PROPERTY
Surrey’s Premier Lifestyle Magazine

Festive fragrance guide

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The aromas of winter are one of the best parts of this time of year and there is an ever-growing market for home fragrance options in the scents we love to be surrounded with over the Christmas season. Traditional cinnamon and pine are now blended with more tantalising notes to create new and inviting scents as Emily Bird offers her Christmas fragrance guide.

Christmas spice
Perhaps the most classic of festive fragrances. Traditionally cinnamon and clove have ruled the roost, however, as the industry has grown, fragrances have evolved for more discerning tastes. Cinnamon and clove are still keynotes, with more spices such as ginger, cardamom and the ancient Christmas elements of frankincense and myrrh now seen more frequently. These notes are frequently paired with woods or musk to create a rich, refined fragrance full of winter warmth.

Festive forest
Woody notes of pine or spruce have long been firm Christmas favourites thanks to their link to the smell of fresh Christmas trees, either crisp and light or hearty and rich depending on the wood. Pine, spruce and fir tend to offer that classic Christmas tree scent with its crisp undertones, however, log fire inspired scents which are gaining in popularity tend to have rich base notes of cedar, sandalwood and rosewood. Woody notes are excellent as standalone scents or are often used as warm bases to ground other notes. They can be perfectly paired with fruity, spicy or sweet notes to add a sumptuous, sophisticated air to any fragrance.

Sparkling fruits
Fruit and Christmas go hand in hand, from the orange in stockings on Christmas morning, to the candied fruits in Christmas puddings and mince pies. The key fruit is orange as it has long been a symbol of the season and gives any scent a seductive tang. Often found alongside festive spices, fruits add a fresh, juicy hint to traditional seasonal scents, which can be overbearing. Other popular fruits such as berries and citrus fruits such as lemons and mandarins all offer tartness, which is again refreshing rather than overly sweet. A perfect choice for those that love invigorating scents year round, but still want a festive touch for a home fragrance as winter sets in.

Fresh and frosty

In response to a need for fresh festive scents for those that dislike the classic spicy, woody aromas, there has been an influx of fragrances best described as frosty. Reminiscent of freshly fallen snow that glitters in pale winter sunlight, these frost-filled fragrances are often infused with notes of Scandinavian wood, fresh citrus and cool mint. Also becoming increasingly popular are notes of white wine and prosecco which add a sparkling edge to these Christmas scents making them ideal for parties and gatherings. Delicate florals can also be utilised to achieve the desired frosty effect and are perfect for floral fragrance lovers to transition into the winter months.

Sugary sweet
For every person that loathes sugary sweet home fragrances, there is another who simply can’t get enough of them. To cater for those of us with a sweet tooth, there are numerous sweet fragrances to fill the home with scents reminiscent of our favourite puddings and pastries. From classic vanilla notes to warm caramel, these scents are delightfully buttery at the base and many notes are combined with spices to form fragrant representations of favourite sweet treats. Fabulous for kitchens or dining rooms as the dessert course is served, they will infuse the home with sumptuous sweetness this Christmas.


essence info
Websites: www.amara.com
This article first appeared in The Lux Pad, www.amara.com/luxpad

Winter sparkle

Emanuela Alladio of Alladio Sims Garden Design reminds readers not to ignore the garden in winter, but to take the opportunity to fill in gaps and enjoy the subtle beauty of winter plants.

Good gardens evolve with time and through the seasons, and they become much more open and transparent in winter, once leaves have fallen and been replaced by bare stems and empty gaps. At this time of year a garden really needs its backbone of shrubs and trees – from coloured stems and bark to the reassuring presence of evergreen ‘cushions’. But now is also a good time to take stock of what is there, to savour those often hidden sparkling treasures, and also to establish whether the gaps that have emerged are not too big, leaving the garden too bare and exposed in winter months.

