Scents and the memories that they bring back

13 bloggers and I talk about special scents, and the memories that they bring back to us.

When we were out walking the other day, I smelled the unmistakable smell of horses! I love that smell! It took me straight back to my horse-mad years (the end of Primary school and beginning of high school) when all I wanted to talk about was horses, what I’d learned in my lesson, what I’d read about them, and my latest jumping or dressage lesson. My Granddad used to take me to the stables on a Saturday morning, and I spent the day there with a group of girls, grooming the horses, mucking out, and teaching the golden retriever tricks before my afternoon lesson!

I still have the riding hat that my grandparents bought me for my 11th birthday, and surprisingly it still fits!

Thinking about how easily a scent can bring back memories, I realised this is true of products as well. I first discovered the Seychelles handcream from the White Company the weekend we went for our wolf adventure, and now the coconutty goodness always reminds me of that special weekend.

There are scents, such as Organza and A Mirage, that I wore when I first moved to London around 15 years ago, but I don’t wear them now. They remind me of that time in my life, discovering the big city, getting my first job, and finding new friends. I’ve moved on, and so my taste in fragrances has moved on too. However if I smell one of them when I’m out shopping, it reminds me of that time.

There are also scents that remind me of my Nan, who is no longer with us. It’s not just fragrances – although Chanel no. 5 will always remind me of her. The smell of pine trees brings back memories of her too, because we always had a real Christmas tree and decorated it together.

When we went to her house after she had passed away, the first thing I smelled as I stepped inside her room was her face cream, and I expected her to walk in at any moment. I’d smelled that cream a hundred times as she got ready in the morning, and now when I smell it, it makes me think of her (which is why I bought some the other day!)

There are certainly smells that I don’t like, but I can’t think of any that have such distinct memories for me in the way that the positive ones do to remind me of childhood fun, a holiday, certain times in my life, or a special person. I think scents are powerful – the same one can mean many different things to different people, but the connection between the scent and the memory is often so strong, that you almost feel you’re back in a different place and time when you smell it.

Scents are perhaps more important to me as someone who is blind. I don’t subscribe to the idea that I have a superpower sense of smell, but using this sense comes in useful, because it can help me to work out exactly where I am (the scent of a particular bush on my way home, or the smells coming from particular shops), so I guess I take more notice of them. They can be practical as well as enjoyable. Still, I was certain it couldn’t be just me, so I asked in a couple of blogging groups for other people to share their scent and memory stories. Here’s what 13 bloggers told me:

Jazmin

The scent of the Passion Fruit lip balm from Lush really takes me back to when I first moved to Liverpool for University as it’s one of the first products I bought whilst living there. My home town doesn’t have a Lush so I was super excited to buy a bunch of stuff from their.
The passion fruit lip balm is still safely in a trinket box on my dresser and every time I use it I’m definitely transported back into my first University halls.
Visit Jazmin’s blog Jazminheavenblog.

Janelle

Being a classically trained violinist, White Musk by the Body Shop used to be my go-to perfume for concerts and events. I am strangely superstitious when it comes to these things, and something about spritzing this on always gave me that delicious rush of adrenaline that I loved and thrived on. I actually found a bottle lying around the house recently, and it brought a lot of lovely memories rushing back. There’s just something so unmistakably invigorating about this scent and I can’t quite place it – that’s exactly what I love about it. All I know is that I’ll be reaching for this a lot more when I have special occasions now!
Visit Janelle’s blog Beauty Expert Amateur.

Yvette

I always treat myself to a new perfume at duty free when I go away, on my way back from Vegas I bought La Nuit Tresor by Lancome. I then took it on holiday to Tenerife with my best friend. Every time I wore it, my friend would rave about how nice it smelled. Ever since our holiday, whenever I see her, if I’m wearing the perfume, she’ll comment on how much she loves it and how it reminds her of our holiday. If I wear a different perfume, she tells me off! The frustrating thing was it was another year before it was available in the UK!
Her fiancée has just messaged me asking what perfume it is as she talks about it so much he’s surprising her with it for her birthday!
Visit Yvette’s blog Getalife101.

Jessi

My parents have a house in Portugal and I spent half my childhood years there. Being a redhead, it meant I was constantly having inch thick sun cream slapped on me on the hour, every hour. Back then sun protection only came in the white, thick cream version that took 15 minutes to rub in, and whenever I smell that kind it transports me straight back to running around by the pool as a child. I’m so glad we now have spray on, more transparent type protection, and that’s what I take to festivals, but I sometimes buy the old stuff as I miss that hit of nostalgia.
Visit Jessi’s blog Where’s My Tent.

Rachel

Chanel N°5 reminds me of the days when I worked as an air cabin crew member. The fragrance takes me back to those carefree days without responsibilities, with lots of travel, spending time with friends and having fun. It also makes me pause to think how I can inject more travel and fun into my life now I have a family. Visit Rachel’s blog The Daisy Pages.

