I really enjoyed sharing 20 Happy Things from 2020 last year so here I am with 21 Happy Things from 2021.
2020 and 2021 both brought with them lots of uncertainty and challenges and I want to be able to remember the good stuff that happened amongst that.
So let’s get started…
21 Happy Things from 2021
1 Strictly Come Dancing
I am so late to the party on this one…it’s been going since 2004 apparently. But I left the UK in 2005 for 11 years and I don’t think Strictly was screened in New Zealand. I jumped on the Bake Off wagon when we returned in 2016 but it’s taken a bit longer for Strictly. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching it this year and might even dip into some of the archives before the next series.
2 The Isle of Skye
We visited Scotland in the Summer and enjoyed a wonderful few days on Skye. It was incredible. The whole stay was wonderful and we managed to cram a lot in. It’s hard to pick favourites but I have fond memories of a mammoth day where we visited Dunvegan Castle and took a boat trip to see the seals, walked out to Claigan Coral Beach and paddled in the very cold sea and then took a late afternoon hike to the Fairy Pools. I’d love to go back and see even more and visit other Scottish Islands too. I shared a selection of photos here.
3 Opening my Etsy Shop
I opened the doors to the Find the Good Everyday Etsy shop at the end of the May. It’s been a wonderful ride and I’m looking forward to coming up with even more guided journals and items to help you find the good in daily life next year. A BIG thank you to everyone that has supported me along the way.
I took a Learn to Sew course back in Autumn 2019 and since then I’ve enjoyed creating things from fabric and thread! In 2021 I tried sewing lots of new things including clothes for my son. I enjoy the challenge combined with the process. Sewing is very mindful for me because I have to pay attention. And I look forward to continuing to develop my skills and make ALL the things!
5 Turning 40 – Visiting Kent and a Swim in the Sea
20 years ago I am sure that I thought everyone over the age of 35 was old. But now my age starts with a 4 I have discovered I care less about what others think and more about the things that bring me joy. (To be fair – I think I have been working on this throughout my 30’s). I enjoyed turning 40 and we timed it with a few days away in Kent which was an adventure. I even got into the very cold sea for a dip!
6 Hosting Workshops and Lives
It’s interesting to me that these things have made the list as on the run up to them I feel anxious and nervous. Hosting some Self Care Journaling Workshops and some Instagram Lives this year felt like a push out of my comfort zone and they are something I want to explore further and continue with in 2022.
7 Jigsaw Puzzles
It can be hard to find the good amongst the pandemic but I am grateful that it granted me both the inspiration to try some jigsaw puzzles and the time to do so. I’m not sure why they didn’t make the final cut in 2020 but they are definitely one for 2021. I enjoy looking for puzzle images that bring me joy – and that spurs me on to get them made. I find puzzles a great way to step away from screens and it’s fun when the whole family gets involved.
8 A Family Mini Break in Norfolk
We didn’t go anywhere in 2020 after the first lockdown and I felt sad about that. Exploring places and going on adventures is something I love doing with my loved ones. So this year we decided to stay fairly local and short but ensure we got some time away from where we live. Our first trip was at the end of May – to Norfolk. We took Reggie (our greyhound) on his first holiday. It was only 2 nights away from home but felt like a balm after so long without a trip away.
9 My Birthday Lists – 39 and 40
I’m starting to wonder if Birthday Lists are my life’s mission! (Although journaling and documenting life is up there on the list too!) I thoroughly enjoy coming up with my lists of things to do between one birthday and the next. As with any long-term projects – I tend to lose my way somewhere in the middle but I enjoy striving to complete as many fun things as I can. I’m proud of everything I completed whilst 39 and I’m having fun with my 40 for 40 list so far.
10 My Son finishing primary school
This one is bittersweet for sure. It felt like a big milestone for him but I hadn’t realised it would feel like one for me as well. There were some happy moments mixed with sad ones as he farewelled his primary school and made the move to secondary. As someone who loves reflecting (and can sometimes wallow in nostalgia) I am glad I made the decision to enjoy and embrace all the feelings.
