‘La Petite Robe Noir’ – eau du Parfum by Guerlain

I just love getting free stuff to try and as a result I apply for every freebie going and most weeks I get at least one small gift in my mail box. It is like a little Christmas tree surprise each week and most times I have to do nothing except try it and enjoy it. Sometimes I am asked to write a review and others want a bit more input but I enjoy it and get to try lots of new things.

This small sample, 1 ml in a tiny spray comes in a cute pale, old fashioned pink with a sort of French chic style picture of a black dress and the name of the perfume in fancy writing. This came from Boots as I am a member of their Boots.com product testing panel. They send me samples of products to try in return for writing a pretty short review on their website.

“I am absolutely essential and utterly irresistible. I have met with the greatest actresses and charmed the most glamorous of men. I am the chic, elegant and very seductive, perfumed creation by Guerlain. I am La Petite Robe Noire Eau de Parfum. My scent is Fresh, enchanting and delicious….Cheeky and captivating….I am the warm spark beneath the sweetness.”

Okay so that sounds very promising. An air of mystery and elegance with classic chic and glamour thrown in. I was really looking forward to trying this.


Means of course ‘little black dress’ which can imply that outfit which can take you anywhere and also at the same time implies style and glamour. The packaging is elegant and French chic style. The bottle is clear glass and sort of square with the little black dress on the front; the top corners have a sort of rounded decorative corner.
The bottle is a replica of the classical bottles of Guerlain . The little black dress is slightly different as Guerlain has been altered it each time the scent has been rebranded and released which has been three times so far., in 2009, 2011 and now again in 2012. I am not sure what they have changed apart from the packaging as i have never tried it before this.

The lid is large and like a diamond it is made of plastic looks like clear glass Around the lid base is a little piece of ribbon around the base with ‘Guerlain’ printed on it. I can’t say it is the most impressive bottle I have ever seen but it is also far from being the most boring so an average sort of looking bottle. Being clear you can see the pink, almost blackcurrant diluted cordial coloured perfume through the bottle so you would know how much you have left. This also means that it would be easily damaged by light so I would keep it in its box or in a dark place so that it didn’t get spoiled by the light and lose its fragrance.

La Petite Robe Noir is available as 30ml for £42, 50ml for £60 and a gift set for £42 which has 75 ml body lotion and 30ml eau de parfum so that seems a pretty good deal. These can be bought from Boots stores or on line and very probably other stores selling good perfumes.

La Petite Robe Noire combines top notes of black cherry and bergamot, heart notes of black rose and almond, and base notes of black tea, Tonka beans and patchouli.


I sprayed this on a few days ago and spent the day sniffing and thinking about it and what it smelled like and then I tried again today.
The first scent that I get is sweet almond like powdery cherry. It is pretty strong and gives a real punch of cherry sweetness with powdery vanillary undertones. This is in no way a male scent, it is feminine and to me very girly very sweet and fruity.

I would say this is probably for someone younger than I am as I find it a bit too sweet and sugary. It reminds me of cherry liqueur at first sniff but as though you are also wearing a talc while sniffing it or someone has wafted talc around while you are drinking cherry liquor.


After about ten minutes the scent does calm down and the powdery scent remains with a hint of tonka and vanilla . It sort of smells like you have walked into a sweet shop with that combination of fruity and caramel like smells that you get in an old fashioned sweet shop.

The deeper heart notes never really materialise for me as the scent fades very quickly. I have read a number of reviews which say this lasts really well and has excellent sillage. Sorry but it doesn’t on me, after an hour or so i am struggling to smell anything much at all. I am not sure whether the powerful initial notes hit my nose so strongly that after that I can’t smell anything. After about ten minutes I begin to detect a hint of liquorice which is very pleasant but subtle. It is still very sweet, i am still in the sweet shop here.
Others have talked about how classical this is and how sophisticated but really I am struggling as to me it smells very young and one that teens would like. It isn’t my idea of sophisticated at all.

After about an hour the rose begins to sneak out, still sweet but not sweet shop sickly sweet a more floral note creeps in to blend with the rather lighter bergamot. These two flit back and forth with the powdery notes for me.

I am sorry but this will not be one I will be rushing to buy. It smells too much like a mix of sweet shop and fruit shop for me to take to. I really feel it is aimed at the younger audience and I can’t believe all the people saying how long it lasts on their skin as it disappeared after four hours leaving barely a hint on my wrists.


