Friday 17 April 2015

50 Things That Make Me Happy

After yesterdays post, I decided I needed to bring a much happier and more positive post your way. I am, on the whole, a really positive person. I have worked hard over the years to try to be the sort of person I'd want to be friends with - to see the good in life, and be a source of support, kindness and happy vibes to my friends and family. 

Sometimes, life catches up with me and I have a wobble (this week!) but on the whole I keep it together, and feel truly very lucky to be me. 

I saw this post on lovely Sarah's blog (The Knott Bump & Us) yesterday: which provided me a much needed reminder that I should count my chickens, and appreciate all of the wonderful things in my life that make me happy! 

So, here goes....

50 Things That Make Me Happy...

1. Bert. Of course he's at number one! Who wouldn't be infinitely happy waking up to this gorgeous boy's company each and every day? 

2. My husband - Liam. He makes me laugh every day, and is my favourite grown up person.

Liam and I, Christmas Day 2014

Liam and I 

My husband: the silliest man I know! 

3. My family. I am truly blessed to have a very large and very supportive family - from my blood relatives, to my 'new' married family - I love spending time with them all, and feel very lucky to be surrounded by so many amazing people.

My mum and The Bertster at Easter this year! 

Me and my baby brother, Reg! 

My brother in law, mother in law, husband and son! 

Me, my twin sister & Bert at Christmas 2014. 

4. My friends. What would I do without my friends? They are my rocks. My islands of sanity. I am so thankful for each and every one of them. 

5. Being in control of my weight. This is a new but very big source of my happiness. For years I was hugely over weight and very unhappy about it. Losing over 6.5 stone has been an incredible journey which has led to my being a much more contented and confident woman. I feel in control of my body, and therefore more in control of my mind too. It has been a huge help to my mental health to improve my physical health. 

Before/After my 6 stone 9 lb weight loss. 

6. My blog. Writing this blog has not only led to many happiness-inducing experiences, but has created brilliant friendships, allowed us as a family many little luxuries we'd ordinarily never be able to afford, and most importantly has become my refuge at times when I need support. This blog keeps me sane, helps me to stay focussed and reflective, and brings me much joy. 

7. Crafting. From crochet to sewing, knitting to paper cutting, I love all things crafty and get so much pleasure from hand making things, especially gifts. I am currently working on my yellow/grey/cream crochet blanket, and am loving it! 

Working on my crochet blanket! 

8. Tea. Drinking tea = happiness in a mug. 

Image from Pinterest

9. Cake & Biscuits. Cake & biscuits = happiness in food form. 

Image from Pinterest

Bread and butter pudding with custard for lunch, with a big vat of tea at my favourite pudding-spot in Bedford, The Puddin' Club! Yes! 

10. Shopping. Whether it's window shopping or a full on spending spree - I love mooching around the shops (either literally or online), being in a shop genuinely induces a warm, fuzzy, happy, 'at home', feeling in me. 

11. Cooking/Baking. The kitchen really is my happy place. I get so much pleasure from cooking and baking: from preparing the evening meal, to baking a cake and everything in between. I'd be lost without my kitchen, and people to eat my food. 

My signature bake - Viennese Whirls! 

One of my cake creations! 

12. Social Media. Another mild obsession of mine, from Instagram to Pinterest, Facebook to Twitter, I love social media and it brings me so much happiness on a day to day basis. From being able to share my own and look at others' lovely photos, to chatting with friends, entering competitions, browsing shops and watching silly videos, I love how connected social media makes me feel to the rest of the world. At a time where I could potentially feel quite isolated (stay at home mum, not working full time, short of money) I rarely do, because of the daily connections I make through my social media platforms. 

13. Walking. Not only because of how good it makes me feel when I'm doing it, but also for the effect it has had on my body in terms of my extreme weight loss. I now walk on average 26 miles per week and I cannot imagine my life without this regular exercise now. 

14. Sunny weather. Every year I forget just how much happier I feel when the sun is out. Then the sun comes out and I'm like "YAY...HAPPINESS OVERLOAD".

15. Happy post. Is there anything better than getting a lovely letter, card or parcel in the post? I don't think so. 

16. Lie ins. I love my sleep - I'm a mare when I've not slept properly and it has a huge affect on my mood day to day. Lie in's are actually one of my favourite things ever. It now feels so decadent to lie in bed any later than 7:30-8am (I'm lucky that Bert has always been a good sleeper, so I've not had many sleepless nights to contend with). But genuinely nothing beats a weekend or holiday lie-in where you're still in bed at 10am. BLISS. 

17. Reading. Books are one of my first loves, and being an English Literature graduate means I have carried this childhood passion into my adult life, and am constantly battling to try and fit reading time into my life. I care so much about reading books that I even made it one of my goals for 2015 - to read more. I've set myself the challenge of a book per month, and so far am achieving it! I'm currently re-reading my childhood favourite 'Harry Potter & The Philosopher's Stone'. 

