Summer Reflections

It’s almost the middle of July, and the pace with which summer is unfolding leaves me overwhelmed. I want to stop the moment and enjoy the late spring reminders that still linger despite the relentless winding down towards fall. The lindens around my house have finished blooming, but they still smell of incense and wilted jasmine. Along the sidewalks, lavender is filling the area with the summertime scent of Provence. Elsewhere, I already see asters and chrysanthemums, the first harbingers of autumn. Sometimes I forget what season it is.

This summer has been about searching for an equilibrium and balance. Even as time is flying quicker than I want, I’m still managing to carve out moments of stillness. Here are a few tips for those who are likewise struggling to get their bearings this summer.


I have been feeling so tired that at one point the idea of getting up and going anywhere sounded daunting, but I pushed myself and found that moving made me more energized. I take long walks around my neighborhood or in the park nearby, observing life around me. Every day seems to be different, with different impressions and moods, and that too becomes part of my summer collage of impressions. Even my solitary walks are enjoyable, although doing them with a friend is best of all.


I have not been wearing much perfume recently, but scents have been as important as ever. I notice them all–the lindens, the lavender, the coffee, the pavement heated by the sun. Sometimes even unpleasant scents are important as reminders of humanity. I don’t shy away from them. If I want a perfume, I reach for jasmine such as Serge Lutens’s A La Nuit, a symphony of jasmine tinged with dark notes.


I have not been reading as much recently as I normally do, but a few books captured my attention. One was a collection of Japanese Tales (Royall Tyler’s translation) that are populated by monks performing magical deeds, maidens who turn into foxes, and scholars looking for the ultimate source of knowledge. Some stories are quirky and humorous. Others are more serious, with a moralistic edge. Another book I read this summer is also about Japan, and it’s called Lost Japan by Alex Kerr. It describes the changes in Japanese society and environment subject to depredations by misguided bureaucratic policies. While the book is pessimistic, it offers fascinating glimpses of Japan and its arts such as calligraphy and Kabuki.

Slowing Down When Necessary

I’m used to juggling many projects and this summer forced me to slow down. It is an uncomfortable state, but sometimes it is necessary. When the fog clears, what remains are the key priorities–family, friends, one’s health. I encourage you to pay attention to any signs that your body is telling you that you are going too fast and to slow down as appropriate.

The Importance of Small Pleasures

Small pleasures, be it perfume or a walk in the park, are important and have nothing to do with indulgence. They combine to give you a boost of positive emotions, and that’s essential to break up the routine. I try to remember to set aside a bit of time for myself, and summer is the perfect season to encourage a bit of indolence and retrospection with no need to feel guilty about it.

How is your summer going? What are your strategies to feel balanced?

Photography by Bois de Jasmin, yarrow



  • Murtaaz: I am happy you are coming back stronger and I found those points you made useful especially the movement part. Sometimes, leaving someone comfort zone might seem tiring but exploring could be a source of energy.

    Thank you for all you do. July 11, 2022 at 9:29am Reply

    • Victoria: It definitely can be, but it’s not easy to adjust at first. July 11, 2022 at 12:56pm Reply

  • Marsi M.: Victoria, I’ve been reading Bois de Jasmin since the beginning — I even re-read a bunch of your Guerlain posts yesterday after receiving my copy of the new book “Paris: Capital of Guerlain” — and have had you and your family on my mind for months. I was so glad to see your update this morning. It sounds like you’re doing all the things Asya would tell you to do to stay on an even keel. Her spirit moves you, and I’m thankful you’ve shared her with us. Big hugs to you and yours.

    P.S. Yes to the lindens. I live on a block in Seattle that’s dense with old linden trees. What a pleasure it is to go outside. Jasmine is on the way. July 11, 2022 at 9:42am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m trying to remember what Asya survived and keep a good perspective. This helps me, because some days are more difficult than others.

      The book on Guerlain sounds great; I should take a look at it too. July 11, 2022 at 12:57pm Reply

  • Elizabeth: Lovely to hear from you, Victoria. I’ve been thinking of you in these troubling times.
    As a senior that could be seriously affected by Covid, isolation has had a big impact. Viewing and connecting with people on line and especially being inspired by creative people such as yourself has lifted me out of the “poor me doldrums”. Thank you so much! Elizabeth July 11, 2022 at 9:52am Reply

    • Victoria: Covid and isolation have had such a terrible impact on our health in general, mental health included. I also value the relationships I’ve developed online, and they helped me a lot through this period. July 11, 2022 at 12:59pm Reply

  • Sandra: Hey V-
    As a long time reader here its nice to have you back. I was worried about what head space you were in after I saw you took this blog down and some defensive/angry toned posts on your social media accounts. Its glad to have you back!

