Smell of the Day: Banksia Seed Pod Aromatherapy Egg

Smell of The Day is about noticing and appreciating the smells around me. Just one smell. It might be a perfume, a fragrant flower, the odour of something cooking, an unpleasant smell. All smells are equal. All smells are interesting. All smells affect us. Smell of The Day posts will feature one smell that made an impact on me that day.

egg

Banksia seed pod aromatherapy egg

It’s been a stressful couple of weeks. I’ve been unwell for some time with a seemingly untreatable eye infection which makes doing anything vision-oriented (which is everything) difficult. To top it off, our cat got attacked by a feral cat a week ago and has been recovering from multiple wounds and abscesses since then. She’s finally pulling through, and I feel like my eyes might be improving too, so we all had a lovely peaceful time last night and finally got the sleep we needed.

I’m celebrating these small victories and unwinding from the stress by taking it easy today: pottering around the house, rearranging knick-knacks and paintings in the house, mindfully tidying. In the process I was reminded of this lovely hand-turned banksia seed pod “egg”, given to me by a dear friend last summer when she was staying with us. As a follower of my blog and someone interested in all things sensorial herself, she knew that this wonderful little smell-diffusing object would appeal to me.

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Smell of the Day: Homemade Bread

Homemade bread

Homemade bread

Smell of The Day is about noticing and appreciating the smells around me. Just one smell. It might be a perfume, a fragrant flower, the odour of something cooking, an unpleasant smell. All smells are equal. All smells are interesting. All smells affect us. Smell of The Day posts will feature one smell that made an impact on me that day.

Smell of the Day: Homemade Bread

Yesterday Olly Technic, my partner in crime, made bread. It’s a recent obsession of his. Olly’s always been a mad connoisseur of bread, beer, and all things yeasted, but recently has immersed himself in the art of making bread, thanks to the discovery of James Morton’s book Brilliant Bread in a local remainder book shop a couple of weeks ago. So yesterday, with Olly making a wholemeal wheat loaf, the house smelt of bread for four hours.

First, the measuring and mixing stage, during which the scent of dusty, grainy wheat flour predominates. The yeast and salt are dry until the water is added, and don’t really permeate the air as smells yet. Once the water is added and the yeast is left to do its microbial thing, the smells of salt and yeast fill the kitchen, fungal and wet, slightly funky, a bit cheesy. Through the various stages of rising and shaping the smell of yeast gets wetter and stronger. Finally, the baking of the bread, and a smell so good, so toasty, warm, a tad salty and reeking of nourishment, that I want to devour the whole loaf.

Smell of the Day: Almond Blossom

almond_blossom

Almond Blossom

Smell of The Day is about noticing and appreciating the smells around me. Just one smell. It might be a perfume, a fragrant flower, the odour of something cooking, an unpleasant smell. All smells are equal. All smells are interesting. All smells affect us. Smell of The Day posts will feature one smell that made an impact on me that day.

Smell of the Day: Almond Blossom

The old almond trees are now in full bloom. The weather oscillates between winter and spring: sun, rain and wind alternate rapidly. The almond blossom covers the tree in little white balls and an intoxicating, buttery, honey-like vapour radiates out for metres around. Hundreds of bees visit the blossoms, happily drunk on the sweet nectar. Their buzzing vibrates my eardrums. I want to lie on the grass and look up at the blue skies through the trees, but it’s still too cold. Already the wind and rain are blowing the blossoms off the tree. It snows blossom petals and they will soon be gone, but spring will soon be here.

Smell of the Day: Peach Blossom

Peach blossom

Peach blossom

Smell of The Day is about noticing and appreciating the smells around me. Just one smell. It might be a perfume, a fragrant flower, the odour of something cooking, an unpleasant smell. All smells are equal. All smells are interesting. All smells affect us. Smell of The Day posts will feature one smell that made an impact on me that day.

Smell of the Day: Peach Blossom

It’s late winter, and this year it’s been the kind of long, cold winter that I hope will end soon. Today I went for a walk in the cold, rugged up so much that I could barely move in multiple layers and my knee-length down coat. With wind chill the temperature was a brisk 2º celsius. I know that some parts of the world get much colder, but for a girl raised in sunny South Australia, 2 degrees is a shock to the system. The walk was challenging and cold, yet uplifting and energising. To reward myself at the end of it, I grabbed the secateurs and cut myself three stems of newly opened blossom from the old peach tree.

Peach blossom

Peach blossom

Blossom is so beautiful – leafless stems dotted with clumps of flowers, both in bloom and still in bud – it creates a kind of instant, effortless Ikebana in the vase. I couldn’t resist placing them on top of my piano with my Japanese kokeshi dolls. Blossom reminds me of Japan, of the Hanami cherry blossom festivals held there in spring, and of Ukiyo-e woodblock prints.

Peach blossom

Peach blossom and kokeshis

Peach blossom smells like honey. It’s sweet, almost in a sickly way. The smell is strong and as I sniff the blossom deeply my nose intuitively pulls back, feeling drunk with the pleasure of this overwhelming and narcotic scent, and perhaps anticipating a sneeze. The smell reminds me of sugar syrup bubbling on the stove, waiting to be made into tooth-breaking toffee. If I sniff a little less deeply, I detect a scent a little like that of sweet hay, grassy and dry. Peach blossom reminds me that the bees will soon arrive and harvest the precious, deliriously sweet pollen from this very tree. It makes me happy and reminds me that winter will soon be over. Peach blossom is the promise of spring in a vase.

Smell of The Day: Smells Like Teen Spirit

pina_colada

Smell of The Day is about noticing and appreciating the smells around me. Just one smell. It might be a perfume, a fragrant flower, the odour of something cooking, an unpleasant smell. All smells are equal. All smells are interesting. All smells affect us. Smell of The Day posts will feature one smell that made an impact on me that day.

Smell of The Day: Smells Like Teen Spirit

We live in the country now, and every time I go back to the city to visit I find it exciting. The noise, people, lights, colour, smells, and food are very stimulating, but after a couple of days it overwhelms me, and I yearn for the quiet and space of the country again. One recent afternoon on a tram ride in the city, a group of boisterous teenage school girls got on, sitting close to me, surrounding me. Giggling constantly, as I once did, talking about boys, as I once did, and generally being too loud, too energetic and too annoying, as I once was. I remember those days clearly and I still yearn for them, while at the same time I’m happy to have left them behind for a calmer place, both in the world and in myself.

Sitting there, amusedly observing their behaviour, my nostrils are suddenly filled with an intense aroma-bomb of coconut. My memory takes me straight back to early childhood and to a day at the beach in 1980. Women clad in crocheted string bikinis baste themselves with Le Tan, a coconut-scented tanning oil. A transistor radio plays Computer Games by Mi-Sex. It’s hot and sunny. Suddenly one of the school girls on the tram shrieks: “You idiot, now everyone on the tram can smell your perfume!” She jolts me out of my revery. Hearing the word “perfume” I prick up my ears; no-one ever talks about perfume, let alone sprays it in public. This is intentionally naughty teen behaviour. The perfume-sprayer responds defiantly: “Good, let them all smell it!” and keeps spraying it into the air and onto her friends. Faux tropical fruit follows coconut, completely filling the breathable space around me, as does calone, a nasty melon-like aroma chemical. Instantly I’m transported back to 1990 and I’m 16. I’m drinking a Pina Colada in a tacky basement nightclub with my own school friends, seeking the attention of a man too old for me. Just for thrills. A couple of stops later the school girls collect their belongings together and get off the tram. It takes a few more minutes for the air to clear.  I’m back in 2015 and I can breathe again.