Screen Shot 2017-12-06 at 20.30.19Subtle leaf forms and textures are key in winter, when most flowers are long gone. Image courtesy of Alladio Sims Garden and Landscape Design Ltd, Surrey private garden, 2016

Amongst the surprises that the garden brings at this time of year are the minute frosty crystals sparkling on leaves and stems that shine gloriously on early frosty December mornings.

Dissected and whole leaves catch the frost better than anything else, trapping sparkling crystals in the multitude of tiny nooks and crannies on their surface. Plants such as Alchemilla Mollis, Salvia Argentea or Melianthus Major will undoubtedly steal the show for a few magic days before finally dying down or becoming less prominent for the rest of winter.

Winter gardens bring unexpected surprises for the other senses too, scent in particular being key among winter flowering plants and so well worth a place in any good garden design plan.

One of the joys of visiting RHS Garden Wisley on an early winter morning has always been the walk up Battleston Hill and the sensation of suddenly being hit by the heady sweet perfume of a distant Daphne, tucked away in a sheltered and shady spot sometimes a good few metres away.

Sarcococcas (Sweet Box) is another great shrub for this time of the year, with aromatic honeyed cream flowers creating a cloud of perfume each time someone passes. One would not want to be without them and so we always encourage clients to find a sheltered and shady space for at least one specimen, or better still, we position them by an entrance or a gate, perfect for that welcome back home.

Another fond memory from RHS Garden Wisley is the Paper Bush – Edgeworthia Chrysantha – a truly spectacular sight in the midst of winter, this is a shrub covered in clusters of wholly white and yellow flowers, much like a string of Christmas lights, that light up even the darkest of days. An added bonus is its leaves too, very exotic and architectural once the flowers have disappeared.

Adding to the list of sparkling beauties in the winter garden are Mahonias, despite the love-hate relationship they have always seemed to spark. But how could one resist their yellow plume of early December flowers followed by a cascade of long lasting damson-coloured berries? And if the spiky large specimen is simply too much, then why not settle for its new, smaller cousins, such as Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’, with pretty dissected leaves surprisingly thorn free. This is a wonderfully architectural plant with a strong presence that should be worthy of any garden.

In the open gaps under the bare canopies of deciduous summer shrubs and among dormant leafy perennials now is the time to discover the little unsung heroes of the winter garden – candid Cyclamen Hederifolium flowers and the clear, pale blue flowers of Iris Unguicularis, reminiscent of a winter’s sky, the recumbent and discreet flowers of hellebores, the frothy leaves of evergreen ferns and heucheras, the heart shaped leaves of epimediums... so many small treasures!

Without these winter garden beauties a garden would risk becoming too static, and not such an interesting space after all, incapable of evolving and changing its character throughout the seasons. The true mark of a successful garden should therefore also be its ability to stand out in winter, and to create an architecturally interesting space in the dormant season too.

This is the perfect time to take stock of the garden, so go out and take a good look, make a note of any gaps that seem too big, but above all don’t forget to enjoy the subtle beauty of winter plants.

Garden 2Jon and Emanuela in the show garden they created for the Istanbul Flower Festival in 2016

Profile: Alladio Sims

Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Ltd was established in 2015 after Jon Sims and Emanuela Alladio collaborated on a Silver Gilt winning show garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. The two directors continue their collaborative approach throughout their practice with Jon’s background in interior architecture giving distinctive spaces and Emanuela’s passion for plants and photographic eye adding great texture and contrast.

essence info
Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Limited
Unit C Willow House, Dragonfly Place, London SE4 2FJ
Website: www.alladiosims.co.uk
Email: hello@alladiosims.co.uk

Style and inspiration

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With an enviable artistic lineage – Bella Freud is the grandchild of Sigmund Freud and her father was artist Lucian Freud – it’s no surprise her creativity is boundless, spanning fashion to filmmaking and most recently home design with the launch of a lifestyle collection. Here Bella talks to Jane Pople about her inspirations, being a female entrepreneur and her penchant for rich minimalism.

