21 Happy Things from 2021

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.

A mosaic of 4 images from the Isle of Skye including Portree, Dunvegan Castle, a loch reflecting the blue sky and 3 sets of feet on the Coral beach.
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.

4 Sewing

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!

Mosaic featuring 4 sewing photos including a rainbow chevron tote bag and purse, a pyjama top for my son, some bags made from sloth and toucan fabric and some zipper pouches made with bird fabric.
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.

21 Happy Things from 2021 - 4 photos featuring me in my pink raincoat, my new handbag, my Spring wreath and Reggie the greyhound
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!

14 Journaling

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!

A mosaic of 4 photos showing my Autumn and Winter journals, my affirmation cards and my rainbow gratitude journal.
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!

21 Happy Things from 2021 Pin image

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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!

Easy Ways to Find More Happiness

Today I thought I’d share some easy ways to find more happiness in your daily life.

Did you know that 20th March is International Day of Happiness? How great that there’s a day to celebrate happiness! Keep reading to find out more about it.

Easy Ways to Find More Happiness pin image

Easy Ways to Find More Hapiness

1. Write a happy list

It’s really important to know what makes us happy and brings us joy. If we know what makes us happy we can plan to do more of it! Spend time making a list of things that bring you happiness. Aim for 100 things!

For inspiration check out these posts:

2. Add some happiness to your social media feed

Find some accounts that make you smile and remind you to prioritise your happiness. If you’re on Instagram I recommend:

And don’t forget to follow @findthegoodeveryday while you’re there!

I also follow accounts that feature rainbows and dogs because they make me happy. Try to find some accounts that suit your interests and make you smile when they pop up on your feed.

3. Do one thing for your happiness every day

It’s so easy to get caught up in daily life and being busy and to forget to take the time to do the things that bring us joy.

Come up with a list of everyday, easy things that make you happy. (If you’ve started your happy list see what’s on there). And then make a plan to do at least one of these things for your happiness everyday. Try to be ‘in the moment’ as you take this action and recognise you are contributing to your own happiness.

My list includes:

  • Listening to a playlist of my favourite songs
  • Getting outside for a walk
  • Cuddles with my husband, son and dog
  • Journaling (I write morning pages in the morning and keep a gratitude journal at night)

TIP – set an alarm/reminder to remind you to do your happy thing until it becomes a habit!

4. Practice gratitude

Speaking of gratitude – it’s a great way to recognise the things that make you happy and make your life better. Spend time each day thinking about the things you are grateful for. Bonus points for writing them down!

Read my tips for starting your own gratitude journal to getting started.

Explore more ways to find happiness

If you want to explore your happiness and how you can bring more joy to your everyday have a look at Find Your Happy – my journalling workbook full of journalling prompts designed to help you figure out what makes you happy and how to make your daily life more joyful.

Each prompt can be completed in 10 minutes (or take longer if you wish) and it’s available in both paper and digital format. There’s also a bonus Facebook group if you need some motivation and accountability to complete your workbook!

Action for Happiness Image featuring phrase “Keep Calm, Stay Wise, Be Kind”

Happy International Day of Happiness!

The 20th of March is International Day of Happiness. It’s a global celebration to mark the United Nations International Day of Happiness and is coordinated by Action for Happiness which is a non-profit movement.

What I particularly like about this year’s campaign (which you can read more about here) is that it talks about positive ways we can look after ourselves and others during a worldwide crisis. Visit the site to download a Coping Calendar with suggested daily activities to help you feel positive. And there is also access to a 10 day email-coaching programme for happiness. I’ve signed up!

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I hope you find these easy ways to find more happiness helpful. I’d love to know which ones work for you – leave me a comment and let me know!

20 Happy Things from 2020

I want to share 20 Happy Things from 2020. If you’ve been around a while you’ll know I love a happy list! And given that this past year has been a *challenging* one I think there’s even more need to celebrate the things that make us happy. So let’s dig deep and find the good in 2020…

Pin image - 20 happy things from 2020

20 Happy Things from 2020

1 Releasing Find Your Happy

I’m so proud of myself for creating my journalling workbook and putting it out into the world. You can read more about it here. And I’ll definitely do a happy dance if you buy a copy!

