Etienne de Swardt – État Libre d’Orange's maverick founder reveals his five (somewhat saucy…) favourite smells

Renowned for their controversial names and inspirations, Etat Libre d’Orange actually encompass all manner of fragrant tastes – yes there’s the off-the-wall uber niche scents, but we find the majority are utterly wearable, perfectly beautiful fragrances that definitely deserve to be sniffed, worn and adored…
The latest to join the scented throng came about due to a collaboration with scent expert and critic, Chandler Burr – no stranger to controversy himself, it seems a happy match – but, we wondered, how did the relationship between Etat Libre d’Orange and Chandler Burr begin? Meeting with self-proclaimed ‘trouble-maker’ and founder of ELDO, Etienne de Swardt, is a rare opportunity, so we were thrilled to get up close and personal with him as he revealed You or Someone Like You to the British press; and began by asking him just this question…
‘Chandler has been a friend of ELDO for something like eight/nine years – he was very involved in the perfume we did with Tilda Swinton, Like This. We were impressed with his involvement in the perfume industry – his technical and journalistic experience, and I was a true fan of the name, You or Someone Like You. So I said, Chandler, one day we have to do a perfume when you stop being a perfume critic and move on to the other side of the mirror of the perfume industry! I said he could be the creative director and appoint any perfumer he wanted to create it. So he did this perfume as his vision of Los Angeles – for a woman who does not exist.’
Part of the mischievousness so beloved by fans of ELDO involves never playing by the rules or doing the expected. As such, the exact notes of the latest fragrance are kept under wraps. But why was this? Etienne takes a deep breath – presumably having been expecting this question: ‘We decided, mostly because of Chandler and his beliefs, not to disclose the ingredients. We say – perhaps somewhat arrogantly – that if you want to know what’s inside You or Someone Like You, it’s probably not for you… This is something like a piece of art that’s far beyond subjectivity.’
(Pssst! You can try You or Someone Like You in our next Discovery Box, keep an eye on the website for details of when it launches!)
So what does it smell of? Well, one spritz and we’re in the mood for Mojitos, the zest of fresh lime, mint and ice cubes clinking. The scent of freshly cut grass, wild roses rambling in shady nooks, patches of sunlight glinting from dewdrops of a just-watered herbaceous border… we catch wafts of clean washing hanging in the balmy breeze, ice-cream sodas and fluffy cashmere throws. Soaringly fresh, it somehow fills your head with light…
So now, what else but to ask this fragrance maverick his five favourite smells? We’re always fascinated to discover how psychologically revealing this can be, and certainly weren’t disappointed with Etienne’s answers. Having been asked the question and taking a few moments to gather his thoughts, Etienne took a sip of his drink, leaned back in his velvet chair and held court, his first choice – It had to be! – completely unexpected. And other choices… well, of course controversy came a-knocking…
1. Food in planes: ‘I have to start with a smell I don’t like, because when I was a kid I was living in New Caledonia, and the flight to visit Europe was twenty five hours long – just awful – so it’s like a Proustian moment but with negative thoughts. Whatever you eat it all smells the same, as soon as you open the aluminium, so to me it’s the strongest smell memory because it reminds me when I was lost in the air for so many hours… It’s such a strong memory, though, and I am always taken right back there.’
2. Dogs: ‘I especially love the smell behind their ears, as well as the coat. I was born the Year of the Dog in 1970, so I’m a true dog lover. It cools me down, calms me, when I can smell a dog and it just grounds me. And we all need that, you know? We rush around so full of anguish, and we need something to just smell and feel grounded again.’
3. Oakmoss: ‘I love this smell – I reboot myself in the forest with my wife and family, I like to jog there and when it rains I love to stand near an oak tree and pick up the oak moss and smell it and feel that connection to nature.’
4. Guerlain Jicky: ‘I truly believe in past lives and this smell connects me to my grandmother. I believe we are nurtured by the dead people and by the force of other spirits. Fir this reason, it is my samsara – not Samsara the fragrance, but MY samsara…’ [the cycle of death and rebirth to which life in the material world is bound, according to Sanskrit belief].
5. Sea notes/Semen: ‘This is a little bit naughty and pornographic…’ Etienne grins, his eyes flashing with mischief, ‘but I love the border in between attraction and repulsion. That notion of Secretions Magnifique [ELDO’s infamous fragrance evoking semen, sweat and blood] is very much me. Deep-rooted. You know the French poets Baudelaire and Rimbaud were talking about sexuality and La Mer which could be La Mère – the sea or the mother, the place we all are born, where we all come from. So for me sea notes, from an oyster to human secretions, it’s that bridge between attraction and repulsion…’
Étienne interviewed by Suzy Nightingale

