The older I get, the more I realise that going away on holiday is not all it’s cracked up to be. I always come back tired, and then start back to work feeling disorganised. While a trip away is an excellent way to refresh your mind and get a physical and emotional break, sometimes what you really want is to lie on your couch with a blanket and a twin size Crunchie bar for three days. So that’s what I’m doing this week in Wellington.
However, there’s a limit to how much time I can spend on my couch, and I definitely think there are some secrets to the ideal “style staycation”. Here’s my top five tips for making a few days off work feel as refreshing as a jaunt to a tropical island.
Tip one: make a plan every day
Literally one plan. On Saturday I went and bought a replacement mascara. Today I had a pair of sunglasses repaired. Tomorrow I have an appointment with my beautician. It’s gruelling stuff, you guys. The key is to do “errands” that are in no way actually demanding or particularly necessary.
The goal is to give your day some structure, and to give your soul a sense of achievement. Frankly, lying about doing nothing is a recipe for feeling down in the dumps. Make sure you have something to look forward to each day, or something you want to achieve. As an example, I washed my dressing gown yesterday. It's a low bar.
Tip two: dress to de-stress
You are FREE from the confines of your corporate dress code. Much in the same way you pack special clothes for a jaunt to the tropics, bust out some duds for a week at home. Now is the hour to wear those things you love but can never be bothered wearing on a normal weekend when you feel tired and residually stressed out.
By day three, the creative juices should be flowing again, so make time to just faff about trying on some random stuff and see what takes your fancy. You’re a tourist, and who else has carte blanche to wear weird things than someone who’s here on holiday? Plus, you still have plenty of time to tidy up the massive mess you made going through the dark outer corners of your wardrobe!
Tip three: explore your surroundings
I know, the couch is the best. I’m on my couch right now with four velvety throw pillows and a Jellytip ice cream and we’re having a lovely time, thanks. Apart from the fact that “errmmm, laid down?” is not an inspiring answer to “so what did you do on your break?” (OR IS IT), take this moment to check out the stuff you always say you want to see, but never do. I get it. The weekend isn’t long enough for all our good intentions.
Make a wee list in the week or two before your staycation and aim to do a couple of things when/if you feel like it. For example, I really wanted to finally check out Rebound Clothing in Petone, which worked out very well indeed! My staycation also features an evening at A.F.F.N.Z., lunches, coffees and a movie with friends, a trip to the City Gallery and an afternoon at the library.
Tip four: pamper yourself
Have you ever wanted to learn how to French plait your own hair? The staycation is the time to watch a Youtube video and figure it out. Likewise, figuring out how to use that super sparkly eyeshadow you bought in duty free that time and have never worn. Maybe you’re keen to be artistic and your fingernails are your canvas. Maybe you just want to shave your legs for the first time in two weeks without rushing and missing that one bit on your knee. Whatever it is, take the time to do something nice for the body that lugs your mind around all day.
Personally, I’m looking forward to finally using up some of the myriad sheet masks I have in my bathroom cupboard, painting my toes for the first time since April, and taking the time to use a body scrub and some kind of intense lotion combo to give myself the glowing body of a spectacularly under tanned and untoned Victoria’s Secret Angel. Who is also short.
Tip five: be mindful about what you eat
I’m eating pancakes every day on this staycation (nutrition is just so important). Obviously, I don’t mean “turn over a new leaf and only eat whole foods” or some nonsense – you are on holiday, you are supposed to eat far too many insane things. What you should be mindful about is where you eat and how you eat.
If you are going to go out to eat, go somewhere that looks super pretty. Do not eat at that slightly shitty café that’s full of old copies of Woman’s Weekly just because it’s closer to your house. That place is awful. Imagine you don’t know the city well and that you have to pick your café based entirely on looks – that’s where you are eating your pancakes today, friend. (Obviously you may overlay your understanding of whether the food is any good, as a second determinant).
Now that you are sitting in your Instagrammable location, please get out a book or magazine. You are here to take your sweet time – since everyone else is at work, there should be no pressing need to vacate your table. For extra points, be like my Life Heroes, the women I saw at Amano one day in the summer at 10am, drinking prosecco and having a really good chinwag. A+ life choices.
Right, you are now fully equipped for a successful style staycation. If you follow these tips, you’ll not only come out refreshed and rested and without the horror of sitting next to someone who chews loudly on a flight to your destination, but you’ll also have some new outfits to wear, be looking tip-top beauty-wise, have some interesting stories for the first day back, and feel slightly pudgy due to the dozen or so pancakes you ate. Perfect.
The photos in this post are from a recent shoot organised by The Residents - check it out here for Lucy's tips on transitional dressing, and a peek at me in another fabulous get up. Many thanks for making me look so good, Wilson Trollope (on clothes) and the lovely Ash of Dinosaur Toast (on photography)! Wilson Trollope is in SALE right now - what a great way to make those dollars work ;) This dress is FIRE - I bought this for myself and it is true compliment bait :)