Day 61: A 270mph selfie

Being grateful for saying YES to a high-speed selfie:

Today I was excited for my first Artist’s Date in the city in a while: brunch and the flicks.

After brunch and a little bit of shopping, I was already feeling a bit fatigued. Thankfully I had some time before my film started, so I decided to sit in the Market Square and enjoy the sunshine.

I choose a place as far away as possible from the big white tent set up at one end of the Square. It was ablaze with Virgin Media banners, and teeming with marketing folk.

As I was quietly basking in the midday sun, a couple of said Virgin Media folk approached me and asked if I wanted a ‘high-speed selfie’.

I automatically shook my head. Partly due to my introverted shyness and partly due to cynicism; surely it was just a marketing ploy to get my details and bombard me with marketing material for years to come.

They got chatting to two tram drivers behind me who were on a break, and described how they could go into a booth and have a high-speed wind blown at their faces while having their photos taken. The bus drivers were game and were led over to the tent.

Hmmmmmmm… I was intrigued.

My adventurous side awakened, my sense of fun sparked.

Why not? I thought to myself.

How often would I get this opportunity? Would I get to the end of the day and regret not doing it? Why not just go and see what it’s all about?

So I wandered over to the tent and after a quick chat with one of the Virgin folk, I decided to go for it.

And I’m so glad I did, it was so much fun.

I took a seat and the wind machine began, starting gently and then quickly reaching its full power of 270mph.

What a blast!

It literally took my breath away.

It reminded me of my skydiving experiences, without the gorgeous view or sexy instructor strapped to my back, of course 😉

After 30 seconds it was all over, and I waited for my photos to be emailed to me and printed off. I know they’re not the most flattering of pics to be revealing to the world, but I think they’re just hilarious and wanted to share them for that reason alone.

I knew today was going to be a tiring day, and it was made even more so by this little unexpected adventure. But I’m really proud of myself for venturing out of my comfort zone, and I’m very, very happy I said YES!!

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being grateful for saying YES to a high-speed selfie.

Day 60: Juicylicious

Being grateful for Jason Vale’s 5 day juice cleanse:

I’ve been juicing for five years and it’s honestly changed my life.

I’d been a pretty unhealthy eater up until that point. But when a dear friend introduced me to juicing, it was a revelation.

It opened my eyes to the goodness of fresh produce and the benefits of clean eating. I particularly love how much clearer my mind is and how much more energy I have when I cut out the crap food.

The effervescent Jason Vale, aka the ‘Juicemaster’, runs a free ‘Big Juice Challenge’ online four times a year. I have the ‘5lbs in 5 Days’ app which contains shopping lists, recipes and much needed coaching videos. But you also get these via email, once you’ve signed up.

Each day there’s a ‘behind the scenes’ video of Jason to cheer us on and he gives shout outs to some of the 30,000+ folk from 128 countries who’ve also signed up.

His enthusiasm is really contagious, he keeps me inspired and motivated, and he gets me through any wobbly moments. I’m also spurred on by my fellow juicers and hearing of their progress and success.

I try to take part in each ‘Big Juice Challenge’ throughout the year, as it works as a reset button.

And I really needed it this time.

There’s a lot of temptation around me, for foods that I crave but aren’t good for me. And sometimes I just don’t have the energy or the willpower to ignore them.

I do know that when I eat clean – which for me means, no sugar, wheat or cow dairy – I feel much lighter in my body and brighter in my mind.

But with the fluctuating nature of my CFS condition and symptoms, I find I frequently fall off the clean wagon and it can be hard to climb back on.

So I’ve decided to eat clean for twelve weeks, which will take me up to Christmas. I’m curious to see how much of a difference it makes to my CFS symptoms.

I started last week, and by Monday was itching to begin Jason Vale’s 5 day juice cleanse.

And it’s been brilliant.

I’m chuffed to bits with the results: I’ve reset my taste buds, I feel lighter and brighter, and I’ve shed 4lbs (1.8kgs).

