Yesterday I shared the concept of a happy list and talked about how it’s a great way to take stock of the things in your life you’re happy for. I explained how we’re often programmed to look for what we don’t have, or what we haven’t achieved, rather than appreciating the things we do have, and how this whole cycle can be a negative one leading to dissatisfaction and unhappiness.
I didn’t want to share my own happy list in that post because I didn’t want people to compare – comparison is an instant way to suck the happy out of any situation, I think. That said, I do want to share some of the things making me happy this month in a separate post (this post right here) because I think they’re worth noting.
OK. The happy list. Here’s mine this month:
Sausage casseroles, slow-cooker curries, Lancashire hot-pots, shepherd’s pie… all the cosy, comforting, warming food basically. I love food and I love eating. It’s one of life’s great joys and since my mindset around food changed I enjoy it more than ever. Hands down my favourite autumn recipe is this one, with this one following a close second. And if you want a change from sausages, this recipe is equally delicious.
New work projects
I’ve got three new projects on the go which I’m really excited about working on. These are all collaborative projects and are all about confidence, body image and self love in one way or another, which are topics I feel strongly about. I’m working with some fantastically interesting and inspiring women and I’m learning so much as I research it all.
A couple of years ago when my confidence was fairly low, I don’t think I’d have had the guts to pursue these new ventures. So even though I’ve not pulled them off yet, the fact I’m even starting to build them is one I’m listing as an achievement for now.
Having fun with clothes
Back in the summer I got rid of three bin bags full of clothes. These were all clothes that no longer fit, or that I hated or that I’d simply had in my wardrobe and not worn for years. I think my refusal to rejuvenate my wardrobe had a lot to do with the dip in confidence I’d experienced. I’d told myself I couldn’t justify spending any money on clothes for myself, that I didn’t deserve or need them, that I was “just a mum” and so shouldn’t wear certain types of clothes, or the fact I worked from home meant I should just exist in joggers or leggings. Enjoying experimenting with clothes again is like a little rebellious act of self love which I’d denied myself for a while.
(The outfit in this photo is all Primark, except for the boots which are Joules.)
I wrote (write) for interiors magazines as part of my day job for the past four years. Design is always going to be something I love. But for a while there I’d lost the interest in actually taking on any new projects in my own home. Lack of energy, time, money and enthusiasm meant I just felt a bit meh about it all. But I’ve now rediscovered my energy for nesting and we’re busy transforming our living and dining room into a cosy and more grown-up space for the autumn. It’s a work in progress but it’s already looking so much better than it did before.
(I’ve had lots of messages on Instagram about the colour on these walls – it’s Payne’s Grey by Craig & Rose.)
Also on my happy list this month is listening to some brilliant podcasts. I’ve listened to lots of the Esther Perel Where Should We Begin episodes which have been eye-opening. Described as “the Rosetta Stone of feelings” this is a really beautiful podcast about relationships. If you’ve ever loved then it’s worth a listen – it challenges some of our concrete ideas about love in a way that I find really interesting.
Along with podcasts I’ve been enjoying so much more music recently. Obsessed with the latest song by The 1975, the new one from Robyn, the latest Christina and the Queens (or “Chris”) album and, of course, any old-school Fleetwood Mac. But I’ve also had some classic 90s Indie tunes on repeat when I’ve been running, and can’t get enough of Bugzy Malone on a very loud volume too. My taste is eclectic, it has to be said.
Reading is another one that will always be something that makes me happy – wherever I am. At the moment I’m reading the Man Booker Prize winning The Luminaries which is a stunning and immersive book.
Yoga and running are always going to make an appearance on a happy list for me. They’re free and, for me, instant mind-boosters. I don’t run or do yoga every day – or even every week – but when I do I feel calmer, energised and just, well, good. I think the fact it’s no longer about losing weight or changing my body makes me love it even more.
I run or do yoga simply because I love it, not out of any weird sense of duty that I “should”. Equally, if I can’t fit it in or just don’t feel like it I feel no sense of guilt for skipping it and sitting on the sofa instead. Which is how it should be. (I’ve had loads of questions on Instagram about yoga – I have a mat and practice at home using YouTube. My favourite channel is Yoga with Adriene.)
And that’s what my happy list looks like this month. Now tell me, what does yours look like? What are you thankful for this month? What are you enjoying? What things are giving you a little spark of joy? What are you proud of yourself for achieving (remember: just existing is an achievement some days)?