30 for 30

Waaaaaay back in October, I turned 30 and two of my best friends organised the MOST AMAZING birthday surprise – 30 gifts for my 30th birthday. Every single gift was utterly gorgeous and so completely perfect for me. Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of them all together because I put them all to use so quickly, but I have photographed a few highlights:

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The Spice Girls Greatest Hits CD – ahhhhh they are literally the soundtrack to my childhood. I remember being at a disco when I was 10 and hearing ‘Wannabe’ for the first time – I LOVED IT and so began my relentless collecting of anything Spice Girls related (I’m talking right down to sweet wrappers, crisp packets and drinks cans….).

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New stationery makes me so happy – even more so when it’s a bit wacky. The cork notebook is so squishy – we all had to give it a good squish when it came out of the bag!!

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This is a little book full of memories the three of us have shared – it reminded me of all the fun adventures we’ve had together and I will absolutely treasure it.

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Everyone already knows how much I love a good mug – and this one really tops the list! This is my new favourite because 1) it’s happy, bright and cheerful and 2) It doesn’t feel weird to drink either tea or coffee out of it – it is the perfect hybrid! This herbal tea is absolutely delicious and obviously the posh Waitrose bags make me feel very executive.

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A vanilla candle with the first letter of my name on – what could be more perfect??!! and so my love of candles continues…

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This wall hanging is so true – and boy do we have a lot of stories!!

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This copy of ‘Crochet’ magazine has A LOT to answer for…more on that later. Sufficed to say this has started a whole new hobby.

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This is my very first piece of artwork made by Rosie herself – I absolutely adore it and it is currently hanging in my kitchen right where I make my coffee every morning.

It warmed my heart to feel so loved and to realise how well my friends know me, I feel so lucky and so grateful to have both of them!

 

I just called to say I love you…

Happy Humpday! Yesterday morning, as I was bleary eyed and bedraggled and trying to get dressed in the dark, my husband phoned from work just to tell me he loves me. Simple, but effective, it not only earned him major husband points, it also put a big smile on my face and set me up for a super happy day 🙂

Being organised

The more posts I write for this blog, the more aware I am becoming of how happy I feel when I am organised. All aspects of organisation make me feel better, whether I have cleaned and tidied the flat, made a list, sorted through the post or made a phone-call, it all brings me a feeling of happiness. Thinking about it more carefully, I think the happiness comes from a sense of pride, a sense of accomplishment that I have achieved something positive and a sense of relief that I don’t need to worry about it anymore. I also get to enjoy the results of being organised, whether that’s living in a tidy space or knowing that I have made the necessary arrangements for something good to happen.

The reduction in mental stress is huge – I think everyone knows the feeling of brain-ache, when you are using so much energy to simultaneously remember, organise and arrange 101 things and you are worried that you might forget something. I often describe this as having 72 tabs open on Google and trying to work on them all at the same time. I’m sure you can relate to that!

To help me be more organised I have many resources and routines in place:

  • Every morning I check all of the places that I receive messages – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, email, texts and WhatsApp and make sure that I have replied to anything I have received (and even then I miss some – as Karen will be able to tell you!).
  • I have a calendar on my phone that is automatically set to give me reminders of events. I am also able to use it to set myself reminders for jobs that need doing on specific days.
  • I have a magnetic whiteboard on the fridge to write down my shopping list – I can add items as I go so that I don’t have to remember them and I can wipe items off as I buy them.
  • I have a calendar on the wall so that my husband and I can write down any major events we’re attending so that we don’t double book ourselves (it has happened many, many times in the past…).
  • I keep pens and post-its near the calendar so that I can write myself any reminders and stick them in an appropriate place.
  • I keep a toast rack in the kitchen to store any unopened post from the letter box – this stops any post being missed and reminds me to open it!
  • I have pretty bulldog clips hanging on the wall in my office to hold any paperwork I am currently using – this stops it getting lost and stops my desk getting cluttered (they also look very cute!).
  • I have a book (yes, a book) of to-do lists. I have different lists for different areas of my life (such as home, work, Guides, Zumba) and when I have time, I work through the lists as much as I can. This helps me to allocate my time more effectively so that jobs don’t get forgotten or left languishing too long. It also stops my lists getting lost!
  • Everything has a home – nothing is allowed to live in the flat without having a place to belong. This stops the place being constantly untidy because of random items that have nowhere to go.

I could probably think of more things that I do, but we’ll leave it there for now! What do you do to help yourself be organised? How does it make you feel?

