On the Eleventh Day of Christmas . . .
Several posts ago, when we were still feasting on cold turkey sandwiches and stollen bites, I wrote about hearing Sir Paul Smith in conversation with the garden designer, Luciano Giubbilei, which, together with a trip to the Chelsea Physic Garden, formed part of our Botanical Break.
Once we hit on the idea of a themed mini-holiday, there was no stopping us and we went the whole hog. We stayed at Kensington's Ampersand Hotel where the walls of our room were decorated with huge monochrome photographs of flowers, and botanically inspired patisserie was served in the quirky Drawing Room for afternoon tea. We visited the National Gallery's Dutch Flowers exhibition, and dined at The Botanist in Sloane Square. To this heady concoction of floral delight and delectation, we also added a dash of retail therapy by way of a detour to Jo Loves.
You may not be familiar with Jo Loves but I bet you've heard of its founder, Jo Malone, the perfumer whose eponymous chain of shops can be found in high streets and malls up and down the length and breadth of the country. Jo Malone in fact sold the brand to Estée Lauder back in 1999 and in 2006 bowed out of the industry for five years before the lure of fragrance drew her back into the marketplace with the launch of Jo Loves. Although on a much smaller and more intimate scale, the Jo Loves brand bears all the hallmarks of Jo Malone's earlier venture. Elegantly sophisticated and classy, it's neither snooty nor snobby and whilst the restrained colour palette and simple packaging lend a pared-back feel to the grotto-like boutique, the ambiance is far from clinical. In the absence of too many visual distractions, the olfactory senses seem more keenly attuned to the elixir created by the layers of fragrance which draw you through the door like a Bisto kid bewitched by the smell of gravy.
As you can no doubt guess, I didn't leave empty handed. After much spritzing and spraying, I came away clutching a bottle of Pomelo, Jo Loves' signature scent. On an otherwise drab and dreary day, the merest whiff of this lovely fresh zesty perfume has the power to unlock happy memories both of the Jo Loves shop and all those other magical moments I enjoyed with Mr Moore during our Botanical Break last spring.