Art and Olfaction Awards 2017 shortlist: the fragrant names you need to familiarise yourself with right now…

During last week’s Esxence fragrance exhibition in Milan, the shortlist for the fourth annual Art and Olfaction Awards was announced in a special presentation. Some of the partners and judges for the awards were there in person, to declare the good news for those breathlessly waiting to hear if they’d made the cut – anxiously watching the faces and hanging on every word of Luca Turin, Helder Suffenplan, Adam Eastwood and Franco Wright, Antonio Gardoni, Christophe Laudamiel and Saskia Wilson-Brown, we’re sure!

Celebrating independent, artisinal perfumery and those indie houses that really push the boundaries in exciting ways – we are excited to see names we know well and already admire greatly among some we’ve not yet had the pleasure of getting our hands (and noses!) on and will be following with great interest.
So, for those who weren’t able to make the presentation, here’s the list of those who will be gnawing their fingernails a little longer while they await the finals on May 6, at Silent Green Kulturquartier in Berlin…

ARTISAN CATEGORY

Baraonda
by Nasomatto (The Netherlands)
CD/ Perfumer: Alessandro Gualtieri
Bruise Violet
by Sixteen92 (USA)
CD/ Perfumer: Claire Baxter
Ceremony
by Mirus Fine Fragrance (USA)
CD/ Perfumer: Neal Peters
Fatih Sultan Mehmed
by Fort and Manlé Parfum (Australia)
CD/ Perfumer: Rasei Fort and Al Manlé
Limestone
by Thorn & Bloom (USA)
CD/ Perfumer: Jennifer Botto
Liquorice Vetiver
by SP Parfums (Germany)
CD/ Perfumer: Sven Pritzkoleit
Mélodie de l’Amour
by Parfums Dusita (France)
CD/ Perfumer: Pissara Umavijani
Onycha
by DSH Perfumes (USA)
CD/ Perfumer: Dawn Spencer Hurwitz
Rosuerrier
by Pryn Parfum (Thailand)
CD/ Perfumer: Prin Lomros
Saffron
by Aether Arts Perfume (USA)
CD/ Perfumer: Amber Jobin
Vanilla and the Sea
by Phoenix Botanicals (USA)
CD/ Perfumer: Irina Adam

INDEPENDENT CATEGORY
Absolue D’Osmanthe
by Perris Monte Carlo (Monaco)
CD: Gian Luca Perris / Perfumer: Jean Michel Santorini
Altruist
by J.F. Schwarzlose Berlin (Germany)
CD: Lutz Herrmann / Perfumer: Véronique Nyberg
Anti Anti
by Atelier PMP (Germany)
CD: Stefanie Mayr, Daniel Plettenberg / Perfumer: Mark Buxton, David Chieze
Belle de Jour
by Eris Parfums (USA)
CD: Barbara Herman / Perfumer: Antoine Lie
Civet
by Zoologist (Canada)
CD: Victor Wong / Perfumer: Shelley Waddington
Close Up
by Olfactive Studio (France)
CD: Céline Verleure / Perfumer: Annick Mennardo
Lankaran Forest
by Maria Candida Gentile Maitre Parfumeur (Italy)
CD/ Perfumer: Maria Candida Gentile Team
Maître Chausseur
by Extrait D’Atelier (Italy)
CD: Chiara Ronzani / Perfumer: Not Disclosed
Romanza
by Masque Milano (Italy)
CD: Alessandro Brun, Riccardo Tedeschi / Perfumer: Cristiano Canali
Fathom V
by BeauFort London (UK)
CD: Leo Crabtree / Perfumer: Julie Marlowe
Stones
by Atelier de Geste (USA)
CD: Beau Rhee / Perfumer: Irina Nesa

