Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Temptation Tuesday - the Bath!

The Romans did it and so did the Minoans. Columnist Annie West understands the ancient Egyptians indulged too - bathing has been a favourite pastime for millennia. Goodness knows what sort of bath Cleopatra had filled with ass's milk but I've seen a hip bath at Knossos palace in Crete and believe me it looked rather tempting to a tired tourist - so long as I had someone to fetch the warm water for it!
To me bathing is one of the most wonderfully seductive temptations of all. Bear in mind I live in Australia where, though homes have bathtubs, it's generally the shower that gets more use. In a hurry to get to work or school or on a hot summer's day, there's nothing like a quick invigorating shower.

But a bath is a special place - to me it's a treat, an indulgence. A time to relax away from the stresses of the day and to avoid the voices asking what's for dinner or where something is. I think I began truly to appreciate the bath when I had my first child. My husband understood perfectly when I needed a bit of down time and occasionally escaped to the bathroom with some bubble bath and stayed there till my fingers turned pruney and I knew it was time to get out ready for the next feed.

After a day of hard work in the garden (we had to create our own in our first home) relaxing in a bath a mineral salts eased strained muscles and gave the body a chance to recover.

Then I discovered the joy of reading in the bath. I soon gave up trying to read magazines, but a small paperback was just the right size! Was it any wonder I lost track of time and that it was time to prepare dinner on the occasional nights I indulged in a long, relaxing bath?

Then of course there are the other things that go with a long, leisurely soak. Fat scented candles to lend ambience even if your bathroom isn't as luxurious as some of these (aren't they lovely?). Bath salts to scent the warm water and help you relax. I've discovered a marvellous concoction called Bulgarian Rose by Scullys of Berry which is guaranteed to make you feel pampered. A friend of mine used to make her own bath salts with rosemary and lavender and it was wonderful receiving her special bottled treats at Christmas.

And then of course there's the bubble bath. Terrific for kids, or for making grownups feel just that little bit special.

At a recent writers' conference a friend of mine mentioned that she gets her best ideas in the bath. Subsequently the keynote speaker referred to that and explained that the negative ions generated by falling water (bath taps or waterfalls) actually promoted creativity. I'm not questioning the theory, because I know it works for me too. There's something soothing yet stimulating about water. So maybe I can list it as an essential writer's tool?

I've included here a photo of a wonderful bath from a castle (Yes, a castle!) I visited in Europe a couple of years ago. The view from the tower where I stayed was fantastic, the massive bed, the whole ambience of the place just special. But one of the best things was lighting the chubby candles in the bathroom, using the gorgeous bath oils (complete with rose petals) and relaxing in that very long tub. Of course my thoughts wandered to daydreams about a gorgeous prince...

How about you? Is bathing a temptation? Do you like to relax with a glass of wine and a book, or perhaps some music? Do you linger at the end of a hard day or do you prefer short showers, or sea bathing? Or aren't you tempted by water at all?

I'm thrilled to say the fascinating prince I daydreamed about all those months ago has now appeared in my latest title PASSION, PURITY AND THE PRINCE. Alaric and Tamsin's story has already been out in the UK and appears next month in Australia and New Zealand. You can buy it here or read an excerpt on my website. Also, this month, CAPTIVATED BY THE SHEIKH is released in the UK (a by request edition that includes my title FOR THE SHEIKH'S PLEASURE).


  1. Ooh, Annie, what a sybaritic experience reading that post was. What gorgeous photos! I want to stop working and go and have a bath. I actually thinking baths are VERY inspirational. As you know, I get my best ideas in the bath. I still miss my wonderful big bathtub from my flat in Sydney. I've got a bath where I live now but it's nowhere near as nice. What a lovely post! Thank you!

  2. Hi Anna,

    I knew you'd enjoy this post as I know how you enjoy a good long soak. Must say I had enormous fun gathering the pictures for this one. My only gripe is that the photo I took of the bath in the castle has cut off part of it and you don't see how wonderfully long it was. Sigh. It was blissful.

  3. Oh, Annie, that bath overlooking a bay is breath-taking. Where is that? Can I go now? I'm still battling a nasty cold--a bath in an environment like that would fix me up right away.

    Until recently, we had the world's scariest bathroom. It was decorated in fifty shades of brown tile and no matter how often I bleached it from top to bottom, it still seemed dirty to me! But now we have a beautiful new bathroom (and tub). It's so much more relaxing!

  4. Poor Vanessa. I hope the horrible cold clears soon. Aren't they a pest at change of season when you want to be out and doing things?

    Love the sound of your bathroom. As for the one looking over the bay - I'm on the lookout for that one too! A bath with a view - gee, I'd never get out!

  5. Ahhh, I feel the knots easing from my body just thinking about the beautiful baths you describe in your blog, Annie! I, too, love a long soak in a relaxing scented bath. While I'd love to do the candles thing, they don't cast enough light to be able to read while soaking so I tend to use scented bath salts (love that Bulgarian Rose one you mentioned. It's divine!) and pure essential oils.

  6. Ooh, Yvonne, you know the Bulgarian Rose bath salts? Sigh. I've run out. Must restock. I was saving enough for one last special soak but found the package gone when I went to look. Would you believe my dh, sweaty and worn out from a day mowing, whipper-snipping and generally getting dirty, emptied the packet? Argh!

    As for the candles - I agree. Normally I have a book, but that evening I just lay there wallowing in the atmosphere - fantastic for plotting a new story!

