From playlists to sweet treats, these are our 40 tips on how to romanticise your life

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It’s all over your TikTok For You feed: girls drinking lattes in faux fur coats, carrying bouquets of tulips wrapped in brown paper, a sultry voice over soft music: "you have to start romanticising your life". And it looks beautiful. Not just beautiful, but alluring. Is this, you wonder, as you wipe toast crumbs from your chest and onto your bedsheets, the key to happiness?

What does 'romanticising your life' mean?

According to the New York Times, the phrase ‘romanticise your life’ gathered speed in the early days of the pandemic, as our lives were confined to four walls, the internet, and our imagination. In 2024, however, the philosophy – which encourages you to find beauty in the mundane – is more popular than ever. Why? Well, because the concept is both aspirational and achievable – a rare combination on the internet.

The phrase ‘romanticise your life’ promises an escape from the mundane without actually escaping it. You don’t need to fly to Sicily and spend a week eating fruit by the sea living out your White Lotus fantasy to find contentment. You don’t even need to win the lottery or quit your job. No, you just need a mindset shift. In a fracturing world – a world of global instability and environmental collapse, of rising heating bills and a cost-of-living crisis which sees getting a two-hour train cost over £100 – the idea that you can find beauty, and warmth, and contentment in the everyday is really quite something.

And, crucially, romanticising your life isn’t about forgetting all these things. It’s not about denial, or selfish introspection. It’s a way of noticing the world’s inherent cruelty and choosing, still, to find beauty in your personal corner of it. For me, it’s the key to happiness. You’re going to have to do it all anyway: work five days a week, go to the gym, clean out the litter tray and wipe mould from the bathroom walls and buy bin bags that break and pay your taxes and brush your teeth – so you may as well find a way of making these things as enjoyable, as lovely, as possible.

It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Well, not really. Because in a world where ‘romanticise your life’ is bandied around like a buzzword, no one is actually telling you how to do it. That’s where I come in. Here’s your comprehensive guide to romanticising your life.

How to romanticise your life

  • Create a playlist for every emotion, every season, every occasion. Party playlists, gym playlists, train playlists and coffee playlists and everything shower playlists. Curate a series of songs for every single moment of your life. It’ll make you feel as though you’re living in a movie.

  • Tie bows around chores. Pair something you dislike (the laundry) with something you love (singing Dolly Parton at the top of your lungs).

  • Indulge in everyday luxuries. Light the candles you’ve been saving. Spritz perfume into the air and walk into it. Apply moisturiser like you’re never going to run out. Drink sparkling water out of cocktail glasses, because why the hell not?

  • Turn your phone on Do Not Disturb, as often as you can.

  • Swim outdoors, whenever you get the chance.

  • Take photos of the beautiful and the mundane: swallows darting in clear skies, your cluttered bedside table, a crepe stand, your new haircut, fresh-cut flowers, sunsets and sunrises and moments you don’t want to forget (baking a cake in your best friend’s kitchen).

  • Do things for other people. Donate to causes you believe in. Go to marches and scream demands at the top of your lungs and demand that people listen.

  • Do things that scare you. Tell that girl you love her jumper. Apply for that job you think you won’t get. Book that solo trip.

  • Do things for yourself. Indulge in self-care like it’s part of your job. Your body will thank you for it.

  • Read. Inhale books like oxygen. They are the cheapest form of travel – and the quickest way to empathy.

  • Acknowledge that it is a wondrous privilege to exist right now, in a part of the world that is at peace. A privilege, too, to be able to buy flowers and read books and take everything showers and plan trips to Europe in the summer just because you’ve always wanted to go.

  • Dance. All the time. As much as you can.

  • Take five minutes to write your dream life out on a piece of paper. What does it look like? What does it feel like? Create a Pinterest board. Fill it with all the things you love. Mine is dotted with cinnamon lattes and cherry-red handbags and paperbacks and cats curled on bookshelves. Add to it whenever you feel stressed, or overwhelmed, or bored, or tired.

  • Wind surprises around your routine like golden threads. Surprise your best friend with her favourite cookie, or your mum with daffodils, or your partner with waffles on a Sunday morning. Planning things for other people is one of the best ways to feel alive.

  • If in doubt, bake banana bread.

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How to romanticise a bad day

We all have bad days. Here’s how to turn yours around (as long as it’s not a terrible day – just one where you feel a bit low).