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being grateful for Jason Vale’s 5 day juice cleanse.

Day 59: Twinkle twinkle

Being grateful for my nephew singing to me in bed:

Another heart melty moment from my three-year-old nephew Thomas today.

We’d had a fun short but full-on playtime, and I needed bed rest as I’ve been feeling extra wiped out recently.

Mamma told Thomas to come out of my room to let me rest for a bit, telling him: “Auntie Helen’s feeling poorly.”

“Are you feeling poorly, Auntie Helen?” he asked ever so sweetly, as he gently put his hand on my heart.

As I climbed into bed, he refused to leave the room. Determined to stay with me, he joined me in bed promising mamma he was going to be quiet (😳!).

As we snuggled in, he pulled the duvet over our heads and started to softly sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”.

It was the sweetest thing and made my heart burst with love.

What another precious moment to treasure.

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being grateful for my nephew singing to me in bed.

Day 57: Sisterly spa

Being grateful, kind and mindful on Spa Monday:

How wonderful that today’s happy covers being kind, mindful and grateful:

Being grateful for my Spa Monday:

I love going to spas. I adore their blissful calm serenity.

For me, spending a day at a spa is a complete escape from the stresses and strains of everyday life. It’s a wonderful opportunity to take a breath or two and soak up the therapeutic benefits they can offer.

I used to treat myself to a spa day every once in a while, especially when I lived in Germany… but that’s another story!

With my current health and financial challenges, it’s something I’ve not been able to do for quite some time. So this opportunity to go with my sister was very welcome indeed.

Being kind by treating my sister (and myself!) to a spa day:

As it was a special birthday for my sister recently, I thought it would be a real treat for her to enjoy a day of pampering. With two energetic little boys, a busy husband, and a job, she doesn’t get much time to herself, so I thought a few hours away from it all would be appreciated. And I’m happy to say it was.

As well as use of the pool, steam room and sauna – and gym but we ummmm “forgot” out kits, ahem –  the package included a spa treatment and a beauty treatment. YES! We both chose a back massage and a pedicure, my sis’ tootsies were painted a rich plum, while I opted for sparkly pink.

I also thought it’d be the perfect opportunity to spend some relaxing sisterly time together. It’s something we rarely have the chance to do. And with mum and dad kindly agreeing to pick up and look after the boys from nursery and school, we could make the most of our blissful day.

Being mindful by being present during the spa time and treatments:

I really wanted to concentrate on experiencing every precious moment of this special day, and tried to keep myself in the present moment as much as possible.

As I gently swam a few laps in the pool, I noticed how my body felt and moved in the water. And in the sauna and steam room, I focused on how my body responded to the sudden changes of temperature and environment.

Interesting, it was during the first treatment, a heavenly back massage, when my mind started to wander off on its little ownsome. But as soon as I became aware of this, I gently brought my mind back to the room and my deliciously soothing massage. Ah, such bliss.

I was also mindful with my sister as we were able both to give each other our full attention, without little munchkins tugging at her sleeve or distracting iPhones at the ready. And it was also lovely to laze on the hotel bar’s squishy, comfy sofa , enjoying a relaxing cuppa and chat before setting off back home.

A few hours on, and I’m still floating on cloud nine…

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being grateful, kind and mindful on Spa Monday.

Day 55: Recuperate, recover and recharge

Being mindful of being gentle and kind with myself as I recuperate, recover and recharge:

The last few weeks have been pretty challenging for me, both physically and emotionally.

A few big social events, mixed with some emotional turbulence, and sprinkled with tensions at home, have triggered a flare up of my CFS symptoms.

It’s not surprisingly really.

I also lost my footing on my happy trail for a while. Thankfully I still looked for my happy, and have been writing in my gratitude journal,  but I just haven’t felt like writing my ‘100 days of happy’ blog.

I felt myself spiralling down and letting old negative thought patterns resurface.

