Abercrombie & Fitch First Instinct Fragrance Review

If you’ve ever visited an Abercrombie & Fitch store, tell me this: what’s the first thing you notice when you walk in the door? No, I don’t mean the half naked man strategically loitering at the entrance to entice you in. It’s the smell, isn’t it? The smell of A&F’s original men’s cologne, Fierce, which is so distinctive that I can usually tell if there’s an A&F store within 100 yards just by catching a whiff. It’s a really nice smell – like clean, fresh, manly outdoorsyness all in one. So I’ve always known that Abercrombie make delicious men’s fragrances, but I hadn’t ever tried any of their fragrances for us ladies.

First Instinct is A&F’s newest women’s scent, and it comes in a sleek, simple bottle with a rose gold lid which fits perfectly with the brand. The bottle suggests that the fragrance is subtle, fresh and playful; I think that sums it up perfectly. The scent is inspired by the first moment of attraction; that first spark you feel (like when I first saw the guy at the door in A&F Vegas, maybe?!)

I did wonder if maybe the fragrance would be too ‘young’ for me – very sweet, or fruity, maybe – but that’s not the case at all. With top notes of Magnolia, Grapefruit Zest and Passionfruit, and a sultry Amber base, First Instinct is really light to wear. I’ve been using it over the last couple of weeks and it’s perfect for sunny weekends; not overpowering, but fresh and long lasting.

In keeping with the Abercrombie and Fitch brand, I think this is a fragrance you should have fun outdoors in the sunshine in – ride a bike, cor climb a mountain, maybe? I won’t be climbing any mountains myself, but I will be wearing First Instinct this weekend whilst drinking Prosecco in a beer garden. That’s sort of outdoorsy, isn’t it?

Abercrombie & Fitch First Instinct EDP, from £35 for 30ml.

* Many thanks to the lovely folk at Kenneth Green Associates who provided this fragrance in exchange for my honest review. 

IntuMetrocentre's #IntuFashion Event

Spring /Summer fashion has been creeping it’s way into the shops for a while now. Seeing all those bright colours and floral prints cheers me right up – I’m picturing sunny walks along the coast and sipping Pimms in the garden. Then I remember I live in the North East of England and it’s likely we’ll get approximately 2.5 warm, sunny days between now and October. But still, I can dream (or book a holiday somewhere far, far away). Either way, I make sure I’m prepared for the (2.5 days of) sunshine by buying lots of pretty summer clothes. This is where IntuMetrocentre gives me a hand with some fashion inspo at their #IntuFashion event this week. Running from 27th to 30th April, there’ll be catwalk shows showcasing SS17 collections from the likes of Topshop, House of Fraser, Accessorize, Coast and Primark – something for everyone, basically – with the models strutting their stuff to the latest tunes. So you can legitimately stare at good looking men in shorts and have a little boogie at the same time. Winning!

Stores will be offering discounts throughout the event, too, so you’re actually saving money. Well done, you! You should reward yourself by buying that handbag. Yes, I really should. I mean – you should. You. Yes, that’s what I meant. Seriously, though, this is a great way to save some cash on your summer wardrobe without having to wait until the sales (when summer will be a distant memory) – just pop to the customer service desk and pick up a leaflet for details.

And if you need any more convincing about getting yourself a new summer wardrobe, how about getting rid of stuff you don’t wear (to make room for the new stuff, obvs) and doing a good deed in the process? IntuMetrocentre are working closely with St Oswald’s Hospice this year, and are collecting donations of unwanted clothing. Charity bags can be obtained from the customer service desk and handed in at any St Oswald’s store.

So, seems like it’s settled. I’m ditching a load of clothing that’s cluttering my wardrobe and making way for some new summer threads. I’ve got my eye on anything embroidered, floral or blush pink – check out these picks:

IntuMetrocentre’s SS17 #IntuFashion event runs from Thurs 27th to Sunday 30th April, with catwalk shows taking place regularly in the main town square outside House of Fraser:

     Thursday 27 April: 12pm2pm4pm6pm
Friday 28 April: 12pm2pm4pm6pm
Saturday 29 April: 11am1pm3pm5pm
Sunday 30 April: 11.30am1.30pm3.30pm

 *Thanks to IntuMetrocentre for inviting me to the #intufashion preview event this week. Fabulous as always! x

Andrew McCarthy - My 1980s Dream

I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned my unwavering affection for Andrew McCarthy. For anyone under the age of 35, Andrew (who I shall henceforth refer to as ‘A’) was quite simply the ‘80s actor everyone wanted to go to prom with. At least, he would’ve been if we’d had proms in those days, which we didn’t. But still. Michael J. Fox was too cutesy, Rob Lowe too…something I can’t put my finger on but which frankly made me a little nervy. A was…well, perfect.

If you’ve ever watched St Elmo’s Fire or Pretty in Pink, (and if you haven’t you need to. I mean it) then you’ll know A is the good guy. The dependable, calm, sweet-natured one with the nice face who you just know would never lie to you or let you down. Because even when he does something a little bit cray, it’s actually ok.

Let’s take Mannequin as a case in point (I know you’ve seen it). A, as the character Jonathan, works in a department store and has a penchant for getting off with the window display mannequins. Now, if this went on today it’d be plastered all over the Daily Mail and there’d be uproar on Facebook and the like. I’m sure that even in the ‘80s having relations with plastic dummies was frowned upon, yet, A, aka Jonathan, got away with it. In fact, he didn’t just get away with it – he had people like me wishing we were mannequins, on the off chance he came along, took a liking and whisked us off on the back of his motorbike-thingy (to the prom. This is where the prom fits in). 

And I’m obviously not the only one – read Jenny Colgan’s 2001 novel ‘Looking for Andrew McCarthy’. It was like that book was written for me.

I’d be hard pushed to think of an actor today who gives me the same feels. Often, usually on a Saturday evening whilst cradling a bottle of Prosecco, I’ll watch Mannequin with a heavy heart and tears in my eyes (particularly at the bit where Emmy, the object of Jonathan’s affections, gets rescued from the chipper at the very last second and Starship’s ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now’ starts playing), wondering where A is now. A quick google search confirms he is alive and well, directing (Orange is the New Black, no less) and writing and generally doing things that don’t involve mannequins, so that’s good.

Mannequin is 30 years old this year. This also brings tears to my eyes, for different reasons. But I’ll never forget A – he’ll always have a special place in my heart and every time I hear the opening bars of John Parr’s 1984 hit St Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion), I ache a little at the thought of the imaginary motorbike-thingy ride to the prom that never was.

Someone pass the Prosecco.