My everyday luxuries

by , on
8th August 2017

What does luxury mean to you?  If you google “luxury” and view the immediate images that come up, you’ll see yachts, Lamborghini’s, Rolex watches and lots of hot chicks in swimsuits.

Hmmmmm.  If that’s your luxury, great!  However……

I couldn’t agree more.  My luxuries centre around those everyday items that whatever is going on in my life, are omnipresent because they enhance my existence and make me feel better.

All that BS about saving things for a special occasion or “when we have visitors” – seriously, do me a favour.  Enjoy your lovely things today, live in the present and stop waiting for someone to give you permission to indulge yourself.

So, in no particular order, here are my top ten everyday luxury items.. (and most of them don’t cost a lot at all!)


Amber Noir candle by Shearers – I have introduced so many friends to this scent, including men.  There’s literally nothing else like it.  I personally hate synthetic candle smells (like food, honestly makes me feel nauseous) and always gravitate towards those made with natural perfume oils.  From their sexy black appearance to the hypnotic and dark scents of tuberose, violets and amber, this candle gets lit within the first ten minutes of me getting home.  If you’ve not discovered it, I urge you to try.

Babyliss Big Hair Styler – My biggest gripe about mornings is the time (any amount of time) I have to spend getting ready.  So anything that makes helps me get out the door quickly without scaring passers by; is a god send.  I literally cannot live without this styler.  I’ve had one for about the last six years and the moment the motor burns out due to the excessive use it gets, I’m straight out the door to buy another.  If you have thick long hair, it’s going to be your new best-friend.

My Givenchy Antigona tote – The most expensive item on this list has more than earned its keep.  I bought it after my pay off from my last corporate job and I agonised over spending so much,  I needn’t have worried. After three years of pretty much continual use, it still looks like new. For me, it’s the perfect handbag.  It is big enough to hold a netbook, bottle of water, pair of shoes, purse and make-up and it has a shoulder strap.  It looks great with casual or smart outfits and mine is an amazing pebbled grey oil-slick leather that throws different colours when the light hits it.  I’ve never seen another one and I’ve had buyers for major department stores offer to buy it if I ever sell it. Which I never intend to do.

Coco Noir Perfume – I have around half a dozen fragrances that I dip in and out of but if I had to choose just one, this would be it.  I seem to gravitate towards smells that have the word “noir” in them (what this says about me, I do not know) but I would wear this day or night.  It’s a floral oriental with a spicy, warm and woody edge and just a couple of sprays last all day.

Louis Vuitton black large square scarf –  This goes everywhere with me and I use it all year round. I fell in love with it on a visit to Selfridges and couldn’t get over how soft it was. I tried buying a cheaper version but it just felt scratchy in comparison and in the end, I just took the plunge.   I  have had mine for years now and I  chose the black because the logo is discreet and not at all showy.

Argan oil Night Serum – this stuff is as cheap as chips but oh my, it is literally like a drink of water for the skin.  I use it in the day as well as at night as I just love the cooling sensation of putting it on and my skin is just so soft after it has been applied.  Great on your hands too.

Egyptian Cotton Bedlinen (White) – no particular brand, it just has to be white and as high a thread-count as possible.   I actually quite like miss-matching patterns on bed linen, so quite often you’ll find a stripe with a zigzag at my gaff.   I’ve found great buys at QVC and TK Maxx and I’m still using sets I bought seven years ago, despite the fact that they get boil washed and pressed.

Oral B Pro electric toothbrush – Nothing cleans like it and I’ve used one for the past twenty years or more.  I’ve tried the imitators but always end up back with the Oral B Pro. Nuff said.

Microsoft Surface Pro netbook – I pretty much love all tech.  If I wasn’t limiting this list to ten items my I-Phone and I-Pad would be on it too.  I still can’t fully tear myself away from Windows though and for me, this combination of streamline PC with removable keypad just oozes quality.  It feels substantial yet will easily slip into a handbag.  You can write on the screen and use it as a notepad and when you whip this bad boy out in a meeting; people quite literally salivate.  Perfect for travelling as it doubles as a tablet.  I’m still eyeing up the large I-Pad pro but for now this beauty has my heart.

My Nike Trainers –  at any one time, I have about two pairs on the go – in varying states of being destroyed.  I have herniated discs in my back and struggle with heels for any length of time. Plus, having dogs, I walk around 5-7 miles per day, so I need to have something that is comfortable, tough and doesn’t throw my alignment out.  For me, no other brand does what Nike can do for me in this area.  I’m currently using a pair of Thea Air and a black leather Pegasus Air, both of which get daily hammer and yet come out good as new after a 40 degree cycle in my washing machine.  Although I’m sure Nike don’t actually recommend you do this……

What are your daily luxuries?  What can’t you live without?  What items are you rushing out the door to replace if you run out or they break?



by , on
7th August 2017

A lot of poor behaviour is linked into (what life coaches would call) “limiting beliefs” – be it around money, self-worth, relationships – whatever.  This (another life coach term) “poverty mentality” often starts early on in life and becomes deeply ingrained within our (more powerful) subconscious mind.   So, although we might not be aware that we consciously have these perceptions; a deeply internalised notion may be constantly impinging upon our ability to truly thrive.

