One of the best biographies I’ve read this year – and I have read more this year than probably any previously, including the three years I worked on the biography desk at Waterstone’s and read biographies all day – was Frances Osborne’s The Bolter. The book is the story of Idina Sackville; a beautiful, fascinating, but ultimately tragic socialite who lived it up in Kenya in the 1920s. As you can see, it ticks all my boxes. Her cousin was Vita Sackville-West, added bonus. You can read the Daily Mail’s really tasteful review of the book here, but I’d suggest you read this one instead, it doesn’t use the word ‘slapper’.
Idina’s life (and multiple marriages) are so fascinating, it’s no surprise that there have been numerous fictional characters inspired by her. Both Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh based characters on her, while the films White Mischief and A Woman of Affairs are also loosely based on her and her pals. Scandalous as Idina’s life was, I also found her story fairly tragic. It’s a dead good read, but kind of easy going enough that you could happily read on holiday, beer in hand, nachos propped on your beer belly.
ANYWAY… Who would have thought Idina would inspire a candle, of all things, 55 years after her death? How remarkable! You can only imagine my sheer delight when I read on British Beauty Blogger today that swanky home fragrance brand Jonathan Ward London is launching a candle in September called Idina’s Locket. Apparently it’s inspired by Idina’s first wedding to David Wallace – more usually known by his middle name, Euan. Although Idina married five times more, when she died it was a picture of Euan that they found on her bedside table. Enduring love! The romance!
According to the rt honorable BBB, the candle smells of, “Powdery rose, cut with soft amber and gentle pepper.” Sounds delightful, and definitely hints of Idina’s anglicised Kenyan home ‘Clouds’. The book describes in some depth the masses of roses Idina planted in the grounds of her African mountain home, as well as the swathes decorating the inside, perhaps bringing a little English countryside to her exotic retreat…
Picture c/o BBB and Jonathan Ward London Facebook