Some of the most bizarre and ridiculous ads on TV at this time of year are the highly stylised mini movies aimed at enticing us to purchase our loved ones expensive perfume or after shave/cologne.

Warning – here comes a bit of a rant!

I hate perfume. To my sensitive and sophisticated nose, perfumes are an aberration. Nature does scent far more beautifully than we mere men and women ever could. Think of the smell of an old rose, of lavender or of lilac… sublime fragrances that are pure and natural and blissfully beautiful. Now think of running the gauntlet through the cosmetic department of a large store – keeping speed up and eyes downward muttering “no thanks, no thanks” as very startled looking ‘consultants’ in white uniforms proffer a spray of Poison or Opium.

Ok – I have just read that paragraph back and it sounds very ’80s. Do department stores still do that kind of thing? Do Poison and Opium still exist? Have they been relegated to granny presents yet? Anyway you get the picture.

“So”, I hear you ask “what perfume do you wear?” I don’t. No siree. Perfume makes me sneeze, makes my eyes water and I am sure interferes with the delicate balance of energies in my aura!

But that said I do have a signature smell! Oh yes, I douse myself liberally at least once a day in Spanish cologne! Not baby cologne.. oh no, only the real deal which is found in Spanish supermarkets where it costs a few Euros for a huge litre bottle. For evening wear or when I want to feel a bit glamorous I sparingly use a bottle of magic scent I had specially made up for me in Glastonbury some years ago. Ahh Glastonbury – hippie heaven where they know all about protecting ones aura!

Anyway I do believe that smells are important; on ourselves and in our homes. As anyone who has tried to sell a house knows, the enticing smells at home are that of baking and freshly brewed coffee. Being the Domestic Goddess that I am, I am happy to report that those aromas do regularly infuse my living space.

For other times, I use natural aromatherapy oils in a burner or scented candles. “Scented candles” I hear you say. Oh yes but not just any scented candles – oh no. There is a high degree of discernment required in the purchase of scented candles. Proper natural scented candles don’t generally come very cheap, they are not usually in jars with lids or as plug ins or yokes that spurt every time you walk past. No, my dear readers, scented candles must be of high quality in order to enhance your home. They should add to the sensitive aura of our living spaces and not function to blanket the air in headache inducing chemical fug.

I am glad to say that there is one brand of candles that I love, that gently whisper their natural fragrance and therefore do not interfere with the aura of my home. These candles are Irish and made in Wicklow and are marketed under the name of Max Benjamin. As I type these words there is a gentle hint of cinnamon and cloves in the air from the flickering jar in the corner. Perfectly complimenting the flickering lights on the Christmas Tree and making me want some mulled wine…

Max Benjamin’s latest product is a range of handwash, shower gel and body lotions and the nice people at the company (knowing how much I love their stuff) have given me a couple of samples to give away. So leave a comment telling me what your favourite scent is and why and I will pick two winners at random on Friday.

For more information on Max Benjamin check out their website.

In the meantime – is anyone off to Spain soon? My stock of cologne is running dangerously low!