Thursday, 17 October 2013

Guerlain's La Petite Robe Noire: The perfect dress in a bottle

I'm sooo excited! After several weeks of going on a "perfume fast"(which I was forced to do because I couldn't couldn't find a perfume I liked and I didn't want to buy another bottle of my D&G's The One), I finally got a new scent. I bought La Petite Robe Noire a few days ago after smelling it on a colleague. I loved the sweet softness I perceived on her and after confirming the name of the perfume, I proceeded to stalk it in stores and online. Unfortunately(or should I say fortunately), I couldn't get the EDP formulation at the perfume stores close to me, some didn't even have it in stock at all. I had to check online for the perfume which turned out to be cheaper online than in some stores.

Fresh out of packaging.
When I finally got the perfume, I knew I had made the right choice. The perfume bottle is much more beautiful in person, I don't think the pictures do it justice. I also got a whiff of some nutty sweetness on the box(sealed new box)which I assumed came from the Almonds in the fragrance.

What does it smell like?
On first sniff/application, It has a beautiful fruity sweet smell like Ribena and vanilla( that's what comes to mind! :-). I don't find the sweetness sickening which is a bit surprising because it contains Liquorice. I don't like Liquorice as a sweet, I find its sharp smell to be really irritating(It is about 50 times sweeter than sugar) so when I find out that a perfume contains liquorice, the chances of me buying a full bottle of the perfume are slim. However the sweetness of the liquorice was balanced by the fruitiness of the red berries and the bergamot which has a certain sourness. I think anyone who likes a fruit sweet smell (which includes most women I know) would be convinced to buy it on first sniff, its definitely pleasant enough.
Thirty minutes later, the initial fruitiness gives way to some herbal spiciness. I'm not sure whether its the tea or the rose in the middle notes but I like how the perfume gradually reveals itself and gives way to the spiciness of its heart. You don't sniff yourself thirty minutes later and experience a drastic shock.
A few hours into the day, it finally reveals that nuttiness I first got a whiff of on the pack. It is glorious and warm. I think half way through at the middle note, the initial warm effect one feels is slightly reduced by the spiciness but on dry down, Its back to its warmth. Or maybe after some hours, one becomes used to that level of warmth? Either way, its sufficiently balmy and sweet throughout. And make no mistake, this is a vanilla fragrance. You will smell the vanilla from the first sniff to the dry down several hours later however I don't think its that annoying generic vanilla scent in most perfumes rather its a complex vanilla, a vanilla with a story to tell.

In terms of longevity, La Petite Robe Noire is good enough and lasts most of the entire day. For the sillage however, I don't think it has a strong sillage; I mean, no one has asked about or really noticed the fragrance on me. I did smell it on my colleague though so it probably reacts differently on my skin(not that I mind anyway). Would I wear it every day? Definitely! Then again, it depends on your fragrance personality. While some people might find it a bit too chic for day wear, some(like me) would like to be more glamorous with their day scents than their day clothes. I like La Petite Robe noire, its a pleasant fruity floral; a modern offering by a historic perfume house. I won't call it girly, rather I would say its youthful and fresh. Like Guillaume Henry (Former Carven designer) once said, "[Freshness] is not question of age, its a question of identity" and I think this is a fragrance that a lot of women would identify with.


Monday, 7 October 2013

Cooking Diaries: Spaghetti Bolognese for the student on a budget

The first recipe I tried in the recipe booklet was Spaghetti bolognese, a meat based Italian sauce. Its a classic and you don't really need a lot of ingredients to make it. I'd made it before in Nigeria but not as rich and as tasty as this. In the original recipe, beef is used however I'm not particularly fond of beef so I decided to use turkey mince which is a leaner and healthier alternative. This recipe serves 4 meals.

450g beef/turkey mince
1 Large onion, peeled and chopped
150g mushrooms(I used chestnut mushrooms for their strong flavour)
1 beef stock cube
1 level dessertspoon dried oregano
1 level dessertspoon dried basil
1 tin chopped tomatoes(I chopped raw tomatoes)
200ml red wine-reduced by 1/2
150ml water
1 level tablespoon tomato paste
1 level dessertspoon corn flour (to thicken)
Salt and pepper
Carrot peels (optional)

70-100g Spaghetti/portion (Cook in boiling water for 15-20 minutes with a pinch of salt)

The process?
- In a saucepan fry mince off, (the mince usually contains enough fat to fry dry, but its advisable to add a small amount of oil to prevent it sticking) for approximately 10 minutes.

- Add chopped onions and mushrooms to mince.

- Place red wine in another small pan and boil fast until reduced by heat.

- Add stock cube, oregano, basil, chopped tomatoes, reduced red wine, water, tomato paste and salt and pepper to mince and simmer for 20 minutes.

- Stir in corn flour, to thicken just before serving and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- I added carrot peels to the sauce just to try something different.

 - Bolognese sauce could also be added to macaroni instead of spaghetti to create an interesting alternative or rice(I should try that *wink*).
- To reheat frozen portions, defrost  for 4 hours and then reheat in a pan for 5-8 minutes or reheat in microwave oven(covered) for 3-4 minutes alternatively microwave from frozen (covered) in 8-10 minutes.

Spaghetti bolognese is a really delicious hearty dish and I'll definitely be making it regularly from now on. Before I even added the corn flour, I was literally salivating and couldn't wait to finish making it. Sorry this post is coming late, I basically strong-armed myself to finishing up this post before midnight, I'm just busy busy busy!  As you can tell, I modified the recipe to my taste and preference. As you get better at making it, you  can gather more recipes for it and become more creative with it. Enjoy!

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