It’s Recycle Week (21st-27th Sept), and award-winning, London-based independent perfumery Floral Street are ‘…calling on the Beauty industry to drive sustainable change.’
We once thought recycling was enough, but the concept of just throwing packaging into the recycling bin and hoping for the best is outmoded and most certainly not enough. ‘It is reported that more than 120 billion units of packaging are produced every year by the global cosmetics industry, much of which is not recyclable,’ Floral Street remind us.
This craziness has to end if we’re to make an impact on environmental change for the better, and so tossing that used container into recycling isn’t enough – even if it can be recycled, it will likely be turned into yet another single use packaging product.
It’s a subject Michelle Feeney, the Founder of Floral Street, feels passionately about. ‘The Beauty industry can do so much more to make products and packaging recyclable and reusable,’ she says. ‘Collectively we can innovate and drive real change. We are an industry of creatives, so let’s lead this responsibly, together.’
‘The majority of fragrance comes packaged in plastic wrapping and foam inserts with ornate caps and lavish additions – sometimes all in one purchase. Often the packaging that can be recycled is not done responsibly which results in unnecessary landfill and pollution of our oceans.’ – Michelle Feeney
From the get-go, Floral Street have championed re-using and up-cycling their packaging – the gift boxes are FSC certified, confirming they meet the highest environmental and social responsibility standards, and even the grosgrain ribbon they use is made from recycled plastic bottles! Personally, at The Perfume Society, we love using the boxes as seed trays and to store makeup brushes.
But as well as the boxes being fully compostable, Floral Street didn’t stop there, explaining that ‘…instead of cellophane, our fragrance packaging features reusable, brightly coloured, elastic bands. Our scented candles are presented in glass pots which are widely recyclable, but why not reuse them!
Our entire bath and body range is housed in sleek tubes made from sugar cane bioplastic which is recyclable and sustainably sourced. We have an accreditation to confirm this comes from a bioproduct of the food industry, so it’s not specifically grown just for beauty purposes.’
Why not get creative and have a look at some ideas we suggested on how to re-use your perfume bottles? They are far too beautiful not be given a new life, don’t you think? And we’re in total agreement with Michelle…
‘We believe recycling is good but reusing and repurposing is even better. This is the future of Beauty.’
Floral Instagrammers are on the rise – and no wonder, with all of us desperately seeking solace in gardens (if we’re lucky enough to have them) and open spaces, of late. Scroll down for some of the *most* exquisite flower-filled feeds we love to follow, and think you will, too…
Once upon a time, Instagram seemed full of pictures of avocado toast and cats, but it’s the floral Instagrammers really making it their own, right now. If you search for the hashtag #garden, it currently has over 56.4m posts attributed to it, while #flowers has 190m. And there are so many more, similarly floral-themed hashtags, each with several million posts (and counting).
So why are we seeing such a floral show on Instagram (and oither social media) right now? Well, it’s been proven that even looking at pictures of nature and open spaces can dramatically lower your blood pressure and improve your mental health. But more than that, we think people are just craving nice things to focus on for a while each day. We certainly are!
That’s why we devoted our latest issue of The Scented Letter magazine to all things bright and beautiful, inviting you to Step In To the Garden and explore with us, which you can do for free online if you’re a VIP, or in print if you want a glossy, gorgeous magazine to sit in your own garden with.
Meanwhile, here are just a handful of the brilliant floral Instagrammers we follow, and if you scroll through their feeds you’ll see exactly why we’re so in love…
@cultivatedbychristin Christin Geall is enormously talented and here shares her beguiling ideas on design, nature, culture, horticulture. The kind of floral feed that makes you want to immediately dance barefoot into a meadow and turns floral arrangements into a pure art form.
These stunning (and so relaxing) IGTV films follow Li Ziqi’s adventures as she strolls through flower-filled meadows, picking blossoms to cook with, to arrange into stunning, so-simple floral arrangements, and even make her own floral hydrolates with a copper still in her garden.
A florist, writer and brilliant teacher based in Oxfordshire, Claire Victoria Bowen taught our own Co-Founder, Jo Fairley, how to create the most beautiful (yet seemingly effortless) bouquets. Truly inspirational, you’ll never look at your plants in the same way: here, everything in the garden is beautiful.
Looking for all the world as though you’ve stumbled across some undiscovered Vermeer paintings, the work of artist and photographer Tracy Goldfinch Elson is filled with ethereal light, love and touches of great humour. We’re regularly stopped in our tracks by their other-worldly beauty.
Head judge on the Netflix series, The Big Flower Fight (which we’ve binge-watched with joy), named one of the world’s top florists by Harpers Bazzar; Kristen Griffith VanderYacht’s feed is filled with the exuberance and artistry he’s become (rightly) famed for.
