Act of kindness #21: Rosey smiles

Due to my recent CFS relapse, it’s been quite a while since I’ve been able to post about my kindness acts. But I’m happy to say that I’ve still been doing whatever I can, I just haven’t the energy to write about them.

Sooooooo, I’m really excited about today’s – especially as it’s a new kindness act for me.


One of my favourite kindness acts is making up and leaving goody bags on cars parked at my local GP surgery (Christmas) or hospital (Valentine’s), and this time I thought I’d mix it up a little and leave a flower.

As my budget is really tight, I bought this gorgeous bunch of bright orange roses and decided to spread the love even further by splitting them. That way I can make 10 people smile instead of just the one.


I made up this little ditty to write on the back of my kindness cards:

“I hope you enjoy this flower,
as a gift from me to you.
I hope it makes you smile,
and makes your day happy too!”


(I know it’ll never make the The TS Eliot Prize shortlist, but hopefully it’s cheesy enough to make the recipient smile 🙂 )

I tied a kindness card to each flower, and tucked each stem neatly through the door handle of the cars – in the past I’ve placed the bags on the windscreen, but just in case the driver doesn’t see it before driving off, I don’t want it to cause an accident! So this way the driver will see the flower straight away!


I also gave one to a lovely elderly gentlemen who was leaving the surgery. As I handed him a ‘kindness flower’ he gave me a cheeky smile and asked: “Do I get a kiss as well?” Of course, I obliged 🙂 It was a touching and heartwarming moment.

As I’d written 7 Kindness Cards, I had 3 roses left, the perfect number to be able to drop one off at my sister’s, give one to my mum for helping me, and keep one for myself as it’ll be a lovely reminder and also, it’s important to be kind to ourselves ♡

Here’s really hoping the flowers made a few folk smile today as much as I am smiling right now.


p.s If you found a flower on your car, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below…

Postcard Happiness

Being grateful for the kindness of strangers

A few months ago, I came across an amazing project called ‘Postcard Happiness’. It’s a website featuring people who’ve been nominated to receive some support, encouragement, thanks or love by way of receiving a postcard or two from kind strangers.

I was so enamoured with the idea, I immediately made, wrote and sent off a handful of postcards around the world. I even wrote a blog post about it (see Act of kindness #11) and forwarded it on to the project’s wonderful creator Tatjana (as she likes to keep up to date with how many postcards are being sent/received) and she wrote back asking if I’d like to become one of the nominated recipients myself!

I was really surprised and deeply touched, and thought why not?

As soon as a couple of days later, postcards started landing on my doormat. And I have to say, I didn’t anticipate just how wonderful and heartwarming it is to receive a few words of kindness from a complete stranger.

At the time of writing, I’ve received an incredible 40 postcards/cards/letters. That’s 40 big hearted folk who’ve taken the time out of their day to buy – or even make-  a postcard, write a few kind words and post it to me.


How incredible is that!

I’m amazed that as well as the UK, I’ve received postcards from all over the world including: the US, Singapore (thank you Singapore Cause Corps!), South Africa, Japan, France, New Zealand, Germany, The Philippines, Belgium, Hong Kong, Bermuda, Austria, China, UAE, Australia, and Egypt.

That’s an astounding 17 countries so far!

I can honestly say that each and every one has lifted my spirits and made my heart overflow with gratitude. And having recently been through quite a big ME/CFS relapse, receiving a few kind words through the letterbox has made me feel a whole lot better.

I want to give each and every one of you a really great big hug ♡

Another bonus I hadn’t anticipated is that all the lovely words about my blog and kindness mission have encouraged me to keep on going, when at times I doubted whether I would.

In a time of such global turmoil and craziness, it’s reassuring to be reminded that there are so many beautiful kind souls in the world. And I’m glad I have a constant reminder, well actually 40 reminders, on my bedroom door, which never fails to bring a smile to my face.


And whenever my CFS symptoms flare up or I feel despair about the world or I just need a little cheering up, I simply flip over a couple of postcards and reread the kind messages they hold. And all feels well once again ☆

So thank you thank you THANK YOU to anyone reading this who has kindly sent me a friendly postcard – please know that it honestly does make a difference. You really are AMAZING ☆

And a huge THANK YOU to the very lovely Tatjana for creating this happiness generating initiative, you really are AMAZING too ☆


ps if you’d like to send someone a friendly postcard or nominate somebody to receive a little postcard kindness, please visit  Project Happiness  – you really will brighten someone’s day.

Hello again!

Being grateful to be back!

Hello lovely. It’s been a long time since I last wrote a blog post. Well, it’s been almost three months, but it feels a lot longer.