    For me, I am still studying Italian when I can and I am currently reading Madam Bovary and trying to find a good perfume to match it. Maybe something with Iris…

    Please take good care of yourself, keep moving forward and stay true to your vision.
    Hugs. July 11, 2022 at 9:59am Reply

    • Victoria: Iris and Madame Bovary sound like a perfect match to me. Which fragrance are you considering? July 11, 2022 at 1:00pm Reply

      • Sandra: I have No 19, No19 Poudre, Prada infusion d’iris…

        What do you think? I am sure you have read this book so you may have a different perfume you would wear..
        I am half way through the book and wondering why I haven’t read these classic books before. July 11, 2022 at 4:13pm Reply

        • Victoria: I think that these are brilliant choices. I once paired Prada Infusion d’Iris with the book. July 14, 2022 at 5:23am Reply

    • Zazie: Love the idea of matching perfume and books! Brilliant! July 13, 2022 at 4:15am Reply

      • Sandra: It is very fun July 13, 2022 at 6:03am Reply

  • Amy McLaughlin: How wonderful to see a post from you and hear something of how you have been. I take refuge in all those small joys that aren’t so small; coffee as I watch dawn break across the sky, good books, music, working on paintings. I’ve made an effort to improve my French comprehension and can understand more of the rapid-fire dialogue in some of the programs I like to watch. I am staying very connected to my friends. They are always sustaining, but especially in hard times. July 11, 2022 at 10:14am Reply

    • Victoria: Congratulations on your French progress! How great that you can see the difference for yourself. And doesn’t it motivate you even more? July 11, 2022 at 1:01pm Reply

      • Amy McLaughlin: Indeed it does! It is always good to be reminded that making an effort will bear fruit. July 11, 2022 at 6:23pm Reply

  • Joyi: So happy to see you posting again! I hope you are doing as well as you can be, given the situation in the Ukraine… I have also read Tyler’s Japanese Tales, am currently reading Esme Wang’s The Collected Schizophrenias (recommend it). I am going through a period of change – career, friendships – and meditation, long walks, good Japanese tea, and staying hopefully and optimistic are getting me through this period. Amber and vanilla scents feel comforting and right for me now… July 11, 2022 at 10:22am Reply

    • Victoria: I’ve also been gravitating towards light spring flowers like mimosa. They are off-season, but they feel light and fresh in this heat. July 11, 2022 at 1:02pm Reply

      • Bregje: I’m wearing a mimosa scent too July 11, 2022 at 1:28pm Reply

  • PrincessTonk: The world is too much with us. The months whirring by. I wait all year for summer and yet this year I can’t bear being at our pool with the noise of people, just another intrusion into my peace. I now sit with my cats and husband on our back patio, reading, listening to and watching the birds, trees, chipmunks, squirrels, hawks, geese and daydream. Perfume is always there but I only have used it on occasion this year to include it but always looking at my cabinet. I tried going into your blog and it still wasn’t there and I felt so sad for you, for me, for all of us. This is a shard of light, in July, to see you again.
    PrincessTonk July 11, 2022 at 10:42am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for visiting and reading. I realized how much I missed all of you soon, but I needed a little time to pause. July 11, 2022 at 1:03pm Reply

  • Cassieflower: Lovely to see your post Victoria. I’ll take it as a good sign. Take pleasure in whatever small thing you can and just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes that’s all a body can do. July 11, 2022 at 11:01am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, I try to do my best. July 11, 2022 at 1:09pm Reply

    • Caroline: I’m so pleased you’ve revived your blog. I’ve loved reading your writing over many years, and enjoy dipping into the archives too. July 15, 2022 at 3:34am Reply

  • carole: I’m so very glad to read a post from you! You and your family and the world events have all bveen on my mind. This summer hasn’t really started yet-very cool weather here and a few big projects at work have kept us busy.

    Nothing like smelling what’s around you. And sometimes, when I need to focus, I wash my hands with nice soap, taking my time and letting my hands rest in the water. I find it’s relaxing and helps me center my thoughts.

    I feel a beach day coming my way.

    Sending respectful good wishes to you. Please look after yourself. Same goes for everyone here-I always love the comments. July 11, 2022 at 11:02am Reply

    • Victoria: A nice bar of soap can be such a delight! July 11, 2022 at 1:10pm Reply

    • Stassa Papadiamanti: Welcome back to your home, Victoria. I miss you, wish you the best and be on air, I need your breeze.
      Thanks for the wonderful company, I stay tuned. July 11, 2022 at 1:50pm Reply

      • Victoria: Thank you very much, Stassa! July 14, 2022 at 5:19am Reply

  • Julie Basile: Missed your beautiful letters. Msw dong love to you. You inspire all of us. Nature is appreciative of you and your gentleness Victoria 💕💕💕🙏 your voice is special to me.
    Julie July 11, 2022 at 11:30am Reply

