10 reasons to be happy right now

I’m baaaack!

So first, an apology. I’ve been the world’s worst blogger lately (at least on here – over at Theatre Things I’ve been a busy bee). But I’ve been feeling bad about it, and then I got a lovely comment the other day from Sarah that inspired me to try harder. So here I am!

Now part of the problem with happy blogging has been that recently I’ve been slipping back into some bad habits, and keep finding myself moaning about stuff to anyone who’ll listen (and, I’m sure, a few people who look like they’re listening but have actually gone to their happy place).

So I decided to get back to basics, and make a list of 10 reasons to be happy right now. And here they are:

  • Tomorrow is a new day. More importantly, tomorrow is also Saturday.
  • It’s bluebell season.

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  • Next month I get to be bridesmaid for one of my bestest friends. In Greece. On the beach.
  • I totally got 100% on this Friends quiz.
  • The Kinky Boots London cast made an album – not that it wasn’t fun to listen to the Broadway actors attempt a Northampton accent. (I promise you, if you’re ever feeling a bit blue, this show will cheer you right up.)
  • One of my colleagues bought us profiteroles today. They were good.

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This is not my route home from work (sadly). But it’s a nice photo.

What’s making you happy today?

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Simple pleasures

I’ve been in a great mood all day today. So much so that I startled one of my colleagues by smiling at him in the kitchen earlier. Then he interrogated me for five minutes about what I was so happy about; for some reason he wouldn’t believe that I was just feeling cheerful.

Anyway, since last night’s post turned into a bit of a rant – which is ironic considering it was about people who rant on social media – I thought tonight I’d go to the opposite extreme and talk about a few of the things making me smile today.

  1. I got to wear trainers to work, which after wearing heels for three days straight was a treat for my feet.
  2. My train was actually on time. This is much more exciting than it sounds.
  3. One of my friends got really annoyed about something. Which seems like a weird thing to be happy about, but it turned out she was outraged on my behalf, and I love her for that.
  4. I got to write a positive review of a great play. And then the theatre company told me I was their favourite person 🙂
  5. I don’t have anything to do tonight. So once I’m finished here, I’ll turn off the computer, put my feet up and watch last night’s Apprentice.
  6. And probably hurl abuse at the incompetent candidates. Because that’s always fun. (‘Are these shelves supposed to be straight?’ Classic.)
  7. It’s not quite cold out yet, but there’s a definite nip in the air and it’s pretty windy, so I’m going to enjoy being home in the warm, on my comfy sofa, with a cup of tea.
  8. And then I’m going to go to bed with a good book, and get to sleep before 11pm for the first time this week.
  9. Oh, one more – nothing to do with me personally but still great news: Pauline Cafferkey – the Scottish nurse who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone – has been discharged from hospital after making a full recovery – twice. She’s a fighter 🙂

How was your day?

Relax

Little Box of Happy Things

Last week, a friend had a really rubbish start to the week when her house was broken into. I wanted to do something nice for her, and just at the right moment happened to stumble upon the Little Box of Happy Things, created by photographer and graphic designer Emily Coxhead. I’ve been following Emily for a while, and I’m really excited about her new project, The Happy News, which is a newspaper celebrating the good things and people in life – a concept that I like very much.

Anyway, I thought perhaps the Little Box of Happy Things might be exactly what my friend needed to cheer her up (and it has an excellent name, which helped). So I ordered one for her, and it arrived promptly at the end of last week.

The box contains an assortment of items, each carefully selected by Emily, including: a little smiley person, a four leaf clover, a pad and pencil, a worry doll, a happy face spinning top and a collection of handwritten notes with positive thoughts on them.

The Little Box of Happy Things

The Little Box of Happy Things makes a great gift, whether it’s for someone else or for yourself. You can tell that careful thought has gone into each individual element, and the whole collection together really does make you smile (whether you’re the giver or the receiver). My friend liked it, which is the most important thing, and it just proves a gift doesn’t need to be big or fancy to make someone smile.

