I maintain a fairly conservative lifestyle. On paper there’s absolutely nothing lavish about it. I drive a small car. I don’t often hang out in swish places. I fortunately don’t have designer shopping habits. For the time being I choose to share a house with a friend.
I do seek out items, rituals and experiences that make my toes curl with lekkerte, and I enjoy them with everything I have inside me. It makes my everyday life worthwhile.
While it’s crucial to have hopes, goals and dreams (the holiday you’re planning, the house renovation, the work promotion or the business you’re trying to get off the ground, the big wedding or the second baby – whatever it is in your case), it’s important not to let the present pass you by while you work towards them and/or wait for things to fall in place. Because honestly, if I had to wait for the big things, I would have been dead inside ages ago.
I’ve jotted down a few things I spend a little more time, effort or money on because simply put, it makes me feel happier. These are all things I can absolutely skip or go without – luxuries, if you will – but they all contribute to my happiness and enjoyment of everyday life and the mundane things its sometimes filled with. Sometimes it really does boil down to the little things.
I really don’t enjoy harsh, bright lights. It actively offends my senses and it creates discomfort. Partly because it’s just unpleasant, and partly because my pupils are twice the average size, which is a logical reason for the light sensitivity.
I love string lights, lamps and candles; and after dinner is cooked the main lights in the house are hardly ever switched on again. I have various strings of lights in my bedroom and in the living room, and there are always a few candles in rotation as well. If you want to offend me, switch on a bright light in my face.
Side note: This is not related to air. There always needs to be airflow – I do NOT enjoy being in closed, confined, stuffy spaces. My doors and windows are permanently open, come rain or shine.
I started drinking coffee less than three years ago, and I went straight for the good stuff. I have a little ritual when I make coffee at home – heat the mug, froth the milk, and then add the exact right combination of coffee (One long and one espresso shot, if you were wondering. An extra shot on most days lately). The effort is 100% worth the end result.
Cold drinks are a whole other ball game. I pretty much only drink water these days (well, aside from when I booze it up on special occasions), which I prefer really cold and fresh out of the soda stream in a specific type of glass. This isn’t new – I’ve had illogical preferences (i.e I’ve been full of shit) since I was a kid.
Because of the aversion to room temperature beverages I use a stainless steel flask bottle for refrigerated tap water – I bought this one from Takealot, which works brilliantly. It keeps drinks cold all day – even if you leave it in a hot car. If I don’t use one of these I leave abandoned half-glasses of water everywhere like the little girl in Signs – it’s a running family joke.
I realise a lot of people couldn’t care less about these details but if you do, try indulging in it. You deserve nice things.
Smell is a very important and special sense to me – I sniff just about everything I come across. I love to be surrounded by fresh, uplifting scents and on any given day I have an air purifier running (great way to perk up a room in minutes), as well as an essential oil burner, vaporiser or a candle. Sometimes all of the above. I don’t save them for nighttime or special occasions – I light/switch them on whenever the mood strikes, which is often.
I also love this one particular Adairs Bergamot & Rose scented linen spray which I’ve been dousing my curtains and bed linen with for a good 10 years now. I’m not a fan of rose scents but this one smells like soft citrus and actual fresh roses. My mom usually mules it to SA for me, and with my last visit to Aus she got me a stockpile of 10 bottles to bring home. There’s more detail on how I fragrance my home here.
In the perfume department I make a point of wearing every fragrance in my collection. This part is very indulgent – I have about 55 after the last culling – it’s one of the few things I allow myself to hang onto and overspend on.
I don’t ‘save’ any of them, and if I’m feeling a little down or uninspired I’ll wear one of my favourite, most special scents. Even if I’m typing away in leggings and a t-shirt at 7am or lying on the couch at 10pm.
At the moment my workspace is a desk in the living room, but you better believe there are some pretty things on there.
While I can and will happily have seven pairs of shoes lying around the house at any given time, I can’t think straight if my desk is too cluttered so I’ll tidy it before I open my laptop.
I’ve learnt that compartmentalising odds and ends into smaller organisers/dividers/containers helps a lot with keeping clutter under control. I need to keep my organisers fairly small as I’ll otherwise fill them up with everything I don’t want to see lying around. It’s a bit of a constant battle.
So whether it’s a home or a shared office, make sure it’s bright and tidy. If you’re a sales rep, keep your car sparkling clean and make sure it smells fresh. Spend an hour or two to set things up the way you want them. These things make a massive difference to your mindset.
Use your special items
I’m not sure who started the rumour that special items should be saved for ‘one day’, but I vehemently object. You can even read an entire post on it here.
Use your crystal glasses – someone’s eventually going to break one anyway, whether it’s a special occasion or not. If you have a silver dinner service in a box somewhere, please tell me what you’re saving it for? Wear your beautiful lingerie and that sequinned top. Light the pretty candle before its scent fades.
My mom’s only dinnerware is a collection of mismatched antique plates that used to hang on my grandmother’s walls, and eventually on our childhood home’s walls. Some still have double sided tape residue on the back.
Go for it.
A luxurious bath
When our water supply allows it, I love an indulgent bath.
A candle or two is non-negotiable, and there is always a fragrant concoction of salts, oils and/or bubbles. Sometimes there’s music. I sink into the water until my ears are covered and I can easily stay in my makeshift sensory deprivation tank for an hour.
Linen & towels
I’m too old for bad linen and shitty towels. Sinking into pure cotton sheets at night gives me great joy. It’s almost too indulgent to explain. And seeing a matching set of thick, oversized towels in the bathroom? Highly recommended. I don’t save them for guests, I get to use the good ones every day because I deserve them.
What is your most satisfying pleasure/pleasures? I hope everyone has at least one (but hopefully more) small or not-so-small delights of their own. If it’s not something you’ve put much thought into, please do. You’re worthy of it 😉