Thursday, November 11, 2010

30 Chic Days - Day Eleven

Day 11: Enjoy low-cost luxuries

I may not be rich enough to spend a month staying at the Ritz Paris, or eat in silver service restaurants each evening. But I can have one or two nights at a beautiful hotel in my home town a few times a year, dine on petite pieces of eye fillet steak once or twice a month and sip Moet or Veuve Clicquot once in a while.

I have found that you don't need to have tons of money to live well. My husband and I often have this conversation. He concludes that the things we enjoy doing, we can do on a small budget. Yes, we want to buy a house one day, and we are saving hard.

But in the meantime, why live like a poor person? Why not put aside a small amount of money each payday to feed the soul?

Aside from the ones mentioned above, here are my favourite low-cost luxuries, to be enjoyed every so often. Having them all the time would ruin the fun.

A barista-made coffee.
A thick, glossy magazine. I bought October's The World of Interiors recently with Anna Wintour's rural retreat. Divine!
High-cocoa content chocolate.
Having my hair highlighted, trimmed and styled. The head massage while shampooing makes my toes fall off.
A macaron or other French pastry from a fancy boulangerie.
Browsing in an upmarket store, and sampling fragrance and hand-cream on the way out.
A blissfully early night.
A long shower where I do everything (hairwash, facial exfoliant, body scrub, legs shaved) and then smooth on thick body cream.

I feel like there are a million more things that could be on my list. Will you help me? What are your favourite low-cost luxuries?

In the photo above I am reclining in our luxury suite at a fancy hotel last month. It was my 40th, so why not? In my dreams, my ideal French girl's apartment is very different to this (more rustic and sparse, even though it is in Paris), but I wouldn't mind it if my Parisienne maison was decorated like our suite.


  1. I love these ideas! I need to come up with a list so I can refer to it. Especially in high stress times.

  2. Very nice picture of you;-)
    the greatest luxury for me is to wake-up whenever I please! But I do love your charming ideas here.

  3. Great ideas! I agree with this post. I like to go and get a facial every other month. :) Also waking up late is such a treat!

  4. One of my new indulgences is upon waking, as I drink my litre of water, I stay in bed with my laptop to see what is the latest on the "30 Chic Days" and other new posts in blogosphere.

    Another "rich" thing I like to do is go to art museums and/or museums of history. I can surround myself with so much beauty. An authentic Monet or Renoir may never hang in my home but I can enjoy them just the same.

    (Loved what you said about your toes falling off when you get your head massaged--know the feeling!)

  5. We are going to plan evenings out during the holidays at some of the fancier hotels here that get all decked out with magnificent decor, even if it's just for drinks, I'll get to enjoy the decorations and festive atmosphere. (not to mention, since my home is minimally decorated for the holidays, enjoy others efforts in creating something more elaborate).... I like the idea of an art museum too, where else can you surround yourself with priceless works of art?

  6. hi fiona,

    you look like the epitome of luxury sitting in your suite. you look positively regal!

    for me luxury has little to do with money either. sleeping late, long walks, good conversation, spending time with my grandaughter. i've always believed it's the little things in life that make it so rich.

  7. I like this image of you relaxing!

    It might sound odd, but I enjoy hand washing my lacy lingerie in a lavender scented soap...

    and having a pj day where I do not get dressed...I give myself a home spa day and pretend I'm a lady of leisure!

    Janet has my other thoughts of luxe mentioned already...birds of a feather!

  8. well high-cocoa content [hot] chocolate is really the only way to go! and if you get a barista to make that for you, then you've doubled the luxury into one!

    i love waking up when im not on a schedule to laze around with a bowl of cereal in the morning.
    also window shopping! i may not be able to buy things but strolling by the windows keeps your eyes sharp and lets you reflect on that "one day... i will have the money to have all of this" =)

  9. Fiona,

    You look beautiful and relaxed in your luxury suite.

    I would have to add facials to my list. And enjoying a high-quality pot of tea - like Mariage Freres or Kusmi from Paris.

    I also feel like I'm on a luxurious vacation when my husband and I go out for one of our winery picnics. I like to bring the best cheese, Italian olives, a fresh baguette and some local wine. Then maybe finish it off with fine dark chocolate. I can pretend we're in the French or Italian country-side for a couple of hours.


  10. Kamani, it's at high-stress times you appreciate these things. A list is a great idea.

    Fashion, Art, thank you. And I think your luxury of waking up whenever you please is spot on. I actually sighed when I read this. Waking up without an alarm. Blissful.

