Happy 2nd Blog-aversary!

Being grateful for my 2 year blog-aversary:

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It’s been two years since I took a big deep breath and clicked ‘publish’ on my first ever post.

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The butterflies were dancing around in my tummy as I finally let myself start this exciting new chapter in my healing journey.

And I could not have imagined how brilliant a journey it’s been so far.

I started writing maketodayhappy.co.uk to do just that by finding the happy in the everyday little things.

Of course, it’s not always easy: there are times when I feel too crap to care. But I gently and kindly let myself feel whatever I’m feeling, knowing that this too shall pass. And then when I’m ready to pick myself up and start again, I look for the little things in my everyday life to be happy about – usually starting with the bed I’m lying in, the curtains that keep the light out, my lovely mum for bringing me cups of tea.

I know it may sound a bit cheesy, but writing this blog has truly been life changing.

Writing about being grateful inspires me to be more grateful. It helps me to notice all the wonderful things I have to be grateful for, even if I’ve had to spend the day in bed because of a symptom flare-up.

Writing about being mindful helps me stay in the present moment more often (it’s still a work-in-progress, but I’m getting better and better at it). It helps me to not get so caught up in my symptoms or the uncertainty around my health and future.

And writing about being kind inspires me to keep spreading a little more kindness whenever and wherever I can. I had no idea how much being a little kinder would have a positive impact on how I feel: kindness really does help the giver as much as the receiver in my experience.

I also had absolutely no idea that my Kindness Calendars would reach so many beautiful people, all around our beautiful planet. My Kindness Advent Calendar post has received an astonishing 1.3 million visitors, which is mind-blowingly fantastic! I would have been on cloud nine just to know I’ve helped inspired one person to do one extra act of kindness! Thinking about everyone who took part – and continues to do so with my monthly Kindness Calendars – fills my heart with such gratitude.  You truly are AMAZING.

Some of my most popular posts over these last two years are:
1. My Kindness Calendar posts
2. Act of kindness #23: World Kindness Day Goody Bags
3. 100 Days of Happy: Day 4: Soul stroll
4. 100 Days of Happy:  Day 71: Yoga every damn day!
5. 100 Days of Happy: Day 87: You’ve been RACK’ed!
6. More Days of Happy: Hello Summer, is that you?
7. More Days of Happy: ME/CFS Awareness Day

Two years on and the butterflies are still there when I click ‘publish’. And to be honest, I never want them to go away, as it shows how much I still care. I love the excitement and trepidation I feel when I write and publish a post.

I’ve really missed writing the last couple of months due to the debilating vertigo and headaches. And I really can’t wait to start writing more posts once I’m well enough.

Finally, I’d like to say a huge THANK YOU to you for reading my posts. I love hearing from you and truly, madly, deeply appreciate each and every one of your kind comments – they really do inspire me to keep going. Thank you for being the lovely person that you are.

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See you soon,
Love and hugs, Helen Xxx

Act of kindness #31: Birthday Giveaway

Today is my birthday, hooray!

And to celebrate, I’m giving away 3 copies of ‘The Kindness Diaries: One Man’s Quest to Ignite Goodwill and Transform Lives Around The World’*  by Leon Logothetis.

29th Kindness Diaries Bday Giveaway

It’s also my little way of saying a big THANK YOU for all your kindness and support, it really means a lot.

For your chance to win, simply comment on this post.

That’s it 🙂

To double your chances and get TWO entries, finish this sentence in the comments:

“Kindness is __________”

The winners – one each from here, my ‘Spreading a little kindness’ Facebook community page, and on Twitter – will be chosen at random on Friday and posted in the comments below.

Please make sure you’ve subscribed to my blog, so I can contact you if you’re a winner.

Good luck my lovelies.

☆♡☆

The Kindness Diaries is an inspiring true story of how Leon Logothetis “circumnavigated the globe on his vintage yellow motorbike Kindness One, giving life changing gifts along the way to unsuspecting good Samaritans. All of this whilst relying on the kindness of strangers. The Kindness Diaries will introduce you to a world of adventure, renew your faith in the bonds that connect people, and inspire you to accept and generate kindness in your own life.”