Throughout our emerging years – and with the best of intentions – adults consistently impart various nuggets of wisdom.  The problem is, that sometimes these “nuggets” really aren’t that golden.  Phrases such as “money is the root of all evil,” “make do with what you have” or “you’re just not a fast learner” all serve to plant a seed or belief around a certain facet of our lives.  Beliefs that for one aren’t necessarily true and for another, definitely aren’t helpful.  The problem is that when the message is on repeat enough; it becomes more deeply rooted within our psyche and much more difficult to reverse.

Whilst I have many concerns around some of the social messages we give young people in today’s society; the scope to carve out an individual, meaningful and wonderful life has never been more strongly celebrated than it is today.  We have inspiration all around us and source materials right at the touch of a button. It has never been easier to learn and explore but yet, as the old saying goes , many choose to “make do with what we have”.  Why?

Well …….not everyone is wired to be super-ambitious and nor should they feel that they have to be either.  We are, after all, creatures of habit.  This post is not about suggesting everyone has to be an entrepreneur or chase the dollar relentlessly in life. For some of us, that simply isn’t our purpose. What I’m talking about here is living an authentic life and that is a: knowing what your purpose is and b: having standards that meet it.   Standards around your self-worth, standards around relationships, standards around the jobs you take – standards, full stop.  For some people, this will be just too much like hard work.  But if you can’t (or won’t) put the hard work in around what you want out of life, no-one else is going to do it for you.  I hate to be the bearer of bad news but there is a possibility for many of us that Prince Charming just won’t show up, so it’s best to realise this early on and be architects of our own lives, where possible.

Of course, this doesn’t always make life easier in the short term but in the longer term it saves a great deal of pain, not to mention your valuable time.  Just last Christmas I had a big bust-up with a male friend who I called out (quite harshly it has to be said) on what I considered to be really disrespectful and shoddy behaviour.  His response was that he refused to be judged by my unreasonable standards (that’s fair enough; he’s entitled to his opinion) and that basically he’d treated me the way he treats everyone, close family included.  As I wasn’t happy about the way I imparted my message,  I apologised for that but I did tell him that I was never going to apologise for caring/having standards and that if I wasn’t happy in a situation, I’d always say.

And that’s just the way I have to operate nowadays.  It’s not that I think I’m better than others or that they’re wrong. Far from it…. but I have way too many years biting my lip, not wanting to offend and being miserable in the process.  In other words settling.  And I just won’t live my life like that anymore.   Sadly, the upshot of this situation was that I had to wish this person well but explain to him that I couldn’t be close friends with him.  His behaviour just pushes my buttons and ultimately we’re just too different in aspects of our personalities that really count.  As one of the most bright, intelligent and talented people I know, I wish him nothing but the best.  Am I sad this person isn’t in my life?  Absolutely. You bet.  However, I know that this is easier than being in a situation where I couldn’t be honest with him for fear of offending and unfortunately, that is what a close relationship with him would mean.  Essentially, I wouldn’t be able to be my authentic self and sooner or later that would manifest itself in my reaching boiling point, unable to keep a lid of things and behaving in a way I didn’t like.

As I’ve said before, if you don’t like the person you become in a relationship; that’s a massive red flag.  It’s exactly the same if you’re in a job that you hate, where you’re underpaid or maybe undervalued or in a relationship of convenience, simply going through the motions and slowly dying inside.  Chances are that in any such situation your levels of self respect will be pretty diminished…….

How many times have you heard a friend talk about the “check list” of what they want in a man (incidentally, very often this isn’t what they actually need in a partner) but not considered what they don’t want – i.e. the true “deal breakers”.  For me, these attributes are far more important than someone’s height, age, profession or whatnot. Likewise, how many women do you know who are with a man purely for financial reasons, in a relationship where there’s no passion or worse still, respect?  And out of these women, how many of them do you know actually pursued the man because of what they could offer financially, as opposed to all of the other ways that a partner might enrich their lives?

I’m certain you’re aware of at least a few and I’m certain that you know, deep down these women are not happy.  That’s all because they settled.  Despite outward appearances, no amount of money is going to save a lifeless relationship. So unless you’re both on the same page about what you’re expecting out of the union – and it truly is one of convenience – this for me, is where a very important line gets crossed.  Anyone – male or female – who chooses a partner because they’re offering things that they’re too lazy to pursue; is not only setting themselves up for failure but messing with the emotions of another.

It’s about getting your own house in order, keeping your own side of the street tidy and it applies to everything in life.  So be the custodian of your own story and never, ever hand the keys to someone else.  Dust settles. You don’t.