After my one year blog-aversary post, I was feeling pretty overwhelmed and thought I’d take a break for a week or two. But then I had a big CFS relapse, which turned out to be the biggest crash I’ve had in a long time.

On top of feeling utterly wiped out and physically like I was back at square one, I was feeling disheartened, frustrated and deeply worried that I wasn’t making any progress in my recovery.

So I took the time I needed to rest, recuperate and recharge. And I took the time to sit with my more unhelpful feelings and gently work through them, trusting that when the time was right I would feel brighter and more positive again.

And I’m getting there. Slowly but surely. Turtle Power Style 🐢

Even though I’ve still been writing in my daily gratitude journal, I’ve recently found myself thinking how I’d like to write a blog post about something that’s made me happy that day. But I couldn’t because I hadn’t written that first post back yet.

I’ve been apprehensive about writing this first post because I felt it had to be something special, really special.

So I put it off for a day, and then another, and then another. And here we are.

Isn’t it crazy the amount of pressure we can put on ourselves sometimes?

But today, about half an hour ago, I suddenly realised that my first post in 3 months doesn’t have to be anything special at all. It can be just like all the others: just a little blog post about a little something that’s made me happy today.

And actually, I think that’s pretty special enough.

So here I am, just me, continuing to write about the everyday little things that make me happy. And today I’m happy that I’ve realised this!

Phew, what a relief.

And hooray! I’ve just taken that oh so difficult first step, which is always the hardest isn’t it. And it feels good. It feels really good 😊


Happy Blog-aversary

Being grateful for one year of

[WARNING: this extra long blog post contains a LOT of gushing 🙂 ]

Yay! It’s one year today that I posted my first blog post on maketodayhappy.


I started my life as a blogger sometime last July and have been meaning to check the exact date for a few weeks now. And this morning I woke up with a strong urge to investigate and discovered it was today!

Hooray!! Love how that happens.

I’m sooooooo thankful I decided to write this blog – it has seriously done me the world of good in so many ways.

I set out to see if I could stop my gradual slide into the deep dark cess pit of self-pity and depression as I was plunging further into the complicated and misunderstood world of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

And I knew I had to find my happy again.

And fast!

I thought it might be quite a challenging task when I spend most days lying in bed too fatigued to move, too brain fogged to think straight, and too fed up to care!

But I had to try, and I’m so glad I did.

Rather than write about the negative issues my health condition brings, I wanted my blog to be a happy positive place to be – for me and for anyone visiting. So I vowed to focus on finding the happy in the everyday little things, through mindfulness, gratitude and kindness.

And to kick it off, I embarked on my 100 Days of Happy project.

I soon realised there are so many things to be happy about:

☆ Watching the wind rustle through the grand sycamore tree outside my bedroom window, listening to the birds sing their happy tunes, witnessing a magnificent sunrise or sunset. How can you not be happy when you focus on the magnificence of Mother Nature?

☆ Enjoying every single moment I get to spend with my young nephews, even though spending more than half an hour at a time with either – or both of them – wipes me out. To be able to share in their joy and wonder of life, to play mindfully with them, getting lost in their world. I’ve discovered how children are such wonderful teachers of how to live in the present moment.

☆ Focusing on all the little things that I can do rather than the things I cannot. Instead of being grumpy that I can no longer go on a weekend hike, I’m grateful that I can take short soul strolls around my neighbourhood, make friends with local dogs, admire the flowers and the scentalicious rose garden, listen to the babbling brook.

☆ I’m grateful to have found my tribe on Happier. Making like-minded friends from all around the world who always brighten my day, provide unlimited support, and inspire me to keep looking for the happy.

☆ And I’m deeply grateful for the love and support of my family and friends who have continued to be there for me, even if my condition isn’t always easy to understand – which I know can be crazily difficult and I don’t always understand it myself! My mum has been such a superstar, she is my rock and my heart is so full of gratitude for her unwavering love, care and support.

I’m so thankful that I have so much to be grateful for!

I’ve discovered how life-changing it can be to open your eyes to everything we have to be grateful for, even with a debilitating chronic health condition.

In my experience over this past year, I’ve discovered that being mindful and being grateful go hand-in-hand, they are such a powerful duo in our quest for happiness.

And kindness makes it a powerful trio.


When I decided to start carrying out small acts of kindness, I had no idea what a huge part of my recovery journey it would become:

♡ I love hiding kindness cards around my community for people to come across. I love putting together little goody bags, hoping they bring joy to the recipients. And I love sharing inspirational kindness stories and quotes on my Facebook page ‘spreading little kindness’.

