Olive by Emma Gannon, published by HarperCollins, hardback, ebook, and audio (narrated by Sian Clifford), is out now.
I like my bed — and spend a lot of time there. So, it is not an exaggeration to say that in the year since turning 30, I have spent an absurd amount of money on bed-related items. I changed my faded cotton bedding to soft linens from EVE, swapped old sweatpants for silk pyjamas, and coated my pillows in the “deep sleep” lavender pillow spray from This Works. But of all these bedtime fripperies, there’s one thing I’m never without.
About three years ago, my sister Jo gave me a strange gift for my birthday. It was a big and shiny box, in a shade of deep purple and covered in stars like the night sky.
All it said was “Interstellar Relaxation” on the outside (which sounded very intense yet dreamy). My first thought was maybe she’d bought me some weird CBD bath thing. Though my sister tends to buy me pretty niche gifts, she’s not got it wrong so far. So I opened the purple box with intrigue, and saw a row of three “heated eye-masks” in separate shiny packets. Inside each packet were the masks themselves, which, to be honest, felt a lot like sponge-y sanitary towels. I’d seen fabric sleep masks before and use them occasionally (in badly designed hotel rooms when the curtains don’t fully close) — but not ones that actually did something. I was a little confused, and couldn’t help be a little disappointed with my sister’s (normally excellent) gift-giving skills.
But when I ripped open the packet, the masks started getting slowly warmer and then hotter, with a glorious jasmine scent drifting up my nostrils. They sort of reminded me of those squidgy hand warmers you could put in the microwave. It felt incredibly, instantly comforting.
On one especially period-y rainy evening, I put one SpaceMask over my eyes, feeling the heat relax against my eyelids and temples, and then decided to put another one on my belly to soothe my cramps. Needless, I used all three of them in a week, then immediately Googled them and bought some more.
Three years on, I now buy in bulk. I get through, on average, a box a month: I use them on my stomach when I have period cramps, on my forehead when I have a headache, and on my eyes when I am tired. I always have some in my bedside drawer to comfort me in times of need, and I take them on holidays now too. They are great for flights, especially if you’re a nervous traveller like me. My best mate’s independent shop sells them in Devon, but you can get them from Selfridges, Cult Beauty, or their website too. At £15 for 4, they’re not cheap, but they are a perfect addition to my nighttime routine. And, as I often attempt to write some of my novel from bed, I like to think of them as legitimate business expenses.
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