The dictionary defines luxury as “a state of great comfort or elegance, especially when involving great expense.” But with a little planning, we can achieve that state without the price tag. A beach picnic can be just as decadent as a restaurant meal, and a glass of wine in the garden just as enjoyable (if not more) as one sipped on a business class flight – it’s all about mindset. Read on for more ideas about adding a little luxury to your routine.
Fine dining without the price tag
Any trained chef will know that half the skill in a restaurant is choosing the right ingredients. Eating seasonal fruit and vegetables at their freshest (and often their cheapest) is an easy way to enjoy daily luxury. Think asparagus spears, fresh cherries and cold mango, and ripe tomatoes and basil in summer. Fresh cheeses, a good loaf of bread and excellent coffee are other daily luxuries that elevate your meals to something special.
Hot fish and chips on a balmy beach evening will give you just as much joy as an expensive restaurant meal. Or how about a café breakfast at home? No jostling for a table, and you can serve something delicious like Eggs Benedict (Maille does a great ready-made hollandaise), fresh fruit and some bread from the bakery.
Another luxury experience to recreate at home is a high tea with friends. Iron a white tablecloth, set it with your best plates, cups and teapot, add some sandwiches, a Victoria sponge or scones, and lots of hot tea and even sparkling wine. Just as lovely, a fraction of the price.
Embrace your local library
Australia has wonderful libraries and a huge range of books to choose from; so much so that there’s no need to buy books if your budget doesn’t allow it. The Libby app also gives you access to e-books, magazines and audiobooks through your phone or tablet with your library membership.
Don’t forget that libraries aren’t just for novels. Why not borrow a book on drawing skills or watercolours, some new cookbooks, a language course or a gardening book to inspire you? Librarians will be able to lead you to great new releases, too.
Despite what advertising might tell us, we don’t need to spend a fortune to look good. And in fact, mild products for sensitive skin from the chemist, such as La Roche Posay and Avene, can be much gentler and more effective than expensive acid peels and scrubs.
For truly world-class skin care, invest in a 50-plus sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat – your skin will thank you. Or create a spa day at home by enjoying a long, candlelit bath with a little scented oil or bubble bath and a hair mask, followed by an early night in a bed with clean sheets.
Health and wellbeing
Here in Australia many of us are lucky enough to live close to the sea and great public pools. We forget that our beaches, with their shower facilities and barbecues, are a luxury compared to other landlocked cities. Why not think like a tourist and embrace these places?
Year round, swimming in salt water is a good workout and mood-lifter. If you live close enough to the sea, invest in a warm robe and treat yourself to a reviving swim to start the day in the cooler months.
In summer, a beach chair and umbrella will allow you to make a day of it. Check the Seabreeze app before you go so you know what to expect weather-wise, and bring an esky with drinks and snacks. You could even bring your toiletries so you can have a shower there (if there are facilities) and go home fresh and clean.
At home, take your exercise out to the garden or balcony on fine days. There are lots of yoga videos on YouTube, and even ten minutes on the mat will improve your day. Another free option for an exercise session is a long walk with a podcast, audiobook or your favourite playlist.
More ways to enjoy luxury at home
For many retirees, downsizing to a smaller, more manageable home, retirement village or land lease community in a beautiful location can be a luxury in itself. With fewer rooms to keep clean and shared gardens, you’ll have more time to incorporate luxury and joy into daily life. What might this look like?
Mother Nature can provide plenty of home entertainment. Place a bird bath in a spot you can see easily, perhaps in front of the kitchen sink or close to an outdoor seating area. And try growing your own cutting flowers, if you have space. Hydrangeas, roses, kangaroo paw flowers, sunflowers and tulips all look beautiful in a vase with a little greenery.
Or how about making a list of your favourite films and revisiting them with a home movie night? Add a choc top or a fruit platter with chocolates and popcorn and enjoy classics like Thelma and Louise, Cinema Paradiso or Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Hopefully there is an idea or two here to inspire you to treat yourself – enjoy!
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We’re committed to making life better for the over 55s. Check out downsizing.com.au for more insights and great advice on living life to the fullest. We have a great range of properties for the over 55s to help you do that with like-minded people in land lease communities and retirement villages.