  • annie: Dear Victoria, as has been said, it is SO wonderful to see your post once more. You have been missed! Yet I know all our thoughts and love have been with you throughout these strange and trying times. You and your civil sensibilities and good heart, are an important part of our coping with all the changes and challenges. Thank you for always sharing from the heart- you are a part of all our lives. Love and all good blessings. July 11, 2022 at 11:42am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for such a lovely comment. It’s so heartwarming. July 11, 2022 at 1:11pm Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: We are all glad to read again your lovely and interesting prose. And your encouragement to move….you have the discipline of a dancer, but I am a kind of Oblomov.
    I am still reading Dante, now almost finished the Paradiso. Not an easy read, lots of middle age theology, but also beautiful, impressing images. The Inferno and the Purgatorio were easier to read. Purgatorio is my favourite.
    Reading Dante makes reading other books impossible for me. All is too pale , because of the overwhelming power of Dante’s verses. I finish one canto a day, and for the rest of the time, detective stories, like Donna Leon.
    My perfume these days is Jicky edt. July 11, 2022 at 11:51am Reply

    • Victoria: Dante and Jicky sounds like a lovely pairing. I’ve read excerpts from Inferno, but you’re tempting me to read the whole thing. July 11, 2022 at 1:12pm Reply

    • Bregje: Oh i just bought a Donna Leon for the hot days that are coming. I can’t concentrate on anything more substantial these days July 15, 2022 at 5:13pm Reply

  • Wanda: Victoria, so happy to see your post this morning.
    All your points are so reassuring. I’ve recently made a move and while in the long run I know it’s the right place to be I’ve felt unsettled. Your words are a good reminder to take in the small things.
    I love the scent of Linden, though I have never
    experienced it in nature. Thanks to this post I now know it’s near by and hope to seek it out.
    Take care, big hugs. July 11, 2022 at 11:59am Reply

    • Victoria: Linden is one of the most beautiful scents, and I look forward to the early summer just to experience it.
      Big hugs to you too. July 11, 2022 at 1:19pm Reply

  • Cyndi: So happy to receive your post this morning. I have missed reading them, and I was very worried when you took your blog down. I truly hope you are in a better place, and I am so happy to see that you are back! Take care of yourself. July 11, 2022 at 12:19pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you so much, Cyndi. July 11, 2022 at 1:19pm Reply

  • Maggiecat: Along with everyone else, I’m happy to read your post. This past year has brought too many challenges to many of us, and your reminder to find pleasures all around us is a valuable one. Take care. July 11, 2022 at 12:38pm Reply

    • Victoria: Small joys make for a big happiness. I don’t remember where I heard it, but it’s a comforting thought. July 11, 2022 at 1:21pm Reply

  • Diana: Dear Victoria, I am so happy to see and read your post and all the lovely comments from your readers aka your friends. I too enjoy long walks and sitting in nearby parks enjoying nature’s offerings; I’m reading more spiritual books lately like ‘Radical Love’ Teachings from the Islamic Mystical Tradition translated by Omid Safi – balm for my shaken soul. Perfume – Stella for it’s soft delicate rose I find pleasant and comforting. Take good care. xox July 11, 2022 at 12:39pm Reply

    • Victoria: Reading these comments is balm for my soul. Thank you very much for your kindness and support. Please take good care of yourself and your family. Health is such a precious thing. July 11, 2022 at 1:23pm Reply

  • Deanna: Seeing an email again from Bois de Jasmin, brings back some welcome equilibrium into our lives!

    Hoping you are feeling stronger Victoria, after your pause. July 11, 2022 at 1:14pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Deanna. I’m starting to feel much better. July 11, 2022 at 1:24pm Reply

  • Shelly Rubinstein: Hi Victoria so happy that you feel ready to return. I have been sending healing thoughts your way. Today I put orange rind in my water bottle coupled with spraying orange sanguine it refreshed me. You have enriched so many people’s lives with your ideas. Thank you Shelly x July 11, 2022 at 1:23pm Reply

    • Victoria: What a refreshing duo! Thank you for reminding me of it. July 11, 2022 at 1:25pm Reply

  • Hamamelis: What a joy to see you back posting again. These are difficult times, for so many and for me personally as well. Moving helps a lot, long walks and I do our own strength training. It is so important to keep strong, it helps being emotionally strong as well.
    We are growing some vegetables in our garden which helps with keeping the balances.
    I only read books that are easy at the moment, i.e. I am enjoying the Inspector Dupin series (based in Brittany) very much.
    Smells help, friends help, nature helps in all her bounty. I bought an Aqua Allegoria on impuls at the airport, Neriolia Vetiver, and I wear it all the time. Just an easy comforting summer scent. Perfume blogs help and there are few left, so I am very glad we can walk in the Jasmin Forest again! July 11, 2022 at 1:27pm Reply

    • Victoria: I have a small balcony garden and it helps a lot. Growing something yourself is a tremendous boost. What vegetables do you grow? July 14, 2022 at 5:18am Reply