And that’s ok because life is full of ups and downs, twists and turns, and squiggly bits. But it’s how we respond to them that’s important.

As Oprah Winfrey asks: “Do you react to an obstacle as a negative, or do you embrace it as an opportunity to respond with the open-hearted knowledge that all will be well?”

So I’m giving myself permission to take as much time as I need to gently navigate my way through this and get myself back on track.

I’m focusing on being kind and gentle with myself. I’m calling on my healing tools to help get me through. And I know that this too shall pass and that all will be well.

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being mindful of being gentle and kind with myself as I recuperate, recover and recharge.

Day 53: Edo and Jo

Being grateful for the music and love of Edo and Jo:

I’m feeling deeply sad to have woken up to the news that Jo Mall Khan, half of the mantra music duo Edo and Jo, has left this earth following a recent cancer diagnosis.

Jo was such a bright shining light and gift to the world. I am so grateful to have been touched by her light, beauty and presence.

Her partner in both life and music Edo, has taken the time to share Jo’s illness and last precious moments so beautifully on their Facebook page. In her last few hours, Jo was surrounded by her loved ones chanting the sacred Sanskrit mantra Om Namo Narayani – meaning ‘I surrender to the divine’.

Their story and music has been such an inspiration to me.

They met on the beautiful island of Bali at a yoga retreat six years ago, and have been together sharing musical, yogic and humanitarian adventures ever since, dividing their time between Sydney, Bali and India.

The love they felt for each other was palpable (and still gives me hope!). And their music, their performances, and their dedication to conscious living and seva (selfless service) reflected this.

I first joined them for kirtan in a yoga studio in Manly, Sydney in 2011. As their beautiful melodic music filled the room, my heart filled with peace, joy and love.

Seeing them perform was always such a special love-filled experience. Jo’s angelic voice and divine flute playing, combined with their obvious devotion to each other, left me basking in bliss for days afterwards.

Shortly after hearing the news this morning, I took myself on a soul stroll as I wanted to reflect on Jo’s passing, and all the wonderful things she brought to my life and to others around the world.

I felt her presence all around: I felt her in the grass, the trees, the fallen leaves, the birdsong, the flowing brook, and the gentle breeze. And perhaps most of all, I felt her presence in the white feather that slowly fluttered down in front of me.

I’m feeling SOOOOOOOO grateful for the gift Edo and Jo have shared with the world. Their music and their love will continue to inspire me.

Om Namo Narayani ✨🙏✨

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being grateful for the music and love of Edo and Jo.


NB if you’d like to listen to some of their music, I suggest starting with Siddhi Buddhi (Bliss) and Gayatri

Day 50: Family dinner

Being grateful for family meal times and mum’s fish pie:

I love my mum’s fish pie.

Since giving up most meat (ok, ok, I’m still a sucker for a bacon sandwich!) fish pie has replaced lasagna as my favourite meal made by my mum.

Featuring cod, smoked haddock, salmon and prawns smothered in a white sauce, the mix is topped with mashed potatoes and a generous sprinkling of cheese. It’s the ultimate comfort food, and is served with some steamed veggies.

Thursday night is our big family dinner tonight, with my sister, brother-in-law and two little nephews joining mum, dad, and me. Since I’m not a meat eater, it’s the only meal we can all enjoy together. Most weeks, when mum makes a roast dinner – which she does even in the middle of summer! –  I replace the meat part with a homemade vegetable burger. Or I have something entirely different.

But when it’s fish pie, we all eat the same. And that feels nice.

I really appreciate our family time together, even if it does get a little bit hectic at times. But it’s a happy hectic and I don’t mind that I feel so wiped out afterwards.

It’s moments like these I will always treasure, and will miss once I’m well enough to move on.

It’s sad how family sitting around the dinner table eating together is a dying tradition. It’s not surprising with how busy life can be, but I think it’s a lovely way to catch up on everyone’s day and enjoy some quality time together.

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being grateful for family meal times and my mum’s fish pie.

