How to have an indulgent mini-break at home

Living Well | Blanche Clark | Posted on 16 October 2020

Five-star hotels are off limits but you can still treat yourself to an indulgent escape.

It’s hard to plan a holiday when there’s so much uncertainty about future travel restrictions. But what’s not in doubt is your need for regular breaks, whether it’s from work, school or the same old boring routine. 

As Victorians look forward to the Thank You Day long weekend (23 to 26 October) and with many planning a four-day break leading into Melbourne Cup Day (31 October to 3 November), here are some tips for having an indulgent mini-break at home.

Bed made like a hotel

Get that five-star bedroom feeling with fresh white bedsheets and new bedlinen.

How to treat yourself to an indulgent mini break at home

Set the scene 

First of all, you need to break your routine to create a holiday mindset. Switch off the alarm, sleep in and change your mealtimes. If you need to change the scenery, rearrange objects, furniture, plants and/or pictures in your home. Dig out a photo from one of your favourite holidays and order a poster from an online photo-processing store and hang it on your wall, or splash out on a wallpaper mural of a beach, forest or world map. 

That five-star feeling 

Invest in scented candles, massage oil and great wine. To get that swanky hotel feel, go online and order fluffy white bathrobes and new white sheets with a 500-plus thread count. Some luxury hotel chains even sell their linen and robes directly to the public. Change your doona cover and fold your doona neatly at the end of the bed. Place a chocolate on the pillow. Don’t forget to create a playlist of new music or all your old favourites. 

High tea 

Enhance the luxury hotel experience with an indulgent high tea, complete with a tiered stand laden with scones, dainty sandwiches and petit treats. Break out your best silverware and china, and jump online to order in – several high-end Melbourne hotels including the Windsor are now offering high teas for home delivery or to collect. Alternatively, you can assemble your own by ordering cakes and sweet treats from a local artisan bakery or cake shop, along with exotic teas from an online store. 

Close up of mini lemon meringue tart
Close up of candle and baby's breath flowers
Close up of person holding polaroid photo of beach

Treat yourself to high tea at home, dust off the scented candles or take a trip down memory lane.


Flights of fancy

Let your memories take you around the world. Get out those old photo albums, make a photo book, or curate the photos buried on your hard drive or in the cloud and share the stories behind each one with your loved one or family. If you’re home alone, send a photo and anecdote to a friend and get them to respond with one of theirs. Or post one of your photos on social media and get friends to guess the location.

Dinner is served

Do you have a fond memory of a meal you ate in another country? Was it steak tartare in Paris, oden in Japan or pelmeni in Moscow? Choose a culture and cook a two or three-course meal. Work together or each cook a separate dish. If it’s food you can freeze, cook ahead, so you can concentrate on other details on your special night, such as the linen tablecloth, your finest china, mood lighting and the plating of your food. 

Breakfast in bed 

Take turns doing room service on different days, so everyone in the household gets to feel special. Use a tray or lay a white tablecloth over the doona and place a red rose (order online) on top. Make pancakes with berries and maple syrup, smashed avocado on sourdough toast with tomato, or bacon and eggs with crispy pan-fried potatoes. If you’re alone, keep it simple with a delicious pastry and homemade coffee and read a book in bed.

Close up of breakfast in bed tray
Father and daughter wearing headphones and dancing to music in living room

Make yourself breakfast in bed or set up a silent disco in your living room.


Spa treatment 

Transform your surroundings to promote tranquility and relaxation. Subdued lighting, a scented candle and meditation music will do the trick. If you don’t have a bath for a deep soak, give yourself or a loved one a foot soak and massage. Your DIY spa treatment can be as simple as dressing in a robe, putting on soothing music and lying down on the couch for half an hour with slices of cucumber on your closed eyelids. 

Camping out 

Take the kids camping. Pull the mattresses off the beds and drag them into the lounge. Set up separate tents using sheets and take a grand tour of each other’s new digs. Spread out a picnic rug and eat camp-food classics such as damper served in tinfoil with a hearty soup or stew in a tin mug. Sit around a pretend campfire and play a team story game. Begin with sentences, such as “It was a dark and stormy night” or “The dead body started to move” and go around as many times as you like until the designated person finishes the story. 

Silent disco 

Turn one of your rooms into a nightclub. Pull down the blinds and put up any bling you have lying around. You can use bike lights for a strobing effect. Everyone puts on their headphones and dances to the music of their choice. Dance one at a time and see if you can guess the music the other person is dancing to. It could be classical, hip-hop, disco or pop. 

Unwind and unplug 

To truly relax on your mini break, you have to commit to unplugging your devices, even if it’s just for a day. This could mean disabling email notifications on your phone, setting up ‘out of office’ on your work email, locking your devices in a cupboard or shutting your study door and putting a ‘Do Not Enter’ sign on the handle.