      • Hamamelis: Zucchini (super easy to grow), leeks, pointed cabbage, various lettuces, endive, tomatoes, eggplants, all kinds of herbs, raspberries and gooseberries.
        My husband restored an old small greenhouse and he is growing cucumbers, red peppers, chilis and on my request sweet potatoes (keeping one of your great grandmother’s words in mind: after adversity and heartbreak…now grow some potatoes). July 14, 2022 at 10:12am Reply

  • Bregje: Thank you, victoria! This was just what i needed. I too am out of balance. Incomparable to your situation.
    I had a very stressful move to a different town and it haven’t quite found my footing yet so i am very tired. On top of that, my sweet cat of 14 got sick and i had to make the horrible decision to have him euthanised last Saturday. It didn’t go well because the first shot didn’t work,so he had to get another one and he ran away from me to the attic where he finally collapsed. I am so heartbroken. He was always waiting for me when i came home and sometimes even walked with me around the block. I feel the tone of this article suits my mood/grief. For the first time in 3 days i felt the need to spray some perfume. A light and airy one. Prada infusion de mimosa feels very comforting right now. Like a small ray of light. July 11, 2022 at 1:40pm Reply

    • Cornelia Blimber: Bregje, what a terrible story about your cat. Your cat is free from pain now; but it is hard for you to find some consolation. It will take time. July 11, 2022 at 3:11pm Reply

      • Cornelia Blimber: Bregje, Marianne (see her comment below) sends you strenght and love. I am with her, but I know how difficult it is to find some consolation when a cat dies, and certainly in your case.
        Strength and love is what you need. July 12, 2022 at 11:02am Reply

        • Bregje: Thank you so much for your kind words.
          I really feel supported by all of the comments July 14, 2022 at 7:03pm Reply

    • Lydia: Bregje, I am so sorry to read about your poor cat & the trauma of his ending. Please remember all the years of love rather than that sadness. He is at peace now. July 11, 2022 at 11:40pm Reply

      • Bregje: Thank you,Lydia

        I am trying to do that. I have the same philosophy on life but this time it was difficult at first July 14, 2022 at 7:04pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m sending you lots of hugs and comfort. This is such a heartbreaking situation, and I can’t imagine what you’ve experienced. Please take care of yourself and enjoy those comforting scents. July 14, 2022 at 5:19am Reply

      • Bregje: Thank you so much
        Same to you July 14, 2022 at 7:06pm Reply

  • WARA: Dearest Victoria❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
    You are loved and treasured by all of us and seeing your email today was like finding water in the desert!!! I am visiting my daughter and there is a jasmin tree in her neighbor’s home…at night the perfume of the flowers is GORGEOUS!!! I am swimming daily as a way of staying strong in order to give back and help as much as I can….the needs are so great!!! As you said…movement generates our bodies and our souls! The smell of the jasmin and the swimming has made my summer of 2022 a healing time…which is now complete thanks to your lovely email. SLAVA UKRAINI💙💛💙💛 July 11, 2022 at 3:07pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for your kind words, Wara. I’m so glad that you liked my post and that it added something positive to your day. July 14, 2022 at 5:20am Reply

  • Ruth: Dear Victoria ~ Others have beautifully said what I am thinking and feeling about seeing your return and ‘hearing’ your voice. Such a pleasure, and reassuring as well.
    This is a challenging season of life for so many of us it seems, and I am grateful to hear about the differing and yet shared experience of others. Especially thoughtful, reflective, you. July 11, 2022 at 3:51pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, Ruth. I try to look for the right way to process everything taking place in my life right now. Writing is one of them, and writing on these pages is especially meaningful. July 14, 2022 at 5:21am Reply

  • Kathy: Movement: I agree with you that moving when you feel like sitting can be quite surprising in the way you want to then move more.

    Scents: I still wear and seek out perfumes almost every day. I still love reading various blogs and sometime connecting with others who love perfume! Your blog, Ms. Victoria, will always be a source of uplifting information for me.

    Reading: I am still reading many English literature classics that are new to me. Recently finished “Our Mutual Friend” and just started “Little Dorrit.”

    Slowing Down When Necessary: honestly, this has never been one of my problems. I’m one who has always needed to push herself to seek new challenges. For the last year and half, it has been to create a backyard vegetable garden, a rather large one! Learning about soil improvement, keeping out deer and rabbits, and find the best varieties of plants was very energizing for me. I am very blessed with a nice bit of ground in full sun!

    The Importance of Small Pleasures: Yes! I have had some adventures in my life but enjoying a new kitten, spending casual time with neighbors, and cleaning house have been so rewarding.

