x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

The beauty spy: On the art of bathing

Enjoy a blissful bath with these great tips and products.

I was brought up in England, mainly in a farmhouse with no central heating and a mother whose favourite money-saving trick was to minimise the amount of hot water we were allowed.

The bathing ritual would be as follows: go into the freezing cold bathroom fully dressed and wrapped in a blanket. Put the bath on, hot water only, because the bath was so cold that the water was almost instantly chilled as soon as it touched the enamel. Sit on the edge of the bath and watch the steam rise, willing as much heat as possible to stay in the water, trying not to shiver. Finally, there was the delicate balancing act of getting just enough cold water in there to make the temperature bearable before my mother yelled: "Enough!" up the stairs. Then, I would take off my clothes and jump in. For about half a minute, it was bliss. I would lie down to cover as much of myself as I possibly could. Any bits left exposed were quickly frozen. But all too soon I had to mentally prepare for leaving the bath and facing the freezing cold air again.

Until I grew up and central heating became more readily available, the idea of a bath for me was akin to torture. The thought of a bath being pleasurable was inconceivable. But then I fell in love, not only with my husband-to-be, but also with Clarins bubble bath.

Recently it was my husband's birthday. I gave him a bottle of our favourite, Clarins Bain aux Plantes Relax. He opened it, smelled it, smiled and said: "Remember how we fell in love to this bubble bath?"

I suppose it was around the same time I met my husband that I finally fell in love with having baths. Unlike a shower, a bath serves so many more purposes than just cleansing. It can be romantic, relaxing, psychologically comforting and soothing for tired muscles.

My favourite kind of bath is the relaxing one. I light some divinely smelling diptyque Paris candles, turn off the lights, burn some calming bergamot oil in an oil burner, put on some classical music and sink into those bubbles and cleanse my body and mind. For a treat, I add some soothing bath salts such as Neal's Yard Remedies Lavender Bath Salts and indulge in my favourite novel, sudsy glass in hand. I adore Dove's Triple Moisturising-Body Wash, which feels as soft as a lotion. Plus, I fill up the hot water as and when I feel like it. But I still hate getting out, however warm the bathroom is ...


3 of the best

Pep up your spirits with these exotic-smelling products

ELEMIS LIME AND SALT GINGER GLOW, DH316. His fabulously scented scrub delivers on its energising promise, leaving skin with a veil of oil to protect and nourish.

BATH&BODYWORKS BALI MANGO LIPGLOSS, DH35 If you love the sweet scent of sun-ripened fruit, then drench your lips in this juicy gloss.

MOLTON BROWN INVIGORATING SUMA GINSENG BATH & SHOWER, DH120 Essential oils of juniper berry, cinnamon and geranium revitalise the senses. Wonderfully zingy, uplifting and spicy.


M loves

LAVENDER AND MORE This new Tom Ford scent is like walking through a field in Provence; the most dominant flavour, as the name suggests, is lavender. But there are also hints of citrus, oleander, lime blossom and bergamot. And the bottle is masculine enough for you to pretend you bought it for the man in your life.

Tom Ford Lavender Palm, Dh809 for 50ml and Dh2,106 for 250ml, available at selected retail outlets across the region