Make your own bespoke perfume with Uncommon Scents!


When it comes to bespoke fragrances, it doesn’t need to be just the likes of Kylie Minogue and Beyoncé who have all the fun.

While it can cost literally thousands of pounds to create a personalised bottle of perfume, Berkshire-based beauty therapistJanette Hammond from Uncommon Scents can help those who would like to create something special on a more modest budget. She is launching regular flagship scent events in association with the Perfume Studio, which will be held at Malmaison Hotel in Reading, starting on Saturday, 6th October.

Janette will guide you through the world of bespoke perfume and the 21 fragrance blends designed by the Perfume Studio’s Master Perfumier.  Guests will learn about the different ingredients, top notes, middle notes and base notes and how to structure a lasting fragrance.  Not only do you get the chance to make your own perfume – which you can take home in a presentation bottle or atomiser – but you’ll also have the fun of naming it too!

Since setting up her own business, Janette has helped hundreds of people to make their own scent, whether it’s a bride creating a signature scent for their wedding day, a bride-to-be wanting a fun and unusual hen party activity, or a mother and daughter making something special for a birthday. When her sons presented her with a birthday voucher for a perfume-making workshop back in 2008, she realised very quickly that this was her vocation. She trained with the Perfume Studio almost immediately after her workshop and now is one of only a handful of perfume stylists covering the south east.

Janette said: “Our workshops are fun, interactive and informative. You’ll learn a little about the fascinating history of perfume, our sense of smell and how important it was to our survival, how perfume became the massive business it is today and also hear some of the stories behind some of the current perfumes we know and love.

“You’ll find out about the way smells are extracted from fruits, roots, petals, plants and bark, but also why synthetics have an important part to play.”

The workshop takes place at 10.30 on Saturday 6th October at Malmaison Hotel, Reading and costs from £39 per person. For 2019, workshops start at 11am and take place on Saturday 19th January and 27th April.

Cheers! Buttermilk and Pinkster Gin launch Pink Gin Fudge!

Buttermilk and Pinkster pink gin launchFudge fans will be in the pink to hear about the launch of an exciting new flavour from Cornish confectioner Buttermilk.

The family-run firm has joined forces with Pinkster Gin to create a sharing box of crumbly fudge, flavoured with gin-soaked raspberries.

Pinkster founder Stephen Marsh has long been a Buttermilk fan having visited the well-known Padstow shop as a child in the 1970s while on holiday. Years later, by happy coincidence, Buttermilk approached the Cambridge-based gin connoisseur, suggesting that their inebriated British raspberries, known as Boozy Berries, would be a fabulous addition to the range.

Tracy McDonnell Goad, director of Buttermilk, said: “Fudge and gin is a match made in heaven, making it two treats in one, so we are delighted to collaborate with another craft producer to create this scrumptious indulgence.

“The famous Pinkster raspberries have given the fudge a beautiful fruity flavour and everyone who has tasted the fudge so far, agrees with Stephen that it evokes lazy summer days on holiday on the Cornish coast!”

The 150g sharing box retails at £3.99 and is exclusively available at Waitrose.

Reading, watching, listening to – August

Does this school drop off thing get easier?  Two years ago, I dropped the little (and he was little then) one off at school, got into the car and cried. Yesterday, I pretty much did the same.

But anyway, what I’m trying to say in a “back-to-school” shorthand type way is that August is over. Hopefully the rain-free days aren’t finished though, as it seemed to mean that it was acceptable to laze about reading and listening to live music.

In August I read “Have his Carcase” by Dorothy L Sayers. I’m not sure why, but her Lord Peter Wimsey books seem to languish in the LARGE PRINT section of the library. His infamous monocle aside, these books (written in the 1930s), are in some ways, very modern.  This book reads like a modern police procedural with incredible detail of every aspect of the case and a seemingly impossible murder to solve; finding out who dunnit meant quickly learning about how quickly blood clots in a dead body and about the Russian royal family. Just got to venture into the large print section now for the next one.



We came across MrB the Gentleman Rhymer at the bandstand stage at a festival and were almost immediately rolling around the field in stitches listening to him playing Outer Space by the Prodigy on a ukelele in a plummy Surrey accent. His version of “No Dignity” (read: ‘Yo Diggity’ by Dr Dre) is worth checking out too!



Well, like the rest of the population, we are watching Bodyguard!  We are big fans of Jed Mercurio in our house and I even went to a Royal Television Society event to hear him speak on how they conceived, wrote and filmed Line of Duty. Bodyguard is true to form and has meant three sleepless Sunday nights in a row trying to make sense of what we’ve just watched, which I wouldn’t recommend – you can’t second guess Mr Mercurio!


Other stuff:

Newbury Lido is closing on 16th September, so I’ll be basically moving there to get as much swimming in before the end of the season and don’t forget a new weekly Twitter chat for West Berkshire businesses starting TOMORROW from 7-8pm using #wberkshour