The Luxury Of Bathing by Kate Duggan

Have we lost the art of bathing? Twenty years ago, half of the adverts on TV seemed to feature a woman luxuriating in a bubble bath (usually while eating chocolate). These days, we’re more likely to grab a lightning-quick shower before we sprint out the door.

A couple of years ago, my family and I moved house. Our new home needed a lot of work, but one improvement we haven’t been able to make is putting a shower in. So I started taking baths again. And while I still miss a shower, I’ve found that I love the experience of soaking in the tub.

No luxury bath would be complete without at least one scented candle. Personally, I love lighting a few tea lights around the bathroom. I’ve recently discovered Echo Candles (www.echocandles.co.uk). Handmade in Somerset, the soy wax candles smell gorgeous and are great value for money. My personal favourite is the Cedar and Wildflower blend. Five tea lights cost £5, or a medium jar (fifty-six hours’ burn time) is £14.

I once knew someone who chose their toiletries based on the colour of the packaging. I kid you not. Everything in his bathroom had to match. I’m not suggesting you go to that extreme, but a decent-looking bathroom is much easier to relax in. Why not decant your toiletries into nicer-looking bottles? Pick up some ceramic ones next time you go shopping. Or just reuse the better-looking plastic ones. No one but you needs to know that your designer shower gel bottle is now housing an own-brand body wash. And why shouldn’t that funky gin bottle be reused for bath oil?

Speaking of bath oil, treat yourself to a nice one. It doesn’t have to be expensive. I’m currently using Badedas, which I picked up from Superdrug for around £7. It may be old school, but it was my mum’s favourite, so makes me smile every morning. And you can’t go wrong with a good old bar of soap from Faith in Nature (£2.29 from www.faithinnature.co.uk).

If you want to add an extra layer of fragrance, try a face oil. Scientia’s Dusk Elixir (£32) contains a calming blend of essential oils, including lavender, ylang ylang and frankincense, to help you relax before bed. It also soothes and hydrates skin, promotes collagen production and helps to prevent wrinkles. Prefer a morning bath? Go for the uplifting Dawn Elixir instead, see www.scientiabeauty.com.

Finally, no one wants to end their bath with a scratchy towel. If yours feels a bit worse for wear, put it on a hot wash with a cup of white vinegar and a few drops of essential oil. Give it a good shake afterwards to fluff up the fibres then dry it on a line or pop it in the tumble dryer.