Tuesday, September 5, 2017

True luxury

The jazzily-named 'red hot pokers' in our garden this week

‘The idea of luxury to me is something that makes you feel special’ – Aerin Lauder

I love to ruminate on the topic of luxury.  It always conjures up the kinds of material goods that would pop up on Google if you searched for ‘luxury’ – fancy sports cars, fur coats, 7-star hotels, resorts in the Maldives...

But deep down I know that is not the kind of luxury that appeals to me.  Of course, I’d never turn down a stay in the Maldives, but I’m more interested in day-to-day luxury, down-to-earth luxury and the luxury of simplicity.  Such as…

Candlelight, lighting a candle daily
Long, clean, blow-dried hair
The gold Elnett hairspray can (visually pleasing, plus nicely scented and with a fine spray)
A glowing complexion and flawlessly buffed and polished skin
Simplicity of dress, with classical lines
A room that feels airy and light with no clutter
The crispness of an air-conditioned bank
Scented body creams and lotions
Wearing perfume, expensive or not
Washing just hung on the line outdoors
Hearing just the right song to put you in a good mood
Realizing at any point in time that there is no place you’d rather be than where you are right now
A Kindle or bookshelf full of books to read
A just cleaned home
Sipping a steaming hot cup of English breakfast tea with trim milk
Re-watching a favourite movie for the tenth time
Finding a new-to-you author and knowing you have their entire back catalogue to read through
Having a breakfast that you look forward to getting up to each morning
That fabulous feeling when you’ve done a gentle exercise workout
Finding a type of exercise that you are happy to do!
Waking up in your own time on a Saturday morning
Finding an inspiration file you haven’t looked at in a while and loving every page still
Re-reading favourite magazines (I love 'Victoria')
Falling to sleep easily at night
Having an afternoon with nothing to do, no-one to see

I love Aerin Lauder’s quote above, and I also love to be inspired by her approach to life.  She seems hardworking, quiet-natured and dedicated to surrounding herself and her lifestyle business with elegant beauty.

My own décor is a bit more rustic and casual than Aerin’s Park Avenue style, but I can still enjoy the goodness that comes from her book, Instagram and website.

And that’s the beauty of true luxury: it can mean whatever we want it to mean.  If every one of us wrote out our list of what feels truly luxurious to us, they’d all look completely different.  How cool is that?

So, as I write this I am signing off in true luxury – I have two happy recently-fed cats napping, I’ve almost finished this post and it’s almost time to nestle in for pre-dinner relaxing time with a book.  After recently finishing Penny Vincenzi’s A Perfect Heritage, I am ‘interviewing’ new books for the next read.  I have to dip into one or two before I find one to settle on :)

If you have read something excellent lately, please let me know.

A Perfect Heritage was so enjoyable; Penny writes L O N G stories, but it was easy to finish.  If you enjoy books set in London with the beauty industry as a backdrop, a peek into other peoples lives and characters with elegance, you might enjoy it too.

Wishing you a wonderful week, and may it be truly luxurious as well!



PS. As it turns to spring here in New Zealand, you lucky people in the northern hemisphere are experiencing the first signs of autumn.  Yes of course I love spring and the warmer summer months, but autumn will always be my first true love.

If you haven’t read my book How to be Chic in the Winter yet, why not check out a sample from Amazon?  In this book I share all my ideas on how to enjoy the winter season instead of just enduring it – even if you are a summer person!

I’m sure you will find ideas to transform the way you think about winter, and it all came from my own desire to ‘live slim, happy and stylish during the cold season.’  You can find it on Amazon Kindle here and in paperback too.


  1. A lovely post topic, Fiona, as always. I find luxury in the most unexpected things and places: going to bed in newly laundered sheets, spraying with Norfolk lavender pillow mist, a brand new style magazine (The English Home is my favourite), a new book (by which I mean really new or new-to-me, i.e. second hand), the first cup of coffee of the day, often drunk while husband is still asleep, seeing the sun rise (if it's a sunny day) over the sea (we only have a glimpse of the sea from our house, but nonetheless, it's there!), a bunch of fresh flowers, being able to shop in a variety or supermarkets where there is food in abundance, unlike many 3rd world countries which I find very sad, a lovely new bottle of nail polish or a lipstick and not necessarily a highly-priced one (I've found lesser-priced ones are often just as good if not better than the high-end ones), a new DVD to watch, a bar of delicious dark chocolate or a small box of macarons, having lovely stationery to use (sometimes personalized stationery), a walk by the sea or in the countryside, visiting an antiques' centre and finding a bargain, visiting an historic house and admiring the architecture and wonderful contents, being in a lovely garden especially after a shower when everything sparkles, a clear sky with stars, having my hair highlighted so that the dustbin grey is removed for a few months!, a new drama series on TV that I enjoy and is therefore something to look forward to each week for several weeks, coffee with a friend to chat to, the weekend papers, the new autumn bulb catalogue from which to choose the tulips for spring (which is my favourite season!), a spritz with my favourite fragrance of the moment or a return to an old favourite (Hermes' Caleche or 24 Faubourg), a simple meal of quality cheese, fresh bread and lovely chutney ... I think I'd best leave it there. But there is something I don't much care for and that is candles. No, I'm not keen on scented candles and I also think naked flames in the house are a fire risk. But I know lots of people, including you, Fiona, like them. This is just me!
    Margaret P

