Beyond the Pale

Lily of the Valley: A French Love Story

Yesterday evening, whilst perusing my favourite perfume site, I came across an intriguing competition to win Andy Tauer‘s latest perfume to launch – Carillion pour un ange.

The competition was to submit a memory/story/poem or drawing inspired by Lily of the Valley – some of which may be used in a forthcoming publishing collaboration for charity, between Tauer and the wonderful niche perfume-pimpers, LuckyScent.

Andy Tauer shared his own very moving story from his memories and long-term love of Lily of the Valley, which you should definitely go and read on Fragrantica: A Moment with Lily of the Valley.

I always find it deeply fascinating to find what inspired a perfume’s creation, or someone’s love of a particular note. Everyone has their own story – maybe you should share yours and get involved with the project?

Well anyway, duly, I submitted. It was a short story dashed (and I do mean dashed) off on my iPhone, of all mediums. I found the theme inspiring, and writing it on a phone’s note facility seemed more informal, less daunting, somehow, than sitting before the ever-blinking cursor of doom on a PC or laptop.

Anyway, it begins…

The shock of perfection, the white bells shivering in the old fashioned bud vase, so incongruously placed there on the butcher’s block. Wiping her hands on the long striped apron she had nearly become used to, she plucked at the little card accompanying the mysterious bunch of Lily of the Valley.

I wasn’t entirely disgusted with the result, and you may read the rest of it here, should you so wish. [Scroll right down to the comments section and read the entry by Miss_Nightingale].

Lily of the Valley bouquet by Chiana Wedding Flowers

‘Tis a mere whimsical tale, but I hope you aren’t completely engulfed with nausea, at least. 🙂

The Fragrantica competition is now closed – I wasn’t lucky enough to win a bottle of the magical perfume, sadly – but you may still be part of the community book-writing project (see the end of this post for more details).

Warming to the theme, I have created a Treasury of items related to my story and the original inspiration of Lily of the Valley. I always spend a long time choosing items for my themed collections here, and this one was no exception. I’m quite pleased with the finished selection, it conjurs up some of the feelings I wanted to convey.

I do hope you enjoy browsing through these treasures – click the larger individual pictures to be whisked directly to that item’s page…

One of the first things I found to better illustrate my theme was this delicate, almost ghostly fine art photograph by Judy Stalus. I should love to have a dressing room and decorate it in these colours, with this photograph framed on the table beside my perfumes.*le sigh*

Lily of the Valley Photograph, by Judy Stalus: $17

Next to be discovered was the somehow (I think) very French looking simple linen dress by Pamela Tang. It’s the sort of dress that’s difficult to place in time, beautifully cut and with an elegance all of its own. It doesn’t have to try too hard.

Linen Dress, by Pamela Tang: $120

Almost any flower would look wonderful in this darling little bud vase from The Lovelys vintage shop, don’t you think? I should like it on the kitchen windowsill – the light behind the green would be very cheering in a world where the washing-up fairies never come to visit.

Vintage Green Glass Bud Vase, from The Lovelys: $9.50

This photograph of a tree-lined walk in Paris by the very talented Chelsea Victoria, brings back vivid memories of childhood holidays in France. I think it’s the perspective, with the tunnel of trees filling the sky above you, it almost looks like a child’s-eye view. So evocative, I love it!

Walking Through Paris, by Chelsea Victoria: $24

For years afterwards, I would shout “Tunnel of trees!” excitedly, whenever we walked or drove through such a formation. I cannot account for this, but can only tell you that I still get the urge, now.

One day I shall just blurt it out, I’m sure, much to the chagrin of the silver-haired fiance and various family members who are, one supposes, already twitching to get their hands on the key to the attic.

There is something tremendously appealing about bakers/butchers twine. I particularly like this minty green colour way by California Craft: Very thrifty chic when used to tie a gift-wrapped package, very romantic but unfussy when used to tie bundles of love letters. And of course you do have bundles to tie, I am sure, dearie. You look the type.

25 Yards of Bakers Twine, from California Craft: $1.99

If I had these exquisite little ‘Come What May’ shoe clips by Kate’s Cottage, I would spend the entire day looking down at my shoes and making joyful squealing sounds. And possibly bumping into things. Adorable for bridesmaids, too!

