My grandmother was my all-time favourite person. Every holiday come rain or shine my sister and I would go stay with our Nanny and Grandad. They lived in West London but we (the collective 'we') would pack up the car (a slightly run down Fiat Uno) with duvets and pillows, snacks, clothes, food and two large black dogs and set off on a five hour journey to the west coast of Norfolk where we would stay in a shack on the beach (quite literally) and spend our weeks together.
It was here I learnt quite how much I love the ocean and nature in it's most raw form. Blustering winds, roaring seas and stars shining in the night sky.
My grandmother did everything within her power to make sure that my sister and I were cared after and loved. She was the one person that we knew was there for us always come rain or shine.
She would never ask for anything from us, but each year on her birthday or at Christmas she would ask, somewhat unwittingly, for a soap. Crabtree and Evelyn ones were her favourite. And so we would get her one. The most beautiful one we could find, and afford. It was a BIG deal.
You could sense her delight when she would unwrap the gift, appreciate the love it was given with, soak up and breathe in the smell of those fragrant soaps and then lay them to rest on her lap or by her side. You could tell she was tickled pink!
We were always happy in the knowing she had received something she loved and would appreciate and that she was so very deserving of. It somehow seemed to make the world seem better.
The same pattern would repeat year after year for a many a year more.
When our grandmother died many years later we went to clear the house. Half way through we opened up a cupboard door to find it resplendent with her soaps collected over the years, packaged and received with love but never, ever used.
This broke my heart and brought me to tears. Someone who clearly loved these things but also very clearly never thought herself worthy of using them. A cupboard full of love unused and left truly appreciated.
This experience had such an impact on me that I swore there and then to never do that for myself. I would not save things for best and if I loved them I would not hide them away or shy away from using them in full glory. As such I do not have clothes reserved for special occasions, or rags - there aren't two scales - but a one-life approach to everything.
Of course that does not mean I bleach the toilet in my sequinned skirt but I will wear it whatever day of the week I feel to even if I am just going to the supermarket. Likewise, my joggers are gorgeous and I love them, and I don't mind being seen out in them, wherever I am.
I have learnt to value and appreciate myself more, alongside the things that I own. With the work that I do this is a re-occurring theme from my clients, and so I gently offer you the opportunity to have a moment and look at what you have, both internally and externally, and appreciate it to the full. If there are parts of you you keep locked away for certain people or special occasions, let them out to play. If you have a favourite outfit - put it on, a crockery set you only get out at Christmas - get it out, you know what I mean.
Don't save these precious things for a 'rainy day' or for 'best' live them and you to the max!