My mum's best china is in a cabinet in her house, which also houses the best cutlery. In her bathroom are some beautiful Laura Mercier bath products that I bought her from Harrods which she keeps on display but to my frustration doesn't use. She says she's "saving them for best".
And no matter how much that annoys me and I tell her to use them and enjoy them, inevitably as a woman in her thirties, I've also turned into my mother slightly. I say slightly, as at my house in Clapham I had collected about thirty bottles of champagne which had built up whilst being "saved for the right occasion", a really special bottle of Port I'd bought in Northern California, some wines I'd brought back from Argentina when I filmed a TV show over there. I had some bath products from the Dorchester Hotel, which were left the side because they looked nice. Shoes I loved but had never worn as they were too good to walk to the tube in, dresses I was saving for another time.
Earlier this month, when I moved from London to Los Angeles I had to pack up my entire house and make a choice - either ship it or skip it.
Suddenly, there I am - having to do the maths on how much it costs to ship something I've never used, because I was "saving it". So it goes in a skip (or at least, to a charity shop or willing friend). I passed on designer shoes I'd never worn which now would never get worn, and after all who needs 3 pairs of knee high Sheepskin boots in LA, and is it worth the price of shipping fifteen Primark tops?
I must have had fifty bottles of amazing wine, the ones I'd got from a vineyard in Sonoma Valley among my most proud keepings, the ones my husband got sent for Christmas, we even had a beautiful magnum of champagne given to us on our wedding. I wanted to share these with people, to enjoy them with others. I took a bottle of amazing dessert wine (seriously, not even an oxymoron like you assume. It was dark red wine with warm chocolate flavour, and just incredible) that I'd been saving to a Sunday lunch with friends and we downed it all - that was the perfect ending for that bottle. But how could I ever get through fifty bottles before I moved? I thought there would be enough occasions, but there weren't.
We served our champagne all night at our leaving party, the bubbles flowed along with a few tears as we said goodbye. The next morning, a pile of empty bottles and happy (if a little sketchy) memories lay by the door.
As I tried to sort what to keep and what to sling, it dawned on me that I simply had too much that I didn't need. And hadn't seized the day to enjoy the things I treasured.
So I've learned quickly to buy less stuff, and not to save the good stuff for another time. I'm going to use the best glasses, to drink the best wines, wear my best shoes. Because the "right occasion" is today.