Lush – Karma solid perfume

The current range of Karma perfumes

Lush sells a fairly large range of perfumes now and every scent comes in three or four different forms. There is usually a solid perfume which tends to be the form which has the shortest staying power, the next is a small spray which is less concentrated than the 30ml black bottle which has the strongest concentration. Many of the scents also have a small 2ml sample bottle too which is usually in the same concentration as the mini spray or spritzers which I believe has 8ml in it. The solid perfumes weigh 12g so they are not huge but I rather like them to carry in my handbag as there is never a danger of any leakage and you can quickly pop a little on your pulse points without spritzing others in the bargain.

The perfume I am reviewing here is the solid version of Karma. The solid version costs £5.00 while the small spritzers are £10.0, the large 30ml version is £21 and the 2ml sample sells for £2.00. This scent is one of the cheaper ones that Lush create and that is why I bought this one first of all my Lush perfumes. I think the solid version offers good value as the 2ml wouldn’t give me many uses and the solid one has given me plenty of use over the last months although mine is very close to the end now. You don’t need a lot to get a pretty decent aroma but you do have to be careful if it is very hot weather as it does melt very easily. I would also suggest that keeping it in the fridge may affect the scent so would not advise that.

Karma is one of the oldest scents from Lush and it existed when they we ‘Cosmetic to Go’ I remember buying it some fifteen or more years ago. I love hearing the inspiration behind the creation of the different Lush scents. They are all so different and rather like poetry but of smell rather than words. This one is no different. I really admire Mark Constantine and his philosophy and the fact that he does things he really believes in. His story about how this perfume came to be is another great, rather poetic sort of story.

Karma solid perfume

“This is Mark’s ode to hippies and head shops – and another one of his creations heavily influenced by music. He reminisced about going to the Kensington High Street market in his twenties when “people were bonged out on God knows what” and weaved in the “layers and layers of creamy sound” from listening to Massive Attack.”
It really is another perfect summer fragrance as it is a refreshing with its orange blossom notes but then hits you with its more heady patchouli and pine taking you back in time to the late sixties and early seventies in my case. It is orange but it has got a very strong heady note which my husband hates as he says it smells like sick!! It doesn’t and his smell buds are really weird but I do know what he means , it is the same sort of slightly sickly smell that i find ylang ylang is for me.


What does this smell like? It smells creamy, heady and a sort of heady deep orange fragrance. It is the deeper version of ‘Orange Blossom’ this has more depth and very heady heart notes, sweet, slightly citrus but as though it is Orange Blossom on a holiday in India as it has picked up all the incense smells from there. I find it is lovely at any time , it works for both night and day and lasts for ages without fading. As lush describe it on their website it is like “running through a field of flowers on your way to Woodstock” Which sums it up perfectly.

The retro elements of the perfume take me back and it is a combination of shopping in ‘Biba’ and a trip to India. Although it is very strongly orange there is a strong warm heart and depth which comes from the patchouli and pine. Patchouli is one of my all time favourite essential oils so I am bound to love it in whatever .


This is not as complex as some of the Lush perfumes and although this has layers of notes which hit you as the perfume develops there are fewer of them. This perfume has these main notes: Orange, patchouli, pine, lavendin, lemongrass, elemi, cassie. Orange is obvious and that is what hits you initially then the creaminess comes through and the scents combine and I really struggle to separate the notes in this as they seem to be all there together. The orange stays but it isn’t just orange it is sweeter and has more depth than just orange, it may be the lemongrass that lifts it a bit.


This was a scent I remembered from years back so that is why it was the first solid perfume I bought when our Derby store got their full range of perfumes in.

I always try each perfume out a few times in Lush before I buy it. I put one smell on each wrist and allow it to settle. It is actually quite hard to smell different perfumes in the Lush shop as there are so many smells going on in there. What I usually do is put the perfume on using the samples there. I then go off and do my shopping. I do one or sometimes two perfumes at a time. If I like it still after I have finished my shopping it then does on my ‘Wish List’.


I have to admit I do buy a lot on Ebay as you can often get them cheaper there. I just look for which are on there and bid to a certain amount. I miss out on loads but I decide what I am prepared to pay and stick to it. I also ask for them for gifts from the family too and that is how I have built up my collection.

