rachel in the office reckons it’s too spicy, Anne thinks it’s lovely but a bit like her Great Aunt’s bathroom, and Jonesy is too busy marveling at the magnifying glass to care too much about the perfume.

I’ve been wearing it for three hours now and as the scent settles it does get more palatable. But on the whole, my feeling is that liking this perfume requires far more time and effort than not liking it. Plus I sound like a knobhead everytime I try and say its name. When a perfume’s main selling point is its bottle, you’re on dodgy ground – so, I reckon, sod it and on with the next.

Love x heapnose x

Rosewood by Banana Republic

February 8, 2010

Day 2 of the perfume diary and I’ve opted for a high street scent…well a high end high street scent, which, I think, is preferable to a low rent designer perfume (Yes, that’s you Ted Baker).

Reactions have been concededly mixed, ranging from bewilderment (“Why are you asking me how you smell?” Guy who cleans the windows) to complete indifference (“Why would I care how you smell? Lady in Post Office). Clearly gaging public reaction to my perfume is not going to be a daily component of the perfume diary.

Fortunately, Sion, the amiable translator who works on the same floor is both a.) short on visitors and b.) prone to smell in colours.

“Violet” he declared, as I poked my fragrant wrist round the door. Perfect. More from him tomorrow.

Jonesy thinks it’s too sweet so does Ian the nice Northener.  I’m inclined to agree though I do think the woody notes temper the sweetness somewhat. Impressive staying power for a High Street scent too – I’m on hour 6 now and it shows no sign of waning. A great office perfume – inexpensive, not so nice that you resent wasting it on the office, and off the beaten track somewhat (well for UK residents at least – it’s not like I’m wearing CK One is it?) Long lasting subtlety is a difficult note to strike, but Rosewood does so with aplomb. Given it’s sweet overtones though, perhaps it’s better suited to a Tuesday or a Wednesday though – when the last vestiges of the weekend hangover have finally cleared.

Eau Dynamisante by Clarins

February 7, 2010

Today I’m wearing Eau Dynamisante by Clarins. My friend Donna gave me this, and despite not passing the “Flies Aint Dying I Aint Buying” test, a more subdued perfume can sometimes be a good thing. For days when you’re dressed in a tracksuit (ie today), when you had an exuberant drinking session the night before (ie yesterday), when you woke up to find your (beige) carpet covered in red wine vomit (ie this morning), when your Aunty Norma suggested dousing it in white wine vinegar to soak up the smell (ie this afternoon). Yes sometimes, just sometimes the idea of adding say Mugler’s Angel or Versace’s Crystale Noir to the heady red-wine-vinegar-vomit-febreze combo in your bedroom just doesn’t sit well.

Fortunately the good people at Clarins are prepared for days like this: “Vitality, Freshness, Firmness” is what it says on the bottle – it’s as if they somehow knew.

Hangover Sunday was a good day to track reactions to this perfume, notably because the palpable absence of my usual trappings (2 layers of foundation, a shit hot concealer, 6 inch heels and a sturdy pair of control tights) meant that the only way I could possibly garner any sort of favourable reaction from the opposite of sex, or in fact anyone at all, was in the way I smelled.

Pat Heap gave me the knowing “rough night” nod on the landing earlier when she smelled it (though this was quickly replaced with a look of absolute horror as the door to my bedroom opened and the aromatic chaos within was revealed). The acne-ridden teen on the counter at Morrison’s seemed pretty pleased about the perfume too – though I think he was just relieved to see somebody else with weeping spots and a hint of a ‘tache. The scent probably didn’t register.

Still, I really like it, and it makes me feel sporty and fresh in a hint-of-tanned-midrif way, not in an intense-sunday-gym-session way.

Tomorrow I’ll return to the knock outs. But for now, I must turn my attentions to the dark stain on the carpet….

x Heapnose x

Idole d’Armani

January 24, 2010

Holy Noses I am Dying!

I’ve decided to look for what is possibly THE most elusive item in a lady’s fragrance collection. The Every-Day Perfume.

