I love a museum shop, and in the case of Manchester Museum, I loved a specific museum shop table. It was just one of those displays that hit me; the right thing at the right time. I guess I just needed a little reminding that life doesn’t have to be all stress and strife, and this table just stopped my wandering eye in its tracks with a message I needed to hear: take a little time to enjoy the good stuff, lady!
 So simple, so unnecessary to pay £15 for, but it makes a lovely present for the stresshead in your life! This is what stopped me as I meandered through the shop. It’s just a bright yellow egg timer. That’s all. The thing is, that I use timers to make sure I’ve got things done in time to move on to the next thing. Eurgh! This one is to remind you to take 15 minutes for yourself. So flippin’ obvious, but it was good to have it pointed out to me that I SHOULD have 15 minutes for me every day. And maybe I’ll buy myself an egg timer as a reminder of that fact (you can’t ignore it if it’s sitting on your desk…), but to save financial stress, I’ll get a cheap one from Amazon.
 School of Life books can tend a little too far into the self-help category for me, and as an ex-Waterstones employee, I’m cautious of heading into the Mind, Body and Spirit section. But this book is lovely. And like the egg timer, it’s a reminder rather than a guide. Small pleasures are all around us, but we’re so busy looking for the big delights that we trample the little ones into the mud. There are obvious small pleasures in here, like stars and hot baths, but I loved “a friend who listens”. It’s so true that we don’t really know how to listen to each other, because we’re either so busy waiting for our moment to interject, or we’re distracted and only giving half an ear. But someone who really seems to hear you is a rare and special thing. “Old stone walls” are another lovely small pleasure in here, as are “figs”. I would add, beautifully bound books like this one.
 It’s a Memory Game, but the pictures are of cultural iconography, from architecture to painting and design. A kids game all growed up. I love it!
 The Simple Things is one of those magazines that I sink into and will my life to become. Its a riot of gorgeous pictures of cool people camping and cooking and kayaking and other wildernessy things that begin with a hard C that I somehow don’t ever manage to find the time to do. And don’t throw “baby” at me: these people have babies and look at them! Look at them! Meanwhile, I’ll settle for a cuppa, a dunkable chocolate digestive and 15 minutes to read a magazine. Now where’s my egg timer…?