Pressure getting to you? Aromatherapy Associates’ Geraldine Howard shares her five fave smells (and we feel calmer already)

If you love fragrance, we’ve a hunch you love aromatherapy. And few ranges we’ve ever tried have come close to the truly mood-shifting powers of Aromatherapy Associates, the company founded over 30 years ago by Geraldine Howard (pictured here) and Sue Beechey.
Famously, Relax Deep is like knockout drops. And if you’re repeatedly hitting the ‘snooze’ button right now, can we recommend Revive Morning Bath & Shower Oil, a wake-you-up-smiling blend of pink grapefruit, rosemary and juniper? (It’s almost worth getting a hangover at the office party, simply to put it to the true test.)
Most recently, Geraldine has created a special and exclusive blend for Liberty: Clear Mind Bath & Shower Oil, which is just fantastic for this stressed-to-excess time of year. It combines lavender and chamomile, in particular, together with grounding frankincense and reviving, mind-focusing bergamot.
Our favourite tip is to rub a drop or two between the palms and inhale deeply – ideally, before 15 minutes of Headspace meditation. (Read more about Headspace here.) The oils aren’t cheap – but a capful under running water fills the house with its scent, which then lingers soothingly for hours.
We caught up with Geraldine at the launch in Liberty’s Heritage Suite, and asked her to share her five favourite smells.
1. ‘Frankincense has to be right up there, because it centres me, gives me clarity – and it literally feels like it’s giving me strength, at the same time. It’s clean and clearing and I think of it as “the protector” oil.’
2. ‘The Gertrude Jekyll rose is the one that comes up roses, for me! It’s a deep pink, almost crimson bloom which to me is the absolute embodiment of the rose scent. I love walking around gardens literally taking time to stop and smell the roses: The Royal Horticultural Society’s Wisley garden, Anglesey Abbey…’
3. ‘The smell of baking is the most comforting smell I can think of. If I have time, I love to bake bread and cakes.’
4. ‘Van Cleef & Arpels First. I’ve loved this perfume for more years than I can count: it makes me feel elegant when I wear it, and ready to face the world. It’s literally the only one I wear, nowadays.
5. ‘Bergamot is the most amazing pick-me-up; it’s more subtle than most citrus oils, with a terrific energy – and just fantastic for releasing stress. I’ve smelled it on the tree in Italy and it’s really quite astonishing.’
If pre-Christmas panic is setting in, meanwhile, Geraldine recommends blends which include frankincense (for focus and clarity), chamomile and lavender (to release tension), bergamot and palmarosa, to replenish energy.
Or you could just nip to Liberty (or simply click here) and treat yourself to a bottle of Clear Mind. A drop in the palms, breathed with eyes closed – and we’re finding the panic melts clean away before you can say ‘Hamleys’.
If you know what we mean…
Aromatherapy Associates Clear Mind Bath & Shower Oil/£48 for 50ml
Try it at Liberty