To find out more about the Little Box of Happy Things, visit Emily’s Etsy store. And look out for issue 1 of The Happy News, which is out in December.

Happy Birthday Happy Things!

My blog is 2 years old today! Ever since June 6th 2013, I’ve been filling these pages with my random waffle, and you lovely people have been reading, sharing and commenting on it. Thank you!

Happy orange

And thank you to everyone who’s sent me their own Happy Things to share in this post. Each and every one of them made me smile, too 🙂 Please check out their blogs, Twitter, Instagram – they’re all awesome people! So here goes:

First up, Lexie, who has a brilliant blog called Those Words She Wrote. And she’s the creator of the 365 Days of Happy project, which sounds so fab I may just have to steal the idea… Lexie wrote a great post recently on her own blog about what makes her happy, but she also tweeted me a few Happy Things to include here:

Next, Hanna. She and I used to work together, before she left to pursue her dream to be a web developer (which she achieved, by the way). Although we haven’t seen each other for a while, it was great to get back in touch with Hanna recently on Twitter. And good to see that she still has excellent taste in desserts…

The first of three Sarahs featured in this post is a new Twitter friend and fellow theatre lover. Sarah has a fantastic blog, Musical Theatre Musings – and she’s also a member of the Bromley Players, which makes her infinitely more qualified than I am to review stuff 😉

Belle had a couple of suggestions; I don’t really know Belle yet (we just met on Twitter) but we have a love of pizza in common, and that can only be a good thing.

My friend Alex was also my colleague – until yesterday, when she left to go travelling across Eastern Europe 😢Alex is a self-confessed language geek, who’s clearly far, far braver than I am to drop everything and head off into the unknown. I’m looking forward to hearing about her adventures on her new blog, Postcards from Ukraine.

Mandy is a friend, fellow blogger and book club member, who I met last year through the wonder that is Twitter. When she’s not up to her ears in studying, Mandy blogs at Emm in London and Addicted to Media – among others – and takes fantastic photos; follow her on Instagram to see what I mean.

Last week, I got an email from Sarah, who’s just started her blog, Things Sarah Loves, and is already going strong 🙂 We’ve been bonding on Twitter this week over our appreciation for drunken pensioners (read my last post and you’ll understand) and I’m eagerly awaiting next week’s tutorial on how to make a Hugo hedgehog… Follow Sarah on Twitter and join in our random conversations; she’s @thingssarahloves. Here are her Happy Things:

1.  Seeing my sister smile.
2.  Reading a good book.
3.  Hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows!
4.  Long walks with my dog.
5.  A good yoga session.
6.  Receiving a letter from my penpal.
7.  Going stationary shopping!
8.  Watching bands play live.
9.  Ticking off every item on my To Do list.
10.  Baking cakes and licking the bowl.

My sister Caz had a bit of trouble narrowing her list down to 10 (I’m so mean) but she got there in the end! Caz is a rather fabulous photographer – although she won’t tell you that herself – and shares many of her pictures on her blog, Finding a Focus. Here’s her final list (at least until she changes her mind…):

1.  Standing on an empty beach at sunrise.
2.  Arriving home after a long day.
3.  Homemade cranberry sauce poured over vanilla ice cream.
4.  Seeing something new – or an old favourite – at the theatre.
5.  Photography.
6.  Time with friends and/or family.
7.  Receiving ‘snail mail’ from a friend.
8.  Exchanging a smile with a stranger.
9.  A good book – and time to read it!
10.  The first signs of spring.