Day 48: My folks

Being grateful for my parents:

I’ve taken to doing the lotto at the weekends. I can’t help but see it as a big waste of money, but then you’ve gotta be in it to win it as they say!

And I’m an eternal optimist!!

Anyway, last week I got 3 numbers and was chuffed to bits with my £25 win.

Giddy with my winnings, I thought I’d use some of it to show my parents how grateful I am.

I’ve been living back in the family home ever since I became ill with ME/CFS.

And two and a half years on, I’m still here.

What a lucky girl I am to be able to have a safe home to live in while I recover, and to have my parents’ love and support – it really means the world to me.

I know it’s not easy on my folks. And for anyone who’s lived at home as an adult will know it’s not an ideal situation for any of us. But we are doing the best we can.

And I am really, really grateful.

So today I made a special ‘Thank you’ card and bought them a beautiful bunch of flowers.

thank you flowers and card

It’s not much but I know they’ll appreciate the gesture which comes from my ever grateful heart.

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being grateful to my parents for letting me live back at home while I recover from ME/CFS.

Day 45: Turbo Thomas Time

Being grateful for turbo Thomas time:

I. Am. Exhausted.

But, very happy.

Due to the recent family holidays, today was the first time we’ve looked after my three-year-old nephew in four weeks.

And I’d forgotten what a tornado Thomas can be.

He’s just started going to nursery in the mornings, so we now only have him from noon, with his older brother Callum arriving after school at 3:30pm.

After an hour or so inside with his Granddad, Thomas came out to join me in the garden, and it was time for some serious fun.

In the short space of around 45 minutes we covered: chalk art on the patio; hopscotch – going up to 28 under Thomas’ strict instructions, we’d have gone much further if the garage door hadn’t got in the way; blowing and catching bubbles; chasing his own shadow; and running fast around and around and around in circles with me chanting ‘Go Thomas!”.


I was thankful for a short break while he devoured one of my healthy ice creams (made with banana, strawberry, milk and love).

I was left feeling completely wiped out, but I loved every single minute of it.

I know I need to pace myself better next week, as I was too wiped out to play with Callum but thankfully I did manage some quiet reading time with him.

I adore these precious moments with my nephews, and make sure I give myself over to them during play time. I’m always conscious about being completely present with them (see Day 22 for more on this). I wholeheartedly believe it’s the biggest gift I can give them and I know they appreciate it as much as I do.

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being grateful for turbo playtime with Thomas.



Day 44: Book heaven

Being grateful for my local library:

Hello, my name is Helen and I am a bookworm 😊

Ever since falling in love with reading at a young age, settling down with a good book has been one of my favourite pastimes. In fact, English Literature classes were my favourite times at school, and was my chosen subject for ‘A’ Level and undergraduate degree.

I find being able to completely escape into a different world simply magical.

And I especially adore it when I connect with a character or two – Precious Romatswe of The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series, is one of my all time favourites. For me, one of the signs of a good book is missing the characters long after I’ve read the last page.

It was my current financial constraints which initially forced me to seek out my local library and I’m so happy it did! I’ve rediscovered what an amazing gift libraries are to the community, and have realised just how lucky we are to have such a wonderful free public service here in the UK.

My local library was built in 1886, and there’s something so soothing about this charming building. A world away from the hustle and bustle, it’s an oasis of calm. And there’s something so magical about stepping into this sacred space filled to the brim with stories and adventures.

I love slowly perusing the shelves in search of a new title. And as I grab a handful of potentials, I sit in one of the little chairs tucked away in the library’s nooks and crannys to read the first pages to see if I want to read on.

As well as loaning books, CDs and DVDs, libraries run book clubs, kids clubs, talks, and so many other community programmes giving us plenty of reasons to use them more.

And with our libraries under threat, I do so wish they were more appreciated and utilised more to help keep this wonderful service alive.

And of course, whenever I return books I can’t resist hiding a message on one of my Kindness Cards inside for the next borrower to find.

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being grateful for my local library.