Tamara

Whenever I smell Anais Anais perfume it always takes me back to our holiday at Disneyland Paris when I was about 5? My mother always had set perfume for all occasions and this one was a small one that she took away – I love the memories that come back each time I smell it!
Visit Tamara’s blog The Epileptic Blogger.

Hannah

Aromatics Elixir Perfume. “Every year I would go on holiday to Lanzarote with my mum, sister and Godmother, and every year my mum would wear the Aromatics perfume each night we went out to dinner. I’ve since moved away from home, but the smell of this perfume always reminds me of my mum, and takes me back to the waves hitting the rocky walls as we laughed and joked on our way to dinner. Whether I walk past someone wearing the perfume as I’m out shopping, going for lunch, or even just heading to the cinema, it always comforts me and relaxes me, especially when I’m feeling stressed or anxious.”
Visit Hanna’s blog HD Personal Fitness.

Ally

Brut after shave reminds me of my dad. I remember he used to put it on once he had his RAF uniform on and some days when I stood beside him, he’d then pretend to wipe it on my face. Whenever I smell it now, I can picture our bathroom, our house and my walk to school with him by my side
Visit Ally’s blog Slim Sights.

Vanessa

My favourite smells are chlorine and neoprene! This is only since I became a parent and it transpired that my first child (girl now age 11) was/is a total water baby. We started taking her baby swimming at 8 weeks old – and she loved the classes, becoming the ‘demo model’ for the teacher! She just never cried whatever the class did (these are the sort of classes where you just push them under water and let their natural instincts kick in). From there she – and her younger sister – have gone on right to the end of typical swim lessons to swim for a local town club – training a couple of times a week. Our summer holidays soon began to revolve around the beach and body boarding – so we now all have wetsuits too. My husband now also swims in open water. Accordingly my ‘babies’ often smell of chlorine and the laundry room is full of costumes and towels smelling of it too. And when it’s time for our summer trips to the coast, out pop the wetsuits – and neoprene is in the air once more!
Visit Vanessa’s blog A Happy Healthy Mummy.

Sarah

When I was a child, I’d always sit on my Grandma’s bed while she was doing her hair (she loved doing her hair). I always remember that she did it ‘properly’ every morning and filled the whole room with a hairspray mist. Now every time I spray hairspray, no particular brand, it reminds me of her. Strange how those sorts of memories stick with us!
Visit Sarah’s blog Dream of Home

Becky

The scent that brings back strong memories is Cacharel In A Flash. I don’t wear perfume all the time because I forget to put it on, but I tend to when on holiday because it’s in my wash bag with everything else. So this perfume reminds me a lot of being in New York City, because I was there for 6 weeks and used it every day. But that was almost 3 years ago now! The memory that comes along with the scent is fading, so I’m finding I’m more reluctant to use the perfume, despite really liking it, because I want to make the memory last…
Visit Becky’s blog Becky Becky Blogs. .

Bethan

I’m an enormous fan of scent (and have the perfume collection to prove it!) and love to buy a new fragrance as a way of remembering special occasions. For example I bought Jo Malone’s Pear and Freesia to wear when I was a bridesmaid for a good friend. Not only did the scent reflect her English country garden wedding, but every time I smell it I’m taken back to that day. Likewise I bought Clarins Eau des Jardins after I was a witness in a court case to remind myself how I could be brave and get through difficult times, and Miu Miu reminds me of a lovely trip to Barcelona last year. I could go on and on (Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue evokes massive memories of high school!), but it’s fair to say I reckon fragrances are a great way to make memories!
Visit Bethan’s blog A Pretty Place to Play.

Rachel

My smell would be lavender. Not necessarily a certain product, although Yardley’s lavender soap would be it. The smell reminds me of my gran and baking round her house. She used to always have the soap for washing our hands with before baking and she had dried lavender in her wardrobe so all the clothes smelt of it too. It’s such a comforting and happy smell for me now. It also makes me want to bake!
Visit Rachel’s blog Rachel Emily

How about you>

Thanks to everyone who took part in this – I really enjoyed reading your stories. How about you? Do you associate any scents with particular memories or people? Let us know in the comments!

Don’t forget the giveaway is still open

My September giveaway is still open, so if you’d like to be in with a chance to win some skincare goodies from brands such as the Body Shop and Sanctuary Spa, this is where you can enter.

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Author: englishwithkirsty

I provide customised, one-to-one English lessons for adults online. I am based in London and I work primarily with German speakers as I also speak German Fluently.

12 thoughts on “Scents and the memories that they bring back”

  1. Thank you so much for including me in this, Kirsty! So lovely to read everyone else’s stories about scents that mean something special. What a delightful idea, will be sharing this xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a lovely post, I really enjoyed reading it and it’s so fascinating how different scents and fragrances can transport us back to days gone by. Your memories of your grandmother’s face cream really struck a chord with me, as I’ve been thinking about my own grandmother recently. Thank you for sharing x

    Liked by 1 person

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