    I don’t know the right words, but let me say I do not forget the Ukrainian people and their tribulation. July 11, 2022 at 3:59pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for such a lovely comment and for sharing your experiences. How wonderful that many of us are creating our vegetable gardens. Getting in tune with nature is another important step for me. July 14, 2022 at 5:23am Reply

  • Gabriela: How nice to see a post from you with beautiful flowers. I have missed your posts.
    I am treasuring friends, children, nature, my parents and life. I have a mug that says: keep life simple. And that is exactly what I am trying to do.
    Sending you warm hugs. July 11, 2022 at 4:54pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Gabriela! July 14, 2022 at 5:24am Reply

  • Bernadette: Dear V (& all the beautiful souls who read your posts), it is a relief to have you back! It is said that there is no better exercise for your heart than reaching down & helping to lift someone up. Fred Rogers once said, “When I was a boy & would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping’. I wish you all strength & happiness & thank you for being part of this community. When I need a boost, I reach for VC&A Gardenia Petale, a perfume worn on vacation, when I need a ray of sunshine. Also, spending a little time around kids lets me forget about the worries of adulthood for a moment. July 11, 2022 at 6:25pm Reply

    • Marianne: Bernardette, I’m inspired by the mother’s advice to ‘look for the helpers’. It evokes a bridge away from the dark place that news of terrible situations can lead to. I’ll find a way to talk of it with my grandson, and anyone I meet that’s had their light dimmed because of their own or other people’s difficulties. Thank you. July 11, 2022 at 7:55pm Reply

    • Gabriela: That is very beautiful, Bernadette. I will alo tell my children. Thank you. July 12, 2022 at 1:10am Reply

      • Gabriela: meant also… July 12, 2022 at 1:11am Reply

    • Sandra: Mr Rogers always had the right words! July 12, 2022 at 9:39am Reply

    • Victoria: I like this story very much. Helpers indeed abound, especially if you know where to look for them. July 14, 2022 at 5:24am Reply

  • Allison C.: Wonderful to receive your post! Summer is going by too fast. I too am trying to pause and relish the small things. I’ve been revisiting perfume samples, and I’m enjoying walking by a silk tree (Albizia julibrissin) on my way to work and inhaling deeply! I’m trying to learn some Italian and am about to start reading Jumpa Lahiri’s book “In Other Words” about her love of the Italian language. And I’m enjoying spending time with my mother who is 91. July 11, 2022 at 6:28pm Reply

    • Victoria: There are no silk trees here in Belgium, but I know exactly the scent you’re mentioning.
      Congratulations on learning Italian. I also liked In Other Words very much. July 14, 2022 at 5:25am Reply

  • Marianne: Victoria it’s so good to have you and Bois de Jasmin to reconnect with. I missed your warmth, kindness, wonderful gift for communicating a vast array of worthwhile and interesting subjects. Thank you for coming back.
    As for me, I’ve been working in an interesting field and am enjoying being in my ‘home office’, a previously unloved and somewhat uncared for enclosed verandah, which gets lots of winter sun, it’s now a delightful place to be. I’m chuffed that at this stage of life I’m offered work and feel I’m doing it for all the older women! Perfume is still glorious to me and I continue with candles and have an eclectic mix that includes the currently lit ‘Mademoiselle de Valliere’ scented Trudon masterpiece that came at a great price via a buy and sell site.
    My darling little cat, (so sorry to read of the cat on a post above, sending strength and love); my beloved family, the young trees I’ve just planted, the state of peace and quiet joy within that’s sometimes hidden, practicing gratitude and noticing the very small wonders all help me. I once heard that we might live on the choppy changeable surface of the ocean, but our true nature is in the still depths. July 11, 2022 at 8:13pm Reply

    • Victoria: Such good news about your work, especially since you like it. There are indeed many things to feel grateful for, and you’ve described them perfectly. I like your last sentence very much; it sounds true. July 14, 2022 at 5:28am Reply

  • Trudy: So happy to see a new post from you and grateful that Bois de Jasmin is back online. I enjoy your posts so much as well as reading all of the comments. I’ve learned so much from you all. I can certainly relate to what you said about how fast time is passing. I feel it so acutely as do so many others. Welcome back and I hope you continue to enjoy the small grand pleasures that summer can bring. I’m praying that we all can feel a bit of that lovely summer magic. July 11, 2022 at 11:19pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Trudy. I hope to continue sharing more on these pages. Right now I’m also trying to keep things simple and focus on the essential. July 14, 2022 at 5:29am Reply

  • Lydia: You are back! I am so happy! I thought we would never see your beautiful blog again. All your posts returned – treasures waiting to be rediscovered. Thank you!

    My last few years have been stressful and exhausting, but books and art continue to be a comfort. I’m not buying any perfume now (I have plenty, and I’m on a tight budget), but I’ve been trying to use up my old perfume samples because, unlike the books, they really don’t keep that long. (Evaporation.)

    Unfortunately, the dominant fragrance in NYC is increasingly pot smoke, so it was harder to enjoy the spring this year. I have been relishing simple, natural scents at home – lavender and rose water, mainly. Lavender oil is one of those cheap pleasures that never stops delighting me. A good quality lavender oil really does make me feel peaceful.

    Your description of Lost Japan reminds me a bit of “The Sack of Bath: A Record and an Indictment” by Adam Fergusson about redevelopment destruction of a beautiful, historic city.