I have the solid perfume in this and I am happy with how it works on me. Sometimes the solid ones smell different from the 30ml full concentrate. I haven’t tried the concentrate in this so I don’t know how that works in comparison. I think maybe I would not like the concentrate as it might be a bit too much.

I love the way the solid perfume lasts behind my ears and down my cleavage as I can smell the aroma rising as my body heat helps it dissipate.

This is a lovely retro sort of perfume and I do like it but I have to choose when to wear it. I know a lot of people are not keen on the scent so I avoid wearing in when with them. I think this is one that you either love or hate as it is very distinctive.

Karma solid perfume balm

The nice thing about a solid perfume is that you can put it exactly where you want it. It is also very handy for the handbag as it NEVER leaks unless the weather turns very hot. It isn’t a good idea for example to leave it in a car as the sun will cause it to melt. I had to be very careful when we were on holiday recently in the USA and I kept my solid perfumes in our cold bag with all our cold stuff when we were travelling from place to place. I also left them in the hotel rather than in my handbag as it was over 35°C most days and that was enough to make them very soft when in my bag.

The solid perfumes usually have a use buy date about a year after they were made. I have not had any that I have had last longer than a year so I am not sure how the scent lasts should you have one over the use by date. I like mine too much to have them last that long as I use mine daily.

Another good thing about these little solid perfume tubes is that when you finish them these little tubes or pots count as one container to recycle so if you take five back to Lush you can choose a FREE fresh face mask or fresh hair mask so even the container is worth something.

Original Karma perfume bottle

If you are lucky enough to have a Lush store like the one in Derby with a full range of perfumes I recommend you to give them a try. They are not to everyone’s taste as they are quite strong and a lot of them have quite deep strong and more heavy notes but I love them and spend ages listening to the stories as to the inspiration behind their creation.

To me perfumes are a sort of experience that is more than just the smell. They are a bit like fine wines and single malt whiskeys in that there is poetry and art in their creation. These to me are all part of the perfume, the inspiration, the poetry and the images that are created by you in your head as you first sniff the perfume as well as the effect you have on the scent, the way it changes on you and your own skin. It is all part of the magic to me.

Lush Smell of Freedom Part 1 – Old Delhi Station perfume

Old Delhi Station

Lush have created many interesting and original perfumes over the years and one of my all time favourites is The Smell of Freedom which is a creation of three distinct parts from three distinct parts of the world blended to create a wonderfully original perfume. This was a popular fragrance but Lush also chose to sell the three distinct elements separately. These perfumes were inspired by three people with their own stories told to Simon Constantine about their different parts of the world inspired. These stories inspired Simon to create the different scents.


I love hearing the inspiration behind the creation of the different Lush scents. They are all so different and rather like poetry but of smell rather than words. This one is no different. I really admire Mark Constantine and his philosophy and the fact that he does things he really believes in. His story about how this perfume came to be is another great, rather poetic sort of story.

This perfume is again the result of some of Simon’s experiences. He met three different people in very different places but all were survivors from some sort of hardship but the common thread was freedom.

The perfume was created using local ingredients and the ‘Smell of Freedom'” opens with a fresh, herbal accord and reveals its complex, spicy and woody nature as it warms on your skin.”

Who were the inspirations for this? The first was a combination of seeing a painting of a wrongly executed Aboriginal and the Aboriginal struggle to reclaim land that is rightly theirs. To recognize this Mark uses Australian sandalwood, lemon myrtle and fire tree oil. These combine to give both a floral and woody note to the perfume.  This element is Fire Tree.

The second inspiration was a journey to meet a Tibetan monk. From this journey Simon used ginger, clove and black pepper which adds the spicy, oriental scents. This is Old Delhi Station.

Lastly Simon met a man who had been held in Guantanamo Bay and then freed and from this experience Simon added Oudh, frankincense and sandalwood which gives the depth and woodiness. This is Oudh Heart.

This is sold in a small brown glass bottle with a screw top lid like those you buy essential oils in so no time has been spent creating pretty bottles the effort has gone into the perfume creation.

From the first time I tried this in our Lush shop in Derby I fell in love with it. It is supposed to be “ like : a train journey through India” and the scent is described by Lush as “ rich, warming and spicy.”