A patchwork quilt of quintessence, Sheffield-based florist Anna Potter’s account is a glory of colour and style, featuring just the kind of artfully rumpled and ‘undone’ arrangements we favour, and providing a wealth of inspiration to brighten up your every day. How we revel in it.
Cotswold-based Ros is one of those photographers who conjures magic from every subject she turns her camera to. From gorgeously swooning bouquets to simply capturing the cracking of an egg or pasta drying, draped nonchalantly over the back of a chair: flowers seem to glow in the gloom for her.
A floral design studio, eco-florist (with gift subscriptions available) and cutting garden in North Essex, we marvel at the skill of show here – and how much fun they seem to be having! Also, absolutely any feed showing donkeys (and humans) wearing floral crowns gets our vote. Instantly smile-inducing!
A riot of colour and creativity, Jam Jar Flowers create the most jaw-dropping floral instillations, seasonal floral arran gements and dress gorgeously glam events. We dream of re-creating their coloured glass bottle-filled window (though kind of dread the dusting, so might just gaze in wonder, instead…)
Dianna Jazwinski is a professional garden photographer based in Sussex, and oh my gosh, her work is laden with the kind of imagery that makes our faces turn into the heart-eyed emoji. Ravishingly laid out and perfectly captured, flowers look so perfect in her hands you’d swear they were crafted by angels.
Alex Musgrave combines two of our favourite things – lovely reviews of fragrances, often thoughtfully themed around poetry and art, and simply beautiful pictures of flowers in various settings. Our favouites are those captured as they become blowsily over-bloomed. Always a treat to read and see.
Delivering across the U.K. – ‘Our dream is that everybody should assume that they can buy exceptional quality, British grown flowers year round, that ‘grown not flown flowers’ should be the norm,’ say husband and wife team, flower farmer and author Georgie Newbery, and artist Fabrizio Bocca. Bravo!
The experience immerses into an interactive home page inviting users to take part in an intuitive and easy creative soundscape page where they can create their own unique piece of music.
“Sounds of Fusion” offers a new playground for both novice and experienced music creators. It takes its roots in the popular organic and nature-inspired music genre.
The experience is composed of:
4 main themes inspired by nature: air / lava / water / stone sounds
8 different sounds representing the main themes, as different interpretations of each one
A play and pause button, there to start or stop the player
A record/share button allowing to download the composition when one’s done, and share it on different social media channels
The digital platform is live now and open to anyone who is keen to become his/her own music creator inspired by organic sounds.
Be inspired & share your Sound of Fusion!’
So, why not spritz your scent and get inspired to create your own track to share with friends online? With Issey Miyake you’re invited to ‘Dive at the heart of the elements where the strength of nature is expressed through images and for the first time… through sounds. Just listen: water flowing on rocks, wind blowing through leaves, boiling lava, crackling rocks…’
For those of you who’ve not managed to get your noses on the new fragrance yet, Fusion juxtaposes hot and cold, a fascinating exploration of the perfumer’s alchemy in conjuring coolness from citrus and coconut milk, the breeze of a solar-filled mineral accord (think sunlight sparkling on water). Earthiness exudes from the smooth sandalwood, while resinous patchouli provides the heat of the base.
You can practically feel your blood-pressure drop as you watch these short but so-exquisite flower-filled films on Instagram – but can looking at pretty pictures of nature ACTUALLY (scientifically, not merely anecdotally) lower your stress levels? Apparently so…
A dear friend of mine recently posted on Facebook to say she’d been suffering panic attacks, but that watching these films had really helped her relax, to focus on something lovely for a while and just help her to breathe out again.
I’d been feeling similarly wobbly, to tell the truth, so immediately clicked and scrolled, and actually found myself sighing out-loud with how beautiful they are.
Available to watch on Li Ziqi’s Instagram, the IGTV films follow her adventures as she strolles through flower-filled meadows, picking blossoms to cook with, to arrange into stunning, so-simple floral arrangements, and even make her own floral hydrolates with a copper still in her garden. A Chinese food and country-life vlogger from Pingwu in Mianyang, Sichuan, Li has become something of an Internet celebrity within China, and is fast gaining popularity around the world as stressed-out viewers tune in to drop out for a while.
And oh! That garden! Filled with rambling roses, herbs and vegetables of all description, kittens and puppies frolic and her grandmother chuckles in what are almost overwhelmingly charming and bucolic scenes, as Li Ziqi wanders further into the forest and welcomes spring by picking magnolia flowers, celebrates ‘peach blossom day’ and makes all manner of utterly delicious (and sometimes bewildering, if you don’t happen to be familiar with them) floral-themed dishes.
