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Dip your toe into a blissful bath to help wash your cares away

Is there anything more soothing during the bleakest month of the year than a long, hot soak? Tap into Katie Wright's guide to bathing heaven

As good for your mood as they are for your body, baths can become addictive in winter, but that's no bad thing.

The four essential ingredients for a super soak?

You'll need a candle, soothing music or a podcast, wine (or tea if you're abstaining this month), and something delightfully fragranced to pour into the steaming tub.

Turn your bathroom into a spa-like sanctuary with these bathing beauties.

The most luxurious way to scent your soak, bath oils dissipate in hot water, releasing the fragrance and creating a moisturising film that clings to your skin.

They may be more expensive, but you only need a splash, and the potent aroma of essential oils can be invigorating (citrus and ginger) or slumber-inducing (lavender works wonders before bedtime).

● TempleSpa Drift Away Bathing and Massage Oil, £25 (www.templespa.com)

● Neom Energy Burst Bath & Shower Drops, £40 (www.neomorganics.com)

● This Works Deep Sleep Bath Oil, £80 (www.thisworks.com).

If soothing aching limbs and cold symptoms is your top priority in the tub, bath salts are what you need.

A capful of the clever crystals in a hot bath will relieve muscle tension, plus the salt draws out moisture to reduce bloating, while the vapours help clear airways.

● Mandara Spa Oriental Retreat Bath Salts with Cedarwood and Sweet Orange (right), £8, Sainsbury's (www.sainsburys.co.uk)

● Kneipp Eucalyptus Cold & Flu Mineral Bath Salt, £8.95 (FeelUnique.com)

● Bloomtown Botanicals The Woods Pink Himalayan Bath Salts, £10 (Etsy.com)

For the ultimate in relaxation, a frothy bubble bath will make you feel like you're floating on a cloud.

Lavish, oil-infused bath foams offer skin-softening properties too - but if you're feeling the pinch this month, cheap-as-chips bubble bath will do the trick.

● Lollia Dream White Tea & Honeysuckle Bubbling Bath, £59 (CuratedLiving.co.uk)

● Humble Bath Honey Rose & Frankincense, £12, Waitrose (www.waitrose.com)

● Little Soap Company Pure English Lavender Bubble Bath and Pure Rose Geranium Bubble Bath, £5.99 each (www.littlesoapcompany.co.uk)

Prolong that post-bath Zen by lathering up with a body lotion - particularly important if you're partial to a piping-hot soak that can leave your skin dry.

Gourmand scents, like vanilla and tonka bean are real mood-boosters, while ingredients like shea butter and argan oil will soften and restore moisture.

● Gaia Awakening Body Cream, £38 (www.gaia-spa.co.uk)

● Liz Earle Superskin Body Cream, £33 (www.lizearle.com)

● Soaper Duper Shea Butter Body Butter with Tahiti Monoi, Macadamia Oil & Pressed Vanilla Pods, £10, Tesco (available February; www.tesco.com)

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