Kindness Calendar – March 2017

Does anyone else feel like we’re galloping though this year? While I try to live in the present moment, I can’t help but feel a tad taken aback that March is already here!

But I’m very happy as March is one of my favourite months of the year.

I’m especially delighted that it means winter is almost behind us and spring is on its way.  I’ve been hunting for signs of spring on my soul strolls for a while now, and am rejoicing at seeing the daffs and the crocuses brightening up my neighbourhood.

I’m also thankful the days are becoming lighter and longer. It’s lovely waking up to see some pretty stunning sunrises, as I can now see the early morning sun rising from the comfort on my very own bed.

Yes, there’s definitely a sense of spring in the air and everyone seems to have a little more spring in their step.

Hooray!

And I also love that March is my birthday month. I’m a self-confessed Birthday Princess – and urge everyone else to be one too (or a Birthday Prince of course!).

After all, aren’t we worth celebrating!

I love having birthday adventures and enjoy plotting how I can celebrate being on our beautiful Earth for another year.  My most memorable birthday adventures include a helicopter ride over the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon, being on a yoga retreat in spiritual Bali, and turning thirty in New York City was pretty special too.

But obviously with the limitations that having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome brings, my birthdays have been a lot more low key recently, but no less enjoyable – just in a different way. And nothing really beats having my young munchkin nephews gleefully singing Happy Birthday and then “helping” me blow out all the candles 🙂

And so with this new month approaching, I’ve been busily working on March’s Kindness Calendar over the last few days. And I’m pretty excited to include a few ideas from some wonderful folk from my ‘spreading a little kindness’ Facebook community.

A big thank you to everyone who’s contributed. I’ve saved a couple for next month, so keep an eye out if you can’t spot yours in this month’s calendar! Please do keep them coming as I’m always delighted to hear your ideas, suggestions and any favourites you may have.

Ok, here’s my Kindness Calendar for March 2017:

Kindness Calendar March 2017

And you can download it for free here:

Kindness Calendar – March 2017

As always, I try to make the acts on my Kindness Calendars quick, easy and cheap (well, mostly free actually). So anyone and everyone can join in.

You may want to mix it up and swap the acts around, adapt the acts to suit you, or even create your own kindness acts. And don’t worry if you can’t do an act of kindness every single day, sometimes it’s just not possible as I know too well with the nature of my CFS flare ups.

But even if every one of us manages to do just one kindness act on one day this month – imagine how amazing that would be!

Again, it would be really brilliant and deeply appreciated if you could share this with family, friends, work colleagues, classmates… and share all over social media. 🙂

Every single extra act of kindness counts, together we are making the world a kinder place. So let’s get as many people as we can involved.

And don’t forget to join me on my kindness community page on Facebook, or Twitter and if you post about your kindness act, please use the hashtag #KindnessCalendar so we can all keep track of all the wonderful kindness we are sharing.

Let’s have fun, and let’s remember to be kinder to ourselves as well, we are definitely worth it!

Have a Magnificent March and thank you so much for your kindness.

☆♡☆

Kindness Calendar – March 2017

A Little Note to my Lovely Email Subscribers:
I’m so sorry the link to download the calendar on my email didn’t work. Eeeek!! I’m trying a new download tool and for some reason, it didn’t want to be included in the email! And I didn’t know until it was too late. I’ll hopefully be able to work out the problem for next month’s calendar. Thank you for your patience and understanding ♡

Act of Kindness #29: Free chocolate, anyone?

Happy Random Act of Kindness (RAK) Day!

Today, I wanted to do something a little bit more special, while still taking into consideration the limitations of my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS).

And so I decided to hand out a few chocolate bars to strangers in the street!

As my budget is also very limited, I thought I’d email a few of the larger confectionary companies to see if they’d be happy to help me by donating a few bars.

Unfortunately, I still haven’t heard back from them… but I imagine they must receive lots of requests like mine.

