Editor’s letter: My cheesy happiness secret

I’ve never met our cover star Kate Humble, but since reading her interview with Francesca Babb, I’ve been wondering how I can engineer a series of events in which she becomes my best friend. Any woman who says ‘Me? A sex symbol? I smell of pig s***’ is clearly a spiritual sister. I adore strong, confident, funny women, especially the ones who are also clearly fond of dogs and profanity (studies show that people who swear are highly intelligent, which is mine and Kate’s story and we’re sticking to it, OK?). I think her only flaw may be that she mistakenly thinks Marmite should be slathered on to toast with the consistency of an oil slick, when everyone knows the correct way is the tiniest hint of it streaked through a lorry-load of butter. But given time, I could learn to overlook her lunacy on this one.

What I particularly love is her philosophy for happiness, which is the subject of her new book, A Year of Living Simply. The clue is in the title. Remember the basics. Instead of barging through the day on autopilot, really stop to think about the tiniest little things that added a moment of joy. No, of course stopping and smelling the flowers won’t cure all our ills and woes. But taking the time to savour the things that bring pleasure, really being in that moment and appreciating it, can remind you that most days have moments that buoy your mood. With Kate Humble as my inspiration, here are the little things that I must stop and remember really do bring me comfort and joy.

1 Clean sheets night. My husband thinks it’s incredibly weird how much I love that moment every Sunday evening (and it is every Sunday, without fail), that I slide into clean sheets. Duvet cover and all. The newly laundered smell, the crisp cotton that is cool to the touch (especially great during that August heatwave). Honestly, how can he not appreciate that? It’s my weekly reward for fighting with the duvet cover.

2 That very first sip of wine on a Friday evening. Especially if I can have it in my garden. And I mean the very first sip. Something about that first, chilled hit of tart grape hitting your throat always says to me, ‘You made it to another weekend. Well done.’

3 Watching an open fire. If I’m in a house that has one, I find it far more enthralling than anything on Netflix.

4 Hearing a song on the radio that hurls you back to your teenage years. Added bonus: the horrified look from my daughter when I crank up ‘Hotel California’ and scream along to every note.

5 Smelling my dog’s paws. Ever since I read that all dogs’ paws always smell of popcorn. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. I’m obsessed.

6 Cheese. Obviously.

Try making your own list, because even thinking about mine filled me with the kind of endorphin rush you normally only get from exercise. I think Kate may well have hit on a genius and free sort of meditation. Next to flicking through this very magazine, I can’t think of a better way to spend time on a Sunday! Enjoy the issue.

Editor’s picks

A few things I’m coveting this week

temperley London cushionDesigner dressing for the sofa. Cushion, £145, temperleylondon.com

the weekend bookRecommended by a wise friend. I’m gripped. Book, £14.99, waterstones.com

pink m&S trousersCome for the pink glamour. Stay for the elasticated comfort. Trousers, £29.50, marksandspencer.com