  7. Annie, I haven't had a bath for years... which sounds a bit odd doesn't it! LOL I'm definitely a shower person! But I do have to say that your pictures are gorgeous and your article makes the whole bath experience sound terrifically tempting... maybe if we weren't on tank water...

    I am still a bit of a water baby even though I'm not a bath person. I love floating about in a pool or bobbing around in the sea.

    Fun post!

  8. Annie I love looking at water (and all those tubs filled with it looked fabulous) I love listening to water, I just don't get the whole lying around in it concept. I'm a double headed shower gal. All that constantly hot water (not having to empty out and refill) washing away dirt and aches (instead of sitting in one large puddle of what has washed off you ewwww)! Mind you, a suitably unattired fella with a sponge and a glass of bubbly COULD tempt me......;)

  9. Okay, reading your post has made me realize how badly I need to clock out of work and go take a bath!! Those pictures are fantastic, and just look so relaxing!!

    That's it -- BATH TIME! :)

    BrandiHeather @ A Writer's Review

  10. Hi Sharon,

    I understand about you not having a bath in years. I'm a shower person most of the time too - though it's a bit rough when we're conserving water as I often get great ideas for my ms in the shower and then I have to cut it short! But the occasional long bath is bliss.

    Hope you get to stay somewhere soon with plenty of water and a lovely bath to enjoy!

  11. Elissa - see? You can appreciate the pleasures of a good bath - you just have to get the circumstances right.

    Actually, I just received a copy of a Dutch translation this morning of 'The Sheikh's Ransomed Bride'. Rafiq and Belle are sharing a very sumptuous bath. Looks fine to me!

  12. BrandiHeather - not sure whether to be delighted my post has had its effect or apologetic that it's taken you from your work. Enjoy the bath! Hope you have a great book to read while sloshing.

  13. I love baths. They are essential in the chilly Blue Mountains. I know those bath salts Annie and they're wonderful. And those pictures! Hmm...

  14. Hi Keziah,

    Oh yes, living where you do a bath would be so perfect. You know those bath salts too? There was I thinking it was my secret. MUST order some on line as I gather the shop where I bought them is closed. Glad you liked the pics - they worked for me!

  15. Ah, Annie, baths... A writer's tool? Absolutely! They are the best thing I know for unknotting tangled plot problems, not to mention aching muscles too :-)

    Loved your pictures. The best bathtub I've ever had the pleasure of indulging in was in London's Dorchester hotel. The bathroom was an acreage of Italian marble and the bathtub enormous. I laid on my back and stretched my toes and still couldn't reach the other end.

    Hmm... vanilla bubbles for me tonight I think.

  16. Michelle,

    How interesting that you see the bath as a writer's tool too! Unknotting muscles and plots at the same time is definitely a wise use of water!

    I can see I'll have to visit the Dorchester - one day! It sounds fabulous. All you need then is a sexy companion to scrub your back and pour the bubbly!

  17. What fabulous bathrooms, Annie! They cast mine into the shade, very fine though it is. Am already planning a bathing tour of the world ... Am rather jealous of Michelle bathing in the Dorchester, although I don't like it when the bath is too long - too much of a struggle to stop yourself drowning!

    A bath is an integral part of my own plotting process: warmth, water,candles, music and champagne ...what's not to inspire??

  18. Hi Annie, what glorious photos of baths. And to think that the most beautiful one facing the bay is one you actually bathed in--it must have been heaven.
    We have a lovely old-fashioned claw-foot bath in our house and I must admit I love a good soak, especially when it's cold.
    Trouble is, my cats always want to come and keep me company. They can't actually sit on the edge of this tub as the sides curl over. Just as well, because there is nothing more guaranteed to ruin the relaxation of a long soak than a cat who has fallen in with you and is panicking and scrabbling with his/her claws to get out.
    I love your title PASSION, PURITY AND THE PRINCE--can't wait to read it!

  19. Great post Annie and I can't wait until my knee heals to take a long hot bath. I love a bubble bath and have a huge supply of a product called Philosophy which I rec'd as gifts in the hospital. Vinilla wafer and spicy pear are calling to me!

  20. Jessica - a bathing tour of the world! I'm staggered by the brilliant notion. Why did I never think of it? Imagine poring over the details of all those lovely hotels, checking out the bathroom facilities!

    Personally I love a long bath - room for my legs. As for champagne and music - I've never tried those. Clearly it's time to expand my horizons - in the interests of plotting of course.

  21. Kandy, I'm stunned by the idea of your cats wanting to join you! All those feline eyes focused on you sploshing about. Can it be relaxing? Lovely that they want your company though.

    Sadly the bath by the bay wasn't a personal experience but I'm putting it on my to do list!

    Glad you like the title 'Passion, Purity and the Prince'. It's one of my faves so far. Sadly for me who easily gets confused, it'll be called 'Protected by the Prince' when it comes out in North America - just to keep me on my toes.

  22. Marilyn, so sorry you can't enjoy a relaxing bath now. It sounds like you've got a lot to look forward to though when you can! Hope the knee improves quickly!

  23. Annie I want to be in that amazing bath that looks like it's in Arabia! I only have half a bath - french style. So no stretching out for me. Am eternally jealous of anyone with a full bath. Thanks for helping me to dream though!
    x Abby

  24. Abby, I can see why that Arabian style bath appeals. I thought it would be great for a book setting. Actually, from memory, it's in a hotel in India. Must go back and check.

    Dream on...!