The first time I really thought about owning a fragrance was at the age of 11.
My brother and I were visiting my father, who was going to Europe on business, and he asked me if I wanted him to bring me back something.
The fact that he had even asked this question was pretty revolutionary, so I quickly asked if he could bring me some ‘channel perfume’. He laughed derisively and then corrected my pronunciation. I was mortified but it was worth the humiliation when he turned up with a bottle of Chanel No. 5. And so the addiction began.
Intricately related to my love of all things fragrant was my obsession with my nose. For as long as I can remember, I have had an issue with it. It reminded me of my father’s, and every time I thought I had come to terms with it, there would be a sneaky little reminder.
When my children were small – let’s face it, that’s when they are the harshest and truest critics, before they develop filters (oh, who am I kidding, that never happens) – they would say, ‘Mummy, you have a big nose.’ So, even though more thoughtful souls would reassure me that that my nose was ‘fine’, I never really believed them.
I would go for months at a time without thinking of it, and then catch sight of myself at an unflattering angle, or caught like a rabbit in the headlights without my photograph face on.
Remember the days before Instagram filters and angles and the delete button? Whole packets of photos opened and destroyed before anyone caught sight of them.
My son Harrison, up until recently, had the most appalling photo of me on his camera that he refused to delete, often taunting me from his towering height of six foot four, keeping the camera just out of my reach. I can’t begin to describe how bad this picture was; I didn’t even look human. He thought it was hilarious to have this documented evidence; me, not so much.