Everything’s great when things are great, but when things are especially hard, aromatherapy – for me – has always been one of my go-to’s (along with guided meditations) and an industrial pack of Kalms tablets, 80% dark chocolate and nerve de-jangling magnesium.

If you polled most of us living in the UK I think November and February would be top of The Least Favourite Month of the Year List so it’s time to get out the Comforts & Joys that get us through tough times, dreary weather, lack of daylight, exams, illness, break-ups, bad news – the revolving door of ups and downs of life.

I was reading something last night about how to get through difficult times, and one of the ideas was: Find 3 Positive Things You Can Do Today (anything from a brisk walk to a long bath to cooking a particularly delicious supper – anything positive to add to a sense of achievement when things feel a bit hopeless).

Last year, I found myself saying things like “It’s awful that she’s ill…BUT thankfully she lives close to her daughter”…or “Her foot is so painful when she walks…BUT at least she lives on the ground floor and the local supermarket delivers”.  I didn’t realise I was adding the positive “buts” in bad situations but it’s helpful and I always do it now. Focus on the chink of light in a dark room and keep rubbing the window till the light comes in.

Writer Kamal Ravikant has a line in his first book that goes something like that, I love that image…keep going, keep rubbing away the dark and the dirt and eventually the light will come through.

Anyway…! Whether you’re having a fab November or a less fab one, here are a few of my favourite comforts and joys worth sharing, you might already know and love them, too.



Aqua Oleum by Julia Lawless gets my Essential Oils vote (I also love Tisserand’s as well, my bedroom and kitchen are literally dotted with mini essential oil bottles every winter – pine for grounding, peppermint for focus (try this if you’re flagging and work from home!), lavender for relaxing, rose and geranium which I use a lot generally, and the “happy” range, all the oranges, bergamots, mandarins, grapefruits and lemons/limes). Rosemary is also great for concentration/memory, like Friday afternoons when you have to finish work but basically feel exiting the office ASAP.

Tip: if you can shell out a little bit extra, I find that the organic oils are a bit more deeply aroma-therapeutic. Add a drop of mood-boosting sweet orange or bergamot oil to a rich winter hand or body cream, or drop the oils onto a tissue and pop it into your bag.

Brilliant on crowded tubes, trains and planes. Lavender is such a lovely calmer, and although it’s been “granny-fied” in the past it’s made a comeback. I went through a stage of not being that into it but sort of fell back in love with it again recently.

Much respect to British aromatherapist Julia Lawless who really knows her essential oils (she’s written a few books on the subject) and you can explore ALL of her essential oils and aromatherapy range at:


Peppermint is a super-uplifter for long winter weekday commutes, or blend mint with eucalyptus if you’ve been hit by a cold! (If you love a focus/calming temple balm you can also inhale for colds, have a look at Bodhi and Birch’s Mint The Temple Balm (as in tea in French with an accent on the “e”). It lasted for what felt like a decade – seriously good stuff, just don’t get it in your eye! Bodhi and Birch have squeezed all of these plant healers into one little glossy black pot- incredible but true (full ingredients below).


Ingredients List

Butyrospermum Parkii (Organic Shea Nut) Butter**, Orbignya Oleifera (Babassu) Nut Oil, Menthol, Melaleuca Leucadendron Cajaputi (Cajeput) Leaf Oil, Cinnamomum Camphora (White Camphor) Bark Oil, Mentha Arvensis (Peppermint) Leaf Oil, Boswellia Carterii (Frankincense) Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus (Eucalyptus) Leaf Oil, Origanum Majorana (Marjoram) Leaf Oil, Mentha Viridis (Spearmint) Leaf Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Litsea Cubeba (May Chang) Fruit Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Oil, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Bud Oil, Thymus Vulgaris (White Thyme) Oil, Citral*, Eugenol*, Citronellol*, Limonene*, Linalool* *natural constituents of essential oils ** organic ingredient Free from: Petrochemicals, Sulphates, Parabens, Phthalates, Glycols, PEGs, DEAs, Synthetic Polymers, Synthetic Fragrance or Colours, Palm Oil or Animal Ingredients.

It keeps selling out (including at LoveLula) so head over to BodhiandBirch.com to have a look.


Next up…


sore skin relief balm

The minute I’m stressed for longer than 3-4 days I can literally feel eczema brewing. My skin feels like a flashing beacon of my emotions (thank goodness for the Awards we do every year, we always seem to discover lots of brilliant products to deal with breakouts, rosacea, severe dryness, etc. This year we’ve found some excellent products to deal with acne, so look out for the results on 2nd March).

Cornish brand Spiezia’s Made For Life beauty and wellbeing balms are some of the most energetically “alive” products I know. (Dr Hauschka is another). Made For Life’s Sore Skin Relief Balm really seems to do the trick for me – healing Propolis, soothing Calendula, anti-bacterial Lavender and Thyme are the four main stars in this one and you can read more about it here: MADE FOR LIFE

And sometimes there’s nothing better than a soak-your-pains-away bath.

weleda soak

Weleda’s Arnica Muscle Soak was one of last year’s winter saviours, for me. It restores stiff, stressed muscles back to “neutral”…it’s like a cross between a chiropractic and a spa visit in a bottle. There’s also a mind soothing element to this, too – very therapeutic, and a staple in my beauty first aid kit.

Arnica, Rosemary, Lavender and Birch are the four phyto-stars here: WELEDA.CO.UK

If you haven’t discovered MICHELINE ARCIER or THERAPIE BY ROQUES-O’NEIL yet, you are in for a treat! Both brands are 5-Star, the real deal.

The late Micheline Arcier trained one or both of the founders of Aromatherapy Associates (I can’t remember offhand) while Michelle Roques-O’Neil (named one of the world’s top 10 aromatherapists) formulates for other brands and spas, but she launched her own range THERAPIE a few years ago so you can now have her energising, calming, artisan creations all to yourself. Both brands come under the “splurge” category and both are so very worth it.

I’d love to hear how beauty and aromatherapy help heal and uplift your spirits when things are dark. As a Moroccan woman said to me when I met her at Marrakech airport last year. “When things are dark, you must look for the chink of light and keep your eyes and heart on that”.





Comments are closed.