Oh, the simple pleasures of life – can be rare and wistfully lusted for, or everyday experiences that are just fleetingly noticed. A lay-in on a Sunday must be one, especially if you have kids clamouring for your attention all the time! I can count one of my favourite simple pleasures as getting into bed with clean fresh sheets – nothing is nicer than the feel of freshly ironed linen, with that fresh air smell from drying outside still lingering. Another pleasure is really big, thick clean towels that you can wrap yourself in after a shower or bath.

In general, simple pleasures can be defined as experiences that are positive, brief, and usually arise from everyday settings. They often cost nothing, or very little, and are usually very personal to you, as not everyone will get pleasure from the same things as you do. Simple, small pleasures are what give us the power to restore feelings of happiness and positivity, and can give that ‘ahh’ feeling of happiness, pleasure or contentment.

Five Senses

The five senses we have sight, smell, touch, taste and sound, are extremely powerful and can link to many positive memories from our past, and can add to our simple pleasures. How about something as simple as the smell fresh of coffee - strangely I am not a big coffee drinker, but the smell is intoxicating - smelling better than the taste for some reason.

The smell of bacon cooking reminds me of caravan holidays as a child, where leisurely breakfasts were eaten outside on wobbly chairs. Crispy bacon in soft fresh ‘baps’ were the start of another day before heading to the beach, and endless sunny days. (Well that’s what I remember – but I also remember being confined to quarters playing card games on rainy days, mindlessly watching drops of rain aimlessly race each other down the window). The pleasurable smell of freshly baked bread - or cake – could remind you maybe of your childhood. Another simple pleasure could be sitting outside and listening to the birds while seeing your garden in full bloom.

I had a look at some simple things that bring pleasure to others – some surprised me, but I could understand them. The smell of fresh cut grass, big belly laughs, the wind in your hair, the smell of the inside of a new car, finishing a really good book, finding an expected euro in your wallet, the sound of the sea over a pebbly beach, a neck or foot massage. Some might say nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride. There are more than I could possibly list here, and you could probably add your own to the list. The smell of rain could also be described as a simple pleasure – especially after our long typical dry summers. You might even be overtaken by the desire to feel the rain and be tempted to twirl around in it and happily get soaked!

Credits: envato elements;

Some things are unexpected

We’re often told that we need rare, unique, or expensive things to feel more fulfilled. We tend to seek large-scale achievements over pursuing personal passions and goals. Expensive holidays, big celebrations, and exotic travels can bring you joy, but they aren’t always the predictors of happiness that they might seem to be. Comfort and pleasures often lie in the exact opposite direction, in small, simple things.

Feeling the sun on your face is one of life’s simple pleasures, especially after a dismal and cold winter maybe, and I suppose in reality our bodies are absorbing some well-needed vitamin D, commonly called the sunshine vitamin.

There’s nothing ordinary and small about life’s little pleasures. They are within reach for everyone, regardless of social status or wealth. We can create a colorful tapestry of experiences once we learn to recognize and appreciate them. Simple pleasures are essential for helping us to de-stress and feel more positive in our daily lives. It’s these little things that keep us going, that make us whole and might turn an average day into something special.


Marilyn writes regularly for The Portugal News, and has lived in the Algarve for some years. A dog-lover, she has lived in Ireland, UK, Bermuda and the Isle of Man. 

Marilyn Sheridan