Good evening beauties,
I know the Christmas break has passed and indeed that many of us are dumfounded by the natural disaster engulfing the east side of this continent; whether we are there in the midst of it, trying to cope and rebuild, or somewhere else, watching and listening with a sense of hopelessness. But I thought this might be a good time to write about the little things in life: the things which always matter and always make us happy no matter what. So as a starting point I have listed the 10 small things I love. The things which immediately transport me to holiday mode, or at the very least, bring as sense of momentary calm and contentment:
1. Spend time at the beach. This perhaps is not the best point to start with, considering most people are experiencing far too much water in their lives, but here safely on the west coast, I can stare out at the incredible openness and expansiveness of the Indian Ocean and feel in awe and free and content. I grew up in Victoria and there the coast is intricate and irregular, zigzagging in an uneven line and changing enormously depending on where you are – from the smooth granite boulders of Wilson’s Promontory to the flatter parts of Lakes Entrance and Gippsland to the primeval forest and looming cliffs of Lorne and The Great Ocean Road. Here in Western Australia the coast is similarly diverse but many parts of it share a certain leanness or openness (with the exception of the Kimberley coast and parts of the southernmost tip of the state). Here you can feel the enormity of the Indian Ocean; the way it stretches and undulates and carries the gaze far away.
2. Sit in a garden. When I was in New York City I was fascinated and impressed by the way New Yorkers embrace their many public parks. I think the lack of any real backyard or private garden space in the city means people flock to shared green spaces like Central Park, the Highline, Bryant Park, Washington Square and the many other little but very green spaces. It goes to show that humans need and will create green, natural spaces for themselves no matter what the living situation. Here in Australia I do not have a big garden myself but love nothing more than to sit by my roses and citrus trees with a glass of chilled wine and a magazine. The sounds of leaves shifting in the air, birds in nearby trees, city sounds close but comfortingly distant – it all makes me feel very rested.
3. Go to the movies. Or, if it is summer, go to an outdoor cinema. There is something decidedly holiday-esque about outdoor cinemas. The warm air, the sound of crickets, yummy snacks on picnic rugs, and when I lived in Melbourne, the endlessly mysterious glimpse of bats flying high above the Royal Botanic Gardens where the Moonlight Cinema screenings are held.
4. Catch up with friends. I love seeing friends during the day as it is something of a novelty – most of us work during the light hours so social adventures are reserved for after dark. Having a little time off and relaxing with friends is a perfect way to feel like you are on holiday without a care in the world.
5. Pamper your body (and your mind). Beautyistas like myself know that a good pamper makes a world of difference to how we feel about ourselves. Do things you would not do in your everyday beauty routine: have a facial or a massage, have your brows tinted and waxed, have a pedicure or a peel. If you are low on money or want to stay at home, draw yourself a bath with powdered milk and honey, or your favourite essential oils. Use a mask, exfoliate your entire body, look up homemade beauty recipes involving tea bags and spices and odd things from the fridge.
6. Read. Read that novel which has been gathering dust on your bedside table for months – take it out to the beach or the park or even your living room. Buy a stack of magazines and curl up somewhere cosy with a cup of tea or a coffee. Read the newspaper cover to cover, including all the inserts, while still in bed. Read your favourite books from your childhood or adolescence.
7. Eat lots of food and don’t worry about it. During my short but lovely Christmas break I ate a lot of nice cheese and cold chorizo and pate and smoked salmon. I ate fish and chips from the greasy paper. I ate pizza with a multitude of toppings and made toasted sandwiches oozing with cheese and rich pasta with tomatoes and olives. I felt very, very happy.
8. Buy a new dress or clean out your wardrobe. When I am on a break or have just returned from a holiday I am always driven to clean out my wardrobe, or even simply to rearrange it. I also like to go out and look for a special summer dress or shirt – something decidedly summery and light-hearted but which can realistically be worn outside of a tropical resort. My summer holiday dress of choice at the moment is a loose, breezy silk concoction by Lisa Ho – chiffon-light printed silk in a wash of jewelled colours it is part 70s summer of love, part barefoot ballerina. I love that it has no waist and flows, light-as-air, from the shoulders and moves of its own accord in the breeze.
9. Be romantic by doing nothing together. Because of our different work schedules my husband and I spend a lot of time apart. Which is fine for us because when we are together we are really together and basically hold hands all the time and cuddle a lot. But it is also really nice to just be together, during the day, and not do much at all. Play scrabble, watch TV and DVDs, one of us reading while the other (guess who) plays games on his iPad. The simple reality of being in the house together during the day is subtly but definitely romantic.
10. Go on a day trip. If you do not have time, cannot afford, or just don’t want to, go away for a night or more, then simply take yourself away somewhere different for a day or an afternoon. Hop on a train or a bus or into your car – pick somewhere relatively close but unknown and explore.
That’s it – on reading everything I look like a rather boring, clichéd person! All this lying around doing very little. But, whatever works for you! What are your 10 precious small things?