306: 25 British Petit Plaisirs (and a new category for all of TSLL’s Simple Pleasures)
Monday May 17, 2021

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The French define le Petit Plaisir as a simple indulgence that brings great pleasure and enjoyment. In English, the translation is easy to note – small pleasures, yet significant in their ability to elevate the everyday.

This week on the blog is TSLL’s 3rd Annual British Week, and while yes, the term Petit Plaisirs is notably French, my affinity for the British culture is grounded in so many of the Brits’ daily rituals, appreciation for nature which surrounds each waking day, and the dogged determination to keep calm and carry on coined and released to the public in 1939 in an effort to steel the nerves and assuage the fears of the impeding war.

As I sat down this past Saturday, savoring a weekend to spent entirely at home, I took a moment and glanced about. So much of how I structure my own everydays welcomes British influences. Most seemingly simple, but others which have come about intentionally, with patience and clear-eyed understanding of the comfort they would bring into my life and sanctuary.

Today I would like to share with you 25 British-inspired Petit Plaisirs, and please do share in the comments, rituals or routines you welcome into your own life which are inspired by your Anglophile predilections.

Quickly, on the topic of Petit Plaisirs, I have added something to the blog I think readers and listeners alike will appreciate. First, I want to give a tremendous thank you to listener of the podcast and long-time reader of TSLL blog Margaret for suggesting I create a specific category for Petit Plaisirs. While most are shared on a Podcast episode’s show notes, readers have had a difficult time finding the Petit Plaisirs they wish to further explore from episodes passed. I don’t know why I didn’t think of the idea sooner, but it has finally been created!

Now you will find in the Archives here on TSLL blog, a category titled Petit Plaisirs. You will find all of the Petit Plaisir posts which began what eventually came to be part of the podcast, as well as moving forward, each Petit Plaisir from each podcast episode will have its own post (linked directly in the Show Notes for each episode).

Now to the list of British-inspired Petit Plaisirs!

~Note to TSLL readers: Be sure to tune in to the audio version as each point shared below is talked about in more detail.

1.A knitted or quilted tea cosy for the teapot

2. The fresh scent of rain, and then the much anticipated breaking through of the sunshine

3. A sweet treat from the Great British Baking Show’s finalist Jane Beedle’s recipe archives

4. Enjoying a cuppa and your favorite pairings – newspapers, breakfast, etc. – in bed

5. Sitting in a pub enjoying a beer with good company (yes, I said it – a beer! But when in Britain! :))

6. Birdwatching, listening to birdsong, anything to do with birds and appreciating their gifts of delicate, amazing beauty and melodious music.

7. An umbrella at the ready which has stood the test of time – handmade or wooden stick if possible.

8. Snuggling up in a down and feather stuffed sofa or armchair, listening to the rain, whilst sipping a hot cuppa.

9. Nigel Slater recipes – how they are written – whether you make the dish or not, you are lulled into a state of calm

10. Meandering on the country roads lined with dry stone walls whether on foot or in a vehicle – the sight took my breath away when I saw it for the first time, and I long to return again.

11. Roses, simply cut from the shrub or the climber or rambler in the garden and brought into the home to add a summer fragrance from the garden.

12. Watching a cosy mystery set in the countryside of Britain (view a long list of favorites here)

13. Enjoy a good hearty chuckle whilst watching a British comedy – The Vicar of Dibley comes to mind (thank you to TSLL reader Kameela for bringing this series from the 1990s to my attention)

14. Sitting next to a roaring fire after stepping in from the cold or rainy outdoors

15. Savoring an afternoon tea ritual in your own company and from time to time with others as well, but regular, often and without exception.

16. Slipping into a hot bath as the rain whips against the window and the house

17. Anything with Mary Berry (Simple Comforts, Country House Secrets, Mary Barry Cooks, GBBO, Everyday)

18. Walking along the sand at anytime of the year for its restorative fresh air and soothing sound

19. Time with pups or cats or horses or any other animal which is considered part of the family

20. Vintage or charity or thrift shop perusing and finding something you didn’t know you needed until you saw it

21. Spending time in one’s garden and losing it as well (time, that is)

22. Watching episodes of The Great British Baking Show or GBBO (Great British Bake-Off)

23. Enjoying a meal made with your own garden-grown vegetables, herbs, or fruit

24. Spending Friday evening or Saturday morning watching the latest episode of Gardeners’ World on BritBox (BBC2)

25. Enjoy tea or breakfast (as shown in the image at the top of the post) outside in the garden or on the garden terrace or porch letting the birdsong be your background music, your pets be your companions and whatever you are savoring, doing so with a cuppa and a pot of tea snuggled in a tea cosy.