2 Learning with the kiddo

My son spent 5 ½ months at home this year due to the worldwide pandemic. I feel very lucky that I was in the position to drop commitments in order to focus on him and his learning. That unexpected time with him was a gift and I will cherish the memories of us solving complicated maths problems and arguing about spelling!

3 Reggie

Ah Reggie. My gorgeous, damaged greyhound. He came home with us in January and it’s like he’s always been here. He was scared of most things and full of quirks – it’s been lovely (& sometimes frustrating) getting him settled in and getting to know him.

4 The Rainbow Fence of Dreams

It has its own hashtag and it makes me smile – especially on the grey and miserable days! It’s my rainbow fence in my back garden. Painted mostly by me with a little help from the husband and kiddo. Reggie supervised.

5 Writing

Putting pen to paper has definitely helped me this year. Journalling, writing blog posts (not as many as I’d like), taking notes, planning, trying my hand at pitching article ideas – I’ve enjoyed it all. I love writing. 

6 Stationery

That leads on nicely to the next one. I bloody love stationery. I own far too much but I am getting better at using it rather than admiring it and being scared to use it!

7 Zoom

I wasn’t new to Zoom and I have been a fan for a while but it feels like it’s been a saviour in the craziness of 2020. We thoroughly enjoyed participating in a regular music quiz via Zoom during lockdown. It kept us connected with loved ones. And I have even taken yoga and other classes with it.

8 Learning

I am a lifelong learner and I’m so happy when I’m scribbling notes and absorbing new information. I managed to do so much awesome learning this year – mostly virtually. Here are some of the things I learnt/courses I took:

  • Pitching to Publications course with Fiona Thomas as well as some of her webinars and workshops
  • The Freelance Summit with Emma Cossey and lots of awesome speakers
  • Various Grow & Glow training such as – productivity, building a personal brand, pitching, content planning, goal setting
  • Freelance and pitching webinars with Jenna Farmer
  • Sewing lessons with Beautiful Things
  • Mindset work, Year End Reviews and 2021 Vision Boarding and Goal Setting with Sophie Cliff, The Joyful Coach
  • And more!
9 Music

My monthly subscription to Spotify has earnt its keep this year. Music is so good for turning my mood around and also for letting me wallow when I need it. I have so many playlists and use it to listen to podcasts too. During lockdown my husband, the kiddo and I took part in the 30 day song challenge and now we have a family playlist of 90 songs that hold meaning for each of us. Check out my Find the Good Everyday Playlist here.

10 Getting Outside Every Day

Reggie has certainly helped with this one – expecting his daily walks regardless of the weather. And the time spent outside was so valuable particularly during the lockdown periods when we weren’t going back and forth to school or going anywhere else!

11 Planning

I’ve heard that a lot of people completely disregarded their planners and diaries this year and that’s totally understandable. I felt something soothing in continuing to make daily to do lists and update my trackers so I carried on. For most of the year I used my trusty bullet journal but since September I’ve been using a Happy Planner (including Planner stickers – insert lots of heart eyes!). I really enjoy sitting down at the weekend and planning out the following week. But I do miss the daily lists of my Bujo… I might try some kind of hybrid planning system for 2021.

12 Online Communities and Groups

Online communities and groups played a massive part in keeping me feeling connected this year. I love the community on Instagram and enjoy the regular chats with some lovely people there. I’m still a member of Grow & Glow and enjoyed their regular calls and training sessions through the year. And I joined the Freelance Business Lounge back in June and the twice-weekly group coaching calls have been super helpful for my mental health and my productivity!

13 Being near my Mum

There have been many times this year I have dreamt of being back in New Zealand where they have managed the pandemic much better than the UK (helped by closing their borders). And I feel lucky to have lots of wonderful friends based in New Zealand.

(If you don’t know – I lived in NZ between 2005 and 2016. My son was born there and I have dual nationality with NZ and the UK).

But I’ve also been so grateful to be in the UK and near my Mum. We are her bubble and I found it comforting to know I could go to see her, do her shopping for her and other jobs she needed done while shielding. 

14 Finally getting Netflix!

We were so late to the party on this but we finally have Netflix. I haven’t made it as far as the Tiger King yet but I am working my way through The Crown and love it! It’s great that we can each have our own favourites list. The trickiest thing is deciding on something for the 3 of us to enjoy!

