A bonus post this week, because I got nominated by Jessie at Her Arms Are Strong to join the 10 Things That Make Me Happy writing challenge.
Now, I’m going to cheat on the brief a bit here and not put the 10 most obvious things that make me happy. Why? Because, as important as they are, I’m sure you’ve read a million posts like that and your brain will start staring into space!
But just to cover that base, the first 10 that jumped to mind were: Faith, my awesome hubby (and co-author) Jon, my twins, friends & family, chocolate, coffee, steak, sleep. me-time & holidays.
Instead, I’ve chosen to feature 10 interesting things that make me happy – things you might not immediately guess about me:
10 Interesting Things That Make Me Happy:
Creating Memes for Instagram.
What started as a way to keep my insta-feed ticking over between blog posts has become a bit of a hobby!
I love creating eye-catching images that can serve to inspire and encourage other parents, as well as raising awareness of issues like childism, and normalising gentle parenting.
Plus, you know they’re going to make a fab set of canvases to adorn our home (once we find one!)
Being a Parenting-Geek.
Okay I’ve always been a geek of one kind or another, but I LOVE keeping up to date with the science, psychology & philosophy of positive parenting and education.
I surround myself with amazing role models, guzzle books and blogs and generally get inspired to to better!
Contemporary Folk, Modern Country and Classic Rock
Bit of a mixed bag, but then life’s too short to follow the crowd! Artists like Kate Rusby, Megson, Brad Paisley, The Eagles, Electric Light Orchestra and Meat Loaf have formed the soundtrack to our lives, and their music comes heavily loaded with happy memories!
I love bringing order out of chaos. I find decluttering hugely cathartic, and particularly love that the more minimalist we get, the less housework I have to do! Major win in my book.
It is also so, so clear that the children are more focused, calmer and need far less entertaining, the fewer toys and less clutter that is in our home. Does it get better than that?
Follow our decluttering/minimalism journey here:
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When my twins fall asleep on me.
There’s something so intensely magical about the utter surrender, warmth and trust of my two softly slumbering children, snuggled up against me.
If I was a better woman perhaps I’d attempt to get more housework or cooking done whilst the children are sleeping, but I’m not: instead I snuggle and breathe them in, and sometimes nap too!
I’m a HUGE Audible junkie! I have always been a total bookworm, and my husband and I fell in love over a shared passion for modern fantasy fiction.
I love the way amazing narrators like Stephen Fry, Nigel Planer, Paul Boehmer, Stephen Briggs, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, & Tim Curry (to name but a few) can totally add a whole new level of awesomeness to some already pretty incredible books!
I use audiobooks when I am travelling, commuting, cleaning, working, falling to sleep or on those nights when my patience is thin and the kids are waking a lot in the night.
My two favourite Happy Places are Terry Pratchett’s Discworld and Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series. But I have so many other authors I love too. Our shared audible library has over 90 titles and is growing year by year. Long may it continue!
Creating Inviting Play-Spaces
Call it a throwback from my Gymboree days, or from my stint as a visual merchandiser and window-dresser, but I love presenting my twins’ toys in a visually pleasing manner, making them easily accessible and super-enticing.
I also LOVE simple, open-ended toys at least as much as my children do!
You can see some of our favourites here:
It’s been a real learning curve, raising twins both in and out of London.
My husband and I lived there for ten years, and matched its frenetic pace. We were forced to move up north when we realised my salary wouldn’t cover two nursery places, and that his salary alone wouldn’t pay the cost of living.
But actually, it’s been the best thing for our family.
Far from being bored of the quiet, simple life, I’ve learned to embrace its peace and tranquility. It makes me a better mother, and the kids are more grounded and easier to care for too. Our forays into intentionally simplifying our lives have also had a profoundly positive effect – you can follow our journey here:
I discovered the body positivity movement this year. Late to the party, I know!
I’ve spent my life feeling inferior, disgusting, worthless for always having to battle with my weight. I grew up in dance classes from the age of 3, where the focus is always on appearances & conformity, and eventually went off to a pro West End college as a young adult.
During college, despite being at my slimmest, I was considered the fat girl. It was always ‘Oh she’s talented but it’s a shame about her weight…’. As a result, I starved myself and struggled with bulimia and binge eating disorder until I met my husband and he helped me to stop. And, despite looking frankly amazing (in retrospect), I was also at my most unhappy and insecure of my entire life.
Then, once I’d recovered from the full-blown disordered eating, it was a series of yo-yo diets – trying to maintain a figure that was frankly unnatural, since it’s not where my body naturally sits if I eat like a normal person!
Now I’m curvaceous and vivacious and other things ending in ‘us’ (bulbous?). I’ve a fab community of fuller-figured goddesses who are a constant encouragement. It’s been a long road getting here. I’ve still got to be intentional about eating healthily (I use my diet to control my blood sugar, and a natural consequence is weight loss).
I’ve a way to go until I am truly happy, but I’m getting there! And fully accepting my body is a MUCH healthier message to send to my children. I’d be forever ashamed if I passed on my body hang-ups to them.
In fact, as I write this I can see it warrants a separate blog post on the topic – so stay tuned for that!
You can follow my body positivity journey so far here:
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That’s all folks – thanks for thinking of us!
It means a lot to be nominated, especially by someone who I’ve not crossed paths with yet. This is because it means our relatively new blog is being noticed and accepted in the blogging community! Thanks for making us feel so welcome!
Please do check out Her Arms Are Strong – it’s a fab blog about Gentle Parenting, Christianity, Breastfeeding, Childism, and other crunchy loveliness! A kindred spirit, you might say!
What are the things that make you happiest? Comment below to let us know!