1. Driving with the windows open with the air-conditioning on – it isn’t exactly environmentally friendly I know, so I rarely do this, but there’s nothing like the feeling of driving with all the windows open, wind in your hair, music blasting, singing at the top of your lungs. If only I had convertible…
2. Trashy magazines – I don’t actually buy trashy mags but every now and then, at a doctor’s waiting room or the local bookstore or when borrowing a friend’s copy at the beach, I like flicking through the glossy pages to catchup on celebrity goings on; whether it be about Lady Gaga’s latest outfit tragedy to Brangelina’s newly purchased orphan. There’s just something voyeuristic (and addictive) about the concept of knowing what these people get up to on a daily basis. Are they normal? What does she look like without make-up? Look at Britney’s flab! Really shows how shallow we can be sometimes, and I feel almost dirty once I’ve gone through a couple mags.
3. Excessive shopping – It always catches me out; I pop down to the mall to relieve my boredom on a Saturday afternoon, and a few hours later I’m walking out with a dozen shopping bags. A few days after I separated from my ex-husband, I moped about in the Mall of the Emirates, and in my depression mode I walked into Gucci and decided without hesitation I would buy a bag, a wallet and a pair of shoes. Then walked into another shop and bought a pair of jeans. Then some make-up. Then got an extravagant haircut complete with highlights and treatments. Whilst my credit card probably wasn’t happy about it; it certainly gave me that wide-eyed instant adrenalin rush and feel-good factor that only shopping can give you.
4. Chocolate ice cream – My premier choice in junk food. I know Italy has fantastic gelato, as too does Argentina – however I can never say no to a Marble Slab special of Chocolate Swiss mixed with French Vanilla with a generous helping of pecan nuts. Drool. Then you’ll see me at the gym for the next 3 days trying to work off the calories. But its so worth it.
5. Karaoke – yes I LOVE Karaoke. I can’t help it, I’m Asian, its in my DNA. My local establishment in Dubai was a Japanese Restaurant inside a 5-star, 54 floor toblerone-shaped building where I’d belt out traditional favourites like Livin’ on a Prayer and Like a Virgin in a tightly packed room of other drunken expats. If funds were low, my flatmate and I would crank up the Singstar and annoy all our neighbours with our voices, which were anything but 5-star.
6. Travel planning… that is beyond me – I often dream of cool adventure trips like diving the Galapagos Islands, riding a motorbike through Africa or sailing the South Pacific, however I don’t have the required licenses to do any of these so the experiences have always been beyond my reach (although in saying that, it does inspire me to get qualified!). I also love dreaming of trips that require ridiculous budgets like lounging about in an overwater bungalow in the Maldives or seeing the Antarctic on an icebreaker…but I’m quickly brought back to earth with a thud when I look at my bank balance. But there’s no harm in dreaming, is there? The most extravagant trip I’ve ever taken was a 3 week South African safari complete with all the luxurious trimmings; and whilst it made a considerable dent in the savings, it was worth every. single. cent.
7. Cheese and Crackers – for breakfast, lunch and dinner. My eyes go hazy when I see a plateful of soft, gooey Brie or crumbling feta rolling in glistening olive oil, most often accompanied with the usual mezze staples of prosciutto or salami. Not great for the thighs but there is an evil pleasure in convincing yourself that this is only ‘finger food’ so it really doesn’t count.
8. Staying in a really really expensive hotel – I was 19 when I stayed in my first 5 star hotel with my boyfriend, the Regent (now Four Seasons) in Sydney. From then on, I was hooked. I remember the feeling of crawling into fresh white sheets on a massive super King size bed, playing with the dimmers on the lights and looking out at the amazing views of the harbour. I get excited about raiding the mini-bars and trying to make cocktails with the miniature (and very expensive) bottles of booze and soda. I delight in the thought of breakfast in bed, cable television and extravagant bubble baths. I once stayed in a hotel in that had a glass window from the bathroom looking into the main room so that you could lie in the bubble bath while watching TV. In a resort in Oman, you could swan around in the pool all day, getting served cocktails at the swim-up bar, or grab a sun-lounger on the beach and be waited on hand and foot by ‘butlers’ who are never too far away, awaiting to take your next order. I took a birthday trip to Paris with my mum a few years ago and treated ourselves to a gorgeous hotel a couple blocks from the Arc de Triomphe. We were the only guests and were treated with amazing hospitality. And mothers being mothers, she proceeded to collect every single mini shampoo, soap and sewing kit in the room and even asked for more from the housekeeper. But to them it was not a bother. That’s the whole point of being in a luxury hotel; to feel important, cared for, like there’s nothing you can’t have. It’s like being a princess. And I think it’s okay that every now and then, if I have the means, I will happily fork out for the pleasure of being treated like one.
9. Wearing pyjamas all day – There’s nothing like the satisfying feeling of lounging around in your pyjamas all day. Not getting out of them is a sign of defiance of the routine; of apathy; of pure unadulterated Sunday morning laziness.
10. Drinking on a school night – I’m doing less and less these days but the midweek drink used to be my specialty. There’s pleasure in the first sip, but when you’re getting home at 2am on a Tuesday, you know there’s going to be regret in the morning.
What are your guilty pleasures?
All photos in this post were taken by the author and subject to copyright.