Bella Freud’s fashion designs have been a stalwart of British cool for over a decade, with her iconic jumpers adored by the likes of Kate Moss and Alexa Chung, her signature style epitomises effortless chic. Launching her own label in 1990, she won Most Innovative Designer at the London Fashion Awards just a year later.

Q Bella, what first inspired you to create a home accessories line and is it something you have always wanted to do?
A
I think my interest in home wear began with my obsession with sheets. My grandmother ran a small country hotel during the summer months in Co Cork, Eire and she allowed me, aged eight, to help her prepare the rooms, and crucially showed me how to do hospital corners on the beds. In my teens I stayed at the grand house of a friend of my father’s and became entranced by the exquisite nature of the pale blue linen sheets in these much grander bedrooms. That’s where it all started.

Q Do you think fashion for the home is becoming more important to the consumer and how do you see the industry changing over the next decade?
A
I think this area is a huge area for growth and creativity. People are really interested in expressing themselves through the style in their homes, not just clothing. I see fashion brands automatically including home accessories into fashion collections rather than waiting to launch as a separate medium. What needs to evolve is the buying approach so that lines aren’t so segregated: it’s good to see things as a story rather than just themes.

Q An interest in film is evident throughout your career, from your producing of short films to collaborating with John Malkovich. What is it that draws you to film as a medium and do you have further plans to work in the field again?
A
I find I can access and suggest my ideas using film, I can tell the story better. I have a short film idea that I’m working on now and I’m hoping to shoot it soon.
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Q As a leading British fashion designer and female entrepreneur, what advice would you give to young women looking to follow in your footsteps? Do you think it’s still harder for women to make their mark in the industry?
A
The business of fashion is hard generally, but it seems particularly difficult for women to protect their interests. Most of the people in power financially are men and being ‘tough’ as a woman is not respected the way it is with men. It is generally admired as a strength when a man is adamant and demanding, yet when a woman is the same it is met with resistance and often distaste.

Q What is your favourite part of the working week and do you have a particular product you like to work on most, e.g. fragrance or fashion?
A
I particularly like designing the match boxes, I love making the design work in a square shape. It is so simple yet it looks strong and immediate. I enjoy trying to bring a new product into my world. I tend to think of what I long for and then design for it and watch it spring into life.

Q If you could create a home or fashion collection with anyone from the past or present who would it be and why?
A
Ohhh! So tantalising... Maybe from the past it would have been fun to collaborate with Biba or Coco Chanel on some bed linen and towels. Now it would be with the Vampire’s Wife: we could have a brilliant time creating.

Q How would you describe your own interior style and what is your favourite room in your home and why?
A
I like playing with colour combinations and using deep colours against a muddy grey to let it glow. I like a rich minimalism which doesn’t even make sense, but it sounds right. It is minimal in that it’s not elaborate and the unlikely colour combinations make it luxurious. I am just building my home so I have yet to see which will be my favourite room.

Q What is your favourite way to waste time?
A
I don’t really waste time if I can help it, even sleeping is incredibly useful and rewarding. Putting things off is my most common way of wasting time: I don’t enjoy it as I know I’m doing it and know it’s destructive.

Q You’ve just discovered a time machine that can take you to either the past or the future. What year do you go to and why?
A
I wouldn’t mind going back to 1900 in Vienna, a time of great creativity in the world of music and art. I’d only stay for a short time though as for a woman it was ten times more difficult to be free to be a creator.

Q What’s next for you and your brand – do you have any exciting projects for 2018 that you can share with us?
A
I am working on some really luxurious pieces, one off specials made in beautifully coloured heavy cashmere. And I’m developing my bed linen collection so that when I find the ideal partner I am ready to press go immediately.


essence info
Website: www.amara.com
This article first appeared in The Lux Pad, www.amara.com/luxpad