If ever I want to evoke my childhood, it's smell that instantly takes me back. The powder puff on my grandma's dressing table. The leather seats in my dad's car. The hint of nutmeg in the macaroni cheese my mum made when I was poorly.
Smell is the most nostalgic of the senses and a shortcut to memory. Rip up the map, I know this way home like the back of my hand.
My mum (pictured here, we're looking through old photos) has always been a perfume lover, and I can track her life through the decades through the fragrance on her wrist – Charlie in the 70s, L'Air du Temps in the 80s, Giorgio in the 90s. She's a fan of florals. As a little girl, I'd obsessively fiddle about with the cosmetics and jewellery on her dressing table. Playing at being a grown up, I imagined what life would be like for me when I was old enough to wear perfume or swing a handbag in one hand, car keys in the other.
The world of perfume is a fascinating place to me even now (and if you're as much of an olfactophile as I am, you might like this book). I've distilled my favourites down to woody, incense-like fragrances and warm, musky notes. These smells are reminiscent of candlelit churches abroad, chosen for their cool refuge on baking hot days. A wander through a flowering orchard. Dusty hardbacks in a secondhand bookshop.
Last week, Mum and I spent a happy afternoon trying out a few fragrances from The White Company's new eau de toilette collection, talking about our favourite scents and when to wear them.
Symons – Enveloping sumptuous cashmere and smooth white amber with crisp, cotton cedarwood and delicate peony.
Day – The delicate sweetness of jasmine and apple suffused with aromatic cedarwood and a burst of bergamot bring a refreshing twist to this beautifully light and luscious scent.
Noir – A sensuous and warming floral scent thats sophisticated, intriguing and contemporary, Noir blends notes of rich amber and bright mandarin with musky sandalwood.
Night – Juicy-rich notes of pomegranate wrapped in opulent cassis and patchouli with a soft vanilla base to create a seductive and sophisticated off-duty scent.
Symons. A luxurious choice (like her!), this cosy, clean scent is iconic, inviting and inspired by The White Company's stunning signature store in London. My favourite was Night – I adore its heady scent, a powdery, after-dark fruit-ish fragrance.
Any of the fragrances (and their companion candle and diffuser range) would make a delightful gift for mother's day, don't you think?
As well as fragrance, here are more Mother's Day gift ideas:
Spoil mum with luxury...
Sterling silver jewellery is an everyday classic and a constant reminder of a loved one.
Frame an old family picture for a thoughtful and personal present...
This glass frame accommodates antique photographs beautifully (and that's my grandma, the baby on her mum's knee!)
Flowers - like Paris - are always a good idea!
Splash out on a giant bouquet or select a few spring stems, placed delicately in a bottle or bud vase.
With its porcelain holder and lid, this one is made for the dressing table.
So, tell me which of these would you choose? Or something else from the Mother’s Day edit?
Would you like to win Chrissie’s Mother’s Day edit – worth £760? To be in with a chance of winning, simply share a picture of your mum on Instagram or Twitter, revealing the best piece of advice she has ever given you, from always wearing a smile to never giving up on your dreams. Be sure to include the hashtag #MumWisdoms in the caption and tag @thewhitecompany.
Photographs: Alice Hendy
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post
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