I also asked my kind-hearted local Co-op Foods as they’ve given members of our local community – including lucky ole me!- goody bags filled with lovely things around Christmas-time.

I was thrilled when they said YES!

And I was over-the-moon when they delivered 88 bars of their yummy chocolate (and it really is yummy if you haven’t already discovered it!).

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Then a big-hearted friend said she would donate £50 of her own hard-earned cash to buy chocolate bars with. And on behalf of RAK Day, I simply couldn’t refuse her kind offer.  (THANK YOU my lovely!)

And believe me when I tell you I had a LOT Of fun choosing which choccies to buy and couldn’t believe my eyes when I loaded up my trolley with 205 bars – thanks to a brilliant offer on at the supermarket!

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This makes an incredible, grand total of 300 chocolate bars for my RAK Day giveaway.

WooHoooo!!

I wanted to attach one of my kindness cards to each bar, explaining what the give-away was all about. And I’m so thankful for my lovely mum for helping me write them and then attach them to the bars.

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We couldn’t believe it when we filled up the rucksack-on-wheels my sis lent me for the occasion. And then filled up half a carrier bag too!!

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This morning, I recruited the much-needed and deeply appreciated help of my lovely mum and 8 yr-old nephew Callum, and we all headed down to our city’s Old Market Square.

And they were such kindness superstars. (THANK YOU mum and Callum ♡)

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At first Callum was a little too shy to hand out any bars with us, but it wasn’t long before he joined in the fun and then really got into the spirit of it, which was really heart-warming to see.

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My mum was absolutely brilliant and was happy to go into some of the city centre shops to hand out bars to the hand-working staff.

Mum+Callum in tram centre

As we stood in the Old Market Square offering bars of chocolates to passersby, some people practically ran away from us. Some people were a little suspicious at first, but then seemed happy to accept a chocolate bar once we explained what we were doing. And some people happily accepted straight away.

We got a few hugs, lots of thank yous, and oodles of big smiles.

Hooray 🙂

We were even joined by our city’s newspaper, the Nottingham Post, who’d come along to capture the choc-fest fun! Click here to see what they wrote.

With only a few bars left, we were feeling rather hungry and headed for a celebratory lunch. Then after giving all the staff a chocolate bar, we slipped into a city centre car park and popped the rest onto cars so that their owners can enjoy a sweet surprise when they return after a hard day’s shopping.

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And now as I’m utterly wiped out after all this RAK Week fun, I’m heading to bed for a few days to recover.

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But I do so with a happy heart and the hope that we’ve made a few people smile this week, and brightened up a few people’s days.

☆♡☆

ps if you have received one of chocolate bars – thank you for visiting! I’d really LOVE to hear from you in the comments below (and if you’d prefer me not to publish your comment on the blog, please do let me know).

pps Huuuuuuge thanks again to both the big-hearted Kerry at Co-Op Foods Hucknall, and my kind-hearted friend who wishes to remain anonymous. Today wouldn’t have been possible without your kind donations ♡

ppps please forgive any mistakes as I’m super-duper tired whilst writing this, but I wanted to post before I zonk out! Night, night!!

Act of kindness #28: A Valentine’s rose

Happy Valentine’s Day!

And Happy International Random Act of Kindness Week!

What a perfect opportunity to spread some love-filled kindness.

As it’s the school holidays, I have the sweetest little helper in the form of my 4-year-old nephew, Thomas.

Could this day get any better!

And as it’s Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be a lovely idea to give a few flowers to strangers to show them some love and make them smile.

Last week, I approached our local florist, Kerry’s Florist, to see if they would be interested in donating a few flowers for the occasion.

And even though it’s most probably their busiest day of the year, they said YES!

WooHooo!!

So, yesterday I collected 20 gorgeous red roses, and was really touched to see that the lovely Kerry and Shania had wrapped every single rose beautifully.

I attached one of my Kindness Cards to each rose with the message: “Happy Valentine’s Day: You are AMAZING. Kindly donated by ‘Kerry’s Florist’ to celebrate RAK Week.”