♡ I never imagined how doing one small act of kindness could have such a positive impact on another human being. While doing most of them anonymously, it’s always such a treat to hear from people who’ve found one of my Kindness Cards or Kindness Goody Bags; it really warms my heart and inspires me to keep going (for one emotional example, check out the comment in this blog post).

♡ I never imagined how passionate I would become about spreading kindness, how it has become my mission, and how the local newspaper and radio station would pick up on this mission.

♡ And I never imagined how much of a positive effect doing acts of kindness would have on me. My intention has always been to try and make other people smile, and I honestly didn’t expect to feel as happy as I do when I’m planning and carrying out kindness acts. It’s an unexpected bonus and the old adage that the giver benefits as much as the receiver is very much true in my case.

A lovely friend wisely noted that I’m healing through kindness. And I couldn’t agree more.

And to dear lovely YOU. Thank you so much for visiting and reading my blog. And extra big thanks for your comments, likes and shares. Whether this is your first visit or you’ve come along on this journey with me, I deeply appreciate you.

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It’s always lovely to see you and knowing you’re out there helps to keep me going, especially on the darker days; it’s not all sunshine and sparkles, but it’s all part of life and for that I have learnt to be grateful.

So, here I am, one year on.

I’m truly more mindful, more grateful and more passionate about kindness. I’m not sure what lies ahead, but for now I think I’ll keep on making today happy.

Much love to you,
A happier Helen Xxx

ps I hope you enjoy reading about my journey to make today happy, and if you’ve been inspired in any way to make your today happy too, I’d love to hear from you (in the comments below).


Act of kindness #20: Library book messages II

I had so much fun sneakily hiding kindness messages inside library books last week, that I want to do the same again (and again and again!).

And today I got my chance as I needed to go to my health food shop in a different town.

Armed with a new set of messages written on the back of my kindness cards, I sought out their library and stealthily got to work.

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Imagine my delight when I came across a book called: One Small Act of Kindness. Of course, I couldn’t resist popping one of my kindness messages inside 🙂

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I love doing this act of kindness so much,  I think I’ll seek out libraries whenever and wherever I can, and hide more kindness messages for folk to find.

I really hope the next reader of each of these books finds it a nice surprise when they come across my message.


P.S. If you have found one of my messages, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below ♡

Oxygen Energy Therapy

Being ever so grateful for breathing in a little more oxygenated air:

A little while ago a friend asked if I’d like to be a case study for a natural product which is reportedly helping people with a number of conditions including Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Of course, I jumped at the chance.

Expecting a new batch of supplements, I was quite surprised to find a small electronic device delivered to my door a few days later.


And with SoeMac being “the world’s first and only home use Singlet Oxygen Energy therapy device”, I was instantly intrigued and rather excited.

All I had to do was plug it in, switch it on just before I go to sleep, and let it work its magic.

This clever little device – around the size of an external hard drive – works by producing energised oxygen and gently blows it into the air, which you breathe in while you sleep.

It reminded me of how I experienced Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy many years ago, which involved climbing into a chamber and breathing in pure oxygen at an higher than atmospheric pressure.

I remember feeling wonderfully rested, restored and refreshed afterwards and was keen to go back for more sessions, but the high price tag meant that I couldn’t.

So I couldn’t wait to try my very own oxygen therapy machine.

Being lightweight and slender, it easily fits onto my nightstand. It’s recommended that for optimal benefits, to sit the device at a higher level than your bed, so I’ve created a little tower by placing the box it came in on top of my alarm clock.

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Et voila!

Being such a light sleeper, and even more so with my CFS-induced heightened sensitivity to light and noise, I was initially concerned the red light and soft whirring noise would keep me awake. But I simply prop a pillow to block out the light and I’ve got used to the sound – but if it does bother me, I simply pop my earplugs in!



I’ve been using my SoeMac for almost four months now and I have to say I’m pretty impressed with the subtle changes I’m experiencing: I’m feeling a little more rested, restored and refreshed.

I feel my quality of sleep has improved; I’m sleeping deeper than before. One of the common symptoms of CFS is awakening from sleep still feeling tired and unrefreshed, no matter how many hours you’ve been asleep.

But now, I often wake up feeling like I’ve had a proper night’s sleep. I feel much better for it and find I have a little more energy for the day ahead.

Of course, I still have the occasional crappy night’s sleep, but my sleep is restful more often than not.

I also feel that my recovery time after a crash or wipe out is lessening. As this means hours or days of complete bedrest, bouncing back even just a little bit quicker is a big deal.