Last, but by no means least, another Sarah, a good friend who was one of the first members of my book club and nowadays is a regular theatre buddy. Sarah doesn’t have a blog (yet…!) but she does take brilliant photos, which you can see by following her on Instagram. Here’s her Happy List:

Challenging myself – I think it is important to look forward, grow and learn as a person so from time to time I set myself a little challenge. These can vary from finishing a piece of work by a difficult deadline, completing Fat Mum Slims Photo a day for a month, finding all the London Shaun the sheeps, which means getting out for walks and discovering corners of London that I didn’t know were there. I also get to practice my photography. Doing 40 new things in my 40th year was fun, especially the ‘Drinking 40 different cocktails’ one, not all on the same night obvs, that would be messy… Unsurprisingly I had lots of volunteers to join me on that one…

Travelling – I love discovering new places and more recently looking for their hidden secrets. For example when in Singapore last year I asked my friend to help me find the location of a time capsule that’s there. My friend had no clue about this despite living there all her life, she asked how I knew about it and I told her by researching online before I travelled. It’s due to be opened later this year so I’m looking forward to reading about the event and what’s found inside.

Languages – unfortunately I didn’t discover this made me happy at school so I’m not fluent in any other language. I spent a year recently having Sat morning classes to learn Spanish, just because it was something I wanted to do. I loved it and at some point will continue the lessons. I’ve always believed it’s important to try to speak a few native words when travelling so at the very least try to learn my ‘P’s & Q’s’ (please & thank you) before I go. I work for a Japanese company too, so enjoy making my colleagues laugh with my attempts at their (very difficult) language. At least I try!

Photography – I just love it. Getting out and discovering new things. Trying to ‘see’ things through a creative eye and improving my vision. Posting my photos online and getting appreciation from friends and strangers in the form of likes or the occasional comment on my vision (Instagram – @sazzygaimster). I don’t use professional equipment mostly my iPhone, or small ‘point and click’ when travelling, but I get some pleasing results.

Theatre, Concerts, Dance… Live Performance – I love the buzz that almost all live performance gives. I go to the theatre as much as I can, I’m lucky to have the West End & O2 Arena not too far away and a beautiful local theatre ‘The Orchard’, so there is always plenty of choice of event to attend to get my buzz.

Thank you so much to everyone who contributed to this post. If you missed out but would still like to get involved, it’s not too late – leave a comment here with your own Happy Things! 🙂

Finally, a few more from me (to add to my original Happy List):

Penguins (because who doesn’t love penguins?)
Captain Ross Poldark
Getting good feedback on a review
New opportunities
Pimm’s
Freshly washed sheets
Rediscovering an old favourite book
Having a productive day at work
Exploring London and finding somewhere I’ve never been before
Chocolate
Musicals
Being busy
Sunshine
The feeling of accomplishment when I’ve successfully removed a spider from my flat
Planning for my friend’s wedding next year
Getting into bed after a long day
Reading blog comments
Tulips
Bank holiday weekends
Having silly conversations

And sunsets. I know they were on the original list – but I really love sunsets. (It’s possible I may need help.)

Dartford sunsetHave a great day! 🙂

 

Return of the Happy List

Next week, unbelievably, is my blog’s 2nd birthday. They grow up so fast… It’s been a fantastic two years; I’ve made some new friends, discovered brilliant opportunities and – of course – spent a lot of time thinking about happy things, instead of constantly complaining about how terrible my life is. Although obviously, I still do that sometimes. I’m only human, after all.

Anyway. To celebrate, I’m revisiting one of my favourite posts – the Happy List. I only wrote this a few months ago, but it’s already out of date (this was before I knew about Ross Poldark, for example), not to mention there are a bunch of things I forgot to include. So for my birthday post, I’ll be making some additions to the Happy List – because it seems to me a list like that can never be too long, right?

I’d also love the post to be not just about my happy things, but about yours too – so if you’d like to join in, please tweet me @lizzid82 or email theblogofhappythings@yahoo.co.uk, and tell me up to 10 things that make you happy. (I’ll obviously include a link back to your blog, as a thank you for taking part.) Or, if you prefer, you can drop by on the day (6th June) and add a comment.

Personally, I’ve found that making a list of happy things has been a really fun and healthy experience. I hope it’ll be the same for you 🙂

Have a great day!

What makes you happy?