18. Holidays. Be it in the UK or abroad, I love everything about holidays - from amazing weather, time to just chill/read/swim, lovely meals out and plenty of quality family time. Who wouldn't put holidays as a huge source of their own happiness? I have major holiday envy this year knowing that we won't be going away. 

Our holiday to Cyprus last year! 

19. Being pampered. It doesn't happen nearly as often as I would like, but I truly adore being pampered - from having my nails done, to having a massage or a facial - I always find it so relaxing, and just a few hours of pampering can have such a huge effect on my overall wellbeing. I'm afraid these days just a hair trim at the hairdressers twice a year has become my main source of pampering, but still, I enjoy it, and it makes me feel better. The rest of the time I make do with painting my own nails at home, and using my favourite apricot Clarins face mask. Lush! 

I love greys, taupes, minks and natural colours on my nails. ^^ a home manicure! 

20. Eating out. Food in general is probably one of the biggest sources of happiness in my life. I'm a major foodie, and really enjoy eating out. From Michelin starred restaurants to a humble American style diner, I like all sorts of eating out - and enjoy most cuisines. Hubby and I see restaurant visiting as something of a hobby! Ha! If only the funds would allow us to indulge a little more often hey! 

Oooh pecan pie for dessert when we ate out on Mothers Day - heaven! 

21. Date nights. Hubby and I try to pencil in semi-regular date nights where we can. It's so important to have time together where we cab be husband and wife for the evening rather than Mum and Dad. I really look forward to these date nights - we always have a great time! 

22. Nights out with my girlfriends. Again, something I try to arrange as regularly as possible. My friends and I always have such a blast when we go out - from a humble lunch date, to dinner and or dancing, fun is always to be had, and happiness pretty much always found in the bottom of an Amaretto sour cocktail! 

23. Organisation/Order. I love organisation and order, I like to know that everything has a place in my home, and enjoy nothing more than implementing a new filing system, sorting out my wardrobe or re-organising my kitchen cupboards. My mantra is "organised home- organised mind", and it seems to work for me on the whole. 

24. Going to the theatre. Theatre is one of my biggest passions - from acting myself, to attending the theatre. I don't go as regularly as I would like because of how pricey a pastime it is, but when I do go I throughly enjoy it. I love a wide range of theatre from very classical performances, to musicals, comedies and everything in between. 

25. Fresh flowers. I love having fresh flowers in my home - my favourites are peonies, sunflowers, and gerberas. I also love seeing all the spring flowers at this time of year, especially the lovely alliums, crocus, and magnolia!

Image from Pinterest

Beautiful spring alliums in Bedford Park! 

Spring magnolias! There's nothing better! 

26. Winning competitions. Over the past two years I have become an avid 'comper'. I had a very lucky run in the lead up to Christmas 2013 and it gave me the comping bug! I have since been lucky enough to win so many lovely prizes, and continue to enter as many as I have time for. It's a very fruitful hobby.

A fab competition win on pancake day! 

27. Kindness. Being kind, witnessing kindness, receiving kindness: it all gives me that warm gooey-centered feeling that I love so much. The world is a better place when kindness reigns. 

28. Listening to my favourite music. I love and appreciate all kinds of music, but the music that makes me happiest is either nostalgic (Boys II Men, Lily Allen, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder, Luther Vandross) or just makes me feel great and is something I can sing loudly along to such as Gregory Porter, Michael Buble, Nat King Cole or songs from musicals! 

Gregory Porter's music makes me sooooo happy! 

29. Singing. I love singing, and many moons ago was pretty good at it. I had professional voice training, used to sing for events and functions, and even ran a school choir for a while. Singing makes me feel so happy in the moment, and I need to try hard to bring it back into my life as I miss it a great deal. 

30. Acting/performing. The same goes for acting. I graduated university with a first class degree in Theatre, and have always, always loved performing. More a fan of straight acting, I loved nothing better than a gritty, hard hitting character to sink my teeth into. I need to find a way to make acting a part of my life once again. 

31. Taking photographs. I take many photographs every single day. Capturing memories, no matter how small, brings me deep deep happiness. 

32. Looking back at old photographs. So does looking back at old photographs, whether they be from last week or 10 years ago, I surround myself with photos, and find them a constant source of happiness. 

Hahaha my sister and I aged about 4!?

33. Family days out - just Liam, Bert and I. We've not shared too many of these yet, but the ones we have had have been just marvellous. I'm very much looking forward to long walks, family picnics, fun days out and visits to the beach together this summer. 

34. New pyjamas. I have a quite un-hinged love for pyjamas. I'd buy a new pair every week if I had the funds! I regularly clear out my pyjama drawer to make way for new pairs, and my recent weight loss has meant that I've had to purchase a fair few new night garments (shame!). 

