Archive for the ‘pleasures’ Category
The super-specific Small Pleasures describes itself as “all about cream teas” and indeed it is.
Froth on the Cappuccino: How Small Pleasures Can Save Your Life is essentially a yummy mummy manifesto, complete with pink ribbon. At times it is inescapably middle-class and insular; small pleasures listed include wearing cashmere, spa days, champagne, pashminas, and fresh pesto. According to Maeve, Spas are no longer ‘prerogative of the very rich’ but are ‘a possibility for most of us’.
I felt particularly out of sorts reading the section on ‘wearing cheap jewellery’ as I had this uneasy suspicion that Maeve’s idea of cheap jewellery might encompass the most expensive things I own. Cheap to me is Claire’s accessories, for Maeve it is asking a little shop in Paris to make her a custom glass tiara.
In the midst of this sweetly but rather obliviously privileged view of ‘small’ pleasures there are a host of concepts that can speak to a much wider audience:
- doing something you’ve been putting off
- making satisfying economies
- being met from a journey
- tasks with an echo of the past
- listing 3 good things
- seeing life as a web not a ladder
What is surprising is how invisible work is in this book. Maeve is apparently a ex-TV producer, novelist, and journalist. Her biog says “her hobby is trying to balance work, motherhood and having a good time” but from reading this book you might get the impression that she gets no pleasures at all from her work.
Even when the named pleasure could apply to work, almost invariably the description ties it to a family or domestic situation. ‘Using the five minutes’ is illustrated with examples of the housework that can be done whilst boiling the kettle and the chores that can be combined with the school run. Perhaps work is a world of only big pleasures, or of none at all.