    I’m currently reading Country Editor by Henry Beetle Hough, a delightful and peaceful book about work on a local paper and the culture of a small town in the early 20th C. It’s philosophical and humorous, and celebrates eccentricity, individuality, and community life. July 11, 2022 at 11:32pm Reply

    • Lydia: P.S. I’ve tried again and again to find words to express my sadness and concern over what you’ve been going through this year, but nothing comes close to being adequate.
      I am so happy and relieved that you are OK. You are a very strong, good person. July 11, 2022 at 11:59pm Reply

      • Victoria: Thank you very much. I’m testing the extent to my resilience this year. July 14, 2022 at 5:31am Reply

    • Victoria: Nice to see you, Lydia. Books are always a comfort, aren’t they?
      Pot smoke is everywhere here too, so yes, I notice it too. July 14, 2022 at 5:31am Reply

  • Rhinda: Darling Victoria
    You have been in my thoughts for months. I am relieved to see your post!
    I have read each and every comment from my fellow perfume lovers and am very impressed by the love and outpouring each has given you during this tough time. We all seem to agree on the gentle, simple things to cradle you. Much love! July 12, 2022 at 7:05am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you so much, Rhinda. What a sweet and generous comment. July 14, 2022 at 5:32am Reply

  • Ewan: Here in Prague the Lindens have flowered and the smell has left. There are lots of Lindens in our area and when it rains the puddles, once evaporated, leave a crust of yellow pollen and they dot the pavements.
    While not so aromatic the flowering of the Dogrose is always a seasonal favourite.
    Someone gave me some Oudh so it has been a pleasant few weeks mixing it with other oils, one of which included Linden, amongst others, to produce an intensely sweet, but not cloying, scent.
    I also got advice about what to do with empty essential oil bottles – put them in the wardrobe to scent the clothes.
    Now it’s time for dill and vinegar for pickling gherkins.
    It’s great that Bois de Jasmin has returned and it’s author. July 12, 2022 at 7:42am Reply

    • Victoria: Prague and linden sounds like a theme for a beautiful perfume or a painting.
      What essential oils did you end using up? July 14, 2022 at 5:33am Reply

      • Ewan: Hi,

        The Linden is the Czech national tree.And it’s other name ‘Tilia’ is a pleasant sound.
        There’s very tall one near where I live, with giant leaves.
        This was the recipe [ with drops ].
        Oudh 5, Patchouli 6, Blackcurrant 6, Linden 9, Black Pepper 3, Petitgrain 7 – in 5ml Coconut Oil. I named it ‘ Samarkand ‘ as the scent made me think of the Silk Route and the smells of spices, perfumes and incense drifting from the city to a tired caravan slowly approaching; a sign that they are almost there. July 15, 2022 at 5:35am Reply

  • Lorie McMillin: Victoria, I was so happy to see your post come through! I’m literally sitting in Charles de Gaulle waiting to board my flight to the US. Julia joined me for part of Provence and I was able to show her the lavender fields in the Valensole. We thought of you more than once, reminiscing about 2017 and Roudnitska’s home and fun with Genya, and your wonderful workshop. I’ll never forget it. Sending you many wishes for peace, wellness, and light in these very difficult times! Hugs!! Lorie July 12, 2022 at 9:10am Reply

    • Victoria: Enjoy your summer vacation, Lorie. I can’t wait to see you and Julia in person one of these days. July 14, 2022 at 5:34am Reply

  • maja: Dearest Victoria,
    seeing your words restores a bit of faith in resilience. Obviously, just like everyone else, I’ve been thinking about you and your family and all that is going on. And you know I know how you feel. ❤
    My summer is going fast as well, I definitely needed to reduce everything around me to a few familiar faces and the sea, which I find is my saviour. Every time there is something wrong with my body and soul, I find that long swims and just floating sometimes can make me feel reborn. A friend with cancer is keeping herself distracted with perfumes so I get a lot of samples from her and then we discuss them. This summer is all about tuberose which I feel adds some sparkles to my life that currently isn’t very bubbly.
    I also cherish and eat basically all the time tomatoes from my vegetable patch.
    Tender hugs. July 12, 2022 at 10:34am Reply

    • Victoria: The summer of tuberose sounds so lovely! July 14, 2022 at 5:34am Reply

  • Jennifer Mariel Shaw: Dear Victoria, It really has been an odd year. Glad to see your post today. It cheers me up to see and read your blog. It has been so hot here in the Portland area. So hot that I have not been doing so much. But smelling the sun warmed pine needles has been a comfort along with reading some fun mysteries. Playing with my boyfriend’s dog as well as doing some sewing for myself. I have been enjoying my garden and eating berries for breakfast. July 12, 2022 at 4:32pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you so much, Jennifer. It’s a comfort just to read your comments here. July 14, 2022 at 5:35am Reply

  • Nancy Chan: Dear Victoria, Welcome back! I’m so happy to receive your newsletter again, which is what I always look forward to reading.🙂

    I’m really enjoying the summer, spending more time in parks. I recently bought some Tuberose from a florist, (not an easy flower to find in shops) just to experience that wonderful scent. Need to revisit Frédéric Malle’s Carnal Flower. I used to grow Tuberose from bulbs, and will have flowers by September.

