I went through a phase (is it still classified a “phase” if the duration was upwards of 2 years?) not all that long ago in the grand scheme of things where I thought it was cool to be tired. If anyone asked how I was, my first instinct was to reply with “tired.” I cut this out around 12 months ago before I slipped into a trajectory any more dangerous than the one I was on. Firstly, EVERYONE IS TIRED so what a boring and self-deprecating answer. Secondly, who wants to engage further in a conversation with anyone who kicks things off so negatively? Thirdly, and most importantly, it dawned on me that I was treating levels of rest as a level of success- the more tired I was, the more busy I must be, so surely people would be thinking “wow that Gem is so busy and important.”

Maybe with age, maybe with time working as a beauty writer, I’m happy to admit that I LOVE sleep. My skin looks better with it, my eyes are brighter, and I’m just a better person to be around (I’m already one of the best tbh but seriously how good is sleep). Once I’m asleep, I’m out like a light. Getting to sleep, however, proved to be more difficult. This came down, without any semblance of a doubt, to being constantly wired. Whether it was an evening spent typing on a bright laptop or hours spent in bed scrolling mindlessly through Instagram, my body couldn’t differentiate the difference between being awake and active and needing to switch off. This is where an evening routine has come in handy. For the sake of transparency, this post is sponsored by ASPAR, but if you’ve read any of my work before or follow me on social, you’ll know that I never endorse anything that has not truly worked for me. This collection of products IS WORKING FOR ME. BIG TIME.

The ritual that I’ve welcomed into my evenings with open arms comes in the shape of ASPAR’s Dream Big bundle, which is comprised of the brand’s Dream Candle Set, Lavender & Patchouli Relaxing Body Oil, Camellia Brightening Eye Cream, Vanilla & Orange Lip Moisturiser, Rose Hydrating Facial Hydrosol and Rose & Shea Hand Cream.

For me, using this collection of products in the way it’s been marketed (which is as a “night time ritual” as opposed to just a collection of products that work together) works on two levels. The first is possibly just a mental thing (take that as a comment on my own sanity or otherwise). I find that having a physical routine, or a ritual in this case, spreads out the time between putting my phone down and getting in to bed, which means extra time for me to wind down. I switch off before I work through the routine, so I’m less inclined to pick up my phone again afterwards- it’s as though something switches off in there and says “Nope Wattsy, you’ve done your routine, this is sleeping time now. Sleeping people don’t use their phones.” This is also why sleep masks work for me. While not explicitly linked to this post, I find that if I pop an eye mask on I won’t be inclined to look at my phone while I’m in bed. I know a sleep mask isn’t aiding the quality of my sleep, as I roll and kick and throw the mask across the room within about 45 minutes of slumber. What it does do, however, is give me an extra step that I don’t want to do in order to get to my phone- that step is lifting my mask back up over my eyes. Does this work because I’m lazy? Probably. Does it work because I love routine. YES IT DOES. I LOVE ROUTINE.

On a level that probably makes more sense, this ‘Dream’ ritual works because of the ingredients and their calming qualities. I find that patchouli is particularly useful in inducing sleep thanks to its natural sedative properties, which may have a lot to do with why the Body Oil is my favourite product from this collection (although it should be noted that this oil is incredibly hydrating and beautiful on the skin, not just a sleep-inducing tool). I’ve also always found rose to be an effective de-stresser for me, so much so that I’ve been carting the Rose Hydrating Facial Hydrosol (which is essentially a spritz toner) around in my handbag to calm me before big meetings or pitches or if my barista is taking too long. Also a really nice makeup fresher-upperer… technical term.

Whether it’s just routine that you’re after or you need a bit of a push to send you on your way to dream land, I really, truly, honestly recommend these products. Not only do these candles and skincare products function as stress-erasers and gentle sleep-inducers, they’re also really effective at doing their primary jobs (whether that’s hydrating the skin, brightening the eye area, soothing the lips etc etc). They’re good on their own, plus they’re good at getting you to sleep which is a beauty essential in its own right.

ASPAR’s Dream Big collection is available online and in Aurora Spas. It’s really really good.


Gemma Watts has been working in the fashion media sphere since early 2012, having worked for both local and international fashion and beauty publications. Gemma is now working in a freelance capacity for a number of fashion and beauty brands, fusing her love of writing, photography and producing.

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