“Great comfort and extravagant living”

That’s Google’s definition of luxury. 6 months ago I would have associated a cost with that. Perhaps you had to be wealthy or you had to spend a lot, like I used to. I would have thought about restaurants like Locanda Locatelli for a luxurious special night (£100+ per head) or Hawksmoor for a budget special night (£50 per head). I might have thought about 5 star hotels with beautifully turned down beds, the fluffiest towels and £15 burgers. I would think chauffeur driven cars and free champagne in first / business class train and plane seats.

A few years ago I needed to hob nob with celebrities at Panacea, and eat dinner at Gaucho’s every week. More recently I brunched at Lantana for their amazing Chorizo and enjoyed bottomless bubbly at Villandry with the person of interest on lazy Saturdays.  I once spent over £200 on a celebratory dinner at Dinings and took black cabs if I was too lazy to do the 1 mile walk home from the tube. I was still taking black cabs from the tube and getting lunch from the restaurants in Fitzrovia in August actually – even though I had acknowledged I was at my lowest point financially.

What a difference a month makes! Now that I view life with a different set of lens, I realise that it’s quite possible to achieve great comfort and extravagant living at any price. In the last month I’ve:

  • Had a gourmet movie night
  • Spent a decadent day in bed and on my sofa with the plumpest of duvets and the accompanying ambience of a super rainy day. I also ate a luxurious  serano ham, spicy salami and Spanish chorizo pizza from Lidl that was leftover from my housemate’s birthday party which she didn’t want.
  • Played table tennis, drank  prosecco & ate a lovely meal at Jam Tree with my football team after our first home game of the season
  • Went on a road trip to Sheffield including a dinner of ribs at TGI Fridays and lots of laughter with a very old friend that I don’t spend enough time with
  • Had my nails painted a pretty, sparkly blue in a home manicure
  • Got free food, bottomless prosecco and live music at the work pub night (every last Friday, they turn the canteen into a party space and I’d missed these since my very first one)

Having worked 12 days in a row, the lazy day felt like a retreat at a resort and TGI Fridays felt like a Michelin star experience because I hadn’t had dinner at a restaurant in such a long time. The pizza hit the sweet spot as did the night with my friends drinking rum cocktails and eating juicy burgers. All of these experiences cost me less than £35. In total. I also indulged in my loves of travel, people, film & TV, music, food and sport.

I suppose the point is now that I’ve cut back and spend a lot more time at home or doing simple things, it’s a lot cheaper to find luxurious.


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