15 Baby Yoda

My husband (who is likely to be rolling his eyes at my use of the name “Baby Yoda”) is a Star Wars fan so we watched the first series of The Mandalorian back in March when it was released in the UK. We’re currently working through the second series and I just adore Baby Yoda – such a cute character! I’m tempted to buy Baby Yoda fabric and make myself a dress!

16 Cadbury’s Giant Buttons

I love them! Perfect for sharing while watching a movie!

17 Lists!

Where would I be without lists? They fit well with planning, writing and stationery too! As you probably know – I love a happy list and it’s fun encouraging others to write their own. This year there have been:

  • To do lists
  • Things I enjoy about Lockdown
  • Stuff that was put on hold because of the pandemic
  • Things I’m looking forward to when the pandemic is done
  • My 38 @ 38 list – having this list of fun things to do really helped me to keep seeking joy this year!
  • My 39 Before 40 list
  • This 20 Happy Things from 2020 list!
18 Books & Reading

I’ve always loved books and reading – they (like a lot of things on this list actually) could easily make the top 20 of most year’s happy things! Some favourites this year have been:

  • The Midnight Library by Matt Haig 
  • Untamed by Glennon Doyle
  • Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
  • The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary
  • And a lot of romances on the Kindle app on my phone!
19 The Dishwasher

We finally got a dishwasher late August after over 4 years without one. It’s made such a difference. I’ve been able to put the time saved from not washing up multiple times a day to better use! And it’s helped my hands and wrists which tend to flare up with aches and pains (thanks Rheumatoid Arthritis!)

20 Documenting Life

Once a scrapbooker – always a life documenter! I enjoyed taking part in Day in the Life and Week in the Life this year and it will be interesting to look back on those projects in years to come. I’ve also collated a video full of 1 second videos from each day this year using an app called 1SE. I did it a couple of years ago and it’s fascinating to see which parts of daily life have stayed the same and which have changed. If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to take a snapshot of daily life I’d recommend giving it a go!

20 Happy Things from 2020 Pin Image

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It feels so good to have written my 20 Happy Things from 2020 list. I wonder if they’ll be any more additions before the year is out?

What are your happy things from 2020?

If you want to write your own Happy List check out these posts:

3 Ways of Finding Time for Happy Things

Today I want to share three ways of finding time for happy things!

I talk a lot about making time to be happy and doing the things you enjoy. But I can appreciate that sometimes we don’t think we have any spare time and that we are too busy to find the time for fun.

So how can we make room for the things that bring us joy?

I’ve also filmed this as an IGTV video so if you’d prefer to hear me tell you the suggestions hop over there to watch!

Finding Time for Happy Things IGTV Cover Image

Suggestion 1

Firstly – and this is part of a prompt in my Find Your Happy workbook – why not take a look at the things that you don’t enjoy and that don’t light you up.

How can you do LESS of those things? This will free up time for the things you love.

For me, checking my phone and scrolling too often takes up time when I could be doing more happy things! So if I really focus on not doing that (& it takes a lot of reminding and work to remember not to do it some days!) I magically free up some time for things I enjoy.

Another example is I don’t enjoy sorting the recycling so I pay my son pocket money to do it!

Suggestion 2

The next thing to think about… what things do you enjoy that you could pair with things you don’t like so much?

For example – I often watch TV shows I like or YouTube or IGTV videos while I’m folding and hanging up laundry. And I listen to my favourite music or a podcast while I’m tidying and cleaning the kitchen.

This has the double whammy of doing more happy things but also making the less fun things more enjoyable!

Suggestion 3

And one last thing to think about – which things make you happy as well as being important to your health (physical and/or mental)?

I love walking outside in nature. It’s great for getting my steps up and is so important to my mental health. I am usually more productive when I take the time to get outside and walk. So how can I not prioritise time for being outside?

What happy things should you prioritise because they are beneficial to your health?

Finding Time for Happy Things

So that’s 3 things you could look at to try and free up more time for the things that make you happy.

I’d love to know which ones you might try and what happy things you’re trying to make room for! Let me know in the comments below.

If you’re looking for some advice on finding out what makes you happy check out these posts:

3 ways of Finding Time for Happy Things Pin

The Find Your Happy Journalling Workbook

Hello! I want to share more information with you about Find Your Happy (the first Find the Good Everyday product) which is now for sale.