    Robin, yes a facial is something to look forward to as well.

    Vintage Dreamer, I like to check the blogs with a cup (or two) of tea each morning as well. Museums and art galleries are worthy additions to the list.

    Stephanie, that's very French to do, go out and enjoy the decorations. French people do it with parks also.

    Janet, thank you! I was feeling rather regal in my French-style chair which was tres comfortable. I love all your ideas.

    Hostess, handwashing is a dreaded chore for me. A lovely wash product would make it something rather more enticing. I love pj days too.

    Lenna, day-dreaming about 'one day when' is one of my favourite things to do.

    Adrienne, merci! A luxe yet simple picnic is a fabulous idea. I imagine I am packing it for someone else and make sure it looks visually pleasing and that all the components complement each other. And tea, mmm. I will put your tea shop on my Paris list.

  11. Lovely post. You were "made" for that chair.
    I love the "high content cocoa". Mind you some days "any-content cocoa" will do.
    I would like to add:
    *snuggly cashmere socks for mooching at home
    *lovely homemade soup and bread
    *luxurious Kerastase or Aveda hair masks
    *A new lipstick does wonders for me
    * a new book along with that "high-content cocoa" bar :-)
    Oooh! I could go on for ever....but I won't ;-)

    (Fiona do pop over to my blog and enter our competition for some Swarovski earrings).

  12. what a wonderful post - I love all your ideas! xo

  13. I love the movie Amelie...because it's all about embracing the simple pleasures in life! ...and it's so French! Some of the examples I love are that Amelie loves to dip her hands into the grains...I actually tried this the other day when I was cooking up quinoa. Skipping stones at the lake, cleaning and/or reorganizing your purse, and a bunch of other examples are given.

    I personally love to organize my closet and my desk, even my bookbag. It feels like I'm decluttering my mind simultaneously. I also love to reread my favorite passages from books, and of course, read Fiona's blog. :)

    by the way...i don't have a blog..i'm logged in via my gmail i don't even have access to my nonexistent blog..strange set-up ;)

  14. First off, you are gorgeous and look very nonchalant.

    And I thoroughly agree about this post. G and I have been told we live a very nice lifestyle, but the reality is we have less income than most of our friends, it's simply how we spend it. We have fewer things in our closet, but they tend to be nice quality. We don't drink as much as some, but we make sure it's something delightful. I don't wear much make-up, but I spend a bit more for quality.

    My bit of luxury is a good scotch for the husband, mid-range, a glenrothes. He appreciates the flavor and drinks what is less than a shot at a time, just a tetch. I enjoy kerrygold butter and pay dearly for this import.

    But luxuries like a hot shower cost so little, it's more about being luxurious with our time!

  15. Forgot to look positively regal in that photo!

  16. Vanessa, thank you for your comprehensive list. I'm with your on low-content chocolate. Some days it's called for.

    New Black, thanks! Hope married life is blissful for you.

    Ani, I find organising relaxing and enjoyable too. I think Amelie would be the number-one movie about simple pleasures. I love the scene where she makes a simple pasta dinner with the parmesan grinder and (I think I recall correctly) she sees the cat out the window and then the old man painting. That pasta dinner looks so perfect and chic. Her whole apartment is adorable.

    Merci Kalee, I agree about a hot shower. There's nothing better. I've enjoyed reading the posts where you write about this subject.

    Thanks Stephanie! It's a shame the chair is not part of the items you can take home like the pretty toiletries (which were decent size 100ml bottles of English brand Molten Brown - delicious).

  17. This series is fantastic. I especially loved this post and couldn't agree more with what you shared. Staying one night a few times a year in a four star hotel is a true simple luxury. I recently was able to do that I thoroughly enjoyed myself. And the visit to the stylist - I too love the scalp massage - heaven!

    Wonderful job. I love your way of thinking. :) I will be including a mention of this series on my Cups of Tea this Sunday for sure.

  18. These ideas are EXACTLY what my husband and I do. High cocoa-content hot chocolate is our winter dessert every Friday night. I also like Illy coffee brewed at home, European butter for bread, and a dram of 12-year old whiskey one evening a week. The key action step is to enjoy these luxuries (except the coffee) once a week so they remain treats and do not result in negative consequence on your budget or your waistline.

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  20. Clean sheets!!!! I love clean sheets!!!!


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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