SADAKICHI AWARD
Is This Mankind
by Peter de Cupere (Belgium)
Perfumer: Various
Osmodrama Berlin / Smeller 2.0
by Wolfgang Georgsdorf (Germany)
Perfumer: Various
Paradise Paradoxe
by Elodie Pong (Switzerland)
Perfumer: Anonymous
Smell of Data
by Leanne Wijnsma (The Netherlands)
Perfumer: Leanne Wijnsma with ScentAir
The Feelies: Multisensory Storytelling – Amazon
by Grace Boyle (UK)
Perfumer: Nadjib Achaibou (Singapore)
 

We were thrilled to see the inclusion of proudly independent British brand, BeauFort London‘s Fathom V on the shortlist! A well deserved finalist, we have been raving about this fragrance since we first sniffed it. Humongously green – imagine a florist-shop filled with freshly snapped stalks, fat buds bursting and white flowers tied raggedly with twine – this would fill an entire fairytale palace with its otherworldly life-force, with echoes of roiling salty waves mercilessly crashing on rocks as lightning tears the sky assunder.
It’s awards season a-go-go in scent land at the moment, with the Perfumed Plume awards also just announced in the US (many congrats to Basenotes for their nominations!) and the prestigious annual British Fragrance Foundation Awards being judged right now. And oh boy, that’s an exciting list of names we absolutely cannot wait to see…
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Beautiful Blossoms: cast off your cardies and get petal powered. Has spring finally sprung…?!

An incredible scene of people venuring forth into the outside world without their coats or umbrellas has been revealed out and about around town these last couple of days. Shockingly, some Londoners were even seen smiling at strangers.
We know. We’re still reeling.
And the cause of this unexpected behaviour? Actual sunshine has been seen, warmth felt on skin, and buxom buds are bursting in to life around us. After what seems like the longest, greyest winter ever (even though it hasn’t actually been that bad, it’s felt soooo long – or is that just us?) it feels as though spring has sprung!
Oh the joy – the utter heady thrill – of casting off a scarf and popping to Pret in a cardie. (Yes, we know how to live here at TPS Towers!) It’s enough to make you feel like a hedonist. Or even like smiling. And with the change in weather, we’re rifling through our fragrance wardrobes and reaching for something lighter, brighter – to match our moods. May we suggest you join us…?
Beautiful Blossoms is a carefully curated and truly stunning Discovery Box of floral-themed scents for you to waft to your heart’s delight from the comfort of your own home – this petal-powered collection taps into our everlasting love of floral fragrances – giving you a chance to fully explore this perennially popular family in its myriad nuances…
Amidst an amazing array of fragrances to try at home (and try again – never go by your first spritz alone! These scents have been composed to develop over several hours on your skin, so give them time and let them settle…) you’ll also find our signature ‘Smelling Notes’, to help you explore the collection in greater depth, via your special blotters (also included).
PS: With Mother’s Day fast approaching, this could solve all your gift-giving dramas. You don’t need to know which fragrance they like or pay over the odds for a sadly battered bouquet!
Click here for full details or to order the box, which is currently exclusively priced to our VIP Subscribers at the VIP price of £12.50 (a great saving on the non-Subscriber price of £17.50)
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Written by Suzy Nightingale

Angelina Jolie: Guerlain Parfumeur – a new fragrant personification of iconic, female fortitude…

Since 1828, the French house of Guerlain has been synonymous with perfumes inspired by and created for strikingly strong women. As Jacques Guerlain himself once said: ‘We create perfumes for the women we admire.’ So who better to personify that independent, wilful yet utterly elegant spirit than Angelina Jolie, whom Guerlain have just announced as their personification of their new fragrance… Guerlain Parfumeur Mon Parfum.
Master Perfumer at Guerlain, Thierry Wasser, created Guerlain Parfumeur by drawing direct inspiration from Angelina Jolie, expressing the idea of ‘…the notes of a woman,’ and the embodiment of modern femininity within her choices, emotions and dreams.

