bedtime makers

by Kate Shapland

Bath, bed, book. I’m happy to admit that this is one of my favourite evening pastimes, especially when the nights are dark and cold. I’ve finally managed to wean myself off a Kindle and back onto actual books – much better for encouraging sleep than a screen – and easier to dip in and out of too. The right bath soak is important too – nothing too stimulating or so slumber-inducing that you can barely get into bed without falling asleep. Here are my favourite bedtime-makers – what are yours?

BEST BOOKS

Good Evening Mrs Craven: The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes – superb escapism via the author’s country wartime tales having spent fifty years writing a regular Letter From London for The New Yorker. Assembled into a book by Persephone Books, these wonderful tales cover subjects like the villagers obsession with food, sewing parties and the social revolutions of the time. Check out Village Christmas by Laurie Lee too .. magical tales from the cottage he lived in with his family near Stroud in the early 20th century.

A Christmas Carol – perhaps Charles Dickens most famous tale of the miserly Mr Ebenezer Scrooge, who is paid a visit by the ghost of his old business associate Jacob Marley and the spirits of Christmas, which transforms him into a kinder, gentler man.

The Company I Keep: My Life In Beauty – written by Leonard Lauder, head of the Estee Lauder company founded by his mother, this is a brilliant book if you have the entrepreneurial spirit and dreams of building your own company. See my review here.

Just Like You – Nick Hornby’s latest novel, this is a lovely romance to while away a weekend on the sofa with.

BEST BATHS

Legology Cellu-Lite Salon Secret For Legs – a couple of drops of my deep-acting detoxifying oil in the bath will help to detoxify a sluggish system (especially good after an indulgent few days over Christmas and new year); I often mix it with Epsom salts, which are also purifying and make you sleepy.

Wiberg’s Pine Bath Essence – a favourite head clearer and soother, and full of antioxidants through its pine needle and capsicum ingredients. Like Cellu-Lite it smells wonderful and turns your bath into a bit of an experience – I wouldn’t go so far to say a spa experience, but certainly memorable and relaxing.

Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil – never without a bottle of this beautiful golden aromatherapy oil, a mix of vetiver, camomile and sandalwood created by the founder of this wonderful brand as a solution for insomnia. It’s glorious.

Santa Maria Novella Melegrano Bath Oil and Bath Salts – the ultimate indulgences and always on my birthday or Christmas Wishlist, either or these two make a bath a serious treat. They’re gently cleansing (especially good for dry skin) and scented with agrumato (citrus), Colonia Russa, melograno, Notte (an oriental spicy note), rose, sandalwood and vetiver.  Complete heaven.