And for that I am very grateful.

As I’m discovering through my own personal recovery journey from CFS, the road to recovery is long and winding, and I’ve still a long way to go. But any improvement in my condition, be it the teensiest weeniest baby step forward, is very welcome and pretty exciting.

And I’m pretty excited.

I have to say, that there are a few other significant factors which I feel are also contributing to my subtle health improvements:

☆ I have recently started private nutritional sessions with the Optimum Health Clinic and a big part of this is being more careful with my diet: I’ve been avoiding sugar, dairy and wheat for over two months now and have increased my protein and ‘good’ fats intake, and am feeling sooooo much better for it
☆ Following recent test results and my practitioner’s recommendations, I have changed my supplements and have added a couple of CFS-related supplements into the mix
☆ And the arrival of lighter-for-longer, warmer days. I am such a sunshine girl and my mood always lifts during the summery months of the year

So while I can’t give SoeMac full credit for my subtle health improvements, I am confident it is having a positive impact and it has become an essential tool in my healing recovery kit.


The Poetry Takeaway

Being grateful for the gift of a poem:

To celebrate our connection with the Romantic poet Lord Byron – who’s buried in his family’s vault in our Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene – our town is hosting the Byron Busk mini festival.

With art, music and of course, poetry, I was feeling well enough to check it out and took a gentle walk down into my town centre.

I was looking forward to seeking out The Poetry Takeaway, described as a place where: “The poet chefs will write, perform and personalise a poem for you to wrap and take away for free.”

How fabulous.

After weaving through our town’s Friday market, I found ‘the world’s first purpose-built mobile poetry emporium’ already in full creative flow.

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During the short wait, I chatted with Michael Bolger, the creative brainpower behind The Poetry Takeaway. He described how the burger-turned-poetry van travels all around the country, its talented poets and performers gifting poetry at festivals and private functions.

I was soon paired with the effervescent Michelle Madsen. I didn’t know this at the time – only discovering her impressive credentials on her website afterwards – that Michelle has been performing her poetry around the UK and the world for almost a decade. She’s founder and host of London’s Hammer and Tongue which is part of the UK’s slam poetry network. Oh and she’s also published a selection of her poems in a book. I was in very safe hands 🙂

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I decided to ask her to write a poem for my lovely mum, who was at that very moment at the hospital bedside of her younger sister, who passed away only a few hours later.

I wanted it to be a gift for my mum, to bring her some comfort during this sad time, and to remind her how much she is loved and appreciated.

I was expecting to be asked a little about my mum, but not the in-depth questions about her life, loves and passions. Covering all things like her favourite colours, season, flowers, her sense of style, what makes her laugh, her music of choice, her ideal day out, and oodles more.

I have to confess the questions I most enjoyed were those that were deliciously thought-provoking on how to describe her laugh, what season she most resembles, her outlook on life, her presence.

I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of our 15-20 minutes chat, it was really wonderful to think about my mum in this way.

But I have to admit I was pretty wiped out afterwards! My CFS induced brain fog protested after so much hard thinking!!

As Michelle set to work, I was asked to return in 30 minutes so I nipped into our library. I wanted to spread a little kindness and also find a quiet corner so I could meditate and recharge a little energy.

Eager to hear the poem, I couldn’t wait to return to the creative hub.

And it definitely didn’t disappoint.

As Michelle performed her poem to me – which I really wish I’d recorded as it sounded sooooo much better when she read it out loud – I rollercoastered through emotions of delight, tears, joy, laughter, surprise, happiness and “oh no, mum’s going to kill me for telling you that” fear!

Seriously though, I absolutely love it.

This truly is the perfect poem for my lovely mum and demonstrates just how well Michelle had taken the time and the effort to get to know her through me.

And I couldn’t resist giving her a big hug as she finished.

Here’s the poem:

Happy Chrisday!

Chris, let’s make this YOUR day (as they all should be!)
And with garlands of lilacs and pinks around your neck
We’ll day trip to Whitby! And maybe Tahiti!
And write in pearls in the sand, YOU ARE LOVED!

That your kindness is spread as thick as strawberry jam
sandwiched between two freshly baked sponge cakes
Their round vanilla scent tickling bellies,
sustaining even those that can’t bite into their sweet riches

BUT FIRST! Our outfits must impress
To Debenhams – Nottingham’s magnetic fashion superstore
And from racks of lovingly stitched cotton and floaty lines
you’ll be dressed fresh as the summer breeze that you are.