    1. Wonderful list Margaret, just fabulous! I love different supermarkets and having a new drama series to look forward to also. And dustbin grey hair :) you crack me up, love your turn of phrase!

    2. I forgot one of what I consider quite a luxury these days: pure fresh air off the sea or from Dartmoor! There is nothing like lungsful of pure fresh air!
      Glad I could make you laugh re my description of dustbin grey hair!
      Margaret P

  2. This was a great post and a good reminder to surround ourselves with luxury. This is the only life here that you get so why squander it? It was meant to be enjoyed to the fullest!

    I'm reading Coco Chanel: An Intimate Life. Lately I just can't seem to get enough learning about her style and life.

    L'Oreal's Elnett spray is my all-time favorite! Its easier to get here in the U.S. now (thank goodness) than it was when I first fell in love with it.

    Luxury is finding the perfect red lipstick (especially with such white skin) - Chanel Rouge Hydrabase #78 Shanghai Red is it for me. Even the name sounds like luxury (smile). I love to find it on ebay brand new even thought it IS discontinued.

    Spending a cool evening in front of the wood fireplace in Alpha Hubby's arms, sipping on a glass of Bottega Moscato wine. That is my best luxury after spending so many barren years without him.

    1. I love to read about Coco Chanel too, her story is so inspiring, and look at the style legacy she has created.

      Elnett is quite expensive in New Zealand, and when I saw it was a fraction of the price in Australia, I brought two large cans back in my suitcase!

  3. I feel that I live a life of luxury, even though I am not "rich", because the things I value are simple pleasures. Getting up before dawn to sip my tea, exercise, and get a start on the day feels more luxurious than sleeping in (which would leave me frazzled). Making a wonderful, from-scratch lunch for Paul and I, then taking a post-prandial nap. Baking bread. Reading a can't-put-it-down book in bed before sleep (my latest fav is Barbara Kingsolver). Wearing nice clothes and makeup on a daily basis -- not just when I am going out. Having a clutter-free, clean home. Binge-watching my favorite series on Netflix (right now: The Walking Dead). Watching the birds and small mammals that visit my backyard (I am especially fond of a blue jay that has a cockatiel "accent". He takes a bath in our pond every afternoon.) Having the windows open at night so that I can hear the ambient sounds (trains in the distance, the pond fountain outside the bedroom window, crickets and katydids). All these things are free or cheap, and yet they make me feel like I live the most wonderful life imaginable.

    1. I always enjoy your comments, thank you Mimi 😊 So cute about the mimicking blue jay! I read Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible years ago and still recall vividly how good it was.

  4. Fiona, You just keep producing one great post after another! I love the discussions we have from them all accompanied by all the comments and other perspectives.

    On the topic of true luxury, when you recognize what you have, it makes all the extras even more luxurious and even decadent. It's good that we realize how much luxury we are surrounded with when most people around the world live with so much less. I know I, for one, am too accustomed to luxuries (even on a budget) and sometimes take it for granted, so I try to make an effort to acknowledge it whenever a moment of luxury happens. I feel truly spoiled.

    Some of my luxuries are having a full nights sleep uninterrupted (priceless in my peri-menopausal state!), being able to go anywhere I want at any given time in my car, food of my choice whenever I want, a daily shower with all my favorite toiletries, days without migraine, my family healthy and happy and near me ... the list is never-ending, thank goodness :)


    1. I love this D! True luxury is realising how much we really have compared with others. It recalibrates our gratitude 🙌

  5. What's a luxury? Something above and beyond? So for some, the fanciest designer clothes might be boring. Which is kind of sad, if something so beautiful--works of art, really--becomes banal.
    The point is to not let any of the treasures that come our way become banal. To keep our eyes open, as you do so well.

