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Self-care Diaries: Marija Aslimoska, the perfumer wearing perfume everyday in lockdown


by Holly O'Neill
03rd Jun 2020

How Parfumarija founder and creative director Marija Aslimoska is spending her time in lockdown


Self-care doesn’t mean you have to be a kundalini yogi, have mastered meditation or achieved nirvana. Even the most minute act done for yourself, from wearing bright lipstick to making yourself a cup of tea, has the power to turn your whole day around. There is no right way to do it. So we’re asking women during this period of isolation to tell us about the joyful moments in their days, be it a beauty product or a Netflix series.

Today’s self-care diary comes Marija Aslimoska. She is a classically trained perfumer, the founder and creative director of Parfumarija, the niche perfumery in the Westbury Mall, and the owner of your dream wardrobe.

Here, she describes, in scents of course, how she’s spending her lockdown.

Marija at home

Where are you self isolating at the moment?
I have been self-isolating in Dublin along with my two daughters and my husband. Dublin is also the city where I had the very last hand shake with another person. For some reason this moment is so vivid in my head at present and I think about this often.

What is your daily routine consisting of while in quarantine?
Can I describe it in scents? I am woken up every morning by the smell of curls by my daughters sneaking into the bed. The small reminds me of feathers and caramel. My husband usually goes first to the kitchen and makes coffee. The smell climbs into our bedroom and invites me to come down for breakfast. I make a big breakfast only on the weekend but during the week I snack an acai bowl with lots of healthy toppings and almond butter. Home schooling has been the smell of pencil sharpeners and watercolours. While we learn I like to make some nice snacks out of fruits or we make chocolate chip cookies. Many times in this self isolation I have preteneded that baking was actually part of the homeschooling program, you know, The Homework. So we get dusty and instead of our mid morning snack we lick spoons of dough. From 2 till 5 pm every day, after some negotiation at the very beginning of the self isolation with my husband (probably the best thing I ever negotiated), we made a deal that these three hours everyday will be only for me and I get to be alone. I love what I do and the connection to perfume and our small perfume business has been of vital importance to me in keeping positive and staying focused on the half full glass in these past weeks. So you could find me either having phone calls with clients, packing online orders, responding to emails, reading a book or playing in my perfume lab, working and smelling some new accord. After this Me time, I face the final part of the day which means the smell of spices in the air as I make dinner and bath time for the girls. In the evenings we just relax with a good cup of tea, or glass of wine, some tv show and the smell of my favourite Santa Maria Novella candle – Rose.

Marija at home

How are you dressing while working from home?
A few years ago I started impulse buying a lot of silk pyjama sets from Susan Hunter in the Westbury Mall. While before they were mainly a vanity purchase, right now they have become my most beloved and comfortable daily wear. They will all have to be replaced after quarantine (read above about baking as The Homework) but have proven to be the most cash worthy investment I have made clothes wise in this time.

Are you working out or moving your body while at home?
I am a total Bodypump junkie. I discovered this program while living in Zurich a couple of years ago and love how it has transformed my body. So I have now bought online access to their classes, and with two Evian bottles sellotaped together I do it twice a week on demand in my living room, much to a disbelief to anyone around.

How are you engaging with self-care at the moment?
Having the ‘Me’ time in the afternoons has been the most important thing for my self-care and by this I mean, staying mentally strong. Apart from this I have gone back to drinking collagen capsules (do they actually work?) and have continued to perform my daily morning and night care routine perhaps a little bit better and more religiously. Exercise and listening to lots of music.

How are you staying creative?
This is an area I wish I was better at but given the circumstances I really should not be too down on myself. I have mainly focused on engaging whatever resources are available right now and improve all those little everyday things about Parfumarija which I wish I had done before but there was never enough time. So we have just bought the artwork of an Irish artist for our brand new Parfumarija bags with a completely new look. We are working on a new website and I have been working on some formulas that will perhaps see the light of the day some time soon.

What’s bringing you joy right now?
Flowers and art. The few times I have actually been able to source and get fresh flowers during this quarantine time has been the best feeling. A luxury, I know, but this little frivolity has meant the world to me. My husband and I also have a very small art collection at home. I’ve found great joy in swapping places of the art on the walls and enjoying the paintings with the different light and surroundings. Doing this, some days it has made me feel like living in a different house all together.

What’s been your favourite thing to eat while stuck at home?
Lindt milk chocolate with whole big hazelnuts… I normally don’t eat many sweet things but since lockdown, I am sure the Lindt factory in Switzerland has noticed increased demand in exports to Ireland, driven by solely by me.

Inside Marija’s personal perfume collection

What beauty product are you enjoying using the most at this time?
Perfume. In normal circumstances when going to Parfumarija, I don’t apply perfume as this will add to all the other smells that we usually spray in the shop. To keep my nose sharp and not tired when dealing with customers, I have slowly stopped putting perfume on myself. But what a delight in this lockdown – I may not brush my hair or I may forget to put on a serum on my face, but putting on perfume makes me feel good instantly. I have been only wearing perfumes to please me at home, as opposed to wearing perfume to have it liked and appreciated by others.

Main photograph by Zsofia Pataki. Featured photography by @perfumistress.

Read more Self-Care Diaries here. 

Read more: Self-care Diaries: Zoë Taylor, the Chanel ambassador and make-up artist baking tarts with glowy skin

Read more: Self-care Diaries: Courtney Smith, the stylist self-isolating in cashmere sets

Read more: Self-care Diaries: Sofia Schwarzkopf-Tilbury, the make-up artist and right-hand woman to Charlotte Tilbury who loves crystals