Satisfyingly, every single part of the plants seems to be used, in meals, for homemade fabric dyes or in glorious floral arrangements in huge vases. There’s something very ASMR about it all – Auto Sensory Meridian Response: a tingling, relaxing sensation some people feel while watching or listening to pleasing audio – with the wind rustling the rose bushes as she meticulously chops and prepares the food, windchimes tinkling in the background.
If you’re stuck indoors and feel trapped, as I do (self-isolating while looking after two elderly, at-risk parents) watching these short films feels almost as good as running through the forests in gauzy gowns yourself… And you know, the calm that washes over you isn’t just make-believe. Scientists have proved that even just looking at pictures of trees and greenery for a few minutes a day can actually help reduce stress and depression.
Dubious? Have a read of this fascinating article in Psychology Today, which asserts that ‘the sight of trees allows the parasympathetic nervous system to gain an edge, calming the entire body and making us more relaxed. That’s a good thing given how many of us live in concrete, urban environments. A recent NIH study  found that in urban surroundings, “contact with real or simulated green settings as opposed to [manmade] settings has positive effects on mood, self-esteem and self-reported feelings of stress and depression.” The Japanese have longed practiced Shirin-yoku, taking in the forest atmosphere or “forest bathing,” to alleviate stress, aggression, fatigue, and feelings of depression.’
So there you have it: if we can’t find freedom for now, or if you don’t have access to a garden of your own (let alone a flower-filled forest to frolic in), you can at least tune in and switch down your stress levels awhile.
Wishing you safe and well, until we meet again fragrant friends…
Regarded as a lucky charm ever since its first introduction from Japan to Europe in the Middle Ages, lily of the valley has become synonymous with the month of May and ‘the return of happiness’. For the French, May 1st traditionally represents the start of gifting bouquets of “muguet” to loved ones to signify the regard in which they’re held and as a token of prosperity for the year ahead. A tradition supposedly begun when King Charles IX was presented with a bunch of the delicate blooms, and decided to gift the ladies of his court, too.
In Europe, ‘bals de muguet’ were historically held – lily of the valley themed dances that offered the tantalising prospect for young singletons to meet without their parents’ permission.
With the young gals dressed in white gowns and the dapper chaps wearing lily of the valley as a buttonhole, we’re sure there was many a ‘return to happiness’ on such evenings… Now the custom is tied in with France’s Labour Day public holiday, and the tradition of giving lily of the valley to loved ones during May still holds strong.
No wonder that three years ago, we chose this delightful, flower-filled date in the calendar to launch The Perfume Society – running hither and thither all over London handing sprigs of lily of the valley to fragrant friends.
And my, how our friends have grown in this short time! With a readership that stretches around the globe and our Instagram followers now topping 21K, we have been delighted with some of the truly beautiful pictures some of our followers have been sharing there. Just feast your eyes on the stunning pictures we’ve sprinkled throughout this post…
With your help we’ve come so far already, and we have so many more exciting things to share with you in the weeks and months ahead. We wish we could come and give every single one of you a sprig of lily of the valley to show our heartfelt appreciation for all your support, but for now, accept this symbol of love and luck, from us to all of you…
Perhaps seen as a floral equivalent of the Edinburgh Fringe, The Chelsea Fringe Festival is actually entirely independent of The Chelsea Flower Show, though acts with its full support. Intended to extend the enjoyment of gardens and all things verdant to well beyond a show ground setting, there are all manner of events taking place around the UK (and beyond) to celebrate this year.
We were particularly excited to hear about a series of talks focusing on perfume, with subjects ranging from Georgian and 19th Century perfume, the scented room, and the simulation of nature in 20th Century perfume (the last in that list being hosted by our very dear friend, Lizzie Ostrom -aka Odette Toilette!)
Chelsea Fringe say: ‘Stephen Nelson is a plantsman and perfumer who specialises in re-creating historic fragrances. As part of the Chelsea Fringe, Town House will host talks by Stephen Nelson, centred around the English garden and its direct link to perfume over the past four centuries.’
Stephen has been commissioned to create everything from historically accurate pomander beads to perfumed leather from the 16th century, an 18th century spicy pot pourri and a handkerchief scent from the 19th century.
Working extensively within horticulture and running his own nursery, Stephen breeds a number of fragrant plants including pinks, lilacs and lavender – some of which have been featured in planting schemes at the official Chelsea Flower Show.
What’s more, Stephen personally cultivates many of the ingredients used in his historical perfume re-creations – including damask roses, patchouli, orris, verbena, lavender and many more – putting him in the unusual position of seeing the fragrance through from seed to finished scent.
Have a look at the full range of events happening around the country, as there’s bound to be one near you!
A number of the talks are taking place at the historic Town House in London’s East End, and the series there has been dubbed ‘Garden Extracts’. Here’s the scent-centric talks that we’ll be writing in our diaries – and we can’t wait to get (our noses) stuck in…
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