What do you think of when someone uses the word ‘luxury’? Five star hotels, vintage wine, spa breaks? Or maybe fast cars, flashy jewellery and big houses? If you’re trying to lead a simpler life, all of the above might sound completely counter-productive.
Which is why I think it’s high time we re-defined what luxury means.
To me, luxury is being self-compassionate. It’s giving yourself a break, whether you’ve earned it or not. It’s learning to let go of your to-do list. It’s caring for your body, mind and surroundings even if they aren’t perfect. It’s a mindset.
As a person who finds self-compassion difficult, I find that incorporating little (but useful) luxuries into my day reminds me to be kind to myself, to enjoy the present, and to truly unwind.
You may have your own little luxuries that help you find some calm already – if so, more power to you! But if you want a few self-indulgent ideas that don’t clutter your home, keep reading.
You don’t need a million different hair products to make your locks shine. A good quality, preferably natural shampoo will both clean your hair and make showering in the morning feel a little special. I personally love shampoos that contain aromatic essential oils to really wake me up in the morning (especially from Neal’s Yard Remedies). Look for gentle formulas and ingredients like fruit juices, coconut oil and argan oil, and you won’t need much else.
Real wool is becoming increasingly rare these days, but it is worth investing in if you live somewhere cold. There’s nothing like it for keeping you warm and dry, and contrary to most people’s experiences of wool, not all of it is scratchy. Good quality cashmere or merino is lightweight and super soft, and if cared for properly, will last you ages. If you like mid-century modern style, check out Boden for its knitwear range.
Tip: invest in woolly jumpers in Spring and you can find it at a much more reasonable price!
Super soft bedding
Since buying a pure linen duvet cover, I have truly begun to appreciate quality fabrics. And, as you spend a third of your life in your bed, it seems only logical to make sure it is kitted out. What could be better at the end of a long day than to sink into soft, cool sheets? Additionally, if you buy great quality bedding it can often last decades, meaning fewer purchases overall. (I especially love that my linen duvet is supposed to be crumpled. Lazy girl win.)
Natural, organic and handmade soaps seem to be everywhere these days. As soap cleans hands just as well as anti-bacterial hand soap, it gives me a great excuse to buy (or make) some. A little bar of gorgeous-smelling soap is so much nicer than one of those big pumps of bright blue gel. It’s also much easier to find moisturising formulas this way, if you get dry skin or eczema. My UK favourites are Emma’s Soap and Jane Maddern Soap, both of which are made in the West Country (i.e. my back yard).
Did you know that recent studies have proven that lavender oil really does make you relaxed, and that rosemary oil really does boost memory? This means some essential oils are useful for much more than scenting your bath (though some are great for this, too). Here is a great, unbiased guide to what we currently know about essential oils.
Tip: while some essential oils are great for skin conditions (e.g. tea tree) they should never be used undiluted. If you have sensitive skin or rosacea, it’s best to stick to inhaling their scent!
I don’t want to get all grandma on you, but I’m going to anyway: you need good shoes. Ones that keep your feet warm, dry and supported. (And also look great at the same time.)
Contrary to popular belief, comfort and style are not mutually exclusive. It can be harder to find sometimes, but not impossible. A pair of well-made shoes will last you years longer than a cheap pair if you look after them – I have some black pointy ankle boots from Hush Puppies that have seen me through 3 English winters, and they’re still going. It’s an investment, but a good one. Keep an eye out for the brands that make your feet happy, and stick with them.
What little luxuries would you add to this list?