Being grateful for having clean sheets on my bed:
One of life’s simple pleasures.
Nanite, sweet dreams Xxx
One of life’s simple pleasures.
Nanite, sweet dreams Xxx
Today I am so happy to have visited one of my favourite localish places for nature: Attenborough Nature Reserve.
An award-winning eco-friendly visitor attraction managed by the wildlife trust, it covers 165 hectares and offers 9 miles of trails: it’s a very special place.
It feeds and nourishes my soul whenever I visit.
I’d love to be a regular visitor, but as it’s a half hour drive and over an hour to walk around the shortest trail, I haven’t felt well enough to go for a long time.
But today was the day.
Feeling truly grateful and blessed, I strolled along the Tufted Duck Nature Trail soaking up all the gorgeousness that Mother Nature has to offer.
It was such a treat to see a gathering of the webbed-feet variety, including an army of frolicking ducks, and swans gliding on the water with their growing cygnets. And it was another treat to witness the magnitude of a few hundred geese flying overhead.
As I wandered along the peace-filled open pathways, I breathed in the fresh air and soaked up the peekaboo playing sun from behind the dark, threatening clouds.
I marvelled at the sparkling sunshine dancing on the water, and wild heather bowing in the breeze as the wind rustled through the trees.
Experiencing a change of scenery, I meandered through the magical forest with the sporadic sunshine dappling through the trees.
As I paused on a little jetty at the waters’ edge, a pluto-esque puppy bounded towards me to say hello. Jumping up and almost knocking me into the water, the adorable pup left a giant footprint on my skirt and another one on my heart.
Along today’s soul stroll, I couldn’t help but leave a few of my Kindness Cards with messages for people to find: a couple on benches, a couple on the gate posts, and a couple in the cafe. Here’s hoping they brought a smile to other soul strollers.
I completed my visit the way I’d started: with a tea inside the Nature House, winner of the Gold award for eco-tourism. As I nosed around the shop, I managed to limit myself to an eco pen, for today anyway!
As I headed back to the car, I took a parting pause for reflection, for love, for gratitude: “Bye Bye Attenborough Nature Reserve and all your glorious beauty. I hope to see you again soon.”
So with this in mind, my happy for today is being mindful during a visit to Attenborough Nature Reserve.
Sunshine flowers swaying in the breeze,
Tuneful blackbirds perching in the trees.
Tranquil horses grazing on the green,
All of Mother Nature waiting to be seen.
I’m So Thankful.
Today I got to see my fave band play as they finally made their UK debut.
Nahko and Medicine for the People describe themselves as a musical collective with a mission “to be the motivation and inspiration for all that have become members of our Tribe.”
And they’ve been motivating and inspiring me ever since I first came across Nakho and MFTP at the Bali Spirit Festival over three years ago.
They blew me away.
It was one of the best live music performances I’ve ever seen. I immediately joined their Tribe and have been loving their music and their message ever since, waiting for a chance to see them again.
And today it finally came.
The last few days I’ve been coming down with a cold which has caused a flare up of CFS symptoms. For a time, I wondered if I’d feel well enough to go. I also knew that if I did go, I would spend days and days recovering.
But I was determined. I chose to accept the consequences. And boy was it worth pushing myself for.
I was already on Cloud Nahko Bear before the show. I was wandering looking for somewhere to eat and almost bumped into Nahko and Pato. Too shy to say anything, I saw them notice the pre-show meet up of UK Tribe members with signs propped up against the pub window. Nahko happily took a photo of them, and popped inside to say hello. I love how much they care about their fans, their Tribe.
I’d phoned the venue a few days ago to ask if there was somewhere I could watch the show a little out of the way of the main hub. They very kindly obliged by putting a stool for me at the front of the balcony and letting me into the venue early to take my place.
I had the best view in the house.
It was such a friendly, love-filled atmosphere as the UK Tribe members gathered ready for the show.
Nahko and MFTP didn’t disappoint. Seeing them live is an awe-inspiring, soul-empowering, light-filled experience.
Their music style is a mix of folk, rock, with some reggae-style vibes thrown in. Their lyrics are honest, heart-felt stories and strong spiritual messages of power and healing, with some truly inspiring affirmations:
“Each day that I wake, I will praise. Each day that I wake, I give thanks.”
“We are the ones… We’re a part of something special.”
“I believe in the good things coming”.
“Balance my chemistry, hydrate these cells. The body talks and meditation helps.”
“Now is all we have.”
