156 DIARY OF A COUNTRY BEAUTY
Kathleen Baird-murray on how to survive and thrive during the festive season
Kathleen Baird-murray on the pampering products to bring you peace of mind amid the Christmas mayhem
My Australian guest, en route to Sydney via a pit stop in London, carefully tipped out the goldenyellow powder into a glass and covered it with clingfilm. ‘I can’t give you the whole tub, as I really need it. But pop a teaspoon into a glass of hot almond milk at night, and it will help.’
He had just witnessed the most god-awful family argument, the kind that forces you to wonder what your visitors will think, forgetting in that moment of raised voices, slammed doors and something that sounds suspiciously like a mug of tea being hurled against a bathroom wall that, this being Christmas, they will all have been there too at some point.
The guest’s magic powder – Sleep Inner Beauty Powder by the Beauty Chef – is practically contraband in this country, thanks to our stringent legislation (no bad thing most of the time), but in Australia it has been granted Listed Medicine status by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. If you have a friend in the US or Australia, do urge them to bring some back in readiness for when Good Tidings to All Men turn into the Season of Discontent. The blend of turmeric, passion flower and lemon balm is far healthier than knocking back gin, less habit-forming than Valium, and easier to come by than your therapist, who is wisely in Tulum with his phone off.
Ah, Christmas! How you were sent to try us! And yet, like the worst case of pre-menstrual tension, or an extended stint of Mercury Retrograde, isn’t it also a timely reminder to pause, draw breath? It’s the season in which we are meant to be hibernating and hunkering down, not traversing continents by plane, train and automobile or spending fortunes we don’t have on presents we don’t need for people we like, well, not so much. So tonight, instead of arguing, light a candle over dinner and think of the things you love about your nearest and dearest. Have a bath and stay in it for hours. In the still small hours of the morning, instead of freaking out, take this tip from the KX Private Members Club yoga and Pilates teacher, Charlie Holloway, and practise body sensing to help with anxiety and stress: ‘This is when you softly bring your attention to a specific body part and rest it there without trying to do or change anything,’ she explains. The idea is to keep your mind there and allow the sensation of that body part to emerge into your awareness, then move it onto another body part. ‘It calms the nervous system and helps you handle stress.’ And for everything else, there’s this selection of comfort and joy in a bottle, sachet or jar.