Day 99: My kind Valentine

Being kind by leaving love-filled goodie bags on car windscreens in the hospital car park:

Happy Valentine’s Day! And Happy International Random Act of Kindness Week!

So why not combine the two, me thinks!!

How about some Valentine’s Day Kindness Bags filled with love-themed goodies?

And being joined by my helpful nephew Callum, I have all the ingredients for the sweetest Valentine’s Day EVER!!

I’ve been planning this ever since my  Random Act of Christmas Kindness. One of my favourite kindness acts so far, I loved choosing what to put inside my festive goodie bags and it gave me such pleasure leaving them on car windscreens at my doctor’s surgery.

But most of all I was incredibly moved by a response I received from a lovely lady who received one of these bags (see the comments section if you’d like to read it).

So the day is finally here, hooray!.

And I’m over-the-moon that my seven-year-old nephew Callum wants to help me. I love what a big heart he has and how his teacher is always commenting on how kind and helpful he is.

So earlier this morning we spread our loot across my bed, and had fun packing our 20 kindness goodie bags.

Packing goodie bags

Into each clear bag, we popped: a red foil-wrapped chocolate heart, a mini packet of Love Heart sweeties, a mini chocolate bar, a highlighter pen, some heart stickers, a handful of heart-shaped jewels, and a feather or two.

Valentine's Goodie Bags

We wrote kindness messages on my Kindness Cards. Callum carefully writing: You are amazing, and adding his name and age on a few. So sweet. And we also included a ‘You Are Loved’ card I’d made using one of my favourite nature photos I took last year, with a little explanation about our Random Act of Kindness on the reverse.

Valentine Kindness messages

Excited and ready for action, we drove down to the City Hospital and parked up.

Although it was freezing, our hearts were warmed as together we placed our kindness bags on the car windscreens.

Callum with goodie bag

placing our goodie bags on car windscreens

We even had the chance to give someone one of our kindness bags face-to-face: we spotted a lady heading into the hospital and ran across to hand-deliver a goodie bag. She seemed really happy to receive it.

We hope that when the owner/s returned to their cars after their appointment or visit or work-shift, they will be surprised.

And we really hope our little act of kindness will make a few people smile and feel happy, especially on this love-filled day.

Last week, I told the Nottingham Post about our little Valentine’s adventure, and we were interviewed and snapped by our city’s newspaper while in the midst of our good deed. Once the feature goes out, I will post the link here:

We then celebrated with a trip to our local Costa for a well-deserved sugar-loaded treat!

my handsome valentine's date

What really warms my heart is that Callum wants to take a kindness goodie bag with him into school next week for his ‘show and tell’. My heart is so happy to think that this small act of kindness may help inspire this younger generation to continue the ripple effect of kindness.

What a brilliant way to celebrate the start of International Random Act of Kindness Week!

Now back home, I’m shaking with exhaustion and about to switch-off and have a long soak in a yummy Epsom salt bath.

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being kind by leaving love-filled goodie bags on car windscreens in the hospital car park.

ps if you have received one of our Valentine’s Day Kindness Goodie Bags, we’d really LOVE to hear from you in the comments below. If you’d prefer me not to publish your comment on the blog, please let me know.

Day 94: Weekend guest

Being mindful when spending time with my nephew:

This weekend, we have the littlest munchkin – three-year old Thomas – come to stay with us while his mummy and daddy are away on a birthday celebration.  Callum, the other munchkin, went to stay with his other mamma and granddad.

And there are two special highlights from this weekend that I will always treasure:

The first, is singing him to sleep. This is the first time I’ve had this pleasure, and it was such a joy.  A pretty precious moment for me.

He was wide awake when my mum first took him up to bed, so it was no surprise to hear a knock on my bedroom door a few minutes after mum had gone back downstairs.

I took him back to bed and read him the story about a little bear who went BOO! (a brilliant children’s book by David Walliams).

He was still pretty wide awake after that and as it was getting quite late,  I suggested I sing him a lullaby if he lay down and closed his eyes. He readily agreed, snuggled up with his Teddy, and I sang my favourite: Baby Beluga.

baby beluga

A dear Canadian friend introduced me to this delightful song a few years ago, and these beautiful creatures are quite close to my heart after spending hours sitting watching them in Vancouver’s Aquarium.

