20 Underrated and Unexpected Joys

Life is full of delicious moments, many of which go unnoticed because…well, ultimately life is a clusterfuck of inconveniences which steal our attention. But as we find ourselves at the horns of muddled moments*, I wanted to dish up a friendly reminder that it’s worth stopping and smelling the freshly baked bread once in a while and the 19 other things which deserve your appreciation – more so than the rude boi who just cut you up on the Chester road junction or the joy thieves spurred by comparison on your Instagram feed.

*I desperately had to think up a new way to say “uncertain times” – a phrase which has plagued my inbox this week.

It’s a little harder recently to see positives in the every day; and if we do feel positive, we’re then wracked with guilt over feeling something other than empathetic distress for the rest of the world. If we’re feeling a lil’ neg, similarly, we cuss ourselves for not having more perspective on our fortunate realities.

Basically, we can’t do right fo’ doing wrong; and so, I hope you won’t discount me greatly for listing the flimsy things I miss in retrospect or have found cheap thrills in these past few weeks, in the absence of cuddles from family and friends (which I think we can mostly all agree on, are the hero tier of the prize pool of life) along with McDonalds hash browns.

So away we go:

1. The smell of freshly baked bread 

Whether that’s in your own home (HELLO you elite human, kneader of dough, baker of bread – look at chu!) Or at your local bake Haus (or bakery if you aren’t German literate like me). Pop it like it’s hot out the oven, smother it in salted butter and enjoy stood up in the kitchen whilst simultaneously preparing your second slice for ultimate satisfaction.

2. Coffee

This is by no means an unexpected joy; but I think until the ritual of something so blindly decadent, like paying someone to make you a coffee exactly how you like it; is taken away from you – you don’t realise just how sensual of an experience it is. I eagerly anticipate the day I can order a white-soy-cap-please-no-I’m-not-lactose-I-just-really-like-the-taste-it’s-the-same-calories-as-skimmed-but-creamier-I-know-crazy-right? Like the boujee victim that I am.

3. Your first glug of water in the morning

When you can literally feel the ice cold wave of refreshing H20 sliding down your throat and piercing (or a verb less aggressive), every sleepy organ (or verb less clinical) on the way down.

4. Memes

The accessibility of which is one of the few redeeming features of social media.

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5. Birds tweeting

Birds literally don’t give a fuck that they’re waking you up at 5am – if you’re fortunate to have gotten your 7-8 hours, they’re a wholesome PT-esque call of encouragement to get you out of bed and put some movement into your day before the rest of the world wakes up.

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6. The sound of your feet on the ground

I was walking off my run in the park this morning, and the sound of the ground under my feet was utterly comforting. The simple affirmation of “Yes, I’m here, I’m present” was wildly comforting.*

*I may, may have drank a margarita before writing this.

7. The immense pleasure of reading a book you just can’t put down

Immersing yourself in a book that flows like honey, over snowy peaks of Greek yoghurt – it’s a joy you can only really appreciate on your own and not have to feel bad about it – so go, henceforth, and stimulate your inner selfish intellect. 

Some books which I’ve lost days to recently:

Expectation – Anna Hope
The Interestings – Meg Wolitzer
Such a Fun Age – Kiley Reid
The Most Fun we Ever Had – Clare Lombard
An American Marriage – Tayari Jones

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**Taking this photo was quite the challenge for my feeble arms lemme tell ya

8. Dogs

No matter what time of the day it is, or what’s going on in the world – if you’re excited, your dog is excited. Their constant down-to-party attitude is irresistible and the purest form of goodness when you’re in a funk.

9. Listening to a record

I get that I sound lame as heck – but let’s break this down together.

This is not pressing shuffle on your Spotify, nor is it surrendering your ears to what the radio DJ thinks you want to hear; this is carefully considering the albums in your collection. Tuning in to your mood and pondering what might hit differently when you drop the needle and being fully engaged with the rich sound which fills your room.

It’s a process, and it’s bloody delicious.

10. The other person smiling first 

I am a chronic over-smiler. It also doesn’t help that I smile like a creep – but a smile is a smile, and this one’s mine I guess. But what always takes me by surprise is when someone beats me to a smile; so much so that it also prompts an: “Oh hi!” To escape my lips. Such a simple extension of kindness but often we’re too busy with our heads in our phones to notice.

 11. A fresh pair of socks

I don’t need to explain this to you; this has turned around many a stressful morning in my life.

12. Rock salt

My dear friend Steph and I exchanged voice notes, accumulating in over 20 minutes in length, listing the hierarchy of carbohydrates, which essentially turned into a declaration of love over rock salt and its diversity. 

The crunch of crystals elevates any humble dish, but is most decadent when paired with:

A doorstop slice of good bread with copious amounts of butter

OR

Chunky avocado on toast with chilli flakes and lemon juice

13. Sitting side by side to eat

I met my friend Adam for a slice of pecan pie at Idle Hands, one idle Tuesday where we both found ourselves foot loose and fancy free from work. Adam took the bold move of sitting beside me instead of opposite me and I had completely forgotten how comforting it is to be shoulder to shoulder with someone. Not only does it make you feel as though you’re on a judging panel but it also makes it easier to steal some of their salted caramel brownie.

