“ I am inclined to think bathing one of the necessaries of life.”
Henry David Thoreau
I come from a family that thinks every problem in life can be solved in a warm bath. That may be a little broad perhaps, but I do know that for myself almost anything is a little less daunting after I’ve had a good soak. My mother swore by a hot bath with her Shalimar bath oil first thing in the morning before she went off to work. I loved her Shalimar, I've written about it so many times. My father swore that it smelled like chocolate mousse, and of course he loved that, but to me it was simply warm, sweet, rich and elegant. She'd start with the bath oil and would then layer it with lotion and perfume. All I need is one breath of that scent to cross my path and it I begin to smile. Mom never showered, because she came from the generation that got their hair done at the beauty parlor every week, so god forbid any warm water ever touched it between visits!
I inherited my love for a steamy hot bath from her and in the depths of midwinter almost nothing is as soothing to me as a long soak in the tub. I love to light candles and relax in the scented water with a steaming cup of cinnamon, rose petal and cream tea that I make myself by simply tossing handfuls of organic rose petals, Tulsi and cracked cinnamon chips into my teapot and adding boiled water, a pat of butter, several tablespoons of honey, a ½ a cup of madeira and some light cream. This delicious tea will quickly turn a warm bath a simple and easy luxury!
Although I do still love the scent of Shalimar, these days I opt for an herbal bath that I make myself, that may surprise you because it starts as a herbal tincture. This is a wonderful alternative to bath salts which I cannot use because they dry out my skin. This can be added to your bath in any proportion and the scent is just lovely. To a quart of spring water, add generous handfuls of dried rose petals, lavender, chamomile, calendula, mint and bay. You can even add a vanilla bean or some organic vanilla extract. Let it simmer over a low heat for about 15 minutes and then let the whole thing cool. Strain it and add about 15 drops of essential oil of rose, 15 drops of essential oil of Ylang Ylang and a cup of regular or blackberry brandy which will help preserve the scent. You can add a bit of food grade coloring for fun if you like, just to make it pretty. Put it into a glass bottle and store it in a cool dark place. The scent will hold for close to a year although you’ll use it up long before that! To use, simply draw your bath and then add a cup or two of the tincture along with a tablespoon of sweet almond oil. Climb into the bath with a cup of tea, the soundtrack of your choice, and just relax.