Things I Keep In My Bedside Drawer

By Alison October 17, 2012 2 Comments 8 Min Read

Bedside drawers are such intimate places aren’t they? Cosy cubbies full of necessary, good things for when we are at our most vulnverable. Our most human. At, I think, the core of ourselves.
In the Art of Homemaking, I talk about making a woman’s bedside chest, the centre of her world: the place where her hopes, dreams and memories gather and those things she requires to keep her soul alive are kept safe, and I truly hope that you have read it and have created for yourself a home for your heart.

I have three little bedside baskets. The first holding all those things I need daily: those things that are part of my bedtime and morning routine and those things that remind me who I am. The second holding memories and photographs and the third holding secrets and treasures wrapped in a length of cream velour.

These then are the contents of the first basket…

Tibetan Incense and Incense Holder

This is my very favorite incense. And I must have tried thousands of varieties over the years, always coming back to this one, which I have come to associate as the scent of bedtime: not the sleepy scent of lavender and geranium, but the fragrance of meditation, undressing,  reading,  journalling and giving thanks.

Love Poems by Brian Patten

book of poetry that speaks to my silly, battered heart and informs me that I am not the only one to have suffered the slings and arrows of heartbreak. This poem “Nothing Is Ever As Perfect As You Want It To Be” makes me cry…

You lose your love for her and then
It is her who is lost,
And then it is both who are lost,
And nothing is ever as perfect as you want it to be.

In a very ordinary world
A most extraordinary pain mingles with the small routines,
The loss seems huge and yet
Nothing can be pinned down or fully explained.

You are afraid.
If you found the perfect love
It would scald your hands,
Rip the skin from your nerves,
Cause havoc with a computered heart.

You lose your love for her and then it is her who is lost.
You tried not to hurt and yet
Everything you touched became a wound.
You tried to mend what cannot be mended,
You tried, neither foolish nor clumsy,
To rescue what cannot be rescued.

You failed,
And now she is elsewhere
And her night and your night
Are both utterly drained.

How easy it would be
If love could be brought home like a lost kitten
Or gathered in like strawberries,
How lovely it would be;
But nothing is ever as perfect as you want it to be.


Sent by BrocanteHome readers, these pillboxes are amongst some of my most treasured little gifts. The black one holds my goodnight magnesium and the yellow one, my good morning thyroid medication and filling them has made something terribly mundane a part of my puttery self-care routine: reminding me to look after myself and do it in style…

Tissues and Lip Balm

Obviously there isn’t a single area of my life that isn’t much improved by something Cath Kidston has fluttered her magic wand over and my bedside drawer is no exception. A packet of Cath tissues are always lurking there in anticipation of whingey, snotty evenings or weepy stories and I cannot sleep without a quick swipe of lip balm. Tis an addiction I know.

Simple Abundance

If my house was on fire, dear readers, I would save Finley, Jimmy the cat and this: my signed, tenth anniversary edition of Simple Abundance – the book that changed my life. Precious and essential to me daily.


I don’t know whether I believe in the healing power of crystals or not. But this I know for sure, when I hold my large rose quartz crystal in my hands, I feel the gentlest of vibrations. A vibration that reminds me to be in the moment. To keep my hands still during meditation. to wish on all those things I cannot y et see but must hope for regardless. These then are my wishing stones.

My Kindle.

I don’t need to explain this one do I? It’s a Kindle. It holds my bookshelves. In my bedside chest. A tardis full of written wonder.

Massage and Sleep Oil

I want all my senses engaged before I sleep. Touch and scent being highest on my list. And so fragranced oils are essential. This one that I buy in the Indian beauty section in Tesco is my current favorite and I rub it into my feet and chest every evening before I sleep, leaving my whole body both relaxed and gently tingling. Between that and  roller ball Tisserand sleep oil I roll on to my wrists and temples, you can be sure my dreams are sweetly fragranced.

Herbal Remedies

Sometimes despite my best intentions my body goes bonkers and though I am loathe to share anything bowel related on my pretty little blog, truth of the matter is that sometimes life gets a little ummm… sluggish and then I find myself out of sorts, uncomfortable and unable to sleep, so I go into battle with the wonder that is the Ayurvedic remedy Rose Triphala and Kalms night-time tablets which help me relax and stop tying my silly, over-sensitive stomach up in knots.

Lavender and Geranium

My pillow oils. Though I know it is terribly bad laundry form I sprinkle them directly on to my pillows (the pillows themselves, not the pillow cases) and lie in fragrant, sleep-inducing, dream enhancing bliss.

My Journals

That I write every evening is to me essential. This year I have thoroughly enjoyed the silly, thought-provoking prompts in my Keels Simple Diary and have kept up my ten year practise of writing a gratitude list – something that has long kept me sane when it felt like the world was falling in.


And finally a few little tokens from my gorgeous boy. The first,  his first effort at sewing: a happy little bookmark, embroidered with “MUM” I adore, and the second the kind of little surprise only a munchkin with only all the charm of Dennis the Menace, could inflict upon his poor, unassuming Mummy. Oh yes. You see, that little black box in the picture above? It freaks the life out of me daily. Every time I pull open my drawer full of puttery, bedtime goodness, it announces in suitably scary voice “I am a Dalek”,  and while Finley thinks this is wildly hysterical, I jump everytime I hear it, but rather appreciate my little one’s joke to much to banish it!

So there you have it my Darlings: a root through my inner sanctuary. Perhaps I will show you my Comfort drawer next should you care to see it?


  1. Carlie says:

    What a very personal tour! I never thought to tell people what I keep on my bedside table but maybe I will now that seen yours!

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