Maybe it’s from when I was a child making “potions” with flowers in the back garden. It’s certainly not from my failed attempt at science in the fifth form. But there is something intrinsically wonderful about creating and blending your own perfume.
My attempt at a bit of perfumery came when James and I were wandering through the laneways in Paihia on a rainy day on our grown up weekend away with no kids and no puppy (the first in almost 2 years!) We were just about to leave when I spotted Alix Apothecary. Like a moth to a flame I was drawn in with a casual – “oohhh, I’ll just be 5 minutes” to James.
Now slight segue here. I have an interesting relationship with time. I have utterly no sense of how long something will take, chronically underestimate all time based metrics (making me consequently always late) and frequently treat it as something that’s really rather flexible. Think I’m exaggerating? When James and I got together my daughters were 5 and 8. They had a bed time (because that clearly is a good thing to do, routine and all) of 7.30pm. We had a clock in the kitchen. And if they were good and it was getting close to 7.30 I’d just change the time back to 6.30 so we could hang out more. If they were little horrors at 6.30 I changed the clock to 7.30. Time was utterly fluid. It drove James and his military precision adherence to a schedule bonkers!
So all of this to say that my “5 minutes” in Alix Apothecary was a wild underestimation of the almost 2 hours I spent there. James tried 3 times coming in to see how long I’d be – at one point even going down for a drink down the road – before giving up entirely and going back to the hotel. He came across as grumpy but at this point I think resigned is a more accurate description!
But I was in my happy place. Chatting away to owner Sharon, taking photos and smelling and blending. I just couldn’t really be happier and time slipped away. I reckon with no deadlines I could easily spend an afternoon there and would love to take the girls there to do just that and create their own signature perfumes.
But back to the perfume – you are probably wondering what the experience was like. Sharon talked me through how top notes, base and mid notes work (as we’ve discussed before I won’t try to relate this as I’ll inevitably get this wrong but she explained it very well so best to get her advice not mine!). She suggested scents I may like to try or complemented scents I’d already added (“don’t discard this yet” became a common refrain). With each fragrance on an individual card she showed me how to combine them all together to see the effect of everything together. She helped me steer away from scents that would trigger James hay fever and gravitate to ones that would be helpful to my wellbeing. And finally she worked with me to get the perfect ratio of all of them into a perfume that was uniquely mine (all for $49.95 too!)
It’s the perfect rainy day (or any day) activity in Paihia. If you are like me and like to have a bit of a ramble I’d allow at least an hour. If you have a good idea of what you like and are a bit more decisive than me you could probably do it in much less – but where’s the fun in that!