Last year for my birthday, I had one wish: to spend the entire day relaxing at home, without an ounce of self-induced guilt. So I did precisely that. Slowly I unfurled, long after Keiran had left for work, and the day lay out ahead of me with the softness of an inner-thigh. What to do?
It ended up being one of the best days of 2018, which is saying something considering 1), it happened in the first quarter which, more often that not, falls victim to my terrible memory, and 2), because the rest of the year was punctuated by festivals, friends, lay ins and long, languid summer evenings (all of my favourite things). I know how to have a good time and I know how to relax - everything else, it seems, is improvised as I go along.
Seeing as my latest year comes full circle next month, I thought I might start laying the groundwork for another bougie queen relaxation day (can you tell I’m excited?). I think I’ve found the perfect combination of activities for those moments when only decompressing will do, so keep reading to feast your eyes on the framework for quiet day well spent.
On slower days, I like to slip into something hot and wet to get myself going. No, wait, let me rephrase that. I like to start the day with a bath. A bougie one, at that. I have a few favourite bath products which I return to time and time again, if only for the olfactory pleasures alone; one particular staple is Jo Malone’s Pomegranate Noir Bath Oil, which I delicately drip down under running water before I’m greeted by a cloud of their staple scent. Only a few drops are required for a delicate crema to film over the top layer of the bath, and the aroma quickly envelopes the room for an experience which feels noticeably more luxurious than your typical Radox arrangement. Keiran also bought me Le Labo’s The Noir 29 Shower Gel for Christmas, which I would highly recommend for those of you who aren’t bath people (a.k.a. Antichrists) or don’t have a tub at home.
Bath rules: at least one hour must be spent submerged from the nipples down - this is non-negotiable; you my watch TV, listen to music or read a book - anything which keeps you occupied but doesn’t demand too much of your concentration; masturbation is recommended but not mandatory - it is treat day, after all; drinks are encouraged, but snacks should be reserved for later on in the morning when there is no fear of dunkage; loungewear/pyjamas should be folded over the nearest radiator for optimum post-bath warmth, or neatly laid out on the toilet seat ready for your departure.
(Jumper is old Bershka, pants are Love Stories Intimates, Pinot model's own.)
Some people don’t like loungewear and are averse to wearing pyjamas all day. This post is not for those people. Once you’re all sudsed up and smelling like a stroll through Debenhams, it’s time to choose your uniform for the day. Keiran’s sister Caitlin bought me some pink Calvin Klein bottoms for Christmas and I’ve barely taken them off since, and my well-documented love for this Oysho knit remains strong. This kind of coupling with a dressing gown thrown over the top would be my natural choice, but a cheapy set from Primark or the hoodie you pinched from your ex will work just as well. The only thing that matters with loungewear is that you’re as comfortable as can be, and if you have pockets for biscuits and leftover Celebrations? All the better.
COFFEE & MUSIC.
So you’re clean and comfortable - now what? It’s time to get the playlist going whilst you brew yourself a tea of coffee, and set the scene for the rest of the day. Keir and I recently invested in a Nespresso Pod contraption so I’d likely press go on a little latte, but obviously this is extra bougie and unnecessary so any kind of morning beverage will do. This is a treat day, though, so don’t hold back. Go for sugar over sweetener, cream with your hot chocolate or the ‘good’ granules if you have a couple of coffee jars stocked up in the cupboard.
Music wise, the Bougie Queen Chill playlist is a top contender; each song I’ve gathered has been shaped around days precisely like this, when you can inhabit your own space with ease and fluidity. If alternative R&B isn’t your thing, then any album or playlist which swells the soul you will do. We’re not trying to start a rave here - the aim is to float and flow, like slowly rolling your shoulders and easing out every inch of a post-nap stretch.
As part of the relaxation mandate, a candle must be lit in each room you inhabit at all times; this day is sensory-led, so we’re trying to appeal to the big five as much as possible. My favourite scents are musky florals and amber-laced suedes, the likes of which radiate warmth and delicate luxury. Lumira’s Persian Rose, Jo Malone’s Velvet Rose & Oud, Overose’s Guiasilk and Skandinavisk’s KOTO all fit the bill if you’re a candle fanatic like me, but for more practical budgets, I also love Candlefish’s No. 31, every story’s Rose & Oud and Meraki’s Scandinavian Garden. I’ve heard good things about Aldi’s Jo Malone dupes, too, but I’ve yet to try them for myself. Soft glows and sensual smells are the objectives here, so that jar you’ve been saving to burn on a special day? Light it girl.
There is a quiet beauty to be found in inching through a book come early afternoon. The Deliveroo lunch has been wolfed down with a side of trash TV (did I mention ordering a takeaway for lunch? ~ always ~ order a takeaway for lunch), and now, appetite satiated, the opportunity to uncoil into the story of another is beckoning. If you’re not an avid reader then you may feel like this segment is a chore, but this day is as much about infusing some goodness into the mind as it is easing stress. A 30 minute chunk of rolling words, folded corners and soft, scraping paper feels like a vitamin shot for the brain, and also offers a small sense of achievement that otherwise would remain absent in this most leisurely of days. But hey, if reading isn’t your thing, no sweat. You’re free to do whatever it is you want to do, whether that’s watching TV, playing games, cooking or napping. The day is yours, absolutely and entirely, so unwind into it. Breathe deeply, move slowly, and stop often. Appreciate these moments that are too often lost to the pace of the everyday. Enjoy yourself. Have a good day.
(My current read is Julian Barnes’ ‘The Only Story’, but you can find all of my latest picks in the book highlight of my Instagram bio. One of my resolutions is to read more often, so I’ll be updating this regularly with whatever collection of pages possesses residency on my bedside table.)
How often do you schedule in a down-day? What are your favourite ways to relax? Pop your tips below and I'll be sure to steal them asap.