Angelina Jolie [photo by Wall Street Journal]
First known as an actress, Jolie is now a filmaker in her own right while also serving as Special Envoy to the UN Refugee Agency, co-founder of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative and human rights activist, with many emotional and familial ties to France and the house of Guerlain itself. The deal was struck in 2015, with Jolie having long been a fan of Guerlain since childhood, with evocative scent memories of her mother’s love for a Guerlain powder. But Jolie also represents the continuation of a house that has ever pushed the boundaries while striving for modernity and perfectly executing a timeless, fearless femininity… Indeed, Jolie’s compassion is also at the fore, with her decision to donate her entire salary from the collaboration to charity.
guerlain-are-you-her-type-perfume-1920sThink of Guerlain’s most famous fragrances – scents that have stood the test of time and will likely outlive us all – and a powerful woman will be behind the inspiration for the perfume, somewhere. Such as the exuberantly mysterious Mitsouko from 1919. Composed by Jacques Guerlain the perfume was based on the novel ‘La bataille’ and the eponymous heroine and wife of a Japanese Admiral, caught in the web of a tangled love affair with a British officer. A masterful balance of the juicy peach and rounded oakmoss of the base, Mitsouko retains its ambiguous juxtaposition of alluring warmth and cool reserve – an echo of the story’s heroine who must control her raging emotions with dignity as she awaits news of which, if either, of her lovers will return from the war.
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If Mitsouko represents an attempted control of the vagaries of the human heart, then Shalimar gives free reign to overwhelming passion and devotion – a romance poem written in perfume and representing the legendary love of Emperor Shahjahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal, meaning “Jewel of the Palace,” and also composed by Jacques Guerlain, in 1925. During their marriage the couple were inseparable, but having given birth to thirteen children, she died during the birth of their gourteenth. Devastated by her death, Shah Jahan had the Taj Mahal built in memory of his wife and their undying love; and Shalimar is named after ‘The Gardens of Shalimar,’ her favourite place. One of the best-selling perfumes in the world to this day, Shalimar seamlessly weaves citrus freshness in to a beguiling floral heart garlanded by gauzy jasmine and may rose, with a charismatic dry down that wavers between the warmth of opoponax, tonka bean and vanilla, and a misty coolness of iris and ambergris.
These scented stories are merely two of the redolent, towering and immediately evocative fragrances in their rich tapestry – and with Jolie at the helm of their forthcoming fragrance – due for release in March 2017 – for Guerlain, the future is definitely a continued celebration of female strength…
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Rihanna's KISS seals the deal with new fragrance launch…

Rihanna is known for her unashamedly – and utterly contemporary – take on femininity in all its forms, within her award-winning music, of course, her personal and much-copied style and in the medoum of fragrance with her ever-expanding perfume wardrobe. Now the inimitable RiRi is sending you scented kisses with the launch of her latest fragrant offering and the launch of Kiss by Rihanna.
Marking the third fragrance in the performer’s namesake RiRi collection, Kiss is presented in a blue-tinted bottle that was, we are told, designed by Rhianna herself. A lady who likes to keep her finger on the pulse of what’s happening, then, the juice inside is described as ‘Mesmerizing, whimsical, and unexpected, the dynamic addition to the RiRi fragrance trilogy is flirtatious, feminine and lighthearted.’
Rihanna Kiss ad
But what does it actually smell like? Well expect a modern, white floral deliberately overdosed with luscious neroli, juicy plum and the waxy freshness of freesia.In the heart we have the delicacy of orange blossom infused with a buxom gardenia and the feminine frills of peony, all rounded out with a cashmere-soft landing of woody musk.
Kiss by Rihanna small
Kiss by Rihanna from £23 for 30ml eau de parfum
Exclusively at Superdrug from the 18th January 2017, nationwide from 1st February 2017
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Terre de Lumière – feel the warmth of "the golden hour" as we take a sneak-peek at L'OCCITANE's new fragrance…

