Go on, what are you waiting for? Indulge yourself. From a frothy coffee to get your day off to the right start to a spot of shopping or lunch with a friend, the art of pleasure-seeking is a necessary antidote to the humdrum of the everyday.
So much of our pleasure comes from what we imbibe, quaff, stuff and nibble and it's no coincidence that many businesses nowadays are cottoning onto this fact. A little treat goes a long way when it comes to customer satisfaction and loyalty. Waitrose have got it spot on: the lure of a free luscious latte or creamy cappuccino when you make a purchase and present your loyalty card in-store. They are very successfully ensuring that they are the food retailer uppermost in your mind when you need to pop for a loaf of bread, a pint of milk or a mid-week stock-up. (It also helps that they are closest to my front door, close enough for a brisk 15 minute walk with the promise of frothy coffee to spur me on the journey back. Not forgetting, the added bonus that I've burnt off the milky coffee calories or so I believe!)
If you're thinking this doesn't even register on the pleasure scale, granted a Freakshake with whipped cream, cookies, sprinkles, marshmallows and any other sticky sugariness you care to dream up may be the ultimate indulgence - as well as becoming a feature on your Instagram feed. But whichever end of the scale you find yourself at, the hot drink has become somewhat emblematic of the pleasure we take from our food and drink consumption. (BTW, If you're into the pleasure-pain equation then the Freakshake has to be your toughest gym class twice over to work that baby off - just saying!)
A recent, very pleasurable trip to Paris involved good girlfriends, coffee, an art exhibition followed by - yes you guessed it - lunch. As two of them are gluten intolerant (what are the odds?) they made me walk 10-minutes in the pouring rain (slightly painful but I was in Paris still) to seek out 'Noglu' an entirely gluten-free café. If you're now sighing and thinking here comes the painful bit: she was forced to eat alternative food, seeking to emulate the wonderful wheat-laden French breads and patisseries, then you are entirely mistaken. Noglu is a revelation. If you want utterly scrumptious, leave-me-wanting-more, how-can-this-carrot-cake-possibly-be-healthy-it-tastes-too- divine lunchtime fare then go straight to Noglu, do not pass Goglu! It's a pleasure-seeker's paradise ( -and it's all bathed in rose gold). Now, I just need one about a 15-minute brisk walk from my front door. Could life get any better??
Clare Pope, always has her head in a book - current read The Exiles Return by Elisabeth de Waal