Farewell (for now, at least)

Time for an announcement.

As you’ve probably noticed, this blog has been dwindling away and looking a bit unloved for some time now… And I’ve now decided to officially close the Happy Things doors – at least for a little while.

The reason for this, as you may also know, is because I’ve been getting increasingly busy with my other blog, Theatre Things (if you like the theatre, please check it out), and have some fairly ambitious plans for its future development. All of which sadly means I’ve run out of spare minutes in the day to devote to Happy Things.

It’s fair to say writing this blog has been one of the best things I’ve ever done, not just because it led me to set up Theatre Things, but because it forced me to focus on all the good stuff going on around me. At times it’s hard, especially right now, to be positive and find the little happy things in life – but when you do, it’s so rewarding. I honestly think writing this blog has made me a happier person.

I’ve met some amazing people, and have really appreciated all the support and friendship I’ve gained from getting to know the awesome blogging community. Through working on Happy Things, I grew in confidence as a writer, and it even helped me figure out how to use Twitter. (And now I’m addicted…)

So this is farewell for now, but please do pop over and visit at Theatre Things, or come and say hi on Twitter @lizzid82. And hopefully I’ll be back one day – after all, there’ll always be sunsets to share…

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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?

Happy Sunday: weird noises, rapping bridesmaids… and a kitten called Bum

Greetings from a wet and windy Kent! I’m very happy to be at home, in the warm, while outside it’s blowing a gale and pouring with rain. I hope, wherever you’re reading this, that you’re warm and dry too.

Anyway, here are a few of the things that made me smile over the past couple of weeks. Ironically, I started writing this post whilst watching War and Peace, which made me cry like a baby… but it’s over now so back to the good stuff 🙂

This week:

  • After waiting (im)patiently for a few weeks, I finally got my copy of the February issue of Dartford Living, which this month, for the first time, includes my local theatre round-up. (No, I haven’t stopped being excited about that yet.)

Dartford Living

  • A bus driver in Nottingham took a detour from his route to take home an elderly lady with dementia. Mark Feurtado, whose mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2007, was concerned when the lady didn’t get off his bus at the end of the line, and made a special trip to make sure she got home safely.
  • I finally discovered the source of the strange noise in my building – a sort of scraping, banging noise that’s very hard to describe, and which I’d heard a few times over the past few weeks. It turns out it isn’t, in fact, the building falling down, or – as some of my Twitter friends suggested – a serial killer roaming the halls (thanks for that, guys). It’s just the door of the meter cupboard on the outside wall blowing about in the wind, which is a lot less interesting, but also less terrifying, so I’m taking that as a win.
  • In Alberta, Canada, Maggie the dog escaped from her kennel at Barkers Dog Motel in the middle of the night, to cuddle with two rescue puppies who’d just arrived.
  • My friend, who’s getting married in May, posted this video on Facebook earlier today with the suggestion that her sister and I should do something similar at her wedding. Funnily enough, I don’t see that happening… It’s a great video though 🙂
  • A mother and daughter from New York have been reunited after 82 years: Lena Pierce was only thirteen when she had her baby, who was adopted at six months. Betty Morrell’s been searching for her mother for 20 years and the two finally had an emotional reunion last month.
  • Last weekend I finally had time for a bit of a clear-out at home; I hate actually doing the clearing, but love it when it’s done and I can see my floor again. And I even got around to buying a box for all my theatre programmes, which is, er, already full…

Theatre box

  • This kitten called Bum is so cute I want to cry.
  • I completed my Welsh challenge – after only a few hours spent on it last weekend… (Now I just need some Welsh people to talk to – any volunteers?!) Next I’m learning Scottish Gaelic, because why not? Feasgar math!

How was your week?

Happy Sunday: fudge, friends and football

Hope everyone had a great week! As usual, I’ve been keeping an eye out for good news and happy things to share, both from home and away. What good things happened to you this week?

This week:

  • So technically, this happened a little over a week ago, but I’m still very excited, so it’s going on the list… On January 1st, my year got off to an awesome start when I was asked to write a monthly theatre feature in a local magazine. To say I was excited doesn’t really cover it – I can’t wait to get started.
  • Speaking of local, the youngest person on the New Year Honours List is 13-year-old Jonjo Heuerman from Wilmington. Jonjo’s raised over £235,000 for Cancer Research UK, in memory of his nan, who died of bowel cancer, and his football hero, Bobby Moore.
  • My friend Nina had her first article published on Elephant Journal this week. It’s a great piece about how to deal with life’s ups and downs, and well worth a read. And you can read more from Nina on her blog, The Pollyanna Plan – she’s brilliant and one of the most positive people I know.
  • Chris Dempsey from Illinois donated part of his liver to a complete stranger in 2015, after overhearing one of his colleagues talking about Heather Krueger, a family member who needed a transplant to save her life. Chris and Heather got to know each other in the time leading up to the surgery – which was a success – and now they’re engaged.
  • As part of a work project, I randomly decided at the end of last year that I was going to learn Welsh. The idea of the challenge is to learn as much as possible during January using our language app, and although it’s open to anyone, we’re having our own internal competition in the office, which – as of Friday – I’m winning! (I have a feeling when I go in tomorrow I won’t be any more, so I’m making the most of this small victory while I can.)

