More days of happy: Celebrating Thomas

Being mindful of being the best Auntie I can be:

Living back in my childhood home while I heal and recover from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, one of the things I am most grateful for is being able to spend time with my young nephews.

They are such a joy to be around.

And I am grateful for how they are both a constant reminder to live fully in the present moment.

When I spend time with each one of the little munchkins, I make sure that I fully engage with him, giving him my full attention. I believe this to be one of the most important gifts you can give a child. Well actually, I think it’s one of the most important gifts you can give anyone. But anyway…

The bite-size chunks of time I spend with them – before I get too tired and have to go and rest – is really precious, and has become an essential part of my healing journey.

They make me smile, they make me laugh, they make my heart melt, and they make my heart sing.

Today is my Thomas’ 4th birthday. (It took some convincing for him to be happy with turning four, as he really wanted to be five, but we all convinced him that being four is the BEST).

His mummy and daddy took the day off work to take him and his older brother to a farm park for a day of hardcore play. And we were invited round later for birthday dinner and cake, as the little birthday boy clutched his Teddy and fought to keep his eyes open. Bless him.

I’d made him a special birthday card, a photo collage in the shape of a number four filled with memories of the last year.

Thomas' 4th birthday card

Pressie wise, I’d bought him the Stick Man book and DVD. Over Christmas, I’d recorded the BBC adaptation of this adorable story about a happy-go-lucky Stick Man who tries to find his way back to his family in the treehouse, having many adventures along the way.

Thomas absolutely loves it and we look out for Stick Man whenever we go on a soul stroll by the brook. I wrote a little story about our own adventure and stuck it inside the book.

Stick Man story
On the days my parents look after Thomas, we have moments of such fun and I deeply treasure the bond we’ve formed.

He has a beautiful caring side too. Yesterday as I was resting in bed, he came in to see me. He said he wanted to make me feel better and so climbed into my bed and snuggled up to me, wrapping both arms around me: it worked.

Later, he discovered emoticons on my iPhone and when my phone ‘died’, he said he’d go to the phone shop in his “super fast shoes” to buy me a new one. He even got his money box out and headed to the front door. I managed to stop him and we spent the next half hour happily playing imaginary phone shop (if only I really could buy the new iPhone for 14p 🙂 ).

There’s so many precious moments to treasure with both my nephews, and I hope they’ll be many many more.

Happy 4th Birthday Sweet Thomas
Xxx

♡☆♡

More days of happy: Birthday Princess 👸🏼

Being grateful for celebrating another birthday:

I love birthdays. I really do love them.

I know some people prefer to hide under the duvet when it’s their turn to become one year older, but I am a self-proclaimed Birthday Princess 👸🏼 and think it’s a day to celebrate and to feel special.

Birthdays are the perfect opportunity to celebrate being who we are. After all, the whole idea of them is to acknowledge the day we were born.

Our lives are definitely worth celebrating. But how often do we really truly celebrate?

Not enough in my book.

There is only one of each of us. And they’ll only ever be one of us. How amazing is that! I think that’s something worth celebrating for starters.

I actually believe we’re all worth celebrating every single day of the year, but let’s start slowly and surely…

Birthdays are our very own special day and we can choose to celebrate them however we like.

Whether it’s a party or an intimate dinner, a pampering spa day or a shop til you drop day, a day trip out or a quiet day in with our nearest and dearest, it’s different for everyone, but that’s what it’s all about isn’t it.

Some of my most memorable birthdays have involved travelling, something I really love to do. I’ve turned a year older in incredible places like New York, Sydney and Bali.

But I also treasure birthdays spent with my family, or a close friend or two. One of my most treasured was going for a walk with my family in an historic country park and it started snowing: it was magical.

However we choose to celebrate, acknowledge and appreciate our special day, it’s important not to feel selfish or guilty.

Which is very useful when it comes to me indulging my sweet tooth.

It’s also important for me to be grateful for the gift of another year. I make sure I take the time to reflect on the past year; feeling grateful for everything that was, and learning from the challenges I’ve faced. And I also spend time thinking about how I’d like my new year ahead to be: my hopes, dreams, wishes and intentions.

So every year on the 29th of March, I try my best to have a joy-filled birthday; a day where I can have my cake, and eat it too!

☆♡☆

 

Act of kindness #8: Birthday giveaway

Being kind by giving away Kindness Cards for my birthday:

Today is my birthday. And to celebrate, I’m giving away some of my Kindness Cards.

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All you have to do is message me your name and address either by leaving me a comment below or sending me a message on my ‘Spreading a little kindness’ Facebook page (your details won’t be published or made public).

Here are a few ideas of what you can do with your Kindness Cards:

1. Write an uplifting message on the back – my favourites are: You are AMAZING; You have a beautiful smile; You are perfect, just as you are –  and leave the Kindness Cards for a stranger to find. My favourite spots include: on the bus or a bench; on a bathroom or changing room mirror; on a lamppost; or inside a library book.
2. Pay for an extra coffee and ask your barista to choose the recipient and pass on the Kindness Card with ‘Enjoy this coffee on me’ written on the back
3. Attach the Kindness Card to a chocolate bar and place it on a work colleague’s desk or post through a neighbour’s door
4. Pop some money into a vending machine or parking meter and stick your Kindness Card to the machine with ‘Enjoy free parking on me’ or ‘Enjoy a free snack on me’
5. Attach the Kindness Card to a bunch of flowers and give them to a stranger in the street

Or simply keep them in your pocket to hand out whenever you have an opportunity to randomly do something thoughtful and kind.