Dappled sunlight dipping low, skin still warm, running through corn fields in a crisp, white gown as the sun sets… ah, how the dreary days of January make us yearn for such simple pleasures. Even going outside without a coat and brolly right now would be a luxury! But fear not, for L’OCCITANE have bottled the sunshine from that ethereal, other-worldly time of day often termed “the Golden Hour“, and infused the glow into their new fragrance (to be launched in February): Terre de Lumière
L’OCCITANE say: ‘As the day draws to a close, the sky is set alight, embracing all the shades of gold. Beauty is suspended in time and this stunning spectacle reaches its height. Light infuses the ingredients in this fragrance, enhancing them in a rich, faceted creation that evokes the intense sensoriality of a walk through the fields of Provence at the Golden Hour.’
Sunset
Oh yes, take us there now, please…!
We were lucky enough to be present at the press launch of this perfume, and so excited to discover this will be the very first gourmand fragrance for the brand. We predict gourmand as a genre will be huge news once again in 2017 – the comforting, deliciously food-inspired fragrance family seems only natural to turn to in times of uncertainty – and far from the 90s scent bombs that truly began this trend, gourmand has taken a fresh turn of sophistication and wearability – for men and women alike.
Terre de Lumiere
Top Notes: bergamot, ambrette seed, pink pepper
Heart Notes: lavender, honey
Base Notes: acacia flower, bitter almond essence, tonka bean, white musk
Renowned perfumer Calice Becker was chosen for Terre de Lumière, closely collaborating with Shyamala Maisondieu and Nadège Le Garlantezec; Calice explains how the talented trio worked on the fragrance so that it ‘…plays on the tension between masculine freshness and delicious feminine softness. It’s a very innovative scent, the first gourmand aromatic fragrance from L’OCCITANE, absolutely addictive.’ Talking about the inspiration for composing the scent, Calice describes the Golden Hour as the time ‘…when the light is at its most beautiful. It is also when scents are at their height.’
Perfumers
And so what does it smell like? Well, close your eyes, imagine the setting sun still warm on your skin (move closer to the fire or add another layer of clothing, if necessary!) and let us take you to the glowing fields of Provence…

Aromatically zesty from the first spritz, there’s almost a sigh of delight as the fizz of bergamot and pink pepper suddenly melts into the true heart of honey infused with lavender and balanced by the milky freshness of acacia blossoms, the almond-like nuttiness of tonka beans and the balsamic warmth of the earthier base. Perfectly evoking that moment when the day slips impercitibly to dusk, it’s the sensation of contemplative contentment while sitting on a hay bale, having romped barefoot in flower meadows and paddled in cool streams. Deliciously revivifying and fragrantly soothing all at once, we bet you can’t wait to try it…
…And on that note, we suggest [*wink wink*] that you keep your eyes peeled for an exciting announcement, for you could be one of the first people to Discover Terre de Lumière with us. [*hint hint*]
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Acqua di Parma serves sun-seekers a dose of Italian luxury in new Miami boutique

Jet-setters chasing the sun in Miami – and those lucky enough to live there – can now revel in the luxurious surroundings of Acqua di Parma’s newely opened boutique. Designed to evoke the spacious elegance of a stylish Italian home, the 1,000 square foot space boasts a sleekly luxurious interior outfitted with the brand’s signature style – Calacatta marble contrasts with dark Wenge wood to highlight the famous Acqua di Parma yellow of the walls. At the heart of the store, a huge leather-covered pyramid showcases bottles of the brand’s most famous and timeless Colonia fragrances.
Acqua di Parma Boutique Miami - Interior
Fans of the brand need not confine themselves to trying the Colognes and body products, as the much-ancipated barbershop provides gentlemen with original barber’s chairs in a devoted area that evokes all the traditional charm of a classical Italian barbershop, of course finished with the flawless contemporary touches for which the brand are known. Shaving and skincare products from their Collezione Barbiere have been created to accompany each phase of this ritual performed – you will be glad to hear – by an expert barber for a truly hands-on Acqua di Parma experience.
Located in the prestigious Brickell City Centre – right in the heart of Miami and one of the city’s most desirable zipcodes – it’s sure to become a must-visit for fragrance fanatics and style-seekers. And of course Acqua di Parma offer the perfect cooling scents to spritz if the temperature gets too steamy.
Acqua di Parma Boutique Miami - Colonia's
‘We selected Miami as our first city due to its international recognition in art, design and culture which are values that define the essence of Acqua di Parma,’ explained Giovanni Lepori, President North America. ‘With events such as Art Basel and Design Miami we knew this was a city we wanted to be a part of.’
We rather see ourselves wafting about in a silk maxi dress while wearing their Arancia di Capri – an aromatically uplifting blend of orange, mandarin, and lemon essential oils with the sparkle of petit grain infused by cardamon and resting on a base of sweetly smooth musk. In fact, yes, book us the plane tickets now, please!
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Acqua di Parma Arancia di Capri from £64 for 75ml
Buy it at Acqua di Parma