Welsh uTalk Challenge

  • Last week, commuters on a morning train from Ascot to Waterloo actually enjoyed their journey for once when the conductor posed a fun music quiz, repeating the question each time new passengers got on. Apparently this is quite a regular occurrence on South West Trains – are you listening, Southeastern…?
  • I was feeling a bit grumpy the other day (yes, it does happen – I’m only relentlessly cheerful when blogging) and then my friend Safia produced her latest amazing creation, Super Sinful Oreo Fudge. It’s basically a heart attack on a plate, but if it did kill you, at least you’d die happy. Unfortunately I was too busy eating to take a photo, but you can see Safia’s pictures – and check out how it’s done – on her blog, My Griffin Way.
  • A woman from Sydney, Meg Churches, has become famous for making tiny wraps to protect orphaned baby bats. The idea behind the wrap is that it replicates their mother’s wings, which is crucial for the bats’ survival. Meg’s design goes under the adorable name of Cuddlebatz, and here’s what it looks like in action:
  • Without wanting to bang on about theatre, this week I’ve seen three fantastic shows – New Jersey Nights (a celebration of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons) at the Orchard Theatre in Dartford, Grey Gardens at Southwark Playhouse, and a second visit to the hilarious Peter Pan Goes Wrong (the link is to my review from the first visit, when the show was touring – it’s now at the Apollo Theatre in the West End, and still brilliant).

Have a great week! 🙂

Happy Sunday: turtles, Minions and the kindness of strangers

I thought I’d try something different for today’s Sunday post. In a week that’s been overshadowed by sad and scary events like the San Bernardino shooting, last night’s Tube knife attack in London, and the vote by Britain’s MPs to launch air strikes on Syria, I felt it would be a nice idea to focus on some good news stories for a change.

So for this post, I’ll be sharing some of my own happy things from the past week, and also searching the web for positive stories from around the world. If you have something happy you’d love to share – either your own or from the news – please let me know in the comments.

This week:

    • I got to watch two great plays, Hangmen and A Christmas Carol… More or Less. And because I was reviewing, the tickets were free – although I would have happily paid, as both were fantastic.
    • After pizza delivery guy and recovering drug addict Jeff Louis was given a $700 tip by a church in Ohio in late November, he posted an emotional thank you video on YouTube, which has since been watched by over a million people. And then this week, a drug treatment centre in California saw the video and offered to cover the cost of his rehab and therapy.
    • The Happy Newspaper is here! Created by Emily Coxhead (check out my review of her Little Box of Happy Things a few weeks ago), it’s 32 pages of pure happiness and I absolutely love it. It’ll have its own blog post later in the week, but to find out more in the meantime, visit thehappynewspaper.com.

Happy Newspaper

  • In Japan, they’ve started building ‘turtle tunnels‘, concrete ditches underneath train tracks that give turtles a safe way to cross. This has the double benefit of avoiding disruption for humans, and – most importantly – saving the turtles from death by train.
  • I had a really good week at work, with a couple of very positive meetings, some exciting opportunities, and that happy feeling that comes with getting lots of things done. And I learnt how to do basic video editing, thanks to a little bit of self-teaching and quite a lot of patience from a colleague who was on hand to answer my silly questions. It’s amazing what a buzz you can get from achieving the simplest thing.
  • Reddit member BesottedScot’s launched a campaign to send Christmas cards to ‘Britain’s loneliest schoolboy‘, Aron Anderson. 10-year-old Aron lives on the remote Scottish island of Out Skerries and is the only pupil in his school since his friends and older brothers moved on to secondary school in Lerwick, two and a half hours away.
  • I’m finally starting to feel Christmassy after a lovely book club festive do last night. As per tradition, this included the exchange of Secret Santa gifts, and clearly whoever got me knows I love Minions. How do I look? 😉

Minions

  • A little girl who really, really wants a cat for Christmas asked Santa in as many languages as possible. I don’t know if she’s going to get a cat, but at least she now knows how to say it in 16 languages, and you have to admire her dedication to the cause.
  • On Friday night, as I tried to figure out how to get home when all the trains were delayed, a very kind lady offered me a lift to another station. I didn’t accept, because it wouldn’t actually have got me any closer to home, but she didn’t have to offer and I really appreciated it.

How was your week?