I was at home with a sick four year old last week, which consisted of cleaning up sick, role-playing with some surprisingly obnoxious Sylvanians and then more cleaning, the nostril-burning scent of Dettox always hanging in the air. The vomiting started on Tuesday night – my sweet girl apologising every time – and by Friday (observing the 48 hour quarantine rule) I was a shadow of my former self and sick to death of the smell of bleach. My gorgeous girl was better but I was like a wet [bleach-soaked] rag.
When you’re doing really full-on mothering with no breaks, self care is the last thing on your mind. I collapsed into bed every night at 8pm, sweaty, hands red raw from all the cleaning. But there was one thing that I kept up and made me feel a fraction better: scent. I can’t see my own face as I rush around, my hair matters not, but if you close your eyes every time you get a hint of a sensual smell, you could be anywhere. You could be dressed up to the nines, ready to embark upon a big adventure. You can feel all that with the added bonus of having your little one snuggled in your arms. And it sort of tempers the stench of vom.
Sometimes a smell is all you’ve got to remind yourself that you are an adult, that you are a woman, that you are a vital, sexy, strong, kickass kind of person. I have three perfumes on my dressing table that represent a side of me I can call on for back-up when times are tough.
Issey Miyake – my mum wore this in the 90s, and I was allowed a spritz from time to time. It reminds me of having a strong woman alongside me, kind and resilient, ready to tackle all my problems with me.
Francis Kurkdijan Apom Pour Femme – the closest thing I have to a signature scent, I interviewed Francis when I first when freelance and was full of optimism and fighting talk. I went to New York to meet editors with his Apom Extrait (basically perfume oil) in my handbag, so it was bound up in being brave and excited, out in the big city by myself, ready to forge my own new path.
Jo Malone Myrrh & Tonka Cologne – This one is new, but I started wearing it before Christmas, so it has all that warmth and excitement of the build up to the big day. It’s also ridiculously sexy – nothing Noro Virus about this one.