Book fairies · challenge · Childhood · family time · February · feeling proud · Friendship · Kindness · Lent · making memories · mood · Parenting · positive thinking · Random Acts of Kindness · Uncategorized

7 things week 4

This week started really well but with a little dip in my mood smack bang in the middle I’ve had to work hard to pull myself around, although it might not look like I’m working hard on the outside I promise you I am trying Mr M.

So here are my 7 things that have made me happy this week, it’s weeks like this I need to focus on this list even more!

1. Pancake day! As is tradition in our house we had nothing but pancakes lemon and sugar for dinner on this day and finished up with tummy aches vowing to not eat another pancake for 12 months! I was super proud of the pancakes I managed to flip and only a small amount escaped the pan and was eaten by Poppy!

2. New water bottles! So I am really awful at keeping hydrated, some days I can go all day and only drink about an inch of my water bottle! Recently my work colleagues have been reminding me to drink and I’ve been doing much better but still no where near as good as them. Tuesday Scott came home with a new water bottle and travel mug for us both! There is no way of escaping how much I’ve drank with this bottle and even though it is a lot bigger than my old one I love the design and vow to one day finish the whole thing!

3. Valentines Day– so we did cards Tuesday evening as T isn’t here on a Wednesday and I was so lucky to have not just a handmade card from T and a card from Scott but also a cute little woollen heart she had made for me at holiday club! I got them both a little chocolate cake and decorated the plates with hearts left over from our wedding day. It was a lovely evening.

4. I got 1000 likes on my blog! When I started this blog in Oct 2016 I wondered if anyone would even read it so to think people have pressed that like button 1000 times is really quite something and made me really happy šŸ˜Š

5. I became a book fairy! So while searching online for a book club or something similar I came across The Book Fairies. They are a worldwide group that spreads the love of reading by leaving free books for people to read and pass on! You simply sign up on their website and order some stickers for your books then share your book drops on social media. My stickers came on Thursday and it made me really excited to start!

6. We started on our 40 Random Acts of Kindness! So far we have donated 2 games to holiday club, left a love rock in the swimming pool changing rooms, left a note on a random car and today I set up the shed library for my street! It’s really felt great to do and T has enjoyed it too, I’m looking forward to seeing how it works with us being back at school and work next week.

7. Flowers from my best friend. Friday night she came to watch T ride then we had a night in and I cooked us chili while we sat and caught up on each other’s lives. She brought me and T flowers to cheer me up after reading my previous post which really made me smile. The card is one T made at a little club we went to with our friends this week, I thought it went well on the window.

8. I know it says 7 but this week there are 8 and hey it’s my blog so I make no apologies šŸ˜‹ Date day– Scott and I went to the cinema to watch the Greatest Showman! Wow what an amazing film! We both loved it from start to finish, the soundtrack is amazing, the storyline, even though at times you can tell what is going to happen it doesn’t matter because it’s a story of how love and friendship is all you need and in the end how everything you need is usually right in front of you. If you haven’t seen it I completely recommend you do because you cannot leave that theatre in a bad mood, it’s just impossible!

I hope you are all having a lovely weekend, thanks for reading,

Lou x

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Fears · February · Friendship · lonely · mood · philosophy · reflection · thoughtful · Uncategorized

How would they feel

How would people feel if they knew how I felt inside?

Would they jump right on that phone, get in their car and drive?

If they knew my mind was whirling and at times I just felt lost, would they be the one to help me, no matter what the cost.

If they knew how being lonely had just become the norm, Maybe they would try to get me back on form.

There are people you are close to,people you hardly see, people who make effort with you and people you wish you could see.

But my brain stops me from texting, my fingers they just won’t move, just hoping and waiting maybe they will text me soon.

Then time creeps in and it becomes harder, wondering why no one calls, weekends and days off are spent lonely in these four walls.

And this is how I carry on until some days I break, and send that text I’ve been waiting to send no matter what the fate.

Some days I just wish I was higher, further up the list, then maybe they would call me, before it got to this.

Depression · February · fun activities · goals · happy · Hygge · Lykke · making memories · Mental Health · mood · philosophy · positive thinking · thoughtful · Uncategorized

The Little Book of Lykke

I got this book and the first book of Meik Wiking’s “The Little book of Hygge” for Christmas and this week have finished the second book. This really is such a lovely little book which reminds us what is important to be happy and gives us an insight into how happiness is shown all around the world.

