The pleasures of bedtime are often lost in my routine of watching videos, reading blogs and worrying about my life choices, but I also like to treat myself with some essentials that have become must-haves on my bedside table before I go to sleep and fall into the arms of some questionable dreams in terms of subconscious. A notebook, books, a pen, a cup of tea and a source of soothing scent are not hard to find, despite my efforts of finding the ones that are pleasing to the eye.
"Let's Bring Back" journal is a lovely gift, whether it is for yourself or a fellow 'Miniver Cheevy'. It has ideas for forgotten rituals, hobby advices and past time activities in it to enrich your days and to add a little old-time class to your everyday life. Besides the concept and the quirky, elegant and fun ideas in it, the quality is also wonderful with the beautiful ornate hard cover and excellent paper.
I have never been a lover of scented candles until I have found this little fellow at the gift shop of Kew Gardens. They always gave me a headache since I always came across with the strong, sickening scents that had sharp spicy or sweet smells. But this one's scent is very subtle, smelling exactly like lavenders and nothing else. If you close your eyes and really believe in miracles, you can convince yourself that you are in a cottage in Provence, falling asleep to the smell of distant lavender fields. (I like to kid myself since I have discovered that being delusional is gentler to the soul than dealing with the harsh truths of life days on end.)
The slumber gel was also a first for me. I have read about This Works' Deep Sleep Pillow Spray before but I didn't feel like investing in it since it is no miracle product. (You shouldn't expect any effect equal to the curse of Maleficent from any natural sleep product, in my opinion.) But The Cotswold Lavender Slumber Gel is a really nice bedside table treat. The consistency is really nice and a tiny amount is enough to get the essence of it nicely. It has a natural, slightly herbal smell but the dominant scent is of course lavender and the whole smell is not strong or rich. The purple tint does not show on the skin, it didn't give any irritation to my slightly sensitive skin and it is not sticky either. I enjoy using it every now and then when I'm in the mood for a nice, calming scent before I go to sleep. (If you are clumsy like me, you might want to be careful not to accidentally throw this on a hard floor because the jar is glass.)
Fortnum & Mason to me is what Disneyland is to children. I have the potential of going overboard and never regretting it every single time. (My trips also tend to end up with me feeling terribly dizzy for going around in circles too much.) Earl Grey is my favourite tea and even though I am more adventurous with tea flavours than I am in any other aspect of life, I always go back to this. Fortnum & Mason sells my favourite Earl Grey and just a little part of my affection has to do with that amazing turquoise tin box packaging. The Decaffeinated Earl Grey has no significant taste difference to the original one and it is especially good for night time. (This does not apply to the coffee addicts but my caffeine tolerance is not as advanced. I am weak.) The tea bag is also no-fuss goodness when you are too lazy/sleepy to clean up a pot of saggy tea leaves before sleep.
I should stick to this bedtime ritual more than my usual "staying up too late because I have been caught up with Elementary re-watch" routine. If you have any tips for a calming bedtime routine, comment and share the wisdom!
Books: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll (Penguin Classics); London - City of Disappearances, Edited by Iain Sinclair (Penguin)
Journal: Let's Bring Back - A Journal by Lesley M. M. Blume (Chronicle Books)
Slumber Gel: Lavender and Camomile by Cotswold Lavender from Kew Gardens
Tea: Decaffeinated Earl Grey Classic from Fortnum and Mason
Candle: Lavender Plant Wax Candle from Kew Gardens
Pen: 'Paisley Rose Blush' Ball-Point Pen from Cross