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Earlier this morning, my little helper and I happily made our way down to our local GP surgery. Here’s a little video I made of us.

And we had the loveliest time placing our Valentine’s surprises on car windscreens.

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We even had the chance to give a few people coming out of the doctor’s surgery a Valentine’s rose in person.

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It was touching to see Thomas happily handing each person a red rose, and most of the recipients seemed really touched. One lady in particular had tears in her eyes, and it was clear we’d really made her day. We both gave her a big hug.

We hope that the flowers are a LOVEly surprise for all the car owners when they return to their vehicles after their Doctor’s appointment.

And we really hope our little act of kindness will make them smile and feel a little bit better and brighter, especially on this love-filled day.

☆♡☆

ps if you have received one of our Valentine’s red roses, I’d really LOVE to hear from you in the comments below (and if you’d prefer me not to publish your comment on the blog, please do let me know).

pps Huge thanks again to the big-hearted Kerry and Shania at Kerry’s Florist for generously donating the roses and wrapping them so beautifully. You are both AMAZING.

Kindness Calendar – February 2017

Hello kindness warriors!

I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful January and remembered to be kind to yourself as well as to others.

An incredible 12,000 kind folk downloaded January’s Kindness Calendar, which equates to a potential 300,000 acts of kindness. Which is pretty amazing, especially during a month where a lot of people suffer from the January blues – so a huge THANK YOU for making a difference and for making so many people smile.

My heart is so full of gratitude for all the kindness you are spreading all over the world.

I’m happy to report that I’m feeling much better after my quiet and restful month. I’m grateful for the reminder that I need to go gently and slowly. So while I might not be online as much as I’d like to be, I am always, always, cheering you on from my bed!

And now we’re into February ♡

As you’ll see, I couldn’t resist the ‘love’ theme seeing as it’s Valentine’s Day and all. And what a perfect opportunity to show those we love how much we love them – partners, friends, family, children and pets alike!

But most of all, please don’t forget to show yourself some BIG love this month too!

It’s also Random Act of Kindness Week from 12th-18th February and Random Act of Kindness Day on Friday 17th. Yay 🙂 So let’s make an even bigger impact by spreading a little more kindness and making even more folk smile.

Please do let me know if you’re planning anything – you can post on my ‘Spreading A Little Kindness’ facebook community page. I love to hear what you’re getting up to, and I know everyone else does too.

So here’s February’s Kindness Calendar:

Kindness Calendar February 2017 FINAL

To download your free copy, please click on this link: Kindness-Calendar-February-2017.pdf (1967 downloads)

As always, I try to make the acts on my Kindness Calendars quick, easy and cheap (well, mostly free actually). So anyone and everyone can join in.

You may want to mix it up and swap the acts around, adapt the acts to suit you, or even create your own kindness acts. And don’t worry if you can’t do an act of kindness every single day, sometimes it’s just not possible as I know too well with the nature of my CFS flare ups.

But even if every one of us manages to do just one kindness act on one day this month – imagine how amazing that would be!

Again, it would be really brilliant and deeply appreciated if you could share this with family, friends, work colleagues, classmates… and share all over social media. 🙂

Every single extra act of kindness counts, together we are making the world a kinder place. So let’s get as many people as we can involved.

And don’t forget to join me on my kindness community page on Facebook, or Twitter and don’t forget to use the hashtag #KindnessCalendar.

Let’s have fun, and let’s remember to be kinder to ourselves as well, we are definitely worth it!

Thank you so much.

☆♡☆

To download your free copy of February’s Kindness Calendar, please click on this link: Kindness-Calendar-February-2017.pdf (1967 downloads)

A warm and grateful heart

Being grateful for receiving kindness from big-hearted folk:

Oh boy, what a month it has been in the life of my Kindness Advent Calendar; it honestly feels like a huge ripple effect of kindness is spreading out all over the world. I’ll write more about this once I’ve got over the shock!