During the book he takes us on a treasure hunt to unlock the doors to the good life. From how we spend our precious time, to how we relate to our neighbours and cook dinner, he gathers evidence, stories and tips from the very happiest corners of the planet”

I’m going to share with you some of favourite parts of the book and what I’ve learnt from it.20180126_145933978707812.jpg

This is one of my favourite pages, I am a lover of social media to connect with family, with a sister in New York and a brother in Hong Kong not to mention family in 3 different counties in the UK it is simply the easiest way to share with them what we have been doing. Where my love ends is the endless stream of time wasting videos, the nonsense posts that friends of friends like that somehow end up clogging up your time line. Everyone has an opinion on social media, for some its about the amount of likes, shares, comments, others think its better not to post pictures of your children. Then there is the matter of how much we post, is twice a week too often? Which platform do we use? Is Instagram safer than Facebook because its private unless you accept the followers? Do people care how many years it was ago since they went for that picnic in the park? The amount of time spent on digital devices scrolling mindlessly through unimportant information really has risen to a crazy amount. But as you can see about its proven that people are happier when they don’t use Facebook!

I have now set myself a mental limit when on social media, if I don’t see something I want to connect with within about 10 seconds I close the app. I know scrolling mindlessly for half an hour won’t make me happy, it usually just makes me frustrated that I’ve just wasted all that time doing nothing when I could have been doing something.

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Another way to prevent yourself from being sucked in to the “time stealers” are to use apps like the “Freedom” app which prevent you from using the internet for a period of time. Next time you find yourself well and truly stuck to that screen just think what else you could be doing, do you have long enough to read a chapter of that book you have been meaning to read? Or even just a few pages? Could you fit in a few burpees, for those fitness lovers out there! Write a meal plan for the week? Or if you must scroll, let it be through something productive. Can you say after 2 hours of looking at your phone you have planned Valentines day or researched cheap home make over ideas rather than simply gone up 52 levels on your latest game.

In this book Meik Wiking goes on to say that the richest countries are not necessarily the happiest and that we often look for happiness in all the wrong places. He says “I have yet to discover a more powerful force to explain human happiness than the fulfilment of our longing for love, friendship and community. So, people want to belong but they are not exactly sure how to make it happen.”

Five ways to plant a community Meik gives are;

1. Create a directory for your street or stairway.Ā Knock on your neighbours doors or post a sign up sheet in their letter box saying you are creating a directory for those little emergencies. Do people know a good plumber, electrician, handyman? Add some questions like would they like their dog walking once in a while or are you prepared to look after their garden while they are away for two weeks in the summer. Who knows how to change a tyre or who owns a sewing machine?

2. Establish a book lending cupboard. A simple way to start conversation in your community is to create a mini library built on the take one leave one book principle. The library doesn’t have to be anything fancy just a few shelves with a few different books available for those who fancy trying them. I have a shed next to my house which isn’t locked so this could be somewhere I could leave books for my street, I just need to clear it of all the junk first! This is definitely on my list of things to try though.

3. Use the soft edges. Front gardens and porches are called the soft edges. Few people would dare come into your kitchen but if you are in your front garden you are more likely to start a conversation with your neighbours. The more your get to know your neighbours names and their stories the more noise from them ceases to be annoying.

4.Ā Build a community garden. Your home may not offer any soft edges but there may be a strip of land in your neighbourhood that could be used to create a small community garden, a time tested way for you to not only grow a bunch of veggies but also for you to bring a sense of community.

5. Start a tool sharing programme.Ā The average power drill is used for only a few minutes per year so there is no need for us all to have one, the same with hammers, screwdrivers not to mention leaf blowers and ladders. This is another good excuse to get to know your neighbours.

Another great idea is volunteering, you may be passionate about politics or love the outdoors in the UK the website do-it.org lists more than a million options and enables more than 200,000 people to donate their time every month.

If that isn’t your thing what about random acts of kindness? Here are 5 ideas of things you could do that are guaranteed to lift your mood and that of the person on the receiving end;

1. Leave a gift on someones doorstep.

2. Learn the name of the person on the front desk or someone else you see every day and greet them by name.

3. Make two lunches and give one away.

4. Talk to the shy person who is by themselves at a party or at the office.

5. Give someone a genuine compliment. Right now.

These are all so easy to implement and i’m planning on trying as many as I can in the next week, I will let you know how they go.

