Friday, March 9, 2012

Sweet scents of change

On the other side of the bay - Co. Clare (my house is somewhere on the horizon)

Even though I have been quite content these past couple of years, I also feel I have been stagnating and drifting a bit (or are these two mutually exclusive?). It may be anxiety-related that I find it hard to know what I really want and how I really feel, and my default state of mind is confused.

In one of Oliver Burkeman's recent Guardian columns, he talked about our need for newness. This topic had been on my mind, since a few things in my life (mostly work-related) are going to change soon, and I was stressed and worried about some of them. I need the safety net of rituals, routines and habits, but I am always struck by how invigorating it is to do things differently or try something new, and how it may help in finding out what I want. So I have decided to welcome changes and see where they take me. As Burkeman concludes, neophilia tends to enrich your life as well as slow down perceived time - a very encouraging thought.

This week I have been obsessed (even more so than usual) with scents. I have been burning chamomile, eucalyptus and geranium oil in the oil burner, and smelling these oils reminds me to breathe deeply. For my laundry, I always add essential oils diluted with water to the rinse cycle - these past few weeks it has been May Chang, the "oil of tranquility". I use Ecover detergent and no fabric conditioner, so my clothes don't have that freshly laundered smell, but with the oils I can make them smell nice and subtly influence my mood.

While I love reading about the art of perfume, I wouldn't wear it much, as I find many fragrances too overpowering and headache-inducing and like to make my own perfume oils with essential oils (at the moment I love jasmine, ylang-ylang or geranium oil). But occasionally I like to wear a tiny bit of perfume or spray some on my sheets. I'd been researching perfumes since I used up the ones I had been given as presents, trying out different ones and reading up on them. I finally bought Stella by Stella McCartney, and I love it (it's rose, amber, peony and mandarin). It doesn't give me headaches, it's not too strong, and it reminds me of some place with a positive atmosphere and nice people, so that makes it the perfect choice. I won't wear it every day, but it is the scent I will associate with embracing change, and I hope that it will turn out to be a happy olfactory memory.


  1. That photo is just stunning; it makes me want to go back to Ireland right now and find myself some space and some sea air.

    The scents that I wear and burn every day always reflect my mood. I have a range of perfumes and I always choose which one to wear in line with how I'm feeling that day. I wish I knew more about scents and oils though - I would love to use oils more! (I did use lavendar oil in a water spray to iron my pillow cases but it's so expensive!!)

  2. Thanks, Catherine. I love how you use perfume. I know - oils can be expensive when used liberally. I am almost out of chamomile oil, and the price (over 20 euro) means I have been putting off buying a new bottle. And it's one of my favourites!

  3. Wow - I love this piece. I especially love the part where you write: "I find it hard to know what I really want and how I really feel, and my default state of mind is confused"...I can definitely identify with that feeling. I really do like your blog. I occasionally peruse blogger looking for other interesting blogs and that’s how I came across yours. Keep up the great work!

  4. I know exactly how you are feeling! I am pretty much in the same boat..feeling very restless and need to change (careers especially) yet I am petrified of change!! not an easy place to be!!I think we always need to remember to believe in ourselves and to follow our gut instincts! :s lovely picture...xxxx