'Come What May' Lily of the Valley Nest Shoe Clips, by Kate's Cottage: $18

The wonderful Lantern photograph from Escape Monotony is another deeply evocative scene from memories of my holidays as a child – such wonderful colours. I can imagine running up that street in my patent shoes, my mother wearily calling out for me not to scuff them, craning my head back to better see the lanterns, cramming pieces of still-warm bread into my mouth. Happy memories. 🙂

The Lantern - Anercy, by Escape Monotony: $13

I’ve sure I featured Go Buggy Go‘s chicken pillow in a treasury some time ago, but I had to include this green piggy one, which I am sure is something Clara would want in her house. 🙂 I just love the line in the description that warns, “please do not use this as a guideline to butcher your meat or for exams.”

Pig Meat Chart Decorative Pillow, by Go Buggy Go: $36

This cherub goats milk soap by Dreams of Long Island almost looks too lovely to use (though I wouldn’t be able to resist it to get at the foamy scented goodness) and will look darling in your bathroom. Such a dreamy colour, too.

Lily of the Valley Cherub soap, by Dreams of Long Island: $3.50

Oh, this collection from Maria Marrese is like something you’d find on your grandmother’s dressing table – a wonderful old box and vintage perfume bottles – they would make a lovely display in your boudoir, I’m sure. There’s something so romantic about old perfume bottles – you wonder who wore the fragrances and why they chose them. Did they meet the love of their life whilst wearing one of those perfumes?

Vintage Box & Perfumes, from Maria Marrese: $15

I am so in love with these tiny little crocheted Lily of the Valley embellishments by Vivian Nicole Designs! I can see these adding instant appeal to a plain cashmere cardi, or sewn onto otherwise dull fabric buttons. SO cute, and such great detail.

Set of 3 Crocheted Lily of the Valley, by Vivian Nicole Designs: $6.95

Pieces that are of daily, practical use and also happen to be beautifully executed pieces of art, are fairly rare in this throw-away, buy-another age. This fantastic handmade wooden butcher’s block/cutting board by DaKine79 is one of them. Who wouldn’t want this wonderful item in their kitchen? I would treasure it every single time I cut a slice of bread.

End Grain Butcher's Block, by DaKine79: $59

Such a pretty and whimsical piece, that and one that could be easily worn today (especially when serving tea & cupcakes to the vicar), this vintage apron from 2nuttygirlz shop also has a French look about it, somehow. Nostalgic and lovely. 🙂

Crisp White Vintage Apron, from 2nuttygirlz: £9.50

I absolutely adore all the designs at Vintage Valise, but this sweet top was perfect for my theme – girly and whimsical without looking childish or too dress-up to be worn every day and by any age, if you know what I mean. I would absolutely wear this with my favourite old pair of jeans and my faithfully battered Converse. Add a large pair of sunglasses, twist your hair into a hasty chignon, pick up a basket and off you go to market. Seriously covet.

Victorian Cupcake Top, by Vintage Valise: $47

Vintage buttons find a new home at Letter Perfect Designs, where they are reworked into the most glorious designs and sewn onto pillows. Utterly scrumptious and highly desirable – the letter ones would be a really unique gift for a newly married couple, I think (or for anyone!)

'Oui' Pillow with Vintage Mother of Pearl Buttons, by Letter Perfect Designs: $55

My final pick for this selection is this simply delightful Lily of the Valley headband by VaVaRa. Perfect for a bride (or bridesmaid) at a Victorian themed wedding, I think – they were very big on the Language of Flowers. You could also wear this to a tea party, or just to pop to the supermarket, were you so inclined. And I very much think you should be!

Lily of the Valley Headband, by VaVaRa: $27

I do hope you enjoyed seeing my selection, and don’t forget to submit your own story, poem or piece of artwork to Andy Tauer, for possible inclusion in the charity publication. Again, the rules and further information can be found here (at the end of the article):

Good luck!

Until next time, mon chéri

Miss Nightingale


3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

What a lovely blog. Romantic, elegant. Thank you so much for featuring my lily of the valley photo.

Comment by Judy Stalus

Suzy…everything is just beautiful! Perfect for a Paris Holiday! Thank you so much for adding my soap to your blog…it means so much to me!

Comment by Lori Cothren

[…] Lily of the Valley shoe clips by Cate’s Cottage found on Beyond the Pale […]

Pingback by A Faery Tale | PosyRosy

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