Now for something that has been brought to our attention by the media throughout the last year and continues to be a much talked about subject as it should be. When is the last time you asked someone how they were and actually listened and cared about the answer? I’m not just talking aboutĀ 20180126_2143122142971200.jpg

family but friends, colleagues, parents at the school gates. We are all in so much of a rush all of the time do we really even listen to each other much anymore? How many people do you know that you see on a daily basis and can say you know if they are ok or not? Mental health is still so often overlooked as a taboo subject and having worked with young people that had been through some extremely traumatic times I know that these experiences leave their mark and sometimes rear their head again later in life. The next time you hear someone is off work with depression instead of judging them think what circumstances could have brought this about. Is there anything you could do to help the next time you see them? Not everyone will want to talk about their problems openly but there is nothing wrong with them knowing that someone is there should they need it.

This book has really opened my eyes as to what can make you truly happy and how happiness can be found with what is around us and without many of the things people often associate with happiness in this modern world. Its a great read and has its place in my reading nook where my husband has actually started reading it and he is not a reader!

I’d love to hear what you think of it if you do decide to read it.Ā 

Thanks for reading

Lou x

 

 

Changes · happy · home · homemade · Hygge · January · mindfulness · mood · Open fires · positive thinking · Uncategorized

Getting a little Hygge in my life

For Christmas I got “The Little Book of Hygge”, it was something I had seen a while back and just really liked the look of reading and it has not disappointed! It written by Meik Wiking who is from The Happiness Institute in Copenhagen, that itself sounds interesting to me!

Hygge is a Danish concept which believe it or not they take the whole book to fully explain but could be anything from sipping hot chocolate with a warm jumper on in front of a fire to having a picnic at the beach with your family on a summers day. With the Danes regularly coming out top in the poll of the happiest countries in the world I was interested to see what they do differently and it turns out this concept is something I really want to try!

This is the Hygge manifesto to give you an idea:

  • Atmosphere – Turn down the lights, light candles and have low lighting.
  • Presence – Be here now. Turn off the phones.
  • Pleasure – Coffee, chocolate, cookies, cakes, candy!
  • Equality- “We” over “me, share the tasks and the air time.
  • Gratitude – Take it in, this might be as good as it gets.
  • Harmony – Its not a competition, we already like you, there is no need to brag about your achievements.
  • Comfort – Get comfy, take a break, its all about relaxation.
  • Truce – No drama, lets discuss politics another day.
  • Togetherness – build relationships and narratives.
  • Shelter – This is your tribe, this is a place of peace and security.

The book not only gives you examples of Hygge activities throughout the seasons but also recipes to try along with how you can make your home more Hygge and even what you need to make a Hygge emergency kit which is one of my favourite ideas so I thought I would share with you:

Hygge Emergency Kit – this is to be stored up for those evenings when you are low on energy, have no plans, don’t feel like going out and are in the mood for some quality time alone.

  • Candles
  • Some good quality chocolate
  • Your favourite tea
  • Your favourite book
  • Your favourite film
  • Jam
  • A good pair of woollen socks
  • A selection of your favourite letters
  • A warm jumper
  • A notebook- to write in all the Hyggelige moments you have experienced in the last year, this will help you remember them and create more.
  • A nice blanket
  • Paper and a pen
  • Music
  • A photo album

I’m also looking forward to creating a little space to call my Hyggekrog- this is a nook in a kitchen or living room where you can snuggle under a blanket with a book and a cup of tea. As long as there are cushions and you can watch the world go by from there it can be your go to place when you want to be snug and cosy for a short time. I don’t have a bay window to make it in as many Danes do but I have a few corners of rooms that are currently empty and could do with a cosy seat and some low lighting and who doesn’t like buying a new blanket and cushions! For furniture to be considered Hygge it has to be rustic, and have charm, glass, plastic and metal are not considered Hygge. If the piece of furniture has some memories attached that is even better and it does not need to cost a lot, any element of nature or something that is slightly vintage is great for Hygge, it’s all about how things feel, a bookcase filled with books or a nice teapot or vase on the table along with candles and anything made out of wood are all perfect for your Hygge home.

So I started off today with a Hygge lunch, I was really cold after coming back from meeting a friend for coffee so decided on soup but I thought why not light candles even though it is only me at home. Not only did they make me feel warmer while I waited for the house to heat but it gave my lunch table a much cosier feel, that along with listening to a CD I got for Christmas I ended up not feeling like I was alone at all.