You can purchase the Find Your Happy Journalling Workbook here. It is available as both digital and print editions.

Find Your Happy journalling workbook printed out

What is the Find Your Happy Journalling Workbook

Find Your Happy is a book filled with 21 journalling prompts. Each prompt should take around 10 minutes and has been included to help you think about the things that bring you joy and happiness… and how you can get more of them in your everyday life. 

There’s space for your writing on each page (if you purchase the digital eBook version you could print the prompts out to complete by hand, fill it in on your device or write your notes in a separate notebook). 

You can also choose how to work through the prompts:

  • Do 1 a day for the next 3 weeks
  • Do 1 section (containing 7 prompts) at a time and allow around an hour & a half
  • Dip in and out when you feel inspired

There are some other suggestions in the book too. I do recommend you do them in order as they are designed to build on each other and take you on a journalling journey.

How did the workbook come about?

I’m a long time journaller. I’ve tried many types of journalling over the years and if you’ve been around a while you’ve probably heard me talking about:

Getting my thoughts down on paper is how I deal with life! I make lists, I write down my thoughts and feelings, I weigh up pro’s and con’s of major life decisions, I keep track of what’s happening in my life. 

Journalling helps me in so many different areas! 

But I know not everyone has had the chance to build a journalling habit. Or perhaps you’ve been a journaller in the past and have fallen out of the habit.

I decided to create a workbook for journalling prompts to help people bring more joy into their everyday lives. I’ve purposely set the workbook up so that each prompt can take 10 minutes. If you want to you can spend more time but I can appreciate how hard it can be to find time for a new habit so I’ve kept it short.

I had a lot of fun putting the whole thing together and I am so pleased with how it’s turned out. Of course – it has a rainbow design (because rainbows feature very highly on my happy list!)

Feedback and Reviews

I’ve already received some wonderful comments about the workbook and I want to share them with you…

“I bought and downloaded your workbook, it is amazing! You’ve done a lot of hard work on it. Can’t wait to print it off and start working on it! Thank you.” – Amy

“Find Your Happy is a rainbow of joy in a bit of a cloudy 2020! I loved the collection of prompts, and Katie has clearly thought out the journey the reader goes through when using them. If you’re looking to get into journalling, or need a refresher, Find Your Happy is a must buy.” – Emma 

Is Find Your Happy for me?

  • Are you keen to give journalling a try?
  • Have you journalled in the past and you’re keen to get back into it?
  • Do you feel like you spend a lot of time making the people around you happy and run out of time for the things that bring you joy?
  • Are you keen to make positive changes to your everyday life to bring you more joy and happiness?

If your answer to any of these questions is yes- I really think you might enjoy Find Your Happy!

If it sounds like it’s something you want to try – you can purchase the Find Your Happy Journalling Workbook here.

And please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions. The quickest way to reach me is by email using the Contact form or send me a Direct Message on Instagram.

Best wishes for Finding Your Happy!

August’s Happy List

Hello! And welcome to August’s Happy List.

This is a new feature for Find the Good Everyday. Every now and again I’ll share an updated list of what’s making me happy! They may not be monthly – I might make them seasonal but it’s great to get started today.

My 100 things that make me happy list continues to be one of the most popular posts on this site – I love that people are seeking inspiration and I encourage you to create your own Happy List. You can start small and current like this month’s list and if you’re looking to create a big list check out this post for some ideas and advice.

Just think – if you write down 5 things every month for a year you’ll end up with a list of 60 happy things!

Autumn’s Happy List pin image

August’s Happy List

1

My Son turned 10 this month and we got to celebrate his first decade on earth! I shared 10 insights from 10 years of parenting earlier this month. He had a low key birthday but really enjoyed it.

2

Big Little Lies (TV Show) – I don’t watch heaps of TV but I’ve been meaning to watch this for ages. I binged both series across 5 days and really enjoyed it. It’s an amazing cast including Nicole Kidman and Meryl Streep. I loved the soundtrack and found lots of great songs to add to my playlists.

3

We got fish! My uncle gave us a fish tank and lots of supplies so we headed to the pet shop to buy some fish. We got 3 little minnows. One hasn’t survived unfortunately but the other 2 are so fun to watch zipping around the tank!

