Perfume was so sickly that teacher had asthma attack

New commercial life is sprouting in Copnor Road

VERITY LUSH: Green shoots of recovery sprouting in northern Portsmouth

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I concocted my first fragrance at the tender age of four and three-quarters, running riot in my mother’s prize-winning rose blooms.

Mum was a keen gardener and my childhood garden was filled with every flower, fruit and vegetable you could ever imagine.

The flower beds were an abundance of tangy citric marigolds, sweet violets and the heady scent of jasmine creeping up over a rustic archway (which led into an orchard of apple and plum trees, strawberries, raspberries and other fruity delights).

But my favourite flower has always been the rose. We had quite a few bushes that had previously been in my great grandmother’s garden, with posh names such as Queen Elizabeth, Superstar and Blue Moon.

I used to grab handfuls of the velvety petals, vigorously stuffing them into jam jars and Tupperware before ‘borrowing’ mum’s expensive bottle of Chanel from her dressing table to add to the mixture.

The process was completed by a few squirts of Fairy Liquid. ‘Eau De Ashley’ was created.

Then I trundled down to my garden gate and hung around waiting for passing dog-walkers and grannies to sell my scent to for the princely sum of tuppence.

I never made much, just enough to get a sweet 10 penny chew mix at the Bacon House corner shop in my road.

My first real perfume was an Avon one called Pretty Peach. Unfortunately, most of the girls in my junior school wore it and the aroma was so sickly that one of the teachers had an asthma attack. After that we were all banned from wearing it.

The next parfum encounter I had was in my teens with my cousin’s bottle of Charlie. It will always be special to me as I wore it when I had my first proper kiss.

Later I had a brief, passionate summer fling with Lou Lou until the then boyfriend said it reminded them of toilet cleaner.

Over the years I’ve been kept in smellies by family and friends via Christmas and birthday gifts. Occasionally I’ll splash out on a bottle because its shape has wooed me, such as the va-va voom sexy one from Jean-Paul Gaultier.

Now all I need is my best lippy, jeans and the right man to accompany them.