  • Get outside, preferably for a walk.

  • As you walk, call your sister, or your mum, or your best friend. Tell them why you’re having a bad day. Ask them how theirs is going. Plan the next time you see them. Talk about it in detail.

  • On the way back, stop off at your favourite coffee shop. Order the drink you’ve always wanted to try (peppermint mocha, iced chai) with a sweet treat. Save the sweet treat until later.

  • With your coffee in hand, stop off at a supermarket. Buy a bunch of daffodils for £1.

  • When you get home, turn on your favourite song to dance to. Mine is ‘Bejewelled’ by Taylor Swift, or ‘Suddenly I See’ by KT Tunstall. Dance like nobody is watching (because nobody is).

  • Afterwards, sit on the sofa and eat your sweet treat and either a) read a chapter of a your book or b) watch an episode of your favourite show (Gavin and Stacey is perfect for bad days).

You can do most of this on a lunch break, if you’re working from home. If you’re not – and you’re in the office – get a sweet treat anyway, buy yourself flowers on the way home, and dance when you get back. I promise it’ll turn your day around.

How to romanticise a solo weekend

  • You are the event. Act accordingly.

  • Get your heart rate up at least once.

  • Get outside at least twice.

  • Take at least one long, candle-lit shower accompanied by your favourite podcast and lotions that smell like emotions: passionfruit (happiness), vanilla (comfort).

  • Make something from scratch. This could be pesto (basil, garlic, parmesan, olive oil, the taste of Italy and self-love), or cookies (chocolate melting on your tongue, feet up, MAFS on in the background).

  • Spend half a day in bed, just because you can. Croissants and coffee. Read as much of a book as possible in that time. Time will still and swoop: it’s the best feeling.

  • If at any point you feel lonely, remind yourself that it is a wonder to be able to exist in this kind of peace: to have a whole weekend stretching out with nothing but you, and your whims. And also: loneliness is part of the human experience. It is okay (not just okay, but brave) to feel it.

  • At some point on Sunday, set a timer and clean your space to the accompaniment of Billy Joel. Try and clean an entire room during the song ‘Scenes from an Italian Restaurant.’ You’ll be surprised by how enjoyable this is.

  • Capture moments of beauty: steam rising from your Bialetti pot on the stove, or parmesan piled high, or your cat stretching in slanting sunlight. Life is full of tiny moments like these. Try, if you can, to savour them.

How to romanticise spring

  • First, make a playlist. The vibes are ‘florals for spring?’ à la Meryl Streep in Devil Wears Prada. Fill it with songs that make you feel light: songs that remind of you of pastel-pinks and yellows and wildflowers in tall grass.

  • - Next, make a mood-board. You can either do this on Pinterest, or go old-school. Buy a Cosmopolitan magazine and create a collage for the season. All daisies and floating skirts and shimmery lip glosses. You get the gist.

  • Decide on a drink for the season. Are you a chai latte girly, or do you fancy an iced americano? Play around with your favourite flavours.

  • Buy yourself flowers. Tulips are my go-to. Cut one bunch into several and put a flower or two in every room.

  • Get into the habit of going for a walk, every single morning before work. Try and notice as much as you can: daffodils peeping on windowsills, laundry flapping in the wind, couples holding hands, or bickering, or both.

  • Plan a surprise for Easter, or your friend’s birthday.

  • Take one full day and dedicate it to cleaning. There’s a reason we’re told to clean in the spring. Pull out the furniture and hoover in every single corner as you sing along to your playlist. Afterwards, take a shower and do a face mask and treat yourself to a cocktail in your pyjamas.

  • Paint your nails. If you’re doing them yourself, try lavender. If you’re getting them done, ask for floral art. It’ll make you feel put together and in love with life every single time you look at your hands.

  • Take some time to notice beauty blossoming on branches: let it inspire you to create something yourself. Paint, sew, stitch, knit, write, sing – whatever it is, just make sure you create something, this spring.

  • Oh, and do something for someone else, too. It can be so easy to get caught up in the trivialities of our own lives, of our own hardships, but we are so lucky, to be able to live this kind of a life: of oat-milk lattes and paperback books and podcasts that make us laugh and songs that make us cry, or dance, or both. Donate to causes you believe in. Write to your MP. Buy that coffee for the person behind you. Do something for someone else – it might just make their day.

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