    Earlier this year I was able to find two bars of Roger and Gallet Bois de Santal soaps in a pharmacy in Covent Garden. I really enjoyed the scent, clean and fresh,so suited for the very hot summer.

    Welcome back Bois de Jasmin! 🌻🌼🌹 July 12, 2022 at 4:43pm Reply

    • Victoria: Your tuberose growing reminds me that I used to do it once too, but it’s been a while since I have grown flowers, apart from roses. July 14, 2022 at 5:36am Reply

  • Zazie: It is so good to read your posts again. Hope you are well. You and your family have been in my thoughts.

    In my part of the world linden and jasmine blossoms have long wilted away, leaving just a lush greenery behind – but in early June, when they take over the streets of every town and city, it is the most exhilarating fragrant experience I can think of.

    However, I’ve been having so much fun smelling new perfumes. Found lots to love.
    The new Paris-Paris from Chanel (which I bought – a mood lifter as there ever was one), oud for greatness and atomic rose by Initio, even parfum’s de Marly Delina. I’m becoming a rose person?
    But most of all I am debating on the merits of Paris-riviera and 1932 Edp. I think the latter has little to do with the OG Edt and extrait. Wonder if you care to review it? I kind of despised the original but the edp… I don’t know. I wear my samples of this one and the riviera so often, yet I tell myself I smell like departmental store. But then I want to wear them again, like every single day. Is that love in disguise?
    Maybe I just watched too much of Bridgerton, lol.
    Also been watching and loving some old Ester Williams movies. I can’t think of anything more wonderful and summer appropriate.
    Anyway- take care and thank you for the book recommendations, always love them. July 13, 2022 at 4:32am Reply

    • Victoria: I will have to look for 1932 in different concentrations. So far I have not tried it, but it sounds lovely.

      Thank you for reminding me of our time in Milan. I still remember the scent of vetiver that I smelled everywhere I went in the city. July 14, 2022 at 5:38am Reply

      • Zazie: …you know, I stumbled upon our pictures a few days ago, while scrolling back in time through my old photos, searching for something entirely different.
        It seems like a whole lifetime ago!
        So much has happened to me (and the world) since -what was it, 2016?
        My face looked so…carefree. Lol.
        …Hope we get to meet up again! July 20, 2022 at 10:23am Reply

    • Nancy Chan: I was wearing Chanel 1932 today. It was one of the perfume samples I requested, when I bought Bois des Iles last year. July 14, 2022 at 4:25pm Reply

      • Zazie: Do you like/love it?

        I am usually very opinionated about what I love, but this one and Paris-riviera… I don’t know, I seem unable to form an opinion, but have almost drained my samples.
        They smell similar to me, of course one is a cologne so it is more volatile and fizzy…
        I’d love to know other people’s opinion! 😉 July 20, 2022 at 10:19am Reply

  • Maya: What a pleasure to have you back! I have been mostly reading the classics lately and have found a strange solace in them, even when they provide a harsh illumination of human nature (I am thinking of Thomas Mann and Henry James). It is so nice to escape from the cacophony of self-conscious babbling and cultural trends that grip most of our current authors. I also find that providing assistance to friends and acquaintances makes me feel less helpless in light of everything that is happening. Little things such as picking up a fellow mom’s kid from school when she is working late or offering soup to a sick friend. It may be considered altruistic but it feels so empowering that paradoxically it is actually a selfish good deed. You mentioned that you have started studying Spanish. I must recommend to you a wonderful podcast called Spanish Coffee Break. It is really quite good and once you have listened to two or three episodes, you will discover that it is indispensable. Sending you and your loved ones good energy! July 13, 2022 at 11:19am Reply

    • Victoria: Helping someone else is the best way to feel better yourself, so what you say makes a perfect sense to me.

      Thank you for recommending Spanish Coffee Break. I started studying and then had to scale down. But I hope to resume my lessons soon. July 14, 2022 at 5:43am Reply

  • Andy: Victoria,

    This has been such a challenging year to live well in this world. And for some, even harder still. I’ve thought about you and others here frequently over the past few months. I hoped in that time that we’d all meet here again someday soon, so your post and the comments have all cheered me up. Even on days when I feel sort of puffy and swollen and tired (more of a mental state than a physical one—does anyone else ever feel like this?), it’s, as you’ve said, about seeing a friend, taking a walk, enjoying the flowers and the birds that propels me forward. My comfort scents these days have been the scents from my annual cutting garden. Chalky-smelling ageratum stems, freshly cut zinnias that smell like milky green maize—supremely subtle non-scents that are nonetheless familiar and comforting.