Having quickly decided that Michael Kors was too good to waste on the office and Jo Malone too expensive, I embarked on my EDP mission with a view to achieving three simple goals

1. Effortless Elegance

2. Longevity

3. Can i pronounce its name without sounding like a knobhead?

Effortless elegance was not going to be a problem. Stand next to the Calvin Klein counter, move three paces right and up ten quid, and you’re golden. Idole d’Armani was my fragrance of choice. Mimi Frou, who writes Another Less Good Perfume Blog describes it thus

“Idole d’Armani is, as it turns out, is a sociologically interesting and fine-smelling attempt to conciliate the olfactory codes of fast and fickle love and slow and enduring one in the sphere of perfumes.”

What I gather from this, is that Mimi Frou is a twat. She does however present a strong case for preventing perfume writing from making the leap to the mainstream. Well done Mimi.

I hadn’t realised, when i chose to review this fragrance as a potential EDP that Armani had in fact intended to create this perfume as a signature scent for women. “As a real tribute to femininity, a big thank you to all the women who have inspired [Armani] over the years”.

Well, a better thank you might have been to give us the stuff for nothing. Still. 

Putting our personal differences aside, however, Big G really did strike gold with this one. I love a fragrance which has a faintly soapy undertone, and this is deliciously feminine without being either overtly sickly or overtly sexy.

Longevity, on the other hand, the holy grail for all would-be EDPs was going to require some stringent testing. This being Saturday night, and me being 26, sociable and, if not hot, then at least in possession of the makeup and underwear to fake it, I had big plans. Fortunately one of those Music Channels that isn’t MTV or VH1 was running a 4 hour marathon of Britain’s Top 100 Wedding Songs. I settled in.

Fair play, Idole d’Armani lasted effortlessly throughout numbers 79-50. It even survived a change into the pyjamas, some left over paella and two glasses of wine. By number 39 (Westlife- The Rose) she’d settled into a really warm, comforting scent that seemed to wrap me up, but didn’t overwhelm the room. At around number 27 (Foreigner- I Want to Know What Love Is) responding to a palpable absence of junk food in the house, I made myself a buttered-digestive-biscuit-sandwich. By number 18 (Sinead O’Connor – Nothing Compares 2 U) I’d fashioned a crude buttered-digestive-biscuit-sandwich-tower, and still Idole D’Armani remained.

Beardy called just before the top ten and after trying (and failing) to convince him I was in a club (“Sweetie, what club plays Toni Braxton – Unbreak My Heart?) and then a wedding (“Baby, if you’re at a wedding, why are you eating buttered digestive biscuit sandwiches?”) I realised I was too drunk to lie, and concentrated instead on playing a solo game of Jenga with my biscuit-sandwich-tower while Beardy talked about something else.

By number 5 (Lonestar – Amazed) I’d decided that Idole D’Armani could survive anything. By number 3 (Bryan Adams – Everything I Do) I’d proved that this included photocopying my own head using my parents’ new scanner. I’d found my winner.

As for the “Can I pronounce its name without sounding like a knobhead?” part of the test: I decided that in order to avoid another “Hermes – Un Jardin Sur Le Nil” debacle, i could, for now, just say casually, “I’m wearing Armani…you know, the newest one.” Problem solved.

Number One (Whitney Houston – I Will Always Love You) found me slumped amongst the remnants of my buttered-digestive-biscuit-sandwich-tower in a forlorn but fragrant mess. Idole D’Armani. Highly Recommended.


x Heapnose x

Heapnose on the Rise

January 19, 2010


Like most bloggers, typing furtively from the seclusion of their parents’ back bedrooms, I yearn for internet notoriety. I dream of  a day where I no longer know every single one of my (23) readers by name. (Though, incidentally I think we’d all like to extend a warm Heapnose welcome to reader number 24: Robin, the nice guy from downstairs who I sometimes see in Spar or when I use his company’s toilets because they have National Geographic in the cubicles.)