Fume Chat podcast's fragrant predictions for 2017…

To roll in the New Year, fragrance experts, friends and now regular Fume Chat ‘podcasters’ (think of podcasts as radio shows you can listen to online, if you’re new to the term!) Nick Gilbert and Thomas Dunkley (aka The Candy Perfume Boy) decided to look ahead to all things fragrant for 2017 and ponder on the perfumes we’ll all be using in the months to come.
In this sixth episode, the fragrant twosome muse on questions including…
– Who will release a perfume in a bottle of their face?

– Will oud ever die?
– What scent can be described as ‘Rosa Dentata’?

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[Photo via Olfactaria’s Travels perfume blog, showing Nick and Thomas on a previous perfume-sniffing outing…]
Presented in their trademark down-to-earth but entirely knowledgable way, it’s a great listen (as always!) and we think their friendly discussions definitely encourage an ever-growing list of perfumes to seek out and try for yourselves.
We suggest you settle down with a cup of tea, put your feet up and listen to the episode here. You can catch up with any shows you may have missed, too!
Written by Suzy Nightingale

New Year, new you? If you're stuck in a scent rut, here's how to break free…

We’ve all done it. Clung like a limpet to a favourite fragrance because a loved one told us we smelled wonderful, or we happened to be wearing it on a particularly auspicious day and have come to believe it was blessed by the gods – but would you wear your favourite outfit every single day, whether rushing to work, attending a glamorous party or travelling to an exotic location in?  You might adore a particular food, but would you want to eat the same meal for the rest of your life?
There’s nothing wrong in having a ‘signature scent’ per se – something you’re known for wearing and family members can smile as they smell – but constantly wearing the same fragrance can mean you get so used to it that you actually stop smelling it properly. Your nose becomes so attuned to that same old scent that it ‘skips’ over those once-glorious notes and moves on to more exciting things in your environment.
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Perhaps you’re a little nervous about what to try – the choice these days can be completely overwhelming (even for us!) so you have our sympathy. But never fear. We have an ingenious way of gently nudging you out of your comfort zone and in to a whole new world of fragrant discoveries…
There’s no need to ditch that favourite altogether – simply type the name of it in to our Fragrance Editor program (named FR.eD for short) and it will whizz through thousands of possibilities to pick six new perfumes for you try!
The really clever thing is, these aren’t merely based on similar notes to your favourite fragrance, but emotions and words used in the briefs perfumers were given when creating them.
There’s a brand new favourite – maybe even several scents – out there with your name on it, just waiting for you to take the first spritz…
Whatever you choose, everyone here at The Perfume Society wishes you a very Happy New Year!
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Fragrance families: do you know your 'chypre' from your 'fougere'?

What the giddy aunt is a ‘chypre‘?
Not exactly the most immediately evocative word to get your head around when describing a type of fragrance, but that’s what we’ve been landed with and so that’s what we continue to say. But how many people outside the world of perfumery could tell you what it actually means?
When touring the country talking to perfume lovers across the UK, our co-founders Jo Fairley and Lorna McKay asked this very question just to see, and out of the many hundreds who came to see them, only a couple of people put their hand up to venture an answer. Explains Jo, ‘…chypre is widely acknowledged as the most sophisticated (and beautiful) of fragrance families – and it’s a term the perfume world certainly believes is understood by all and sundry.’
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In fact, we dedicated an entire feature in our magazine, The Scented Letter, just to explaining the mysteries surrounding this scent category – so clearly something is amiss and requires further explanation. Indeed, there are all sorts of terms bandied about in perfumery that baffle the best of us at times. And what’s more – nobody entirely agrees on the ‘rules’ of which perfumes belong in which fragrance family at all.
What about Fougere, Ambrée or Gourmand, Woody and Floriental – where to begin…?
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Well, we’ve put together a handy guide to some of the most frequently used fragrance families, with a brief history of their evolution and some iconic examples of perfumes to try in those categories, to see which family you are most frequently drawn to and perhaps discover some new ones to try. So why not get your nose stuck in and give it a go?
Written by Suzy Nightingale