Sunday, 6 March 2011
Mr Roses bought me this bottle of Lily of the Valley perfume from Penhaligon's for Christmas. Whenever we are in London and near to the shop we pop in for our fix of heady, floral scents. It is like walking round the most delicious greenhouse or woodland walk in the height of Spring. Each time we visit we daub ourselves in various aromas and spend the rest of the day trying to decide which is our favourite and, more importantly, which scent our favourite actually was...
You might remember that we bought Bluebell for our eldest daughter's 16th birthday and that for my birthday a couple of years ago I was lucky enough to receive Elizabethan Rose so we are well on our way to recreating our favourite cottage garden smells... But on this visit, I stumbled across the little bottle of Lily of the Valley and was immediately transported back to my childhood.
Not only did I fall in love with its deliciously sweet but fresh fragrance but it conjured up so many memories for me. Past Christmases of boxes of Lily of the Valley soaps, talcum powders and bath salts piled up in the bathroom or in my mother's bedroom. At the side of her dressing table were two little cupboards where she kept her perfumes. I remember so vividly the pretty packaging and fragrances that would fill the air each time I opened the cupboard doors... for me as a child, it was the equivalent of having my nose pressed up against the sweet shop window. Dreams of growing up, luxuriating in lily of the valley scented baths before putting on a new dress, applying my make up and spraying myself in some new scent would fill my head.
The scent was very much part of my early years, even my mother's handbags would offer up its beautiful fragrance when they were opened as she always sprayed her hankies with perfume before putting them in amongst her purse and keys (oh how times have changed).
Strangely enough Lily of Valley is purported to strengthen the memory and in the language of flowers signifies the return of happiness. So it seems very apt that today on what would have been my mother's birthday (her name was Lily), I bring out my bottle, take a sniff and remember.