Heapnose imagines a world where she need no longer coerce visitors. Where readers are invited not chased. Where subscribers are welcomed, not harangued.  In short, Heapnose wants to Go Global.

To that end, your faithful blogger has devised a cunning strategy with which to up the readership. Having identified some of the most googled phrases of the year, I’ve decided to include them (Paris Hilton) in my (Top 100 Baby Names) blog, in the hopes (Earn Money from Home) that some unsuspecting stranger (Obama Health Care Reform) will stumble upon the little known, much lauded Furthermore, I’ve also included my own top (Jenny Heap) google (Jenny Heap + Awesome) searches (Richard Armitage + Naked) in the hopes (Richard Armitage + Girlfriend?) of attracting (Dogs in Clothes) like-minded readers.

If aforementioned stranger or like minded reader is in fact YOU:

Hello and Welcome. Willkommen Zu Hause. Please stay a while, there’s free cheesecake later.

To my regulars, here’s some suggestions for upping the figures

1. Please do not read Heapnose aloud to your spouse /partner (Sian and Simon that means you). Heapnose reading is a solitary sport, best enjoyed on separate computers.

2. If you are currently dating me (Beardy) please make sure to read Heapnose both at home and in the office.

3. If you are not currently dating me, please make sure to read Heapnose both at home and in the office

4. If you work in my office, please also read Heapnose when you get home.

Enough nonsense, please keep reading, an exciting new (Celebrity Scandal) perfume review (Oscar Predictions 2010) is on its way.


Heapnose x

How to Survive the Snowpocalypse

January 14, 2010


Forgive me for not writing about perfume this evening – rest assured a new review is on its way, however, in light of the recent UK weather crisis, I felt it not only appropriate but NECESSARY to address the simple matter of human survival in the face of the Snowpocalypse. With apologies to my international readership (I’m told there are at least three of you) to whom this is less relevant, I hereby introduce:


1. British Laws Do Not Apply During a Snowpocalypse

Pat Heap reliably informs me that the country enters an anarchic state in the event of a Snowpocalypse. The Snowpocalypse can therefore be used as a defence in cases of gross professional misconduct (it was the Snowpocalypse), Murder (the Snowpocalypse made me do it) and parking in the Parent and Child spot in Tesco (I couldn’t see the sign, on account of the Snowpocalypse).

2. During a Snowpocalypse, the Workforce Should Arrive at Least One Hour Late, and Leave at Least One Hour Early

Failure to do so implies ignorance of current affairs and a disregard for your personal safety and the safety of those around you. For snowpocalyptic authenticity, Heapnose suggests ostentatiously changing your socks as soon as you reach the office and donning hiking boots before you leave each night.

3.  Snowpocalyptic Feminists are Most Likely to Survive the Snowpocalypse

Snowpocalyptic Feminists are those who either give up entirely in the event of a Snowpocalypse or do the bare minimum necessary for human survival.

Commendation for Exemplary Snowpocalyptic Feminism (in the face of great adversity) goes to

– Great Aunty Fran (Has not been outside yet this year)

– Carolyn at the Office (In a selfless act of Snowpocalyptic sisterhood , got herself locked in the ladies toilets and had to be rescued by a passing sound engineer )

–  Claire the Office Manager (made her cat hover out of an upstairs window to have a Snowpocalyptic poo)

Flagrant displays of Snowpocalyptic Anti-Feminism Include:

– Sian (Borrowed her husband’s car so that she could drive to work DURING THE SNOWPOCALYPSE)

– Jonesy (Replaced her own windscreen wipers and subsequently parked her own car…DURING THE SNOWPOCALYPSE)

– Pat Heap (Converted an old walking stick into a Snowpocalyptic ice pick, tunelled her way to the newsagents, purchased the Times Newspaper and completed the crossword DURING THE SNOWPOCALYPSE)

4. Calories Don’t Count During a Snowpocalypse

I’m not even going to explain that one

See you on the other side

Heapnose xx