This has been the year of simple pleasures, those familiar routines and little treats that have brought moments of comfort to the stress of 2020.
Unique and personal, simple pleasures can be found in the humblest of places, from a favourite armchair to a go-to recipe.
For me, nothing has consistently brought me greater comfort than my weekend pastry, freshly baked and still piping-hot as I walk away clutching the butter-stained paper bag.
With take-away bakeries remaining open even during the depths of lockdown, at no point have I been denied my cinnamon buns, danishes, croissants and pain au chocolats. Even when everything else is taken away, this simple pleasure brings happiness to a weekend morning.
Let me run you through my routine. After an alarm-free wake up I’ll roll out of bed, lazily throwing on a half-acceptable outfit before leaving the house. A sleepy stroll to the local (bakery) later and I’ll be faced with a wall of fresh pastries in all their wonderful variety, from sugar dustings to sticky coatings, open toppings to stuffed centres.
While some have their go-to favourites I carry no pastry loyalties, although I do have a strong inclination to lean towards cinnamon. Eyes still puffy from sleep, I will opt for whichever little parcel of flaky dough takes my fancy that particular Saturday morning.
Armed with my paper bag, sweet smells drifting past my nose on a slightly more urgent walk home, it’s swiftly back to bed where I savour each sugary bite alongside sips of hot coffee. With sticky fingers and a lap full of stray crumbs, it will be at least another hour before I decide it’s time to clamber out from beneath the duvet.
Currently my local is The Old Post Office Bakery, a tiny little take-away in Clapham North that’s a firm favourite amongst near-by residents. With a queue snaking onto the adjacent street by 9 AM, lie-ins need to be avoided to bag the top pastry picks.