Nahko Bear is a musical warrior of light. Seeing Nahko and Medicine for the People really is medicine for my soul.
I felt inspired to leave a few of my Kindness Cards (see Day 3) around the venue, spreading my own messages of love and kindness.
I’m so grateful I pushed myself to go, and it is so worth the aftermath of feeling like I’ve been hit by a bus as my CFS symptoms flare up big time.
But my spirit is still soaring. And that’s what counts.
So with this in mind, my happy for today is being grateful to see Nahko and Medicine for the People.
I can’t quite believe I’m already one third of the way through my ‘100 days of happy’ project.
I can honestly say that I’m glowing with happiness and gratitude from the inside out and that feels really amazing.
I’m thrilled that I’m managing to write most days, and grateful that I’ve given myself permission not to write if I don’t feel up it.
I noticed after the first couple of weeks that I was putting myself under too much pressure to post something every day; my CFS symptoms flared up and I had to take a break.
After I’d paused for a breath or two, I knew I needed to be gentler and kinder with myself. I accepted that it’s completely ok if I miss a day or two. And if I do, I’m comforted in that I still look for my happy during those days and instead of writing this blog, I write a couple of lines in my gratitude journal.
And that’s ok.
I’ve accepted that my blog doesn’t have to be perfect. I’ve accepted that I don’t have the time to edit and re-edit, again and again. And that sometimes my energy battery has just enough in it to write a few lines. I’ve decided I can revisit certain topics I’d like to expand on, after the 100 days.
I initially worried that what I wrote was a load of rubbish and not worthy of anyone else’s eyes. But then I realised it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.
And that’s ok too.
I’ve noticed how ‘100 days of happy’ project has already had a hugely positive impact on my state of mind:
I love doing my anonymous acts of kindness. It’s so much fun and if I can make the recipient smile, then that’s brilliant. If the recipient then pays it forward, what more can I ask for.
What I have found more challenging is being kind to strangers face-to-face. It’s pure ‘out of my comfort zone’ stuff. As I gently, and sometimes not so gently, nudge myself to do them, I feel so happy afterwards. That’s after I’ve got over my initial embarrassment of course. But I know this will get easier the more I do.
I’m also surprised by how kindness has come back to me in terms of others’ reactions to my kindness gestures. I hadn’t considered this before, and it’s a beautiful bonus.
All in all, I’m chuffed to bits that I thought of this project and started it. And here I am, 33 days on. I’m really looking forward to see what the next 67 days of happy will bring… and beyond.
So for today, my happy is being grateful for my happy days so far.
I debated whether to post today, as I have a cold and am feeling pretty yucky.
Having a compromised immune system means a flare up in my CFS symptoms whenever I catch a cold or virus. Although I can try to ward off the severity of my cold with a plethora of natural remedies, I’m also feeling incredibly drained and brain foggy today. And for that, only rest will do.
But through darkness, comes light. And my light today is six-year-old Callum.
It’s rare that I get to spend quality time with my eldest nephew. His younger brother is at our house two days a week, and Callum joins us after school on one of those days. It’s usually noisy and chaos as the brothers play and fight, and fight and play their way through those few hours.
But today it’s just Callum.
And to be able to mindful and present with just him is such a gift.
First, we tucked into his homework: telling the time. The concentration and focus on his face was just precious. But it was heart-breaking to see him get frustrated and upset when he couldn’t draw the arrow on the clock hands. I patiently encouraged him, and he seemed to cheer up.
Then it was time for fun.
We played his favourite (non-computer based!) game, Pocket Money Bingo, and it was heartwarming to see him happy and smiling again, all memories of arrow-gate forgotten. He moved onto solving a couple of mazes: I adore how much he loves doing these.
Then it was time for me to go upstairs to rest, and it was only half past nine in the morning! But I climbed into bed a happy Auntie and grateful for our precious time together.
So with this in mind, my happy for today is being mindful with my nephew Callum.
Time for another Act of Kindness.
Inspired by hiding messages in my returned library books last week (see Day 26), I wrote some messages on the back of my Kindness Cards (see Day 3) and decided to hide them around the city for people to discover.
It’s like a treasure hunt, but they don’t know there’s any treasure until they find it! Or something like that…
I set off into the city excited about my mission and began to think of all the places I could hide my messages. Here’s where I settled on:
Message 1: “Make the leap… it could be amazing 😊 Have a lovely day Xx”
Hid behind the sugar bowl on my table in a café.
