Friday, October 26, 2012

Blog-tober - The Smell of Things

It's Friday, which means that it's list day.

I've struggled for the last few hours, seeing my way through a very boring training course, trying to find an interesting topic to blog on for the day. This writing every day is a hard thing - ultimately rewarding, but hard.

Anyway, after struggling, looking at a heap of websites that gave completely uninspiring ideas for blogs (How I found Jesus? Why I married my spouse? Things to do in Denver when You're Dead...) I came up with this topic.

My favourite smells.

Personally, I think smell is the most underated of our senses. Okay, it lets us know when the milk is off (other than it looks like a bad case of candida), when we need to shower, that somebody's behaviour needs to be modifed when in the lift and when there is a fire. It's interesting that teenage boys appear to have no sense of smell at all - have you ever been into one of their rooms? Ergh.

I know that there are some smells that can invoke memories with the sheer whiff of them. My best example of this is Juicy Fruit chewing gum - one sniff of that and I reckon that my father is behind me.

However, there are smells that bring joy and pleasure - smells that bring back memories - and ultimately give a whole new dimension to life.

So in no order, here are some of my favourite things that I love to smell.

Steak and onions on a barbeque

Is there anything better than the smell of a well cooked barbeque? I'm not talking about sausages charring on an open flame, but a properly cooked piece of steak with some onions doused in beer sizzling along beside them. The onions and beer thing might be something that my step-father does, but he does the best barbeque onions I know. All of this is making me instantly hungry too. And all of these smells go with a light scent of freshly mowed grass, because before my step-dad fires up the barbeque he's normally mowed the grass beforehand - which for him involves sitting on a tractor and using a low-slung slasher. Four acres of lawn means this is a quick and easy alternative.

Sleeping dogs' paws in the morning

This is a strange one, I know, but this is one of the most comforting scents I recognise. It probably stems from the fact that for most of my childhood the dog slept at the end of my bed. Waking up in the morning, the dog would come up for a cuddle, her paws up near my face. It's an earthy, musky, doggy smell - not particularly hygenic and you don't want to think about where those paws have been, but after a night of cleaning and sleep, you like to think that you're not going to catch anything too bad. The smell of dog's paws in the morning reminds me of my bestest friend in the world - Sheba, the dog I owned as a child. Dogs are normally pretty sensitive about their feet too and aren't fond your you sniffing them. There has to be a bit of trust around all this. My sister's dog, Bosley's paws smell exactly the same. It's a hugely relaxing and loving scent for me. Cats paws just don't cut it I'm afraid - I've tried - it's not the same.

Calar lilies

Rarely do I receive flowers, but when I do, lilies appear to be a popular choice. They smell wonderful and that transfers into the flat for days. Lilies are a happy smell. It reminds me of kind and generous friends.

Clean men

Nothing beats the smell of a clean man. If he's clean, he generally doesn't need deodorant or cologne. Still reckon that a clean man is one of the best smells in the world. I do have to put a caveat on this as not all clean men are created equally. I've ditched men because they don't smell or taste right. Samantha from Sex in the City was right. It's a sackable offence.

Then again, you get a good one, one who smells of milk and honey and the sea and sunshine all at once - that one you hang on to.

Anything sweet baking in the oven

One of the greatest things about going to the gym at six in the morning is knowing that Mr Muffin Break is getting everything ready for the day. The first batch of muffins are just about ready to come out of the oven. Butter, sugar, vanilla - bliss. It makes the whole shopping centre smell wonderful.

Cookie Man cookies are my other go to bakery bliss scent. This takes me back to when I was a child and my grandparents would take me to Marion Shopping Centre. On the way home we'd normally stop to get some biscuits - harlequins (they have jubes baked into the middle), Californians and some shortbread. I can't go past them now without thinking of my grandparents. These cookies were served at my aunt's wake last year and I had to mention something to the funeral director, thanking them - as these biscuits I've always associated with joy and love.

As a home baker, I love the smell of the house when I'm making a cake. Is there anything better?


I'm a rose freak. Love them. My regular scents are Jo Malone's Red Roses and Stella McCartney's Rose Absolute - on wearing the former the other week, Merijn said that I smelled like a big lump of Turkish Delight. The other, my normal 'work' perfume gets commented on all the time. Love them both. I can't walk past a rose bush without smelling the roses - this has to be done - doesn't matter what rush I'm in. Roses rock. Wearing that perfume makes me feel like a woman - and a princess - all in one.

Clean, ironed, cotton sheets on a cold night

Line dried, ironed sheets have a scent of their own - you can smell the crispness and the care in them. Everybody knows the feeling of climbing into a freshly made bed with clean sheets - I think that it's the ironing - with a bit of lavender scented linen water, that makes the experience even better.

Davidoff Cool Water for Men

I smell this and I conjure up Lachlan. He's worn this cologne for years - his scent used to be tinged with cigarette smoke and beer, but in recent years the cigarettes have gone and the beer has made way for wine. I was over in England a few years ago and he offered me his jacket - I'd come over unprepared for the English Summer and had few warm clothes. At the time I had one of the worst colds I've ever had and couldn't smell a thing for nearly a month. I was devastated that I couldn't smell his jacket.
My vanilla sugar cannister

Vanilla is up there with rose as a favourite scent. Give me a choice between vanilla and chocolate, vanilla wins hands down every time.

My discovery of vanilla sugar came late. Making is is simple. Buy some castor sugar and vanilla beans. Split the vanilla bean down the middle and place in the sugar. Leave overnight, but the longer the better. Bliss - and it makes great cakes and custard too.

The coffee bag in the minutes after it has been opened

My house has two kinds of coffee - coffee beans and ground coffee. Instant coffee is not found in my house and the use of it is not condoned, just like packet cake mix and frozen pizza (as like fresh brewed coffee, cakes and pizza are easy to make and much better when they're not mass produced.)

A lot of coffee is imbibed in my house - but the best bit of all the coffee drinking is when you open the coffee bag for the first time. The concentrated coffee smell is amazing. Unfortunately it only lasts for about ten minutes before it fades and stales.

Hot buttered rum (or other egg nog / cinnamon / rum variants)

I've been for cocktails, like twice, in the last year - both times choosing a hot buttered rum like concoction. The first time I had this mix of rum, cream, eggs, spice, orange and a few other bits and pieces, I refused to give my glass back to the waiter until I was walking out the door. This mix is as near to Christmas as I will allow myself to enjoy. It just smells decadent and wholesome, all at once.


Kath Lockett said...

I was literally sniffing as I read this most luscious of lists!

Agree re dogs, but I think it's the warm, velvety, almost corn-chip like scent that emanates from their folded up legs after a good snooze.

Bacon - even if I sometimes vaguely consider vegetarianism, this smell always snaps me back.

Petrol - a weird one, but as a kid I loved the smell when Dad was filling up the car.

Chloe perfume - not the poncy new bottle that costs double the price, but the original, 1978 version. Been wearing it for 23 years now!

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

Bacon - sizzling bacon - and sausage!

Lovely smell.