Times have been far from happy lately as my auntie Zak passed away after a shock diagnosis of a rare thyroid cancer just a few months before.
So much of last year too, was clouded in darkness as another close relative spent most of it battling with illness. That person, thankfully has recovered now.
Despite it all (and it was shockingly bad), I’ve tried my best to seek out the light. My children have given me purpose, and drive, as has my closest friends and husband. This blog has been instrumental too. It’s given me a platform to write, process and share and the support of my readers and followers has touched my broken heart.
…I felt incredibly low for three weeks last summer which scared me if I’m honest. It felt as if I’d returned right back to the bleak days and months post-traumatic birth with my first son in 2010.
I acted fast this time though, and sought advice from the same therapist who helped me overcome PTSD and I recovered quickly. I’m not sure I’ve ever written about that time. I was fire-fighting so fiercely with my relative’s illness I think I was so relieved to have recovered, I just refocused on being strong again.
Life isn’t all roses, freakshakes and big smiles as it might seem on social media…but that stuff does indeed help me feel happier about life. It’s not a pretence, it’s survival too. The good with the bad (I’m always honest about the hard times too).
When I feel down though, focusing on the pretty helps me. I’m getting better at chasing the light. I’ve been pushing myself to exercise and focus on the people and things I love. Vitally I’ve been talking, leaning on others rather than bottling my emotions up as I did when Oliver was born.
I know what rock-bottom feels like. I know how important it is to reach out and speak up. I kept quiet for 10 long months when my son was born, scared to admit how bad I felt. Staying silent and hoping things will pass just doesn’t work. I know that well.
So I’m talking and writing and feeling a little bit stronger each and every day.
I can’t believe my aunt is gone…I’m not sure when I will, if every but I’m making a point of planning happy-making days out, and reaching work goals to help me on my way.
I wanted to create a list here to help inspire and remind me of what makes my heart sing and why it’s important to focus on the positive.
Perhaps it will encourage you to write a happy list of your own. Sometimes we can feel so overwhelmed with life/ sadness/ the relentless juggle that we forget to do what makes us happy.
Here’s my list:
1. A Family Day Out.
Wellies, sun (all year) and fresh air on my face makes me happy. We’re lucky to live in Windsor so are surrounded by countryside, with walking being a way of life for us. Whenever I feel sad, I force myself to walk, and walk, knowing I’ll never regret it.
2. Fun with Friends
Spending quality time with friends who know me inside-out, means the world to me. That easy, fun and enriching company feeds the soul. I’ve arranged a break with my oldest, closest friend Carlie and her family in December I can’t wait for, and I’ve lots of dates in the diary attending screenings, lunches, Christmas parties and shopping days with friends to look forward to.
3. Writing and Filmmaking
I love the bones of my blog but haven’t been able to write daily over the last 9 months, as I used to, here. Having given so much of myself to my book Mumboss (a process I adored by the way) I’ve returned relishing having the time to write more frequently here and getting to connect with you all much more. I’ve also been snapping away a lot more as well as vlogging weekly again and I want to give YouTube much more of my time. I was a filmmaker pre-blogging and vlogging after all! My biggest dream has always been to direct a feature film (I was a former TV Director and Filmmaker) so I’m keeping everything crossed (and will be working my booty off too) to make that a reality in the next few years!
4. Creative Fun With The Kids
I don’t paint anymore but it was my first-love pre-kids and I even exhibited and sold my work. I’ve promised myself that I’ll start again but for now I love drawing and crafting with the kids when I can. Time stands still when you create. It’s a magical form of self-expression and it’s something I’ve missed so will pursue again…
5. Date Night
I love spending time with Mr Honest Mum but with our move and need for a babysitter, date nights have been a thing of the past. We have promised to arrange a night soon for some much-needed quality time the two of us!
6. Food + Exercise
A food and sport lover forevs, one can’t go without the other. I want my gluten-free chocolate cake and to eat it too which means lots of walking and running along with stuffing my face! Moderation is key but focusing on the food which likes me back is crucial as is moving as much as possible!
My love of style knows no bounds but sadly, my bank account does! If I could move into Zara, I would. The obsession is real. My go-to uniform is a statement print dress, bold coat, OTK boots and statement jewellery.
8. Beauty Treatments
I love a blow-dry, mani/pedi and massage so I’m going to fit in more pamper days which help boost my confidence and make me happy.
9. Breaks Away
Mama has been working so hard, I’ve not been able to get abroad since April. I feel incredibly grateful to receive kind invites to visit gorgeous countries thanks to my blog, but due to my book and blog deadlines, it’s not been possible to accept any. I might have actually cried when I had to reject an offer to the Caribbean recently. Weep. We are planning a break in the UK over the Christmas period I can’t wait for, and once Peter’s allocated annual leave begins again, we’ll be arranging a holiday so we can just chill our beans on the beach! Being originally Greek Cypriot, I deeply crave the sun and hope one day our dream move to LA happens so we vitamin sea becomes a way of life for us!
10. Flowers and candles
My Mum always says a house becomes a home when you add art, flowers and candles. Her house is full of all of the above. I have lots of stunning originals and prints up on the walls, along with seasonal flowers in vases in most rooms (pink roses and white lillies are staring at me as I type). Candles too, far from little people’s hands help soothe and uplift and I have a collection here to match my mood. My pal Charlotte gifted me a festive Elemis candle the other night which is flickering by the fireplace filling the lounge with its musky warmth, promising me that happier times lie ahead.
So, what’s your Happy List?