Helpful washing

Following on from my cringe-worthy admission in my last post, I have another housework related source of happiness…I know, I need to get a life. But seriously, being the resident washing fairy is made so much easier when washing is already turned the correct way round. It makes me so happy when I’m pairing up socks and I find one that is already turned the right way round – I can’t tell you how many hours of my life have been wasted turning socks! And when I’m doing the ironing and a t-shirt hops out of the basket already turned inside out, it practically flies off the ironing board with the time I’ve saved having to wrestle with it to get it in a fit state to be ironed. Now, although you might think this is weird, I bet there are lots of you out there who have just read this and smiled because you know exactly what I’m talking about…

Sundays

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I love Sundays.

Well that was a short post! 🙂 I really do love Sundays and I think I love them so much now because in the past they have been a day of the week that filled me with dread. In my previous jobs I always worked weekends so it didn’t really register as anything special, and as a teacher they were a day that put a knot in my stomach and made me want to hide under the covers in denial. You see, I always chose to leave my ‘home’ work (see what I did there? :D) for Sundays which I know is a terrible habit, but by Friday evening I was so exhausted that I couldn’t wait to have a break. By Sunday, the work couldn’t wait any longer so my day was always filled with planning, marking, making resources, writing emails and an endless list of other jobs that I had neglected to do. I always missed out on anything fun that happened on a Sunday and by the evening I was usually tired, grumpy and not ready for Monday. Now not all teachers live like that I am pleased to say, but that was my experience and I hated it. Since I have changed my job, Sundays have become a day that I adore, and it’s not because I’m having the time of my life on endless adventures…nope, instead I love Sundays because I have time to cook a nice breakfast, take the dog for a lovely walk, go to my mum and dad’s for Sunday lunch and stay an extra hour to play board games. I love having time to sort out the washing and do the ironing because these are all the seemingly normal activities I never had time to do before. Today is the 40th Sunday that I have been able to enjoy and the novelty has still not worn off.

Blast from the past!

Happy Humpday everyone! This week I have been made super happy by a discovery I made in the loft at my parent’s house. Many moons ago I went to lace making classes and I loved it but after they ended I just put my kit in the loft and forgot all about it. I have recently been enjoying watching Katie’s podcast Inside number 23 and it has done nothing but fuel my love of craft making and remind me of the lace making that I enjoyed so long ago! So on Sunday I ventured in to the spider-filled loft and found my lace kit tucked away. I couldn’t believe it when I got the pillow out and found an unfinished pattern still on the pins – I hadn’t even bothered to finish it or unpin it! After 15 years on the pins I decided it was probably ready to come off, so I have removed it ready to start a new project. So far I have given the bag and my bobbin roll a good wash, redone all of the spangles on my bobbins so that they look shiny and new and I have ordered myself some new yarns and a book of bobbin lace for beginners. My plan is to back to the beginning and re-teach myself the stitches so that I can build up my knowledge again. I am really excited to find some Christmas patterns and some sparkly yarns so that I can make some Christmas decorations. I used to really enjoy making stars and snowflakes and I thought that they would be a lovely item to donate to the craft shop in Rural Care – thank goodness I have such a good excuse for crafting!!

Return to blogging

I can’t believe I am finally sitting down with tea and crumpets to write a blog post. I have just checked back through my old posts and the last time I was on here was January…..SO MUCH has happened since then, I don’t even know where to start. At the beginning of this year, things were not going well and at the beginning of February my whole world fell apart. That’s when I stopped blogging and lived in a state of shock for a week, on the sofa, in my pyjamas. Since then, I have slowly been putting my life back together and finally 8 months later I feel ready to blog again – which is good because I have lots to share! I have really missed being on here and sharing my happiness hiding places – I am just so thankful that Karen has been doing such a great job of documenting her amazing thoughts and ideas!

I won’t go in to ‘the horrific thing that happened’ largely because it is still hanging in the back of my mind as a painful little snag that I don’t want any more reminders of, but what I will say is that it was work related and acted as the final nail in the coffin that made me leave teaching. I LOVED being a teacher and I miss the children and my colleagues so much, but I do not miss the nonsense that is our current education system (pause for a bite of crumpet to prevent a political rant!).

Today I am celebrating the landmark of happiness that is my return to this blog, somewhere that I love and I have missed for a long time!

My Ink

Until I was 30 I was adamant I was never having any tattoos. Then I got my first one and I can safely say I love them and they are very addictive! Yes they hurt at the time, yes they can be expensive, no they are not to everyone’s taste but to me it’s like personalising my body. To be they are my art. All my tattoos mean something to me and were chosen for a reason so here is my explanation.