4

Walking in the woods. I’ve been walking in the woods a fair bit recently. First because it was cooler during the hot days for walking the doggo. And it’s also a great place to go when it’s raining because we get a bit less wet!

5

We got a Dishwasher! This was on my 38 @ 38 List so it’s good to get it ticked off. We had to reorganise the kitchen to remove a cupboard to get it plumbed in so it wasn’t a straightforward job but such a worthwhile one. Now to figure out how it works!

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Tell me – what’s making you happy right now? I’d love to know.

I’ll be back soon with another Happy List! In the meantime don’t forget to check out these posts:

I also share things making me HAPPY each Monday over on Instagram!

10 Insights from 10 years of Parenting

This month my son turned 10. I’ll save you from all the “where did the time go?” cliches and just say the last 10 years went by faster than my previous 28 years combined! I really enjoyed writing and sharing my Insights from 10 years of Marriage last year so today I thought I’d also share 10 Insights from 10 Years of Parenting.

First – a little back story…

Becoming a Parent

We welcomed our son into the world 10 years ago. We were living in a town called Palmerston North in New Zealand. It was a beautiful Winter’s day (my midwife wrote that in my maternity notes and it’s stuck with me).

My pregnancy had been fairly smooth. We had a scare very early on. And towards the end the health care professionals became worried he was measuring small. I ended up being monitored for the last couple of weeks and was booked in for an induction the day after my due date.

We turned up at the hospital for an induction but it turned out I was in the early stages of labour. They broke my waters at 9am. I held my baby in my arms at 12.40pm. The hospital staff joked that if we had another I should probably book in the night before given how quickly my first had arrived!

Becoming a mother was hard. I struggled for a long time. Being responsible for a tiny human was my biggest challenge in life so far. I gradually learnt to relax and lean in and accept that I was doing the best I could at any given time. And I’ve learnt a lot along the way…

10 Insights from 10 years as a Parent pin image

10 Insights from 10 Years of Parenting

1.

Parenting is something you have to learn on the job. No amount of preparation can get you fully ready until you are a parent!

2.

Listen to the advice that many people freely give. But it’s perfectly okay to do the complete opposite. We have to pick what works best for us at the time. As long as you have your own and your child’s best interests at heart don’t feel you have to justify those decisions.

3.

We took a parenting course when our son was 4. Wish we did it sooner. It really helped us work out what kind of parents we want to be and gave us strategies to deal with frictions that arise in families. (If you’re in New Zealand – it was a Parenting Place Toolbox Course for the early years – would 100% recommend).

4.

Build your own traditions. Celebrate them. Get the kiddos excited to be involved. And cherish them. Some of our favourites are:

  • pancakes for breakfast on birthdays and Christmas
  • decorating the house with streamers for special occasions
  • reading all together in the evenings before bed.
5.

Find a way to capture the memories. I’ve always loved documenting life. I was a scrapbooker, I take part in day in the life and week in the life. I collate 1 second of videos from every day (I’m doing this in 2020 and have the full year from 2018 too).

For me – documenting life helps me realise how awesome the season we are in is while we are in it!

6.

We grow in stages – remember the stages come and they go. Even the really tricky stages will come to an end. You will get through it. This too shall pass.

7.

Learn to embrace your child’s personality. Figure out what drives them and work with that. Their personality may be completely opposite to yours!

8.

For me, some parts of parenting have felt like a wild ride and I’ve wanted to stop the ride and get off. What’s been helpful is knowing myself better and knowing what makes me feel rested and refreshed. As an introvert I NEED alone time (something that was so severely lacking in those first years). I’ve learnt to find ways to get that alone time and come back as a better parent!

9.

In terms of making rules and guidelines – we found some advice we were given really handy… it’s easier to start with stricter rules and gradually relax them than it is to enforce strict rules after starting more relaxed.

As a side suggestion here – learn all you can about the online world and how it effects our mental health – this is having a massive effect on kids today. Our school offers an annual e-safety session and I’ve picked up so much useful information through that.

10.

Let them be little! I can’t say this enough. The world of responsibility and cynicism and adulthood will reach them at some point. But let them be little for as long as possible! Let them soak up the magic, the wonder and the whimsy of childhood while they can!