And I’d really really love you to hear how you’ve used the cards: why not tell us about your Kindness Acts on my Facebook page, or write about them in a comment below. By sharing your story, you’ll inspire others.

I hope you have fun spreading a little kindness!

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More days of happy: 7 things I love about March

Being grateful for the month of March:

It’s finally here: one of my favourite months of the year. 

I woke up feeling pretty excited this morning. And after making sure the first words I spoke were “white rabbits, white rabbits, white rabbits” to bring good luck for this shiny new month, I couldn’t wait to turn the page of my wall calendar and say a big fabulous Hello! to March.

Here are my top 7 reasons why I love this marvellous month:

1.    Spring is here
After the cosy hibernation of the long winter months, there’s a delicious scent of fresh starts in the air.  As spring arrives, I feel myself going through a metamorphosis and am ready to spread my wings.

2.    Mother Nature in bloom
After the barren tones of winter, it’s such a joy to spot lush green leaves sweeping over the bare branches and bright colourful flowers popping up everywhere. I’ve already been excitedly spotting snowdrops, daffodils, crocuses, and even some early spring blossom. Bring it on!

3.     Dawn chorus
As migrating birds begin to return and year-round birds start singing for mates, it’s such a treat to hear the skies come alive with the sound of morning birdsong and I continue to enjoy their joyful tunes all day long.

4.     Lighter longer days
Hooray for longer and lighter days as we head towards Daylight Savings. Waking up to an earlier sunrise and enjoying a later sunset is an instant mood booster and I love that it starts to bring people outside once again.

5.    Warmer temperatures
As we leave behind the winter chill for the warmer days of spring, I’m always relieved to shed my heavy winter coat, hat, scarf and gloves, as well as the winter blues. I love being able to get out into nature so much more, feeling lighter and brighter with a spring in my step.

6.     Easter
As well as enjoying the 4-day holiday and treasured family time, I have to confess I do look forward to lifting my year-round ban on sugar to enjoy a yummy Easter Egg and a Hot Cross Bun or two.

7.    My birthday
There are a fair few celebrations in March: birthdays, anniversaries, and Mother’s Day to name a few. And the excitement builds to my birthday which falls on the 29th. I’m happy to admit I’m a real Birthday Princess and think birthdays are a wonderful opportunity to do something really lovely – the CFS condition has made this a challenge over the last few years, but I still try to enjoy this special day.

So these are my favourite things about March. What do you love about March? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below…

Day 67: Callum’s 7th birthday

Being mindful of being a good Auntie to Callum on his birthday, and beyond:

My mum always spoils us on our birthdays. My sister and I grew up feeling extra special on our birthdays as mum showered us with her love and kindness, and she still does.

And I still love being a birthday princess a few decades on 🙂

I also like to spoil my loved ones on their birthdays too.

Today is my nephew Callum’s 7th birthday and even though I’m unable to shower him with extravagant gifts, I can shower him with my love and attention, and try to be the best Auntie I can be.

We FaceTimed him this morning before school to sing Happy Birthday, and it was lovely to see him looking so happy and excited.

Later, after Mum had picked the birthday boy up from school, he excitedly tore open our pressies. I’d also made him a special birthday card, creating a number 7 filled with lots of photos of him. I was over the moon at his reaction when he first saw the card: “WOW” he exclaimed wide-eyed and open-mouthed. And I got another WOW when he turned over to see more photos of him I’d printed on the back. Bless.

Callum 7th birthday card

As the rest of the family arrived, we played a variety of games, being mindful to let the birthday boy choose which ones, and I even attempted a game of ping-pong with his new table tennis kit. He proudly showed us his main pressie, an amazing robot. The remote-controlled Robosapien dances, burps, does karate, kicks and speaks fluent caveman among other things. It was especially funny to see his younger brother Thomas dancing along.

Callum's robot

We ordered a Chinese meal as Callum adores Chicken Chow Mein and Prawn Toast. As we all went to sit at the table, I asked Callum where he wanted to sit: “Next to you” came his reply. Heart-melt moment. Then, as Thomas arrived, he had a tantrum as he wanted to sit next to me. So after a bit of shuffling, I was the proud Auntie sandwiched between my two munchkin nephews.

After dinner it was time to blow out the candles on his birthday cake: a fabulous Ninja Turtle cake with candles shaped in the number ‘7’.

Ninja Turle cake

Soon after, it was time for Auntie Helen to go home and rest up, as I was feeling exhausted and also still suffering with my cold symptoms.  I feel really happy that Callum has enjoyed his birthday celebrations and is looking forward to going bowling with some friends on Sunday.

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being mindful of being a good Auntie to Callum on his birthday, and beyond.