My first tattoo was three small stars on my foot. They are to represent the stars in heaven of my Grandad, my Auntie Doris and my Uncle Norman who were like grandparents to me. My next one was my butterfly on my wrist. This is for Olivia, a fabulous girl who was a brownie who sadly lost her battle with cancer. It’s a butterfly as we released butterflies at her memorial and they always remind me of her when I see one. They are also a reminder of the fragility of life. The placing is not insignificant as when I make my brownie promise salute the butterfly looks out my current girls.

My next ink was my ladybird which is for my gorgeous niece Ruby. When she was little everyone bought her ladybird things and they came to be associated with her.

My fifth inking was my owl on my side. Partly because I love owls and partly because of the Guiding and Brownie connection. And obviously I am Brown Owl! Somewhere around there are some photos taken by my co-blogger of me grimacing having that’s one done!!

Number six is a Japanese kanji which means friendship. This represents my best friend. Enough said.

And then we come to the most recent three. The hands is an original drawing by another of my best friends which she gave me on a card when Granny died earlier this year. The detail on it is amazing and she is one talented artist. The hands are significant to me because when I was little she always held my hand and guided me and as she got older and frailer, I held her hand to guide her. And now she will be with me forever. On a side note, she always loved my tattoos and coloured hair- I think she had a secret inner rebel! Well Granny now you have your own ink!

The rainbow heart represents the year I came out properly and you lovely blog followers made me happier than I’ve been ever with your total acceptance of everything that is me. Love is love, whatever and whoever.

And finally my smallest (and ironically the most painful!) is a semi-colon on my little finger. This represents the fact that 2017 was a turning point in my life. A fresh start, one where I can be me and will be me and am happy. And one to raise awareness of mental health. A subject which will always be close to my heart.

Whether you love them or hate them they are part of me and more importantly I love them!

Good friends

IMG_1321When I was growing up I was never in the popular group. I did have friends but they weren’t in my class or year at school. My friends were at the stables, at guides and in my street. At school I was often lonely. I was the child who was always picked last for teams and who never had a partner or group to work with. I used to dread the moment the teacher would say “Now get into groups” knowing that I would be an outsider and that no one ever actually wanted to work with me.

Depression also robs you of your friends, you desperately need and want them but end up pushing them away because you don’t believe that you are worth liking.

Its hard to pinpoint when things started to change in the friendship department. For years having a crippling social anxiety meant I hardly went out and although I desperately wanted to take up invitations I just couldn’t do it.

I think things started to change when I was around 30. A chance meeting through a mutual friend (interestingly who I am no longer in contact with!) meant that I met my best friend- my first best friend since I was 8. Someone who liked me for who I was and actually chose to spend time with me. She also stayed by my side when I was in some of my darkest paces and for that I will always be truly grateful. It still surprises me now when she says she looks forward to seeing me! But now I am lucky enough to not have just one best friend but to have lots, more than I can count on one hand unbelievably. And not only do I have best friends, I also have other close friends and lots of people who love me for who I am. It’s taken me a long time to realise that they are not going anywhere too.

One of those friends said to me the other day “you are so good at keeping in contact with people and that’s such a great quality”. Yes I suppose I am, because the one thing I will never, ever do is take my friends for granted. I know how it feels to not have friends. I love each and every one of my friends and if you know you are one of my friends please know that you mean the world to me. And just like the picture, many of my friends I don’t get to see anywhere near as often as I’d like but it’s ok as, finally, I can believe that they will always be there.

A strange feeling …

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Since my last blog post and everyone’s amazing positivity and support something strange has happened. I have felt an overwhelming lightness and happiness that I’ve never really felt before. I feel free and as if nothing in the world can bring me down. I literally feel like you could throw anything at me and I’d be like “oh right, ok”, which is so not how I usually am! Usually I am little miss stressy and everything bothers me but not the last couple of weeks!

I tried to put my feelings into words and although it’s not really a poem here are my thoughts :

Happiness is the arms of friendship wrapped around me

It’s a grin so wide your face hurts

Happiness is confidence and laughter

It is a carnival of noise and colour

Happiness walks taller with a spring in its step

It is a celebration of fireworks

Happiness wants to shout from the rooftops

It is sparkly, loud and comfortable

Happiness is a riot of vivid colours.

It is right up in the clouds and carefree

Long may Happiness last;