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my insights from 10 years of parenting. f you’re a parent I’d love to know some of the things you’ve learnt along the way.

I wonder what the next 10 years will bring? Teenagers and all kinds of things I am far too naive about I am sure!

10 Insights from 10 Years of Parenting Pin Image

Six months with our Rescue Greyhound Reggie

This month we are celebrating six months with our rescue greyhound Reggie. So I thought I’d share some stories about him, some favourite photos we’ve taken and why he makes us happy!

Why my Dog Makes Me Happy pin image

Celebrating Six Months with our Rescue Greyhound

  • Reggie came home with us from the Basildon Dogs Trust on the 13th January. His birthday is estimated to be sometime in July so we have decided to celebrate his birthday on his 6 months gotcha day (13th July)!
  • He is so quirky. Having joined greyhound groups and done more research since we got him – it turns out they can be quirky dogs. He has a lot of personality. He’s a drama queen. And he’s a sensitive soul all rolled into one!
  • When we first got him he was worried about lots of things. He’s still a worrier and I don’t think that will ever go away but he’s becoming more confident every day.
  • He’s not a big barker but he is noisy. He often cries. We have become accustomed to the greyhound scream of death which was very shocking the first time we heard it! Reggie often has something to say (usually a bork) when he’s not happy with the kitchen service and dinner is late. He also sings/cries when I brush my teeth every morning.
  • Lockdown has meant our separation training came to a standstill. This is something we will gradually work on as things ease up and we can leave the house more.
  • He is really playful and loves balls. We have tried him with various different toys in the last 6 months. Most of which have been destroyed within about 15 minutes. He has a squeaky banana which he has pulled the squeaker and most of the stuffing out but which he still likes to toss in the air and run around with. And he loves chasing around a tennis ball. This surprised me – I wasn’t expecting him to be so playful as a 4 year old dog.
Six months with our rescue greyhound Reggie - a mosaic of 4 photos showing how cute he is

Reggie Makes Us Happy

  • It warms my heart when he takes himself outside on a sunny day and lays on the grass. He always looks so happy and I realised that during his racing career it’s unlikely he got the opportunity to lay in the sun whenever he liked.
  • Greyhounds do a thing called “Roaching” – when they lay on their back with all their legs in the air. It’s a vulnerable position and is supposed to be a good indicator that they feel safe and content in their environment. Reggie’s daily roach is something we look forward to!
  • It’s great to have a reason to get outside every day. To begin with he didn’t enjoy walks and would often refuse to move beyond our front garden but he now gets excited when his lead comes out and he’s usually chasing us around the house to hurry us out of the door.
  • The post adoption support we have received from Dogs Trust has been so helpful. It’s part of their adoption service. We’ve spoken to them a couple of time’s about concerns and they’ve had great advice and tips both times.
  • Rehoming Reggie has been hard at time’s and we’ve made changes to our home life and routines to settle him in. We now can’t imagine life without him. He has a big personality and makes us laugh every single day!
  • Reggie is gradually getting to know us better and it’s lovely that he recognises us as “his people” now. He often comes over with a wet nose to ask for cuddles and pets!
4 more images of our rescue greyhound Reggie

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It’s been a strange six months with our rescue greyhound but we are so pleased he’s now part of the family! Reggie is definitely being added to my Happy List! I shared more photos of him earlier in the year on this post.

Do you have pets? Do they help bring happiness to your life?

Prompts for Creating Happy Lists

Hello. Today I want to talk about Creating Happy Lists.

The world is a strange place right now isn’t it? (If you’re reading this much later – I’m writing this post in March 2020 and we are in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic).

Did you know that today is the International Day of Happiness? So let’s try and find some things that make us happy that we can celebrate during these tough times. (You can do these activities at any time!)

I am going to share some prompts with you to help you create your own list. (We are mirroring these prompts today at home.)

Tips and Ideas for Creating Happy Lists pin image

Creating Happy Lists

Brainstorming Happy

First of all – let’s come up with some ideas. I like to do this on lots of post it notes but you can easily type out ideas or jot them down on some paper. Answer the following questions…

What does happiness:

  • LOOK like? (examples – my dog being happy to see me when I get home, a vase of pretty flowers)
  • SOUND like? (examples – listening to my favourite songs, birdsong)
  • FEEL like? (examples – cuddles, sunshine on my face after Winter)

You could also hit all of the five senses and think about TASTE and SMELL as well.