35. New scented candles/reed diffusers. This happiness-inducing source goes back to my childhood, when I used to go and play at my friend Holly's house down the road (she lived a few doors down from me). Every time I entered her house the beautiful smell of scented candles/air fresheners/reed diffusers used to make me giddy, and I was secretly so envious of how amazing her house smelt. It helped that her family home looked like a show home or a page from the Next catalogue: it was all cream and sparkle - I so loved her Mum Lisa's style, and every time I buy a lovely new sweet-smelling fragrance for my home, I think of my 8 year old self and that heady scent!

36. Writing. The physical act of writing has always made me feel deep happiness - from writing a journal as a "woe-is-me" teenager, writing long letters to my bestest friend Susie while she travelled the world, to writing cards and notes for friends and family, daily 'to do' lists, whatever - just putting pen to paper and writing in neat, cursive, pretty handwriting makes me happy. 

37. Being brave and trying new things. I'm a pretty tough cookie, and I think that on the whole I'm a confident woman, who is mostly happy in her own skin - I like to challenge myself and be brave, as sometimes my insecurities can try to hold me back, and prevent me from immersing myself in new experiences. I try hard to be a 'yes person' to open myself up to new things, jump feet first into new opportunities and grab the proverbial bull by its horns. Whether it be rocking up to my local young women's WI group alone and knowing nobody in 2012, to embarking on a 4 night dress-making sewing course this month - I try to be brave and bold, step outside my comfort zone and enjoy what life throws at me. 

38. Being near water. Being around big bodies of water makes me feel so happy. Again, I'm pretty sure this stems from the excitement of visiting the seaside, or going swimming as a child. It's not just the beach or swimming pools that does it for me though - rivers, lakes, streams - they all make me feel peaceful and content. 

Crossing the river in Bromham, Bedford. 

Priory Lake in Bedford, my favourite peaceful place to walk. 

39. Browsing through catalogues of my favourite shops. Mainly Boden, Joules, Cath Kinston, The White Company, Next, The White Stuff, and La Redoute, usually with a cup of tea in hand, and hopefully among peace & quiet!

40. Updating/redecorating/renovating my home. Whether it's buying a new lamp, adding some art work to the walls, or completely re-doing a room, I just love working on my home to make it a space I'm proud of, a place I love to spend time in, and somewhere that is full of mine, and my family's personality. 

I love to fill my home with quirky, happy things! 

I love, love, love my biscuit bunting from Nikki McWilliams! 

41. BBQ's in the garden. Whether it be in my own garden, at friends houses, or in my Mum's garden back home in Surrey, I love a good BBQ and all that it brings. Lazy summer evenings with a glass of something cold and lots of chatter and laughter - perfect! 

42. Picnics. As above - there really is nothing better than al fresco eating in the sunshine! 

43. A bargain. I love spotting a really good bargain, and knowing I've saved money while getting something I really want/need. 

44. Being hostess. I love to channel my inner-Monica (from Friends) and play the hostess. From dinner parties with friends, to family/friends coming to stay for the weekend (or longer). I love cooking for guests, spoiling them and making them feel at home in my home. It brings me a great deal of happiness. 

45.Watching cookery shows! I am actually mildly obsessed - Food Network is the most watched channel in my house I'm sure and I love everything from re-runs of Nigella and Jamie, the wonderful Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa), to trashy foodie TV such as Man vs. Food and Diners, Drive-ins & Dives. 

Nigella, my queen! 

46. Breton Stripes. This is a funny one - but it is true. I completely and utterly love Breton stripes (especially navy and white) it pretty much makes up 80% of my wardrobe, and I feel genuinely happy when I see something beautiful in this pattern and colour-way. I feel almost the same about chevron patterns and anything rose gold! HA! 

47. The smell of coconut. Anything that smells even mildly of coconut makes me happy. This goes back to my obsession with The Body Shop's Coconut Body Butter as a teenager, and many lovely holidays in the sun where I sprayed coconut scented sun cream and sipped Pina Coladas! 

48. Talking. I am an absolute chatter box. I like nothing more than a long natter with anyone who will listen! :-)

49. Regular 'days off' from being Mum. As much as I treasure my time at home with Bert, and truly love being his Mummy, sometimes I just need a few hours away, to be 'just Lucy' again for a while. It does wonders for my happiness, and my sanity!

50. Constantly striving to be a better me. This is a weird one, but I'm sure it plays a huge part in my overall happiness and contentment. I constantly work on, and strive to be a better version of myself - I see myself as a work in progress, and am always re-evaluating my behaviour, choices (however big or small), and actions. I read a lot about self-improvement, mindfulness, and try hard to be the sort of person I'd want to be friends with. 

I have so much to be thankful of. I could have written another 50 things! 

Why not have a go yourself - it's very good for the soul! 

I challenge all of my lovely blogging friends to have a go themselves...

Bye for now

Mrs B