Wishing you many moments to savor everyday life, elevated by inspiration from the British culture.

Petit Plaisir

~Leonardo, series (Amazon Prime, UK), soon to be released in the US

  • Starring Aidan Turner from Poldark fame
  • 8 episodes in Season 1 (released in the UK in March 2021)
  • Each episode will examine one of da Vinci’s artworks for hidden clues about a tortured artist struggling for perfection.
  • View the individual post for this week’s Petit Plaisir here.


The 1st Giveaway of British Week 2021 – A British Magazine Subscription of Your Choice

Become a TOP Tier subscriber to enter all six giveaways being shared during this week’s British Week celebration. Learn more about the options for subscribing here.

~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #306
~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify

SPONSORS of Today’s Episode:

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21 thoughts on “306: 25 British Petit Plaisirs (and a new category for all of TSLL’s Simple Pleasures)

  1. Having the Petite Plaisir under its own category is a brilliant idea. You have so much content in each post I tend to do many go-backs and re-reads! Essentially everything in this list is just right to me. My afternoon tea is usually around 3 or 4 pm in my studio. It is the best time for me to take a little break, a nibble to control my appetite when feeling peckish too. Interestingly, I am in the process of making quilted tea cozies for friends when we meet again after 15 months apart. We are all tea fanciers and have 4 formal tea parties every year.

  2. This list is magnificent and I’m so thrilled to find all the Petit Plaisirs in one place now! Thank you Shannon and thank you to the reader who suggested it ?

    1. I am incredibly grateful to Margaret for the suggestion. Such a no-brainer, but I never thought about it once the podcast began. Thank you for your patience until I figured it out. 🙂

  3. Brilliant idea executed (as always) with style! Thank you, Margaret, and thank you, Shannon. As a relative new-comer here, I’ve been enjoying rummaging through the past many years of wonderfulness & really appreciate the addition of this category to help find my way around. I’m spending more & more time here (if you hear someone humming & puttering around down in the archives, Shannon, it’s just me. I’ll try to be quiet & not disturb you or the Boys). It’s an act of extreme self-care & I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this peaceful space! I am a political junkie — I love politics like many people love chocolate & am a long LONG time activist, primarily in the arena (& I use that term advisedly) of women’s issues (with a generous side-helping of environmental concerns) — but I’ve come to realize I need to step back, catch my breath & focus on my OWN needs for a while. The Simple Luxurious Life has been a balm to my rather tattered soul for the past year & given me not only a lot of entertainment but a good deal of practical & useful advice. I don’t know if you fully realize what an oasis you provide to internet travelers like myself looking for a quiet spot to regroup & get back in touch with ourselves 🙂 So, sincerely, thank you!

    1. Susanne,

      Thank you for everything you have shared. And no worries about puttering around in the archives. I love to hear readers exploring. 🙂 I do hope you continue to find posts that speak to you. 🙂

      I have no doubt the innate interest to be active in politics to advocate for the causes held dear might just need to be refueled/reenergized because the world needs people like you and I appreciate your engagement. It is an emotional investment as well as time, and honoring what you need is not only indicative of a clear self-awareness but a healthy modeling for others as well. Thank you for sharing.

      Reading your feedback about the blog is incredibly helpful, and I am grateful for your readership and delighted to know you find the blog a restful place for the mind and being.

      Wishing you a week of contentment. xo

  4. Shannon,
    I am returning home to Washington state tomorrow, after 10 months with family in The Netherlands and so to be in my own home with my personal comforts will be so satisfying! I have loved being with family for so long, and your blog posts have been so wonderful to give me ideas for when I am home…in the garden, my home, walks with my dog on island…etc…

    So it’s a BIG DEAL to be going into my next chapter, and I just want to thank you for all your blog’s content and style! I know I am not alone to have been opening my spirit and eyes to what will come next! Who knows? Blessings…

    1. Joan,

      Wishing you safe and deeply contented travels as you close the temporary chapter you shared with your daughter and her family in the Netherlands. What an amazing experience. I have appreciated your engagement and comments immensely over the past year, and am excited for you to step back into your home. I have no doubt, transformation and subtle changes will be made or added. Enjoy!

  5. The Archives are SUCH a treasure trove, and, oh my goodness, what a wonderful wealth of information and fun and all sorts of lovely things. And an incredible and awe-inspiring testament to your many talents, Shannon. Thank you, Margaret for the Petit Plaisir suggestion and Shannon for the doing! ?

    I too love cosying in with a good storm outside and yes, that moment of cloudbreak, when the sun peeps out and the birds start their chorus again–lovely. And absolutely a well-made umbrella to enjoy walk in the rain!
    During this past year I became a much more avid birder and now cannot do without an afternoon cuppa.
    Everything on your list prompted a nod and smile. And Leonardo looks so intriguing, can’t wait til we can view in the US!