I also would like to acknowledge all the lovely folk who’ve recently signed up to receive my blog posts directly into your inboxes – a huge twinkly, jingle bells of a HELLO to you and I wish I could give you all a great big THANK YOU hug.

Seriously.

But for now, it’s back to today’s post…

All this excitement and activity has unfortunately – well, rather predictably – brought on my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome symptoms 🙁

I’ve been feeling utterly wiped out and unable to get out of bed for a few days, and last week I had to switch off from social media for a little while. This frustratingly meant I couldn’t respond to all the amazing blog messages and posts and tweets coming in, of which I’m seriously loving reading each and every one.

But I realised that I needed to be kinder to myself and take the time to rest, recover and recharge – my 3Rs.

And on one day last week, when I was feeling particularly rough and low and sorry for myself, I received a wonderful act of kindness. My folks weren’t home and my mum told that she was expecting a package (cough cough = a little white lie!!) and would I answer the door – which I normally wouldn’t do.

And I’m so glad I did.

Standing at the front door were two lovely staff members from my local Co-op delivering a bag of sweet festive treats.

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You can see from the photo just how rough I was feeling that day, but it was such a magical surprise and I’m deeply grateful for their kindness.

My sleep has also taken a kicking and is being really rubbish, leaving me feeling more fatigued on top of my existing chronic fatigue.

Urgh!

A lovely friend suggested a massage might help, and although it’s way out of my budget, I realised that it was worth a try.

As I was trying to find an affordable practitioner through an online search (a wood-through-the-trees scenario!), I saw that I had a new message on my Facebook community page: spreading a little kindness.

It was from the big-hearted Sue Fisher, a mobile reflexologist who is doing the Kindness Advent Calendar. She saw that I lived in the same neck of the woods, and generously offered me a free session.

Seeing it as a sign, I gratefully accepted and Sue came by the following day.

She explained how she specialises in lymphatic drainage reflexology which has been shown to help people with auto-immune conditions, including CFS.

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[image: In The Zone Reflexology]

It was pure heaven and I’m deeply grateful to Sue for her kindness. I’ve since invested in a further two sessions, and am feeling the benefits as well as it all being rather blissful.

I am so thankful for the kindness I’ve received, although I have to confess I find it so much easier to give kindness than it is to receive. Hmmmm.. a poignant lesson for me to be learning right now.

☆♡☆

Act of kindness #23: World Kindness Day Goody Bags

Sunday 13th November is World Kindness Day, and wouldn’t it be truly wonderful if we all could spread a little more kindness around our homes and communities on this day. Especially with all this unrest we are currently facing.

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I’d hoped to do a really big kindness act to celebrate this special day, like walk around my home city offering free hugs, or something where I could invite the local media to get involved.

But sadly it’s not possible this year as I’m still struggling a little from my recent CFS relapse and also have family commitments on Sunday.

So I see this as a fantastic excuse to get in early by digging out my fabulous kindness goody bags, filling them with fun and yummy goodies, and giving them to unsuspecting strangers.

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Yippeeeee!

This will be my fourth RAOK featuring these little bags of joy (the others were at Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter). These bags are filled with a fun ‘noise-maker’ toy, a ‘you are AMAZING’ postcard, a few stickers, a mini chocolate bar, and a couple of sweeties.

World Kindness Day Goody Bag contents

I also added one of my Kindness Cards with a simple message to celebrate World Kindness Day.

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Today, I headed down to our local hospital and popped my World Kindness Day Goody Bags onto the windscreens of cars parked in the hospital car park. I’m thinking that the recipients will have been visiting a friend or loved one, have had a hospital appointment or even a hospital stay.

World Kindness Day Goody Bags

I even made my first RAOK video if you fancy a giggle…

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It’s my first try so please be kind 🙂

I really really love doing these kinds of ROAK, they bring me huge joy.  And I hope with all my heart that the recipients of my goody bags smile as much as I’m smiling right now.

☆♡☆

p.s If you found a World Kindness Day Goody Bag on your car, I’d really love to hear from you in the comments below…

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.

Hooray!

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.

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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!”

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(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!

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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…