Home-maker, lady magician of the kitchen,
Crafting joy from ordinary things, laughing out Mama Mia hits
Smile bigger than Ronan Keating’s bank balance
as you hide clothes pegs under fern leaves

Hucknall’s queen of generosity
Let’s make every day one for you
Best friend, best mum, best you

When I gave mum the poem,  it brought tears to her eyes too. She really loves it and continues to thank me for this beautifully unique gift of words.

Thank you so much to Michael, Michelle and all at The Poetry Takeaway – you gave us the gift of a smile during such a sad time, and for that I am eternally grateful.


Now, this is not intended to spoil this lovely tribute, but I feel inspired to write a little ditty of my own (apologies if anyone from the poetry world is reading this… you might want to look away now!).

Ok, here goes…

My Ode to The Poetry Takeaway

Oh Poetry Takeaway in a lovely van
created by one very clever man
My poet was the lovely Michelle
and I instantly gelled with this effervescent belle

I wanted a poem to cheer up my mum
unlike chocolates or flowers, this gift she could hum
To make her smile whenever she felt blue
a gift that says: ”Mum, I really love you”

Michelle asked me questions about my mum
all kinds of things that made my brain go numb
Mum’s life, loves and passions, her ideal day out
she got to know her well, of that there’s no doubt

The finished poem Michelle performed out loud
I enjoyed it so much, I really was wowed
My mum loved it too, it bought tears to her eyes
this gift from The Poetry Takeaway, the perfect surprise


Act of kindness #19: Library book messages

My town’s lovely 150 year old library reopened yesterday after 6 months of construction work.

Local library

I thought I’d celebrate by spreading a little kindness to strangers by sneakily hiding some kindness messages inside a few library books.

I had already written a mixture of messages on the backs of my kindness cards before I set off:


As I chose the books to hide the messages inside, including a couple on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I couldn’t help feeling happy and excited at the thought of surprising the next readers as they turn the page and come across the message.

I really hopes it makes them smile 🙂


ps If you found one of my messages, I’d love to hear from you ♡

Act of kindness #18: Kind news

I simply adore The Happy News, a newspaper dedicated to celebrating all that’s good in the world.

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The creation of graphic design graduate Emily Coxhead, this quality quarterly is jam-packed full of happy stories from all around the world, features on all things happy, and snippets of showbiz, travel, food and much more.

It also has a section to celebrate Everyday Heroes where readers can nominate a person, group or organisation for recognition and appreciation.

When I was ordering Issue #3, I saw that the very first issue was on offer and thought it’d be lovely opportunity to send a copy out to a few friends. I really wish I had the funds to send a copy to everyone I know, but I have to work with what I have.

I couldn’t wait for my Happy Newspapers to arrive through my door, so I could get them straight into the post. And when they arrived this week, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect what with all the crazy stuff going on in the world.

I wrote this message on my Kindness CardsI hope this brings you an abundance of smiley moments, and attached one to each newspaper.

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And as they wing their way around the country, I really hope it helps bring a few smiles to the receivers of The Happy News.


PS If you too are tired of all the negative news and want to be reminded of all that’s good in the world, you can order yourself a copy at

The Happy Newspaper

Being grateful for The Happy Newspaper:

I’ve been a BIG fan of The Happy News ever since a kind person sent me a copy a few months ago.

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In the words of its wonderful creator, graphic design graduate Emily Coxhead: “This is not your typical newspaper… The Happy Newspaper celebrates all that’s good in the world; a platform to share positive news and wonderful people.”

This quarterly newspaper guarantees smile after smile, page after page. And with issue #3 just out, it’s jam packed full of brilliant, positive, uplifting stories from all across the globe.

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It also has a lovely section which celebrates Everyday Heroes – where readers can nominate a person, group or organisation who make the world a little happier and, well quite frankly, deserve a little appreciation and a whole lot of love.

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Written by Emily and a host of kind contributors, there’s oodles more content around lifestyle, showbiz, travel, food and much more. All guaranteed to make you feel happy 🙂

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And as I was flicking through the latest issue, I was surprised and excited to come across an article written about little ol’ me:

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So if you too are tired of all the negative news and want to be reminded of all that’s good in the world – of which there really is an abundance –  go and order yourself a copy at

Currently only available online, Emily’s happy to post to anywhere in the world, and fingers crossed it soon rolls out into our newsagents so everyone can enjoy a quarterly dose of Happy News.

You could also, like me, buy a few copies to give to your friends (Issue #1 is currently only £1) and help spread a little happiness.

As negativity tends to dominate our news stands, it’s utterly refreshing and uplifting to read about the good things that are happening in the world.

And The Happy News really is a big beautiful breath of fresh, happy and positive air.