I always love anything with patchouli in it as I love the warm earthiness and hippy sort of smell from patchouli. Combining with patchouli we have clove, black pepper, sandalwood and jasmine which are all such wonderfully powerful scents. Clove is warming and unique while sandalwood is India for me, every time I smell sandalwood I think of the lovely carved sandalwood figures that fill Indian shops with the sweet warm aromatic aroma. Black pepper is uplifting and yet spicy and warm too while jasmine is beautifully heady and so sexy. They combine to give a unique scent which is India in a bottle. It is chai tea and sandalwood carvings in spice shop and just sniff and shut your eyes and you are there.

I love mine and managed to track it down for a reasonable price on Ebay having admired it for months in the shop. I use this sparingly as I find a little goes a long way being perfume oil and all the essential oils in this one are fairly powerful smelling oils. On me this scent lasts a good few hours and is still detectable at the end of the day if I sniff hard enough especially on my clothes.

If you are feeling in the mood for a more wide ranging smell of this then because it is an oil you can add it to a carrier oil for a massage or even pop some in oil on an oil burner in a room.

I love this scent and am so thrilled that I managed to get myself a bottle. It usually sells for 20 pounds for 15ml and I think considering the strength and ingredients that that is a fair price really.


Gucci by Gucci


Gucci by Gucci

Gucci perfumes are expensive generally so I don’t own many and most of those I have are miniatures or small sample phials. This was a small sample phial I picked up as a freebie from somewhere or bought as a job lot on Ebay which is how  I get a lot of my perfumes.


Gucci’s Creative Director, Frida Giannini was said to have “unleashed her affinity for masculine notes”  with this one. Gucci by Gucci was the creation of perfumer Ilias Ermenidis, and the notes include guava, raspberry, pear, chamomile, Tahitian Tiare flower, orange blossom, spider lily, patchouli, honey and musk.

Tiare Flower


I don’t have the box but I have inspected it in the shops and found it comes in a pretty dusky pink box with a brown and gold stripe down the middle  with the words  “Gucci by Gucci”  on the front.

Inside you find the bottle is clear glass rectangular one with a decent sized stopper top in gold with a Gucci sort of emblem at the front.  On the front of the bottle is the Gucci by Gucci logo . The lid looks chunky and when I tested this in store I did find the lid very heavy so not one you would mislay in a hurry.

Gucci by Gucci bottle


On the first spray I nearly choked as it is very strong initially and you get hot with a fruity patchouli which is rather too overpowering however it does die down fairly quickly to a more musky woody aroma. There are still sweet almost honey and floral notes that mix with the woody sweetness but not overly sweet.

As the perfume dries down it becomes smooth and quite dry, and almost mildly leathery but sweeter. There is still a hint of the fruitiness but with the amber like spicy warmth. I found it quite a heavy floral sweet scent but despite its initial strength I found it didn’t last that long on me but maybe that was because I tried the EDT not the perfume.

Spider Lily


It is quite exotic with its guava fruitiness combining with the Tahitian Tiare flower which is a bit like a frangipani flower  which is strong sweet and really heady and a scent I love. It has creaminess with musky depth from patchouli.


This is Gucci ‘s  signature fragrance  that they describe as “ for the accomplished, modern woman who, just as iconic women of the past, will be remembered for her unique ability to merge strength and ambition with a sensual, feminine appeal.”


So we have an initial bang of exotic fruitiness with pear and guava this gradually changes and becomes deeply sensual and more floral as the Tahitian Tiare flower emerges and then finally the deeper musky patchouli sits with the sweet notes.


Patchouli – photo from Wikipedia


 This perfume is available in EDT or perfume and the EDT comes in different sizes from 30ml, 50ml and 75ml.

You can buy this is Boots, Debenhams and on line from Amazon and cheapsmells as well as other sites. The prices do vary so if you are interested I suggest doing a price comparison before buying. I tend to use Amazon unless they are a lot more expensive as I often have vouchers on there to use.

For the EDT the 30ml  size sells for between  £27 and £40, The 50ml  ranges from £32 to around £50 and finally the 75ml goes for anything from £40 to around £65 so as you can see the prices vary considerably so it pays to search for a good deal.

The eau de Parfum is  a lot more expensive but the scent lasts better.

Remember once you open a bottle they do begin to deteriorate and they last better in a cooler place and in the dark so don’t through away the boxes and store them in a drawer or cupboard and somewhere cool.


Yes it is a very exotic and pleasantly feminine scent despite Gucci’s claims at being masculine. It lasted a fair time for the price but I would have hoped for a longer lasting scent really. It is packaged well and I like the bottle,  especially the lovely gold, chunky stopper