  6. What a lovely list and it makes me long for rain..a rare occurence in my area. The Leonardo looks like it will be great. I LOVE the Vicar of Dibly, just so funny! She is also in The Trouble with Maggie Cole (PBS), I loved that one as well. I had Brit box for the last month and am switching to Acorn for a month to see what is new (or new to me) on there. I saw a preview for Whitstable Pearl that I am highly interested in watching. Due to Covid, there is a bit of a pause on new shows and figure I will subscribe to both when we catch up. I tend to keep my viewing to those 2 streaming channels and PBS, with amazon prime for movies.

  7. Thank you, thank you for the special category for the Petit Plaisirs! ! I’ve spent a fair amount of time myself there, looking for books or movies you recommended, especially during this last year!

    As to rituals I’ve adopted, I’ve had an afternoon cup of tea for as long as I can remember. And I do Elevenses quite often too!

    I would love to adopt that daily walk but I am a weather wimp! Living in New England, it is often cold, windy, and rainy, (never mind snow!), and I will always choose staying inside on those days. Now that the weather is finally warmer and sunnier, I hope to take that walk more often. You get to see so many new flowers and wildlife and have so many great conversations if you are walking with a loved one. ❤️?

  8. You should try to find the letters that Winston Churchill wrote to his wife and the letters she wrote to her husband…my anniversary gift one year…I still go back for a re read…inspiration for a bye gone era…of everything including love and admiration of one another…Suzie

  9. I listened to the podcast while walking my dog this morning. My dog was happy as his morning walk became nice and long. I loved it. I have perused the new section and I love it. Easy to find the books you’ve talked about and the recipes. Thanks.

  10. Really enjoyed reading through the list:) I would have to add hot water bottles! Being a Brit myself I was brought up with them & don’t think could live without one now.. Also kettles. I do love an umbrella but am finding hoods easier these days..

  11. Shannon! I love love love this podcast episode. It makes me feel proud to be a Brit and also reminds me of all the *small pleasures* I take for granted!
    My personal favourites – sitting in enjoying a cuppa and a good book when the rain is bashing the windows, sitting in our favourite local pub with our fur friend Waffle and enjoying a beer, Gardeners World (of course!) and Nigel Slater – well he just has the most wonderful way with words, his books are pure joy.
    I also love the new idea to have each Petite plaisir available in their own archive – thank you Margaret! I love to revisit them all and try to enjoy as many as I can.

    Loving British week, the extra posts are a petit plaisir each day.
    Thank you, Sarah x

  12. British week is a delight .Thank you Shannon. Great idea of Margaret’s. Although I live in France I have a deep affinity with Britain having lived there for 47 years. So I am going to enjoy a bit of British nostalgia this week .My number one ‘petit plaisir’ is to have my tea ritual at around 4pm everyday .I fell in love with it when I first arrived in England an it sustains me to this day. Love all the magazines and Nigel Slater is a ‘Treasure’. I could listen to him all day without doing any cooking .If I were lucky enough I would choose English Home. Kameela xx

  13. Shannon, as usual, your posts are spot on. I have now been inspired to try a tea ritual at 4 pm! Every day at that time I have to eat something to keep the “hangries” away until dinner, so why not turn my quick, frenzied, snack into a lovely bridge? Taking me over the last part of my work day, and into the start of a calm, peaceful evening. I’m looking forward to perusing the petit plasirs section, (thank you Margaret for the suggestion), as this has been one of my favorite “petit plasirs” from your blog?. Thank you for all the time spent to bring us all things British this week!

  14. We share so many of those British delights! It took me some time to soak in the British culture having moved here when I was 18 but reading this lovely list makes me feel like I am now well and truly British and proud to be.

    Couple of things which I enjoy to add:
    – I also love a good bath especially on a cold day or after pottering around the garden. I left the window opened the last few times I had a bath. The fresh cold air and the birdsongs whilst soaking away were most welcomed.
    – A good roast! Whether that’s at a cosy country pub after a walk or at home. Good gravy is a must…bonus is I get two meals out of it and sometimes even a sandwich for lunch.

  15. Shannon, I love this list and I love your tea cosy! My mother is English and knitted me both a large and a small tea cosy. They are literally two of my most prized possessions. I am also a huge fan of hot water bottles, I remember the sense of security created when I was sent to bed with one when visiting my grandparents in England. I continued the tradition with my three boys (they make the most adorable ones for children now) and they still ask for them!

    1. Haha, good that I’m not the only one still using hot water bottles! They are a bit old fashioned but they are quite addictive and so cosy through the night 🙂 Yes great for children also, very comforting.

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