11 My Spring Wreath
I like to honour and acknowledge the Solstices and Equinoxes in some way and when I was scrolling through my photo reel from 2021 for inspiration for this list I found myself pausing over the photos of my Spring Wreath. I purchased it from a local business. It’s a willow wreath and completely natural. I was able to plant the primroses and mini daffs into pots when I was finished with the wreath. And I’ve also kept the willow base to use in the future.
12 My Pink Raincoat
I treated myself to some new clothing items (and some help from Sarah at Styled by Susie) as my 40th birthday approached. My favourite new item by far is my pink raincoat! After years of using a raincoat we got free with dog food (we sadly said goodbye to that dog in 2016 but the coat endured!) I am so happy to put something on that makes me smile when I walk the dog every day.
13 My bargain ‘designer’ handbag
We are local to quite a few charity (goodwill) shops and I often peek into the windows as I pass. I’ve found some lovely items in them over the last few years. A few months ago I peered in and saw the bag of my dreams (I’d never seen the bag before but I knew that’s what it was as soon as I saw it!). It’s a navy handbag with a detachable long strap. I think it cost me £20 and was as new (the strap and hardware were still wrapped in packaging). I love it!
This list would be incomplete without a nod to my own form of therapy. I’ve consistently written morning pages and a daily gratitude journal this year and it has such a positive effect on my mindset and mental health. I’ve also taken part in some journaling challenges and programmes. And I thoroughly enjoy coming up with journaling prompts for my newsletter subscribers (sign up for my newsletter here!) and IG community regularly. As well as created my guided journals for Etsy. Even this 21 Happy Things from 2021 list counts as journaling!
15 Reggie & Dog Walking
I’m so grateful for our dramatic and often grumpy greyhound – Reggie! Our daily walks are always good for me and he encourages me (& gives me a very good excuse) to get out the house and move my feet every single day. Getting outside and as close to nature as I can has been a necessity this year more than ever.
16 Making the kiddo some pyjamas
I’ve already touched on how happy sewing makes me but this one deserves it’s own place on the list. I love making things and I enjoy making things for other people. But being able to make clothes? And then feel joyous every time he wears them and thinking ‘I made that!’… that’s priceless! I hope to make some clothes for myself next year. Please wish me luck!
17 1SE Videos
I use an app called 1SE to edit together a video containing 1 or 2 seconds of footage from every day of the year. I’ve done this for a few years now. It’s gotten much easier now with live photos as each photo I take has some video. I tend to collate the clips together in bursts. I share each month’s video to a personal IG account and save the year-long films and share the link with family. It’s emotive to watch and appeals to my nostalgic side.
18 Planning some work on the house
We’ve got some work coming up on the house (hopefully it will start before the end of 2021) which I’m excited for. It’s going to be a lot of work to move everything around in our small house to get it done but I know it will be worth it to have freshly decorated and carpeted bedrooms to relax and rest in.
19 Revisiting Flylady and Routines
A friend reminded me of the Flylady system recently. It’s a system for keeping your space clean and tidy and being kind to yourself along the way. I followed the system years ago and even have the book so I re-read it and was pleased to try it again. There’s an app now which helps you stay on track with what jobs to do when. It’s very early days but I’m taking the baby steps that Flylady encourages us to do.
20 Getting the Home Office organised
Way back in February we gave our home office a bit of a makeover (no decoration but some new furniture and a fair bit of decluttering and sorting out). I’m so glad we did this as my husband continued to work from home for almost all of this year and it’s now a much better space for him to work in. I also use the space often as that’s where our printer is and I enjoy using the standing desk!
21 Seeing Reggie’s Progress
Reggie is quite a nervous fellow (as retired greyhounds often can be) and he’s particularly wary around other dogs. We brought him home in January 2020. With lockdown happening while he was still settling in he didn’t really get the chance to meet people or dogs other than us. It’s been lovely this year to see him warm up to friends and family when he meets them. He’s still wary of other dogs and hates fireworks with a passion but his progress is fantastic!
Ahhh it feels so good to have written that list and reflected on the good parts of 2021.
I urge you to give it a go if you haven’t already and write your own list of 21 Happy Things from 2021. There’s lots of Happy List inspiration here if you need it.
I hope you’ve found some time for joy and happiness this year and wish you a wonderful 2022! See you soon!