Anyway, I couldn’t quite remember all the words but sang what I could and made up the rest.

Over and over. And over and over.

Eventually I could sense he’d dropped off.  But as I came back up the stairs after telling my folks he was asleep, he was waiting for me at the top saying: Auntie Helen, you said you’d stay with me.

So I took him back to bed, and kicked off Baby Beluga again.

And again. And again.

Mum eventually came and took over as I was flagging, and losing my voice. But I’m happy that at least I did sing him to sleep, even if he was asleep for only a few minutes: I’ll take it.

And today we woke up to a sprinkling of snow. How exciting! We don’t really get much snow here, not as much as some parts of the country, so any we get is a real treat.

And having a nephew here to enjoy it with was a real bonus.

So after brekkie we wrapped up warm with many layers and headed out into the garden. We had snow much fun (get it? snow much fun, snow?) making footprints, brushing the snow off the garden plants and bushes, making a snowman (which he wanted to take home with him later, bless!), and of course, the obligatory snowball fight – which Thomas won, of course.

brushing snow

snow angel

snowball fight


We both came back inside with rosy cheeks and big smiles on our faces, ready for a hot drink to warm us up.

To be honest, I’m not sure who had the best time. Well actually, I do have an inkling…

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being mindful when spending time with my nephew.

Day 80: Word search fun

Being kind by helping Callum with his spelling homework:

My seven-year old nephew Callum is having weekly spelling tests, and it’s not his strongest subject.

Each week he gets a list of around 14 words that will feature in the following week’s test and his mummy sits with him each day going through them.

I’m keen to help him too, especially as English was my favourite subject. If it was maths he was struggling with, I’d have no chance!

Callum comes to our house twice a week after school, and I’ve been spending some time going through the words with him. But like any other seven-year-old, he gets bored easily. Really easily.

So, I decided to try and make it fun.

Having trained in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, I truly believe that using a more active approach through games can motivate learners, and find it helps them learn and retain more.

And from my six years of experience, I have a lot of fun yet effective tricks up my sleeve –  I just need to find them!

As Callum loves the word searches I’ve been printing off for him recently, I’ve decided to make them more relevant to what he is being taught at school.

Each week using one of the thousands of fabulous online resources, I create a few different word searches using the words he needs to learn.

And he absolutely loves them. I find that his concentration span is two to three times longer than before.

His teacher also hands out a short definition for each word, which I type up in large font, print off and cut out. After I’ve mixed them up, it’s down to Callum to match each word with the correct definition. Again, it’s simple stuff, but I find the interaction makes it so much more effective.

Not only have these simple techniques made Callum’s spelling homework much more fun, I’m really enjoying polishing up my teaching skills again. And I‘m sure more ideas will come back to me as we continue on.

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being kind by helping Callum with his spelling homework.

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 32: Homework and play

Being mindful with my nephew, Callum:

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.

Day 28: Melty heart

Being grateful for melty heart moments:

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.

Day 14: Nana milkshake song+dance

Being grateful for funtime playtime with my nephew Thomas:

Two days a week, my three-year-old nephew Thomas is with us while my sister goes to work.

He’s our little ray of sunshine.

And as much as I would LOVE to be his full-on full-time playmate, sadly CFS has other ideas: I’m usually wiped out after only half an hour and have to head upstairs for some bedrest.

Recently, I’ve started making him healthy banana milkshakes, with two ingredients: frozen banana and whole milk. Nothing else.

And I’ve found that getting him involved in the making of it usually increases the odds of him drinking it.

Today, he very carefullly held the blender jug while I put the frozen banana in and then added the milk: great team work.

Thomas is quite a sensitive soul around noise and usually runs away and hides when I switch the blender on. But today, he wanted to press the button. And so he did. A few times in fact.

As the blender roared into action, I started singing ‘Banana Milkshake’ to distract him from the noise. He joined in the singing and started dancing around; I joined in the dancing.

And thus, our Banana Milkshake, or rather our ‘Nana Milkshake’ song and dance was born. (Lyrics by Auntie Helen, choreography by nephew Thomas)

We had so much fun singing and dancing our way around the house. A joy-filled precious moment to treasure, that’s for sure.

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