General Musings · Prompts

An Indoor Smell Safari

Another little post inspired by Susannah Conway‘s courses on senses. We’re looking at smells this week, and I’ve done a quickie version of today’s task.

Indoors because it’s a bit nippy outside (I can’t believe that this is the best that June can muster).

In a hurry because Mike’s being watching the football and has been doing that strange touchy-feeling thing that men do when they’re drunk.  I was partly safari-ing and partly fighting him off…

(He never drinks, so we’ll forgive him this once).

On with the show!


Mike’s shoe rack. It would be unfair to say that it genuinely pongs, but there’s a bit of a whiff a lot of the time.


Vodka – the reason for tonight’s over-affections. This has appeared in the fridge since this morning and is already much-diminished.

When we were in our teens, there was a weird myth that vodka didn’t smell and that we could get away with drinking it without anyone knowing. I don’t know whether we had a different sense of smell back then, or whether they’ve changed the formula in the last 25 years or so, or whether it was a sort of false sense of security thing that adults lulled us into.

But it definitely does smell and I can’t understand why we thought we’d ever get away with it.


Smelly cheese. We discovered this when we were in St Ives and had it as part of our lovely early evening meals on the balcony.

Mike’s always been a lover of stinky cheeses. I don’t usually like them, but I’ve really taken to this one. I don’t even mind that it makes the whole fridge smell.  In fact, I quite like the fact that it makes the whole fridge smell.



Leather – my gorgeous leather satchel from Cybher this year. (I’ve just booked for next year’s event as well).  The ultimate conference bag, I reckon.

I absolutely love the smell of leather.  I have no idea why – it doesn’t remind me of anything or evoke any particular memory. But I could sit smelling that bag for hours.

Also weird (!)


I absolutely love the smell of baby powder, even though we’ve never had a baby. There’s something really comforting and smooth about it.

About a million years ago, I read in Cosmopolitan that baby powder was the most offputting smell to a boy who one was trying to entice. Something about it smelling of commitment, I think.

I often think of that when I’m covering myself in it.


Our soap. We have a running discussion about this. The open one there is Shield, which is cheap as chips and I love. It smells properly clean to me. Mike despises it and always wants us to have Imperial Leather.

I’m sure that we only ever had Imperial Leather at Christmas when I was growing up, and it feels too indulgent to have it all the time.

So we’ve come to a compromise and we alternate, which still feels decadent to me.


I don’t know whether this is over-gloomy.  I’m pretty certain that it’s over-sharing, but I couldn’t really write about smells and not write about this.

This shoebox sits in my wardrobe, kept closed and wrapped in a carrier bag to keep the smell in.

My Mum died 15 years ago this year. This box has her jewellery in.

And it has (it still has – I just checked) the tiniest hint of a smell of her too. I sure that, after all this time, it must be 99% imagination. But there’s definitely still a bit of her there.


I know that smells have a huge power over me, to take me back somewhere and remind me of something.

Anything from a wet pavement to a cafetiere full of great hot coffee.

From egg sandwiches to freshly mown grass.

When I’m anxious, I want to know that my hands smell clean.

And when I want to remember being young, I know I can find that memory by nipping into the Body Shop for a quick squirt of White Musk.


I have a bit more safari-ing to do this week, I think.

One thought on “An Indoor Smell Safari

  1. What a truly evoccative, and thought provoking post, and so wonderful to know that you have something retaining the smell of your Mother, I have to go deep into my imagination/memory to conjure up that one, which I did on reading that section – Thank You!

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