Beauty: Want to take your breath away?

The new, calmer bathing range has helped me to relax and enjoy the New Year.

This in-between time at the end of the year is, for me, always about getting cosy and taking some time out – time to breathe and reboot (more on the reboot on the next page). And so it is incredibly timely that one of my favourite new bathing (and self-care) ranges, Bertioli, is grounded in helping us to pause, relax and focus on breath work – proper diaphragmatic breath. That’s the kind that can switch off your body’s stress response.

It’s been created by Caryn Hibbert (Bertioli is her maiden name) and her family who also own the Cotswolds-based hotel and spa Thyme, so she’s already well aware of that requirement to down tools, switch off and take time for yourself.

When she needs to do that, one of the places she loves to go is down to the water meadows on the retreat’s estate. This area has been rewilded and is now a little bird sanctuary. Migrating reedwarblers find it especially attractive. It’s the distinctive smell of the water mint growing there that she’s captured for the Bertioli range in essential oil form. It’s an aroma that is at once calming and elevating, light and carefree, and entices the mind to take flight to a happy place. I think it’s like a water nymph turned to fragrant form.

But Caryn puts the impact of it more simply: ‘It makes you automatically want to take a deep breath.’ No wonder she calls this range ‘beauty for the mind’.

It features Thyme’s signature scent and is manufactured and packaged in the most environmentally responsible manner. It includes a waterless 3-in-1 Shampoo Bar (£10.50) – now in all of Thyme’s hotel rooms to replace plastic bottles of shampoo and conditioner – as well as the Water Meadow Candle (£55), Hand and Body Wash (£28) and Hand and Body Lotion (£32.50) in green glass bottles. But I love the Bath Salts (£45) – a large handful provides the most glorious warm and relaxing escape. And the Breathing Balm (from £20) is a small pot of comfort you can rub on any time, anywhere, to harness that stillness of the mind and cosseting of the spirit (I find rubbing it on before bed also aids my sleep).

Of course, it’s even better if you incorporate a proper breathing ritual with this and Caryn has created some demonstration videos for the brand’s website as an extra usage aid.




For another fragrant uplift…

Also bringing the outdoors in, and something I love to burn during an unwinding evening beauty ritual, is the Leaves candle (£35, from CBD-based skincare brand Leaves & Flowers.

It’s an evocative green woodland fragrance that brings a warming and enveloping feel to the home. The candle contains CBD isolate – derived from the cannabis plant – and though I really can’t swear that makes a difference, I can say burning it always leaves me in a buoyantly good mood. It is made from soy.