Now is the time to reinstate the Sunday-night bath. Cold, dark evenings demand it. Other nations might deride our fondness for stewing in grubby water, but the mind/body benefits of a good, long bath are more significant than they seem.

For a start, a bath should force you to do nothing. This can be disconcerting. Even running the water and adjusting the temperature are a test of patience. Then, once you've got in and inspected the state of the bathroom ceiling, the temptation – if your attention span is commensurate with a Google search – is to get right on out again.

In winter, however, a bath spiked with aromatic oils gives the whole operation a more definitive purpose. Basically, when your cold-raddled skin requires a massive moisture boost, half an hour of wallowing in silky, softening bath oil practically takes on medicinal qualities. Just remember to clean out the slippery residue – peachy skin isn't worth a broken ankle.

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