Second Careers + Slow Living with Santosha's Laura Pugh

Photography by Gabrielle Devereux

In her ‘first’ career, Laura Pugh was actually a senior stylist at the highest levels of the fashion world – working for industry giant Net-a-Porter in London, and then in Sydney, for iconic fashion titles including Elle and Harper’s Bazaar.

When her parents moved to New Zealand, Laura followed. She continued her career in the fashion industry, here too - but started craving a slower, more nurturing lifestyle. She also began to want more for herself than to be led by someone else’s creativity - she wanted to realise her own vision, on her own terms.

Santosha is that creative vision.

These days, Laura lives on the Otago Peninsula with her partner JC, their puppers Maisy and Barney and their flock of chickens. The 70’s home they’re gradually renovating takes in views of MacAndrew Bay, and the rolling hills around Te Roto Pāteke. When Laura’s not teaching yoga (her other passion), she’s in her small home studio, blending, pouring and packaging her candles.

Her inner stylist and creative director is still very evident in the stunning, highly editorial imagery she creates for her brand. But otherwise, it’s a slow, simple lifestyle. By design.

Santosha comes from Sanskrit and means contentment. What is contentment to you?

Contentment to me is being in a state of presence and peace. Not searching for anything else other that what I have right there and then in that very moment. I am definitely most content at home, with my partner and dogs, drinking tea, enjoying each others company and the view we have of the Otago Peninsula.

We recently renovated our dining room, it has a beautiful view of the water, hills and greenery that surrounds us, so that is definitely somewhere I find myself sitting and just being content.

Tell us a little about your home - do you have a favourite space within it? What are some of your favourite objects to live with?

Our kitchen dining area is my absolute favourite space. I love to cook, I love having friends and family over. For me the kitchen is another place for me to express my creativity, investing time into cooking a delicious meal or baking is so fulfilling for me.

Some of my favourite objects in this space are:

The wooden chopping board my partner made - It is so nice to have his creative work in our home. He is a builder by trade. He has such an eye for detail, and all the wood he has pulled out from the renovations he has recycled into bench tops, chopping boards, bathroom cupboards etc.

Butler Sink - I have wanted one for a very very long time!

Menu Salt + Pepper Grinders - the design and the colour palette. They bring me joy!


On Sundays, you’ll find me…

I love nothing more than a slow Sunday morning. Sundays are always my one day off a week. I dedicate my Sundays to reconnecting with myself, my partner, friends, nature and more often than not going in the ocean.

You nourish and hold space for others a lot in your working life as a yoga teacher. What are three of your favourite ways to self-nourish?

Yoga is something I like to do most days, it honestly helps me to come back home to myself. It allows me to not only nourish my body physically but also mentally, emotionally and spiritually. For me, living in the present moment is something I like to practice daily.

Making Candles! being creative is a way for me to express myself. It is something that I have always enjoyed and feel very uplifted and nourished by. I find the making process very therapeutic. Then the creative imagery side and design I get real motivation from. It energises me!

Other than being at home, I love being outdoors - nature for me is an opportunity to recharge. I love walking with my dogs, surfing with my partner. Here in Dunedin we're surrounded by wild coastlines, beautiful rolling hills and dense greenery and there is nothing better for me.

The Good List: what are some of the tiny, ordinary or obscure things that make you happy?

Birdsong, cups of tea, the smell of fresh washing.

We love lighting one of your candles to close down the day and move into evening. What evening rituals do you have for yourself?

Definitely the same! I love nothing more than slipping into fresh clean sheets, burning a Santosha Candle, enjoying a chamomile tea and reading a good book. At the moment I'm reading Normal People by Sally Rooney.

I also love yin yoga to really wind down, if I can get to an evening class it's just so amazing, it really helps calm and soothe your nervous system.

We believe that Good Design can elevate your life. What do you hope Santosha candles bring to people’s lives?

Peace and contentment. Time to stop, time to dream, time to let ideas flow. Sometimes we can become so busy we lose sight of our great ideas and dreams. So I hope people find space to connect with what they really want… and cultivate the courage to go do it.

Laura's Sunday Homestore favourites:



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