14. Words

Yet another inner eye-rolling entry from me; but I absolutely adore the effort of exploring your vocabulary in an attempt to describe things in new and wanky ways. Examples might be referring to your work colleagues as comrades or substituting the word “Unprecedented” for wild and woolly times (pinched from the High Low podcast).

15. Reunions

I adore my friend Josh Seager, who I do not see often enough; but when I do by chance, he lights up the part of my brain reserved for considering the impossible. Seager is the type of person who makes you feel like you can do anything and champions the simplicity of doing something which to you seems gargantuan. It’s a gorgeous feeling to stroke the thumb [or your choice of gratifying act of sensory] of a friend you haven’t seen in ages, just to reassure yourself that they’re real and most definitely in front of you, like no time has passed at all.

 16. Podcasts

I wait for new episodes to gobble up on my daily government approved yard time more excitedly now than ever before. True, I have always been a podcast wanker, but now more than ever do I appreciate the company it gives me when I walk or run.

Things I’m loving in my ear right now:

‘The High Low’ – current affairs podcast with Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes.
‘Desert Island Discs’ – you should know this by its cult-status already.
‘My Dad Wrote a Porno’ – an oldie but goodie; not recommended when running because you will get a stitch.
‘Table Manners with Jessie Ware’ – an hour long discussion about food, total perfection.
Cotton buds – clean your ears people (kidding, apparently they aren’t super great for you??)

17. Peanut M&Ms

The unexpected element here was the fact I just finished my second bag without realising; simply, they are chocolate covered, shelled bites of joie de vivre (I only just this second learnt this word – see point 14.)

18. Silence

I’ve always been a gal about distractions in an attempt to stay out of my own head too much. What’s juxtaposed to this is the fact that I actually adore time spent on my own and all of the luxuries that come with it – but silence? I’ve never been a fan.

What I’ve been finding satisfaction in recently though, is the serenity and calm feeling that comes from silence. It exposes tension-relieving sounds as detailed in points 5 and 6; it also lends an ear to your own self check-in…which then is often proceeded by a tasty nap. If silence gives you the heebies (and I get that), I’d recommend making a “barely-there” playlist just to give a little bit of dimension of chill. Songs to include could be (but should not be limited to):

Sunday Morning – Velvet Underground
Yes I’m Changing – Tame Impala
Oh! Sweet Nothin’ – Velvet Underground
I Love You So – The Walters
Nancy From Now On – Father John Misty
You Say I’m in Love – Banes World

++ Also anything at all by Ludovico Einaudi (it’ll make you feel like you’re caught up in an ITV drama – so a bit semi-stressful).

19. Take care o’ you

Never before have we had the task bestowed on us to simply; “Take care of yourself  and stay at home.” Which means we have a bunch of bonus time credits to dispense to whatever takes our fancy.

The priority of what I devote my time to changes up daily; some days it’s taking mindful movements (so wanky), meditation and yoga to feel that delicious stretch in my muscles – and other days it’s eating cheesecake in bed watching Atlanta. A process which stays a constant though – is my skincare routine; I am 23 days into being make-up free, but that doesn’t mean I neglect my cleanse, tone, moisturise – if anything I’m spending even more time ensuring my skin gets to drink up all the moisture it needs and giving it the extra special treatment which effectively sees me going to bed every night more oiled up than a Baikal seal.

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20. Business up top, party on the bottom

If you’re fortunate enough to be able to work from home – might I suggest at least two days a week you plump for a risqué choice of bottoms while you get money, get paid? I’m not talking ass-less chaps or a similar variation (no judgement), but lemme tell you – a day spent answering stressful emails is greatly cushioned when you can feel your silk pyjama bottoms against your tush.

Whilst I am a bit of a slut to the self-indulgent exercise that is the above; what I wanted to achieve with this post was actually more of a prompt, the passing of the baton – if you will – to you. To ask or encourage you to savour the opportunity of missing the flimsy, flippant things, or to enjoy a wild passion for something which on a normal pandemic-less day might seem mundane.

Admittedly, it’s quite salty of me to perhaps ask you to succumb to some blissful ignorance with me for an hour or so. But if anything I hope this serves you as a healthy reminder, that whilst indeed we are in what feels like an inescapable Black Mirror episode of apocalyptic proportions and not wanting minimise any pain you are well within your rights to feel; escapism supplies a welcomed massage for the brain which I encourage you to seek out. Whether that’s in your 14th episode of True Detective or your perfectly (homemade) oat milk (shop-bought) cappuccino.

2 thoughts on “20 Underrated and Unexpected Joys

  1. SudsEats says:

    Good post again. As I’ve been walking I’ve noticed people have been smiling especially if it’s the second time of the route. I’ve also just started putting in my headphones and playing my playlist and singing when no one is near. If you’re on a reading binge may I recommend How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Francesca says:

      I’m so glad you liked it! And I LOVE that you’re singing out loud whilst you’re walking! I do it too – I don’t even stop when people are around, I find this helps reinforce the 2m distance we’re meant to keep from each other. Thank you for the book recco – it’s now on my Amazon list!

      Liked by 1 person

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