    Sending good vibes and wishes for wellness to all.

    Andy July 15, 2022 at 9:58am Reply

  • Aurora: Dear Victoria,
    It is wonderful to have you back, I love your post, so glad you share your summer’s pleasures with us. Here, I am making the most of strawberry season and reading Edith Wharton’s ghost stories. July 16, 2022 at 3:59pm Reply

  • Raissa: I’m so glad to see this and you, Victoria. I honor your taking care of yourself and thank you for posting when the time was right. July 16, 2022 at 4:46pm Reply

  • Behemot: I have been missing Bois de Jasmin and I worried about you. I am so glad you are back! July 17, 2022 at 12:32am Reply

  • Karen A: So glad to see Bois de Jasmin up again! Can’t wear fragrance right now, but enjoying all the scents around me especially after rain. July 17, 2022 at 7:33am Reply

  • Scentful apprentice: I’m yet another reader wishing you well. I remember finding your blog by chance Christmas 2019 and obsessively reading all your reviews. I’d never taken an interest in perfume before and I was a convert. I even started my own blog

    You have brought a lot of beauty into my life that I would not have found otherwise and that’s true for many people.

    I made a new friend through my kids nursery who is as obsessed as me, we’ve had some lovely times swapping books and scents and had a perfume day out in London.

    I don’t know what I can say about the Ukraine that hasn’t been said. You have been in my thoughts, I had always enjoyed your blogs and videos about the culture of Ukraine.

    you are doing the right thing in resting slowing down and being kind to yourself. A friend of mine made it out of Kyview with his girlfriend. It’s a dark time. I’m sorry. ❤️ July 17, 2022 at 1:36pm Reply

  • Perfumelover67: I am so glad to see you back, Victoria! I missed this blog a lot. It is good to know that you are taking care of yourself and are finding peace and comfort in the beauty of simple things in life. I am wishing you the best always! July 18, 2022 at 9:55am Reply

  • Silvermoon: Dear Victoria, I was so happy when your message showed up in my email box. I almost thought I was imagining it because I missed seeing them so much. Also, you have been in my thoughts every time I listen/read the news about the terrible situation in Ukraine (but also the wonderful fighting spirit of its people).

    Aurora and I met up in London in May and shared our concerns for you. It was so lovely to meet someone from this wonderful community of perfume lovers and more.

    Your advice here about slowing down and taking pleasure in small things is spot on! And a good reminder for us all.

    Sending warm regards and wishing you a restored sense of harmony and balance. So good to have you back! July 18, 2022 at 12:01pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m so glad that you and Aurora met in person. I also had a pleasure of meeting her, and she’s lovely. Thank you for your concern and your support. I’m slowly getting back into the flow of things. July 18, 2022 at 1:44pm Reply

  • a.: i really love this post — thank you for the reminder to slow down, and sharing your strategies for finding balance in such difficult times.

    i have a chronic illness which has forced me to slow down and learn how to find pleasure in the small (sometimes the smallest!) of things. one of my regular rituals (which i had to forgo when i myself fell ill w/ COVID recently) is taking a morning walk in my neighborhood, even if only for 10 minutes or so. i have a route which takes me past several beautiful trees, and flowers i love to stop and smell. if i’m early enough, just after sunrise, brugmansia (oh, if brugmansia could be captured in a fragrance!). so luscious. then rose, citrus blossoms, jasmine, and recently, joyously, gardenia. a couple of days ago, wet pavement, due to a lovely morning mist. and the trees: a beautiful stately oak, a couple of lacy japanese maples, gently weeping birches and california pepper… they all make me smile and help bring a sense of calm to the start of my day.

    i’m not a huge fiction reader (used to be, don’t know what happened… but i accept it) but i love watching a good TV series. nothing too dark or with much (or any, really) violence. i just finished watching “the durrells in corfu” and i must recommend it. i was hesitant at first, but found it utterly quirky, magical, evocative, and transporting. July 22, 2022 at 1:17pm Reply

    • a.: oh, and, music! while i was writing this, rachmaninoff’s “rhapsody on a theme of paganini” came on the radio. i finished the post, stopped other things i was doing, and just sat and took in the beautiful music.

      also, i can’t believe i didn’t mention this, but the thing that brought me back to your blog after so many years: perfume! most every day i am testing and living with a different scent. my life is very proscribed with my health plus COVID challenges, but with every new scent, i’m magically able to travel/escape to another world. it’s felt very freeing. July 22, 2022 at 1:59pm Reply

  • Marion: Oh dear Victoria, I am the daughter of a WW2 soldier (Australia) and in my 70 years have seen many senseless wars, but none of them stabbed me through the heart quite like this monstrous invasion of Ukraine. Blessed be the Brave, the brave and beautiful Ukrainians. Australia is here for you, that I know. August 6, 2022 at 12:18am Reply

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