Now I’ve finished the first book I’m moving on to his second book which I also got for Christmas “The Little Book of Lykke” which explores happiness around the world.

Overall I feel I’ve got some really great ideas from this first one about what is important and what it actually takes to make you feel happy, believe it or not when asked what makes them the happiest the Danes placed Facebook at the bottom of a list of 15 items with the top three coming out as;

  1. Hot drinks
  2. Candles
  3. Fireplaces

Life is so much about our phones, social media, and TV, not to mention money playing a huge part in how happy people think they are. This book just explains how a whole country of people are living life feeling really satisfied with their lives by prioritising the right things and I like that.
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Blogger · feeling proud · fun activities · lonely · lucky · making memories · mood · motherhood · November · Parenting · Uncategorized

Saturday sleepoverĀ 

Today has been a mini rollercoaster of emotions. It started off with breakfast for one in bed with Poppy resting on my feet. We watched a bit of tv in bed and scrolled my phone for a while before it kicked in, I was on my own for the day with not a single plan to my name. It was a really sunny morning, cold and icy but a lovely day, great dog walking weather. All this said I couldn’t bring myself to get out of bed. What was the point? No one would know if I stayed there all day, No one would care. With only a few minor errands to do I could get all that done in the half an hour before T came back, why bother getting ready and making the most of the day when I wasn’t going to speak to another person until 4pm? I sank further and further into this hole for another hour until I finally forced myself out of bed.

I forced myself to walk Poppy round the lake which I knew would take nearly an hour. It was windy and cold but it was what I needed. The sun was shining and it felt good to have made an effort although I did keep thinking how easy it would be to have stayed where I was becoming more and more miserable at being alone. I was so thankful I had Poppy this morning.

After lunch I did some more prep for T’s party at the end of December. The pile of homemade Willy Wonka signs, photo booth props and games is growing bigger by the week and I’m feeling more and more prepared which I like.

After lunch and a few chores I had time for some of a Christmas film before T and her friend arrived ready to start their sleepover šŸ˜ This was what I had been waiting for all day, yes I had kept myself busy on my own, I’d managed to motivate myself to pass the hours but this evening I felt like I’ve had a purpose again. 

We started with loom bands then after dinner I surprised the girls by taking them out for Mcflurrys because they had both tried so hard in their riding lessons this week, they were so excited! 

When we got back we played beauty schools, hair,makeup, nails all done on each other it was like a glimpse into the future! In 10 years time these girls will be 17 going on 18, will they be doing the same thing on a Saturday night, I’m pretty sure they will!! It made me smile to watch them and think about their adorable little friendship growing over the years.

After this we made candy canes from pipe cleaners and beads which the girls will use to decorate their Christmas trees once they go up. 

Now they are playing upstairs before bed and I feel lucky. Lucky that I have my beautiful little girl even if I do have to share her and even if those times aren’t always easy. Today I was lucky I had Poppy as my reason to get up. She didn’t know I was lonely and getting more miserable by the second and she only got happier the happier I got. I’m lucky my girl has such lovely friends and is happy and I’m lucky I will get to spend some time with my husband tomorrow afternoon after a whole weekend apart.

mood · Uncategorized

Monday mood

These days there is such a pressure to be happy all the time. As a mother, wife, friend, co-worker, neighbour people have come to expect a smiling face and willing conversation. Everyday we are interacting with people for hours of our day, even if it’s a quick hello at the school gates, stopping to talk to your neighbour or laughing along with your co-workers jokes. Communication is vital in my job role, I have to be able to smile and give feedback positively, I welcome new staff to the company and am a long serving member of staff with whom people have become accustomed with being happy and bubbly. Daily I’m interested in people, I make conversation, say hello to everyone, ask about their lives and listen to the answers. 

I’m a happy, proactive Mum and wife who loves organising my family time with activities to make the most of our days off.
Today I don’t feel like doing any of those things. Today for whatever reason I just feel subdued. I’m not up for conversation, I’m not smiley and interested in people, I just want to get on with my day and go home. Today I’m hiding behind my hair, wrapped in my jumper with my scarf round my neck because I feel like I just want to have my resting face on and not interact. I don’t know if there is anything particularly wrong, maybe I just need a cuddle but today I just feel different and I’m not going to apologise for it.