Let’s use that to come up with a list of 20 Happy Things.

Don’t worry about ordering your ideas and even if they seem silly write them down!

If you need some more I have extra prompts here including things like books, TV, seasons, hobbies etc.

Once you’ve got to 20 – feel free to keep going! I originally wrote a list of 100 happy things and then a few years later I wrote another 100! I’ve also been collating as many happy lists as I can find over on Pinterest so pop over for even more ideas (and do let me know if you publish your list somewhere so I can add it to the Pinterest board).

Then display your list. You could type it up in your favourite fonts and colours and print it out/set it as your wallpaper on a screen. Or draw it with doodles and use your favourite art supplies to make it a masterpiece!

Extra Happy Activities
  • Think of the songs that make you happy and that make you want to dance – and put together a playlist together
  • Create a happiness mood board – you can do this the old fashioned way and cut out photos and words to make a collage. Or make a virtual one using a programme like Canva
  • Come up with a list of accessible (i.e. you can do now if you choose) activities that make you happy. And if you’re currently in isolation or social distancing – come up with things you can still do during this time. I’m hoping to share some ideas for this soon.

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This may seem like a fluffy idea when there’s so much happening right now – I get that. But I know that spending some time thinking about happy things rather than constantly refreshing the news app on my phone is helping me. And I hope this helps you too.

Take care.

Creating Happy Lists Pin Image

Things Currently Making Me Happy – early 2020

Hello! It’s been a while. Today I want to ease myself back into my little internet home with a list of Things Currently Making Me Happy. 

Things Currently Making Me Happy Pin Image

January was the longest month wasn’t it? I am happy we are now in February but I also want to take time to think about the good things in January and the things I’m enjoying at the moment. 

Things Currently Making Me Happy – early 2020

1 Our New Dog – 

In January we adopted a greyhound from the Dogs Trust. He’s three and a half and likely an ex-racer. He’s a cutie who gets a little worried (the world is a big place) and we’ve been working to settle him in to life at home. We’ve all got lots to learn about each other and I forgot how tiring welcoming a dog can be! But every day he’s making us smile and laugh. (I’m sure I’ll be sharing photos of him on Instagram every now and again if you want to see more of him!)

Our New Dog Mosaic
2 The Ordinary Skincare – 

I’ve been meaning to try this skincare range for ages but always got a little overwhelmed visiting the website and trying to work out what to buy. When I spotted a counter pop up in a nearby Boots I went in and had a chat with a staff member. So far I’m using Buffet and the Surface Hydration Moisturiser. And I’ve just bought the caffeine eye treatment. It ticks my boxes of cruelty free and vegan with no parabens and it’s not too expensive either. And so far my skin seems happy with it!

3 Sewing – 

I took a learn to sew course back in September and October and thoroughly enjoyed it. As part of the course I made a fabric box, a tote bag and a zipped cushion cover. A lovely friend has lent me her sewing machine and I’ve been trying smaller projects for beginners. I’ve made teabag holders, headphone keepers (great to prevent tangled headphones and cables), placemats and drawstring bags (to use instead of gift wrap). I’m enjoying the process and seeing the things I’ve completed makes me very happy! 

Sewing Projects Montage
4 Call the Midwife – 

The back catalogue of Call the Midwife is currently available for free on BBC iplayer so I’ve been working my way through a rewatch right from the beginning. I have loved this TV series since I first saw it when my son was a baby. Many of the storylines have led me to finding out more about the time period the show covers and the health concerns featured. 

5 Charity Shop Bargains – 

I’ve found some great bargains recently in the local charity shops. I found some white cotton sheets which I have re-purposed for sewing projects. As well as some as-new clothes (some still had labels attached) in just the right size for a tiny fraction of the cost they would be brand new. I am also keeping an eye out for other sewing supplies like zips and fabric. It’s like going on a treasure hunt when I visit them!

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So that’s some of the things currently making me happy. Happy Lists are a favourite of mine – why not check out these posts all about them:

And do let me know what’s making you happy right now!

It feels good to be back. Now to come up with some other blog posts to share with you soon. Do let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see.