Message 2: “You have a beautiful smile 😊 Have a lovely day Xx”
Stuck on the bathroom mirror in a café.
Message 3: “You are perfect, just as you are 😊 Have a lovely day Xx”
Popped inside the front pocket of a beautiful bag in a shop.
Message 4: “You are an incredible person 😊 Have a lovely day Xx”
Left on a bench in the city centre.
Message 5: “Everything will always be ok 😊 Have a lovely day Xx”
Placed inside the local paper on an article about Good Deeds!
Message 6: “You are truly loved, just as you are 😊 Have a lovely day Xx”
Also placed inside the local paper on an article about Good Deeds!
Message 7: “You don’t ever have to worry, it will be ok 😊 Have a lovely day Xx”
Left on the bus.
I also wrote this blog address on the card, just in case the finder wants to have a peek. Wouldn’t it be cool if they did, and even wrote a comment, oh my!
It’s true what they say about the giver benefits as much as the receiver. I hope I’ve helped to make a couple of people smile today, as much as I have while doing this fun Act of Kindness.
So with this in mind, my happy for today is being kind by hiding messages for people to discover.
I’ve always found the great outdoors to be a great healer.
Having to spend most of my time lying on my bed in my childhood bedroom, it’s such a blessing to be outside. And if it’s warm enough and dry enough, and I’m feeling well enough, you can usually find me sitting in the garden.
We are lucky to have a chorus of birdsong in our garden from dawn til dusk (although a 4:30am start is a little too early for me, take note feathered friends!).
Today, I felt privileged to be privy to a conversation between two blackbirds. One was perched on a branch, the other I couldn’t see but I could hear.
The birdsong went back and forth for a good 10 minutes or so. It sounded like they were having a good old chin wag and I thought how wonderful it would be if I could understand them.
Later this afternoon, a pigeon flew down to take a dip in our birdbath under 3 metres away from where I was sitting. It was a real delight to watch my feathered friend having such a great time. Splish, splash, splosh! I loved that he didn’t seem bothered by our close proximity.
Before I started practicing mindfulness, I was usually so wrapped up in my thoughts, I’d be completely unaware of these delightful sights and sounds.
Now, I have come to deeply appreciate the many benefits of being fully present with nature: it helps still my mind and brings me such joy.
So with that in mind, my happy for today is being mindful by listening to and watching the birds.
Thank golly for cauli.
I would never in a million years have believed that cauliflower would become one of my favourite veggies.
Up until quite recently, my experience of cauliflower was boiled or steamed and, to put it quite frankly, pretty bland.
Well, no more.
Now, I can’t get enough and even have bags of frozen grated cauliflower in the freezer for whenever it takes my fancy.
These flowery florets have recently had a makeover. A healthy, alternative to grain and gluten, it can seriously tantalise those taste buds. And getting creative with this cruciferous is the key to making all the difference.
I now replace rice with rice-size cauliflower pieces for veggie-powered fried rice, risotto or paella on a regular basis.
And I was amazed to hear you could use it as a pizza crust. The first time I made it, I was pretty sceptical and fully prepared to chuck it and settle for some toast.
But oh my, how my taste buds jumped for joy at the result.
And it’s quick and easy to make too.
Simply grate some cauli, a food processor can do the job in seconds, stir in ground almonds – although I’ve also made it to great success without – mix in an egg, salt and pepper. Good to go.
Grease some grease-proof paper with coconut oil, as I find the base can stick. Flatten the ‘dough’ mixture into a pizza shape of your choice. I make it pretty thin, around 5mm, and bake until it starts to go brown.
Now comes the fun and creative part. Spread your choice of sauce – I prefer pesto – over the base, top with cheese and whatever toppings take your fancy.
Pop back in the oven until the cheese has melted and there you have it: a grain and gluten-free pizza that tastes sensational.
I know for anyone that hasn’t yet tried this yet, it sounds pretty crazy. But trust me, try it and see.
So with this in mind, my happy for today is being grateful for cauliflower pizza.
I’m pretty wiped out after the last couple of days and my brain fog is in full swing.
But this moment made my heart almost burst, and I just had to post today’s happy.
As my three-year-old nephew arrived this morning to spend the day with us, he came up to me to say hello and show me his new hair cut.
Then he looked at me, his little face full of earnest, and said:
“Auntie Helen, you’re my best friend.”
A gorgeously sweet moment to treasure.
So with this in mind, my happy for today is being grateful for melty heart moments.