Monday 1 May 2023


A picture of Cath Kidston-Padgham taken by Gem Hall

There are few people whose name has become a brand in itself, but Cath Kidston-Padgham is definitely one of that illustrious group. With one successful business behind her, and her latest C.Atherley range of geranium-inspired products destined to become 2023’s most desired body products, I thought it was time to coax her from the greenhouse and discover her own scented secrets during “Stephan’s Six”.

What is the first smell that you can remember?
Where we lived there was a courtyard outside our kitchen, and there were these tubs of geraniums. Well my mum taught me how to squeeze the leaves of those geraniums to release the smell. As a kid I spent hours outdoors, and I remember learning about lavender and rosemary, but geraniums will always be a huge association with being small. It’s also the memory of learning to smell plants as well as look at them.

Doutzen Kroes posing with a bottle of Joy by Jean Patou
What perfumes did your mum and dad wear?
I don’t remember my dad having a fragrance, although I do remember he liked Wiberg’s Pine Bath Essence, but my mum loved Joy by Jean Patou. I haven’t smelled it for years, but I must smell it again, and just thinking about it brings back so many memories of when I was young. It usually meant she was going out somewhere, so that’s my memory of her fragrance.

What was your biggest perfume mistake?
It seems the only time I used try a new fragrance was at the airport, and choosing something if you’re in a hurry and haven’t really got time is a minefield. You know that feeling of having to find something new? I’ve bought so many that I then don’t use, so I try not to do it now. So that would be my biggest mistake, airport fragrance shopping.

You can only choose one perfume?
My go to fragrance is by Diptyque, and it’s 34 Boulevard St Germain. I find it hard to describe the scent. It’s pretty without being too floral and has the perfect balance for me. It's the fragrance I am most familiar with and, because my husband gives it to me regularly, it also has a sentimental value.

Advert for Miss Dior by Dior
What was the perfume of your twenties?
I think at that age it would definitely have been Miss Dior, but I was always very sparing with it even then. I always have been, and still am, awfully nervous about putting on too much fragrance. It’s because a friend of my mum’s would often wear so much perfume that you would know if she was somewhere before you even saw her. I don’t think she had a very good sense of smell to be honest, and we often wondered whether she was wearing bath essence because it was so strong, but she was very nice. So I’ve always been very careful not to be a walking flowerbed.

What perfume should I try?
Well, it’s not actually a perfume, but I’d say to try the Nourishing Oil in my new C.Atherley range. It’s been a real labour of love creating the Geranium No.1 scent, which is in all of the products, but the oil is my favourite from the whole collection because it has the most intense. With fragrance, you want different concentrations for the various products so that they can all be enjoyed. The Hand Wash for example is more delicate, so it isn’t overpowering, but the scent in the Bath Oil and Bath Salts is stronger. My favourite though is still the Nourishing Oil.

The full C.Atherley range can be purchased through the website at, and you can also read my review of the debut Geranium No.1 collection by clicking on the image below. [Photograph of Cath Kidston-Padgham © Gem Hall]

Jar of C.Atherley Geranium No.1 Bath Salts

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