    1. I thought about this recently too. With the gorgeous view from our new home, I never want to become blasé about it. This means I need to intentionally appreciate it every day.

  6. You have opened my eyes to so much luxury around me that I was not paying attention to. I love your list!

  7. In Rosamunde Pilcher's The Shell Seekers, she describes luxury as the total fulfillment of of all five senses at once. I think that's a good summation.

    On Sunday I had a simple meal of smoked salmon, brown bread, fruit and a little wine. I had soft music playing, everything looked delightful and I felt so satisfied, not just by the food but by the arrangement. Delicious, luxurious, and very little effort. Also not that expensive.

    Some other luxuries include:
    *going to my sacred circle dance class
    *lying on my bed and reading at night- not on my computer!
    *freshly colored hair
    *walking in the woods
    *visiting local gardens
    *curling up with a good book. I just finished Rosamunde Pilcher's September, the sequel to The Shell Seekers.
    *a day to do whatever pleases me
    *finding new music I love
    *a lovely warm bath with scent, and stepping out to put on lotion
    *cuddling a dog

    1. Wonderful list, Aurora, thank you 💝 I will look up this author 😊

  8. Hi Fiona,

    What a lovely post of thoughts and your red flowers are sublime, and indeed true luxury! I agree with you that luxury is whatever one takes it to mean for them. Like you, I love simple luxuries the most. I call them my itty-bitty luxuries. :) Hope you are enjoying your new home and land.

  9. I love these types of posts that you do! I have a busy next couple of months coming up and was feeling overwhelmed so I created myself an online calendar, totally personalized and color coded with pretty colors. It may sound dull but taking the time to organize myself makes me feel very serene, and yes, luxurious too.

    I was also feeling a little bit lazy about preparing a lunch and had to convince myself to get up and make a fresh salad (green lettuce, red onion, walnuts, parmesan with lemon dressing) and some grilled chicken. I'm so happy I was disciplined with myself. In my dreams, a luxurious life is one full of nourishing foods.

    1. Both fabulous ideas, Natalie! What did you use to create your calendar? Is there a website or app you could recommend?

      Your salad sounds delicious and yes, very luxurious :)

  10. A lovely list Fiona. So many lovely every day luxuries -- a full night's sleep (so grateful when that happens!), a car purring on your lap, a good book to read, a fire burning in the wood stove, the winter sky at dusk, watching the birds at the feeders, a long bath with my favorite essential oils, fresh flowers and beeswax candles, a fresh pedicure, the smell of home cooking, a freshly cleaned home, a Chinese foot massage, when an outfit makes you feel beautiful, a steaming mug of coffee . . . xo Deborah
    ps I'm looking forward to reading the writing posts from you in my inbox.

  11. I have I have just finished 'What Alice Forgot' by Liane Moriarty.
    Excellent. Couldn't put it down.
    The back page reads 'When Alice surfaces from a strange dream to find she's been injured in a gym, her first concern is for her unborn baby. She's desperate to see her husband Nick, who she knows will be worried about her..... But Alice isn't pregnant. And Nick isn't rushing to her bedside. She is a mother of three going through a bitter divorce..... Alice has lost ten years of her life - and she wants them back'.

    In fact, anything by Liane Moriarty. Last month I read 'The Husband's Secret' and it was excellent.

    Luxury for me - a cup of tea in my favourite cup, a novel and my cat on my lap :)

    1. I love Liane Moriarty too, Lara. I have read The Husband's Secret, what a ripper, but haven't read What Alice Forgot. I have a few of hers on my library wishlist. She certainly has a way with stories to keep you guessing (or in my case not having a clue what's going to happen.) Compelling!

  12. If you like mysteries set in another country (India) you might enjoy Tarquinn Hall's books. Just read them in the correct order (I didn't)

    1. Thank you very much Cynthia, I will look up this author. I have enjoyed tv programmes set in colonial India (Indian Summers). And I will make sure to read the first book first :)

  13. Since you're a lover of all things French, you may have read "The Perfume Collector" by Kathleen Tessaro. It was lovely. You'd probably enjoy "The Bombshell manual of Style" (Laren Stover),"Ooh La La" by Jamie Cat Callan, "Leonie" by Elizabeth Adler, who also wrote "Sailing to Capri". If you haven't seen "Cheri"with Michele Pfeifer, it's delicious, as is "Gigi" & "Le Divorce"- watch the dvds if you can! Oh, and "Julie & Julia"!

    1. Thank you Missy! I have read some of your suggestions and others are new to me. How delicous :)

  14. Rosamund Pilcher's books are wonderful! I reread them over and over.


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...