Little luxuries

There’s a lovely thread on the Vogue forums about little luxuries – not the yacht/quail’s egg gems/golden toilet kind, but the small things that give you a little wave of warmth every day.

A few of my little luxuries are temporarily denied to me – a glass of Yalumba Y Series Pinot Grigio in a crystal wine glass, a cold G&T prepared for me at the end of a trying day, a weekend afternoon beer, and a daily latte (I was allowing myself one a day until suddenly The Bunny decided that coffee was not mama’s friend. I became involuntarily caffeine-free and have just begun to re-introduce it, to minor heart palpitations and noticeable bursts of nervous energy). My goodness, all my denied items are liquid and addictive.

But many luxuries remain – here are my special moments.

1. Glasshouse Candles. I was never a candle fan until I was given a Glasshouse candle as a birthday gift, and so began an obsession. The Glasshouse range is deliciously scented and come in gorgeous (and reusable! Thrifty!) glass jars. I have a number of them that I also use as little motifs in vignettes around the house (that sounded ridiculous, didn’t it?). Each fragrance is named after a destination, making it hard sometimes to tell if you want the scent or the idea of the holiday! They make beautiful gifts too.

Glasshouse ‘Leura’.

 My favourites are Marseille (gardenia), Caracas (frangipani), Leura (jasmine blossoms), Galapagos (kaffir lime and coconut butter), Esperance (mimosa and wild apple), Tahaa (vanilla caramel), Skye (wild honeysuckle) and Manhattan (little black dress). Hmmm, that’s actually almost half the range. I’m very tempted to try the new fragrance Sassafras (blackberry and tea rose) too.

Glasshouse’s new fragrance ‘Sassafras’. So sweet!


2. Good sheets. I was a late-comer to the joy of 1000 thread count sheets. I haven’t quite made it to the Moss River stage of manchester obsession, but it can’t be long. Good sheets make slipping into bed a whole-body moment of ‘ahhhh’. They keep you warm without sweating, and cool without shivering. I have had good luck with the Mercer & Reid range (the stripe sateen – make smaking the bed much easier when you have vertical striped to follow)! and Adairs often has sheet sets at 50% off.

3. Good towels. Growing up, towels were a major point of conflict with my mum. She is of the make-do and mend mindset, while I am of the ‘if I remember towels from my childhood that you are still using and I am almost 32, you should buy new ones’ mindset. One of the first things I did when moving out was to buy bath sheets – not towels – and as that starter-set wore thin, I replaced them with the Sheridan Trenton range. This isn’t the best of their range, but I am sucker for a big fluffy towel and these ones do the trick. I have to admit I’ve spoiled the pristine look of more than I’d like of them with benzoyl peroxide, but for skinfeel they are still going strong.

Sheridan Trenton. Perfect for being enveloped post-steaming hot shower.


4. A good bed. Once upon a time there was a princess who lived alone in her castle with only one puppy and two kittens for company. Her double-sized bed was sufficient for the four of them, but alas her mattress was the cheapest she could find on her return from foreign lands many years before, when the lifestyle and income of a student obliged her to be as thrifty as a churchmouse. One day the princess was joined by a charming prince, and suddenly the double bed was just too small, and just too hard, and the charming prince even preferred his terrible futon to the princess’ bed. And she couldn’t blame him.

And the princess chose to upgrade not just to a queen size, but a king size, so she would never have to regret not going bigger (although she now wonders what a Super King would be like). The princess also chose a latex mattress and the moment that she first lay down on it, she fell in love. In fact, when the prince and princess were looking at buying their next castle, some castles were rejected solely on the basis that the master bedroom was too small to accommodate the king sized bed, and they had vowed to never give it up, no where, no how, no way.

And when the prince and princess were joined by another puppy, and then by a little baby, they were very glad that they had a big comfortable bed for everyone.

And they all slept happily ever after. The End.

(I got my mattress from here and it was about half the price of what I was quoted at a chain store, and it is truly wonderful)


5. Homewares. I take great joy in a series of lovely photo frames and homewares. I just do.

Favourite frames are:

Vera Wang for Wedgwood ‘Chime’. Love the grosgrain edging.

Vera Wang for Wedgwood ‘Chime’ set of three in different sizes – I have my favourite wedding photos in these. I bought one, my bridesmaids gave me another, and my sister presented me with the final of the set on my wedding night, just from her.

Waterford ‘Kilbarry’.

I have most of my photos in various sizes of Waterford ‘ Kilbarry’, They are simple, classic but modern, elegant. Sadly I can’t find them on the Peter’s of Kensington site any more, which is a shame because they were most reasonably priced.

Royal Doulton ‘Radiance’. Also useful as an ad hoc weapon.

Royal Doulton Radiance bevelled frame – nothing like some sharply edged crystal. Not to be dropped on naked toes.

Favourite items are both wedding gifts from very dear people, so it’s not just the beauty and generosity of the gift but knowing the truly special people who gave it to us that makes me all warm and happy whenever I see them:

Georg Jensen polished steel pitcher.


Georg Jensen ‘Cobra’ candlesticks. Sinuous.

But … have you seen this. Pure silver. The form, the fluidity … the price!!!!! Just $54,000 will have this beauty on your buffet.

Georg Jensen Koppel Collection silver pitcher.


6. Sweet indulgences.Koko Black dark choc with coco nibs and caramelised hazelnuts. Don’t think this one needs any more explanation.


Koko Black. Don’t search google but forget the second ‘o’ like I did. Especially not at work.


(This one has no caramelised hazelnuts. I highly recommend them).

I am more of a sweet-tooth while pregnant than ever before, and I take great and over-proportionate pleasure in a nightly one of these:


7. Fruit. Chilled Fuji apples. Pre-Bunny, I wasn’t much of a fruit eater. Apples gave me a stomach-ache and made me hungrier, but now I can’t get enough. Crisp, sweet, firm. They must be chilled, mind.



8. Flowers. There’s something about fresh flowers. Maybe it’s having made a bit of extra effort, or maybe it’s just the general wellbeing that comes from having living things in a home (admittedly flowers aren’t exactly alive). I try not to spend much money as buying flowers is a weekly luxury, so I particularly love long-lasting bunches of vibrant proteas. I’ve found it harder to find proper places for flowers in the new house as there are fewer obvious spots than before, but I suppose that’s half the challenge.

South African proteas – but they look so Australian that they are usually included in bunche o f native flowers.

I would love to get more of these incredible giant proteas too – the soft pinky-greyness and the oversized scale intrigues me.

Giant proteas.


9. Massage. Pre-pregnancy, a quick massage from one of those walk in places would suffice, particularly Vigorous Thai massage in Bourke St which is far less brothel-y than it sounds. Iam of the school that if it isn’t hurting, then I’m not benefitting, so firm pressure and attention to knots is a must.

Now, however, I feel that the lack of wine and gin in my life means that I deserve a proper massage, and on the recommendation of a friend I have been visiting the most wonderful masseuse/physical therapist who I just love and no I won’t share her name in case you take all my appointments. She finds the most satisfyingly painful pressure points and I walk taller and more easily after every visit.


10. Finally, the cheapest and most lovely luxury of all – a clean and tidy house. Costs nothing but time and effort, but brings calm, relaxation and satisfaction.